“A View Most Glorious” by Regina Scott is historical fiction at its finest and best. In 1893, Coraline Baxter climbs Mt. Rainier to promote a suffragette group to help women gain the right to vote. However, suffrage isn’t the only reason for Coraline’s unusual decision. Desperate to succeed rather than succumb to her mother’s disastrous plan for her life, she invests all her hopes in a man as rugged and wild as the mountain itself. But Nathan Hardee is so much more than Coraline ever imagines in her faintest dreams. Determined to live a life of significance, Coralee wants to make her mark on the world in a big way. Meanwhile, in a sudden change of heart, rugged mountain guide Nathan Hardee agrees to help her scale the summit, when he sees what is at stake for her. These two finally discover that only when they do it together is the view most glorious. Their characters are as multifaceted as a dazzling diamond. There are vivid descriptions of majestic scenery, and a twisting, turning plot that makes one wonder where it is heading to. Climbing Rainier requires all the fortitude Cora can muster, as she and Nathan rediscover their faith in God and humanity. Here are two loners who make most unlikely partners in righting a wrong. I highly recommend this awesome book by an exemplary author.
ABOUT DR. DAVE WALKER
As a young registrar in training, Dr. Dave Walker was on duty during the world’s first heart transplant operation on Louis Washkansky, by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the cardiac surgeon who performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant operation on 3 December 1967 at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
“GOD IN THE ICU” by Dr. Dave Walker is the heartwarming story of a doctor’s eye-opening encounter with a miracle-working God. This inspiring book opens our eyes to see God in action and gives our faith wings to soar. We witness first hand what happens when a compassionate doctor and a powerful God join together to serve His hurting people. This is a gripping book that reveals powerful and discerning insights into God’s love and eternal purpose in a lost and dying world. As Dr. Walker narrates the triumphs and tragedies in the course of his life’s work, he openly shares how he finally came to understand the loving, powerful, and ever-present hand of God in his life, gently guiding him at every turn. He found that he could always trust in God’s loving kindness.
Dr. Walker’s prolific writing style reveals his transparent heart and details his own spiritual progress in his faith journey. In “God in the ICU,” we see the incredible power of prayer in real life situations, reminding us anew that God alone has the sovereign power to execute His wishes as He sees best. Dr. Walker is a striking example of how a praying doctor is used mightily in the hands of a loving God.
“God in the ICU” shows us that God is only a whispered prayer away. He is the Great Physician, who cares about us so intensely, that He comes as soon as we call. This deeply inspiring book is a highly resonant medical life story in which the Almighty God intervenes directly in real life situations to help patients face His Will for their lives.
In “God in the ICU,” Dr. Walker shares his faith with passion to show the everlasting love, eternal goodness and steadfast faithfulness of God. He trusted God wholeheartedly and courageously showed it to a watching world. This book illustrates how God cares deeply for each patient and uses the dedicated and committed physician to minister His love to them. It is the unique and extraordinary story of a Christian anesthesiologist and of the supernatural miracles of heart, mind and body that his patients experienced, as he prayed with them in the ICU.
Dr. Walker’s life mission was not just to help patients to heal but to bring God into their lives. This is an intriguing story about Dr. Dave Walker and the unique mission he embarked on when he asked God to heal his patients. I highly recommend “God in the ICU” to every reader who thirsts to see God’s healing grace in every page.
“Questions for Rebel Girls” with its attractive appearance, has over 500 reader-friendly questions for children, inspired from the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series. It introduces readers to extraordinary women who have made their mark throughout history. Readers are asked to imagine themselves in similar situations. Designed to inspire discussions between children and adults, thought-provoking questions are asked, such as “If you could meet any woman from any country and time in history, who would it be? What would you ask her?”
“If you could be a singing sensation, what type of music would you sing? If you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would it be?”
Such questions inspire children to think about their own specific answers in a creative way, thus encouraging creativity in children. This is a unique one-of-its-kind book that will make waves in the world.
“Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes” celebrates women in sports, featuring the inspiring stories of 25 phenomenal, game-changing women athletes and their relentless drive for excellence, amazing resilience, and sportsmanship. This stunning collection showcases the most beloved stories from the award-winning, best-selling “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” series. Rebel Girls Champions features the most thrilling anecdotes from the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. The exciting, easy-to-read text is delightfully illustrated with colorful, attractive, full-page portraits designed by female artists from around the globe. This charming book proves that the impossible is always possible, if we give our very best efforts, holding nothing back. Determination, perseverance and hard work always win rewards in the long run. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from becoming an achiever and excelling in your field. Dedication and commitment will spur you on to reach new heights of excellence. You are a world-class winner in every way. You were born to excel. Use your platform for good and fight for causes you believe in. Take a firm stand for social justice and equality. Pave the way for a new generation of young athletes to succeed in sports and in life. Your talent and potential are limitless. The sky is the limit. Get out there and excel. You are a Rebel Girls Champion!
“Breaking Ground” by Anne Synder and Susannah Black is true to its name. Its founding vision is highly significant in these deeply disoriented times, when life’s familiar rhythms fade away into a future of bleak oblivion. Change of such immense scope and magnitude has created a spectrum of moral opportunity in every society with a dynamic ecosystem of thinkers with the wisdom to discern it and the humility to accept it, and doers with the courage and determination to do something about it productively. This is an urgent clarion call for the fragmented body of Christ to unite together in humility and selfless service to humanity. The Church with all her scars, made resilient by long-standing struggle, is called to lead in service, sacrifice and solidarity. Particularly insightful moral leadership is the urgent need of the hour, in these extremely distressing times. Although the pandemic is a layered crisis that unfolds in stages, it also provides opportunities for brand new beginnings from the ashes of the past.
Even in these extremely difficult times, hope is born anew in our hearts. God’s people are called to do whatever they can to help humankind rebuild themselves in their respective communities. A creative lens shines upon Christian social thought to illuminate it and provide inspiration to the world at large. As Christians filled with Christ’s love, let us orient our hope and direct our steps into a founding vision for the future, by selflessly seeking and striving to imbue weary people with fresh hope, to renew the world in an age of crisis. In the scary face of the pandemic and all its myriad consequences, layers of life as we knew it earlier, have been painfully peeled away, to reveal frightening landscapes. This is the staggering reality of the world today. Faith, hope and love overpowers despair, even in the pandemic. We have a moral call, a selfless duty to live in honest fellowship with our fellow human beings, by seeking to live in justice and equity. Be seeing eyes and listening ears to people around you. Bear their burdens in love. Do the little you can to alleviate the distress of people. Even one drop of rain in the ocean makes a huge difference. Never underestimate your God-given power to do good to the world around you.
Share true communion with each other in your hearts, even in social distancing. There is always a way to reach out to others in distress, to shine your light into their dark corner. We are an integral part of each other’s lives, a social community of all the communities in this world. “No man is an island.” We need to give a wise response to these unprecedented times. We must take responsibility for this moment, to be a blessing to others. “Breaking Ground” does exactly that, in its own way. I highly recommend this groundbreaking book to all readers who wish to reach out a helping hand of fellowship to others and make an impact in today’s pandemic world.
“With or Without Me” by Esther Maria Magnis is an unsparingly eloquent critique of religion, the tortuous start of a deep personal journey towards unconditional faith in God, punctuated at every turn by heart-wrenching personal losses. Esther dares to believe in God, despite her own persistent questions that demand answers. She bravely dares to launch out on her own, battling all odds. Esther refuses to believe that there must always be clear-cut answers to the baffling questions of life. She boldly declares how extremely disastrous and catastrophic it is to not believe in God. Esther describes how she experienced the fundamental reality of God in such a concrete, dense, intense way, and the exhilarating sense of redemption that came along with it. Her own faith is deeply strengthened through the beautiful, enlightening faith of her brother, Johannes. This is an illuminating book that makes one think about the utmost importance of believing in God. It is either God or nothing, in a world that defies God at every turn.
THE WORD OF GOD – Dr. Irene Surya
When the waves of pain
Hits you hard,
When the night is dark
Heavy with tears.
