Why do I want to be different?

Typically for both good and bad reasons.  Good reason: for the glory of Jesus, especially with pre-believers.   Bad reason: so I can feel better about myself, have some righteousness/performance of my own.

–ShepherdDave, unsatisfied with himself for the wrong reason, needing prayer for fresh conviction of sin, so he’ll be momentarily transformed into DumbSheepDave, who enjoys himself just as he is enjoyed by his ShepherdJesus, while curious and expectant to see if and when his ShepherdJesus will use suffering to change him more (please pray now)

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Why has the Easter Bunny replaced Jesus?

We believers like to think it’s the world’s fault, not our own fault.  If Jesus were making a wow difference in the lives of us believers, would the Bunny be replacing Jesus in such a widespread way?  Would there be respect for a Jesus-centered holiday, if there was amazing humility and amazing love in believers, evidencing an amazing Jesus?  So do we pray for the world to change, or do we pray for us believers be changed?  A widespread awakening?

–ShepherdDave, just as competitive, intense, confident and ambitious as any pre-believer, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he’s momentarily transformed into DumbSheepDave, enjoying his ShepherdJesus, amazingly humble and loving like his ShepherdJesus, effortlessly enjoying himself and others, even his enemies and others who are impossible to love (please pray now)

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Are we really following Jesus?

Jesus was a friend of sinners and tax collectors, the nonreligious of His day.  If we really are followers of Jesus, why don’t we hang out with and enjoy the nonreligious, instead of spending so much time with fellow believers?

–WeakDave, trying to promote authentic, vulnerable friendships with pre-believers — more nonChristian fellowship and less Christian fellowship (please pray now)

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Why am I unfruitful with pre-believers?

I have many pre-believing friends, that I hang out with, but no one’s asking me yet, about how they can know Jesus like I do.  None of them appear to be seekers, most are turned-off, some antagonistic, some atheist, but they all know what Jesus does for me, they enjoy me, and they feel my enjoyment of them.  Is there something missing?   I think so.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus says that “the cares of this world” keep the believer from being fruitful, reproducing.  The biggest “care of this world” for any human — Dave included, is feeling good about self based on performance.  This is the human condition, rooted in puny human power, from leaning on my own understanding.  Conversion — contagious faith, requires a miracle: supernatural power.  Until I have been more retrained in Jesus-dependency, so there is more of Him living His life in me and through me, making more of a wow difference in my life, I don’t see why God would use me fruitfully, among my pre-believing friends.

The nicest, kindest, sweetest, most-loving thing He ever does for me, is to freshly convict me of my sin of independence/pride — leaning on my own understanding, trying to feel good about myself based on my performance.  He typically needs to thwart my plans and then open my eyes to my disappointment, before I’m able to even recognize my independency.  When I’m Jesus-dependent — experience Jesus living His life in me, I have a healthy indifference to the things humans care about most: performance.  Whyzat?  Because we humans assume that performance will fill the love-vacuum in our lives, enabling us to feel love from others and self, but it doesn’t, because it’s conditional love, on the condition of performance.  We humans have an unconditionallove-vacuum, and only Jesus delivers that.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed by the difference Jesus makes in the life of DumbSheepDave, and want what he has (please pray now)

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To whom do I feel superior?

Politicians, bigots, the sanctimonious, lovers of big government, abusers of the poor, corrupt executives, mainstream journalists, child molesters, drug dealers, murders, criminals, gangsters, deceivers in high places, mobsters, terrorists, abusers of power, elderly abusers, child abusers, women abusers, animal abusers, environmental abusers, litterbugs, texting drivers, oblivious drivers, loud cell-phone talkers.  To name a few.

When I feel contempt for others, I’m seeing more and more how that indicates an unconscious contempt for myself.  And interestingly, the more I extend grace to myself, the easier it is to extend grace to others, even those my flesh loves to despise, so it can feel good about itself at their expense.   “Judge not, that you be not judged.”  By yourself.  When I’m in the mood to judge others, I’m also unwittingly in the mood to judge myself, and this is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad way to live, with self-contempt always hovering over me, waiting to strike.

