Brady Vs. Manning (book review)

brady-vs-manningTom Brady and Peyton Manning are two quarterbacks who have raised the standard for how NFL quarterbacks are to be measured. Any football fan has undoubtedly seen them play, but Gary Myers shares what went into making these men the phenomenal players they are. Brady vs. Manning—The untold story of the rivalry that transformed the NFL is a fascinating read!

Everyone loves to cheer for their home team’s quarterback, but even “homers” will admit (sometimes reluctantly) that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning stand apart from the crowd. Their accomplishments on the field are well-known, but it’s what took place behind the scenes and out of sight from the cameras that contributed to making these two fierce rivals the extraordinary players they are.

A debate often rages whether a leader in a particular field was born to greatness, or whether he made himself great. The answer is not either-or but both-and. As Gary Myers digs into Brady and Manning’s past we see several factors converging: genes, family environment, talent, a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of hard work and perseverance.

Many times Myers’ story shows how the lives of Brady and Manning intersected—sometimes they knew it, and sometimes they didn’t. But many of the chapters zoom in on the individual quarterbacks in various aspects of their development. We get to see the support from their families, the impact of their decision on where to go to college, how the NFL draft could have played out differently for both of them, the advantages and disadvantages of various coaches and teammates, and (of course) their fierce head-to-head rivalry.

One of the cool things for me was the respect and friendship these two highly competitive athletes have for each other. There were also several other moments that made me realize how special these two men have been for the NFL, and what a privilege it’s been for me to watch them compete on such a high level. After reading this book, I have even great respect for these two premier quarterbacks.

Any sports fan will thoroughly enjoy Brady vs. Manning!

I am a Three Rivers Press book reviewer.

11 Quotes From “Your Next 24 Hours”

your-next-24-hoursHal Donaldson makes the case that a revolution of kindness can be started by what you do in the next 24 hours. It’s a great book! Check out my review of Your Next 24 Hours by clicking here, and then enjoy some of these quotes that I found enlightening.

“Think of your heart as a bank vault that’s packed with the currency of love and kindness. When that currency is hoarded—it is wasted. But when it is invested in the lives of others, it pays great dividends. With each disbursement, you give others strength, hope, and value.”

“You have a unique capacity to bring hope and beauty to the world. Don’t waste your precious energy using the wrong ruler. Granted, not everyone will acknowledge your unique gifts. But don’t allow how others see you to dictate how you see yourself. The words they use to describe you don’t define you. You can’t control how they respond to you, but you can influence what they have to respond to.”

“If all you possess are two hands, collect trash along the way. If all you own is a smile, use it to befriend someone who is lonely. If all you have is an umbrella, share it with someone who is quivering in the rain. If all you have is a kind word, encourage those who think the world is against them. To the lonely, rain-soaked, and downtrodden, your resourcefulness is their miracle.” 

“If enough families are built on a foundation of kindness, communities will see crime rates fall, domestic disputes decline, suicides drop, teen pregnancies wane, and cases of child abuse fade.”

“Whenever you see injustice, it’s safer to ignore it and do nothing. When you raise your voice in defense of others, you put yourself at risk. Retreating will protect you temporarily, but that approach only perpetuates more injustice and suffering. Don’t allow the threat of retaliation to make you a spectator.”

“From a heart of kindness, will you stand and say, ‘There are no second class citizens—nor should anyone be made to feel like one. Every life is precious to God and must be treasured, because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”?’ Remember, your voice is a vote for justice; your silence may be interpreted as a vote for injustice.”

“To offer the right prescription of hope and encouragement, you need to be emotionally and spiritually prepared.” 

“No life experience should be wasted, because crises teach patience, empathy, and perseverance.”

“Make it your goal to do more for your friends and family members than they do for you. When they are facing hardship, make an effort to be by their side. They may not know how to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to be proactive.” 

“Occasional kindness has limited power. But relentless kindness has the power to restore, inspire, rescue, and unite.”

“Your acts of kindness are an outward expression of the love and happiness that are in your heart.” 

I’ll be sharing more quotes from this wonderful book soon. To be notified right away when these quotes are posted, enter your email address to subscribe. Also be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I share quotes from Hal Donaldson and other thought-provoking people every day.

Your Next 24 Hours (book review)

your-next-24-hoursWhen it comes to compassionate actions that are changing the world, Hal Donaldson—who founded the Convoy of Hope—knows what he’s talking about! Hal is passionate in letting everyone know that they, too, can be world changers. That message comes through loud and clear in his book Your Next 24 Hours.

