Depending On Jesus Quotes

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I had no real communication with anyone at the time, so I was totally dependent on God. And he never failed me.
Diet Eman (Things We Couldn't Say)
Under the law, even the best failed. Under grace, even the worst can be saved!
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
His grace is cheapened when you think that He has only forgiven you of your sins up to the time you got saved, and after that point, you have to depend on your confession of sins to be forgiven. God's forgiveness is not given in installments.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
Maybe the truly handicapped people are the ones that don't need God as much.
Joni Eareckson Tada (The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking with Jesus)
What we need today are not more laws to govern believers. What we need is a greater revelation and appreciation of Jesus and everything that He has done for us!
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
If your salvation was dependent on your ability to read and understand scripture, Jesus would have been an author.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
His blessings and His provisions for us are based entirely on HIS GOODNESS and HIS FAITHFULNESS.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
What exactly is the free world, anyway? I guess it would depend on what you consider the non-free world. And I can't find a clear definition of that, can you? Where is that? Russia? China? For chrissakes, Russia has a better Mafia than we do now, and China is pirating Lion King DVDs and selling dildos on the Internet. They sound pretty free to me. Here are some more jingoistic variations you need to be on the lookout for; "The greatest nation on Earth; the greatest nation in the history of the world"; and "the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth." That last one is usually thrown in just before we bomb a bunch of brown people. Which is every couple of years.
George Carlin (When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?)
Dependence, humility, simplicity, cooperation, and a sense of abandon are qualities greatly prized in the spiritual life, but extremely elusive for people who live in comfort.
Philip Yancey (The Jesus I Never Knew)
Many great people over the centuries have depended on their faith- it is a sign of great strength to need Jesus in your life.
Bear Grylls (To My Sons: Lessons for the Wild Adventure Called Life)
The world looks at what you have, while God sees who you have. The world's system is based on what you have done, while God looks at what Jesus has done on the cross for you.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
Let the attitude of your life be a continual willingness to "go out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have a sacred and inexpressible charm about it that is very satisfying to Jesus. You must learn to "go out" through your convictions, creeds, or experiences until you come to the point in your faith where there is nothing between yourself and God.
Oswald Chambers
A broken person understands she needs rescue, and she depends on God to resurrect and deliver. And she also understands that even if God chooses not to deliver, His ways are higher and more amazing then what we can fathom.
Mary E. DeMuth (Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus)
The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope--and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend up on it) disappoint us.
Walter Wangerin Jr. (Reliving the Passion: Meditations on the Suffering, Death, and the Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark.)
Don't use all your health to chase after wealth, only to spend all your wealth later to get back your health.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
Some people say, “Once you learn to be happy, you won't tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less.” My Christ says, “Your job is to get off your self righteous butt and start reaching out to the difficult people because my ministry wasn’t about a bunch of nice people getting together once a week to sing hymns and get a feel good message, that you may or may not apply, depending on the depth of your anger for someone. It is about caring for and helping the broken hearted, the difficult, the hurt, the misunderstood, the repulsive, the wicked and the liars. It is about turning the other cheek when someone hurts you. It is about loving one another and making amends. It is allowing people as many chances as they need because God gives them endless chances. When you do this then you will know me and you will know true happiness and peace. Until then, you will never know who I really am. You will always be just a fan or a Sunday only warrior. You will continue to represent who you are to the world, but not me. I am the God that rescues.
Shannon L. Alder
True prayer is done in secret, but this does not rule out the fellowship of prayer altogether, however clearly we may be aware of its dangers. In the last resort it is immaterial whether we pray in the open street or in the secrecy of our chambers, whether briefly or lenghtily, in the Litany of the Church, or with the sigh of one who knows not what he should pray for. True prayer does not depend either on the individual or the whole body of the faithful, but solely upon the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows our needs.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
Use money and love people. Don't love money and use people.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
We must be brought to a place where, naturally gifted though we may be, we dare not speak except in conscious and continual dependence on Him.
Watchman Nee (Sit, Walk, Stand)
People may break your heart and drive you crazily. God is the only dependable person you should rely on.
Israelmore Ayivor (Become a Better You)
All the luck in the world has to come every year, in every part of every year, or there is not a harvest and then the luck, the bad luck will come and everything we are, all that we can ever be, all the Einsteins and babies and love and hate, all the joy and sadness and sex and wanting and liking and disliking, all the soft summer breezes on cheeks and first snowflakes, all the Van Goghs and Rembrandts and Mozarts and Mahlers and Thomas Jeffersons and Lincolns and Ghandis and Jesus Christs, all the Cleopatras and lovemaking and riches and achievements and progress, all of that, every single damn thing that we are or ever will be is dependent on six inches of topsoil and the fact that the rain comes when it's needed and does not come when it is not needed; everything, every...single...thing comes with that luck.
Gary Paulsen (Clabbered Dirt, Sweet Grass)
People want to recommend themselves to God by their sincerity; they think, 'If we do all we can, if we are but sincere, Jesus Christ will have mercy on us.' But pray what is there in our sincerity to recommend us to God? ... therefore, if you depend on your sincerity for your salvation, your sincerity will damn you.
George Whitefield
Your past will not determine the future that God has for you.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
So yeah, Jesus does pretty good over here. But I met a guy who said he saw him hitchhiking by the side of the road in Afghanistan and nobody was stopping to give him a ride. You know? It all depends on where you are.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
Do not let your peace depend on the words of men. Their thinking well or badly of you does not make you different from what you are. Where are true peace and glory? Are they not in Me? He who neither cares to please men nor fears to displease them will enjoy great peace, for all unrest and distraction of the senses arise out of disorderly love and vain fear.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
Your lowest points are launching pads to God's greatest promotions.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we have selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make. Those who believe there is one God who made all things and who governs the world by this providence will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who hold in reverence that being who gave them life and worship Him through adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving will make choices different from those who do not. Those who believe that mankind are all of a family and that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe in a future state in which all that is wrong here will be made right will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who subscribe to the morals of Jesus will make many choices different from those who do not. Since the foundation of all happiness is thinking rightly, and since correct action is dependent on correct opinion, we cannot be too careful in choosing the value system we allow to govern our thoughts and actions. And to know that God governs in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayers, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, is, indeed, a powerful regulator of human conduct.
Benjamin Franklin (the Art of Virtue: His Formula for Successful Living)
If we're going to impact our world in the name of Jesus, it will be because people like you and me took action in the power of the Spirit. Ever since the mission and ministry of Jesus, God has never stopped calling for a movement of "Little Jesuses" to follow him into the world and unleash the remarkable redemptive genius that lies in the very message we carry. Given the situation of the Church in the West, much will now depend on whether we are willing to break out of a stifling herd instinct and find God again in the context of the advancing kingdom of God.
Alan Hirsch (The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church)
Still I made one excuse after another, and Jesus would answer, 'Go, and I will be with you'... Then Jesus said again, 'Go, and I will be with you.' I cried, 'Lord, I will go. Where shall I go?' And Jesus said, 'Go here, go there, wherever souls are perishing.' Praise the Lord for his wonderful goodness in revealing his word and will in such a wonderful way, to such a poor weak worm of the dust. I saw more in that vision than I could have learned in years of hard study. Praise His Holy Name. I saw that I must not depend on anything that I could do, but to look to Him for strength and wisdom.
Maria Woodworth-Etter
Your peace of mind, your assurance of answers to vexing problems, your ultimate joy depend upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Richard G. Scott
Christianity is not about doing right to become righteous. It is all about believing right in Jesus to become righteous.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
Words are bricks, which, depending on how you use them, can pave pathways or build walls.
Jeff Chu (Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America)
Just because someone is with you physically, it does not mean that the person feels appreciated by you. Appreciation only occurs when you start acknowledging the presence of that person.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
Rest is a decision we make. Rest is choosing to do nothing when we have too much to do, slowing down when we feel pressure to go faster, stopping instead of starting. Rest is listening to our weariness and responding to our tiredness, not to what is making us tired. Rest is what happens when we say one simple word: "No!" Rest is the ultimate humiliation because in order to rest, we must admit we are not necessary, that the world can get along without us, that God's work does not depend on us. Once we understand how unnecessary we are, only then might we find the right reasons to say yes. Only then might we find the right reasons to decide to be with Jesus instead of working for him. Only then might we have the courage to take a nap with Jesus.
Mike Yaconelli
An ending is only happening because at some point it was a beginning. And if an ending is dependent upon a beginning, I would be well advised to focus on the miracle of beginnings verses the pain of endings.
Craig D. Lounsbrough (An Intimate Collision: Encounters with Life and Jesus)
I have found you can obtain much information from the spirit. But the quality of that information depends upon the evolution or development of that spirit.
Dolores Cannon (Jesus and the Essenes)
No dependence can be placed upon our natural qualities, or our spiritual attainments; but God abideth faithful. He is faithful in His love; He knows no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He is faithful to His purpose; He doth not begin a work and then leave it undone. He is faithful to His relationships; as a Father He will not renounce His children, as a friend He will not deny His people, as a Creator He will not forsake the work of His own hands.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (All of Grace)
The weaknesses, failures, and sins of our family are the places where we learn that we need grace too. It is there, in those dark mercies, that God teaches us to be humbly dependent. It is there that He draws near to us and sweetly reveals His grace. Paul's suffering teaches us to reinterpret our thorn. Instead of seeing it as a curse, we are to see it as the very thing that keeps us "pinned close to the Lord.
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus)
The followers of Jesus will begin to demonstrate a new set of horizons for human life to their neighbors and even to their enemies—the horizons of shalom, the horizons of true humanity living in dependence on God.
Andy Crouch (Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling)
So, yeah, Jesus does pretty good over here. But I met a guy who said he saw him hitchhiking by the side of the road in Afghanistan and nobody was stopping to give him a ride. You know? It all depends on where you are.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods)
A testimony is a most precious possession because it is not acquired by logic or reason alone, it cannot be purchased with earthly possessions, and it cannot be given as a present or inherited from our ancestors. We cannot depend on the testimonies of other people. We need to know for ourselves. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, ‘Every Latter-day Saint has the responsibility to know for himself or herself with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Because I am not yet living up to what Jesus expects me to be in those red letters in the Bible, I always define myself as somebody who is saved by God's grace and is on his way to becoming a Christian. (...) Being saved is trusting in what Christ did for us, but being Christian is dependent on the way we respond to what he did for us.
Tony Campolo (Red Letter Christians: A Christian's Guide to Faith and Politics, a Citizen's Guide to Faith and Politics)
In Christ Jesus, we all start on a level playing field. What we make of ourselves in the Christian race depends entirely upon us.
Pedro Okoro (Crushing the Devil: Your Guide to Spiritual Warfare and Victory in Christ)
When we think of other people as our center and fulfillment, we live frustrated lives.
Mary E. DeMuth (Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus)
The Christian life from start to finish is based upon this principle of utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus.
Watchman Nee (Sit, Walk, Stand: The Process of Christian Maturity)
On the concept of unity- “Thatʼs right-Jesusʼ most pressing concern before leaving the earth was our unity. He was looking ahead, to every generation of believer. And as he prayed, he made it clear that our witness as his body in this fractured , messed-up, chaotic world would depend on our love for another.
Ed Galisewski (A Simpler Faith: Hope For Those Who Struggle With Church)
God did not force Salvation on humanity; He made it a gift dependent on the free will of the recipient because He is not interested in numbers. Mega Churches are numbers. Matthew 7:13-14.
Felix Wantang (God's Blueprint of the Holy Bible)
Good works" are those works that have their origin in Jesus Christ--whose activity is released through your body, presented to Him as a living sacrifice by a faith that expresses total dependence, as opposed to the Adamic independence (Rom. 12:1, 2).
W. Ian Thomas
An older man who seems to be the leader of the Jesus Tshirt group says that the Bible forbids abortion in its commandment “Thou shall not kill.” But being in the Bible Belt, people really know their Bible, and an older woman cites Exodus 21:22–23, a passage that says a man who causes a pregnant woman to miscarry must pay a fine but is not charged with murder, not unless the woman herself dies. Thus the Bible is making clear, that a dependent life is not the same as an independent life.
Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road)
Before I am asked to show compassion toward my brothers and sisters in their suffering, He asks me to accept His compassion in my own life, to be transformed by it, to become caring and compassionate toward myself in my own suffering and sinfulness, in my own hurt, failure and need. The degree of our compassion for others depends upon our capacity for self-acceptance.
Brennan Manning (The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus)
Dear Lord, you know our need and how much we depend upon your help. We’re not going to give you orders about what to do, God. We are just going to thank you for being there when we need you. In the name of Jesus, your Son. Amen.
Janette Oke (Once Upon a Summer (Seasons of the Heart, #1))
I choose you.” This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation for God’s relationship with you. As Jesus declared to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you...” 1 Jesus chose you in the most difficult of circumstances. He chose you while you were in sin, while you were His enemy. His side of the relationship with you does not depend upon your choice, but entirely upon His choice. The question is whether or not you will learn to build your relationships with Him and others upon the foundation of your choice.
Danny Silk (Keep Your Love On)
Jesus isn’t dependent on natural provision. If we need something, as a matter of first things first, we don’t need to ask the people who have enough if they will provide for us. Corporations and rich people aren’t in charge of the kingdom of God.
Louie Giglio (The Comeback: It's Not Too Late and You're Never Too Far)
Good with languages," she murmured. With everything she learned about him, he got more and more interesting. Or more mysterious, depending on how you looked at it. "So, good with languages, shovels, and igloos. Anything else?" The smug look he tossed at her was so wicked it shivered right down her spine. Walked right into that, hadn't she. She shook her head and, looking away to hide her blush, moved her cardboard forward one spot. Without a doubt, he would be good at...other stuff. Jesus.
Laura Kaye (North of Need (Hearts of the Anemoi, #1))
Jesus was the Son of God. Yet He never took the initiative to dream a dream or launch a new ministry. He lived His life in absolute dependence upon His Father. If Jesus was that dependent on the Father, then you and I should realize how ludicrous it is for us to set out on our own without any direction or guidance from the Father.
Henry T. Blackaby (Experiencing God)
Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him...
