The last book in a trilogy about the siblings of Bethany, is one which could alter your life forever. Lazarus Awaking by Joanna Weaver is written for those of us who could be called, "dead man walking."
Just a quick reminder here of the story from John 11. Jesus was summoned to the siblings house by His good friends Mary and Martha. Lazarus was sick and he needed the healing touch of Jesus. However, Jesus purposely delayed his arrival. When he did arrive, Lazarus was dead. Then Jesus called into the tomb,"Lazarus, come out!" And so he did. Lazarus awoke from death, walked out of the tomb, dropped his stinky grave-clothes and ran into the arms of his precious Jesus.
Weaver uses this bible story analogy to breathe life back into those who are not living the abundant life Jesus promised us. She writes "we live in graveyards filled with memories.....unfortunately, the coping mechanisms we embrace in order to manage our pain only reinforce the strongholds in our souls."
This book is a wonderful tool to use in a quest to move out of the graveyards of regret and into the joyfilled life we are promised. Included with the book is a companion study guide. This guide is helpful as Joanna challenges and encourages us to accept the love of our Father and allow the growth needed to step out of our stinky grave-clothes and into the life God has for us. Her words challenge each of us to leave the graveyard of regret, drop those stinky grave-clothes (whatever they might be) and embrace the Saviors calling, "Arise! Go forth!"
***I received this book for free from the publisher for this review.
Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver is an incredible reflection of the life changing events of Lazarus as written in John 11:1 - John 12:11 in the Holy Bible. Jesus' dear sweet friend Lazarus knows first hand of the loving relationship that can be found in Jesus. He knows what it is like to be called friend. Joanna illustrates how we can come to experience the same spiritual resurrection through a relationship with Jesus and how we, too, may come to be known as "friend".
Joanna makes a comparison to Lazarus in that we are sick, dead inside, tomb dwelling Christians. We have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior but we fail to live the life that Jesus came to give. We hang out in the midchamber of the tomb held captive by our thoughts, fears, anxieties, past hurts, failures, regrets and addictions. A life of freedom in Christ is waiting for each of us. We just have to answer when Love calls our name and challenges us to live. We can't believe the lies of Satan and remain ineffective in God's Kingdom. We must take action.
We all have stones that need rolled away. Stones of unforgiveness, unworthiness and unbelief. What stone do have blocking your spiritual resurrection? Which one do you need to cry out to God to remove from your life?
I love how Joanna describes how the grave clothes that hindered Lazarus are the same grave clothes that hinder us as Christians.
Our feet are bound, affecting our walk with God.
Our hands are bound, limiting our work for God.
Our face is covered, clouding our watchfulness.
Our mouth is covered, muffling our witness.
The thing about grave clothes is that they can be removed. Removed permanently with the help of the Lord. They may be comfortable and we may want to put them on and off at times but if we want to live in the full righteousness of Christ then we need to let them go. We need to remove them, never to put them on again. As you recognize the hindrances that keep you bound and entombed take them to Christ asking Him to clothe you in His righteousness.
Joanna Weaver did an excellent job bringing this story to life. I am thankful for the bonus chapter on grave clothes; how they can trip us up and how we can shed them. I also look forward to working through the 10-week companion Bible Study that was also included in this book.
"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."
Lazarus Awakening is the third book in Joanna Weaver's Bethany series. I've wanted to read Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World for a long time. Now I'd love to also read Having a Mary Spirit.
I loved everything about this book. Being a "why?" kind of girl, I enjoyed finding out a bit of Biblical background about culture and society as well as explanations about the original words used and their meanings. For example, two Greek words are translated in English as friend, philos and hetairos. Jesus used philos to describe Lazarus, meaning someone loved and dear. In Matthew 26:50, "And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him" we might wonder why would Jesus refer to Judas as a friend. The Greek word used here was hetairos, more rightly meaning, according to Spiros Zodhiates, means to "establish a... deceptive and misleading friendship."
My husband teases me about all the highlighting I did in this book while reading it. It was just so full of wonderful thoughts.
There are wonderful resources and helps in the many appendices in this book, including a ten-week Bible Study. I somehow missed the red banner on the cover of this book with that information, so will be re-reading Lazarus Awakening while actually following the study.
I highly recommend this book. Remember, "good things come to those who wake."
I was provided with a free copy of this book by Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinion.