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LOVE DARE

Day 16 Love Intercedes


Dear heavenly Father, it is so costly to love. I find myself bankrupt after having spent so much of

myself. The one I loved has hidden himself from me, leaving me to search for the shattered pieces of

my heart. Help me to recover them from the dust. And as my spirit weeps over my emptiness, please

catch my tears and refresh me with them.

Michelle Mckinney Hammond Help for the Hurting Heart

It is common to go down on our knees in prayer when things are not going as well as we would like.

Usually during times of crisis, we call out to our Father to just intercede on our behalf. So, we are not

strangers to the prayer concept. But wouldnt it be nice to cry out to the Lord before things got to their

worst. Instead of praying when our partner has abandoned the relationship, we started praying way

ahead of the fall-out. Stop trying to change who people are, just pray for them. Quit expecting to get

different results by doing the same thing over and over.

Go before the Lord in earnest prayer. Tell God exactly what you want out of your relationships and stop

nagging the people in your life to do something different. You want a more wholesome and honest

relationship with your children, then seek out God first. If your wife is constantly starting some drama

in the house, then go to the one who is sovereign. You desperately would like for your father to attend

church, dont mentally beat him up, seek God through fervent prayer.

It is crucial that you realize now that you cant and I do mean, cant change anybody, and that includes

the people who you love the most. Everyone has their own personality and it may not coincide with
what you think is right or wrong. So, the only real test of love is to accept them for who they are at

that particular moment and then pray for them. Not a selfish prayer based on your own needs, but the

desires that will strengthen the relationship. But first you must have an intimate relationship with God

for He so desires this from all of us. It is important to be humble and not think yourself better than

those in your relationships. It is impossible to compete with God and He does not want this, instead He

wants you to submit to loving with all of your heart. When youve done all you can just pray!

A few critical thoughts:

God changes the heart not nagging. Most loving thing is to pray. Pray for what you want. Effective

prayer is powerful, it is a spiritual phenomenon. Pray instead of giving up.

Biblical Verse(s):

Luke 18:1 Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray all the time and never give up.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with

thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Resources: The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick

Online Resources: Meet Michelle McKinney Hammond bestselling author, speaker, singer and

television co-host.

Challenge:

Begin praying today for your spouses heart. Pray for three specific areas where you desire for god to

work in your spouses life and in your marriage.

Q: Do you intentionally look for fault in your relationships or pray for change?
Day 17: During Deployment Love Promotes Intimacy
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter
separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
Perhaps you are thinking, Ahaheres a dare that I cannot do while deployed! Hold on . . .
because what youre going to see from the authors is a different definition of the word
intimacy than you might expect. Lets examine it carefully, as this is important to
understand if you desire to nourish oneness in your marriage.

How well do you really know your spouse? Is your marriage a sanctuary of safety and
freedom, or a pit of lies and deceit? Do you share your inmost thoughts, or are you afraid to
be transparent for fear of rejection? The authors describe intimacy, defined as closely
personal, in marriage as tender territory. Marriage has unloaded another persons
baggage into your life, and yours into theirs. Both of you have reason to feel embarrassed
that this much has been revealed about you to another living soul. But this is your
opportunity to wrap all this private information about them in the protective embrace of
your love, and promise to be the one who can best help him or her deal with it. (p. 82) Day
17 of The Love Dare goes on to explain that the secrets we know about each other are ones
which perhaps need correcting, or just accepting. The absence of rejection and the presence
of love will build security and safety. Then you will experience freedom in your relationship.

It has been our experience that the easiest way to get to know someone is by asking good
questions. An aid in learning better communication is a little flip-chart book calledLove Talks
for Couples by Gary Chapman and Ramon Presson. Within this simple tool you will find 101
questions for one spouse to ask the other. We have met chaplains who have used this in
their marital counseling, and for those of you who might be stumped by what questions to
askthis helps. It takes you beyond, Whats happenin? to things you can ask in order to
learn more about their feelings. For example: If you could win any competition in the
world, what would it be? (#58) One of the descendants of King Saul was named
Mephibosheth. Do you like your first name? If you could choose another first name for
yourself, what would it be? (#94) Recall something about exchanging valentines when you
were in elementary school. (#99) The goal is oneness. Communication, with that goal in
mind, means going past clichs or just exchanging information and on to sharing thoughts
and deep feelings.

We see intimacy perfectly displayed in Psalm 139 as God describes how He knows us
personally and loves us unconditionally. The Kendricks weave this into our discussion on
close marital relationships by explaining, God, who knows secrets about us that we even
hide from ourselves, loves us at a depth we cannot begin to fathom. How much more should
weas imperfect peoplereach out to our spouse in grace and understanding, accepting
them for who they are and assuring them that their secrets are safe with us? (p. 83)

Another wonderful way to grow in intimacy with your spouse is by reading a book together
(perhaps a chapter a week), reading the Bible together (decide on a reading plan before
you leave), or doing a devotional together (like Excellent or Praiseworthy or Moments with
You). We post ExcellentorPraiseworthy twice a weekjust so that you and your spouse can
utilize the time between to share the questionsusing your answers as a springboard to
discussions during telephone conversations or emails.

