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erwinkthomas

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The Imitation of Christ
Thomas à Kempis

Gifts of God

Gifts of God (2017)  is an inspirational book on meditations about Christian life.  It focuses on the abundance of gifts that we receive from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In the last of this series, each meditation pays homage to a loving God, who blesses, guides, and loves us.

 

International personalities exalt his Holy Name, adore his divinity, and are grateful. Readers of this devotional will come to experience God's warmth, care, and praise his beautiful works.  Many will honor and glorify his extraordinary attributes, for they know his greatest gift is love.  

 

With God's promises people hope to rejoice forever in his salvation.  Of such, is his grace, for he's willing to forgive us, walk with us, and comfort us in our troubles.  After, we shall declare like Isaiah 7:9: "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all."  Our God is omnipotent and omniscient.  His ways are above our ways.  God's gifts are authentic and a great blessing to mankind.

 

     

      

 

Judge by the Cover

Hafu Sans Halo Book One

Judge by the Cover (2017) by Melissa Abigail

 

Overall, it was great to see Haruna come to consider Ryu as an orphan like herself. Some highlights in this novel are endearing:

 

• It was great that the author introduced a scene where Haruna and Ryu had to be on the same team for their class project.

 

• It was a surprise when Ryu was introduced living in an orphanage for wayward boys.

 

• The device of having Haruna's belongings crashing to the ground in Ryu's presence worked well.

 

• The lead in to the death of David “Wild Dog Singh” was clever.

 

• Allowing Ryu to overhear the criticisms of Mani that nearly led to a fist fight was well thought out.

 

• It was shocking to learn that Ryu had become a White Flower assassin and drove a Mazda.

 

• The news of the death of Singh was well handled between friends.

 

• It was unexpected as Haruna ended up inviting Ryu to her home while her grandmother Marie was away.

 

• Surprisingly Haruna and Ryu were able to work together in doing a great class presentation on the Merchant of Venice.

 

• Cleverly it was shown how Haruna eventually broke up with Mani.

 

 

Considerations & Questions

 

  1. Is Haruna's relationship with Mani really over?

  2. Will she be in a relationship with Ryu?

  3. When will there be a resolution about Singh's murder?

  4. What does the future hold for Ryu?

  5. What will become of Haruna's grandmother Marie?

  6. Will Haruna be happy?

 

I rather enjoyed reading this novel and it's a success dealing with “coming of age” themes. There is some violence and an occasional curse word, but it is surely geared to young adults. Parents and teachers when considering such a book will be concerned about the amount of sexual and violent incidents. However, the information about adolescent sexuality was at a minimum. The writing style is excellent and so is the characterization. I highly recommend this novel Judge by the Cover by Melissa Abigail, to readers. The author did a superb job in her first novel of this series.

 

After two years of work and prayer I'm happy to see this devotional in print.
Reblogged from erwinkthomas:
Keys of Faith (2016)
Keys of Faith (2016)

Keys of Faith (2016) contains nine doors that come with spiritual keys to open hearts for living.  Its tenets are assembled under each section of this book, which addresses many facets of American culture.  Chapters focus on "all lives matter."  These writing do homage to biblical truths which support scriptural concepts.  While national and international celebrities reflect on the grandiose and omniscient nature of a loving God.   

Source: http://Amazon.com
Keys of Faith (2016)
Keys of Faith (2016)

Keys of Faith (2016) contains nine doors that come with spiritual keys to open hearts for living.  Its tenets are assembled under each section of this book, which addresses many facets of American culture.  Chapters focus on "all lives matter."  These writing do homage to biblical truths which support scriptural concepts.  While national and international celebrities reflect on the grandiose and omniscient nature of a loving God.   

