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Book Review – A Godward Life and Taste & See

Posted on: December 19th, 2006 by Craig Rairdin 4 Comments
A Godward Life and Taste and See
Timeless Truths on the Contemporary Christian Life

We are releasing two new devotionals for the beginning of the new year. I’m excited about these because they are two of my recent favorite devotionals. Both A Godward Life and Taste and See are written by John Piper. Unlike most of the devotionals that we publish, these are not 365 day devotionals. A Godward Life is 120 readings and Taste and See is 140. Together they get you most of the way through the year.

A word of warning: don’t read these devotionals if you are comfortable being comfortable. One of my favorite most annoying reads was another book by John Piper titled Don’t Waste Your Life. Piper has a penchant for challenging me most where I least wish to be challenged. These two devotionals are more of the same, only in smaller, daily doses.

From day one Piper presents the premise which runs through every devotional, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.”   

In two to five minutes Piper will challenge you toward a Godward life. From “abortion” to “zeal” every aspect of your walk with God will be challenged. How much of the world have you accepted into your daily life? Are you bothered by the sin that you see around you? If so, what are you doing to show a gracious Savior to those with whom you come in contact? Does it bother you that there are an estimated 12 million homeless children on the streets of Brazil? Are you prepared to be challenged to do something about it? If not, don’t read these devotionals.

Piper overlays timeless truths on contemporary issues in a way that makes you sit up and take notice…and hopefully ask yourself what you can do. Piper doesn’t just present you with injustices brought into the world by sin, but confronts you with practical opportunities for believers.

He also shows by various examples what we as believers in 2007 can do to take a stand for the Savior who took the cross for us. Piper looks honestly at some of the hardships that we face from children being still-born to the challenges of not having prayers answered. From struggling to stay pure before marriage to struggling to not become grumpy as we get older. All with Biblical foundations.

Each devotional is like reading a blog by one of the most thoughtful practical theologians of our day. Not since My Utmost for His Highest have I read a devotional that so challenged me to rethink my perspective on a daily basis. I encourage you to pick these devotionals up and prepare to make 2007 a year during which you are challenged to live a more Godward life.

To purchase either of these titles or to find out more information, click the appropriate link: Godward Life (Palm|PocketPC) or Taste and See (Palm|PocketPC).

4 Responses

  1. Wayne Bird says:

    Dear Laridian,

    One of my main decisions with staying with Laridian after the PocketBible 3 release (PocketBible 3 isn’t nearly as good as PocketBible 2) was because you were actively adding resources. That’s a good thing.

    However, I’m becoming more disappointed in Laridian because now it appears you’re more concerned with making money with new resources than correcting the problems you already have. Before putting out more resources you should put the effort into correcting your horizontal scrollbar malfunction–specifically, when you tap and hold on the scroll arrow it doesn’t scroll. I’ve already submitted this issue and received a reply back that the issue is closed and you’ll fix it in a future update. I don’t find that as an acceptable response. I believe this is a significant enough issue to correct it immediately. But who am I to say what’s acceptable or not.

    You had a great product in PocketBible 2. It’s too bad that you couldn’t just add/improve the features of PocketBible 2 when you came out with PocketBible 3, instead of removing key features.

    One of those key features was knowing when you are coming to the end of a chapter in the Bible. PocketBible 2 had vertical scrollbars to show that the end of the chapter was close. I understand why you eliminated the vertical scrollbar (which I believe is still a mistake because moving with scrollbars is a lot faster then tapping the screen), but you could at least incorporate some other feature that will let you know when the end of a chapter or section end. For bibles this can be done with adding the number of verses in the chapter at the top of the chapter, i.e. John 15:1-27 or even better would be to add it to the bottom where you already have the book chapter and verse. For example, currently the bottom reads John 15:X, X is dependent on what the first verse is on the screen. If you’d make the bottom read John 15:X-27 of John 15:X of 27 then it would be clear where the end of the chapter is.

    Hope to see some improvement soon.

    Wayne

  2. Sorry to read that PocketBible is such a disappointment to you. Let me see if I can address your concerns.

    First, let me clarify that the people here who work on new resources for PocketBible are not the same people who work on program development. The fact that you see new devotionals being released doesn’t mean all work on other projects has stopped.

    Releasing an update to PocketBible isn’t a small task. It often takes longer to go through the process of doing a release build, signing the executables with our security certificate so they’ll install on Windows Mobile 5, uploading to our site, updating the online database with new version numbers, updating the revision history, and notifying customers of the update than it does to make the code changes to fix a problem. Because of the large amount of overhead associated with a product update, we try to group changes together for efficiency.

