"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11

Monday, June 24, 2013

TIMES OF TURMOIL: The End Times Saga by Cliff Ball


In this prequel to Times of Trouble and Times of Trial, we follow how the Evans family gained their riches and eventually their power to influence events in the United States. We see important events that the Evans family gets themselves involved in: such as the return of the Israelites to Israel, the assassination of President Kennedy, the terrorism of 9/11, and eventually events that lead to gun control and other types of government tyranny in the United States.

The novel also follows the Atwood family, starting with the Great-Grandfather of Brian, Charles, as he fights in World War Two and ends up helping liberate Buchenwald shortly near the end of the war. Charles returns to the States and gets married to the love of his life, Betty. Eventually, the family ends up in Delaney, Nebraska, where we watch Aaron, the father of Brian, join the Army to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11. Later on, we get to see how Brian and Lynda finally get together and get married.


Picture of Cliff Ball

Cliff Ball was born in Arizona, but has lived in Texas for most of his life, and currently resides outside of that massive sprawl known as the Metroplex. He became a born again Christian at the age of five, and is a member of his local Baptist church. Cliff is also a Conservative and rejects both National Parties. Cliff has two Bachelor’s of Arts: one in English and the other in History, and a Technical Writing Certificate from the University of North Texas.  Cliff felt the call to be a writer when he was ten years old and first became published in high school in the early 90′s through his Creative Writing class when he won third in a young adult Methodist magazine for a short story he wrote called “Role Reversal.”
Even though he wrote a lot during the intervening years, and submitted to various contests such as the Writer’s of the Future and the Star Trek New Wolds contests, Cliff didn’t publish anything again until he went online and it enabled him to self-publish through Kindle in 2008 and subsequently to other platforms later. His first novel was Out of Time, and since 2008, Cliff has published nine novels and two short stories. Cliff’s genres are varied, he has written science fiction/alternate history/time travel, political and End Times thrillers, and even a western short story. His novels are clean reads and can be read by anyone.
Cliff’s life verse is from Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not into thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”


What can I say, I am a Cliff Ball fan for life. His End Times Saga has entertained me, caused me to think, and look deeper at what is happening around the world and even around my own small place in it.

Times of Turmoil is Cliff's prequel to the End Times Saga. It was real interesting in reading about how his main characters came to be. In reading Times of Turmoil, I gained a much better understanding of how Evans and the Atwoods paths crossed and the reasons for Evans hatred of the Atwoods and all they represented. 

Cliff took many of the historical events, past and present, and wove them through this third book. It certainly makes a person take another look at what is happening around them. 

There is a real force of evil at work in this world. At the same time, there is the real work of God's grace at work. We can look at the Atwood family and can come away with the knowledge that God is Sovereign and nothing happens that He isn't aware of, including the work of the evil one. God's grace and mercy sustains us in these difficult times. 

Many thanks to Cliff Ball for writing this book along with his other works. He made this review possible by providing me with a free review copy.

Keep writing Cliff, and I will keep reading!


PREPARED BY GRACE, FOR GRACE: The Puritans on God's Ordinary Way of Leading Sinners to Christ by Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley


Few teachings of the Puritans have provoked such strong reactions and conflicting interpretations as their views on preparing for saving faith. Many twentieth-century scholars dismissed preparation as a prime example of regression from the Reformed doctrine of grace for a man-centered legalism. In Prepared by Grace, for Grace, Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley make careful analysis of the Puritan understanding of preparatory grace, demonstrate its fundamental continuity with the Reformed tradition, and identify matters where even the Puritans disagreed among themselves. Clearing away the many misconceptions and associated accusations of preparationism, this study is sure to be the standard work on how the Puritans understood the ordinary way God leads sinners to Christ.

Authors  Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Paul M. Smalley is a teacher’s assistant for Dr. Beeke.


Prepared by Grace, for Grace is a book that is to be taken in small bites in order to be appreciated. Though I am still reading this book, I am encouraged in the Puritan view of how God leads sinners to Christ Jesus. 

One of the reasons I chose to review this book was because the authors, Beeke and Smalley, include one of my favorite ministers, Jonathan Edwards, in their work. Through he technically wasn't of the Puritan era, his theology closely reflected the Puritans. Having read many of his sermons, today he is still a breath of fresh air in this time of confusion in the church at large. 

In spite of some the differences the various Puritans had, they still maintained that true conversion, those professing of faith in Christ, had evidences of being broken to repentance. That is still how God works today. 

I will write another review when I have finished this book, but in the meantime, I encourage all who want a better understanding of how the Puritans thought and believed about God's grace for the sinners, to get a copy of this book and start reading.

This review was made possible by Cross Focused Media, Cross Focused Reviews, by providing me with a free review copy.