Source: http://Amazon.com

Mother Teresa

— feeling amazing
Matka Teresa - Navin Chawla

Navin Chawla, the author of Mother Teresa (1992) did a remarkable job in capturing the love and sensitivity of one of Christianity's modern icons. Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Yugoslavia, and in 1979 as a Catholic religious sister she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She received the Call of God at the young age of 18 and decided to leave her home to become a nun in India. Her vocation was towards serving the poor. On January 16, 1929 she went to the mountain resort of Darjeeling, 400 miles north of Calcutta to begin her life as a novice. Two years later she took her first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. At Loretto – Entally, she has been a teacher and Principal.

 

By the early 1940s, Chawla showed Mother Teresa met poverty well with the Great Bengal Famine that stalked India. Many Indians were starving, sorrowful, and lying lifelessly on the streets. And shortly after that she got another “Call within a Call” to begin a second vocation to serve “the poorest of the poor.” She therefore had to have permission to leave the cloistered life in the convent to work in the streets of Calcutta. Chawla documented the struggles with her spiritual confessor Father Celeste Van Exem, her bishop, and the Vatican. Fortunately for the world she prevailed and permission was granted for her to do the work among poor souls.

 

In her new vocation as advocate, healer, and provider for “the poorest of the poor,” she was joined by some young women some of whom were formerly her students to do such such work. So by the 1950s, with some medical training under her belt, she was already heading the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Much is described of the travels of these sisters to be with the poor all over the world. They would walk or take public transportation to their assignments in India. However there was a Motherhouse – headquarters, to coordinate their growing operations.

 

Mother Teresa pledged to take all the unwanted babies of the world. Her Missionaries of Charity continue to give out hundreds for adoption. Her views on abortion have many detractors. She has advocated for natural family planning that involves abstention of couples, and the exercise of self-control. She showed implicit faith in the Roman Catholic doctrine and wanted to bring prayer back into our lives. Later, the author vividly described Pope Paul V1 visit to India as guest of the government in 1965. His Lincoln Continental limousine which he used for his state visit was later donated to Mother Teresa's charities. It was raffled off for a tidy sum with which she built a main hospital block in Shantinagar.

 

Mother Teresa's humanitarian facilities presently include dispensaries, leprosy clinics, rehabilitation centers, homes for the abandoned - crippled, mentally retarded, unwed mothers, sick, dying destitute, and AIDS patients. Educational activities were ongoing at various schools. There were classes in sewing, commercial, and handicraft. The sisters made prison visits, family contacts, taught catechism classes, and Sunday School. Their activities are centered around Catholic action groups.

 

Now Missionaries of Charity encompasses Missionary Brothers of Charity and with the addition to houses established all over India, there are international houses that presently exist in many areas of the world. These could be found in places like Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, the Gaza Strip, Yemen, Ethiopia, Sicily, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Panama, Japan, Portugal, Brazil, Burundi, England, USA, USSR, South Africa, and all over Eastern Europe.

 

Chawla who had to do much traveling to keep up with Mother Teresa's activities carefully describes her many ventures and difficulties in establishing such homes. It all started with Mother Teresa's desire to live with the poor to understand them as equals. In one of her experiences - of the first woman who she picked up many years ago, lying on a street of Calcutta, her face eaten by ants and rats, it was her observation that such a person was the abandoned Christ.

 

After many years of dedicated service to “the poorest of the poor,” Mother Teresa laid ailing and millions prayed for her recovery and often she would pull back from the precipice of death. But on September 5, 1997 – a few days after her 87th birthday, she went home to be with her God. Before she died, on March 13, 1997, the Missionaries of Charity elected Sister Nirmala to succeed her as their new Superior General. The Indian government honored her with a state funeral, her coffin being on a gun carriage that once bore the bodies of Mahatma Ghandi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Chawla's book truly captured the spirit and life of this extraordinary woman.

