The Masterpiece – Book Review

My daughter gave this book to me as a Mother’s Day present. She does know her mother well. Over the years I have read many of Francine Rivers books both fiction and non-fiction. Her newest book, The Masterpiece, is one of the most riveting books I have ever read. Two people who seem so different on the surface, yet have much more in common than they ever thought possible, come together in this book to discover what God has in store for their lives. Each has their own dark past. One hopes for a better future, while the other has given up believing that hope is possible despite a hunger that can’t be denied.

Roman Velasco, a well-known artist, formerly a teen gang tagger, has a near-death experience while on a road trip with his personal assistant Grace Moore. Although he’s only in his mid-30’s he has a sudden heart attack on a restaurant sidewalk. While others work to bring him back to life, he experiences the terrifying grasp of demons pulling him down to the depths of hell. After just discussing Jesus Christ with Grace, Roman screams for him to save him. The next thing he experiences is seeing a bright light and feeling Jesus take his wrist and pull him to safety while telling the demons to release him.

That scene alone overwhelmed me because many years ago, after escaping an abusive marriage and finally finding healing in Jesus Christ, I asked God to show me what he did in me so that I could help someone else. God gave me three visions. One of those visions was a similar, though not exact, scene that Rivers describes with Roman. Even now, more than twenty years later, I can still hear the demons taunting me. I can still feel the heat from their grasping fingers trying to pull me off that sharp cliff. I can still remember trying to hang on by my fingernails feeling that I was lost. I can also remember Jesus Christ coming to my rescue and demanding that the demons release me because I was his child.

If you have ever doubted that God is real. If you have ever wondered if Jesus will really save you. Whether you are new to the faith or have never had the gospel shared with you, you have to read this book. Rivers writes stories that are realistic, putting her readers in the midst of the story. I promise that once you start this book you won’t be able to put it down until you reach the end. Even though it’s more than 400 pages, I finished it in two nights of reading. Get your copy as soon as possible.

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Book Review – Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for your Anxious Heart by Mina R Raulston

I am so grateful to Revell Books for the ability to participate in their Blogger Book Review program. They provide me with a list of books to choose from and I write an honest review of those books. Most of the time I can give a positive review. Unfortunately, I cannot do that with this book.

The author, Maria Furlough, speaks about fear from her personal experiences. She has evidently lived a life overwhelmed with the spirit of fear, a fear that grew from simple worry to outright panic. It was also compounded by the diagnosis of her unborn child with a syndrome that would cause his death within minutes or hours after his birth. I can’t imagine the pain she endured during her pregnancy and delivery, followed by his death.

But, I do know that her method of fighting fear is not workable for me. She searches countless scriptures about fear, which is fine by itself. But her battle tactic is to read the scriptures to herself and journal her fears in detail. I was taught to fight the devil and his minions with the Word of God directly. When Jesus was in the wilderness and Satan taunted him and tempted him Jesus set the example for how to fight the devil off. He spoke the Word of God back to him. An example is in Matthew 4.

In II Timothy 1:7 it says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Then, in James 4:7 it says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

I grew up with a mother who was the embodiment of the spirit of fear. If I had given voice to my fears through journaling and speaking about them I would have been overtaken by them. But by learning to rebuke the devil and the spirit of fear I have been able to overcome that fear. Does it still attempt to attack me? Yes, on occasion. But, then the Holy Spirit reminds me of the full Armor of God and how to fight the devil with the Sword of the Spirit.

If this battle tactic works for Mrs. Furlough then I pray she becomes adept at it. I would never tell someone to stop fighting in a way that helps them. I just know the more direct approach works for me.