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GOD’S GREATEST GIFT TO HUMANITY

“What is God’s Greatest Gift to Humanity?”

God’s greatest gift to humanity is in the humanity of 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.

Miriam Jacob

REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP, SUSIE FINKBEINER

THE NATURE OF SMALL BIRDS – Susie Finkbeiner

“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.

CONVERGENT BOOKS, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING GROUP, PHILIP YANCEY

WHERE THE LIGHT FELL – Philip Yancey

“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

PHILIP YANCEY
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ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ, WATERBROOK AND MULTNOMAH

JESUS IN ME – Anne Graham Lotz

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.

Miriam Jacob

NAOMI RAWLINGS

THE WIDOW’S SECRET – Naomi Rawlings

“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, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

A LADY IN ATTENDANCE – Rachel Fordham

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.


Miriam Jacob

CHRISTIAN MEDICAL SCIENCE, JOHNSON THOMASKUTTY

MEDICAL EXPRESSIONS IN LUKE Chapter One – Johnson Thomaskutty

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

Pune, India

https://ntscholarship.wordpress.com/2021/05/26/medical-expressions-in-luke-chapter-one/

MISTY M. BELLER, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

HOPE’S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN – Misty M. Beller

“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.

Miriam Jacob

CAROLYN MILLER, KREGEL PUBLICATIONS

DUSK’S DARKEST SHORES – Carolyn Miller

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.

Miriam Jacob

REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP, SUZANNE WOODS FISCHER

AT LIGHTHOUSE POINT – Suzanne Woods Fischer

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.

EBERHARD ARNOLD, PLOUGH PUBLISHING HOUSE

GOD’S REVOLUTION – Eberhard Arnold

“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.

Miriam Jacob

IRENE HANNON, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

BLACKBERRY BEACH – Irene Hannon

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.

Miriam Jacob

PLOUGH PUBLISHING HOUSE, RACHEL PIEH JONES

PILLARS – Rachel Pieh Jones

“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.

AMANDA CABOT, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

DREAMS REKINDLED – Amanda Cabot

“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.

Miriam Jacob

CYNTHIA RUCHTI, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

FACING THE DAWN – Cynthia Ruchti

“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.

Miriam Jacob

EBERHARD ARNOLD, PLOUGH PUBLISHING HOUSE

THE LIVING WORD – Eberhard Arnold

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.

Miriam Jacob

ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL, PLOUGH PUBLISHING HOUSE

THUNDER IN THE SOUL – To Be Known by God – Abraham Joshua Heschel

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.

Miriam Jacob

REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP, SUZANNE WOODS FISCHER

THE MOONLIGHT SCHOOL – Suzanne Woods Fischer

“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.

Miriam Jacob

JENNIFER DEIBEL, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

A DANCE IN DONEGAL – Jennifer Deibel

“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.

Miriam Jacob

JILL EILEEN SMITH, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

MIRIAM’S SONG – Jill Eileen Smith

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.

Miriam Jacob

BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP - REVELL, ERIN BARTELS

ALL THAT WE CARRIED – Erin Bartels

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.

Miriam Jacob

BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP - REVELL, LAURA FRANTZ

TIDEWATER BRIDE – Laura Frantz

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.

Miriam Jacob

REV DR JOHNSON THOMASKUTTY

NEW JOY OF SALVATION (John 2:1-12) – Rev Dr Johnson Thomaskutty

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.

https://barnabastoday.com/en/faith/sermon/new-joy-of-salvation-john-21-12/

MIRIAM JACOB

GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL – Miriam Jacob

https://www.meetinginthemeadow.com/2020/11/guest-post-grateful-and-thankful-miriam.html?m=1

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

A. J. KURUVILLA, POETRY

ABIDE IN US – A. J. Kuruvilla

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

BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP - REVELL, ELLEN VAUGHN

BECOMING ELISABETH ELLIOT – Ellen Vaughn

“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. 

BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP - REVELL, REGINA SCOTT

NOTHING SHORT OF WONDROUS – Regina Scott

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.

BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP - REVELL, JAN DREXLER

SOFTLY BLOWS THE BUGLE – Jan Drexler

“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.

BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP - REVELL, JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO

THE LOVE NOTE – Joanna Davidson Politano

“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.

REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

THE KEY TO LOVE – Betsy St. Amant

“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.

Miriam Jacob

MONICA YEARSLEY

WAIT FOR THE LORD – Monica Yearsley

How often do we wait for something? Probably we wait for something almost every day and we don’t usually want to be waiting: we wait for a phone call, something to be delivered or maybe for the traffic (or queue of people) to allow us to move again.

Normally we don’t like waiting. Our lives always seem to be rushing from one place, one job, one responsibility or one meeting to another and any waiting seems to be a waste of our time.

Yet here, in Psalms, although it doesn’t immediately look like anything different from what we are used to feeling about waiting, we are encouraged to see waiting as something positive.

I wait for the Lord – we need to wait for His message, wait to see His blessings “delivered” and wait for things to get moving….our human hearts want immediate satisfaction; we pray and always want an immediate positive response. However, God’s timing is perfect. He is working all things out for our good. As we are waiting for Him let us also be willing to be patient. He has waited for us to listen to Him, to come back to Him when we have strayed and to deliver our lives and actions into His care.

My soul waits – as defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary wait is “to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon.” Waiting isn’t just a pause in our lives it can be an open expectation like breathing in…..there is an expectation that we will breathe out.

In His word I hope – through the evidence provided by His Word we put our trust in His steadfast and loving nature, His promises and His purpose.

Waiting isn’t just physical and about the fact that we can’t have everything immediately it is an attitude of mind and spirit.

As we pause our busy lives today let us breathe in deeply and consider His Word. Let us hold that specific verse of promise of His love deep within us. Then, as we breathe out let us gain strength from the sustaining energy we have absorbed.

© Monica Yearsley

D. RICHARD FERGUSON

HANNAH’S PRAYER – Dawn from Desolation – D. Richard Ferguson

“Hannah’s Prayer: Dawn from Desolation” by D. Richard Ferguson is Part One of the “Life of David” series. As Biblical historical fiction, it is absolutely captivating. It is the passionate story of how one desperate prayer, from a wrung-out heart, winged its way to heaven, to win extraordinary favour from God.

Hannah’s world crashed into smithereens when she couldn’t bear a child, and had to bear the taunts of her husband’s other wife. A story of incredible courage, penitent repentance, utter desperation and unbelievable hope.

“Hannah’s Prayer” illustrates two things – “how God uses the darkness of our despair to display the brilliance of His glory” – and how “God used Hannah’s anguish to save His people”, paving the way for “the most important man in the Old Testament.”

“Hannah’s Prayer” is written exactly as if Hannah told her own story in her own words. It is for personal edification, to build up and strengthen our faith. I highly recommend this book to all who are inspired by Hannah’s life story of wresting blessings from the heart of God through the anguish of her prayers.

Miriam Jacob

REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

THE CHRISTMAS SWAP – by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Swap is a beautifully written, charming, lighthearted Christmas story by Melody Carlson, one of the most prolific writers of our times. In this clean, warmhearted romance, two souls ultimately find each other, as they weave their way through a web of deception to expose the lies and reveal the truth hidden within. Emma’s deep inner beauty is seen by West, a gifted songwriter and talented musician, who pretending to be a humble caretaker, sets out to ensure that a girl like her could love a guy like him, simply for himself. A book with sterling qualities and values, I highly recommend it to all who desire truth in their innermost beings.