 

 

 

Unintended Target

— feeling amazing
Unintended Target (The Unintended Series) (Volume 1) - D.L. Wood

D. L. Wood's novel Unintended Target (2015) is a fascinating romantic thriller which shows Chloe McConnaughey making a trip for Terra Traveler as a travel photographer to the Caribbean island of St. Gideon. Although it's an all expense paid trip, readers are reminded about her dysfunctional family, and reasons for going there. (Caution readers - spoilers are ahead).

 

In Miami her brother Tate - a computer whiz was killed in a car crash. From the inception Chloe is being pursued even when she takes up residence at the seaside town Binghamton. There she meets a divorcee Jack, an NYU English professor turned beach concierge, and an engaging encounter ensues. As they were about to leave Mendoza's restaurant she had a flat tire. Since she didn't have a spare Jack offered to bring her home and replace it the next day, but once there she was attacked, and her cottage ransacked. Jack instinctively returned to her place just in time to help her. Afterward both ended up at the hospital, but later she visited Sampson at the local police station and he ended up giving her a gun for her protection.

 

Chloe was to meet Jack again at an Italian restaurant and going for a spin in a catamaran. Soon Wood shows her enjoying a photo shoot on one of St. Gideon's magnificent landscapes. But it was not until she returned to her cottage from visiting her friend Ruby did the action really pick up. She discovered that Ruby was gone, but once at home Sampson whom she had called for help proved to be an accomplice. What followed was a well-described struggle, Chloe's abduction, and eventual escape.

 

After telephoning Jack who himself had to fight off intruders at his boathouse, he was able to make a daring escape to reunite with her. These events were vividly portrayed in beautiful language. To their surprise they found out what the attackers were after. That was her deceased brother Tate's flash drive which was mailed for her safe keeping by Attorney Herbert K. Rohrstadt from Miami. By Chapter Twenty-Two Wood's imagination is most vivid with scenes at Shores Motel and showing how they were able to evade their assailants. On their way to another hotel, Chloe lost the flash drive which contained pertinent information from Tate which they had just started to view. Again they were able to slip away from their assailants.

 

The author cleverly shifts the scene to Manny and Marta. It was Manny - Jack's friend, who arranged for them to escape from the island via a trawler to Puerto Rico in route to Miami. While aboard this vessel Chloe discovered Jack's true identity, and there was a tense moment when she held a gun to his chest demanding that he must explain himself. This Jack was able to do by describing his days as a Navy Seal, marital problems with Lila, and why he was now using an alias. Once Chloe Googled his story and was satisfied, a long discussion ensued about the Christian religion and why bad things happen to good people.

 

Once in Miami, Chloe and Jack were rearmed. While they were at a coffee shop Jack learned that Rohrstadt had died. Jack later left to track down his secretary Elena Grabney and promised to give her ten grand of the money when they recover it. However, Chloe went to Inverse to speak with its CEO, Renny DiMeico. During their conversation he was nervous and described his attempts to nab her in the Caribbean. Chloe fearing the worse, drew her gun on him. But shortly, they were joined by Korrigan and Vargas and was forced to drop it. Jack who was in a cab heading back to her, having talked to Elena tried to reach her but couldn't. Nevertheless, he was able to track Chloe through her GPS as being still at Inverse. DiMeico wanted twenty million back from her which he accused Tate – her brother, from stealing from his company.

 

By Chapter Thirty-Five onwards we witness Wood's powers as a novelist to build the drama of Tate's life and DiMeico's shady business dealings. Chloe by now was truly his captive. It was Jack and Riley – Jack's Navy Seal buddy, who were able to invade DiMeico's well-guarded mansion. Once inside this building the action heats up, guards were wounded with the expert use of their arms during their mission. Eventually, they were able to rescue Chloe and escape from DiMeico's estate. DiMeico however remained safe - for during the commotion, he was able to lock himself in the panic room. After having accessed details from Riley's computer through her pendant, Jack, Chloe and Riley decided to retrieve the contents from a deposit box at “Bio-Tite” which Tate had inserted on the flash drive.

