N.D. Wilson is one of the most creative writers that I have had the privilege to read. His mastery of vocabulary and story-telling ability are an absolute pleasure. As I read this book, I was often swept away into the places he described, learning the lessons that he was teaching.
Death by Living is reminder for some, a revelation for others, that we are both “tiny and massive.” We often tend to think of ourselves as the main actor on center stage when in fact we are but one of a multitude of supporting actors. And despite our insignificance, we have meaning and value because we have been created by the Author.
Wilson says it like this:
We are nothing more than molded clay given breath, but we are nothing less than divine self-portraits, huffing and puffing along mountain ranges of epic narrative arcs prepared for us by the Infinite Word Himself. Swell with pride and gratitude, for you are tiny and given much. You are as spoken by God as the stars. You stand in history with stories stretch in out both behind and before. We should want to live our chapters well, but doing so requires that we know the chapters that led up to us in our time and our moment; it requires that we open our eyes and consciously begin to shape those chapters that are coming after.
Life is a story. We will contribute to the story regardless of how we live. But how?
Hopefully by living for others. By dying to self. By giving rather than hoarding. By making memories for those who come after us and savoring the moments. By living ever moment in gratitude that the Author has both loved us and redeemed us, and has given so much that we can’t possibly hope to count it all.
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I recently finished In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. Mark is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC and an excellent writer. If it is your desire to see the purposes of God fulfilled in your life, this book will help you to recognize and pursue your lions (opportunities).
I have picked out a few points that stuck out to me from each chapter. Read a few. If something jumps out at you, it would be well worth your time and money to get a copy for yourself.
- God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. The right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time.
- God is always using past experiences to prepare us for future opportunities. But those God-given opportunities often come disguised as man-eating lions. And how we react when we encounter those lions will determine our destiny.
- There are two types of regrets: regrets of action and regrets of inaction (sins of commission and sis of omission). We often focus much more on regrets of action and sins of commission. However, it is often regrets of inaction and sins of omission that we wish we could change at the end our lives.
- Do good! Goodness is not the absence of badness. You can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right.
- Spiritual maturity is seeing and seizing God-ordained opportunity even when it looks like an obstacle.
- Too often our prayers resolve around asking God to reduce the odds in our lives. Maybe God wants to stack the odds against us so we can experience a miracle of divine proportions.
- A.W. Tozer said, “The most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like…”
- How you think about God will determine who you become.
- The more we grow, the bigger God should get. And the bigger God gets, the smaller our lions will become.
- God wants you to get where God wants you to get more that you want to get where God wants you to get!
- “There were a million reasons why I shouldn’t go… But I only needed on reason to go: I was called.” – Young Missions Worker
- Don’t accumulate possessions; accumulate experiences! – Good advice
- The way to upgrade your mind is to download the Scripture.
- Satan has two primary tactics when it comes to neutralizing you spiritually: discouragement and fear.
- Ask yourself a question – Are you living in a way that is worth telling stories about?
- Opportunities often look like insurmountable obstacles. So, if we want to take advantage of these opportunities, we have to learn to see problems in a new way– God’s way. Then our biggest problems may just start looking like our greatest opportunities.
- Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances.
- Worship is forgetting about what’s wrong with you and remembering what’s right with God.
- There are basically two types of people in the world: complainers and worshipers. And there isn’t much circumstantial difference between the two.
- The outcome of your life will be determined by your outlook on life.
- If life is infinitely uncertain and God is infinitely complex, then all we can do is accept our finitude and embrace uncertainty. Faith doesn’t reduce uncertainty. Faith embraces uncertainty.
- Jesus never promised security. What he promised was uncertainty: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
- Following Christ reduces spiritual uncertainty, but it doesn’t reduce circumstantial uncertainty.
- Everything we change changes everything. Too often we fail to connect the dots between choices and consequences. Every choice has a domino effect that can alter our destiny.
- Easy answers produce shallow convictions. Jesus was rarely about giving easy answers. The disciples always were needing an explanation after he taught. He wanted them to dig that their spiritual understanding might be opened up.
- Dreams are still achieved one opportunity at a time.
- Think of every opportunity as a gift from God. What you do with that opportunity is your gift to God.
- Even though is may seem foolish in the eyes of men, doing God’s will is never foolish.
I received “In a Pit with a Lion On a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive when Opportunity Roars” by Mark Batterson from Blogging for Books / WaterBrookMultnomah Press in exchange for my review, of which there was no pressure one way or the other regarding how I reviewed it.