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ISBN: 9781615798063186 pages (includes front and back matter)
Journal for Spiritual Development: Seven Steps to Discipleship, an inspiring book by Anna Marie Eloisa Hernandez, will take readers on an inner-faith journey that—if persevered through the peaks and valleys—will result in many glorious blessings. Though, in all likelihood, the library would catalog this title as a self-help book, I feel that the words “Jesus-help” would be more appropriate. The author has shown us a Biblical blueprint to follow if we wish to become living witnesses of the Gospel. Just as our mortal development occurs in stages from conception to adulthood, our inner-faith spiritual journey develops in much the same way.
This journey is depicted as having seven steps—a number that symbolizes fulfillment or completion throughout Scripture. As you read this book, you will note that each step is designated as a chapter, and with progression in reading, the Biblical blueprint for spiritual growth becomes evident. The first chapter begins with a Christian receiving a call to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, and in the seventh chapter, he or she becomes a living witness of the Gospel.
The design and formatting of the book is very effective in presenting the life-changing information. Within the confines of each chapter, there are scripture verses, thought-provoking proverbs and sayings, spiritual reflections, study questions, home activities and much practical advice for everyday living. We also meet influential Biblical characters along the way who provide us with living examples of those who interacted with Jesus or followed Him in response to hearing and answering His call. I found it intriguing and helpful the way that the author was able to link the spiritual with the practical as she depicted each step of the inner-faith journey.
Some of my favorite topics addressed by Anna Marie Eloisa Hernandez are personal finances, physical survival, fitness and diet, the reduction of stress, leadership skills, and dealing with the past. Readers who participate with a self-analysis will gain a better understanding of their faults and virtues. They will also learn about making choices, sharing talents, the power of prayer, and how networking with other Christians can make a difference.
In the final pages of the book, the author tells us that we can judge our spiritual progress by how much we love our neighbor and God. She lists the seven different steps of love, saying that when we reach the seventh or self-less step, we walk with the angels. She states, “You become a disciple of Jesus Christ.” (Page 182)
I highly recommend this book. It is appropriate for personal use or for Bible Study groups of any size.
Bettie Corbin Tucker
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers