A Review of Lives Turned Upside Down

By Byron Snapp
January 08, 2004

In Acts 17:6 Christians are referred to as those who have turned the world upside down. To accomplish that feat, their own lives had to be changed, turned upside down in regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

In her latest work, Faith Cook provides the reader with brief biographies of eleven men and women whose lives were dramatically changed by God. The individuals were from different backgrounds, home environments, and economic levels. Some rebelled at their upbringing and failed to see that the seeming delights found in sin are but passing pleasures. William Mackay is a good example. Away from home and studying to be a doctor, he took no time for reading the Bible. Ultimately, he pawned his Bible for money to buy alcohol. Little did he know that God would use that same Bible years later in his own conversion. Another doctor, John Vanderkemp, had his most precious possessions removed in God's providence. Through this loss God worked to grant him his greatest gain, salvation in Christ.

The stories recounted herein show how, in God's providence, lives can be changed and used in faithful service to the Lord. The vocations of these eleven individuals varied. One was a house servant for years. Another was widowed twice, living her last forty-four years alone. Some were called to martyrdom, others to ministry at home or abroad. One woman's husband had to live in hiding for years as a fugitive for his faith.

A number of these subjects were converted in their adult years. After their conversion they earnestly endeavored to use their remaining days for God's glory. For some this meant a change in vocations. For others it did not.

These accounts provide timely reading for Christians today. Most readers will not have heard of many, if any, of these individuals. This is a reminder that lives lived faithfully are important no matter how obscure or forgotten those lives are in succeeding generations.

These pages also remind us of covenantal faithfulness. God was pleased to bring to Himself these who had rejected their Biblical training in their early years. He quickened them and He made them spiritually alive and useful.

Finally, the author reminds us that handicaps cannot hinder one's usefulness for the Lord. Even in her youth, blind Joan Waste had a hunger for God that caused her to pay people to read the Bible to her. Joan's 20/20 spiritual vision was hated by the ungodly authorities of her day. She remained faithful to the Lord even in her martyr's death.

These biographies are brief but full of encouragement for consistent, Biblical living. The author has an engaging writing style that holds one's interest while remaining spiritually sound and full of thought-provoking narrative.

Topics: American History, Biography, Church, The, World History

Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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