Francine Rivers’ Unshaken is a biblical historical fiction about Ruth and Naomi. This book has made me develop some kind of love for the genre and after reading the book, I took some time to carefully study the book of Ruth in the Bible. Thanks to Unshaken, I saw the biblical passage in a different light.
The fictional aspect of the story implied there were some additions made by the author to, perhaps, make the story lengthier and ensure it flows more seamlessly.
I’m not surprised the Bible did not speak about Ruth’s visit to her wealthy parents and their inability to convince her to return to them in case Mahlon dies. Unshaken also presented Naomi as a grumpy woman who tried a little too hard to discourage Ruth from taking the journey with her. The Bible did not speak about Ruth and Naomi going to live in a cave when they arrived at Bethlehem.
I believe these additions were necessary to make the story more fluid. Of course, as typical of Francine Rivers, she found ways of making the love between Ruth and Boaz more romantic than what was described in the Bible.
The 183-page also had a sessions with questions for further studies. The book did live up to its expectations of making readers understand the Ruth-Naomi relationship and how that led to the marriage between Ruth and Boaz and ultimately, situating that into the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
The story of Ruth, to me, describes that of endurance and placing all of one’s worries and difficulties right at the doorstep of God. It also makes one want to relax, make time to listen to God and take one day as and when they come. I think I underestimated the book when I saw it but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
*A big thanks to Booktiquegh for organising their anniversary giveaway which enabled me win this book (prize). I wouldn’t forget this prize since this is actually my first time of reading and possessing a biblicalhistoricalfiction.
There could not have been a much better time (Mothers’ Day) to read these two books – Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream authored by Francine Rivers. The books’ theme centred on strained relationships between mothers and daughters that span about five generations. It began with Marta and Hildemara in Her Mother’s Hope, running through Her Daughter’s Dream with Hildemara, Carolyn and then, Dawn.
Marta, a stern woman, largely shaped by her childhood especially by her not-so-good relationship with her dad, who hit her at the least provocation including when she excelled in her exam. She was pulled out of school, sent to an institution that taught house-keeping and after acquiring those skills, had to work for her father in exchange for the cost of tuition. She finally left home and that began her adventure of meeting people and acquiring new skills especially in catering. Her entrepreneurial skills, drive and the money she acquired allowed her to set up her own boarding house which she later sold. She got married and moved from one point to the other with her husband and their four children. Marta was particularly stern with her first daughter (Hildie) who she saw as feeble and very much like her own sister who died at a young age.
In her Daughter’s Dream, Hildemara becomes a nurse, gets married and has two children – Charlie and Carolyn. You may think that the strained relationship between her and her mother would make her a better nurturer. Instead, circumstances kept her pushing her daughter, Carolyn away and straight into the arms of a child molester. There was a lot of misunderstanding between the two, stretching their relationship further till Carolyn goes to the University where she meets Chel, indulges in a lot of vices and vanishes for about two years. Carolyn comes home finally and her family discovers she is pregnant and the father of that child, unknown.
Carolyn also begins another strained relationship with her daughter, Dawn, because of obligations she needed to meet. Her daughter, Dawn grows quite beautifully (even though she also makes some mistakes) and becomes the one who helps to reconcile her mother Caroline, and grandmother, Hildemara.
The book is about these wonderful women, their relationships with each other and their husbands and children (both strong and strained). There were lessons of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, reconciliation, romance and, how Christians and pastors treat people who may have sinned. Both books take readers through a number of remarkable world history including the World Wars, America’s war with Vietnam, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in the 2000s among others.
My personal takeaway from the two books is to be deliberate in the relationship I build with my child(ren). Unconsciously, it is possible to transmit negative traits I may have acquired from my childhood into the family I’m trying to raise and there is that possibility of my child carrying that into her family as well.
I always fall in love with the male characters Francine Rivers’ develops but my favourite in this series is Carolyn’s husband, Mitch. He was given the difficult task of loving a very battered wife and a stepchild whom he loved nonetheless.
There were definitely aspects of the story that I could not relate with, particularly, when Dawn drove through one part of America to another, admiring geomorphological features and getting sad she could not stop to visit those places. I felt that aspect of the story dragged. I could also not relate with a pregnant woman, in her last trimester who had been diagnosed with another life-threatening condition, managing to drive for several days to another location with a terrible weather condition and no hospital close by to patch the relationship between her mum and grandma. That was a little to the extreme and a lot could have happened to Dawn.
Nonetheless, Martha’s Legacy are definitely must-reads. I loved the various characters, my heart skipped, there were portions in the book that saddened me too. I was disappointed and other aspects had me closing the book to imagine the scenes before continuing. This only goes to confirm my earlier assertion that Francine Rivers is an awesome writer, probably, the best when it comes to Christian novels.
