Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Review: Always True

Always-true Author: James MacDonald
Chicago, Moody, 2011
Number of pages: 148

"I was a man gasping and going under for the third time and these promises became my lifeline,"

writes renowned preacher and author, James MacDonald in his latest book, Always True; God's 5 Promises When Life is Hard. "By them I was pulled to safety..." Getting through certain seasons life serves up can be a crushing experience. MacDonald reminds readers of five promises God makes to His children over and over throughout scripture. God is there to sustain His people even in the worst of times.

God makes promises. Because this is true and because there is a historical record of that, the study of God's promises is also a study in theology. For that reason, MacDonald breaks his books up into five major sections all with titles that begin with "Theology of a Promise."

  • Theology of a Promise: God is a Promiser by nature. Promise #1: God is Always With Me (I Will Not Fear)
  • Theology of a Promise: God keeps His promises. Promise #2: God is Always in Control (I Will Not Doubt)
  • Theology of a Promise: God wants us to test His promises. Promise #3: God is Always Good (I Will Not Despair)
  • Theology of a Promise: God's promises are activated by faith. Promise #4: God is Always Watching (I Will Not Falter)
  • Theology of a Promise: God's promises are experienced in Jesus Christ. Promise #4: God is Always Victorious (I Will Not Fail)

The above breakdown is simple and that's how the book reads. Those who are familiar with the radio ministry of James MacDonald will hear his voice as they read the words written in the book. He communicates simply, smartly, and packs a ton of truth into a very small, tote-able package. This is truth you can take with you.

My personal favorite is Promise #3: God is Always Good. I've trudged through my own crucible and that is the one truth that has sustained me. When I can't understand anything else, I understand that God is wise and God is good. He's good all the time. MacDonald quotes Nahum 1:7, "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him." We are able to take refuge in the character of God. This is a truth we need to draw strength from in times of trouble. And when times are good, we need to praise Him for the same reason because even though seasons and circumstances change, this truth doesn't.

Throughout the book, MacDonald draws on the deep well of God's Word for the repeated promises and then he demonstrates with his own experiences how the promises play out in the real world. He's candid, transparent, and accessible as he writes about his weaknesses, trials, and about coming out whole on the other side. He does this without making himself the hero of his book which is extremely refreshing.

This book is written for a regular audience. It's not written for a masters level seminarian. It's for the guy or girl working and living and being a Christian on planet earth. Pick up a copy of this book and put your heart into the three hours it takes to read the book whole book from cover to cover. It will be time well spent.

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