05 July 2011

40 Days Without food - Russ Masterson

Russ Masterson had read and heard about purpose, but didn't have a clue what his own purpose was to be.  And there was emptiness where there should have been value.  As he puts it, "I kept hoping a step would arrive when it was time to lift my foot."  Disillusioned with his life, as well as with God, he heard this advice: fast from food for 40 days.  Faithless and frazzled, Russ accepted the challenge, hoping for direction, reflecting on the past, and wrestling with issues like purpose, faith, and love. In this book, readers will find a fresh literary voice -- an insightful thinker who meets people in their humanity while helping them to see they can be rescued from it.  The journey of these forty days without food will help you explore what really matters in life. 

40 Days Without Food is a very honest account of one man's journey through faith.  So many Christian books take faith as an absolute ideal, skirting around the issue of doubt and uncertainty.   Yet all of us struggle with belief and faith at the intersection of worldly things and the spiritual.

Earlier this year I myself fasted for 21 days and 41 days respectively.  I am always curious about other people's experience during a spiritual fast.  Did they meet God somewhere along the way?  Were their most fervent prayers answered in some grand and mystical way?  I personally didn't experience any particularly religious epiphanies.  Nor did I have any of my more pressing questions of faith resolved.  What I did receive was a deeper and more settled faith in God.

Masterson's personal account was inspiring, inspirational and brutally honest. He details his struggles with greed and vanity...his thoughts on contentment and love.  He tackles the very big question on what it means to be saved and yet still human.  How can we as very broken, sinful by nature people, succeed in honoring our Lord and Saviour?  Each and every decision we make hinges on this one central question.  How do we know if what we desire, think and strive to achieve is in line with our Great Maker's purpose?  It is in the questioning of this that we find the answer.  The very fact that we question our motives and measure our actions against our beliefs leads us (hopefully) in the right direction.  God guides us gently and faithfully and if we simple surrender our lives and selves up to Him we are never truly alone and without purpose.  Our purpose is simply this...Bring Glory to our Lord.

"Life is about more that stuff.  Stuff corrodes.  One hundred years from now, Bill Gates will be as poor as you.  Money can't bring contentment or purpose.  Money can only propel purpose that already exists." 

This book is so much more than a book about fasting-although it can be helpful in that regard.  It is a solid and truthful portrait of every Christian's journey through faith.  If you've ever experienced spiritual doubt, know that you are not alone.  If you've ever felt that God has forgotten you, know that you are deeply loved by Him.  If you ever wanted to know how to walk this path of faith, read Russ Masterson's words and find camaraderie and comfort. 

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or ARC.


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