Invite Him In

Another long day of hard work is in the books. You did something that you can feel good about today, but as you begin to relax you feel as though something is missing. You are struck with the realization that among the hustle and bustle of life’s routine circumstances, you have been cut off from the presence of God, your mind rarely aware of His constant beckoning. You miss Him.

How does this happen? You have a wonderful time of prayer in the morning before beginning your day. You worship, repent, and cast your cares on the Lord. But somewhere between morning prayer and evening time the presence of God is forgotten for the present circumstances.

Sound familiar?

It is something I find myself resisting everyday. I don’t want to come to the end of a day, whether it was a good day or a bad day, and realize that I have been so busy that I was completely disconnected from Him. How do I avoid that?

I want to invite Him in to every situation, every interaction. I want to turn every problem into a prayer and every opportunity into a prayer. Regardless of how big or small the problem or the opportunity may seem to me, I want Jesus to be a part of it.

Be aware of His presence today. Invite Him in.

photo credit: nualabugeye via photo pin cc

In A Pit With A Lion

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.

Chapter 1

  • 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.

Chapter 2

  • 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!

Chapter 3

  • “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?

Chapter 4

  • 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.

Chapter 5

  • 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.

Chapter 6

  • 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.

Chapter 7

  • 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.

Chapter 8

  • 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.

Your Problem is for Your Promise

When God allows your enemy to linger, you can rest assured that it is for your good. If you are obeying the Lord and you run into an obstacle, know that God will use your obstacle as an instrument of blessing. If God has given you a promise but all you see is a problem, trust that God is using the problem to fulfill the promise.

Photo by katiebyers

As the Israelites found themselves in the wilderness between their captivity and their promise, they received a word from the Lord (Exodus 23). He assured them that He was going to bring them into their promise but presently, their promise was possessed by their problems. “Don’t be concerned about the problems,” he told them, “ I will take care of the problems.” However, God wasn’t going to do it like man would do it; He had a plan for the problem.

God told them that He was not going to drive their enemy out in one fast and fatal campaign because if He did, the land would become desolate and the animals of the field would become too numerous. God had a different plan for Israel’s enemies, He was going to drive them out little by little so that they could prepare the promise for His people.

Israel’s enemies were not in the land to defeat them. They were there to bless them. God told His people that they were going to live in houses and cities that they had not built and they were going to eat from vineyards that they had not planted. Who do you think was going to build their houses? Who do you think was going to plant their vineyards? Their enemy was!

Have faith! Take your eyes off of your enemy. Stop focusing on your obstacle. Don’t worry about your problem; God is using your problem to fulfill His promise!

The Lifetime of an Opportunity

It has been said that the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity. Every great opportunity has its limitations. There is a limited period of time in which to make use of their offer and their opportunity.

This truth is illustrated by the story of an old Saxon king who set out to put down a rebellion in a distant province of his kingdom. When the insurrection had been quelled, the king put a candle over the archway of his castle where he had headquarters and, lighting the candle, announced to all who had been in rebellion against him that all who surrendered while the candle was burning would be spared. The king offered mercy, but the offer was limited to the lifetime of the candle.

Every great offer of life and of time has its candle limitations. We always say tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. All we have are our todays. It doesn’t matter what you will do with your opportunity tomorrow, what will you do with it today?

To the sinner, today is the day of salvation. Please don’t wait for we are not promised tomorrow. Repent and turn to Jesus today.

To the child of God, what is it that God is calling you to do? Please, the world is counting on the Church today. We cannot afford to wait until tomorrow.

The wick is short. The flame flickers. The opportunity has almost lived its lifetime.