Stress-free living is a benefit

of Jesus-dependency.  Peace that surpasses the kind of peace provided by human understanding, human wisdom.  Jesus-dependency/faith/humility is impossible unless the Spirit provides it through fresh conviction of sin — especially the sin of INdependence/pride — leaning on our human wisdom. 

Stress not only kills, it causes dysfunctional health.  Only adult-likes/INdependents are stressed by life circumstances.  Only childlikes/Jesus-dependents experience stress-free living.  But it’s scary for us adult-likes to consider childlikeness, because we have to give up control.  Feels WRONG, in a world that worships strength, control — the right-side-up kingdom of this world.  Opposite of the Upside-down Kingdom of Jesus.

Adult-likes are confident-we-know-what’s-best and that’s why we live stressfully.  But childlikes/Jesus-dependents are clueless-they-know-what’s-best, which is why they experience such other-worldly peace, contentment.  Human wisdom is the enemy of peaceful living. 

Only Jesus-dependents do NOTHing on their own.  Eyes and thoughts fixed on their SovereignShepherdJesus for His direction, THANKing Him they dunno what to do in any given situation, curious and expectant to see what He does NEXT, in them, others, circumstances.  Only Jesus-dependents see Him behind everyone and everything.   Only Jesus-dependents have the other-worldly humility, other-worldly love, stress-free living, compelling to turned-off seculars.  The conscience is reached by humility and love — not by argument.  Childlike chief confessors are heard with interest.  Adult-like chief experts are boring.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, unable to practice what he preaches, unless the Spirit freshly convicts him of the sin of INdependence/adultlikeness — leaning on his human understanding/wisdom

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How to tell if you really love someone.

You ENJOY them, just as they are. 

How to tell if you really love your SELF?  Without condition?  You ENJOY yourself, just as you are.  And here’s a little secret.  You won’t enjoy others just as THEY are, until Jesus gives you grace to enjoy your SELF, just as you are.  

So whaddayado if you don’t like yourself, just as you are?  CONFESS your pride, your willfulness, your confidence-you-know-what’s-best, your unbelief in Jesus’ sovereign plan for your life that is currently less than your human wisdom would like.  A humble Christian enjoys himself just as he is, and others just as they are. 

And why do you wannabe more humble?  So you can feel good about yourself.  Because Jesus and His imputed worthiness are UNsatisfying to you.  So whaddayado about that?  CONFESS.

CONFESSion in the pathway to sanity, wholeness, happiness.  Trying to be something/someone you are not, is the pathway to misery, dysfunction, unhappiness.  Your struggle to enjoy yourself as a great example of a bad example of a Christian, indicates you’re as proud as DAVE. 

And if CONFESSion doesn’t lead you to momentary sanity, wholeness, happiness, there is yet-more to CONFESS that you haven’t-yet seen.  Ask for the Spirit afresh, to open your eyes to see what’s keeping you from experiencing LIFE, right now, this moment.  And surrender to Jesus the timetable in which your prayer is answered.  

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, promoting Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness to Christians in hopes that seculars might be drawn to the Jesus in Christians, especially DAVE

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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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