Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: What in the World Is Going On?

What in the World is Going On?
10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore
Dr. David Jeremiah
Thomas Nelson

Originally produced as a series of sermons, Dr. Jeremiah compiles them into this book which has now been released or re-released in paperback. Many followers of interpreting the signs of the times will find explanations of how Dr. Jeremiah sees currents events insightful. Although the events mentioned in this book are now several years old some of the repercussions persist into the present. He presents his case clearly and with endnotes to credit his sources.
The book ends with an alliterative list of activities the believer needs to be about while they are waiting for the prophecies to fulfill. Those few pages are probably the best in the book, I think. I found much of the rest speculative and of little value. The old discussions about who Gog and Magog might be have been around for quite a while. The discussion of Islam could lead to less than charitable acts against the people who profess that particular religion. And yes, I am well aware of their stated goals concerning the non-Islam world. The final diagnosis of how to counter the Islamic world was to “make Christians out of Muslims” (pg 94). Sounds pretty familiar. Since when do we “make” Christians of people?
Overall I cannot recommend this book as it does not serve to edify the saints, but to incite them, to produce a focus on events and interpretations of the future and not on Christ Himself.
This book was provided by BookSneeze in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: The Lord's Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer
Insight and Inspiration to Draw You Closer to Him
Dr. R.T. Kendall
Chosen Books

When I received this book the number of pages devoted to the foreword and special recommendations irked me to be honest; however, now that I have read the book they were all well deserved. Dr. Kendall presents a Rock solid exposition of the Lord’s Prayer. Several other authors have done the same and I’ve read a few of them. This one is far and away is the best that I’ve read.

What makes this one the best in my opinion is the author’s depth of understanding and application. He writes from experience, study and time spent meditating on this prayer. His comments and explanations, in many cases, are drawn directly from Scripture, and appropriate to the discussion. He has written from the heart and it shows through on every page. There’s no hint of academic showmanship here. He wants his reader to be impressed with the Lord and the His prayer not the author’s handling of the text.

Besides being a well done book about the Lord’s Prayer, it would make wonderful devotion reading to accompany anyone’s times of prayer. The final chapter is entitled Jesus’ P.S. to the Lord’s Prayer and it closes the book powerfully reinforcing all that had gone before it by visiting forgiveness one last time.

The author has earned the respect and gratitude of many. He freely gives credit to those that have helped him on his way and is not afraid to admit to his failings if they are pertinent to the discussion. I highly recommend this book. Your understanding of the Lord’s Prayer and its power cannot help but be deepened. Don’t miss this little gem. It’s a keeper, for sure.

This book was provided by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Meandering Through the Fields

Decided stop reading and do a little posting just so this is used for more than reviews.  That wasn't my initial reason to start blogging anyway.  Still isn't.  So why did I start this?

Initially a long time ago I wanted to write, like books and stuff.  Still do, but have discovered it's a wee bit more complicated especially if you want to be published.  I took a short course that required a blog so I signed up.  Later I abandoned it.  Disillusioned.  Alas.  Then for whatever reason I decided to reactivate it and returned to the blogosphere.  This time with no intent except to just do it.  Much better for me that way.

Have I given up on writing?  Not entirely, but have gotten more real about it.  I would like to give it another try in the publishing arena but have no illusions about my chances of being noticed.  That's OK.  Not ready for prime time anyway.  And the actual writing is the easy part for me.  The idea of book tours and conferences deter me more than a deadline.  So obscurity is a nice place.

I have learned a few things lately though.  I do have some good ideas.  That is a giant step forward for me.  I've had other impressions of my work as you may have guessed.  I'd do something and put it aside to discover later that it was something timely, not necessarily timeless though.  I expected the latter from the first feeble attempts.  I know, growth takes time but I had decided that meant someone else.   

What I'd like to do soon is be part of a writers group, but not sure I could handle the criticism yet.  And I don't know of any close by.  Probably looking for next door.  It's an excuse but one that works for now.  On to another topic. 

New kitty is acclimating well.  He's still exploring every nook and cranny.  Problem with that is that he thinks the outdoors is next on his list.  Not happening!  If I can prevent it, anyway. He's also discovered what fun live targets can be, meaning bugs.  Most of the bugs like to hang out towards the ceiling, so kitty tries to climb to the highest point near the bug.  Needless to say there have been several crashes that needed investigation recently.  Nothing severely damaged so far.

Speaking of damage and critters, I saw a black bear for the first time today.  There's been plenty of evidence of their activity from time to time, but not the bear itself.  No more.  Spotted him (her?) wandering through the neighbor's yard, which means he had just come through ours.  That's the wildlife track around here.  Surprisingly he didn't bother the trash that was waiting for pickup.  Maybe he had already foraged all he wanted elsewhere.  The thing that surprised me was seeing him during the early afternoon.  For some reason I had them out and about late at night or early in the morning.  Forget that myth now.  So now I can join the ranks of those that have seen a bear.  There's been several spotted just lately all over this area, or one that really gets around.  Don't know if that's unusual or I'm just hearing the reports more.

Not going to rant on the news.  Today, at least.  I will say I'm pleased that BP's cap is holding.  Hope it continues.  The clean up will probably end up done by some weather system.  Only thing that's big enough to do it in a real world scenario.  The legal wrangling will go on for years so no point in getting too excited about that.  Yes, the little guy will lose in the end but that's the way of the world it seems.  For now.  There will be a time when that isn't the case.

