Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets

Intercessory Prayer: How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and EarthIntercessory Prayer: How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth by Dutch Sheets
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not for the spiritually unresolved or those lacking in faith. Must be firm in your beliefs to read and take this book for what it is. I LOVE the translating parts of it where Hebrew and Greek words are given, however I don’t agree with everything that Sheets says. Even though he gives scriptural backing for his opinions some of what he deducts seems to be taken out of context in the passages. I would’ve put it down if a trusted mentor had not recommended it to me, and even then it took me 2 years to finish because I kept putting it down.

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Help My Boyfriend’s an Idiot

Found this over at Heart Support and loved it so much I wanted to share.  Props to the author Benjamin Sledge.

2 Star Guy

My good friend, Chad Swanzy, once told me a story about the time he incredibly failed at being a husband.

Chad, along with his beautiful wife and kids were heading out on vacation and were going to have to endure a cross-country trip with young children in the car screaming at the top of their lungs and asking “ARE WE THERE YET!!”  Two boys in the backseat inevitably leads to “your-on-my-side” and fist fights.

Being preemptive, Chad began scouring the internet furiously to find a decent hotel in a city halfway through their trip so they wouldn’t spend so much time in the car.

Expedia, Orbitz, Hotels.com all had great deals but Chad found himself in a dilemma.  There was a 2 star hotel with a great price in a city he didn’t know, but a 5 star Hotel in a city he did know for $40 more.

Chad began looking through all perks of each.  The 2 star hotel had HBO, cable, clean sheets, and was safe according to the site.  The 5 star hotel had more cable programs, a mini-bar, luxury beds and sheets, a gym, and a continental breakfast.

Seeing as money was a little tight, Chad booked the 2 star hotel and the family left for their trip.

Midway into their trip and after a few U-turns, they pulled into the parking lot of their 2 star hotel.  “Surely this couldn’t be it!” Chad thought.  The reason for so many U-turns was that Chad and his family found themselves in a rundown part of town where they were watching drug deals and prostitution happen on corners nearby the hotel.  Not only that, but the pictures online looked NOTHING like what he as currently seeing.  The hotel was rundown and extremely sketchy.  Chad quickly hurried the family along and checked in, but when they got to their room discovered it was even worse.  The sheets may have been clean, but looked soiled and the TV barely got reception.  Chad’s wife was furious, especially with young children in such a sketchy side of town.

Bridge Motel

Chad and his family ended up leaving the hotel without a refund and driving a little further to check into the 5 star hotel he had previously looked at.

This scenario is very similar to much of how I see women dating these days.  Instead of holding out for a 5 star guy they settle for a 2 star loser.

Women initially have grand plans and think they have to “find that perfect one!”  Just like the unicorn!  You’re searching for the mythical ONE!

Both of which, are figments of your imagination.

But inevitably, they’ll become lonely or bored or sometimes both and start dating the 2 star guy because they settle instead of holding out for something better.  Often times the 2 star guy will begin throwing game at a young women trying to win her over with things like, “But baby…..I’m a nice guy.  I have a job.  I treat women with respect.” All good things, right?  But all good things that should be the STANDARD for any guy who wants to date a woman.  It’s like the hotel example I used, the 2 star will try and win you over with a cheap price and things that should already be included (clean sheets, HBO, etc).  But let’s be honest, once you start dating the 2 star guy and you enter the proverbial hotel room of his heart, you get duped just like those online pictures.  He’s not a good guy, he’s okay at treating you with respect, and maybe you two fight all the time because he’s selfish.  Just like the hotel again, you’ve got people slinging meth on the corner, the sheets are soiled and the HBO is sketchy….just like the guy you’re dating.

Women, I can’t tell you how often I plead with young ladies I know to hold out for a 5 star guy.  A guy that wants to lavish you in respect and with dignity, that values your heart more than your appearance, that puts your interests ahead of his own, that treats you just as well in front of his friends, and isn’t afraid of engaging in conflict with you, but seeks resolution no matter the cost.  That’s a 5 star guy but most of you are content dating children.

How do I know?  Well here’s some red flags for you that you might have said or thought:

Hi!  I'm a Red Flag

  1. “I don’t care because he’s hot”
  2. “He makes me feel good” (news flash, feelings are fleeting, how does he treat you?)
  3. “I’m just tired of being lonely”
  4. “He’s just a fun guy” (I was a fun guy too and I crapped all over girl’s hearts)
  5. “You don’t know him like I do, he’s trying”

Number 5 I hear ALL the time.  Everyone knows you’re dating isn’t worth your time and you’ll MAKE EXCUSES FOR HIM  “His dad didn’t hug him, he’s trying, he’s a lot nicer when we’re alone!” Here’s the thing ladies, a guy can trick one girl, but he can’t trick all your friends.  If they tell you “Hey, Scott’s got some issues and we’re worried”  you might want to listen to them  and the counsel they give you.  They’re looking out for your best interests, they aren’t jealous and trying to steal you man or have you join the single and miserable club like you think.

