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Book Review

From Supplanter to Prince with God - Studies in the life of Jacob by J H Large; published 2011 by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 365 pages; price £8.99. (9780946351145)

This book follows on naturally from the volume on Abraham by the same author.

James H Large spent over sixty years of his life preaching and teaching the Word of God.

In this exposition on the life of Jacob he blends a combination of contextual analysis, devotional application and spiritual insight into the varied experiences of one who walked the path of faith in the Old Testament.

In the Introduction J R Baker states, "One of the thrills of Jacob’s story is that it portrays a God who is interested in and compassionate toward our struggles and disappointments". This is seen even to the point where God is "unhindered by the vagaries, the contrivances and even the cunning and wickedness of man".

From Supplanter to Prince with God is separated into short readable sections each headed by a relevant caption such as "A Special Place". This portion deals with Jacob at Bethel. The author observes, "What a difference the Lord’s presence makes to any situation". How true this is.

The instruction Jacob received in the school of God is traced throughout his life. In "Mahanaim – Two Hosts" it is shown that Jacob was so "prone to rely on his own contrivances he was going to be forced into a situation where God would be his only resource". The lesson applied from this incident is that it often takes a crisis beyond our control to teach as our own insufficiency and to lead us to find all our resources in God even as Jacob had to learn.

The author continues with profitable exposition and application to the end of Jacob’s life. Having had to struggle through storms, his evening was calm and quiet. "His sun was setting in a clear sky and the rays of a coming glory lit up the final stage of his journey." This instructive book concludes with a helpful appendix on "The Angel of the Lord".


Titanic - The Ship of Dreams (John Harper of the Titanic) by Robert Plant; published 2011 by Christian Focus Publications and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 170 pages; price £5.99. (9781845506414)

This book is one of the Torch Bearers series which presents stirring biographies of Christians who were willing to give their lives for the advancement of the gospel and the glory of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The series is designed for a younger readership and the books are ideal as gifts for young people to read. They are also suitable for forming part of younger children’s daily routine at bedtime with a chapter or excerpt being read for essential spiritual input.

In Titanic - The Ship of Dreams well known evangelist Robert Plant focuses on John Harper and his young daughter Jessica Annie (Nana).

Around the year 1903, John married Annie Bell and in 1906, Jessica Annie was born. Sadly, a few days after the birth, the mother died, leaving John to care for Nana on his own. When the Titanic went down in the cold icy waters of the North Atlantic on 14th April, 1912, John Harper was one of the 1,517 people who perished.

The experiences of John Harper and his daughter Nana on board the Titanic are graphically depicted with gripping narrative. The "Author’s Note" states, "Some incidents described on board the ship are from the author’s imagination. However, though they are fictional, they are based on historical information".

The main events are factual. The account of a man trusting in the Saviour, as a result of John Harper’s final words to him, while they were both swimming in the sea, was verified when the survivor testified to this incident at a meeting some time after the sinking of the Titanic.

This was John Harper’s last convert – an example of the burning desire in John’s heart to see others saved.

What happened to Nana Harper after the sinking of the ship? This is revealed to the reader.

The book concludes with some practical challenges entitled "Take Five Minutes" and a series of five brief Bible studies which apply God’s Word to daily living.



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