THE REST OF GOD: RESTORING YOUR SOUL BY RESTORING SABBATH by Mark Buchanan

A friend of mine lent me this book after having had a profound conversation about fasting. I felt it was perfect because I had been wanting to learn more about how to “keep holy the Sabbath”. My mind frame was set into one direction when I started reading this book . I figured it was going to talk about the “letter of the law” of Sabbath. Instead, it opened up a whole different world for me. I discovered it is beyond important to keep holy the Sabbath but not in the way I initially thought.

This book confirmed to me how important it is to keep Sabbath yet, more importantly to keep the spirit of Sabbath holy. Keeping true Sabbath is not being legalistic about it but to embrace the spirit, the wholeness, the communion with God. I discovered there were many things I did in my everyday life that I viewed as me just being wacky were actually very Sabbath like. I felt very encouraged, yet knew I had a long way to still go in order to truly honor God and His day of rest.

We live in a time when everyone thinks we must have every minute of our day scheduled out. We get sucked into believing if we are not constantly going and scheduling something we are not being productive. It is almost looked upon as lazy if you’re not running from one scheduled event after another and multi tasking several things. Yet I wonder how productive are we really being when we are multi tasking. Are we truly giving these tasks our best work? Do we enjoy rushing from one scheduled event after another?

How many times do we find ourselves just staring at the computer because we are overwhelmed by work that we don’t know where to begin. Or we have lost time because of our dawdling.

What happened to just being open to what God might have in store for us in that day?

I discovered through this book it is not only good to have a day of rest but it is imperative for our entire being. It is important for our health, our soul and our relationship with God. He needs us to rest with Him so we can strengthen ourselves for the next task He gives us. He needs us to unplug so when we do plug back into the world we can give it our best work for His glory. He needs us to be still thus allowing us to breath in His beauty and have clarity on what He may throw at us unexpectedly.

This book will teach a person how to truly rest with God and feel no guilt. After all it is what He asks of us!

THE EMPTY POT by Demi

Yes this is a children’s story book yet we can all learn something wonderful from this book.

A young boy, Ping, who is quite proud of his ability to nurture any plant is unable to sow a seed from the emperor. He finds himself in a dilemma with his pride. His father asks Ping if he has done his best. Thus, guiding Ping to understand that if he has done his best then he has nothing to be ashamed about.
This is a great story to learn from about honesty, integrity, and even pride.
I hope you all check it out no matter if you have kiddos in the house or not!

HALLOWEEN TIMES THREE!

Halloween is a holiday that can provoke such emotions and argumentation, especially among Christians; to partake or not to partake. There are many who have strong opinions about this holiday. What is the right path to take, what should we do, should be participate and possibly feel like we are “selling out” on our faith or not participate and feel like we are the scrooge of this holiday.

When my husband and I first had our daughter it really wasn’t even a question or a concern because during the first four years of her life she was so sleep sensitive that she was in bed usually before all the hub-bub was even started. But as our child has gotten older trying to see eye to eye on the matter has been a challenge. Do we partake in a holiday we feel is rooted in darkness thus feeling like we are being unfaithful to our walk with Christ. Or do we ignore it like it doesn’t exist. Does ignoring it alienate the children in the neighborhood? Is it even more un-Christ-like to ignore the “pink elephant” in the room?

Thus the pursuit to guidance and some nitty-gritty research lead me to these three books. They opened my eyes to the history of Halloween. Gave us (our family) some definite ideas on how we want to approach Halloween in our future years of raising a child in this crazy world.

Why three books? They each give a slightly different approach and each very helpful. Now you may decide after reading the first book review/overlook because you agree totally with those authors or disagree vehemently and don’t want to proceed. I ask you to please read through all 3 discussions before you give way to any conclusions.

BOOK ONE:

THE FACTS ON HALLOWEEN by John Ankerberg, John Weldon, and Dillon Burroughs

This book definitely approaches the topic with the sense that it is a holiday we should not participate in as Christians. It also gives some negative light to the Catholic faith; but it lays out the history and facts very well.

Thru this book you are able to understand it’s rooted by the Druids. The Druids were an ancient cult of the Celts. The Celts celebrated each year on October 31, the lord of the dead. This time of the year for them was the winter festival, the Samhain. This was a time for the dead to mingle with the living.

Halloween is rooted in paganism thus many of the traditions are also rooted in pagan rituals. The jack-o-lantern has many stories behind it. One of them is that witches would put candles in skulls to light the way to a coven meeting.

The authors ask: if Halloween today is truly an innocent practice for young children? It is pointed out on page 23 and 24 how even though churches of past have tried to Christianize Halloween it is still a very important day for witches, neo-pagans, and Satanists. This day is dripping with pagan occult practices of the past and the present.

