Tag Archives: Old Testament

On This Foundation

On This Foundation (The Restoration Chronicles Book #3)Title: On This Foundation
Author: Lynn Austin
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0900-0

“It’s time to rebuild the foundations of our faith and renew our covenant with God,” Nehemiah declares in Lynn Austin’s novel, On This Foundation.

~ What ~
Part of the Restoration Chronicles series, this four-hundred-and-eighty-one-page paperback targets those interested in historical fiction about Biblical Nehemiah’s time when Jerusalem was being built after the Babylonian captivity. With no profanity, topics of abuse, attempted rape, and death would not be appropriate for immature readers.

In this novel, Persian king’s cupbearer, Nehemiah, is allowed to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the demolished walls after the Jewish enslavement. Upon arriving, he fears others will do all they can to advert and destroy his commitment to rebuild.

Including a wealthy nobleman wanting to remarry, a young bondservant girl resentful of her position, and a widow wanting to be happy, romances and family disagreements shadow Nehemiah’s governorship and rebuilding of the city’s walls. By learning to trust God and shed bitterness and hatred toward others, the city’s residents must work together for security and safety.

~ Why ~
Knowing the book of Nehemiah explains how Jews struggled with their commitment to God, I found Austin’s writing engaging as she weaved the Almighty’s direction and purpose in the lives of those living during the period.

~ Why Not ~
If you do not like fictionalized stories of the Bible that take some liberties as far as characters are involved, you may not like this rendition of Nehemiah with its love stories blended into the storyline.

~ Who ~
Eight-time Christy Award-winner, Austin has sold more than one million of her historical fiction novels. Having raised three children, her husband and she live in Michigan.

~ Wish ~
It would be helpful to have a list of characters, including those that are fictional or not.

~ Want ~
If you like historical retelling of the Old Testament and the Jews returning to Jerusalem to rebuild it, this is an in-depth read that will give you a better appreciation of the society, traditions, and customs of the time.

Thanks to Baker Books and the author for offering this book to review for my honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Baker Books, Book Club Network, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Harvest of Rubies

Harvest of RubiesTitle: Harvest of Rubies
Author: Tessa Afshar
Publisher: River North
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0558-6

“My wife’s likings are not of the least interest to me, cupbearer. And neither are you, being her cousin, and party to this insult of a marriage,” Darius scolds Nehemiah in Tessa Afshar’s novel, Harvest of Rubies.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighty-four-page paperback targets those who enjoy romantic historical fiction based on the Bible. With this one focusing on the book of Nehemiah, its love story that contains abuse and a murder plot along with references to sexual relations may not be appropriate to immature readers. The ending includes the author’s notes, five food recipes, acknowledgments, and an excerpt of the next book in the series.

Written in first person during the 400s B.C., twenty-year-old Sarah may feel like she has it all being the queen of Persia’s senior scribe and Nehemiah’s cousin, but the awkwardly-social girl feels unloved and unwanted by her father. Able to read and translate in several languages, she is an asset to the queen, especially when she uncovers a problem dealing with the king’s mother.

To repay her for her astuteness, the queen arranges a marriage to Darius that Sarah does not want. On her wedding day, the young woman makes it uncomfortable for all involved in the ceremony; she is sent to Darius’s neglected palace to begin a barren marriage.

As the heroine uncovers many discrepancies at the estate, she feels like a disappointment, wondering if she will ever be worthy of God or her husband. Meanwhile, the harsh, unreasonable Darius fights his feelings regarding his newly acquired wife.

~ Why ~
Using the backdrop of the Jews being under Persian rule, the scenes and conversations reiterate the culture, politics, and viewpoints during the period that I found interesting.

~ Why Not ~
Although the book is loosely based on the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, Sarah is not a Biblical character. As a predictable read, it had the protagonist solving every issue, sometimes asking God for help.

~ Who ~
Author Afshar was born in Iran and moved to the United States as a teenager. Having written one other novel, this is the first in a series.