Purple Hibiscus, narrated from the perspective of 15-year old Kambili, whose father, Eugene, was affluent and a ‘strict and very adherent’ Christian. He related with his family with the special kind of love that he knew.
Even though the family seemed comfortable, they lived on a ticking time bomb that started erupting when Kambili, her brother, Jaja and their mum came into contact with Eugene’s liberal sister and widow/lecturer at the University in Nsukka and her three children.
One visit to Ifeoma’s home, which later paved way for several others, became the mirror that revealed all that Jaja and Kambili lacked, even in their affluence.
Purple Hibiscus is beautifully written, keeping the reader in suspense. It also reveals the thin line that may exist between religion and fanaticism.
The introduction of Father Amadi in Nsukka and Kambili’s crush on this personality, who has sworn to be celibate all his life, is my favourite part of the book. 😊😊
The tragic twist to the plot in the concluding parts caught me offguard. It left me with mixed emotions.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus is my best read for 2020 (so far). I would give it a 4.6 ⭐s.
*19th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Review Something*
Flossy Achana is very strong-willed. She is married to Kingsley Billah who is a deacon of the church. A few weeks after celebrating their seventh marriage anniversary, Flossy bumps into her former boyfriend, Mike Kabore. Both were shocked but ended up having a little chit-chat, where apologies were rendered for the unfortunate break-up and current contacts, exchanged for follow-up. The two begin to meet till their ‘encounters’ sparked curiosity and gossip among people especially Flossy’s boss, Mr. Blankson.
After the epic reunion, a spiral of drama also begins to emanate from the homes of all the married couples not excluding that of Reverend Yendi and his wife, Lady Jessie’s.
As a reader who has been married for a couple of years now, I did not comprehend how and why Mike and Flossy would go through all of this act of pretense just to spite the ‘busybodies.’ Anyway, that formed the main plot of the story and even when both couples were suffering from this decision they had taken, Flossy was unwilling to give up on the charade. That aspect of the story really baffled me.
Cathy Wilson’s Presumptions raised several pertinent issues that we (modern Christians) may have swept under the carpet, for instance, the question of what constitutes a lottery. Rev. Yendi’s wife won a car by participating in a ‘game of chance.’ To her, coming out as the ultimate winner was an answer to her prayer but her husband would not take any of that even though the ‘jalopy’ he drove needed to be replaced. This scenario could serve as a good topic for discussion in a bible study or book club.
Another issue for further discussion is when to compromise as a couple. I had the sense that the men in the book took their roles as ‘the heads’ a little too seriously. Even in a mere relationship, Mike had wanted Flossy to read Sociology or English instead of Advertising and her refusal served as one of the basis for their breakup. Also, when Kingsley refused to go bring his wife after he had learnt the truth that she was truly innocent. Even when he was suffering, he still refused to bend.
Like the same sentiments I shared after reading Karen Kingsbury’s The Chance, how do we (Christians) use the scriptures after we read and meditate on them? The characters in Presumptions towed the same line of quoting scripture to suit their current situation, prove points and subtly ‘insult’ each other. It almost felt like I was witnessing a Bible sword drill.
I did somehow fall in love with General Achana (Flossy’s dad) and Eunice (Flossy’s sister). They added a little humour to the tension that brewed from the other characters.
The author could have, however, added footnotes explaining local terms like ‘TZ’ ‘Alefu’ ‘Agbada’ ‘Anago’ to the non-Ghanaian reader.
From sentences like:
‘the duo bumped into each other at a spot called ‘DESTINY.’ Yes, that is the name of the spot…’
‘Two gentlemen in a beautiful garden.’
‘This is General Achana’s residence.’
It was very obvious the story was written from the perspective of a narrator. I haven’t seen this style of writing in a while.
Like most Christian novels, the ending of the story was quite expected. In all, the 145-page romantic novel, which was further broken into 16 chapters, was very simple to read. I am also glad to announce that it was authored by a Ghanaian, making the setting and the issues raised very relatable. To reiterate, it could serve as a good material for any book discussion.
I acquired Karen Kingsbury’s book, The Chance, because I really needed to read a Christian novel from another author that I am not familiar with. Well, The Chance was a good diversion from Francine Rivers (my current favourite) and I hope to read more of her to make a better judgement of her writings.