Here is todays dare during deployment: Building on the last two dares, guard your
spouses secrets, and pray for them. Then talk (use good questions), and listen
being deliberate in your desire to make them feel safe in what they share with
you.

If there has been a breach of trust between you and your spouse, it will take time to rebuild
that valued confidence in each other. Dont give up! Reach out in grace, understanding, and
acceptanceeven across the months and the miles. The reality of intimacy always takes
time to develop, especially after being compromised. But your commitment to re-
establishing it can happen todayfor anyone willing to take the dare. (p. 83)

Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18

I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3


Day 18: During Deployment Love Seeks to Understand
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.
Proverbs 3:13

I dont understand him/her! Why does he/she do that? Have you ever thought that, or
said that about your spouse? We see these differences in our spouses all the timeeven at
Christmas. There are couples who disagree over colored lights vs. white lights on the tree;
purchasing a live tree vs. using an artificial tree; opening presents on Christmas Eve vs.
Christmas morning; sharing Christmas with in-laws vs. having Christmas alone . . . . you
get the idea. There are usually good reasons for these differences, but do you take the time
to know and understand the differences between you and your spouse?

Chances are that while you were dating you thought the differences were interesting and
exciting. For example: perhaps you are a planner, and your boyfriend or girlfriend was
more spontaneous. You thought that was invigoratingand it opened you up to new
adventures as opposed to getting bogged down in details. But now youre married, and the
differences can be real sources of irritation and frustration. You want to save up the money
for a tripand they want to just go. And thats just one example . . .

Todays dare is not going to take us into solving the problems of differences, but
rather understanding your spouse better. After all, thats the first step. The analogy in
chapter 18 of The Love Dare is that if you studied your sweetheart while you were dating
and found your understanding of them reached the level of a high school diploma, now is
the time to take that knowledge to a new level. Learn more about their likes and dislikes,
ask good questions, listen, pray for discernment and get a college degree concerning them
. . . . and then a masters degree . . . and if youre fortunate over time, a doctorate. The
authors write, There is a depth of beauty and meaning inside your wife or husband that will
amaze you as you discover more of it. Enter the mystery with expectation and enthusiasm.
Desire to know this person even better than you do now. Make him or her your chosen field
of study, and you will fill your home with the kind of riches only love can provide. (p.88)

Here is todays dare during deployment: Today were going to build on yesterdays
dare. The challenge yesterday was to ask your spouse some questions which
would help you to grow in intimacysharing things that are personal. From that
conversation, write down two things that you learned about your spouse that you
didnt know before. Consider two more questions to ask them in the future,
perhaps about something that hurt them or excited them. Examples might be:
What things in the past do you wish could be erased from ever happening?
What words would you like to hear from me more often? (p. 207) The goal of
getting a doctorate degree on your spouse will take time and some intentional
conversations, but it will be worth it. There are rewards to understanding each
other!

Let us share a great idea that we heard from a military couple. It worked for them and,
depending on the circumstances of your deployment, it just might work for you too. They
had a date every week. They called it thatand made it a special time each week. This
was not the regular email or cell phone exchange of information they had every day or
every few days, but a time set-aside every week as a date. They would get ready for it as
one would for a date, and spent as long a time as they could just talking and sharing with
each other. They were very creative in the ways that they made this specialeven by
arranging for childcare so that they could talk without distraction. This might not work for
everybody (obviously), but we thought it was a beautiful idea to pass along . . .

Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:

The ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15b

Wise men store up knowledge, but with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand. Proverbs
10:14

A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.
Proverbs 20:5

The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding Proverbs 2:6

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the


rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3,4

Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7
Day 19: During Deployment Love is Impossible
Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of
God and knows God. 1 John 4:7
I know that traditionally 1 Corinthians 13 is the love chapter, but my favorite Bible
teaching on love is really 1 John 4. It is in 1 John 4 that we go past what love is and how it
behavesand go right to the source of all love, God Himself. It is in this chapter that we
find such beautifully rich verses as, God is love (vs. 16) and Dear friends, since God so
loved us, we also ought to love one another (vs. 11) and We love because He first loved
us (vs. 19) and This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son
into the world that we might live through Him. (vs. 9) So if those verses are true, and they
are, then where do we get the statement love is impossible?

The truth is that things which are impossible with manto love unconditionallyare possible
with God. In your own power you can demonstrate kindnesses and unselfishness, and you
may actually have grown in thoughtfulness and consideration during the last 18 days. But to
love like God loves takes . . . . God. Jesus said in Mark 10:27: With man this is impossible,
but not with God; all things are possible with God. He was speaking about the power to
save us from our sin and give us eternal life with Him, and only God has that kind of power .
. . . that kind of powerful love.

In chapter 19 of The Love Dare we read, And only those who have allowed Him (God) into
their heart through faith in His Son, Jesusonly those who have received the Spirit of Christ
through belief in His death and resurrectionare able to tap into loves real power. Apart
from Me, Jesus said, you can do nothing. (John 15:5) (p. 92)

So if you have found yourself struggling with these dares each day, perhaps the reason is
that you cant give (unconditional love) what you dont have. In the same way that you
cant give away a million dollars if you dont have it to start with, you cannot pay out love in
greater measure than you own. You can try, but you will fail. (p. 92) Todaychoose to give
your life to Gods Son, Jesus Christ, so that He can love you, and in turn your spouse
through you. There are no guarantees of tomorrow . . . . in the military we know that well.