 

Wood's plot really thickens as Chloe's attempts to retrieve a card for the “Fourth Bank of Grand Cayman,” when they were intercepted - Jack being shot, and Riley eventually was able to track her down in Vargas vehicle's trunk. But Korrigan while being questioned by DiMeico over the stashed-away funds, lies and betrayals came to light, which resulted in both men shooting and killing each other. Shortly afterward, Chleo had no choice but to go to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

 

Later, Chloe and Riley were able to visit Jack who by this time was taken by paramedics to a hospital. At the hospital when they were all together again, they were visited by a U.S. Attorney who advised them that they were free, and they won't be extradited to St. Gideon to face murder charges. For Sampson had disappeared under rather suspicious circumstances.

 

In this her first book of the series it's for you the readers to find out what happens at the conclusion of this thriller. Suffice it to say that Wood did a masterful job in presenting us with the struggle of good versus evil. From the inception of Unintended Target it seems as though her heroes and heroines will always have Jesus Christ on their side. A word of caution though – the conflicts in this book will be well received by readers or viewers (if it's made into a movie) are able to overlook the many violent episodes depicted by Wood.

 

— feeling big smile
Intriguing book of Christian fiction that will be merited and enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians alike.
Reblogged from Beck Valley Books:
Finding Hope - Elizabeth Diaz

Finding Hope by Elizabeth Diaz​ 'an amazing Christian Fiction story' reviews Cali Book Reviews​....

 

"I thought this book was absolutely fantastic. It’s an amazing Christian Fiction story about a girl growing up and making a life for herself. It also talks quite a bit about faith, hope, love and forgiveness.

 

I think the pace of this book is slow, which isn’t a bad thing. I was able to read thoroughly through the book and didn’t have to go back through it to reread parts of it.

 

When we make mistakes in our lives, the Lord will forgive us if we only ask. The author made the characters seem very real, I thought. And just like us, they made mistakes, because there is not one single person out there who is perfect and mistake free!

 

 

Another HUGE plus for me in this book, never ONCE did it mention Abortion. I am firmly against that, and that fact just made me happy."

 

Read more on the #book and author here... http://calibookreviews.com/2015/10/finding-hope-book-tour-my-review/

 

Book Description


She wanted independence.
Then life took an unexpected turn.
Can Olivia find hope in the midst of her darkest hour?

 

When Olivia Martinelli, a naive nineteen-year-old, moved out on her own, she never could have imagined what direction her life would take. A life-changing decision, a betrayal of trust, and a painful consequence leave her devastated. Will Olivia find the strength she needs for the journey ahead?

 

** Inspirational Romance **

Source: http://calibookreviews.com/2015/10/finding-hope-book-tour-my-review/#comment-2402

A Weekly Encounter: Fifty-Two Meditations of Hope

— feeling amazing
A Weekly Encounter: Fifty-Two Meditations of Hope - Dr. Erwin K. Thomas

In 2015 Guyanese-born author Erwin K. Thomas, PhD, has self-published A Weekly Encounter: Fifty-Two Meditations of Hope through Amazon's CreateSpace. It is a carefully crafted and meant to bring joy to those desirous of growing in the Christian faith. Through this devotional God's promises, blessings and future hope are lifted up for those persons seeking solace and peace of mind. These meditations are guides to a successful and weekly walk in individuals' prayer life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Many readers will be comforted by pertinent biblical verses and quotes from well-known and famous personalities. These quotes will touch and enlighten their social, cultural and spiritual quests. Through these meditations they will be treated to the thinking and comments by historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt, William Shakespeare, John F. Kennedy, Pope Francis, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Billy Graham, Desmond Tutu, Aristotle, Voltaire, Confucius and many more. In their own colorful styles and ways these individuals were able to capture the grandiose nature of the loving God of the universe.

