stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

The Awakening, by Stovall Weems, is one of the better books I’ve received to review lately.  There were times when I was reading it and thought, “I know, I know.  I’m where you’re talking about right now.  Where were you three years ago when I needed to hear this more than ever?”  The answer to that question is actually, “Five miles away.”  I lived five miles from the church that Stovall Weems pastors, and I wish I had had the opportunity to learn under him when I lived so close.  Perhaps my venture back into spiritual freedom and an exciting relationship with Christ wouldn’t have taken so long.

This book is the perfect read for someone who  finds himself in a spiritual funk.  If you are finding it hard to rekindle your relationship with God – and be honest with yourself: we all have or are going through this – then you should take action.  This book helps give you practical tips for taking action and being intentional in your relationship with God.

As I read through the first half of the book, I felt like it was addressing old needs of mine.  You know how that is, right?  Thinking something doesn’t apply to you anymore and you don’t need to hear it again.  I’ll admit that as I read it, I felt this way at times.  But if I applied everything I already knew, God wouldn’t have to keep reminding me through books like this, would He?  I got to the part on fasting, and this is where things changed.  I haven’t fasted in a while, and the last couple times I tried, I was unsuccessful.  Not spiritual enough, you say?  Perhaps.  Maybe I wasn’t fasting the right way, though.  As I read through his tips on proper fasting and finding your own fasting zone, I felt like God was tugging on my heart.  I felt Him saying, “See?  You can fast.  You just don’t get fasting.”  I feel like I do understand it much more now, and I’m going to take back up that spiritual practice.  I’ll be going on a fast on…just kidding.  I’m not going to tell you.

Here’s the most profound thing that occurred to me while reading this book.  It’s about fasting.  As Christians, we qualify fasts.  My understanding growing up was this: you can fast (just water, nothing else), or you can do a type of fast (juice fast, Daniel fast, etc).  These are not as extreme, and therefore take less faith and are less rewarding.  So when I would fast, I’d go for the big hit.  Then Stovall pointed out that the Bible says that Daniel fasted, and then it explained his fast.  Daniel did not go on a Daniel fast.  He fasted.  His fasting looked differently than Jesus’ wilderness fast, but he fasted, and you can, too.  I suggest picking up a copy of this book and learning how to do that.

P.s.  If any of my Kalamazoo friends want this book, you can have it.  First person to tell me they want it gets it.

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