Francine Rivers' Earth Psalms is a beautiful book -- both visually and in its inspiring contents.
The book contains 52 devotionals -- one for each week of the year. Each devotional begins with a short passage of scripture and ends with a verse or two from the book of Psalms. In between you will find an inspiring story from nature, beautiful photography, and some combination of uplifting quotes, hymn lyrics, and interesting facts.
I didn't know I could learn so much or be so challenged by stories of earthworms, turtles, pansies, and such, but that is exactly what happened as I read the book. Francine used her awesome writing talent to transform her accounts of ordinary things and simple events into profound thoughts that bring encouragement and joy.
Reading through this book in just a few sittings was very enjoyable and thought-provoking. But I really look forward to going back through it at a much slower pace, putting more time and meditation into the reflections and applications that Francine suggests at the end of each devotional.
I highly recommend Earth Psalms to anyone interested in simple, yet profound, lessons from God's Word and his creation. Each devotional is a short, quick read but provides enough "food for thought" to last much longer.
Thanks to Tyndale Publishers for providing a copy of this book. I am happy to share my own thoughts about the book in this review.
About the Book:
Millions of readers have been transformed and inspired by Francine
Rivers bestselling novels Redeeming Love and A Voice in the Wind. Now,
in this weekly devotional, the beloved author invites you to join her in
seeking the Creator through the marvelous natural world we live in.
Francine shares observations she's gathered over a lifetime of exploring
abroad and in her own backyard and reflects on how they might apply to
your daily life. What do the majestic redwoods, the persistent
woodpecker, or a glorious sunrise reveal about our artistic and generous
God? How could that change your outlook or the way you handle
adversity? Stunning photography, Scripture excerpts, applications, and
prayers accompany Francine's reflections, inspiring you to be
encouraged. Be challenged. Be comforted. God's power is immense; His
attention to detail in precise; His love for you is vast and unfailing.
The proof is all around you.
York Times bestselling
author Francine Rivers has published
numerous novels—all bestsellers—and she has continued to win both industry
acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been
awarded or nominated for numerous honors and in 1997, after winning her third
RITA Award for Inspirational Fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance
Writers of America Hall of Fame. Francine’s novels have been translated into
over 40 different languages, and she enjoys bestseller status in many foreign
1. What motivated you to venture
into your first nonfiction title?
I love reading nonfiction but had never
tackled it. When I shared with someone in South Africa about doing “earth
psalms” about the way God speaks to me through His creation, someone mentioned
turning those essays into a devotional. I love devotionals and read a new one
every year, so the prospect of writing one was exciting. Tyndale partnered me
with Karin Stock Buursma and we worked together as a team. I thoroughly enjoyed
everything about the project.
2. Was it hard to share
personal stories about how God has worked in your life without the safety net
Sharing personal stories about how God works
in my life is a pleasure, and I love hearing how God has worked in other
people’s lives, too. It’s the life experiences and hope we share with one
another that brings God even closer. It shows how personally involved the Lord
is in His children’s lives.
3. Explain the title. How
did you come up with the idea of Earth
A psalm is a song, and the earth and
everything on it, in it, above it, and beyond it is God’s creation. Everything
God created sings praise to Him, and I believe also teaches us many lessons
about our Creator as well. It’s exciting to look at things we might have taken
for granted and see what they teach us about the Lord. We are never to worship
any created thing or even creation itself. We are to worship the Creator, Jesus
Christ, the Word that created it all.
4. What will readers find
inside the pages of Earth Psalms?
Readers will find an earth psalm (essay) about
something God has created and a lesson God has taught me through it. There are
questions for readers to ponder or use for journaling: Reflect, Apply, Connect
with God. There are also some additional facts, Scripture, and hymns, as well
as beautiful pictures. The earth psalm essay was my part. The enriching
questions and details are Karin’s, and the beautiful artwork was put together
by Jennifer Ghionzoli at Tyndale.
5. What was it like working
with a collaborator for the first time?
Working with Karin Stock Buursma was a
pleasure. We talked about any editing that needed to be done, the questions and
elements of the devotional. I hope to work with her again.
6. What is your hope for
I hope readers will look at ordinary things
(and some not so ordinary) in a new way and search for ways God speaks to us
through His creation. Just as an artist reveals himself through his art, God
has given us evidence of Himself in everything He’s created. We are to be good
stewards of what God has given us. Nature is to be enjoyed and appreciated. It
all points to Him.
