Thursday, February 14, 2013

"A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days" by Jonathan Bernis

This book got my attention right away.  While I would have read a book by any Jew, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized this author was a Messianic Jew.  That is, he believes in Yeshua as the Messiah.  What this book focuses on is how a key sign of the end times will be Jews coming to accept Yeshua as Messiah.  Bernis goes over the Scripture explaining this and puts in some excellent bits of history to back up his points.  What I like is how there is a small section of Messianic prophecies from the Tanach (Old Testament) and how the Jewish Feasts (from Leviticus 23) all relate to / point to Yeshua.  While this book mentioned "making Jews jealous" as per Romans 11, it doesn't really encourage readers to try and be more Torah-observant.  One part of the book even seems to suggest that believers don't need to follow the Torah, but then another part says we will naturally follow it through the Holy Spirit.  There was some confusion there.  But, either way, I could see a love for the Jewish people in this book.  One criticism I have is a part that talks about where to donate money for supporting Jews.  In one part of the book, I got the impression that readers were told not to donate to Israeli orphanages where leaders did not want to preach the Gospel but to rather give money to outreach groups that seek to evangelize in Israel.  While I agree evangelism is great, evangelists do not need money.  Orphans--of all faiths--need money.  The truly poor and destitute are to whom money should be going to--in my opinion--and not just evangelists in Israel.  That aside, this book does have a lot of good information.  It gets a bit redundant and repetitive at times, but it's an interesting read.  This is just a side note, but why is the word "rabbi" on this book?  Matthew 23:8 anyone?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Rebekah" by Jill Eileen Smith

This book follows the story of Rebekah, the wife of Isaac in Genesis of the Bible.  The book had a good pace to it, and it help my attention.  Some parts held my attention more than others, but--overall--I enjoyed the book.  There were some things in the book I did not think were super accurate, but Smith covered her bases.  At the end of the book, she had a note about how she may not have everything 100% correct since Genesis gives only a little bit of information to go off of.  So, at least she admits she took literary freedom when writing the story.  Also, I wished there was some mention of YHWH.  Adonay is used, and, in one part of the book, it is confused with "the Name," which isn't super accurate.  Adonay is just a title that means Lord and is not G-d's Name.  That aside, what I really enjoyed about this book was how it weaved emotion and family drama into the Biblical account.  When Rebekah marries Isaac, she learns of his binding that forever changed his life and strained his parents' relationship.  We also get a lot of cultural aspects in the book that make it more believable--as if you are in the Middle East thousands of years ago.  You feel transported to another world.  For Rebekah, we see through her eyes are a foreign king dotes over her when Isaac claims she is just his sister.  I could go on, but, long story short, this book covers WAY more than just the story of Rebekah drawing water for Isaac's servant.  It covers a broad range of Bible history, with characters thrown in.  I hope Smith writes a book about Rachel or Leah.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Wings of Glass" by Gina Holmes

When I heard about this book, I immediately wanted to read it.  I had read plenty of Christian fiction and drama about happily-ever-afters.  I wanted a story that had more depth to it.  And this book delivered.  It jumps right into the story of Penny and her abusive husband Trent.  At first I was a bit disappointed that only a chapter or two was given for how they met and how Trent wooed Penny.  But, then again, maybe it was best that those details were spared.  Writing them could have been too disturbing or sound too scripted.  Anyway, the story of Penny and Trent is a twisted one.  While there is some abuse in the book, it is not graphic.  So, you will sympathize with Penny but not feel too shaken that you want to put the book down.  The fact that Penny and Trent aren't very "well-to-do" gives this book an added flavor.  When a child enters the picture, the story takes many different turns.  The friendship between Penny and her co-workers seems genuine and realistic.  There is an intertwining of lives in the book.  In this book, you will see the verbal abuse, isolation, excuses, and much more.  I highly recommend this book to any and every woman.