Monday, July 20, 2015

standing at the door

My prayers lately have been for wisdom... in raising children, in decision making, in relationships, in finances... in nearly everything. And God has been faithful to show me what wisdom looks like - an example of the third captain in I Kings 1, practical advice in Hebrews 10, and a reminder that in Christ "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2)

Yet this morning on my run I continued to wrestle with God, trying to understand His perspective and will for our lives right now. As I thought about how He's always provided in the past - has always given us everything we need, I started to realize that maybe, He was actually asking me to make less decisions... to do less... to give up a little bit... and to trust more.

I had just read in John 20 about Mary and the disciples at the empty tomb of Jesus. It struck me how it said that she "stood without" and needed a lot of reassurance... even after she had heard the voice of the Lord once already. But Revelation 20 reminds us that we need not stand on that side of the door - that if we hear His voice, hear Him saying our name, and open up to Him... He will come in. We can trust Him with all of the desires of our hearts and the needs of our bodies and the thoughts in our minds. It is only there, in Him, that I will find the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that I seek.

Revelation 3:18-20: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

Thursday, July 2, 2015

book review | lazarus awakening

"There's more to come." The last four words of Joanna Weaver's "Lazarus Awakening" provide a better overall summary of the book than I could in several paragraphs. I had my doubts as I started into this book, because I didn't find the first couple chapters immediately applicable to my life, and because books that are based around such a short passage as this one tend to be pretty repetitive. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to find that while those first chapters were a little slow, the rest of the book did not follow suit. "Lazarus Awakening" is actually a relatively easy read that encourages the reader to "unwind graveclothes" - to find release from past hurts, pain, and lies by looking to Christ and truly trusting Him to make us new. Sometimes, we are all too tempted to stay in the grave. The author describes how Satan, the enemy of our soul, wants to hedge us in and close us off, handicapping us from realizing our full potential and from exercising the gifts that God has given us. God really does love us, and he wants us to be resurrected just as Lazarus was in the passage in John, but we also have to be willing to put forth some effort. She writes, "Perhaps that is why Lazarus had to come out of the tomb of his own volition - why Jesus called him out instead of sending Martha and Mary inside to get him. Resurrection often seems to require a willing response, even a struggle, on the part of the one being resurrected. Tombs can be comfortable, remember. And choosing to live can be hard." (p. 130) But throughout the whole book, Weaver tells us that choosing to live is what we are called to - and even more, we are to live in light of eternity. Our purpose, in this life and the next, is to be as Lazarus was - a friend of Christ. What is painful and confusing in the moment will not always be so, because "there's more to come".

I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but in some ways the author seems to provide some answers to the age-old question: "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Although I would have liked the book to be a little more organized with longer, comprehensive paragraphs instead of a lot of short, quick thoughts, I found her perspective very biblically grounded and helpful, and I would recommend this book especially to those who are struggling to feel truly loved, accepted, and cared-for by the Lord.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.