Tag Archives: guidance

The Path of Service vs. the Pursuit of Success

This morning I found inspiration and challenge in the words of Pastor Steve Schell, from a sermon he delivered on Romans 12:1 (bold mine):

Paul urgently appeals to every believer who understands the mercy we have received from God, to respond by completely devoting themselves to His service. This, he says, is the only appropriate way to thank Him. We surrender our lives to Him as completely as if we had placed our bodies on an altar like an animal about to be sacrificed, only in our case we are not there to be slaughtered but rather recruited into His service (Ro 14:7: 1Co 6:19, 20; 2Co 5:15).

Our full surrender will find its expression in a series of costly choices that lead us away from something we desire toward something selfless that God wants us to do. We choose a path that to the natural mind appears to lead downward, in the wrong direction. (Henri Nouwen, The Selfless Way of Christ)

Abba, in light of this passage, please show me the downward path You’ve chosen for my life. I am so tired of trying to pursue my own dreams and wanting to be more worshipful. I will oh so gladly abandon my dreams altogether if only I know that YOU have chosen a different path for me. I willingly and joyfully place myself on the altar and will completely devote myself to Your service. I choose a path of worship before work, praise before play, devotion before dreaming, and prayer always. Only show me the way within the Way. Guide me and direct me, so that I don’t just make up my own seemingly spiritual path that actually pleases neither me nor You! I trust that You will guide me. I’m Yours. Thank You for this beautiful word.

In Jesus’ name, amen!

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Overwhelmed with Blessings

Abba, You are incredible! You are so so kind to me. You have showered me with so many blessings this past week, it’s absurd. You find those little ways to let me know You’re thinking of me, little breadcrumbs along the trail to remind me of You. You are endlessly romantic and sweet. You personalize the gifts too, so I know it’s not just the abundance of the Universe, but a specific gift from You to me. You are generous and hard-working and never rest or stop loving us. You enjoy providing for us and giving us good gifts. You provide for all our needs and then some. You have given me so so much. You are the Creator and sustainer. The builder and the maintenance man. The inventor and the mechanic. You are outrageously brilliant and spectacularly loving. I adore You.

I confess that I am still so apathetic. I let vast quantities of beauty┬ápass completely unnoticed. I confess that I still tend towards befriending the attractive and ignoring the marginalized. I do not go out of my way to seek out those who most need affection and attention. I don’t even think about them most of the time. I am Your willing handmaiden, ready and wanting to serve You and live Your purposes, yet busily scurrying about with my own agenda instead of sitting at Your feet until You send me. And I confess that I am still seriously neglecting the disciplines that would get me to Your feet and enable me to hear Your voice.

Thank You so much for that sermon yesterday, which was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Expect tension! Nothing good is ever brought into the world without facing Opposition. So true! And Thank You so so so so so so much for our new second church, Hope Hollywood. What an incredible group of loving people! I loved the atmosphere and the energy there so much. I am so grateful to have a second family and a place to serve and share. Thank You for all the incredible blessings You sent our way last week, from the free high chair and stroller to all the free food! I am overwhelmed. Thank You for our fun group of friends and for life just as it is right now. Thank You that Ben got accepted to his new school and that our life is changing so much in so many beautiful ways. Thank You for the 717 Days project and how powerful that will be!

Please give us wisdom and grace as we enter this new day, new week, new schedule. Bless our minds and our hands to be about Your business and see priorities clearly. Please don’t let us get sidetracked with things that are unessential to Your purpose. Teach us to focus. Speak clearly to us and nudge us onto the right path again when we stray. Keep our minds alert to the spirit world. Keep bringing us back over and over. Please give us favor and streamline our work so that we can accomplish much in little time. Also give us wisdom about delegating and building a support team. Thank You that You will show us how to get more willing hands involved in what You give us to do.

In Jesus’ perfect name I pray, amen!

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On Fire for You and Your Kingdom

Abba, You’re all that matters. None of the rest of this is even real. It’s like a dream. But when we all wake up from this dream, You’ll be there waiting with open arms. You are infinitely loving and patient and kind. Fiercer than a thousand hurricanes, yet as gentle as a feather floating in silence. Every cell of my body screams your name. You energize me. You created energy! You are the author of brilliance, the artist who created beauty, the One who invented nature. You are above all and in all. In my heart, the air around me, the oxygen in my lungs. There is nowhere You are not, and nothing I can do to make You stop loving me. You just won’t ever go away. Somehow won’t ever get tired of me, no matter what I do or how I act or how bristly and irritable I am. You are simply amazing.

I confess that I live 99% of my day in complete ignorance of You. I get so caught up in the ridiculousness. I get petty and self-serving and try to manipulate everything so that I get more creature comforts and people like me more. Then I get disgusted with myself and spend even more time obsessing about myself. I think of You, praise You, and glorify You so very little. While my heart’s desire is to magnify you, my flesh is the one I feed the most, and it desires to magnify itself and belittle You. Horrors! I never want to belittle You! Take it away, Abba! Take this tendency away! I lay my flesh at Your feet. Kill it off! Be done with it! Don’t let me spend one more day in that horrible life. I confess my habit of image management, self-preservation, and trying hard to provide for myself and my family, obsessing about business and money instead of trusting You to guide us, or connecting with You so that I can access the limitless abundance that You are. Jesus didn’t try to create a new business in order to pay His taxes; You told Him where to find the money He needed.

THANK YOU that You have promised that if we confess our sins, You will forgive us and cleanse us from all corruption. Yes yes YES!!! Thank You for Your mercy and grace. Thank You for Your absolutely overflowing bottomless abundance available to us. Thank You for waking me up to the fact that I don’t have to work to earn it. Thank You that You will show me both how to connect to You and the highest & best use of my remaining time here on earth so that I don’t need to waste one more day. Thank you for my heart on fire for YOU and not just excited about some human plan I’ve concocted to promote myself. Thank you for my absolutely priceless family. Thank You for the opportunity to pray together. Thank You that we live in freedom in America. Thank You for Your Word and the Internet and free access to brilliant teachings and believers around the globe. Thank You that Your Kingdom is coming with power. Thank You for radical hope, not attached to the things of man, but holding out with confidence for what You have promised.

Please guide me in the best way to teach my children to glorify You and live for You and not get sucked into the world’s vortex. Please pull us out of the madness to teach us and train us and transform us, so that You can send us back in as Your avatars, filled with Your Spirit and performing Your will. Make us Your hands and feet. Please teach me the best practices to stay alert and oriented and focused on Your will and not my own. Please take the desire for my own self-serving (but cleverly disguised as others-serving) career away, and help me to notice right away when I’ve gotten sucked back into the world’s ever-so-tempting success vortex. Please send me a mentor/spiritual director who can speak directly into the specifics of my life. THANK YOU!!!

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