Let your place of comfort
Be the arms of the Good Shepherd
He will hold you tight
Till the morning breaks bright.
When the troughs of life
Pulls you down,
Cherish the word of God
Deep down in your heart.
Every grief is blown out
Every thought is brought to captivity
As you grow and thrive
In the knowledge of God.
Nourish yourself everyday
From the word of God
Renew your mind every hour
As you read from its every leaf.
Protect yourself gently
Under the umbrella of God’s word
And walk worthy
Of the Gospel of God.
Published in the Faith On Every Corner magazine.
“A Christmas in the Alps” by Melody Carlson is about a mysterious family treasure, waiting to be unearthed, in a magical mountain holiday at Christmastime. After facing bitter heartache and agonizing loss, Simone Winthrop discovers an ancient letter from her French great-grandmother, suggesting that Simone is heir to a family treasure. Simone, being ever practical and down-to-earth, assumes that the claim is totally baseless. However, her best friend encourages her to find out for sure by ruling out all doubt. Simone, battling her deep-rooted fear of flying, boards a plane to Paris to uncover the truth. During the flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they go their separate ways, a totally unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone’s family’s clock factory leads to the discovery of what actually happened to the mysterious family treasure. This is a deftly crafted novel from a gifted storyteller, intriguing, sweet, and heartfelt. It is a Christmas story that will warm your heart. I highly recommend it to all readers who like to solve mysteries at Christmas.
“The Healing of Natalie Curtis” by Jane Kirkpatrick is the real life story of classically trained pianist and singer Natalie Curtis, who self-isolated for five years after a breakdown before her debut with the New York Philharmonic. Silent, songless and bewildered, Natalie just cannot recapture the lost chord, try as she might. It seems to be lost forever.
In 1902, Natalie joins her brother in the West in her persistent quest for healing. What she finds are inspiring songs that highlight the lilting, haunting melodies, rhythms, and stories of Native Americans, whose music is under attack. Indigenous people are prohibited by law from singing, dancing, or speaking their own languages. Natalie makes it her heart’s mission to document these songs before they disappear and to appeal to President Theodore Roosevelt, the only man with the power to repeal the unjust law.
Jane Kirkpatrick weaves a lyrical novel, a real life story that captivates everyone. She brings to life a real woman from history, someone who wrestles with startlingly contemporary issues. Natalie Curtis was a powerful force to be reckoned with. A musician, ethnomusicologist, advocate of social justice for Native Americans, this single woman boldly and bravely broke down the barriers of gender and culture to discover her own true self and chart out a unique life for herself in the American Southwest.
“A Midnight Dance” by Joanna Davidson Politano is all about ballet, a theatrical dance form, combined with music, costume and stage scenery. Full of graceful movements, it showcases a dramatic storyline, characterized in different scenarios, with grand staging, background effects, and orchestra music. The best moments in the dance of life are the unscripted ones, that happen purely by chance, just like the pure art of ballet. In one such dazzling encounter with a ballet dancer late one night, Ella is elegantly swept off her pointed toes in the dance of a lifetime. It certainly feels like a brand new beginning. Yet as she faces ever-mounting challenges, Ella wonders whether she is dancing precariously close to the edge of her own disastrous end? Or will the hidden secrets that are about to surface to life offer a sudden release from the unyielding, relentless grip of the horrific past? Ella’s heartmoving story is set in the glittering world of the Victorian ballet, where nothing is exactly as it appears to be, and even the familiar echoes with hidden secrets that threaten to spring to life. “A MIDNIGHT DANCE” is deeply atmospheric and poignantly rooted in the universal ache to love and be loved. I deeply appreciate Joanna Davidson Politano as an extremely gifted and talented author, whose brilliant, heartwarming novels give deep soul-satisfying joy to all her readers. I highly recommend “A Midnight Dance” in all its regal splendor, written in Joanna’s own unique, enthralling style.
God of the rhythm, God of the beat
God of the music, God of dancing feet.
God of the galaxies swirling in space,
God of the race, God of the seasons.
God of the melody deep in my heart,
God of the whole and God of the part.
God of the orbiting stars and the sun,
God of the millions and God of the one.
Sing to me, Jesus, sing loud of Your love,
Sing to the pulse of the stars up above.
Sing with the voice of the dove and the lark,
Sing to the beat of my trembling heart.
My God who created the seasons and songs,
To Whom every lilt, every cadence belongs,
The song of the Saviour beats loudest of all,
It’s the song of His grace, it’s the song of His call.
I’ll sing to You, Jesus, I’ll sing from my heart,
Of the love that You’ve had for me right from the start.
Delight of my life, faithful God, true and strong,
Creator of music, the God of the Song.
Dr. Dave Walker
“Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women” celebrates the incredibly inspiring stories of 25 women leaders across the globe. Delightfully featured in eye-catching fairy tale form, it is an integral part of the award-winning New York Times best-selling series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. Reach for new heights with this stunning collection of 25 stories which also features 11 tales of women’s activism, bravery, and vision. “Rebel Girls Lead” celebrates the leadership of women and it is beautifully illustrated by female artists from around the world. A work of creative nonfiction, it is a collection of heartwarming and thought-provoking stories, inspired by the lives of 25 influential women, propelled by amazing courage, astounding ingenuity and steadfast resilience. This is a book that all women, who wish to make a difference in the world, must read. Come, one and all. Here is the power of one, to make a difference to all. I highly recommend this powerful, inspiring and motivational book.
“Home for Christmas –
Stories for Young and Old” is a classic collection of twenty time-honored tales, with exemplary spiritual integrity and outstanding literary quality. Among the warmest childhood memories of Christmas, some are by world-famous authors; others are treasures from other languages. This timeless collection resonates with readers of all ages, down through the centuries. This classic anthology, full of elegant writing, has an international flavor, with stories set in various countries across the globe. Literary excellence and a heartwarming Christmas message blend together perfectly to create one of the finest Christmas collections ever. Home for Christmas is full of heartwarming stories, with clear moral lessons, to fill your heart with happiness. All the stories, filled with sweetness and light, celebrate truth, goodness, and beauty, to touch hearts and make memories. This book is a rare, priceless treasure to be enjoyed by one and all, as we prepare our hearts to celebrate Christmas.
“Beyond the Tides” by Liz Johnson is a poignant tale about the power of love, the ability to face loss, and the power of forgiveness. Meg and Oliver’s story resonates resoundingly in our hearts, as they struggle to come to terms with their future, their own hopes and dreams, and the surprisingly unexpected relationship developing between them. Meg Whitaker has to prove to her father that she is worthy of inheriting the family lobster fishing business, instead of selling it to her high school nemesis, Oliver. With poignant self-discovery, Meg grapples with the past, as she tries to face her lost hopes and dreams head-on. In doing so, she unlocks the door to a brilliant future, which includes a love that she never expected. Meg and Oliver’s flawed and likable characters are caught in a heart-wrenching tale. Rich in beautiful imagery, “Beyond the Tides” proves that the past we so desperately try to escape from may indeed be the golden key to unlock a brilliant future in store for us. Liz Johnson’s stunning tale appeals to all people who want the delightful satisfaction of a good read. I highly recommend this inspiring story!
When Ellie Fields accepts a job as a teacher in a school in a tiny town in Louisiana, deep in the heart of the bayou in 1949, she could never imagine just how dramatically her life would change. Though deeply suspicious of outsiders, who threaten their language and unique culture, the town people appreciate the young, idealistic schoolteacher, despite heavy opposition from the school board and a shady politician obsessed with ulterior motives. Ellie learns precious life-changing lessons from dear new friends and a captivating Cajun fisherman, that make all the difference in her life. In this captivating novel, we move away from the familiar to set foot in the shadowy waters of bayou country for a dramatic, heartmoving story of formidable risk and brave resilience. Steeped in the rich culture of the Louisiana bayou, this compelling tale of self-exploration and dramatic sense of adventure, is set in a place where love and community truly matter. Here, in this delightful place, Ellie finds her true heart and home in more ways than one. I highly recommend this inspiring book to all readers who wish to find true satisfaction in Valerie Fraser Luesse’s memorable tale of love for oneself, for others and for the land around us.
