Disney Countdown

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Choice


The ChoiceThe Choice by Robert Whitlow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Robert Whitlow is one of my favorite writers. He has hit a homerun with this wonderful . This book is about being pro-choice, that is choosing life over death. If you are pro-life you will love this book. Whitlow does such a great job weaving the story. WARNING: you will need a tissue or two. I will not tip you off on the story but do want to leave you with a few quotes from the book:

Sometimes love doesn't get what it wants; it has to do what is best.  p. 58

. . . adversity is the crucible for character formation.  p. 59

Never forget the blackest darkness must retreat before the light of the smallest candle.  p. 114

Then in the "A Note from the author" section Whitlow writes:

My ultimate hope is that readers of this story, regardless of age or gender, will be encouraged to make unselfish, sacrificial choices. Laying down our lives for others, in big and small ways, is at the heart of Christian living. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13 NIV). Wouldn't more of that be a good thing?  p. 415

I would recommend this book to everyone!



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finishing WELL: Learning to LIVE Through Terminal Illness

This book is a collection of emails that John Eaves wrote before he died. The last chapter is his sermon, "Finishing Well: A Sermon on Learning to Live Through Terminal Illness." I purchased this little book at LifeWay for 29 cents. Though the book is small (120 pages) is it packed full of truths. John had stage 4 colon cancer and made the decision to live the remainder of his life the same way he lived before the cancer and that was by serving His Savior. Read the following quotes carefully understanding they were written by a man that knew he just had a few months to live.

However, the announcement that John had stage 4 colon cancer with just months to live hit them like a ton of bricks. But after the initial shock, John decided to fully live each moment he had left. He wrote in a letter to friends and family: "I am praying that the days God gives will be some of the most meaningful in my life. I am not running to the sidelines. I am headed toward the center of the field.  p. 16

Helmut Thielecke, standing under the sky in the ruins of his church in Stuttgart, Germany, during World War II, and facing the aftermath of the horrific bombing of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, spoke to the surviving half of his congregation. He knew they had questions, but if they asked the wrong question, they would get the wrong answer. Thielecke said, "'why?' is the wrong question to ask . It is a self-centered question. The right question is, 'To what end?' What purpose do you have for my life, God?"  pp. 25-26

Over the years, I used to quote a statement from Oswald Chambers that a life crisis does not build anything new into our life at that moment of testing but simply reveals what is already there. My experience in recent weeks would perhaps modify that thought a bit. I would add that in our hour of testing, the follower of Jesus is given an ace up his or her sleeve - the Holy Spirit. In our moments of greatest weakness and vulnerability, the Lord comes to empower, comfort, and instill hope.  pp. 41-42

Throughout Biblical history, the wilderness plays a huge role in God's interaction with His people. From Moses to Jesus, God calls His people into the wilderness. For us, it is a place of vulnerability, danger, and uncertainty. We are placed in an unfamiliar and hostile environment, where we see most clearly our inadequacy. But God never calls us into the wilderness without His provision. He meets with us in that desperate hour, reminding us of His precious promises and meeting our need. The wilderness becomes that place where danger and provision intersect with such incredible result. I think this captures my circumstance perfectly. In fact, we all encounter the wilderness experience several times during our lives. It is comforting to know that as followers of Jesus, we never go there alone.  pp. 42-43

The reality of my condition is that for a follower of Jesus Christ, cancer never wins. It is never a question as to whether we will walk away from it or not, because we always will overcome it. The only remaining issue will be in what body - our earthly one or heavenly one. Either way, we win in Jesus, because He slam-dunked death.  p. 47

Rebecca Pippert, in her recent book entitled A Heart for God, states: "The silver lining in the dark cloud of fear is that fear pushes us to decide on our view of reality. What do I truly believe about the universe? Am I alone in this battle, or is there a God who overrules human affairs? Does my deliverance depend upon human prowess and things I can see, or does the final outcome depend on a massive resource beyond my own - the powerful, faithful, living God?  pp. 50-51

What I have discovered is that I do not need more self-confidence but God-confidence.  p. 51

Psalm 23 is not a hope of David, nor even a prayer. Rather, it is a statement of fact about God's character and nature.  p. 51

Michael Card writes, "Those who ask for miracles and receive them soon forget. But those who suffer for Christ's sake never forget. They have their own wounds to remind them. When we are hurting, we do not flee to the rich and healthy for wisdom and real comfort. We seek out those who have fellowshipped in the sufferings of Jesus?  p. 58

We know we can trust the Lord for our future because of His faithful in the past.  p. 60

Eugene Peterson paraphrases Philippians 1:19-26 as, "On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn't shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can't lose."  p. 61

Cancer in my body is only serving to make Jesus known to those who are searching for an authentic experience with God.  p. 61

This illness is not about me. It is about Him.  p. 63

I am sick. I have a terminal disease. God does not want me to deny it or pretend like it does not exist. Rather, He wants me to trust Him and leave the matter in His hands.  p. 64

Yesterday, the oncologist confirmed that my time off of chemotherapy came at a price. The liver tumors have doubled in size in four weeks; blood counts are down;  cancer activity is up. I think we can classify that as bad news. What does news like this do to those of you who are praying so fervently for God's healing of my body? What does it do to me? I can answer for both of us. It should do nothing. Our life circumstance is but one component to being a follower of Jesus. God has other life components that take higher priority.  p. 67

Prayer for the sick and dying is not about getting it right. It is about persevering with God. While we never get God's will "spot on" all the time, we never stop pressing into that will. Who of us has ever shown a measure of success in trying to force God's hand to perform the way we want Him to? When I try, I discover the faith produced in me is counterfeit; an immature and weakened version of what He really wants. What this chapter of life has taught me is that heaven and earth move in prayer. That is enough motivation for me to pick up the stretcher over and over and over again.  pp. 76-77

