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DVD Review



I apologize for not being more active, but not having other reviewers or books to review, it's been a little difficult. However I want to let you know about this wonderful DVD "God's Not Dead." Working at the library I found it on our shelves and took it home. When I brought it back I raved about it. I wanted to take it out again, but it seems word gets around. It's always on hold for someone else. That's great.

The opening scene is in a freshman college philosophy class. The professor states he is an atheist, and asks that if everyone will sign a paper with 3 little words on it he can dispense of the dust and get to the subject. Those 3 words are "God Is Dead." One student cannot sign that. He is given 3 chances to argue the case of the existence of God before the class.

Fueled by hate on one side and a determined love of God on the other this is not your simple movie. The poor kid researches and goes off on a journey of his own to state his case. The end is nothing short of amazing. I guess telling people stuff like this is one of the reasons I can't get a hold of it a second time. It's really that good.

For more you can go here:
http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/synopsis

To purchase a copy try these links:
Amazon
ChristianBook.com
Barnes & Noble

May our Lord be with you now and always. Remember, God is in control, even when things look like they're crashing all around you. David

Saturday, November 07, 2009

TALKING TO THE DEAD, by Bonnie Grove


Faith: I'm tempted to tackle this one from a purely Biblical point of view, but as we are talking about TALKING TO THE DEAD, by Bonnie Grove, I guess I'll have to give that some space here (smile everyone). In TALKING TO THE DEAD we find our heroine, Kate Davis, exercising what little faith she has left, only to have it challenged, rebuffed, ridiculed, dismissed and betrayed. But before we go any further we must define what faith is. Faith is trusting in something so strongly that you don't have to see it to know it's there. You don't have to be able to touch it. We learn to trust as little children, well most of us anyway. We learn faith and exercise faith based on what we observe. We see a chair, well, we have faith that it will hold us when we sit down. We find stairs and not only do we have faith that they will hold us, but that they lead to a place of interest, that they are useful. When someone puts food in front of you you eat it because you have faith that it is good to eat, even if sometimes you don't like what is presented. In many ways we act upon faith. Things, however, can jar our faith. Like walking up stairs only to have them start to fall beneath us, or our chair scooting across the room so we land unceremoniously on the floor. How much more must it be to have faith that the one you love will grow old with you only to find out they have died suddenly? And how would it shake your faith if you suddenly heard someone who was dead start talking to you? What about those friends you trusted in for so many years and you found out they were lying to you, would that shake your faith. Kate's journey is not so much one to find a healthy mental frame of mind as it is one to see if there is anything out there she can still put her faith in. We all go through this at some level. The author has taken this to an extreme, I believe, for a reason. She wants to make sure we don't miss it. And that is excellent, because this is something that should not be missed.

Who cares if Kate sleeps in the living room or upstairs in her bedroom? What is more important is that she finds that there is One she can place her faith in. The steps in finding out that answer are small, and weave in and out of many other problems. It's like going through a mental exercise to see if we can hold a snowflake long enough to enjoy its beauty, and then remember that picture forever, long after it has melted in our warm hands. Yet, every time we try we can catch a glimpse of what a snow flake looks like, but as soon as it melts away we cannot remember its glory. This is the same thing with Kate. She gets right up to where she's supposed to be and then all of a sudden she finds she's lost again. Like someone slipping down a steep hill, grabbing at anything to keep from falling, Kate finds that each thing she grabs hold of is like that dead branch that has no root to it. It pulls loose in her hand as she slides further down towards oblivion. Yet she keeps looking, searching, hoping that somewhere there is something she can have faith in again. When she runs into Jack it is finding a clump of grass that is not very strong, but it does have roots, it will hold her and keep her from sliding further, at least temporarily. Now she must find stronger hold, something stronger than Jack.

