Occasionally I become a reader for pleasure. This normally only lasts a couple of months but it is an amazing couple of months when it happens. I find a book that really captures my heart, mind or imagination and it inspires me to keep reading, until I hit a book that I struggle with.
Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers was one of those books. You can buy it here:
A book of fiction stories based around the 5 women in Jesus' lineage, it opens up a window to the past and fleshes out some of the stories that are only given a line or two in the scriptures. These women are inspirational, they are strong, they are courageous. And they are important enough to be mentioned in Jesus' geneology when normally only men were.
Yes, all the details may not be entirely correct and you have to accept that it is a work of fiction, but taking some time to study and look into the lives of these influential women will definitely have an impact on how you view your own ministry. It did for me.
Reading about Mary the mother of Jesus has given me insight in how to be a good mother, in the challenges that she faced raising the son of God and the challenges she faced raising normal children after that!
Reading about Rahab showed me that anyone can change their situation by choosing to turn to God for help. It revealed the immensity of the situation inside Jericho - the fear she must have felt but with God's help she remained strong.
Learning about Tamar opened up my eyes to the difficulties that culture and traditions can bring to our lives, but that if we keep our eyes fixed on the living God he will stand firm on his promises.
Ruth taught me about the power of loyalty and of hard work. And the joy of blessings that God give us to us.
And finally, Bathsheba revealed the power of the flesh - that anyone can be tempted and taken away from the right path, but that through redemption God can bring them back.
All of these lessons have been useful, and the stories, although known to me already, we so engaging and drew you in. At the end of each chapter are some discussion questions, so this book works well for a book club or group. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants an easy read that will potentially change their views of women in the bible, and themselves.