Slavery. That word usually sends shivers up your spine. We remember the slaves of the 1800s who were brought to this country by slavetraders and we can only imagine the horrors that today’s slaves are introduced in the human trafficking rings. However, there is one type of slavery that is to be celebrated. Being a slave of Christ! Michael Card’s book A Better Freedom left me almost dancing and singing.
I remember in Sunday School that Scripture says “to set the captives free” and I learned what slavery was historically. Never before have I looked at myself as a slave except a slave to sin. Romans 7:19-20 says “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. ” Sin captive! I always asked God to set me free.
Michael Card describes slavery from the perspective of Greco-Roman slavery, African-American slavery, human trafficking of today, a slave to sin, and being God’s slave. I don’t know about you but I would much rather be a slave of God. Jesus came to Earth as a man and a slave to man, but He is also the Redeemer of man – He has set the sinner free.
There are not many books that I would encourage everyone to read. I understand that not everyone enjoys the same genre of books. I also understand that not everyone is inspired by the same topics. However, I would encourage everyone to find a copy of this book – share a copy if you need to – but read this if you want to truly understand your need to be redeemed.
You can preview the book at this link:
You can purchase this book directly from the author at www.michaelcard.com.
I just finished Max Lucado’s book No Wonder They Call Him Savior and I would like to share with you a couple of excerpts from chapter 24 of this book. The whole book made me really ponder the life and death of Jesus. Now part of that is because it is Lent. Part of it is because we are doing a study at my church about the last 24 hours of Jesus life (24 Hours that Changed the World by Adam Hamilton) and I am reading Awakening: 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting by Stovall Weems. Part of it is also that Jesus is speaking to me at this time in my life because of my need to draw closer to Him. I pray that He will speak to you as well.
“Imagine this scene. The soldiers are huddled in a circle, their eyes turned downward. The criminal above them is forgotten. They gamble for some used clothes….I’ve wondered what that scene must have looked like to Jesus. As he looked downward past his bloody feet at the circle of gamblers, what did he think? What emotions did he feel?….It makes me think of us. The religious. Those who claim heritage at the cross. I’m thinking of all of us. Every believer in the land. The stuffy. The loose. The strict. The simple. Upper church. Lower church. ‘Spirit-filled’ Millenialists. Evangelical. Political. Mystical. Literal. Cynical. Robes. Collars. Three-piece suits. Born-againers. Ameners…We, too, play games at the foot of the cross…So close to the timber yet so far from the blood….’Those selfish soldiers,’ we smirk with our thumbs in lapels. ‘They were so close to the cross and yet so far from the Christ.’ And yet, are we so different?…’May they all be one,’ Jesus prayed…One church. One faith. One Lord.”
There is much more but I know for me this was powerful. I know I have been guilty of highlighting the differences between me and someone else rather than highlighting the similarities. For me, I want to stop throwing dice at the foot of the cross and instead raise my eyes to Him. What about you?
I originally posted this in my weekly newsletter but since it is about a book, I also wanted to post it here for everyone to read. I hope that you enjoy reading my blurbs.
I remember waiting with baited breath for my copy of Stovall Weems’ book to arrive. I had read the synopsis and editorial reviews for his book and felt that “the answers” would be found between the covers. I stood with my nose pressed against the glass of my front door waiting for the brown truck to arrive carrying the package containing what I needed to “awaken” my spiritual desire and breath life into my relationship with God. What I found when it arrived was not quite the sledgehammer-effect I had envisioned. Awakening did not inspire me to stay awake late at night to delve deeper into the book.
WAIT! Ok so it did not hit me like a sledgehammer but it was a good read. I learned what a fast was, why it is important, what side-effects there were to fasting, and how to increase my learning from the fast. Stovall’s love for God’s Word is amazing. As a reader, I could sense his love and intense desire to show the amazing relationship with God that everyone can have. I was able to follow the author’s thinking when he aligned the Scripture with his “aha” moments. Knowing that Stovall was not the went-to-church-and-got-the-answers kind of guy helped me since I am still searching for the answers and I go to church a lot.
So what did I “get” from Awakening? Reading the book helped to awaken my hunger for a BFF-type of relationship with God. I got down-to-earth not earth-shattering insight into this relationship using Scripture, journaling, and fasting. I learned that fasting is not about giving up chocolate for Lent and then going back to status quo the day after Easter. I learned that a fast can be an in-depth measure to unplug from the world and plug into the Word. I learned about agreeing with God’s Word, aligning with Christ, and accepting the assignment that God gives to me – that assignment that is special to me in ways that may not give someone else an “aha” moment.
Now that caveat is that the devotional is at the end of the book along with a study guide for groups to use. I would suggest that other readers either read the book and then start over with the devotional and study guide or else just begin there. Also remember that you can plug in anytime to God with fasting. It is not for just Lent or only on Fridays. Stovall begins his fast on January 1 so that he begins his year on the right path. Are you ready to AWAKEN?
I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review.
You can purchase this book from www.praisesonline.com.