The Chance describes Nolan Cook and Ellie Tucker who were childhood friends but broke apart when they were 15 years old. This was because of a ‘scandal’ involving Ellie’s mother who had had an extra marital affair with a music star resulting in a pregnancy. Ellie’s dad, in anger moved with her to another State (San Diego) and in the process, making her break communication with her childhood friend/sweetheart and her pregnant mother. Before Ellie and her dad moved, she and Nolan wrote letters to each other, buried the letters and made the promise of returning in 11 years to read the letters they had written. A lot happened within the 11 years with Nolan following his ultimate dream of being a basketball star and Ellie becoming a single mum and a hair stylist (a little different from her childhood ambitions). To find out what happened to their childhood promise, I think you need to get a copy of this book 🤣🤣
The theme of this book centered strongly on forgiveness and reconciliation. Alan Tucker (Ellie’s dad) believed he was more ‘Christian’ than any one else, thus, judging the people he loved harshly and in his actions, he tore his family into shreds. Before he realised what he had done, a lot of harm had been caused to the people he cherished the most. How are you using God’s word? Are you correcting people with it or pushing them further into sin?
Like Francine Rivers’ books, the characters did pray simple prayers, emphasizing on the point of prayer being a regular communication with God. Prayer doesn’t have to always be at a designated time and space but an act of speaking regularly to God concerning all issues throughout one’s day.
The 315-page novel was quite easy to read. The story line was somehow enthralling with the characters and their actions being described fairly vividly. There were portions in the book that moved me to tears (Nolan was quite an emotional character). Other portions made me feel I was watching a soap opera because it kept dragging and literally had me rolling my eyes (Especially, with Ellie. One of such instance was when she took to her heels because Nolan had finally found her after 11 years. Who does that?). I also think this book will make a good movie for teenagers.
I don’t know whether I fell so much in love with any of the characters like the way I loved (and still love) Roman Velasco in Francine River’s The Masterpiece but it was a pretty good book. I will wait till I read another Karen’s Kingsbury before I compare her books to Francine Rivers.
I will rate this book 3.5 out of 5 and will recommend it to any lover of both Christian and non Christian novels.
NB:I apologise for my long absence from blogging. I hope and pray to be more regular now. I would also love to use this opportunity to say thank you to all new followers of the blog. Even in my long absence, I kept receiving notifications of new followers and likes for existing posts on the blog.
The Masterpiece was the huge book I got for myself last Christmas. With a more busy schedule currently, I wondered when and how I was going to read the almost 500-page Christian romance novel but surprisingly, I took two days to read the entire book. Uh-huh! That shows how gripping the story line was.
As usual, Francine Rivers did not disappoint with this novel. The two main characters – Roman Velasco (aka the Bird) was the rich, handsome, famous and accomplished (in the eyes of everyone) artist and Grace Moore – the rather simple, mother of one and a divorcee, who came to seek employment as Velasco’s assistant. Their story gently develops into a simmering romance which none of them was willing to admit to until later in the story. Hell broke loose when Velasco finally proposed in the manner that he was familiar with but sending Grace packing out of his life in the process. Did she come back? If yes, how did it happen? That is why you need to read this book for yourself. 😂
After reading several of Francine Rivers’ books – And the Shofar Blew, The Atonement Child and Scarlet Thread, I’ll definitely vote Velasco as my favourite character. He was affected by experiences from his childhood and that defined who he became as an adult. Even in his ‘raw state,’ I could sense some innocence in his actions. I actually found him very masculine and charming and wouldn’t mind meeting him if he was real. You can say I fell in love with the character. 🙈🙈🙈😏😏😏
Anyway, Francine Rivers always has strong underlying themes in her stories and even though they are entertaining and could be full of suspense, they teach loads of lessons. For instance, the two main characters both had disturbing pasts but were influenced differently by them. This raises the issue of the amount of power we give to past events/experiences and its influences. How do you know whether you are giving the ghosts and shadows from your pasts too much space in your life? This book provides the reader with some insight into this subject.
There are several other lessons that can be taken out of the book including dealing with disappointments, learning to walk away from the people you love for God/the Holy Spirit to work on them, childhood trauma, among others.
The Masterpiece is a beautiful and well-researched story. I like how the past lives of the two main characters were intricately interwoven into the main plot. The reader gets the opportunity to appreciate the life of those in the creative arts, particularly, graffiti artists. The ending, like many Christian novels and the typical Francine Rivers’ style, was very much expected and a little predictable but that did not take away the niceness out of the story. I like it but not as much as I enjoyed And the Shofar Blew.
I will rate it 4.5 out of 5 and recommend it over and over again to anyone looking to read a book full of lessons or just for leisure.