~ Wish ~
Including a timeline and list of characters was helpful; a map of the area during its Biblical era would be thoughtful.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a romantic fictional story with undertones of the Persian Empire during the time Nehemiah is a cupbearer, this one contains historical aspects. However, do keep in mind the rare position of a woman senior scribe is not portrayed in the Scriptures.

Thanks to Moody Publishers for offering this book to read and review for my honest opinion.

This review will be posted on the Moody Publishers, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, Godinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

Abraham and Sarah

Title: Abraham and Sarah
Author: Roberta Kells Dorr
Publisher: River North
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0957-7

“Don’t talk to me of the promise. It won’t come true. I know it won’t. It’s just like the land your God promised. It was dry and barren and full of those horrible flying things,” Sarah admonishes Abraham in Roberta Kells Dorr’s novel, Abraham and Isaac.

At two hundred and seventy-two pages, this historical Biblical fiction targets those looking for a reenactment of the life of Abraham from the Old Testament. With no profanity, the topics of physical abuse and war would be not apropos for immature readers. This reader wishes there was consistency in capitalizing pronouns of God for reverence.

Dorr often inserts dialogues and situations that may not be accurate to the Bible in regard to Hagar’s lineage, Abraham’s interceding of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction, and Isaac’s age during Abraham’s attempted sacrifice. Although fictitious characters and slightly changed circumstances are added to enhance the story, the theme of trusting in and obeying God known as Elohim and El Shaddai is pivotal.

Beginning the story of Abram and Sarai being half-siblings, the family lives in Ur where pagan idols supposedly control all things. When Sarai refuses to participate in ritualistic events, she is cursed by the high priestess to remain barren. Abram, ten years older, rescues her from shame by marrying her.

When the barbaric Elamites sack the city, the family flees and Abram is determined to search for a land the One True God has promised. However, the impatient, spoiled Sarai sees no fulfillment of promises, especially one that they will have as many decedents as the stars. She begs Abram to live in Egypt, where the pharaoh takes her as his concubine.

Lying twice to powerful men who want to marry his wife, Abram constantly prays to God for help while Sarai decides to take matters into her hands. Allowing Abram impregnate her maid, portrayed as pharaoh’s daughter, she feels her barrenness has been resolved.

Over time, God changes their names to Abraham and Sarah, predicting they will have a son, even though Sarah is old. When she does give birth to Isaac, her focus and love are directed to her son, not the promises Abraham has told her.

With the Biblical stories including Haran, Hagar, Ismael, Lot, Melchizedek, and Abimelech, details explain dove’s dong, khan, hadh, ergot, and camels eating aliek as Abraham learns to listen, trust, and obey the Creator.

Dorr’s style of writing reminds readers how important the Bible is and how God chose Abraham to be the father of His chosen people. It should be noted, however, the story wavers from the Word’s depiction.

Thanks to Moody Publishers for furnishing this book at no charge in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinion.

 

This review will be posted on Moody Press, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under Biography, Christian, Fiction

Joseph the Dreamer Sticker Book: Bible Story Sticker Book for Childre

Title: Joseph the Dreamer Sticker Book: Bible Story Sticker Book for Children
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-6156-3

“Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an assistant to the Pharaoh of Egypt. He began as Potiphar’s slave, but with God’s help, he was soon put in charge of all that Potiphar owned,” it states in Harvest House’s sticker book, Joseph the Dreamer: Bible Story Sticker Book for Children.

At twenty pages, this small paperback targets young children wanting to learn more about the interesting life of the Joseph from the Old Testament of the Bible. Having no listing of author or illustrator, the story and small pictures are easy to understand and decipher. The topic of supposed rape is mentioned simply as lies.

Having the same author and artist in the hardcover version, this storyline is shortened and several smaller scenes are per page. Thirty one to three inch stickers are inserted on one large page in the middle of the book and their locations in scenes are blocked out in solid colors, easy to detect.

Beginning with the account of Jacob and his sons, the father makes a colorful coat for his favorite child, Joseph. His brothers become jealous, especially when the boy tells them about his strange dreams that involve sheaves of grain and the moon, sun, and stars, predicting he will dominate them.

