My Mother The Man-Eater Reviewed

Thursday, March 31, 2011



What's a girl to do? Joleen Allen is on the hunt. For a man, that is. Unfortunately, every time the mother of five meets a prospect, he falls for one of her daughters instead!
Meanwhile, her ex-husband, Harold, is back in the picture after a stint in prison, and he's looking for revenge. He'll do anything to see Joleen's reputation and her relationship with their children ruined. Harold has devised an elaborate plan to slander Joleen and ruin her financially, and will stop at nothing-even murder-to see it through.
At forty-four, Joleen has seen a thing or two. She became a mother at sixteen, and her five highly independent children are now grown. Jasmine is a successful ad executive, but has a drinking problem. Jill is a tough cop, while middle child, Jennifer, surprises them all with her tenacity. Jinger is a self-centered glamour girl, and the baby of the family, Jade, is utterly spoiled.
All the interesting men they meet get tossed around by this pack of barracudas. Adding to the mix are some drug deals, a kidnapping, insurance fraud, and secrets from the past, making life very complicated, indeed.
With grit, humor, action, intrigue and romance, My Mother the Man-Eater is a redemptive story about a woman whose search for meaning in life sends her straight into...the arms of God.

My Thoughts:
This was quite the entertaining book. You have a 40 something, mom, Joleen who is on the hunt for another man, yet every time she finds one he gets interested in her daughters. This leads to lots of drama and fun. If that isn't bad enough her ex-husband is out of prison and bent on ruining her relationship with her daughters. The book is full of action, suspense and romance. Let the hunt begin!

Preview: Wolves Among Us

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wolves Among Us
David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2011)
by
Ginger Garrett




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Ginger Garrett is the author of the Chronicles of the Scribes series (In the Shadow of Lions, In the Arms of Immortals, In the Eyes of Eternity), Dark Hour, and Beauty Secrets of the Bible. Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA.



Focusing on ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. A frequent media guest and television host, Ginger has been interviewed by Fox News, Billy Graham's The Hour of Decision, The Harvest Show, 104.7 The Fish Atlanta, and many other outlets.



A graduate of Southern Methodist University with a degree in Theater, she is passionate about creating art from history. Ginger resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.



ABOUT THE BOOK



This richly imagined tale takes readers to a tiny German town in the time of “the burnings,” when pious and heretic alike became victims of witch-hunting zealots. When a double murder stirs up festering fears, the village priest sends for help. But the charismatic Inquisitor who answers the call brings a deadly mix of spiritual fervor and self-deceptive evil. Under his influence, village fear, guilt, and suspicion of women take a deadly turn. In the midst of this nightmare, a doubting priest and an unloved wife—a secret friend of the recently martyred William Tyndale—somehow manage to hear another Voice…and discover the power of love over fear.



Dinfoil, Germany, 1538. In a little town on the edge of the Black Forest, a double murder stirs up festering fears. A lonely woman despairs of pleasing her husband and wonders why other women shun her. An overworked sheriff struggles to hold the town—and himself—together. A priest begins to doubt the power of the words he shares daily with his flock. And the charismatic Inquisitor who arrives to help—with a filthy witch in a cage as an object lesson—brings his own mix of lofty ideals and treacherous evil. Under his influence, ordinary village fears and resentments take a deadly turn. Terror mounts. Dark deeds come to light. And men and women alike discover not only what they are capable of, but who they are…and what it means to grapple for grace.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Wolves Among Us, go HERE

Ice Princess - Reviewed

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



Description: In this electrifying tale of suspense from an international crime-writing sensation, a grisly death exposes the dark heart of a Scandinavian seaside village. Erica Falck returns to her tiny, remote hometown of FjÄllbacka, Sweden, after her parents' deaths only to encounter another tragedy: the suicide of her childhood best friend, Alex. It's Erica herself who finds Alex's body—suspended in a bathtub of frozen water, her wrists slashed. Erica is bewildered: Why would a beautiful woman who had it all take her own life? Teaming up with police detective Patrik HedstrÖm, Erica begins to uncover shocking events from Alex's childhood. As one horrifying fact after another comes to light, Erica and Patrik's curiosity gives way to obsession—and their flirtation grows into uncontrollable attraction. But it's not long before one thing becomes very clear: a deadly secret is at stake, and there's someone out there who will do anything—even commit murder—to protect it.

My Thoughts: This begins a new series by Camilla Lackberg who is the #1 crime writer in Sweden, whose books have just recently been translated into English. The books are set in the small town of Fjallbacka, where Camilla grew up. The book begins with the death of her parents and she returns to her hometown to clean out her childhood home. If that wasn't bad enough her best friend commits suicide. As she works with the police detective to try and figure out why Alex committed suicide, more and more events from her childhood come to light. The two begin to flirt with one another an attraction grows. A great suspense, edge of your seat read!

The Revenge of The Radioactive Lady Reviewed

Monday, March 28, 2011



Description: Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.

Marylou has been plotting her revenge for fifty years. When she accidentally discovers his whereabouts in Florida, her plans finally snap into action. She high tails it to hot and humid Tallahassee, moves in down the block from where a now senile Spriggs lives with his daughter’s family, and begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into their lives. But she has no idea what a nest of yellow jackets she is stum­bling into.

Before the novel is through, someone will be kidnapped, an unlikely couple will get engaged, someone will nearly die from eating a pineapple upside-down cake laced with anti-freeze, and that’s not all . . .

Told from the varied perspectives of an incredible cast of endearing oddball characters and written with the flair of a native Floridian, this dark comedy does not disappoint.

My Thoughts: This book is laugh out loud funny. Marylou was pregnant in the 50's, she was a patient of William Spriggs. He gave her a radioactive cocktail without her permission as part of an experiment. She thought she was taking vitamins . . . she found out that was not what she was taking. His experiment took the life of her only child Helen. Marylou tracks William down only to find that he is suffering from memory loss . . that just adds to the quirkiness and hilarity of this novel. This is definitely a must read!

Spring Reading Thing




For the Spring Reading Thing I will try to read the following books:

Non-Fiction






Fiction







Preview: False Pretenses

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
False Pretenses
David C. Cook (March 1, 2011)
by
Kathy Herman




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.



She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.



Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.



Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown. She owns a thriving Cajun eatery in South Louisiana and is married to the love of her life.



But it’s about to become hell. One day, out of the blue, she receives a series of anonymous notes that sends her life into a tail spin. Five simple words, “I know what you did.” Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Zoe’s husband, Pierce, she has a past—a past she had covered so well she never thought she would have to confront. How could anyone know what she did? Can she find the courage to face her past?



If you would like to read the first chapter of False Pretenses, go HERE.

Love Wins - Rob Bell

Friday, March 25, 2011








This new book by Pastor Rob Bell is causing lots of controversy among Christians everywhere. Well . . if you know me well, I love this stuff! BRING IT ON! I am not one to shy away from controversy! I was introduced to Rob Bell when I moved to Idaho and went to the single's Sunday School class. They were watching his NOOMA video series.
Some will say Rob has embraced universalism theology because of this book . . . I say GIVE ME A BREAK! I am so incredibly sick and tired people PLAYING GOD! The last time I checked GOD IS GOD! He decides who will go to Heaven and who will go to Hell. Jesus is the bridging gap, which is true. Are they willing to look into their Bibles and see that Christ disliked with a passion the religious leaders of the day. Yet our western churches have become that. We have so many THEOLOGIES a person could get lost. Christ came about a relationship that is so personal for each individual - when we step out of line we know it in our spirit. I don't believe the churches of our day is what Christ envisioned when he hung on the cross 2,000+ yrs ago. I believe within my spirit the Acts church that he told Peter he'd build his church on was what he envisioned. A church where everyone gave of themselves to help their neighbor, went out and fed the poor, took care of the widows and orphans, if our churches were like that today we'd be so full of the lost we couldn't contain them. Our own spirits would be so overflowing with joy it would be contagious.
Rob Bell's book is the least of our worries! He's hit a nerve because no one wants to take a real look at themselves or the church they attend. Self-reflection is a hard thing. I challenge you to give this book a chance. Rob isn't wanting to be the deciding VOTE, he's wanting to get us to think about what's going on in our world today . . . the question is will you?

Passport Through Darkness




As she shares her extraordinary stories of fighting human trafficking as an ordinary mom, Kimberly Smith offers hope for readers who wonder if God is calling them to greater things.

Passport Through Darkness takes readers on Smith’s journey from normal family life and business, to Europe, to the deserts of Africa and ultimately, to the deserts of her own soul as she tries to live well as an imperfect American mom, crusade for justice for orphans around the world, and embrace God’s extraordinary dreams for her. When Kimberly and her husband risk everything to answer God’s call, they see God change and restore them—even amid exhaustion, marital struggles, and physical limitations.

This heartbreaking, heartlifting book is for anyone who longs to see God move their life from normal to one that matters. It is a call to readers to take one more step on their journey to know God’s heart.

There have been a lot of books lately about human trafficking. They just break your heart. This is another one. This is a true, and personal story that will grip your heart. Recommend!

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I am going to give away two books from my own personal collection.

1. A Woman Named Sage



They took away everything she loved ... now, she's out for revenge. Sage Morrow had it all: life on a beautiful Colorado ranch, a husband who adored her, and a baby on the way. Until five ruthless gunmen rode up to their ranch and changed her life forever. Now Sage is a bounty hunter bent on retribution. Accompanied only by her majestic hawk, she travels throughout the Rocky Mountains in search of injustice, determined to stamp it out wherever it's found. The stakes are raised when two young boys are kidnapped and Sage is forced to work with Marshall Parker Timmons to rescue them. But Sage may ultimately get more than she bargained for. In this exciting historical romance set in the late 1800s, murder, intrigue, kidnapping, and questions of faith will keep you in suspense until the final pages.

2. Words

"I collect words.

I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can't take them."

Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn't speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.

Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter's death, Sierra's control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.

To enter you must be a follower of my blog. For this giveaway you must in your entry tell me which book you are wanting. You will receive an extra entry for tweeting, and blogging about this - leave a separate entry for each. This will start today, Thursday March 24th and I will draw the winner on Friday, April 15th. Good Luck!!!!

Vicious Cycle

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Vicious Cycle
Zondervan (February 22, 2011)
by
Terri Blackstock




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.



Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope. Vicious Cycle, Book Two of the Intervention Series, releases February 22, 2011. She’s currently working on Book Three.



Other recent books include a stand-alone novel called Double Minds, as well as Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light (from her acclaimed Restoration Series). She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 Series and Cape Refuge Series. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.

Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.







ABOUT THE BOOK



When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.



His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.



In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Vicious Cycle, go HERE.



Watch the Book Video:






I am in the midst of this book right now and I can tell you that Terri has written a book that encompasses the vicious cycle of abuse, and drug addiction. I would recommend this book to any parent of a pre-teen, teen, or college age student. Our kids are up against so much that we need to be keenly aware of what's going on. A MUST READ!!!!

Preview: The Invisible World

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities That Surround Us

Doubleday Religion (March 15, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Anthony DeStefano, a best-selling author and businessman, was raised in New York City where he attended Stuyvesant High School. He graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s University in Staten Island with a degree in Philosophy/Theology and went on to start a successful chain of electronics retail stores in New York. At the same time, he also began his writing career, writing a regular op-ed column for the Staten Island Advance.

While his business success grew, so did his love and skill for writing. In 2003, DeStefano’s first book, A Travel Guide to Heaven, was published. First released by Doubleday, the book became a bestseller and went on to be published in 16 languages and released by Random House Audio, Transworld Publishers in the United Kingdom, as well as major publishing houses in Europe, Asia, and South America. Four years later, Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To was published by Doubleday, and, in 2010, This Little Prayer of Mine and Little Star, DeStefano’s highly acclaimed children’s books, were published by WaterBrook Multnomah.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The mystery of a spiritual world has intrigued us for ages. Is there a reality that exists beyond the senses? And can an invisible spiritual world actually become visible? Best-selling author Anthony DeStefano answers yes with certainty. The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities That Surround Us explores the existence and meaning of this unseen, yet very real world.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Religion (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385522231
ISBN-13: 978-0385522236



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The Haunt Detector

Everybody has one. The Reverend Frank Pavone used to call it the Haunt Detector. What is it?


Very simply, it’s the little alarm that goes off in our heads whenever we detect that something mysterious or supernatural has occurred. Science fiction and horror writers have referred

to it by other names— the sixth sense, the shining. But for some reason, I’ve always liked “haunt detector” best.


We actually have all kinds of “detecting” mechanisms built into our nervous systems. They don’t have fancy scientific names, but they exist nonetheless. For instance, we all have “lie detectors.” When someone who’s not very slick tries to scam us, we’re usually able to tell just from their body language and their voice. We all have “love detectors.” We can just feel it in our bones when someone has deep feelings of attachment for us—or when they don’t. We all have “right and wrong” detectors—better known as consciences. When we do something not quite right, we know it because we feel an unmistakable pang of guilt. And, of course, we all have “sex detectors,” which let us know pretty quickly when we’re physically attracted to another person.


Well, we all have “haunt detectors,” too. And they let us know whenever something especially eerie or out of the ordinary is happening around us. You know the kind of thing. You could be

sitting around relaxing one day at home, and for no special reason you start thinking about someone. Maybe you haven’t thought about this particular person in years. Then the phone

rings; you pick it up, and, amazingly, it’s that person! Many of us have experienced this phenomenon. What is it?