Miriam Jacob

JILL G. HALL, SHE WRITES PRESS

THE GREEN LACE CORSET – Jill G. Hall

In “The Green Lace Corset”, Jill G. Hall presents the multi-layered, dual tale of two vibrant women, from different eras, mutually trying to discover their own true identities. Anne McFarland, a modern-day artist, searching for spiritual guidance, buys a green lace corset at a resale, an action that results in a life-changing decision.
One hundred and thirty-five years ago, in 1885, naïve Sally Sue Sullivan, from the Midwest, is kidnapped on a train, and held prisoner on a homestead in the Wild West. Spunky Sally Sue discovers her own grit as she painstakingly plots her escape.
Anne and Sally Sue face their latent fears head-on, and find the innate boldness, courage, strength and determination, to travel down their destined paths, to uncover the true meaning of love and family, from the same green lace corset.
In this dramatic, action-packed novel, the foundation is laid for the alternating stories of two women from different eras, Anne and Sylvia, as they bravely deal with love, loss, heartbreak, and triumph.
Jill G. Hall skillfully creates two unforgettable characters, whose lives, though generations apart, are inexplicably intertwined. Mystery, suspense, and romance are the charming elements in this rich blend of thrilling mystery and fascinating historical fiction. This is a spellbinding, vivid, fast-paced novel, in which uncovering the past leads to discovering oneself.
Rachel Fordham, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

A LIFE ONCE DREAMED – Rachel Fordham

“A Life Once Dreamed” by Rachel Fordham is the perfectly designed novel, so full of warm, human feelings and family affections, that we can really identify with the perfectly believable, realistic characters, complete with human flaws, and endearing quirks. This award-winning, inspirational story, so perfectly portrayed in this lavishly detailed tale, set in the Wild West, will appeal to readers who love heartwarming novels that fill us with satisfaction. Rachel Fordham’s tender tale of compassion and grace revolves around the feelings of the human heart, perfectly depicting the real nature of love that tears at our heartstrings.

Miriam Jacob

MIRIAM JACOB

CLARION CALL TO MISSIONS

CLARION CALL TO MISSIONS

“God is a God of missions. The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The mission of the Church is missions. God’s only Son is a missionary.” The world is our mission field. Our great commission is to the whole world, to all nations, to all people.

The aim of missions is to know Christ and make Him known. It is all about His saving grace. Salvation is for all people, a unique, determining factor, a distinctive, spiritual aim. All our sins must be washed and cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who takes away the sins of the world.

The responsibility of missions lies with each member of the body of Christ. The command of Christ is a personal and individual call, issued to each person. When God calls us to serve Him, He calls us by name. It is a unique, specific call to each person.

God issues a clarion call to the Church to evangelize the whole world. God’s vision is a world vision. He calls us to work for the evangelization of the entire world, for which Christ died and rose again. His Resurrection Power is with us today.

The Lord Jesus Christ issues a clarion call to His people to involve in world missions. Come and serve Christ and His cause. He waits for you with His heart of love. His heart beats for you.

Missionaries are God’s people, chosen and marked out to serve Him, to build up His kingdom and impact history. The love of Christ compels missionaries to serve God in missions, through unselfish lives of service, serving others whole heartedly.

Every person who serves Christ with passionate zeal, selfless commitment and a heart dedicated to His service is a missionary, some in full-time service and others in part-time service. All work to serve Him faithfully, with a single-minded vision , for His honor and glory. God rewards all who serve Him from His heart of love.

Missionaries are ambassadors for Christ, ambassadors of the court of heaven, ambassadors on active duty on earth, official representatives of the Kingdom of God, to show Christ to His people. Missionaries serve actively in missions as they obey Christ’s command “to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all nations.” Missionaries have a burning passion for the souls of men. They teach the whole counsel of God to establish Christians in the truth. They are constrained by Christ’s love to serve Him and feed His sheep. They accept the will of God for their lives wholeheartedly.

