Meditation – Nurturing Silence

By   |   

Recommend Article Article Comments Print Article

Expert Author Richard R Blake

We grow dependent on background noises. Walkman and MTV become the security blanket of today’s teenager. Young adults graduate to CD’s, and DVD. The more mature adult settles for talk radio or CNN. Talking cars announce, “You left your lights on.” The Internet tells us, “You’ve got mail.” We are on the alert for the sound of a neighbor’s car alarm, an ambulance, fire engine, or police siren. The sound of the rapid transit in the distance, or a plane overhead, can trigger memories of recent vacations or the sense of rush hour commutes. It is hard for me to imagine the silence experienced by the deaf.

My third-grade teacher taught us a lot about silence. When the noise level of the classroom became a distraction from learning she simply stood in front of the class waiting. In her upraised hand, she held a pin. All eyes faced forward, activity ceased, mouths were clamped shut. We all wanted to hear the pin drop to the floor.

Over the years I have learned other lessons about silence. I have learned that you do not need the isolation of a monastery to find seclusion. You can create your own private chamber, insulated with quietness. Your sanctuary can become a refuge for heart-searching and worship. The inner voice of the spirit can speak to you in moments of stillness.

As a young enlisted man in the Navy, I was often assigned a security watch during the early hours of the morning. Quietly I watched as the sun ascended over the horizon. I learned to use this time for quiet reflection and renewal. In the stillness, time stopped, I waited expectantly. Since then I have purposely continued to set aside a quiet time in the early morning to inquire within, a time for contemplative introspection.

I wondered today about listening for the voice of God in those quiet moments. A ticking clock clamored for my attention. Thoughts pounding like waves beat upon my brain. I heard the cat purring, from my lap. I attempted to nurture silence.

I heard the whirring of the refrigerator. My mind was noisy with screaming distractions. Noises of the world, its pressures, tensions, and frustrations all bottled within me. I heard the furnace blower kick in.

Other distractions crowd out the voice of God. Hurt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear, and guilt compete with success, achievement, and pride.

I waited expectantly. In the stillness, I paused. I listened again. I heard in the cat’s purr, a song of praise. The whine of the furnace became a litany, telling of God’s gift of warmth and shelter. The recurring hum of the refrigerator became a hymn telling of God’s provision of food and nourishment. I heard in the whisper of the spirit’s still small voice, “Wait and watch.” As I gave my ear to listen, I received quiet confidence and inner peace.

All was finally quiet. I was again at peace. I tarried. I moved from the comfort of my chair to my knees, as I knew I was entering the presence of a King, yes, the King of Kings. A car door slammed, an engine started, a neighbor left for work. All too abruptly, I was brought back to the ticking of the clock and the clamor of time.

I had transcended the mundane earthly cares to climb Jacob’s ladder into the divine hush of being alone with my creator. In my pursuit of quietness, I had received the promise of His strength to meet the opportunities of a new day.


The Master-Key to Riches  – By Napoleon Hill – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Riches Measured in Liberty and Freedom, Relationships and Initiative, Free Enterprise, and Opportunity

Napoleon Hill’s books have been impacting readers for over sixty years. A truly fantastic heritage.  In this edition of “The Master-Key to Riches,” the Napoleon Hill Foundation continue to publish Hill’s works commissioned by Andrew Carnegie. In which Hill formulated the vital success principles used by Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and other great men, in industry.

It was quite a revelation to me to read the testimonials of the men who have established their place in history. Men in this category include endorsements by Former presidents, William H Taft and Woodrow Wilson; as well as men of vision like Alexander Graham Bell, E.M. Statler, Robert Dollar, and Luther Burbank.

Readers will find Napoleon Hill’s principles are practical and sound; and when applied will open up their understanding of The Master Mind Principle, The Twelve Riches of Life, Applied Faith, and Self-Discipline.

“The Master Key to Riches” is a constant on the reference shelf of my library; a book worthy of re-reading often, applying its principles, daily;  a book that should be on the reading list of every college and university student for generations to come.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sound Wisdom Books, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-1640950269, $27.95, 2018, 272 pages.

The Lost Commandments By Sam Silverstein – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Guidelines for Purposeful Living

Sam Silverstein captured my full attention within the first page of “The Lost Commandments.” I bonded immediately with the narrator and was soon accompanying him on his quest to discover the mystery behind the lost commandments. I was on an incredible journey in self-discovery, purpose, and fulfillment.

The adventure begins in a Washington University classroom in St. Louis, Missouri, next stop, on assignment in Tel Aviv, Israel. A strange repeat appearance of a weird message becomes even eerier when our professor meets a street vendor named Ayn – the contact’s name to finding The Lost Commandments.

