So what if I’m outstanding in my field?

So what if I’m admired by thousands, or millions?  So what if I’m envied by all humans everywhere?  Domatter.  “All labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor.”Eccl 4:4  Human worthiness is meaningless.  Domatter.  The only worthiness that matters in this life, is the imputed worthiness of Jesus.  When DAVE’S worthiness matters to Dave, I live in denial of my misery.  A bottomless pit of need for yet-more worthiness.  Life is UP TO DAVE.  I’m never satisfied when my worthiness matters to me.

“I have seen another evil that weighs heavily on men: God gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor, so he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God doesn’t enable him to enjoy them.”Eccl 6:1

We have bought into the lie that human achievement/worthiness matters.  It doesn’t.  Not even ministry worthiness.  But our human wisdom THINKS it matters.  And so does the Church.  And the worst part is, we pay a horrible price: “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?  All his days his work is pain and grief: even at night his mind does not rest.”Eccl 2:22  Believers on the achievement treadmill are to be pitied above all men.  We have not the benefit of Jesus.

Work is not the problem.  Do work you enjoy, not work to make you feel worthy.  Enjoy the process, not the results.  Work that defines your identity, is slavery.  Because it’s never enough, never finished.  Contentment is the litmus-paper test.  Worthiness/somebodiness is way-over-rated, and the imputed worthiness/somebodiness of Jesus is way-under-rated.  This is the message of Ecclesiastes for Christians.

I ONLY experience contentment — enjoy my work, enjoy others and myself just as we are, and enjoy Jesus and His genius plan for our lives, when the Spirit freshly convicts me of the sin of INdependence/confidence-I-know-what’s-best.  ShepherdDave knows what’s best and never experiences contentment, because the imputed worthiness of Jesus is unsatisfying to him.  Only DumbSheepDave is satisfied with Jesus: asking, thanking, curious, expectant to see what his ReigningShepherdJesus does NEXT, in him, others, circumstances.  Ahhh.  Contentment is a priceless gift from Above.

Problem is, it doesn’t last long.  Ongoing need for the convicting work of the Spirit.

“The sleep of a laborer [a nobody] is sweet, but the abundance of a rich man [somebody, outstanding in his field] permits him no sleep.”Eccl 5:12 “All his days he eats in darkness, frustration, affliction, and anger.”Eccl 5:17  Striving for excellence is brutally stressful.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, originally posted May 20, 2017, but Ecclesiastes speaks to our day like no other

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If you are stressed by current circumstances,

you don’t really believe in the sovereignty of Jesus.  So your BIGgest need is to CONFESS your unbelief and your lack of curiosity and expectancy to see what He does NEXT, in you, others, circumstances, in guiding you to adjust your circumstances to a) reduce the stress, and b) be reminded daily of His sovereign reign over every detail of your life.

Maybe it seems impossible to reduce your stressful circumstances?  CONFESS your unbelief that Jesus MIGHT show you a way.  He’s way-more creative than you.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, still baby-steppin, but practicing what he preaches more and more, because the Spirit’s been doin a ho lotta convicting

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Why do I love assessing everyone and everything?

Because it makes me feel worthy when I analyze/critique/judge, which EXPOSES my dissatisfaction with Jesus and His imputed worthiness, wanting some worthiness of my own.  Pride.  OUCH.  Fresh conviction of sin is initially painful, but confession brings momentary LIFE, other-worldly peace, other-worldly contentment.  Fresh conviction of sin by the Spirit, is the pearl of great price, worth selling all to get, because it momentarily humbles our proud hearts, producing fresh faith.  Little sinners need Jesus only a little, love Jesus only a little, love others only a little.  And are happy only a little — when things go our way.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, reminded that the nicest, kindest, sweetest thing Jesus ever does for His kids, is to freshly convict of sin, especially the sin of INdependence, making Christians momentarily attractive/compelling to the seculars nearby

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BEST-case scenarios in the subpar areas of your life?

