Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Review: The Mortifications

          I was interested in the The Mortifications by Derek Palacio after I saw it was about a Cuban Family. I am half Cuban myself and am interested in stories about them. The Mortifications is about a family of four who split up. The father stayed in Cuba while the mother took their twins, a boy and girl, to America. One thing that sets it apart is that instead of staying in FL like most did they moved further north to Connecticut. There the each family member has their own personal struggle that only intensifies when their father back in Cuba tries to get in touch with them.

                Though the story line itself was interesting I honestly found it quite hard to get into. The author's style of writing made it difficult to follow along, the conversation was strangely written with no quotation marks or punctuation, and no description of how they were speaking. Knowing from firsthand experience how colorful and energetic Cubans are in their speech the book painted an opposite picture as though no character had any personality. Because of the way it was written it was very hard to become attached to the characters. The story moved in a way that it was hard to tell how much time had passed which not having clear chapters with names or even just numbers helped to seal that. When I was a third of the way through it felt like the book should almost be over. And I have yet to finish it. I would give it a two out of five. 

 "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Review: The Last Arrow


             The Last Arrow by Erwin McManus is encouraging book full of compelling stories that all point to one thing, do not waste your life, use up every bit of it. 
             McManus uses II Kings 13 to paint a vivid picture of every person's life being a quiver, and each quiver has a range of arrows, not all the same strength or speed, but all important. He uses his own life, in which he felt he was only an average person, to show how even someone who is not considered to be "amazing" or "brilliant" can still make an impact where they are placed. But if one does not use all that has been given to them, they will not reach the full potential God has made them for. 
            I was inspired by McManus to not slack in my own life and to keep on giving my all, so that in the same way that Jesus said, "It is finished" as he died, I can also know that I have finished all I can do and that my quiver is empty. 

           "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Friday, February 27, 2015

Book Review: Rise of the Fallen

Rise of the Fallen is the sequel to Cloak of the Light. Surprisingly though, it does not start off where Cloak of the Light ended nor does it continue from Drew Carter’s (the Main Character in Cloak of the light) perspective.

                Instead, this book introduces us to Validus, an angel that Drew met briefly. In this book we get to know Validus on a more personal note. The book switches back and forth between the current happenings with Validus and his past. We quickly see that the events in the past have helped to form Validus into a great warrior.
                But when he is taken off his command over the post in America and assigned to assisting a Guardian Angel in keeping a young unbeliever, Drew Carter, safe, Validus is more than just a little confused and even offended to be given such a small duty. He soon realizes, though, that keeping Carter safe is going to be one of the biggest jobs since his creation. There is one question that remains with Validus. Why? Why is Carter so important that he has been given a power to see into the middle realm? As he guards Carter he also searches for answers.
                I was a little disappointed at first that the book wasn’t about Drew. But I quickly began to appreciate the perspective Chuck Black was writing from. Through this book we catch a glimpse of what it might have been like in heaven before the earth was created. We see on a personal note how the fall of Lucifer totally destroyed the earth after Adam sinned. Through an angel’s eyes we experience the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the slaying of the children 2 years old and under, the Holocaust and wars both on earth and in the middle realm. Though it is fiction, and we cannot know the feelings of angels when they experienced these things, I believe it is a good eye - opener to the reality of spiritual warfare that is going on all around us.
                I also appreciated the layout of the book. At the beginning there is a list of characters, and because there were so many angels with various names it was nice to have whenever I got confused about who was who =D. There is also a few lists of names of God used in the book, different names for angels and demons and military terms. In the back there is a reader’s guide which has a few paragraphs about each chapter which I would highly recommend reading when you read the book for the 1st time. It explains some of the Biblical references and reasons for different happenings. Also any Biblical references made in the book are written in bold, which I also found very helpful =D .

                In summary, I believe Chuck Black did an amazing job with a subject we really don’t know much about. This book gives a lot of food for thought and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am excited to see what Mr. Black does next!      

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Elihu in the Book of Job

      I have been reading the book of Job recently. Now if you are anything like me, when you read the book of Job you’re all good till you get to the middle…it might go something like this: first there is the meeting between God and Satan, then Job gets his things and children taken away and you begin to think that if Satan was any help at all he would have taken Job’s wife. Satan then meets with God again and Job gets all sick…His friends come and sit with him in silence for about a week. Not too bad. Everything is straight forward till Job goes and starts to talk and then his friend thinks that looks like fun and he starts talking, then Job talks…the other friend starts in on the fun and then Job again, friend, Job, friend, Job….it kinda goes like that till BAM! God finally comes and straightens everyone out and gives Job twice as much as he had and you are left knowing that Job then lived a very full life of a hundred and something years…does that pretty much sum it up for you? It used to for me =D until this last time that I read it.
      Knowing that I always get mixed up in the middle, I made a chart. I put down who was talking when and who they were taking to =D Now this may sound a little complicated but bear with me here!

