Is your dream big enough? Chase the Lion!

chase-the-lion If your dream isn’t destined to fail without God, Mark Batterson claims that your dream is too small. In Chase the Lion, Batterson explores David’s mighty men, mentioned in 2 Samuel 23, and in particular, Benaiah. These courageous men were risk-takers and recognized that the Lord orchestrated great battle victories as they served their king in fearless faithfulness and power.

Benaiah inspired Batterson’s previous book, In a Pit with A Lion on a Snowy DayBenaiah killed two lionlike Moabites and then followed a lion into a snowy pit and killed it in 1 Chronicles 11:22 and 2 Samuel 23:20. In this book, Batterson writes that “God is in the recycling business. He recycles past experiences and uses them to prepare us for future opportunities.”

With Chase the Lion,  Batterson demonstrates that the snowy pit, failures, and adverse circumstances can become the catalyst for great dreams that can only be achieved through the extraordinary efforts of a team of people and with God leading the way.

Although God did not give Benaiah a dream of greatness, God gave David a promise that he would be King of Israel, and Benaiah acted on God’s promise, in essence living out his dream of serving mightily within David’s dream as a team member.

“The key to dreaming big is thinking long. And the bigger the dream, the longer the time line. When you think in terms of eternity, you should have some dreams that can’t be accomplished in your lifetime.” (p. 106)

David’s dream included the coming Messiah.

Batterson shares the incredible stories of dreamers like David and his mighty men; Wilbur and Orville Wright; John Kilcullen, the founder of the For Dummies books; his dream of National Community Church, the megachurch where he serves as lead pastor in Washington, D.C, and many other instances of greatness from ordinary men and women.

Batterson candidly shares his failures and successes. He recognizes that the failures led him to found National Community Church and the establishment of the church’s eight campuses, a coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Cream Center.

Chase the Lion is a stirring call to action for today’s Christian.

“Jesus didn’t die just to keep you safe.
He died to make you dangerous!

Chase the lion!” (p. 218)

May you fearlessly “Chase the Lion.”

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

My prayer

Father, thank You for Mark Batterson’s call to action and his willingness to live his life as David’s mighty men lived, with complete faith in their king. Father, empower Your children who are called by Your name to recognize the dream You have for them, and give them boldness to step out in faith, reach out their right hands to You, and follow Your guidance toward that dream. We lean upon You, for we cannot accomplish the dream, but we will walk in the shadow of Your might and in the shelter of Your goodness. We praise You and honor You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Share your dream and how God is leading you.

Have you tasted God’s goodness?

Vegetables

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 (ESV)

David killed the Philistine giant, Goliath, and saved the Israelites from defeat. Years later, David fled from King Saul into the land of the Philistines. Soon, the Philistines recognized him and brought him before the king. David acted insane, and the king released him. Psalm 34 is David’s response to God upon his release.

I enjoy eating. I especially enjoy the sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tastes of vegetables and fruits. I spend hours chopping red, green, orange and purple vegetables. Cooking rainbows of color is my delight as I get ready for a family gathering. We savor the meal as we focus on each other. These meals help us understand each other better.

One day, I was asked to close my eyes and open my hand as someone dropped something into my hand. I was then asked to smell it, put it in my mouth and taste it without eating it. My thoughts were focused upon what was in my mouth, and it became sweeter as it melted in my mouth. I knew this piece of chocolate candy intimately. I understood its goodness.

David tasted God’s goodness like melting chocolate lingering in his mouth.

Have you tasted God’s goodness?

Thought for the Day

When we focus upon God, we understand God’s goodness.

My prayer

O God, help us to savor Your goodness. Your goodness fills our world with pleasures that delight our senses. Your goodness wraps us in Your love and peace. In the midst of our troubles, we take refuge in You and taste Your goodness. Thank You, Lord!

What if we lived in hope? 5 steps toward hope

Creation-Vatican

“If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me. … “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life! Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me? Job 6:10-13

The Bible has 180 references to hope. Some of those refer to the lack of hope like Job’s. I’ve been without hope. Although Job was with friends when he said this, he was lonely in his pain; he wanted God to cut off his life, so that he would not betray God.

Have you been hopeless?

I’ve found five things that have helped me when I was in the pit of despair.

