Once again Max Lucado has taken an intangible concept, hope, and made it real! Flesh and blood actions, everyday ways to live it out and inspiring stories of those who have walked the hard road. Filled with biblical truths and empathy, Max gave me a guide to building my own personal promise book with God, tailored to my problems. I feel capable and refreshed to face the world!
Each chapter left me with a list of things to do different! For example “ for every problem in life God has given us a promise. Make it your aim to get so acquainted with these promises that you can write yourself a prescription”. The P-U-S-H acronym is great too to remember the Spirit promises to give us power, unity, supervision and holiness. I loved the analogy of ignoring the Holy Spirit is like buying a two-wheeled tricycle.
I flew through it, eagerly anticipating my evening read. Reflecting on why, I noticed each night I went to slept resting on a promise from God, hopeful tomorrow would go well and feeling I had come to understand God better or draw nearer to Him.
Max tells amazing stories, some humorous others poignant but always memorable. There were definitely a few chuckles (personal favourite: “A rock cannot swim. A hippo cannot fly. A butterfly cannot eat a bowl of spaghetti. You cannot sleep on a cloud and God cannot lie.”) throughout the book but every point was linked to biblical truth, each promise based on a verse.
Max simplifies huge concepts into easy to remember promises like “Why did Jesus applaud the faith of the centurion? Because the man believed in the power of Jesus to keep his word. In fact, this story gives us Jesus’ definition of faith: Faith is the deeply held belief that God will keep his promises.” WOW, the centurion story took on so much more depth for me and I have a clear picture of what faith looks like, more than that, I nodded, I can do that, I can stand on God’s promises.
I was challenged to stretch myself with lines like “Arrogance stiffens the knee so it will not kneel, hardens the heart so it will not admit sin. The heart of pride never confesses, never repents, never asks for forgiveness, indeed the arrogant never feel the need for forgiveness. Pride is the hidden reef that shipwrecks the soul.” I was inspired to find something to confess! Goodness, I don’t want to be stiff in the knee – what an image – what a call to action!
My heart felt peace upon reading this “This wasn’t the case with the disciples. They were on the storm-tossed sea because Christ told them to be there. Jesus made the disciples get into the boat”. This wasn’t Jonah seeking to escape God; these were disciples seeking to obey Jesus. These are missionaries who move overseas, only to have their support evaporate. These are business leaders who take the high road, only to see their efforts outbid by dishonest competitors. This is the couple who honors God in marriage, only to have an empty crib. This is the student who prepares, only to fall short on the exam. These are disciples who launch a boat as Jesus instructed, only to sail headfirst into a tempest. Storms come to the obedient.” Yes I thought, this man gets this is tough! And I think that’s the power of the book, this is tough BUT God and His promises!
Max goes on to say, after discussing key biblical figures “ Do what people of the promise do. Keep coming to Jesus.” Books like this emphasise the basic principle – to remain in God always. Each chapter focuses on a bible verse, reframes a bible story and draws the reader into biblically-inspired action such as “the best book of promises is the one you and God are going to write together. Search and search until you find covenants that address your needs.”
Its quintessentially Max Lucado, and five out of five for me, highly recommended!