Napoléon Bonaparte
You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity
If we truly want to change, then we need to understand our dependency on the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Our change is more about trusting and less about trying.
Louie Giglio (Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants)
Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. 1 Peter 4:8, THE MESSAGE
Darlene Zschech (Revealing Jesus: A 365-Day Devotional)
Right believing always leads to right living.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor: Depending on Jesus for every success in your life)
When you stop doing and start depending on God’s divine favor, you will begin to experience the Jesus-kind of results.
Joseph Prince (Unmerited Favor)
Our job is not to be Jesus. Our job is to believe Jesus, depend on Jesus, and submit to Jesus working in and through us to accomplish his work.
Jeff Vanderstelt (Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life)
The only way your child will grow out of their dependency into self-sufficient adults is for you to essentially abandon your own independence for 20 years or so.
Timothy J. Keller (King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus)
The touchstone of the Holy Spirit’s work in us is the answer to our Lord’s question: “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” Our Lord makes human destiny depend on that one thing, Who men say He is, because the revelation of Who Jesus is is only given by the Holy Spirit.
Oswald Chambers (Bringing Sons Into Glory and Making All Things New)
Like faith and hope, trust cannot be self-generated. I cannot simply will myself to trust. What outrageous irony: the one thing that I am responsible for throughout my life I cannot generate. The one thing I need to do I cannot do. But such is the meaning of radical dependence. It consists in theological virtues, in divinely ordained gifts. Why reproach myself for my lack of trust? Why waste time beating myself up for something I cannot affect? What does lie within my power is paying attention to the faithfulness of Jesus. That’s what I am asked to do: pay attention to Jesus throughout my journey, remembering his kindnesses (Ps. 103:2).
Brennan Manning (Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God)
Wisdom is really the key to wealth. With great wisdom, comes great wealth and success. Rather than pursuing wealth, pursue wisdom. The aggressive pursuit of wealth can lead to disappointment. Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, and being able to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting. Wisdom is basically the practical application of knowledge. Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs. Become completely focused on one subject and study the subject for a long period of time. Don't skip around from one subject to the next. The problem is generally not money. Jesus taught that the problem was attachment to possessions and dependence on money rather than dependence on God. Those who love people, acquire wealth so they can give generously. After all, money feeds, shelters, and clothes people. They key is to work extremely hard for a short period of time (1-5 years), create abundant wealth, and then make money work hard for you through wise investments that yield a passive income for life. Don't let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you're crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you're lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you're greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn't understand. Failure is success if we learn from it. Continuing failure eventually leads to success. Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. Whenever you pursue a goal, it should be with complete focus. This means no interruptions. Only when one loves his career and is skilled at it can he truly succeed. Never rush into an investment without prior research and deliberation. With preferred shares, investors are guaranteed a dividend forever, while common stocks have variable dividends. Some regions with very low or no income taxes include the following: Nevada, Texas, Wyoming, Delaware, South Dakota, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Panama, San Marino, Seychelles, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Curaçao, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Monaco, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bermuda, Kuwait, Oman, Andorra, Cayman Islands, Belize, Vanuatu, and Campione d'Italia. There is only one God who is infinite and supreme above all things. Do not replace that infinite one with finite idols. As frustrated as you may feel due to your life circumstances, do not vent it by cursing God or unnecessarily uttering his name. Greed leads to poverty. Greed inclines people to act impulsively in hopes of gaining more. The benefit of giving to the poor is so great that a beggar is actually doing the giver a favor by allowing the person to give. The more I give away, the more that comes back. Earn as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Invest as much as you can. Give as much as you can.
H.W. Charles (The Money Code: Become a Millionaire With the Ancient Jewish Code)
We must remember that the enemy is not tradition itself, but the complete dependence upon tradition and routine to the point where we disengage from thoughtful, purposeful, intentional intimacy.
Bruxy Cavey (The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus)
Here then are the choices we all face moment by moment: Will we aim to be impressive? Will we expect to be in complete control? Will we ensure that we always come out on top as winners? Or will we be happy for the power of Christ to rest upon us in our endless weakness? 'No man can give at once the impressions that he himself is clever and that Jesus Christ is mighty to save.' Neither can any church.
Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. (The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ)
WHEN SOME BASIC NEED IS LACKING—time, energy, money—consider yourself blessed. Your very lack is an opportunity to latch onto Me in unashamed dependence. When you begin a day with inadequate resources, you must concentrate your efforts on the present moment. This is where you are meant to live—in the present;
Sarah Young (Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence)
But children do not need to be in control. They have very little authority or power, and live each day in dependence and trust, receiving everything as a gift. And this, I believe, is what Jesus is advocating.
James Bryan Smith (The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ)
In many people Christ lives the life of the Host. Our life is a sacramental life. This Host life is like the Advent life, like the life of the Child in the womb, the Child in the swaddling bands, the Christ in the tomb. It is a life of dependence upon creatures, of silence and secrecy, of hidden light. It is the life of a prisoner.
Caryll Houselander (The Reed of God: A New Edition of a Spiritual Classic)
In most of life we usually don’t get a position unless we can perform, and if we stop performing we often lose that position. People try hard so that they can keep their positions. But this is not how the kingdom of God works. In the kingdom of God your position does not depend on your performance. Your position was purchased by Christ.
Rich Wilkerson Jr. (Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World)
Jesus Christ promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His church, but He did not promise that Hell would not prevail against His church in the West. That depends on us, and the choices we make right here, right now.
Rod Dreher (The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation)
Holiness must have a philosophical and theological foundation, namely, Divine truth; otherwise it is sentimentality and emotionalism. Many would say later on, 'We want religion, but no creeds.' This is like saying we want healing, but no science of medicine; music, but no rules of music; history, but no documents. Religion is indeed a life, but it grows out of truth, not away from it. It has been said it makes no difference what you believe, it all depends on how you act. This is psychological nonsense, for a man acts out of his beliefs. Our Lord placed truth or belief in Him first; then came sanctification and good deeds. But here truth was not a vague ideal, but a Person. Truth was now lovable, because only a Person is lovable. Sanctity becomes the response the heart makes to Divine truth and its unlimited mercy to humanity.
Fulton J. Sheen (Life of Christ)
Jesus Himself also said, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36). When you trusted Jesus Christ, He saved you. I will pray for you that you will believe God and quit depending on your feelings and emotions. It would be wrong for me to be praying for God to give you the kind of feeling you want. That is not the way we are to know we are saved. We know we are saved because God said it and we have faith to believe it. Faith takes God's Word as true and relies upon it.
John R. Rice (Dr. Rice, Here Are More Questions)
To summarize, then, it appears that Christian holiness is a number of things together. It has both outward and inward aspects. Holiness is a matter of both action and motivation, conduct and character, divine grace and human effort, obedience and creativity, submission and initiative, consecration to God and commitment to people, self-discipline and self-giving, righteousness and love. It is a matter of Spirit-led law-keeping, a walk, or course of life, in the Spirit that displays the fruit of the Spirit (Christlikeness of attitude and disposition). It is a matter of seeking to imitate Jesus' way of behaving, through depending on Jesus for deliverance from carnal self-absorption and for discernment of spiritual needs and possibilities.
J.I. Packer (Rediscovering Holiness)
The doctrine that future happiness depends upon belief is monstrous. It is the infamy of infamies. The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith." What man, who ever thinks, can believe that blood can appease God? And yet, our entire system of religion is based upon that belief. The Jews pacified Jehovah with the blood of animals, and according to the Christian system, the blood of Jesus softened the heart of God a little, and rendered possible the salvation of a fortunate few. It is hard to conceive how the human mind can give assent to such terrible ideas, or how any sane man can read the Bible and still believe in the doctrine of inspiration.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Gods and Other Lectures)
They must have His grace, the Spirit of Christ, to help their infirmities, or they cannot resist evil. Jesus loves to have us come to Him just as we are, sinful, helpless, dependent. We may come with all our weakness, our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at His feet in penitence. It is His glory to encircle us in the arms of His love and to bind up our wounds, to cleanse us from all impurity.
Ellen G. White (Steps to Christ)
My course is a survey of how readings of the same constant text have varied over the centuries, from the formation of the canon to our present time, dependent on context and subtext. A community in exile will read differently than a community in apparent full possession of all it surveys, with those who have nothing welcoming the promised overturning of the standing order, and those who have much of this world's goods not longing for the end of the age. Depending, then, upon how one reads and interprets, either the Bible is a textbook for the status quo, of quiescent pieties and promises, or it is a recipe for social change and transformation. There are churches dedicated to each point of view, each claiming its share of the good news; but what is good news for some is often bad news for somebody else.
Peter J. Gomes (The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About the Good News?)
I choose you.” This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation for God’s relationship with you. As Jesus declared to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you&”1 Jesus chose you in the most difficult of circumstances. He chose you while you were in sin, while you were His enemy. His side of the relationship with you does not depend upon your choice, but entirely upon His choice. The question is whether or not you will learn to build your relationships with Him and others upon the foundation of your choice.
Danny Silk (Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries)
[I]f my faith depends on fear of punishment, what will happen to my faith when perfect love (Jesus) comes to cast it out? (1 John 4: 18) If God thinks that fear of punishment is something to be “cast out” like a demon, then our Gospel and our preaching better not rest on that foundation! Fear-based faith (a paradox) is the ultimate deception. We need to examine closely whether the devil has been hiding in plain sight - squatting within the very message that we’ve preached. Parasite and deceiver that he is, he found the ultimate host to help disseminate his terror campaign - the Church! If our faith message begins in fear, as it did for many evangelicals like me, it’s in trouble. I am reminded of Jesus’ warning, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are” (Matt 23:15). The negation of negation. Does preaching on hell produce converts? Oh yes! But if in the process it also saddles someone with fear of punishment, then it has simultaneously reproduced a “son of hell.
Bradley Jersak (Her Gates Will Never Be Shut: Hell, Hope, and the New Jerusalem)
But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep shit. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.
Michka Assayas
To share Eucharistic communion with someone unbaptized, or committed to another story or system, is odd—not because the sacrament is 'profaned', or because grace cannot be given to those outside the household, but because the symbolic integrity of the Eucharist depends upon its being celebrated by those who both commit themselves to the paradigm of Jesus' death and resurrection and acknowledge that their violence is violence offered to Jesus. All their betrayals are to be understood as betrayals of him; and through that understanding comes forgiveness and hope. Those who do not so understand themselves and their sin or their loss will not make the same identification of their victims with Jesus, nor will they necessarily understand their hope for their vocation in relation to him and his community. Their participation is thus anomalous: it is hard to see the meaning of what is being done.
Rowan Williams (Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel)
Keep in mind, Bandler once cured a guy who thought he was Jesus by bringing in three muscular football players dressed as Roman Centurions and wood for a life-size cross into his hospital room.  Then, he proceeded to nail the cross together, pausing occasionally to measure the guy as the Centurions held him down.  By the time they were ready for the crucifixion, the man was convinced he wasn't Jesus.  Even after the drama had passed, the cure stuck.
Kamal Ravikant (Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It)
These early Saints were indeed homeless, but they were not hopeless. Their hearts were broken, but their spirits were strong. They had learned a profound and important lesson. They had learned that hope, with its attendant blessings of peace and joy, does not depend upon circumstance. They had discovered that the true source of hope is faith—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His infinite Atonement, the one sure foundation upon which to build our lives.
Wilford W. Andersen
Before we begin dating, we have to develop a vision for what makes marriage worth having. Why do we even want to be married in the first place?...Marriage is worth having because you get God in your lifelong commitment to one another. Marriage is about knowing God, worshiping God, depending on God, displaying God, and being made like God....What makes marriage worth having is that you, your spouse, and those around you see more of God and his love in Jesus.
Marshall Segal (Not Yet Married: The Pursuit of Joy in Singleness and Dating)
The essential unity of the formal and material principles of the Reformation lies in the fact that to affirm that Christianity was, formally and materially, solus Christus was perceived by the Reformers ultimately to depend upon the concurrent affirmation that Christ and his benefits could be known sola scriptura.
The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation
Prayer is an essential part of conveying appreciation to our Heavenly Father. He awaits our expressions of gratefulness each morning and night in sincere, simple prayer from our hearts for our many blessings, gifts, and talents. Through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge—God the Father and his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are taught to ‘live in thanksgiving daily.’ (Alma 34:38.)
Robert D. Hales
The world says, “When you were young you were dependent and could not go where you wanted, but when you grow old you will be able to make your own decisions, go your own way, and control your own destiny.” But Jesus has a different vision of maturity: It is the ability and willingness to be led where you would rather not go.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership)
Christian writers, whether they like it or not, do not simply write for themselves; for good or ill, readers will see their work as reflecting Jesus Christ and his church. And if only for this reason - though there are other reasons - one must take great care when dealing with potentially controversial topics not to imagine one's every pronouncement preceded by 'Thus saith the Lord.' The law of love, on which 'all the law and the prophets' depend (Matt. 22:40), mandates charity toward one's opponents in argument.
Alan Jacobs (A Visit to Vanity Fair: Moral Essays on the Present Age)
We were born with hearts that require constant, unconditional love, and Jesus is the only Person who accepts us regardless of our behavior. However, if we do not allow Christ to satisfy our longing, then Satan will quickly promote destructive substitutes, especially sexual excitement. He wants to make us dependent upon anything other than Jesus.
Rob Eagar (Dating with Pure Passion: More than Rules, More than Courtship, More than a Formula)
Becoming a little child meant becoming aware that all is gift, that I am helpless and powerless to add a single inch to my spiritual stature. Without the subjective awareness of utter dependence, the personal consciousness of a dynamism outside of self at work in us, I seriously question whether anyone has made real progress in the spiritual life.
Brennan Manning (The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus)
Lunar Paraphrase" The moon is the mother of pathos and pity. When, at the wearier end of November, Her old light moves along the branches, Feebly, slowly, depending upon them; When the body of Jesus hangs in a pallor, Humanly near, and the figure of Mary, Touched on by hoar-frost, shrinks in a shelter Made by the leaves, that have rotted and fallen; When over the houses, a golden illusion Brings back an earlier season of quiet And quieting dreams in the sleepers in darkness— The moon is the mother of pathos and pity.