CHAPTER 5 asks if Halloween can be entirely innocent and how does this holiday relate to the Bible? Some questions that need to be asked are:

1. Who might be influenced? Are we glorifying God thru this practice?

2. By participating are we mimicking evil practices?

3. Are we condoning evil practices just by participating?

4. Are we opening a door for our children to possibly want to dabble or experiment with darker elements when they get older?

5. Are we allowing our children to be involved in a night that some use as a way to cause fear or destruction?

The authors give many biblical references on pages 37-39 on why we shouldn’t participate; such as Deuteronomy 18:9, Romans 12:9, 3 John 11. These are naming just a few. The question is brought up on page 40 on how we can honor God if we are participating in this holiday.

The last section of this book goes into great detail on Halloween, haunted houses, poltergeists, and witches.

I think we can all agree these evils do exist. But let’s take a look at the next book to see a more tempered point of view. This author isn’t telling the reader to participate or to not participate; he is asking you to understand the grey area of this topic.

BOOK 2:

HALLOWEEN: WHAT’S A CHRISTIAN TO DO? By Steve Russo

This author also starts his book out with the history of Halloween to bring awareness and understanding of the past and present use of the holiday. He also discussed how faiths have tried to Christianize it over the years.

I want to skip ahead to chapter 5, Everybody’s Doing It. This chapter begins with a guest speaking on a radio show explaining that we as Christians need to be in this world but not of this world. And that if we ignore Halloween it will go away. But the reality is: Halloween is not going anywhere! Are we going to be ostriches and bury our heads in the sand?

Contemporary Halloween is really more about commercialism than anything else. What is the bottom dollar? How much can a business make on this one day a year?

To put it simply: SATAN IS EVERYWHERE. In Chapter 6, we are able to see that Satan doesn’t just exist on Halloween. He is actually much more cunning and alluring through everyday life activities. We must be on guard for the “beautiful” temptations because they are much more subtle and dangerous than the blatant scary ghosts of Halloween.

Satan wants us to not grow closer to Christ. He wants to weaken our armor. We must be prepared for spiritual warfare ALL year long, not just one night a year.

CHAPTER 7: A VIEW FROM THE BOOK

We can discern and turn to the Bible for guidance:

1. Not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23

2. Guard against unholy practices. Deuteronomy 18:10-13

3. Stay focused on what is good and pure. Philippians 4:8

4. Sidestep all evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22

5. Be aware of the battle. Ephesians 6:12, 1 Peter 5:8,9

An important thing to understand is that Halloween falls in the grey area of Christian living. It is not spoken about directly in the bible, thus there is a lot of room left for interpretation. What we as Christians need to be aware of is not compromising our biblical principles. We also need to practice one of our great commandments of loving one another as ourselves. Thus not judge someone who does practice or someone who doesn’t practice Halloween.

We as Christians try to live our lives in glory of God, so how can we glorify Him through this holiday?

Parents need to be very aware that the school systems have secularized this holiday so much that New Age and Occult teachings are being allowed to spill into some classrooms. Chapter 8 really goes into great detail on how to be careful of the influences the school systems can have on your children.

Chapter 9 brings out how we as Christians, if we want to participate in this holiday, can really make it more about our faith than about the pagan heritage of Halloween.

1. Reverse door to door evangelization.

2. Harvest Festival

3. Progressive dinner

These are just a few suggestions. We can create a light on a dark day if we use our imagination. Thus by turning on the light of Christ during Halloween we can overcome evil with our good actions and deeds on this day. And the best thing we can do as parents for our children is to ask God for guidance in how to guide and lead our children in this overly seductive world.

BOOK 3:

REDEEMING HALLOWEEN: CELEBRATING WITHOUT SELLING OUT by Kim Wier and Pam McCune

This book is definitely my favorite out the three. Which you may be asking why I even bothered writing about the other two then? I felt it was only fair to make sure and present all 3 points of view given each from Christian authors.

This book is sold through FOCUS ON THE FAMILY. I know this means something to many Christians. I know it does to me. When I see anything sold, endorsed, or published by Focus on the Family it gives me pause to pay attention.

This book not only goes into the history like the other two books but it spreads it out through each of the chapters as each mom shares their personal stories in how they try to be a beacon of light for their children and for other children during this holiday.

Some of the great things they share in this book is how we as Christians can celebrate this season without feeling like we are selling out. How we can create traditions with our children that are very Christ focused and not geared around the pagan traditions.

Something that they brought out that resonated through me was the fact that Christmas and Easter each have pagan origins as well, yet we as Christians wouldn’t dare abandon these holidays because we know the significance and importance of shining Christ’s light not only during each holiday but each day of the year.