 

These devotions are presented in ten sections - The Church, Love Conquers, Light Is a Force, Precious Gifts, Live with Dignity, Cultural Attributes, Our Real Home, Superb Joy, Team Spirit and Selected Readings. Some of the Christian topics explored are the human condition, hidden saints, vision of leadership, images of God, faces of love, pioneer of salvation, cherished lives, our marvelous gifts, blessings in disguise, American culture, your earthly journey and more.

 

Individuals have the option of reading one meditation and reflecting on a biblical verse at the end of each week that is relevant to the devotional topic in Thought of the Week. This one-of-a-kind collection will sustain a reader throughout an entire year. For in it lies beliefs on the Holy Spirit, quotes of world-renowned and successful personalities that are sure to pique persons' interests. Individuals will learn more about the scriptures, divine mysteries, living godly lives, their hopes of salvation and the joys of a heavenly paradise. Each quotation has been carefully selected and is particularly geared to elaborate on the content of every one of these meditations.

 

At the end of the book the author took great care in deciding on the entries for the Selected Readings. It was through these cited works that he was able to shape these devotions. These citations were drawn from a mixture of contemporary Christian thought, theological teachings, spiritual classics and prayer books. With these devotions there was an attempt to capture the essence of major Christian faith traditions – Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and non-denominational Christian church groups. Interestingly some of the Christian resources listed in the Selected Readings were found at local libraries, Barnes & Noble Bookstores, church bazaars, used bookstores and Thrift Stores - Goodwill, Salvation Army Hampton Roads and CHKD outlets.

 

For over 25 years Erwin K. Thomas – a PhD graduate from the School of Journalism, University of Missouri – Columbia has been an academician and journalism professor at three universities in the United States – most recently at Norfolk State University, Virginia. While living in Brooklyn, NY, he worked as a desk assistant at CBS Radio News, NYC. After retirement, in 2010 he served as vice president of the Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) – Old Dominion University, Virginia Beach, and is presently a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Religion Media Interest Group. He has published three previous books, the latest on the Mass Media 2025 was by Greenwood Press (2001) and co-edited with Brown H. Carpenter. Thomas is married to Mary Barta Thomas and they are parents of Matthew J. Thomas of Charlottesville,VA. He and his wife Mary are life-long members of the Church of the Holy Apostles – an ecumenical community of Episcopalians and Roman Catholics in Virginia Beach.

 

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 - W. Phillip Keller

W. Phillip Keller who is the author of A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (1970), grew up and lived in East Africa surrounded by herders. He explains that much of what happens resembles those in the Middle East. He writes that for eight years he was a sheep owner and sheep rancher. Keller who was engrossed with the stories of the Bible uses natural phenomena to provide insights into supernatural truth. He points out that present day city dwellers will miss many biblical teachings because they are unable to relate to nomadic folks that live simple lives.

 

Keller brings to bear a shepherd's insight to this Psalm. He empathizes with David himself and refers to Psalm 23 as “David's Hymn of Praise to Divine Diligence.” In “I shall not want,” God points out that in our lives like that of sheep, we will be free from friction for he has prepared an ideal banquet for our every need. As he leads us to “still waters,” He does not want us to toil on dry, semi-arid country without having deep, clean and pure water to drink. This is ideal for sheep that is grazing.

 

He “restores my soul.” Much of this happens when sheep becomes distressed, but here is God ready to comfort them and give them rest. In “paths of righteousness,” God is the assurance that his flock will strive. Even as they “walk through the valley,” is an indication that our savior knows first hand the terrain of our lives, just like any shepherd that leads his sheep in mountainous territory.

 

“Thy rod and thy staff” will bring the sheep comfort as they are guided by a loving and caring savior. “Thou preparest a table,” Keller feels this is similar to the feast like on Table Mountain near Cape Town, Africa. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” is the everlasting care exercised over the sheep. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever,” climaxes this proud and joyous Psalm.

