Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: Awaken Your Life

     I was very excited to receive Joanna Weaver's latest, Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God, from WaterBrook Multnomah Press in exchange for a review.  When we answer the call to become a follower of Christ, many of us walk around in a stupor of sorts forgetting that Jesus came to give us live abundantly.  Maybe we know He loves us in our minds, but don't accept that in our hearts. Or maybe, we just do not live out His love.   What holds us back? Is it fear, insecurity or some other false belief? Then with those, we encase our hearts in grave clothes ensuring our hearts they are protected, yet not letting God's love in. After years of hurts and life, people choose to live in self-imposed tombs with stones of unworthiness, unforgiveness and unbelief blocking escape.
     Weaver brings the first century to life and relevance to the 21st century through vivid analogies and colorful imagery. How often I have read the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus not once contemplating what I could learn from his perspective. On account of Lazarus Awakening I will never pass by him again.  By directing our attention to Jesus' miraculous resurrection of Lazarus, she walks us through our own lives: the past hurts, anguished memories and blockages that cloud our vision.  Let me point out though, the main point using Lazarus as our case study points us in the direction to help others remove their grave clothes and walk them into the Light.
     It is in the bonus chapter we are shown the way to shed our own trappings.  Honestly, I found it odd at first until she pointed it out that the bonus chapter was included to round things out.  It didn't fit into the story line with the rest of the preceding chapters.That being the case, it crossed my mind many times that we would first need to be living free ourselves to help others.  Maybe some could help others first, but it would seem hypocritical to so.  Readers choice I suppose. 
     I absolutely was captivated by the attention to detail and how the author seems to really get into the minds of the characters. That shows true talent. So often, when reading I hear the same message about a particular account from the Bible. So often, I find myself clawing through the book longing for some treasure. There was no clawing here. The treasures were plenty and the chapters flew faster than I anticipated. Mrs. Weaver's insights are inspiring.  She opened my mind to new ways of thinking. What would I feel if I were that person? What is being said in between the lines that was not written out?
     When Jesus commanded Lazarus to arise, He didn't intend for him to walk around in a dazed slumber, but wanted him to exude the joy He came to bring. If one was to work on the included study, I believe Lazarus Awakening could help bring that joy to some believer's life.  The book could hold the catalyst many of us need to live the life in light of the love God shines down upon us.  Joanna Weaver has written a book that can help you help others or help yourself. Lazarus Awakening would be a great gift to hurting hearts.  They might finally identify the wrappings that are hindering their spiritual life. With that, Happy Unbinding and Happy Finding!

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