Benny Hinn’s ‘Good Morning Holy Spirit’ is one book that brings to readers the enormousness of the person of the Holy Spirit by clearly outlining His power and the potential influence He can have on the Believer. It shows how anyone can receive the Holy Spirit who, according to Benny Hinn, is not simply a person but God, coequal with the Father and Christ. With several biblical references, the mystery of the identity of the Holy Spirit is unveiled, making the reader yearn to develop a ‘proper’ relationship with Him.
‘Good Morning Holy Spirit‘ is an important resource that dispels every misconception a Christian may have about Him. It shows how to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, which begins after anyone confesses the Lordship of Jesus Christ over their lives. This companionship can be sustained through constant communication and the author likens this relationship-building process to what is experienced in a marital union, where a unique bond is created between a couple through constant association. The fellowship gets better with time and it’s renewed if the Believer does not ignore the Holy Spirit, who is a person, and could be grieved (Ephesians 4:30).
This book is written quite simply and starts like any novel, taking the reader into the life of young Benny Hinn living in Jaffa, Israel. A little boy who believed he was a Christian until a friend took him to a convention where he had an encounter with Kathryn Kuhlman, the Evangelist. That was the beginning of a wonderful encounter leading to his quest to seek more knowledge and build a relationship with the Holy Spirit. He admitted the journey wasn’t smooth, particularly, with his family but he followed on with his conviction and gradually, he achieved the desired results.
This book is highly recommended for every Believer because it provides cues which can be used to assess one’s relationship with the Holy Spirit. For instance, whether you belong to the category that knows of His existence and very little about what He’s capable of doing? Or you belong to that category that knows of His existence and power, making you want to fellowship with Him on a daily basis? Like Benny Hinn, do you wake up in the morning and greet, “Good Morning, Holy Spirit” while you anxiously wait for Him to direct you into the scriptures to find out what He has for you? Do you enjoy reading the scriptures because the Holy Spirit makes every word clearer to you? What about your Christian life – do you know a relationship with the Holy Spirit is what prevents you from backsliding? These are a few questions this book poses which enables you to assess the nature of your relationship with the Him.
After you close the book, your perception of the Holy Spirit will change completely. If you haven’t desired a relationship with Him yet, this book will make you start building one. If you already have one but it’s ‘all-over-the-place’, this book will show you how to streamline that relationship. And if you have a great relationship with the Holy Spirit, Benny Hinn’s Good Morning Holy Spirit will challenge you to go further.
Below are some beautiful quotes from the book which were tweeted in the course of the month:
“This man must be a Christian Philosopher or a poet,” those were my first thoughts after going through the initial pages of Power through Prayer by E.M Bounds. It’s not surprising to know he was an attorney (they have some background in philosophy) and a member of the Methodist Church. The man played with words in this 75-page book, which also carried a strong message and is very relevant for the period that we find ourselves in.
Power through Prayer admonishes readers/preachers/Christians to adopt a lifestyle of prayer. E.M Bounds, in the book, established the importance of spending quality in prayer, particularly, for preachers who have the mandate to propagate the gospel and win souls for Christ. He provided the likely effects of relegating prayer into the background and bemoaned the current practice which has been adopted by preachers – spend more time to research and less time in prayer when preparing to preach. The 20-short-chapters’ book challenges ministers of the gospel to spend long and quality time with God and see how that translates to the congregation. Bounds provided examples of past preachers who spent quality time with God and how that affected their ministries.
This is one of the most pertinent messages that the church needs currently. The book’s content reminds me of a Christian broadcast I listened to where the preacher also challenged Christians, especially, Charismatics to stop hiding behind tongues-speaking and ‘pray properly.’ In the broadcast, the preacher defined prayer as talking to God and knowing you are talking to Him. In other words, our mind should be fixed on the activity that we are indulging in. He made emphasis on the duration, which shouldn’t be as important as the quality and when Christians genuinely pray to God, we become conduits for the manifestation of miracles and the power of God. I could detect hints of E.M Bounds’ Power through Prayer in that broadcast.
The book was undoubtedly exquisitely written and if you a lover of poetry then this book is just for you. In my opinion, it could have easily been simplified into fewer pages but the flowery nature of the content did not permit that but it is still a great book and the message, very strong. The book is highly recommended for preachers or anyone playing a role in the Christ-ministry and for which, Christian bloggers are not an exemption. We can’t do away with quality prayer and expect to flourish in our various callings.
There were several amazing quotes in Power through Prayer and below are three of them:
“The preacher is the golden pipe through which the divine oil flows. The pipe must not only be golden, but open and flawless, that the oil may have a full, unhindered, unwashed flow.”
“Prayer is not to the modern pulpit the mighty force it was in Paul’s life or Paul’s ministry. Every preacher who does not make prayer a mighty factor in his own life and ministry is weak as a factor in God’s work and is powerless to project God’s cause in this world.”
