Actually, it's a gift for my daughter, who turns 13 in a couple of weeks. But before I gift-wrap it, I couldn't help devouring this gem myself and banging out a review.
If you'd enjoy warm, anecdotal writing about some of the more lovable, yet flawed folks of Scripture - along with deeply poignant, touching applications to your own life's struggles - drop everything you're doing and order yourself a copy at the link above. Don's casual, down-to-earth style of writing is humorous at times and convicting at others, but is always enlightening and enjoyable.
As the title indicates, this book focuses on the stories of the biggest mess-ups God ever saved, as well as some hapless dudes who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time (from a human perspective!). If you are a Greek snob looking for an exegetical study of present perfect and auxiliary verb tenses, well... this is not that book. If you are looking for life lessons to be gleaned from the grace God lavished upon His repentant or underdog children, you will be blessed by Don's treatment of Joseph, Moses, Job, the Prodigal Son, and - my personal favorite - the Apostle Peter. (I did wonder why he left out the ultimate 'comeback kid', King David. Perhaps because David was such an obvious choice that his inclusion would have been a bit cliche. At least David left us with the great penitential Psalms, to aid in our own spiritual "comebacks").
Some of these "comeback kids" were victims of circumstance; they landed in perilous or unfortunate situations through no fault of their own. Don thoughtfully paints a 3-dimensional portrait of the characters of Joseph and Job, who even in horrific circumstances strove to glorify God. Through their life stories, he draws parallels to how we are to react when life throws a curve-ball.
From the chapter on the "comeback kid" with whom I most closely identify:
"Peter was also very impulsive. That's putting it mildly. There was no pretense about him. You weren't ever left to wonder what he thought, or how he felt about you. His impulsiveness was certainly one source of his prideful downfall. As you read the account of Jesus in agonizing prayer in that Garden, you can probably hear Pete snoring in the background. Peter was only dimly aware of the approaching soldiers led by Judas, the traitor. He was awakened abruptly. Startled, and perhaps only half-awake, confused with the torchlight playing off the Roman soldiers' armor and faces, with swift, instinctive angry skill he unsheathed his sword and sliced off a soldier's ear.
I've apologized for Peter for that act on several occasions. I feel I now know him well enough to tell you he did not mean to slice off the soldier's ear. He meant to split his skull! Wide open!
Jesus took control of the situation, corrected it, and commanded Peter to put his sword back in its scabbard. Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword," He said (Matthew 26:52).
Something I've observed which may be worth your further thought: Sometimes a person's great strength can also become his or her greatest point of weakness. If someone has a "gift of gab", that "gift" can become the Achilles heel which leads to a downfall. An above average beautiful lady or "too handsome" guy, has more than once allowed that to lead to unjustified pride which almost always leads to destruction. Of one sort or another, and sooner or later - if allowed to run its course unchecked."
Don's driving ambition, as he describes it, is "to get as close to Christ as I can and stay there." This passion shows through, loud and clear, in his writing. Although he demurs to call this work a "Bible study", it is far too deep and rich to be labelled simply a "devotional". Anyone, new Christian or seasoned believer alike, can learn a new lesson by examining the lives of these heroes afresh through Don's writing.
It was a pleasure to read, and recommend.