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Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23 Paperback – February 26, 2019
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About the Author
Dallas Willard (1935–2013) was a professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Philosophy from 1965 until his retirement in 2012. His groundbreaking books The Divine Conspiracy, The Great Omission, Knowing Christ Today, The Spirit of the Disciplines, Renovation of the Heart,and Hearing God forever changed the way thousands of Christians experience their faith.
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I also had concern over whether I could offer this book to the men and women at the homeless shelter where I served. Their lives are filled with palpable lack. How would this book play there? Dallas is aware of these concerns for all of us who experience lack in one way or another in our lives and he addresses these concerns adeptly. From chapter 1, "Whereas King David wrote, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want," Paul wrote, "not that I speak in regard to need." They both knew the provision of God that became for them a life without lack.
"But how could Paul say that? This man has been dragged through every jailhouse in the Roman Empire. Several times we find him bobbing in the ocean, trying to survive shipwrecks. It makes me want to say, "What do you mean, you don't have any wants? Couldn't you use a boat?" He would respond, "Well sure I'll take a boat, but I don't really have to have it, you understand?""
I'm not there yet, but reading this makes me eager for the day when I can say that I'm living a life without lack. I'm looking forward to implementing Willard's suggestions for growth in this area of my life.
*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. (and then purchased a hard copy because I liked it so much)
Dallas continues to feed my soul. Psalm 23 is a psalm I regularly use when I wake up each morning. This book gives incredible depth to what I am reciting each day. I really do lack nothing in my life. All I truly desire is the presence of the Lord.
The last chapter of the book is a game-changer for me. Dallas lays out the thought that my "day" should begin in the evening. He then walks through some ideas of how to structure each "day" so God is always before us and we realize his presence in a sweeter way day by day.
It is yet another Dallas Willard book that is marked up and ready to be utilized over and over.
The most important thing about your mind is what it is fixed upon . . . Proverbs 23: 7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he,” and 1 Chronicles 22: 19 (NRSV), “Now set your mind and heart to seek the LORD your God.” . . .
The ultimate freedom we have as individuals is the power to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell upon and think about. By think we mean all the ways in which we are aware of things, including our memories, perceptions, and beliefs . . . The focus of your thoughts significantly affects everything else that happens in your life and evokes the feelings that frame your world and motivate your actions.
The surest way to realize the full potential of your God-designed self is to live in eternity while you are in time, conscious of the loving gaze of your all-sufficient Shepherd, in whose care nothing of the good you do is lost. It is stored up in your own self and in the lives of others you have touched.
Ideas are subtle things. As with the motion of the earth, which occurs without our noticing it, we are normally unaware of the ideas moving us . . . The ideas that govern our lifestyles are even more disconcerting, for they cause people to behave in ways that undermine their own well-being. In the words of Paul, without knowing it, people are “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” . . .
“I’ve seen God, and I’ve seen myself.” We cannot truly see ourselves until we see God, but as long as our eyes are fixed on ourselves, we cannot see God.
Grace is opposed to earning, but it is not opposed to effort, because effort is action and earning is attitude.
Besides being pure, heavenly wisdom is also “peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” What a list! These beautiful qualities are marks of persons who have learned in their heart of hearts the great freedom of death to self, and out of their peaceful lives comes everything that is right and good: “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Such people no longer promote themselves; they no longer exalt their wants and their way as the condition of getting along with them. They are not trying to dominate others. They are ready to simply stand for the truth, to speak what they see to be right in a peaceable, pure, gentle way, and to let it rest with that. As a result of that, God gives them a life of beauty and power that is obvious to others.
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Well worth the read!