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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Are you okay with being fearful?

Or do you dislike yourself when fearful?  This is not self-love/self-acceptance, but self-hate/self-contempt. Does Jesus love you when you’re fearful?  Of course He does.   His love for you is not conditional.  But your love for yourself, is conditional, your acceptance of yourself, is conditional, if you are irritated with yourself when you don’t perform up to your expectations.  And fear is never allowed.  Failure is never allowed.  Fear of failure is never allowed.  Fearful feelings typically result in self-rejection/self-hate.  This is sin, to hate what God loves, and the enemy could not be more pleased, than to get you hating yourself.  Why?  Because you cannot love God, and you cannot love others, while hating yourself.  Giving yourself permission to be fearful, imperfect, while not living in denial about your sin, while still loving/accepting yourself, is giving to yourself the same kind of unconditional love, that your DaddyJesusSpirit gives you.  Ahhhh.  Being as loving to yourself as your DaddyJesusSpirit is to you.  Glory.  Ecstasy.

If you try not to sin, you don’t understand sin.  Sin is not something you try not to do: sin is something you confess.  In the Church we have dumbed down the law, and dumbed down sin, to where it’s outside-the-cup kinda stuff, that’s manageable.  Like the Pharisees.  The Christian life is impossible.  There is never anything you’ve ever done, simply and only because you love Jesus: there’s a dark side, a sinful side, sinful motivation, to ever seemingly-noble, seemingly-selfless thing you’ve ever done.  You have never done anything, sinlessly, even though your flesh, the world and the devil want you to think so.  Why?  So you can feel good about yourself, based on your performance, and not need the imputed performance of Jesus, which you find unsatisfying if you can get some of your own.  And this self-righteousness/self-performance is what keeps you from enjoying God, enjoying others, and enjoying yourself, another way of describing loving God, loving others, and loving self, especially the impossible to love.  And for emotionally-wounded adults, self is the most impossible to love well.  Self-love is not selfishness/idolatry.   Selfishness/idolatry is self-hate.  I know, it seems wrong, but the devil has done a number on us.  Why?  To keep us from loving God and others with a contagious humility and a contagious love, especially pre-believers with values most different from our own.

–DumbSheepDave, smiling at himself more than ever, because folks have been praying (please keep praying, and please pray now)

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When I’m discouraged by circumstances,

I’m always confident of what’s best for me and those I love.   ShepherdDave, leaning on his own understanding.  My biggest need is not changed circumstances, but a changed heart: fresh conviction of the sin of independence: unbelief in His promise to work all things together for my good, and His glory: unbelief in the perfectness of His plan for me.   Discouragement is not a picture of humility, but of evil, wicked pride.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for the Spirit to freshly convict, so he is transformed afresh to DumbSheepDave, so the pre-believers around him are wowed by his joy and peace in the face of rugged circumstances, or conclude he’s crazy for being so joyful and peaceful (please pray now)

To receive my weekly updates, email me, or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

How does Jesus retrain me,

in a better way to live — more Jesus-dependent?   By thwarting my agenda.

My agenda for sleep, optimal health, controlling my circumstances, reaching goals, fixing things, getting places rapidly and efficiently.  Independence/self-reliance.  Lovingly thwarting my agenda.  ShepherdDave thinks a loving God should bless his agenda.  Just the opposite, oftentimes.   Jesus made me for dependency, and I’m happiest when I’m DumbSheepDave, asking, thanking, curious, expectant, to see what my ShepherdJesus does next.   Kinda like playing a video game where I respond to whatever comes next, instead of feeling the need to design the video game.   Ahhhh, tis so sweet to be DumbSheepDave, trusting in his Sheperd’s perfect plan for him.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for the Spirit to freshly convict him of the sin of independence — being unsatisfied with Jesus and His performance, so he comes running back to Jesus, and dependency, so the pre-believers around him are wowed by the difference his ShepherdJesus makes in his life (please pray now)