The Rose of Sharon
The lone rose in the garden,
The Rose of Sharon, Jesus
Beckons us to enjoy His fragrance
And spread forth the fragrance
Of His knowledge everywhere.
The pure white lily in the valley,
The Lily of the valley
Beckons us to follow His footsteps
And live a life holy before Him
Unstained by sin and evil.
The bright and morning star,
The Savior from Bethlehem
Beckons us to trust His grace
And be like springs in the desert
Whose waters never fails.
“What is God’s Greatest Gift to Humanity?”
God’s greatest gift to humanity is in His only Son, Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus reveals God’s agape love, the highest kind of self-sacrificial love. God cleanses the sinner and saves him. God’s love for a sinner is the crown of all His attributes. Jesus is “the only begotten Son of God.” God gave us the very best of Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. God gave His only begotten Son up to death on the cross to save sinners. The only object of our faith is “in Him,” the only begotten of the Father. Jesus is the object of saving faith and saving grace. There is life-saving grace in His Blood, shed on the cross of Calvary to save us from our sins. Those who believe on Him “shall not perish, but have eternal life.” “To perish” is eternal rejection by God. In Jesus, God’s greatest gift to humanity, we receive eternal life. God loved humanity so much “that He gave His one and only Son.” When we believe in Him, we will receive eternal life.
“The Nature of Small Birds” by Susie Finkbeiner, told through three distinct voices in three different timelines, is an inspiring story of the love of family that transcends genetic code, portraying the intricacies of family ties and the unbreakable power of love. Tough subjects are skillfully handled as Susie Finkbeiner peels back layers upon layers of life to reveal the truth of what is important to the human heart. Her highly authentic characters are filled with empathy, compassion, and hope, so well-drawn that real life unfolds with all its unique wonder, starry-eyed delight and bitter heartache, its grasping and letting go, with lots of give and take that make up the true essence of family life. This is a profound tale of belonging and growing as a family, and of love that acquires wings to fly. A Michigan family tries to quell troubling ghosts from the Vietnam War, struggling to forgive what they can’t forget until time heals all their heartbreaking wounds.
“Where the Light Fell” is Philip Yancey’s long-awaited, stunning, self-revelatory memoir, a deeply personal, extremely arresting and heart-gripping book, painfully honest, raw, transparent and vulnerable. It is a story of unimaginable pain and divine redemption, of lives shattered to smithereens, yet beautifully healed by God’s redeeming grace. Yancey’s inspiring ministry of grace-filled empathy was born from the wounds he sustained in early childhood. His gifts were shaped by scars to give him stars in God’s firmament.
Yancey reveals the sordid details of his impoverished upbringing and his heart-wrenching discovery of a tragic family secret, revealed to the whole world but hidden from himself and his brother. This set him on a persistent quest to uncover the truth. In his most personal book yet, he examines the very nature of love and how love still finds us against all odds.
Although remnants from Yancey’s childhood, in the modern form of racial hostility, political division and culture wars, have resurfaced in today’s social and political divides, at its very heart and core, this is a book about finding solace and healing in God’s loving arms. No pain and loss is ever wasted in God’s divine plan for our lives. In Yancey’s childhood and growth into adulthood, “Where the Light Fell” illuminated the darkness and chased away the shadows, making him into the person God intended him to be.
In his searing, heart-rending memoir, Philip Yancey finally reveals his relentless quest to identify true faith. He learned the priceless value and true worth of grace because it was denied to him. He discovered that to find true peace is to ask God for the seemingly impossible: a Christ-like love, the God-given power to forgive, and joyful hope to face life head-on, confident that God who is with us today, will be with us tomorrow. In the final outcome, Yancey’s hard-won spiritual awakening is miraculously given by God, who loves him as the apple of His eye.
Yancey’s life story is a deep exhale of a heart’s passionate cry for relief from trauma, inflicted by the people around him, with nobody to shield him from things a child should never see. Yancey certainly experienced some of the worst and some of the best, yet remained intact through it all. Here was God’s protection at its very best.
Although Yancey wrote so much about pain and suffering, hardly anyone knows about the story of his childhood, which he finally shares openheartedly, truth be told to the world. This book is a well crafted memoir, with characters one identifies with, hardships to be sorrowed over, triumphs to be rejoiced about, a soul-stirring, heart-moving commentary on America – after World War II. “Where the Light Fell” strikes a profoundly deep and very personal chord in one’s heart. I highly recommend it to all avid readers who wish to know how Philip Yancey grew out of his turbulent childhood into the graceful servant of God he is today.
Compiled by Miriam Jacob
In “Jesus in Me”, Anne Graham Lotz’s indepth biblical knowledge and her personal journey through cancer — explains that the Holy Spirit is a Person who prays for us, guides us in our personal relationships and life-changing decisions, comforts us in in our heartbreaking pain, and never leaves us, not even for a second. Anne explores seven key aspects of the Holy Spirit to revolutionize how we relate to the third Person in the Holy Trinity. She relates from her own personal experience that one of her deepest, richest joys is to discover who the Holy Spirit is in every step of her life’s journey. Each name of His – Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, and Standby – reveals an aspect of His character. When we rely on the Holy Spirit’s divine presence, awesome power, and abundant provision in our daily lives, it is truly life-changing. He is the God of “More Than Enough.” This first hand account of how the Holy Spirit guided Anne inspires Christian readers to deepen their faith, through eloquently intertwining biblical and personal stories, including heart-wrenching moments when the Holy Spirit guided her as a “Helper” and a “Comforter.” In her battle with cancer, she leaned heavily on Jesus as “the Counselor” to get His supernatural, out-of-this world strength to endure. I highly recommend this awesome book for all who desire to step into a purpose-filled life guided by the Holy’s Spirit, a life of greater purpose, to glorify God. In Christ, we are not just overcomers. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us and gave His life for us.
“The Widow’s Secret” by Naomi Rawlings, set in the Napoleonic era, sweeps the reader into a fascinating world of high-power adventure, dramatic intrigue and steadfast faith. With five children to care for, Brigitte Dubois is forced to gather information on a former soldier who may have played a role in her husband’s death. Jean Paul Belanger knows God has forgiven his past but forgiving himself is so difficult. When Brigitte asks for a job, she and her children prove just the distraction he needs. Unveiling Jean Paul’s mysterious secrets is a tricky task. He disarms Brigitte with his kind heart and caring ways—and won’t disclose his past at any cost. But if Brigitte doesn’t find out his hidden secrets, the price might be greater than she and Jean Paul can afford. This is a poignant tale of love, forgiveness, healing and learning to accept and trust God’s plans for our lives.
Rachel Fordham’s “A Lady in Attendance” is a poignant story of steadfast faith, heart-to-heart forgiveness, and the healing power of love. When Hazel takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’s lady in attendance, she finds a trusted friend and confidante in quiet and soft-spoken Gilbert. Maybe she might have a future, after all her tarnished past is set in order. This is a tender tale of a good man and woman, surrounded by friends who stand by them faithfully, as they strive diligently to set Hazel’s record straight. I recommend this book to readers who wonder how a once tarnished life can be set straight. It is extremely healing to the soul to remember that all wrongs can be righted in God’s own time and way. The waiting is always worth it.
Apostle Paul calls Luke “our dear friend, the doctor,” who is considered as the author of Luke-Acts (Col 4:14). As a trained physician, he used some of the correct medical jargons in his writings. In that sense, Luke theologically reinterprets some of the medical terms or interlocks the medical knowledge that he acquired with that of his theological and historical discourse in Luke. In the current reflection, we attempt to see Luke’s usage of medical terminologies with an exclusive focus on chapter one of the Gospel.
The verbal expression epecheirēsan means “have taken in hand” (see Luke 1:1; Acts 9:29; 19:13) is a derivation of epichepeō (means, “to put hand to a thing” or “to undertake”). This is used to refer a physician’s practice of laying hands on a patient. It can also mean her/his active role in undertaking a patient for investigation. In the text, the word is used with a sense of undertaking the work of writing the Gospel materials.
