Monday, October 31, 2011

Top 10 WORST Halloween Candy treats: The "How To" guide to receiving and distributing/ redistributing Halloween Candy

Please feel free to comment with your own best or worst candies if you disagree!!!!!

 these  qualify as the top ten worst Halloween candy treats for any trick or treater, starting with #10.
10 whoppers or tootsie rolls
9 chocolate coins
8 individual, partially wrapped hersey kisses
7 last year's candy canes
6 dumdum lollipops
5 pretzels
4 Dots
3 Milk Duds & Sugar Daddies
2 Individually wrapped/ partially wrapped chewy candies or gum (Now &Later)
and the worst is........
1 Indivdually wrapped/ partially wrapped hard sucking candies

In theory, if Halloween treats are intended for young trick-or -treaters and not those overgrown, unruly, freeloading  teenagers, this top ten list should be written with the young child in mind (age 12 and under).  First of all, individually wrapped hard candies, chewy candies and gum are obviously unsuitable for young children, as they present a choking hazard, not to mention the fact that they are often partially unwrapped by the time they are received.  The actual origin of these candies can be anywhere from the bottom of grandma's lint filled purse, or the candy bowl in a doctor's  waiting room.  Often these candies have seen higher circulation than a dollar bill.  Any responsible parent or adult will immediately confiscate these deadly pieces. Therefore, these either go right to the trash as tainted candy or they are set aside for parent consumption.   Or they may even be recycled and set aside in a candy bowl dedicated to teenagers that come to your door.

Any other individually wrapped candy, not intended for individual distribution, which is not individually or hermetically sealed such chocolate coins, individual hershey kisses, tootsie rolls, (even if its chocolate) must be discarded because of the ease in which they can be unwrapped and rewrapped.  These could be tainted with bacterium or even drugs and no responsible parent would give these to their child.  Of course the parent may eat them, at his or her own risk.

Any candy that actually adheres to the teeth, and causes the mandible to be glued together with the maxillae, should never be given to any child- this includes now and later candies, many caramels, dots, sugar daddies and other similar candies. These should go directly to the trash.  These are too hard to chew, and take way too long to suck.  Oftentimes the parent may make an attempt to eat a piece of this candy,  in a desperate mood of gluttony, and this usually results in  annoyance and frustration, and eventually the piece of candy must be discarded.  As in the case of  hard and chewy candies, like Milk Duds,  Now and Laters, or Dots, the offending piece of candy must actually be scraped  or even pried off the teeth before consumption is complete! These are not even worth the attempt to eat, not even for the parent. It only takes a couple of times before even the most gluttonous of parents, learns this candy is not really a candy.

Bagged pretzels may be lame, but at least they are a healthy alternative if they are in individually sealed bags.  These can at least be used as a snack with a bagged school lunch.  The other candies in the list, such as dum dum lollipops and smarties are just pretty lame in general.  After all the good candy is gone, children and parents may eventually get around to eating these.  More often than not, these may sit around and wind up in next year's candy bowl.

In this economy, with rising taxes and unemployment, you can't expect a homeowner or household to spend tons of money on candy that goes to strangers.  The common denominator of the candy choices listed (with the exception of the lame pretzels), is that they are cheap and sold in bulk or found somewhere.  And these days even the cheap candy of the past is no longer cheap. You can not rule the possibility that some moms make these choices to avoid the temptation of eating the Halloween candy themselves.  Nevertheless, certain candies should never be distributed to young children as they are entirely unsuitable for consumption no matter how strapped for cash you may be.  If your financial situation is desperate, or your will power is low, pennies are an inexpensive, but better choice than the hazardous candies mentioned in the list. Or, just purchase a single bag of candy, and when you run out, lock the door and turn off your lights.  If its just an issue of will power and expense is not an issue, why not distribute chips, granola bars, pencils, temporary tattoos or stickers? As a creative  no-cost alternative, plan ahead and go online on the internet in August, do a Google search for free religious tracts and place an order, and distribute them to trick or treaters.

