Monday, February 4, 2019

The Least of These

As the social fabric of life in rural India disintegrates in the late 1990s, journalist Manav Banerjee (Sharman Joshi) moves with his pregnant wife to the town of Orissa in hope of a better life and the promise of a lucrative career. When speculation mounts that local Australian missionary Graham Staines (Stephen Baldwin) is illegally proselytizing leprosy patients, Manav agrees to investigate undercover for the newspaper. What he finds is a series of revelations that are difficult to fathom and even harder to explain, and Manav is forced to make a choice between his own ambition and the truth. In the end, his actions spark a tragic event that is felt around the world.

Based on a true story and shot on location in India, Staines beautifully illustrates the power of love, hope and forgiveness to overcome hate. Aneesh Daniel directs the film, featuring Stephen Baldwin, Shari Rigby, and Bollywood star Sharman Joshi.


My Review: "
The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story" uses a (fictional) journalist to unfold the story of what is happening in India in the late 1990s as the backdrop leading up to the ultimate death of Graham Staines and his two sons. It's a very good storytelling device that introduces us to all of the characters and gives a connection with each. Filmed in India, the scenes present both the beautiful and bleakness of India, but my deepest recollection is the stunning beauty shown. The story does tell us about Graham Staines, but he is seen as part of God's plan rather than this being a biography of his entire life. He is clearly portrayed as a man of courage and humor while being determined to fulfill God's purpose in his life through his love for God, his family, and the people of India, especially the lepers.

Many of the actors were unknown to me, but all impressed me with their talent. I loved Sharman Joshi as the ambitious journalist who is sincere in seeking the truth, yet open to seeing the truth as it unfolds throughout his investigation. Stephen Baldwin was excellent as Staines. His accent bothered me a bit, but considering Staines had lived in India for over 30 years, it made sense that the accent would not be as strong. Shari Rigby was perfect was the quiet yet strong wife of Graham. The actual Gladys Staines both forgave the people who murdered her sons and husband and remained in India with daughter Esther until 2004.

The original soundtrack of the film was outstanding and included award-winning musical artists such as Michael W. Smith, Nicole C Mullen and Toby Mac.
TheLeastOfThese.movie

Graham and Gladys Staines - Missionaries to Orrisa  

See "The Heart of the Movie" for more background info on the making of the film:


Get tickets!! Theaters and Tickets

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

January 22, 1973 - 46 Years Later

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that American women had the right to take the life of their unborn children. The most recent numbers say that there have been 60,069,971 Abortions in America since that date. That is approximately triple the number of current residents living in the state of New York... a state which today (1/22/2019) voted to strengthen their abortion laws. The Governor is determined to make abortion legal up to the moment of birth. Callous disregard for the unborn child is evident in all who approve these heinous actions. 

 I have been pro-life for nearly 50 years. I first heard about abortion when I was 14 and was horrified that anyone would consider ending the life of a growing child God had created. A few weeks after Roe v Wade, I had a choice to make. I was a 17-year-old high school senior. I worked part-time in an office as a clerk-typist and had just been offered the opportunity to work full-time as an entry-level Civil Service employee. I was also engaged to be married but was having doubts about whether it was a wise decision.

Then, I realized I was pregnant. When I told my fiance, he was overjoyed, but asked, "Are you thinking abortion?" I responded, "No!" He was going to beg me not to have one and ask to raise the child himself.

I chose life for our child, and one that included both parents. Choice includes personal responsibility. 

Unfortunately, Matthew only lived 9 ½ weeks, but I treasure that time with him. I am certain I made the right decision. Eventually, the marriage failed, too... but we were blessed with 3 more children.

Choices matter and LIFE matters. I know that there are times when an abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the mother. Often the child will miscarry, but I can understand if there is an exception.

I know it would be extremely hard to give birth to a child conceived of rape (especially incest) but it's punishing a child for a crime committed by a parent. Choose life for that child. If you choose adoption, you are creating life within a new family. Choose Life & Create Hope.




