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For the Tough Times: Reaching Toward Heaven for Hope & Healing [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Max Lucado , Nathan Larkin

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When tragedy strikes, people desperately search for answers. Believers and unbelievers alike find themselves turning to God. Pointing to the only real answer to tragedy and crisis: prayer, here, the author helps us understand how to pray despite our doubt and fear. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  146 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readers in need of reassurance about God's love and power 5 Jun 2007
By FaithfulReader.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was hooked on Max Lucado's FOR THESE TOUGH TIMES from the beginning because it starts with a question from the Psalms: "When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do?" Questions are a time-honored approach to the mystery of all we don't understand about faith --- and the perfect way to start a book on the difficult problem of suffering and evil.

First written as a response to the events of September 11th, FOR THESE TOUGH TIMES has been redesigned as an all-purpose gift book that speaks to any difficult situation: the death of a loved one, the injustice of world hunger, a broken relationship. Christians have long mined the Psalms and the Book of Job for answers to the problems of evil, pain and suffering in the world. And what they've found, as Lucado has found, is that there are no pat answers. Rather, as Psalm 11:3-4 continues, we discover that God is in control. He is over everything. And when we have no pat answers, Lucado compellingly shows that we still have the knowledge that God loves us and cares about what happens to us.

Eight short chapters, plus an introduction and a prayer, make up this slim yet meaty volume. In the book, he asks "Who is God? Where is God in the midst of evil? Can good come from evil? And prayer --- is God really listening?"

Lucado looks to scripture for examples of biblical characters --- Joseph, Moses, Daniel --- who endured difficult circumstances yet whose tragedies were turned into triumphs. He also looks to creation as evidence of God's power and majesty. "Nature is God's workshop. The sky is his résumé. The universe is his calling card. You want to know who God is? See what he has done. You want to know his power? Take a look at his creation. Curious about his strength? Pay a visit to his home address: 1 Billion Starry Sky Ave."

His images are fresh and vivid throughout, whether retelling the story of the nativity or the drama of Jesus calming the storm. "And that was just the beginning of what his sea mates would witness," Lucado writes. "Before it was over, they would see fish jump into the boat, demons dive into pigs, cripples turn into dancers, and cadavers turn into living, breathing people."

Lucado points to scriptures such as Romans 8:31 ("If God is for us, who can be against us?") as a reminder of God's personal care for us. "You are protected. God is with you." Nothing can separate us from God's love if we desire it, because of Jesus, he reminds us.

One of the toughest ideas Lucado offers is that God uses Satan to refine the faithful and allows us to experience pain to come back to faith, be disciplined when we've sinned, or test the church. This is perhaps the most discussable portion of the book, depending on your theology of suffering.

He also discusses the terrible price of revenge and bitterness when we've been victimized in some way and invites readers to consider this: "Would you like assurance that God forgives you? I think you know what you need to do." He urges readers to remember to make time to listen to God, to be quiet, and to be still. He reminds us that "your prayer on earth activates God's power in heaven....When you speak, Jesus hears. And when Jesus hears, the world is changed."

At the end of the book, Lucado includes "Do it Again, Lord," a prayer adapted from one written for America Prays, a national prayer vigil on September 15, 2001. The prayer echoes his belief that "Though we may not be able to see his purpose of his plan, the Lord of heaven is on his throne and in firm control of the universe and our lives. So we entrust him with our future. We entrust him with our very lives." Readers in need of reassurance about God's love and power in the face of evil and suffering will find solace in these pages.

--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Max Lucado's Tough Times booklet 5 Nov 2006
By Jo Belmont - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Didn't realize it was just a small (almost daily reader) type bookLET, but its contents are typical Max Lucado. How y'gonna fault that? I did think I was getting a "real" book, however.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reaching 14 May 2007
By Robert B. Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
For These Tough Times: Reaching Toward Heaven for Hope and HealingRead this and learn how to really live life and how to really reach your goal of eternal salvation and to live with God for the eternities. Again, Max writes no "poor" book. He should be considered the "Nora Roberts" of the relgious genre.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 10 Feb 2007
By Linda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It is difficult to write a review for Max Lucado because all of his books are 5 stars. I never hesitate to give one of his books as a gift because I know it will be helpful and there won't be anything that would offend. Max has an intimate relationship with God. God's love fills Max's heart and it spills out in his books.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lucado Re-hashed 18 Jan 2009
By Edward Franklin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I thought I'd begin this review by comparing Max Lucado's new book FOR THE TOUGH TIMES, Reaching Toward Heaven For Hope to C.J. Mahaney's LIVING THE CROSS CENTERED LIFE, Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing.

Both books are about the same size. End of similarities. Lucado does not even come close to reflecting the Biblical truth which underlies Mahaney's work, nor is the Lucado book Christ-centered, rather it reflects the man-focused religion which dominates modern "Christendom."

FOR THE TOUGH TIMES is a small book. It is small in size; it is small in content; it is small in value to believers and dangerous to non-believers.

Mahaney is able to take serious theological concepts and present them in an understandable form so that one does not need to be a seminary grad to get his point. Lucado wants to be "readable" for a general audience as well, but his methods involve taking the things of God and trivializing them. Such childish rubbish as "God's address is 1 Billion Starry Sky Avenue" is not "putting the cookies on the bottom shelf where even the kiddies can reach them" but putting rat poison in the milk.

Lucado's presentation of theological concepts is not only flawed by such trivialization but fraught with error. I'm not going to spend time refuting much of this, if any. I'll just let his words demonstrate the shallow-at-best understanding of God and His character and work:

"He (God) invented Grace"

"He (God) placed His hand on the shoulder of humanity and said "You're someting special"

"Your prayers may move God to change the world"

and First Honors for:

"...upon learning that God would rather die than live without you...."

This is the first Lucado book I've ever read. He is presented as "America's leading inspirational writer" I believe it. He is teaching exactly what Mainstream Christianity believes and wants to have reinforced: It's all about Me. God thinks I'm really Special. The whole of creation revolves around Me. I am so powerful I can get God to change His plans! Me, Me, Me!

To his credit, the chapter on Good and Evil and the role of Satan is pretty solid Biblically. Lucado credits 3 other writers in this work: Erwin Lutzer, John MacArthur, and Anthony Hoekema. He should have leaned more heavily on them.

Initially I was going to offer the criticism that there was not good continuity between chapters; the change is often abrupt. Then I happened to read on the copyright page:

Most of the material for this book has been adapted from (4 previous titles)
ISBN 978-0-8499-2144-5 (repackage)

So, it's not only a small book (barely 10,000 words I'd guess), it's a rehash of already published stuff.....

Bottom line: Hallmark appearance, shallow content, Gospel-deficient.
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