Keep in mind, if you give a very good, high quality candy like a Peppermint Patty or an Almond Joy or dark chocolate, you are probably just feeding the parent because most kids don't like coconut, almonds or mint- but that's okay because some parents deserve candy too. For the sake of full disclosure, other candies such as raisinettes,  peanut M&Ms, Babe Ruth's, Snickers and other candy with nuts often wind up in the parent stash too. Oftentimes, parents will be subtle,as they lurk at the curb, waiting like a vulture for their child to return with their candy loot, hoping for a treat.  You may think they are simply taking photos of their kids in cute costumes, but they are really waiting to check the candy.  It may be more accurate to say that the safety check of the candy is as much for the parent's "benefit" as it is for the child.

If you want to give a good quality candy that the parent will not eat, then give Kit Kats, Reeses, Krackle bars, Hersey's chocolate bars, m&ms,  Twix, sealed commercially made (NOT home-made) rice crispy treats and other non- nut chocolate.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Torn by Jud Wilhite

In today's world of dissapointments, hardships and depression, the book Torn: Trusting God When Life Leaves You in Pieces by Jud Wilhite is very relevant.  Wilhite does not present Christianity as a utopia where one's problems always go away and everything works out perfectly in finance, family and health.  The prosperity gospel paints a distorted view of faith, and it results in many disolusioned individuals.  In contrast, this book points out the error of prosperity teaching and the disservice it does to those seeking truth and in seeking a relationship with God. 

In contrast to the previous book I reviewed by the same publishing group, Relentless, this book shows that illness, death, poverty and other adverse circumstances do in fact affect believers with a strong faith.  In fact, in this fallen world, we can not escape the consequences of sin, sickness, financial issues, health issues, crime, death or natural disasters.  The important thing is not to see illness or adverse circumstances as a result of weakened faith.  The author shows it is possible to strengthen one's peace, and relationship with God, even when the world around you is falling apart.  This book illustrates this with the examples of Job and Joseph.  It even shows the suffereing Jesus went through in the Garden of Gethemane, when he too suffered and experienced pain.  God does not ignore our prayers or our hardships.  As a blogger for Water brook multnomah publishing group, I receieved this book for the purpose of writing this review. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nearing Home by Billy Graham

Nearing Home by Billy Graham, is not simply a book for the old, infirm, depressed or terminally ill.  It is a book that contains wise advise for every reader. Yet, even so, I could not exactly relate to this book as it is intended for the senior reader. Considering I don't know if I will ever reach my 50s or 60s, I did not want to seriously consider the issues raised such as retirement and other end of life practical matters.  If I wasn't a blogger, I would never take the gamble and pay $19.95 for a book that speaks about my future years- since there is no guarentee I will be able to put it to use.  For those readers in their 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or even beyond (if that is even possible) this book is sure to be empowering and enlightening, and well worth the money spent to purchase the book. 

 On numerous occasions the bible speaks of the importance of being aware of the etrnal reality- that life here on earth will end.  The book of wisdom and ecclesiastes often speaks of the wise as being aware of the issues of mortality and death rather than the foolish who simply ignore the reality of death.People have only a few useless days of life on the earth; their short life passes like a shadow. Ecc 6:12 The day of death is better than the day of birth. Its better to go to a funeral tahn to a party. We all must die and everyone living should think about this. Ecclesiates 7:1-2 A wise person thinks about death but a fool thinks only about having a good time. Ecc 7:4 Paul's letters make reference to the reality of eternal life: beyond thid physical world.  If I live , it will be for Christ, and if I die, I will gain even more. I don't know what to choose....It is a hard choice to make. I want to die and be with Christ because this would be much better. Philippians 1:21-23 CEV even stating if in this life only we have hope then we are to be among all the most pitiable.

Billy Graham is a well known figure by religious and the secular world alike.  There is some comfort in knowing that he, as the author, takes time to ponder the truths of eternity and mortality.  His words of strength give greater voice and credibility to the words of the bible in a world that worships the media, materialism, culture and greed.  As a blogger for booksneeze, I have received this book in exchange for writing this review.  My opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heaven is for Real By Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

Heaven is for Real  -A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, By Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, claims to be an account of a true story.  A pastor, writes the account of his son's trip to heaven, that happened during the emergency surgery of his 4 year old son near death experience.  While alleged near death experiences are somewhat common, based on the media attention in documentaries, articles and even books, what makes this story unique is the fact that it comes from a 4 year old boy, who upon his return to his parents, reveals information that he could possibly not have known everywhere else.

