Category Archives: Book Review

Ezekiel’s army of the living dead!

Ezekiel 37

This is a well known passage from the Bible where a seemingly hopeless situation has an extraordinarily hopeful outcome.

Engraving of “The vision of the valley of dry bones” by Gustave Dore

Ezekiel 37:1-6

The Valley of Dry Bones

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know. ”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ’”

Ezekiel was presented with a very disturbing sight. A valley full of dryness. An army which at one time was possibly dreadful, mighty to behold, now just rotten, decaying skeletons!

Challenge

In light of the valley of death before him, God asks the question?

Ezekiel 37:3

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

My answer, as I’m sure yours would be, is a resounding “No Way!” This is impossible and besides theses guys have had their time. This beyond my capabilities.

Thankfully, Ezekiel was a little wiser and more accepting that His God could and can do anything. His answer :

Ezekiel 37:3

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know. ”

Ezekiel understood that only through Gods Words can anything be established. These bones may be beyond help But God!!!

But God..

The key is in the “Sovereign Lord” at the start of Ezekiel’s reply. So often I restrict God by looking at the surface of things. Forgetting that He is God!

Looking at the situation through human eyes : There is too much dryness here, too much death/ lifelessness. Yet, God is a life giving God. From the very beginning, in the book of Genesis God is seen as creating life from the very words he speaks

Read Genesis

I allow areas of my life to become dry, parched and even dead. When it comes to letting the life of God flow through me. After all the Holy Spirit who was given to Pentecost is likened to living, effervescent water.

In this recent dry spell it is easy to see how the ground reacts when water is at a premium. Apart from the government sanctioned “hosepipe” bans. We see cracks, dry riverbeds and confused wildlife as they go to their local watering hole to find ……… Dryness.

Dryness kills

The truth is if I allow myself to be cut off from the source of life : Jesus. Then how can I expect to flourish?

There’s a difference between being dead – with nothing to offer and being the “living dead” carrying the life of Christ within us. Knowing who we live for and all we have is from Him!

Rather than a soldier who is alive against the odds. When I exclude Christ, his words and the Holy Spirit. I become more of a terracotta warrior! Looks good but no life!!

Brief history : Terracotta warriors

Regarded as one of the greatest friends on the 20th century. These terracotta warriors were said to have been China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang’s personal army constructed at around 246 BC, taking around 40 years to complete. These warriors and horses were meant to be an army to protect the emperor in the afterlife. This army is as vast, as it is detailed, with more than

  1. 8,000 soldiers
  2. 130 chariots
  3. 670 horses
  • Each with gestures and individuality which draws many to visit and awe in the workmanship that has gone into them.
  • This being said, they may look mighty but are nothing but empty pots!!
  • Living dead

  • Back to the account in Ezekiel. The valley of dry bones was a hopeless, dry situation. But God,
  • Ezekiel understands his limitations and yet God, encourages and involves him in the restoration process.

“Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ’”

What’s the point

  1. When I feel dry, go to the source
  2. Nothing is impossible for God, he even wants to involve me/ you in the process
  3. Don’t just look like a warrior (terracotta) – let the breathe of God, through His Words and Holy Spirit Breathe Life through your dryness
  • Becoming a “living-dead Warrior”, yes dying to my will and living for Christ.
  • living against the odds – that’s living life to the full!!

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Releasing the Spirit of Prophecy : Bill Johnson – Book Review – June 2018

Releasing the Spirit of Prophecy : Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson may be known by some as the senior Pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California. However, He is also the author of many books and is known for leading a church that focuses on the pursuit of the Holy Spirit gifts. Who is and should be living and active in and through our everyday.

Review

The book itself is only 9 chapters in length and as it’s dedication suggests. It is to serve as a testimony of the works/ miracles of God. That they are not just events that happened in the Biblical time but, that God is living and active today.

Bill’s writing style is very easy going and at points it’s hard to put down. As the reader is taken on a journey where God reveals himself, his nature and his person as the Good, Good Father.

Bill shares personal testimonies of How God can move and encourages each believer not only to read the testimony. But, to believe that of God can do something for others he is more than capable of breaking through our circumstances too!!

Throughout the chapters Bill is careful to direct the reader not to himself. Rather, to the one whom the miracles, signs and wonders are pointing to! Almost echoing the famous Matt Redman song : The heart of worship.

