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Covenant Relationships: A Handbook for Integrity and Loyalty by Asher Intrater

CovenantRelationships

Discover the Biblical Blueprint for Building Relationships that Last!

Even though the topic of relationships is very popular, few individuals ever reach the point of building deep, lasting, and meaningful bonds with others. Why do our connections with other people seem to stay superficial and never go beyond the surface-level? Because we’ve drifted away from the Biblical blueprint of what covenant relationships are intended to look like.

In this revised and updated edition of Asher Intrater’s classic, Covenant Relationships, you will receive time-tested practical keys that show you how to build relationships that:

Are spiritually and emotionally fulfilling for everyone involved.  Remain intact and solid, even in the middle of conflict and disagreement.  Reflect the timeless values outlined in Scripture.  Free people to truly be known by and share life with others.Relationships are the meaning of life! 

It’s time to move past the popular “take-it or leave-it” approach and build deep connections based on loyalty, authenticity and covenant.

For God’s people to rise up and walk in new dimensions of love and effectiveness, we must be knit together in covenant relationships!

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I was a little taken aback due to the lack of “T”s throughout the titling of sections. I was a bit concerned that it was a bad book, or poor selection. However the overall demeanor of the book was truly enlightening and full of wisdom. It aided me in understanding relationships…and yes, even at 56 I can learn a thing or two on relationship building!

It is truly a wonderful book if you can get past the appearance of bad spelling (i.e. , no “T”s in the titles of the sections throughout the book itself.)

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf

 

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Reagan: The Life by H.W. Brands

reagan

In his magisterial new biography, H. W. Brands brilliantly establishes Ronald Reagan as one of the two great presidents of the twentieth century, a true peer to Franklin Roosevelt. Reagan conveys with sweep and vigor how the confident force of Reagan’s personality and the unwavering nature of his beliefs enabled him to engineer a conservative revolution in American politics and play a crucial role in ending communism in the Soviet Union. Reagan shut down the age of liberalism, Brands shows, and ushered in the age of Reagan, whose defining principles are still powerfully felt today.

    Employing archival sources not available to previous biographers and drawing on dozens of interviews with surviving members of Reagan’s administration, Brands has crafted a richly detailed and fascinating narrative of the presidential years. He offers new insights into Reagan’s remote management style and fractious West Wing staff, his deft handling of public sentiment to transform the tax code, and his deeply misunderstood relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, on which nothing less than the fate of the world turned.

     Reagan is a storytelling triumph, an irresistible portrait of an underestimated politician whose pragmatic leadership and steadfast vision transformed the nation.

Reagan was a great President with a practical outlook and plan of attack on the subjects at hand. While there were some low points in his tenure, there were some great accomplishments. He was a trusting man, but he was not a god (as so many speak of him as such.) Brands has definitely hit the nail squarely on the head with this book of his. It was a great read and the topic was on such a great person, in President Reagan.

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf

 

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A History of God The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Karen Armstrong

Abridged download

Is the Universe wholly apart from God, or is Creation in some sense, a part of God? Is God solely One in nature, or is there a Threeness, or a Manyness, or an Infinitude to God? Is God knowable or beyond knowledge? Is God personal or impersonal? Does God have feelings? Billions of people have had an opinion on these matters, and that’s the subject of this groundbreaking book. Those who depend upon the unshakeableness of their beliefs may find this book upsetting or worse, but to those who consider and question their faith, Karen Armstrong’s A History of God will be challenging and illuminating, and perhaps, as I found it, even thrilling.

The title goes for brevity over accuracy. Perhaps it could have been titled “A History of the Idea of God in Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” but that would have lacked panáche, to say the least. Armstrong concentrates on the changes in the concept of God, particularly the unique aspects of monotheistic theology, for instance, God as separate from Creation, God having a “personal” nature, and so forth.

religious cultures in conflict

Armstrong makes theological history simply fascinating. Beginning with the evidence for near-universal worship of a Sky God in prehistory, Armstrong traces the shift from the Sky God to the Earth Mother to polytheism, and then focuses on the revolutionary development of Abraham’s faith in one God which would clash with Canaanite, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian paganism for the next 1500 years. Many Christians interested in objective Biblical scholarship are familiar with the “Documentary Hypothesis” of the Pentateuch stemming from sources J, E, P, and D. Yet never have I seen an attempt to reconstruct the history and interplay of these perspectives throughout ancient Israel and the surrounding regions, and not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined it would be so illuminating…

For instance, Armstrong shows the revolutionary effect of the prophets in Judaism, beginning with Isaiah, at the time when the J and E material was still being written. She shows that prophetic Judaism was an “Axial religion,” a development of the Axial age when cities became the centers of culture in Asia and the Mediterranean. Other Axial religious developments included the teachings of Socrates, Plato, Zoroaster, the Upanishadic sages, the Buddha, Lao-tse, and Confucius. These all taught a universal ethic, insisting that God or the Absolute needed no temple, transcended all, was accessible to or within everyone, and that compassion was the highest virtue.