Even though this story is easy to read and easy to follow, it raises spiritually complex issues such as the issue of the legitimacy of private visions apart from revealed scripture.  While it is true that some NDE can be ruled out as the side effects of a dying or injured brain, not all can be scientifically ruled out.  Some perhaps might be supernatural in nature.  Nevertheless that does not mean they should automatically be accepted as biblical in nature or truth.  I must admit I am skeptical when it comes to believing modern day visions and NDE.  For example, there are so many alleged apparitions of Mary in the Catholic church, that I believe most to be hoaxes, and in other cases, demonic in nature. 

Convieniently, this entire miraculous story occured to a pastor's son.  The reader places his faith by accepting the word of the pastor- the author of this book- that his 4 year old son did in fact go to heaven and that it is a true account and not fabricated or embellished. While the pastor does not admit to adding to his son's depictions of heaven, he interprets them in light of scripture.  In of itslef there is nothing wrong with doing that.   Once the reader decides to accept the author's word that this story is legit,  it is up to the reader to discern the source or supernatural power behind the NDE. This is where most readers will most likely accept with blind faith that this is a true account and that it is based on biblical truth. This is because most people want to believe this heartwarming and comforting message is true. 

 Any responsible reader familiar with the bible will be aware that he or she is faced with the task of determining if the experience of Colton is spiritually based on truth, or if it perhaps is an indirect attempt of Satan to mislead believers into accepting false information.  Paul warned in the letters of the new testement, especially in the book of Galations, that even Satan, and evil spirits can appear as angels of light, deceiving many.  So, if this is true, then is it possible that a Pastor might be decieved and misinterpret his son's experience as being from God when it possibly isn't?  That possibility must be acknowledged by anyone who reads this book.   While Paul acknowledged the possibility of personal visions in the ancient church, he himself did not place on any believer the burden of accepting any other private vision other than the message containe din the gospel.  When Colton urgently claimed that all must know Jesus to enter Heaven, that is accurate- and perhaps the most significant piece of information that could possibly validate the experience as being in line with scripture. As far as the other details- knowledge of his grandfather and unborn sister- that information could be obtained from evil sources for the purpose of adding "authenticity" and misleading believers into believeing the other aspects of the visions Colton shared.  The evil spirits are known for mixing truth with falsehood.  We are in a spiritual battle, and nothing is off limits as far as the evil spirits of this world are concerned.  they will try all sorts oftricky and decieving deceptions. They will  try any underhanded tactic even going so far as using an innocent boy and his Pastor Dad, as tools to mislead others.  It isn't always obvious to everyone to sort truth from untruth unless they are firmly grounded in the Holy Spirit. Even those involved in the occult such as palm readers and fortune tellers, can sometimes fortell the future or the past with amazing accuracy with supernatural information supplied by the evil spirit realm.  The details of the throne of God, the angels and other aspects are questionable, as to their spiritual authenticity.

As a blogger for booksneeze I received this book from Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.  It is with caution I would suggest this book to anyone to read. unless of course that reader is willing to take the time to discern, in light of scripture, the validity of the message presented by this little boy's experience and his dad who authored the book.

The Voice New Testament

The Voice, New Testament translation of the bible, is a new, modern translation.  This new bible is a hybrid that melds together the usefulness of a study bible, together with the simplicity of a paraphrase- in a screen play type of format to boot! This translation is based on the Voice, originally released a few years ago with some notable changes in the 2011 edition.  In contrast to the first release, Jesus is no longer the "Liberator" , but rather the "Annointed".  And John the Baptist, is no longer referred to as John the "Immerser" but John the Baptist.  These changes from the earlier edition of the Voice, reflect a return to the more traditional rendering of the bible text.  The significance  of the word "voice", is based on the idea that Jesus is considered to be the "Logos" or the "word" as referenced in the first chapter of John.  Just as the word is living and alive, a translation of the bible should be a living form of communication to share the good news of the gospel.