Hal Donaldson turned a near-devastating situation in his young life into a relentless pursuit to show others the kindness he was shown. Throughout this book, he shares his personal story, as well as stories from some well-known people, and some not-so-well-known folks. In story after story one message becomes crystal clear: You don’t have to have a lot of money or celebrity status to do something kind for someone else.

Each 24-hour day presents us with abundant opportunities to see a pain that needs to be addressed, to show kindness, to do something that touches another life for good. And just in case you’re having a difficult time coming up with some world-changing ideas, Donaldson shares a few “Kind Ways” at the end of each chapter which anyone can do.

As he opens the book, Hal reminds us, “The enemies of kindness are fierce, and you’re only one person. But what if every person was a relentless force for good? Overnight, a revolution of kindness would dethrone a culture of greed and self-centeredness. The world would be a different place. You have more power and influence than you think.” (emphasis mine)

I am very excited to recommend this book to you! Already I have shared some of the “Kind Ways” with others and have used some of them myself. I’m excited to see a revolution of kindness that begins in the lives of each person who reads Your Next 24 Hours!

I am a Baker Books reviewer.

Streams In The Desert (book review)

streams-in-the-desertGod said, “Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19). This verse perfectly sums up the dominant message in Lettie Cowman’s book Streams In The Desert.

Everyone has been there: things haven’t gone as we planned … we’re not sure how we could have ended up in such a dry, barren place … it seems like nothing is working out right … we begin to think that even God has lost sight of us. But it’s in this painful, desert place that God is ready to do something unheard of!

Lettie Cowman knew the pain of sickness and disappointment and thwarted dreams. Yet in the midst of her desert place, as she poured out her raw emotions, she began to see a river springing up in her wilderness. This book is a heaven-sent blessing to anyone in those dark, barren places.

Each day you will get a glimpse of God’s spring, as Lettie shares her personal discoveries, insights from Scripture, quotes from other desert wanderers, poems of reflection, and even prayers for help. Each day’s short reading is thirst-quenching and soul-satisfying.

If you are going through a desert place, get a copy of this book for yourself. If you have a friend who is struggling, buy a copy for them, and find times to get together to discuss each day’s reading. There’s a reason why this book has stood the test of time and has been an immense help to so many throughout the years.

7 More Quotes From “Jesus Always”

jesus-alwaysIn Jesus Always by Sarah Young, we hear Jesus speak the words of Scripture to us in His first-Person voice.

“I am training you to view your life from a heavenly perspective—through eyes of faith. When things don’t go as you had hoped to, talk with Me. Seek My face and My guidance. I will help you discern whether you need to work to change the situation or simply accept it.”

“The more you keep your gaze on Me—in quiet times and busy times—the better you can reflect My glory to other people. … When you are aware that I am present with you, you’re less likely to do or say something that’s displeasing to Me. When you’re struggling with difficult circumstances or painful feelings, awareness of My presence offers courage and comfort.”

“If you aspire to reach the heights—especially the high places of achievement and recognition—be prepared to shoulder the responsibilities that accompany success. But don’t forget to enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing good things with Me, through Me, and for Me.”

“Pursuing a close walk with Me is the best way to live in the present. Keep bringing your thoughts back to Me whenever they wander. Return to Me joyfully, beloved. I will take great delight in you and rejoice over you with singing.”

“You tend to waste energy trying to determine whether your resources are adequate for the day. You keep checking your ‘power gauge’ instead of looking to Me for My provision. How much better to simply acknowledge your insufficiency when you awaken! This frees you to rely on My boundless sufficiency.”

“Your becoming a Christian was only the beginning of the work I’m doing in you. You need to be made new in the attitude of your mind and to put on the new self—becoming increasingly godly, righteous, and holy. This is a lifelong endeavor, and it is preparing you for heaven’s glory.”

“See Me smiling on you in radiant approval. My limitless love falls continually upon you, like heavenly snowflakes that melt into your upturned face. No matter how distressing your circumstances, this love is sufficient to sustain you. Someday you will even ascend to Heaven on it. I eagerly anticipate the time when I will take you into glory—to be with Me forever!”

Be sure to check out my review of Jesus Always by clicking here, and you can read the first set of quotes I shared from this book here.

If you’d like to be notified immediately when I post more quotes, please subscribe to my blog, and be sure to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr, where I share inspiring quotes every day.

