Pastor Jim Cymbala points out that God is searching the earth for men and women to bless. "The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). God is not looking for intelligence, social status, skills, or influence. Instead, he is searching for men and women whose hearts can be shaped according to his purposes. The Life God Blesses unlocks the keys to experiencing God's blessing by exploring the characteristics of this special kind of heart - a humble heart, a listening heart, a merciful heart. Jim Cymbala believes that we can let God shape us so that we can become the fulfillment of his search. As we respond to God's grace, we will become people who are uniquely blessed. This blessing will inevitably spill over into our marriages, our children's lives, our work, and our world. The Scriptures tell us that David was a man after God's own heart. What made him so special to the Lord? Through far from perfect, something about David's heart enabled the Lord to bless him and use him to bring blessings to generations of people after him. Drawing from the lives of other Old Testament kings, such as Amaziah, Uzziah, Josiah, and from Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, Jim Cymbala helps readers understand how God's blessings work. With powerful stories from his own life and from others at The Brooklyn Tabernacle, he shows what it means to live a life that is truly blessed by God.
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. (Sept.)
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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