Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Closer: A Book Review

About The Book: 

The Love Dare challenged individuals to love their spouse more. Closer: Devotions To Draw Couples Closer shows wives and husbands how to grow that love together. Introduced with Scripture verses and engaging stories, these 52 devotionals will inspire couples to draw closer through faith conversations--those quiet talks so vital for emotional and spiritual intimacy in a marriage. Guided, practical action steps round out each reading.

About The Authors:
Jim Burns founded the ministry of HomeWord in 1985 with the goal of bringing help and hope to struggling families. As host of the national radio broadcast HomeWord with Jim Burns, Jim's passion is to build God-honoring families through communicating practical truths that will enable adults and young people alike to live out their Christian faith. In addition to the radio program, Jim speaks to thousands around the world each year through seminars and conferences. He is also senior director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University and an award-winning author, whose books include Creating an Intimate Marriage, Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality and Confident Parenting. He has been featured through numerous media outlets including CNN, ABC, Focus on the Family, and Library Journal. Jim and his wife, Cathy, have three grown daughters and live in Southern California. Visit
Cathy and Jim Burns have been married for over thirty years. They have the privilege to speak to couples each year through conferences on “Creating an Intimate Marriage” and Growing Together Spiritually.” Cathy is also a teacher at a Christian school for kids with learning disabilities.
An Excerpt of Closer:

Don't Lose Sight of the Goal

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:14
We live in a beautiful beach town, Dana Point, on the coast of Southern California. We never tire of the view. On most days when we are near the water, we see Catalina Island, twenty-six miles offshore. There are a few days when it is foggy and you can't see it, but it is forever etched in our minds. People board boats from the harbor in our town to visit this magical island every day of the year. Some people take a fifteen-minute helicopter flight. A few brave souls paddleboard to the island, but very few ever try to swim there.
In 1952, Florence Chadwick decided to swim from Catalina Island to the shores of Southern California. She had already swum the English Channel, so in her mind, this would be easier. She jumped in the water one cold day in winter. No problem for Florence Chadwick. But as she swam hour after hour with a boat following her to make sure she was all right, fog settled in and she began to wonder how much farther she had to go. At last she motioned for the boat to pick her up. As it turned out, Florence was only a half mile from reaching her goal. She wasn't too exhausted or cold. The fog had simply obscured her vision from her target. So she quit.
On the day of our wedding we had a goal: to draw closer to each other and closer to God. Too many times, though, the weight of home responsibilities, work pressures, kid worries, and all the rest fog our vision for closeness. Spiritually speaking, everyone has foggy days. But God is there to say to us in His quiet, persistent voice, "Don't quit. Persevere. Do all you can to keep your eyes focused on the prize."
The writer of Hebrews gave us a formula for perseverance: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (12:1–3). The way not to grow weary and lose heart in your marriage is to keep your eye on the goal. Stay focused on Jesus, our goal, our sustainer, our Savior.

Faith Conversations

  • Has there been a time when fog surrounded our marriage?
  • What areas of our lives do we need to persevere in right now?
  • How can I help you do that?

A Step Closer

Goals for Our Marriage

Together come up with three goals for your marriage relationship to work on in the next month and list them below. Then think of three action steps that would help you accomplish those goals. Now circle what you can work on this week.
My Review:
Back when I was in Bible College, I read a number of Jim Burns' books while studying Youth Ministry, and loved them. I am so thrilled that he and his wife have written a devotional book for couples. As I read through this book to prepare for completing this review, I was so impressed with what I read.
The Burns' cover many different topics that a couple will go through during their marriage. Topics covered in this book include:
**Making Your Marriage a Priority
**Being a example of a great marriage to your kids
**Serving One Another
**and many more
Since we all have busy lives and its sometimes almost impossible to make time for our marriages, this book is perfect. Its designed so that you only need to take 30 minutes a week to go through each devotional. Or if you want, you could do one daily. I love this because I know that using the book on a weekly basis means that my husband and I have a definite weekly time to connect on a spiritual basis and learn not only from the Scriptures but also from one another.
This would be the perfect Christmas gift for the newlyweds in or life. In fact, I have a sister getting married in the summer and this is going to be under the tree for her this year:) Also would be perfect for newly engaged couples too. A wonderful wedding or wedding shower gift as well.

BUY IT: Closer: Devotions To Draw Couples Together can be purchased directly from Bethany House. You can also purchase this book through your local Christian Bookseller.

***Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review on this blog.***

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