Did you know that God loves us so much that often He allows us to reach the very bottom before we are able to find our way out? It's true. The reason for this isn't that God is mean and cruel. He's not like some kid who takes pleasure out of pulling apart his kid sister's toys. No, God loves us with a love that is so great we cannot even imagine how great He loves us. I mean He chose to become man, just so He could die for you and me and pay the penalty for sin that He had leveled against all people because of what we had done to Him. It's an absurdity that the apostle Paul refers to as "the foolishness of God", but goes on to say, "confounds the wisdom of men." What I'm getting at is that for you, me, for all the Kates in life, God will let us get all the way to the bottom, not because He hates us, but because He loves us. Now He would be thrilled if we would turn to Him and trust Him before it came to that, but often we force Him to let us keep sinking deeper and deeper until finally we cry out, "I can't do this. God get me out." In that moment God reaches down and lifts us up. Why? Because we have admitted that we cannot do what He has asked to do, and because we have finally asked for His help. When we come to that point, when we repent and ask for His help, anything is possible. Faith blossoms like a beautiful garden in spring. No longer are we sliding down towards an abyss, but cradled in His loving arms. As we catch our breath and realize this remarkable love He has for us, He holds us close. The beating of His heart becomes our heart beat. Finally we know we are home. Finally we know we are loved.

Don't forget to visit Bonnie's site. You'll find her fiction page HERE

Then you'll probably want to go out and purchase a copy. Here are some links to where you can find her book for sale online:

David C. Cook Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Check out these other member blogs this week for more
info.




IMPORTANT
The Christian Fiction Review Blog (known as CFRB) is a ministry that promotes quality Christian fiction in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be shared with others who might otherwise not hear it, at least in a context that they would appreciate and understand. Each book is "previewed" in order to maintain the quality and content of the book. Books that are accepted for blog tours are given to the members by the author to review, according to the number of members requesting a copy. It is the belief and practice of CFRB to post positive reviews as a type of payment for these books. However, I want to emphasize again that these books first go through a preview stage where they are deemed of a high enough quality to tour.

Friday, November 06, 2009

TALKING TO THE DEAD, by Bonnie Grove


Therapy: What can I say here without blowing the plot? Okay, you've lost your spouse, but it seems like he keeps showing up, talking to you when you least need it or expect it. So how do you treat it? One thing you don't do is ignore that something is happening. Another thing is to find someone who can sympathize with the dilemma your in. You'll rarely find these people in seance groups or psychiatrist offices. Sure there are some really good people in psychology, but even they tend to put a spin on it that fits their mold. You have to find someone who is willing to get outside of the normal mold, because that's where you are. You're just trying to find your way back. The most important thing you can do, however, is trust in God. Trust in His love, His gentleness, His mercy and His guidance. He will listen to you when no psychologist will. He alone has the power to heal, and no one cares for you as much, let alone more, than He does. Kate finds all kinds of people trying to help her out. She tries a kind of self-therapy ("I'll just never sleep upstairs anymore.") which doesn't work. She cuts people out of her life, which only increases the problem. At the advice of a friend she starts seeking outside help only to bounce around abit. Even where she ends up is not the real source of her freedom from pain and suffering, but someone who happens to be in the same vicinity at that time. (And that's as close as I'm getting to a spoiler)

As Christians, or even just people, we tend to follow the same road Kate does. We go here, we go there. We try this thing and that thing. We close ourselves off (really easy to do now with the Internet), but nothing works. It's not until we bring the whole burden to Jesus' feet and say, "I'm tired, you carry it for a while," that we begin to get results. Because Jesus has been waiting this whole while for us to give it to Him. He knows what it's like to do what we do in this flesh, and was the only one to accomplish that successfully. So He knows your pain, your suffering, you pitfalls, you shortcomings, your strengths, and He can build you up while He carries your load on His back. In Isaiah 53:5 we read these words, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." All too often I think we stop with the fact that Jesus died for our "transgressions". If we would read on we would see that Jesus not only took upon Him the payment of our "iniquities" but that He received injuries so that we might have peace. He willingly gave Himself up to be whipped that we would be healed. God cares about ever part of us, Spirit, Soul and Body. When we go through an event like Kate did, He offers His own wounds as healing to our spirit, and that is a remarkable thing. He offers us peace in the storm, and total healing. The thing is, we have to accept it. We have to receive it. It's there, right there, if we would only reach out and touch Him. All too often we try to work things out by ourselves, and that's where things really go bad.

Therapy? Fall into His love and let Him take care of you the way He always has wanted to. Even if things seem to go slow you know you have Him right there with you each step of the way, and that is therapy that is real.

