The quest for independency,

is the curse of the human condition since Adam and Eve.   Humans live in denial of how consumed we are with human accomplishment, somebodiness.  Not just pre-believers, but we believers too.  Materialism is only one facet of the problem.  Believers of modest means are also eaten up with feeling good about self, having some performance of my own, or noting the poor performance of others.

Who will deliver us from this prison, this curse, of being so circumstance-dependent for our joy and peace, and the stress of trying to live as an independent?   Jesus.   He’s in the business of reversing the effects of The Curse in the lives of His kids, by lovingly bringing suffering into our lives to painfully retrain us in a better way to live: as childlikes, created-dependent sheep, looking to the Good Shepherd to take care of the details of life, so we can just have fun, being directed by Him.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to return to being a contented clueless sheep, with no need for somebodiness/performance of his own, so the other sheep will be wowed and want what he has (please pray now)

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Loving pre-believers is fruitful.

Excerpt pasted below, from the prayer letter of a missionary couple I’ve been praying for, who spend lots of time building intimate friendships with pre-believers in an edgy section of London.

–WeakDave, trying to encourage believers to spend time with pre-believers

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“Someone knocked on Oli’s door.  It was a guy our team had met on the streets several weeks before. He had prayed with Constance and Oli, and for the first time in his life had acknowledged that Jesus was Lord and the only way to come to the Father.  That day he was drunk.  Last night he was completely sober.  He had a crumpled flyer for the Jesus study in his hand, and a question for Oli burning in his mind.  He has been sober since Constance prayed for him, and he has felt alive and eager to tell people about Jesus – and he wanted to know: `What has happened to me?!’  Oli explained that when we put our trust in Jesus as Lord, he comes and lives in us – what he was experiencing was the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in his life!  He now wants to become part of the church and be baptized.  How awesome is that?!  Rejoice with us and with the angels that one of God’s lost children has been found – and also pray for Oli and all of us in Lysan as we welcome this guy and grow together as disciples of Jesus.”

The yoke of a created-dependent sheep,

trying to be an independent/CEO/orphan/shepherd, is extremely heavy, burdensome.  A Curse, weighing down the sheep: we get stressed, exhausted, from having the weight of the world on our shoulders.  Why do we sheep do this?  We believe a lie, that we’ll be happier functioning as shepherds/somebodies, rather than lowly sheep.  Common.  Ordinary.  Nobodies.  Losers, by comparison.  Unable to direct myself, captain my soul, master my fate.  No glory to me, because all glory goes to shepherds/somebodies.

But the Good Shepherd offers His own yoke to His sheep, and it’s as light as a feather.  Easy as pie.  And for those who are humbled by the Spirit, into wearing it, LIFE-giving.  Effortless existence when I function as DumbSheepDave, because my joy and peace have nothing to do with my circumstances.  Ahhh.  Tis so sweet to freshly trust in Jesus: freshly dead to being something I was never designed to be.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he experiences LIFE as DumbSheepDave, enticing the pre-believers around him to want what he has (please pray now)

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He’s weaning me off artificial life,

and wooing me onto LIFE in Jesus.  How?  By lovingly thwarting my attempts at independence.  It’s harrrd when my plans/agenda are thwarted, but it’s good harrrd, needful harrrd, because the biggest deal in town, is being retrained to live and work out of communion with Jesus.  DependentDave.  DumbSheepDave.  Ahhh.  Whatever it takes, Lord.  I want You to matter so much, that nothing else hardly does.

–IndependentDave, ShepherdDave, needing fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he can experience afresh the ecstasy of His unconditional love and the benefit of His shepherding, so he’ll have LIFE that’s compelling to the pre-believers around him (please pray now)

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It feels like I’m alone,

a lot of the time, because the world, flesh, devil want me feeling alone, that it’s up to me to make my life work, leaning on my own understanding, being wise in my own eyes, as I attempt to engineer happiness for myself and others, solve the problems before me, make decisions, captain my soul, master my fate, as ShepherdDave.

But when the Spirit of Jesus graciously, lovingly, tenderly, convicts me of the sin of independence/shepherdness, I confess my sin and am restored to the bliss of created-dependency as DumbSheepDave. Ahhh. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. Tis so stressful to trust in Dave.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of sin, so his joy and peace wow those around him, especially pre-believers, so they want what he has (please pray now)

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Following Jesus is impossible,

but it’s possible to try and follow His principles/teaching. There’s a vast, night-and-day difference between following Jesus, and trying to follow His principles. All earnest Christians I know, myself included, work hard at following His principles. And some nonChristians I know, really like some of His principles and try to follow them. But neither Christian or nonChristian trying to follow His principles, experience the abundant LIFE He promises to those who follow Him.

