Sunday, December 20, 2015

Climbing with Abraham by David Ramos – A Thoughtful and Encouraging Devotional




I was recently contacted by author David Ramos with an offer to read his newest devotional Climbing with Abraham.  After reading David’s brief bio on Amazon, I decided to give the book a try and I’m so glad that I did.

I appreciated the observations and insights that David shared from the life of Abraham.  Clearly he presents a high view of God and also shows how God cares for and knows each one of us individually.

David has a very warm and engaging writing style that invites the reader into the story.  As I was reading this devotional I found myself highlighting many sentences that jumped off the page at me.  Here are a few items that I highlighted: 

·      God’s promises will not fail. 
·      God’s patience is more powerful than our stumbles, and His love is as strong as we are fragile. 
·      God knows your frustrations; keep on believing. 
·      God saw Hagar when no one else did and He cared for her when no one else would. 

There were times when reading this book I felt like God was speaking to me.  On a particularly hard day I was encouraged from the story of Hagar.  David shared, “You are not stuck, you are not forgotten and you are not hopeless.”  I needed that strengthening reminder about God on that specific day.

It seems like no matter how many times I’ve read or studied Scripture I can learn something new or fresh every time.  That’s why I appreciate the insights that David shared from the life of Abraham.  This is the first book I’ve read by him, but I hope it’s not the last one.

One thing I would have liked to have seen included is the actual Scripture verses instead of just the chapter and verse references. 

I highly recommend Climbing with Abraham by author David Ramos.  You will be encouraged, strengthened and challenged as you read through the life of Abraham, a friend of God.

I would like to thank David Ramos for the opportunity to read Climbing with Abraham in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

End of Discussion by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson – A Challenging, Important and Informative Read




With my head still buzzing after reading End of Discussion, I wanted to jot down why this is an important book to read, for both conservatives and liberals.

If you are a conservative, you may find yourself appalled and disbelieving the outrageous lies and tactics you see used by the left leaning media on a daily basis.  If you are a liberal you may offended by conservatives and their lack of compassion and how they seemingly want to impose their standards on others.

No matter which side of the aisle you stand, it seems like all manner of reason and open honest discussion have gone out the window in favor of a never-ending verbal warfare.  Instead of a dialogue the goal is to shut the other person up. 

That’s where End of Discussion comes in.  Co-authors Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson have done a solid job in documenting the craziness that we are seeing in the media, politics, courts, boardrooms and universities.  These days, it seems like no one is immune from attack and everything is on the table. 

If you find yourself shaking your head and popping an aspirin after listening to the news or radio talk show, you should read End of Discussion.  Not only do they share numerous examples of the various outrage they bring some well-reasoned thought and perspective to the table.  They share ideas on how we can more effectively respond to the issues at hand. 

Both Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson are conservative, but they aren’t afraid to examine the conservative’s approach to issues, to see if it’s effective or if in fact we too are guilty of shutting down the discussion.

End of Discussion was challenging; it’s not a quick read.  Mary and Guy share a lot of examples and go into great detail of the outrage that seems to be increasing.  I appreciate their keen observations, wit and chill out perspective they bring to a very heated and hostile table.

If you think our society is less civil, really wimpy, and we act like children in need of a nanny to protect us, you aren’t far off in your assessment.  What’s sobering is that the government is more than happy to step in and play the nanny.  Perhaps it’s time we grow up and learn how to debate and have a dialogue with folks we disagree with.

One thing I wasn’t real keen on was the use of profanity.   Where actual events are shared, I can see why they allowed it.  But in their commentary and observation it wasn’t necessary.  It only adds to the crass and crude culture that is prevalent today. 

I would like to thank the people at Blogging for Books and Crown Forum Publishing for the opportunity to read End of Discussion in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Gift of Reading




As of late, I’ve been reflecting on the gift of reading.  How important it is and how it affects every area of my life.

Not being able to read would affect my ability to learn other things like history or science or even math.  I might be able to have a rudimentary ability to do math, but would likely be limited to the basics and not be able learn advance math.  I can’t imagine attending college without being able to read, much less graduate high school. 

If I couldn’t read my Bible, I wouldn’t know when a pastor or teacher is accurately teaching the Word of God.  I couldn’t study the Bible for myself and know the truth.  I wouldn’t be able to keep a journal and record my thoughts and feelings. 

