THE LIFE GOD BLESSES: The Secret of Enjoying God's Favor
Jim Cymbala, Author, Stephen Sorenson, With with Stephen Soren
Cymbala's fourth book supports his thesis that God will favor those whose hearts are genuinely open to him. In six brief chapters, Cymbala alternates between biblical and contemporary stories—many about his parishioners—to illustrate simple, powerful messages about how people have succeeded and failed in efforts to live a blessed life. He does a fine job of making Old Testament stories accessible to a wide audience, and in doing so shows how kings such as Uzziah and Josiah interacted with God and reaped both blessings and sorrows, depending on the condition of their hearts and the choices they made. Mixed with these stories are snippets of information about the Brooklyn Tabernacle, Cymbala's astoundingly successful church, but for a fuller story of its humble beginnings and miraculous growth, readers would do better to read Cymbala's first three publications, as well as Carol Cymbala's book (reviewed below). Cymbala's tone is refreshingly earnest, and while he does not downplay God's ability and willingness to allow human suffering, he and Sorenson emphasize above all God's tenderness and deep love for everyone. Also admirable is the absence of vitriol in this book; Cymbala imitates the godly gentleness he extols and repeatedly warns against the pride and hardness of heart to which those who are blessed can fall prey. While some of Cymbala's rhetoric may superficially appear to echo the gospel of health and wealth, even the most cursory reading reveals that he speaks of blessings much less tangible and more enduring than money and material well-being.
Reviewed on: 08/27/2001