God & Free-Will can be considered a spiritual and/or inspirational book. Every story in this book is true. It’s about drinking with the devil, contemplating suicide, surviving Hurricane Katrina, sex abuse, divorce and shady business practices. There are lessons learned when fishing in the Atchafalya Basin, going on medical mission trips to Guatemala, eating a snowball, and the movies Star Wars, Princess Bride, Apollo 13, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Rocky. In addition there are factual stories regarding Princess Diana, Mother Teresa. President Reagan, Pope John Paul II, a Doolittle Raider, a Japanese Pearl Harbor pilot, the atomic bomb, witnessing trauma, murder, and drug overdose. There is even an answer to why we suffer. Most of all, it’s about hearing God’s call to forgive, offer peace and love, and about people who changed the world, for better or for worse – like a man who adopted two thousand children. In the middle of all these true stories is me – living in a world of sin, lies, and fighting for my redemption! God & Free-Will is about choice and outcome that will bring death or life everlasting.
Introduction: Begins with a long night of drinking and contemplating suicide. This event was either a really bad and weird dream or an actual event that scared the hell out of me compelling to seek spiritual guidance from a passage in the book Dolorous Passion by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich that renewed my faith in God.
Chapter 1 – Its About Choice: The choice is always whether to trust in the Lord or yourself. There are only two choices in every situations-submission to the lordship of Christ or going our own way. Each choice has its own reward or painful repercussions.
Chapter 2 – Free Will: God forces himself on no one. He purposely limits his omnipotence in order to respect human freedom. He gives countless signs and indications that HE is to be trusted, that he is who he says he is, but he refuses to give any evidence that will eliminate the need for trust and faith. God appeals to the heart of man by showing love and speaking truth. But is man refuses his advances, he will leave us free to go our own way. He wants followers who are friends, not slaves. This freedom to accept or deny God did not start with Adam and Eve. On the contrary. It started with the angels.
Chapter 3 – God is Calling You: Man has heard God’s calling in some of the most unique ways. Sometimes it is extremely dramatic, like when he called Saul to serve by a blinding light. To get Moses’s attention God spoke through a burning bush. To Peter, Jesus simply said, come follow me. We are all invited to God’s calling to serve his ministry. This chapter reveals many different ways God has introduce himself to a few people such as: Blessed Mother Mary, Tim Tebow (Pro football player) , Matsudo Fuchida (Japanese Pearl Harbor pilot), Jake DeShazer (Doolittle Raider and POW), Mother Teresa, Immaculee Ilibagiza (survivor of 1994 Rwanda’s civil war), Coach Tony Dungy(First African American Super Bowl Champion coach), Nicholas Vujicic (born with tetra-amelia syndrome-without extremities), Segatashya of Kibeho (a pagan boy who never heard of God) and many more.
Chapter 4 – The Dark Side: Based on the evilness of the dark side from the movie Star Wars. The dark side has a very real and bona fide presence. I felt it, wallowed in it, bath in it and was consumed and engulfed by its charisma All I ever received from the dark side was more separation from all that was good while witnessing man’s behavior toward one another in the form of wars, disease, murders, sexual assaults, crimes, drug overdose, lies, and so much more. Guilt ridden with toxic shame, I was sucked into its false lies and promises of a better outcome. This is my personal story of My descent into hell beginning with my own sexual abuse as a child.
Chapter 5 – The Lizard Man & Rocky Balboa: This chapter takes a look at the movie Rocky Balboa telling his son that life is hard and will beat you down. But its not about the punches you take rather its about getting up after all the punches you sustained. In my own life I have received so many punches that a friends of mine called me the lizard man. He said, every time your tail is cut off, you grow a new one, get up and keep being persistence.
Chapter 6 – Wound Care: As a wound care nurse for many years I compare the description of a physical wound (pain, suffering, disease, social stigma, etc.) to that of the wounds of a broken heart (pain, suffering, social stigma) and how to mend the two. To heal a broken heart and a physical wound is remarkably similar. In both instances, tender loving care is the answer. Both may take years to heal but both have the same treatment plan.
