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Age: Over 65
5 Stars Out Of 5
Great help and faith builder
January 14, 2012
Age: Over 65
This is one of the best helps I have read. I particularly like the action summary at the end of each chapter. I will refer back to this many times in the future and have already recommended it to others
The following is my personal review of the book The Blessing of Adversity by Barry C. Black.
The purpose in this book is to provide a blueprint for finding peace in tough times (Intro. p. x). The book is divided into three main sections, and each chapter is broken down into specific areas with subheadings to help you address each topic called an action plan. See outline to follow . . .
Part I: Mastering the Basics
Chapter 1: Celebrate Your Troubles (pp. 4-9)
Guard your tongue.
Use your map (God's wisdom).
Control your doubts.
"A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life"--Eleanor Roosevelt (p. 7).
Chapter 2: Trust God's Plan (pp. 11-18)
Surrender to God's providence.
Believe in God's kindness.
Accept God's chastisement.
Live with Hope.
Believe God's revelation over human speculation.
Seek God with intensity.
Pray for your enemies prosperity.
Chapter 3: Meet the Challenges of Dark Days (pp. 19-24)
Develop the right perspective.
Discover the nature of true prayer.
Allow God to transform your dark yesterdays.
Make loving God your top priority.
"Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne--yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own"-- John Russell Lowell (p. 23).
Chapter 4: Restore Broken Walls (pp. 25-33)
Be passionate about change.
Ask God for favor.
Be prepared for doors of opportunity to open.
"Don't envy me. Favor isn't fair" (p. 29).
Chapter 5: Benefit from Brokenness (pp. 35-43)
Allow affliction to humble you.
Allow affliction to deepen your knowledge of God.
Allow affliction to strengthen your prayer life.
Allow affliction to expose you to God's grace.
Allow affliction to reveal God's faithfulness.
Allow affliction to lead you to God's Word.
Allow affliction to deepen your trust in God's providence.
Allow affliction to bring you back to God.
Chapter 6: Refuse to Waste Suffering (pp. 45-51)
See suffering as a test.
Discover a deeper fellowship with Jesus Christ.
Chapter 7: Expect the Inevitability of Trouble (pp. 53-71)
Tame your temper.
Reap the fruit of perseverance.
Harness the power of prayer.
Ask God for wisdom.
Remember the past.
Help the helpless.
Testify to God's goodness.
Live with gratitude.
Learn from failure.
"All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as that One Solitary Life"--James Allen Francis of Jesus Christ, "One Solitary Life" (pp. 59-50).
"The Blessing Of Adversity" may seem like an oxymoron to many, but this excellent book by Barry C. Black proves that it is the trials we endure that makes us stronger when we trust in God. Speaking from many familiar stories we know from the Bible, coupled with his own background of rising from poverty to a position of power and prestige, this is certainly not a superficial tale of one who does not understand feelings of hopelessness and despair. Many examples are highlighted of the ways God has used hardships in life to strengthen His people. These are people who underwent suffering and emerged triumphant not in spite of their struggles, but because of these trials. This book was written by a man that has gained both wisdom and compassion and gives advice that provides hope, encouragement, and practical advice. Instead of just wallowing in misery, he tells the reader to use these experiences to grow stronger and to find the advantages of your situation.
Barry C. Black (From The Hood To The Hill: A Story Of Overcoming) went from poverty and public housing to a distinguished career as a chaplain of the US Senate and retiring from the US Navy with the rank of two-star admiral. He is certainly a man who knows what he is speaking about and has penned a book that brings hope to others who are suffering. I often find myself rolling my eyes while reading books by people who have observed hardship, but are actually clueless on how it feels to go through trials and tribulations. Not only does Rear Admiral Black know how it feels to live without the little luxuries some take for granted, but also has experienced doing without the necessities. My favorite part of each chapter is his "action plan" that reinforces what he has said with a practical application of faith. My thoughts went to 2 Corinthians 5:7 ~ "We walk by faith, not sight." and the knowledge that faith is not only passive, but also requires action. That verse can literally mean putting feet to your faith and stepping out to use the trials God is allowing you to undergo as He leads you in your journey Home.
In compliance with new regulations by the Federal Trade Commission: Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. However, it was not required that I write a favorable review.
This is not a book that I would have bought, and if there had been other choices, I might not have even gotten this one. And frankly it just about met my expectations.
I could relate to some of the things that Admiral Black wrote about. I was that kid that got picked last, I've not always done my homework and someone else had to point some things out to me. I've had bosses that didn't like me. And I survived. Maybe not to the point that Admiral Black did, but_
We learn that the family was poor, that the author lost his mother and in the process got angry at God. And he got over that anger - lots of people do.
I think that if this book were to be reformatted, edited and sold as a daily devotional it might do well, but in its current format, it seems to be in an in between zone: almost devotional/meditation book -almost memoir - almost textbook, but it doesn't quite measure up to any of them.
There are some poignant moments, and as a hospice chaplain and pastor, I certainly understand some of the points that Admiral Black was making, and some of the lessons learned, but while I was reading it, it seemed like I was hearing a series of sermons from a first semester seminary student. Make a point then find several scripture references to back it up; another point and several more scriptures.
By pushing, I can rate it a 3 out of 5.
I received this book free from Tyndale House in exchange for the review.
What if we saw adversity as a positive thing? What if we could learn from it instead of wallowing in it? These are the ideas of Black in his book The Blessing of Adversity.
What I liked about this book was how he shares his stories and how he learned from them. One story that he shares is being picked last and instead of feeling sorry for himself he decides to better himself. I also liked that at the end of every chapter he leaves "An Action Plan" with points to remind you of what the whole chapter talked about and how to apply it. Another great thing about this book was how Black backs up his ideas with the Bible.
This book comes at a great time when so many are losing their jobs. It can be easy to think what is wrong with me and feel sorry for our situation. However if we can do what Black suggest in this book and better ourselves we will only come out stronger.
Overall this was a great book for encouragement. It has many aspects that we could all learn. I would recommend this to anyone looking for some encouragement when they feel worn down. I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
I received this book for review from Tyndale House Publishers. This review is my honest opinion.