 

Psalm 23 is considered the nightingale of Psalms. It is the epitome of feeding, guiding, governing and defending the sheep. Its climax terminates in everlasting rest, not one with sorrow and pain, but joy, hope and pleasure. We can say, “O death, where is thy sting.” “Thy rod dost comfort me,” as we journey feeding from His Holy Word. Now we reach the zenith and are guests of His everlasting banquet. Keller has captured it all in this wonderful book.

Daily Inspiration For The Purpose Driven Life

Daily Inspiration for the Purpose Driven Life: Scriptures and Reflections from the 40 Days of Purpose - Rick Warren

Daily Inspiration For The Purpose Driven Life (2004) by Rick Warren is the companion book of The Purpose Driven Life (2002).  It focuses on biblical quotes that call for 40 days of inspirational study and meditation.

 

The crux of such devotions is centered around The Great Commandment and The Great Commission.  Believers should learn from the following:  1) "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind;"  2) "Love your neighbor as yourself;" then 3) "Go and make disciples of all nations;" 4) "Baptizing them;" and 5) "Teaching them to obey everything ...."

 

In this book of reflection much is expected of a believer.  Principally, he has to have a love for God.  Everything he does he ought to realize that it is only through the mercies of a loving God that he is willing to do such things.  To think otherwise is to fall short and miss the reason of the real point of God in his life.

 

There is a profound rationale to love your neighbor.  Your neighbor should be like your best friend. All good things that you wish for yourself you should wish for him.  There should be no jealousies or pettiness in your relationship.  He should have similar rights like you do.  Even if he is poor or homeless you should not treat him differently.  It is God who is watching all your actions.  He knows your heart and what you are thinking and feeling.

 

Warren's meditations clearly show that as Christians we all have the responsibility of bringing the gospel to others.  It does not matter if they live locally, nationally or in far away places.  Christianity has a global outreach and everyone has to share the responsibility of making disciples by winning converts of all unbelievers.

 

Fundamentally, persons that have accepted the word should be baptized in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This is a way to be born again and salvation.  Such believers will come to share their time, talent and treasure with their church.  Such a requirement is essential for the growth of the body of Christ.

 

According to the author and in reflection, a Christian will soon realize that obedience is paramount.  God loves it when we obey Him.  That is the only way a believer will be a faithful servant.  Those that are responsible in little will be responsible in much.  Christians will know their rewards in paradise.

 

Each person will take away different things from these reflections.  The authenticity of God's word has to be followed and meditated on for spiritual growth and well-being.  This is the only way of be assured of a secured destiny when we leave this temporary home called earth for heaven.                

25 Books For Every Christian

Reblogged from erwinkthomas:
25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics - Renovare

In 25 Books Every Christian Should Read (2011) editor Julia L. Roller presents us with much information.  With each chapter a brief background is given about its author.  What follows after is a summary of each book's major themes.

 

To help readers, there is a guidance and some reading strategies.  What is included is key excerpts that have been selected from each.  At the end of a chapter there is a study guide with questions.

 

It was recognized that the Bible cannot be supplanted as a premiere text of study and devotion, so it was not included as one of the books in the text.  Excluded too were the works of all living authors.  The book compiles a reflection of saints, poets and thinkers over 2,000 years.

 

It provides us with much profound thinking about our faith.  It showcases the real cost of following Christ and is a call for discipleship. It gives food to the contemplative.

 

There are many benefits from reading such a work.  It will lead to a renewal of the soul.  Within a reader a spiritual passion will be kindled and their will be a transformation of his life.  This material is challenging and should be read and reread.  For there will develop an intimacy with Jesus Christ and a lifelong quest for thought and reflection.

 

Of the 25 entries eight stand out for this reviewer  Confessions St. Augustine was noted as the first Christian spiritual autobiography; The Imitation of Christ Thomas a Kempis offers much instruction about Christian living; Dark Night of the Soul St. John of the Cross comments about the journey of purification; The Cost of Discipleship Dietrich Bonhoeffer expands on submitting to the yoke of Christ; Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis puts controversies of the moment in proper perspective; and in The Return of the Prodigal Son Henri J.M. Nouwen gives the reader an affirmation of love.