Silverstein’s attention to detail has a unique way of transforming daily routine into an exciting adventure, always right on the edge of another new discovery into the meaning of life.

Sam Silverstein has a passion for empowering people to become accountable for their personal lives, for transforming business practices, and for impacting leadership, throughout his career, as an entrepreneur, author, and speaker.

I am fast becoming an avid fan of Sam’s writing and am already looking forward to a new adventure in self-discovery and life-long learning.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sound Wisdom, P. O., Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-1640950122, $19.99, 2018, 154 pages

Napoleon Hill’s Action Activities By Judith Williamson – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

“Napoleon Hill’s Action Activities for Health, Wealth & Happiness” contains 52 short, affirmative action suggestions and modern-day commentary on Hill’s Success Principles.

Each chapter challenges the reader with an inspirational quote from familiar “world changers,” a short commentary, insights from the works of Napoleon Hill or Clement Stone, and an important action assignment.

Designed to be an interactive learning experience and motivational tool each of the creative action assignments challenges the participant to apply a specific prompt that will help them put into motion the 17 Science for Success Principles, to achieve their goals, and launch a program to develop good habits, eliminate bad ones.

These action challenges are reminders to me of the importance of regularly reviewing the original works of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and The Master Key to Riches in which he recorded the principles used by Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison, and other famous leaders in the world of  industry, finance, and statesmanship.

Judith Williamson is director of the Napoleon Hill World Learning Center.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sound Wisdom Books, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-1937879785. $15.99, 2018, 166, pages

The Goal Tender – A Journey to Living the Life of Your Dreams By Shawn Doyle CSP – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Tools and Techniques for Becoming a Goal Tender

Shawn Doyle introduces a whole new slant on an important theme in his book “The Goal Tender – A Journey to Living the Life of Your Dreams.”  Doyle has a unique writing style, a friendly an appealing fictional approach that draws the reader into the storyline while subtly taunting them to pick up a pen to respond to the questions in the Goal Tender Action Planner Section, reignite enthusiasm and wake up their passion.

Doyle’s writing will resonate with readers at who have put aside their dreams in the business of life and are ready to move forward, inclined to think bigger and realize their potential.

There are several features of Shawn’s organization of the book that I especially appreciate:

  • The motivational quotes by well-known successful personalities
  • The Goal Tender Action Planner Section
  • The essential lessons packed into the conversations of Joe and Michael

Shawn Doyle’s, nearly 30-year career as Certified Speaker, author, executive, and life coach only touches the iceberg of his extensive experience, exposure, and qualifications for leading the reader into A Journey to Living the Life of Your Dreams.  “The Goal Tender” has challenged me to take another look at my life, goals, and dreams to set in motion the next step in bringing them to fruition.

A copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-1937879953, $15.99, 2018, 154 pages


Planting Reproducing Churches By Elmer L. Towns – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Reproducing Churches through Multiplying

In his book “Planting Reproducing Churches” Elmer L. Towns carefully lays a foundation advocating a strategy of multiplication presently being practiced and replicated in churches across America and worldwide. He introduces the reader to the foundation, history, and practical principles for and for church planting. He looks at and describes types of church plants, multisite satellite churches as well as innovative step by step planning and important tools for successful church planting.

Extensive chapter endnotes attest to the research that has gone into this significant work and provide the reader with a broad spectrum of resources for future reading, reference, research. Church planters will get new vision and passion, as they pursue the scriptural mandate for planting reproducing churches.

“Planting Reproducing Churches” should be on the reading lists of seminary and Bible college professors; a valuable resource guide that should be available in the personal and church libraries, of pastors, denominational leaders, and lay leaders in the local church.

Elmer Towns is Dean Emeritus of the School of Religion and Theological University.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768417653, $16.99, 2018, 264 pages


The Art of Optimism – Your Competitive Edge By Jim Stovall – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Sage Wisdom, Practical Advice, Proven Principles, and Tremendous ToolsJim Stovall’s

“The Art of Optimism – Your Competitive Edge” is timely and relative. Stovall’s insights never cease to amaze me.

Although I consider myself an optimist by nature; those pesky, nagging negative traits of pessimism sometimes creep in and try to take over. While doing a quick scan of the contents, I was drawn to the chapter, titled The Pessimism Prescription. I recognized my symptoms and was ready to find the first step to a cure. I quickly learned the detriments of pessimism as stress and anxiety; and the concept that optimism acts as immunization to protect me from the influence of these negative emotion.

Stovall’s stories, studies, personal experiences, and challenging, enlightening examples from the lives of well known, successful leaders in business, the entertainment industry, and motivational speakers inspire and motivate me to reflect on, analyze, and examine my motives, attitudes, and self-value as I adapt optimism as my worldview.

