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Monday, June 27, 2011

From Hope To Higher Ground





From Hope to Higher Ground: 12 STOPS to Restoring America's GreatnessFrom Hope to Higher Ground: 12 STOPS to Restoring America's Greatness by Mike Huckabee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book explains Huckabee's views on lots of issues. I agree with him on about 96% and the few I disagree I can see his side. He also clears up some of the out right lies that have been told about how he believes. I think he would make an excellent President! I hope he will run in the future!


View all my reviews

Here are some quotes from the book:


As we saw victims of Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed by the unexpected storms and surges of water that washed away their hope, we also saw ourselves as likewise being vulnerable. We are reminded that in many ways we all live below sea level, surrounded by levees that we thing will hold and that we trust to keep us safe. But whether the levees are those made by human hands with concrete steel, or are the levees of our personal health, our jobs, the safety of our neighbors, our pension plan, or the confidence we have placed in our government, churches, banks, or other institutions, all of us indeed live below sea level and are but one breached levee away from devastation.  p. 16
Just as I needed to change my personal habits to regain my own health—so America must change its habits in order to regain its true greatness. ACTION America – Activating Citizens To Impact Our Nation. p. 17
[ACTION Church – Activating Christians To Impact Our Nation] ~My thoughts
My own optimism, both personally and for our nation, is not the result of having spent time on a mountaintop but from having spent so much time in the valley. The air tends to be thin on the mountaintop, but in the valley the soil is rich and good things grow there. It is in the depths of the valley that we discover our weakness but also our capacity of strength and resilience. p. 24
There is value in approaching life with the attitude that I might actually learn something from those with whom I disagree. p. 33
I once heard an eloquent African-American pastor speak of the four kinds of pride: pride of face (outward appearance); pride of place (socioeconomic position); pride of race (ethnic background); and pride of grace (religion). p. 38
It’s been said that profanity is the strong expression of a weak mind. The excessive use of such language causes it to lose any impact or shock value, and only demonstrates disrespect and contempt for others and for propriety. p. 40
One of the studies the commission conducted was to determine the most important factors in predicting whether a student would succeed in college. When I have posed the question to audiences, most respondents guess that the key predictors would be socioeconomic standing or even race in determining the likelihood a student would complete college. Both of these responses are quite wrong. Fifty years of research indicates that the key predictor of getting through college and graduating is having access to and participation in a rigorous and challenging curriculum at the high school level. It is critical that schools offer a broad range of courses and that the rigor of the curriculum is challenging, adequately preparing the student for a real future. p. 50
From an educational standpoint, numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between music education and math scores. This makes perfect sense in that the study of music helps develop both the left and rights sides of the brain and improves spatial reason and the capacity to think in the abstract. p. 51
The younger the age at which one is exposed to and learns music, the more impact the study of music will have on his or her academic capacity and achievement. p. 52
It is always best to remember that people are working with you, not for you. p. 182
 “He who is my opponent today may be my friend tomorrow.” Never burn bridges and end relationships. p. 190



To order this book click here!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

An Urgent Call To A Serious Faith

This is the first Dave Hunt book I have read. In this book, An Urgent Call To A Serious Faith, Dave shares his thoughts of living a consistent serious faith life.  I was convicted several times as I read this book. The quotes below are both thought provoking, convicting, and in some cases controversial. I trust the quotes will make you take your faith seriously:

Prayer is petitioning God and must therefore be subject to His will. p. 49

There is a huge difference between demanding what we desire and trusting God to give us what He knows we need. p. 49

The gravest error associated with prayer is to imagine that it is essential for salvation. On the contrary, as we have seen from many scriptures, God offers salvation as a free gift. When a gift is offered, one does not beg for it, plead for it, or agonize for it. One simply receives it. To beg or plead or pray for the gift is to betray one's lack of faith in the giver in his offer. p. 53

Biblical faith, however, is believing that God will answer one's prayer. That changes everything! We could never truly believe a prayer would be answered - nor would we want it to be - unless we were certain it was God's will. Faith is not a magic power we aim at God to get Him to bless our plans, but "the obedience of faith" (Romans 16:26) brings us into submission to Him as the instruments of His will. p. 81

