Life Without Lack Series

A 1991 study of Psalm 23

"Jehovah is my shepherd, I shall not want! (Ps. 23:1)

"They that seek Jehovah shall not lack any good thing.”(Ps. 34:10)


This 8-part series on how to live in the reality of the 23rd Psalm was presented as a mid-week evening Bible study at Valley Vista Christian Community (Dallas and Jane’s home church) in 1991. The transcripts of these recordings are the foundation for the book, Life Without Lack, published in 2018.

For those of you who are familiar with Dallas’ teachings, it will come as no surprise the emphasis he places on our choices and habits and practices, how we live our daily lives, and above all, on what we do with our minds. Next to the reality of God, which is the substance and source of a life without lack, there is nothing more important for the experience of that life than keeping our minds on God as much as possible. And Dallas believed it was possible to keep our minds constantly on God, and that this was the heart and soul of spiritual formation in the kingdom of God. This series is about why this is so, and about how it can be so for us.

 

 

WARNING: This series was recorded on cassette tapes, so while the teaching quality is wonderful, the audio quality leaves something to be desired.

As you listen, we invite you to follow along with a copy of his original handout.

Resources

1: God in Himself: The Glorious, Self-Sustaining, Eternal Being of The Shepherd, Part 1

God's self-sufficient, all-powerful, purely spiritual personality of utmost goodness is seen in His creation and in His actions in history. Before the present world existed, God in His triune personality existed without beginning, an everlasting sweet and rapturous society, so great in power that He could not possibly not-exist; with the created “host of heaven,” an innumerable domain of spiritual beings of infinite degrees of magnificence, constituting an everlasting kingdom which cannot be shaken. 

2: God in Himself: The Glorious, Self-Sustaining, Eternal Being of The Shepherd, Part 2

God and His realm are available to us principally through our intellect and will. The secret of human life is what is in our mind or heart, for that is where our acts and attitudes come from. The most important thing about us is our mind. The most important thing about our mind is where we put it, or where it is put, whether by choice or necessity. Discovering a life without lack consists, from our human side, in having our minds fixed upon God as He is. 

3: Why There Are People on Earth

The earth is a special cosmic arena where spirits, with a body that allows them to act without direct control from God and good, can become characters confirmed in the love and service of God. This makes a special demand upon will and character, and as a result creates a special treasure which goes far beyond the worth of mere conscious personality as such. Persons are to be respected as individual, creative will, to be joined with only in respectful love, giving and receiving. Man and woman in marriage is to be the deepest level of respect, love and flourishing in the grace of God. 

4: Why Such Terrible Lack & Evil in The World?

Lack and evil exist in our world because Satan continues to be able to control the major structures and process of human life upon the earth. He can do nothing about God's unshakeable kingdom, but he can, through human infirmity and rebellion, slow--only slow, not abolish--God's intentions for the human race. Satan works in the spirit-like realm of the heart, in its individual, as well as social and historical reality. From there he continues to be the "prince of this world" or "the prince of the power of the air," through his control of "principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places." He makes playthings of ordinary human beings, and tries to frighten believers into unfaith, overwhelm them with accusations (often placed in the mouths of other believers), or enmesh them in lies and lying, without which his entire dominion and power over mankind would totally collapse. But "the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." And He will, as His new community receives the power of God. 

5: Trust in God: The Key to Life in His Sufficiency

Trust or faith is reliance upon something in attitude and action. Today it is necessary to replace all occurrences of "faith" in the Bible with "trust." Trust in God is reliance upon Him in the face of all fears. In the face of things not seen at the time. Faith comes from hearing the Word, and that Word which creates faith also created and maintains the world. The world is made, not from nothing, but from that which does not appear, namely, God's action. Thus, the just live by trust, because trust puts them in contact with what alone can enable the just to be just, and to live as they do. Trust in God is always manifested in the will to do right, in opposition to habit and social pressure, because He from whom the power comes is righteous. Faith is, therefore, fed by experience. It is opposed to what can be seen, but not to knowledge. Faith does not come by trying to rely or believe, but by seeking the Word of God. And trust, having the effect of involving God in our lives, grows, allowing personality, human spirit, soul and body, to realign itself to safely receive God and exercise His power. It is by this means that God will ultimately triumph through his people.

