Amazing, encouraging, refreshing, and fortifying……
Fortify Your Soul Introduction,
by Laurie Hayden Bergey
One of the most precious people in my life called to tell me that he was heading off to a 28-day recovery program. He was going to be turning 40 during this period of time. I told this marvelous man that 40 is the perfect age to get his life together. It is never too late for a brand-new lease on life! I went on to explain that the number 40 shows up a lot in the Bible. We discussed a whole bunch of fabulous Bible stories that include the number 40. We couldn’t stay on the phone forever, but he said he would like to hear more. I started to write my dear Dude a collection of letters.
This dear friend decided to stay at the recovery facility for an additional three months. I was glad to hear this, for two reasons: (1) he was being serious about his recovery, (2) I was having a great time writing him letters. Now I had extra time to keep writing. He was a “captive” audience! He had never heard the stories of the Bible put in such a way that they were interesting or relevant to him. He had always felt out of the loop, and that didn’t bother him at all. But now something was different. “Dude” was loving these letters, and he actually gathered a group of people in the recovery program each time a new letter arrived. He read the letter out loud to a group of men, few of whom were normally interested in the Bible, and they would have a discussion on the topic of the letter.
This growing audience would call this time “Bible study.” I was touched and amazed that this tough crowd was enjoying these letters. That really spurred me on. I thought it would be wonderful to end up with a collection of 40 letters based on the number 40. It is this completed collection of 40 letters, 40 stories written to my buddy that have been adapted into this book.
Now why on earth would that be interesting to anyone else? Because the biblical use of the number 40 is amazing, encouraging, refreshing, and fortifying. How many times do you hear the expression “40 days and 40 nights”? Which kings ruled for 40 years? Why 40? It is beyond coincidence that this number appears over and over! I discovered that when I encountered the number 40 in the Bible, there would often be an intriguing lesson. There was typically a time of trial with a relevant revelation and a positive outcome. As I studied the Bible to develop the 40 stories, I would come away with fresh thoughts and a renewed perspective. I discovered cool ideas and strategies that I could apply to my own life and share with others.
As I wrote about Noah, Jonah, King David, Peter, and many others being released to their assignments and destinies, paths would open so I could follow their testimonies to destinations of new beginnings, higher levels of victories, and heart-thriving revelations. This is what I shared in the “Dear Dude” letters. God loves us and He is excited about our fruitful destinies!
These great Bible stories are told from my own perspective. They are recounted as a sister would casually tell them to a brother who has never really heard them, while eating chicken wings and pickles. The tone is informal and familiar. There are plenty of quirky jokes and inspiring insights. This is a voice that has clearly not been groomed by the Christian marketplace. For the book, I have added a section to each chapter that is meant to churn up questions, thoughts, and feelings. These contemplations will lead you to consider the content of the Bible more deeply, how it applies to life’s circumstances. You will finish this book having a lot more information about Christianity. I suspect that Fortify Your Soul will make most readers hungrier for the things of God. Fortunately, there are many resources included to assist you in heading out on a path of discovery and adventure with God.
OK, ready? Roll up your sleeves, this could get messy (in a good way)!
That is the introduction to Fortify Your Soul as it appears in the book, but I have added the bold emphases just for the blog post.
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