Friday, February 25, 2011

book review: Voices of the Faithful

Daily meditations that take readers in one week from China, to Africa, to the Caribbean, to Central Asia are what set apart this book of devotional readings. Popular speaker and writer Beth Moore ties them all together in an introduction and short essays that precede each month’s theme. In this way readers explore topics like God’s character, prayer, persecution, spiritual warfare, Christmas around the world, and others.

The first-person vignettes about life in the mission field make for fascinating reading. Take, for example, the opening paragraph from the March 8th story about an incident in Africa:

“After several months in language school, we drove to a neighboring country to visit our future home. A few hours into our journey, a car occupied by four men brandishing an automatic rifle and a pistol pulled us over. Three of them got into our car, forcing us into the backseat” – p. 83.

Or the beginning of the October 30th entry by a worker in the Pacific Rim:

“On a trip to Thailand, my husband had a vivid dream. An angel repeated, ‘You must pray for your house; it is not protected. God had my husband’s attention. He spent the next two days, from time to time interceding for our house and family, asking God’s protection. He stayed longer in Thailand while the kids and I went back to our country” – p. 355.

The main purpose of each daily reading is to help the reader focus on some aspect of the Christian life. They illustrate how similar we are as people in the things we desire, struggle with, and fear. Though the settings are varied, the take-away for Christian living is universal.

In addition these devotions educate about customs, local conditions, beliefs and the missionary enterprise around the world. The provide lots of prayer fodder.

The contributors are identified in some way at the bottom of each devotion (sometimes by name, other times more anonymously as “A worker in (name of country).” Each reading ends with a brief prayer.

The book is a project of the International Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention) and proceeds of all sales of the book are earmarked for it. An appendix-like section at the back focuses on missions with information about Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries, a message from the president of the International Mission Board SBC as well as hints on how to pray for international missionaries and people groups, and suggestions for how churches and individuals can become involved in missions.

I am finding the devotional stories interesting and inspirational – a quick read at the beginning, middle or end of the day. Considering they were written by a collection of nearly 300 people, the writing style is amazingly consistent. My only criticism is with the size of the font chosen for the prayers. It’s tiny!

Altogether this is an excellent devotional to use for a year and then pass on to someone else. But be warned, the writers’ enthusiasm about living for Jesus is contagious. A whole year of readings gives the book ample time to change your life.


Book Facts:


Title: Voices of the Faithful: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World
Author: Beth Moore, International Mission Board
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, December 2010, paperback, 480 pages.

ISBN-10: 0849946247 
ISBN-13: 978-0849946240

(I received this book as a gift from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review. Article first published as Book Review: Voices of the Faithful: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World with Beth Moore and Friends, compiled by Kim P. Davis on Blogcritics.)


Violet Nesdoly / poems
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