Some of the fun traditions they share in this book are:

  1. Decorating with Light: how we can light up our houses to be beacons of light during this time of the year, whether with luminaries, white lights, even the pumpkins. There is a devotional to do while carving the pumpkin. The devotional is how to rid ourselves of the “yuck” and sin in our lives to make room for Christ’s light.
  2. Creating a movie night with the family where the focus is about faith heroes, missionary stories, or documentaries about martyrs.
  3. For your older kiddos an underground church party. Participants dress up as persecuted Christians and have reflection and game times sharing knowledge and a story about some the great Christians in history who sacrificed all for their faith.
  4. Fear not party is for the younger groups 7-12. It would consist of a scary story, but show how that Christian hero and took his/her faith to conquer their fears.
  5. Open your doors! Have it where your candy is wrapped with a biblical message that conveys Christ as the light of the world!
  6. Harvest baskets can be prepared and worked on during the month to then deliver to families from the church or community who are in need.
  7. And my all time favorite: build up to ALL SAINTS DAY! Use the month of October to not only share the history of Halloween with your kiddos but to also build up to the great saints who came before us and then commemorate them on November 1st, ALL SAINTS DAY!!!

I loved this book because it gives us as Christians the opportunity to spread the good news on a dark day, be a beacon of light, and most importantly it reminds us to be Christ-like in all we do, thus not judging those who do or don’t partake in this holiday.

No matter what you choose to do this Halloween season with your family remember to “walk by faith….”.

I leave you with some last lines from this book:

“As our families imitate the faith of those who kept their eyes on Christ, we can be assured that we are preparing our children to run with endurance no matter what challenges test their faith on the path of life. They, too, may be ‘hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, or knocked down,’ but with our examples and the examples of those who went before, they will be able to get up again and keep going.”

“As you step out to reclaim a season with such an amazing spiritual heritage, may you discover the redeeming power of our Savior, not just at Halloween, but in every season.”

FASTING BY Jentezen Franklin

What is fasting? I always believed fasting was basically starving yourself. Being a woman it meant I probably could lose some weight. I never truly made the spiritual connection behind fasting until I read this book. Maybe part of my willingness and openness to truly hear the message of this book was due to me finally being at a truly good place in my life where I WAS able to approach fasting for the right reasons: spiritually, a deeper connection with God.

This time around I have given you some quotes from each chapter but mostly summarized each chapter and given some personal reflection on how I interpreted what the author was trying to share with us.

SECTION 1 – THE PRIVATE DISCIPLINE THAT BRINGS PUBLIC REWARD

CHAPTER 1: Fasting for Your Break Through

This first chapter really helped open my eyes to see how truly beneficial fasting can be for my soul.

pg 11 – “The 3 duties of every Christian are giving, praying, and fasting.”

pg 14 – “When you faithfully follow the 3 duties of a Christian, God rewards you openly.”

CHAPTER 2: Dethroning King Stomach

pg 20: “You will have to choose to dethrone that ‘dictator within’.”

Oh, how I understand that statement! I love cheese, bread, wine and too many rich yummy foods to even list off. Through this chapter I learned it is okay to enjoy and partake in wonderful foods but we need to also not be indulgent on a regular basis. We need to keep our meals tasty, yes, but not over indulge on “fine” foods all the time. When we do, it numbs our senses in what is truly good for us and what we need to truly focus on.

pg 26 – “God knows there is never a convenient time to fast.”

I found this statement so true. We can always find an excuse on why we can’t fast right now. It’s the holidays; a birthday a vacation or I am just too busy with work. There is always an excuse on why to not make the sacrifice.

Job – 23:12 – I have not departed from the commandment of the lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

CHAPTER 3: – How Much? How Long? How Healthy?

pg 35 – “If it doesn’t mean anything to you it won’t mean anything to God.”

There are several different types of fasts. It is not an all or nothing mentality. The 3 types of fasts that are talked about in the bible are absolute, normal, and partial.

Absolute is no food and no water. Normal is usually without food of any kind for a certain number of days. Partial means giving up certain foods for a designated length of time. A very popular partial fast is called a Daniel fast, you can read more about it in the bible in the Book of Daniel.

pg 32 – “Fasting is like spring cleaning for your body.”

Fasting not only helps your soul, it puts into perspective what is important in your life. It also helps release you from any food or substance addiction or obsession.

It is a very freeing experience. It is important to always discuss with your doctor what you are wanting to do to ensure your safety. Some people with certain health condition need to be monitored closely by their doctor.