I’ll never forget something that happened to my mother many years ago. It was the middle of the night and she was sleeping soundly. Suddenly she woke up and bolted upright in bed. She had heard the sound of her own mother’s voice calling out to her in a thick Italian accent: “Laura, Laura, help me.” My mother was startled and her heart was racing; she had clearly heard her name spoken. But it couldn’t be her mother calling; she lived on the other side of Brooklyn, and it was so late. My mother thought that perhaps it was just a bad dream so she went back to sleep. But the next morning she received a phone call from the hospital. Her mother had gotten up to go to the bathroom during the night and had fallen. She was in the hospital with a broken hip. For hours she had been on the floor, moaning for help. How in the world did my mother hear her?

Was it just a coincidence?


Then there are stories that are totally unexplainable. I read a newspaper account a few years ago about a four-year-old girl in upstate New York who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The whole community had been praying fervently for her. All the churches in the neighborhood—Lutheran, Evangelical, Catholic—were all united in prayer that a miracle would take place. The little girl had been through so much: she’d had more than twenty MRIs, and it was decided that the only remaining course of action was brain surgery. She wasn’t even expected to make it through the operation, but it was the only chance she had. The day of the surgery her head was shaved, her blood was taken, she was hooked up to all kinds of machines, and the team of doctors scrubbed and put on their surgical gowns. One final MRI had to be done to determine the exact location of the tumor. Just before the child was wheeled into the testing room, a sweet, pretty young nurse came in and took her hand. She told the little girl not to worry because she was “all better,” that God had “cured” her and that she would be going home soon. The little girl later said that the nurse was so nice to her and so “beautiful” that she felt all warm and peaceful inside.


When the MRI was taken, the lab technicians gasped in disbelief. No matter how hard they searched, they couldn’t locate the tumor. They took more tests, but the results were the same. The tumor was gone. No surgery was performed that day—or any day—because there was nothing to operate on. The little girl was completely healed. What happened? And who was the mysterious woman who came in and told the girl she was cured? None of the other nurses could identify her and no one ever saw her again. Was she an angel, as some in the little girl’s family believed? No one knows for sure. But everyone, from the doctors to the lab technicians to the parents to the people in the community, was aware that something incredible had taken place. Everyone’s haunt detectors went off at once.


Of course, not all mysterious experiences are as strange as this. A person’s haunt detector can begin registering at any time. You can be listening to a powerful piece of music or watching a spectacular sunset; reading a particularly moving piece of literature or worshipping at church. You can be embracing the person you love most in the world or sitting in your home, cozy and warm by the fire. Or you can just be walking down the street thinking about all the things in your life that have brought you to where you are. You can be doing any of these things, and out of nowhere a tingle will suddenly run up your spine, telling you that something more is going on than meets the eye. Something that transcends understanding.


What is it? No one really knows. But it invariably triggers a feeling deep in your soul— a feeling of desire, of yearning, of hope; hope that there is something special about life; that there is some hidden meaning and purpose to all the suffering we have to go through; that there is something beyond science, beyond the senses—something totally invisible yet totally real. In Latin, the experience is called mysterium tremendum et fascinans. And our haunt detectors can sense it.


Of course, we have to be careful when trying to discern the meaning of such feelings and phenomena. Spiritual people are sometimes too quick to attribute the cause of strange occurrences to God; they’re too hasty in coming to the conclusion that just because something seems unexplainable it must have a divine or supernatural origin. That simply isn’t the case. Many amazing things that happen in this world aren’t “miraculous” at all. It’s a fact, for example, that human beings have all kinds of natural abilities that are untapped; abilities that are only now being identified and studied by science. We’ve all heard about mothers and fathers who display superhuman strength when trying to rescue their children from harm. We’ve all seen examples of people with severe learning disabilities who are able to sit down at a piano without any formal training and play the most complicated pieces of classical music. The human brain is

an incredible organ and has many powers that still aren’t fully understood. Because of this, it’s extremely difficult for us to tell what’s natural, what’s supernatural, what’s legitimately from

God, what’s from the devil, and what’s just plain old human imagination. Practically everything that happens in life is subject to misinterpretation. That’s why it’s so dangerous to become fixated on the supernatural. Too often it leads to superstition or belief in the occult or false spirituality or even—in extreme cases—insanity.



We just can’t afford to make blind assumptions. We have to seek the expert guidance of doctors, psychologists, scientists, theologians, and church leaders. But neither can we dismiss all these remarkable experiences as mere fantasy. And that’s what many people do today. Not only do they reject what’s fanciful and frivolous— they reject everything. They throw the baby out

with the bathwater. They claim that there is no reality other than the reality of the senses, the reality of the material world. In many ways this is an even greater mistake. After all, it’s one

thing to be cautious and discerning when it comes to spiritual matters; it’s quite another to deny the existence of the spiritual realm altogether.


If we do that, we risk falling into what has been called the “superstition of materialism,” the myth that this world is made up of physical objects and nothing else; that everything in life—our thoughts, our emotions, our hopes, our ambitions, our passions, our memories, our philosophies, our politics, our beliefs in God and salvation and damnation—that all of this is purely the result of biochemical reactions and the movement of molecules in our brain. What nonsense!


We can’t reduce the whole of reality to what our senses tell us for the simple reason that our senses are notorious for lying to us. Our senses tell us that the world is fl at, yet it’s not. Our

senses tell us that the world is chaotic, yet we know that on both a micro and a macro level, it’s incredibly organized. Our senses tell us that we’re stationary, yet we’re really moving at

dizzying speeds. Right now, for instance, you’re sitting down quietly reading this book; but did you know that you’re actually traveling at twenty thousand miles per hour? That’s the rate at which the earth and the entire galaxy are racing through space. Can you feel or see that motion in any way? Of course not. It’s completely invisible to your senses. In fact, the only reason that you’re not physically hurled into orbit right now is because another invisible force—gravity—is holding you in place. There are all kinds of unseen forces and laws that govern the universe. They’re all invisible—and they’re all very real.


The most important things in life can’t be seen with the eyes. Ideas can’t be seen. Love can’t be seen. Honor can’t be seen. This isn’t a new concept. Judaism and Christianity and Islam and Buddhism and Taoism have all taught for thousands of years that the highest forms of reality are invisible. God is invisible, and he created the universe. Our souls are invisible, and they give life to our bodies. Angels are invisible, and they’re the most powerful of God’s creatures.


