Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I am so sick and tired of this disgusting, filthy, hypocritical and duplistic world filled with greed, and selfish ambition, inequity and pain; suffering and death.  This is a world where the well to do justify their wealth and their greedy excess saying that they worked hard and earned it-  while many go to bed hungry, dressing in hand-me-downs and rags and all the while go without basic healthcare.  The media portrays wealth and selfish ambition as the height of achievement.  Television commercials and society place more value on the latest electronic gadget  than in human beings.   Parents place more priority in providing their children with the latest smartphone or expensive Disney Land trips than in moral values or books. In fact we live in an entitled, distorted society where a child who goes without a smartphone or who has never been on a theme cruise is made to feel deprived.   Dysfunctional, broken  families and immoral relationships are glorified on TV shows, movies and reality shows, as selfish ambition and self centeredness is portrayed as the norm.  Expensive, self centered, self help programs are on the rise.  Today's society and culture places value on what should be considered junk, and what is truly junk, is deemed valuable. 

I am so sick of self righteous hypocrites.  While people are tortured and killed for their political and religious beliefs in third world nations, women belly-ache and complain because they don't have the right shoes or expensive purse or a mansion. Even the luke-warm, dull devotioals in my "NLT Sanctuary" bible annoy me as they are largely written by uninspired, wealthy women who have the means and luxury to stay at home.  These so-called "inspirational, thinking"  women have nothing more important to think about than to contemplate on making crafts, preparing  dinner or homeschooling their children. For them, a bad day is when their husband comes home late, missing a shoe sale, or their dinner is overcooked, or a stubborn grass stain won't come out of a soccer uniform. These same phony "Christians" have the financial means to  "sacrifice"  money on "spiritual" retreats and getaways, so they can feel return feeling, refreshed, and  "holy" and "pius".  They go on expensive "fasts", consuming small quantities of expensive gourmet,  yet healthy organic food, under the guise of self- sacrifice, when in actuality, they simply want to lose weight.   The thought would never cross my mind to throw out a bible, but I am tempted to dicard my "devotional" bible, where God's inspired word is embellished and tainted by frivoulous and uninspired materialism. For each person that spends the day pampered in expensive, luxurious spas, getting pedicures there are  countless human beings, that languish in pain and hunger and filth. Countless numbers suffer with terminal conditions and debilitating pain from diseases such as cancer and ALS.  For every healthfood snob that will only eat organic, or expensive gourmet meals, or five dollar gourmet cofees, there are countless others who are so hungry that they will eat stale cereal or bread because they must fill their hungry bellies with whatever edible food they can find. For every pampered pet that gets groomed, trained in obediance academy, and has fancy gourmet food, and periodic vet visits, lyme disease vaccines and hearworm pills, there are children who go without nutritious food, clean water, vaccines and antibiotics. And there are countless hard working parents scraping by with multiple jobs and  low wages, who die for want of healthcare. People spend endless hours fundraising for endless frivolous causes, sporting organizations and other humaitarian and social causes to feel good about themselves, when it is simply a disguised effort to provide for their own greedy wants and tainted consciouses.   Many fans cry at the so- called hardship endured when a "misunderstood" drug abusing, wealthy popstar or famous model is found dead in a luxurious hotel room, yet the memories of the unknown, tortured prisoners of war or missing and exploited children are not even remembered.

  Churched and religious people protest and defend the rights of the unborn and the aborted yet neglect the needs of many women who are griefstricken and in true need from pregnancy loss. I am a pro-lifer- I even had my own prolife website in college. Yet at least the unborn have the comfort of going to heaven and seing the face of the Lord if they die.  As Job said in the old testament "Why wasn't I born dead? Why didn't I die as I came from the womb? I would be asleep and at rest." Yet these same very people who advocate the rights of the unborn, write letters and picket at clinics, neglect the pain of the mother whose child had died in a miscarriage or a stillbirth.  Little do they know that the same medical procedures performed for abortions, must also be performed on grieving mothers who suffer from incomplete miscarriages or stillbirths.  In fact the health complications and financial cost burden is even greater for these later term procedures than for early term abortions.  So, on top of medical costs and health complications, a grieving mom is also at greater risk for depression and prolonged grief.   It is true that legislation can not impact pregnancy loss, yet a woman's life  and well being is no less significant than an unborn life.   These same "advocates" who push their beliefs and money to healthy, young women seeking abortions, who often do not want help- and prefer privacy and anonymity, are oblvious to the needs and loss experienced by a mother who has lost her child due to terminal illness or perhaps even a tragic crime or accident. What about those women who must endure a forced abortion in while in her eigth  or even ninth month of pregnancy- as she is forced to have her child violently and forcibly torn from her womb against her will, simply because of her beliefs, or her race or her nationality- which was known to happen during the holacaust and still happens to many political prisoners in many nations.  There hundreds of thousands of women in third world nations, with no access to minimal healthcare- who often die when they endure unrelived labor with no medical intervention.  Without the available services that many take for granted here, many women suffer obstretic fistuals and still-births after three or more days of succesive, tortuous unrelieved labor.  These women, if they do survive,  are neglected- left to suffer in anonymity, grief and shame, while  tons of money and support and free healthcare and counseling  are offered to a healthy young woman considering abortion.