Thursday, January 17, 2019

30 Days to Understanding the Bible

Do you want to learn more about the Bible, but get overwhelmed with remembering so many people, places, etc.? Another excuse for not doing more Bible study is you have little time for digging deeper. 30 Days to Understanding the Bible is an easy-to-use guide to learning that Bible... and can take only 15 minutes per day. In one month, you'll learn the Bible's key people, events, and doctrines.

Dr. Max Anders, the author of over 25 books, has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at MaxAnders.com to help people grow spiritually.

The book is divided into 7 sections with many illustrations and self-tests throughout the book. Some of the features include:

• The “Arc of Bible History” to help you visualize the Bible’s overarching themes
• The “Story of the Bible” summarizing Genesis through Revelation in just a few pages
• The core beliefs of the Christian faith, focusing on the teachings that have united Christians for the last 2,000 years
• A 13-week plan that provides teacher’s with a very creative and effective tool for teaching the Bible in 30 days
• Fan-favorite bonus content, previously removed, now restored from the original edition




My Review: I am thoroughly enjoying the book... and learning from it. I sometimes forget the context of a Scripture or the timeline. I still felt a bit of trepidation when I saw the book, but the first chapter put me at ease. I got all of the test answers correct, so that gave me a bit more confidence. Of course, it does become more challenging as you progress, but the structure of the book really helps. In the past, I have given up, even when using the chronological method of reading my Bible, so this way of following a plan is very useful. I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand the Bible better.
   
GIVEAWAY!! I will be selecting one winner to receive a copy of 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Dr. Max Anders. The deadline to enter the giveaway drawing is 11 pm CST, January 26, 2019. Simply post #Biblein30Days in the comments section of this blog or one of my shared social media posts about the giveaway.


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. The winner is subject to eligibility verification.”




Tuesday, January 15, 2019

CSB Day-by-Day Chronological Bible

Many people read the Bible daily, and a goal is often to have a "Read the Bible in a Year" plan. But do you get lost trying to remember the timeline of the Bible? God reveals Himself to us through the pages of His Word and it helps to have a clear understanding of the history and stories as you learn how they fit together. The CSB Day-by-Day Chronological Bible, published by Lifeway Christian Resources, features a clear narrative approach to the Bible, arranging the complete text into a fresh chronological reading plan with daily readings guided by Dr. George Guthrie. The CSB Day-by-Day Chronological Bible features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible® (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.
Not to be confused with a regular Bible or a Daily Reading Bible, the Day-by-Day Chronological Bible, is set up with weekly readings with the Bible history told from beginning to end; This is a much different layout than a regular Bible. Rather like a play, movie, or book, this Bible is divided into 3 main acts (God’s Plan for All People; God’s Covenant People; God’s New Covenant People) and 17 scenes, with an intro for each act and scene to orient the reader to its importance in the grand story. This brown Leathertouch has single-column text with plenty of space for taking notes, concordance, smyth-sewn binding, presentation page, and 8 full-color maps.
 My Review: I absolutely love it! Despite years of trying various reading plans, and being a lover of history, I still get confused about the timeline of the Bible. I love the weekly/6 day set up and appreciate the additional reading by Dr. Guthrie to further clarify what's happening. From the feel of the outside cover to the contents inside, I can hardly wait to start using this Bible to study. I have used mostly HCSB in recent years but recently bought a small CSB to take to church (since our new pastor uses CSB). Of course, I also go online to look at other translations too, especially when I am wanting to make sure I have a clear understanding of a passage of Scripture. Keep in mind, though, that this is NOT a regular Bible with the books lined up in their standard order. This Bible is meant for a study of God's story through His scripture... laid out via a timeline. It's a tool meant to increase your knowledge.

I deeply appreciate LEV3L Digital and Lifeway for providing me with a copy of this product for an honest review. In addition, they are going to provide another copy to a randomly selected winner!! Simply respond with
#csbBibleL3 in blog (or social media post) comment section to be entered. Deadline to enter is 11 pm CST on January 25, 2019.