Are these unseen realities difficult for us to grasp? Of course. When the alarm clock goes off in the morning and we stumble out of bed to shower and dress and go to work, it’s hard for us to focus on anything so intangible as the spiritual realm. After all, how can we hope to find an invisible God when we sometimes have trouble finding the milk in the refrigerator when it’s staring us right in the face? C. S. Lewis said that human beings find it almost impossible to “believe in the unfamiliar while the familiar is before their eyes.” One of the great psychological obstacles to having a strong faith is the very “ordinariness” of life.


In the first chapter of The Screwtape Letters, Lewis writes about the diabolical strategy that an invisible demon uses on an old, hardened atheist. The atheist, for the first time in his life, is

starting to ask himself questions about the existence of God. The demon naturally wants to prevent this. But rather than waste his time arguing with the man about theology, the demon

plants the suggestion in the atheist’s mind to go out and have some lunch. Once in the street, the atheist sees the newspaper boy and the taxis going by and a thousand other small details. With that healthy dose of “real life” he doesn’t even bother continuing his search for God. After all, in light of all those clear, crisp, ordinary realities, how could there be any such nebulous thing as metaphysical truth?


We face the same danger. Because we’re so familiar with desks and chairs and pots and pans and cell phones and video games, it can be a real challenge for us to think about spiritual matters. Our haunt detectors can become so dulled and rusty from disuse that they hardly register any kind of invisible activity except the most extraordinary. The end result is that, although we may not become full-fledged atheists, we can actually begin behaving as if we were. Without even realizing it, a giant gap can form between what we profess to believe and how we go about acting in our everyday lives.


We all know how true this is. We say we believe in the Bible and the moral law, but then we have trouble going even a few weeks without breaking most of the Ten Commandments. We

say we believe in the power of prayer and God’s grace, but few of us actually turn to God unless we’re in some sort of a jam. We act this way partly because of human nature. But it’s also because the temptations we face seem so real, while the world of the spirit seems so hazy and unreal by comparison. In this hedonistic society of ours, in which we’re confronted every day

by thousands of images designed to appeal to our sensual appetites, it’s very easy to be seduced. When a woman who loves chocolate passes a Godiva shop and sees a window full of delicious

truffles, caramels, and other assorted treats, it’s hard for her to consider the spiritual value of fasting or the Christian belief that the body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” When a man with a healthy libido strolls down the streets of lower Manhattan on a sultry summer afternoon and is confronted by a parade of sexy, scantily clad women, it’s tough for him to think about formless beings like angels. What are visible to him at that moment—the shapely forms enticing his senses—are just too much for him to resist. The spiritual world doesn’t seem to stand a chance.


And that’s where this book comes in. What I’d like to do in the following pages is attempt to render that spiritual world a bit more clearly for you. I’d like to try to make the invisible realities

that surround us just a little more visible. My hope is that, by doing this, these realities won’t seem so unfamiliar in the future. And the more familiar they are, the easier it will be to understand them and to have absolute faith in their existence. Once you’re armed with that kind of certitude, three things will naturally happen: (1) It will be easier for you to act in sync with your moral beliefs; (2) your life will be much fuller, richer, and more exciting than you ever imagined possible; and (3) no amount of suffering—physical, mental, or emotional—will ever be able to destroy the profound inner sense of peace that you’ll experience on a daily basis.


Big promises, I know. But that’s how important this subject is.


So how does one go about making the invisible visible? Well, as I said, there’s an extraordinarily rich theology from which we can draw. The traditional Judeo- Christian view of the invisible

world has been largely displaced by a kind of fortune cookie philosophy of life that’s neither truly believable nor truly remarkable. Just browse through the New Age section of your local bookstore and you’ll see what I mean. This book is not going to be like that. It’s not going to be about vampires or gremlins or ghosts or leprechauns or psychics or poltergeists or palm readers or UFOs or fairies or the “Force.” This book is about reality— cold, hard reality.


In fact, one of the great things about the invisible realm is that you don’t have to be a “religious fanatic” or the follower of some cult to believe in it. You can be a level- headed pragmatist.

You can be a realist. You can even be a cynic. You certainly don’t have to check your brains at the door before entering this world. And you don’t have to be afraid that deep thinking is going to nullify what you learn there. Indeed, everything we’re going to talk about in this book is based on solid theology, informed by common sense and logic, and backed up by biblical scholarship and the universal teaching of the Christian church over the past two thousand years.


No less a genius than Albert Einstein once said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience in life is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: for his eyes are closed.”


Too many people go through life today with their eyes closed. They miss out on the mysterious because they’re so fixated on what they can see and smell and touch and taste and hear. They’re so steeped in the “superstition of materialism” that they’re totally blind to the existence of another world—a world that is radically different from the one they’re familiar with, but a world nonetheless.


What kind of world is it? I’ve said that this book is not about make- believe; it’s not going to be some kind of Peter Pan–style fairy tale. Yet I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that the hidden world God has created for us is more marvelous and exciting than a thousand Neverlands. It’s a world filled with miracles, a world in which all the actions you take and decisions you make have spiritual consequences—consequences that affect the lives of millions of human beings. A world in which the men and women you meet on the street are never “ordinary”—because they all have immortal, everlasting souls and are destined to be either saints in Heaven or the damned of hell. A world in which a deadly, invisible, and diabolical war has been raging for eons—a war infinitely more terrifying than any started by Hitler, Stalin, or Osama bin Laden. A world where the highest values are completely opposite those of our secular society—where weakness equals strength, sacrifice equals salvation, and suffering equals unlimited power. Finally, it’s a world in which you’re never really alone, for even when you’re by yourself watching TV or reading

a book, taking a walk or sitting at the table having breakfast, you have company— because you’re surrounded by angels. Let’s try for a few minutes to “see” this incredible world. Not

with the eyes in your head, but with the eyes in your soul. All you really have to do is take a deep breath, shake off the stresses and cares that normally consume you, find a place where you

can concentrate in quiet stillness, and do your best to keep an open mind. For just a little while, follow the biblical injunction to “walk by faith and not by sight.”


And if—as you’re reading—you happen to feel a tingle up your spine or experience the eerie sensation that something beyond your comprehension is taking place, don’t get alarmed. It’s

just your haunt detector going off—telling you that the veil that has covered God’s hidden creation from time immemorial is being pulled back ever so slightly, allowing you a chance to peek inside.


Don’t be afraid to look. Believe me—you’ll be amazed by what you see.

Preview: Nine Days In Heaven

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card authors are:


and the book:


Nine Days in Heaven, A True Story

Charisma House (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Dennis Prince, after working for nine years as a lecturer in civil engineering, attended Bible college and in 1976 assisted in planting a thriving church, the Christian Resource Centre, in Melbourne, Australia. Today he concentrates on Bible teaching and writing.