 This Voice translation, brings to life, the words of the bible in an easy to read paraphrase.  This is not a literal translation, but this translation,  nevertheless, gets the reader to understand the meaning of the bible.  This bible is the perfect outreach method to reach out to those who have never read the bible, or perhaps find the bible too intimidating.  Suitable for adults and youth alike, the life changing words of the bible are still maintained in this easy to read format.  While this version does not have paragraph titles as other mordern versions, it is written in a screen play type of format. The text is broken up,  based on the speaker. Each character is in a colored bold font, and the text follows just as in a play format.  Paragraphs of explanatory text are inserted- yet distinct, from the actual bible text so as to not confuse the reader.  The commentary makes this bible useful as a study bible!

As a blogger for booksneeze, I recieved a copy of this bible for the purpose of review and my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Relentless by John Bevere

As a blogger for Water Brook press, I had the opportunity to review Relentless by John Bevere, scheduled for release 13/13/2011.  My copy, an advance reading copy- contained a couple of typos in the first chapter- which will probably be corrected in the final copy- an incorrect biblical reference- that should have been 1John 2:16-17 and not John 2:16-17 on page 3 and the insertion o an extra "e" on page 4, in the middle paragraph.  Aside from that, this effectively written book is certain to be uplifting, and possibly life-changing for many readers.  In contrast to Bevere's early writing style, this book has significantly more detail, and is more spiritually complex. 

Nevertheless, the influcence of prosperity teaching is clear, as the author asserts that with enough faith anything can be overcome- sickness, health issues as well as financial issues.  The author states that sickness is not used for a greater purpose and oftentimes those who eventually sucumb to sickness do so as a result of a lack of innner faith or spiritual ignorance, regardless of how steadfast they seem.  He goes on to cite cases of miraculous healings in the lives of well known individuals such as Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin and lesser known individuals such as his mother-in-law and others. In the bible,  apostles in the letters warned all of us as believers to test any teaching against scripture so as to be sure of its truthfulness and fidelity to God's word.  As for Bevere's teaching on this pint, I feel as if it may not entirely be backed by the scriptural message.  While God did not intend sickness and poverty and other bad things, in this fallen world they do happen, and one thing is for sure- that unless Jesus comes soon, everyone alive in this generation will eventually sucumb to a physical death.  In chapter 7, he apparently redifines and exands the concept of siun to include physical sickness in general.  Therefore with the concept of the forgiveness of sin, he includes also the healing of sickness.  The author believes just as Jesus healed physical infirmities in the bible, Jesus will also heal physical sickness, and financial poverty- literally- here in the modern day as well.  In fact, the author goes on to say that oftentimes, poverty will reduce the credability and authority of a Christian and therefore, poverty is often a poor witness of spirituality and faith.   He believes that a poor Christian is less likely to be an effective apostle of the good news than an individual who has enough money to pay his bills, and that "God is not opposed to our having money" page 94.  The author's assertions make me wonder if he is applying wordly wisdom or spiritual wisdom. One thing for sure, I do believe that many middle- upperclass readers will feel better to have their lifestyles validated and reconciled with the bible.  Paul warns of those teachers who make converts by saying pleasing words that "tickle the ears" rather than spiritual truths.

Putting the justification of money and financial issues aside- the author makes some very good points based on observations of the moral decline, that are worth reading and re-reading. He urges the reader to choose spiritual truth over mere security, and comfort and warns the believer against complacency with this world.  He dispells commonly held myths and flase teaching often held by cultic groups conccerning the end times in the bible.   He urges the reader to be vigilant and not to blindly accept and consume worldy media which invades and errodes spiritual growth.  He uses a good analogy to decribe an individual caught up with the materialism and immorality and greediness of this world to someone who is drunk from too much drink.  This spiritually complex book raised many issues- many of which were biblical, and some of which were debatable- such as the issue of physical healing.  In the end, Paul tells us as believers not to be devisive about lesser doctrinal issues and for those weak in faith there is less liberty and for thos greater in faith there is more liberty. But, if by our liberty in regards to food and drink and celebration of certain days above others, we cause another to stumble, then we hhave not acted out of love.  Just as many debate the issue of tongues, the issue of modren healings is also an issue for many.  But in the letters of the NT, it is clearly stated that certain miraculous gifts or miracles will pass away in these times and that the testimony we have is Jesus himself. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why Men Hate Going to Church By David Murrow

