Author, editor and journalist Marcia Ford has developed a reader-easy resource for truly getting back to basics in your life. Be it a spiritual, emotional, or physical matter, Ford provides the how-to steps toward taking a second look at preconceived notions of faith and God, and the world we inhabit. Her roadmap is expertly designed to gently invite readers to stop, pause, consider, and then slowly and lovingly readdress those life principles by which they live and breathe. Refreshing and honest to the core, her skillful ability to communicate the essentials of the Christian faith in a welcoming, non-threatening manner makes this the perfect text for seasoned Christ followers as well as those seeking to better understand what Christianity is all about.
In each of Ford's 50 chapters (which can be read within a 10-minute time span), she opens with poignant and carefully selected quotes from authors/poets/speakers from throughout the world. She then includes a scripture section that coincides with the chapter's content and builds the bulk of the material around these principles. At the close of each chapter, she has designed an action box called "What's Essential," where she includes two "do's" and two "don'ts" that are reminders of the major points she discusses, as well as calls for change in either attitude or direction.
Included in this comprehensive work are such foundational essays (every one chock full of past and present historical facts/biblical references/current societal statistics) focusing on answering the big question of what exactly the meaning of life is; refining one's image of God so that it is accurate with the Bible's depiction of Him; seeking the truth about who Jesus really was --- a wise teacher, great prophet or Savior of the world; knowing who the Spirit is and what His role is in believers' hearts and minds; what it means to develop a biblical worldview and how that changes a Christian's life day by day; committing your life to Jesus as step number one in your effort to draw close to God; how meditating on scripture offers you a stockpile of wisdom available for life's toughest decisions; and the value of spending time every day with God by carefully planning this meeting into your schedule.
Ford goes well beyond what readers might expect in a Christian primer on faith and life. She will surprise you with sections on finding contentment, maintaining integrity, showing appreciation, simplifying life, overcoming fear of failure, creating a life of balance, getting a handle on money, accepting who you are, and learning to live intentionally. The best part of this excellent text is that every single chapter reads fresh --- there isn't a stale take on any of the subjects covered. ESSENTIALS FOR LIFE is food for the heart and soul on every page and will surely bring closer endearment from her fans while expanding her sphere of influence to a much larger audience.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on April 13, 2010