Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Essentials for Life: Your Back to Basics Guide to What Matters Most

At first glance, Essentials for Life by Marcia Ford is what I would call a daily devotional book with 50 devotions.  But after a closer look, it is a book for thinking through life's most important questions.  Yes there are 50 topics, yet each question could take several days or longer of reading, rereading, thinking, rethinking, praying, and praying again in order to fully determine your true, heartfelt beliefs.

Essentials for Life, published by Thomas Nelson earlier this year, is not just a book to read: it is a book to ponder.  It is a book that leads you to other sources such as the Bible, other books, your heart, and of course, God.  For some readers, grappling with each question will lead to new answers and for others, to the reaffirmation of beliefs.

The book itself feels nice in your hands.  The cover isn't just like a normal paperback's; there is a softness and a sheen to it more like a treasured journal.  The pages inside also feel good on your fingers.  Essentials for Life comes in a handy size that is not too big or thick and would fit easily into a briefcase or purse.

The author uses a specific structure for each subject.  The first and third pages have a Bible verse and a quote or a short paragraph called, "Interesting to Note" in the right or left hand margins.  After the title on the first page, a brief statement of the question or issue appears.  On the second page, the writer includes a quote by an influential Christian, some of whom I have heard and some not.  The third page often has bullet points and the fourth has a box of  "do's" and "don'ts" called, "What's Essential."

Essentials for Life is a well-written, thoughtful, and sincere Christian resource.  I'm not certain I can keep track of 50 essentials.  Most books or articles that use numbers use the number 7 or 10.  Scientists have proved that our mind can contain these numbers of things for a longer period of time such as a phone number with or without the area code.  It's difficult to remember 50 questions let alone the answers.  Perhaps, the author could have boiled down these essentials to a number a human could get their arms around and remember.  It would be critical to go through this book and write all your thoughts and prayers in a journal, so that a reader could go back to what is was they decided, experienced, and believe about each question.

I would recommend this book for someone who has the patience to delve deeply about important issues in our lives and someone who would document his or her journey through the questions in Essentials for Life carefully.  The resulting journal would be valuable for the rest of the reader's life for personal reflection and for teaching any special wisdom found to others.

I received this book from the publishers through booksneeze.  All opinions are my own.

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