Chapter 7 – Hurricane Katrina: Witnessing the worst of man’s response to a city’s destruction to witnessing the best of man helping one another in time of crisis.
Chapter 8 – Miracles: The bible is loaded with miracles. However in this secular world we fail to see the miracles of God in our lives until its time to bargain with God. With all our advanced science technology and movie special effects we have become a world of disbelief. Like the Pharisees, we ask God to show us miracles. God wants us to walk in faith and believe despite the absence of signs of miracles. But life is full of everyday miracles. Just open your eyes and heart and you will see them.
Chapter 9 – So Much Love So Much Suffering: We must all give up the illusion that we deserve a problem-free life. If one watches the false reality TV shows, then one is always wishing and hungering for the resolution of all difficulties. This is false hope. Jesus said take your cross up and follow me. IF we settle for a comfortable, self-satisfying life, we deceive ourselves. Suffering is a spiritual gift. It can led us to eternal salvation. Jesus loved us so much that he suffered a brutal death to show us the way. When suffering seems all wrong, trust Jesus anyway. Suffering forces a bended knee. When we are in a weaken state, we can see much clearly and ask for help. Jesu is the answer to your help.
Chapter 10 – Failure is Not an Option: Based on the successful Apollo 13 failed mission. There are times in life that failure is definitely not an option. The salivation of man was not a time for Jesus to fail. He had to make it to the cross to die for the kingdom of heaven to be open. This chapter takes a look at times in world history when failure was not an option. However, it also take a look at times when failure is an option. If we do not fail, then how can we learn. In this chapter there are many examples of celebrities that have it all but you did not know how many times they failed before reaching the pinnacle of success.
Chapter 11 – Titles: In September 1997, two women with great worldwide titles, living ocean apart, died within six days of each other and their funerals were televised and watched by billions around the world. I wonder after reading about these two women, which one is your opinion held the most humbling title? With all the titles in the world the only one we should be seeking is the one that designates through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
Chapter 12 – Ten Commandments: This is an amazingly simple chapter with serious and humorous explanations.
Chapter 13 – Change the World: A look at famous people who have changed the world-for good and/or bad. Not everyone is called to make a global change in the world but we are called to make a change in our own life; a change in your family life; a change in your local community; a change of the heart.
Chapter 14 – Mighty Mouse: God does not call the powerful to be mighty when spreading the good news. Most of the time He calls a meek mouse that in time becomes mighty. Throughout history God has used some very meek individuals to showcase His glorification. Abraham was a desert nomad; Moses a stutter and murder; Joseph a poor carpenter; Peter a simple fisherman, Thomas an unbeliever; Paul a persecutor, Noah a peasant; Mary was a teenager. More recently We see Billy Graham, a simple country evangelist; Martin Luther King, a Baptist minister and Mother Teresa was a simple poor nun. Even you and I with all our faults can be mighty.
Chapter 15 – As You Wish: Based on the movie Princess Bride. In the movie, every time the beautiful girl asked the hired farm boy do something he replies as you wish. What he is really telling this girl is I love you. N o matter what we do in life, Jesus will always say As you wish. Jesus does not imply he is a genie and will great you what ever you ask but rather I am always with you in everything you do because I love you.
Chapter 16- PFLT: This chapter takes an in depth look at Jesus’s philosophy and teaching in regards to Peace, Love, Forgiveness and Truth.
Chapter 17- Superstar: Based on the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. Comparing Jesu to the prophets and some religious leaders like Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Lao-Tze. What made Jesus stand out more than the others. He came into the world to die so that we may live while the others came onto the world to live but died.
Chapter 18- Open Door Policy: Jesus ways are open to all who hear and accept his teaching. He will always knock on the door. Buy you have to open it. Jesus will hold out for the salvation of a soul even at the very last minute. Just look at the good thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus.
Chapter 19- Conclusion: A snap shot of my life as it currently is compared to how I started off with me living in a world of sin and lies and fighting for redemption. In addition, it offers a glimpse to several biblical people and how I relate to them during my trials and tribulations.