If you have never given your heart, your life, to Christturn over all control and pray, Lord
Jesus, I need you. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life
and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me
eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me
to be. (p. 10 of Four Spiritual Laws) There . . . now you are free to love like 1 John 4
describes. The Apostle John also wrote that famous verse (John 3:16) in his gospel, For
God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have eternal life. Eternal life . . . guaranteed . . . with Him. Thats
peace! Thats love!

Here is todays dare during deployment: Go back over each of the dares for the
last 18 days. Were there any which seemed absolutely impossible for you? Do you
need God to change your heart in order to give you the ability to love? Settle this
matter today. Its a matter of life and death.

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he
dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe
this? Jesus as recorded in John 11:25

Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:

Apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5b

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with
all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to
know this love that surpasses knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the
fullness of God. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 3:17b-19

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by
the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. Romans 5:5
Day 20: During Deployment Love is Jesus Christ
While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:6

It is our prayer that you gave strong consideration to the dare for Day 19 and gave your
heart and life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If you did, then the verses quoted from 1
John 4 will come alive for you. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God
lives in him and he in God. (vs. 15) This is a time for rejoicing, for salvation is of God Who
gives freedom from the enslavement and penalty of sin through His forgivenessand peace
for your soul because of that redemption. I like to use the word rescue. As a result, since
God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (vs. 11)

One soldier who made this decision for Christ on June 8, 1944, was Sgt. Jake DeShazer.
Sgt. DeShazer was a crew member of the Doolittle Raiders who was captured by the
Japanese Army after bailing out of his plane over enemy territory in 1942. He spent 40
months in captivity, 34 months of it in solitary confinement, and was the victim of cruel
torture and starvation. In his own words, DeShazer said, My hatred for the enemy nearly
drove me crazy. . . My thoughts turned toward what I heard about Christianity changing
hatred between human beings into real brotherly love and I was gripped with a strange
longing to examine the Christians Bible to see if I could find the secret. I begged my
captors to get a Bible for me. At last, in the month of May, 1944, a guard brought me the
book, but told me I could have it only for three weeks. I eagerly began to read its pages.
Chapter after chapter gripped my heart.

It was on that date in June that DeShazer took the words of Romans 10:9,10 and
responded: If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that
God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe
and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Even though he
remained in prison for more than a year, he was freed from unforgiveness and hatredfree
to love.

He wrote the following in a post-war tract, I Was a Prisoner of Japan: How my heart
rejoiced in my newness of spiritual life, even though my body was suffering so terribly from
the physical beatings and lack of food! But suddenly I discovered that God had given me
new spiritual eyes and that when I looked at the enemy officers and guards who had
starved and beaten my companions and me so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them
changed to loving pity.

Physical freedom came for DeShazer and other prisoners-of-war in August, 1945. He
returned to his home in Oregon, began seminary training shortly thereafter at Seattle Pacific
College, married, and returned to Japan as a missionary. He served with his family as Free
Methodist missionaries in Japan for thirty years, planting 23 churches. Many thousands of
Japanese responded to this former POWs invitation to receive Christ as Lord and Savior
but probably the most notable was Mitsuo Fuchida.
Fuchida was handed DeShazers tract I Was a Prisoner of Japan in a train station after the
wars end. He had been the commander of the Japanese air fleet which bombed Pearl
Harbor, the man who had called Tora! Tora! Tora! After reading the tract, like DeShazer,
Fuchida was moved by Jesus cry from the cross, Father, forgive them. They do not know
what they are doing. (Luke 23:34) In September of 1949, Fuchida accepted Christ as
Savior, was baptized in 1951, and went on to become a missionary in Asia. Over the next
years, Fuchida and DeShazer spoke to many crowds together and individually, sharing their
testimony of the power of Jesus Christ to transform lives.

Perhaps, like Jake DeShazer, you find yourself in a prisonnot a physical one but one of
circumstances, with fear holding the key. Perhaps you have taken the dare, and asked Jesus
to take that key to unlock that cell door to your heart. You are now free. His grace
demonstrated by His death on the cross made it possibleand with faith you are now free
to love as He has loved you. In The Love Dare it says: He was willing to love you even
though you didnt deserve it, even when you didnt love back. He was able to see all your
flaws and imperfections and still choose to love you. . . . This means you now share this
same love with your spouse. You can love even when youre not loved in return. . . .True
love is found in Christ alone. And after you have received His gift of new life by accepting
His death in your place and His forgiveness for your sins, you are finally ready to live the
dare. (p. 98)

Here is todays dare during deployment: Ask God today to change your heart, so
that you can love your spouse like He loves. Ask Him to increase your love for your
spouse.

Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might
possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7,8

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the
gift of Godnot by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for
righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay
down our lives for our brothers. And this is His command: to believe in the name of His
Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.
1 John 3:16, 23