KUALA LUMPUR 27 December 2018: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Thus begins the book of John, one of the works of the eminent disciples of Jesus Christ. Truly, this well-known phrase from the Holy Bible describes succinctly the power of words. Indeed, the Psalmist David said: “For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” In the Holy Bible, God chose a very apt medium for creation, words.
Words can have tremendous effects in our lives, for better or for worse. Realizing this, Norman J. Sinappen, the author of the book “BELiEVE”, set out to compile a book containing words from one of the greatest influences in his life, the Holy Bible. In the preface to his book, he writes, “This is a motivational book based on the Word of God. This book is packed with encouraging words and food for thought to help you overcome any challenges in life”. Norman firmly believes that in the deepest and darkest times of our lives, one can certainly find solace and comfort in the words contained in the sacred text of Christianity, the Holy Bible.
The first thing that would strike anyone who takes a glance at Norman’s book (besides the elephant on the cover sitting on a tree!) would be the title. The title of the book is “BELiEVE”, with the letter “I” kept in lowercase type. There is an underlying reason for this peculiar choice in typeface. “This is to point out that only when “i” make myself smaller than others, true breakthroughs take place in our lives. This is true in almost all relationships, including our relationship with God,” says Norman in the introductory pages of his book.
Norman’s book is a visual delight from cover to cover. There are serene scenes of hillsides, inspiring pictures of people and wondrous landscapes of all kinds. While browsing through the book, one will certainly be captivated enough to simply pause and enjoy the photos in their simplicity and aesthetic beauty. This quality of “BELiEVE” would make it a great gift, as the pictures can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. “BELiEVE” is in no way meant for Christians alone. Anyone can pick up this book for a quick peek into the immense world of the Holy Bible. There are no prayers and meditations in this book, thus making it a means of “dipping a toe in the water” when it comes to Christianity as a whole. One can pick up this book as a casual read, getting a bird’s eye view of motivational and reassuring words in the Bible while not absolutely immersing oneself in the Christian religion.
The quotes in the book, being carefully selected from The Holy Bible, are no less than inspirational and comforting. Norman has fastidiously curated and summarized the words of the Holy Bible into bite-sized portions that can be easily comprehended by all. Reading this book with a heavy heart will certainly be an oasis in the desert of despondency, as we realize there is a divine Creator smiling on us with His reassuring presence and grace at all times.
My personal favorite Scripture in “BELiEVE” is on page 99. Overlooking a picture of the night sky with several stars shining bright, a heartening message from God’s Word reads, “And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age”. This message in the Bible is delivered by Jesus after he had risen from the grave and appeared to His disciples to send them out to spread the Gospel. To give them confidence, He utters those words, assuring them, that even in their darkest hours, they are never alone. In my eyes, this is unequivocally reassuring and places firmly in our hearts that we are never truly alone, even at the lowest points in our lives.
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