His mean brothers take his multi-colored coat and put him in a deep pit. Later they sell him into slavery, and he is taken to Egypt where Pharaoh’s wife lies about him. When he is thrown into prison, he interprets a wine steward and baker’s dreams. After being released from jail, he also explains Pharaoh’s two dreams of an upcoming famine.

When the food shortage hits, Joseph’s brothers visit for supplies and the well-respected man uses treachery to get his little brother to come to Egypt. Later when Joseph tells his family who he is, his father and relatives move to the new land to survive.

This is a fun sticker book to engage creative hand-on activities with children, promoting the Bible and its interesting stories by showing readers to trust in God. Hopefully, this is only the beginning to a scriptural sticker series that will introduce young artists to learn more about the Word. A larger, more detail hardcover book on Joseph’s life can also be purchased.

Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reviewer’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Harvest House, DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Filed under Childrens, Christian

Joseph the Dreamer: Amazing Stories from the Old Testament

Title: Joseph the Dreamer: Amazing Stories from the Old Testament
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-7369-6156-1

“Joseph had been sold to one of Pharaoh’s officials, a man named Potiphar, but God was still looking after him. Joseph was clever and hardworking, and soon Potiphar placed him in charge of this whole household,” it states in Harvest House’s children’s book, Joseph the Dreamer: Amazing Stories from the Old Testament.

At thirty-two pages, this over-sized hardcover targets young children wanting to learn more about the interesting life of the Joseph from the Old Testament of the Bible. Having no listing of author or illustrator, the story and pictures are easy to understand and decipher. The topic of supposed rape is handled innocuously for naive readers.

Beginning with the account of Jacob and his sons, the father makes a colorful coat for his favorite child, Joseph. His brothers become jealous, especially when the boy tells them about his strange dreams that involve sheaves of grain and the moon, sun, and stars, predicting he will dominate them.

His mean brothers take his multi-colored coat and put him in a deep pit. Later they sell him into slavery, and he is taken to Egypt where Pharaoh’s wife accuses him of taking advantage of her. When he is thrown into prison, he interprets a wine steward and baker’s dreams. After being released from jail, he also explains Pharaoh’s two dreams of an upcoming famine.

When the food shortage hits, Joseph’s brothers visit for supplies and the well-respected man uses treachery to get his little brother to come to Egypt. Later when Joseph tells his family who he is, his father and relatives move to the new land to survive.

With brightly colored drawings on a page and a half spread and the black-font wording against a white background on the right side, children will be captivated by the details and expressions in the illustrations. Even if one story at a time was viewed, there would be plenty to learn when read.

This is a wonderful book to read that promotes the Bible and its interesting stories, showing readers to trust in God. Hopefully, this is the beginning to a scriptural series that will engage and introduce young ones to learn more about the Word. A small corresponding sticker book on Joseph’s life can also be purchased.

Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reviewer’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on Harvest House, DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Childrens, Christian

Following God – Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors

Title: Following God – Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors
Author: Mary Englund Murphy
Publisher: AMG Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-89957-333-5

“Put aside your preconceived ideas and see Joseph’s life through his eyes – the lonely little boy ignored by his brothers, yet coddled by his parents …. Most of all, identify your own lives with his as we learn to live a life of grace and forgiveness,” Mary Englund Murphy writes in the preface of her book, Following God – Joseph: Beyond the Coat of Many Colors.

At two hundred and eight pages, this over-sized paperback book is part of the Following God Character Series by the author, targeted toward those interested in an in-depth eight-week Bible study on Joseph from the Old Testament. Referencing mainly the New American Standard Bible, the NKJV, NIV, and KJV are also used.

After the author’s biography, information regarding the series, and a preface, there are eight chapters surrounding the life of Joseph. Each chapter is in workbook format, beginning with Bible commentary that covers five days on the topic. As a hands-on study, there are reading assignments, fill-in the blank answers, charts, and “apply” icons for personal reflection along with a prayer at the end of the chapter. Red highlighted Bible verses, tidbits, and statements are side-lined on almost every page.