 

The selected 25 books are not a list of the best Christian classics.  They were however presented chronologically.  These works represent various literary genres from poetry, fiction, biography and others.  The authors dig deep in their subject matter and its content is not superficial.  Many of these works are available free on the website of Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org)

 

A reader's quest may be seen more in terms of spiritual formation rather than that of mere information seeking.  This book itself will be most beneficial for readers in small groups.

  

Story of a Soul

Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux - John Clarke

St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) in her autobiography Story of a Soul (1996) translated by John Clarke, taught souls "the little way" of trust and absolute surrender to God.  Her first 15 years of her life was spent as a devout Catholic and for nine years lived a cloistered life as a Carmalite nun.  She wrote out her story of her brief life in ink with no thought that it would ever be published.  On Good Friday April 13,1896, she suffered her first hemoptysis (coughing up blood due to a lung hemorrhage).

 

The facsimile edition of her manuscript was difficult to read because of capitalization, underlined words, size, position of slant letters with occasional corrections.  Many students of hers are still able to locate texts in the original manuscript.  But the translated version offered clear themes of love, "the little way," an abandonment to God's mercy and her mission in the church.  She saw that the way of spiritual childhood was the path which led to eternal life.

 

In fits and starts St. Therese wrote in her spare time while she was ill.  The manuscript first published in 1898 in a highly edited version was praised by its readers.  It became a spiritual classic, read by millions and was translated from French into many languages.  It was a best seller for over 20 years.  Story of a Soul was originally the collection of three different manuscripts addressed to three different persons in 1895, 1896 and 1897.

 

St. Therese's legacy to the world was her personal message to and about being like "little ones."  Her teaching was out of human experience.  By so doing, she ascended to the summit of heroic virtue of what she described as "my vocation is love."  She believed that we must be like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  She viewed God as the keeper of "little ones."

 

Pope Benedict XV and Pius X1 endorsed her beliefs during the process of beatification and canonization.  They hoped her teachings would be brought to the attention of the world.  St. Therese who was considered the greatest saint of modern times frequently meditated on the Gospels and the Old testament.  Her work has remained a source of deep religious inspiration and many think that it came about through Divine Providence.  The centennial celebration of her death was in 1996-1997.  Story of a Soul's translator John Clarke was a devotee to this "Little Flower."      

25 Books For Every Christian

25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics - Renovare

In 25 Books Every Christian Should Read (2011) editor Julia L. Roller presents us with much information.  With each chapter a brief background is given about its author.  What follows after is a summary of each book's major themes.

 

To help readers, there is a guidance and some reading strategies.  What is included is key excerpts that have been selected from each.  At the end of a chapter there is a study guide with questions.

 

It was recognized that the Bible cannot be supplanted as a premiere text of study and devotion, so it was not included as one of the books in the text.  Excluded too were the works of all living authors.  The book compiles a reflection of saints, poets and thinkers over 2,000 years.

 

It provides us with much profound thinking about our faith.  It showcases the real cost of following Christ and is a call for discipleship. It gives food to the contemplative.

 

There are many benefits from reading such a work.  It will lead to a renewal of the soul.  Within a reader a spiritual passion will be kindled and their will be a transformation of his life.  This material is challenging and should be read and reread.  For there will develop an intimacy with Jesus Christ and a lifelong quest for thought and reflection.

 

Of the 25 entries eight stand out for this reviewer  Confessions St. Augustine was noted as the first Christian spiritual autobiography; The Imitation of Christ Thomas a Kempis offers much instruction about Christian living; Dark Night of the Soul St. John of the Cross comments about the journey of purification; The Cost of Discipleship Dietrich Bonhoeffer expands on submitting to the yoke of Christ; Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis puts controversies of the moment in proper perspective; and in The Return of the Prodigal Son Henri J.M. Nouwen gives the reader an affirmation of love.

