Book Review – “A Year With God” by R.B. Nettelhorst
Are there any words more powerful than God’s? This question is posed by R.P Nettelhorst in the book A Year With God. Upon reading the book it clearly shows us that the answer to this question is NO! Words are powerful; they have caused the rise of nations and the fall of nations. Through words God spoke the universe and all it contains into being. The writer of Hebrews tells us that God has spoken in the past and He still speaks to us today (Hebrews 1:1) God’s words are real, they are powerful, and they are full of wisdom for whatever we may face in our daily lives.
It’s this knowledge that is the basis for this devotional book. I will admit from the onset that I have a love/hate relationship with devotional books. I love them because of the focused attention that they can give to a text and do so in as little as a page; it’s a great way to start the day. Then there’s the other side of the equation, I hate them because so often they fail at giving the insight they claim to provide. I will say that this book does a sufficient job at the first, and for the most part avoids the pitfalls of the second. It was indeed a pleasure to read.
When beginning this book I appreciated the fact that it’s truly a utilitarian tool, in that one doesn’t have to wait until January first to begin, and the readings are simply numbered beginning with “day 1” and move on from there. Nettelhorst walks the reader through various topics that often present in our daily lives at some point in time or another, Hope, Fear, Love, Hate, Perseverance, Quitting, Faith, Doubt, Loyalty, Betrayal, and a whole host of others. I also appreciate the fact that each daily entry is comprised of only one page. I also enjoyed the fact that the texts utilized are taken from the Old Testament, which all too often is overlooked in a New Testament focused church. I have always believed that in order to understand the New Testament one must have an understanding of the Old Testament.
Beyond the text speaking for itself, the author’s brief thoughts, interpretation of the given passage, and points of application are also given for one’s consideration. Though as a pastor I would have loved some deeper insight from the given texts, I realize that the book is written with the general public in mind, those who have little time in a time obsessed world, and for that audience this book makes a perfect daily companion, in fact I believe that one of the strongest attributes of this book is the fact that it doesn’t require much time to complete the devotions, they can be done quickly, and for the beginner it may serve them well as they try to form the habit of a daily quiet time.
Though this book isn’t destined to become a timeless classic along the lines of Oswald Chambers,’ My Utmost for His Highest or L.B. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert, this book is still a good read, and if you’re someone who’s looking for a new, Old Testament focused, thematic approach to your daily devotional time, I can without hesitation recommend this book.
NOTE: If you’re from our church family, you are free to borrow this book from me. Just let me know and I’ll get it to you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their “booksneeze program.” I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions and views expressed here are my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”