Don't forget to visit Bonnie's site. You'll find her fiction page HERE

Then you'll probably want to go out and purchase a copy. Here are some links to where you can find her book for sale online:

David C. Cook Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Check out these other member blogs this week for more
info.





IMPORTANT
The Christian Fiction Review Blog (known as CFRB) is a ministry that promotes quality Christian fiction in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be shared with others who might otherwise not hear it, at least in a context that they would appreciate and understand. Each book is "previewed" in order to maintain the quality and content of the book. Books that are accepted for blog tours are given to the members by the author to review, according to the number of members requesting a copy. It is the belief and practice of CFRB to post positive reviews as a type of payment for these books. However, I want to emphasize again that these books first go through a preview stage where they are deemed of a high enough quality to tour.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

TALKING TO THE DEAD, by Bonnie Grove


Humor: You see a work like TALKING TO THE DEAD, by Bonnie Grove, and you immediately jump to the wrong conclusions, or are at least tempted to. Obviously it's not a comic work. We're talking seriously about dealing with the loss of a loved one. However, humor plays a significant role, especially in works that are very serious. It makes things more realistic, by handling tough situations the way we'd handle them. It also shows how some people can be really absurd in the way they attempt to console others. Mostly, however, it offers the reader a break from overloading. Kate goes through various stages of depression, and it is necessary to take the reader there as well. Yet if a writer were to do this without any humor then the reader would find themselves becoming depressed. This is especially true in a work such as TALKING TO THE DEAD where Bonnie Grove so skillfully pulls the reader into the story. Humor is used quite frequently in vocations that are specifically stressful, such as homicide detectives. They aren't laughing at the situation, but finding a release for their stress before it destroys them. While Bonnie does show us how the stress of losing a loved one, especially with certain attributes woven in, she realizes that the reader is going to need a break every now and then. She does this realistically and skillfully.

The Author and Finisher of our Faith, even Jesus does the same thing in our lives, if we will take the time to look. There are a number of verses in Scripture that point to this. "A merry heart makes good like a medicine, and laughter strengthens the bones" is one. This is part of God's plan for us. Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weak and heavy burdened, take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." In 1st Cor. 10:13 God promises not to give us more than we can handle, but with every difficulty will provide a way of escape. I realize that humor isn't really that way of escape, Jesus is, but in getting to the point where we let Jesus carry our burdens and go through a trial God often will use humor to sustain us. Some of the best humor comes straight from real life. Take a very tough situation, then twist it just a bit, and suddenly you have humor. Where I work there is this employee who gets really stressed around people. People can be really obnoxious and rather stupid sometimes, so when they start piling up so does the stress. Well, this particular employee will wait until a stressful person has left and is out of earshot and say something about how idiotic they were. Then they will add, "I'm sorry. Did I say that out loud?" We all laugh, the stress is broken, and we can get back to work.

Unfortunately I can't give you examples from the book, because if I did I'd spoil it for you. Not only would I be giving away part of the story that I shouldn't be giving away, but I would also be giving you the whole punchline, so that when you got to the joke in the book you probably wouldn't find it funny. Comedians will tell you that it's all about timing, so if I told you I would be breaking that rule. Bonnie, however, does a splendid job in getting the timing perfect. You'll love it.

Don't forget to visit Bonnie's site. You'll find her fiction page HERE

Then you'll probably want to go out and purchase a copy. Here are some links to where you can find her book for sale online:

David C. Cook Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Check out these other member blogs this week for more
info.





IMPORTANT
The Christian Fiction Review Blog (known as CFRB) is a ministry that promotes quality Christian fiction in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be shared with others who might otherwise not hear it, at least in a context that they would appreciate and understand. Each book is "previewed" in order to maintain the quality and content of the book. Books that are accepted for blog tours are given to the members by the author to review, according to the number of members requesting a copy. It is the belief and practice of CFRB to post positive reviews as a type of payment for these books. However, I want to emphasize again that these books first go through a preview stage where they are deemed of a high enough quality to tour.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