The first and greatest requirement of a missionary is to be born again, ready and willing to bear the cross, bold to preach the Gospel everywhere, zealous for His Master, always putting the Lord first in everything, humble, teachable, willing to learn daily from the Master, honest, sincere and straightforward before God and men. Missionaries wait upon the Lord for the revelation of His will in their lives and obey it at any cost. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” – Luke 9:62.

The challenge of missions is world evangelization, which is a world task, that requires a world vision. Every Christian is a missionary. Every missionary is a watchman.” “God’s orders must be obeyed, His commands carried out, and there is no way to evade the issue.” Today, most parts of the world can be reached through the media, by radio, television and the internet. Each one of us has a small but important part to play in the huge task of world evangelization. Every born-again person can serve Christ as a missionary, in small but varying ways.

The first and greatest requirement of a missionary is to be born again, ready and willing to bear the cross, bold to preach the Gospel everywhere, zealous for His Master, always putting the Lord first in everything, humble, teachable, willing to learn daily from the Master, honest, sincere and straightforward before God and men.Missionaries wait upon the Lord for the revelation of His will in their lives and obey it at any cost. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” – Luke 9:62.

The challenge of missions is world evangelization, which is a world task, that requires a world vision. Every Christian is a missionary. Every missionary is a watchman.” “God’s orders must be obeyed, His commands carried out, and there is no way to evade the issue.” Today, most parts of the world can be reached through the media, by radio, television and the internet. Each one of us has a small but important part to play in the huge task of world evangelization.

Every born-again person can serve Christ as a missionary, in small but varying ways. Look around you and do the very first task for Christ that needs to be done. There is always something that you can do for Christ and His cause. The world waits with bated breath for you to do your part. Do your part in world missions and on the home front. You are needed somewhere. Find your place. Heed the mission call. Be a missionary. Doors are open everywhere. Enter the open doors and allow God to open the closed doors in His time. Let us complete the task assigned to us in our time and generation.

Every Christian is a missionary. Jesus gave His disciples only one task – world evangelization. Will we obey His instructions to the best of our ability? The one thing Jesus told us to do is the only thing left undone. Will you heed God’s call and take your part in world evangelization? A missionary must preach for a sinner to hear and be saved. Let us do our task and not rest until our work is complete.

The most important work of the hour is to carry out and fulfill our Lord’s last instructions. Jesus issues His marching orders to each of us. We are His army of soldiers, ready to fulfill His commands at a moment’s notice. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every person” – (Mark 16:15). This is the call to missions.

Missionaries, answer the wake-up call. Your time is now. Tomorrow might be too late! To those who have heard God’s call, give yourself, your time and your resources to missions and to the causes around you. We have but one great task. God counts on us to do it. All He asks of you is to complete your assigned task in your generation. It is the one and only task Christ left His Church to do. You are the Church of Christ, bought with His blood. Arise for Christ!

Follow the vision, do what only you can do, invest your life in something worthwhile. You, too, can be a pioneer. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth” – (Acts 1:8). Complete the unfinished task of winning souls to Christ. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” – (John 3:16). God gave Heaven’s best. What will you give?

This article was compiled and edited by Miriam Jacob from the book “The Challenge Of Missions” by Oswald J. Smith

