Escape from Pompeii with Tracy Higley (Book Review)

Book: City on Fire by Tracy Higley
My rating: 4 stars

A young slave woman escapes, disguises herself as a boy, and fights with the gladiators, all the while longing to be free. A politician moves to the city and seeks justice in a place where the people live in fear of what will happen if they do not remain loyal to those already in power. A powerful idolater wants nothing to do with God, practicing his pagan religion in the heart of the city. Their lives crash together in Pompeii. Some people learn true freedom and justice can only be found in the Lord. Others remain hardhearted and turn their back on Him. All will have to face the destruction of the city and try to survive the disaster to come.

As someone who has always been fascinated by the account of Pompeii, I was not disappointed. Higley did her research and describes the city in such a way that made me feel as if I were there and that the characters’ struggles were my own. The unlikely romance that develops between Ariella, the woman gladiator, and Cato, the young politician, left me wondering what would happen next – and my knowledge of the city’s impending doom lent even more suspense. It is a good reminder that even in a society as depraved as the Roman Empire, God is still in control and still working in the lives of His people.

An excellent read for adults. The utter depravity of the Roman Empire is necessary to the story and is incorporated tastefully and not explicitly, for which I commend the author. However, I would still recommend an adult previewing the book before allowing a young person to read it.

Available on Amazon: City on Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

I would love to hear your thoughts about the book, as well!

– – – – –

Disclosure of Material Connection:

I can, and do, think for myself, therefore all opinions here are my own. The® book review bloggers program was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the book to review. Because the government thinks it has to control everything, I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

15 Things Jesus Did Say

A friend recently shared with me a blog post by Jim Palmer titled “15 Things Jesus Didn’t Say.” While the things listed in the blog post were truly things that Jesus did not say, it left me wondering what exactly he was trying to say with the post. And it made me curious why he would focus so much on things Jesus did not say when we have access to things Jesus DID say. Shouldn’t we rather spend our time focusing on that? There are myriad things Jesus did not say, but we can learn so much if we spend our time thinking about what He did say. On that note, in response to the above referenced blog post, here are 15 things Jesus said.

  1.  John 3:14-21 – I think most Christians and many non-Christians are familiar with the verse that says “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). And what a beautiful verse that is! But we also need to remember the context of the verse. Those who do not believe are condemned. Yes, God sent His Son, and that’s wonderful. We need to remember that doesn’t mean a free pass for every single person on the planet. A person has to believe on Him, or else face condemnation – something we all deserve and willingly choose without God’s grace.
  2.  John 10:9-11 – Jesus came that His people might have abundant life. How does this come about? By His sacrificing HIS life through the death on the cross. It goes back to my first point – we have to believe on Him and make Him Lord of our lives or we do not have life, only condemnation. And if we do believe on Him and claim Him, we need to show that forth in our lives. He has given His people instructions on how to conduct their lives – a set of beliefs to which we are called to hold. Definition of religion: “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” He did not bring us a new religion, rather established a new covenant in the religion He had already created.
  3. John 13:34-35 – All men will know we are disciples of Christ if we love each other as He loves us. By teaching and ministering. In order to do so, we need to be studying God’s Word and adhere to it. It is of important to believe the correct things, otherwise why would God have given us His Word?
  4. Matthew 16:21-28 – Jesus sets the example for us. As Christians we are to be living for the Lord. Do not give way to Satan. Deny yourself. Any “religion” not of God is either of self or Satan, so we need to beware false prophets and speak the Truth.
  5. John 14:15 – Jesus said if we love Him we are to keep His commandments. One of the things we are told to do is not to forsake the assembling together. But do not forget about my fourth point – we need to steer clear of false religion, even if it is disguised as Christianity.
  6. Matthew 5-7 – Read it. Yes, all three chapters because why not? Pay special attention to chapter 6 where Jesus says, “When ye do alms.” As God’s children we are expected to serve Him. Giving alms (tithing) is expected of Christians.
  7. Matthew 6 – Seems pretty self-explanatory to me. Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done.
  8. Matthew 5:43-48 – Christians are called to set the example and treat everyone with love. We are to be perfect, living according to the commands we have been given, and in so doing show the world Christ through us.
  9. John 14:1-7, Matthew 7:13-14 – Jesus said He was going to prepare a place specifically for His people. In Matthew, He makes a point of explaining there are few who will travel the way that leads to life, but many will go in the way that leads to destruction.
  10. Mark 1:15 – The time is now to repent, turn our lives over to Christ, and live for Him. Repentance is a complete change, a complete turn-around from living in sin to living for Christ, according to how He has instructed us to live in His Word.
  11. John 8:28-36 – As a result of following Jesus, we will know the truth and be made free. Being free does not mean we are allowed to do whatever we want. It means we are no longer in bondage to sin, but we belong to Christ. Now we need to live like it.
  12. Matthew 5:14-16 – We are to show forth Christ in the world. We need to live like it. We are commanded to live like it. Not to hide Him or be ashamed of Him, but to proclaim it.
  13. Matthew 11:27-30 – Notice He says He will place His yoke on us. A yoke was used to guide the ox in the way it was supposed to go. As Christians, we have been told the right way to live, so we have a guide in the way we are supposed to go. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
  14. John 3:12-21 – Context is hugely important. God sent His Son into the world to save His people. Anyone who does not believe on Him is condemned. There are two groups of people – those who follow Christ and those who do not. Those who do not follow Him are not going to receive the love of God and the eternal life He gives to His people.
  15. Matthew 28:18-20 – The act of going into the world and teaching all nations can come in many different forms for individuals. We aren’t all the same. Some of us teach one on one, and some people have huge churches. Some people are called to go far away, some minister close to home. Some form organizations, some are little known. What matters is that each of us individually is obeying the command to the best of our ability, so that collectively the church can obey the command of teaching all nations.

We should take care to be more concerned with sharing the Truth than with trying to make other people feel better about themselves. Thoughts?