Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Raising The Dead

"Raising The Dead" by Chauncey W. Crandall IV, MD

This was an amazing book! The author is a doctor whose son has leukemia. When his son is diagnosed he goes looking for God and asking for healing for his son. It is his journey through his son's illness that brings about his heart for God. He has an inspiring thirst for all things God. Throughout his quest he sees many miracles of healing. He radically changes his life and his practice. He decides that not only is he going to give his patients the best medical care but also the best spiritual care because what good is it to heal someone physically if they are dead spiritually. He tells of some of the miracles he saw and the miracles that God is doing through him. God literally enabled him to raise a man from the dead! Amazing stories, this is a must read! It will inspire you and stretch your faith.

The Divine Romance

"The Divine Romance" by Gene Edwards

This was an interesting book. It is a story of creation through the resurrection from the perspective of the angels. I think the author took a lot of liberty in this book and tried to make something that is beyond explanation, explainable. But he did have some interesting points to ponder. "I keep a list of all the things He has said He would fulfill, do away with, abolish, void, bring down, conclude, destroy, or annihilate! It grows, I might add, almost daily." Matthew is saying this of Jesus. Jesus has done away with so many things like laws and rules and sin and death. "In His eyes, she was perfect. And, in His eyes, all His rivals-and all her enemies and suitors-no longer existed." Here he is talking about us being the she. In God's eyes we have already been made perfect and all the worldly distractions are no more. Oh to really feel like what He sees. I know I feel far from perfect and I continue to battle the things of this world and this flesh. I also like how the author explained the cross and how all things, ALL things, were crucified with Christ on that day. And since then ALL things no longer have power over us any more. We must live as new creations. Words to live by.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stumbling Toward Faith

"Stumbling Toward Faith" by Renee Altson

I stumbled upon this book and I don't really know what I think of it. It is a short book that I read in one night. The author was severely abused when she was young by her father (done in the name of God) after her mother abandoned them. The book is about her journey back toward faith. I appreciate the honesty in this book and Renee's freedom to question the God who created her. I don't agree with everything she believes but she does have some profound things to say. I am also in awe of a God who can bring light to so much evil. "All that they offered me, the love and kindness and friendship, was only the beginning of my becoming whole. It was only a birth to my healing, not the completion of it. If I had gone with them, I would never have really found myself, never really found the wounded broken part of me. I would have simply used someone else to cover who I had been. I would have let them recreate me into who I had always wanted to believe I was rather than do the hard work of changing who I had always been. I would never have truly healed." How easy it is for us to be what others want us to be and how hard to change, to the core, who we are. To truly heal from yucky things we have to go back there, it isn't fun, it isn't pretty, but it is the only way to truly heal. "God doesn't always provide when we think he should, and sometimes, his provision looks nothing like what we expect it to. God may not give more than we can handle, but it doesn't mean that we don't hurt under the weight of what he has already given us. God might provide a way of escape, but it might begin past the path of grief or sorrow or betrayal." Wow, I love the honesty in that quote. So many people just give pat answers when others are hurting and forget the hurt the person is feeling. "Can I trust a God who lets me live with an "I don't know' and expects that it is enough?" "My healing has only begun to happen when I have been honest with the pain that I have lived. Rather than simply putting it behind me, I am finding that I have to befriend it. Rather than choosing to forget what happened, I am finding that I must choose to remember." So powerful, so very true, it takes my breath away. When we choose to forget it just manifests itself in other areas of our life. To truly heal we have to confront that pain and see how it has changed us, made us who we are today, good and bad. "I am where I am, and God is bigger than me. God is bigger than any person, than any definition from any person. Bigger than any person's cruelty or kindness. I am learning to reach more toward God with every breath, and in that reaching, and perhaps even through that reaching, I become more able to believe."

The Zookeeper's Wife

"The Zookeeper's Wife" by Diane Ackerman

This is a story about two Polish Christian zookeepers who saved over 300 people. Their story is amazing and it is retold by the author through diaries and historical sources. The risk that people took to save other people from death was so courageous. It is quite funny how many people had animal names and animals had people names to keep everyone safe. It is an intriguing story of risk, love, unimaginable death and courage. "Jan (the husband) shied away from praise and underplayed his bravery, saying such things as: 'I don't understand all the fuss. If any creature is in danger, you save it, human or animal.'" It was beyond this couple to let people suffer, you helped others, that is just what you did. Oh if we could only have this same mentality today. "... for most people in the Ghetto nature lived only in memory-no parks, birds, or greenery existed in the Ghetto-and they suffered the loss of nature like a phantom limb pain, an amputation that scrambled the body's rhythms, starved the senses, and made basic ideas about the world impossible for children to fathom." So much was taken from the Jews, they had to live in conditions indescribable. Nature is a part of all our souls and it was taken from them. Jan also said, "I only did my duty-if you can save somebody's life, it's your duty to try. Or: 'We did it because it was the right thing to do.'" They did what was right, never questioning.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Gift of Valor

"The Gift of Valor" by Micahel M. Phillips

I got inspired to read this story after I read Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital. The author of that book told about a man who had come into the hospital injured from a grenade. This is a true story about a marine in Iraq who put his helmet on a grenade to protect his men. The blast caused serious head injuries that he was not able to recover from. Jason Dunham paid the ultimate sacrifice and was given the Medal of Honor for his actions. "The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest award for military valor, saved for those whose actions are considered so self-sacrificing, so risky, so far beyond the requirements of duty that nobody would have criticized them for choosing to do something else instead." I was again humbled by the men and women who serve our country so that I may have the freedoms I enjoy. This was the letter drafted for his award: "Corporal Dunham's courage and sacrifice was far beyond the call of duty. In the confusion of battle he was unhesitant in his leadership and advance toward the enemy. Realizing the enemy possessed a hand grenade Corporal Dunham may have been able to avoid his fatal wounds by simply moving away. However, this was not the way this non-commissioned officer led. There was an enemy to engage and his Marines were in danger. I deeply believe that given the facts and evidence presented he clearly understood the situation and attempted to block the blast of the grenade from his squad members. His personal action was far beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of his fellow Marines. He is worthy of the highest recognition and honor of our nation." "A Marine is taught that he isn't really fighting for a country or an idea; he is fighting for the Marine to the left of him and the Marine to the right of him." This is what Jason Dunham did, this is what he lived. "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. Your son is one of those rough men, and you can be very proud of that." This was told to Jason's parents as he lay dying from his wounds. I am proud of Jason Dunham and all the others like him. I am proud to be part of this county whose sacrifice is so great. It was a great story of what so many of our troops do on a daily basis. My eyes have been opened and I am so greatful and thankful for their service.