Job 1-2 –Satan and God meet twice. Job gets children, possessions and health taken away.
Job 3 –Job starts to ask why this is happening
Job 4&5 –Eliphaz tries to answer Job
Job 6&7 –Job answers Eliphaz
Job 8 –Bildad tries to answer Job
Job 9&10 –Job answers Bildad
Job 11 –Zophar tries to answer Job
Job 12-14 –Job answers Zophar
Job 15 –Eliphaz answers Job for the 2nd time
Job 16&17 –Job answers Eliphaz
Job 18 –Bildad answers Job for the 2nd time
Job 19 –Job answers Bildad
Job 20 –Zophar answers Job for the 2nd time (Note: This is the last time Zophar speaks…the rest have another turn.)
Job 21 –Job answers Zophar
Job 22 –Eliphaz answers Job for a 3rd time
Job 23&24 –Job answers Eliphaz
Job 25 –Bildad answers Job for a 3rd time (Note: This is the shortest “answer” anyone has given so far…I think they are finally wearing down.)
Job 26-31 –Job answers Bildad
Finally in Job 32:1  We are told that, in my own words, Job’s 3 friends stopped answering him because they saw it was of no use.

      This makes me think of the times when one of my friends asked me the question, “Pete and Repeat were in a boat, Pete fell out, who was left?” and I say, “Repeat.” And she says, “Pete and Repeat were in a boat, Pete fell out, who was left?” and I say, “Repeat.” And she says…well, I think you get the idea. We go on like this till finally one of us says, “I give up!” and then we are both relieved.

Anyways! Back to Job.

      Now this is the point where you might expect God to come in. But wait…it says in verse 2&3 of Job 32:

“Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Berachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.
Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they has found no answer, and yet has condemned Job.”

Wow! Wait a Minute! There is another friend?! And he is not only angry at Job…he is angry at the other guys too! This is awesome! But wait, why hasn’t this guy spoken up before?
ob 32:4 “Now Elihu has waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.”

      Oh!! I see! It seems as though back in the day the younger men would wait for the older men to speak first in matters such as this, out of respect and probably because they knew that with years comes a deal of wisdom and it might be better to listen to a wise opinion before you stick your foot in your mouth. 
      Now I would encourage you to look into the chapter that Elihu is speaking and study them for yourself. They are very interesting (that would be Job 32-37).

      There are a lot of things I could say about Elihu and theories I could put out there but I today I only want to focus on one little lesson that Elihu can teach us. I would like to look at the way he approaches Job.

Now Elihu is younger than seems from the verse quoted above that he was the youngest out of the three friends there as well.

I would also like to note that he did not get upset until the men were done talking:

Job 32:4&5
“Now Elihu has waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder then he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.”

It seems to point out that he waited till they had finished speaking till he passed judgment on what they were saying.
He then goes on to explain to Job and his three friends that he felt that as the younger he was afraid to show his opinion

Job 32:6 
"And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion."

He thought that the older men should speak and teach wisdom.

Job 32:7
"I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom."

 But then he goes on to say this.

Job 32:8-10
 “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.”

And he does. The next 5 chapters are him defending God and telling Job that he shouldn’t question God.

At the end of the book when God tells Jobs friends to get Job to pray for them, he only mentions the 1st three that spoke…Elihu is never mentioned in a good or bad way. Interesting.

As a young person, I find it encouraging that young man seemed to have found the right thing to tell Job in his time of trouble.

It seems to confirm what is said in 1 Timothy 4:12:

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, on charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

So what's my point?   =D

      As a young people we need to listen to our elders, we need to understand that with years does come an amount of wisdom and understanding. I think it would be safe to assume that Elihu had received instruction from Job and the other three men before this time, but in this situation he saw that they contradicted what he knew to be true about God. Just because someone is older than us doesn't mean that they are always wiser in every situation. We should listen to our elders but if we think they are in contradiction to what we know the Bible says about that situation we shouldn't be afraid to disagree. We also have a responsibility to set an example in the way that we live. And if there is a time where we need to confront those who are our elders we need to do it with respect. Elihu let Job and his friends know that he had listened to them and had been ready to agree with them till he saw that they were wrong in their thinking. He approached them with respect, but firmly letting them know that he was on the side of God.
      It is a fine line to walk when one’s opinion is contrary to their elders. But after looking at Elihu I believe it can be done in a respectful manner and in a way that won’t hurt the relationship.

As a last note, I looked up the meaning of the name Elihu.

The Biblical meaning is: He is my God himself
The Hebrew meaning is: My God is He.

Very interesting since Elihu told Job he was talking in God’s stead.

