Better Than Jewels by Rica Peralejo-BonifacioBy Edwin D. Arceo

When I heard that Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio was launching her first book, Better Than Jewels, I was curious at what it would say. When I learned that it was going to be a weekly devotional, I assumed that it was going to be something written for women. Was I terribly wrong.

Once I had a review copy courtesy of the publisher, OMF Literature, I quickly found out that even men can (and will) learn a thing or two from Rica’s book. Better Than Jewels is written squarely to those who wants to have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Jesus through the life of the author. Oh, by the way, the book is formatted to be read starting January, but I got it during March and you won’t miss anything if you start during then. Readers can use its weekly design format but for some people they can probably read two to three chapters in one sitting.

Each month has a theme, divided into weekly entries with application questions and a blank page for you to write down your own thoughts. The themes include:

How to love, which talks about the love that God showed us and called us to do the same to others.

Jesus and… explores the different friendships and relationships Jesus had when He walked on this earth as a man.

Devoted is all about how followers of Christ can look at our country’s leaders and government.

Wind Beneath Mom’s Wings is a whole chapter dedicated to motherhood — about Rica’s own experience when she became a mother, as well as the different mothers in the Bible.

For the chapter Know the Father, Rica invited her husband, Joseph, to write and share his reflections on the Holy Father, and earthly fatherhood.

In The Purpose of Our Past, Rica focuses on the story of the bleeding woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe and was healed, and how it relates to her own story.

Why the Word is all about the Bible, how it has the power to change everybody’s lives.

In terms of the book’s layout and design, its the usual format for a devotional, very portable and feels substantial. The color is quite pleasing and neutral so men will largely feel at home. When I was reading it, I really did not feel, surprisingly, any hint that its too feminine because, you know, it was written by a woman.

The book features some calligraphy work by Elle Battung which is a nice touch, although honestly, there are a few pages where the quote was quite long that I had to figure out for a while what word the calligrapher wrote which is kind of distracting for me. The typesetting is appropriate for the kind of reader that this book wishes to reach: primarily Christian women, small group leaders and, ehem, adults.

As of this writing, I have gone trough all the chapters in March and will continue to use it as my primary “daily” devotional book because for me, the length of each chapter more fits my daily flow. It’s not too short that I can quickly finish a chapter in less than fie minutes but not too long that my mind would drift away because I read my devotionals during my 1-1/2 to 2 hour commute to the office.

Better than Jewels by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio is available for P425, in all OMF Literature and Passages bookshops nationwide, PCBS, National Bookstore branches, and online at www.passagesbooks. com.

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