TALKING TO THE DEAD, by Bonnie Grove


Love: In TALKING TO THE DEAD we find the issue of love approached for various angles, the love of a wife for her husband, a sister for her sister, a daughter for her mother, and one of a friend. We even see love cropping up when Kate least expects it. Again, I really have to be overly general so that when you read the book (you have been convince to read the book by now, right?) you will be able to mine your own gems from this story. Let's stick, for the moment, with Kevin, our dearly departed husband. As you read this story there is no doubt that Kate loved her husband. She loved him "for better or for worse" just as she promised to. The unfortunate thing is that he has a few secrets he left behind, secrets that tell us that he did not love her with that same kind of fidelity. And yet there is still something missing in even Kate's love. I believe, and I'm sure Bonnie will chew me out on this if I'm wrong (if not for mangling her approach on Mental Illness yesterday). I see Kate searching for an ingredient she always thought was missing, even in her marriage, something she couldn't put a name to, something that she knew if she found would right all wrongs, straighten all crooked paths, make all rough ways smooth. Oddly enough she finds this on a basketball court after crying over the death of one of the kids she had been playing basketball with, and through helping this teen's bereft girlfriend. The ingredient really is love, true love, not the romantic kind or the friendship kind and especially not the sexual kind. They all have their place, but true love is not a feeling, not a sense of belonging, not a sexual desire. True love, in fact, is a person. And that's probably why she missed it, as so many people do.

First John 4; verses 7 and 8 read, "Loved ones, let us love each other, for love comes from God. Whoever doesn't love is not from God, and doesn't know God, for GOD IS LOVE." Did you catch that? "God is love". Kate went around trying to do all the right things, be the right kind of person, all the time searching for something that was missing. What was missing wasn't a thing at all, but God. The same goes with Truth. I remember reading Pilate's words just before handing Jesus over to be crucified, "What is truth?" I want to shout back through the ages, "No, Pilate. You've got in wrong. The question should be 'Who is truth?' and the answer is standing right there in front of you." I can't do that. I can't go back in time. I can't even get you to believe this if you choose not to. Neither can I get you to believe that Jesus is Love, and without Him your life will always seem incomplete. The weathiest people in this world have died in spiritual poverty because, many times, they have overlooked this one simple truth. Love is so important that I doubt you have ever heard a sermon that did not mention it. Why? Because it IS that important. Remember what Jesus said to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7, "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles, but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. (Listen now to what Jesus says next) Yet I hold this against you. You have foresaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor, you hate the practices of the Nicolatians, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."

I know this is a bit longer than my usual posts, but given the fact we are talking about love you should be happy I'm keeping it this short. I just want to end with this. If you will investigate, you will find that Ephesus did not fall from an outward attack. They did not crumble from inward rebellion. Instead, Ephesus, once one of the great port cities of the Roman empire died out because of neglect. The river that made the coast such a great harbor (I know your deeds and your hard works) also carried with it silt (You have foresaken your first love). Once the harbor was moved and the area dredged out some, but it was too little, too late. If you were to visit Ephesus today you would find it is well inland. The noble harbors it once boasted are over a mile inland. When it became unusable as a harbor Rome abandoned them and all their wealth fled with them. (If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.) People of God, remember the height from which you have fallen, turn to God in humility, seek His face and repent of your sin. We are now, possibly, on the verge of a new world order, but we, as a church, can still do one thing. We can return to those things we did at first. We can return to our first love. We can repent of our sins. For then, and only then, can God heal this land.

Don't forget to visit Bonnie's site. You'll find her fiction page HERE

Then you'll probably want to go out and purchase a copy. Here are some links to where you can find her book for sale online:

David C. Cook Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Check out these other member blogs this week for more
info.





IMPORTANT
The Christian Fiction Review Blog (known as CFRB) is a ministry that promotes quality Christian fiction in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be shared with others who might otherwise not hear it, at least in a context that they would appreciate and understand. Each book is "previewed" in order to maintain the quality and content of the book. Books that are accepted for blog tours are given to the members by the author to review, according to the number of members requesting a copy. It is the belief and practice of CFRB to post positive reviews as a type of payment for these books. However, I want to emphasize again that these books first go through a preview stage where they are deemed of a high enough quality to tour.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

