Showing posts with label Christian Nonfiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian Nonfiction. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Corrie ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord: A Review

I took the photo of the book cover from my own copy and added the quote.

Released from Ravensbrück with a Message for the World

Corrie ten Boom's family worked for the Dutch Resistance when the Nazis occupied their land of Holland during World War II. Corrie wrote of their activities and their consequences in her first book, The Hiding Place.

Until she was fifty years old, Corrie had lived with her family above the watch shop her father owned. After the Nazis took power, the ten Boom family helped hide persecuted Jews in a specially built hiding place in their home. But an informer betrayed them. The Nazis arrested and imprisoned the entire family.

Corrie's father died after a few days. Some family members were released. But Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to Germany and imprisoned in the Ravensbrück women's labor camp for several months, where Betsie died. A clerical error caused the Germans to release Corrie a week before all the women her age were sent to the gas chambers.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1985-0417-15, Ravensbrück, Konzentrationslager
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1985-0417-15 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)]

While imprisoned, Corrie and Betsie had tried to encourage those who had lost all hope. The picture above shows the kind of work these women in Ravensbrück did. The photo above was taken at Ravensbrück a year before Corrie was imprisoned there. This link leads to more photos taken of the prisoners in this camp and their life there. You can see why most had little hope. Most did not leave while alive. They saw the smoke from the crematoriums as they worked. Could anything be more depressing?

In The Hiding Place Corrie explains how God was able to work among the women--even in the barracks of the concentration camp. The book was made into a movie. I recommend it. I saw it when it first came out in 1975.




Corrie's Life After Release

After her miraculous release, for I believe God was behind that clerical blunder, Corrie spent some time regaining her health and reconnecting with the remnants of her old life in Holland. Then, for about twenty more years, she traveled the world spreading her message of God's love and forgiveness. She called herself a tramp for the Lord because she circled the world twice, living out of a suitcase, with no real home to call her own. I call her an ambassador for Christ, for she carried his message of reconciliation wherever she went. She chose the title for her book because it reflects her lifestyle during those years. It is the sequel to The Hiding Place.


Corrie's Message Was Consistent


Corrie had suffered hardship and betrayal. She had watched as her sister died due to conditions in the concentration camp, illness, and the cruelty of a particular guard. She had slept with fleas and lice. She had almost starved to death. But still she spoke of God's love and faithfulness to her.

During nightly Bible times  in the barracks, she gave hope to many women without any. She had managed to sneak a Bible in and she used it for spiritual strength for herself, Betsie, and anyone else who wanted to participate. (That story is in this book.)

Corrie's message was one of reconciliation. She told stories as she shared the convicting and healing words of the Bible. One of her most frequent themes dealt with the bitterness that many have when they believe they have suffered injustice or betrayal. She taught that the cure was forgiveness. On p. 59 she says, "If we forgive other people, our hearts are made ready to receive forgiveness."

But God has a way of testing us so that we will know ourselves. Corrie was not exempt from that testing.

One night Corrie spoke about God's forgiveness at a church in Munich. She had told the assembled Germans that when we confess our sins, God casts them into the deep ocean and they are gone forever.

And then she saw a man approaching her in an overcoat and a brown hat. Except she suddenly saw him as she had known him before -- in a blue uniform and a visored cap with a skull and crossbones. The man had been one of the most cruel guards at Ravensbrück. As he thrust his hand out he said it was good to know all his sins were at the bottom of the sea. He seemed not to recognize Corrie. He told her he'd been a guard there, but had become a Christian now.

He said, '...I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips, as well....will you forgive me?' Out came his hand again.

All Corrie's memories of the terrible times and the way her sister died flooded her mind. Corrie wrote: "And I stood there--I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven--and could not forgive."

She wrestled with God internally over the hardest thing He had ever asked of her. She wrote "For I had to do it--I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. 'If you do not forgive men their trespasses,' Jesus says, 'neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.' I refer you to Chapter 7 in Tramp for the Lord to see what happened next.

I took the photo of the book cover from my own copy and added the quote.
Each chapter of Tramp for the Lord is short, but Corrie doesn't need a lot of words to share what she has learned through her suffering and from the Bible. I was impressed most by the fact that Corrie was an ordinary Christian quietly making watches and doing her best to obey God when she was arrested. She had learned to trust God before prison, and she kept trusting Him during those months at Ravensbrück in spite of the horror of her surroundings and the cruelty she suffered and witnessed.

She continued to trust him on a daily basis as she traveled the world as a tramp for the Lord. He remained faithful in providing her needs until her death on her 91st birthday in 1983. When she said "He made me rich" she didn't mean materially rich. He supplied all her needs so she would not have to ask for money. He gave her peace, forgiveness, and the victory that comes with obedience.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham: A Book Review

A Glimpse into What Ruth Graham Learned as a Child of God


For a long time I thought of Ruth Bell Graham simply as Billy Graham's wife. I knew she was the daughter of medical missionaries and had spent her childhood in China. Other than that I didn't know much about her until I started to read her books. I'd like to share one of them with you here: Legacy of a Pack Rat.

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham: A Book Review
Image Courtesy of Pixabay, edited in PicMonkey


Those of you who know me probably know why I had to open and read this book. I'm a pack rat. This was one of the books that I've had around the house I'd been waiting to read. I'm trying to read through these piles of books now so that I can pass them on. I won't be passing this one on just yet. It's a keeper.

If you've ever kept a journal or made a scrapbook, you know that only what is significant to you goes into it. Much of this book is treasured memories. Some of it is Ruth's original poetry. You will also find quotes from others which she wanted to preserve and keep handy to read over and over. As I read the results of Ruth's collation, I got a great deal of insight into who she was.

