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John Samsvick

Windsor Locks, CT
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  • How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

  • By: A. W. Tozer
  • Narrated by: Tom Hatting
  • Length: 1 hr and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 472
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 372
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 369

This little audiobook is hard to swallow. In it, A. W. Tozer teaches plainly who the Spirit is and why we should desire him but why few of us do. He instructs us in how to be filled with the Spirit but first poses this question: Do you really want to be filled?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Do you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

  • By Carl A. Dixon on 05-12-18

Reasoning Together on a Second Spirit Baptism

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-02-18

A.W. Tozer was a leader of the Holiness movement of the 20th Century which promoted the belief of a second baptism of the Holy Spirit following a new birth. The Pentecost experience of Acts 2, which the Apostle Peter interpreted as fulfilling the promise of the prophet Joel that God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (traditionally held to be the Birthday of the Church) was now taught to be the Promise of the Father to born-again disciples. Two questions follow from this view: What evidence can be found in the New Testament that disciples who forsook him and fled in fear when Jesus was arrested, when his blest disciple, who not only denied him, but boldly rebuked him for believing that the confessed Messiah would be rejected and crucified, had been given power of the Spirit to become sons of God, born of God. And what were the motivating factors which led to this radical departure from the traditional doctrine?
To the first question, we could refer to Jesus' reply to Peter who insisted on a total bath (not just foot washing): He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit, and ye are clean. (John 13:10 KJV). Or we could refer to the Lord's conversation with the Samaritan woman and his promise of the water that slakes all thirst, her conversion and that many more believed ...that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. But John, ever the evangelist, will make it clear that in writing thus of Jesus promise of rivers of living waters for believers, Jesus spoke of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified . It appears that the new birth awaits the exaltation and ascent of the Lord to God's right hand.
Now what motivates those like Tozer who stress the importance of the second baptism for a powerful filling of the Spirit?Tozer gives a clear answer: the almost total lack of any sign of the new life and power for holy living among so many Christians who claim to be born again; they are not growing in grace nor manifesting the fruits of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, long-suffering etc. Two things follow: They are not born again at all despite professions of faith, or their new birth is without power for any vital pursuit of sanctification and fruitfulness, which will come to them when they sincerely seek the "Filling of the Holy Spirit", which Tozer's book will help them to experience.
The author fails to explore what may be the basic problem evangelicals seem unwilling to face. Is it possible that the gospel being preached today doesn't have life-transforming power because it isn't the Gospel preached by Peter and Paul with power to save? (C.S. Lewis has protested that he was told that to become a Christian, he had to believe that God was angry with us and wanted to punish us for going over to the enemy, but that Jesus volunteered to take the punishment, so God let us off.) Lewis was offended that God should punish somebody else. Evangelists have assured us that to become a Christian, one must believe two facts : that Jesus is the Son of God and He died for our sins. It seems to be assumed that propositional knowledge is the same thing as believing in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Finally, we should take note of how Tozer ends his appeal to us: Do you really desire with all your heart to be filled with the Spirit; are you willing to surrender your whole will to God's will, your personality in subjection to another Personality.This is the price to be paid! (Apparently a price not expected of those who wish a new birth) If we can assume that our church fathers, Peter, Paul, Augustine and Luther had heard from Jeremiah of the impossibility of Ethiopians changing their skin, or leopards their spots, we might imagine them responding to the author's challenge with an honest and humiliating ...NO!... until It Happened!.

  • White Oleander

  • By: Janet Fitch
  • Narrated by: Oprah Winfrey
  • Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 490
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 254

In this gripping first novel, a young girl, orphaned when her mother murders an ex-lover, endures the shuffle of a foster child's life. Oprah enjoyed her book club pick so much that she narrates the audiobook edition!

Browse more Oprah Picks.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • White Oleander

  • By Tracy on 04-09-04

A Beautiful and Compelling Novel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-27-18

Janet Fitch tells the story of a 14 year old girl, charming and tough, who through impossible circumstances undertakes a journey to liberate herself from a domineering mother, most beautiful and dangerous, by a maturing process that enables her to challenge her mother's way of life. In a seductively believable plot with interesting characters, the author centers everything on Astrid who is given the task of narrating the events of her life with remarkable frankness. This review will limit itself to the dialogues Astrid has with her obsessively manipulating mother, Ingrid, including her life transforming experiences in the foster home of Starr Thomas. It is here that Janet Fitch seems to make her contribution to the conflicts of our day dividing our cultural and moral traditions from the claims of of the emergent self, embodied in Ingrid who chooses to think for herself. Janet appears to be a mediating peace-keeper appealing to the combatants to be reasonable, and to respect each other's point of view. The subtle manner in which she reveals this in the conversations Astrid has with members of Starr's family suggests the author has had intimate relations with the church Starr attends. When Ingrid notices the cross Astrid is wearing on a visit to the prison, she explains In the Assembly of God you're baptized when you accept Christ as your personal Savior. Not only is Fitch secure enough to name the church, but remarkably bold to put Astrid's confession in her mother's mouth: And have you accepted Christ as your personal Savior? When Astrid responds with a mild defense: But they are good people, Ingrid protests: How could this happen; I made you to think for yourself...they are the enemy! Janet seems to know all the rhetoric; and how Rev Thomas' preaching led Astrid to feel her own guilt in Barry's murder, repent and be saved by the blood of the Lamb. Janet knows that saved people begin to witness, so Astrid prays for her mother's redemption, rebukes young Davey for trumpeting knowledge; Does it tell you the difference between good and evil, right and wrong? She goes on: You know, my mother didn't kill him alone; I could have stopped it! Now Astrid faces a moment of crisis when she is confronted by Starr about her growing intimacy with Ray. She responds to the threat of being sent away with a plea :We're not doing anything; It's just that I never had a father. Starr unrelenting, Astrid pleads as a Christian: Jesus would give me a second chance....in vain. Now desperate, she discovers that part of her still in thrall to her mother's way of doing things; Ray won't like it if you get rid of me because you're jealous. Astrid is also discovering that her beauty, powerful as it is, is dangerous. As things turned out, Starr's instincts were better and safer. The final encounter Astrid has with her mother in prison leads to ultimate humiliation and despair, her perfect daughter painted and dressed up as a hooker...Do you like what you see, mother, this is what belonging to you looks like!. Ingrid's agonizing response: If only I could do it all over again!. We can assume Janet Fitch want's to leave us with the challenge Astrid puts to her mother: Will you let me go,, and spend your life here.. so I can become myself again? (Perhaps something she heard about loosing your life to save it?)