7. Why do you think
Christians need to hear this message?
We live in a busy world, and even Christians
can get in such a rush they forget to “stop and smell the roses.” Imagine that
wonderful scent reminding you that the prayers of believers are like the scent
of incense to God. I hope readers will slow down, look around, discover the
beauty, and then praise God for all the many blessings He has given us. And
then, start looking for ways God speaks to each individual through His
creation. The essays I’ve written are lessons I’ve learned, but God has things
to point out to each individual that speak to their personal lives.
8. How do you hope your message
will resonate with your readers?
I know many other people who love the natural
world and see how it is evidence of God as Creator of all. I hope this
devotional will encourage them to rejoice and look for and share how God speaks
to them. There are so many mysteries that can’t be explained by evolution, but
can easily be explained by God. We have the inside story of how the earth was
made, and our place in it.
9. What first sparked your
love of the natural world and when did you begin to connect its role to your
Both of my parents loved nature. My dad loved
to fish. So whenever we traveled, we camped by a stream, lake, or the ocean.
While Dad and my brother fished, Mom and I wandered the shore, looking at rocks
and flowers, keeping an eye out for animals. We also lived a couple miles
outside a small town, and our entertainment was hiking and exploring. My
parents were Christians, active in the church, so I grew up knowing God created
the world and everything in, on, and above it. My views temporarily shifted in
high school and college, where evolution was (and still is) being promoted as
“the answer” to how things came to be. But the closer you look at that theory,
the more illogical it becomes, the more holes you find in the thinking. Looking
for evidence of God in creation became important because I wanted to pass along
that mind-set to my children and grandchildren.
10. How can exploring nature
and God’s creation help to expand our love for Him and result in a closer
relationship with our Creator?
I start with the thought: God created this
thing, and there is a purpose in it and for it. What does this unique creation
say about God? What lesson might He be trying to teach me through this plant or
animal? The world is full of evidence and clues, and they all point to Him.
It’s a treasure hunt! You have to spend more time with the Lord to find
answers. As we ask our questions and seek answers from Him, He gives us the
ability to find what He wants us to know. We are blessed that God wants us to
have a personal, intimate relationship with Him and has made that possible
through His Son, Jesus.
11. What does nature reveal
about our creative and generous God? How might these lessons and observations
shape our faith?
Searching for earth psalms has encouraged my
faith in the Lord. God has been generous in His creation. He’s given us vast
variety and diversity. He’s given us color and shape and texture. We haven’t
even begun to fully explore the wonder of His creation. It’s only been in
recent history that we’ve “discovered” black holes and nebulae and dwarf stars.
We haven’t even seen all the things on the ocean floor. Everything was made by
God, an endless wonderland of things to study and explore, all to the glory of
God, who made it all.
12. How have you seen God’s
character and faithfulness demonstrated in nature?
The seasons play out the Gospel every year. He
gives us the air we need to breathe, the rain to grow the food we eat, the time
and eternity to know Him. The one constant is the Lord, who existed before
creation and will always be.
13. God’s glory is manifested
in nature all around us. How can we tune into His glorious message? What do you
do to discover Earth Psalm moments?
We tune in by praying and reading His Word and
asking Him to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to what He has for us. Then we
look and listen with hearts fixed on Him. When we discover something that has a
lesson for us, we give thanks to God for that lesson. And then we share it with
14. What have your
observations about nature taught you about God?
My observations about nature have taught me
how much God loves me and every person on the planet. He could have created a
simple, functional, plain planet for us to live on. Instead, He created one
filled with beautiful, interesting things from the bottom of the oceans to the
mountaintops and beyond. It makes my heart ache sometimes that my love is so
limited by my human nature. He’s given us so much, gifts beyond counting.
Enjoying nature makes me love and praise Him all the more.
15. What lessons have been
most surprising as you dig into the world God created?
God even teaches us valuable lessons through
beetles and worms!
16. You’ve traveled a lot. Do
you have favorite places you love to explore over and over again?
My own backyard.
17. What’s your favorite
destination, and do you have a place you’ve always wanted to go?
After Rick’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s, we
decided to travel as much as possible while we are physically able, and have
done so extensively over the last ten years. We still have a list of places
we’d like to visit, many of which are right here in California. The favorite
destination of any trip always comes at the end—home. And the one place I’ve
always wanted to go—and stay—is heaven.