Saturday, March 15, 2014
THE DIVINE SUMMIT (STEVEN PANZER, Ph.D)
WestBow Press|January 20, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4908-1096-6
Michael Salter appears to be living a normal, respectable life as a devoted husband and psychologist when he finds his brother's lifeless body inside an abandoned cabin in the middle of the desert. As his faith in God shatters, Michael's entire life begins to unravel. From his wife to his career, everything he relies upon for stability and sanity begins to fall away. Beaten to his knees, Michael flees to a remote region of the Sierras, where he descends deeply into despair. But after an intuitive dream, Michael is compelled to return to civilization. There, he meets the woman of his destiny at a party celebrating her engagement to a wealthy business tycoon. Laura and Michael's attraction to each other cannot be denied, but the obstacles seem insurmountable as deeply personal challenges lead each on an intense, spriitual journey to ultimately discover Christ's Spirit in their hearts. THE DIVINE SUMMIT is a story of intrigue, romance, and adventure. It is a tale of the miraculous power of Christ's love to heal us of our deepest pain and fears, and reveals a profound intimacy between a man and a woman that can only be experienced through the grace of God.
Michael Salter found his brother, Brian dead in the middle of the desert where he'd been living. The moment, Michael saw the dead body, his heart, his mind, and his soul shattered into a million pieces. Michael felt his life would never be the same again.
One night, Michael had a dream. He was supposed to attend an engagement party at the Beverly Hills Hotel for a man named, David Granik. David was one of the most "influential tycoons in the city of Los Angeles." As, Michael stood in the Crystal Room he wondered to himself what he was actually doing there for he knew he had absolutely nothing in common with anyone in attendance. Other than David, he knew he wouldn't know another single person there. His dream had led him to believe he was supposed to meet someone important at this party. After having just spent thirty days backpacking through the High Sierras alone, he felt even more out of place at this gathering. Michael was a completely shattered man. He'd lost his faith, he'd lost his brother, and he lost his wife, Patricia when she walked out on him and moved to San Francisco.
Michael could barely believe that just three short months ago he was a successful clinical psychologist at UCLA with a prosperous practice in Westwood Village, a beautiful home, and a beautiful wife. How could one man become so beaten down in such a short time?
Soon the orchestra started up and David and his fiancee, Laura entered the room. Michael was immediately taken with Laura and her intense beauty, especially her "...brilliant blue eyes..." He couldn't understand what had come over him but he felt an extremely strong attraction to Laura, but yet did not know her at all. He had never reacted in such a way before and it startled him. He was utterly "mesmerized" by her. Later in the evening, he danced with, Laura and he knew that she felt something for him too.
One saving grace for, Michael was having met, Laura's Uncle Hermann at the engagement party. The two had sat together at dinner and Hermann told, Michael a little bit about Laura. Michael admitted to Hermann that he had never before felt this way about a woman like he did, Laura and just didn't understand it. At least now, Michael had a sort of confidante in Hermann, someone he could share his feelings with.
Hermann hadn't had a perfect life either and had at one time become disillusioned with God himself so he understood how, MIchael felt. He offered to be Michael's mentor in Christ and Michael took him up on the deal. Herman advised, Michael that it wouldn't be an easy thing to go through and that ridding himself of his anguish and angry feelings toward God would be painful but something he must absolutely go through in order to understand what true "grace" was. Hermann understood that God was doing some work in Michael, but Michael couldn't see that yet, just as he himself couldn't when God was working in him. He felt that the Lord was directing him to help Michael find his path to healing which is why he offered to be his spiritual mentor. Hermann told Michael that he needed to depend on God, completely, for all support but Michael didn't trust God so wondered how he would rely on HIm at this moment in his life? Hermann told Michael that the reliance would come in time.
Over the next while, Laura too realized just how attracted she herself was to, Michael and couldn't understand it either. She was supposed to be marrying David in five short weeks, not having these intense feelings for another man.
One day on a picnic to a beautiful lake near Malibu, Laura confided in, MIchael that she had been thinking about the connection between them. She said she'd completely blocked out her spiritual experience on a Christian retreat she'd been on. But it wasn't until, MIchael asked her if she had received Christ that it came back to her. During her times of meditation she prayed that God give her peace. She was so used to saying this prayer that she didn't even think about it, but now realized that God had answered her prayers, many times. Michael asked Laura "...in what way?" and she responded "It's almost as if His Spirit merges with my heart and then I'm at peace and my mind is perfectly still. I think I did receive the Holy Spirit" and then told, Michael "maybe you see the Spirit in me and that's what's attracting you." Laura then commented how odd she thought it was that Michael could see the light in her but, David couldn't. Michael could often see the Spirit of her soul glowing in her face.
Michael and Laura both had a lot of spiritual work to do. In reading the rest of this wonderful story you'll see how each of them comes to Christ and how their awareness of God's great word and the gifts he bestows upon us can heal us for a lifetime. Like Hermann reminds, Michael in the story that once you've received Christ and His Spirit, that is totally "irreversible!" When we give up on God, God does NOT give up on us. He uses every situation to teach us lessons for life. When we're suffering and feel miserable, we should be thanking God for the experience, not being angry with HIm. God's grace is always with you. Michael is a beaten down man and Laura is a confused woman. They both need to surrender to the grace of God.
I would like to say "thank you" to Dr. Steven Panzer for sending me a copy of THE DIVINE SUMMIT in return for an honest review. I hope you all enjoy this book and learn as much as I did.