The bestselling author of over 40 books, Jim Stovall was honored with the International Humanitarian of the Year award in 2000.

In “The Art of Optimism” Jim Stovall continues to set the standard for books in this genre. I can highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with consistently maintaining an optimistic attitude in their everyday challenges and opportunities.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Sound Wisdom, P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 97816950214, $21.95, 2018, 160 pages



Essential Oils – Ancient Medicine By: Dr. Josh Axe, Ty Bollinger, and Jordan Rubin A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

Life Changing Potential for More Energy and Better Health

Dr. Josh Axe, certified doctor of natural medicine and doctor of chiropractic clinical nutritionist, and Jordan Rubin, bestselling author, founder of Garden of Life Beyond Organic, and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition collaborate with Ty Bollinger, health researcher, and bestselling author, in this updated new edition of “Essential Oils.” The authors introduce proven health benefits of the top 50 essential oils and relate how these oils are helping in the healing of critical health concerns using more than 125 natural remedies.

The book is written to help educate the reader about what essential oils are and why they are so powerful. Secondly, the authors want to help the reader feel empowered to use these essential oils both safely and effectively to live healthy lives, and thirdly, to equip the reader through this manual to begin utilizing chemical free oils.

The book is made up of five parts:

  • History, Foundations, and Safe and Effective Use
  • Single Essential Oils and Carrier Oils
  • Conditions
  • Special Areas
  • Essential Oil Recipes

“Essential Oils – Ancient Medicine” is an overall reference guide backed by Scientific Research, historical documentation, and biblical wisdom, more than a book for one-time casual reading. It is a lifetime guide to healthy living.

Our copy has a prominent place on our coffee table, for quick reference, conversation starters, quick review, or concentrated study. The colorful pictures, attractive format, and vital information combine to act as a magnetic force drawing us back, again and again to the fascinating power of essential oils.

Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The options expressed are my own.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, Pa 17257, 978-0768417869, $29.95, 2018, 512 pages

Receiving Healing from the Courts of Heaven Leader’s Guide By Robert Henderson – A Book Review



Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Revoking the Legal Rights of the Adversary for Receiving Your Healing From the Courts of Heaven

The “Receiving Healing from the Courts of Heaven Leader’s Guide” is a companion to the DVD video teaching series. The leader’s guide is designed to provide:

  • Basic Leader Guidelines
  • Pre-preparation Plans for Group or Class Study
  • Leader’s Check List
  • Weekly Overview

Each of the Seven Week Sessions includes:

  • Video Listening Guide
  • Summary Statement
  • Points for Reflection
  • Step by Step Agenda

The unique feature of this series include the profound discussion questions reviewing the material from the content of the DVD lesson, the companion book, and student study guide. An additional distinctive means of getting the most from each experience are the reflective thoughts; encouraging meditation, journaling, and declaration statements for prayer focus.

Participants will receive instruction on:

  • Understanding the concept of the Courts of Heaven
  • Instructions on How to Lead Small Groups
  • How to Receive and Release God’s Healing Power

Robert Henderson is widely known for his writing and speaking; apostolic teaching on the Kingdom of God, and on the Courts of Heaven. Robert is highly endorsed by his peers; global pastors, teacher, authors, and Charismatic Christian Leaders.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257978-0768417609, $14.99, 2018, 72 pages

Receiving Healing from the Courts of Heaven By, Robert Henderson – A Book Review

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Powerful Stories of Holy Spirit Empowerment – For Removing Hindrances to Receiving Healing

In his book “Receiving Healing from the Courts of Heaven” Robert Henderson familiarizes the reader with the concept of the courts of heaven; the devil as being the adversary of the Christian. He goes on to provide the reader with guidelines on how to align their prayers with the legal process of the courts of heaven to revoke the rights of the adversary, the devil.

The book is filled with stories of miraculous healing from his healing ministry, and examples from the healing ministry of Jesus to that exemplify hindrances that delay or deny healing.

Henderson skillfully presents practical insight and faith building tools to help the reader understand and apply proven strategies for petitioning, contending for, and claiming their healing through the process and inner working of God’s throne room.

Robert Henderson is driven by to pursue his calling to disciple nations by writing, teaching, preaching, and demonstrating the apostolic message and receiving healing from the courts of heaven. Internationally recognized evangelists, church and ministry leaders, attest to the clear teaching, and commitment to integrity, and authentic character of Robert Henderson, and his realistic approach to ministry.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.


Destiny Image Books, Inc., P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, 978-0768417548, $ 16.99, 206 Pages