The prophets’ teaching that “God desires mercy, and not sacrifice,” was in sharp contrast to the priestly, Temple-based establishment, which insisted the Temple was the ultimate dwelling on God on Earth, having chosen the Israel out of all the nations. (This was the beginning of a clash which would endure until John the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus.)

But this is just the beginning. Instead of specializing on a single religion or period in time, Armstrong boldly takes up all the threads of theology throughout the four millennia of the monotheistic religions. With them, she weaves a tapestry of our collective religious experience which can help us understand our faith and ourselves better. Subsequent chapters focus on the life of Christ, early Christian theologies, understandings (and misunderstandings) of Trinity, the influence of Greek philosophy upon Christianity and Islam, mysticism, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and Fundamentalism.

three persons or three personae?

A special treat is her insight on Trinitarian thought. It was a surprise to learn that the term “persons” in “One God in three Persons” came from the Latin word personae, referring to the masks of characters in a drama. Personae was the Latin translation of the Greek word hypostases, “expressions.”  The different words used in Greek and Latin to describe the Trinity reflected (and influenced) very different understandings of God’s nature. For the Eastern bishops, the Trinity described how One God, whose essence (ousia) is mysterious, ineffable, utterly beyond and above being known or described in any way, imparts his energies (energeia) to Creation through the expressions (hypostases) of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In other words, the Eastern view of the Trinity reconciled knowledge of God as both personal and beyond personal, knowing and loving in his expressions, and yet beyond any human conception at all in essence. Have you ever heard it like that before?

world-wide paradigm shifts

Brilliant also is her ability to relate the historic phenomena of mysticism, reformation, rationalism, and fundamentalism beyond just the Christian perspective, into a world-wide perspective simultaneously developing in all “the religions of God.” Her revelation that the Reformation was not just a Protestant reformation, but a universal one is a brilliant example. As the printing press spread, the authority of the written word took on unprecedented dimensions. Galileo, she points out, was condemned by the Catholic Church not because his heliocentric universe conflicted with any doctrine or dogma, but because it contradicted an extremely literal reading of the Bible.

Especially helpful is her knowledge about Islamic history with revealing treatments on philosophical and mystical eras in Islam, before the relatively recent phenomenon of Islamic Fundamentalism. It was fascinating to learn that some Sufi schools were so devoted to Jesus that they adapted the Shahada to “there is no God but God, and Jesus is His Prophet.”

Despite five well-earned frims, A History of God has minor but significant flaws: Awkward sentences abound, and her lack of direct experience with conservative American Protestantism makes her disdain for it seem less than objective. Furthermore, errors like “Maurice Cerullo” (i.e. Morris Cerullo) make it feel insufficiently edited, particularly in the age of the Internet. However, none of these are fatal flaws by any means; Armstrong has created a landmark work, undoubtedly unique in its combination of depth and scope. What can I say, but read it!

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This was a worthy read, though I felt I could not pin down precisely where the author’s beliefs lie. There was a great amount of philosophical input (both pro & con), also there was a good amount of information as it related to several differing sects of Christianity, and information concerning the Islamic faith. However, I felt that she was a bit disingenuous with respect to the information presented about the Islamic faith. She had mentioned that Islam was, in essence, a successful coalescing religion which brought together and united the many clans (never once mentioning the warfare onslaught in order to do so, nor any mention of the believe in Allah or die ultimatum.) She touted that there was no compulsion in religion, yet time and again the Quran states (emphatically) or infers that there would be death to the non-believers.

Over all, I thought it was a decent-good read with much unknown information, philosophies, and other religious input. Worthy of the time it took to read. I feel a bit wiser as I understand a few things better, I have been made aware of a few things I didn’t know before, and I understand how others can be misguided as they do not do enough adequate research into their fields of study. They take what is written as truth and leave it there.