“A prepared heart is much better than a prepared sermon.”
Have you read this book? What are your opinions about it? Do share!
As the title of the book implies, Andrew Murray submerges readers into the biblical perspective of raising children. The book, which is divided into 52 short chapters, is designed in a devotional-format with each chapter ending with a prayer.
The basic theme which runs through the book is the important role of parenting, what the Bible says about it and how that can be practiced. This covenant, according to the author, was established during creation (Genesis 1:27) and each chapter in the book introduces a new bible verse to emphasise that.
How to Raise Children for Christ is heavily centred on scriptures and it’s quite difficult to digest immediately, particularly, if you love the novel-style of writing. Reading this book requires a lot of concentration to decipher the author’s revelation on parenting. Even though the book is divided into 52 short chapters and each chapter having an average of five pages, it requires more time to fully digest the content.
Nonetheless, How to raise Children for Christ qualifies as the manual or guide that every Christian parent needs. It is not the kind of book, you can borrow, read and return; it is one you require on your shelf for reference purposes. It is almost impossible to raise children for Christ when you hardly know what the scriptures highlight on the subject, hence, the need to own and read this book.
Some of the powerful quotes in this book include:
Parents are more than friends and advisers; they have been clothed by God with a
holy authority to be exercised in leading their children in the way of the Lord.
Let the impression our #children receive when they hear us speak of others – friends or enemies, the low, the vulgar, the wicked – be the love of #Christ we seek to show.
Let parents be what they want their #children to be.
Important notes to take away from Andrew Murray’s How to Raise Children for Christ include:
Parenting is an important role bestowed unto man by GOD – whether you planned to be one or it was handed to you by default, you need to be deliberate about training your children, particularly, if you want to raise Godly ones.
A parent needs to practise what they preach because children imitate them. You have more influence on your child with your actions than your words.
You need to love your children just as God loves us, therefore, if you do not know how the love of God manifests, how would you show that to your children? This is the reason a parent must be in Christ first in order to raise children for Him.
How to Raise Children for Christ can be downloaded for free here.
In a society where witches, diseases and sufferings are often glorified, one book that highlights the power of the Christian, puts us in our rightful place and is a must-read is Kenneth Hagin’s The Spirit Within and the Spirit Upon. Even without stating it directly, Hagin’s testimonies in this book is enough to challenge the reader to want to get to the next level in their Christian walk.
Using different biblical references, the author established how the Spirit of God comes to dwell within the believer when he/she accepts Christ. He goes further to speak of a deeper dimension which every believer must reach and that is the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which empowers us unto ministry. To understand the author’s perspective on this subject better, Hagin started ministering in an era when accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior was all there was. Christians, in certain denominations, were content to be at that level but in this book, however, Kenneth Hagin allows the reader to understand why the believer needs the second dimension.
If you know of any Christian who keeps glorifying sicknesses, poverty and witchcraft, perhaps, you may want to recommend The Spirit within & the Spirit upon. The author clearly makes us understand that when we become believers, such ‘sufferings’ no longer have power over us.
However, the only form of ‘suffering’ a believer is permitted to have is when they are pushing the gospel. So for instance, a minister of the gospel may complain he is suffering when he is given a difficult congregation to pastor. This congregation may not flow with his doctrine on say, divine healing, and Hagin gives several scenarios of this kind of ‘suffering’ in this book. Note that such ‘sufferings’ shape the believer for the ministry.
The 187-page book is simple to read and has the author’s testimonies which allow the reader to understand the subject matter. The Spirit within & the Spirit upon also makes the reader appreciate the work of a pastor and other church leaders. These people we see face so many challenges including loneliness stemming from being away from their families and even hunger. Hagin recounts an incident in his ministry when he and his wife were virtually starved by their hosts, who neither talked about food nor had anything edible in their fridge. For almost a week, the author battled the temptation of reporting the pastor and wife to the appropriate authorities but some reason, the Holy Spirit kept tugging at his heart not to do so. This section of the book also highlights the importance of walking in love as Christians.
The Spirit within & the Spirit upon is highly recommended for anyone who:
has pastoral or ministerial ambitions, since it opens the reader up to what they need to succeed in the field of ministry.
has not accepted the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This book stresses on why believers need the second dimension.
wants to be reminded of how powerful he/she is in Jesus Christ. It makes the believer yearn to reach a higher level in their Christian walk where they can even communicate directly with God. This is a level we should all strive for – where we do not need ‘middlemen’ or fast and pray for 30 days to hear God speak to us.