Sunday, August 30, 2015

Explore the Bible: Adult Personal Study Guide - Summer 2015 by Jim Shaddix (Editor), Morris Baker, Andy Chambers

5 of 5 stars  *****

The discussion in my Life Group about this Bible Study book was most interesting and focused on what was written rather than subjective scenarios. I had a lot of misunderstanding cleared up after my reading and weekly class participation about the last book of the Bible, Revelation. The author, John the Apostle, did not offer his own interpretation of that which he was asked, by God, to write. John described what he saw and wrote it down with as much detail as he could. His writings completed the prophesies made much earlier by prophets, such as, Isaiah and Daniel. 

The doom and gloom that preceded my outlook of Revelation was replaced with joy and peace knowing that abiding in God's word meant God's Holy Spirit was abiding in me. By faith, only one death was promised to those who repented for their sins regularly. By refusal to repent, two deaths awaited those opposed to recognize their sinfulness. That second death accompanied the devil in the abyss, the river of fire.

Revelation was written about the times from the Resurrection of Christ, the descent of the Holy Spirit, included the first Resurrection of Saints, the Rapture; then the days of war, famine, pestilence, death, etc., the days of doom and gloom which were represented by The Seven Seals, The Seven Trumpets, The Seven Personages, the Seven Vials, and The Seven Dooms. Was it any wonder I had such a negative view of this holy chapter in God's word. Revelation concluded with The Seven New Things: New Heaven, New Earth, New City, New Nations, New River, New Tree, and New Throne. The choice became clear to either fear God and obey his commands, which instructed me to love and praise Him by loving others without covetousness, or live life serving another master, whether it be the devil, an inanimate object, or a prideful self. 

I had the pleasure of reading and discussing this edition of Explore the Bible: Adult Personal Study Guide - 2015, with others. It made me choose wisely. I chose one death by living in His word so that His Spirit lives in me. In the meantime, upon any transgressions, my sins and iniquities, I pray for God's forgiveness as I repented before in this ongoing process.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Witness by Nora Roberts (Goodreads Author), Julia Whelan (Narrator)

5 of 5 stars *****

This Audiobook had me staying up late listening to an intriguing thriller with its fascinating characters. Julia Whelan narrated this murder mystery brilliantly. 

I loved the main character who was introduced as a teenager but was close to 30 at the story's end. Her life was headed in a safe but undesirable direction when one night of independence shaped her future; one that freed her from her mother's unloving grip but deprived her from a normal life with others. Elizabeth became "Liz" in her moment of emancipation; then "Abigail" when her tale resumed years later in a quiet town where she lived alone. The in-between years were slowly revealed once Abigail interacted with the community. She was very wary but felt obligated by the friendly nature of the town folk in this rural environment. 

Abigail was such a refreshing character who made me feel for her as a father and I enjoyed her as an exceptional human being. These characters that entered her life became the impetus to resolving the main issue stemming from that one night of emancipation which, in turn, led to her skill at isolation. One character, in particular, became the psychological bridge that started Abigail on the road to normalcy.

This was my first Nora Roberts book but it will not be my last.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton: A History of Scandal, Corruption and Cronyism

5 of 5 stars

One appreciates truth through documentation of evil's sway over those who commit dastardly deeds. Such accounts must present facts that demonstrate strong implications, if not convictions, from damning evidence. Damning is a most appropriate choice word for Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to Bob Barr, who points out that she is a star pupil of Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals, which has a dedication in the front of his book to Lucifer, the first rebel who winds up with his own kingdom.

This booklet is a quick synopsis of the Clintons', Bill and Hillary's, political history. The purpose of the booklet is to educate voters as to the integrity of Hillary because she is a presidential candidate for 2016. Patterns of greed, scandal, corruption and cronyism follow Hillary from the time she started her political career until the present day.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (Goodreads Author), Bernadette Dunne (Narrator)

5 out of 5 stars  *****

I gave the movie 4 out of 5 stars and this Audiobook 5 out of 5 stars for the entertaining introspection of Cheryl Strayed as she found herself, in more ways than one, on the Pacific Crest Trail. Cheryl Strayed's thoughts were a self-analysis penned in a cogent flow of great writing. Her story was coupled with a superb narration by Bernadette Dunne; thus, the additional star.

I particularly enjoyed her honesty when she discovered the male side of her being. Cheryl always knew her power over men growing up as a female; but she coped with her nagging problems, created by making bad decisions in a time of duress, by insisting on hiking alone. She watched the male hikers walk out of sight and felt the security of her own world that used to be a place of loneliness, a space she filled with regrettable behavior. The opportunity to be alone in her own world I liken to the man cave; not the social spot of fantasy football, beer, and hot wings but the place men go for solitude to work things out.

In herself, Cheryl found the strength she identified in her mother. Her growth came with much pain and required a fortitude she never knew she had. Cheryl Strayed's courage inspired the male hikers who crossed paths with her. She became the best she could be and overcame her demons that could have haunted her for the rest of her life had she not challenged herself in this personal quest.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Crisis by Winston Churchill

5 of 5 stars  *****

Review This is one of the best books I have read this year. I put the book in the bathroom so I would only read a chapter at a time once halfway through - it is one of those books I did not want to end too soon. I love the style, vocabulary, plot, history, characters, and charm of the era when and where the story takes place as well as the author's talent when he writes The Crisis at the turn of the twentieth century.

The language of that time in this fictional history maintains the story's integrity and is not intended to offend, at all. Winston Churchill, 
 himself, a native of St. Louis, incorporates the feelings, beliefs, and mores through the characters' interactions. These characters include both strong-willed, admirable men and women along with the self-important, deprived, and greedy.

The story begins before the Civil War in the considered American West, St. Louis, Missouri, and Illinois. St. Louis is a blend of Southerners and Northerners with the protagonist, a new arrival from Boston, and a flavor of immigrants from Germany. The community's distinguishing elders from both sides are congenial with one another but each have fervent opinions and loyalties when it comes to Union or Confederate. A much reviled and loved character emerges from Illinois; one who sees both sides of the inevitable calamity, who decisively follows his heart in burdensome times evidenced by his love of God and country. This man is Abraham Lincoln.

The story's palpable love interest piques the imagination with the reserved manner of the courting etiquette appropriate for these times. One woman, Virginia, a major character, is the desire of most men who lay eyes upon her but she dictates who is worthy. Her emotional fluctuations poignantly intertwine with the theme of the book, thus, both sides, North and South, unfold in the telling of her suitors' escapades. The best of the human spirit, the noblest qualities of men and women under the duress of war fill the bulk of the plot. The story ends after the Civil War but the story's memory lingers. The Crisis is written in an elegance that captures moments seen through Churchill's vision for every reader's pleasure.