Book Review: A Second Look at the Savior

A Second Look at the Savior: Hearing His VoiceA Second Look at the Savior: Hearing His Voice by Byron Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I purchased and read A SECOND LOOK AT THE SAVIOR: HEARING HIS VOICE because I have known and loved the author for many years. I have worked with him when I was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gulf Coast Bible Camp. During that time Byron became our first full time Director and Fund Raiser for the camp, a work he still engages. I have enjoyed long conversations with him under those tall pines and appreciate all that he does for the Lord and his beautiful family. Byron Smith is in my estimation a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ and I wanted to read what he has written.

Especially so, since he was writing about taking a second look at our Savior … which we all need to do every day. I appreciated the emphasis on escaping the habit of approaching Scripture with the same presuppositions we always have, and seeking to open our eyes (and ears) to the Lord. We will never fully exhaust everything the Bible has to say about Jesus. Often we presume to know everything Jesus says and we fall into traps.

Often we become captain and navigators of our own destinies and then blame God for every raging storm we encounter.

The author faces very directly the truth that many things happen in life that confound us in our relationship with God. Whatever struggles you have with God, or even believing in God, I think you’ll find some things to think about in Second Look.

Questions should not be used as excuses to walk away from Jesus and Christianity. Instead they need to be asked, answered, and then allowed to change our lives.

Smith uses many episodes in the Bible to illustrate the principles he wants to communicate. These help us to see the humanity of biblical men and women rather than view them as simply stories. I think the major emphasis on the book is seeking God in the most difficult moments of your life, and not giving up. I especially enjoyed chapters of the book where Byron details his own personal struggles and faith experiences. I liked the section where he talked about going to Faulkner University (a private Christian college in Alabama) without knowing how on earth was going to pay for it. You’ll have to read the book to know how that was amazingly resolved.

My favorite chapters were the two written about Psalm 49:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” I think that some of the thoughts expressed here are nothing less than profound.

This passage has so much depth to it. I’ve learned that I need to revisit it often when my heart has given out. … Even the strongest people will eventually ‘wear out.’

I appreciate that attitude because I’ve read too many authors who thought they had everything figured out and were ready to just tell the rest of us dummies how to live life. Byron gives all credit to God.

You can’t be still in the storm and find some addiction to distract you. You can’t be still and waste time feeling sorry for yourself and accuse God of abandoning you. … watch what strength is given when we wait upon the Lord.

Each chapter ends with a prayer that can be prayed, reflecting the thoughts of the chapter. The last two chapters tie in the contents of the book with the life of Jesus and an expression of how to seek and find salvation through faith in Christ.

There’s a lot of good in this book and I’m glad I read it. I want to be up front, though, so I won’t be accused of giving a cushy review and ignoring some issues. I haven’t asked Byron (and I won’t) if he hired a cold-hearted and thorough editor, but if he is moved to reprint the book that would be a good idea. This is the greatest danger (in my opinion) of self-publishing. It’s hard to read our own writing and find errors and cloudy areas. And it’s hard for people who love us to be unrelentingly specific with the red pen. I only mention this because I think any of my friends who read this book will take notice of the same things I did – and I’m no professional editor. I feel certain there are errors in this review! So that’s the reason a ‘cold-hearted’ editor is a writer’s best friend.

Even so, please don’t let that keep you from giving this book a chance. I think it would be a good book for a Sunday School class or Small Group to work through. There is a ‘Study Guide’ in the back of the book, although it functions more as a ‘Teacher’s Guide’. The ideas and suggestions in the ‘Study Guide’ give helps to those who are teaching both young and old, with a good variety of activities and questions.

Byron Smith (I have thus far avoided using his nickname, the only name I knew him by for a long time. You can thank me later, Byron.) suggests that this is the first in a trilogy of ‘Second Look’ books. I hope he keeps writing and I look forward to reading what he composes. I don’t know this but I’m sure he writes with the beauty of Gulf Coast Bible Camp in view … perhaps the lake in the center of the camp. I imagine that it is quiet except for the symphony of crickets and birds and other creatures of the forest that surrounds that place that is very special to my heart. I pray that when he writes his books he hears the voice of the Lord in the breeze that flows over what I have always considered to be Holy Ground.

To purchase, please visit the website HERE.

JD

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