Nolene Prince earned a bachelor’s degree in music, specializing in singing, and after teaching school music also attended Bible college. The Princes live in Melbourne and have three married children and three grandchildren.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Nine Days in Heaven relates the vision of twenty-five-year-old Marietta Davis more than 150 years ago, where she was shown the beauties of heaven and the horrors of hell. Told in modern language, the book contains poignant quotes from the original vision, as well as biblical teaching points and testimonials from individuals whose lives have been impacted with this vision during the past 150 years. Pull-out quotes from the original vision are included, as are short testimonials from readers whose lives have been impacted by this vision. Teaching points and biblical comments appear throughout the chapters.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616382082
ISBN-13: 978-1616382087

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The Angel of Peace



“What is happening to me?”

The thought exploded in my mind as I reeled at the sight of the bottomless deep beneath me.

“Am I dreaming? Am I dead? Am I alive?” A thousand questions raced through my mind as strange unidentafiable objects floated around me. I blinked, trying to clear my vision, but it was like a wild dream, with no familiar point of reference to which I could anchor my sanity.

“Help me! Help me!” My cry erupted from my deepest being as I gazed in despair at the endless, trackless space around me and struggled in vain to return to the security of my country, my home, and my family.

A brilliant light appeared far above me. Like a giant star, its shaft of light thrust back the gloom as it steadily descended. My whole being was bathed in a glorious glow.

Gingerly I moved closer as it resolved itself into the most magnificent being I had ever seen. On her head was a crown of clustered jewels of light. In her left hand she held a simple cross. A saber of light was grasped in her right hand, and as she advanced toward me, light streamed from it and touched me.

Instantly a whole new world of sensations filled my being. Fears and uncertainties were swept away, and I was filled with an overpowering desire to go with her. Yet, paralyzed with awe and wonder, I could only stand and stare. Oddly, all my mind could think of was, “What is her name?” But as I stood there gaping, she spoke.

“So, Marietta! You would like to know who I am?” She smiled. “I am the Angel of Peace.1 I have been sent to show you what happens to humans when they leave this world. If you would like to know the answer to this question, follow me.”

My mind was racing. How did I get myself into this? What had I done to bring me to this alien place?

L


For a long time before this I had wrestled with the great questions of life. A few things had become clearer as I had tossed them over and over in my mind, and I had reached a number of simple conclusions. These were: chasing money and fine things can never make you happy; relationships can let you down (no one is perfect); and many religious traditions are unreliable.2

As I had looked around me, I could plainly see that many people were unhappy and were craving peace. I had thought long and questioned hard, trying to learn about the human soul and why it behaves as it does. The more I had thought about these things, the more I realized that I could not find the answers by myself. I passionately wanted answers, especially to the biggest question of all: “What happens to us when we die?” But I was unable to reach any satisfying conclusions. So it was, in the midst of this turmoil, that I found myself here on this strangest of strange days.



While laboring to determine the nature and tendency of the human soul . . . my vision closed to the outer world.


It had all begun slowly and gradually. I had progressively become less and less conscious of the physical things around me. My inner self seemed to become stronger and somehow more aware. The objects in the room—the walls, ceiling, and furniture—turned to shadows and finally disappeared altogether. I then found myself in this amazing new world with the extraordinary experiences it brought me.3

Since returning, I have had many people ask me what happened. I have tried hard to tell them, because that is why I was shown all these things, but I struggle over the task. There is simply no way on earth to fully describe the things beyond earth. Our words even spoil the beauty and perfection of the heavenly things that are out there.4

For human utterance mars the beauty
and perfection of heavenly speech . . .



But I must complete the task I have been given, so I will try to describe what I saw. All I ask is that you who are reading this will look beyond my woefully inadequate words and try to see something of the true power, the graphic beauty, and divine glory of the things I saw.

L


“Follow me,” said the angel, “but before you do, look back and see yourself.”

I looked far below through the dark misty space and finally made out my motionless body. Gathered around me were my worried friends calling to me and frantically shaking me, trying every possible way to wake me, but without success.

“This is the human view of life,” said my angelic guide. “Look at your family. They love you and grieve for you. Every human goes through troubles and heartbreaks, and ultimately death. But the true picture of what happens after that is hidden from them.5

“Look out there at the world’s teeming millions. They are full of hope, ambition, and troubles. Then finally, death arrives. All of them are afraid of death. It is a ruthless destroyer and cuts life short. Generations come and go, one after another in rapid succession.”

Timidly I asked a question. “I know I am young and don’t know much, but I have been thinking a lot about these things. One day all these people will die. What happens to them? Do they have a place to go to? Can you take me to them? Can I go and be with my loved ones who have already died?”

I waited for her answer. I realized how incredibly much I wanted to know it. For so long this question had haunted me, day and night. Unable to share it, I had buried it deep inside me where it went round and round, the answer always elusive. Now, unexpectedly and remarkably, this Angel of Peace stood before me, sent from the next world. I was on the brink of a monumental discovery, one that would at last settle these issues that had plagued me.


Support From
the Word of God


Angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14). There are frequent references to angels in the Bible. (See Psalm 91:11; Acts 12:7; Hebrews 13:2.)

“ ... many religious traditions are unreliable.” Marietta speaks here of powerless forms of religion. The apostle Paul warned of these in 2 Timothy 3:1–5: “ . . . having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (v. 5). Churches must demonstrate the life-transforming power of Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit—not just good works done in the name of God.

Visions are a part of the Christian experience—not always plentiful, but not rare either. Paul described a similar experience to that of Marietta in 2 Corinthians 12:2–4 (see also Acts 2:17):


I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.

“... our words even spoil the beauty and perfection . . . ” Marietta’s story is not unique—a number of books record similar visions of heaven. Many of the authors make this same comment—human words cannot do justice to the splendors of heaven.

“ ... the true picture of what happens after that is hidden from them.” God’s concealment of eternal things is related to His plan for us to be free, created in His image, like Him. We have a genuine free choice to choose God or to reject Him, to choose good or choose evil. We are free from the pressure of overt promise of reward—or threat of punishment.

Love Amid The Ashes Reviewed

Monday, March 21, 2011



An epic story of love and forgiveness, suffering and restoration
When her beloved grandfather Isaac dies, Dinah must follow his final command: travel to Job's household to marry his son. After Job's world comes crashing down, Dinah finds herself drawn to this great man brought low. What will she risk to fight for his survival?
Mesu Andrews weaves an emotional and stirring account of Job and Dinah. Love Amid the Ashes breathes life, romance, and passion into the classic biblical story of suffering and steadfast faith.



