Friday, December 20, 2013

"The Key to the Middle East" by Derek Prince

Derek Prince shines a unique light on the Middle East in this book where current events and the Bible collide.  As a soldier in the British army, Prince was actually in Jerusalem and lived through the birth of the Jewish State, the Six Day War, and several other prominent events in the history of Israel.  There is even a section in the back of the book chronicling many of these events.  Did I mention that Prince has a history degree?  That helps.  Another great section at the back of the book is a guide encouraging readers to visit Israel and support the Jewish people.  The meat of this book involves Prince detailing specific events in the Middle East and pairing them with Bible passages.  While I do not necessarily agree with every "Bible connection" he makes, it does make for an interesting read and some great food for thought.  Prince is also brutally honest, speaking out on how his native land of Britain was not always the best to the Jewish people.  He also tackles the history of antisemitism in the Church.  For those that are unfamiliar to the Middle East, there is a section towards the front of the book that serves as a quick introduction of the countries in the Middle East and why newscasters all around the world are constantly focusing on Israel.  There is also an emphasis on praying for the peace of Jerusalem, which is nice and oh so important in this tumultuous time.    

"Dateline Jerusalem" by Chris Mitchell

Filled with fast-faced journalistic detail and current events, this book cues readers in to what is going on in Jerusalem.  History from years gone by and our current era are included.  Informal interviews with natives of the Middle East are included.  Mitchell mentions the conflict that there is over the infamous Holy Land.  Having physically been to Jerusalem, Mitchell tells stories of not only what happened but how he felt spiritually.  He mentions the phenomenon where Muslims today are having dreams of a man clothed in white light telling them that He is Jesus and to follow Him.  In terms of religion, Mitchell also quotes Muslim leaders and shines the light on what fundamentalist Islam is all about.  Readers shock in horror as they read quotes from terrorist leaders extolling people to murder Jews and wipe Israel off the map.  This book is difficult to read at times--not difficult in a scholarly sense, but difficult in an emotional sense.  Mitchell does not sugarcoat the situation in Israel but rather gives readers an honest account of this highly debated over piece of land.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Pilgrimage" by Lynn Austin

Beautifully written and wonderfully descriptive, this book follows the author's journey through Jerusalem.  We see the sights she sees, hear the sounds she hears, smell the smells she smells.  Spiritual analogies are made as Austin makes new discoveries in Israel.  Quotes from both the New and Old Testament are brought to life as historical and geographical context are put in their proper place.  Additionally, the culture of the Jewish people come out as Austin describes the Weeping Wall, the communal Sabbath, traditional dress, and much more.  There are hand drawings interspersed throughout the book.  However, the pictures do not always line up with what is being discussed in the same few pages surrounding the picture.  One thing missing is photographs, which would have surely made the book stand out more.    

Friday, December 13, 2013

“Take Flight: A Sisterchicks Devotional” by Robin Jones Gunn and Cindy Hannan

“Take Flight: A Sisterchicks Devotional” by Robin Jones Gunn and Cindy Hannan is a fun and enjoyable gift book.  The chapters—if you could even call them that—are very short and not more than a few pages.  With quotes and pictures and nice large font, this book is great for women on the go who don’t have too much free time on their hands.  There are Bible verses referenced every so often, and the book does carry a Christian undertone.  However, this book could be read by anyone.  It isn’t so much of a devotional in the sense of being a deep study tool.  Still, it’s a nice book for women who want to quiet time to themselves.  The blue font, crisp pages, and color hardcover binding are all added plusses.  There are quotes from other Sisterchicks series books in this book.  Whether you see this as the authors merely using what they have or trying to push their other books is up to you.  Irregardless, with this book, you will share in the authors’ stories of happiness, sadness, hope, travel, imagination, and more.