11 Quotes From “Absolute Surrender”

absolute-surrenderThis book is a challenging book for any Christian to read. Check out my review by clicking here, and then check out a few quotes that especially caught my heart.

“I have a pen in my pocket, and that pen is absolutely surrendered to the one work of writing, and that pen must be absolutely surrendered to my hand if I am to write properly with it. If another holds it partly, I cannot write properly. … Can God work His work, every day and every hour, unless you are entirely given up to Him? God cannot.”

“How much Christian work is being done in the spirit of the flesh and in the power of self! How much work, day by day, in which human energy—our will and our thoughts about the work—is continually manifested, and in which there is but little of waiting upon God, and upon the power of the Holy Ghost!”

“One of the great causes why God cannot bless His Church is the want of love. … It is only when God’s people stand as one body, one before God in the fellowship of love, one toward another in deep affection, one before the world in a love that the world can see—it is only then that they will have power to secure the blessing which they ask of God.”

“A great many of us try hard at times to love. We try to force ourselves to love, and I do not say that is wrong; it is better than nothing. But the end of it is always very sad. ‘I fail continually,’ such a one must confess. And what is the reason? The reason is simply this: Because they have never learned to believe and accept the truth that the Holy Spirit can pour God’s love into their heart.”

“You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God. You must prove your love to God by your love to your brother; that is the one standard by which God will judge your love to Him. If the love of God is in your heart you will love your brother.”

“God has a plan for His Church upon earth. But alas! we too often make our plan, and we think that we know what ought to be done. We ask God first to bless our feeble efforts, instead of absolutely refusing to go unless God go before us. God has planned for the work and the extension of His kingdom.”

“God can only reveal His will to a heart that is humble and tender and empty. God can only reveal His will in perplexities and special difficulties to a heart that has learned to obey and honor Him loyally in little things and in daily life.” 

“May God forgive me that I have allowed self and the flesh and the will actually to have the place that God wanted the Holy Ghost to have.”

“The cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want to work it out partly, and to let God help you. And that cannot be. You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work, and God will work gloriously. … All God’s servants in the Old Testament counted upon the omnipotence of God doing impossibilities. And this God lives today, and this God is the God of every child of His. And yet we are some of us wanting God to give us a little help while we do our best, instead of coming to understand what God wants, and to say: ‘I can do nothing. God must and will do all.’”

“Ah, the great question for us to ask of God in self-examination is that we may be shown whether our religious life is lived more in the power of the flesh than in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

“Ah, yes; you failed because you do not accept the strength of God. God alone can work out His will in you. You cannot work out God’s will, but His Holy Spirit can; and until the Church, until believers grasp this, and cease trying to by human effort to do God’s will, and wait upon the Holy Spirit to come with all His omnipotent and enabling power, the Church will never be what God wants her to be, and what God is willing to make of her.”

I will be sharing more quotes from this book soon. To be notified immediately when these quotes are posted, fill in your email address in the field to the right and click “Sign me up!” Also be sure to follow me on Tumblr and Twitter for great quotes I share every day.

Absolute Surrender (book review)

absolute-surrenderAnyone who calls himself a Christian is more than likely searching and striving for a way to become a closer follower of Jesus Christ. That, says Andrew Murray in this book, is where that Christian will perpetually remain stuck. Rev. Murray makes the case that the only way for a Christian is Absolute Surrender.

Andrew Murray never pulled his punches when he spoke and wrote. Whether he was challenging fellow pastors or the congregation in his church, he spoke directly and authoritatively, like a New Testament apostle. For instance, he warned, “The great hindrance to trust is self-effort. So long as you have got your own wisdom and thoughts and strength, you cannot fully trust God.”

In nine short chapter, Rev. Murray brilliantly shows how God’s Word calls the Christian to absolutely, unreservedly yield to Jesus. We cannot progress in our Christian walk by our own best efforts, but we must daily make the decision to surrender to His hand.

In one sense this is an easy book to read. Rev. Murray doesn’t use big words or deep theological concepts. But in another sense, it’s a very challenging book, in that I found the Holy Spirit convicting me through Murray’s biblical messages. In the opening pages, Rev. Murray asks a simple question: Are you willing to surrender yourselves absolutely into His hands? If you can answer “yes” then this book is for you; if your answer is “no” or “I’m not sure” then you should probably wait awhile before attempting to read Absolute Surrender.

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