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf

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Adopting The Minimalist Mindset: How To Live With Less, Downsize, And Get More Fulfillment From Life by Brian Night

LivingLess

A new revolution is currently taking place, one that looks set to change how we view ourselves and the objects around us. This new, groundbreaking revolution is the practice of minimalism. In a society consumed by debt, greed, and envy, this new trend looks to change the way we think about everything in our lives. We spend our entire lives chasing happiness by chasing our peers, consuming, and collecting goods. But with depression and anxiety at all time highs, this trend is clearly not working.

This Book Will Discuss:

The benefits of minimalism
How to practice minimalism
How to organize your home and your life
How to remove your ego from purchasing decisions
The habits of highly effective minamalists
How to cut your bills
Over 50 tips saving money, cutting bills, and spending time on your true passions
Much, much, more!
This has led to the rapid rise of a new age of living: living simply. The minimalist focuses more on time and presence then on objects. Happiness, helping others, and self-fulfillment are at the top of minimalists’ priorities. They realize that happiness does not come from consumption, but that true happiness comes from within. Spending time creating memorable moments is a much better experience then spending time on a new object.

A very quick read and informative. Just chock full of ideas to minimalize one’s life. A valuable read if you are looking to go minimal in your life.

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf

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Fred 2.0: New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results by Mark Sanborn

Fred20

Nine years ago, bestselling author and business consultant Mark Sanborn introduced the world to Fred, his postman, who delivered extraordinary service in simple but remarkable ways. Fred’s story inspired millions. Companies–even, cities–were inspired to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary each day.

Today, with stiff competition from the networked global economy, delivering extraordinary results is more important than ever. With Fred 2.0, Mark not only revisits the original Fred to gain new insights, but also equips all of us with new strategies to achieve more. You’ll not only be inspired by Fred 2.0, you’ll also have the tools and strategies to aim higher and achieve the extraordinary.

This was the follow-up to THE FRED FACTOR. While I have not read that book, yet; this one does give you insights as to how you can be a better Fred, Fred Shea that is. But, in a nutshell, the Fred Factor and Fred 2.0 are about the Biblical mind of the Golden Rule, loving your neighbor as yourself…but is more of a business use, not just a personal life venture. Although, by treating everyone as you would like to be treated, regardless of business or personal life will make your life a whole lot easier! No discerning is necessary as to who must be treated how…treat everyone you meet and come in contact with with love and respect! Go that extra mile with each person. THAT is the Biblical mindset!

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf

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Nature’s Cancer-Fighting Foods: Prevent and Reverse the Most Common Forms of Cancer Using the Proven Power of Whole Food and Self-Healing Strategies by Verne Varona

cancer fighting foods

Based on a solid foundation of the healing properties of good nutrition, this book empowers readers with the information they need to make the best choices and to gain control over their total health and well-being – physical, emotional, and spiritual. While addressing the specific needs of those with a diagnosis of cancer, Varona explores the key factors that science and experience have shown to influence the path of prevention and recovery. Grounded in documented research from leading medical institutions – along with studies of the world’s healthiest populations – nutrition educator Verne Varona has developed a breakthrough nutritional and lifestyle programme for immunity building and cancer prevention and recovery. This book provides detailed diet and lifestyle modifications that will reinforce the body’s immunity and reduce cell-damage to an absolute minimum. While the bulk of this book is devoted to physical nutrition, eating the right foods is not the whole picture. No matter what course of treatment a patient may choose, clinical research and anecdotal testimony have shown that those who have embraced a range of self-healing choices not only see a positive impact on their physical and psychological well-being but inevitably enhance their chances of survival. The most influential of these choices are: life purpose; positive attitude; managing stress; sense of humor; love and social support; emotional expression; and faith. Along with good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and physical exercise, these choices contribute to a more comprehensive and complete healing.

A well written book with a great amount of information for those who have a desire and a passion to fight for their lives! Is this an all inclusive list, by no means, but it is an excellent primer for those getting ready to do battle for their life, or the life of a loved one.

Godspeed and Good Reads!

Doc Murf

 

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Life of Martin Luther by John Frederick William Tischer

[DOWNLOAD abridged version]

Luther

A very interesting book on the life of Martin Luther. Yielding a wealth of information on his upbringing, his time in the monastery and his push toward the reformation.

The thing that stands out most to me is the statement he made at the diet at Worms in 1521, when he was asked to recant his books, pamphlets and stances on the doctrines he was promoting:

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.

What daring? What audacity? What courage to speak out at the powers that be (the Romish Church and the pope) letting them know that they were wrong and taught improper and wrong doctrines to the people that followed them. Also, to use the powers at hand in any particular area to use force in order to force others to follow them. This is the power we each need in order to spread the truth. These are the powers we need in order to faithfully follow Jesus’ and hold NO fear of anyone or anything else within our hearts. God will protect our souls, this was a promise; our live He may or may not save from death at any given time. If He does, so be it. If not, then, also, so be it! Let God’s will be done here on earth.