Want to know more? Check out the Social Media & Website Links:

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Way of the Warrior - Erwin McManus

In The Way of the Warrior: An Ancient Path to Inner Peace, Erwin McManus shows becoming a warrior is first about finding peace. There are 8 Codes that Warriors practice to become proficient in The Way of the Warrior, each a necessary step in the pursuit of spiritual wholeness.

Using personal stories and Biblical practices that many are already familiar with, Mcmanus brings a sharper focus on how we need to apply these principles to our own life for a better understanding he guides readers to a deeper understanding of the importance of gaining inner peace before we are capable of becoming spiritual warriors. Humility, ownership, focus, clarity, strength, and vulnerability all play a part of making a person a warrior ready to "fight the good fight" Paul speaks of in the New Testament.

Honestly, I could not get into the book at first... which is odd since I have loved other books by McManus. So, I put it aside for a few days and this time connected with what he was saying. I find myself thinking of a warrior as a combative, aggressive, proud fighter, yet that is not completely truthful. As McManus points out, a true warrior has sterling qualities meant to lead others to the truth. Often the battles waged are our own weaknesses; if we are to be warriors, we must seek and find peace and strength within ourselves and in God.

Disclaimer:
I received an unedited proof of this book as a part of the Waterbrook-Multnomah Book Launch team. I was asked to give an honest review. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

How to Connect with Your Troubled Adult Children - Allison Bottke

Allison Bottke, known for her Setting Boundaries® series of books has once again produced a book that is candid and practical for the parents of adult children who have addiction, emotional, or mental problems. How to Connect with Your Troubled Adult Children is a follow-up to Setting Boundaries® with Your Adult Children... meant to guide a parent with rational responses rather than emotional responses for the needs of their adult children who are unable to assimilate into a "normal" life of responsibilities due to physical or emotional issues.

One of my favorite parts was Six Steps For S.A.N.I.T.Y.! Using these steps will help clarify and form a plan of action that will be beneficial for everyone involved. This, coupled with templates of letters and contracts, can be used to establish boundaries that truly do make a difference. Uncertainty about rules and expectations raise already high stress levels.

A single book is not going to resolve all of your issues, but the practical advice, empathy, and resources referenced make this an excellent book for those wanting a healthy relationship with their troubled adult children. The first step (or steps) to make a difference are up to you... and the changes you will need to make. Parenthood goes through many seasons and you must adapt. I highly recommend How to Connect with Your Troubled Adult Children to guide you through uncertain territory.

I was provided a complimentary advance copy of this book from the author and volunteered for the opportunity to provide an honest, impartial review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.


Order the book at one of the following links:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Song of Sadie Sparrow - Kitty Foth-Regner

Sadie Sparrow, Meg Vogel, and Elise Chapelle, the three main characters in The Song of Sadie Sparrow, are from three different generations and different views of Christianity. The three women also have experienced feelings of abandonment and are drawn to one another after meeting at The Hickories. And, you will want to meet Jamie... a man who has an impact on each of these women.

Sadie is an elderly widow who is forced to move into The Hickories assisted-living center when she can no longer live on her own. Feeling abandoned by her only child, Sadie does start to fit into the lives of the residents, staff, and visitors. Although having uncertainties about her future, her faith, and her song, grow stronger.

Meg is a recent middle-aged widow who feels that her husband abandoned her for his new-found faith after his health failed. It strengthened her belief that there is no God. She seeks a fresh beginning when she accepts a position at The Hickories as an Activities Assistant with a special task of writing the life story of each resident.

Elise is a young woman who frequently visits her beloved grandfather, another resident of The Hickories. Abandoned by her mother as an infant, Elise was raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather and her faith are both valuable to her and she is seeking for a way to share her faith once she is alone.

The lives of these women are intertwined in a well-told story set in an unusual location.
Kitty Foth-Regner tells a fascinating story that also included touches of humor and intrigue. The minor characters lent content and additional depth to the story as people you would also like to know better while not intruding too much on the main characters as distractions.




Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Kitty's webite - EverlastingPlace.com