In order for me to follow Him, He must do a supernatural work in my life. A miracle. Each time His Spirit freshly convicts me of my sin of independence, of me trying to be lord/shepherd/CEO of my own life, it feels easy and natural to follow Him. The miracle of fresh conviction of the sin of independence, is what enables me, empowers me, motivates me, to follow Him. But it doesn’t last long usually, because the world, the flesh and the devil want me independent, leaning on my own understanding, being wise in my own eyes, as I attempt to captain my own soul, master my own fate. And I’m easily snookered into believing a lie, that happiness, abundant LIFE, can be found by my controlling/managing my life circumstances. I only experience abundant LIFE, when following Jesus.

How can I tell when I’m following Jesus, or trying to follow His principles? I know I’m following Jesus when I have a healthy indifference to all the things that charm me most, especially my primary areas of idolatry: relationships, ministry, investments, health, hobbies. I know I’m following Jesus, when my joy and peace have nothing to do with my circumstances, and this is easier to see, when my circumstances are really harrrd: when my idols are threatened. I know I’m following Jesus when I am asking Him about everything, and thanking Him about everything, because I don’t know what’s best for me and those I love, and so I don’t know what’s thankable and what’s not. I know I’m following Jesus when I’m freshly wowed by Him and His amazing love for such a failure as I, to the point where I hardly care about anything else.

What do I do when I realize I’m trying to follow His principles instead of following Him? I ask folks to pray for the Spirit to freshly convict me of my sin of independence, and I pray that way for myself.

–ShepherdDave, always needing prayer to be DumbSheepDave, freshly wowed by his Shepherd, curious and expectant to see what his Shepherd will do next, how his Shepherd will provide the abundant LIFE that deeply satisfies, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed by the Shepherd of DumbSheepDave, and want this same LIFE (please pray now)

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When most things in life are going my way,

…I’m rarely wowed by Jesus.   Maaaybe grateful to Him for the “blessings” I’m experiencing, because He appears to be enabling my agenda.  But it’s all about me.  Pulling the strings in my life according to plan.  With His help, of course.

But when nothing seems to be going my way, I’m much more likely to recognize my indifference to Jesus: my dissatisfaction with Him, and His performance imputed to me.   And frequently the Spirit convicts me of my self-absorption, so I realize afresh, what astonishing, amazing love He has for the likes of me.

Now, I’m wowed.

Success doesn’t nurture wow for Jesus and His love for me, but failure sure does.  Fertile soil for Jesus-dependency, Jesus-absorption, so I hardly care about the areas of my life where I’m obsessive, controlling, intense.

And when I’m wowed by Jesus, those around me — both believer and pre-believer, are much-more likely to be wowed by the Jesus in me, making a big difference in my life, giving me a joy and a peace that pre-believers want.  Wow is contagious.

–ShepherdDave, always needing prayer to be DumbSheepDave, captivated by his Shepherd (please pray now)

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“Dave, your posts shout self-contempt.”

I understand why some feel that.  So lemme splain.   Years ago, I was filled with self-contempt, did not handle failure well, did not extend grace to myself, but was blind to all this.   But in 1984 Janet and I went through World Harvest’s Sonship Course, and God used it to begin to change our lives.  For many years thereafter, He continued to use it to change me, as I soaked in the good news of Jesus every day, sometimes many times a day, and for years I’ve been asking Pray-ers to pray for fresh conviction of sin in my life, so I’d be less concerned about Dave’s performance, and more concerned about Jesus’ performance, imputed to me.  So I’d be less in love with myself, and more in love with Him.  The result, is that I am today much more aware of my sin/idolatry/failure, but also much more self-accepting than ever before in my life, because I feel so loved and accepted by the only One who counts.  So I’m free-er than ever before, to look inside and see the awful truth about myself, so I can confess what the Spirit shows me, to be wrong.   Without this foundation of grace, I lived for years, in major denial of my feelings, my failures.   And the people who had to live with me, suffered the most from my cluelessness/insensitivity.

The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for me, is to freshly convict me of my sin, so I’m feeling freshly forgiven, feeling freshly loved by Him, just as I am, warts and all.   So while it may seem like the guy who writes this stuff is an unhappy, morbidly-introspective, self-absorbed person, I’m just journaling what the Spirit is teaching me, about myself, God, others, and my circumstances, and this truth sets me free-er and free-er, and I’m way happier than ever, in my entire life!  So if you’ve been praying for me, thank you so much, and if you haven’t been, please begin.

–ShepherdDave, who is way more DumbSheepDave than ever before in his life, because folks pray (please pray now)

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