LIZ JOHNSON, REVELL, BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP

A DAZZLE OF DIAMONDS – Liz Johnson

In “A Dazzle of Diamonds”, Liz Johnson brings the timeless beauty of history to life through the reading of an ancestral journal and ancient letters that lead the blazing trail to a thrilling treasure hunt.
After serving two tours in the Middle East, Tucker built up a thriving security company. His work and his friendship with his childhood friend, Penelope, are the stabilizing factors in his life. After being goaded by the lone candidate, Tucker ends up on the ballot for county sheriff and confronts a bitter smear campaign, claiming that his family, the Westbrooks were traitors to the South.
To restore his good name, Tucker and Penelope collaborate to unearth the hidden truth behind a 150-year-old lost treasure. But as they spend time together, much to her chagrine, Penelope almost loses her much-needed job, and falls head over heels in love.
The theme of overcoming the hurts of the past, to finding who we are in Christ, is intricately woven into this novel. The struggle over love and riches, past and present, is truly intriguing. Aunt Shirley’s priceless pearls of wisdom are instrumental in Tucker and Penelope’s healing.
This story of overcoming adversity to receive God’s healing appeals to readers today, inspiring us to conquer our hurts and accept God’s healing touch in our own lives.
In this captivating historical novel, Liz Johnson has crafted a fascinating dual timeline mystery involving lost treasure, ancient journals and 150-year-old letters, priceless keys to solving the case, set in the historic, picturesque setting of Savannah, Georgia.
The ever-growing relationship between best friends, Penelope and Tucker is absolutely charming, as they discover their true feelings for each other. Tucker’s ancestor, Caroline and Josiah’s own love story, running on parallel lines, is equally satisfying, poignant and heartmoving.
In this delightfully enchanting story of faith and love during the lowest of times, championing the cause of the poor, needy and downtrodden, Liz Johnson creates breath-taking backdrops and romantic plots filled with quirky, memorable, and down-to-earth characters, who tug at your heartstrings. Tucker, smart, loyal and compassionate, suffers from a pitiful self-image, with the constant urge to prove himself worthy. Penelope is a fun-loving, vivacious woman, who suffered a crushing blow to her heart, when her ex-fiance abandoned her at the altar. Tucker and Penelope, best friends forever, takes a historic dive into the past, to salvage the future that unites them. Their friendship and love for each other is very genuine and so incredibly sweet. Tucker’s Aunt Shirley’s deep sense of maturity, unconditional love, and sage advice weaves the plot and characters seamlessly together, embedding the healing traits of forgiveness, reconciliation and true worth into each character and subplot.
Radiant rays of light illuminate the themes of healing, forgiveness, faith, perseverance, and generosity to present a totally relatable story that is full of life, love and heart.
A Dazzle of Diamonds holds our rapt attention from start to finish, captivating us with its well-crafted, thought-provoking plot and endearing, sweetly romantic characters.
With sweet, endearing moments of gentle, heartmoving romance, a passionate twist of suspenseful mystery, and engaging glimpses into the historic past, “A Dazzle of Diamonds” is thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying. An intriguing treasure hunt, likable characters, and unique plot makes it truly memorable and entertaining. With a plot that seamlessly blends present events with past clues, Liz Johnson cleverly presents two captivating stories of love, courage and second chances. The well-planned and well-paced plot fully immerses the reader in the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of the characters, as they encounter unexpected possibilities and fresh perspectives. As their genuine insecurities and fears affect their judgments and choices, they must turn away from the pain of the past to embrace healing and wholeness.

I highly recommend this beautifully inspiring novel to all readers who wish to find true, lasting and fulfilling satisfaction in the delightful pages of a book.

DARRELL FERGUSON

DEEPER KNOWLEDGE OF GOD – Darrell Ferguson

“Deeper Knowledge of God” by Darrell Ferguson contains meditations on 76 Attributes of God in 180 daily readings. This inspiring book helps us to interact with God in a deeper way as we become conscious of His presence and imbibe His divine attributes to bring spiritual growth into our lives. It contains extremely relevant examples and correlations to real life. It helps us to wade through personal struggles without being submerged below the waves. It gives us a brand new understanding of God and helps us to plumb the depths of our relationship with Him. It inspires us to study the Scriptures as we seek more of God’s grace in our lives. I encourage you to read this book. It will inspire you to scale new heights with God.