What would that look like?  Your human wisdom may have wanted this for years, but if you’re like I am, you’ve probably given up ever experiencing that BEST-case scenario in each subpar area, and have resigned yourself to what is.  What is, will continue, into the future.  But this is serious unbelief.  Like an atheist.  My life is UP TO ME, and I don’t even dream of the BEST-case scenario my human wisdom can imagine.  Resigned to what is.

Faith, on the other hand, is surrendering to the humanly-speaking WORST-case scenario, while at the same time, believing that Jesus MIGHT deliver the humanly-speaking BEST-case scenario.  “Either extreme or anything in between, Lord.  According to Your genius plan, may it be.  I trust that You know what’s perfect for me, and Your genius story, and my human wisdom does NOT know.  Be glorified in whatever You do in the future with my life, humanly-speaking — worst, best, same.  Forgive my unbelief in assuming You will NOT deliver the humanly-speaking BEST-case scenario in each area of my life that is subpar today.”

Imagining the WORST-case scenario and then offering that up to Jesus on the altar — surrendering to that WORST-case scenario, is a huge gift from Jesus when I’m intense, hurried, trying to AVOID failure, embarrassment, while striving to excel.  Fresh surrender to Jesus and His agenda, is what faith looks like for me when I’m under pressure. 

When I’m fearful, frustrated, discouraged, or bored, it’s ALWAYS because I’m leaning on my own understanding, wise in my own eyes.  The peace that surpasses understanding is only experienced by believers who are freshly DEAD to the desires of our human wisdom, and instead, are looking to Jesus to deliver what’s perfect for us, according to His genius plan.  “Not my will be done, but Yours.  I believe a little bit that You totally love me, and are totally sovereign over everyone and everything, but help my unbelief, and please forgive my unbelief.  Thank You that grace is for strugglers like I am, so that I QUALIFY for Your grace.”

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, Chief Struggler

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Jesus loves me BEST when

He thwarts my agenda, and convicts me of it.  My agenda is ALWAYS based on my human wisdom.  Jesus knows I’m happiest when I don’t have an agenda of my own, but rather as DumbSheepDave — clueless-I-know-what’s-best-for-me, trusting that Jesus DOES, curious/expectant to see what SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances.  Ahhh.

So when He thwarts my agenda, it’s a loving part of His retraining of Dave.  Like when I step on the gas to get through an approaching green traffic light, but the light changes before I can get to the intersection and I have to brake hard.  Or when some little old lady in a Buick pulls out in front of me causing me to brake, on a two-lane no-passing road, and then drives 25 in a 35 zone.  For a few MILES.  My human wisdom causes me frustration, impatience, and then once convicted, a wonderful peace comes over me, as I realize how silly I was, thinking I knew best what I needed.  My agenda EXPOSED.  My INdependency EXPOSED.  My functioning atheism EXPOSED.  Ahhh.  Return to being clueless DumbSheepDave.  Ahhh.  Confession is the pathway to sanity, peace, happiness.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, neediest for fresh conviction of the sin of INdependence/pride/confidence-he-knows-what’s-best, that seculars around him might see the difference Jesus makes in his life, and want Him for themselves

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The folly of human wisdom.

In my human wisdom, I have many strong opinions.  But I’m becoming increasingly disillusioned with my human wisdom.  As I look back over my life, my human wisdom has not delivered happiness to me, but rather, has been the source of all my pain and misery. 

Not only am I becoming disillusioned with MY human wisdom, but ALL human wisdom.  I no longer believe that humans were created to have the wisdom necessary to govern ourselves.  Proverbs 3:3-5 commands us to not lean on our own understanding, and not be wise in our own eyes.  In the history of humans, I find all the problems we’ve had, have been rooted in relying on human wisdom.  It’s why I don’t believe any kind of government works for long — king, dictator, democracy, republic, whatever. 

