Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Angels & Songs of Deliverance

At Molly's cheerleading competition, there were a variety of school mascots: plenty of tigers and panthers, a few cardinals, Huskies, Old Abes (what??), and Clippers (as in ships), and more than a few Devils. Red Devils, Blue Devils, Golden Devils, lots of devils, but not a single angel. And it made me wonder just a bit. I know that the devil has become a kind of cool, tough icon far removed from the actual Satan of the Bible, but have any of these people actually read the Bible? Because in the end, the devils lose. Every single battle, they will lose, and is that really what you want students to align themselves with? A symbol associated with losing and eternal failure?

On the other hand, take a look at the angels from the Bible. Not the version in pop culture of babies with fluffy white wings, ever-present smiles, sitting on clouds. In the Bible, angels wield swords of fire (several times), defeat hundreds of thousands of soldiers, walk into a fiery furnace to rescue three men who walk out unscathed, hold shut the mouths of lions, sweep into a town bringing a plague killing thousands (twice), plus so many other amazing stories. That sounds like a team I want to be on!

After we returned from the tournament on Saturday, Mia was playing a cheerleading game on the Wii. She came to me and said, "Mommy, want to know what the name of my team is? The Angels! And the other guys are the Devils." I told her that she was certain to win then.

While this post is a touch of tongue in cheek, I am a bit serious as well. The last thing we need to be doing is making Satan cool and to continue spreading his lies. Which side are you on?

Angels by Dr. David Jeremiah is an indepth study on the truth behind these mysterious messengers of God. The worship of angels has been going on for millenia, Paul wrote about the dangers of it in his epistles. Now there are books and groups teaching about angels who help their people find good parking spots or great deals at the mall. That is nothing like the angels portrayed in the Bible, and the author does his best to put aside the myths and focus on what we know from Scripture. There is much to be gleaned from these writings: they are messengers and warriors, they are sexless and ageless, and we can learn much from them. They live to worship and obey the Lord. I do wish that Dr. Jeremiah had included more anecdotes about angels today. The few stories were fascinating and did much to hook the reader, but they taper off quickly in the book and would have been powerful examples to demonstrate each point the author wanted to make. This book sets to rest many of the myths about angels and will encourage readers to keep their worship where it belongs: on God.

Thank you to WaterBrook Publishing for providing a copy of this book for me to review.

Songs of Deliverance by Marilynn Griffith is the powerful sequel to Rhythms of Grace. The story picks up in the middle of an attack on dancer Grace Okoye and her rescue by her friends Zeely, Ron, and Brian. Each character has a rich, multi-layered history entwined with the others. Ron and Zeely have loved each other since high school, but each is engaged to another, and Grace and Brian are soulmates who can't seem to get past their history to find each other again. I wish that I had read the previous book, because it is important to untangle all of the lines of connection between the characters as well as the minor characters, although in Griffith's writing there are no minor characters. Every one is brilliantly rendered and completely real. Her writing is thick and rich, trapping readers and pulling them in this story of love, faith, and friendship. I want to know these people. I want to see Grace dance, Zeely sing, Brian play the drums, and Ron preach. Their story broke my heart and then put it back together again. I've been a fan of Griffith's for years, but this is absolutely her best work yet.

Thank you to Revell Books for providing me with a copy of this book for review. Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I'm giving away a copy of Angels this week. If you'd like to win, just send me an email or leave a comment here before 10 pm on Thursday, Feb. 4th. I'll announce the winner here on Friday.