Wallace Stevens
If humility is the first, the all-inclusive grace of the life of Jesus—if humility is the secret of His atonement—then the health and strength of our spiritual life will depend entirely upon our putting this grace first and making humility the chief quality we admire in Him, the chief attribute we ask of Him, the one thing for which we sacrifice all else.
Andrew Murray (Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness)
Dependence, sorrow, repentance, a longing to change—these are the gates to God's kingdom.
Philip Yancey (The Jesus I Never Knew)
When Jesus called his followers “the salt of the earth,” he was telling them that they were irreplaceable, and that their mission was to give people what makes life worth living.
Margaret Visser (Much Depends on Dinner: The Extraordinary History and Mythology, Allure and Obsessions, Perils and Taboos of an Ordinary Meal)
People’s love for us may change, depending on what we do or don’t do to please them. But God’s does not—it’s everlasting.
Stormie Omartian
We can’t treat the Bible with kid gloves. We really need to wrestle with the issues, because our faith depends on it.
Lee Strobel (The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God)
Pain does not indicate the absence of God. Pain invites us into communion with Jesus and greater dependence on him, as we yearn for his coming while sharing in his sufferings
Anonymous (ESV Gospel Transformation Bible)
Some people mistakenly think Jesus is like them—a whacked-out, co-dependent person at the mercy of everybody’s needs.
Danny Silk (Keep Your Love On)
We do not become less needy, less dependent when we pray; we become more needy, more dependent, which is to say, more human.
Eugene H. Peterson (Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers (Spiritual Theology #4))
Jesus said: Wretched is the body which depends upon another body, and wretched is the soul which depends upon their being together.
As followers of Jesus, we must look beyond people, things, and circumstances to meet our needs. All of these are unstable and inadequate, and if we depend on them, we will fail.
Kenneth D. Boa (Conformed to His Image)
Discipleship involves total dependence on the One who provides our independence.
Shaun Brooks
The only thing we can depend on is the rule and reign of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. If He is on the throne of our lives, then we can face tomorrow with courage and confidence.
Warren W. Wiersbe (The Bumps Are What You Climb on: Encouragement for Difficult Days)
New Rule: America must stop bragging it's the greatest country on earth, and start acting like it. I know this is uncomfortable for the "faith over facts" crowd, but the greatness of a country can, to a large degree, be measured. Here are some numbers. Infant mortality rate: America ranks forty-eighth in the world. Overall health: seventy-second. Freedom of the press: forty-fourth. Literacy: fifty-fifth. Do you realize there are twelve-year old kids in this country who can't spell the name of the teacher they're having sex with? America has done many great things. Making the New World democratic. The Marshall Plan. Curing polio. Beating Hitler. The deep-fried Twinkie. But what have we done for us lately? We're not the freest country. That would be Holland, where you can smoke hash in church and Janet Jackson's nipple is on their flag. And sadly, we're no longer a country that can get things done. Not big things. Like building a tunnel under Boston, or running a war with competence. We had six years to fix the voting machines; couldn't get that done. The FBI is just now getting e-mail. Prop 87 out here in California is about lessening our dependence on oil by using alternative fuels, and Bill Clinton comes on at the end of the ad and says, "If Brazil can do it, America can, too!" Since when did America have to buck itself up by saying we could catch up to Brazil? We invented the airplane and the lightbulb, they invented the bikini wax, and now they're ahead? In most of the industrialized world, nearly everyone has health care and hardly anyone doubts evolution--and yes, having to live amid so many superstitious dimwits is also something that affects quality of life. It's why America isn't gonna be the country that gets the inevitable patents in stem cell cures, because Jesus thinks it's too close to cloning. Oh, and did I mention we owe China a trillion dollars? We owe everybody money. America is a debtor nation to Mexico. We're not a bridge to the twenty-first century, we're on a bus to Atlantic City with a roll of quarters. And this is why it bugs me that so many people talk like it's 1955 and we're still number one in everything. We're not, and I take no glee in saying that, because I love my country, and I wish we were, but when you're number fifty-five in this category, and ninety-two in that one, you look a little silly waving the big foam "number one" finger. As long as we believe being "the greatest country in the world" is a birthright, we'll keep coasting on the achievements of earlier generations, and we'll keep losing the moral high ground. Because we may not be the biggest, or the healthiest, or the best educated, but we always did have one thing no other place did: We knew soccer was bullshit. And also we had the Bill of Rights. A great nation doesn't torture people or make them disappear without a trial. Bush keeps saying the terrorist "hate us for our freedom,"" and he's working damn hard to see that pretty soon that won't be a problem.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Many have found it hard to see what claim the law can have on the Christian. We are free from the law, they say; our salvation does not depend on law-keeping; we are justified through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. How, then, can it matter, or make any difference to anything, whether we keep the law henceforth or not? ....While it is certainly true that justification frees one forever from the need to keep the law, or try to, as the means of earning life, it is equally true that adoption lays on one the abiding obligation to keep the law, as the means of pleasing one's newfound Father....The sins of God's children do not destroy their justification or nullify their adoption, but they mar the children's fellowship with their Father.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
Apparently I’m hopeless when it comes to relationships.” “No, you’re not.” I ease up on my tiptoes and kiss the corner of his jaw. “You’re a bit inept, sure. But you’re also ridiculously talented when it comes to romantic gestures, so if you screw up again, I’m ninety percent sure you’ll be able to win me back.” “Only ninety percent?” He looks upset. “Well, it depends how badly you screw up. I mean, if it’s picking a fight with me like you did today, then obviously we’ll be able to work through it. But if I’m over at your house and I go down to the basement and find a serial killer lair? No promises.” “Jesus Christ, what is your obsession with serial killers?” He grins. “Hey, that should be your specialty. Profiling killers.” Damn. Not a bad idea.
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
Yet weakness—or neediness—is a valuable asset in God’s community. Jesus introduced a new era in which weakness is the new strength. Anything that reminds us that we are dependent on God and other people is a good thing. Otherwise, we trick ourselves into thinking that we are self-sufficient, and arrogance is sure to follow. We need help, and God has given us his Spirit and each other to provide it.
Edward T. Welch (Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love)
If you’re burdened by the Christian life, remember that just as God has given you grace for salvation, He will give you grace for obedience through faith. Live in dependence on God—for everything—and rest. The grace walk is relaxing when we learn it. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and be at peace. Faith is reason at rest in God. —Charles Spurgeon
Chris Tiegreen (The One Year God with Us Devotional: 365 Daily Bible Readings to Empower Your Faith)
In truth, what it means to be an evangelical has always depended on the world beyond the faith. In recent years, evangelical leaders themselves have come to recognize (and frequently lament) that a “pop culture” definition has usurped “a proper historical and theological” one, such that today many people count themselves “evangelical” because they watch Fox News, consider themselves religious, and vote Republican.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation)
Perhaps the dominant myth in the evangelical church today is that the success of Christianity depends on how popular it is, and that the kingdom of God and the glory of Christ somehow advance on the back of public favor.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus)
From an early age, we are taught to be proud, strong, and independent. None of those things are wrong, but when it comes to our Christian life, the paradigm has to shift. Jesus invites us to rest, to trust, to depend on him.
Louie Giglio (Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants)
The next world is 'segregated'? You can go to the World of Yin only if you're Chinese?" "No-no! Miss Banner, she not Chinese, she go to Yin World. All depend what you love, what you believe. You love Jesus, go Jesus House. You love Allah, go Allah Land. You love sleep, go sleep." "What if you don't believe in anything for sure before you die?" "Then you go big place, like Disneyland, many places can go try--you like, you decide. No charge, of course.
Amy Tan (The Hundred Secret Senses)
The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God’s call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends upon my spiritual attitude. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). That is, few prove that they are the chosen ones. The chosen ones are those who have come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and have had their spiritual condition changed and their ears opened.
Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest)
As you entrust your concerns to Me, I receive them into My care and keeping. This lightens your load and helps you gain traction so you can move forward in dependence on Me. I don’t guarantee you a trouble-free journey, but I do promise to make your life meaningful. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Treasure My teaching in your heart, for it is not your plans but My counsel that will stand.
Sarah Young (Jesus Lives: Seeing His Love in Your Life (Jesus Calling®))
When I left this country, the best part of forty years ago, England still seemed to have a soul. It had pulled together after the war and committed itself to a welfare system …" "Jesus, it was the welfare system which drained this fucking country of its soul—can't you see that? The dependency culture destroyed any sense of having to do something for yourself. Do you think those violent, criminal bastards in your parish would have time to be muggers if they had ever been made to work?
A.N. Wilson (My Name Is Legion)
That’s good,” said Jacquel. “So, yeah, Jesus does pretty good over here. But I met a guy who said he saw him hitchhiking by the side of the road in Afghanistan and nobody was stopping to give him a ride. You know? It all depends on where you are.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods)
The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can’t stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope—and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us.
Walter Wangerin Jr. (Reliving the Passion: Meditations on the Suffering, Death, and the Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark.)
Let no one take the limited, narrow position that any of the works of man can help in the least possible way to liquidate the debt of his transgression. This is a fatal deception. If you would understand it, you must cease haggling over your pet ideas, and with humble hears survey the atonement. This matter is so dimly comprehended that thousands upon thousands claiming to be sons of God are children of the wicked one, because they will depend on their own works. God always demanded good works, the law demands it, but because man placed himself in sin where his good works were valueless, Jesus' righteousness alone can avail. Christ is able to save to the uttermost because He ever liveth to make intercession for us. All man can possibly do toward his own salvation is to accept the invitation, "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.
Ellen G. White (Notebook Leaflets)
But Jesus issued a warning too, stating that “whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).34 Notice that Jesus associates being ashamed of Him with being ashamed of His words, and when we downplay His words, negate the relevance of His words, and even mock the applicability of His words, at some level we are being ashamed of His words. Let us rather embrace everything He taught, bringing us to our knees in utter dependence on Him. That is the place of grace.
Michael L. Brown (Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message)
If you are a Christ follower, the evil one is after you. When you signed on for Christ, you enlisted in a great war. You became a combatant in a titanic battle for spiritual dominion that has been going on since before Adam and Eve. The enemy has marked you for annihilation, and his demonic armies are aiming their big guns right at your heart. Satan wants you to stumble and fall. He wants your failure to cause others to think that Christianity is empty of meaning and powerless to change lives. If he can tempt you to forget whose side you're on just for a moment... if Satan can get you to forget your commitment to holiness for just that moment, he may bring down not only you, but others who are watching you. It's a serious thing to be a follower of Jesus. We must find ourselves in a state of constant dependency on him. We must ask God for his strength to overcome the evil one and resist such temptations.
Michael W. Smith
It was standard Roman policy to forge alliances with the landed aristocracy in every captured city, making them dependent on the Roman overlords for their power and wealth. By aligning their interests with those of the ruling class, Rome ensured that local leaders remained wholly vested in maintaining the imperial system
Reza Aslan (Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth)
We can’t depend upon our own rule, because we are weak and ignorant. And we can’t depend too much on the rule of others, because they are as weak and ignorant as we are. The only thing we can depend on is the rule and reign of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. If He is on the throne of our lives, then we can face tomorrow with courage and confidence.
Warren W. Wiersbe (The Bumps Are What You Climb on: Encouragement for Difficult Days)
Your heart can become a prayer factory because, like Jesus, you are completely dependent. You needed God ten minutes ago; you need him now. Instead of hunting for the perfect spiritual state to lift you above the chaos, pray in the chaos. As your heart or your circumstances generate problems, keep generating prayer. You will find that the chaos lessens.
Paul E. Miller (A Praying Life)
We are both preachers. He preached the teaching of Jesus Christ, and I preached my philosophy. He asked me: “Do you pray?” “No.” “Do you beseech God to forgive your trespasses?” “No.” “Do you not thank God for his bounty?” “No.” “Do you not depend on God's support?” “No.” And with this his puzzlement increased until he was assured that my fate lies in hell indeed.
Khalil al-Sakakini
Underline this thought: assurance, peace, access to God, knowledge that He is our Father, and strength to overcome temptation all depend on this-the Son of God took our flesh and bore our sins in such a way that further sacrifice for sin is both unnecessary and unintelligible. Christ died our death, and now in His resurrection He continues to wear our nature forever, and in it He lives for us before the face of God. He could not do more for us than He has done; we need no other resources to enable us to walk through this world into the next. You and I need a Savior who is near us, is one with us, understands us. All of this the Lord Jesus is, Hebrews affirms. Fix your gaze on this Christ and your whole Christian life will be transformed.
Sinclair B. Ferguson (In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life)
The life Jesus came to bring is a life that does not depend on willpower. It flows out of the Spirit of God, energizing and transforming our spirit. It's a life based on transfusion- God's Spirit transfusing my spirit, God's deepest desires, longings and dreams becoming mine. This is the way and the only way to the freedom and fulfillment of preferring God's will to mine.
David G. Benner (Desiring God's Will: Aligning Our Hearts With The Heart Of God)
Remember that Jesus only did what he saw his Father doing (John 5:19). The miraculous ministry of Jesus was absolutely dependent on his intimacy with his Father. Likewise, the ministry of the apostles was absolutely dependent on their intimacy with Jesus, for without him they could do nothing (John 15:5). Therefore, the loss of intimacy means the loss of power for ministry.
Anonymous (Surprised by the Power of the Spirit)
The Jesus described in the Bible is scandalous. He is not portrayed as the founder of a world religion, but the challenger of all religions. He is a subversive, anti-institutional revolutionary. Now, when I say "anti-institutional," I am not suggesting that Jesus opposes all forms of organization, but that he opposes dependence on any one organization for our connection with God.
