Author and photographer, Jim Mathis, puts to rest the common misunderstanding of Matthew 19:24 in his new book, The Camel and the Needle A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money. This well-written guide is useful to new and seasoned believers who read the parables of Christ but struggle with interpreting the contexts. Mathis, focusing on one of the few parables Jesus did not explain, shares a confident understanding of how and why worldly rich men will find it easier to pass through the eye of a sewing needle than enter God’s Kingdom.
The author’s perspective is three-fold. Firstly, Mathis writes Christian-to-Christian. Millions of Christians are misguided by money-hungry church leaders. God does not expect believers to live in poverty! Citizenship in God’s Kingdom includes wealth and riches.
Secondly, Mathis writes Christian-businessman to the unsaved businessman. Like the “rich young ruler,” today’s businessmen love money more than they love the Living God. These are people consumed by greed and selfishness. They tend to hoard and idolize material possessions without considering the needs of the poor.
Lastly, Mathis writes as an inspirational believer to the entire world. As a knowledgeable businessman, he educates and advises the world of the glaring difference between carnal ideologies relative to wealth and riches, Further, he shows how the lack of understanding the word of God stands in opposition to the wealth and riches of God’s Kingdom.
Not only is Jesus’s parable of the “rich young ruler” powerful and convincing; the content of Jim Mathis‘s new book, The Camel and the Needle A Christian Looks at Wealth and Money affirms the principle of Christ’s instructive parable. No matter what you believe, and whether or not you are financially driven, this book is a needful read during these last days and rude awakenings.
This reader is fully persuaded! A rich person who is attentive, kind, and freely gives into the needs of the poor will pass through the eye of a needle with ease as he enters the Kingdom of God.
When a child’s first experience with reality confronts her as a dream, she awakens understanding the meaning of waiting for God’s plan to unfold.
In Gracie Lou Wants A Zoo, Shelly Roark mixes impatience and instant gratification lessons with the Christian children’s genre. The parental characters in this storybook teach their daughter, Gracie, “Be patient if you can. Wait on God’s plan. He’ll take care of you … even if you want a zoo.”
Gracie’s impatience and her love for all sorts of animals follow her to bed one night. In a dream, the animals her parents said she couldn’t have, she gets. It doesn’t take long before animal mayhem ensues. Gracie soon discovers that a bathtub full of water is too small for a duck; she cannot ignore that the ceiling in the family’s apartment is too low for a giraffe, and she sees for herself that not only is an elephant large and messy, but he also eats more food than the family can afford to share.
Gracie Lou Wants A Zoo conveys a timeless teachable lesson for all ages. The story reveals the connection between childhood dreams and adult desires of the heart. Gracie Lou grows up to be a veterinarian. Her example shows how that waiting on God’s plan brings the heart’s desires to life.
I’m blessed to receive my complimentary copy. The biblical messages, large graphics, and simple word choices I found make this colorful wise tale a must-read. I highly recommend Roark’s writing to parents, grandparents, teachers, and children. Her communication is not only clear, but it is also grounded in spiritual truth.
Louise Fugate’s new book, A Shadow of Good Things to Come is a spiritual eye-opener for this Bible-enthusiast. The author does the world a good deed in that she re-enacts the heart and plan of God in a long-story-short format. By no means does the author attempt to alter scripture or mislead the unlearned, in fact, she does the opposite. Part 1 of the series not only expounds the full story from Genesis to the Psalms, but it is also replete with original scriptures and thought-provoking points of study.
Inside this well-explained and well-crafted presentation of biblical truth, the author succeeds in providing seasoned knowledge and instruction for novice learners and well-acquainted Bible students. Church leaders and Bible teachers will appreciate topical conclusions followed by the “Deeper Insights” explorations located at the end of each chapter; these allow for group participation and private reflections.
Often, I found myself wondering whether A Shadow of Things to Come threatens to distract or interrupt the intimacy one has with the original teachings in the Bible. Conclusively, it does not. Relevant scriptures strategically support and maintain the original Spirit in conjunction with the author’s paraphrased but accurate storytelling style. Her zeal to write and market A Shadow of Things to Come; a gift to the world, is admirable. Admirable because of how her writing eliminates mundane lack-luster worldly excuses for not attempting to read or study the Holy Word of God.
Throughout, Fugate offers solid biblical command with a remedial conversational voice and tone. After I received my complimentary copy from the publisher, I stayed on the lookout. Purposely, I combed the content of the text for misinterpretations and false transliterations. Much to my pleasure, I could find none! What’s more, Fugate, adds authenticity to “book 1 of a two-part series” by including original Hebraic terms and definitions.
Overall, I recommend A Shadow of Things to Come, wholeheartedly! Not only does Fugate make the Bible easier to process as a teaching/learning tool; she does an exceptional job of preserving and relaying God’s intended purpose and plan for the salvation of mankind. Fugate’s book is a great gift for the tween to adult readers seeking to discover and or gain a deeper connection with the Living God.
Dr. Cindy Trimm did the body of Christ (also known as the church), a hard to repay favor writing The Art of War for Spiritual Battle (Charisma House, 2008). Readers, whether looking for them or not, will discover hard to ignore revelatory insights delivered on each page.
Paraphrasing select ancient Chinese war strategies harvested from Sun Tzu’s book, The Art of War (5th Century), Dr. Trimm did a meticulous job of connecting the applicable excepts to the realities of prayer and Christian spiritual warfare. Her expertise serves-up a surreal observation of a heated battle happening right now between Heaven and Earth.
Dr. Trimm’s tone is urgent; accompanied by an embedded advisory warning worth heeding. Her methodical pace engages, hooks then mesmerizes. Expert editing is evident, but for the exception of one error so minor, it’s not worth documenting here.