The noun form diēgēsin means “a declaration,” “a narrative,” or “a history” (1:1). In the ancient world, it was used as a reference to a medical prescription or a treatise. The root word diēgēsis even indicates the medical history or description of a person. In the passage, it is a word that makes a reference to the life history, message, and other details regarding Jesus Christ.
The adjectival form Autoptai means “eye-witness” (1:2), the root for the modern expression “Autopsy,” is a term used to determine the cause of death, to observe the effect of disease, and to establish the evolution and mechanisms of disease processes. In Luke 1:2, the word is used to decipher about a careful witness of the traditions forwarded by the Gospel writers.
The noun form hupēretai means “ministers” or “attendants” (1:2), which in the Greco-Roman sense can refer to “medical assistants.” Usually, the medical attendants were waiting for the instructions of the doctor so that they may fulfil everything possible to the diseased people. In Luke 1:2, the expression “servants of the word” amply describes the role of the Gospel writers in writing them down in connection to the person and work of Christ.
The participle form parēkolouthēkoti, means “having investigated” (1:3), is a reference to a medical investigation. In the modern medical sense, it is an activity of a doctor by way of a thorough check-up or a careful examination of the body parts. Here, Luke uses the expression with a different meaning, i.e., a detailed scientific examination of the events related to Jesus of Nazareth.
The noun form steira, means “barren,” “sterile” or “incapable of bearing children” (1:7: 1:36; 23:29; Gal 4:27), is a reference to a medical condition. It is someone’s inability to become pregnant after one year of intercourse without contraception involving a male and female partners. The reference about Elizabeth in Luke 1:7 indicates that she was infertile even after living with Zechariah for so long.
The masculine perfect participle probebēkotes, means “having advanced” (1:7), is a derivation of probainō (means, “to go forward,” or “to advance”). It is used to indicate the physical and emotional developments of human beings as the years go by. In Luke 1:7, it is stated that Zechariah and Elizabeth were physically in an advanced stage. This is an indication about their physical advancements and emotional degradation due to their barren nature.
The aorist infinitive thumiasai, means “to burn incense” (1:9), is an exclusive expression in Luke referring to fumigating with herbs. Though it is used as a religious activity in the text, the roots of the word are in the ancient practice of fumigating human body with herbal treatment. In the contemporary context, Ayurveda treatment with herbal fumigation is a well-known medical practice. In the text, Zechariah’s religious activity in the temple is at view.
The verbal form gennēsei in 1:13 means “shall bear,” is a derivation of gennaō (means “to beget,” “to generate,” “to give birth”). The medical term Gynaecology is one of the derivations of this word. The angelic utterance to Zechariah is “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son.” The expression here illuminates the medical knowledge of the Gospel writer.
The participle siōpōn, means “dumb” (1:20), is a derivation of siōpaō. The word siōpaō means “to be silent,” “calm” or “dumb,” which is considered as a human inability. Zechariah was turned to be “dumb” due to his unbelief in the oracles of God. The evangelist uses this expression to indicate his unexpected and new physical condition.
The verbal expression sunelaben (1:24) means “conceived.” It is a physical development of “becoming pregnant” or “causing a baby to begin to form in the womb.” In the contemporary context, it can be ascertained through the means of a medical examination. In the text, the narrator indicates that “his [Zechariah’s] wife Elizabeth became pregnant.” The work of God in the family is made obvious as Elizabeth turns from her barrenness to the condition of conception.
The noun form parthenon (1:27) means “a virgin” or “a maid.” A virgin is described as “someone who has never had sex.” In medical terms, virginity test is the practice and process of determining whether a girl or a woman is a virgin. In Luke 1:27, the narrator describes as follows: “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” Here, Mary is considered as a woman who has never had sexual relations.
The noun form gastri means “womb” (1:31), is a derivation of gastēr. This part of the body is also considered as the source for “gastric.” Womb is the human body part where life takes its shape. The text clearly says that “And behold you shall conceive in the womb and bear a son.” This is an indication about the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb.
The noun form gērei in 1:36 means “old age,” which is considered as the last of the three physical stages of human kind (i.e., childhood, young age, and old age). Here, the physical stage (old age) and the infertile condition of Elizabeth are explained to Mary in order to emphasize the fact that “nothing is impossible with God” (1:37).
The verbal form anephōnēsen in 1:42 means “called out,” a reference to a voice exercise. In the medical world, this term is used to indicate the various sounds a rhetorical speaker or a musician produces to modulate her/his voice. In the text, the activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of Elizabeth is emphasized (as the child is leaping in her womb). This activity of the leaping of the child made her to utter the voice in a strange manner and sing about the blessedness of God in the life of Mary (1:42-45).
The aorist infinitive peritemein means “to circumcise” or “to cut around” (1:59), a reference to the cutting around of the male’s foreskin. Though it is a religious practice, it also has several medical significances as the protective efficacy of male circumcision increases with time from surgery. In the text, the circumcision of John the Baptist is in view.
The neuter noun form paidion is translated as “a child” (1:59), referring to an infant of eight days or a small child. The medical terminology Paediatrics is a field in which children’s physical, psychological, cognitive, and emotional aspects are treated. In the text, the childhood of John the Baptist and his circumcision are emphasized.
The noun form pinakidion means “a writing table” (1:63), referring to a small tablet for writing medical observations. Ancient doctors used such tablets to put their medical tools and to write prescriptions to the diseased. In the text, the dumb Zechariah asks a writing tablet to write the name of the new born child who was later on called John.
The adverbial form parachrēma means “immediately” or “instantly” (1:64), referring to immediate healing or death because of affliction. In the text, the divine punishment was upon Zechariah. Immediately after naming John, Zechariah was cured of his dumbness as his mouth was opened, his tongue was loosed, he began to speak, and he started praising God.
The above details demonstrate how the medical jargon is embedded within the narrative framework of Luke’s Gospel. As Luke fuses his medical knowledge dynamically with that of his theological conviction, a reader of the Gospel can understand the scientific nature of the Lukan rhetoric. This Lukan style reflects how the third evangelist used his secular profession when he turned to his missiological and theological interpretation of the Christ event. Luke’s Medical-Theological fusion introduces a new way forward in Christian thinking.
In the Pandemic/Post-Pandemic context, the medical world is experimenting innovations so that new vaccines and medicines can be introduced to the global community. As Luke envisages a new approach in communicating the Gospel message and comforting the Christian community in the first century context, a new way forward in which medical assistance and emphasis on divine healing can be intertwined to deal with the affected humanity. The new situation demands a missiological approach, in which God the Creator and human beings as the stewards of the created order work together, for liberative action. The Lukan approach to combine the medical and the theological in his rhetoric can be further explored in today’s context so that both are to be integrated at the practical human situations.
Johnson Thomaskutty, Rev. Dr.
Dean of Biblical Studies
Union Biblical Seminary
“Hope’s Highest Mountain” by Misty M. Beller is a tender historical fiction novel that captures our hearts with its most lovable characters who, while on a dedicated and committed mission to save lives, learn to lean on God’s promises, trusting in the glorious hope that He provides blissful peace and rest to His beloved children. The two main characters, Ingrid Chastain, with her sweet spirit and strong faith, and heroic mountain man, Dr. Micah Bradley, overcome unbearable tragedy, bitter loss and heartbreaking grief in their personal lives. Their unique journey brings them closer to each other and to the Lord. “Hope’s Highest Mountain” is an inspiring tale of indomitable courage and selfless determination to persevere at all costs. Misty Beller skillfully weaves in elements of faith into the plot and storyline, blessing the characters with the great assurance of God’s abiding promises and His matchless love that is so comforting to our hearts. I highly recommend this beautiful, inspiring novel to all readers who wish to get the greatest satisfaction from a book well-read. Treasure the book. You will want to read it again and again, to get fresh insights each time.
