Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wisdom of the Sadhu---Teachings of Sundar Singh

Wisdom of the Sadhu---Teachings of Sundar Singh is a great book. This is the true story of Sundar Singh who was a young boy who grew up in a wealthy Sikh home.  He was well loved by his parents.  Sundar was a sensitive boy who always cared for the plight of the poor around him.  One time as an 8 year old he wanted to help a poor woman in the streets.  He spent all of his money on buying her food but he didn't have enough to buy her a blanket.  He begged his father for more money but because he had already given her money before he refuses and says that it is time for others to help her so Sundar steals some of his fathers money to buy the blanket.  His father finds out but Sundar denies that he has done this theft.  Sundar is racked with guilt until he confesses to his father but his father surprises him by praising him for doing what was right and good and apologizes to him for refusing him the money in the first place.  From this brief story the reader sees that the father dearly loves his son.  He sends him to a Christian school because that is the best.  Sundar hates going to school there.  He even tears up and burns the Bible.  He gets into so much trouble from the school and his father for destroying the Holy book even though it is not his religion.  A few days later in much confusion Sundar prays to God to show himself to him if He is true.  Then Yesu (Jesus) comes to him right after the prayer and talks to him, then Sundar sees the marks on his hands and feet.  Sundar falls on his knees before the Master and feels the great peace that he has been seeking all his life.  He runs to his father to tell him of the experience and his father tells him he is confused and to go to sleep.  Sundar goes to sleep but he does not forget and spends his next few days in meditation and solitude.  Sundar decides that he must declare his new faith in Christ publicly since he had declared his insults publicly and does so.  This makes the Sikhs very angry and they eventually get the Christian school closed and the teachers have to escape for fear of reprisal.  The loving father has just lost his other son and his wife to death and is patient with his son.  He tries everything to get him to renounce his new faith but Sundar will not.  Sadly the father is forced to reject his son and send him from the house in disgrace.  And 15 year old Sundar who is only used to luxury is cast out into the world with only what he had on.  No food, no clothes, no shelter.  Sundar had the one thing that he had been seeking though--he had peace in his heart.

I loved this story of Sundar's teachings.  Sundar considered himself an Indian Holy man.  He rejected many if not most of the western Christian beliefs but those of Jesus Christ he believed and more importantly he lived and taught it to others.  He did not understand professing love for Christ but not loving your neighbor which many who profess Christ do.  He continued to love even those who did not believe with him. He was beat repeatedly for his beliefs.  He never forgot the love and peace he received from Jesus as a boy.  When the teacher at the mission school predicted to his father that Sundar would become a great man of God or .....go insane he was correct.  Sundar became a great man of God.  This is part of his story.

I received this book from Handlebar for this review.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould

Becoming Bea is the 4th installment of the Courtships of Lancaster County series.   These novels can easily stand alone or be read in any order.  Beatrice Zook, Bea only to her family and sometimes Ben Rupp, has been hurt bad by Ben and will barely speak to him.  Surprisingly though lately Ben has been very nice to her.  Bea is not so sure she can trust him though.  Will he just up and hurt her again after just a few dates?  She cannot deny though that even though Don has been just as nice as he can be she is still only attracted to Ben.  Ben whom she has known since grade school years.  Ben who can match her scholarly as well as in wit.  Can she take a chance on him again?  Then just to throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing her sister Molly seems to have decided that the whole family should go on vacation with her family to Montana.  Molly knows she hates to travel.  Her mom agrees that Bea can stay if she finds a job.  Bea has never wanted a job til now but there is the Miller family who needs help since Nan had the triplets.  Bea had never until now taken care of children but really how hard could 3 premature triplets be?