Bruxy Cavey (The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus)
The resurrection of the body - what do we really mean by this? ...Did not the mystics and sages of all times teach us that the positive meaning of death is precisely that it liberates us from the prison of the body, as they say, from this perennial dependency on the material, physical, and bodily life - finally rendering our souls light, weightless, free, spiritual? We [must] consider more profoundly the meaning of the body... We must consider the role of the body in our, in my, life. On the one hand, of course it is entirely clear that all of our bodies are transitory and impermanent. Biologists have calculated that all the cells that compose our bodies are replaced every seven years. Thus, physiologically, every seven years we have a new body. Therefore, at the end of my life the body that is laid in the grave or consumed by fire is no longer the same body as all the preceding ones, and in the final analysis each of our bodies is nothing other than our individual [being] in the world, as the form of my dependence on the world, on the one hand, and of my life and of my activity on the other. In essence, my body is my relationship to the world, to others; it is my life as communion and as mutual relationship. Without exception, everything in the body, in the human organism, is created for this relationship, for this communion, for this coming out of oneself. It is not an accident, of course, that love, the highest form of communion, finds its incarnation in the body; the body is that which sees, hears, feels, and thereby leads me out of the isolation of my *I*. But then, perhaps, we can say in response: the body is not the darkness of the soul, but rather the body is its freedom, for the body is the soul as love, the soul as communion, the soul as life, the soul as movement. And this is why, when the soul loses the body, when it is separated from the body, it loses life.
Alexander Schmemann (O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?)
There is a poverty of the average human’s life, who is unnoticed by the world. It is the poverty of the commonplace. There is nothing heroic about it; it is the poverty of the common lot, devoid of ecstasy. Jesus was poor in this way. He was no model figure for humanists, no great artist or statesman, no diffident genius. He was a frighteningly simple man, whose only talent was to do good. The one great passion in his life was “the Father.” Yet it was precisely in this way that he demonstrated “the wonder of empty hands” (Bernanos), the great potential of the person on the street, whose radical dependence on God is no different from anyone else’s. He has no talent but that of his own heart, no contribution to make except self-abandonment, no consolation save God alone.
Johann Baptist Metz (Poverty of Spirit (Revised Edition))
Prayer Thank You, Lord, that You are a God of justice who longs to show mercy and grace to us. Thank You that You are our great Defender against the Enemy, other people, and unjust suffering. Thank You that You see all we are going through and that You have compassion and pity on us. Help us to have compassion and pity on others who are likewise going through a time of trial or suffering. We ask that You would help us to bless our enemies and that You would use times of frustration, suffering, and trials to make us more like Jesus. Forgive us when we hurt others, and forgive us when we fall into gossip or self-pity. Give us the strength and grace to trust in You, lean on You, and depend on You at all times and in all things for Your perfect judgment and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Beth Redman (God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved)
the children who actually end up performing better are those who understand that their relationship with God doesn’t depend on their performance for Jesus but on Jesus’s performance for them. With the right mixture of fear and guilt, I can get my three children to obey in the short term. But my desire is not that they obey for five minutes or even for five days. My desire is that they obey for fifty years!
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus)
The Jesus Prayer Having had my fill of listening, without acquiring any understanding of how to pray unceasingly, I gave up on such sermons that were geared to the general public. I then resolved, with the help of God, to seek an experienced and knowledgeable guide who would explain unceasing prayer to me, for I now found myself so irresistibly drawn to learning about it.38 —Anonymous, The Way of a Pilgrim
Heather King (Holy Desperation: Praying as If Your Life Depends on It)
If God is a single person, then before God created, he was alone in eternity. God had no one to love but himself. But self-love can be toxic, and it is certainly not as rich and vibrant as having love for someone else. Therefore, in traditional monotheism, God had to create other persons (angels or humans) to have someone to love. But if this were true, then God is dependent on the creation for fulfillment.
Kenneth Richard Samples (God among Sages: Why Jesus Is Not Just Another Religious Leader)
Did you realize you have fully armed invisible army surrounding you, whose goal is to destroy you spiritually? Satan and his minions have thousands of years of experience destroying the faith of Christians bigger, stronger, and more mature than you and I. What hope do we have? Our only hope to protect us from Satan's barrage of spiritual warfare is Jesus Christ and our dependence on Him!" Al Menconi (
Al Menconi
Normally when Christians go to church, they do not have to prepare to contribute anything other than some money for the tithing plate in their 'Sunday best.' They go to listen and watch those who have done the preparations carry out their professional services. Therefore, there is a hard shift in the concept that assembling according to the New Testament is very different and will require preparation, if the goal is to build up the assembly. Since an assembly's activities depend on member's contributions, if no one prays, sings, or says anything concerning Jesus it will be a very dead and boring gathering -- or the gathering will end up focused on other things. Therefore, a proper assembly requires every member to prepare something to bring and share. This is why 1 Corinthians 14:26 speaks of each one having a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, etc.
Henry Hon (ONE: Unfolding God's Eternal Purpose from House to House)
The one true Church is composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus. It is made up of all Gods elect-of all converted men and women-of all true Christians. It is a Church of which all the members have the same marks. They are born of the Spirit; they all possess "repentance towards God, faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ", and holiness of life and conversation. They all hate sin, and they all love Christ. They all worship with one heart. They are all led by one Spirit; they all build upon one foundation; they all draw their religion from one single Book-that is the Bible. They are all joined to one great center-that is Jesus Christ. They all, even now, can say with one heart, “Hallelujah"; and they can all respond with one heart and voice, “Amen and Amen”. It is a Church which is dependent upon no ministers upon earth, however much it values those who preach the Gospel to its members.
J.C. Ryle (The True Church)
And that’s the way the Father of Jesus is: He loves those most who need Him most, who rely on Him, depend upon Him and trust Him in everything. Little He cares whether you’ve been as pure as St. John or as sinful as the prostitute in Simon the Pharisee’s house. All that matters is trust. It seems to me that learning how to trust God defines the meaning of Christian living. God doesn’t wait until we have our moral life in order before He starts loving us.
Brennan Manning (The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus)
I’m not going to tell you this is God’s judgment… but I have to wonder. The Rapture comes after the Tribulation… that’s New Testament. I don’t remember the Bible being very clear on that…” “There wasn’t a bulleted list?” “Heh…” “Well, I figured with the ten commandments the lord liked to keep things itemized…” “Less than you’d think… anyway, this fits the build.” “Resurrection?” “Not… really. But depending on how you look at it, Jesus was a Zombie, right?
Bryan Way (Life After: The Arising (Life After, #1))
What she knew was sand and wind and innumerable stars. The rumble in a camel’s throat as it swayed over shifting dunes, its trappings jingling in time with its steps beneath her. She knew the sting of thirst and the taste of dried fruit, the glare of sun and the frigid, bone-numbing cold of the air when the sun gave her throne over to the moon. She knew that, to survive, one must often revise one’s caliber, and one must completely depend upon Jesus Christ.
V.S. Carnes
We are so dependent on one another for faith. We hold faith communally, but there is no such thing as faith held communally but by no one in particular. There is nothing that completely transcends the individual. It is true that this person or that person may waiver from time to time. But at all times there must be someone holding it up. Jesus chose Peter exactly for this purpose. "You will be my rock," he said. And Peter had to bear faith, believe even when no one else could.
Jessica Mesman Griffith
So that in this verse is shown our dependence on each person in the Trinity for all our good. We are dependent on Christ the Son of God, as he is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. We are dependent on the Father, who has given us Christ, and made him to be these things to us. We are dependent on the Holy Ghost, for ’tis of him that we are in Christ Jesus; ’tis the Spirit of God that gives faith in him, whereby we receive him and close with him.   DOCTRINE
Jonathan Edwards (Selected Sermons Of Jonathan Edwards)
Perhaps Jesus is asking of you a little task, and, if you find it, later He will ask of you something that is greater. Always keep your eyes open for the little task, because it is the little task which is important to Jesus Christ. The future of the Kingdom of God does not depend on the enthusiasm of this or that powerful person; those great ones are necessary too, but it is equally necessary to have a great number of little people who will do a little thing in the service of Christ.
Albert Schweitzer
Rather than being devoted to and dependent on the teaching of the apostles, these groups held that secretly revealed knowledge about Jesus trumped historical and theological continuity. The Fathers, on the other hand, taught that the Rule of Faith originated with the Old Testament prophetic message, which was fulfilled in Jesus and proclaimed by the apostles. The Fathers, in turn, guarded this message and passed it on to others, handing the baton to subsequent generations of believers.
Andreas J. Köstenberger (The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity)
When the Resurrection and the Life says “Lazarus, come forth”, the rest of the story does not depend on Lazarus. He can drag his feet all the way-admittedly, a hell of a thing to do-but he rises, no matter what. He just plain does… Jesus came to raise the dead. The only qualification for the gift of the Gospel is to be dead. You don’t have to be smart. You don’t have to be good. You don’t have to be wise. You don’t have to be wonderful. You just have to be dead. That’s it. (Robert Capon)
I have learned that the bitter, almost unbearable pain can become sweet as you turn to your Father in Heaven and plead for His comfort that comes through His plan; His Son, Jesus Christ; and His Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost. … “I testify that because of … Jesus Christ, those feelings of sorrow, loneliness, and despair will one day be swallowed up in a fulness of joy. I testify that we can depend on Him and when He said: ‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you’ (John 14:18).
Shayne M. Bowen
House Speaker Tip O’Neill, one of the few briefed on the evacuation procedures, recalled, “I kind of lost interest in it when they told me my wife would not be going with me. I said, ‘Jesus, you don’t think I’m going to run away and leave my wife? That’s the craziest thing I ever heard of.’ ” Thus, an expansion during George White’s tenure as the Capitol Architect created space for another 500 bunk beds and ensured room for at least 1,400 dependents in a pressurized area adjacent to the main bunker.
Garrett M. Graff (Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself--While the Rest of Us Die)
Whether we want to admit it or not, we are dependent on other pray-ers. In Matthew 9:38 Jesus said, "Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest." Am I a laborer because someone, some time, some place, obeyed Jesus' command and prayed that God would send forth a laborer to the field in which I'm working? This is a humbling thought, and removes all the ego and pride about my ministry, my calling. Because somebody prayed, did I CHANGE into God's laborer?
Evelyn Christenson
A woman of Samaria approached, and seeming unconscious of His presence, filled her pitcher with water. As she turned to go away, Jesus asked her for a drink. Such a favor no Oriental would withhold. In the East, water was called “the gift of God.” To offer a drink to the thirsty traveler was held to be a duty so sacred that the Arabs of [184] the desert would go out of their way in order to perform it. The hatred between Jews and Samaritans prevented the woman from offering a kindness to Jesus; but the Saviour was seeking to find the key to this heart, and with the tact born of divine love, He asked, not offered, a favor. The offer of a kindness might have been rejected; but trust awakens trust. The King of heaven came to this outcast soul, asking a service at her hands. He who made the ocean, who controls the waters of the great deep, who opened the springs and channels of the earth, rested from His weariness at Jacob’s well, and was dependent upon a stranger’s kindness for even the gift of a drink of water. The
Ellen G. White (The Desire of Ages (Conflict of the Ages Series))
Sir Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747–1813) was a Scottish jurist and historian. It is thought that he wrote in 1801: “The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back to bondage.
Dick Brogden (Live Dead Joy: 365 Days of Living and Dying with Jesus)
But I’m trying. I’m trying so hard, J. I’m sorry if I mess up sometimes, but—” His body smacked into mine so hard, my spine hit the wall again. Josh hugged me like his life depended on it. He hugged me like he hadn’t since his dad died. The side of his cheek went right along my chest as he held me tight. “You’re better than my real mom, better than Mandy—” “Jesus, Josh. Don’t say stuff like that.” “Why? You always tell me not to lie,” he said into my chest as he hugged me. “I don’t like you crying. Don’t do it anymore.
Mariana Zapata (Wait for It)
The evidence abounds that not only do the self-righteous not have the market cornered on “clean living,” but they often lead secret, self-destructive lives. In my part of the world (Oklahoma is the reddest state in the union), there is actually a positive correlation between high church attendance and negative social statistics like teen pregnancy, divorce, physical and sexual abuse, and chemical dependency. Where there is denial there is dysfunction, and the more one’s faith resembles a fairy tale the sooner the clock strikes midnight.
Robin Meyers (Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus)
So here’s what the Christmas story is all about: a willing Savior is born to rescue unwilling people from themselves because there is no other way. Jesus was willing to leave the splendor of eternity to come to this broken and groaning world. He was willing to take on human flesh with all its frailty. He was willing to endure an ignominious birth in a stable. He was willing to go through the dependency of childhood. He was willing to expose himself to all the hardships of life in this fallen world. He was willing to submit to his own law. He was willing to do his Father’s will at every point. He was willing to serve, when he deserved to be served. He was willing to be misunderstood and mistreated. He was willing to endure rejection and gross injustice. He was willing to preach a message that would cause him personal harm. He was willing to suffer public mockery. He was willing to endure physical torture. He was willing to go through the pain of his Father’s rejection. He was willing to die. He was willing to rise and ascend to be our constant advocate. Jesus was willing.
Paul David Tripp (Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional)
The Protestant does not submit to any authority, he is dependent only on himself. The Catholic receives Christ, with all that He has taught and founded. Christianity is, in practice, submission to Christ in the person of the Sovereign Pontiff and the pastors united to him; submission of the intellect to their teachings, submission of the the will to what they command.This way is sure, for Our Lord is with His Apostles “all days, even unto the consummation of the world,” and He has prayed for Peter and Peter’s successors that their faith “fail not".
Columba Marmion (Christ, the Life of the Soul)
If you asked me whether what I have done in my life defines my life, I would answer, "No." That's not to diminish my sins or humble-bumble my successes. It is simply to affirm a grace often realized only in the winter of life. The winter is stark but also comforting. I am, and have always been, more than the sum of my deeds. Thank God. If asked whether I have fulfilled my calling as an evangelist, I would answer, "No." That answer is not guilt-ridden or shame-faced. It is to witness to a larger truth, again more clearly seen in my later days. My calling is, and always has been, to a life filled with family and friends and alcohol and Jesus and Roslyn and notoriously good sinners. If asked whether I am going gently into old age, I would answer, "No." That's just plain honest. It is true that when you are old, you are often led where you would rather not go. In a wisdom that some days I admit feels foolish, God has ordained the later days of our lives to look shockingly similar to that of our earliest: as dependent children. If asked whether I am finally letting God love me, just as I am, I would answer, "No, but I'm trying.