Have you ever thought that maybe God has you in this season of life for a reason?  Being single?  But instead we try and fight it because we think it’s this curse, like that we constantly have to be dating someone in order to find value?  What you need to know is that you already have SO much value and are cherished.  And here’s perhaps the saddest thing I’ve seen young women do.

They know that they’re lonely, and feel like they’ll never climb out of the rut they’re in. So, they date someone they feel is on their level, instead of being content where they’re at. They settle for any guy, instead of the kind of life that is truly ahead of us and the kind of person that God craves to see us spend a lifetime of love on.  They hope forchange in the relationship, they hope for better – but end up staying in a destructive relationship for years giving away bits and pieces of their heart to a 2 star guy when they could have held out for a 5 star one.

I’m not saying this is easy, and finding men like this is somewhat hard these days but they DO exist.  Most are just too impatient to wait, but I know worse things than being lonely, namely being in a relationship and miserable.

You want my advice ladies?

Dump him, tell him to grow up, and that you’ll see him when he decides to pursue you like you deserve and hold out for that guy that wants to dote on you and cherish your soul…..NOT your body.

Jon Acuff’s The Worst Tool for Evangelism

I found an awesome post on my Facebook today.  I follow Jon Acuff’s Blogs, mainly Stuff Christian’s Like.  I LOVE his book.  Here’s his newest post:

The Worst Tool for Evangelism

A few weeks ago, I drove by a church welcome sign in North Carolina that I thought was a smidge strange. As I am wont to do, I promptly turned it into a tweet and said the following on Twitter

“If you’re 99% saved, then you’re 100% lost!” Church sign I just drove by. I guess they didn’t have the letters for “Visitors keep out.”

A number of people saw that tweet and replied back to me with thoughts like this:

“Isn’t that theologically accurate?”

“Don’t we need to be convicted?”

I think those were good questions, but I never doubted the accuracy of that idea. I was doubting whether or not a welcome sign is the best place to debate theological accuracy. Is a message of shame the best message for a church welcome sign?

And more than that, what does “100% saved” mean? Who is measuring that? The pastor of that church? The elders? Is there a chart? What is the 1% that makes all the difference? What do you do with the guy in Mark 9 who asks Jesus to heal his child “if you can?”

Jesus replies, “If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes.”

To which the father says, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Jesus, sensing that the father was only 78% saved says, “Can’t do it. Disciples, get my boat! It’s time to bounce.”

Or he heals him and moves on. One of those two things happened.

Ranking by percentage the authenticity of your faith is a difficult thing to do, but maybe we all already agree on that point. What about the need for us to be convicted?

I agree with that. I do, but I think that as humans we have an unbelievable ability to transform conviction into shame.

I think that’s part of the reason Jesus left us so little wiggle room in Matthew 22:37-40. When asked what the most important commandment in the law was, he replied:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Notice what it doesn’t say? It doesn’t say, “Judge your neighbor.” Or, “Convict your neighbor.” Or, “Shame your neighbor.”

The verb is love.

Now there should be two push backs to this:

The first is, “Didn’t Jesus essentially say what that church sign said to the rich young ruler who was unwilling to give up his worldly possessions to follow him?”

You could definitely make that argument, but the key difference is that they had a conversation. Jesus looked him in the face and talked with the rich young ruler. Though it was brief, they had an interaction that was far more intimate than a message on a sign. Jesus talked with him one on one, he didn’t carry a billboard around.

The second push back is, “Isn’t the most loving thing you can do is share the truth of Christ with someone?”

Agreed. But again, a word of caution about using “shame” as a tool of evangelism. Let’s not forget what we are told in Romans 2:1-4:

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

What leads us toward repentance? Kindness.

Not shame.

Not abuse.

Not anger.

Kindness.

But if you’d prefer to not look at it through that lens, as least answer this question:

Have you ever met someone who said, “I became a Christian when a friend of mine shamed me badly. They shamed me into the arms of Christ.”

I haven’t, but I have heard this story countless times:

“A neighbor loved me when I was so unlovable to them. Their love made no sense. Finally I had to ask them, ‘Why are you so different? Why are you so kind to me? That’s when they told me about this guy, Jesus Christ.’”

Do we need conviction? Without a doubt.