CHAPTER 4: Every Assignment Has a Birthplace

pg 47 – “Fasting keeps you sensitive to His spirit, enabling you to live holy.”

pg 48 – “Fasting is what prepares you for a new anointing.”

Fasting helps you hear what God is asking of you or telling you with greater clarity.

CHAPTER 5: Swatting Flies

Biblically speaking there is great significance in the number forty. It is peppered all throughout the bible. This cannot be by accident.

pg 61 – “There is a prophetic release that occurs in a church or an individual who fasts continually for forty days.”

pg 62 – “Devils will start – you guessed it –dropping like flies!”

Remember how the devil tempted Christ in the desert, but Jesus did not give in, he completed his 40 days!

A fascinating tidbit: to truly eradicate a family of flies is to diligently spray pesticides for forty days to wipe them out; otherwise you only destroy the current generation of flies.

Fasting for long periods of time is the same in the sense it cleans out the evil spirits, devils, in your life as well as help purify the future generations. This scriptural cleansing helps wipe out future generations of demons that would otherwise plague your children.

pg 64 – “His rewards are waiting to be released, so what are you waiting for?”

pg 66 – “Can you for-go that snickers bar in the afternoon to be delivered from recurring sin?”

CHAPTER 6: God’s coming to Dinner?

pg 72 – “Fasting is a constant means of renewing yourself spiritually.”

pg 75 – “When you worship, you magnify God.”

Do we just go about our everyday lives, hustling and bustling, saying our prayers, reading our bibles, doing all the “right” things but just going through the motions? Or are we really delving into making sacrifices, seeking a greater relationship, divine conversations, with God. Is our love for food more important than our desire to magnify the Lord? We should want to please Him with our worship and sacrifice.

CHAPTER 7: You Shall Be Filled

pg 80 – “When you hunger for God, He will fill you.”

pg 83 – “Fasting stirs a hunger in your spirit that goes deeper than the temporary hunger you experience in your flesh.”

CHAPTER 8: Rewarded Openly

Keeping it personal has a two-fold meaning to me. One: truly abandoning yourself to the fast, thus to the Lord, He will carry you when you feel weak if you just lean on him. Ask Him for help. Two: it is like in Matthew 6:1-4 – Don’t boast about what you are doing for the Lord. Keep it private. Public praise isn’t what we should be striving for.

Some amazing rewards are shared in this chapter of personal accounts from others.

pg 89 – “Fasting will break poverty form your life.”

Remember poverty is not just a monetary issue. A person can be ‘bankrupt’ spiritually, physically, mentally.

pg 90 – “Health and healing will follow fasting.”

CHAPTER 9: Nothing shall be Impossible – It Works!

pg 104 – “The Lord has assured me over the years that fasting will bring in the lost.”

“Fasting makes you more sensitive to the timing and voice of the Holy Spirit.”

SECTION 2 – OPENING A DOOR TO GOD’S PROMISES

INTRO: Why Is It So Hard?

Adam and Eve…temptation…they fell.

Jesus Fasted! Wow! Think, if He needed it, then we definitely need it!

We need to remember to do it for the right reasons. We aren’t collecting points with God, this isn’t a ‘Christian diet’, and we don’t do it to get others to notice how ‘good’ we are being.

We can make every excuse why not to do a fast but we need to just do it because God asked us to in chapter 6 of Matthew in the Bible.

CHAPTER 10: He Pleased God

pg 118 – “Hungering for God brings with it a greater reward than satisfying the temporary hunger in my body.”

pg 120 – “When the Holy Spirit calls you to fast, He is preparing you for what is ahead.”

pg 123 0 If you want to please God, believe God.

So many of us are starving in our faith but becoming ‘fat’ on the world, on society expectations, thus resulting in empty lives.

pg 125 – “We walk by faith. We don’t stay still, drowning in our misery.”

CHAPTER 11: Garments of Praise

pg 140 – “There is power in corporate fasting and power in corporate praise!”

This makes me thing of the bible verse…”where two or more are gathered in my name…” When we give praise to God together there is strength in those numbers. There is a fellowship, a support, a growth. When we fast together as a community the rewards are even greater.

CHAPTER 12: Fasting, Faith and Patience

pg 149 – “Faith and patience must go together.”

We can’t possibly understand what God already does know. What we have to learn is if we wait long enough through our prayer we will eventually see the dots connect. We can then look at the bright trail God has led us down. In this moment we can smile and say, “Oh that is why He had me do that!” But this is where patience is pivotal. If we can’t ‘sit still’ in his presence and let Him do his work through us then we are unable to see what He is doing all around us.

pg 152 – “we need to stop measuring our faith by the size of the problem.”