My Take: Dinah is Isaac's granddaughter and she has strict instructions after his death to go to Job's household and marry Ennon to advance the line of Esau since Jacob took the birthright from him. Dinah has been "soiled" she was raped by Shechem the son of Hamor, the prince of the land. Jacob's sons destroy the city, in Dinah's honor. Yet that doesn't take away the disgrace of Dinah. Dinah travels to Uz to marry Ennon, no sooner does she arrive than Job's household is destroyed. The man Dinah was to marry was dead, along with all of Job's cattle, and houses. Job's wife Sitis decides she is going to marry Dinah off to her best friend Sayyid who does not follow the ways of El Shaddai, and has wanted to marry her since they were children.
I love Biblical fiction, and I am glad I stuck it out. If you are a fan of Biblical fiction and enjoy a peek into a patriarchs life that you don't know much about than grab yourself a copy.

Sharing Your Faith With Muslims

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Sharing Your Faith with Muslims

Hannibal Books (January 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Jennifer Nelson, PR Specialist, Hannibal Books, for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Wade Akins for more than 40 years has served as a missionary. He has served with the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He became a global evangelist and church-planting trainer. He and his wife, Barbara, have served in a special training ministry called Pioneer Evangelism and taught and trained nationals in more than 60 nations of the world. They serve with Pioneer Missions based in Jackson, TN.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This book is an eye-opener about Islam and evangelizing Muslims. Learn what you as a Christian need to know to relate to Muslims in a LOVING WAY.

Learn:

Who was Mohammad?
Is he the perfect model for the human race?
How did he start the Muslim religion?
What is the Koran?
What are the keys to reading and understanding the Koran?
What does the Koran contain that is causing all the violence?

LEARN WHAT ISLAM TEACHES ABOUT:

• God
• The Bible
• Jesus Christ
• Sin
• Salvation
• After Life
• Terrorism
• Women’s rights
• And Much More . . .

LEARN IN A PRACTICAL WAY HOW TO SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH MUSLIMS:

• How God is using prayer, dreams, and visions to reach Muslims
• Islamic customs and things to avoid
• How to start a conversation with Muslims
• The Jesus Approach
• Evangelistic Bible studies for Muslims

Learn this and much, much more when you read and study this most exciting and
practical book.


Product Details:

List Price: $14.95
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Hannibal Books (January 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934749974
ISBN-13: 978-1934749975

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The Founder, Muhammad


The founder of Islam was a man named Muhammad. He was born about 570 years after the birth of Christ. He was born in the city of Mecca in what now is Saudi Arabia.


What was Arabia like before Muhammad? Jews, Christians, and pagans lived in Arabia. Mecca had a local shrine called the Kaaba, which housed numerous pagan idols.


His Birth and Early Life in Mecca

According to tradition Muhammad was born April 20, 570 A.D. (or April 26, according to the Shiites) as Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (the son of Abdullah Muddalib). He was of the Quraysh tribe. His mother’s name was Amina.i His father died before his birth. His mother, Amina, died when Muhammad was 6. He was reared by his uncle, Abu Talib.


Wives

His uncle recommended for him to work for a wealthy widow named Khadija. She was 15-years older than he and hired him as a traveling salesperson to go to Syria and trade her goods. Khadija was so impressed with the fact that in his job Muhammad had doubled her wealth, she proposed marriage to him.ii


When he was 25, he married Khadija, who was 40. They had two sons, who both died in infancy, and four daughters. He worked as a supervisor of her trade with Syria. This marriage raised his social status among the wealthy elite of Mecca.iii


When Muhammad was 50, Khadija died. For 25 years he had known only one woman, who was his greatest supporter. After her death, however, he would marry other women so that ultimately he had at least 13 wives, one of whom was only 6-years old. The name of this youngest wife was Aisha; this marriage was consummated when she was 9 years of age. Muslim men are allowed up to four wives, but Muhammad said Allah made a special exception for him. Throughout his lifetime Muhammad got numerous special exceptions from the rules and laws he set up for all other Muslims.


His First Revelation

Because of their wealth he was allowed more time to visit a popular cave at Mt. Hira, which was three miles from Mecca. He would spend one month per year there. At the cave he would wrap himself up in a garment and keep vigils at night. He would repeat the name of Allah.iv


In 610, at age 40, while he was at the cave on Mt. Hira, Muhammad received his first revelation during the month of Ramadan. He claimed the revelation was from the angel Gabriel, who spoke to him in Arabic.


Muhammad believed that Gabriel was to be the medium of communication between himself and Allah. These revelations later would become the Muslims’ sacred scriptures, the Koran.

One night during the month of Ramadan he was in prayer when he had a vision. He claimed that Gabriel spoke the word Iqra, which means “read” or “proclaim” or “recite”. Muhammad responded that he could not read. Nevertheless, he recited the words of the angel. This famous revelation is recorded in Koran 96:1-5.v


This began a series of revelations that would continue off and on for the next 22 years until his death in 632 A.D. He claimed to have received 113 more of these revelations. His followers committed them to memory and wrote them on whatever was available. After his death these revelations were collected into what now is the Koran.


His Doubts

According to Aisha, later his favorite wife, Muhammad expressed great distress to Khadija because he doubted the source of these revelations.vi He repeated to her his initial fears, “Woe is me poet or possessed”.vii By poet he meant one who received ecstatic, and possibly demonic, visions.viii


Muhammad was so overcome both by fear and despair, he contemplated suicide. Khadija had a cousin named Waraqa who was a Christian priest. When Khadija told Waraqa what Muhammad had experienced in the cave of Hira, he confirmed to her that Muhammad truly was a prophet and that he was not possessed by demons.ix


Without the care of Khadija and the aid of Waraqa, the world never would have known of Muhammad or Islam.x


After Waraqa died, Muhammad was so sad that he went to the tops of mountains with the intent to throw himself down. Gabriel appeared before him and said, “O Muhammad! You are indeed Allah’s Messenger in truth.” His heart would become quiet; he would calm down and return home. xi


At one point Muhammad said that Gabriel brought him Sura 93:1-3. After this, the revelations occurred frequently; Muhammad no longer doubted the source of his revelations.


Dr. Emir Caner finds Muhammad’s doubts to be very troubling. He points out the fact that for a major prophet to doubt the source of his prophetic revelation is troubling.xii


His Preaching in Mecca

Muhammad began preaching in Mecca. His message was calling the people to worship the one true God, Allah. He called them to forsake their idols and to acknowledge him as a prophet.


He became a “warner”. In the beginning his preaching was simple. He preached monotheism (only one God exists). Because of the peoples’ rejection of his message he threatened the pagan Meccans with annihilation (Sura 21:11-15). (Observe: Chapters in the Koran are called Suras; throughout this book we will use this term.)


His detractors asked him why he did not perform miracles. He told them that his miracle was the Koran.


His Persecution in Mecca

In the 10th year of his mission, his wife, Khadija, died. She was 65-years old; at the time he was 50. Just a few weeks later his uncle, Abu Talib, also passed away. These were his two key supporters.