TALKING TO THE DEAD, by Bonnie Grove


Mental Health: I hesitate to enter into this area for reasons that have nothing to do with the book. Often people diagnosed as being mentally ill are not, in my opinion, mentally ill at all. They are emotionally traumatized or something of that nature, but their mind functions fine. We do see this with Kate. She is classified as being mentally ill, not because she hears her husband talking to her, which should have been a key to healing her emotional health, but waited until this emotional state reached a point of irrational behavior. Again, how do we determine what is rational and what is irrational behavior? In any event these actions, both good and bad, are brought about so forcefully and realistically that I find myself talking about Kate as if she were a friend, someone I knew and needed defending. This, to me, is one of the marks of a truly great writer. Bonnie Grove takes us to places we would rather not go, then has us believing that we really are there. So who is mentally ill, Bonnie, Kate, you and I the readers? The term for me is too subjective, and what is worse, it is subjective to the current trends of thinking. When I was a child a person hearing a dead person speaking would have been a little horrifying, but I would more or less have accepted it. There is a danger here as well. Can the dead really speak to the living? Biblically the answer is no they cannot. We find that demons often masquerade as lost loved ones so they might entangle us in a series of horror and fear and keep us in bondage. If you look closely at TALKING TO THE DEAD this is exactly what you will find. You don't find Kevin coming back to reassure Kate of anything. Anytime he speaks always seems to be at a moment when it can most rattle her. One instance he actually began shouting at her, definitely a demonic tactic. Am I saying Kevin was demonic? Of course not. I'm saying that the enemy would prey upon selective memories and lever them to cause fear in her life.

What life lessons can we take with us from this? Well, first of all, let's be slow to categorize someone as being mentally ill. I don't even like this term applied to people who are "intellectually challenged" to use a politically correct term. I have seen people who have low IQs, people with obvious handicaps when it comes to intelligence, and yet these people seem to be the same people who are able to love others without reserve. If this is the case, then aren't we the ones who are mentally ill? Have we allowed our intelligence to cause a certain prejudice in us that not only makes it difficult to love others the way Jesus called us to do, but to label these people as being somehow less fortunate than we are. Consider with me Jesus as He goes into the Temple to pray. There in the open, making a great show of himself, is a Pharisee. As he lifts his eyes towards Heaven he extols all the great things that he has done and then says "I thank you that I'm not like this tax collector." Meanwhile, that same tax collector (publican in the King James Version) doesn't even dare to life up his eyes. Crying he beats on his chest and weeps, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." Jesus then turns to His dicsiples and says, "Surely this man, rather than the other, shall return to his house forgiven." I'm making a parallel here and I hope you see it. Those who think they have everything all figured out, those who believe they are special chosen ones of God, chosen above other people, these will pray, but their prayers will not be heard. Yet, those who realize their shortcomings, even the fact that they are disabled in some way, mentally, physically, emotionally, whatever, when they pray, as that tax payer prayed, "God, be merciful to me a sinner," they shall be heard. This is why they can go on with their lives with smiles on their faces, while the rest of us look like the weight of the world is pressing us down. We have refused to give our burden over to the Lord because we are so "intelligent" so "mentally stable" that we must carry that load. Yet this is not God's will. Jesus said, "Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Until we get off our high horses and let God bear our burdens as He told us He wishes to do then we must carry our burdens ourselves, including the burdens of sin and unrighteousness. Those who are "mentally ill" frequently are aware of their state and allow others to bear their burdens. True many are now letting medical science handle this through medicine, and those are the ones who remain in bondage, but those who realize they need help, those are the ones God helps. He doesn't increase their mental capacity. He doesn't give them some great insight as to how to be happy. He just takes their load and they are happy. Oh that we would learn this lesson for ourselves.

Don't forget to visit Bonnie's site. You'll find her fiction page HERE

Then you'll probably want to go out and purchase a copy. Here are some links to where you can find her book for sale online:

David C. Cook Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Check out these other member blogs this week for more
info.




IMPORTANT
The Christian Fiction Review Blog (known as CFRB) is a ministry that promotes quality Christian fiction in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be shared with others who might otherwise not hear it, at least in a context that they would appreciate and understand. Each book is "previewed" in order to maintain the quality and content of the book. Books that are accepted for blog tours are given to the members by the author to review, according to the number of members requesting a copy. It is the belief and practice of CFRB to post positive reviews as a type of payment for these books. However, I want to emphasize again that these books first go through a preview stage where they are deemed of a high enough quality to tour.

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