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf

 

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Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth by Ben Shapiro

brainwashed

When parents send their children off to college, mom and dad hope they’ll return more cultivated, knowledgeable, and astute–able to see issues from all points of view. But, according to Ben Shapiro, there’s only one view allowed on most college campuses: a rabid brand of liberalism that must be swallowed hook, line, and sinker. In this explosive book, Ben Shapiro, a college student himself, reveals how America’s university system is one of the largest brainwashing machines on the planet. Examining this nationwide problem from firsthand experience, Shapiro shows how the leftists who dominate the universities–from the administration to the student government, from the professors to the student media–use their power to mold impressionable minds. Fresh and bitterly funny, this book proves that the universities, far from being a place for open discussion, are really dungeons of the mind that indoctrinate students to become socialists, atheists, race-baiters, and narcissists.

This is an excellent primer for those intending to go into the university system, either as a student or an academic. While this is not a universal truth by any stretch of the imagination, it is quite telling of the university mindset and academia.

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf

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Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber

anticancer

When David Servan-Schreiber, a dedicated scientist and doctor, was diagnosed with brain cancer, his life changed. Confronting what medicine knows about the illness and the little-known workings of his body’s natural cancer ­fighting capacities, and marshaling his own will to live, Servan-Schreiber found himself on a fifteen-­year journey from disease and relapse into scientific exploration and, finally, to health.

Combining memoir, concise explanation of what makes cancer cells thrive and what inhibits them, and drawing on both conventional and alternative ways to slow and prevent cancer, Anticancer is revolutionary. It is a moving story of a doctor’s inner and outer search for balance; radical in its discussion of the environment, lifestyle, and trauma; and compelling and cautionary in its proposal that cancer cells lie dormant in all of us and that we all must care for the “terrain” in which they exist.

Advocating a sea change in the way we understand and confront cancer, Anticancer is a radical synthesis of science and personal experience, an inspiring personal journey, and certainly a guide to “a new way of life.” Anticancer tells us:

Why the traditional Western diet creates the conditions for disease and how to develop a science-based anticancer diet
How and why sugar and stress feed cancer and ways to achieve life balance and good nutrition to combat it
 ◊ Why the effects of helplessness and unhealed wounds affect our ability to restore health
 ◊ How to reap the benefits of exercise, yoga, and meditation
 ◊ How to minimize environmental toxins
 ◊ How to find the right blend of traditional and alternative health care

I found this book to be awesome in it’s candor and it’s presentation of much information we do not know about cancer. The author breaks cancer down to it’s most simple issue…a war waged against your body and with the enemy infiltrating your very brain center enticing it to stop the fight. In essence, you body allows for the cancer to take advantage of a weakness your body has permitted. But we can change that, to a degree and we can be ever vigilant in our fight to remain alive!

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf

 

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Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College by Tara Ross

Enlightened-Democracy

Pick up a newspaper and read about the Electoral College. It is a sure recipe for losing respect for the institution. Media commentators are swift to dismiss the institution as outdated and elitist, an anachronism that should be replaced by a direct popular vote. In recent years, this discontent has found a voice as a well-funded, California-based effort seeks to bypass the constitutional amendment process and effectively eliminate the Electoral College through a series of state laws. Such efforts to eliminate the Electoral College are misguided, and this book shows why. Written in straightforward language, Enlightened Democracy traces the history of the Electoral College from the Constitutional Convention to the present. This second edition of the book is revised and expanded to include a new section about the National Popular Vote legislative effort. The Electoral College protects our republic and promotes our liberty. Americans should defend their unique presidential election system at all costs.

An enlightening journey to learn that which we were never actually taught in school. I always had a dim view of the Electoral College primarily because I never actually studied it nor had I ever researched the purpose of it’s existence. Our Founding Fathers knew that they could not know everything, nor could they foresee the future especially with respect to the popular voting of a leader of our people and country. They could not entrust the nation’s future into the hands of the populous because a direct democracy was the worst form of government, and therefore could not be trusted…hence, we were created as a republic with democratic qualities. Without a doubt, it is a worthwhile read!

I had to see my dentist while I was reading this book and his complaint was the winner take all. While I agree with him, he failed to see that these are based upon states’ laws on Electoral College votes. While this may, in fact be unconstitutional, it still remains the way our President is elected.

Godspeed & Good Reads!

Doc Murf!

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