As a Christian believer, I will say that this book is needful. As one who knows first-hand the importance and power of intercessory prayer and praying in the spirit, I recommend this book for believing Church-going and nonchurch-going Christian readers. In other words, I concur with Dr. Trimm’s original premises. Her writing demonstrates clarity, sanity, expert knowledge and understanding of a variety of Bible translations. Her writing style is less than preachy but is instructive and loaded with wisdom.
In part, I appreciate how Dr. Trimm likens human warfare and spiritual warfare to a battlefield. I learned from the iconic quotes which do provide well-researched insights into the hearts of historical leaders, including the essential biblical references. Dr. Trimm’s paraphrasing skills clarify contextually and definitively many of the works she quoted.
However, and also in part, the bulk of Dr. Trimm’s book is structured on top of previously published works. This reader can not fully appreciate the minimal content evidenced by the author’s primary contribution. This does not mean that the context of her work is not relevant to the body of Christ. It is. What it does mean is that (in my opinion) she might have used fewer lengthy historical quotations and included additional original spiritual expressions from her own heart. Doing so would have enhanced her spiritual authority and lessened reliance on previously published works.
Overall, I strongly recommend reading Dr. Cindy Trimm’s The Art of War for Spiritual Battle. Every Christian should learn and understand the difference between prayers prayed with hope for God “to act” and the “way of prayer ” that invokes “His will.”
Sun, Tzu, and James Clavell. The Art of War. Dell Publishing Group, 1993.
Trimm, Cindy. The Art of War for Spiritual Battle. Charisma House, 2008
Lakisha Johnson’s, The Marriage Bed / Lies and Deception, is a timely work of Christian fiction that contains more soul food than a Pentecostal church pot-luck dinner. Many of her readers might not and will not understand how her words compare to spiritual food, but rest assured, your soul will be filled.
However, there are several tell-tale nuances that identify Johnson as a self-publishing author. For example, and in several instances, Johnson’s editor failed to remember that a comma follows the dialogue and comes before the closing quotation mark to separate character dialogue inside the opening and closing quotation marks from the dialogue tags.
The following is a partial list of consistent errors that Johnson’s editor failed to catch and correct before signing off on the final draft.
The dialogue tag—she said—is part of the same sentence. The tag is not capped.
Example 1: “Tell the truth and shame the devil,” Bobbi yells above the noisy crowd.
Example 2: “Where do you think you’re going?” she asks, smiling at her son.
Opening lines on page 9: Misuse and misplaced punctuation. Periods used where commas are needed. The author creates two sentences out of one line of dialogue
The author mixes past and present-tense verbs as one point-of-view (POV). “I don’t care if we were … as long as I have you …”
Page 10: “She asks holding out her pinky finger.” (Missing comma after “She asks.”)
Example 1: “…,” she asks, holding out her pinky finger.
“They are with my parents for the weekend but just disregard the facts your wife is standing in front of you semi-nude.” I reply blowing out the candles. Missing commas.
Example1: “They are with my parents for the weekend but just disregard the fact that your wife is standing in front of you semi-nude,”
I reply blowing out the candles.
“I just hope nobody saw you in the store.” He says.
Example 1: “… the store,” he says.
Pg. 22 “Can I see your id please?” Capitalize ID
The official abbreviation for an article of identification (i.e., Driver’s license). As is (id) references the human ego.
“Happy Birthday.” He says smiling.
Example 1: “Happy Birthday, he says smiling.”
Characters and settings lack dimension / non-descriptive. This reader is unable to visualize the characters and settings.
Page 25: “… and happy birthday Bea.” Lowercase Happy Birthday (no comma before the proper noun) “Bea.”
Example: “Happy Birthday, Bea.”
Page 42: “too” (the adverb. Should be, to, the preposition). This error is repetitive.
3rd paragraph Page 314: “I rush into the house to the TV’s high volume and Mattie and Lilly dancing to some game. I drop my keys and water bottle on the table and head down the hall. It takes about thirty minutes but I am changed and ready. “Let’s go. I scream to the kids.”
Missing exclamation mark contradicts “scream.”
Example: “Let’s go!” I scream to the kids.
Mallory and Lilly should be dancing in the den; not “Mattie and Lilly.”
Page 321: “Dr. Mitchell, the Watson family is here.” My secretary interrupts” Blending Dr. Mitchell’s POV with Jerome’s confuses this reader.
Lilly explains to Dr. Mitchell why she’s mad at her dad.
Page 324: Jerome chimes in saying, “I explained to Lilly that I didn’t get your call … My phone was dead.” Who is Jerome answering? Confuses because narrative fails to show readers Jerome’s position in the office. The narrative does not interrupt dialogue to tell why Jerome says his daughter’s name in the third-person tense, then uses the word “your” in the first person tense.
Example: “I explained to Lilly that I didn’t get [her] call.” He turns to Dr. Matthews and says, “My phone was dead.”
1st. Paragraph Page 330: Jerome’s turn to say what he will change. He picks himself. “I pause.” The narrative from Dr. Mitchell’s point of view is the third-person present tense speaking from Jerome’s first-person present tense pov the narrative should read, [he pauses]. The narrative interruption is useful to page 324.
1st. Paragraph, page 332 “Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick. (The Message Bible, Proverbs 14:1). The author misquotes her reference using “… tears it down ‘break by break.'”
Overall, Lakisha Johnson spins an eye-opening yarn. She does a fine job writing between Lynn’s and Jerome’s point-of-view. I applaud her ability to portray today’s church through the life of one family.
Johnson, Lakisha. The Marriage Bed: Lies and Deception. Lakisha Johnson/Twins Write 2
Peterson, Eugene H. The Message Bible: Leather-Look. The Message, 2007.
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