Poetry Saturday—Unanswered Prayers

Like some schoolmaster kind in being stern,
Who hears the children crying o’er their slates
And calling, “Help me, master!” yet helps not,
Since in his silence and refusal lies
Their self-development, so God abides
Unheeding many prayers. He is not deaf
To any cry sent up from earnest hearts;
He hears and strengthens when He must deny.
He sees as weeping o’er life’s hard sums;
But should He give the key and dry our tears,
What would it profit us when school were done
And not one lesson mastered?

     What a world
Were this if all our prayers were answered. Not
In famed Pandora’s box were such vast ills
As lie in human hearts. Should our desires,
Voiced one by one in prayer, ascend to God
And come back as events shaped to our wish,
What chaos would result!

     In my fierce youth
I sighed out breath enough to move a fleet,
Voicing wild prayers to heaven for fancied boons
Which were denied; and that denial bends
My knees to prayer of gratitude each day
Of my maturer years. Yet from those prayers
I rose always regirded for the strife
And conscious of new strength. Pray on, sad heart,
That which thou pleadest may not be given,
But in the lofty altitude where souls
Who supplicate God’s grace are lifted, there
Thou shalt find help to bear thy daily lot
Which is not elsewhere found. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty (book review)

Ty Cobb was baseball’s first superstar and its first inductee into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Yet when most people think of him, they think of a racist jerk. Was he? Charles Leerhsen unpacks Ty Cobb’s life in an outstanding biography entitled Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty.

Leerhsen himself initially believed all the negative reports about Cobb. He wrote:

“When I started researching this book I believed, like a lot of people, that Ty Cobb was a maniac, meaning a racist and a mean, spikes-sharpening son of a bitch. This was not a professional opinion based on knowledge; it was an assumption based on stories I’d been hearing all my life. People said it in bars; Ken Burns said it in his baseball documentary, so it must be true—that sort of thing. That I’d come to this conclusion without investigating the matter myself made the myth more, not less, powerful for me. … The experience [of researching and writing this book] taught me a lesson about how assumptions can shape our thinking, and hence our lives. Just because you’ve heard something a thousand times doesn’t mean it’s true.”

As Leerhsen began meticulously going through the real-time daily accounts of Cobb’s life, when he began reviewing original source material, all his preconceived ideas about Ty Cobb began to melt away. Leerhsen discovered that an opportunistic journalist named Al Stump almost wholly made up the derogatory claims about Cobb from unnamed sources. And as the cliche goes, the bad stuff is easier to believe than the good stuff, so the lies about Cobb stuck.

Ty Cobb was a phenomenal baseball star. He set 90 Major League records in his career, and he still holds the records for:

  • Combined runs scored and runs batted in (4065)
  • Highest career batting average (.366)
  • Most batting titles (11)
  • Most steals of home (54)
  • Stealing second, third, and home in succession (5) … once he did that on consecutive pitches!
  • The youngest player to compile 4000 hits and score 2000 runs

Not only does Leerhsen rebut all of the lies about Cobb, but he uncovers the life of a man who almost singlehandedly made Major League Baseball the national pastime that it became.

There’s also a great lesson to be learned here—never judge someone by what “they” say, but get the facts for yourself!

All baseball fans—and especially Detroit Tigers fans like me—will thoroughly enjoy this book.

The Maxwell Leadership Bible (book review)

Hands-down the best book for any aspiring, developing, or seasoned leader is the Bible! John Maxwell is a mentor of leaders that I have come to greatly appreciate over the years of my leadership development. So having John Maxwell’s commentary accompany my daily Bible reading time has been a  huge blessing! You can find this complete leadership development package in The Maxwell Leadership Bible.

The Bible is filled with leadership principles given by God Himself. John Maxwell is helping me compile various principles throughout the entirety of the Bible into cohesive units of study.

The Bible also presents us with various people who followed or violated God’s leadership principles. We are able to see the struggles that come to those who either ignore God’s directives or don’t consistently follow through on them. And we’re able to see the legacy of success that follows those who make it a priority to consistently walk in God’s precepts. Once again, Maxwell is brilliant at identifying these leadership lessons.

Normally I post reviews after I have read an entire book, but given the fact that my Bible reading time is in-depth and time-consuming, I wanted to post a review now to encourage Christian leaders to take advantage of this wonderful resource. If you want to use the Bible to grow your leadership capacities, the commentaries and insights provided by John Maxwell will be a huge blessing to you.

P.S. I am reading The Maxwell Leadership Bible on the Kindle version. I find it very convenient to tap on the footnotes, character studies, and leadership lessons that John Maxwell has prepared, and then quickly tap back to the biblical passage right where I left off.

Know Who You Are (book review)

Tim Tebow continues to astound me! Few people have used their celebrity status to promote other people like he has. In his latest book—Know Who You Are—he turns his sights on something near and dear to his heart: homeschool students and parents.

A key component of any student’s education is learning to articulate their thoughts in writing. At the beginning of his book Tim shares about some research on this topic:

“An esteemed professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin studied the impact of journaling. Through a handful of studies, this expert found that expressive writing in a personal and meaningful way positively impacts health, well-being, and self-development. It can put us in a better mood. It can help us process tough situations. It can challenge us to make good changes. It can pave the way for a more impactful future.”

