I was so excited to have been picked to receive and review Joanna Weaver's new release: Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God through Litfuse (go here to find out more about this blog book review site). Joanna Weaver (click on her name to learn more about her) is also offering the following items in a give-a-way if you go here:
- A Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi
- Having A Mary Heart in a Martha World
- Having A Mary Spirit
- Lazarus Awakening
This is my first blog book review and I am not sure i am doing it correctly but I am not new to Joann Weavers work! I have read Joanna's other books and even did some women's Bible studies with two of them: Having a Mary Spirit and Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. She quickly became one of my favorite authors in these studies. So here are some thoughts on this new release.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this new release...the Bible really doesn't say much about Lazarus compare to other biblical characters right? How can an author take a familiar story and write yet a third book from it and bring in new content...new concepts? Seriously, readers...sit back and prepared to be captured mentally and spiritually in this one.
Joanna personalizes Lazarus story beautifully...thoughtfully...spiritually. I am most intrigued with the tomb concept (chapter five) that we put ourselves into due to strongholds, past experiences, hurts, habits, etc...those things that keep us from the intimacy of God we were created to have. I have to be honest here, I haven't finished the book. My book mark may currently sit in front of chapter eight but I need to do a little soul searching that will lead to a spiritual resurrection.
I am currently on over-load due to the conviction I have received from chapters five and six regarding tomb dwelling and rolling away the stone. I need to step back and reflect...meditate...change. I quote Joanna in chapter five...
"In a sense we're like the tormented man of Mark 5. We live in graveyards filled with memories. Wandering through life in a perpetual mourning over the things we have done and the things that have been done to us. We may do our best to outrun the mistakes and regrets, the hurts and disappointments, but apart from God, we find it difficult to escape the cycle of shame and self-hatred that keeps our 'sin...ever be fore us' (Ps 51:3). unfortunately, the coping mechanisms we embrace in order to manage out pain only reinforce the strongholds in our soul." (pp. 72)
This is a comfort zone for satan in our life...OUCH. But this stronghold is just like a tomb and God wants to open it and perform yet another miracle as He did with Lazarus. This tomb becomes a battle field of our soul and I think what stirred me the most were these words found through several more paragraphs:
"It's your reflection satan sees every time he looks at the heart of God...satan isn't nearly as concerned about losing you from his kingdom as he is committed to keeping you from beging effective in Gods kingdom...his one goal is to contain and restrain you". (pp. 72-73)I know I have gone in and out of seasons where strongholds have had more control of my life, my way of thinking, my way of living. The stone to my tomb, my stronghold, tends to close back onto the freedom I have received from Christ shed blood. This closing occurs with those things Joanna addressed in chapter six: unworthiness, unforgiveness, and unbelief, and it usually occurs when I think I am most spiritually fit. It may be in a sermon addressing my great sin from my past...a verse from the Bible regarding the severity of that sin...a statement from another person referencing my great sin...and suddenly the voice of satan is there reminding me, accusing me, causing me to doubt God's forgiveness, mercy and grace.
Joanna points out that to remove those stones that close the tomb of our freedom requires a spiritually disciplined mind. This is something I am learning to practice daily though my quiet times, prayer times, and scripture memorization. But even in the best of times, satan can be ruthless in his attacks. So as I stated above, I need to rest and reflect before I proceed on in this book...at least for tonight.
For many of us, moving the truth of God’s love from our heads to our hearts is a lifelong process. As we consider our inadequacies or grieve our shattered dreams, we find it difficult to believe that God cares for us personally.
In this life-giving book, Joanna Weaver shows you how to embrace the truth that Jesus loves you apart from anything you accomplish, apart from anything you bring. Just as He called Lazarus forth to new life, Jesus wants to free you to live fully in the light of His love, unbound from the graveclothes of fear, regret, and self-condemnation.
Just as Lazarus was instructed to "arise and go forth", this too is the message for us in this book. Through God's guidance and promptings, Joanna has out done the other two books in this series with Lazarus Awakening. Truly this is a must read for any one who is seeking the fullness of God in their life!!
I received Lazarus Awakening as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Litfuse Publicity Group.