Daily Prayer of Commitment

Here is my every morning, first thing I do prayer of commitment.

Dear Lord,

Today I present myself to You as Lord of my life. You are the King, master, Lord, and boss of my life. Today I will obey You and do Your will for my life, no matter how hard or difficult it might be. You purchased me with Your blood, I am not my own, I am Yours.

Today I will read, memorize, and meditate on Your Word. I will abide in You and Your Word will abide in me.

Today I will be devoted to prayer. I will spend time alone with You, I will pray with Patty, and I will pray with my church family. I will pray for my family, I will pray for a list of lost people, and I will pray for every person in JBC every week.

Today I will love Patty as You, Lord Jesus love the church.

Today I will be the kind of father and grandfather to my children and grandchildren, that You are to me.

Today I will do my part to build Your church at JBC, and around the world.

Today I will love any person You sovereignly bring into my life, no matter how difficult they may be to love.

Today I will take every thought captive to obedience to Christ, by choosing to set my mind on appropriate memorized scripture passages every time my mind begins to lead me astray.

Today I will speak only words that give grace to the hearer, and never any unwholesome words.

Today I will live my life as if it is the last day I have before I stand before You Jesus at the Judgment Seat and am rewarded for what I have done for You in this body.

I can’t keep these commitments in my own strength, please fill me with Your Holy Spirit, and grant me Your strength to keep these commitments and to serve You well.

Please give me Your wisdom so that I will know what to say and do in any situation You sovereignly put me in today.

I love You

Blazers are out

Tonight the Portland Trailblazers lost the 4th game to the Golden State Warriors so they are out of the playoffs and Golden State heads to the NBA finals for a 5th time in a row. Now that Portland is out I will be a Warrior fan for the finals. I am a Blazer Fan, but I am a bit fickle in my support, I like them when they win, but when they lose I start getting more interested in other teams. Some sport fans are die hards, they stick with their team win or lose. I am not too concerned about my character being a fickle Blazer fan, but I am not an unfaithful husband. One of my commitments that I make every time I say “I love you” to Patty is “You are the only woman in my life, mentally, emotionally, and physically” for as long as I live. I am also totally and completely committed to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The unfaithfulness won’t be with another god, there are no other gods, if I love Jesus less it will be because I am loving the world and the stuff in it and placing my security in my money and possessions instead of God. I am also committed to my church family. They have good days and bad, but JBC is my church, my spiritual family. I start becoming less supportive and loyal to the Blazers when they lose, but I will never be unfaithful, not even a little bit to my church, I have been here 43 years and I will be here until I die.

Hurt Feelings

Everybody knows about getting your feelings hurt, getting offended by what someone says or does, and feeling slighted, unappreciated and unloved. Some are so prone to being hurt or offended that most of their relationships are strained if not broken because people can’t relax around them for fear of saying or doing something that sets them off. There are all kinds of reasons why a person gets to be an adult and their self-worth is so fragile that they are constantly getting their feelings hurt by almost everyone in their life, but regardless of the reason they ought to diligently pursue getting even a little bit tougher minded.

I have a personal goal to totally conquer the “hurt feeling” syndrome in my life. I realize that I can’t stop the initial feeling or emotion of being hurt by someone’s words, but I can choose what I think about after the initial blow to my ego so that the feeling of being unloved or unappreciated quickly goes away, and I don’t react in facial expression or in words. Taking my thoughts captive is a simple matter of having appropriate Bible verses memorized that I can set my mind on and meditate on when I recognize that my thinking is being led in the wrong direction by my emotions.

There are two big challenges that most people won’t make the effort to conquer to become tough minded. The first is to memorize a few Bible verses well enough that they can quickly start running it through their mind when their mind starts thinking wrong thoughts. The second is to learn how to listen to their thoughts and choose to not let wrong thinking continue and choose to think about the appropriate Bible verses they have memorized.

Here is my strategy, you are welcome to use it as your own.

(1) Every morning in my prayer of commitment (if you are interested in seeing my full every morning prayer of commitment email me and I will send it to you deefduke@icloud.com) I will pray this commitment, “today if I get my feelings hurt by someone’s words or actions, I will choose to set my mind on

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

(2) I will memorize 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 super perfect so that I can switch what I am thinking about quickly.

(3) If I blow it and say something in retaliation, or defensive, I will journal about my bad behavior and determine where I lost control of my thinking and repent and recommit to doing it right next time.

This strategy is working very well in my life, it has been months since I have had even a small, insignificant issue with getting my feelings hurt and I

Leadership

I teach a number of leadership classes at JBC each year that last about 8 months. Each person in the class commits to memorizing about 2 new verses each week, reading in assigned books, reading their Bibles every day, spending time with God in prayer each day, and attending class and taking notes of my lesson and taking a quiz each week on the previous weeks lesson. Then at the end of the year they give a 15 minute sermon in church. Tonight (Saturday night service) 3 spoke, and tomorrow (9 :00 am & 11:30 am services) 6 more will speak, 3 in each service. These end of class sermons from those who have finished the class are my favorite services of the year. I feel so proud of each person and look forward to see how God is going to direct their lives into serving Him. In the class I teach all about goal setting, and each student sets their own goals for the 8 months they are in the class, and reports on them each week. I also teach on various character traits and the importance of growing in these 26 different character traits as followers of Jesus. The basic goal of the class is that each person who goes the full 8 months without quitting would be an influencer of people inside the church and outside. I teach that God gives us His authority inside of us as we prove faithful and worthy, and that authority as an invisible force coming from us draws people and influences them to follow Christ.

Bad Day, Good Day

I went fishing today with some friends, and it was the most eventful day I can remember having, in that just about everything that could go wrong did. We met at my house at 6 am and headed out to Detroit Reservoir pulling my 20 foot pontoon boat. We got to Stayton and had a flat tire on the boat trailer. The jack that I had was to small to jack it high enough to get the tire off so we used two jacks with blocks, and finally got the tire off. The spare wasn’t the spare in that the bolt pattern was wrong and wouldn’t fit. It was then that I remembered that two months earlier someone had a flat in front of our house and had no spare so I loaned him the one for my boat trailer and a jack. He promised he would bring the them both back the next day, but I have not seen him since. I went to Les Schaub’s in Stayton and bought a new rim and tire for $181, it took a while but we got it put on the boat trailer, and then we headed for the Lake at 11:00 am. When we got there we launched the boat, got the 40 horsepower Johnson started, and then we put the electric trolling motor down into the water as well to test it, it was fastened to the deck in the front. It was a very nice trolling motor with 80 lbs of thrust, and it had a gps built into it and I could control it with a remote device that had an auto pilot on it. We took off across the lake, but I forgot to raise the trolling motor, and the water pressure on it from going full throttle with the outboard caused it to bust off of the deck and fall to the bottom of the lake! Oh well, it was just a motor! So we got 4 fishing rods baited and hooked on my 2 down riggers, but somehow the 6 pound weight went down faster, farther than expected and it ran out of cable and went to the bottom of the lake as well. We had the lines from two fishing rods hooked to it, and as the cannonball went to the bottom it stripped all the line off of the reels, the new braided line that I had just put on the evening before. The line from one of the remaining functioning rods somehow got into the prop and immediately stripped all the line off of the reel and wound around the prop. So now we have no trolling motor, only one fishing rod with line on it, only one down rigger, and the wind is blowing hard, it is getting cold, and starting to rain. Wow, I was having so much fun having all these adventures.

Blazers Lost

I watched the first game of the Western Conference Finals for the National Basketball Association between the Portland Trailblazers and the Golden State Warriors last night with some friends at our house. The Blazers did pretty good for the first 3 quarters and then lost by 20 points in the 4th quarter. It looked like they just ran out of gas. The 6 of us that were watching cheered and rooted for the Blazers passionately but it didn’t do any good, they still lost. We will give it another try on Thursday.

I like to compete with others in card games, bunco, fishing, running, biking, horse shoes, things that don’t really matter much. It is fun to compete with friends, and I really try to win, but if I lose, no big deal.

But I don’t want to compete with others when it comes to my behavior, my character, my success or failure as a Pastor, as a husband, father, or grandfather. Comparing myself to others is a guaranteed way to create either pride or a sense of failure depending on who I compare myself to. It takes diligent awareness and     self-control of my  self-talk and thinking when I am around other people, especially pastors so I don’t let myself start mentally comparing and competing.

What I have worked at doing is to compete with myself. I try to evaluate myself accurately in the area of my Pastoring skills, my character, my performance as a husband to Patty and other areas of my life that are important.  I do this in writing in my journal periodically, especially at times that I think I have done either really good or bad. I then reflect on the question, “Am I better or worse compared to what I was one year ago, have I improved or am I plateaued?” Hebrews 6:1 says, “Let us press on to maturity”, Philippians 3:12 says, “I press on so that I might lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold of me for,” and Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal of the upward call of God.” “Pressing on” is an attitude of wanting to win, to conquer, and to achieve.

When I was in High School there was an annual, end of the year “Awards Ceremony” held in the gym, and everyone was invited. It was rewarding and fun to get an award or Letter for accomplishing something significant in athletics or academics. Most of the awards were based on being better than others, on head to head competition, someone was the winner and got the award and others were the losers. Today I am “Pressing on” and working hard for the “Awards Ceremony” that will be in heaven with Jesus as the Judge, called the “Judgment Seat of Christ”.

2 Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be rewarded for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

I think about this event coming up in my life everyday, and I am consumed with winning. I won’t be beating a person, but I will be beating the devil, the world system I live in, and my own sinful flesh. I am wanting with everything in my to hear Jesus say to me on that day, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

Conformed

The Bible says in Romans 12:2, ” Do not be conformed to this world”. That means, don’t let the values, the standards, the morals, and the philosophy of the world around you be yours. The devil is very real, and his demons as well, and he is called the god of this world by Jesus, which means he controls to a great extent the values, the standards, the morals, and the philosophy of the world. When you become conformed to the world you are conforming to the will of the devil. It is a very subtle kind of influence that draws people away from being fully devoted followers of Jesus and serving God to giving token credence to the Almighty with sporadic attendance at church. There is so much at stake for all eternity to not be super careful about the health of our soul, and the longings of our heart. The only people who will not be fooled by the craftiness and scheming of the devil are those who read their Bibles faithfully. Hebrews 5:13-14 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, (the Bible) for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice (they read the Bible) have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” It is so important to establish a ritual, a specific time and place where you read your Bible and pray.