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. ~Jim Elliot p. 87

Paul exhorts us, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Colossians 2:6). Did we not receive Christ in weakness as helpless, hopeless sinners crying out to Him for mercy and grace? That, then, is the way we are to walk this path of triumph in suffering - as sinners saved by grace, weak and helpless in ourselves and trusting totally in Him. p. 90

Learn this:Greater than anything God can do through you is what He wants to do in you. What counts most is not quantity but quality, not so much your outward effort but your motive within - the purity of your heart rather than your prominence with men. p. 91

It is not one's talents or energy but the empowering of the Holy Spirit that produces genuine and lasting results: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).  p. 91

It is often in times of distress alone that God can break the hold of that which has drawn our affection away from Him, perhaps without our even knowing it. p. 98

Sadly, so many of today's praise and worship songs reflect lack of depth in current Christianity. Congregational singing often consists of empty, repetitive choruses which have taken the place of the old hymns of the faith. Phrases are repeated again and again, such as "We worship You, Lord, we praise You, Lord, we lift Your name on high, we lift our hands, we exalt You, " and so on. There is much clapping and swaying to the catchy tune and beat. Yet the congregation and the "worship team" seem oblivious of the fact that instead of truly praising and worshipping, they are merely singing words about praise and worship, without mentioning God's character, qualities, and deeds which evoke worship. p. 99

There is a growing emphasis today upon world evangelism, and surely that is needful and commendable. We ought to obey the Great Commission given to us by Christ. There is also an awakening social conscience, a concern to demonstrate practical Christianity in caring for those around us, from the unborn threatened with abortion to the homeless and deprived. And so it should be. Yet that which must come first - a deep love of God - is largely forgotten.

"Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned" (1 Corinthians 13:3) may be commendable deeds, but if they are not motivated and sanctified by an all-consuming love for God, they are of no value at all in His eyes. Have we really faced the teaching of this great love chapter? How amazing and sad that love of God is buried in the flurry of activity to serve Him. Indeed, the average Christian, while he may love much else, including even the whole world which he is forbidden to love, gives little serious thought to loving God. p. 126

Many issues of great concern legitimately occupy the attention of church leaders and their flocks. Yet the greatest commandment, and that which God desires from us above all, is scarcely mentioned, much less given the prominence it ought to have in church fellowship and individual lives. How tragic. p. 127

The choice we face is not, as many imagine, between heaven and hell. Rather, the choice is between heaven and this world. Even a fool would exchange hell for heaven; but only the wise will exchange this world for heaven. p. 142

The two key expressions, "mortify" in verse 5 (Colossians 3:5-8: "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleannness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry . . . put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.") and "put on" in verse 12 (Colossians 3:12-17 "12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."), only increases the bewilderment and sense of failure. It is really possible to "put to death" ungodly desires and, shedding that body of evil, as it were, to be clothed in a resurrection body of godliness? Surely Paul, led of the Holy Spirit, is not taunting us with goals that cannot be attained and that, in fact, are not at all practical. Was he not himself an example of this kind of life, and did he not say more than once, "Be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1)? Then why do we fail? From whence comes the motivation and the strength to accomplish what is at once so desirable and yet so seemingly impossible?


There is a general failure to recognize the importance of one little word that occurs in both verses 5 and 12. I holds the answer to our dilemma. Paul does not say, "Mortify your members" and "Put on bowels of mercies, kindness . . ." That would impose a"do-it-yourself" religion of gritting one's teeth in determination and struggling to live up to high moral standards - no different from the atheist's or Buddhist's attempt to do the same. That is not Christianity. Paul carefully and pointedly says, "Mortify therefore . . . Put on therefore . . ." Clearly therefore refers to something that Paul is convinced gives the Christian the motivation and power to do what he is commanding and lifts the Christian above the impossible struggle of flesh trying to live a godly life. It is, therefore, the Christian's secret to a happy, fruitful, and holy life that is pleasing to God.