Love this book.  Who could not?  This writer helps the reader see the Amish as normal people with normal personalities who have the same problems with life that people of other religions have.  I like that Ms Gould does not make them out as goody goody.  These folks have to fight the same urges to sin that does everyone else and deal with many times much worse consequences from their community when they mess up.  Bea and Ben must to learn to trust  each other for their love to be a blessing to each other.  They must learn to accept each others shortfalls and forgive.  If they can learn all this their life will be blessed.  This book can be read by all ages and would probably be more enjoyed by girls and women.
This book was provided by Bethany House for this review.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Thief of Glory by Sgmund Brouwer

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer is a novel but very much based on factual events that happened in the author's grandpa's life and others who lived with him or helped  the people survive as a Japanese concentration camp survivor during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies now know as the Island of Java.  The story is also told of the heroics which happened as every day life in the Jappenkamp.  It tells of those who were thought of as traitors who it is later found were actually saviors of the many Dutch and American women and children  forced to live and many to die in the camp.  The men and older male children had already been taken into forced labor and many died in that fashion either worked or starved to death.  The story follows the life of Jeremiah and his family.  Jeremiah and his little brother Pietje were the only survivors of this very large Dutch family.  This story does not tell a pretty story.  The survivors had to do many things for which they were later ashamed in order to survive.  This book tells of great sacrifice as well as the corruption that happens during war.  It is a difficult read but one must know history or we will be descended to repeat it.

 Most of history and even novels tell the story of World War II as if the entire war was fought in Europe.  This novel tells the story of the war fought in Burma.  I am grateful to this author for telling this story.  My father in law fought in the Burma part of World War II and he says that most don't even know of all that happened there.  It is the forgotten part of the war.  This story needs to be read by all.   Most of us do not know why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and this tells in part of why it was so important to them to destroy our military.
This book was provided for this review by Waterbrook Press.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Forever Christmas

Forever Christmas by Robert Tate Miller is a new novel by this well known author.  Forever Christmas revisits the 3 days prior to Christmas that Andrew Farmer is being privileged to get to relive.  Andrew has loved his wife Beth for as long as he can remember but he has since becoming an important person in his firm begun to take her for granted.  He has started taking his importance more seriously and his wife's love for granted.  On this Christmas Eve Beth and he had an argument and Beth had run out thinking that he had spent the weekend on a trip with his beautiful associate not just working as he had stated so many times before but instead in each other's arms.  Andrew had not but he had known that he could have if he had wanted for he knew that the beautiful Kimberly was willing and ready.  But was it enough that he had not done anything with Kimberly?  Beth believed not only that he had but worse that he didn't love her anymore and had run out into the street to rescue the neighbor's dog and been hit by a car and died believing that Andrew and her love was over.  Andrew as he held the dying Beth knew that he had taken for granted the most important person in his life and that she had not deserved his treatment of her.  Upon returning home after Beth's death Andrew meets the angel, Lionel, who gives him one more chance to relive the 3 days before Christmas.  As Lionel explains Beth still must die but Andrew is given a chance to make things right between himself and Beth before her death.  As Lionel's final admonition, Andrew went and tried very hard not to, "screw things up".  When he entered his apartment there he was on December 22 with his wife planning Christmas again.  This time he would make things right and do the things that Beth liked to do.  He would make her last 3 days perfect and maybe if he was good enough maybe Lionel would let her live.  But those 3 days even though he tried his best were not perfect, Andrew though tried his best.  He tried to live as Beth would have wanted him to.  He would for her last Christmas would take her back to their home town where they both grew up.  Beth loved it back there but they almost never went back because Andrew held such bad memories of his life there.  But this Christmas was not about Andrew like usual this last Christmas was going to be about Beth and all the things that she wanted and never got.

I loved this book and I think that all readers that grew up loving Its a Wonderful Life will love this book as well.  It has many of the same features: a chance to relive a portion of your life and make things right, a loving wife and an upwardly mobile husband who loves her but takes her for granted in his quest to make money.  Forever Christmas reminds all of us of the important things in our life and making money rarely is as important as it seems.  This book reminds us of how important forgiveness of the wrongs done to us by others is good for not only them but good for us also.  Forgiving and forgetting allows us to become the good people that we were made to be.  It keeps us from becoming the people that we won't forgive.  This book would be good reading for all ages and both men and women.
This book was provided by Booklook for this review.