I received the book, Why Men Hate Going to Church By David Murrow in the mail in error from the Booksneeze blogger program instead of the book I actually requested.  At first I was disgusted; since I am not am man this book would not apply to me, obviously.  Nevertheless, since I did have the book, I decided I might as well read it.  The author, David Morrow made some relevant and suprisingly true observations of the condition of today's churches.  Perhaps this is something that many do not consider, as it is often overlooked, but most Church membership is made up of either women, or seniors.  In general, there are few younger people that actually attend church, and especially very few men in particular.  Many reasons were cited by the author to explain why churches apparently neglect men, albeit unintentionally.  Outreach programs and church groups frequently cater to women and children, as well as female related issues.  Furthermore, the preaching style and content is tailored towards the gentleness and preferences of women.  On top of that, the decor of the church- the flowers, feminine art work, plush furniture and color schemes are geared for the tastes of women.  It is as if men simply do not fit into the female emphasis of worship in most modern churches.  Espcially in female run churches, with a woman as a minister- men feel alienated.  The author gives a voice to many issues that are neglected or overlooked!
I believe that this book is worth considering for anyone involved in Church leadership.  It offers a unique perspective on the reasons why church attendance- especially by men- continues to fall.  As a blogger for booksneeze, I received this book for the purpose of writing a review.   The opinions stated in this review are my own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Big Book of History

The Big Book of History is a an educational fold-out timeline published by Masterbooks.  This illustrated, full-color timeline covers all of human history from the start of creation to the modern day! Beginning with the creation acount of Genesis, and ending with the advent of computers and even Ipods, everything is covered. One major strength of this timeline is the reconciliation of world events and scientific events with the biblical acount of history.  A literal 7 day period of creation is assumed, and supported as well.  Nevertheless, this timeline is suitable for the secular audience as well.  Basically, this timeline of events states facts, not opinions- with the focus on historical events.  Nevertheless, for athiests- the 7-day creation at the start of the timeline might be a hurdle.  Nevertheless, this does not detract from the credibility and accuracy of this timeline.

 This timeline includes full color photos and illustrations.  Biblical history, as well as world history, social events, scientific breakthroughs and acheological history are covered in a simple to read format. There is coverage from every culture and area of the world.   Basically every major event is chronicled in this timeline for kids.  This fold- out timeline is a perfect educational tool for students of all ages. As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I received this book for the purpose of writing a review. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Dragons of Chiril by Donita K Paul

For those who love fantasy and adventure novels, the fiction piece, The Dragons of Chiril by Donita K Paul is sure to be an enjoyable book to read.  The author creates an entirely new fantasy world, rich in detail. In true fantasy fashion, an appendix of characters and a glossary is included in the back as well as a map of the world of Chiril.  There is also the battle of good and evil, an essential component of any fantasy adventure as well.  The characters, and creatures of the story  and world in which they interact come to life. Even the non-human fantasy creatures have well developed personalities which help draw the reader into the story.
The fantasy genre is unique in the sense that the reader can leave behind the so-called bland world in which he or she lives in- a world filled with unemployment, financial problems, frustrations and unrealized dreams.  A  book which focuses on non human characters, in a fantasy world filled with the supernatural, not limited by physical and social and economic limitations, has its appeal for obvious reasons.  Hence, the popularity of the fantasy genre. To be successful at this genre, an author has the difficult and challanging task of recreating an entire new world- rich in detail in order for the reader to enter and engage. As a blogger for Waterbook press, I recieved this book for the purpose of writing a review.  My opinions are my own.