Brennan Manning (All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir)
God understands what we’re going through. His Word promises He will help us in times of trouble. When adversity strikes, God offers Himself as our refuge and His strength to weather life’s storms. No matter the problems tossing us about, we don’t have to feel like we’re simply hanging on. Instead, we can trust the One who offers us peace and carries us through until we get to calmer shores. Dear Lord, I feel beaten down by the storms of life, drowning in a sea of adversity and stress. I commit to depend on You as my refuge and I place my trust in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Renee Swope (Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living)
when evangelicals define themselves in terms of Christ’s atonement or as disciples of a risen Christ, what sort of Jesus are they imagining? Is their savior a conquering warrior, a man’s man who takes no prisoners and wages holy war? Or is he a sacrificial lamb who offers himself up for the restoration of all things? How one answers these questions will determine what it looks like to follow Jesus. In truth, what it means to be an evangelical has always depended on the world beyond the faith. In recent years, evangelical leaders themselves have come to recognize (and frequently lament) that a “pop culture” definition has usurped “a proper historical and theological” one, such that today many people count themselves “evangelical” because they watch Fox News, consider themselves religious, and vote Republican. Frustrated with this confusion of “real” and “supposed” evangelicals, evangelical elites have taken pollsters and pundits to task for carelessly conflating the two. But the problem goes beyond sloppy categorization. Among evangelicals, high levels of theological illiteracy mean that many “evangelicals” hold views traditionally defined as heresy, calling into question the centrality of theology to evangelicalism generally.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation)
Eugene Peterson has said, “American culture is stubbornly resistant to the way of Jesus.”5 The culture is strongly individualistic; the church is to be strongly communal. The culture is impatient; the church is to be persevering. The culture is celebrity-ridden; the church is to be a culture of humility. The culture celebrates competence; the church’s first priority is dependence. The way of Jesus, then, is one of community, and submission, service, and patience in that community. Jesus’ way is the road of humility, living in a state of brokenness before God. Jesus’ way is a people anxious to depend on God rather than on competence alone.
Bill Hull (The Disciple-Making Pastor: Leading Others on the Journey of Faith)
To suggest that the grief of Christ issues from his perfect wisdom and charity would confirm that true sorrow is human and therefore cannot correspond to despair, since the hopelessness of despair would yield nothing about which to sorrow. If life is meaningless, there is no reason to mourn. Truth is what makes grief authentic and real, and so it follows that Truth Incarnate, come down from heaven to our vale of tears, would grieve at the highest pitch. The “tragic experience of the most complete desolation”49 depends on “the knowledge and experience of the Father.”50 Or as Adrienne von Speyr puts it: “The Father is never more present than in this absence on the Cross.
Aaron Riches (Ecce Homo: On the Divine Unity of Christ)
When we do not desire the things of this world for their own sake, we become able to see them as they are. We see at once their goodness and their purpose, and we become able to appreciate them as we never have before. As soon as we are free of them, they begin to please us. As soon as we cease to rely on them alone, they are able to serve us. Since we depend neither on the pleasure nor on the assistance we get from them, they offer us both pleasure and assistance, at the command of God. For Jesus has said: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His justice and all these things [that is all that you need for your life on earth] will be given to you besides” (Matthew 6:33).
Thomas Merton (No Man Is an Island)
What saves us is Jesus, and the way we lay hold of that salvation is by faith. And faith is something that, throughout this book, I shall resolutely refuse to let mean anything other than trusting Jesus. It is simply saying yes to him rather than no. It is, at its root, a mere "uh-huh" to him personally. It does not necessarily involve any particular theological structure or formulation; it does not entail any particular degree of emotional fervor; and above all, it does not depend on any specific repertoire of good works - physical, mental, or moral. It's Just "Yes, Jesus," till we die - just letting the power of his resurrection do, in our deaths, what it has already done in his.
Robert Farrar Capon (Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus)
our paint-by-numbers, Kinkade Christianity. Instead of escape or pretense, Jesus calls us to be alive and thirsty, allowing disappointment to drive us back to Him. He bids us to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking, all the while feeling the grief and sorrow of human life acutely. To sell Jesus on the basis of meeting felt needs is fine so long as we define how exactly He “meets” those needs. If meeting those needs means the removal of the sin, sorrow, and disappointment of human life, then we’ll be perpetually disappointed. If meeting those needs means that Jesus uses our unfulfilled desires to keep us dependent and reliant upon Him, then we’re getting close to the secret of the full life that Christ offers.
Mike Erre (Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God)
Duck calls remind me of how God uses people to make Himself known. Like duck calls, people are all a bit different and are dependent on their maker and designer for their individualism in life. Duck calls and their unique individual sounds breathe life into decoys that are essentially dead. Likewise, God uses different people with unique perspectives to illustrate His existence and shout out the message of eternal life through Jesus Christ. The audible sound that each mallard hen makes is virtually the same; however, the tone and cadence are unique. Similarly, the Gospel message is the same yesterday, today, and forever, yet the perspective and life experience are different and unique for each person relaying it.
Jase Robertson (Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl)
DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF. I can bring good even out of your mistakes. Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret. This is a waste of time and energy, leading only to frustration. Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Me. Look to Me in trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design. Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride. Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses. Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Me. I am able to bring beauty out of the morass of your mistakes. Trust Me, and watch to see what I will do.
Sarah Young (Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence)
The curse of life The story of Man’s10 abrupt expulsion from Eden – be it fiction, metaphor or literal fact – has become etched too deeply on the collective unconscious to ignore, for it has set in stone Judaeo-Christian attitudes to men, women, original sin (and therefore children), the Creator and his opposition, Lucifer/Satan/the Devil. This all-powerful myth has imbued us all at some level of perception with a belief that life is a curse, that death is the end – a collapsing back of the body into its constituent dust, no more – that women are inherently on intimate terms with evil, that men have carte blanche to do as they please with not only all the animals in the world but also their womenfolk, and that God, above all, is to be feared. Snakes come out of it rather badly, too, as the embodiment of evil, the medium through which Satan tempts we pathetic humans. The Devil, on the other hand, is the only being in the tale to show some intelligence, perhaps even humour, in taking the form of a wriggling, presumably charming, phallic symbol through which to tempt a woman. As both Judaism and Christianity depend so intimately on the basic premises of Genesis, this lost paradise of the soul is evoked several times throughout both Old and New Testaments. The crucified Jesus promised the thief hanging on the cross next to him ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise’,11 although it is unclear how those listening may have interpreted this term. Did they see it as synonymous with ‘heaven’, a state of bliss that must remain unknowable to the living (and remain for ever unknown to the wicked)? Or did it somehow encompass the old idea of the luxuriant garden?
Lynn Picknett (The Secret History of Lucifer (New Edition))
Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world till the close of time. One class avail themselves of the appointed [73] sacrifice for sin; the other venture to depend upon their own merits; theirs is a sacrifice without the virtue of divine mediation, and thus it is not able to bring man into favor with God. It is only through the merits of Jesus that our transgressions can be pardoned. Those who feel no need of the blood of Christ, who feel that without divine grace they can by their own works secure the approval of God, are making the same mistake as did Cain. If they do not accept the cleansing blood, they are under condemnation. There is no other provision made whereby they can be released from the thralldom of sin. The class of worshipers who follow the example of Cain includes by far the greater portion of the world; for nearly every false religion has been based on the same principle—that man can depend upon his own efforts for salvation. It is claimed by some that the human race is in need, not of redemption, but of development—that it can refine, elevate, and regenerate itself. As Cain thought to secure the divine favor by an offering that lacked the blood of a sacrifice, so do these expect to exalt humanity to the divine standard, independent of the atonement. The history of Cain shows what must be the results. It shows what man will become apart from Christ. Humanity has no power to regenerate itself. It does not tend upward, toward the divine, but downward, toward the satanic. Christ is our only hope. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” “Neither is there salvation in any other.” Acts 4:12.
Ellen G. White (Patriarchs And Prophets)
How much more relevant could God be than to be a provider of food for life? What good is religion if it cannot feed the hungry? Satan was perilously and painfully close to a truth. But it was a half-truth, and a half-truth gets so interwoven with a lie that it becomes deadlier by the mix. Ask yourself this question: What kind of a following would result if the sole reason for the affection toward the leader is that he provides his followers with bread? Both motives would be wrong—for the provider and the receiver. These are the terms of reward and punishment that are mercenarily tainted and have diminishing returns, at best engendering compliance, but not love. Their appeal, too, is soon lost when offered as enticements or when withheld to engender fears. Dependence without commitment will ever look for ways to break the stranglehold. The
Ravi Zacharias (Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message)
No, Jesus is right by your side to encourage you and restore you to wholeness. You may say, “But I don’t deserve it!” That’s right. That’s what makes it His unmerited favor in your life. There is a beautiful psalm that says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23–24). When you fail, Jesus is there to uphold you. Unlike some of your so-called “friends,” He does not just take off. You can count on Him. He is a faithful, dependable and trustworthy friend. Even when you have failed Him, He is right there with you, ready to pick you up and restore you to wholeness. Amen! The Bible talks about a friend who “sticks closer than a brother.” That’s Jesus! Beloved, lean on His constant presence. Draw on His unfailing strength and support for you today.
Joseph Prince (100 Days of Favor: Daily Readings From Unmerited Favor)
THERE is a view of the Christian life that regards it as a sort of partnership, in which God and man have each to do their part. It admits that it is but little that man can do, and that little defiled with sin; still he must do his utmost--then only can he expect God to do His part. To those who think thus,it is extremely difficult to understand what Scripture means when it speaks of our being still and doing nothing, of our resting and waiting to see the salvation of God. It appears to them a perfect contradiction, when we speak of this quietness and ceasing from all effort as the secret of the highest activity of man and all his powers. And yet this is just what Scripture does teach. The explanation of the apparent mystery is to be found in this, that when God and man are spoken of as working together, there is nothing of the idea of a partnership between two partners who each contribute their share to a work. The relation is a very different one. The true idea is that of cooperation founded on subordination. As Jesus was entirely dependent on the Father for all His words and all His works, so the believer can do nothing of himself. What he can do of himself is altogether sinful. He must therefore cease entirely from his own doing, and wait for the working of God in him. As he ceases from self-effort, faith assures him that God does what He has undertaken, and works in him. And what God does is to renew, to sanctify, and waken all his energies to their highest power. So that just in proportion as he yields himself a truly passive instrument in the hand of God, will he be wielded of God as the active instrument of His almighty power. The soul in which the wondrous combination of perfect passivity with the highest activity is most completely realized, has the deepest experience of what the Christian life is.
Andrew Murray (Abide in Christ)
Consider these differences: Self help depends on my efforts to get where I need to go, sanctification asks God to do what only He can, and then equips me to do what I can in response. Self help focuses on my definition on healthy, helpful, good and wise. Sanctification allows scripture to define the virtues I ought to pursue and display. Self help believes my life is my own, sanctification says that my life is God's and He determines my purpose and path. Self help asserts that knowing my worth and value gives my life meaning, but sanctification moves me to find my worth in what Jesus paid for me. Self help pursues good things, sanctification chases God things. Self help strives to make my life easier, sanctification is submitting to a life that may be harder, but better. Self help has me at the center, sanctification has God at the center. Self help's end game is my happiness, sanctification's goal is my holiness.
Whitney Capps (Sick of Me: from Transparency to Transformation)
When I Find It Difficult to Trust Him Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. PROVERBS 3:5 HAS YOUR HUSBAND ever done something you feel has violated your trust in him? It doesn’t have to be anything as terrible as infidelity. It could be financial irresponsibility, or some kind of lie or deception, or hurtful treatment of you, or a confidence he shared with someone else. Whatever it is, you can find yourself wary—always suspecting he may do the same thing again. Yet there must be trust in your marriage relationship or you can never move forward. Living in such a close relationship without trust is not living at all. It’s remarkably sad to not be able to trust the one we are supposed to trust the most. If this has happened to you, it must be remedied, rectified, and resolved. Only God can truly restore the kind of trust you need to have. If your husband has done something to lose your trust, pray that God will lead him to complete repentance. Pray also that your heart will be willing to forgive him. This can be especially hard if he is a repeat offender, but it is not too hard for God to work forgiveness in your heart if you are willing. Ask God to set you free of all anger, frustration, disappointment, fear, and resentment. The most important thing to do after you have prayed for your husband’s repentance and your forgiveness is to pray you will trust God to work a miracle in your husband’s heart and yours as well. You have to first decide that You will trust God with all your heart and not lean on your own understanding. Then He will enable you to trust your husband again. My Prayer to God LORD, I confess any time when I have lost faith in my husband and don’t have full trust in him. I know that is not the way You want me to live. Help us both to have faith in each other and not live in constant distrust, bracing ourselves for what violation of trust is going to happen next. Where my distrust is unfounded, I pray You would help me to see that and enable me to step out in trust of him again. Where my distrust is legitimate because he has truly violated that trust, I ask for a miracle of restoration. First of all, I pray You would lead my husband to total repentance. Bring him to his knees before You in confession so he can be restored. I pray he will be sincerely apologetic to me as well. Second, help me to forgive him so completely that I can trust him fully without reservation again. And last, but most important of all, help me to trust You with all my heart to rectify this situation. Work powerfully in my husband to make him trustworthy, and do a work in me to make me trusting. Help me to not depend on my own reasoning, but rather to depend on Your ability to transform us both. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Stormie Omartian (The Power of a Praying Wife Devotional)
Keeping a new church outwardly focused from the beginning is much easier than trying to refocus an inwardly concerned church. In order to plant a successful church, you have to know that you know that you are undeniably called by God. The call to start a new church plant is not the same as the call to serve in an existing church or work in a ministry-related organization. You may be the greatest preacher this side of Billy Graham but still not be called to start a church. If you think you may have allowed an improper reason, voice or emotion to lead you to the idea of starting a new church, back away now. Spend some more time with God. You don’t want to move forward on a hunch or because you feel “pretty sure” that you should be planting a church. You have to be completely certain. “You’re afraid? So what. Everybody’s afraid. Fear is the common ground of humanity. The question you must wrestle to the ground is, ‘Will I allow my fear to bind me to mediocrity?’” When you think of a people group that you might be called to reach, does your heart break for them? If so, you may want to consider whether God is specifically calling you to reach that group for His kingdom. Is your calling clear? Has your calling been confirmed by others? Are you humbled by the call? Have you acted on your call? Do you know for certain that God has called you to start a new church? Nail it down. When exactly were you called? What were the circumstances surrounding your call? How did it match up with the sources of proper calling? Do you recognize the four specific calls in your calling? How? How does your call measure up to biblical characteristics? What is the emerging vision that God is giving you with this call? As your dependence on God grows, so will your church. One of the most common mistakes that enthusiastic and well-meaning church starters make is to move to a new location and start trying to reach people without thinking through even a short-term strategy. Don’t begin until you count the cost. why would you even consider starting a church (the only institution Jesus left behind and the only one that will last forever) without first developing a God-infused, specific, winning strategy? There are two types of pain: the pain of front-end discipline and the pain of back-end regret. With the question of strategy development, you get to choose which pain you’d rather live with. Basically, a purpose, mission and vision statement provides guiding principles that describe what God has called you to do (mission), how you will do it (purpose) and what it will look like when you get it done (vision). Keep your statement simple. Be as precise as possible. Core values are the filter through which you fulfill your strategy. These are important, because your entire strategy will be created and implemented in such a way as to bring your core values to life. Your strategic aim will serve as the beacon that guides the rest of your strategy. It is the initial purpose for which you are writing your strategy. He will not send more people to you than you are ready to receive. So what can you do? The same thing Dr. Graham does. Prepare in a way that enables God to open the floodgates into your church. If you are truly ready, He will send people your way. If you do the work we’ve described in this chapter, you’ll be able to build your new church on a strong base of God-breathed preparation. You’ll know where you are, where you’re going and how you are going to get there. You’ll be standing in the rain with a huge bucket, ready to take in the deluge. However, if you don’t think through your strategy, write it down and then implement it, you’ll be like the man who stands in the rainstorm with a Dixie cup. You’ll be completely unprepared to capture what God is pouring out. The choice is yours!