Verbal persecution began. People accused him of being a liar, lunatic, and demon-possessed. His principal persecutor was his uncle, Abu Lahab. When Abu rejected his message, Muhammad used violent language to curse him and his wife. In Sura 111:1-5 he referred to his uncle as the “Father of the Flame”. The uncle and his wife were condemned to hell fire.


His Flight—The Hijra—

On July 16, 622, Muhammad Flees Mecca to Medina

This is the most famous date in Islam—the year of the Flight to Medina, 270 miles north. It is the beginning of the Islamic calendar, 1. AH.


This new sect infuriated the leaders of Mecca. To end the new faith they planned to assassinate Muhammad. Muhammad and Abu Bakr, one of Muhammad’s first converts, along with the remaining Muslims escaped from Mecca. For three nights along the way they hid in caves until they arrived in Medina.xiii


At age 53 on September 24, 622, he arrived safely in Medina. He was well-received in the area, which also had a strong tradition of Jewish monotheism. Medina was different from Mecca. More people, including numerous Jews who lived there, believed in just one God.xiv


However, three Jewish tribes caused him trouble. Thus, all Jews were considered to be idolaters and later were attacked by Muhammad’s warriors. They were subdued and required to pay taxes for not converting to Islam.xv


The Jews also were looking for a sign to prove that he truly was a prophet, but Muhammad could not offer any proof. He could not do a single miracle to provide evidence that he was a prophet.


Thus he tried using the Old Testament as a way of impressing the Jews. However, his knowledge of the Old Testament stories was not accurate. He did not have a personal knowledge of Hebrew Scripture.


For example, the Koran would feature his stories of Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh. In the first 89 chapters he mentions this event 27 times. In other words every 3.3 chapters in the Koran he repeated this story. Yet not one time did he include the most important component of the story—the Passover.


Therefore, how could the Jews accept as their prophet a man who did not know about the Passover nor understood its importance?


The following are other examples:


The Koran states that Adam and Eve did not sin in an earthly garden but sinned in paradise. Muhammad had Adam and Eve cast down to earth after they sinned (Sura 7:19-25).


Muhammad taught that Haman, a Persian in the Book of Esther, was an associate of the Pharaoh in Egypt 900 years earlier in the days of Moses (Sura 28:8).


Muhammad confused King Saul, mentioned in 1 Samuel, with Gideon, who in Judges 7:1-7 chose 300 warriors out of 10,000 men by observing how they drank water (Sura 2:249-250).


How could Muhammad expect the Jews to accept his “revelations” when he taught outright errors about the Old Testament in a city in which numerous Jews knew these stories? He responded to the rejection of the Jews by choosing to purge them.xvi


His Constitution of Medina

Soon after Muhammad arrived in Medina in September 622, his first task was to consolidate the various Arab clans and the Jewish tribes into one unified front. By drawing up a new constitution he was remarkably successful in unifying the various factions.xvii


This document is known as the Constitution of Medina. This document declared the existence of the community of people (umma) who looked to Allah as God and to Muhammad as the prophet of Allah. However, he did not win the support of the Jews.


Muhammad Becomes a Warrior

His followers had little food and clothes. For him to obtain money for his new theocracy was essential. To raid each other was common among Arab tribes of that day. In Sura 9:73, which says, “O prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is hell—an evil refuge indeed”, Allah gave him permission to rob caravans on their route to Mecca.


He began to send out his raiding parties. These raids kept the new religion functioning and began to shape Islamic theology. No less than 25 of these raids were recorded. Muhammad himself participated in many of them.xviii


Ibn Warraq says that “it was during this period Muhammad was no more than the head of a robber community, unwilling to earn an honest living”.xix


One of the raids was at Nakhla, a settlement not far from Mecca. Muhammad himself was not present, but his raiders attacked the caravan during the sacred month of Rajab. However, fighting was forbidden during this month.


In Sura 2:217 Muhammad received a new revelation from Allah. Muhammad justified the raid occurring in the sacred month. It stated that opposing the raid was a more serious transgression than was violating the sacred month of Rajab. Several times throughout the Koran, Allah makes special exceptions from previous laws for

Muhammad.


Robert Spencer writes, “This revelation led to an Islamic principle: Good became identified with anything that benefited Muslims regardless of whether it violated moral or other laws. Moral laws and the Ten Commandments were swept aside in favor of the principle of expediency”.xx


His Break with the Jews

The Jews both rejected and ridiculed Muhammad, so he changed the Koran to say that they no longer were to pray toward Jerusalem but to the Kaaba at Mecca (Sura 2:142 and Sura 2:125). Some of the Jewish fasts and feasts also were eliminated. He began to accuse the Jews of tampering with their own Scriptures.xxi


His Battle of Badr: a Key Battle in Islam

The Koran records a major battle called the Battle of Badr occurring in March 624. This is a battle in which Muhammad participated. At this time Mohammad realized that the Jews posed a real threat to his slowly increasing power; this battle marked a true turning point.xxii


This was the first major battle between Jews and Muslims. Muhammad heard that a large Quraysh tribe caravan had lots of money and that it was proceeding in their direction from Syria. He told his followers to go and attack it.xxiii


Muhammad had 300 men; the Quraysh tribe had nearly 1,000. The two groups met at a place called Badr. The Muslims were outnumbered by more than three to one.xxiv In the Koran Muhammad had taught his men that their loyalty to Islam overrode all other human bonds (Sura 9:23-24, 59:22-23).


Forty-five men from the Quraysh tribe were killed; this included some of the leading men of Mecca. Seventy-five were taken prisoner. The Muslims lost only 14 people.


The victory at Badr was the turning point for Muslims. Muhammad even claimed that the armies of angels joined with the Muslims to smite the Quraysh tribe and that they could expect similar help in the future (Sura 3:123-125).


Another revelation to Muhammad from Allah emphasized that the commitment to Allah and not military might brought victory at Badr (Sura 3:13).


Sura 8:17 asserts that at Badr the Muslims were only passive instruments.


Chapter 8 of the Koran is entirely devoted to the reflections of the battle of Badr. It is titled, “The Spoils of War” or “Booty”. At Badr so many spoils of war existed that this created jealousy. This was so divisive that once again Muhammad received a revelation from Allah.


Allah warned the Muslims not to consider the spoils won at Badr to belong to anyone but Muhammad, “the Messenger” (Sura 8:1). Some later have found this assertion by Allah extremely convenient for Muhammad.


Muhammad kept one-fifth for himself and distributed the rest of the spoils among the Muslims equally (Sura 8:41). Allah said this was Muhammad’s reward for being obedient (Sura 8:69).