I don’t have a clue, how to fix the USA, much less the entire world.  I’m convinced that biblical wisdom, is believing that I don’t have any worth leaning on, but that Jesus does.  I don’t believe we’ve seen this in the history of the Church, and that’s why it’s so sick.  As sick as the collective “we” — government.  Our attempts at governing ourselves have been folly.  I’m disillusioned with MY wisdom, your wisdom, every human’s wisdom. 

The human who says, “I have no wisdom, no agenda of my own, so I need Jesus guiding my every step, and I see Him behind everyone and everything,” is the happiest, most peaceful, most loving, in my research, experience.  I myself am happier and more peaceful, maybe even slightly more loving, than ever in my 77 years of being dragged along kicking and screaming the entire way, AGAINST my better judgment — my human wisdom. 

Human wisdom is passionate for EASY.  Suffering-avoidant.  Idolatrous.  Dysfunctional.  Self-absorbed. 

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, always needing fresh conviction of the sin of human-dependency, that the seculars around him might see Jesus-dependency and be attracted to Jesus

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What does faith look like in your daily life?

I think faith is most-helpfully understood, as surrendering to the WORST-case scenario at one extreme, while AT THE SAME TIME, believing that Jesus might deliver the BEST-case scenario, at the other extreme.  “Either extreme or anything in between, not MY will be done but YOURS, Jesus.”  

Best-case from a HUMAN perspective.  Whatever He delivers is for our best, but our human wisdom doesn’t think suffering is best, so we typically strive at all cost, to avoid suffering, pain, adversity.  Human wisdom believes EASY is best.

Because I’ve suffered bigtime for years with a dysfunctional digestive tract, dysfunctional immune system, and also more recently a dysfunctional bone marrow function, I didn’t realize I’ve been unconsciously resigned to my suffering, and NOT believing that Jesus MIGHT deliver the BEST-case scenario — a fantastic digestive tract, fantastic immune system, and fantastic bone-marrow function.  From poor to fantastic — amazing transformation.  Never crossed my mind, even though I’ve tried about everything imaginable over many years, to obtain normal health.  I was blind to my unbelief that Jesus MIGHT have the best-case scenario in mind for me.  

So I’ve been CONFESSing my unbelief, and visualizing what it would be like for my body to be amazingly healthy in the areas where it’s subpar, and interestingly it’s made a huge difference in how I FEEL, physiologically.  Which surprised me.  I’m still sensitive to foods, chemicals, electromagnetic fields, but I feel more energy, strength, less brain-fog.  Dunno what the future holds, but I find myself telling Jesus that whatever He delivers going forward, is not just okay, but GREAT — worst-case, no change, or BEST-case.  I have no idea what He has for me going forward, but in my saner moments, I deeply believe He will continue to deliver what will be for my good, His glory, all according to His genius plan.  My human wisdom would LOVE to know the future, but my human wisdom has never delivered happiness to Dave.  Only Jesus has ever delivered that — when He gives me grace to believe He is totally sovereign, knows exactly what He’s doing, is worthy of my trust.  Ahhh.

I love that faith is a gift from Above, not something we generate from within.  So we get zero credit for any faith we have.  The starting place for fresh faith, is fresh conviction of sin, especially the sin of unbelief — functioning as an atheist.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, benefiting from fresh conviction of his unbelief, wondering if the seculars around him are noticing the difference

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Only the proud experience fear.

The humble are fearless.  The humble are unbothered by failure, weakness, pity by others, losing all their somebodiness, being considered nobodies, losers.  The humble live and love with reckless abandon.  

Only the proud are self-absorbed, hide our weakness, fear, failure.  Only the humble are relaxed.  On the inside.  Feel no need to APPEAR relaxed.  Only the humble enjoy everything just as it is, everyone just as we are, especially self.  Only the humble THANK Jesus for everything, because only the humble are clueless about what’s best, so they experience the peace that surpasses understanding, trusting that SovereignShepherdJesus knows what’s best, and delivers what’s best.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, envious of the humble  

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