The mortifying of the old deeds and the putting on of the new is possible only because, as the previous verses declare, "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). pp. 172-173


The most seductive temptation Satan can devise will arouse no response from a dead man. Insult a dead man to his face and he will not retaliate in anger. As a dead man, Paul experienced a new freedom over sin that he had never known before. Yet, in spite of being dead, Paul was more alive than he had ever been: "I am crucified . . . nevertheless, I live." Dead to sin, he was alive to God through Christ. p. 174


"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore . . . " That was such a vibrant hope and of such certain fulfillment that Paul began this entire section with the statement, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (verse 1,2). Herein lies the secret to the godly life that Paul himself lived and expected of the Colossians as well. They were to be so heavenly minded that the things of this earth would have no appeal and thus no power over them.  pp. 174-175


Today's denominations (like the cults) all have their earthly headquarters and their traditions. They have become organizations instead of being content with being part of the organism, His body. p. 211


In the Greek, tetelestai, Christ's cry from the cross, "It is finished!" is an accounting term. In Christ's day, it was stamped upon invoices and promissory notes as proof of full satisfaction. Christ thus declared that the sinner's debt to divine justice had been paid in full. Justice had been satisfied by full payment of its penalty, and thus God could, "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). On that basis, God offers pardon and eternal life as a free gift. He cannot force it upon anyone or it would not be a gift. Nor would it be just to pardon a person who rejects the righteous basis for pardon and offers a hopelessly inadequate payment instead - or offers his works even as partial payment. p. 219



22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband (Ephesians 5:22-33). p. 258
In A Christian Love Story, Zola Levitt relates that tradition and explains how beautifully it fits the promises that Jesus gave His disciples. p. 258
When that matter (of the marriage contract and price to be paid for the bride) was settled the groom would depart. He would make a little speech to his (espoused) bride, saying, "I go to prepare a place for you," and he would return to his father's house. Back at his father's house, he would build her a bridal chamber. a little mansion, in which they would have their future honeymoon . . . remain(ing) inside for seven days . . . At the end of the week, the bride and groom would make their long-awaited appearance . . . (and) there would be a . . . marriage supper, which we might refer to as the wedding reception . . . This construction project would take the better part of a year . . . and the father of the groom would be the judge of when it was finished . . . The bride, for her part, was obliged to do a lot of waiting . . . (and) she had to have an oil lamp ready in case he came late at night . . . she had to be ready to travel at a moment's notice . . . (The groom) and his young men would set out in the night, making every attempt to completely surprise the bride . . . The church is called "the bride of Christ" in the New Testament for good reason. pp. 258-259 
One of the most beautiful Old Testament pictures of the church as the bride of Christ is found in Genesis 24. Abraham's servant, a type of the Holy Spirit, had claimed Rebekah as Isaac's bride. As it is with us, however, she had to choose for herself between the husband waiting for her in a far country and the family she would have to leave in order to join him. "Wilt thou go with this man?" her family asked her. And she said, "I will go."
Such is the choice that confronts us. It is a choice that countless earthly brides have made and not regretted. No less is demanded by our Lord of His heavenly bride.  pp. 260-261
We are like a homely, small-town girl from a very poor family who is being wooed by the handsomest, wealthiest, most powerful, most intelligent, and in every way most desirable man who ever lived. She enjoys the things he gives her, but is not able fully to give herself to him and really get to know him because she finds it too much to believe that he, given the choice of all the far more attractive women in the world, really loves her. And to leave the familiar surroundings of her childhood - the friends and family that have been all she has known and loved - to go off with this one who seems to love her so much and to become a part of another world so foreign and even inconceivable to her, it is all too overwhelming. p. 266
Paul indicated that in the last days men would be "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:4). What an indictment. How it challenges us to reexamine our priorities. How ashamed we will be one day that the pitiful pleasures of this world could ever have blinded us to the infinite and eternal pleasures God has "prepared for them that love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). p. 269
Love involves unshakable commitment of oneself to another - thus it involves not just emotions but an act of the will. p. 271
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself" (Luke 10:27). Love does indeed involve deep emotion, but it is first of all obedience to God's command. p. 271
Christ has committed Himself to us for eternity, and He expects us to make the same commitment to Him. And that commitment involves loving others if we truly love Him - for a lack of love for our brother is, according to Scripture, proof that we do not really love God (1 John 4:20-21).




