Tag Archives: success

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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Rogue Warrior (Prayer Warrior, that is)

Good Morning, Mr. Abba!

You are God! You are beyond comprehension. You are eternal and forever and everywhere and all-knowing. You are the One Who created all this. You invented the idea of Life itself. You invented human beings and all animals. There’s nothing You don’t understand, nothing that confuses You, nothing that You take personally. You love all of us, all the time. You ARE love. You forgive everything. You understand that we don’t know what we’re doing, so You don’t hold a grudge. You offer all of us grace and mercy and a chance to try again. You never grow old, but always maintain a childlike optimism.

I confess that I am self-obsessed and “success”-obsessed. My idea of success is ridiculously small and earth-bound. I spend almost no time in prayer, when I know very well it’s the most important thing I do all day. I confess that while I know I have the power to actually help the people in my life and to make a difference and to potentially heal their relationships, I don’t take the time to do it. That’s disgusting.

Thank You that You’ve brought this to my attention. Thank You that You are patient and not angry. Thank You that You will help me to remedy this situation and make the time to pray for my loved ones. To rescue those being led away to slaughter. To take my spiritual power and calling seriously. To live as if Heaven is even more real than earth. To live as an ambassador of Your Kingdom. Thank You for my beautiful family and friends. Thank You for the Manna Room and CalWorks and the breakthrough You worked in me to be able to be honest and vulnerable and reach out to ask for and receive help. Thank You for the compassion and empathy this period of poverty has created in me.

I ask that You would bring a spiritual mentor into my life who can help me stay on track with prayer and help me take that part of my life seriously. Please speak to my husband and give him a clear vision for our future and for how best to be spending our time now. Please give him strength and courage and mentors and friends who speak into his life. Please also give me a circle of girlfriends who can do the same for me. And a community circle for our family–other families we can do life with. Please cut the fat off of my “work” time and give me a laser-focus to get done the essentials every day. Please provide the work that will enable us to get a home of our own here or elsewhere. A home where we can bless others by hosting them for meals, workshops, or even weekends and week-long vacations. Thank You!

In Jesus’ 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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