I might be able to learn driving skills, but I couldn’t get a license because I couldn’t pass a written driving test, read street signs or follow a map. 

What kind of job would I have?  I couldn’t be a waitress because I couldn’t read the menu or write up a customer’s order.  I would likely be consigned to lower paying jobs.  How would I apply for a job, fill out an application or submit a resume?  These days many jobs require having a college degree. 

How would I read a medicine bottle or following instructions for a recipe or read direction to put something together? 

I would have to get my news from TV news or radio and would be unable to read the newspaper and understand the issues, facts and candidates for myself.  How could I vote without being able to read?

People might pass judgment and think I was stupid or lazy and not realize I didn’t have the same advantages that they had.  I would probably be shy and hold back on making friends because I wouldn’t want my secret discovered.  I would probably feel like I was less than because I couldn’t do what so many people can do so easily.

I wouldn’t be able to read a letter or write one to a loved one. 

I can’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to read.  When I see a shelf filled with books, I’m drawn to it and can’t wait to see what adventures await me.  Books are my friends. 

If I couldn’t read, I’m sure I would see books in a whole different light.  Perhaps, books would be my enemies. 

While I don’t remember the process of learning how to read, I am so grateful for the teachers who helped me to learn of the greatest skill that has impacted me immeasurably and even for eternity. 

I don’t remember most of my teachers by name, but I do recall my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Espinoza.  I’m sure that a lifelong love for reading started in her class.  To Mrs. Espinoza, and all my teachers, I thank you for giving me the gift of reading. 

Thank You to God for enabling me to read and bringing people into my life who helped me to master that life transforming skill. 

If you think of other ways that your life would be impacted if couldn’t read, please take a moment and leave a comment.  Also, don’t forget to take a moment and say thanks to those who helped you learn how to read. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sunset to Sunrise




From sunset to sunrise
I look to You O Lord
I find my security in You alone

My stomach churns in these uncertain times
Is this fear or anxiety
No, I think this is what grief feels like

I know You are at work in my circumstances
But what exactly what You want to accomplish
I don’t know, I can’t see it from here

May I trust You with the unknown future
May I remind myself You are good
You are and always will remain faithful

As the sun sets and darkness falls
Once again, I see fresh beauty anew
As if painted from the hand of the Creator

Help me to trust You O God
To bring beauty from these ashes
Reveal Your purpose in the pain


by Susan Wachtel
December 15, 2015

Monday, December 07, 2015

Seven Women And The Secret Of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas – An Interesting and Challenging Read




After hearing author Eric Metaxas interviewed on several radio shows talking about his latest book, Seven Women And The Secret Of Their Greatness, I wanted to read about these influential women who impacted their generation, nation and beyond.  This is the first book I’ve read by this author.

The book focuses on the lives of Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Saint Maria of Paris, Corrie ten Boom, Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa.  Eric did a lot of research and went into great detail about their lives and the culture in which they lived and the impact they made.  Other than Corrie ten Boom, I knew precious little or nothing about their lives and how they influenced the world of their day. 

Eric Metaxas is a Christian who is intelligent and well-informed.  As such, I wish he had included a brief chapter telling why he selected these women.  Based on his choice of women, I don’t believe this book is apologetic in nature. 

I really enjoyed the chapters on Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Corrie ten Boom and Rosa Parks.  I found my faith was encouraged, challenged and strengthened by these women of great faith and strong conviction who endured much.  I struggling reading about Joan of Arc and Saint Maria of Paris, two very unconventional women, I think in part, because I was distracted by their theology and wondered how Biblical Christianity would respond them.  I knew of Mother Teresa, but didn’t know much about her life until I read this book.

This book is not a quick read, nor a light read.  But if you like to learn history through biographies, you will like this book.  This book gives the reader an appreciation for what women in the past had to endure, without the freedoms we have in this country that people fought for and the modern conveniences we can easily take for granted.

I would like to thank BookLook and Thomas Nelson Publishers for the opportunity to read Seven Women by Eric Metaxas in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Picture a Day - Wild Yarrow

The yarrow in our garden is one of my favorite plants.  In the wild, it's just as pretty.