6: Trust Completed in Death to Self

Jesus, in his choice to glorify His Father through his death, is the prime example of trust. Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac and Moses' choice to obey God are also cases. Our choice is redefined by the Kingdom inversion which makes the first last and the last first, and it is by light of this that we see the world is not worth our souls and become prepared to give up our lives. Hence, in approaching our death to self and "dying daily" we must never forget that the positive moment comes first: the beauty and goodness of identification with Christ before we give up ourselves. Tremendous harm has been done to the essential teaching of death to self by putting the negative first. 

7: Sufficiency Completed in Agape

The one sure sign of the learner (disciple) of Jesus is love (agape). Love is “abiding in Christ.” There is an experiential progression from trust to agape. Love transforms those who, through faith and patience in death to self, have effectively surrendered to it. This is expressed in servanthood to others, and in mission/work which is your gift in your life. Love allows us to live free from the fear and torment that come from life in the world. 

8: Through One Day With Jesus

It is possible to experience an effectually ordered life in the constant presence of Jesus, our Shepherd-God-With-Us. A day with Jesus is not to be understood as a special day in contrast to our “normal” days. This chapter begins with the evening prior to “the day.” which is otherwise to be an ordinary day in your life. We will develop an individualized plan for you to be fully in touch with Jesus until you go to sleep at night. We will be dealing with real problems and failures, showing how they are to be dealt with and overcome until we feel experientially comfortable in a life without lack, with no fear of evil whatsoever.

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God in Himself: The Glorious, Self-Sustaining, Eternal Being of The Shepherd, Part 1

God's self-sufficient, all-powerful, purely spiritual personality of utmost goodness is seen in His creation and in His actions in history. Before the present world existed, God in His triune personality existed without beginning, an everlasting sweet and rapturous society, so great in power that He could not possibly not-exist; with the created “host of heaven,” an innumerable domain of spiritual beings of infinite degrees of magnificence, constituting an everlasting kingdom which cannot be shaken. 

God in Himself: The Glorious, Self-Sustaining, Eternal Being of The Shepherd, Part 2

God and His realm are available to us principally through our intellect and will. The secret of human life is what is in our mind or heart, for that is where our acts and attitudes come from. The most important thing about us is our mind. The most important thing about our mind is where we put it, or where it is put, whether by choice or necessity. Discovering a life without lack consists, from our human side, in having our minds fixed upon God as He is. 

Why There Are People on Earth

The earth is a special cosmic arena where spirits, with a body that allows them to act without direct control from God and good, can become characters confirmed in the love and service of God in His absence. This makes a special demand upon will and character, and as a result creates a special treasure which goes far beyond the worth of mere conscious personality as such. Humans are to be God-like in being relatively independent, creative beings, who by intelligent choice live to create and sustain what is good and would even sacrifice themselves for what is good–above all, for God Himself. Testing and trial is therefore essential to the entire project, as well as to the call of God to every individual human being that ever lives. The society of such people is a unique treasure in all of God’s creation. Our appointment in creation was to bring good into existence by our actions. 

Work is the expending of energy to produce good. This is God’s call to every person. It includes many things, from having and raising children, to the development of good personal relations, to artistic creativity and political leadership. It is in work that we are to know the grace of God, with one day each week of utter grace. Persons are to be respected as individual, creative will, to be joined with only in respectful love, giving and receiving. Man and woman in marriage is to be the deepest level of respect, love and flourishing in the grace of God. Such a relationship was to lie at the source of human existence as it was intended by God. Therefore Satan attacked it to, in one blow, rupture trust between humans and God as well as between husband and wife inevitably spreading to other family members. The person of Jesus and the word of His Gospel of the Kingdom can restore to mankind the original intent of God in creation. 

Why Such Terrible Lack & Evil in The World?