To read past email updates, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

Jesus offers to join me in every opportunity,

challenge, problem, I face.   My typical response?  I don’t even consider Him.   Why?  World, flesh, devil want me to believe I can find happiness through human achievement.  Independence, not dependence.  Dependence is repulsive to a grown man.   So instead of the peace that passes understanding, and joy unspeakable, as DumbSheepDave, asking and thanking my ShepherdJesus about everything, curious and expectant to see what my ShepherdJesus will do next, I experience unnecessary intensity, stress, misery, as I attempt to deal with my opportunities, challenges, problems, on my own, with the weight of the world on the shoulders of ShepherdDave, who is to be pitied above all men, for though he has the name of Jesus, he has not the benefit of Jesus: Jesus-dependency.   ShepherdDave has no advantage over pre-believers, except for the promise of Heaven.   And pre-believers are not wowed by the Jesus in ShepherdDave, because there is so little of Jesus in him.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he experiences abundant LIFE as DumbSheepDave, having something pre-believers want (please pray now)

To read past email updates, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

Independence is just as contagious as dependence/faith.

If I am surrounded by independents — pre-believers or believers, their independence subtly undermines my Jesus-dependence, and I begin to see independence as normal, natural.   News, movies, books, periodicals, all whisper, “Independence is normal: humans are supposed to be in charge of their own lives.”  Then prayer becomes an after-thought for me, something I do when nothing else works.   And my prayer is likely to be, “Jesus bless my agenda.”  Because I know what’s best for me and those I love, and my job is to get Jesus to see the need, and act: do my bidding.

And when I function as an independent, I have what independents have: human power.  Jesus makes little difference in my daily life: I’m just as stressed, hurried, intense, as the pre-believers around me.   They are not wowed by the Jesus in me, because there is so little of Him in me.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so others are wowed by the difference ShepherdJesus makes in the life of DumbSheepDave (please pray now)

Financial update on GospelFriendships:

Each year about this time I update folks on the financial health of GospelFriendships.   We’ve been running a $5k deficit and I’m guessing we’ll end up that way by year end.   I took a pay cut last year, and will need to take another, if we end up short.   Some have surprised me in the past with additional year-end gifts, and some have made first-time gifts, and some have begun sending monthly support, and some have increased their monthly support, and many are simply unable to help.   I never know what to expect, but Jesus has always provided wonderfully for Janet and me, and I have no good reason to doubt Him this year.   I sensed He wanted me to let folks know.

To read past email updates, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

Am I hopeful that Jesus will surprise me,

by making a bigger, deeper difference in my life, that wows those around me, and wows me?  Or have I believed the lie of the devil that what is, will always be; or worse?  Is there way more unbelief in me than I’ve realized?  Do I need to confess my unbelief in the possibility of Jesus surprising me by changing my circumstances, or changing me, or maybe both?

–ShepherdDave, who is typically resigned to what is, or scared, trying to avoid worse, except when he’s been freshly convicted of his unbelief, so he confesses and is temporarily returned to being DumbSheepDave, feeling cherished by his ShepherdJesus, and hardly caring about anything else in his life, curious and expectant to see what ShepherdJesus will do next, hopeful of being surprised by Him, so the pre-believers around him are wowed and want Jesus to do this for them (please pray now for fresh conviction of unbelief in ShepherdDave)

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com

Satan’s most damaging strategy,

is to get me to believe that my life is mine to live, and that all humans have our own lives to live.   But I’m no longer a free man.  Freedom is a lie and an illusion, to keep believers in the prison of human accomplishment, the prison of feel-good-about-self-based-on-my-performance.

I’ve been bought with a price, and my life is no longer mine to live.  I belong to ShepherdJesus, and today I have no problems and no jobs.  All the problems and jobs before me, are Jesus’ problems, and Jesus’ jobs.  Except one.  My job, is to ask and thankHim about everything, and be curious and expectant to see what He will do next, in me, in others, in my circumstances: what Hewill empower me to accomplish.   And when I fail/struggle to do my job — to believe, the enemy wants me full of self-contempt.  ShepherdJesus, on the other hand, tells me to simply confess.   Ahhh, tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he temporarily gives up his prideful ways, and returns to being a happy, clueless, dependent sheep, so the pre-believers around him are wowed by the difference his Shepherd makes in his life, and want his Shepherd too (please pray now)

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com