Category Archives: What to read

Where I Am

9781511300162I am told Where I am is the last book written by Billy Graham.  I decided to read this book after being reminded of the one year anniversary of his death. The book features short chapters encompassing the whole of Scripture, beginning with Genesis and continuing on to Revelation. In classic fashion, Graham gives insights into discovering who God is and covers subjects such as heaven and eternity.

Along the way, the book offers a concise history of the human race. Graham highlights each human life has a choice of two paths, to pursue one’s own selfish path leading to destruction or accept God’s gift of deliverance and follow the path leading to eternal life.

Graham’s book speaks often about death and life in the hereafter. It’s 36 chapters and wealth of scripture makes the book an excellent devotional. I found it to be an uplifting read.

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A Heartbeat Away

{28D833CC-BD09-4475-B8F0-B0439C21365C}Img400It’s time for another book review.  This one, A Heartbeat Away, is written by one of my favorite authors, Dr. Harry Kraus.  He is a surgeon who serves as a medical missionary to East Africa.

“A novel is way too long of a project to write simply for entertainment.  Don’t hear me wrong! I think entertainment is important; if I can’t capture and entertain, no reader will hang in there to the end.  But in the process, I hope that a small message of hope, faith, or grace is absorbed.” Dr. Harry Kraus

The story follows the life of a surgeon Dr. Tori Taylor whose cold, unforgiving demeanor and perfectionism toward her colleagues and nursing staff makes her and island.  Still, her work is outstanding and she is well-respected.

Tori maintains complete control of her life, that is, until a virus attacks her heart, making a heart transplant imperative for her to survive.  Once the transplant procedure is complete she begins having vivid dreams, so real she believes she is witnessing some horrid event.  But these are someone else’s memories not hers.

Kraus introduces two teenage lovers seemingly unrelated to the plot and the two separate story lines race along in parallel.  Are they connected some how?  Once Tori begins receiving warnings and threats to cease pursuing the identity of her heart donor, she realizes the dreams are memories to witnessed murder.

Kraus does not let the reader relax at any point in the story.  Several late plot twists keep the reader guessing until the last pages.  Dr. Kraus’ experience as a medical surgeon adds authenticity to the writing.  This is a must read for anyone interested in fiction, murder mysteries or dramas with a medical theme!

The Kremlin Conspiracy

51Uwwhjh-5L._SY346_If you are looking for heart pounding read this is one I’d recommend.  It’s book one of a three book series written by Joel C. Rosenberg featuring the adventuresome Marcus Ryker; former marine and former secret service agent.

One of the things I like about Rosenberg’s work is his ability to incorporate important world events into his writing in an almost prophetic manner.  The Kremlin Conspiracy is no exception.  A quote from the book:

“America’s next president needs to understand that as troubled as the Middle East is and as volatile as North Korea remains, the most serious threat facing the United States–the truly existential threat–comes from Russia.”

The plot follows a reckless Soviet president bent on consolidating his power and restoring Russia to its former glory. His plan includes capturing and annexing former Soviet states into the Russian federation and adopting the dangerous countries of Iran and North Korea as strategic allies. Will his plan succeed?

As the plot thickens, a mole surfaces from deep within the Kremlin’s inner circle taking the story to even loftier heights.  Can the information the mole entrusts to Ryker be trusted or is it meant to trap him?

Joel C. Rosenberg is one of my favorite authors.  The second book in this series is due out March 2019.  The Kremlin Conspiracy is a must read political thriller.

Except the Dying

1521690Goodreads asked how many books I planned to read in 2019.  I said I would read 10.  Here is the first one : Except the Dying.  It’s the first book in a series of murder mysteries by Maureen Jennings set in the 1890’s in Toronto.  I became interested in the author because of the wildly popular “Murdoch Mysteries” television series, which I can’t seem to get enough of.  Except the Dying was the title of the first TV episode.

Except the Dying is Jennings debut novel and it’s a good one.  She takes her time revealing subtle clues linking the reader to the detective as the story unfolds. Having watched five seasons of “Murdoch Mysteries,”  I was already familiar with the lead characters Detective Murdoch, Constable Crabtree and Inspector Brackenreid of Toronto’s 4th Constabulary police.  For me, part of the appeal of the book and the show is getting a feel for the turn of the century way of life and the language used.