Miriam Jacob

NEHA ANNA THOMAS

THE FATHER’S HEART – Neha Anna Thomas

A father’s heart you were given, when we entered into the world one day

A heart to give, a heart to love, and a heart to pray

Years have passed, but the heart has remained beating

Beating for the ones in your care until this day

Your father’s heart has followed us, all the years of our life

Followed us in our ups and downs, even through our strife

This heart has known our joys and pains, even known our fears

This beating heart has gone the distance, running the race with pride and might

Your father’s heart has aged today, but continues to beat as if it were yesterday

Beating in rhythm with our little hearts, in your care to watch over and pray With so much beating and so much toiling, who will watch over the father’s heart?

Who will nurture, and nurse and heal the father’s heart today?

A father’s heart you were given, when we entered into the world one day

A heart to give, a heart to love, and a heart to pray

This heart is not man-made, nor was it purchased or self-taught

But this heart was endowed to you, by the One with the greatest Father’s Heart

This Father’s Heart is like no other

This Father’s Heart loved even before it was loved

This Father’s Heart blessed you many years ago, with your own father’s heart

So would you take your precious gifted heart, and beat in rhythm with the Father’s Heart today

Beat in love, joy, and hope, and also in purity, peace, and prayer

So that your father’s heart will not grow weary, or tired and faint, will all of life’s many cares

But grow in power and strength and might, always and forever watched over by our heavenly Father’s Heart

© Neha Anna Thomas

BAKER PUBLISHING GROUP - REVELL, SUZANNE WOODS FISCHER

ON A COASTAL BREEZE – Suzanne Woods Fisher

“On A Coastal Breeze” by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a stunning novel about forgiveness, redemption and second chances that will passionately pull at your heartstrings to bring out the music within.

When Paul Grayson settled on Three Sisters Island, Madison, his second daughter never dreamt that her life would change so dramatically. When the new Pastor Richard O’ Shea, an avid parachutist who loves skydiving, floats down from the sky onto the island, he creates quite a stir. It was only when Madison heard his full name that a bell rang in her mind. As far as Maddie was concerned, Pastor Ricky O’Shea should remain a distant, suppressed, if-not-forgotten memory, not an adventurous skydiver.

Pastor Ricky O’Shea looked exactly as Maddie remembered, dark eyes, a strong, vibrant, dynamic personality, courageous and fearless. But Maddie was older and wiser. Enough of the old turbulent past. Time to grow up and move on.

Ricky was completely comfortable with himself. He fervently hoped Maddie wished him well in his new role as pastor. Over eight years had passed. Time to forgive and forget. Today heralded a brand new start. A clean breeze cleansed Maddie’s mind, giving her a fresh start with God’s healing power.

Maddie tried to understand God’s plan for her. She must let the Lord turn her weakness into strength. God’s guidance and wisdom were her strength and confidence. Only what God thought of her ultimately mattered. Maddie prayed that the Lord would fill her with His wisdom, healing and hope.

And so, when Rick finally proposed, Maddie sensed that God had prepared her to love Rick wholeheartedly with a lasting, mature love. More than that, Maddie knew that if she trusted God with her life and Rick’s, she was safe. And so, Maddie said yes, to God and to Rick, confidently trusting that their story would end well in God’s hands.

As this lovely story caught hold of my heartstrings, I just had to explain the heart of the story to prospective readers, to urge you to get your own copy to treasure always.

Miriam Jacob

NEHA ANNA THOMAS

SO IN THIS MOMENT – Neha Anna Thomas

Father God, though I may not understand
Everything I am going through
I just want to thank You
You hold my hand,
Shepherd me through feary storms
Show me what is right from wrong
I just want to thank You

So in this moment I sing
A song of praise to my King
Lord, I worship You
So let us open our hearts
And raise up our hands
To the One who deserves all the praise

Thank you Lord, for what You have done
Thank You, Lord for what You are going to do
Thank You, Lord for your Son
Thank You, Lord, for this life anew

Father God, every day You’re teaching me
Showing me what life can be
I just want to thank You
I may not know all the plans You have for me
But I know that You love me
So I just want to thank You

So in this moment….

© Neha Anna Thomas