Learning the Promises of God One Day at a Time: An Interview with Jack Countryman
Times of change, trouble, or doubt can leave us looking for answers, wondering what God says about our situation. Millions have trusted Jack Countryman books based on the promises of God. His first 365-day devotional—God’s Promises® Every Day—brings encouragement and assurance through Scripture and writings about the promises God has for your life.
Briefly describe your career in Christian publishing.
Jack Countryman: Marsha and I feel so blessed when we consider that we started our Christian company on our kitchen table back in 1976 in Houston, Texas. We first offered the Living New Testament in Living Sound published by Tyndale House Publishers. They gave us the very first license to produce that New Testament on 16 cassette tapes. We sold thousands of copies over the next several years.
In 1981, we developed God’s Promises for Your Every Need, which was a small Scripture-filled gift book. This opened our door to Christian publishing and the rest is history.
In 1994, we sold our small company to Thomas Nelson and we were moved from Texas to Tennessee. Thomas Nelson wanted us to develop an inspirational gift division and they decided to call this new division JCountryman. We were like kids in a candy store with all the intellectual property available to us. We worked with wonderful authors such as Max Lucado, John Maxwell, Charles Stanley, John MacArthur, Charles Swindoll, Anne Graham Lotz, and so many more. By 2000, we had grown to be the largest inspirational gift book publisher in the world. Today, we’re still involved in Christian publishing and we continue to feel God’s blessings.
How have you seen Christian publishing change over the years?
Jack Countryman: In the past 5-10 years, we’ve seen Christian publishing grow and evolve like never before. With the growth of the internet, communication with the Christian world has taken on new meaning and the avenue to making the world aware of great Christian books has exploded. The retail marketplace has also changed. We’ve seen tremendous growth in Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and mass markets with Sam’s, Costco, Target, and Walmart. These have become great destinations for our books. With the unfortunate closing of many traditional Christian bookstores, the general market has captured the sales of Christian books and this has been healthy for us as we see our presence growing each year.
Why is a daily devotional a good resource for a Christian’s faith journey?
Jack Countryman: The Christian life is intended for each person to live daily in the presence of God. This can be accomplished by making the choice to spend time in God’s Word, read and study a devotional, and come to him in prayer. This requires discipline on our part. We must choose to make time with God a priority. If we do this, we’ll grow in our faith and in our walk with God. We’ll walk close to the Lord and he’ll give us wisdom through his Spirit to help us to become all that he wants us to be.
What themes does your book cover?
Jack Countryman: Times of change, trouble, or doubt can leave us looking for answers, wondering what God says about our situation. God’s Promises Every Day is filled with life-giving encouragement for times we face the various situations of life. This book offers daily promises from God to comfort, direct, encourage, and assure us of his presence. We can start our day with truth we can rely on straight from God’s Word. We can trust his goodness, his mercy, and his grace, and step into the day standing strong on God’s promises.
What one or two devotions from your book do you especially find meaningful for your own walk of faith and why?
Jack Countryman: January 21. James 1:5. God Gives Wisdom. The wisdom that God offers us is pure and without reproach and we should come to him with an open heart and mind. God promises to bless us with his wisdom to handle the challenges of our daily lives.
April 25. Ephesians 2:8. You Are Saved. Grace is a gift from God and we can never earn it, never be worthy of it on our own. We’re offered his love, mercy, and grace. Through the forgiveness of our sins we’re joined with Christ and made co-heirs with him. We no longer have any reason to fear death or judgment. We have the glory and wonder of heaven to look forward to—all because of God’s great gift.
How should readers use this devotional to get the most out of it?
Jack Countryman: Choose a time of day that fits your schedule. Marsha and I like to start first thing in the morning. In this way, we begin the day with the Lord. We read the daily Scripture and ponder the thought for the day and a short prayer. Readers can meditate on how God’s Word and the devotional thought can apply to their lives. These devotions are encouraging and give thought to how God promises to bless us if we walk hand in hand with him. The more time we spend in God’s Word the more we’ll be like him. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Jack Countryman: My favorite Bible passage is Psalm 37:3-7. I believe this passage gives the Christian a formula for walking with the Lord. It begins with, “trust in the LORD, and do good.” Nothing happens in our lives until we make a decision to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts. Verse 4 reads, “delight yourself also in the LORD.” Spending time with the Lord has great benefits. If we delight ourselves in Him, He has promised to give us the desires of our heart. Verse 5 tells us to, “commit [our] way to the LORD.” We must make a commitment to serve and honor God in our daily life. The Lord is waiting for us to follow him and use our lives to serve him. Verse 7 tells us to, “rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.” After we’ve placed our trust, delighted ourselves in the Lord, and made a commitment to live for him, we can rest in his presence. This is God’s desire for each of us.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?
Jack Countryman: Bible Gateway is a wonderful tool that opens up the Bible in various translations that gives reference to various topics, Bible passages, with resources such as commentaries, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and sermons. This wonderful tool gives you the audio Bible for listening time in God’s Word. I’ve personally used Bible Gateway for the Scripture research and the development of my books. When you use Bible Gateway for research of various Scriptures, you’ll be blessed.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Jack Countryman: Our hope and prayer is that God’s Promises Every Day will bless your life as you read the Scripture, devotional thought, and prayer each day. We yearn for each person that reads our devotional to grow in their relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Revelation 3:20 says, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” May your life be filled with God’s presence as you spend time reading and meditating on God’s Promises Every Day.
God’s Promises Every Day is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Jack Countryman is the founder of JCountryman® Gift Books, a division of Thomas Nelson, and the recipient of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Jordan Lifetime Achievement Award. Over the past 30 years, he has developed bestselling gift books such as God’s Promises® for Your Every Need, God’s Promises® for Men, God’s Promises® for Women, God Listens, and The Red Letter Words of Jesus. Countryman’s books have sold more than 20 million units.
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May 23, 2019