The Gracious Purposes to Which the Lord Makes Sense and Feeling Our Depravity

The gracious purposes to which the Lord makes sense and feeling of our depravity subsurvient, are manifold. Hereby his own power, wisdom, faithfulnes and love, are more signally displayed: his power, in maintaining his own work in the midst of so much opposition, like a spark burning in the water, or a bush unconsumed in the flames; his wisdom, in defeating and controlling all devices which Satan, from his knowledge of the evil of our nature is encouraged to practise against us.”

– John Newton

as quoted by Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 506

Two Ways the Word of God Functions in Prayer

These two – the Spirit’s power and direction – correspond to two ways that the Word of God functions in our prayer.  The power of the Spirit is offered in promises of God’s Word, and we experience it by faith in the promise.  The direction of the Spirit is embodied in the wisdom of God’s Word, and we experience it by being saturated with that wisdom.  So if we would “pray in the Holy Spirit” we should, like Mueller, pray the Word of God, trusting the promises and absorbing the wisdom.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 167

What Grace Also Teaches

Grace also teaches us to say no to worldly passions, the ordinate desire for and preoccupation with the things of this life, such as progressions, prestige, pleasure or power.  Worldly passion is the opposite of the attitude Paul urged on us when he wrote, “Those who use the things of the world [should live] as if not engrossed in them.  For this world in its present form is passing away” (I Corinthians 7:31).

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 83

The Challenge for us as Christian Witnesses

The challenge before us as Christian witnesses is whether we will offer Jesus Christ as the key to fulfilling our narcissistic preoccupation or as the Redeemer who liberates us from its guilt and power.  Does Christ come to boost our ego or to crucify our ego and raise us up as new creatures with our identity in Him?

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 33

Why Does God Exist?

To increasing millions of Americans, God – if we even believe in a supernatural deity – exists for the pleasure of humankind.  He resides in the heavenly realm solely for our utility and benefit.  Although we are too clever to voice it, we live by the notion that true power is accessed not by looking upward but turning inward.

– George Barna

as quoted by Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 30-31

We Sure Can Delude Ourselves

We can delude ourselves into believing that sin is simply an aberration or a lack of maturity; that preoccupation with security, pleasure, and power is caused by oppressive social structures and personality quirks; that we are sinful but not sinners, since we are mere victims of circumstances, compulsion, environment, addictions, upbringing, and so forth.  The Passion nails these lies and rationalizations to the Cross of Truth.

– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 184

This is Erroneous Discernment

Life driven by our desire for security, pleasure, and power dims the Light within us and introduces unnecessary mental and emotional sufferings, which are often misconstrued as spiritual trials or the inevitable growth pains of life in the Spirit.  This is erroneous discernment.  They are born of our own will, not the will of God.

– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page ??

The Cloak that Covers Transparency

Often our preoccupation with the three most basic human desires – security, pleasure and power – is the cloak that covers transparency.  The endless struggle for enough money, good feelings, and prestige yields a rich harvest of worry, frustration, suspicion, anger, jealousy, anxiety, fear and resentment.

– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 38

When Power Ceases To Be and Freedom Becomes

Whenever religion becomes leverage, it ceases to be the religion of Jesus.  The gospel of God’s grace takes away the leverage.  Why?  Because if I’m forgiven without condition, you can’t make me feel guilty.  If God loves me, you can’t manipulate me by threatening to take away your love.  If God knows my secrets and doesn’t condemn me, then you can’t use my secrets as blackmail.  If you have power and threaten to use it against me and I don’t care, then your power ceases to be real power.

Is there freedom in that? You tell me.

– Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel, copyright 2004, Howard Books, page 165