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Notable books

Notable Books | Four books from Christian publishers reviewed by Susan Olasky

We Wait You: Waiting on God in Eastern Europe

Taryn Hutchison was a Campus Crusade missionary whose one-year missions trip to Romania in 1990 turned into a 10-year stay in Eastern Europe. She writes with humor and affection about her experiences in lands emerging from decades of Communist imprisonment. She lived in sometimes-dismal situations, saw flames shoot out of her walls, suffered pickpocketing, robbery, and assault . . . and loved her time there, where people were hungry for the gospel.

Embarrassing episodes-traveling in Romania and unexpectedly getting her period and finding there are no feminine hygiene products available-share the pages with spiritual triumphs and the trials of daily living.

Just How Married Do You Want to Be?

What does "headship" mean and in what ways is Christ's relationship to the church the same as a husband's relationship to his wife? These questions are at the heart of this challenging little book on marriage. Neither the democratic model of marriage ("Wife is the husband's equal. Husband's headship is irrelevant.") nor the business model ("Husband is the head of the house. Wife is the husband's subordinate.") sufficiently captures the meaning of headship.

The book deals honestly with marital issues drawn from the Sumners' own lives. They show how the biblical model ("Husband is the head of the wife. Wife is the husband's body.") is rooted in the mystery of a man and a woman becoming "one flesh."

God's Prayer Book

This wonderful workbook encourages the use of Psalms in our prayers. Patterson calls it a "devotional commentary. . . . I want to say just enough about each psalm to stir your heart and imagination to lead you into prayer." The book contains the text of 62 psalms, each followed by a short devotion based on the psalm, and suggestions for ways to use it in prayer.

Perhaps more helpful than any particular devotion is the general advice on how to use Psalms in prayer: Read one out loud, festoon it, paraphrase it, learn it by heart, and marinate in it. An introductory chapter shows how Jesus, Martin Luther, and others made Psalms their prayerbook.

Living for God's Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism

This clear, sympathetic, and wide-ranging primer on Calvinism has sections covering history, theology, piety, worship, and practice. It's tone is pastoral, with chapters ending in exhortations: "May God enable us also to live pious lives to His glory," or "May we be given strength to 'draw near to God' through these means He has given."

The book is sprinkled with wonderful quotes, including this one on marriage by Matthew Henry: The woman is "not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved."

Spotlight

It's Time to Sleep, My Love by Eric Metaxas, is a sweet lullaby accompanied by luminous illustrations of animals at night time. The simple, rhythmic text-"It's time to sleep, it's time to sleep, the fishes croon in waters deep."-invites parents to make up a tune and sing the book to their sleepy little ones.

In Naomi's Gift, Scott Freeman retells a true story of a physician in the 1920s who, while delivering a badly deformed baby, considers delaying the birth just long enough to cause the baby's death and thus spare the family certain heartache. It may seem an unlikely tale for a picture book-the vocabulary makes it better suited to elementary school children-but it's a wonderful grace-filled Christmas story.

What Is God Like? by Beverly Lewis isn't so much a story as an illustrated children's catechism, where a brother and sister remember all they know about God. "'Is anything too hard for God?' Emily asked. 'I don't think so. He's greater than anything or anyone in the whole world.'"

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