In “Dusk’s Darkest Shores,” by Carol Miller, Mary Bloomfield, a woman of deep faith and a caring nature, though a meek wallflower with no illusions or prospects, helps Adam Edgerton, a decorated war hero, who is plunged into melancholic darkness, as he battles the horrific repercussions of a debilitating, insidious disease, his bright hopes and brilliant dreams laid waste by his pitiful condition. However, Adam is no coward, and kind-hearted Mary is prepared to work hard to help him. Together they must struggle to find a way forward for him, out of the overpowering maze of darkness and gloom. Hidden frustration slowly develops into budding friendship, as both Mary and Adam search the deepest depths of their own hearts for elusive answers. Carolyn Miller’s beautiful writing and fascinating research brings out the very best in Regency novels. It portrays the struggles of real faith in the hearts of the true-to-life characters, in a moving story of tragedy, emotional healing and trust in God. “Dusk’s Darkest Shores” is set in the heart of the beautiful Lake District of England. It is a novel of the highest standards and deepest sentiments, delicately blending an arresting plot and interesting characters into the most lyrical prose. I highly recommend it to all readers of Regency novels.
In “At Lighthouse Point” by Suzanne Woods Fischer, Blaine Grayson returns to the beautiful “Three Sisters Island” with a grandiose Camp Kicking Moose plan to remodel Moose Manor’s kitchen. Unfortunately, during her absence, her sister, a hopeless cook, did it and made a mess of it, too, at least in Blaine’s eyes. Added to that heart-rending blow, she is ignored by her former best friend, Dr. Artie Lotosky, now the Island’s resident doctor. As festering old wounds are painfully re-opened, Blaine must let go of an old dream to start living a new one, opening her heart up to a brand new purpose and a brilliant future, hitherto unimaginable. Suzanne Woods Fisher’s novel exhorts you to release what never really mattered, and cling to the bedrock strength of divine faith, love of family, and sterling friendships, which are all that really matter in the end.
“God’s Revolution -Justice, Community, and the Coming Kingdom”by Eberhard Arnold speaks clearly about what it means to be a Christian. For Arnold, truth is truth at any cost. His inspiring insights will transform the hearts of readers instantly.
Arnold’s writings have a simple, luminous, direct vision into things, with the authentic ring of a truly evangelical Christianity that stirs us to repentance and renewal. They are a light of hope in a dark age, not to remain hidden under a bushel, but shine out from a mountain top. They pierce our souls with the sharp two-edged sword of truth, opening our eyes afresh to see what it truly means to follow Jesus.
At the heart of Arnold’s radical and realistic writings is Jesus Christ, Son of God. Arnold is true to his word and true to The Word, Jesus Christ. Through his anointed and inspired writings, Arnold makes everyday faithfulness possible. The heart of Arnold’s understanding of the Church is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. As we study Theology, the Holy Spirit enlightens our understanding. Arnold’s writings are deeply rooted in the Holy Spirit.
As the Church is a community of forgiven sinners, the Holy Spirit makes reconciliation possible between enemies. The Church is the only alternative to the world. As Arnold inspiringly says, “The only way the world will recognize the mission of Jesus is by the unity of his Church.” The unity of the Holy Spirit comes from the love between God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son. This community of love is called the Kingdom of God.
Arnold speaks of a shared community life which is crucial to the Kingdom of God. In Arnold’s view, the Church must bring God’s banner of love to a dying world. Arnold sounds a crystal clarion call “to be ready to be humbled by Christ, to lay down all our power over ourselves so that He alone may have power over us.” Exactly as Arnold says, the heart of Christ is needed to blaze up in the world and in the annals of history. The Church is sent into the world, to bring Christ’s life-changing love to a lost world.”God’s Revolution” is truly a revolution in itself. It causes a revolution in our hearts in the way we love Jesus Christ.
In “Blackberry Beach” by Irene Hannon, Katherine Parker’s lifelong dream is within her horizon. On the verge of getting everything she ever dreamed of, happiness still eludes her. Desperately searching for answers, she comes to Hope Harbor, hoping to calm the storm mercilessly raging within her.
Katherine’s new neighbour, Zach Garrett has finally settled down, after a heartbreaking, traumatic loss. He does not want to get involved with anyone, let alone Katherine. However, when both of them are recruited to rehab a home for foster children, sparks ignite of their own accord. As their lives intersect, they discover that, with love, all things are possible. In Hope Harbor, hearts heal and love blooms in all its radiant beauty.
A heart-moving tale of loss and survival, with a lovely storyline and interesting plot, interspersed with faith, it focuses on how forgiving oneself is as equally important for healing as forgiveness from others. This is a complex, stirring tale by a master of the genre. Character-driven and extremely thought-provoking, I highly recommend it to all people who love a good satisfying read.
“Pillars” by Rachel Pieh Jones graphically details how Somali Muslim friends led her, an American Evangelical Christian, into a much deeper walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Her personal friendships calmed her deep-seated fears and deep-rooted prejudices, deepening her appreciation for Islam, and giving her a much greater understanding of the Christian faith. Centering around the five pillars of Islam, Rachel’s Muslim friends help her to rediscover the revitalizing power of ancient Christian practices.
Viewing God and faith through the lens of Islam amidst a backdrop of Somali culture, Rachel discovers that Jesus is more generous, daring, and loving than ever. Focusing on Christians living in Muslim contexts, Rachel highlights the similarity of the Five Pillars of Islam with foundational principles of the Christian faith.
Rachel’s personal experiences and unique perspective highlights the bridge building that takes the Gospel to the heart of the world. Her untested faith was challenged by devout Muslims who live out ideals and values parallel to those of Christianity. This is an extremely thought-provoking approach to interfaith dialogue, while teaching us how to be a good neighbor to the people of the whole world.
“Dreams Rekindled” is Amanda Cabot exquisitely crafted novel. The Holy Spirit’s life-transforming power of renewal, healing, forgiveness, and salvation are intricately woven through the extraordinary lives of the community of Mesquite Springs. Through the human flaws and challenges of the characters, Amanda breathes new life into them. This compelling and totally inspiring story is filled with challenges to overcome, yielding hope and renewal.
In this outstanding novel, Amanda Cabot invites us to discover the healing, life-transforming power of truth. When Brandon Holloway arrives in Mesquite Springs with a printing press, and a sad secret hidden away in his heart, Dorothy Clark finally gets a much-awaited opportunity to fulfill her dream to become a writer. However, in tranquil, peaceful Mesquite Springs, some dangerous events provide chilling moments of high drama.
“Dreams Rekindled” teaches us priceless lessons that love and forgiveness always transform people, giving them new reasons to live life in all its fullness. All the heightened mystery and real danger in the novel provides a dramatic contrast to all the love floating around, in a most enjoyable, enchanting and enigmatic tale.
Amanda’s admirable style of writing raises the story to an even higher level of perfection. “Dreams Rekindled” appeals to readers with its excellent characterization and diverting plot. Amanda’s lighthearted themes touches hearts and moves spirits in a way that inspires us deeply. There are so many positive, feel-good moments that it is a highly recommended western read.
“Facing The Dawn” by Cynthia Ruchti is a true-to-life story of the heartbreaking sorrow of extreme loss, indefatigable faith, triumphant hope and the glorious power of redemption.
Mara Jacobs, totally exhausted, struggles to cope with the stresses and strains of life, wilting like a flower in the sun. Liam’s long absence plunges Mara into a bottomless abyss of grief. As she struggles to keep herself afloat, she discovers that though faith is fragile, and the future is futile, she is dearly loved.
Cynthia Ruchti writes with fiery faith and a deeply sensitive heart, plumbing the mysteries of life and exploring the secrets of the heart with loving warmth and grace. This is a gripping story that arouses our instant attention, about the strong resilience of the human heart to defy all odds, and emerge triumphantly victorious at the end.
It captures the heartbreaking grief and spiritual conflict of a deeply sensitive mother, caught up in the passionate throes of life, dealing with uncontrollable emotions that tear her apart, as she battles the devastating effects of extreme loss.
In “Facing the Dawn”, love, hope, faith and friendship give divine power and redemptive grace for second chances. As we guide others through extremely tough times, our supportive friendship leads hurting, broken hearts from utter darkness to brilliant light, in an illuminating journey, through waves of distressing circumstances and devastating grief, into a glorious peace. God and true friendships help us to discover great soul strength to face the harsh realities of life.
