Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Reading Together

Reading Together, our ladies reading club has had an extended hiatus since we finished our last book back in July 2020. But with the arrival of Spring has come renewed enthusiasm for starting a new book! 

The main idea behind the reading club is to encourage ladies of all ages to pick up a book they would not normally get through and enjoy some online encouragement and discussion as we slowly read through it together. It is run as an online blog that can only be viewed by members who have subscribed (which is free), and those who are members also get a bonus discount on the current book. If you like the look of the books you see in the image, (these are the ones we have read so far) then how about joining us for our next one? Just contact us to find out how.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Out of the Smoke

This is an impressive debut novel! Matthew Wainwright has written a gripping and fast paced story of life on the streets of Victorian London. The streets were crime ridden, dangerous places and we follow the life of Billy, a child chimney sweep who gets caught up in a criminal underworld. Gang warfare is rife and moral degeneracy the norm. Billy develops the thick-skin and pride of a fully initiated gang member and refuses help on more than one occasion from the 'Poor Man's Earl', Lord Shaftesbury. His criminality reaches new depths as he is persuaded to use his chimney climbing abilities for more sinister purposes. It is only when he makes the usually fatal mistake of forgetting his way out of the labyrinth of chimneys, that he is forced to make a life changing choice. With a tantalisingly vague ending we are left to assume that he made the right one.

The book finishes with a helpful factual section giving further details on Victorian London, a brief biography of Lord Shaftesbury and also a timeline of notable historical events that relate to the story.

Aimed at 12yrs+ this is a riveting, well researched and brilliantly written novel based on the work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury.

Out of the Smoke by Matthew Wainwright, published by Wakeman, £7.99

Check out the author on Instagram (Matthew Wainwright) - he publishes fun quizzes and other resources about his book on there.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Trusting through the Tears - A Repost

It is almost exactly a year since we posted this review. What a year it has been! There may have been many tears, but has there been any 'Trusting through the Tears'? I hope many of us can testify that by God's grace there has. I am reposting this review to bring this helpful book to your attention again...

Keren Baker and her family have experienced many trials of different kinds: bereavement, chronic illness, mental health issues and financial difficulty, to mention a few. Trusting Through the Tears was written to show how God's grace has shone through the trials of their lives. This is not just their story though, and in fact it doesn't give much detail on their particular trials, but it does have much to say on the care and compassion of the Lord they trust. The practical elements of coping with the difficulties of day to day life is woven in amongst the spiritual necessities of handling trials. Indeed we are exhorted to focus on the spiritual when all around us is falling apart, but we are also given practical ways of doing this from Keren's own experiences.

We read about the need to be honest in our weakness and how this weakness will show forth the glory of God better than any show of 'false' strength we have in ourselves. We also learn about how to combat loneliness, with very real examples of how loneliness can be a problem even in a crowd. The practicalities of prayer when struggling mentally or emotionally is not glossed over and we are shown the necessity of recognising the sovereignty of God and submission to the mystery that may surround our circumstances. Peace is considered: what this really means and feels like in a seemingly chaotic situation. The definitions of comfort and true joy in all these things is another topic, plus a recognition that a sense of brokenness can actually in truth, mean a fuller wholeness.
The chapter that really resonated with me highlighted the beauty of spiritual depths found in those who have suffered and the spiritual fellowship that can be found there. It was a reminder to look for those depths in ourselves and others, and not to be satisfied with the shallowness of so much of our routine conversation. The ugliness of suffering causes the beauty of grace to shine ever brighter and will bring a richness to relationships that would not otherwise be there.
I hesitate to write this, but this is a very 'British' book (there is a subtle difference between British and American authors, which is not to say that one is better than the other 😉). In a practical and realistic way, it has a lot to teach us about trials and how we grow through them. I have found it helpfully thought-provoking and would recommend it to those who are suffering or those who are supporting the suffering (which should be all of us!).
Trusting Through the Tears by Keren Baker published by Evangelical Press.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Faith and Hope in the Pandemic

This is a curiously styled but ultimately charming book, if that is the proper word in view of its subject.  It almost seems out of date now, as it was published during the first Covid lockdown. But that is simply a reflection of how much water has gone under the bridge since.  It was released back when the pandemic was raging at its height in northern Italy.  Emotions of shock and fear were strong then, and are no less now, only they have now been joined by weariness and depression at the length and scale of the problems due to the virus.  Three friends came together at that time to contribute short articles to a book on hope. Evangelical authors from the UK, Spain and Italy, they wanted to present a biblical response to the crisis.  Pablo Martinez shows how to catch sight of hope in fearful times from Psalm 91. Jonathan Lamb explains what the past, present and future foundations of hope are from 1 Peter 1 - 'Christ the hope of glory'. Finally Giacomo Carlo Di Gaetano gives some insightful thoughts on how Christian hope can be protected against the insinuations that suffering and evil (in this case from the virus) prove that God is not good.