By this battle in 624 Muslims now were a force with whom the pagans of Arabia had to deal. Muslims began to strike terror in the hearts of the people whom they considered their enemies. Muhammad claimed to be the last of the prophets; his victory at Badr was his confirmation.


This battle was followed by many other battles in which Muhammad tried to eliminate the Jews. Sura 47:4 says that anyone who opposes Muhammad and his new religion deserves a humiliating death by beheading if possible. “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them” (Sura 47:4).


After he eradicated the Jews at Medina, Muhammad quickly progressed to his final goal: the conquering of Mecca.xxv


Muhammad went from being purely a “warner” who called the Quraysh tribe to turn away from idols to the worship of the one true God to becoming a warrior to fight for Allah.


The foundation was being laid not only for the final conquest of Mecca and Arabia but ultimately for the conquest of the whole world, until all were brought into subjection to Allah. This is the goal of Islam.


His Capture of Mecca

In 628 Muhammad and Meccan leaders signed a 10-year peace treaty. This famous treaty is known as “The Treaty of Hudaybiah”. The treaty granted Muhammad and his followers permission to make pilgrimages to Mecca. The treaty also stipulated that for the next 10 years both sides would not fight each other.


In 630 the Quraysh tribe in Mecca broke the truce and killed several allies of Muhammad. He was so outraged that he prepared an army of 10,000 men to march on the city of Mecca and to slaughter anyone who resisted.


Muhammad entered the city and was met with little resistance. He went straight to the Kaaba and circled it seven times as he rode on his camel. He then demanded that the door be opened. He entered the sanctuary of the stone, took out a wooden dove idol, and scattered its decaying material on the ground.


He said, “the truth has come and falsehood has passed away”. He erased pictures from the walls; these included those depicting Christ and the Virgin Mary; hereby the Kaaba was cleansed of pagan gods.


He stood at the door of the Kaaba and addressed the Meccans who pleaded for mercy. He said, “There is no God but Allah . . . ”.xxvi


The center of Islam now was firmly established. Muhammad demanded that all Muslims make a pilgrimage to the Kaaba; to this day the Kaaba stone is the focal point of the Islamic faith. Every year millions go to pray around it.xxvii


His Final Years and Death

After this event things began to change. Women began wearing veils as the wives of Muhammad did.


He gained the respect of the Meccans. Other tribes joined the umma—the community of Islam. He led an army of 30,000 against the tribe of Tabuk. He brought all of Arabia under his control.xxviii


Muhammad owned Arabia. Christians and Jews were allowed to practice their own faith, but they had to pay a tax (Sura 9:29). It was one of his greatest accomplishments, because by doing this he was able to unify a powerful nation under Islam; to this day it remains so.xxix


In February 632 Muhammad made his last pilgrimage to Mecca from Medina. He went back to his home in Medina and spent his last days with his wife, Aisha. On June 8, 632, at age 63 he died an unexpected and sudden, natural death. He left no sons, he had no heirs, and he had not appointed any successor. He was buried at his home.


Conclusion

Who was Muhammad? Is Muhammad to be followed as the perfect example of obedience to God? That is the big question of religious history? Muslims say “yes”—he was a true prophet of God and the perfect example of moral behavior for mankind.


After Muhammad’s death Islam spread rapidly by means of fighting and conquest. Northern Africa, much of which was Christian, was taken by the sword in the name of Islam. These Islamic warriors later moved armies into other parts of the world such as Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The militant stronghold of Islam over its people was and to this day is very powerful. This important foundational element of Islam creates intense pressure for a person living in an area dominated by an Islamic majority not to convert to any other religion. It makes Islam a religion of fear. All Muslims must ask themselves what the ramifications not only for themselves or their families would be if they ever were to consider a different faith. Yet the Holy Spirit of God is more powerful than are the armies of people. First John 4:18 says, But perfect love drives out fear.


Despite the fear of persecution and death Muslims today are trusting Christ. They are being freed from a wall of darkness set up by one man, Muhammad.



This was a very powerful and interesting book. I learned a lot I didn't know about the Muslim faith and how to share my faith with them. I highly recommend it!

No Safe Haven - Reviewed



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
No Safe Haven
B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
by
Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse




ABOUT THE AUTHORS:



A devoted wife and mother, Kimberley Woodhouse is a third generation Liszt student, she has passed down her love of the arts to hundreds of students over the years.



About fifteen years ago, Kimberley began writing seriously. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters - you name it - she's written it. It wasn't until a dear friend challenged her to "do something with it", that she pursued publication.



Kimberley and her family's story have been on the front page of newspapers, in magazines, articles, medical journals, and most recently her family was chosen for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They were also asked to share their story on The Montel Williams Show and Discovery Health Channel's Mystery ER. She has recorded three albums, and has appeared at over 700 venues. Kimberley lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband and their two children in a truly "Extreme" home.



Thirteen-year-old Kayla Woodhouse’s zest for writing comes not only from her natural ability, but also from her love of the written word as witnessed by her voracious reading appetite. One of only a few dozen cases in the world, Kayla was born with HSAN, Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, an extremely rare nerve disorder. Unable to sweat, or feel pain, she’s also been through brain surgery. But even through a life of extreme hardships, her ever-present smile encourages others to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. In addition to being homeschooled and writing with her mom, she’s an amazing swimmer, and spends up to thirty hours a week in training. No Safe Haven, her first release from B&H Publishers in 2011, written with mother, Kimberley, makes her the youngest author to have a full-length novel published by a royalty paying publisher.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Jenna and Andi Tikaani-Gray are hoping for a fresh start. Though twelve year-old Andi has long struggled with a rare medical disorder, she and her mother have finally received good news from out-of-town specialists. It's news they desperately needed, especially after the recent death of Jenna's husband (Andi's dad) in a car accident.



But as they are flying home to Alaska, ready to begin again, the unthinkable happens. The pilot sabotages their small plane and crashes into Sultana, one of the most remote and dangerous mountains in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Even worse, a winter storm is headed their way along with someone who doesn't want to save them, but to kill them.



Only one man can keep them alive: Cole Maddox, the mysterious last-minute passenger who joined them on their flight. But trust doesn't come easy to Jenna or AndiÑand they both sense Cole is hiding something.



A relentless tale of survival and suspense unfolds, involving military technology designed by Jenna's late husband that some would do anything to possess.



Watch the Book Video:







If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Haven, go HERE.


My Take: This was quite the amazing story, so my fiance` told me. A mother and daughter get stranded in the wilderness, and this man is going to help them get out. He does have some "romantic" intentions - however Andie has no desire. The fact that Andie was spunky and had one liners for Cole and I have the same kind of personality was pretty funny. I could hear him laughing as he was reading. He really enjoyed this book, and recommends it!
 
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