The Angel

The AngelThe Angel by Troy Lambert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publisher: Independent Author
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Category: Religious
Author Website: http://troylambertwrites.com/

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s poem, The Dying Child, Troy Lambert’s The Angel is a contemporary short story. While any story of a dying child is heartbreaking, Lambert’s version is a poignant tragedy that invokes a wide range of emotions.

I’ve suffered several tragedies in the last few years. I thought I had dealt with each loss in turn. Yet Lambert’s prose is so deceptively innocent that shines a light on any darkness lurking on the fringes of your consciousness. I found the message of The Angel stayed with me for days.

I’d honestly encourage anyone who is struggling with pain, heartache, and loss to read, The Angel. You don’t need to believe in angels to enjoy Lambert’s story, but you may find that you *want* to believe. I think that is a sign of Hope, which might open the door to comfort and healing.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Angel as @tlambertwrites requested an honest review.

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NIV Women Of Faith Study Bible

Niv Women Of Faith Study Bible

Niv Women Of Faith Study Bible by Anonymous

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This review assumes that you are religious in some faith and looking to study the Bible. I’m planning another post later to explain why I think every writer should read the Bible, but that is not my point of this review. Nor will I be trying to convert anyone to Christianity; your religion is your business and I don’t want to force my religious preference on anyone. That being said, if you are a Christian and particularly a woman who is struggling to balance her religious role with her family and professional life I believe this is the study guide for you.

What makes this Bible unique is that it provides introductions to each book of the Bible outlining the author, history, key topics, and the role women played in that book. The left and right margins are filled with explanations of passages, religious hymns and poems, and additional reference materials. I found the text in the margins very helpful and looked forward to turning the pages to see what the commentary would be.

For those who keep a diary and journal this may be the perfect companion as it asks some very thought provoking questions to deepen your faith and expand your understanding. For those who want to read the Bible in a year this study guide offers weekly essays that reference passages that answer some of the toughest questions Christians ask themselves about God and the church.

There were only two things I found lacking in this study guide but neither will truly prevent you from enjoying and learning the Bible. First, I wish this book has Jesus’s words in red text. I have always found that a helpful highlighting in a Bible. Second, I discovered that many of the map references are incorrectly labeled throughout the book. There are several maps in the back of the book that provide excellent references for Jesus and the Apostles travels, but unfortunately the references often list the wrong map number. Fortunately, all the maps have titles, so just look at the titles and you’ll find the map you want. (Note: I bought my version in 2002 so later printings may have fixed the map references.)

I have to say that this is one book which is better appreciated the slower you read it. I started this book in May of 2002. It has taken me ten years to finish reading the Bible cover-to-cover. I’m proud to say I finished it and I feel that I have gotten more out of this study guide than I ever hoped to discover when I started. If you are looking to read the Bible I recommend this printing and hope you find everything you are looking to find.

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Jesus: A Child Before The Man

Christ the Lord: Out of EgyptChrist the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Stats:
• Publisher: Ballantine Books
• Published Date: February 26, 2008
• ISBN-10: 0345492730
• ISBN-13: 978-0345492739

It seemed appropriate to me that for Easter season I read something religious. I’ve been very curious to read Anne Rice’s series about Jesus Christ as I wondered how someone famous for writing about vampires and the paranormal would turn to such a devout subject. As a fan of vampire novels and the paranormal myself, I’ve always been curious how others rationalize this devilish subject as a Christian.

Like all of Rice’s novels, “Christ The Lord” has a distinct voice. In this case, it is a childlike voice of wonder and respect. The story is told by a pre-teen child who has grown up Alexandria and knows only life as a Jew in Egypt. Traveling back to Israel with his family readers discover – along with the child – the significance of his birth and mystery surrounding his existence.

Christ As A Young Boy

Like all children, the boy in Rice’s novel slowly learns the things that adults think he is “too young to understand.” But this Jesus is special and he is beginning to realize that his prayers come true and make miracles happen; such as the clay birds that came to life. Jesus doesn’t understand how these things – that none of the adults want to talk about – happen. But he comes to understand that they are significant to those around him.
Like a child who laughs because his parents laugh, or cries because those around him cry, Jesus begins to realize that these things that happen to him and the emotions that he feels are not things that everyone will understand. He takes his clues from his father, Joseph, to keep quiet and not say what is on his mind. In fact, Joseph almost begs Jesus to no to ask about these things.

Supporting Characters

A significant influence on Jesus’ life is his mother’s brother, Cleopas. It is this uncle of Jesus, who often appears as if senile, that imparts some of the great wisdom of Rice’s book. For any reader of the Bible that knows the stories of Jesus as a man, it is Cleopas who asks, “And must you be a child first before you are a man?” It only seems right that the Son of God born as a man must learn and grow like any other child before he takes on the responsibilities of adulthood. Even a man as important as Jesus, must learn to understand the world around him before he can be an active participant in the world.

And even Jesus’ brother James, born from Joseph but not from Jesus’ mother Mary, plays a key role in this coming of age story. Like older children who feel some jealousy of a new born child in the family, James was old enough to understand the significance of Jesus’ birth immediately. James carries this burden of knowledge with him as an older child might hold onto the secret that Santa Claus is not real. While a child is content to not know what they know nothing of, a pre-teenager is consumed with knowing everything he is told he is too young to learn. As often is the case, brothers mix love with other feelings they can’t express and James plays a key role in showing Jesus that being human means dealing with mixed emotions.

Even with this novels ancient setting, I still recognized the input of a modern woman in Rice’s story. I believe that had another woman attempted to write this story in an earlier age you would not have received the insight into Old Sarah that this interpretation gives us. As women were not as significant in Jesus’ time, Old Sarah is a matriarch of wisdom and religious teachings. Jesus recognized her as a woman of significance and I think it is only fitting that an author of Rice’s fame is the one to tell that story. Don’t overlook the input that women have on this story, even if the male characters in this novel will not admit to women’s roles in their society.

Anne Rice, spiritual leader

“Christ The Lord” is an easy story to read. You feel the innocence of this child immediately and his wonder to understand his world. It makes you remember all the Biblical stories you learned as a Christian child and see them again with new wonder. What struck me was that Rice portrays Jesus’ young life filled with singing and joy even when the world surrounding his family is filled with strife. Jesus is a boy that wants to run and play and be comforted by his mother when afraid. There is peace that comes from having faith in the Lord, and Jesus is repeatedly shown by those around him that faith in the Lord is a comfort regardless of their personal struggles.

Author’s Notes

In the lengthy Author’s Notes after this story, Rice tells how even when she was living an intellectual life with her loving, atheistic husband she was always working toward telling Christ’s story. I found that insight into the author the opposite of my own personal story, as it was my husband who brought me to Christ. It goes to show that everyone’s path to the Lord is different but when you open your heart to the Lord, He’ll come in.

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