Prayer prompt for Thursday, Oct. 1

Andrew, Peter, and others joined Jesus from non-churchy professions. If he can use them, then just imagine what he can do with you!

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Check Yes or No (Prayer Devotional for the week of June 7, 2015)

The year was 1986. His name was Danny. He was funny, cute, never once called me “four eyes” like some other mean boys who shall remain nameless, and I had it bad. I mustered up the courage to write Danny a “check yes or no” note to see if he LIKED me liked me, or if he just, you know, plain ol’ liked me. Days and eons passed with no reply, and my self-esteem plummeted. Finally, one day on the way to P.E., he passed me in the hallway, smiled and handed me a folded note. He’d drawn a heart on the front of it.

 

This story isn’t about a sappy, romantic outcome, because Danny moved away shortly thereafter, and we lost touch. (Back then, there was a per-minute, long-distance fee to phone another town, and we had to use these things called stamps to correspond in writing.) What it boils down to is a question that we all need to know the answer to: Do you LIKE me like me, or do you just like me? The question goes beyond tweenage crushes and cuts to the core of our hearts, because it’s something that Christ asks each of us.

 

Jesus once put Peter on the spot and asked him a similar question in John 21. You may remember Peter from the crucifixion story—he’s the one who denied knowing Jesus three times over the course of one night. Our story picks up after Jesus was raised from the dead, and he appeared on the shore where Peter and others were [unsuccessfully] fishing. They realized who he was and had a meal together—after Jesus helped them haul in a miraculous catch. During the course of their conversation, Jesus posed the question three times to Peter: “Do you love me?” It was his way of reinstating Peter for denying him.

Jesus isn’t going to force us to love him or drag us along as mindless followers, without a will of our own. He offers us a choice to love him passionately and to follow him wholeheartedly. The Bible is his love letter to us, filled with grace, mercy and an eternal promise. Will you check yes or no?

(Originally posted January 22, 2012)

 

The Perfect Woman (Prayer Devotional for the week of May 3, 2015)

I had the chance to attend a ladies’ retreat last weekend with about 80 women from several different churches. The guest speaker used Proverbs 31 as her text, and I have to admit that my first thought was, “Oh, great – I’m in for two days of hearing about all my faults as a mother and ex-wife.” If you’ve ever read “The Wife of Noble Character” passage, then you know what I’m talking about.

 

The Proverbs 31 chick is perfect, and many sermons I’ve heard about that passage focused on some aspect or another about this implausibly flawless woman and left me feeling like a complete failure. To my surprise, that’s exactly what the speaker said: it’s pointless to try to compare ourselves to the Proverbs 31 woman, because none of us are Betty Crocker, Oprah Winfrey, and Mother Theresa combined! Instead, she explained that rather than line ourselves up (with all of our failures and baggage) against this perfected image, perhaps we’re looking at it from the wrong angle. Maybe this depiction of the ideal woman is actually how God sees us, through the lens of Christ.

 

For example, the woman in Proverbs 31 came from a well-to-do family and ran in high society circles (Proverbs 31:21-23). Not many of us would consider ourselves upper class, but when it comes to our status through Christ, we are royalty! (1 Peter 2:9)

 

In God’s eyes, we are worth far more than jewels (Proverbs 31:10). He sees the work we do – often behind the scenes and seldom acknowledged – at home, at work, in the church, and in our communities. It may seem like no one notices or appreciates our efforts, but God does!

 

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t measure up to the heroes of the Bible or people like the Proverbs 31 woman (or her husband, for that matter, whose accolades are touted among the city leaders), then I encourage you to spend some time reading about folks like David, Moses, Rahab, Martha, or Peter. They were all flawed people who allowed God to use them, anyway. They made mistakes in life (some were real doozies), but those issues didn’t define who they became; God did.