My birthday isn’t for a few weeks, but felt like it came early and in abundance this year. I have been blessed with the opportunity to review Joanna’s updated edition of Lazarus Awakening and its DVD/study guide counterpart. I have read and reviewed Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World previously, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has been a timely blessing to be able to read and study the work God did in Lazarus’ life and to see what He desires to do in my own as well.
Dear reader, you will absolutely love Lazarus Awakening and its DVD Bible Study. If you are not familiar with Joanna or her studies, you will quickly become a lover of the way she brings the Word of God to life.
You Will Love This Bible Study Set!
I have a few things to share with you today. So, bear with me. I have some really good stuff to share with you today.
Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God, is unlike any other study I have experienced. On the surface, it has 11 chapters of study on the life of Lazarus and how our stories connect with his. As I went through this study, I quickly discovered this is not a “quick read” type of book. It is what is under the surface that is most intriguing. It is what God does through the course of this study in our own lives, as He begins to work on our hearts and show us the similarities between us and this man, Lazarus.
Each page is filled with truths that can change our lives… if we will apply them to our lives. These are truths to sit and digest on, pray upon, and not rushing through. Though I have such a tendency to rush through, as a woman, as a Christian, as an American, I have that tendency to rush.
Weaver is our tour guide and reminds us, Jesus desires to take us from a graveyard to our new life filled with abundance. We can find our place in the heart of God, without doing anything. Lazarus is not recording doing anything in scripture, yet Jesus loved him. Jesus invites us to find life in Him, and take Him at His beloved word.
The DVD Bible Study
Truth be told, you are likely reading this review to see how the DVD Bible Study of Lazarus Awakening measured up in my honest opinion. Am I correct in that assumption, my friends?
The DVD Bible Study, Lazarus Awakening, is brought you by Waterbrook Press. Joanna and many others went a long distance to bring us this Bible study. The setting for the series is in the Holy Land. Bethany. The very place Lazarus would of lived (or near where the town of Bethany actually was located). When Joanna first went to Israel with her husband, John, a couple years ago, she expected to see Mary and Martha everywhere she went. Instead, it was Lazarus. God had a reason for that. God was working, and allowing this DVD Bible study to come to fruition.
God will use this DVD Bible study, as we give Him the time and space in our hearts and lives to work. I firmly believe that. In this Bible study, we can expect God to show up in our lives. Though each session is 20 minutes or under, it is filled with sound biblical teaching that will change our lives when we grab onto it. God is working mightily through Joanna, just as He wants to be at work in our lives. Just as He worked in Lazarus’ life.
The very power God used to raise Lazarus from the dead, is the same power God wants to exert in our lives.
There are many spiritual lessons to be found in the life of Lazarus and the great awakening he experienced. We too can experience our own great awakening. Jesus wants to revive us on many levels. Removing barriers. Making us more alive than ever. So, what are we waiting for? Are you ready to join the spiritually living?
The Study Guide
The study guide for Lazarus Awakening is a component of her DVD Bible study. The study guide, an eight session series, has several features in each session designed to help believers to know the Word of God and apply it to their lives. The three features I found most helpful are its video guide, “Make a Plan” assignment, and memory verse.
Alongside the DVD, it helps us to focus on a specific theme of Lazarus death or resurrection, and she gives biblically sound teaching that moves us deeper into the Word of God.
As she moves us deeper into the Word of God, she helps us to meditate on the truths from the video and begin to make adjustments in our lives.
As we apply what we learn through the study, we will really begin to see God show up in different areas of our lives.
The activity of making a plan is one that is most noteworthy, because often we spend time in our studies and don’t have a plan in place to move forward. In this study guide, Joanna helps us to not only identify scripture and knowledge about God’s power, but helps us to move forward in planning how to apply the Word of God to our lives. As we go through our week and begin to apply these things to our lives, we are given a scripture to memorize as we prepare ourselves and engage in the study during the week.
The Author and Her Teaching Style
Joanna Weaver has written a few other studies. Each are centered around what we can call “the first family” of Bethany. She has also written “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” and “Having a Mary Spirit”. God has gifted Joanna with the gift of writing, which is used for His glory.