One portion I especially appreciated was Chapter 42: "Bible Study for Tough Times." These are suggested passages to read followed by some of Ruth's thoughts on persecution, affliction, and God's sovereignty and sufficiency.

Some anecdotes in the book are humorous. Some thoughts she shares are inspired by her Bible reading. Many stories are about her interactions with her husband, children, and parents. All of the stories, meditations and poems leave me with something to ponder after I read them.  One example from Chapter 43 shows how a barracuda gave Billy Graham more energy than he knew he had.

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham: A Book Review
Image of Barracuda Courtesy of Pixabay. TExt added with PicMonkey


The Perfect Book for Small Bits of Time


This book offers inspiration in short doses at times when you may need it most. Only a few minutes for a morning quiet time when you're still too tired for real Bible study? Reading a bit of this book will speak to your spirit and keep you going until you have more time and energy.

Are you sick in bed or in the hospital and can't read anything heavy for encouragement? This book is just right. It's also good to have beside your hospital bed for family who are keeping vigil when you are sleeping after surgery. It's perfect for reading while you are in the ICU waiting room awaiting your next visit with a family member who is in critical condition. You can also take it to a friend who is in the hospital for surgery or to recover from an illness.

Keep it by your own bedside and read a short chapter before you close your eyes. That can help focus your mind away from problems or pain that may be keeping you from falling asleep immediately.

I carry it with me now when I know I may spend time waiting anywhere. It doesn't require long periods to finish a section, since chapters can be less than a page to five pages in length. Most chapters are a page or two. I used to keep my Kindle in my purse for these waiting times, but then I often find I don't want to put my book down and tackle my to-do list when I get home. Instead I want to finish my book. Legacy of a Pack Rat is easy to pick up, read, and put down when you need to do something else.

Who Will Get Most Out of This Book?


I would say that Christians or those who believe in God will benefit most by reading this book. Ruth Graham knew what it's like to be a young mother with several young children and a husband who is gone frequently for long periods of time. So she understands the pressures of other young mothers. She also understands what missionaries face as they work in other countries and cultures. She understands what it means to be very busy and very tired. She understands being under pressure. Her book speaks to those at any stage of life from teen to old age.

Legacy of a Pack Rat by Ruth Bell Graham: A Book Review
Photo  ©Barbara Radisavljevic, Poem  © Ruth Bell Graham


This book offers food for thought in the form of humor, poetry, inspirational quotations, stories from the mission field, stories of returning prodigals, and more. She deals with hard topics like death, persecution, church problems, suffering, and forgiveness, interspersed with humorous anecdotes, reflections on prayer, original poems, and inspiring family stories.

Many of these stories may also be interesting to those who are not yet believers. Some may help a seeker move closer to faith. But I recommend the book most to those who already desire to walk closely with the Lord and lead lives that are very busy and/or who struggle with physical or emotional pain. 

The other two books you see below offer more insight into the life of Ruth Graham. Two of her children, including Franklin, were prodigals at one time. In Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, she reveals her heart as she waited for them to come home spiritually and explains how the experience helped her learn to rest in God's sovereignty. In Footsteps of a Pilgrim, Ruth reflects on her life both as a child in China and as a wife, mother and grandmother in the United States.

You can buy Legacy of a Packrat and the other books by Ruth Bell Graham at Amazon by clicking a link below or you may find them on eBay for less. 





You may also want to read my review of Billy Graham's book, Facing Death and the Life After.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, January 4, 2018

One Perfect Word - Book Review

Book review of New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber's One Perfect Word.
One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber
Will you be tapping into the power of one word in 2018?  One word, carefully chosen, can make a real difference in living more purposefully in the new year.  Debbie Macomber, beloved author of millions, shares with us, in One Perfect Word, how her chosen words have changed her life in profound ways.

For most of us, focusing on one significant word is much more realistic than wrestling with those pesky New Year's resolutions.  Over the years, I have set hundreds of resolutions.  It would be humiliating to tally up how many of those well-intentioned resolutions I have actually kept.  After reading One Perfect Word, I feel confident that I can, and will, experience meaningful growth in 2018.  There's no time like the present to begin.  Let's get started!

You may be wondering how to select your word.  As a Christian, Macomber's process is done prayerfully.  Some of her words over the years have included: passion, desire, balance, purpose, seek, wisdom, surrender, trust, believe, and hope.  Some people don't have to search very hard for their words.  The right words seem to find them.  Is there a word that keeps popping up in your life lately?  Perhaps that word is trying to get your attention and is saying 'choose me... choose me.'

So once Macomber has her word, what then?  Over the course of the year she reads, reflects, journals, meets with friends in her One Word weekly breakfast club for discussions, and enjoys creative Wordplay activities.  By giving yourself a whole year to slowly digest the gleanings of your word, there is plenty of opportunity to nourish your spirit without the rush or anxiety of looming deadlines.

It's not just Christians who delve into the One Word system of growth.  Individuals of all backgrounds have found this to be a powerful means of achieving desired outcomes. Due to the popularity of this process, there are one word themed books in many different genres.  Each of you can choose the method that best speaks to who you are and what you are seeking.  Perhaps you will develop a whole new personalized system to share with others in your circle.

This is the second time I have read One Perfect Word.  Macomber's book continues to inspire me to become all that I was created to be.  For me, it was the perfect way to start my new year.  I believe Christian book clubs, Bible study groups, and individuals of faith will find this to be a worthy read.

Have you ever selected a word for the year?  Do you have a word in mind for 2018?  I would love for you to share in the comment section below.

Happy New Year!  May 2018 be the Year of Abundant Becoming.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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