This book confronts painful issues like bitter loss and deep griefs, undergirded by hope. Cynthia’s realistic writing touches hearts and emblazons them with glorious hope. Walking the tightrope in a delicate balancing act, Cynthia skillfully achieves a perfect blend of heartmoving empathy, heartwarming love, inspiring hope and lighthearted humor. I highly recommend this deeply inspiring book to readers worldwide.
The Living Word Inner Land – A Guide into the Heart of the Gospel, Volume 5 – by Eberhard Arnold, pastor, theologian and founder of the Bruderhof, is a book worthy of being studied by Christian readers.
The Living Word, Eberhard Arnold writes, is the inspired Word of God. When the Holy Spirit speaks this Living Word into the hearts of disciples of Christ, the deepest meaning of the sacred Scriptures opens up to them. They are transformed inwardly and receive the strength to carry out God’s appointed tasks assigned to them – to make God’s kingdom a living reality on earth.
The final volume of five in Inner Land, Eberhard Arnold’s son, J. Heinrich Arnold, writes: “My father believed that Inner Land was his most important book. He included in it everything he ever experienced of Christ, of the suffering of humankind, of human life and divine life altogether.” “The only justification for withdrawing into the inner self would be to enrich fruitfulness, to gain within, through unity with eternal powers, a strength of character ready to be tested in the stream of the world.” Such beautiful, time-tested words to inspire Christian believers.
The undeniable power of Arnold’s writing is because he believed what he preached and lived it out in daily life. It gives his words a deep resonance and unbelievable depth, earning him the undisputed right to be heard.
Innerland inspires us to trust in God so that our attitudes are transformed. Arnold’s writing, with its luminous, direct vision, has the authentic ring of a truly evangelical Christianity, that stirs hearts to repentance and renewal.
Arnold’s writings are a light of hope in a dark age. They must not be hidden under a bushel, but shine out like a beacon of light to illuminate the world with Christ’s love. The witness of Eberhard Arnold is much needed for the Christian church to biblically connect belief and obedience.
Innerland is a challenging invitation to the path of uncompromised discipleship. Eberhard Arnold knew the extraordinary secrets of radical Christianity. He imbibed a radical vision for a society transformed by the illuminating teachings and indomitable Spirit of Jesus.
In his writings, Eberhard Arnold lives out the gospel in daily life. He approaches discipleship as a revolution – an inner transformation that spreads outwards to encompass every aspect of life.
Arnold writes in the tradition of radical obedience to the gospel, with a haunting, prophetic quality, giving us a great sense of God’s amazing goodness and the value of relying on God alone. This book is a befitting conclusion to the inspiring Inner Land collection. I highly recommend it.
In “Thunder in the Soul”, Abraham Joshua Heschel, a leading Jewish theologian and philosopher of the 20th century, makes traditionalist Jewish spirituality come alive for American Jews. He spoke out boldly and bravely against war and racial injustice.
As an inspired intellectual, Heschel brought the great spiritual fervor of the Hebrew prophets to his role as a theologian. He challenged the sensibilities of the modern West, which views science and human reason as sufficient.
To find God in our lives, we must rediscover wonder and awe before mysteries that transcend knowledge. Heschel firmly believes that God is passionately concerned about our lives and human affairs.
Thunder in the Soul presents Heschel’s profound insights on a wide range of important topics, to challenge, inspire and invigorate readers who hunger for childlike wonder and thirst for justice.
“Thunder in the Soul” aptly describes Heschel’s extremely intelligent state of mind and crystal clear mental framework. He spoke his mind fearlessly without mincing words. He sounds like a solitary voice in the wilderness, crying out against the injustices of our time.
Heschel had a profound social consciousness that made him a great civil rights leader. He was considered “one of the truly great men” of his day and a leading prophetic voice of our time. Heschel reminded American Jews that they had a profound moral responsibility for peoples’ liberation and for the sad plight of suffering humanity across the globe.
I highly recommend “Thunder in the Soul” to all readers who wish to hear the prolific wisdom of Abraham Joshua Heschel. This book will appeal greatly to readers of our time and day.
“The Moonlight School” by Suzanne Woods Fischer is a deeply moving, uplifting and inspiring story about the transforming power of love. In the spring of 1911, haunted by grievous personal tragedy, Lucy Wilson while assisting her cousin Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of schools, is appalled by the extremely primitive conditions and terrible intellectual poverty she encounters in the hills of Kentucky.
Cora knows the twin plagues of illiteracy and poverty only too well herself, having been born in the hills. So does Brother Wyatt, a singing and traveling school master. Cora plans to open the schoolhouses to adults on silvery moonlit nights, believing that combating poverty will eliminate illiteracy. However, will the people of the hills attend school? Meanwhile Lucy, emerging from a life hidden in the shadows, finds true purpose and love.
This captivating novel brings to life the story that shocked the nation to take adult literacy seriously. It is a captivating story with engaging characters who tug poignantly and plaintively at your heartstrings. This is a tale inspired by true events, fascinating history and great storytelling. I highly recommend it.
“A Dance in Donegal”, Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel, is a deft brushstroke of genius, set against the stunning backdrop of the lush green canvas of Ireland’s passionate beauty. Themes of resilience resonate in full power, interspersed with adversity, in this impeccable, well-researched novel.
The novel is an excellent piece of immersive writing, rich in atmosphere and profoundly deep in meaning. Moira’s exemplary courage and heartwarming compassion, coupled with Sean’s inner strength, make them endearing characters.
Jennifer’s debut novel, with a far-sighted, panoramic view through the illuminating lens of culture, history, and love of family, makes beautiful reading.
Set in the heart of the romantic beauty of wind-swept Ireland, combined with Moira’s steadfast faith, Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel paints a splendid portrait of the Emerald Isle. In this poignant, heart-moving novel, Moira strives to navigate a life she never dreamt of but in a unique, God-ordained way, was meant to live.
Unknown to us, the swirling mist of County Donegal seeps silently into our awareness, as Jennifer’s characters reside in our hearts. Every dramatic scene is vividly described in lilting dialogue. There are mysterious secrets to be unraveled, in a tender spiritual journey of discovery. I highly recommend this stunning debut novel to all readers who love to immerse themselves in the picturesque beauty of County Donegal, Ireland.
In “Miriam’s Song”, Jill Eileen Smith creates an epic novel, with her flawless, impeccable research and keenly perceptive eye for detail. Miriam’s eventful life, from obscurity to notoriety, presents a terribly painful lesson in humility and bowing to authority, without any complaints, grumbles or questions at any cost. While Miriam fervently prayed for deliverance from Egypt, the greatest liberation happened within the precincts of her own heart. Living in the towering shadow of her younger brother, Moses, while thrust into the role of protective older sister, Miriam served both God and her people, in bearing the burden of leading a fledgling nation in the throes of its new birth. Miriam’s yearning for fulfillment is finally satisfied when she learns that God provides what He promises, in His own perfect time. In her epic novels, Jill Eileen Smith plumbs great emotional depths in the hearts and lives of her characters, with a modern sensitivity rarely seen in historical novels. She skillfully infuses her narratives with the passion and beauty of ancient Biblical culture, while casting an intriguing, gripping look into the lives and times of her characters. I highly recommend this great book to all readers and researchers alike.
In “All That We Carried” by Erin Bartels, two estranged sisters, Olivia and Melanie discover that the heavy emotional loads of grief they carried for ten years were too much for them to bear. In this soul-searching journey of the human heart, the two sisters confront their deepest fears and question their most dearly held beliefs. As they learn to deal with grief and pain, they learn that the only way forward in life is to love and forgive. The only way forward for us is through God, in His strength, for we have none of our own. Ultimately, in the final analysis, everyone learns that only God can carry our emotional burdens for us. “All That We Carried” is a spiritual and literary adventure of body, soul and spirit, an extraordinary journey of faith through the difficult terrain of life, as Olivia and Melanie struggle to come to terms with their terrible loss. Eventually they find the peace their hearts so desperately long for.