God reminded him [Paul] from his own ministry that the power of God is best displayed in wounded warriors, not healthy ones It is the wounded ones who know best their need of God.  p. 77

Arthur McGill states in his book, Suffering: A Test of Theological Method: "A man only begins to love as Jesus commands when he gives out of what is essential to him, out of what he cannot 'afford.' For Jesus, it is the deliberate and uninhibited willingness to expend oneself for another that constitutes love."  p. 103

Contrary to popular belief, God does not place us on the sidelines of life when we walk through hardship. Rather, He takes us to the center of the playing field, so the world can watch and observe His faithfulness in our lives.  p. 107


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

From Sea to Shining Sea 1787-1837


From Sea to Shining Sea 1787-1837From Sea to Shining Sea 1787-1837 by Peter Marshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Peter Marshall has written three books in this series, "The Light and The Glory: 1492-1793," "From Sea to Shining Sea: 1787-1837," and Sounding Forth The Trumpet: 1837-1860." And three books are a historical view of Scripture from a Biblical perspective. This one deals with America's attitude toward slavery. But, by no means is it only about slavery. Peter Marshall is the son of the Peter Marshall who was the chaplain of the Senate of the U.S. for a number of years. The elder senior has both a book and movie about his life, "A Man Called Peter." I have seen the movie (very powerful) but have not read the book yet.

Here are just a few quotes from this book:

Ben Franklin speaking to our Founding Fathers:

"How has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, sir," he looked at Washington, "were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor . . . . And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: 'that God governs in the affairs of man.' And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest. I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business."  pp. 18-19

Franklin's motion failed, because someone pointed out that the Convention had no money with which to pay a chaplain. But a substitute motion, that a sermon be preached to the delegates on July 4 at the request of the Convention, went through speedily.  When the anniversary day arrived, many of the delegates, including George Washington, attended a special service at Christ Church. After the oration by a young law student, the Reverend William Rogers, pastor of the church, prayed that God would "be their wisdom and strength [and] enable them to devise such measures as may prove happy instruments in healing all divisions.  p. 20

In 1789, the Continental Congress established chaplains for both the House and the Senate, whose official duties include opening each day's proceedings with prayer. p. 21

Repentance is the missing ingredient in much of modern American Christianity. Yet its pivotal role in national revival is clearly revealed in Holy Scripture in such passages as the much quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." Those of us already committed to Christ are being challenged not only to face our personal needs for growth and change and take them to God in prayer, but most important of all, He is calling us to repent of our wicked ways. No matter how much we might prefer to see ourselves as freed from sin, we still have wicked ways. We still often live for our own personal comfort or success, ignoring the needs of the poor or hurting around us. We are still self-righteous, still get jealous or vindictive, still lust after other people's approval.

Repentance involves heartfelt change. And change, the lifelong process of being conformed to the image of God's Son, involves pain. Unlike Dwight or Asbury, JQA, or Jackson, most of us today are unwilling to go through much emotional or spiritual pain. We can wear out our knees praying for revival, but if we are not willing to go through the pain of repentance, the Great Awakening we seek will not come.

But there can be a victorious conclusion. We have forgotten that true repentance is not only tremendously freeing, cleansing, and uplifting, but it brings the blessing of God in its wake! Further, repentance on the part of a few can spread throughout a family, a church, or a whole society. The salt can regain its savor!

Once again, America stands, like a Biblical Nineveh, at the crossroads of mercy and judgment. If we Christians will hear and heed in time, God's plan for America will yet be fulfilled, and He will crown her good with brotherhood - from sea to shining sea!  pp. 432-433

I recommend this book to those who enjoy history and especially if you want to learn more about America's Biblical roots!


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Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever


Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America ForeverKilling Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My son loaned me this book to read. I didn't know what to expect from Bill O'Reilly writing a "history" book. I was in for a pleasant surprise. The book is a page turner. It is written as a documentary. Even though I knew most of the "facts" about Lincoln and Booth, O'Reilly made the reader feel he was back in time witnessing the events. The last few pages of the book include an extensive  newspaper. "Harper's Weekly," account of the event. This is the newspaper account of the assassination written on April 29, 1865. O'Reilly does an excellent job in the last few sections of the book giving a good look at what happen to the main characters in the assassination and the main characters of the Civil War. He also summaries the many conspiracy theories. Of course the first several characters leading up to the assassinations is an account of the war and the attitude of both the North and the South.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves history and/or those who what to learn more about Lincoln.


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Monday, July 9, 2012

Just As I Am: The Life of David Ring


Just As I Am: The Life of David RingJust As I Am: The Life of David Ring by David Ring
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you have never heard David Ring preached you are missing a great blessing. David has cerebral palsy, both his Mom and Dad died when he was a young person. Even though the odds were against him, after he trusted Christ as his Savior, David allowed God to work through him. And God has used him in a mighty way. This book uncovers the story of how David overcame the "weaknesses" and allowed God to use them for His glory. I am including several links to help you know David better.

Here is his website.

Here is his testimony.

Here his sermon, "Why bad things happen to God's people"

If you want to be blessed read this short book!


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None but the Braves: A Pitcher, a Team, a Champion


None but the Braves: A Pitcher, a Team, a ChampionNone but the Braves: A Pitcher, a Team, a Champion by Tom Glavine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very good book about one of the great pitchers of the game. The book details Glavine's life as a youngster through his time with the Braves. Some of it deals with his mechanics of pitching but most is about his team, teammates, coaches, mangers, owners, etc. If you are a Tom Glavine fan or a Braves fan you will enjoy this book!


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The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012