An Urgent Call to a Serious FaithAn Urgent Call to a Serious Faith by Dave Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even though I did not agree with everything the author said, the book still was a blessing and a challenge to me. Dave Hunt made me think and a lot of what he said convicted me.


View all my reviews


To order this book click here!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

for one more day


Mitch Albom hits another home run with his book, "for one more day." Just one quote from the book:


What causes an echo?

The persistence of sound after the source has stopped.

When can you hear an echo?

When it's quiet and other sounds are absorbed. p.193

For One More DayFor One More Day by Mitch Albom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent book. Easy read and I highly recommend!


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To order this book click here!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Grace Card

If you have not seen the movie "Grace Card" I highly recommend you do. The DVD will be out in August. It is a powerful movie. Below is a synopsis of the movie:


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Everything can change in an instant ... and take a lifetime to unravel.
When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God ... and just about everyone else.
Mac's rage stonewalls his career in the police department and makes for a combustible situation when he's partnered with Sam Wright, a rising star on the force who happens to be a part-time pastor and a loving family man.
Mac's home life is as frightening as anything he encounters on the streets of Memphis. Money is tight and emotions run high as he constantly argues with his wife and his surviving son Blake, who is hanging with the wrong crowd and in danger of flunking out of school.
Sam Wright also never expected to be a police officer. He has a calling—to be a minister like his Grandpa George. But leading a small, start-up church doesn't always put enough food on the table for a young family, so Sam doubles as a police officer. With his new promotion to Sergeant, Sam starts questioning if his real calling might actually be police work rather than the pastorate.
Can Mac and Sam somehow join forces to help one another when it's impossible for either of them to look past their differences—especially the most obvious one?
Every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God's grace. Offer THE GRACE CARD ... and never underestimate the power of God's love.

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Here is the trailer:

For more information on this movie click here!


COURAGEOUS Movie

I am so looking forward to seeing the movie COURAGEOUSIt should be out in September 2011. The people that made this movie is the same that made "FlyWheel," Facing The Giants," and "FireProof." Here is a description of the movie: "Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. When tragedy strikes home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Protecting the streets is second nature. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous."


Here is the trailer:




For more information on this movie click here!





Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Love As A Way Of Life Devotional

Gary Chapman has written a book called Love As a Way of Life. I have not read it yet (I do own it) but I just finished the devotional book with the same name. Lots of good devotions in this book. I also liked each devotional starting with Scripture. The book primarily uses the NIV for the Scripture quotes. I trust you will enjoy the following from this little book:

How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" -Isaiah 52:7 p. 11

As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility. gentleness and patience. -Colossians 3:12  p. 23

Warren Wiersbe said, "Denying that we can accomplish God's work is not humility; it is the worst kind of pride." If you are waiting until you become better, brighter, or more ready, you are probably relying on yourself more than God.  p. 132

When your greatest desire is to love others as Christ leads, you practice the humility that is needed to risk making mistakes.  p. 132

To order this book click here!





Sunday, June 12, 2011

Still Growing-An Autobiography: Kirk Cmeron

I just finished reading Kirk Cameron book, Sill Growing. It actually belongs to my son, Paul. Even though I am not a fan of his tv series Growing Pains, I found the book a good read. Instead of several quotes from the book I will divide it into the parts he tells us about and share a few links with you.

  • The first part of the book deals with growing up in a "normal" family. He tells much about his family life.

