Love Dare – Day 21

I was dreading reading today’s dare. I didn’t want another altar call for Jesus. I wanted something practical, tangible, and directed at Kristin. However, I worked up the courage and went ahead to read it. The result: pros and cons.

It was still a dare tugging on the soapbox sermon rope, and it was not a dare directed at Kristin. That kind of sucked. On the bright side, there was actually something to do! I was to spend time reading scripture and time in prayer. I went ahead and did both. Although I need to be honest and say that my Bible reading time was a little light and half-hearted.

I’ve been struggling all year to have consistant and quality time with God. Because I am a youth pastor, I sometimes trick myself into thinking God and I are close in relationship because of the sheer amount of time I actually spend reading the Bible and praying. I believe God and I are close, but sometimes work can distort my motivation to read scripture and pray. Similarly, the motivation to spend time with God via a love dare muddles things up for me. The purpose isn’t necessarily for me any longer, but rather for Kristin’s sake. The authors have good intentions, but I need to want to spend time with God on my own and not because of a 40-day marriage improvement plan.

Advertisements

Love Dare – Day 16

SUCCESS!

Today was wonderful and simply. In spite of its simplicity, it was quite powerful. I was to pray for Kristin throughout the day.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16

I’m not necessarily saying I’m righteous – at least on my own accord. Rather, as a believer, given the Holy Spirit to guide me, I can rest assured that God hears my prayers and is answering them according to His will.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Kristin, I hope you had a wonderful day! I will keep praying for you!

It’s Not About Me

Today was Ash Wednesday. It was rather weird not attending a church service where ashes were placed in the shape of a cross on my forehead. I kind of missed that.

However, I haven’t forgotten about Lent. I still want to observe the 40 days leading up to Easter and spend some extra time reflecting on God. To help me do this, I’ve taken up reading and praying through a devotional book called ONE. It is the result of a large-scale collaboration project between 25 of the English-speaking, international churches in Hong Kong. That is a testimony in and of itself!

Today’s devotion was about preparation. (Seems fitting!) The goal behind it was to place us in John the Baptist’s “shoes” and learn what it means to put Jesus first and ourselves second. “He must increase, and I must decrease.” (John 3:30) I totally agree. At least in theory.

The problem is that I am nearly always doing things for myself. I know in my head that God loves me no matter what I do or don’t do. But I guess I still want to please Him and show Him I’m wholeheartedly His. It’s almost as if I feel like I need to earn His love. (Which no one needs to do by the way.) I guess this looks like a place for the Holy Spirit to step in and do the work in my heart and life that I can’t do by myself!

The other cool thing about today’s devotion is that it reminded me of a message I heard from Noah Ward, a teacher at the International Christian School. He gave a message about being third. It was simple and straightforward: God first, others second, ourselves third. Noah even had business cards made so we can keep them in our wallets as a reminder each time we open it that we should be living with a servant heart. I still have that card, two years later.

“Lord, help me live fully for you, as a response to the fullness of love you have for me. Amen.”

Falling Asleep in Prayer

It’s an awful, horrible, terrible, no good thing to do.

food decor

Unfortunately, I’ve been flirting with my inner eyelids a little too often recently, and I don’t feel that bad about it.

If I want to combat this “problem,” I’m sure that I simply need to change my posture from sitting to standing. However, I kind of like the idea of falling asleep in Jesus’ metaphysical arms. What better way to enter our dreams than with a little nudge from J.C. and a soft embrace from our Father?!

I mean, I want to accomplish and accumulate some serious prayer time by the end of the year, so I’ll work on getting to bed sooner. At the same time, I’m fairly certain Jesus is cool regarding my prayer shenanigans – as long as my heart is in the right place!