Nelson Searcy (Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch)
Isaiah 11.1-9 goes a step further, giving this picture of the messiah a new depth. The coming messiah, who springs from the house of Jesse, is the true 'anointed one'. Yahweh's ruach will 'rest' on him, and will equip him with wisdom, understanding, counsel and strength, and with the fear of the Lord' (cf. 11 Sam. 23.2). His legitimation depends on the divine righteousness, not on his Davidic origin. He will bring justice to the poor and an equitable judgment to the miserable, and he will defeat the wicked - the oppressors. So the kingdom of his righteousness does not merely embrace poor human beings. He brings peace to the whole of creation, peace between man and beast, and peace among the beasts themselves (vv. 6-8). This kingdom will reach out from his holy place Mount Zion, so that `the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord' - a vision which no doubt corresponds to Isaiah's vision at his call (6.3): `the whole earth is full of his glory'.
Jürgen Moltmann (The Way of Jesus Christ)
DAY 10 Finding Contentment But godliness with contentment is a great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 HCSB Everywhere we turn, or so it seems, the world promises us contentment and happiness. We are bombarded by messages offering us the “good life” if only we will purchase products and services that are designed to provide happiness, success, and contentment. But the contentment that the world offers is fleeting and incomplete. Thankfully, the contentment that God offers is all encompassing and everlasting. Happiness depends less upon our circumstances than upon our thoughts. When we turn our thoughts to God, to His gifts, and to His glorious creation, we experience the joy that God intends for His children. But, when we focus on the negative aspects of life—or when we disobey God’s commandments—we cause ourselves needless suffering. Do you sincerely want to be a contented Christian? Then set your mind and your heart upon God’s love and His grace. Seek first the salvation that is available through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and then claim the joy, the contentment, and the spiritual abundance that God offers His children. When you accept rather than fight your circumstances, even though you don’t understand them, you open your heart’s gate to God’s love, peace, joy, and contentment. Amy Carmichael Oh, what a happy soul I am, although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be. Fanny Crosby If I could just hang in there, being faithful to my own tasks, God would make me joyful and content. The responsibility is mine, but the power is His. Peg Rankin The key to contentment is to consider. Consider who you are and be satisfied with that. Consider what you have and be satisfied with that. Consider what God’s doing and be satisfied with that. Luci Swindoll Jesus Christ is the One by Whom, for Whom, through Whom everything was made. Therefore, He knows what’s wrong in your life and how to fix it. Anne Graham Lotz God is everything that is good and comfortable for us. He is our clothing that for love wraps us, clasps us, and all surrounds us for tender love. Juliana of Norwich
Freeman Smith (Fifty Shades of Grace: Devotions Celebrating God's Unlimited Gift)
As for the claim that science is a kind of “faith” because it rests on untestable assumptions, depends on authority, and so on, this involves either a deliberate or an unconscious conflation of what “faith” means in religion versus what it means in everyday life. Here are two examples of each usage: “I have faith that because I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior, I will join my late wife in heaven.” “I have faith that when I martyr myself for Allah, I’ll receive seventy-two virgins in paradise.” “I have faith that the day will break tomorrow.” “I have faith that taking this penicillin will cure my urinary tract infection.” Notice the difference. The first two statements exemplify the religious form of “faith,” the one Walter Kaufmann defined as “intense, usually confident, belief that is not based on evidence sufficient to command assent from every reasonable person.” There is no evidence beyond revelation, authority, and sacred books to support the first two statements. They show confidence that isn’t supported by evidence, and most of the world’s believers would reject them.
Jerry A. Coyne (Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible)
One might wonder how on earth learning came to be seen primarily a result of teaching. Until quite recently, the world’s great teachers were understood to be people who had something fresh to say about something to people who were interested in hearing their message. Moses, Socrates, Aristotle, Jesus—these were people who had original insights, and people came from far and wide to find out what those insights were. One can see most clearly in Plato’s dialogues that people did not come to Socrates to “learn philosophy,” but rather to hear Socrates’ version of philosophy (and his wicked and witty attacks on other people’s versions), just as they went to other philosophers to hear (and learn) their versions. In other words, teaching was understood as public exposure of an individual’s perspective, which anyone could take or leave, depending on whether they cared about it. No one in his right mind thought that the only way you could become a philosopher was by taking a course from one of those guys. On the contrary, you were expected to come up with your own original worldview if you aspired to the title of philosopher.
Russell L. Ackoff (Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track)
Mackenzie, I can fly, but humans can’t. Jesus is fully human. Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being. He is just the first to do it to the uttermost—the first to absolutely trust my life within him, the first to believe in my love and my goodness without regard for appearance or consequence.” “So when he healed the blind?” “He did so as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone.” That came as a shock to Mack’s religious system. “Only as he rested in his relationship with me, and in our communion—our co-union—could he express my heart and will into any given circumstance. So, when you look at Jesus and it appears that he’s flying, he really is… flying. But what you are actually seeing is me, my life in him. That’s how he lives and acts as a true human, how every human is designed to live—out of my life.
William Paul Young (The Shack)
Jack Sanford looks back fondly on childhood visits to the old family farmhouse in New Hampshire. In particular, he’s never forgotten the old well that stood outside the front door. The water from the well was surprisingly pure and cold, and no matter how hot the summer or how severe the drought, the well was always dependable, a source of refreshment and joy. The faithful old well was a big part of his memories of summer vacations at the family farmhouse. Time passed and eventually the farmhouse was modernized. Wiring brought electric lights, and indoor plumbing brought hot and cold running water. The old well was no longer needed, so it was sealed shut. Years later while vacationing at the farmhouse, Sanford hankered for the cold, pure water of his youth. So he unsealed the well and lowered the bucket for a nostalgic taste of the delightful refreshment he once knew. But he was shocked to discover that the well that had once survived the worst droughts was bone dry. Perplexed, he began to ask questions of the locals who knew about these kinds of things. He learned that wells of that sort were fed by hundreds of tiny underground rivulets, which seep a steady flow of water. As long as water is drawn out of the well, new water will flow in through the rivulets, keeping them open for more to flow. But when the water stops flowing, the rivulets clog with mud and close up. The well dried up not because it was used too much but because it wasn’t used enough. Our souls are like that well. If we do not draw regularly and frequently on the living water that Jesus promised would well up in us like a spring,66 our hearts will close and dry up. The consequence of not drinking deeply of God is to eventually lose the ability to drink at all. Prayerlessness is its own worst punishment, both its disease and cause. David’s description of his prayer life is a picture of a man who knew the importance of frequent, regular prayer—disciplined prayer, each morning. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. He knew how important it was to keep the water flowing—that from the human side of prayer, the most important thing to do is just to keep showing up. Steady, disciplined routine may be the most underrated necessity of the prayerful life.
Ben Patterson (God's Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms)
And the extraordinary thing is that according to these texts all powers, all the power and glory of the kingdoms, all that has to do with politics and political authority, belongs to the devil. It has all been given to him and he gives it to whom he wills. Those who hold political power receive it from him and depend upon him. (It is astonishing that in the innumerable theological discussions of the legitimacy of political power, no one has ever adduced these texts! [Matthew 4:8-9; Luke 4:6-7]) This fact is no less important than the fact that Jesus rejects the devil's offer. Jesus does not say to the devil: It is not true. You do not have power over kingdoms and states. He does not dispute this claim. He refuses the offer of power because the devil demands that he should fall down before him. This is the sole point when he says: 'You shall worship the Lord your God and you shall serve him, only him' (Matthew 4:10). We may thus say that among Jesus' immediate followers and in the first Christian generation political authorities - what we call the state - belonged to the devil and those who held power received it from him.
Jacques Ellul (Anarchy and Christianity)
The lowly God-man is the scandal of pious people and of people in general. This scandal is his historical ambiguity. The most incomprehensible thing for the pious is this man’s claim that he is not only a pious human being but also the son of God. Whence his authority: “But I say to you” (Matt. 5:22) and “Your sins are forgiven” (Matt. 9:2). If Jesus’ nature had been deified, this claim would have been accepted. If he had given signs, as was demanded of him, they would have believed him. But at the point where it really mattered, he held back. And that created the scandal. Yet everything depends on this fact. If he had answered the Christ question addressed to him through a miracle, then the statement would no longer be true that he became a human being like us, for then there would have been an exception at the decisive point…. If Christ had documented himself with miracles, we would naturally believe, but then Christ would not be our salvation, for then there would not be faith in the God who became human, but only the recognition of an alleged supernatural fact. But that is not faith…. Only when I forgo visible proof, do I believe in God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (God Is In the Manger)
At the present time, political power is everywhere constituted on insufficient foundations. On the one hand it emanates from the so-called divine right of kings, which is none other than military force; on the other from universal suffrage, which is merely the instinct of the masses, or mere average intelligence. A nation is not a number of uniform values or ciphers; it is a living being composed of organs. So long as national representation is not the image of this organization, right from its working to its teaching classes, there will be no organic or intelligent national representation. So long as the delegates of all scientific bodies, and the whole of the Christian churches do not sit together in one upper council, our societies will be governed by instinct, by passion, and by might, and there will be no social temple. ...We are beginning to understand that Jesus, at the very height of his consciousness, the transfigured Christ, is opening his loving arms to his brothers, the other Messiahs who preceded him, beams of the Living Word as he was, that he is opening them wide to Science in its entirety, Art in its divinity, and Life in its completeness. But his promise cannot be fulfilled without the help of all the living forces of humanity. Two main things are necessary nowadays for the continuation of the mighty work: on the one hand, the progressive unfolding of experimental science and intuitive philosophy to facts of psychic order, intellectual principles, and spiritual proofs; on the other, the expansion of Christian dogma in the direction of tradition and esoteric science, and subsequently a reorganization of the Church according to a graduated initiation; this by a free and irresistible movement of all Christian churches, which are also equally daughters of the Christ. Science must become religious and religion scientific. This double evolution, already in preparation, would finally and forcibly bring about a reconciliation of Science and Religion on esoteric grounds. The work will not progress without considerable difficulty at first, but the future of European Society depends on it. The transformation of Christianity, in its esoteric sense would bring with it that of Judaism and Islam, as well as a regeneration of Brahmanism and Buddhism in the same fashion, it would accordingly furnish a religious basis for the reconciliation of Asia and Europe.
