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If you caught my previous book review, you’ll know that I had the absolute pleasure of receiving a copy of The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party by Joni Eareckson Tada, the review of which you can read here. Today I’m back with a brand new book review! I feel very blessed to have received a copy of a wonderful book by John Hindley, published just this month, titled Refreshed: Devotions For You Time Away to read and review. It’s an excellent book to take with you on your time away and on a family holiday. Even though I’ve just been reading this book whilst being at home, it’s been such a joy to read even though I’m not currently on holiday. Definitely a favourite thing of mine that I’ve taken away from this book is that even though it’s subtitled Devotions For Your Time Away, there is so much that you can take away from this book and apply to your day-to-day life, more of which I’ll be talking about a little bit further down.
“Refreshed. Restored. Revitalised. That’s what we hope we’ll feel when we go away. But what if we could find spiritual refreshment as well as physical rest?
This book invites you to enjoy your holiday more deeply – by allowing everything you see and do to draw your heart to Jesus. Pick and choose from 30 short devotions designed to fit different places and experiences. Whether you’re building sandcastles, climbing mountains, or relaxing by the pool, there is something in this book for you. Read it, and find refreshment for your soul.” Refreshed by John Hindley.
I do love a daily devotional. I have a few now on the bookshelf. They’re a really great way to help you grow daily in your journey of faith. I find them to be very encouraging and inspiring. Plus, I always think a daily devotional is a really good way to help start your day, or to read before bed. There are so many daily devotionals that have been published over the years, and that have been published just recently, so I know just how tricky it can be to find just the devotional you’re looking for (one of the many reasons why I am thankful to be reviewing this book on my blog, so I’m able to share it). I think this is why this one has really stood out to me. It’s very specific and I’ve personally not come across a devotional specifically for taking away with me on holiday.
This book is such a wonderful idea. It’s really helped me to reflect, not only in my day-to-day life, but especially useful when going away on holiday or for even just a few days away. A holiday can be a really good time to just relax, be present in the moment, and to not have to worry about work and the things that need to be done etc. It’s also a time that can be spent with our loved ones, to spend some much-needed time away together. But, as I think we all know, sometimes we may not be able to relax as much as we would like to when we are away and sometimes things pop up unexpectedly. The daily devotionals in this book help us to reflect, take time out and to draw close to Jesus, not only during the unexpected times, but through our everyday life, through whichever season we are currently in. (Even on the days where we feel totally relaxed!)
Chapter 1 in this book talks about Hopes and Fears, and specifically looks at Psalm 121. Psalm 121 describes how God is our help. The maker of Heaven and Earth is our helper, who watches over us, who will not let our foot slip, and who is constantly watching over us. My favourite two verses from 121 are verses 7 and 8:
“The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and for evermore.”
What truly wonderful and comforting words. The author talks a little bit about a serious incident that happened on their time away, something which I can very much relate to. I remember one particular holiday, many years ago when I was very young, I was on holiday with my parents, and unfortunately the holiday didn’t quite go as smoothly as we had hoped. I fell off the end of our campervan step, falling straight flat on to the curb, my head taking the full blow, and whilst on a beach, as I was running around on the sand, I didn’t notice the piece of glass that was hiding! During these moments of unexpectedness, it’s God who we need to call upon; it’s God who we need when we need strength, guidance and wisdom. It’s only through God that during those unexpected times, we can feel peace, we can hand everything over to Him, because He cares for us, He is with us and He is our help.
“He does not know what the mountains hold. But he knows that he is held by God. The traveller’s help does not come from his own planning, wisdom, strength or speed. His help comes from the Lord – the maker of Heaven and Earth.” Chapter 1, Refreshed by John Hindley.
The chapters of this book are brilliantly written. You can either read the book front to back, or you can pick a specific chapter based on a theme or location. For example, some of the chapters are named Arriving, Rest, Friends and Family, and Skies and Beach. There’s literally topics for wherever you may be. The contents page has all the titles of each chapter on, so they can easily be found within the book. I found myself fully engaged, inspired and reflecting on each page. I should note that at the end of each chapter, the author has set aside activities at the end of each daily reflection for individual use and for family time, along with asking questions, setting challenges, and involving each family member. This offers some fun activities for everyone, and helps families to spend quality time together, getting into God’s Word, and keeping their minds firmly fixed on Jesus.
“Each of the daily reflections is primarily written for adults, but at the end of each study there are resources to help you use it as the basis of a family Bible time.” Reflection by John Hindley.
My overall thoughts of this book is that it is a fabulous daily devotional, not just for taking away with you, but to be read in everyday lives. It’s an important reminder that it’s only through God that we can feel refreshed, that whatever is on our mind, whatever we are currently going through, and of course when the unexpected happens, we can hand it all over to Him, not only in our day-to-day lives, but when we are also away on holiday. We can feel His fulfilling peace, His promises and true joy. We can find rest and enjoyment in the season that we are currently in. God is our protection, our help and He cares deeply for us. After all, Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”