  • The next part shares how his Mom took her children to see a talent agent to see if they would be good for tv/movies. Kirk tells about several commercials he was cast in and some he was not

  • Finally he auditioned for Growing Pains. He of course got the part and became a star. If you have never watch Growing Pains you can read a little about the show here! Below is a clip for the theme song:



  • It was during his time as an actor on Growing Pains that a friend invited him to Chuck Swindoll's church. Kirk had been an atheist growing up and had no interest in religion. But when this young lady invited him to church, he decided he would be polite and go with her and her family. This decision caused him to rethink his atheism. He also was give Josh McDowell's More Than A Carpenter book to read. He trusted Christ as his Savior.

  • Not long after he trust Christ as his Savior the girl he eventually married, Chelsea Noble auditioned for a role on Growing Pains. This was not intended to be a permanent role. However, after the directors saw the chemistry between the two she became permanent. He had met Chelsea o the set of his sister's show, Full House. Chelsea was cast as Kirk's girlfriend. They adopted four children and have two biological children, so six in all. Below is a interview with the two on the Regis and Katie Lee Show shortly after their wedding:




  • Kirk and Chelsea have a burden for children with critical or terminnal illnesses and their families so they started a camp to mnister to these families. The camp is called Camp Firefly. The name was chosen because thir are many fireflies at the camp that light up the night and fireflies are light and hope is light. They want to bring the light of hope to these families. Kirk says, "Camp Firefly is designed to bring laughter back into the lives of stressed-out families."

  • Kirk played he role of Buck Williams in the Left Behind movies. Chelsea played Hattie. When he was at a booksellers convention to promote Left Behind someone handed him a CD about something they thought he would be interested. Long story short this was the beginning of him being involved in The Way of the Master. This is a teaching of the "best" way to tell others about Christ and to led a person to the saving knowledge of Christ. It shows a person how they have broken the ten commandments and how on their own they cannot enter Heaven, but if they will confess their sin and turn to Christ as their Savior and depend only on Him then they can have a place in Heaven.  Another good resource for this is LivingWaters.

  • After Kirk read the script of Facing the Giants he called the producers of the film and told them he would be interested in playing the role in a movie of theirs. They told him he could try-out because they not only wanted someone would could play the part, but wanted someone who was genuinely walking with the Lord. He got the part in FireProof. In the scene were he kisses his wife he had Chelsea stand in because he has committed to never kiss anyone but his wife. Below is a couple of clips from FireProof:


FireProof



While I Am Waiting

I want to finish this blog with the following quote from chapter 22 page 203 of the book:


"I suppose it could be argued that I reached the pinnacle of my success when Growing Pains hits its zenith in 1987. But it depends on your definition of success. I am a very wealthy man: I received my riches the day I pulled over to the side of Van Nuys Boulevard and gave my whole self to God-what little I knew of Him at the time."

To order this book click here!




Friday, June 10, 2011

An American Life: The Autobiography of Ronald Reagan

I throughly enjoyed reading An American Life. I have the 1990 edition that my mother-in-law gave me. It was a book she owned and had inserted several newspaper articles over the years including the following:"Perot organizational leaders are summoned for a strategy session," "Reagan marks 83rd birthday with attack on Democrats," "The Wallace shooting," "Legend honored," [Marilyn Monroe stamp], "Dole plans to visit Italian battle site where his life was changed forever," "Worth the wait, "[Reba McEntire visiting Huntsville, AL], "Dickinson: Reagan the best, Carter the worst president," and "Michael Jackson and Lisa-Marie Presley take a stroll." The articles were a added plus, but the book itself was wonderful. It takes you from Reagan's birth through the end of his 2nd term in the White House. I wished he had spent more time talking about his first wife and his children (esp. Michael's adoption).

Of course there are many, many great quotes by President Reagan. I will mention a few below with some viedo clips from YouTube.


Let's start with one about his humor:




"A Time for Choosing"




"There you go again"



"I will not make age an issue of this campaign . . ."



"Tear down this wall"



". . . For many years I was a democrat"



"Evil Empire"






"Reagan assassination attempt"







"Reagan's Farewell Speech"



There is so much more in the book. I hope you will take the time to read this book. The next clip of course is not in the book, but thought it would be a good ending to this blog:




To purchase this book click here!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

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