Lack and evil exist in our world because Satan continues to be able to control the major structures and process of human life upon the earth. He can do nothing about God's unshakeable kingdom, but he can, through human infirmity and rebellion, slow--only slow, not abolish--God's intentions for the human race. Satan works in the spirit-like realm of the heart, in its individual, as well as social and historical reality. From there he continues to be the "prince of this world" or "the prince of the power of the air," through his control of "principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places." He makes playthings of ordinary human beings, and tries to frighten believers into unfaith, overwhelm them with accusations (often placed in the mouths of other believers), or enmesh them in lies and lying, without which his entire dominion and power over mankind would totally collapse. But "the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." And He will, as His new community receives the power of God. 

Trust in God: The Key to Life in His Sufficiency

Trust or faith is reliance upon something in attitude and action. Today it is necessary to replace all occurrences of "faith" in the Bible with "trust." Trust in God is reliance upon Him in the face of all fears. In the face of things not seen at the time. Faith comes from hearing the Word, and that Word which creates faith also created and maintains the world. The world is made, not from nothing, but from that which does not appear, namely, God's action. Thus, the just live by trust, because trust puts them in contact with what alone can enable the just to be just, and to live as they do. Trust in God is always manifested in the will to do right, in opposition to habit and social pressure, because He from whom the power comes is righteous. Faith is, therefore, fed by experience. It is opposed to what can be seen, but not to knowledge. Faith does not come by trying to rely or believe, but by seeking the Word of God. And trust, having the effect of involving God in our lives, grows, allowing personality, human spirit, soul and body, to realign itself to safely receive God and exercise His power. It is by this means that God will ultimately triumph through his people.

Trust Completed in Death to Self

Jesus, in his choice to glorify His Father through his death, is the prime example of trust. Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac and Moses' choice to obey God are also cases. Our choice is redefined by the Kingdom inversion which makes the first last and the last first, and it is by light of this that we see the world is not worth our souls and become prepared to give up our lives. Hence, in approaching our death to self and "dying daily" we must never forget that the positive moment comes first: the beauty and goodness of identification with Christ before we give up ourselves. Tremendous harm has been done to the essential teaching of death to self by putting the negative first. 

Then, we must learn the sufficiency of God to our surrendered self through patience. Unshakeable, constant, free-flowing hope arises out of death to self and patient continuance in well-doing. But what about disappointment: pain, failure, injury by others, sickness, inability? In the life without lack we meet these by: 
(a) Honest and thorough prayer and listening, conversation with God, 
(b) acting in trust against the lack or threat, and 
(c) praising God as we go forward. 

Most Christians today have not been trained in this. Hence, instead of rejoicing in tribulation, they give up and they sulk, and they close themselves off from the life without lack. The self remains alive and on the throne of our lives as long as my concern, confidence, and aims take what happens to me as the ultimate point of reference. Humility, the genuine regard for God and others over ourselves, gives us blessed relief from self. Die to your self now, by offering yourself entirely to further the good of others and the glory of God. Ask him to break your old habits of self obsession. You may need to repeat this, continually asking God to lead and teach you, until it is effectively done. 

Sufficiency Completed in Agape

The one sure sign of the learner (disciple) of Jesus is love (agape). Love is “abiding in Christ.” There is an experiential progression from trust to agape. Love transforms those who, through faith and patience in death to self, have effectively surrendered to it. This is expressed in servanthood to others, and in mission/work which is your gift in your life. Love allows us to live free from the fear and torment that come from life in the world. 

Through One Day With Jesus

It is possible to experience an effectually ordered life in the constant presence of Jesus, our Shepherd-God-With-Us. A day with Jesus is not to be understood as a special day in contrast to our “normal” days. This chapter begins with the evening prior to “the day.” which is otherwise to be an ordinary day in your life. We will develop an individualized plan for you to be fully in touch with Jesus until you go to sleep at night. We will be dealing with real problems and failures, showing how they are to be dealt with and overcome until we feel experientially comfortable in a life without lack, with no fear of evil whatsoever.