This looks long enough.  Too long and it's just too much bother if anyone did want to read it.  So back to the reading again.  I've got one more review outstanding right now.  Get it done and then I relax for a while.  It is summer and that's what it's about.  Right?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Review: Beyond Opinion

Beyond Opinion
Living the Faith We Defend
Ravi Zacharias, Author and General Editor
Thomas Nelson

Apologetics. Sounds imposing and I nearly missed this one because of that. Don’t make the same mistake. This book has been out in hardbound for a while, but just released in soft cover and I think that may help get it into more hands. It’s a compilation of articles that cover a wide range of topics including the “why bother with apologetics” lead piece. Further into the work the reader finds discussions related to atheism, Islam, Eastern religions and even science, all thoughtfully written and a great place to get an idea of the challenges to Christianity that are out there. As a general review or just a first look, this book offers a lot to the reader in its 350 or so pages.

But, wait there’s more. (Sorry, had to throw that out there.) Seriously though, I found the second section of the book, especially Cross Cultural Challenges by I’Ching Thomas, much more helpful in my current situation. Other readers may find a particularly helpful bit somewhere else along the way. I doubt that anyone will come away from this book empty handed.

Yes, this is a more difficult read than most. No, it’s not an academic read, but you will have to slow down and think about what is written if you intend to receive what they have to say. Personally, I think that is wonderful. Engaging with minds that have thought through what they believe and can articulate their views rationally is a find for those of us that want more. Content end notes are included and add depth to some of the discussions. Don’t skip them totally.

My only nit with this book is the smallish font size. I’m for saving all the trees we can, but in this case I’d sacrifice one more for the cause. I say scale down some of the short fiction pieces this publisher offers and use that paper for this book please.

Overall please take the time to read this book and share it among your friends. Better yet, talk about it with them over coffee or tea.

This book was furnished to me in exchange for this review by BookSneeze.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: Unburdened

Unburdened: the secret of letting God carry the things that weigh you down
Chris Tiegreen
SaltRiver, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers

Chris Tiegreen has written a wonderful book. I hadn’t read any of his work before and this one proved to be a great way to get acquainted. His style is so personable and unpretentious in Unburdened that the reader may forget he isn’t sitting across the table engaging the author in quiet conversation. Early on Tiegreen states he’s no expert, however, someone who has been somewhere and comes back to tell me about it comes closer to the person I want to talk with than some of the experts I’ve read. That’s the strongest point for me in this book. He’s lived what he’s writing about and knows how to be unburdened.
The main point Tiegreen makes is so simple it’s hard to accept. I kept expecting something more. You know---the list of hoop jumps I need to add so my life would become less burdened. I mean, after all my burdens surely must require more than the simple truth this author covers so well. As it turns out I have made something simple very difficult. Please notice, as the author so aptly pointed out, simple and easy are not the same at all. But, for people like me he does discuss briefly some of things he found helpful for himself as an idea generator for the reader.
This short review just cannot do justice to the truth Chris Tiegreen has written. Please do yourself a favor and read this book. It’ll help you and you will have met a new friend.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July, Summer and Tigger

July and summer!  All kinds of fond memories.  Hot, hot weather.  Cold Kool-Aid, yeah the kind with all the sugar.  Riding all day and going no where in particular.  Watching my grandfather sitting under that little tiny maple in the side yard listening to Red's baseball and sipping a beer.  He'd let me taste it once in a while.  On a hot day it is really good. 

Some of the not so fond memories had to do with sunburns.  No such thing as SPF anything back then.  You were supposed to have enough common sense to come in before you burned.  Or at least get in the shade.  But every once in a while I didn't judge the tingle you get from a mild burn and blister myself.  That was July when I was a kid.  

July now?  Well, still like the warmth of the sun on my shoulders when I'm outside.  Don't spend as much time out as before.  Just don't and not because of concern about overexposure.  Speaking of lack of sun, I heard or read something the other day that now kids aren't getting enough vitamin D even with all the enriched stuff on the market.  Seems as if it's the lack of sun exposure.  Sheesh.  Something that easy and now it's a medical concern.  Have we forgotten how to live entirely now since so many warning labels have been plastered on every conceivable product and product ingredient?  Don't know and not going to get crazy over it either.  Instead, I'll see if it I can sit on my deck and soak up a few rays later on.

Have gotten another couple of books to review now.  One's ready to go in a day or two and the other is still in progress.  Sort of took a mini vacation from that mostly because they didn't have any titles I wanted to read.  Not doing fiction at all and children's books are out of my league.  I know not what it takes to make a decent kid's book.  There's something about the number of words and number of different words and grade level, etc.  Too much for someone who isn't around kids at all anymore.  That's a good thing too, for all concerned BTW.

Back when I said never again to having a pet.  And I meant it at the time. You already know what I'm going to say.  Yep, new pet.  I did make it about a year or so since the last one though.  New cat, adopted from the local shelter, of course.  About a year old and so far a really good animal.  Besides just missing not having a pet around, the mouse population has exploded.  So, having the little beast around will discourage the mice.  His scent is good enough for that.  Hope they take the hint before he figures out how to hunt.  So meet Tigger.  I didn't pick the name but that's who he is officially at the shelter.  So OK, Tigger will do. 

Have you ever adopted a pet from the shelter?  Neither had I.  The paper work is amazing.  You have to sign a zillion forms promising all kinds of stuff and have some character references.  For a cat!  I'm a cat lover, but it was easier becoming a parent.  The hospitals send you home with a brand new human person without all that paperwork and no little pamphlet on what to do if they act a certain way.  Maybe we should include that sort of thing for all parents.  Anyway here's my new cat.

from my 'Berry

Enough for now.  Maybe get another post up before too long.