In “Tidewater Bride”, Laura Frantz transports readers to seventeenth century Virginia, where the honorable values of commendable pride and the restorative power of pure love blend together, in a beautiful inspirational historical romance, with its well-rounded characters and tense frontier conflicts. Two fiercely independent main characters, Alexander Renick and Selah Hopewell, are inexplicably drawn together by conspiring circumstances. Can they find true happiness and ultimate fulfillment on their own or together?
Xander is a man of singular intentions and sterling qualities. No finer man could be found in Virginia. He was determined and resolute, with piercing, quicksilver eyes and an elusive smile that revealed nothing. Xander knew his own mind, having accomplished much, and honestly too, by the sweat of his brow and his agile mind.
Selah Hopewell, lovely with her corn-silk hair and intelligent green eyes, called Xander “irreplaceable”. He called her generous with her praise, confident that her prayer would go with him, being a far more formidable weapon than warfare.
Xander’s late wife, the beautiful Mattachana, was gracious and astute. Her heartfelt plea was to be instructed in Christianity, to learn more about ‘the talking book’, and the living God of the Bible. Because of her openness to Xander’s faith, their own relationship had blossomed in engagement, and flowered in marriage, with the birth of their only son, Oceanus. Selah and Mattachana had been good friends.
Whenever Selah thought of Xander, a wistful twinge wrung her sensitive heart, beauty intermingled with bittersweet. When Selah’s father invited Xander to share a meal with them, to be comforted in his trouble by the comfort with which they themselves were comforted by God, Selah longed to rewind the sad past, turn the tide back and greet Xander with the solace and understanding he so deserved in such a time of grief. In this deeply-moving story of honorable Christian values, award-winning fiction author, Laura Frantz delights readers with her lyrical, historically accurate novels, and gifted art of story-telling, that swings early America back to life, with the dramatic swish of a pen! I highly recommend this beautiful book to all readers who want the highest and best to grace their bookshelves for all time to come.
During this festive season, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and also wait to embrace the New Year 2021. Though the Covid-19 pandemic has hindered the celebration mood, the message of Christmas has already begun to reverberate in the universal scenario and energize people to hold on to the hope and joy of salvation.
It is in this critical juncture; we attempt to read and understand the story of Jesus’ turning of water into wine in John 2:1-12. John 2:1-12 introduces the public ministry of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. There are seven significant things which require specific attention within this passage.
First, Mary brings a problem to Jesus (v. 3a). According to Jewish custom, ‘no wine’ in a wedding place is a problem. In an honour and shame context, the incident might put the family into a socially disgraceful situation. Mary realizes Jesus’ divine nature and approaches him with a timely concern. During the Covid-19 pandemic period, people should come to the realization that they can take all of their concerns to Jesus.
Second, Mary makes a request to Jesus (v. 3b). The presence of Mary during the wedding banquet alongside of Jesus, his brothers, and his disciples is significant to notice. She was concerned for the family and their prestige in the public. Moreover, she was aware of the top secrets of the family including the shortage in the granary. So, she brings this request to Jesus: “They have no wine.”
The Jews considered ‘wine’ as a synonym for ‘joy.’ In a wedding place, when there is ‘no wine’ gives the meaning that there is ‘no joy.’ During both the joyous and the unpleasant situations, we can seek the face of Jesus and beseech his help.
Third, Jesus mildly rebukes Mary (v. 4). As Jesus was placed here between the mission of the ‘Heavenly Father’ and the demand of the ‘earthly mother,’ He affirms that His preference is to complete the task of the Father. He works as per the schedule of the heavenly Father and hence rebukes the lady mildly.
Jesus asks Mary: “Dear Woman, why do you involve me, my hour has not yet come.” As Jesus’ concern is to work as per the hour of the Heavenly Father, Jesus instructs Mary to wait until the heavenly Father’s hour. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we should pray so that God’s hour and work may be manifested rather than the will and purpose of the world.
Fourth, Mary’s reaction to the servants (v. 5). Mary is confident in Jesus and she trusts completely in Him irrespective of His rebuke. She is not at all frustrated and never felt that she was dishonoured by Jesus.
Mary’s attitude is positive as she is aware that Jesus is on His Heavenly Father’s business than on His earthly mother’s demand. She commands the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them. Her reaction was based on her knowledge about Jesus. In our spiritual journey, we should be confident in Jesus and must trust Him always.
Fifth, a response from the side of Jesus (v. 7). He tells the servants to fill the jars with water. The six stone water jars demonstrate the imperfect and abandoned nature of the Jewish purification system.
Jesus’ presence as “the Stone of ages” introduces a perfect and usable system of purification and spirituality. His response to the servants is a call for renewal. Placing Jesus at the centre of our life, we can move forward to live a transformative life.
Sixth, witness of the master of the ceremony (v. 10). The master of the ceremony is in an awful moment. The usual custom was sharing the choice wine first and then providing the cheaper wine.
But, in this case, the wine that was shared toward the close of the ceremony was even greater than the choice wine. The witness of the master reveals the supernatural involvement of Jesus. The witness of the master foregrounds the power of Jesus even in the midst of tragic and frustrating situations.
Seventh, the consequence of the event (vv. 6-12). The event reveals the glory of Jesus and the greatness of God. As the event is placed as the first sign in John’s Gospel, it propels the reader toward the manifestation of God’s glory and the complete hour of the Son of Man on the cross. Within the extended framework of the Fourth Gospel, the narrator attempts to state that the ultimate victory belongs to God and the Son of God.
As we welcome Christmas and the New Year during this Covid-19 pandemic, the aspects of bringing our concerns to Jesus, requesting his favour in our day-to-day affairs, standing firm for him even in the midst of hurdles in life, having trust and confidence in God, waiting for the positive response of Jesus, witnessing the act of God, and enjoying the presence of Jesus are some of the significant concerns to be emphasized. The first sign of Jesus in John’s Gospel is symbolical as it attunes the reader’s attention toward the eschatological banquet.
In Jesus’ presence, the world can enter into the joy of salvation. Thus, let’s create a new spirituality and a new lifestyle based on the divine axioms irrespective of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rev Dr Johnson Thomaskutty serves as the Head of the Department of New Testament and Christian Origins at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.
GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL
Lord Jesus, thank You for making us rich in Your love.
Thank You for all good gifts from You, the Giver of Life.
Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving, gratitude to God.
We thank You for Your goodness, Your boundless love.
Your love for us makes us want to give You our very best.
Your great love inspires us to surrender our hearts to You.
Lord, we are thankful and grateful to You for loving us.
Thank You for adorning us with Your glorious beauty, for seeing us through the mirror of Your divine love.
Thank You for giving us the priceless gift of Yourself.
You give Yourself to us in love, and we are thankful.
Your sweet love is our most precious treasure, the most valuable gift we can ever get in life.
Our hearts are aglow with love for You.
Your love surpasses all.
We give You our hearts.
We love You, Lord.
We are thankful,
We are grateful.
© Miriam Jacob
Dr. Charles R. Solomon is in heaven!
Founder of GRACE FELLOWSHIP INTERNATIONAL,
with his wife, Sue Solomon
The beautiful blue sky,
The shining golden stars,
The lilies of the valley,
The flowing rivers and streams,
The bright and morning star,
The rising and setting sun,
The gentle breeze and the roaring thunder,
The eagles that flap their wings,
Swooping around the banana plantations
Like fighter planes.
They land onto the banana bunch,
To suck the sweet honey,
Their tasty dinner God has made.
The farmer watching the beautiful scene ,
From his easy chair in the verandah,
All these remind us of the
Wonderful work of our Creator.
Praise Him for His mighty acts.
How on earth can we forget the Creator?
Oh no! Never in our lifetime,
The sweet and gentle Saviour,
Praise Him for His mercy,
Saviour, always abide in us.
© A. J. Kuruvilla
“Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” is Ellen Vaughn’s well-researched, carefully documented, authorized biography, culled from Elisabeth’s previously unpublished, private journals. An interesting personality with a unique, crystal-clear mind, Elisabeth Elliot had a rare gift of expression, and a sharp eye for the undiluted Truth, meticulously recording her observations, exactly as she perceived them. There was no falsehood about her. She was uncompromisingly honest and truthful.
