This is the time of year I rarely get out to go to a store. Christmas shopping is in full swing and aggressive buyers are out spreading their holiday cheer. That is why I love the internet. Most of us are still trying to figure out what to give those people in our lives we love. That being said, this edition of the MMR is to share some of my favorite things. Some of these are expensive and others not so much. The goal is to give you some of my favorite things that have helped my in my spiritual development over the years.
THE BIG THINGS:
For me, it is important to have a good Bible. Even in the electronic age, I would rather have a hard copy. There are a lot of things to consider when finding the right one. It has to start with the translation you enjoy reading the most. The most popular are ESV, NIV, NLT, HCSB, NKJV, and yes, still one of the top selling Bibles is the KJV. I have all of these, including multiple copies of some, but the HCSB is the one I enjoy the best and preach/teach from. I know people who say the same of their NIV or KJV. So do some research and read enough of the different translations to figure out which one you would pick up the most. If you struggle figuring out which one you want, they have parallel Bibles with more than one translation side by side (i.e., NLT/KJV; NIV/The Message; NIV, KJV, NASB, Amplified; etc.).
Personally I like a good study Bible, but I really enjoy a Bible with margins to write notes. The ESV has a journaling Bible that is unique and a great tool for personal study. As far as study Bibles go, the Life Application Study Bible has been the #1 seller for several years and comes in a variety of translations. I have different study Bibles I use often in my studies.
Of course, there is something else to consider when buying a Bible – how it looks and feels. We live in an amazing age where you can get your favorite translation in a variety of covers, colors, sizes, etc. Personally I want one that opens up flat and has good binding. Some of you may prefer large print. If you really want a nice feel, look for one that is made of calfskin, lambskin, or goatskin. They are more expensive but really nice. Go to https://www.christianbook.com/page/bibles?search=Bibles and look through all the different options. Also, this is generally one of the cheapest sites to find a Bible.
But maybe you do not want a new Bible, because you love the one you have. However, you feel like you have to because the one you have is falling apart. Good news! You can get it recovered. It is a little expensive, but totally worth it if you love the one you have, especially if it is filled with notes. My brother has had two done. It feels and looks great. You can choose colors, types of leather, how many ribbons you want, etc. It is a GREAT gift for someone you love whose Bible needs a makeover. And for all you Florida Gator fans out there, you can get a gator skin cover. You can check out the site on http://aaleather.com/ to find out all the options and pricing.
Ok, I could talk about Bibles all day long, but let me give you another BIG item. A couple of years ago I got the Logo’s Bible software. It is costly, but it is really a great computer program for the serious student. You can custom design your needs with a variety of pricing options. Also, once you purchase the program you can buy other books, commentaries, word studies, etc. that can be added anytime. But unless you would use the program often I wouldn’t spend the money. I use mine every week. That said, you can learn more about it on https://www.logos.com/.
THE SMALL THINGS:
After my sabbatical, one of the things I recommend is a journal. This is something that can be used in a variety of ways to help you in your spiritual walk. Some people write everyday and others occasionally about their experience with God. Others use it to write quotes or Scriptures that mean something to them. Others use them to enter prayers and later how those prayers were answered. Some even draw or cut and paste things to put in them. What I have discovered is it’s importance later on.
A great stocking stuffer is PIGMA pens. These are perfect for writing in your Bible. They come in different point sizes and colors. Unlike regular pens, they do not bleed through your paper or fade. You can find these at Michael’s or a number of websites. Personally, I order by the bundle from Amazon.com.
This time a year many people get movies in their stocking. Let me give you some great ones with positive messages. Probably War Room was the hottest Christian movie in 2016. If you like country music and a redemptive love story The Song is a great one to see. Personally, I love Christian comedians. Missy and I have bought some of our favorites over the years. Tim Hawkins, Ken Davis, Micheal, Jr., Jeff Allen, Chonda Pierce, are just a few of the good ones out there. Did I mention Tim Hawkins? Worth your money.
Another great stocking stuffer is the Franklin Electronic Bible. Usually they are about the size of your hand and provide easy access to looking up Scriptures. It is great when you think, “Where is that verse about…” but you can’t remember exactly where it is found. You just punch in the words you remember and it will find it for you. You can find these pretty cheap on Ebay. They are not as popular as they were a few years ago, thanks to google search, but I still use mine every week. I received one as a gift about 24 years ago as a youth minister. It is still kicking. You can click on those difficult names and towns in Scripture and get a pronunciation. For a person who doesn’t have internet it is a great gift.
THE INSIGNFICANT THINGS:
There are always those insignificant things that are great to have on your list and can enhance your Christian experience. For example, a good pair of headphones. If you enjoy listening to religious podcasts, music or sermons, headphones are nice. There are a lot of different types and prices. You can even get them wireless. For me, I have had a pair of Skullcandy (over the ear) headphones for a few years and they have been great. Pretty inexpensive and excellent quality.
What about a nice pen? If you know someone who journals or just writes out sermon notes on Sunday, they may enjoy a personalized pen. There are some very nice wooden pens you can buy online. Just google it. Our Mall may still have the Things Remembered store, which does personalization.
Someone you love may enjoy some personal time in coffee shops. Panera is the place I go to get away and to do some sermon/class research, journaling, or just to sit and think. For someone else is may be Starbucks, Rio Coco (Christian Café), Einstein Bro. Bagels, etc. A gift card to a favorite spot is always nice.
These are just a FEW of my favorite things. This Christmas think of ways to help the people you love grow closer to God. If nothing else, maybe this will help you get started. If you have any questions about these items or you need help finding them let me know.