Extending grace, unconditional love, to myself and others, just as I have received grace, unconditional love, from my DaddyJesusSpirit, is a fruit of the Spirit’s work in my life, freshly convicting me of the sin of self-contempt and others-contempt, returning me to sanity, joy, peace as I am enabled to enjoy myself and others and my ShepherdJesus.  Only shepherds judge others.  Dumb sheep leave judging to their shepherd, and just have fun.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of sin, so he’s momentarily transformed into blissful and beloved DumbSheepDave, with amazing humility, amazing love, amazing joy, and amazing peace, so the pre-believers around him will want what he has (please pray now)

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Why would anyone want a Jesus

who leads people to external religious observance, but who does not change them on the inside, into being amazingly humble and amazingly loving and amazingly joyful and amazingly peaceful?  Who would be the first to throw a stone at those outside the Church, who laugh at us who claim to follow Jesus, because they see us just as circumstance-dependent for our joy and peace, and just as independent/self-reliant/prideful, as any other human?

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he will be momentarily transformed into blissful and beloved DumbSheepDave, doing nothing on his own, evidencing a Shepherd directing his life (please pray now)

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Blame bad circumstances on Satan,

and credit God for the good ones?  This produces fear and instability in believers, in my experience.  Is God sovereign over everything, or not?  We give Satan waaay too much credit/power/glory, by attributing hardship, adversity, suffering, to him. The problem is never with our circumstances, but always with the way Satan tempts us to view our circumstances: fearfully, as though there is a battle going on between good and evil and if we don’t pray hard enough, evil will win.  Or.  Peacefully, thankfully, believing that God is carefully working out His sovereign and perfect plan for our lives, working all things together for the good of us kids of His.  Suffering produces perseverance, then character, then hope/faith/dependency.  Suffering is painful, but good painful.  Especially for us spiritually-learning-disabled believers.

–ShepherdDave, who thinks he knows what’s best for himself and those he loves, but needs prayer for more-dependent moments as DumbSheepDave, following his ShepherdJesus, so the pre-believers around him will want this peaceful dependency too (please pray now)

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Teacher needs prayer.

Here’s what she wrote to her Pray-ers: “Dear Friends, I have the exciting opportunity to substitute in a k4 classroom this week.  However, the classroom is very needy with lots of difficult kids.  It is totally of Jesus how this all came up.  Anyhoo, please pray for peace to come over this classroom as I’m teaching.  For me to bring the atmosphere of the Kingdom to this small little place.  I will be teaching Tuesday through Friday and will need your prayers for strength and to be able to love these little ones.  There are 3 that are super difficult.  Thanks for praying.  I’ll let you know how it goes…”

Here’s what I wrote back.  Love for any reading this to join me in praying for her this week:

“Excited to pray.  You’re a miracle-needy lady, Nancy [not her real name], so it makes sense you would be recruiting prayer for a string of miracles this week, and the BIGgest miracle of all, would be if Jesus so captures your heart and imagination throughout the week, that you are aware of Him living His life within you, instead of Nancy trying desperately to live the Jesus life.  So each time you feel stress, pressure, you will know that this is Nancy trying to live the Jesus life, but each time you feel a peace that makes no sense, because of a curiosity and expectancy to see what Jesus does next, in you and through you, you’ll know a miracle is happening.  Now, pay attention: if you are ever irritated with yourself when you catch yourself trying to live the Jesus life, you are not loving/accepting yourself unconditionally, but are filled with self-contempt for your failure to perform like you willfully wanted.  Jesus is never ever contemptful/irritated/angry about your failure: only ProudNancy.  Count on me to be praying daily for a string of miracles, and especially that Nancy will be extending grace to herself when she fails.  Now this is LIFE, Nancy.  This is FUN.  No pressure on Nancy.  Nancy’s performance in the classroom is not Nancy’s problem, or Nancy’s job.  Jesus’ problem, and Jesus’ job.  :)”

–DumbSheepDave, having the time of his life because folks pray

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