 

The selected 25 books are not a list of the best Christian classics.  They were however presented chronologically.  These works represent various literary genres from poetry, fiction, biography and others.  The authors dig deep in their subject matter and its content is not superficial.  Many of these works are available free on the website of Christian Classics Ethereal Library (www.ccel.org)

 

A reader's quest may be seen more in terms of spiritual formation rather than that of mere information seeking.  This book itself will be most beneficial for readers in small groups.

  

Reblogged from erwinkthomas:
The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for? - Rick Warren

Rick Warren has captured the reality of our reason for living on earth.  In his ground breaking book The Purpose Driven Life:  What On Earth Am I Here For? (2002),  he has demonstrated his profound understanding of humanity's calling.

 

He vividly prepares us for the role that we have to play in this Divine process.  Through a series of steps he has led believers on a journey of discovery.  These are actual "baby steps" that each Christian should take to accomplish what he envisions to be a fulfilled life.

 

Such efforts do not come easily.  It calls for some hard work on the part of a believer.  He will have to make some very tough choices as he overhauls his way of thinking about his Christian walk.

 

A believer has to do much work about his own life plus he must be concerned about his church.  It is essential that he learns the best way how to relate with his worship community.

 

One thing he should do is to discover his gift and as a member of the body of Christ he must play his role and use it effectively.  This will be the only way by which he will be fully able to contribute to the "One Body" of which Christ is the Head.

 

According to Warren when one reflects on the role of God in our life, he must remember that God is omnipotent.  He is in, with, where, why and how of all things of our lives and we ought to see Him as such.

 

The pastor of Saddleback Church advises us to surrender our all to God's Divine Providence and we will be sure to determine what we are here for in our life.

 

Warren's book has a profound message for all believers.  We cannot be lukewarm about Christ and hope to live a full purpose driven life.  Such a life calls for the utmost commitment to our Christian faith.

 

Such faith is noteworthy in one's walk, for it reaps God's full blessings in our daily life.  These blessings will be a guarantee of God's promise of an eternal life.  A life which will make all our trials and tribulations seem like little pricks as compared to what lies in store for us.    

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for? - Rick Warren

Rick Warren has captured the reality of our reason for living on earth.  In his ground breaking book The Purpose Driven Life:  What On Earth Am I Here For? (2002),  he has demonstrated his profound understanding of humanity's calling.

 

He vividly prepares us for the role that we have to play in this Divine process.  Through a series of steps he has led believers on a journey of discovery.  These are actual "baby steps" that each Christian should take to accomplish what he envisions to be a fulfilled life.

 

Such efforts do not come easily.  It calls for some hard work on the part of a believer.  He will have to make some very tough choices as he overhauls his way of thinking about his Christian walk.

 

A believer has to do much work about his own life plus he must be concerned about his church.  It is essential that he learns the best way how to relate with his worship community.

 

One thing he should do is to discover his gift and as a member of the body of Christ he must play his role and use it effectively.  This will be the only way by which he will be fully able to contribute to the "One Body" of which Christ is the Head.

 

According to Warren when one reflects on the role of God in our life, he must remember that God is omnipotent.  He is in, with, where, why and how of all things of our lives and we ought to see Him as such.

 

The pastor of Saddleback Church advises us to surrender our all to God's Divine Providence and we will be sure to determine what we are here for in our life.

 

Warren's book has a profound message for all believers.  We cannot be lukewarm about Christ and hope to live a full purpose driven life.  Such a life calls for the utmost commitment to our Christian faith.

 

Such faith is noteworthy in one's walk, for it reaps God's full blessings in our daily life.  These blessings will be a guarantee of God's promise of an eternal life.  A life which will make all our trials and tribulations seem like little pricks as compared to what lies in store for us.