Spiritually Enlightened, circa 1735

“He that is spiritually enlightened … does not merely rationally believe that God is glorious, but he has a sense of the gloriousness of God in his heart. There is not only a rational belief that God is holy, and that holiness is a good thing, but there is a sense of the loveliness of God’s holiness.”    Jonathan Edwards, 1735

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Book Review: 1919 Versailles by Charles L. Mee Jr. (Four Stars)

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Book Review: 1919 Versailles: The End of the War to End All Wars by Charles L. Mee Jr.

(Four Stars)

“It is always easier to start a war than to end one, let alone win it. … Harshness and vengeance nearly always return to haunt those who impose them. But of all the lesson that Versailles leaves us with, certainly the most insistent is that of the inability of the few any longer to govern the many.”

Exhaustive rendering of how the world’s leaders–especially France’s Clemenceau, Britain’s Lloyd George and America’s Wilson–crowned the horror of World War One with the charade of a “peace” that virtually guaranteed World War Two. That’s not news to most readers, but Woodrow Wilson’s role in raising then dashing international hopes may be.

“[Wilson] believed in words, in their beauty, in their ability to move people, in their power to give shape, and structure, and cohesion to the world–in their power, he appeared to believe, to transform reality.”

Wilson conducted secret negotiations with the Germans before Continue reading

Book Review: Ocean Mother, Daughter Sea by Diana Marcellus (Four Stars)

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Book Review: Ocean Mother, Daughter Sea (The Witch of the Two Suns, Book #1) by Diana Marcellus

(Four Stars)

“Everything that is worth having has its price.”

Excellent medieval fantasy. Good world and character building. Good interplay between various points of view of the witch issue. Marcellus feeds in the essential backstory at the essential time. Adequate closure with obvious ties to the continued story.

Quibbles: A trim man can’t squeeze through a sixteen inch opening? Many typographical errors which seem the product of faulty Optical Character Scanning, converting an image type to digital. Needs a good proofreading.

“For a man determined on the clear light of reason, the touch of the old tales did not please.”

Preparing for Now

“When your heart is properly focused on the things that are to come instead of paralyzed by the hard and terrible things you have had to handle, you are postured to be effective in the present.” Levi Lusko

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

God hasn’t bailed you out of your present because your very circumstances are to bring you closer to God, if you’ll just focus on God rather than your current afflictions. He has great plans for you, but you must be prepared heart and soul.

The Mind of Christ

“I must lose my mind to gain the mind of Christ. Your drink can’t quench my thirst; I must drink for myself.” Gloria Garner

“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

The Spirit of Christ knows the mind of the Father, and shares his thoughts with us if we quiet ourselves. You must hear it for yourself for it to mean anything to you. Be still and listen.

Book Review: And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman (Five Stars)

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Book Review: And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

(Five Stars)

“The meaning of life: Company. Company. And ice cream.” “What kind of ice cream?”

Wonderful. Should be read by everyone who is a grandparent, plans to be one, or has grandparents. A poignant look inside generations–consecutive and skipped. Short; powerful.

“Are we here to learn how to say good-bye, Grandpa?” “I’m afraid we are.”

Backman explains that he didn’t write this book for us, but for his family. I’m so glad he shared it. The relationships and the emotions ring true.

Why do people who don’t believe in heaven assume, if they’re wrong, they’ll go there?

“What can we do to help Grandpa?” “We can walk down the road with him.”

Book Review: The Four Million by O. Henry (Four Stars)

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Book Review: The Four Million by O. Henry

(Four Stars)

“’Tis a weary thing to count your pleasures by summers instead of hours.”

First published in 1906, this collection still resonates with wit and insight. Each story ends with a twist, usually but not always pleasant. Even knowing its coming, the reader is rewarded with a surprise.

“The almanac lied and said spring had come. Spring comes when it comes.”

O. Henry loved New York City every bit as much as Walt Whitman, if not so poetically, though the NYC they heralded may be as distant as the hanging gardens of Babylon.

“Gabriel had played his trump; and those of us who couldn’t follow suit ….”

O. Henry loved words: big words, French words, slang words, puns. His stories are a verbal fuselage. Modern electronic readers will find themselves seeking help deciphering his prose.

“In Soapy’s opinion the law was more benign than Philanthropy.”

Over a hundred year old, this story reflects some attitudes now discarded. O. Henry seemed to love his neighbor, even if he expresses himself in a manner which might set modern teeth on edge. (You’ve been warned.)

“We can’t buy one minute with cash; if we could, rich people would live longer.”

Book Review: War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell (Three Stars)

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Book Review: War of the Wolf (The Saxon Stories #11) by Bernard Cornwell

(Three Stars)

“The rumor was believed because truth is ever feeble against passionate falsehood.”

Bernard Cornwell is my favorite author of historical fiction, but he was off his game with this eleventh installment of his Saxon Stories. All the well-loved elements were there: skilled melding of fact and fiction, conflict, eucatastrophe–all mediated by Uthred’s snarky inner voice.

“Bravery is overcoming fear,” I said. “and I don’t know how you do that. Duty helps a little, and not letting down your comrades helps a lot, but really bravery is a kind of madness.”

But it’s heavily laden with backstory and repetition. Needed another editing to reduce the duplication. Starting near the end of this series is not recommended, but a new reader would have appreciated all the repetition; those who have read the preceding ten, not so much.

“I didn’t say anything like that!” I told the poet. “Well, lord–” “It’s a poem, I know.”

Saved by a smashing closing battle and the happy inclusion of a poet. The dialogue involving the latter recovered a star of rating.

“The world of glory was gone and we were sinking into a darkness of smoke, fire, savagery, and blood.”

As We Were Meant To Be

“Christianity is not just a formula for moral living. True Christianity is the restoration of union with God.” Rick Joyner

“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)

It’s not about being good; it’s more than being saved; it’s uniting with the creator of the universe. A re-creation; a new life; a new being. Life as we were meant to live it.