“It’s all about you Jesus”

This book is simplistic in its design and content. Reinforcing, that when we declare/ testify to the works of God in our lives, he releases faith and power both to us and our hearers.

As Christians we are not so quick to share the God interventions in our lives and yet when we do, kingdom is proclaimed, breakthrough is brought and a truth encounter is released.

Transformation begins as we start to believe what our God can do (Big or small). Enabling us to go further in our trusting relationship with Him. In turn this should inspire others to go deeper, further into the things of God – producing a legacy, where people encounter the loving God.

“Our great responsibility is to know God and make him known”

A great little book which not only releases faith through testimony but also encourages and urges us to go deeper!

by C Tuck

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That’s Just Your Interpretation : Paul Copan : Book Review – May 2018

That’s Just Your Interpretation : Paul Copan

The book is more of a reference or one that you dip in when you have a similar question to the chapter names.

Overview

It is split into three sections :

  1. Challenges related to truth and reality
  2. Challenges related to world views
  3. Challenges related to Christianity

Within these sections are argument and counter argument to common challenges Christians face with regard to sharing faith, doctrine and theology in general.

Paul Copan looks throughout history at philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and also looks forward at the great revelations of modern science. Showing that as believers we don’t need to be scared of these but actually using the Truth of the Word we great thinkers fail and science confirm the truths in the Bible.

For example,

Some of the questions relate to the trinity, why did Jesus have to be- come a man, the creation story and others such as slavery, reincarnation, who cre- ated God and the reality of Hell.

I found this book to certainly ‘tickle’ the grey cells and I’m sure I will revisit at points in the future.

I especially like the fact that the author, Paul Copan, summarises each chapter and also at the conclusion of the book ex- plains that he his not the complete authority about any of the subjects discussed. As these topics could go on forever.

So…..

However, I found that the way the book is laid out and the way Paul Copan logically answers each topic. Certainly gives the reader food for thought about what we actually believe. It also shows how Great our God is to have the answers within his Book – Bible and modern thinkers, science is only just the scratching the surface – revealing the Bible truths.

From C Tuck

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The Hammer of Judgement: Dr E Cooke Book Review – April 18

The Hammer of Judgement by Dr. E Cooke Victory through Christ

“Put on the whole amour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” Ephesians 6:11 ESV

Although I love reading, it isn’t a hidden fact that I am a terribly slow reader. It’s not that I am disinterested in the novel if find myself reading in that particular moment; i just like to take my time reading each and every detail a book has to offer. On knowing this, I was extremely surprised to find that I flew through ‘The Hammer of Judgement’ like there was no tomorrow; it captured my imagination and attention greatly. Being able to put the book down was a task I found hard to complete.

Review

‘The Hammer of Judgement’ focuses on a small town church and it’s struggle with the enemy. With the power of the enemy stirring up destruction and dissension, and the Church ever growing in strength and numbers; the battle for Christ and victory begins.

“The battle is the Lords”

As I read through each page, I found myself being drawn in, so much so, that I felt apart of this battle; that I was apart of this congregation, that I was experiencing the situations faced. It was so well written, that there was no need to ‘try and image’ – you were al- ready there. We can experience so much empowerment through pray and trust in our Lord, that although it seems that the battle with the enemy is like a never ending corri- dor; victory is always at hand.

Jesus has the victory

This book is not only a reflection of the real evils out there in this world we live in and we, as Christians, must be on guard; but it is a reflection of the power of God; of His love, His grace, His mercy and His VICTORY.It all boils down to the victory – for it IS the Lord’s. Whether this is reflected in a piece of fiction or in the Bible – it is TRUE. I thank God, after reading this book, that I too have the victory in Christ and that Satan; he doesn’t stand a chance.

By N Clarke

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March Book Review – Paul Tsika : The Overcomer’s Edge

The Overcomer’s Edge is all about looking at the very real struggles that all of us face in this life. Ranging from quitting to the feelings of frustration. Paul uses his experience and a biblical foundation to outline some keys on how to live a more victorious life in and through Christ.

Some of the topics are :

  • Overcoming the temptation to quit
  • Overcoming difficult relationships
  • Overcoming the fear of losing your dream
  • And the other 10….

