“I’m no loser, but a winner.”

These six words have defined me my whole life, since high school, when for the first time in my life I got some real encouragement in the direction of somebodiness, and it felt so good it has driven me like nothing else would have driven me.  And explains so much of who I am and why I’ve done what I’ve done, although I never consciously thought those six words until July 21, 2012.

–IndependentDave, who needs prayer to be DependentDave, free from the need to prove himself to himself and others, content with the imputed performance/righteousness of Jesus, so he’ll be able to enjoy Jesus, others, himself, and his circumstances, just as they are (please pray now)

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Fifty years ago, today,

I married my high-school sweetheart, who was by then, my college sweetheart, and today, she’s my senior sweetheart.  I was twenty; she was almost twenty.  Neither of us knew who we were.  But we were in love, and we have stayed in love, for fifty years, plus the two and a half years we dated.  We have many common interests, and over the years, we have developed many separate interests.  Early in our marriage, Jesus moved into our lives and captured our attention, and has been the centerpiece in our marriage, the glue that has held it together over these many years, enabling us to forebear with one another, enjoy one another, enjoy common areas of interest, and different areas of interest.

Jesus has formed a foundation in our lives that has enabled us to grow in self-awareness and self-acceptance, and perhaps the biggest difference this has made, is our understanding and embracing our newly-discovered introversion.   We always thought we were extraverts, and all our lives up until ten years ago, we lived like extraverts.   Today, we are reclusive compared to the old days, but we’ve never been so happy, knowing who we are, how He’s made us — our limitations, our likes, our dislikes.  And enjoying ourselves and one another.   We love our lives, just as they are, and we love each other, just as we are.   This is amazing, and a fruit of the work of Jesus, who is in the business of growing people to enjoy Him, others, self, circumstances.   We feel utterly unworthy of any credit for this amazing grace, and are grateful beyond words.

–DaveLovesJan

Inviting Jesus into my idolatry areas,

has been a huge blessing, a wunnerful answer to your prayers.  ShepherdDave is so used to confidently/pridefully taking charge of ministry, investments, health management, hobbies, bargains, purchasing decisions, though he is easily irritated with others, himself, circumstances, when things don’t go his way.   But DumbSheepDave doesn’t know what to do with any of it, is easily overwhelmed by it all, so he asks his ShepherdJesus about everything, and thanks Him about everything, and is curious and expectant to see what his ShepherdJesus does next, in him, in others, in his circumstances, and instead of wishing he were different — had no idols, he’s enabled to actually enjoy Jesus, others, himself, his circumstances, and even his areas of idolatry!   Ahhhh.   Life is so much easier as DumbSheepDave.

–DumbSheepDave, so thankful for those who pray, that pre-believers will be wowed by the difference Jesus makes in his life (please pray now)

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Looking for perfection

in the automotive experience: both in the purchasing and in the owning.  Finding the best used car in my price range — at a bargain price, that can deliver the closest thing to perfection in the driving experience: seating, handling, acceleration, ride, sound isolation, manual transmission, with minimal depreciation on the investment and minimal maintenance/repair expense.  A driver’s car for the frugal perfectionist.

And striving to maintain this automotive-perfection experience, as long as I own the car.  Everything in the car, operating as it should: no noises, wheels perfect, tires perfectly balanced so there’s no vibration in the steering wheel, or in the driver’s seat.  Tires perfectly in alignment so the steering wheel doesn’t pull, so the tires don’t wear unevenly.  Performance tires to avoid hydroplaning in a hard rain, and impressive cornering in dry or wet conditions.  Ahhh.

The only problem, is that Jesus seems intent on thwarting my plans for this idolatrous quest of trying to find LIFE somewhere other than in a relationship with Him.  There’s always some little or big annoyance.  I’m amazed, actually, that the enemy is so adept at snookering me into forgetting humiliatingly-painful lessons I’ve learned in the past, and that I need to relearn all over again.  Conclusion: hope springs eternal, for idolators/addicts.

–CarNutDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he’s freshly overwhelmed with Jesus, so others are wowed by the difference He makes in his life (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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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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All my life I’ve been living in denial,

of how worthless I’ve felt, of how much I’ve hated myself.   Wow.  I would never have guessed or believed it.  But now I am learning that suppressed feelings of shame/worthlessness from childhood, lead adults to the kind of drivenness, intensity, competitiveness, trying to prove myself worthy, to myself and others, that has characterized my life.  I mean, I’ve had glimpses of this, but never saw its root as self-hate.  Wow.

Performance-based conditional self-love/self-acceptance, is the opposite of the unconditional love/acceptance of Jesus for me.  Performance-based conditional love, is what Satan offers, and what the world offers, and what the flesh offers, and this is not “love” but conditional-hatred, the opposite of the unconditional love/acceptance Jesus gives me, and I’m beginning to give myself.   Amazing difference it’s making in my daily life, even though my default mode is still failure-avoidance.   It’s always seemed so natural for me to be in a hurry, efficient, intense, that I’ve seldom given it much thought.  And now I find myself more self-aware when I’m hurrying, or intense, realizing that this intensity is rooted in self-hate, not self-love.   I have nothing to prove to myself or others, because I have the performance of Jesus imputed to me.  I’m more and more loving me just as I am, just as Jesus loves me.  Amazing.  My body is beginning to relax inside.   Ahhhh.  Peace that surpasses understanding: surpasses leaning on one’s own understanding, trying to feel good about self, based on performance as ShepherdDave.   I think there’s been a fear-based unease about my life, a hyper-vigilance, a hyper-conscientiousness, to avoid failure of any kind, at all costs.   Day and night.   Ahhhh.  The idol/addiction of failure-avoidance has lessening grip on my life.  ShepherdDave is dying and DumbSheepDave is coming to life.  I’m on a pathway of healing for the open festering wound on my soul.  I’m smiling at myself more, enjoying myself more.  And this enables me to smile at others more, and enjoy them more, rather than being critical of them, especially the inconsiderate and the uncool.  Judge not that you not be judged.  By yourself.

–DumbSheepDave, not knowing how to adequately thank folks for praying (please keep praying and please pray now)

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