Altar ego by Craig Groeschel

Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are

Once in a while I do like a real book to read compared to an Ebook, and I was chuffed to be sent a bundle to review! Of course, this is still available as an eBook.

I’d not come across Craig before, but I resisted checking him out before I read this so it didn’t influence me!  Now this book will reach the huge USA market, and I think has a great appeal to Christians new and old, but I don’t know if a non-Christian would get very far with it, though the dedication to the reader is a really good lead in to the rest of the book. I’m going to try to find a guinea pig to test this!

The mix of personal anecdote, biblical truth/stories and teaching is so clear and engrossing that you want to read on.  What Craig has to say is uplifting, challenging and dead on for life today.  His piece about the power of words and names and how they can destroy our self-worth is so true, after all words are spirit.  All this leads so logically in to the solution for us. How you are God’s masterpiece and with him can overcome all.  I love his use of  biblical evidence of the power of new names such as Forgiven, Fit,Great and Godly Mum. The following chapters on living with patience, integrity,honor and gratitude speak right into the mess that’s in the world. Craig spells out so clearly how we are God’s ambassadors in the home, at work and play, it’s not all being sent to the Mission field. The end of that Chapter was a real,’Thud  moment for me, maybe you will feel this too!

The last section on Boldness had me reeling.  He’s so right.  Andrew Wommack talks about the effect of unbelief, but Craig has cracked the solution, the cure for it is Boldness. In behaviour, prayers,words and obedience.  This part  made me say YASS, he’s got it.  The only problem is that maybe he makes it all seem a tad too easy. As Mr Wommack says, a living sacrifice means that it has the habit of upping off the altar and has to be taken back again.  There’s so much positive to do here,some may get it all at once, but you can’t succeed in all these changes under your own steam, you need the Holy Spirit the whole time (Yes, Craig does say this). You will at times fails, and you have to heave yourself back again.  It’s through God’s grace that we do this and maybe it will take small partial steps, success and failure, but each success will make you more sure and fill you with more boldness born of the success of the first step.

When I was reading this, I was talking to God about this boldness and obedience business and he said quite clearly, that here  would be a time to speak boldly at a dinner party that night, he said it several times, but I thought that’s just me.  Blow me down if both Dave and I didn’t get asked about what we believe by two people. Now I did what I could (I wish I hadn’t had that second glass of wine) in trying to form answers that were both bold and would reach my asker.  I felt I hadn’t succeeded and started to beat myself up.  But then no I thought,( or was it the Holy Spirit?) I spoke as boldly as I could. It was a step on the way, and I am now eager to be bolder at the next prompting. Does that make my point?

Only one other issue is when Craig talks about a man being healed from a heart attack, and hundreds of people were praying for the recovery.  Now I believe that God seeks to heal at all times, and it needs maybe only that person to believe, or one person to pray the prayer. Individually we have God’s power in us to heal, and Craig does later say this. God is not sitting there thinking. well if enough people ask me, I’ll heal him.  No, prayer was needed to pray against further diagnoses which could block the healing, against the re-onslaughts of the illness, for the recovery of the body, not the original healing. I greatly feel that prayer was needed but not quite how Craig spells it there.

This is a such a good book for us today, and having checked Craig out, I’m so glad he’s one who gives things for free, not because I’m also tight-fisted, but it shows he has things right!

It was a shame there’s no link to his ministry in the book, so here it is

http://www.lifechurch.tv/

http://swerve.lifechurch.tv/

Resources.  http://open.lifechurch.tv/

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The Maltese Cat by Rudyard Kipling

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An Argentinian ancestor of the Cat?

Those of you who read my other blog,  (https://annarashbrook.wordpress.com ) will know that we recently enjoyed a day watching Ice Polo at Turrach Höhe lake – none of the horses fell through! It had me thinking about how the horses were played and if they were happy.  This led me to look for a childhood story, which I used to have with illustrations by Lionel Edwards – in my view one of the greatest horse painters of all time. The book is probably worth a small fortune but went years ago!

The hunt for this book ended up with me buying a copy of his entire works (the story is free below) and of course it’s another tale set around the time of the First World War in India. It’s a simple story with the horses beautifully personnified, with the ultimate hero being the grey polo pony, The Maltese Cat. He is master supreme of tactics in the great game.  It’s a lovely story of the underdog winning, but what had me amazed through my modern perception was the brutality of the game.  Horses were barging each other left right and centre, knocking each other flying, getting blows to their legs, and the game ends up with the most enormous bundle with broken goal posts, riders and horses.  Now I’ve never watched grass Polo, so I cannot judge.  Yet I imagine that horses wouldn’t be so ridden today.  The story is perhaps born of the same ideology that my mother used to have, that racing horses continued to race because they loved the game, rather than as now, we would see it as also part of the flight instinct.  Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle, certainly horses do enjoy their work, see their excited reaction when they hear the hunting horn or not, watch a horse being bullied into doing dressage that doesn’t want to be an equine athlete. I would like to think that horses are intelligent enough to enjoy their game and work, and that the ponies I saw at Turrach were having a ball.  However, for conjuring up the English playing Polo at the turn of the last century, the heat, dust and people, this story is brilliant. I’m going to read more of Kipling’s less well known works that echo life at that time.