Do we need theological accuracy? Definitely.

Do we need shame? That’s a tough one. But I do know this, we don’t need it on our church welcome signs.

I also love the comments on this post.  I totally agree with this belief.  Jesus said LOVE not SHAME.  It reminds me of the famous quote by Gandhi.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Readings: Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets

It all started about 2 years ago I had the privilege to join a 9 month class based on the scripture 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  I had some wonderful teachers and guides in this process.  I am a very logically minded person, someone who would rather read and follow than meditate and figure out any day, so one of my weak spots is prayer.  The lady who taught on prayer during this class is very well known for being a prayer warrior, someone I would be happy to imitate   When she suggested I read Dutch Sheets Intercessory Prayer, I ordered my copy immediately.

I’m sad to say it took me a very long time to open this book and when I finally did, it took a very long time to get started.  I made it to chapter six and I was stopped dead in my tracks by this section.  Enjoy.

Governing Principles

Whether or not God directly controls every event in the life of a Christian can be answered by stating that the basic laws of sowing and reaping, cause and effect, individual responsibility and the free will aren’t negated when we come to Christ.  All promises from God are attached to conditions – governing principles.  Most, if not all, of these conditions involve responsibility on our part.  Protection is no exception.

Most of us don’t like that.  It threatens us and somehow weakens God in our minds to imply He’s not in total control of everything.  And the majority are greatly offended if anything is taught implying that a failure to receive protection, provision, healing, an answer to prayer, or anything else from God could be our fault.

I can understand how it might threaten us – I’m threatened by me – but I don’t understand why it offends.  Are any of us claiming perfection?  Aren’t all of us going to fail once in a while?  Then why are we offended when a teaching suggests that these imperfections and failures might hinder us?

Why are we offended and opposed to a teaching that says our unbelief kept us from receiving something when so often the Bible says if we believe and do not doubt or waver we’ll receive (see Matt. 17:20; 21:21; Mark 11:22-24; Jas. 1:6-7)?

Why are we offended when it is implied that our inability to persevere created lack when the Bible says that we “through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12, emphasis added)?

Why are we confused of angry when it is suggested that our not doing something caused failure when the Bible says if we’re “willing and obedient” we’ll eat the good of the land (Isa. 1:19. KJV, emphasis added)?

As many as 80 percent of those who consider themselves born again don’t tithe, thereby opening themselves to a curse.  Yet they are offended when someone implies that their lack of provision might be their own fault (see Mal. 3″:8-12).

We don’t forgive and still have the gall to thing God will hear and answer our prayers (see Mark 11:25-26).

Often, we eat poorly, don’t exercise and abuse our bodies in other ways.  Then we blame our sicknesses on God’s will.

We don’t properly train our children, yet we’re offended with the suggestion that their rebellion might be our fault (see Deut. 6:7; Prov. 22:6).

We don’t abide in Christ and His Word.  Still we blame it on “God’s will” when we “ask what we will” and it isn’t done (John 15:7).

We know faith come through hearing and meditation of God’s Word (see Rom. 10:17), and most of us do very little of that.  But let someone imply that we didn’t receive a promise because of unbelief and we’re irate.

The Scriptures teach that “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High” (KJV) receives the protective promises of the remainder of Psalm 91…that I have an armor I must wear and carry, including the shield of faith, to ward off Satan’s fiery darts (see Eph. 6:13-18)…that Satan goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour and that I am to resist him (see 1 Pet. 5:8; Jas. 4:7)…and yet, let someone suggest that my lack of protection from some destructive happening could be my own fault and I’m offended. How about you?

I’m certainly not implying that God never allows us to walk through difficulties, that all our problems are because of disobedience or that all unanswered prayer is because of unbelief.  I’m simply saying that many of our failures and difficulties are our fault, not “God’s will”; we have a part to play in the securing of protection and other heavenly provisions.

Let’s try to lay down our fears, insecurities and tendencies toward offense.  Let’s accept the fact that the Scriptures are filled with principles that put responsibility on us, which must be met to receive God’s promises.  Let’s realize this doesn’t cancel grace and promote salvation by works.  Grace does not imply “no responsibility” on our part.  Let’s realize the love of God is unconditional, but His favor and blessing are not.

Oh to live by these words.  I’ve heard it said before that God’s circle of blessing is like a playground enclosed in a fence.  We can play on anything in the playground.  We are free to choose the swings, the slide, even the sandbox; but if we climb over the fence and into the outside world we can no longer be guaranteed God’s blessing – because we are not in his will.

I know I need to check myself and see where I’m standing.  Am I outside the fence?  Are you?