Édouard Schuré (Jesus, the Last Great Initiate)
Sunday Morning V She says, "But in contentment I still feel The need of some imperishable bliss." Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams And our desires. Although she strews the leaves Of sure obliteration on our paths, The path sick sorrow took, the many paths Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love Whispered a little out of tenderness, She makes the willow shiver in the sun For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet. She causes boys to pile new plums and pears On disregarded plate. The maidens taste And stray impassioned in the littering leaves. VI Is there no change of death in paradise? Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs Hang always heavy in that perfect sky, Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth, With rivers like our own that seek for seas They never find, the same receding shores That never touch with inarticulate pang? Why set the pear upon those river-banks Or spice the shores with odors of the plum? Alas, that they should wear our colors there, The silken weavings of our afternoons, And pick the strings of our insipid lutes! Death is the mother of beauty, mystical, Within whose burning bosom we devise Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly. VII Supple and turbulent, a ring of men Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn Their boisterous devotion to the sun, Not as a god, but as a god might be, Naked among them, like a savage source. Their chant shall be a chant of paradise, Out of their blood, returning to the sky; And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice, The windy lake wherein their lord delights, The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills, That choir among themselves long afterward. They shall know well the heavenly fellowship Of men that perish and of summer morn. And whence they came and whither they shall go The dew upon their feet shall manifest. VIII She hears, upon that water without sound, A voice that cries, "The tomb in Palestine Is not the porch of spirits lingering. It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay." We live in an old chaos of the sun, Or old dependency of day and night, Or island solitude, unsponsored, free, Of that wide water, inescapable. Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail Whistle about us their spontaneous cries; Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness; And, in the isolation of the sky, At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make Ambiguous undulations as they sink, Downward to darkness, on extended wings
Wallace Stevens
Honorable, happy, and successful marriage is surely the principal goal of every normal person. Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children and their children’s children down through the many generations. In selecting a companion for life and for eternity, certainly the most careful planning and thinking and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong. In true marriage there must be a union of minds as well as of hearts. Emotions must not wholly determine decisions, but the mind and the heart, strengthened by fasting and prayer and serious consideration, will give one a maximum chance of marital happiness. It brings with it sacrifice, sharing, and a demand for great selflessness. . . . Some think of happiness as a glamorous life of ease, luxury, and constant thrills; but true marriage is based on a happiness which is more than that, one which comes from giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing, and selflessness. . . . One comes to realize very soon after marriage that the spouse has weaknesses not previously revealed or discovered. The virtues which were constantly magnified during courtship now grow relatively smaller, and the weaknesses which seemed so small and insignificant during courtship now grow to sizable proportions. The hour has come for understanding hearts, for self-appraisal, and for good common sense, reasoning, and planning. . . . “Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price. There is a never-failing formula which will guarantee to every couple a happy and eternal marriage; but like all formulas, the principal ingredients must not be left out, reduced, or limited. The selection before courting and then the continued courting after the marriage process are equally important, but not more important than the marriage itself, the success of which depends upon the two individuals—not upon one, but upon two. . . . The formula is simple; the ingredients are few, though there are many amplifications of each. First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals. And then those two parties must come to the altar in the temple realizing that they must work hard toward this successful joint living. Second, there must be a great unselfishness, forgetting self and directing all of the family life and all pertaining thereunto to the good of the family, subjugating self. Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing. Fourth, there must be a complete living of the commandments of the Lord as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . Two individuals approaching the marriage altar must realize that to attain the happy marriage which they hope for they must know that marriage is not a legal coverall, but it means sacrifice, sharing, and even a reduction of some personal liberties. It means long, hard economizing. It means children who bring with them financial burdens, service burdens, care and worry burdens; but also it means the deepest and sweetest emotions of all. . . . To be really happy in marriage, one must have a continued faithful observance of the commandments of the Lord. No one, single or married, was ever sublimely happy unless he was righteous.
Spencer W. Kimball
So what made you the Knox Jagger you are today?” I asked. “The guy whose name has become synonymous with name-taker and ass-kicker? And let’s not forget my personal favorite—panty-procurer?” Knox finished the last of his water before sealing the empty bottle. “It depends on who you ask. A socialist would say it’s because I’m a member of generation Y and have entitlement issues and am lazy. A psychologist would say it’s because I have anger issues stemming from a turbulent childhood and an absent father.” “Do you have an absent father?” I butted in. “So absent I don’t even know who he is.” Knox met my gaze. “But I wasn’t finished with my earlier thought, so stop interrupting. You’re the one who wanted to know, remember?” His smile was in place as he nudged me. “If you ask the church, it’s because I haven’t found Jesus. If you ask the girls, it’s because I have commitment issues. If you ask the guys, it’s because I’m a hot-headed jackass. If you ask the transcendentalists, it’s because I haven’t found my inner chi. And if you ask my mother, it’s because one half of me is made up of the son of a bitch known as my absent father.” And there was Knox Jagger the enigma—ready to throw down one moment and talking about transcendentalism the next one. For one of the few times in my life, I didn’t know what to say. “Now
Nicole Williams (Hard Knox: The Outsider Chronicles)
The knowledge of the alphabet is one of the most common things in the world. It lies at the very foundation of all learning. No one ridicules the child saying that he knows the letters of the alphabet, and for declaring most positively, in spite of all contradiction, that “A” is “A”. And yet he knows that only by faith. He has never investigated the subject for himself; he has accepted the statement of his teacher. The teacher himself had to learn the alphabet in the same way - by faith. It was not demonstrated to him that “A” is “A.” It could not have been. If he had refused to believe the fact till it was demonstrated to him, he never would have learned to read. He had to accept the fact by faith, and then it would prove itself true under every circumstance. There is nothing of which people are more absolutely sure than they are of the letters of the alphabet, and there is nothing for which they are more absolutely dependent on faith. Now, just as the child learns the alphabet, so we learn the truths of God. Whoever receives the kingdom of heaven must receive it as a little child. By faith we learn to know Jesus Christ, who is the Alpha and the Omega, - the entire alphabet of God. He who believes the simple statement of the Bible, concerning creation, may know for a certainty that God did create the heaven and the earth by the power of His Word. The fact that some unbeliever doubts this, and thinks it is foolish, does not shake his knowledge, nor prove that he does not know it, any more than our knowledge of the alphabet is shaken or disproved by some other person’s ignorance of it.
Ellet J. Waggoner (The Gospel in Creation)
February 26 The Past Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new.—Isaiah 43:18-19a (NASB) The past is a nice place to visit, but a terrible place to live. The Bible makes it very clear we are not to stay in the past. The words above are an emphatic “Do not”! When we focus on the past it may become very depressing. It also takes our focus off what God is doing in our life today, and what he wants to accomplish in the future. I thought of an acrostic this morning after I prayed. It is: P.A.S.T. (Pressing Ahead Saying Thanks). The past can teach us many things, some very great lessons; yet it is the future that we as believers should be concerned. Most often the past can remind us of things that were about us; while today and what lies ahead puts our focus on God, His plans, and purposes. When we don’t know what a day can bring, or what the future holds, we become more dependent on our heavenly Father. Going back in time can cause us to think more of what we had, what we did, and what we hated to release, when we really need to move on. Our walk with Jesus is just the opposite—we need to hold on to all things loosely. People, places, and things are all temporary. So let go, let God, and be expecting him to do something new. I’m so thankful God is always at work in my life doing something new. It behooves me then to do my part, to be constantly changing, moving ahead with new spiritual maturity, to prepare me for my life with Jesus and his forever kingdom. Let’s not get stuck in the past, but Press Ahead Saying Thanks for what we have learned, that equips us to move ahead. Thank You Jesus for reminding me to look ahead and find joy in You.
The writers of (God Moments: A Year in the Word)
There is a way of living life, a mode of being religious that causes destruction wherever it appears. It is the misinterpretation of the concept of holiness. It was certainly an issue in Jesus’ day. The variety of the ‘Judaisms’ of Jesus’ day, the various schools or parties, the rabbinic schools of Hillel and Shammai . . . the Essenes . . . apocalyptic sects, mainstream elite like the Sadducees and marginalized Samaritans alike all held to some kind of holiness code, that behavior which made the people right before God. The Temple itself reflected gradations or strata of holiness, from the outer Court of the Gentiles to the Holy of Holies. This meta-map of the Temple was overlaid on Jewish society as well. Just as there were degrees of holy space in the Temple, so also in society various persons had various degrees of holiness . . . It was a hierarchical model, lived out by every group or party except one, that of Jesus. Yet, oddly enough we do not find this holiness language in Jesus’ teaching. Unlike the constant refrain of holiness in the Dead Sea Scrolls or the later Mishnah, Jesus has another set of lyrics using the same melody. Instead of “Be holy as I am holy” Jesus taught “Be merciful as your Father in heaven is merciful” (Luke 6:36). Mercy was for Jesus what holiness was to many of his contemporaries. Notice the same form is used but the substance has changed. Why is this? Because for Jesus, holiness was not a solution but a problem. Holiness caused ostracizing and exclusion; mercy brought reconciliation and re-socialization. Holiness depended on gradation and hierarchy; mercy broke through all barriers. Holiness differentiated persons based upon honor, wealth, family tree, religious affiliation; mercy recognized that God honors all, loves all and blesses all.
Michael Hardin (The Jesus Driven Life: Reconnecting Humanity with Jesus)
February 21 Christ’s Ambassadors We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.—2 Corinthians 5:20 Pretend you are the only Christian left on planet earth. God is depending on you to reach people for Christ. Will you make a good ambassador? Will people want to follow Christ because of the way you live? Ouch! That hits me right between the eyes. I can think of many times in my life that I set a bad example. I know God must have been sorely disappointed in me. Thank goodness he forgives and forgives and forgives some more. How do we hurt our witness for Christ? When we find fault with the church service we show that we are attending for the wrong reason. When we stay at home on Sunday morning we are sending a strong signal that worshiping and praising God are not top priorities in our lives. Have you heard this before? Let someone else do that job. There are plenty of people in our church. They always ask me. Do ambassadors act this way? We sometimes talk about hypocrites in the church. How easy it is to point the finger toward someone else. How many times do we fail as ambassadors for Christ by judging others? We’ve heard it said, “Your life is like an open book People are reading it every day.” Lost people get their concept of Christianity through your life. Does your book have the following chapters: Whining, Telling Half Truths, General Griping, Lack of Self-discipline, Having a Pity Party and My Glass is Always Half Empty? We have been given the ministry of ambassadorship. Our mission is to tell the world what Jesus did for us. One way we do that is through our lives. Dear Father, help our light to shine before men. Like 2 Philippians 2:15 challenges us, help us to “become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which we shine like stars in the universe.
The writers of (God Moments: A Year in the Word)
Door: So spiritual direction is a slow process that looks idle and inefficient. Peterson: It's subversive. I'm a subversive, really. I gather the people in worship, I pray for them, I engage them often in matters of spiritual correction, and I take them on two really strong retreats a year. I am a true subversive. We live in a culture that we think is Christian. When a congregation gathers in a church, they assume they are among friends in a basically friendly world (with the exception of pornographers, etc.). If I, as their pastor, get up and tell them the world is not friendly and they are really idol worshippers, they think I'm crazy. This culture has twisted all of our metaphors and images and structures of understanding. But I can't say that directly. The only way that you can approach people is indirectly, obliquely. A head-on attack doesn't work. Jesus was the master of indirection. The parables are subversive. His hyperboles are indirect. There is a kind of outrageous quality to them that defies common sense, but later on the understanding comes. The largest poetic piece in the Bible, Revelation, is a subversive piece. Instead of (being) a three-point lecturer, the pastor is instead a storyteller and a pray-er. Prayer and story become the primary means by which you get past people's self-defense mechanisms. In my book, I say it this way: "I must remember that I am a subversive. My long-term effectiveness depends on my not being recognized for who I am as a pastor. If the church member actually realized that the American way of life is doomed to destruction and that another kingdom is right now being formed in secret to take its place, he wouldn't be pleased at all. If he knew what I was really doing and the difference it was making, he would fire me." True subversion requires patience. You slowly get cells of people who are believing in what you are doing, participating in it.
Eugene H. Peterson (Subversive Spirituality)
1. TO YOU HE WHO SPOKE and wrote this message will be greatly disappointed if it does not lead many to the Lord Jesus. It is sent forth in childlike dependence upon the power of God the Holy Ghost, to use it in the conversion of millions, if so He pleases. No doubt many poor men and women will take up this little volume, and the Lord will visit them with grace. To answer this end, the very plainest language has been chosen, and many homely expressions have been used. But if those of wealth and rank should glance at this book, the Holy Ghost can impress them also; since that which can be understood by the unlettered is none the less attractive to the instructed. Oh that some might read it who will become great winners of souls! Who knows how many will find their way to peace by what they read here? A more important question to you, dear reader, is this- Will you be one of them? A certain man placed a fountain by the wayside, and he hung up a cup near to it by a little chain. He was told some time after that a great art-critic had found much fault with its design. "But," said he, "do many thirsty persons drink at it?" Then they told him that thousands of poor people, men, women, and children, slaked their thirst at this fountain; and he smiled and said, that he was little troubled by the critic's observation, only he hoped that on some sultry summer's day the critic himself might fill the cup, and he refreshed, and praise the name of the Lord. Here is my fountain, and here is my cup: find fault if you please; but do drink of the water of life. I only care for this. I had rather bless the soul of the poorest crossing-sweeper, or rag-gatherer, than please a prince of the blood, and fail to convert him to God. Reader, do you mean business in reading these pages? If so, we are agreed at the outset; but nothing short of your finding Christ and Heaven is the business aimed at here. Oh that we may seek this together!
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Christian Classics: Six books by Charles Spurgeon in a single collection, with active table of contents)
Thorn in My Side     “Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).     I have a certain person in my life who causes me grief on a regular basis. It seems in order for his day to be complete he must have conflict. If there’s not conflict, then he creates it. And I seem to be his favourite target.   I refer to this person as the “thorn in my side”.  He is a constant reminder to me that fear and anxiety are real feelings. Some days, I think that my life would be absolutely stress free without him and the problems he creates. However, through studying God’s Word, I have been able to see him in a different light. Although I don’t enjoy the trials he puts me through, I’ve realized that because of these things I have come to rely more on God.   I find myself leaning on God’s wisdom and knowledge to help me reply to this man. I find myself praying for the Holy Spirit to fill me with peace when I must confront him. I find myself praying to God for forgiveness – the need to be forgiven for what I think and do, and the need to forgive this man. And recently, I find myself praying for this man. Jesus commanded that we pray for our enemies:   “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).   I am truly learning what this means in my life. Although this man causes me great sorrow and pain, it is through these actions that I have come closer to God. It is through his acts that I have developed a deeper relationship with my Lord. And although I don’t know that I can ever thank him for the anxiety and hurt, I am thankful that through this I have come to know Jesus closer.       Paradoxically, prayer is the activity done in total solitude that reminds me that I am never alone. It is the counter to my illusion of self-sufficiency, a plea for help after much bravado and floundering. Prayer is my signed Declaration of Dependence. ~ Dr. Ramon Presson         Complaining    
Kimberley Payne (Feed Your Spirit - a collection of devotionals on prayer)
She lay quiet, looking at the ceiling. 'I wish the peace to come back,' she said. 'He himself is the peace. He comes if we invite him, and stays, if we ask. It's ourselves who wander away.' 'Why do we wander away?' 'Its the old free-will business—we're charmed by the self, by our own pointless self-seeking.' 'What does he want from us?' 'He wants us to ask him into our lives, to give everything over to him, once and for all.' 'I can't imagine.' 'I couldn't either. I heard it preached and talked about all my life. I exegeted Romans and memorized vast amounts of scripture before I was twelve years old, but somehow it went in one ear and out the other—I got the bone, but not the marrow. Long after becoming a priest, I remained terrified of surrendering anything, much less everything. And then one day I did.' 'Why?' 'Because I could no longer bear the separation from him.' She licked her dry lips. 'You said there would be nothing to lose.' 'And everything to gain.' 'I don't wish to be humiliated.' 'By God?' He took the lid from the balm and moistened the swab. 'By anyone, and especially God.' 'God does not humiliate the righteous. He may fire us in the kiln to make us vessels, crush us like grapes so we become wine—but he never humiliates. That is the game of little people.' 'I have always depended on my own resources.' 'God gives us everything, including resources. But without him in our lives, even our resources fail.' He applied the balm. 'Tell me again why the peace comes—and then goes away.' 'His job is to stick with us, no matter what, and it's our job to stay close to him. Draw nigh to me, he says, and I will draw nigh to you. When we wander away, all we need to do is cry out to him, and he draws us back—into his peace, his love, his grace. He doesn't wander, we do.' 'Why must it come to this? Why must our lives be shackled to some so-called being who can't even be seen?' 'But he can be seen. We see him in each other every day. I see him in you.' She closed her eyes, A long breath from her, as if she'd been holding it back. 'I've hurt many people,' she said 'Despair can be passed like a wafer to everyone around us, especially to those close to us. Into the bloodstream it goes, and down along the family line . . . .' 'Such an emptiness,' she said. 'Blaise Pascal . . . said, There's a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can't be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made know through Jesus Christ.' 'I don't wish to go on . . . without the peace . . . .' It was his own surrender he saw in her.