Job 33:6a
“Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead:”

Names in the Old Testament often have great meaning. I find that the meaning of Elihu gives confirmation that Elihu was right in what he said and was indeed speaking for God. 

Thanks for reading!! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Wright Brothers First Flight, 1903

I love history! I love to read and study it =D

I believe that we can learn from the past and often the past repeats itself (often because we haven't paid attention to it and so we make the same mistakes)

Today I would like to bring your attention to an incident that took place 111 years ago TODAY! 

On December 17th, 1903, one hundred and eleven years ago this year to the day, Orville Wright piloted the first powered airplane that he and his brother, Wilbur Wright, had made.

The flight took place in Kitty Hawk, Ohio.

The Wright's plane was named Wright Flyer I, cost $1,000, had a 40-foot wingspan and weighed about 600 pounds without the pilot.

The flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet.

Wilbur also piloted the craft that day and of their 4 flights he piloted the longest which covered 852 feet in 59 seconds.

Now, some will argue that there were others that had flown powered airplane. A Brazilian-born aviator named Alberto Santos-Dumont was the first to "publicly" fly at a Paris exhibition on 1906. And a man named Samuel Langley believed his plan was invented before the Wrights' plane was. And it may have been, but it failed its first test. 

One reason for the confusion was that the Wrights kept some secrecy about their flights in 1903 for the fear that others would steal their technology before it was patented. 

In any case, this day is one that changed the way we do things in our world today. 

This is an interesting video about the Wright brothers. It has some footage of some of their flights...I do not believe that the footage is of their first flight though. 

This is also a very interesting account of the first flights, some of it told by Orville Wright himself.

I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Book Clock

So here we are again! we are in the last few days of November...Thanksgiving is over and if you haven't fallen in a fit of depression after you just realized how much time has passed, you may be trying to decide what to get your friends and family for Christmas.

This clock would make a fantastic gift for someone who loves books or clocks =D 

I have wanted to make myself a clock out of a Frisbee but the only Frisbee I have I like to throw around sometimes and I didn't want to ruin it.
So I decided to make a clock out of an old book I had =D

It is a fairly simple project but I am a nervous person when it come to cutting into things and it would have been nice to have seen how easy it was before I stated. Hence this post =D 

What you need:
A hardback book (preferably one that is not rare or that you care to read) =D
A clock Kit-I got mine at Hobby Lobby for about $7
Some sort of knife-a utility knife works well. 
A battery if your kit doesn't come with one-most likely a AA but be sure and check the kit. 

You will need to use the knife to cut a section out of the book that will hold the works of the clock like so, 

Also there will need to be a hole cut in the front cover of the book for the bar to fit through where you will attach the hands. 

Close the book so that the bar is protruding from the front like so, 

You will now attach the hands to the clock. Your kit should have instructions on how to do this properly, if not THIS image should help.

You will then need to apply your numbers. My kit didn't come with any so I just wrote them on with a pin =D A gold sharpie would work well if your book is a dark color. 

All that is left now is to attach something to the back to hang it by! I used some little screwy things with a wire. But you could make a hole in the back and hang it by that. 

And there you have it! 
Pretty easy huh? 

I hope you have enjoyed!
Have a good day!

And Marry Christmas!!!!!! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ask It Book Review

       Ask It is all about one question. A question that will change the way you go about making decisions. This question will help you answer the other questions about choices we all run up against.

 Should I take this job?

Buy this house?

Marry this person?  
       The question presented in Ask It by no means makes the path of your future crystal clear. But you will have more confidence with hard questions and be able to make the right decisions easier.

       I read this book as if it were a novel. Stanley writes as if he is talking to you face to face. This makes the book a very easy read. But it is by no means has an easy subject. Using the question, Stanley addresses issues that hit close to your comfort zone. Issues that, if most of us had our way, we would leave in the back of our closet. But they are things that need to be talked about.

       Stanley also talks about your future, giving insights on how to proceed in different situations. He by no means preaches that his way is the “holy” way or that if you don’t do things his way you will fail. But he is a pastor with lots of experience in decision making. This makes his opinion worth hearing.  

       Now this may seem long and complicated and a book of “do's and don’ts”, but it is not. Stanley uses the question in different circumstances to help you out if you ever have to deal with the same things.

       This book is by no means one that you read and then forget about. It has a very challenging message to it. And, if you let it, it will change your life.

       This is a book I would recommend to anyone who is ever going to make life changing decisions (which is everyone =D)  

       Ask It is divided into six parts with a study guide in the back which makes it easy to use in a group study. There is also an Ask It DVD series that you could use for the same purpose.

       If you are going to read this book I would suggest you read Ephesians, chapters 4-5, the place where Stanley found this revolutionizing question.

If you would like to learn more about Andy Stanley here is a short Author Bio

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thanks for reading!