  • The Age of Innocence

  • By: Edith Wharton
  • Narrated by: David Horovitch
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 769
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 661
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 668

Countess Ellen Olenska, separated from her European husband, returns to old New York society. She bears with her an independence and an awareness of life which stirs the educated sensitivity of the charming Newland Archer, engaged to be married to her cousin, May Welland. Though he accepts the society's standards and rules he is acutely aware of their limitations. He knows May will assure him a conventional future but Ellen, scandalously separated from her husband, forces Archer to question his values and beliefs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Narrated to Perfection

  • By Ilana on 09-18-12

An Unlikely Heroine of Virtue

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-21-18

The story Edith Wharton tells in this prize winning novel centers on the beautiful Countess Ellen Olenska who has come home to New York to feel safe and cared for among friends and family, alienated from and deeply scarred by her profligate husband. Everything centers on the special relationship Ellen establishes between herself and her lover, Newland Archer, already betrothed to May Welland. It was to be a perfect balance between their loyalty to those others who trust them, and their honesty to themselves, a balance which over-awes Archer, seeming to flow naturally from her unabashed sincerity. Something wonderful had happened to the Countess; according to the Secretary come to persuade her to return to the Count, she had changed, she had become an American. Ellen herself attributes the change to the sympathetic attentions and affections Archer has shown her, sensitive to the temptations her singular beauty aroused in her many suitors. The Countess had interpreted these actions and efforts of Archer's to help her as revelations of a character who had felt the world tugging with its golden hands...and still hated the things it was asking--happiness bought by disloyalty, cruelty, and indifference. This was something Ellen had never known before...and better than anything she had experienced. Newland was puzzled by this. Apparently he didn't see or feel the power Ellen saw and felt in his kind treatment of her. Nor does he understand the implications Ellen has drawn from what he has done for her. He knows now that Ellen loves him as deeply as he loves her...and it alters the whole of life for him. But not for Ellen. She believes they have decided to be loyal toward those who trust them and honest about themselves---You're engaged to May, and I'm married. Her final appeal to him; Ah, don't let us undo what you've done falls on deaf ears. An immense gulf has been revealed; his love for her means doing exactly that, while Ellen can't go back to that way of thinking. She can't love Newland unless she gives him up. He can't love her... if he does. For romantics hoping for happy endings, Wharton tells us that Ellen's courage and steadfast love for Archer enabled her to return to Paris and live a life full of the art and cultured beauty she hoped for; while Newland had been able to live with a ghost like experience of that honest love which liberated him to be a faithful husband and generous father. . .

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Portrait of a Lady

  • By: Henry James
  • Narrated by: John Wood
  • Length: 23 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 434
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 355

When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy the freedom that her fortune has opened up and to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors, declaring that she will never marry. It is only when she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the cultivated but worthless Gilbert Osmond that she discovers that wealth is a two-edged sword.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Highly recommended

  • By David on 06-26-10

A Wonderful Experience of the World of Beauty

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-14-18

John Wood's remarkable narration of Henry James masterpiece was a most inspiring accomplishment. Not only was it a beautiful evocation of the world of aesthetics, but a powerful creative act through which the reading-listener is transported into that world so as to truly experience it. For plodders like this critic, who learned to read by carefully pronouncing every syllable so as to be able to lecture or preach with clarity, a mere reading of the 612 pages of The Portrait of a Lady would never have led to an experience of Beauty; they will know and feel it only by hearing it, by listening to a living incarnation of its author. John Wood has drunk deeply of the heart and soul of Henry James so that in every characterization, every meditation and reflection of Isabel, we sense the presence of James. Critics have described this book as a Story about Beauty and its destruction by an admirer of Beauty. Any elaboration of this sentiment would be lengthy; suffice it to say that James' view of Beauty is expressed in Isabel's naturalness, her independence, and her being interesting, all of which suggests a freshly innocent Eve with the clever ability to distinguish the beauty, goodness and wisdom of her liberty to live above all conventions. Her fall lies in the naivete of her observations of Osgood's fastidious aversion to the vulgar as attractive, rather than the expression of his egotism setting him apart form everyone but the five people he envied , including the Pope. Henry wants us to believe in redemption for Isabel by enabling her to forgive her true love, Ralph. who at the outset warned her of the sterile dilettante who wanted her as another beautiful possession. James also sends her back to her husband to confirm her beautiful determination to be faithful to the fateful free choice she made in marrying the Destroyer of Beauty.