Her teaching, though writing, is the reason why Joanna is well known among women’s ministry. Her studies are saturated in the Word of God! This study, whether through the book or its DVD Bible study, doesn’t lack in substance. It is rich with the Word of God, but that’s not all. Joanna shares her struggles, victories, and experiences with us to help us grasp the message she is teaching.
There is laughter along the way, spiritual growth, and feels like we are sitting down with a close friend.
Joanna is hosting this enormous giveaway. Have you signed up to win the “Giant Bible-Study-in-a-Box Giveaway”? It features everything needed to host a study for 24 people, including DVDs, books, and study guides – this grand prize drawing takes place July 21st at 8:00 pm MDT on her website. Click here to enter to win.
I encourage you all to prayerfully consider participating in your own Lazarus Awakening study either in a group or on your own. I can’t leave you all empty handed. I wouldn’t do that to you all. So, here is an excerpt from Lazarus Awakening.
To obey or not to obey—that’s the question we face continually in our Christian walk. Some days it’s easy to comply, but other days it feels all but impossible. Especially when God asks us to do something that doesn’t make sense to us.
Like opening our tombs by choosing to forgive.
For many of us, our tombstones and spiritual blockages result from what has been done to us—and our attitudes about it. We’ve been hurt. We’ve been falsely accused or misunderstood, misused or betrayed. And we can’t seem to get past our anger, resentment, or bitterness.
We want to forgive—well, most of the time. Trouble is, we aren’t sure we can forgive. The hurt has gone so deep that the tendrils of our pain seem to go on forever. How do you let go of something that has such a hold on you?
That was my dilemma several years ago. “I have to get alone with God,” I told my husband, John. “I’m in a very bad place.”
We’d walked through a trying time in ministry and, for the most part, I’d handled it pretty well. A space of grace had opened up for me to walk through the difficulty without feeling the intense need to fix it or change the people involved. Opportunities for self-pity had floated through my mind before, but up to that point I hadn’t indulged them. Instead, I’d been experiencing the also-miraculous phenomenon of a disciplined mind.
I’d learned that just because a painful recollection came to memory, I didn’t have to embrace it—a revolutionary discovery, let me tell you. Instead of nursing and rehearsing the past, with the Holy Spirit’s help, I was learning to disperse it, refusing the offense entrance to my heart and, more important, denying it occupancy in my mind.
But somewhere near the anniversary of the hurt, I began to nurse a grudge against someone in the situation. Pain-laced memories began to stick in my craw and bother me anew as the darkness of resentment casts it shadow over my heart.
After experiencing so much victory in my thinking, I grew a bit careless. A particularly painful memory slipped in through a side entrance of my mind. At first it was so tiny I hardly noticed it. But as I allowed my hurt a platform to state its woes, it began to grow, and a boulder of unforgiveness began to move across my soul.
Finally the chill of bitterness sank in so deep I couldn’t even find the “want to” to forgive. That terrified me. With John’s blessing, I holed up in a friend’s cabin and poured out my heart before the Lord. It was slow going at first. My emotions were rock hard, but as I hammered out obedience to forgiveness, things began to change.
At the Spirit’s prompting, I wrote a letter to the person who had hurt me. I didn’t measure my words; I just spilled out my pain. I knew I had to get honest before God about what I was feeling in order for the infection to drain from my heart.
Other letters followed, but not one would be postmarked. I wasn’t writing them for anyone but me. My friends may not have felt the stranglehold of my judgment, but I certainly had. Finally, I wrote a letter to God, relinquishing all rights to resentment and asking Him to bless the people involved.
I was absolutely exhausted when I penned the last note. But with the exhaustion came the beginning of a sweet sense of release.
For in the mind-over-emotion choice to forgive, my stone of unforgiveness started to move. And somewhere in the letting go of those who had hurt me, I walked out free.
That’s an excerpt from Joanna Weaver’s book, Lazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God. Her new companion DVD Bible study releases on July 21, 2015. In the teaching sessions filmed in Israel, Joanna explores the halfway life too many of settle for, even as Christians. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can step out of our tombs and shed the graveclothes that often bind us.
“We all have stones that need to be rolled away in order to experience the abundant life Jesus came to give,” Joanna says. “I’m so glad the Holy Spirit is there to help us. We simply have to ask, then cooperate with His grace to release people from our unforgiveness and judgment. For as we do, we’ll be released as well!”
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Waterbook’s book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.