People endure a lot of pain in this world- death, grief, terminal illness, poverty and natural disaster.  Yet, many people choose live in the safety of their own cacoon- their own little comfortable lives, their own family, friends and career, focusing on materialism, instant gratification and ambition.

I was once asked by a elderly patient that I was transporting to the hospital -if I had any children.  I answered her, "yes".  After further questioning I told her that I had a boy and a girl.  And she responded..."ahhh.... a rich man's family".  I thought about those words, and yes it is true.  I am "rich" in all that really matters and is important.  I may not be rich by society's standards- as in the fact that I don't have material wealth, a career, special talents, or a mansion, or fancy shoes or an expensive Coach bag.  But I do have my faith, and a promise of eternal life- and my two children, and I have my freedom- to practice my beliefs without fear of torture, and I don't have a terminal illness or chronic pain. I also have a place to live, and food to eat and clothes.   In reality what more is important? Matthew 6:19-21

Monday, February 13, 2012

Called to Controversy By Ruth Rosen

Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus
By Ruth Rosen is an extensive biography by Moishe's daughter.  As a college students over 20 years ago, I came across a yellow pamphlet called "Jews For Jesus".  This simple pamphlet used cartoon illustrations and a simple anaology of a bagel and a bakery as an outreach method to share the message of the gospel.  The message was simple, yet very effective- for the time pressed college student.  Years later I still have that simple tract.  I came to believe during my high school years and never was aware of an outreach movement directed towards the Jewish population.  This book, in particular interested me because I also have ancestry that was Jewish.

This extensive and complete biography is not to be considered light, casual reading.  In contrast to other biographies which frequently are short and simple, this is rather lengthy.  In fact, it is rich in detail and very thorough.  I'd imagine it would be appropriate for anyone interested in biblical or religious studies or for anyone with a particular interest in the Jews for Jesus movement. This would make a perfect resource for anyone dping a research project or report.  The fact that it is written from the perspective of the daughter of this movement makes it even more authentic in contrast to an unrelated professional writer.   Included in this book are photograph inserts.  As a blogger for booksneeze, I received this book, published by Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Real Power of the Holy Spirit

I thought I was in for another sleepness night- exausted, yet unable to sleep- filled with self pity, grief and despair. I had gone to sleep early only to wake up three hours later.  It would be a long night.

But then my somehow my thoughts were drawn to Jesus - and that long, dark, lonely night he spent in the garden of Gethemsane.  Jesus was God in the flesh, divine in spirit.  Yet, at the same time Jesus was fully human- with a body subject to the same pains, discomforts and sensations as the rest of us.  Though he was God, he was also a man.  He was subject to human emotions: pain, grief, fear, thirst and forboding.  With his divine nature, Jesus knew exactly what he was about to endure- a torturous death on the cross filled pain, suffering, humilation, shame.  In fact the pain he was yet to experience in a few short hours was described in explicit detail by David in the Psalms and the prophet Isaiah! The torurous, sensations of drowning in one's own fluid filled lungs, in a prolonged death of asphyxiation, stretched out on the cross, was described by David.  Isahiah and David fortold of the nakedness, shame, and humilation and abandonment that Jesus was yet to face at the cross.  The sensations of thirst, pain, flesh stripped to shreds- to the bone,  and even the shame- all fortold! Jesus was fully aware of what he would endure.   Jesus was griefstricken, sickened, lonely, and axious.  And who wouldn't be in the face of death on the cross? We complain and bellyache about much less!  Jesus, in his despair and pain pleaded with God to take the cup of suffering away- three times! Jesus asked his apostles to have the strength to remain awake. But they could not remain awake.  They simply did not have the strength.  Blood stained sweat dripped from Jesus as he fervently prayed. (Whoever painted those santised, artistic renditions of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, depicting Jesus wearing a freshly pressed and laundered white robe, with a pensive yet peaceful look,  in Italy in the 1400s, probably never read the actual  biblical account. )   Yet, God gave Jesus- the supernatural strength he needed to persever, and Jesus responded "not My will but Your Will."