    Not only is it more efficient due to the overhead of releasing a new version, but it’s also more efficient for the programmer to lump many changes together. Those of us who work on code here often have their fingers in a number of projects at the same time. For example, right now I’ve just wrapped up some fairly large Web site changes. Related to that are some changes to our internal content management database. On hold for me right now is a project to create a tool that will be used internally to make it easier and quicker to tag books. Also pending is a project that will … well I guess I can’t talk about that project right now. I also have a small task I need to look into for one of the other programmers here who is interfacing with some code I wrote. Among this list of many projects is also PocketBible for Pocket PC and your horizontal scrolling suggestion.

    It’s very inefficient to jump from project to project. It’s a matter of wrapping your head completely around a problem so you can solve it correctly. If you’re interrupted with something else, it takes time to get back into the details of the solution so you don’t make mistakes.

    Certainly if there was an emergency, we’d drop everything. When user data was getting corrupted by highlighting operations, all the programmers here stopped what they were doing and we attacked that problem until it was solved. We don’t consider the lack of automatic repeat on the horizontal scrollbar to be as dire a need as you do. The obvious work around is to grab the scrollbar “thumb” (the box that slides back and forth) and slide it to where you want it.

    Now let me address the “key features of PocketBible 2 that were removed in PocketBible 3″.

    I’d have to say you’re one of very few people who felt that the arbitrary chunking-up of the Bible into chapters in PocketBible 2 was a “key feature”. For most people it was a bug. Or at least an annoyance. :-)

    I’m surprised you liked it: You couldn’t tap and hold the “down” button on the scroll bar to scroll through the text. When you reached the end of a chapter (or simply the end of a large portion of text in Psalm 119 or in a reference book) you had to tap a different button to continue reading on the next “page”. That’s definitely not a feature. That’s a problem waiting to be fixed.

    PocketBible 3 introduced continuously scrolling text. Because of that, the scrollbar became more of a hindrance than a help. You’ll notice that most PDA ebook reader programs don’t use a scrollbar for navigation. That’s because the text is simply to big to efficiently represent using a scrollbar. Moving one pixel up or down would move 100 verses in the Bible. If you don’t think it would be aggravating, try one of our competitor’s products that uses a scrollbar to navigate in the Bible.

    As far as knowing where the end of the chapter is, the large chapter headings are your first clue. When you’re reading in chapter three and you run into large bold text that says “CHAPTER FOUR” then you can assume the next chapter is about to begin. :-)

    To move quickly through the text, just turn on Transcriber and write the chapter and verse you want to go to on the screen. It’s much faster and more accurate than a scrollbar.

    While I have been somewhat critical of your suggestions (perhaps made more intense by your implication that we’ve abandoned all our principles due to our insatiable greed) ;-), I do appreciate your observations about how to make PocketBible a better product. As Patty or someone else here told you, the horizontal scrollbar suggestion is on the list of things to look at for an upcoming release. It may or may not be addressed as quickly as you would like it to be. In the meantime use the scrollbar thumb button to move left and right over long distances. It’s quicker.

    Craig

  3. Wayne Bird says:

    Dear Craig,

    Thanks for your response. It’s much appreciated. As to using the scrollbar thumb, that’s exactly what I do. But that doesn’t negate the fact that the scrollbar function should be corrected so that it functions the same as your other scrollbars in PocketBible, or for that matter, any other scrollbars in other programs.

    Thanks for cluing me in on the end of the chapter, “When you’re reading in chapter three and you run into large bold text that says “CHAPTER FOUR” then you can assume the next chapter is about to begin.” I know that you said that in humor thanks to the smiley. Here’s my issue. My wife and I read together all the time switching off every five verses. I also do this with another friend. However, we’ll read a couple of more verses if we’re at the end of the chapter. The problem is I’ll stop reading when my five verses are up without realizing that there are only a couple of more verses left to the end of the chapter. Does that make sense?

    Well, anyways, I’ll stop complaining and wait patiently for the new release and be thankful for whatever is done:)

    Thanks again for your response!

    Wayne

  4. Silas says:

    Wayne,

    Craig is right. I used Laridian and was happy. I decided to try QuickVerse because it looked like it had some better features. It is miserable, and one of the most annoying things is exactly what he mentioned about the vertical scrollbar. It’s useless because if you move it even a miniscule amount you are about 3 books farther than the 10 verses you wanted to move. You literally cannot use it at all. Small issues may need to be fixed, but I for one am ANXIOUS to install the new version of Laridian and get rid of QuickVerse. My QuickVerse is for sale if anyone wants it!

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