  1. Call out to God. David writes in Psalm 30, a Psalm for the dedication of the temple, “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. … weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Frequently, David detailed his troubles to God. The troubles turned to praise once David saw how small his problems were in comparison with how big God is.
  2. Wait on God. “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 In this microwave society, I find it difficult to wait. Yet, in waiting for God to act, I learn to trust Him for His provision as the Israelites waited each morning for God to provide the mana.
  3. Choose  hope.“This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  II Chronicles 20:15  If God Almighty is fighting my battle over disease and pain, then I choose to hope in Him.
  4. Consume the Scriptures. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 Two years before the Lord healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, He impressed my husband, Keith, and me that He would heal me. We saturated our thinking with the Scriptures on healing and promises as well as books written about healing.
  5. Expect God to work.“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45 When Mary entered the home of Elizabeth (6 months pregnant with John), John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb, and Ellizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said this. Mary took God at His word. He said it; He would do it.

Call, wait, choose, consume, expect.

These are active verbs that anticipate a response, an action. Isn’t that what hope is all about?

What if we lived in hope–in anticipation of God working?

My prayer for you:

Father of hope and action, You are a gracious God, pouring out Your blessing upon Your children. May we cry out to you, waiting and choosing to hope in Your abundant love. Teach us to consume Your word and to expect Your promises in our lives. Thank You, Father, for all that You are, all that You do, and all that You love.

Blessings from pain

As He [Jesus] passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3

Have you reflected upon this and thought this might apply to you? It applies to me. I was a sickly child. Hospitalized many times in my teens. Later, I developed fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. For years, I suffered and cried out to God.

I found many blessings in the pain and fatigue.

The greatest blessing came to me as I lay on our living room couch in the middle of the night in pain. Many nights, I turned to the Psalms and observed David’s agony turn to praise. David taught me to cry out to God and then turn my focus upon God. Gratitude filled my heart as I saw how small my pain was in comparison to how great God is. Those intense, painful moments melted into moments of blessing and love.

I also learned how much my husband of 41 years loved me. He is the embodiment of a servant-leader, giving and caring with no expectation of return. Without the pain and limitations, our relationship would not have been as intimate as it is today.

Blessings from the pain turned into opportunities to minister to others in pain and suffering. Coworkers, family, friends and their friends knew that I had walked a similar path of pain for years and that I understood what they were going through. They also saw a woman who had been delivered from her pain, and they wanted to hear about how I had been healed. They wanted prayer. They wanted compassion. They wanted practical insight in coping with the pain.

I am grateful for the years of pain. The pain opened doors into people’s hearts that would never have been opened without the pain.

This life journey has truly been a gratitude adventure.

My prayer for you:
Great Comforter and Healer, we honor You and praise You for what You are doing in our lives and for who You are. You have promised that You would never leave us nor forsake us. We trust You and lean upon You in these times of trials. Jesus, we thank You for love beyond measure that You bestowed upon us. You were beaten and scourged for us, and by Your stripes we are healed, whether it is today or tomorrow or when You take us home. You hung on the cross to pay the price for our sins, so that we could be with You for eternity. That is the greatest blessing of all. What a friend we have in You, Jesus. Pour out Your Spirit upon us, so that we can point people to You. It is because of You that we have blessings and we can bless others. Thank you. Amen.

Wishing you a gratitude adventure as you contemplate the blessings that we experience in our pain and limitations. We can turn them into opportunities to impact the lives of others.

What are you doing to turn your pain into blessings?

 

From fibromyalgia pain to Scripture praise

From the cave of my darkened bedroom, I tried to picture a life freed from the pain of fibromyalgia, the agony of the long, sleepless nights, and the bombardment of sensory overload. But water fell in front of the images, so that I saw only distortions of what could be. During these times, I turned from myself to Scriptures. The Psalms especially spoke to me as David poured out his heart, his “Why,” his anger … and then his praise. I learned from David that there is hope … and praise … and healing.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all my iniquities,
Who heals all my diseases;
Who redeems my life from the pit,
Who crowns me with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies my years with good things,
So that my youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5

Surely my griefs [sickness] He Himself bore, And my sorrows [pains] He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten [struck down] of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for my transgressions, He was crushed for my iniquities; The chastening for my well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging I am healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.” Matthew 8:17

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.  Jeremiah 17:14

My prayer for you

These Scriptures are my heart’s cry and my hope for you, a hope that is expecting miracles. May your health be restored; may your pain dissolve, and may you recognize the great and precious promises and blessings that our Great Creator and Healer has for you. Only believe. He is ABLE.