Ascent from Darkness How Satan's Soldier Became God's Warrior By Michael Leehan

Ascent from Darkness How Satan's Soldier Became God's Warrior By Michael Leehan attempts to be an uplifting story that illustrates that the saving power of the cross can in fact really change people. Yet, after reading it, one can not help but feel discouraged about the spiritually poor state of many Christians, and churches.   This is a modern day story of a changed life.  As if the bible itself were not full of examples of changed lives: Saul who used to persecute the early Christians, and King David who repented after committing murder and adultery are just two of many examples.  For those who continue doubt in this modern day that faith has the power to change here is another story, albeit, a bit extreme.  It is true that no one, while still here on this side of eternity is too far gone to be born again and to make real and relevant changes- showing the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  It is only after we have died, and entered eternity, when that choice is solidified and unchanging. Nevertheless, don't let this book fool you- you need not be evil incarnate to go to hell.  Just because you aren't a depraved, blatant satanist, does not mean you have any advantage.  Passive regection is sufficient to miss the mark. To be saved you must be born again.  Being "good" won't save anyone.

Nevertheless, this obviously is an extreme story.  Most people are not Satanists, and you don't have to be a Satanist to be damned to Hell.  The more prevelant danger is apathy and disbelief.  You don't have to be evil incarnate to be spiritually dead.  Simply the passive regection of God is sufficient.  Furthermore, I found this story very discouraging in a way.  Despite the fact that the author noted that "Christians" seemed to be everywhere he turned, he also  made many, many references to lukewarm or nominal Christians.  In fact on several occasions he said it was easier to pick up a date in a bible study than in a bar! His statement that oftentimes that churches neglect the spititual health of their flock and that after they get baptised, that the new Christian is ignored,  is exactly on the mark.  Regrettably, it is true, more often than not- that once someone gets baptised they are on their own- left to themselves and usually in a spiritually vulnerable and weakened state.  How discouraging to hear this said of people who are supposedly Christians.  It is enough to make one think, is there truly anyone saved?  Reading this book may deter readers from attending churches- which are filled with hypocrites and bible studies filled with frustrated single women are mainly looking for relationships, dates and one night stands. Perhaps this is not the author's intent, but his description of church, bible studies and christians in general, is certainly unappealing as being a place of spiritual growth.

 Furthermore, the near death experience of the author at the start of the story reduced some of its credibility of the manifestations described by the author.  Paul in the NT does not require anyone to believe in private revelation.  I believe his experience seems to build a case for mental instability and addictive personality. The story is lengthy and at times repetitious, but then again it is a true life story.

The author's vivd depictions of the power of Satanism could be dangerous and even a source of temptation to weak minded or recovering persons.  Though the author intended the use of detailed description to try to scare the reader from the occult, I feel that it may do more to lure the curious into the occult. For such individuals I would not reccomend this book- it might be too much of a temptation.  In some ways I thought the author was "advertising" the power of Satanism.  To his credit, the author is gifted with words and insight when it came to describing the influence of the occult in his life.

 As the bible says, now is the time to believe and now is the time to be saved.  As a part of the booksneeze bloggers I recieved this book from Thomas Nelson publishers for the purpose of writing this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My First Hands On Bible

My First Hands On Bible Featuring the New Living Translation is a new children's bible published by Tyndale publishers.  There are so many new children's bibles on the market, but the unique aspect of this bible is that is actually features the word for word text of the bible- the NLT. In contrast to other children's bibles which are simply paraphrases or summaries based on the author's interpretation- this is actual biblical text! Side by side with actual bible text (the easy to understand NLT) are simple  cartoon styled illustrations. Dispersed within the text and illustrations are simple prayers, interactive ideas and "Jesus Connection" statements to add clarity and to sum up important biblical ideas.  This is a hands on bible for young children- preschoolers. It would not be directed to older children.  With the guidance of an adult to read the text, preschool aged children are sure to understand and enjoy this bible.  One thing to keep in mind is that it obviously is intended that this bible be read to a child as the text is clearly beyond a preschooler's ability to read and the thin pages could easily be torn. One main thing about this bible that I would change are  the overly simple cartoon styled drawings- which artistically,  I feel are basically one step above stick figure drawings.  Nevertheless this style of illustration is obviously geared towards very young children.  As a blogger for Tyndale bloggers I recieved this book for the purpose of writing this review and my opinions are my own.