Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World

December 1941 is the kind of history book I enjoy.  The history book I used in high school seemed to be written in a monotone 'voice', if a book can be so written.  It merely spewed out facts.  This book by Craig Shirley is the exact opposite.  It is very lively, and brings you into the time period.   Each chapter is a day in December 1941, with newspaper headlines  of the day under each chapter title.  Instead of leaving you an observer, it gives you the impression of these past day by day events as being present day by day events.

You get to know what the people of that 'fateful' month knew day by day, their culture, popular movies, books, events; Their attitude towards the war in Europe before and After Pearl Harbor.  You will hear of the panic and anger the was roused when people heard of the attack.  Some people didn't even know that Pearl Harbor was in Hawaii, some thought it was in North America.  There were also people who thought the attack was a hoax, like the 'War of the Worlds'.  Even people at Pearl Harbor didn't know exactly what was happening; there was a ship just docking as the fight began, the passengers, observing the bombing and gunfire thought that the navy had arranged a show for their arrival!

One of the things I found fascinating in observing the day by day life of Americans through this month in 1941 was their ardent patriotism.   Even the criminals were patriotic, there were some serving life-sentences who offered  themselves to FDR as a 'suicide Squad'; 6000 imprisoned in the Philippines offered to donate blood for the allies.  But their desire to be patriotic seemed badly misdirected in another sense.  More and more power was given to the government, and to the President in particular.  The government could seize private property, censor the American people(even forbidding weather reports for security).  Perhaps these things needed to be done, but it seemed that the American people seemed willing enough if merely asked to voluntarily restrict their freedoms.  I don't see the government stepping in as having been necessary, nor constitutional.  FDR's presidency was even called "the Imperial Presidency,  It was scary that "Roosevelt now wielded more power than King George III ever dreamed of."

All in all it was a very interesting account.  You will learn a lot in this book about the events at Pearl Harbor, and events around the world at that time regarding the axis and allies, again as though you were hearing it in real time…or on a daily basis.  It really is amazing and interesting to see how America changed from being' Isolationist', "After World War II, the philosophy was changed from America first, to America first in."  Winston Churchill was apparently ecstatic (in a good way)when America was forced to join the war, "Churchill regarded the Japanese attack as Britain's salvation.  He recalled in his memoirs the emotion he had felt at hearing the news, 'we had won the war…'" 

Now, on a slightly negative note, this book did have accounts of things about American society that seemed inappropriate, let me just say, there are certain things/facts  I don't care to know about any time period.  Other than that, it was REALLY good.  I love reading about history from someone who obviously enjoys telling it(and who is a good writer as Shirley is here) as it generally makes me enjoy it too. The back of the book is full(and I mean FULL) of notes and references/sources.  The book ends with an excellent summary as to how the attack on Pearl Harbor affected the outcome of the war, and what might have happened had things not happened as they did.  Knowing the sovereignty of God makes it more interesting for me to read history, It's fascinating to look back on what God had 'written' for that time. "Events conspired to help the Japanese, and hurt America and the world in the short run, but ironically hurt Japan and helped America and the world in the long run."  I think that  it is an excellent book on an important event in World War II. 

I have received this book as a complimentary copy from BookSneeze® in exchange for my review(which does not have to be favorable).

 I review for BookSneeze®

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hebrews 1:1-2

"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." Hebrews 1:1-2 NASB

Christ is the source of revealed Truth - This is in direct contrast to the competing, "would-be" points of greatest influence.  We are only truly informed as our source of information (what is the bias, the frame of reference, the limitations of our sources of  "truth"?)  Our sources of information have control/influence on our priorities, goals and ultimately become agenda-setters for our lives.  We are more what we "think" than what we eat.   Practically speaking, we are (act/live) the summation of our thoughts/thinking.  "For as he thinketh within himself, so is he:  Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is not with thee." Proverbs 23:7 ASV  As we control the gate of our mind,  so we are.  What we "let in" becomes what we are, just as the evil man in this passage is not what he says he is but is truly seen in his thoughts and motives.  We are warned in Col. 2:8 of this competition for our minds and thoughts - there will always be those looking to lead us away as if the spoils of war by means of philosophies, empty deceits using the "building blocks" (step-by-step processes) based upon the popular thought processes of the "age"  and in contrast to Christ.

God spoke by varying means to the Jewish ancestors through the prophets .  It is key to note that God "spoke", He revealed His Truth, reality, priorities, morality and more.  As in 1 Peter 1:20-21, God directly communicates His Word by means of these individuals and it was not and will never be under the authority of "private interpretation"!  His Word as He meant it is the authority and not any particular take on it.  Self must be submissive to and not the dictator of God's Word. Even the wording of verse 1 demonstrates that God 'divvied-up' His word in many portions through varying prophets over the years.  The writer is clearly advocating divine inspiration of the Old Testament books.
Now God has spoken in a greater "means" than before; He reveals His truth IN His Son.  "A mortal King speaks by his ambassador, not (as the King of kings) in his ambassador.  The Son is the last and highest manifestation of God (Mt 21:34,37); not merely a measure, as in the prophets, but the fullness of the Spirit of God dwelling in Him bodily (John 1:16; 3:34; Col 2:9).  Thus he answers the Jewish objection drawn from their prophets."  - Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary
Christ is God, as will be covered in verse 8 of this chapter - His authority is to be without question.  In a sense, the writings of the prophets are not to be deemed as greater revelation or greater authority than what was given in Christ.  This concept is key for us as well: we must be careful in how we 'rank' philosophical influences over that of the Scripture at large.  We may respect God's Word as A source of Truth while placing a higher level of importance on personal opinion, popular religious "authorities" of our day(or the past) or any other competitor.

God has spoken this way in the "last days".  "In this final dispensation; or in this dispensation under which the affairs of the world will be wound up.. It might be a very long period, bu tit would be the last one; and, so far as the meaning of the phrase is concerned, it might be the longest period, or longer than all the others put together, but still it would be the last one."  - Albert Barnes 
The wording carries with it the reality that the "age of man" and this world are limited and are headed for a definite end.

God spoke in Christ.  Christ as "Son" is placed as possessor/heir of "all things".  Christ as "Son" made all "worlds" (literally ages).  As clarified in Col. 1:15, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:  al things were created by him, and for him" (KJV)
The words/message from our Creator should be the most important to us - why would anything else compete?  Doesn't it make sense that the goal of the enemy is to keep us from it?

Seeing that Christ is the "heir" of all things, then all things should be seen in their relationship to Him and His glory and purposes.  All other views of "all things" are strictly secondary.  As a side note, we being in Christ are called "fellow heirs"(Romans 8:17) so a life pursuit of "all things" is futile since what is to be had is ours in our relationship with Christ.  Having something just to have it is vain; the true value of something is found in its use and usability.

-Don Lambert- Talking Points - Hebrews