This book documents the early years of Elisabeth’s life, in the first of a two-volume biography, deemed necessary because her life demanded it. Ellen Vaughn reveals how God painstakingly shaped an idealistic, follow every rule to the letter, performance-oriented young lady into a person who relentlessly pursued Christ alone, never swayed by the world’s opinion. She was in the process of becoming all that God intended her to be, all through her life’s journey, from earth to heaven.
Elisabeth Elliot first caught the world’s attention as a young missionary in Ecuador, when members of the Aucas, an Amazonian Stone Age tribe cruelly speared her husband Jim Elliot and his four colleagues to death. The whole world was stunned when Elisabeth and her little daughter, Valerie went to live in the jungle for two years with her husband’s killers. Compelled by her fervent Christian witness and instant forgiveness, many of the Aucas accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
Elisabeth was a towering, yet utterly humble pillar of strength, fortitude and committed faith; a true example of how a child of God should behave, in the face of terrible, mind-boggling adversity. Ellen Vaughn reveals how God shaped one of the most courageous women in the Christian missionary world into the image of His mind. It is the story of a brilliant, sensitive, utterly surrendered child of God, who was deeply committed to doing God’s will, at any cost.
This book, with fresh perspective and revealing insights, is dedicated to the memory of Mincaye, one of Jim Elliott’s killers, whose life represents Christ’s transforming power, and shows how God’s unconditional love and merciful forgiveness will flow to every unreached tribe on earth.
Elisabeth’s deeply committed way of living by daily dying for Christ is what every Christian should aspire for. Through Elisabeth’s perception of the true Christian life and walk, we learn the unvarnished truth about God and the crucible of suffering. Elisabeth selflessly plumbed the depths of His joy by tasting His afflictions, which cut deeply furrowed wounds in her heart, through which God’s grace poured in, filling her soul with the joy of the Lord.
This is Ellen’s eloquent story of Elisabeth’s early years, giving us a fresh sense of God’s grace in a weary and distracted world. I highly recommend this book to all believers who want to lead a deeper, day-to-day walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
NOTHING SHORT OF WONDROUS by Regina Scott is a story rich with historical detail, guaranteed to delight readers with its poignant tale of love, hope and second chances. This is a heartmoving tale about two decent people striving together to overcome hardship, proving that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in complete control.
This is a convincing historical novel in which Regina Scott writes with grandeur and finesse. It has a sweet, heartfelt and engaging cast of characters. True to its name, Will and Kate’s story is nothing short of wondrous. A life-changing story, set in the magnificent Yellowstone National Park, this is a book with great characters and a spectacular setting.
The suspense and mystery of the novel does not detract from the interpersonal dynamics between the characters. The feisty innkeeper, Kate has admirable strength, ingenuity and determination. Regina Scott’s knowledge of Yellowstone National Park, its rich history and amazing natural resources, appeals to readers on different levels.
We are spellbound and starstruck by the awesome beauty of the park’s majestic geysers, steaming springs and imposing wildlife. We get a glimpse into the lives of William and Kate as they share deeply personal secrets and celebrate the awesome power of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. I highly recommend this book to readers who would like to get the satisfaction of a really good read.
“Softly Blows the Bugle” is about the Amish community at Weaver’s Creek, where the filial bonds of family ties and inspiring faith bind up the brokenhearted.
A widow, with bitter experiences of her marriage to a cruel husband, Elizabeth Kaufman is well nigh determined never to get married again, even if it meant not having her own family.
But Aaron Zook’s arrival changed everything in a way Elizabeth could have never imagined in her faintest dreams. Aaron was determined to leave the pain of the past behind him. His innate strength, determination, resilience and perseverance are legendary. Aaron was kind, helpful and concerned about others. In spite of the severity of his injuries in the war, Aaron navigated his way through life with only one leg and a pair of crutches.
However, even in a simple Amish community, life can get complicated. Aaron has to fight the battle to win the heart of the woman he loves. Meanwhile, Elizabeth embarks on a journey towards hope and love, as Jan Drexler peels away layer after layer of the protective coating around Elizabeth’s heart.
Many characters experience a reawakening of their faith, which is so inspiring, on a personal level. A powerful faith thread runs through the book. I highly recommend this book for fans of Amish, Christian, historical and post-Civil war fiction.
“The Love Note” by Joanna Davidson Politano is all about the unravelling of a peculiar mystery involving a long-forgotten letter, a secret love and a vast estate. Can a determined young lady seek to assemble all the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together?
All set for a promising career in medicine, Willa Duvall discovered a never-before-seen love letter in her old escritoire. Willa is driven by a strange compulsion to find the passionate person who painstakingly penned it, and the would-be recipient who unfortunately by a strange quirk of fate, never received it.
This Victorian-era tale of love lost-deferred-and-found, laced with hidden mysteries waiting to be discovered, is the perfect blend of historical romance, intrigue and mystery.
This tale is written in a powerful, lyrical style, with a complex plot, about noble yet broken characters, in an intricate tale of intrigue, that uncovers latent longings, multi-layered, deeply hidden and carefully concealed secrets and profound spiritual truths .
This highly engrossing historical fiction illustrates the awesome power of words, both expressed and unspoken, to have the power to affect Iives drastically.
Words have the extraordinary power to break hearts and hurt feelings. Words hurt, heal and love. Words with eternal impact are treasured forever.
Written in multiple layers with multiple points of view, the story takes shape and gathers momentum in intriguing, unpredictable and surprising ways. The noble characters are very well drawn and properly developed. Last but not least, a strong theme of feminism runs through the novel, assertive but not aggressive.
The Love Note,” with its prayer-filled content, is the poignant tale of how a mysterious, unsent love letter transforms the lives of the noble people at Creswicke Manor. I highly recommend this stunning book to all who wish to know the true story of the layers-within-the-layers.
Review by Thushara Lily Manuel
“The Key to Love” by Betsy St. Amant is the interesting tale of the adventures of a superb pastry chef, Abrielle Duval, at the Pastry Puff bakery in the small town of Story, Kansas.
Abrielle’s love-hate, frenemy relationship is with Gerard Fortier, a ruggedly handsome, globe-trotting travel writer, from Trek magazine, who is running away from love, after nursing a broken heart from a hastily ended engagement. An ill-advised mentor led Gerard to believe that true love is unattainable.
After a series of misunderstandings and running into each other all the time, Abrielle and Gerard questioned everything they relied upon, that kept them trapped in their own worlds.
This is where the action-packed, multi-layered story gets more and more interesting, as layers upon layers are pealed off, to reveal the truth hidden underneath.
True love requires selfless commitment, person-to-,person communication, unconditional forgiveness, and letting go of preconceived perceptions, preventing the people involved from saying “Yes to Love.”
“The Key to Love” unlocks the hidden mystery that the reward is worth it in the end.
Today, I pray for God’s power to guide you through all the decisions you make, and any difficulty you may face,
His might to uphold you as you go about the work of His kingdom,
His eyes to watch over you, and keep you safe from harm,
And always that His wisdom will teach you more about His love.
A daughter remembers raking leaves with her father, an effort he made despite battling depression. This poem was one of twenty shortlisted for the Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award in 2021.
In every morn before I wake up,
You’re there to see my eyes open,
to begin the day that fulfills
the purpose You have given to me,
to walk with strength, that is given by You,
and to overcome the heat of the desert,
to forget the hurts and pain,
and to fill with hope and joy.
Yes, the joy of the Lord is my strength,
the empty grave is my hope,
when my heart beats louder,
remind me of the aim I have.
Without You, I am the dust in the ground,
But my Lord, You are my life and my joy.
With You each step I take, hold me till the end,
until I win the race, You are beside me.
You train me to run, and to overcome the hurdles.
You are with me, as the air I breathe.
The earth seems dark, but You are my light,
You lead me by still waters and comfort me.
Be still with me, as a true loving friend,
Be still my partner in all of my paths,
who loves me with everlasting love,
That the world cannot give.
Yes, Jesus, be my First Love.
Thushara Lily Manuel