Remember Peter, he walked on water for a brief moment. Now imagine if his faith has been stronger. Wow, what could he have accomplished then!

pg 154 – “The Lord will reward your diligence.”

CHAPTER 13: God’s Priorities

pg 158 – “There is no higher authority then to know the heart of God for a situation you are facing.”

When you are fasting you are able to see clearer what God’s will is for you. Your ‘wants’ become less important. You are able to focus more on what you truly need. It is hard sometimes to decipher between the two, we may pray desperately for a want but through fasting, faith, and payer we can see clearer that sometimes the want isn’t what is NEEDED in our life.

pg 171 – “Do you remember the last time you were lovesick for God?

I like this quote. It makes it so clear to me just where our priorities should be. Think of the simplicity of saying grace before a meal. Do we rush through it or even skip it all together to just start shoveling food into our mouths? Or do we reflect on giving thanks not only for the food sitting before us, but for the fellowship of our family or friends who have gathered with us? Do we ever crave the companionship of God so much that food doesn’t even become important? If not, why not?

CHAPTER 14: For the Little Ones

pg 176 – “We fast because we need to know the right way for our lives.”

pg 180 –“We need to learn to trust the reliability of scripture when things get crazy.”

By making sacrifices and truly walking in our faith we are strengthening the path for our children and their children. In today’s crazy ‘disposable’ society we need to lean on the Lord even more.

pg 183 – “Anytime you fast it is a hunger strike against Hell.”

We need to stand up like Ezra did in the bible and fast. We need to do it for our children; they need us to seek God for guidance and protection.

CHAPTER 15: Is Your Blade Sharp Enough

pg 192 – “It is time we set ourselves apart to seek the Lord and find understanding.”

pg 196 – “When you fast and pray you sharpen the word of God in your mouth.”

Nineveh was in apparel. Yet they turned themselves around. America can be compared, in a way, as a modern day Nineveh. Can you imagine what an even greater nation we could be if we took to heart what is printed on our currency “In God We Trust”.

Pg 204 – “Keep your armor fit and your blade sharp!”

Fasts can be different; different levels, different types –short or long – partial or total – it is about what is in your heart. What is your intention behind it? Fasting isn’t about making ourselves front and center. It is about keeping God upfront. By doing this we keep our armor strong, fit, and able to withstand anything! Because…ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD!

A LANDSCAPE WITH DRAGONS by Michael D. O’Brien

As a parent wanting to feed my child’s mind with not just good books but great books I find myself wondering if what we are exposing our child to is helpful or hurtful. This is why I found this book amazing and inspiring.

Mr. O’Brien leads the reader down a path of understanding why it is important to teach our children the difference between good verses evil in a very clear black and white sort of way. He discusses how important the old fairy tales are and why they are important. Further’ he discusses why to be wary of today’s modern movies and books; how and why to look for the gray area and to take heed with introducing the gray area at too young of an age.

I know this summary is lengthy but I feel you will not be disappointed. The summary is mostly a compilation of all my favorite quotes. I have refined the summary even further by making the quotes that I find extremely important in bold. My hope is this is seamless review made up of reference and quotes of this book. Giving you practical advice to start using without having to actually sit down and read the whole book. Of course I hope that each of you will one day want to read the whole book once you have the opportunity.

I give you reference to the page thus allowing you to refer straight to that page and chapter if need be. I have also included some of my personal thoughts before and after some quotes. But I really haven’t written much personal notes just because I believe this book truly speaks for itself. This book truly speaks for itself!
CHAPTER 1: Encounters with Dragons
pg 19: “It is a wise parent who recognizes the first awakenings of these mute dreads as the first buds of a spiritual faculty.” … “But I think the greater threat to children today lies in giving too little, rather than too much, attention to so-called imaginary fears.” … “But if a child’s fear of monsters under the bed or dragons in the closet always are ridiculed as nonsense, his spiritual guard is in danger of being lowered, with the consequence of his becoming more vulnerable to spiritual evil and less sensitive to spiritual good.” … (pg 20)… “We should neither inflame nor repress his raw spiritual instincts, but rather we should guide them in the direction of a confident realism.”