Jan Karon (In the Company of Others (Mitford Years, #11))
When I Want a Gentle and Quiet Spirit Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 PETER 3:3-4 IT’S GOOD TO TAKE CARE of yourself and make a consistent effort to always look good for your husband. But while you tend to your health and do what you should to stay attractive to him in what you wear and how you care for your skin and hair, you cannot neglect your inner self, where your lasting and ever-increasing beauty is found. The Bible says that the beauty of a gentle and quite spirit cannot be lost and is always pleasing to God. Having a quiet spirit doesn’t mean you barely talk above a whisper. God has given you a voice, and He intends for you to use it. But it is the quiet and peaceful spirit behind your voice that communicates you are not in an internal uproar. A gentle spirit doesn’t mean you are weak. It means that you aren’t brash, obnoxious, or rude. It means you are godly in nature and have love and respect for the people around you. What is in your heart shows on your face. The attractiveness of inner peace and gentleness in you will always manifest as beauty externally as well. And that is appealing to everyone—especially your husband. Pray that God’s Spirit in you will be the most important part of who you are, and that you will reflect the beauty of the Lord, which is beyond compare. His gentle and quiet Spirit in you will be more attractive to others than anything else. My Prayer to God LORD, I pray You would give me a gentle and quiet spirit, which I know is precious in Your sight. Enable me to have the inner beauty that is incorruptible, which comes from Your Spirit of peace dwelling in me. Only You can fill me with all I need in order to become as You want me to be. Show me how to always be attractive to my husband in the way I dress and look, but more importantly, help me to remember and understand where true and lasting beauty comes from. Enable me to be perceived by him and others as beautiful because of Your beautiful reflection in me. Help me to never be offensive or undesirable to be around. Keep me from allowing anyone to bring out the worst in me. Let the beauty of Your Spirit in me shine through and above all the fleshly parts of me that I am still dealing with and trying to allow You to perfect. Fill my heart with Your love, peace, and joy so that they are what always show on my face. Pour Your Spirit over me and in me so that what is seen on my face is not anger, concern, worry, or sadness, but rather contentment, calm, peace, and happiness. I depend on You to accomplish this in me because I know I cannot achieve this on my own. I worship You, Lord, as the Savior, Restorer, and Beautifier of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Stormie Omartian (The Power of a Praying Wife Devotional)
When I Know I Must Speak Pleasant Words Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. PROVERBS 16:24 WHAT ARE THE FIRST WORDS you speak to your spouse when you both get up in the morning? Are they pleasant and positive? Are they covered with the love and joy of the Lord? Or are they powered by yesterday’s resentments, disappointments, and unfulfilled expectations? It is of utmost importance that a wife sets the tone of the day for the entire family, but especially for her husband. It is easy for you as a wife to not be ahead of your emotions and thoughts before you talk to your husband in the morning, especially when you have a lot on your plate, too much to do, you don’t feel well, you’re upset at your husband, or you haven’t had enough time with the Lord to get your heart right. And if you have been up in the night, for whatever reason, and haven’t had enough sleep, your mind can be set on a negative track long before your husband wakes up. You may have already thought up many things you want to communicate to him that do not include pleasant words. If you dive in with these issues before he is ready to talk, it can set the day on the wrong course. The thing to do, right when you wake up in the morning, is ask God to give you pleasant words that bring “sweetness to the soul” of your husband when you first see him—even if you don’t think he deserves it at that moment. When God gives you the right attitude first thing in the morning, you’ll see what a difference it makes in your day and night. Your husband will respond differently than he would if your words were harsh. A soft word can turn away much suffering and bring great healing. It’s not worth it to start your day any other way. My Prayer to God LORD, I pray You would help me to pause every morning when I wake up to thank You for the day and ask You to fill me afresh with Your love and joy, so that the first words that come out of my mouth to my husband are pleasant. Help me to hesitate before I speak to him for the first time in order to plan how I can set a positive tone for the day. Make me to be a woman with a gentle and loving spirit so that uplifting words flow naturally from me. I pray that the next time I see or talk to my husband, my words will bring sweetness to his soul and health to his body. May they also bring sweetness and health to the very soul of our marriage. I know there are times when pleasant and sweet is not my first reaction. I realize I can sometimes worry and allow thoughts and words that are not glorifying to You. At those times I depend on You to transform me so that I can be a strong conduit for Your love to my husband and family. Help me to be a person he wants to be around. Break in me any bad habits of negative, faithless, or critical thinking. Help me to forgive anything he has done or said that is still in my mind. I release the past to You so I can do what is right today. Help me to always consider the state of my heart before I speak. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Stormie Omartian (The Power of a Praying Wife Devotional)
So his armorbearer said to [Jonathan], “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.” 1 SAMUEL 14:7 Five simple monosyllables—“here I am with you”—but they helped make the difference between success and failure. Jonathan had already won a battle, for which his father, King Saul, took the credit (1 Sam. 13:1–4), but he didn’t care who got the credit so long as God received the glory and Israel was protected. As God’s people, we have always been in conflict with the enemies of the Lord and we have always been outnumbered. There were three kinds of Israelites on the battlefield that day, just as there are three kinds of “Christian soldiers” in the church today. There are those who do nothing. King Saul was sitting under a tree, surrounded by six hundred soldiers, wondering what to do next. Leaders are supposed to use their offices and not just fill them (1 Tim. 3:13). God had given Saul position and authority but he seemed to have no vision, power, or strategy. He was watching things happen instead of making things happen, and spectators don’t make much progress in life. Along with Saul and his small army were a number of Israelites who had fled the battlefield and hidden themselves, and some had even surrendered to the enemy! When Jonathan and his armorbearer started defeating the Philistines and the Lord shook the enemy camp, these quitters came out into the open and joined in the battle. Do you know any Christians like that? Are you one of them? There are those who fear nothing. Jonathan had already won a battle against the Philistines and was a man of faith who was certain that the God of Israel would give his people victory. Perhaps he was leaning on God’s promises in Leviticus 26:7–8, “You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight.” He assured his armorbearer that “nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few” (1 Sam. 14:6). Jonathan expected God to give him a sign that his strategy was right, and God did just that (vv. 9–14). God also caused an earthquake in the enemy camp that made the Philistines panic, and they began to attack each other; and the enemy army began to melt away (v. 16). There are those who hold back nothing. Jonathan’s armorbearer is mentioned nine times in this narrative but his name is never revealed. Like many people in Scripture, he did his job well but must remain anonymous until he is rewarded in heaven. Think of the lad who gave his lunch to Jesus and he fed five thousand people (John 6:8–11), or the Jewish girl who sent Naaman to Elisha to be healed of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1–4), or Paul’s nephew whose fast action saved Paul’s life (Acts 23:16–22). The armorbearer encouraged Jonathan and promised to stand by him. All leaders, no matter how successful, need others at their side who can help expedite their plans. Aaron and Hur held up Moses’s hands as he prayed for Joshua and the Jewish army in battle (Exod. 17:8–16), and Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to watch with him as he prayed in the garden (Matt. 26:36–46). Blessed are those leaders who have dependable associates whose hearts are one with theirs and who hold back nothing but devotedly say, “I am with you.” Jesus says that to us and he will help us to say it to others. I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20
Warren W. Wiersbe (Old Testament Words for Today: 100 Devotional Reflections)
Our Difficulty in Believing in Providence The first obstacle is that, as long as we have not experienced concretely the fidelity of Divine Providence to provide for our essential needs, we have difficulty believing in it and we abandon it. We have hard heads, the words of Jesus do not suffice for us, we want to see at least a little in order to believe! Well, we do not see it operating around us in a clear manner. How, then, are we to experience it? It is important to know one thing: We cannot experience this support from God unless we leave Him the necessary space in which He can express Himself. I would like to make a comparison. As long as a person who must jump with a parachute does not jump out into the void, he cannot feel that the cords of the parachute will support him, because the parachute has not yet had the chance to open. One must first jump and it is only later that one feels carried. And so it is in spiritual life: “God gives in the measure that we expect of Him,” says Saint John of the Cross. And Saint Francis de Sales says: “The measure of Divine Providence acting on us is the degree of confidence that we have in it.” This is where the problem lies. Many do not believe in Providence because they’ve never experienced it, but they’ve never experienced it because they’ve never jumped into the void and taken the leap of faith. They never give it the possibility to intervene. They calculate everything, anticipate everything, they seek to resolve everything by counting on themselves, instead of counting on God. The founders of religious orders proceed with the audacity of this spirit of faith. They buy houses without having a penny, they receive the poor although they have nothing with which to feed them. Then, God performs miracles for them. The checks arrive and the granaries are filled. But, too often, generations later, everything is planned, calculated. One doesn’t incur an expense without being sure in advance to have enough to cover it. How can Providence manifest itself? And the same is true in the spiritual life. If a priest drafts all his sermons and his talks, down to the least comma, in order to be sure that he does not find himself wanting before his audience, and never has the audacity to begin preaching with a prayer and confidence in God as his only preparation, how can he have this beautiful experience of the Holy Spirit, Who speaks through his mouth? Does the Gospel not say, …do not worry about how to speak or what you should say; for what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it will not be you who will be speaking, but the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you (Matthew 10:19)? Let us be very clear. Obviously we do not want to say that it is a bad thing to be able to anticipate things, to develop a budget or prepare one’s homilies. Our natural abilities are also instruments in the hands of Providence! But everything depends on the spirit in which we do things. We must clearly understand that there is an enormous difference in attitude of heart between one, who in fear of finding himself wanting because he does not believe in the intervention of God on behalf of those who lean on Him, programs everything in advance to the smallest detail and does not undertake anything except in the exact measure of its actual possibilities, and one who certainly undertakes legitimate things, but who abandons himself with confidence in God to provide all that is asked of him and who thus surpasses his own possibilities. And that which God demands of us always goes beyond our natural human possibilities!
Jacques Philippe (Searching for and Maintaining Peace)
..."facts" properly speaking are always and never more than interpretations of the data... the Gospel accounts are themselves such data or, if you like, hard facts. But the events to which the Gospels refer are not themselves "hard facts"; they are facts only in the sense that we interpret the text, together with such other data as we have, to reach a conclusion regarding the events as best we are able. They are facts in the same way that the verdict of a jury establishes the facts of the case, the interpretation of the evidence that results in the verdict delivered. Here it is as well to remember that historical methodology can only produce probabilities, the probability that some event took place in such circumstances being greater or smaller, depending on the quality of the data and the perspective of the historical enquirer. The jury which decides what is beyond reasonable doubt is determining that the probability is sufficiently high for a clear-cut verdict to be delivered. Those who like "certainty" in matters of faith will always find this uncomfortable. But faith is not knowledge of "hard facts"...; it is rather confidence, assurance, trust in the reliability of the data and in the integrity of the interpretations derived from that data... It does seem important to me that those who speak for evangelical Christians grasp this nettle firmly, even if it stings! – it is important for the intellectual integrity of evangelicals. Of course any Christian (and particularly evangelical Christians) will want to get as close as possible to the Jesus who ministered in Galilee in the late 20s of the first century. If, as they believe, God spoke in and through that man, more definitively and finally than at any other time and by any other medium, then of course Christians will want to hear as clearly as possible what he said, and to see as clearly as possible what he did, to come as close as possible to being an eyewitness and earwitness for themselves. If God revealed himself most definitively in the historical particularity of a Galilean Jew in the earliest decades of the Common Era, then naturally those who believe this will want to inquire as closely into the historical particularity and actuality of that life and of Jesus’ mission. The possibility that later faith has in some degree covered over that historical actuality cannot be dismissed as out of the question. So a genuinely critical historical inquiry is necessary if we are to get as close to the historical actuality as possible. Critical here, and this is the point, should not be taken to mean negatively critical, hermeneutical suspicion, dismissal of any material that has overtones of Easter faith. It means, more straightforwardly, a careful scrutiny of all the relevant data to gain as accurate or as historically responsible a picture as possible. In a day when evangelical, and even Christian, is often identified with a strongly right-wing, conservative and even fundamentalist attitude to the Bible, it is important that responsible evangelical scholars defend and advocate such critical historical inquiry and that their work display its positive outcome and benefits. These include believers growing in maturity • to recognize gray areas and questions to which no clear-cut answer can be given (‘we see in a mirror dimly/a poor reflection’), • to discern what really matters and distinguish them from issues that matter little, • and be able to engage in genuine dialogue with those who share or respect a faith inquiring after truth and seeking deeper understanding. In that way we may hope that evangelical (not to mention Christian) can again become a label that men and women of integrity and good will can respect and hope to learn from more than most seem to do today.
James D.G. Dunn (The Historical Jesus: Five Views)