Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron

Anything with the mysterious CIA in it tends to get your attention. This book did. It does tell about some of the mysteries of his dad’s life and how that added to his confusion growing up.

Mr. Cron’s story is somewhat of a coming-to-age book with extreme honesty. He tells stories of events that happened in his life that were very painful, laugh-till-you-cry, and all in between.

He tells stories of his mother taking the children on a roller coaster ride, a car ride with his family in a beat-up junker, and so many absolutely funny stories that it had me laughing so hard I was crying.

Then there were stories that had me just crying. Ones of growing up that were very painful, the relationship he wanted so very much from a father who couldn’t give it to him, and how he dealt with that.

This book is not for young children. It is too honest for that. You’ll have to read it to decide. He is clear about things he did that weren’t too great, things others did that weren’t too great, and things he learned from all of that. It might be an interesting book for a teen who likes biographies.

He also tells his journey through to parenthood and how his life growing up affected that, as it always does in some way.

This is a spiritual journey. So, it does talk about spiritual things. It is not only a journey of growing up and the relationship he wished he had with his father, it is also a journey of growing up and into his relationship with Jesus. The thoughts he shares in this category are raw and honest as well.

If you want to read a story that makes you feel like you found someone’s diary and are reading it without permission, you will enjoy this book. It does make you feel like you’re getting insight into a person that is deeper than perhaps even your friends.

The author goes deep, and I think you will appreciate his story if you had a difficult time growing up, or if you want to understand someone who did, and if you want to see someone’s spiritual journey from a very unusual point of view.

The book’s chapters begin with quotes that are interesting, sometimes funny. One I liked a lot was:

If God wanted a world filled with saints, he never would have created adolescence –Susan Beth Pfeffer

These added to the book’s chapters and helped to introduce the next phase as he went along.

I purchased this book at a local bookstore.

 

 

The Insanity of God by “Nik Ripken”

The Insanity of God is written under a pseudonym to protect people whose stories are told in the book.

The book is a story told of Nik Ripken’s journey of faith after feeling like he was unsuccessful in reaching people for Jesus, and a faith crisis of losing his son as well.

Several things led to him taking a journey to speak with people who have, or are still, lived with persecution.

This book was encouraging to know that God is working all over the world whether we do anything or not, although he likes us to be involved. It also told stories of people who lived under horrible circumstances and yet continued to thrive in their belief of God, although not all did (as is always the case).

The book spoke of one unusual common theme that the author discovered. He found that people who were living in these difficult situations used singing of spiritual songs that were special to them to make it through.

This was spoken of in the Bible when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, put into stocks, after they had been beaten. They sung songs of praise and prayed through it:

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25 HCSB)

The book told stories of people who experienced similar things that happened during Bible days such as seeing visions and dreams of God, experiencing miracles, seeing a person die the next day after being told they were interfering with God’s work.

The author stated that his experience of interviewing these people was uplifting to him and strengthened his faith. It also gave him a new definition of a miracle: Being able to see a family be baptized in public, worshiping in public, and no authority coming to do something to the people.

I would recommend this book if you would like to see persecution from a different point of view: God’s.

Note: Unless I specifically mention it in my blog posts, I did not receive this book from the publisher. I purchased it myself and read it after seeing it mentioned in another place (can’t recall where, though.) I am currently reading his follow-up book, The Insanity of ObedienceIt looks very good so far.

Prayer for the Persecuted

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me.

Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

–Jesus (Matthew 5: 10-12 HCSB)

Father in Heaven,

This beatitude is difficult to understand,

but Jesus never asked anything of his followers that he didn’t do first.

Thank you for His example to get through the difficult times of life, even times that seem impossible.

Help those who are suffering to feel your peace, your comfort, and to radiate your joy in the darkest of places.

Through Jesus,

who knows what suffering is like, forgave those who persecuted him, and welcomed many of those very ones into his kingdom in the years after his death and resurrection.

 

Atlas of the World Coloring Book by Amber Books, Ltd. 2017

Sometimes the way a book is marketed isn’t necessarily the only way you can use the book.

I visited Barnes & Noble in Greensboro, NC recently. They place books in the entrance foyer to grab your attention. One of the stacks of books was an Atlas of the World Coloring Book. On the inside front cover it says:

Atlas of the World Coloring Book is both an excellent reference guide and a relaxing learning tool.

However, when I saw the book, I saw it could fulfill needs I had that weren’t mentioned.

I had been praying through the countries of the world, but then I stopped praying for them.

Honestly, prayer sometimes can get mundane, repetitious, even boring when trying to pray through lists of countries, people, etc. So, if you want to keep up your prayer life, I’ve found you have to look for new ways to continue praying through these lists.

This book answered my prayer in two ways.

One, I was looking for updated maps of the world. The world is constantly changing. Countries that were one, split into two such as Sudan. Sometimes they change names. This book was published in 2017. So, it is current.

Two, it gave me an interesting way to continue my goal of praying through the countries of the world.

The atlas shows the topographical layout of countries on some maps. It shows the divisions of countries on other maps. It gives tidbits of information about countries on the pages. In other words, lots of things to add to my prayer as I go through the countries.

This is a fascinating book that could be used for children to learn more about the world. It could be used in home schools or public schools for extra outside work.

Look for ways to enhance your prayer life. Maybe a coloring book can help you. Besides, it’s fun to be a kid again at times!

God Begins with Nothing, and Makes Something Beautiful

In the beginning there was nothing. Then God decides to do something.

We can’t really comprehend the “then,” because with God there is no time.

He created time itself. Time is best understood by the effect that it makes on things.

The Spirit of God is like that, too. In the very beginning we see the effect of the Spirit hovering over creation, just like a mom who hovers over her children, or perhaps like the mother hen that hovers over her chicks.

She wants them to turn out well. She wants to protect them, to see them grow.

The nothing became something. It was good the Bible says in Genesis 1.

At least it started out that way.

When you read through the Bible, it is telling you something about God. It is something that God wants you to know about him. When we understand God better, it can change things in our lives.

Genesis tells us that God is a dreamer. He doesn’t stop with dreams, though. He takes his dreams, and he does something with them. He is so powerful that he says something, and it happens.

Words are important.

God created us to be like him. He created us in his image.

We can create wonderful things with our words. We can encourage people who are down. We can lift them up.

What words can you use to create something good in someone’s life?

Who can you encourage today?

Things started out wonderful at first. We can use our words to bring back some of the beautiful things that God wanted in our world.

If you need some encouragement, try prayer. I’ll try to write more about it later, but here’s a simple thing to do to start. Just use your words to talk to God. Talk to God as a friend.

The book of Psalms is a great book to read to see how honest you can be with God. The Psalms can be shocking if you haven’t read them before. The people praying there say things to God that a religious person may say you can’t say to God.

Why not?

If God knows what you’re thinking, don’t you think it is OK to say it to him? You can learn more about prayer as you grow in your knowledge of God, but being honest with him is a good place to start in the beginning.

He started with nothing. He made something beautiful.

Since he can do that with nothing, he can do beautiful things in our lives, too.