CHAPTER 2: The Shape of Reality — Seeing the True Form
pg 28: “On Fairy Stories…They contain rich spiritual knowledge.” … “…there is a retained in it a faithfulness to the moral order of the actual universe.” … “…magic has been used traditionally in fairy stories to give a visible form to the invisible spiritual powers. But a crucial distinction must be made between the use of ‘good magic’ and ‘bad magic’ as they appear in fairy stories, because for us in the real world, there is no such thing as good magic, only prayer, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and abandonment to divine providence. ‘Good magic’ in traditional fairy stories represents these very realities, symbolizing the intervention of God in the lives of good men put to the test. It is actually a metaphor for grace and miracle, the suspension of natural law through an act of spiritual authority, culminating in a reinforced moral order.” … “Bad magic in traditional stories represents the evil power that the wicked use in order to grasp at what does not rightly belong to them — whether worldly power, wealth, or even love. It is also a metaphor for the intervention of the enemies of God, the evil spirits, in the lives of wicked men.”
pg 30: “…’fairy tale’…deal with a variety of supernatural beings and imaginative happenings…” … “…they display a surprising uniformity in their depiction of good and evil: good is good and evil is evil.” … “A rich treasure trove of such fiction grew with he passing of centuries. A pattern of symbols emerged that signified real presence in the invisible world. Beautiful winged person represented unseen guardians and messenger spirits. At the opposite end of the spectrum, dragons (and a host of other monsters) represented the fiendishly clever spirits that sought mans’s destruction. These symbols were common to so many races and cultures that they were practically universal. But they were also well suited to the spiritual insights of Christian civilization. The shape of these symbols told the reader in a flash some essential information regarding the invisible realm — a realm that long predated Judeo-Chrisitan civilization and was, even then, a spiritual battleground.”
pg 32: … “Actual dragons may or may not have existed, but that is not our main concern here. What is important is that the Christian ‘myth’ of the dragon refers to a being who actually exists and who become very much more dangerous to us the less we believe he exists.” … (pg 33)… ” Of course the well-nourished imagination knows that dragons are not frightening because of fangs, scales, and smoke pour from nostrils. The imagination fed on truth knows that the serpent is a symbol of hatred and deceit, of evil knowledge and power without conscience.” … “The dragon that takes no form is the worst kind, and I would rather it not prowl around the neighborhood I call home. Most of all I do not want it infesting my children’s minds. I do not want them befriending it, either, or do I want it calming their instinctive good fears and perhaps in the process taking possession of their very selves.” … “At this point I may sound somewhat contradictory. It seems that I do not want dragons in my children’s minds, I say, and yet at the same time I want them to read a plenty of stories in which there are dragons that act like dragons and meet a dragon’s end. In fact there is no contradiction here. It is the real dragon against which I want my children armed.” … “It is good that our children fear dragons for in the fearing, they can learn to overcome fear with courage. Dragons cannot be tamed, and it is fatal to enter into dialog with them. the old stories have taught our children this.” … “The imagination must be fed good food, or it will become the haunt of monsters.”
pg 36: … ” The secret is not to deprive a child of his sword but to make the sword with him and teach him a code of honor.”
pg 39: … “The purpose of dragons in literature,…is to arm the soul with an ever-developing discernment of spirits. The purpose of the fairy tale is not to breed superstition but rather to defend the mind against superstition.”
pg 40: … “…important to note here that violent people, on the whole, tend to be lacking in character.” … “When the moral order of the universe is reinforced, as it is for these children, man begins to know who he is, where he is, and what he is for.”….
CHAPTER 3: A Child’s Garden of Paganism
pg 47: “Jesus Christ was born into a people barely purified of their idolatry.”
pg 50: … “There are countless false visions emerging, but among the more beguiling of them is the ancient heresy of Gnosticism, which in our times is enjoying something of a comeback. Its modern manifestation has many names and many variations, including a cold rationalist gnosticism (science without conscience) which claims to have no religious elements whatsoever.”
pg 54: … “The error of Gnosticism is that knowledge can be obtained and used to perfect oneself while circumventing the authority of Christ and his Church. Using a marketing technique…Satan always packages this offer with the original deception, by proclaiming that God and the Church do not want man to have knowledge…” … “…the Church…warns that unless the pursuit of knowledge is in submission to the pursuit of wisdom, it will not lead to good;…”
pg 56-57: … “What has happened to the people of our times? Why do we have such short memories? It is because over-familiarity and the passage of time blur the sharp edges of reality. Minds and hearts grow lax. Vigilance declines. Again and again man sinks into deep forgetfulness. Serpents and dragons are now tamed like pets by some, worshiped by others. …book of Revelation…reminds us…we are in a war zone. Every human soul is in peril;…Our danger increases to the degree that we do not understand the nature of our enemy.”
CHAPTER 4: The Mortal Foe of My Children
In this chapter Mr. Obrien analyzes many movies and talks about the good they may have and the cracks in them. It is an excellent way to really get to understand how media is trying to corrupt our senses. There are too many movies for me to go through but I have summed up what he was trying to get at during this chapter.

pg 59: … “…our minds are becoming increasingly passive and image oriented because of the tremendous influence of the visual media.” … “…inventions have lessened the need for the disciplines of the mind that in former generations were the distinguishing marks of an intelligent person.”
pg 60-61: … “By contrast, the loss of our world of symbols is the result of a deliberate attack upon truth, and this loss is occurring with astonishing rapidity. On practically every level of culture, good is no longer presented as good but rather as a prejudice held by a limited religious system (Christianity). Neither is evil any longer perceived as evil in the way we once understood it. Evil is increasingly depicted as a means to achieve good.” … “…children are especially vulnerable to the power of images…” … “…in a culture that deliberately targets the senses and overwhelms them, employing all the genius of technology and art, children have fewer resources to discern rightly than at any other hie in history.” … “The Modern mind is no longer formed on a foundation of absolute truths…” … “The children who do not drink from them can feel alienated from their own generation…”
pg 62: … “…Scientific studies have shown conclusively that within thirty seconds of watching television, a viewer enters a measurable trance like state. This allows the material shown to bypass the critical faculty, so that images and ideas are absorbed by the mind without conscious reflection.”
pg 64: …“When culture is deprived of moral vision, the rise of the ‘diabolic imagination’ is the inevitable result.”
pg 65: …”The readers imagination can select what it wishes to focus on, whereas in electronic visual media the mind is pummeled with powerful stimuli that bypass conscious and subconscious defenses.” … “At least in the old days dragons looked and acted like dragons.”
pg 67: … “…the momentary horrors that occur in classical tales always have a higher purpose; they are intended to underline the necessity of courage, ingenuity, and character; the tales are about brave young people struggling through adversity to moments of illumination, truth, and maturity; they emphatically demonstrate that good is far more powerful than evil.”
pg 72: … “Walt Disney died in 1966. During the late 1960’s and 1970″s the studios approach gradually changed. Its fantasy and science fiction films began to show symptoms of the spreading moral confusion in that genre. ‘Bad guys’ were at times presented as complex souls, inviting pity if not sympathy. ‘Good guys’ were a little more tarnished than they once had been and, indeed, were frequently portrayed as foolish simpletons.” … “What began as a hairline crack began to grow into a chasm.”
pg 82: … “Disney’s point is clear: Traditional Christianity is weak, blind and selfish; ‘real Christianity’ is sociological and ‘politically correct’.”
pg 85: … “We worry that our children might be affected adversely by it, but at the same time we don’t want to overreact.”
pg 86: … “Our first step must be in the direction of finding a few helpful categories, a standard against which we can measure examples of the new culture. I have found it useful to dive the field of children’s culture into roughly four main categories:
1. Material that is entirely good.
2. Material that is fundamentally good but disordered in some details.
3. Material that appears good on the surface but is fundamentally disordered.
4. Material that is blatantly evil, rotten to the core.”
CHAPTER 5: Neopagan Literature for Children
pg 94: … “Neopaganism…is a transition. It is a downward slide.”
pg 95: … “In the following century a branch of humanism developed that attempted to make a final break with the concept of God and religion.”
pg 96: … “On every level of modern society the Conditioners shape and reshape our concepts of reality, and these concepts are overwhelming secular humanist.”
pg 102 … “Our truest stories tell us who we are and where we should be going. They inform us about the nature of the enemy. They strengthen us for the journey. A badly flawed tale, on the other hand, can weaken and confuse us. It may direct us into some very dangerous territory.”
pg 104: … “A simple rule of thumb is to ask the following questions when assessing a book, video, or film: Does the story reinforce my child’s understanding of the moral order of the universe? Or does it undermine it? Does it do some of both? Do I want that? What precisely is the author saying about the nature of evil? What does he tell the reader (or viewer) about the nature of the war between good and evil?”
pg 105: … ” How do we discern between category 2…and category 3…?”
pg 106: … “…a parent’s primary tool for discernment must be his own interior barometer.”
pg 111: … “Are we willing to sacrifice precious time to pre-read some novels about which we may have doubts?”
CHAPTER 6: The Restoration of Christian Storytelling
In this chapter Mr. O’Brien discusses in great detail several authors. There are some that he finds their writings flawed and he explains. Then there are those who he finds their works great in moral lessons and so much more.