Know Who You Are helps students journal their thoughts by giving them some positive things to ponder. Tim shares his personal stories, many of which involve mistakes he’s made or things which have caused him to second-guess himself, and then talks about the life lessons he learned from those experiences. He then gives students an opportunity to apply those same lessons to their own life. Each week’s lesson wraps up with a couple of writing prompts for the student’s journaling exercises.

This book is designed to take a student through their entire school year, but will help students to think better about themselves and their circumstances for a lifetime. Know who you are—Live like it matters is an excellent resource!

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer.

P.S. If you would like to check out other Tim Tebow books, my review for Through My Eyes is here, and my review for Shaken is here.

Intentional Living (book review)

Intentional LivingI believe I have read every book John Maxwell has written, and I found Intentional Living to be different from every other book so far.

The teaching points were still there, but they felt different. The quotes from other wise men and women were still there, but not as many of them. This book was different, because it was personal.

I love to read biographies and autobiographies of successful men and women, and then try to dig out the leadership lessons from their lives. But Dr. Maxwell did this for me in Intentional Living. He told his life story in a very personal way (it felt a lot like a memoir or autobiography), but then he also wrote about the leadership lessons from his life. Thankfully, he didn’t stop there, but then went on to challenge us with ways to apply those leadership lessons to our own lives.

John Maxwell calls us to live an intentional life—

“Living intentionally will motivate you to start asking questions and begin prioritizing whatever is important to you. … Can I make a difference? Whom should I help? How can I help them? How can I add value to them? … An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing. An intentional life embraces only the things that will add to the mission of significance.”

If you feel that your life lacks intentionality, this book will help you make the changes necessary. If you feel that your life is intentional now, this book will help you laser-focus on the most significant things you can do to take your impact of significance to a whole new level.

I am a Center Street book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“In this version of the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4) Jesus says, ‘When you pray say’ … and then in verse 4 He includes this petition, ‘and forgive us our sins.’ So, if you connect the beginning of the prayer with the middle, what He says is, ‘Whenever you pray say … forgive us our sins.’ I take this to mean that this should be as much a part of all our praying as ‘Hallowed be Thy name.’ Which means that Jesus assumes that we need to seek forgiveness virtually every time we pray. In other words, we are always sinners. … It doesn’t matter how obedient we have been before we pray. We always come to the Lord as sinners—all of us. And God does not turn away the prayers of sinners when they pray like this.” —John Piper

“What if I say that it is not unjust but according to law that when a woman gets into debt her husband should bear it? And with the church of God sinning, it was but right that her Husband, who had espoused her unto Himself, should become the debtor on her behalf. The Lord Jesus stood in the relationship of a married Husband unto His church, and it was not, therefore, a strange thing that He should bear her burdens.” —Charles Spurgeon

“We can have confidence in our ability, through reason, to help our unbelieving friends consider the Good News of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. We know this because God Himself is reasonable, and we believe He commends the use of reason in making Himself and His will known to men.” —T.M. Moore

“Listen to your conscience. Don’t be afraid not to join the mob—if you feel inside it’s wrong. Don’t confuse being ‘soft’ with seeing the other guy’s point of view. … Avoid self-righteously turning on a friend, but have your friendship mean enough that you would be willing to share with your friend your judgment. Don’t assign away your judgment to achieve power.” —George H.W. Bush, in a letter to his sons during the Watergate scandal

Some interesting lessons in Fast Company’s list of the 50 most well-liked CEOs in the United States.

“satan has tripped up many Christians by convincing them they’ve lost something in the Lord.” But David Wilkerson urges us to forget those things!

If you are praying for one of your loved ones to accept Jesus as their Savior, Tim Dilena has an encouraging word for you in The Amazing Now Becomes More Amazing.

[VIDEO] Conrad Mbewe shows how the so-called prosperity gospel isn’t honest with the entirety of Scripture—

8 Quotes On Suffering & Overcoming

Jesus has overcomeEarlier today I posted a recap of the message I delivered Sunday morning at Calvary Assembly of God addressing the question on why we have to go through suffering. Here are a few quotes I found during my study time last week.

“By nature, we evaluate nearly every situation according to its immediate impact on our desires, and we make our choices accordingly. Consequently, we often sacrifice that which would bring infinite eternal benefit in exchange for temporary gratification.” —Stephen K. Scott

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —Jesus Christ

“Wherever souls are being tried and ripened, in whatever commonplace and homely way, there God is hewing out the pillars for His temple.” —Phillips Brooks

“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” —Thomas Moore

“Sorrows remembered sweeten present joy.” —Robert Pollok

“Joys are our wings, sorrows our spurs.” —Jean Paul Richter

“Sorrow is divine. Sorrow is reigning on all the thrones of the universe, and the crown of all crowns has been one of thorns. There have been many books that treat of the sympathy of sorrow, but only one that bids us glory in tribulations, and count it all joy when we fall into divers afflictions, that so we may be associated with that great fellowship of suffering of which the incarnate Son of God is the head, and through which He is carrying a redemptive conflict to the glorious victory over evil. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” —Harriet Beecher Stowe

I walked a mile with Pleasure—
She chattered all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she,
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me. —Robert Browning Hamilton

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