What can the story of Lazarus in the Bible teach us? Basically all we know is he was sick, died and came back to life. I wondered what I could possibly learn from Lazarus.
Joanna helps us, using the life of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, to get the truth of God’s love from our head to our heart. Each chapter is based on a segment of Lazarus’s story. For example, Chapter 6, Roll Away the Stone, is about some of the boulders in our life. And Chapter 7, When Loves Calls Your Name, is about prayer. I loved how Joanne uses Lazarus’s story to help us step out of the tomb and live a new life.
“Jesus called Lazarus forth to new life and He wants to free you to live fully in the light of His love, unhindered by fear, regret, or self condemnation.”
In chapter one Joanna writes, “Just eighteen inches, give or take a few—That’s all it needs to move. And yet, for many of us, getting God’s love from our heads to our hearts may be the most difficult—yet the most important—thing we ever attempt to do.”
As a young girl I remember singing Jesus Loves me quite often. Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. I believed it as a young girl but as I grew up and experienced difficulties, I wondered if this was true. I’ve realized, yes, He does love me, more than I can fathom. Joanna has helped me to realize even more how deeply my heavenly Father truly loves me.
The story of Lazarus is found in John 11. Lazarus was sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus. His reply was that this sickness would not end in death. But, he did die. Can you imagine the questions Mary and Martha had for Jesus?
On page 9, Joanna asks the question, “How do we reconcile the love of God with the disappointments we face in life?”
Have you asked this question? I sure have. Many times. The story of Lazarus reveals God’s love for this trio in a remarkable way and Joanna tells us how it can also apply to us.
Lazarus Awakening is filled with Scripture, which I love because it helps me to learn more and understand God’s words to me. Joanna explains the Word and makes it come to life. I feel like I am there, in Bethany, with Mary and Martha. I’ve just witnessed a man who has been dead 4 days come to life! Everyone around me is stunned, yet with a huge smile on his or her face.
Do you have a hard time accepting God’s love? It’s not easy because we know how undeserving we are. Joanna explains it using the time her husband proposed to her. When he asked her to marry him, she didn’t say, “Wait a minute, do you have any idea what you’re getting into?” She didn’t pull out a list of reasons why he couldn’t possibly love her. No. She accepted his love. God ‘proposed’ to each one of us before we were ever born. We just need to accept His love and we will live happily ever after, with Him in Eternity.
I loved Chapter 3, Our Friend Lazarus. The Bible is a love story. “The entire Bible records an epic story of the ever-reaching, always-pursuing, tenaciously tender love of God.”
When Jesus spoke of Lazarus, Jesus called him Friend. (John 11:11)
Am I a friend of God? This chapter challenged me. I thought about characteristics of friendship and asked myself how was my relationship with Jesus, as a friend. I had to stop at this point and reflect. I don’t want a selfish relationship with anyone, especially with Jesus. I lose when I’m selfish. Jesus is looking for someone to just hang out with, with no hidden agenda. I don’t have to serve him or even worship him to be friends.
Another favorite chapter was 6; Roll Away the Stone. This chapter is about the blockages (stones) in our souls that prevent us from believing all God says to us. Joanna identifies 3 areas.
- The stone of unworthiness-the lie that we are unloved and unlovable.
- The stone of unforgiveness – the lie that we must hold on to the hurts of the past.
- The stone of unbelief – the lie that God can’t or won’t help us so we must do everything ourselves.
These stones are hard to remove but not impossible. There is so much freedom when we allow the Lord to remove these stones in our heart. Our Christian life becomes stagnant otherwise. I don’t know about you, but I truly want to grow closer to my Father with nothing in my way.
What is barricading your life today?
The Bonus Chapter, What’s Tripping You Up?, is worth the book. This chapter was humbling, convicting, yet very encouraging.
There is much more I can say about this eye opening, encouraging, life-changing book. I highly recommend to anyone who desires to grow in your Christian life or wants to know more of His love for you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Author, Joanna Weaver and her Publisher, Waterbrook. Thank you to both! Also included in their package are 3 Disc DVD’s, filmed in Israel and study book for personal or group study. I’m looking forward to using these additional materials soon!