pg 117: … “…Chesterton …In The Everlasting Man, he pointed out that ‘the sanity of the world was restored and the soul of man offered salvation by something which did indeed satisfy the two warring tendencies of the past…’…”
pg 119: … ” The ‘baptized’ intellect must also be about a long labor of developing its skills and understanding. Because true culture has an inherent restorative power…that culture alone will not restore a society to sanity…” … “….I think the classical fairy story has a great deal to teach us.” … “The work of three Christian writers in the tradition of true fairy tales provides models of some of the possibilities that are open to us: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and George MacDonald.”
pg 122: …”The discernment of the right paths that must be taken, if good is to triumph is dramatized…. Tolkien’s world is faithful to the moral order of the universe…”
pg 132: … “…Lewis outlines what so often happens to a mind without God…”
pg 158: … “Lewis, MacDonald, and Tolkien are Christian writers whose works are built upon a common moral foundation.” … “If Lewis represents those Christian writers whose witness value is most obvious — who labor at the evangelical harvest of souls — Tolkien represents those who prepare the soil, and MacDonald represents those who plant it. Ultimately…are each concerned with the destiny of human souls. Their primary concerns are salvation, grace,virtue, and spiritual warfare.”
pg 159: … “…if you want your children to grow up to be thinking people..Genuine literature stimulates the asking….it is about the imparting of the great adventure, the majesty and mystery of the moral cosmos.”

CONCLUSION: Are Christians Intolerant?
pg 162: “The early Christians were not squeamish about political incorrectness.”
pg 163: “A society sliding back into paganism may try to reassure itself that it is in no worse condition than a society crawling out of paganism.” … “The convert from paganism has known darkness and has turned toward the light. Our society has known the light and is turning back toward darkness. This is the crucial difference. It is into the core of this difference that we must speak….”… “the Christian’s task is now to rediscover a firm commitment to this truth and to show how it can be combined with an effective love of our neighbor.”
pg 164: … “…we are to love the personhood of each and every individual human being….not…remain paralyzed and silent regarding acts and ideas that are killing us…We have a right and a duty to speak the truth with simplicity and calmness, clearly and fearlessly, without rancor or personal condemnation, wherever untruth invades the life of our family.”
pg 165: … “Overwhelmed, we can be deluded into choosing a less demanding form of faith, a seemingly more ‘compassionate’ kind of religion….We can gradually come to think that the torrent of noise is normal. And when the pressures become intolerable, we might even begin to agree with what the noise is saying.”
pg 166: “That is why we must reduce the noise in our lives and open the ears of the heart to real listening. We parents especially need moments of complete stillness.” … “The absolutely essential task of parents is to give their children a true culture, a sure foundation on which to stand.”
At the very back of this book, from page 169 through 261, are lists of suggested reading for each age level all the way through adult reading. Some familiar choices and not so familiar. Either way a great wealth of knowledge all compiled together to make it easy for us readers to pick from.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this thought provoking book. I know I have enjoyed revisiting it for you and remembering just how important it is to fight “THE BATTLE FOR YOUR CHILD’S MIND”!

BOOKS TO COME…

As I have been organizing my thoughts on the books I have read just recently, I figured I could give you a glimpse at a few of the titles that I will be writing on over the next few weeks. These are just a few of the books I want to share with you all.

Please keep in mind that as I share with you the outlines of these books and my thoughts on them that they are still my opinion, what I took from the book. I hope we can share some healthy discussions on these books if anyone wants to comment. What I am also hoping is that it doesnt become a chance for anyone to bash or become destructive in their critique if you so choose to share your thoughts on what I have written.
I want us to share with each other….learn from each other…and grow with each other!
So the upcoming books I will be sharing my thoughts on will be:
“A Landscape with Dragons” by Michael D. O’Brien
“Beyond the Birds and the Bees” by Gregory Popcak
“Fasting” by Jentezen Franklin
Those are the three main ones right now. Once I have them all posted then there will be more to come! 🙂
Stay tuned…
Until then, have a very blessed day!
~K

PASSIONATE FOR BOOKS

I love to read and learn things from books. I love to watch a really good movie and glean something profound from it. And I love to be inspired by music that moves me to dream big.
Books, though, are my first true passion. I love sharing books that have inspired me in such a way that I want to go out and buy the book for everyone. Recently I have been reading some great books that have left me with one common denominator: “so and so really needs to read this book; they would love it!”
As I realize I have very few spare minutes, I ponder and know my friends and family also have few spare minutes and their friends, and so on! Thus I have been inspired to share my thoughts on books, movies, music, etc through this blog.
I want to share with you not only a summary of the books I read but also a kind of “narrative” in a way. How I took it. What I learned from it. And even breaking down chapters from time to time. In essence a sort of “cliff notes” version. Therefore if you just don’t have the time right now to read the book you can at-least get the gist of it and get something out of it (I hope!). Or it might just compel you to go pick up the book right now and start reading it. Either way….I want to share my thoughts with you.
I will also post links to reviews of movies or books that were very helpful to me. Reviews and thoughts that are already out there but nice to just have everything in one spot.
My great hope is we can all learn from each other and share with each other. Happy reading!!!