The story begins with the discover of a murdered young women in her late teens who turns out to be with child.  Who was she?  Once the women is identified, the list of suspects begins to pile up.  The murderer is not revealed until the end with surprise ending.  A very good read indeed.

Of Creatures and Trees

tree-779827_960_720Here’s another excerpt from my yet to be released book:

“In my early teenage years I loved to walk alone in the wooded areas near my home. In my meanderings, I was struck by the timeless nature of the forest. Time didn’t seem to matter to the trees. They could be found, day or night, year after year, right where I first spotted them. These tall and stately giants adorned themselves with colorful leaves in autumn, as if readying themselves for a grand ball. I sat for hours watching as the arbors gracefully danced in October breezes. When I returned to the woods in November with my rifle in hand, I looked on as cold windy gusts stripped the trees naked.

It impressed me that the grand order of things did not lessen the generosity of the trees. They labored through the seasons to produce a bounty of fruits, nuts and seeds, not for their own consumption, but as gifts for the passerby.

From my perch in a rotting tree fort, I watched creatures, large and small, carrying out their agendas. In stark contrast to the trees, time for them was of the essence. They spent the precious little time they did have attending to personal needs. These included hoarding and gorging themselves on whatever was available. Animals, it seemed, lived a life of extremes, one of excess and depravity.”

 

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The Old Man and the Sea

IMG_0070I came across a copy of The Old Man and the Sea while cleaning a bookshelf.  A required read in high school, I recalled very little of it.  I was anxious to give it another look.

It’s a short story about a Cuban fisherman down on his luck.  He’s an impoverished old man who maintains a relationship with a boy.

The boy was once taught to fish by the old man.  He repays the elder by finding ways to  attend to his sustenance.  The two used to fish together before the old man’s string of bad luck caused the boy’s parents to insist their son fish with someone else.

A quote from the book:

“Luck is a thing that comes in many forms and who can recognize her? I would take some though in any form and pay what they asked.”

Hemingway successfully walks a tightrope, offering vivid descriptions while maintaining the flow of the story.  He also captures the double-edged sword of angst, which faces the serious fisherman; the plague of drought (not being able to catch any fish) verses hooking the catch of a lifetime (and being able to successfully land it).  Finally, there’s the struggle pitting man against beast.  The old man possesses seasoned and hardened skill while the fish possesses great strength and power.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Knowledge of the Holy: part 2

IMG_0057In the second chapter of his book, Tozer poses the question, “What is God like?”

“When the Scripture states that man was made in the image of God, we dare not add to that statement an idea from our own head and make it mean in the exact image.  To do so is to make man a replica of God, and that is to lose the unicity of God and end with no God at all.”

Tozer goes on to say:

“Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms.  We want to get Him where we can use Him, or at least know where He is when we need him.  We want a God we can in some measure control.  We need a feeling of security that comes from knowing what God is like…”

Tozer adds that the answer to the question, what God is like, can be answered in the person of His son, Jesus Christ.

“In Christ and by Christ, God effects complete self-disclosure, although He shows Himself not to reason but to faith and love.  Faith is an organ of knowledge, and love an organ of experience.  God came to us in the incarnation; in atonement He reconciled us to Himself, and by faith and love we enter and lay hold on Him.”

We can only begin to understand what God is like if we study what Tozer regards as God’s attributes, which he addresses in the rest of the book.  A divine attribute he says, “is something true about God.”

“A man is the sum of his parts and his character the sum of the traits that compose it.  These traits very from man to man…The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God, it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself.  The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but the absence of parts.  Between His attributes no contradiction can exist.”

When we look at God’s attribute of love, using the above above quotation, it is not something He has, love is who he is.  Tozer goes on to discuss many other attributes such as the Trinity, His self existence, eternity, infinitude, omniscience, sovereignty and many more.

It is a great book, which I highly recommend reading.  For those of us with a casual view of God it will shake up our perception of Him.  As you progress through the book, you will be acquainted with the depths of God’s love and the height of His holiness.

Check out this song by Addison Road, “What do I know of holy”.  It certainly captures a desire to know what is God like.