Weaver has taken excerpts from her three books with Bethany and added previously unpublished material (labeled “outtake”) to create this daily devotional. She includes a short Bible verse, a reference to a longer Bible passage, and a reflection question for each day. There are also nine sidebars called “Going Deeper” to help the reader develop a quiet time.
It is Weaver's prayer that readers will fall in love with God's Word in a brand new way and discover the message of grace interwoven throughout the Bible.
There are different ways to write a daily devotional and using material from previously published books is one of them. I don't think it is the most effective way to create a devotional.
One reason is because some of the quoted material is very long and covers several days of reading. The story from one of her books took three days to tell (January 9-11) and then the lesson was on the fourth day (January 12). So you have three incomplete days where you are just getting a portion of something, and then, finally, on the fourth day you get the lesson. I found that not satisfactory.
It was shortly followed by another lengthy series. The teaching on Flesh Woman begins January 16. January 17 is about Joanna having a public persona and a private one. She ends the devotion by hoping no one would find out what she was really like. “Because I wasn't certain I could be any different.” Romans 7 is covered on January 18. January 19 ends, “Though the Flesh Woman would never admit it, she's determined to do whatever it takes to remain in control of your life.” Finally, January 20 is an excerpt (from a different one of her books than the previous three days) on the battlefield of the mind. For me, that was just too much of a disconnect and it was kind of depressing, hearing the bad news for three days and finally getting the remedy on the fourth day.
A similar thing happens February 11-13 where an article by Robert Munger takes three days to get through.
I am also very picky when it comes to theology. For January 7, Weaver writes about humans having a God-shaped hole – a spiritual vacuum that only God can fill. Then she writes, “But have you ever considered that God might have a you-shaped hole, an emptiness that only you can fill?” Wow! Red flag! That God might somehow be incomplete without a relationship with me...well, that does not describe the God I worship!
Well, that's the bad news. The good news is that Weaver is very honest about her own spiritual walk. That should be great encouragement to women. And this book is definitely for women (much about feelings and other things particular to women).
The Going Deeper pages are excellent. I think I'd buy the book just for the valuable material contained in them. Her outline of how to journal your Bible reading is superb. So is the one listing tips for getting more from Bible study.
Weaver wants her readers to get into the Word and she has added a Bible Reading Plan at the end of the book. It can be started at any time. She also gives a web site where you can choose your starting date and the book of the Bible you'd like to begin with and print off your own reading plan.
Listen to a podcast by Joanna on this topic here.
Joanna Weaver has more than a million books in print. Her books include the ones used for this devotional: Having a Mary heart in a Martha World, Having a Mary Spirit, Lazarus Awakening. She has written articles appearing in major Christian magazines and has appeared on a number of national TV and radio broadcasts. She is also a sought after speaker at several events each year. She and her pastor husband, as well as their three children, live in Montana. You can learn more about her and her books at www.JoannaWeaverBooks.com and more about her ministry at www.becominghis.com. You can also connect with her at Facebook.com/becominghis.
I am participating in a blog tour of this book and you can find other reviews here.
WaterBrook, 391 pages. Publisher product page.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.