Friends! Gather a group or just your sweet self and grab this must-read book ASAP!
Already a fan of author Charles Martin and his novels, I was surprised to learn he’s crafted his first work of non-fiction. Trust me when I say it’s a doozy. It will open your eyes, boost your faith and maybe even step on your toes, but you’ll find that’s a good thing.
We readers get the best of both worlds in that Charles, being a talented storyteller, retells various Biblical stories as only he can, gifting us with fiction, followed by non-fiction, and loads of Scripture accompanied by gut-level vulnerability. This book would be good for guys or girls, and especially great for accountability groups to consider.
Charles has his own group of guys he’s been doing life with for a number of years. They each give endorsements in the beginning of the book. His friend, Hank says,
His friend Rick says, “This book is a refreshing and anointed reminder that the gospel is true and does change everything.”
The title itself, What If It’s True?, causes you to consider your faith seriously. Charles reveals his own doubts while guiding us to answers, along with a moving prayer at the end of each chapter. Thirteen powerful chapters are included plus Appendix A and B which are Scriptures Charles has collected over the years.
Appendix A has Scriptures “where the Word talks about itself.” Charles tells us he reads these to his boys at breakfast every morning. He says, “The Word tells us that God wrote the Word on our hearts, so I’m hoping to remind their hearts what it says.” Appendix B includes verses that “speak to or promise the breaking of curses and of being overtaken by blessing.” Both are rich resources.
His chapters address many sins and how to break their stronghold. Just a few include: addiction, unforgiveness, pride, anger, fear, lack of zeal, running from the Lord rather than to Him, spiritual blindness. The last of which literally opened my eyes to my own spiritual blindness to, oh yes, good ole’ pride. Gulp.
His probing questions throughout pack a punch. (That’s the getting your toes stepped on part and it’s good for all of us!)
Charles shares some of his private practices which cause us readers to consider trying as well. One favorite visual he gives us goes like this:
“I have this thing I do in the mornings…After we get the kids to school, I take my Bible and walk outside with my coffee. Then I walk around my backyard reading God’s Word back to Him. Usually Psalms. I do this to remind me, not Him. He knows what it says. When I’ve done that, I set my Bible down and I walk, praying, with my hands in the air. Doing so humbles me before God. It’s how I walk into the throne room…The thing this walk does for me is take my eyes off the waves threatening to swamp the boat and put them on the Savior who beckons me, ‘Come.’”(This is in Chapter Five, one of my favorites.)
Charles also equips us with powerful Scripture to thwart the devil, distractions and even our challenge du jour. For example, when he and his wife Christy are stuck, as in praying for something and getting no answers for a long while, they cling tightly to these letters: JCILOA (Jesus Christ is Lord of All). This helps them to not even consider resigning their requests. They put this “rock” (JCILOA) between themselves and their enemy, “driving it like a stake in the ground.” Powerful!
He also offers sample discussions he has with satan (He never capitalizes satan’s name, purposely dissing the devil.), also calling him “resignation”. The prayer in this particular chapter demonstrates what Charles does with each chapter in that it focuses on its main idea.
Look with me at a few sentences from the prayer in Chapter Five:
“Lord Jesus, I confess that I have given in to resignation. I have listened to his lies and given in to his claims on more than one occasion…I’ve been giving more air time to the enemy’s blue sky than Your Word. I want to take back that ground. I want to hold up a stop-sign hand and declare, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord of all!’
So, come in like a flood. Renew our strength…Father, touch my lips with a burning coal and set Your words on my tongue. I say to the spirit of resignation sitting on my couch, ‘Get out in the name of Jesus! Get out of my heart. Get out of my wife/husband’s heart. Get out of my children’s hearts. You are a liar from the pit of hell. You’re a defeated punk. Shut up!…’
Tear down any and all strongholds in my mind that would argue with You. Please seal me—all of me— and grow me into a man/woman who will stand beneath Your Word and declare, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord of all!’”
In Jesus’ Name, amen.”
So, this is just a little glimpse into What If It’s True? I highly recommend it for all ages, men and women, and also suggest you try any of Charles’ novels. My all-time favorite one is Wrapped in Rain. John is currently reading When Crickets Cry. His newer novels are great also. One novel, The Mountain Between Us, was made into a movie in 2017. (I believe he’s written thirteen novels so far!)
Charles’ blog and website are also good resources. Checkout www.charlesmartinbooks.com
To close, allow me to tell on myself. Many moons ago, about ten of us from Southeast’s book club, including my cousin’s son who’d gone to school in Jacksonville with Charles, trekked to Lexington to Joseph-Beth Booksellers as Charles was going to be there doing a book signing. Book signings are highly unpredictable in that some are well attended and some not so much. This one happened to be the latter. Only two others were there, so Charles said, “I’m not going to do my dog and pony show, y’all can just ask questions.”
He began by asking us if we’d read one or more of his books. We giddy little schoolgirls shot up our hands, showing him we’d read every single one of his books so far.
When he finished speaking, he offered to sign our books. I proudly whipped out Wrapped in Rain. When he opened up the title page, there was a phone number on that page. He turned twelve shades of red and said, “Uh, ma’am, are you trying to give me your phone number???” To which I then turned twelve shades of red and replied, “Oh, mercy, no! My husband just finished your book and whenever he receives voicemails, he jots down the phone numbers wherever he can find a piece of paper.”
I’m still dying over that little encounter, fully aware he very well may not have believed me. I wanted to say, “Charles, I could be your mother, and I’ve been happily married for thirty-five years!” God bless him, no telling how many women readers and fans he has, or how they behave!!! My friend, Betsy, also got to meet him recently in a LifeWay store in Nashville.
If you’ve not read any books by Charles Martin, give him a try. You’ll love his novels, find Christ in the stories, and you’ll flip over What If It’s True.
‘Til next time!