Paul speaks from personal experience as someone who has been through these personally and also using his experience as a pastor, helping others to practically become overcomer’s in their lives.

You can continue to read the Book review by clicking here.

 

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Bizarre Bible stories

Bizzare laws found in Old Testament
New Living Translation

“When you enter the land and plant fruit trees, leave the fruit unharvested for the first three years and consider it forbidden. Do not eat it.

This is really strange and looks a bit daft. Is there a genuine reason for it though?

Of course!

Fruit trees bear fruit from year 1 but for the first three years it bears imperfect fruit. By the gardener removing the fruit as soon as it appears for the first three years, it enables the tree itself to utilise all the goodness to produce better fruit in subsequent years!

The Bible makes scientific sense!

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The Screwtape Letters – CS Lewis

CS Lewis –
Firstly, I have to say I am a big fan of CS Lewis and have read a number of his books including his autobiography ‘surprised by joy’. So this was on my list.

I had been given the 60th-anniversary edition for Christmas and couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Especially as I had some say it was worth a read. I can say I was not disappointed.
The book itself is a collection of letters from a demon called Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood (a junior tempter). The story centers around Wormwood land his attempts to tempt a man called ‘the patient’.

The scene is set as wormwood is seen as trying differing methods to promote sin and undermining faith in the patient. Whilst all time reporting back to his mentor Screwtape.

Wormwood is not always successful, even when he thinks he has set the perfect trap! Screwtape being the elder more experienced tempter, continues to share his experience and tries to steer his nephew in a way that will bring the most damage to both the patient and the enemy (God).

CS Lewis tackles many scenarios from sex, love, pride, gluttony to war. From a Christian perspective, it gives a little insight into the spiritual battle which is around us and unseen. Not that all our bad choices come from demons? As I am sure you can agree, we can make most of them on our own.

Certainly, this being a classic in its own right, is worth a read both for its literary construction and its content. In the 60th anniversary edition, you also get the story of Screwtape proposing a toast at an official graduation ceremony for the tempters. It’s also worth noting that when it was published, it was dedicated to another literary great JRR Tolkien.
By C Tuck

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Red Moon Rising Book Review

Pete Greig/ Dave Roberts – Red Moon Rising : Rediscover the power of prayer (The story of 24-7 Prayer)

First and foremost, this book is all about the centrality of prayer. More importantly, the connection between mankind and His maker. Some would say the restora- tion of the relationship lost at the Garden of Eden.
Pete Greig shares the way in which God, who can be seen as ‘out there somewhere’, becomes personally present in the lives of hundreds of people, over thou- sands of locations on planet earth. Starting a move- ment which was not ‘planned’ in terms of mans design. But was divinely planned from Gods own hand touch- ing earth.

This is not a new thing either, as God shows himself to those who :-
2 CHRONICLES 7:14 (KJV) “IF MY PEOPLE, WHICH ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES, AND PRAY, AND SEEK MY FACE, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS; THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN, AND WILL HEAL THEIR LAND.”

The power of prayer is something we all know and talk about. Yet when it comes down it, if we honest, we feel that we don’t give enough time, thought to prayer/ pray- ing. This book challenges and exhorts us to rethink the how and live a ‘Pray without ceasing’ kind of life. Not locking ourselves away but being both Heavenly minded and making a difference in the world around us.

Pete looks at this and started a prayer Meeting which turned his understanding and expectation inside simple obedience came a movement which at this point is 15yrs in the making.

The 24-7 prayer idea is a new way of thinking about prayer and yet it’s not new!! Pete looks at the history of great prayer revivals of the past ranging from the Moravians, John Wesley, to prayer walks around the Berlin Wall and its demise. There is no doubt God answers the prayer of the humble and obedient.

The book consists of many stories, historical events which prove that when we take time to pray. We connect with God in a power- ful way which changes us inside out to become the people God has called us to be. Giving strength and courage to do what we feel is he impossible. #ICANARMY (Ezk 37).

Definitely a book worth reading, but more importantly, a book to encourage and mobilise the church to become a ‘Praying’, ‘interceding’ church. Praying 24-7 one hour at a time!!!
Although this is a book revolving around the idea of 24-7 prayer at no point does it ask you signup and join. But it does encourage and look to refuel the reader to go deeper in your personal and corporate prayer times.

Review by Mr C Tuck

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