Thursday, April 09, 2015

Good-Book Alert! The Crimson Cord (Rahab's Story) by Jill Eileen Smith

I love to share books by favorite authors. Have you read any of Jill Eileen Smith's books? She writes beautiful Biblical fiction, bringing to life Bible stories we all know. I recently read The Crimson Cord, and fell in love again with Jill's writing and Rahab's story. I know, the details aren't revealed to us in the Bible, but Jill's imagining of what could have been Rahab's life brings a richness and depth to a story we've all heard time and again.

I met Jill several years ago at a writers conference, before we were both published. When she told me about her Biblical fiction, I was intrigued. I'm delighted to still be friends with her and thrilled to introduce you to Jill and her novels.

Here's the book description:

Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband’s debt. Forced into prostitution by Dabir, counselor to the King of Jericho, Rahab despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime.

In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho’s walls–or if she will ever know the meaning of love.

“Rahab’s story is one of the most moving redemption accounts in Scripture. The Crimson Cord perfectly captures all the drama of the original, fleshing out the characters with care and thought. Jill’s storytelling skills kept me reading late into the night. A beautiful tale, beautifully told!”–Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times bestselling author of Mine Is the Night

MD: Jill, what's your favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.
JES: This is more of a scene in a movie that is my favorite:

At the end of “Fellowship of the Ring” Frodo stares out at the water and holds the ring in an open palm and says, “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”

And he hears Gandalf’s voice in his mind replying, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

So applicable on so many levels!

MD: What's your favorite season and why?
JES: Any season except winter. While winter has a certain sense of beauty, I do not handle cold well. I dream of sunshine and palm trees and hope someday we can winter in such a place away from the cold.

MD: Societal pet peeve…sound off.
JES: There are too many to name. But here are a few:

1. Too many people in power abuse that power. And people in power seem to have lost common sense. When we make political allies of our enemies and enemies of our allies, something is very wrong. King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, yet in all his wisdom, he ended up thinking himself immune to foolishness. If the wisest man can become the biggest fool in his actions, perhaps we shouldn’t think we are incapable of falling.

2. Greed has created untold number of atrocities against people made in God’s image, against animals we were commanded to care for, against the earth that groans under the weight of our sins. Greed is behind so many things, from abortion to our food supply to the plight of the poor to the sex slave trade to pornography…the list could go on for pages, but at the heart of so many sins against humanity is either pride or greed. Interesting that God hates both.

“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting (greed), wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:21-23 ESV (Emphasis mine)

3. Tolerance is too one-sided, and everyone wants to fight for his or her own rights instead of caring for the needs of others. Anger flares at the slightest whim and whole cities can fly into an uproar before facts are known. Whatever happened to right and wrong, grace and forgiveness? Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty – on both sides of every issue – with true justice for every person?

4. Lastly - Truth is lost in a culture that embraces self-centeredness. How easily we lie to one another and think nothing of it! How often I have fallen for the snake-oil salesmen because I expect people to tell me the truth. But truth has been relative in this country for so long now that no one knows what truth is. Jesus said, “I am the truth.” Perhaps we should go back and see what He had to say if we say we are really seeking to know that truth.

MD: Jill, what would you like to tell us about the featured book?
JES: The Crimson Cord, Rahab’s Story is a story of risky faith and a beautiful picture of God’s mercy and grace. Some people don’t see grace in the Old Testament. All they see are wars and laws and they don’t understand a God who could command the destruction of entire cities. While I don’t claim to understand every detail about Almighty God, I do understand from Scripture that He has always, always been a God of love, mercy, patience, and forgiveness.

Countless stories in the Old Testament show us His grace. They also show us that to have a relationship with the God who made us, we must come by faith, not by keeping the law. This was true from the very beginning. Abraham was commended for his faith. As was Rahab. She is cited in the New Testament on at least three occasions, once in the lineage of Jesus Christ. If God can take a prostitute from a city condemned to utter destruction and make her a new person and set her among His people and make her a descendent of His Messiah, is there anyone who is beyond God’s reach? I don’t think so.

MD: Thanks for sharing your heart and your talents, Jill. 

Email Jill or visit her website. You may also connect with Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

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