Here again, this present month is almost over, and I’ve yet to tell you about last months reads. I finished five books in April, including Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. Read on for my impressions of all five titles:
Man of the Family by Ralph Moody
First, I finished reading another installment in Ralph Moody’s autobiographical set aloud to my children and grandkids.
The fact this book is set during the time Ralph is the same age as my youngest son and oldest grandson makes it particularly relatable. We all marvel at the responsibility that rested on his young shoulders. Part of that was due to the age he lived in and part due to family circumstances. But Ralph’s work ethic, resourcefulness, and obvious love for his family make him a wonderful role model for boys of all ages.
Man of the Family follows the Moodies as they leave their ranch and move into town. There they find God’s abundant provision and blessing amid hardship and misunderstanding. The entire series is inspiring, and my kids and grands request “just one chapter more” almost every time I crack open the book.
The 40-Day Sugar Fast by Wendy Speake
Last month I reviewed Triggers, a book by this same author. As I mentioned then, anger has never been my besetting sin. But my sweet-tooth? That is much more prone to trip me up. So — just from a purely practical standpoint — Wendy Speake’s 40 Day Sugar Fast intrigued me.
What I wasn’t expecting, though, is how spiritually deep a book about not giving in to physical cravings for just shy of six weeks could be. The book’s subtitle says it well: “Where physical detox meets spriritual transformation.” What an apt description!
Giving up sugar is only the jumping off place. Wendy urges readers to use those 40 sugar-free days to examine other strongholds sin may have in our lives, as well. I found the entire exercise challenging and enormously beneficial. And, yes, I did make it 40 full days without sugar — and then some — although I did take a short break during the middle of my fast to indulge a bit while traveling through Europe. But I ate only in moderation and got right back to fasting as soon as we returned home.
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
This one was a re-read from years gone by. But it was the first time our younger children heard it. My husband read it aloud to the family over the course of a couple of months.
It was a timely read. Long before he finished the last chapter, we could feel the spiritual warfare raging around us. What a comfort to be reminded that the battle is already won! As the Bible warns us, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” (Ephesians 6:12) And God has equipped us for the fight. (Ephesians 6:13-18)
The last weapon listed in the “Armor of God” passage in Ephesians is one Frank Peretti makes much of in This Present Darkness — prayer. God calls us to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Even though Peretti’s novel is a work of fiction, I love the way he shows God working through the prayers of the saints to accomplish His purposes. It’s enough to inspire any thoughtful Christian to spend more time on their knees.
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The grandkids and I listened to The Wizard of Oz on Audible while traveling back and forth between their home and mine. It did a fairly good job of keeping me awake on the road. But I’ll be the first to admit, the 1939 classic film quite spoiled the book for me. In my opinion, this is one of those rare instances where the movie version is better than the written word. The filmmakers obviously took lots of liberties with Baum’s original story, but every change made it stronger, better, and more cohesive. Still, it was fun listening for the differences, and the movie would never have come into being without the book. And Anne Hathaway did a marvelous job bringing all Baum’s characters to life.
[Incidentally, did you know kids can listen to children’s stories for FREE on Audible during the COVID-19 quarantine? No membership required!]
The Light and the Glory for Children by Peter Marshall and David Manuel
We read the children’s version of Marshall and Manuel’s The Light and the Glory as part of our homeschool history studies last month. It relates some truly amazing stories from early American history, tracing the providential hand of God in how events played out.
Some of these stories were already familiar to my children and grandchildren. Some were brand new. All were told from a Christian worldview that resonates with our family. Reading this child-friendly version has merely whetted my appetite for the meatier, more detailed original, which I purpose to read soon — possibly even aloud to the kids.
And that’s a wrap for This Present Darkness and other books I finished in March. For more recent reads, stay tuned. I’ll be publishing my April reading list in another couple of weeks.
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