Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fascinating Facts About the Old Testament by Jeffery Scott Wallace

5 of 5 stars  *****

I like reading anything that broadens my understanding, especially of the Bible, and addresses the obscure questions that develop into possibilities, my theories. I talk to others who have the same theory about certain aspects of history found in the Bible. Further information to enlighten us is scarce and proof is elusive.

The Old Testament draws some of its information from texts that no longer exist. Fascinating Facts About the Old Testament refers to some of those ancient writings which illuminate my challenges.

When I first read about the Nephilim in the Book of Numbers 13:33, I am intrigued by these giants who spread fear in those who go up against them. The little information about these Canaanites impress me. I later discover that the Nephilim's story is told in a book not included in the Bible, the Book of Enoch. The people know the story of this book during the days of Jesus Christ. The story occurs before the great flood and Noah's ark and may be why it is not included in the Holy Bible because it does not serve the purpose of teaching us God's word; rather, it describes the condition of a world full of evil and hate. The Nephilim are the offspring of the fallen "Sons of God," angels, and women after whom they lust. They range from 10' - 30' tall and rule the world in a way that makes God want to destroy mankind.

So my curiosity about the giants in the land of Canaan leads me to wonder, "How did these Nephilim survive the great flood?" This quandary is still open in my mind. The information in Fascinating Facts About the Old Testament, at least, calls this race of colossal beings the descendants of the Nephilim. I fail to retrieve this reference in my earlier searches.

The Giants are known as the Anakim, long-necked men, or the Anakites. Joshua's faith in God allows him to lead the chosen people to victory over them eliminating their kind as God wills.

From Fascinating Facts About the Old Testament I discover that a source outside the Bible, the Egyptian Execration Texts, mention the Anakites. It seems that the town of Hebron gets its name from a renowned Anakim warrior, Arba. Further mention of very large warriors, the Rephaim, who the Israelites defeat east of the Jordan River, are akin to the Anakim.

This is just one example of the interesting history associated with the Promised Land and only one chapter in the Old Testament.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Great Prayers of the Bible by Jeffery Scott Wallace

5 of 5 stars  *****

It is always a pleasure to connect to the Almighty through prayer. Great Prayers of the Bible provides the inspired words from several editions of His holy word. After each prayer is a reference to the scripture where it is located in the Bible. A brief summary after each prayer further enlightens one as to the authors' circumstance and today's application.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate by Gary J. Byrne

5 of 5 stars  *****

Validating what this reader, and many others interested in political science, thinks, Gary J. Byrne tells of his firsthand experiences with the George H. Bush and William J. Clinton presidencies. Byrne contrasts the two as night and day, courteous and crass, clean and muddy. The author's recollection of the Bush administration reveals a time of pleasing pride, proper protocol, and respect. The Clinton administration could not be more different with scandal after scandal, little regard for the Secret Service and White House staff. Their superiority complex only makes matters worse by straining any possible close relationship with them.

Bill Clinton is congenial and charming before the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He becomes irritable and ruthless once his addiction to sex with any woman in precarious situations becomes too obvious for those sworn to protect him and, later, becomes public by those sworn to take him down. The Uniformed Department (UD) of the Secret Service resent the irresponsible behavior of the President and the awkward position he puts them in by denying what they witness and expecting them to facilitate his whims and desires. Gary Byrne, who feels the pressure mounting to protect the integrity of the office, keeps copious, accurate notes as he does his duty to the best of his ability. 

Hillary's presence and knowledge of Bill's promiscuity intensifies the drama that naturally surrounds her. She and Bill are never together holding hands, hugging, or kissing unless a camera is around. Her aides walk on glass around her because she goes off in a tirade over the slightest wrinkle in her daily schedule. She makes it quite clear to the staff and security personnel around her that she does not particularly like them and has people precede her as she ambles throughout the house instructing everyone to make themselves scarce as she enters into their proximity. When Gary refuses to oblige, because he is loyal to his duty and paid by the Treasury Department, Hillary scowls at him. This body language is mimicked by her sycophant following.

The staff who protect and serve the occupiers of the White House hold themselves to the highest of standards for the little money they make compared to the First Family. Morale becomes poor in the environment the Clintons create, especially when they start throwing everybody under the bus to perpetuate their lies. Such an environment pits the unfortunate staff against one another as some come forward with the truth and others backpedal to save face. 

Eventually the author leaves the White House to become a Federal Air Marshal protecting lives and utilizing the skills he develops over the years. His perseverance and self-esteem are bolstered throughout his trials in this book with words from his wife, "Do the right thing," and the advice of his father to always be the protector and not the protected. Gary's moral life decisions serve him well as one of America's best who achieves the American dream without corrupting like those driven by personal privilege and greed.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Geoffrey Howard (Narrator)

5 of 5 stars  *****

The logical mind of C. S. Lewis examines Christianity in Mere Christianity, a delightful application of common sense to a most serious subject. Lewis, a former atheist, relates his rationale that convinces the reader of his honest assessments and conclusions. Christianity holds up well over time in its moral teachings and humble beginnings. 

Lewis reminds the reader to always return to the Bible after thinking about its message so as to avoid making that message what one wants it to be rather than its intendion. He asserts that the word of God best describes the relationships between the known and unknown, the spiritual and the concrete aspects of life. The nature of mankind and its circumstance is a result of God's plan which involves free will. Free will is the thinking which determines choice and those options either offend or please the Creator. Lewis finds that Christianity offers the best rules to follow that guide man's choices toward the righteous path, that praise God and redeem mankind's faults.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3) by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling, Robert Glenister (Narrator)

4 of 5 stars  ****

I appreciate this J. K. Rowling story, written under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, more than her other book,Casual Vacancy. I revolt against the crude, gory subject matter but enjoy the writing style of the author; for example, "Although he could barely remember what her daughter looked like and had never met Mrs. Bunion before, her expression of mingled apprehension and anticipation gave her away as she paused staring at him on the doormat." A shorter example, "She handed them over with ill grace, then left." 

I listen to this unabridged novel with an interest embellished by the variable accents and voice tones of Robert Glenister. Mr. Glenister narrates every twist in the complex plot with multiple characters at a pace that keeps me following this gruesome but thrilling adventure until its end.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #3 (of 5) by Mike Johnson, Ryan Parrot, Derek Charm (Illustrator)

4 of 5 stars  ****

This beautifully illustrated third chapter in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy explains the mystery behind the faint deep space signal. T'laan, the 21 year-old Vulcan, is still torn between staying with Starfleet or returning to her people who are the survivors of Vulcan's destruction. The Centennial Games still require T'laan's participation and her teammates wonder if her heart is really in it.