With the first chapter about Joseph’s lineage, starting with Abraham and Sarah, the reader is taken through the young boy’s life living with a blended family, being ignored, thrown into a pit, sold in to slavery, rising the ranks in Potiphar’s household, sent to prison for supposedly raping Potiphar’s wife, explaining dreams, and reconnecting with his brothers and father.

Discussing other Biblical characters such as Joseph’s prior family members lying about their spouses along with David sinning with Bathsheba, often the writer mentions her own upbringing, family issues, and personal struggles trying to correlate it to the day’s theme.

With an undertone about family and names throughout the study, the reader is reminded how Joseph rose above family conflicts, dynamics, and disappointments while trusting God for direction, guidance, and restoration.

For those who have never studied who this Old Testament character was and how God placed him exactly where He wanted to be throughout his life, this is a worthwhile study for group or individual application. Murphy’s personal insights show her devotion to God as she delves into the life of Joseph.

This book was furnished by The Book Club Network Inc. in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

This review will be posted on BCNI, DeeperShopping, Bookpleasures, and Amazon with links on Bookfun, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Christian

The Power of the Prophetic Blessing

The Power of the Prophetic Blessing

Title: The Power of the Prophetic Blessing
Author: John Hagee
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61795-077-3

The saying “everything happens for a reason” rings true in John Hagee’s book, The Power of Prophetic Blessing, because he firmly believes God has ordained all things have and will happen for specific reasons.

This three hundred page hard bound book has front jacket cover of what appears to be the Ark of the Covenant slightly opened with light beaming from it into a starry night. The back has two paragraphs about the book. The inside flap jacket has four more paragraphs about the contents along with a short biography and photograph of the author. There are bolded “Think on This” sentences to reiterate specific topics spread throughout the chapters. Also included are seven pages of bibliography notes along with four blank pages to write observations. There were no grammar, punctuation or spelling errors noticed.

The book is geared for those who already have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and believe prophetic blessings can still be invoked today. For those questioning their own eternity, the plan of salvation is also included.

The first two sections of this book researches the word “bless, blessed and blessing” in the Bible, referencing mainly in the Old Testament through the Gospels to its use, format, and reasoning. It starts its study in Genesis when God blessed Adam and Eve, describes Esau and Jacob’ opposite blessings, dissects Abraham’s covenant blessing and his ten godly testings, and explains the nations who protected or wanted to destroy Israel during the Old Testament times to date. This educational tool expounds on the twelve tribes of Israel, each of their detailed Jewish blessings and where they are today in relationship to those blessings. The author moves into the New Testament blessings of Jesus, examining the future kingdom blessings of the Beatitudes, applying it to our daily lives.

Hagee shows that in the Old Testament, the blessing was given by someone with spiritual authority, by standing, arms uplifted and done in the name of the Lord, face-to-face with a loud voice to be believed and received by the person being blessed. However, the book does not consider that some of these elements were missing in the Beatitudes nor mentions in Acts where, after the laying on hands, the Holy Spirit is sent to be our Intercessor.

The last third of the book concludes Hagee’s beliefs that prophetic blessings can be utilized yet does not emphasis the Holy Spirit’s role or the power of prayer in our age of grace. Besides telling some of his own personal blessings of his family and offspring, he includes easy-to-read blessings to help others start giving blessings on their own.

By knowing prophetic blessings are of Biblical Jewish tradition and we have no true prophets today, this is a resourceful book to learn about the word “bless” in the first two thirds of the Bible. Although some debate that prophetic blessings only occurred before the Holy Spirit came and are not needed today, the book challenges the reader to see the true power of God when He blesses mankind, both in viewing past and present history and how He transforms our lives with authority and sovereignty.

This book was furnished by the publicist in exchange for the reader’s honest opinion.

This review is also posted on http://www.bookpleasures.com and http://www.amazon.com

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Non-Fiction