Jesus delivers happiness,

but only to clueless sheep.   Jesus has nothing to offer other shepherds/independents, those who are wise in their own eyes, leaning on their own understanding.  In fact, Jesus frequently thwarts the attempts of His sheep who are shepherd-wannabes, trying to make their lives work, trying to find happiness, on their own.  Jesus created us to be happy as humble, clueless, lowly sheep, and to be miserable as shepherd-wannabes.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he returns to being DumbSheepDave, asking His Shepherd about everything, thanking Him for everything, especially the harrrd, so he’ll be happy as a clam, no matter the circumstances, so the other sheep will want His Shepherd too (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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