An epilogue includes the first question and answer from the Heidelberg Catechism in full, from which the book title is taken. It is a wonderful statement of what it means to be a Christian - 'rejoicing in hope' (Romans 12:12).

The Only Comfort in Life and Death published by Christian Focus Publications, 2020. £4.99. Much is packed into a slim book. Excellent value for money!

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Big Bible Science

Huge apologies - our blogging really dropped off last year, so our New Year's resolution should definitely be to improve it! We are thankful that as a shop we were maintained throughout 2020 despite periods of closure during the lockdowns. 2021 has also had a busy start even though we are closed again and we are grateful for your continuing support. 

We are kicking off the new year with a fantastic offer on some science books - whether you have homeschooled for years or are just temporarily engaged in it, these books will really capture the imagination and add a Biblical perspective to a huge range of scientific topics. From electricity to the digestive system, symbiosis to heat capacity, kinetic energy to animal classification, the books explain scientific concepts through simple experiments, activities and real-life applications.

Click here to check out all the details on our website...

2020 was a big reminder to us all that plans can be made but they will only come to pass 'if the Lord will'. We missed out on taking bookstalls around the country when we usually enjoy catching up with many of our customers in person. This new year we are cautiously and prayerfully hopeful that we can look forward to getting back out on the road and catching up with many of you before the end of the year. In the meantime, we will enjoy keeping in touch by phone or email, or via our social media channels; Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Saturday, 17 October 2020

'Tis the season...

The nights are drawing in and some people are beginning to think about Christmas! If you need Christmas cards, we have plenty in stock and are selling some in aid of Savannah Education Trust and Oak Tree Homes Trust this year.  Take a look at the range by clicking on the picture below:

Click here for Christmas Cards

We also have all our 2021 Calendars and Diaries in stock, have a look here...

Click here for Calendars and Diaries

We are once again offering the opportunity to sponsor calendars for free distribution overseas.  This year we are intending to send calendars to some reliable contacts in the Philippines. If you are interested in sponsoring a calendar, please click below...

Usually at this time of the year we enjoy travelling around the country to supply bookstalls to conferences and charity events. It is always a great opportunity to catch up face to face with our mail-order customers. Sadly most events and conferences this year have been cancelled and we will miss seeing you all! Please keep in touch by subscribing to our regular email newsletter - see the sign up box on our homepage...

You can also keep in touch on our social media channels:

Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Friday, 14 August 2020

Human Rights and the Christian - A Review

The notion of human rights, that is rights which are owed to people purely by virtue of their humanity, is one which has in the space of a few decades grown from obscure legal jargon to become a common phrase in political and moral debates. Dr. Charmley’s book usefully shows how these rights do not, as many people claim, originate from enlightened secular values, but have their foundations strongly in Christian doctrines. He details the emergence, growth and effect of human rights by moving through history, with a particular focus on the development of rights in the French Revolution, campaigns for civil and religious liberties in Britain, and the American movement for civil rights, though the Ancient world and the Reformation are by no means neglected. One possible criticism is opened up by this tour through history – that there is a lack of depth about specific events, and too much history is addressed in too little space. Despite this, Dr. Charmley writes as an expert historian in analysing history, while the intention of the book as a summary of the Christian approach to human rights means that any further depth of description would dilute its focus. 

This brings up perhaps the most useful part of this book – as a discussion of the attitude of the Christian to the concept and language of human rights. Its abuses are also focused on, especially ‘rights inflation’, the growth of victim culture, and when rights are used against Christians. As he says, ‘the concept of human rights is a noble one, being based upon the idea of equal respect for all human beings. It is, however, a concept that has become corrupted, and may well become more corrupted still. This should be no surprise to Christians, believing as we do in a fallen world’ (p. 263). Yet he argues that the Christian should largely be supportive and encouraging of human rights, though not to the excesses of the modern world, remembering they have their foundations in Christian doctrines of benevolence and equality. He raises the important point that human rights ultimately serve to protect the free exercise of Christian worship, though that this liberty has only been possessed for ‘little over a century’ (p. 265). 

Dr. Charmley also brings attention to Particular Baptists in history, and their role in campaigns for religious liberty and against poverty, evoking such figures as William Gadsby and John Kershaw when arguing for the need for the Church to be ‘concerned with the rights and duty of man insofar as this is necessary for her existence and relative comfort, and the comfort of our fellow creatures, … but let us not forget that the mission of the Church is to preach the gospel of God’s grace to sinners’ (p. 267). This book is invaluable for all those questioning what the approach of the Church and Christian should be to the idea of human rights, and how they should be regarded when it so often seems that they are marshalled against Christian beliefs.

Reviewed by Matthew Roe, August 2020

 G. Charmley, Human Rights and the Christian (Gospel Standard Trust Publications, 2020)