The power of the Holy Spirit is very real.  The Holy Spirit is here and alive and ready for us.  Not many people meditate on the significance of the Holy Spirit. Yes it is true, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity.  Intellectually many people are aware of the fact. Every Sunday morning, we are reminded.  Yet the significance is enormous! When you consider the Holy Spirit- which is in fact God (just as Jesus is God and the Father is God), then the true meaning and significance become more apparent.  It is nothing short of miraculous! God is with us through the Holy Spirit.  The presence of the Holy Spirit of God is no less real than the presense of Jesus Christ in ancient Palestine, or the presence of God, the Father in his throne in heaven.  All three are God, and the Holy Spirit is essentialy God with us- here right now.  It is the Holy Spirit that gave Jesus the strength to endure his fate on the cross. It is the Holy Spirit that helped Jesus survive 40 torturous and lonely days & nights in a dry desolate dessert, parched and hungry in the face of the devil's temptations. It is the Holy Spirit that gave a band of unlearned men. the apostles, the strength and wisdom to persevere and spread the good news of the gospel message. This same Holy Spirit strengthened the early believers to face a painful death, being torn to shreds by wild animals, as the were marytered for entertainment at the hands of the ancient Roman government.  That same very Holy Spirit can help each and every one of us, infusing us with supernatural, spiritual strength to persevere, even when our minds and our bodies fail us.  This is not about our own will power. It isn't about keeping a new years resolution or being tough and independant.  This is not simply another self help type of advise that is contained in countless dieting, and relationship  and other self helpbooks.  This isn't like having a voice in one's head telling us what to do or what not to do.  This is about the power of the Holy Spirit that helps us, when we are at our weakest.  We don't muster this strength on our own merits, but rather by placing our faith in God.

Jesus explained that we must not live by bread and food alone but by the word of God.  The word of God is more important than the food and water we need for our daily sustainance! Certainly food and water keep our physical bodies alive and functioning, but there is something much more important than the physical body- and that is the spirit.  Our spiritual health is more important to true life than merely our physical state.  And, even when our bodies betray us, when our physical bodies fail us and shame us, we can find renewing and refreshing strength that we need from the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit has the miraculous life chaging power to renew each and every one of us spiritually.  Replace the expression or term "Holy Spirit" with "God" and it will become clear that God himslef has the power to renew and restore our spirit in order to give us the strength we need to endure and persevere.  With God at your side, who needs a counselor or physchologist? Pills, doctors, drugs and medications pale in comparison to the power of God himself through the Holy Spirit! Everything is second place- money, prosperity, career, selfish ambition- its all a counterfit when it comes to the power for peace and strength. You can spend hours in psychotheraphy, you may spend lots of money shopping, or to go on drinking binges, or mind- numbing outings at bars, parties, clubs, sports and other entertainment- all these things may numb the pain or provide diversion- but none of these things can heal.  Only God can heal.  The power of the Holy Spirit can heal the sick and weak spirit. The power of the holy Spirit can changes lives- no matter how many days you have remaining before you- whether its one day or 70 years. We don't need to be vampires to live for ever, nor do we need superheros like Superman or Spiderman to save us. 
And then suddenly from no where I felt a bit of hope, and peace and thankfulness. God did not take away my problems-they are still there. But, sometimes God's answer to our requests and problems is simply "no", yet I was offered spiritual strength and peace. It is through trials and storms we gain spiritual strength and the ability to persevere. I've been shortsited- overcome in my own personal grief and anxiety. Paul had the thorn in his side, that God chose not to take away and in his weakness he found strength. When Jesus pleaded with God in Gethemane to take away his cup of suffering he was given strength and peace to proclaim, "not my will, but yours." I have the spiritual strength to go on another day, and the peace to lay aside my worry and anxiety. God has the power to grant hope and change lives- God has been there for me in the past to pull me through and will do so now.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Breath Of Angel by Karyn Henley

Breath Of Angel by Karyn Henley is an young adult fantasy fiction novel that may appeal to teenaged female readers.  The fantasy genre has become an all inclusive sector of fiction ranging from the class Lord of the Ring's trilogy to young adult romance and drama novels, repackaged as "fantasy".  I believe that this work is more towards the spectrum of the repackaged teenage drama.  It is analagous to comparing the Twilight series of books to the Bram Stoker's classic, Dracula. 

The characters are typical, albeit "supernatural".  There is  Melaia, a beautiful, blonde young priestess.  She fiunds herself caught up in a drama of intrigue when she is witnesses to a  murder of a supernatural- winged man  in an eerie temple courtyard.  Of course, the story would not be complete without  cryptic ancient  legends, and myths as well as beautiful and attractive supernatural creatures, and handsome young male characters. Somehow, the heroine's soul and destiny get caught up in the mix. 
Twisted bits and  pieces borrowed from the  story of Geneis are implanted into this story inordder to fabricate a more complex plot when concepts such as immortals, epic battles and the Wisdom Tree is introduced.

Young readers interested in quick, light reading will find this book enteratining.  For those looking for deeper fantasy with more substance, it would be better to look in the classics.  This novel would be a good genre to those readers used to reading teenaged romance and drama, who want to have a little change.  As a blogger for Waternomah publishers I received this book for the purpose of writing this review.  My opinions expressed are my own.