There’s a load more information on

http://www.kipling.org.uk/rg_maltesecat1.htm

And the story is free on

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/k/kipling/rudyard/days/chapter9.html

Diary of a Nursing Sister on the Western Front 1914 – 1915, Anonymous

Miss K E Luard

She looks a bit scary !

I recently had a re-read of Bevereley Hughsdon’s Song of Songs, saw  War Horse, the DVD and the documentary about the reality on the Western front.  This film had me entranced and hugely irritated, do Americans really think that a gas attack was so easy to recover from???? This all had me fascinated to find out more about the times that Helena lived and worked in. I also have the book, Annie’s War, telling of the life of an Englishwoman who was in Germany at the outbreak of the Great War.   So I went to look for first hand accounts, and there are many free kindle books which are written and edited at the time

My English degree work, kicked in making me look at these works  in so many aspects. There are plenty of books written today, in hindsight of the events of the War, but written through the ideology of our present times, e.g those poor poor horses, when they, at the time were the work  force of the world, there was sentimentality but maybe not as we see it today. So I like to read first hand accounts such as these, written at the time, seemingly in an honest attempt to record the times and happenings. Of course the writers themselves have their own, maybe hidden agendas in wanting to write, but they surely because of their presentness may be more honest than our own clouded perceptions today……..

The from of the book is very much of its time, with the subheadings laid out at the beginning and the infuriating secrecy about names of people, and the different hospitals, always with a dash. Very Victorian in its roots. Then most of all, that in diffidence she had to be anonymous, was it still the culture against women writers that made her hold back, or that she really didn’t want to be identified, to glorify her work? I though of at first contacting the publishers, only to find that their offices were burnt down in the Second world war, so maybe all the manuscripts are gone.(William Blackwood and Son)   So  before I did the Internet hunting for the writer, I did what my studies had told me, ‘that the text says  what the text does not say’, Barthes I think, and see what she unwittingly gave away.

An older, Senior Sister she had served in the Boar War, professional as she was called up but not a regular Army Nurse.  Very well educated as shown in her grasp of languages, upper class, her use of the word, ‘frightfully’ smacked of boarding school and upper class, but perhaps this is MY perception of using such language!  That she was Irish Catholic, she’d been in Dublin  for a while, was I right?

The narrative is true to the events of the time, as they happened, no plot, but the year passes with an almost fictional, logical progression, from the frustration waiting to serve,the work on the trains, to the extreme horror of working near the front in the Field hospitals. She comes across as a strong lady, professionally and matter of factly relating the events, but towards the end, you can read the tension and stress beginning to rise.Why did she feel the need to write this, and who was it to – just dear reader or a family, or thorough a sense of wanting to record history?

She recounts how the different nationalities cope with their wounds, and the way they are just all SO grateful to be out of the trenches.  How at this early stage of the war, the Tommies are just out to get the Germans, there’s no reporting of their own inner fears, but she tells their tale with pride. Is it the early days of euphoria, before the toll on life and spirit? She says, ‘its only when prosperous and comfortable that the Tommy grumbles’. I read that Kitchener endorsed the book, and as a positive view of the psychology and thinking of the time its effective, and despite how things were later, maybe that’s just how it was at the time, we musn’t judge.

It surprised me about how well organised the hospitals and supplies were, the masses of beds and infrastructure. I knew about the societies of the war, where genteel ladies knitted socks, but our Nurse was always giving out cigarettes, chocolate and writing cases from different societies who had obviously formed just for this. I thought of Helena, who arrived later in the war, who just slogged on, such a different case.  Our Sister was also well read, and it interested me about how all the officers would be calling for Newspapers and Punch, Helena never seemed to mention reading the news.  There is also reports of having ‘Telegrams’ with news in them, Annie mentions these two, what were they, shorter papers in the kiosks, something that came in the post? One bit of humour was that the big guns were called ‘Jack Johnsons’ along with the lice that prevailed everywhere. When you read of soldiers arriving with wounds packed with straw, it’s astonishing to our present eyes. In all a fascinating book, but as I’m only just yet beginning to look at the social history of the war, I can’t comment on the battles, and tactical coverage.

So, Who Was SHE?  The books are credited to a Kathleen Luard and a search on the net found out a lot about her.  A professionals she was, follow these links.  There’s also a huge website on women’s first hand accounts and service in the war, I’m not the only one to be fascinated at these times. Of course, watching Downton Abbey doesn’t help, seeing the daughters of the house being married, had me seeing Helene on day she marries……..

Diary of Annie’s war by Annie Droege, Grosvenor House Publishing ltd

http://www.bretonheath.me.uk/history/centen28.htm

http://rcnarchive.rcn.org.uk/data/VOLUME065-1920/page066-volume65-31stjuly1920.pdf

http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/index.html