Book Review – A Time To Stand by Robert Whitlow

A Time To Stand by Robert WhitlowI have become a fan of Robert Whitlow. I have read and reviewed a couple of his novels in the past: A House Divided and The Confession. Both of them were excellent books, and this newest one is no different. In fact, A Time To Stand may be the best yet.

Whitlow has woven a tale of suspense, filled with very current cultural tensions, such as racism and the authority of law enforcement agencies. Set in the deep South, A Time To Stand tells the story of a potentially divided community in the aftermath of a shooting. Set as a legal thriller, Whitlow tells the story of a young black lawyer who finds herself confronted with the seemingly conflicting realities of justice, race, grace and love. How she resolves this, and helps her community do the same, is a page-turner that you can’t put down.

Even though this is a work of fiction, the topics that it addresses are topics that face us all today: How do we offer and extend grace and forgiveness into an emotionally charged culture that seems bent upon self-destruction? How can God work into and through our lives in such a situation?

Whitlow gives some deep and insightful thoughts into this, and helps show how God desires love and reconciliation.

I highly recommend the spell-binding story telling of Robert Whitlow, and A Time To Stand is an excellent place to begin.

Coffee Break – 10.16.2017

Your Monday Dose Of Inspiration

On this day in history: In 1869, a hotel in Boston became the first in the U.S. to install indoor plumbing. In 1928, Marvin Pipkin received a patent for the frosted electric light bulb. And in 1958, Chevrolet introduced the El Camino, and created a cult classic that has captivated millions.

Coffee Break

How To Make Cascara Tea In A French Press – Occasionally, I enjoy making cascara, a tea made from the dried cherry pulp of a coffee bean. It has a distinct flavor, and it’s a very easy drink to make. You can use a French Press to do it in your own kitchen.

What Makes A Good Alarm Clock Sound? – You may never have thought of this, but a lot of work goes into creating the right sounds to wake up to.

Why Some Pages In A Book Are Intentionally Left Blank – I never knew this about books. But I have a use for these pages. I tend to “index” my notes and highlights, and a plank page or two is the perfect place to do so.

Iceland By Drone – One day, I want to visit Iceland. I love everything I have ever seen of this small island nation. This video is no different. Enjoy!

Memorize Scripture: 1 Peter 5:1-2

Hiding God’s Word In Our Hearts

As chapter five begins, Peter shifts from suffering as a Christian to the role of elders, or overseers. Take a look at this passage for yourself in 1 Peter 5:1-2.

1 Peter 5:1-2

It may seem a bit odd for Peter to shift to leadership here, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. In a time and place where persecution for being a Christian was a very real possibility, and probably a reality, strong spiritual leadership and solid relationships with that leadership was a must. The concept of relationship as already been seen as a thread through this letter, in such places as 1:22, 3:8, and 4:8-11, among others. For Peter to revisit it here is really no surprise at all.

He begins chapter 5 by speaking to the elders. This could mean just those who are older, since he will address those who are younger in verse 5, but that is probably not the case. Verses 2-4 pointedly indicate that he is speaking to leadership here, and encouraging them to lead well. He probably was familiar with Paul’s writing on the topic of elders, from 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 5:17-19, Titus 1:5-9, and maybe even Acts 14:23 and 20:17-18.

Peter appeals to them as a fellow elder, as a witness to Christ’s sufferings, and as one who will share in the glory to come. He clearly compares such men to himself, and gives encouragement from this position of authority, and as a fellow shepherd. As Gentiles, Peter’s readers would have been familiar with this imagery, even if not as vividly as a Jewish audience would have been. They may have had opportunity to read some of Paul’s letters which spoke of being God’s flock, and the need to be shepherded. But Peter clearly reminds them that the flock is not their own; it is God’s flock, and they are simply shepherds, overseers, and leaders.

Book Review – The Gospel According To Paul by John MacArthur

The Gospel According To Paul by John MacArthurUsually, I enjoy John MacArthur’s books. I have many of his works in my library, and I have read and enjoyed them immensely. However, I was not that impressed with The Gospel According To Paul. I found it to be mediocre at best, and generally unengaging and hard to enjoy.

The premise behind this book is to take a look at many of the succinct and focused summaries of the message of the Gospel in Paul’s writings. He often summarizes the message of the Gospel, and does so in unique ways, depending upon who he is writing to. Each of these are worth looking at and examining in light of the four Gospels, and the teachings of Christ himself.

Each time Paul does this, he gives some bit of insight that reveals more of what the Gospel is and why it is so essential for our lives. MacArthur strives to seek out the intricacies of each of these Pauline summaries, and do so in a thorough and easy to understand manner.

I don’t disagree with MacArthur’s purpose in any way whatsoever. Where my critique lies is in the manner in which he does this.

I primarily found two elements of this book that I had a difficult time with. First of all, this is one of the few books by MacArthur that I didn’t fully engage in and enjoy. It felt stilted and hard to read. It kind of felt rushed, as if he didn’t take the time to finesse it to a polished finish, like so many other of his books.