“All Is Grace”

Yesterday I finished reading Brennan Manning’s memoir, “All is Grace”. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved by an author. I feel like I had actually known him. He ended the book with a dynamic story about his mother. As a child he felt lonely and unloved, even though he had an older brother, a younger sister and parents. His father was an alcoholic and his mother was unkind to him. He never even went to his Mom’s funeral when she died years later. She had been dead for almost ten years, when her face flashed before his mind one day as he was praying. Her face was as a six year old child. She was kneeling on the windowsill of an orphanage begging God to send her a mommy and daddy that would love her and whisk her away. Brennan then continued. “As I looked, I believe I finally saw my mother; she was a ragamuffin too. And all my resentment and anger fell away. The little girl turned and walked toward me. As she drew closer the years flew by and she stood before me an aged woman. She said, ‘You know, I messed up a lot when you were a kid. But you turned out okay.’ Then my old mother did something she’d never done before in her life, never once. She kissed me on the lips and on both cheeks. At that moment I knew that the hurt between my mother and me was real and did matter, but that it was okay.’ The trusting heart gives a second chance; it is forgiven and, in turn, forgives. I looked at my mother and said, I forgive you. She smiled and said, ‘I guess sometimes you do get what you ask for’. She had told him for years that you don’t always get what you ask for.

Never Criticize Another Man’s Faith

“Do you desire to please God? Then live by faith and follow those who through faith and patience have inherited the promises. Hebrews 11:6 says ‘But without faith, it is impossible to please him…’ It’s impossible!! To let go of your faith just because someone is critical of you is not pleasing to God, nor will it cause you to be the world overcomet that He wants you to be….Paul commands Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:19, ‘… keep a firm grip on your faith.’ Never stop living by faith, and never stop preaching faith no matter how much criticism you may receive. Never stop believing God and never stop standing on His Word!…The Apostle John even wrote in one of his letters that there were those who no longer ‘…acknowledge my authority and refuse to accept what I say …. I decided a long, long time ago not to be moved by what I hear. Just keep on living by faith and receiving the fulfillment of God’s promises – just keep on winning no matter what anybody else says or thinks! I’m going to keep on believing the words of Jesus, ‘If you have faith…nothing shall be impossible unto you’ Matthew 17:20. He did not say if you have grace, or love, or the gifts of the Spirit, He said faith!….The Amplified says ‘…all that we dare ask or think…’In the South we ‘double-dog dare’ people and you just don’t pass up a double dog dare. I believe that God is double-dog daring you to believe Him for the biggest thing you have ever believed Him for! Refuse to give up until it happens! So, go on and dream BIG! Go on and believe BIG and never let go of your faith!'” —–An excerpt from Jerry Savelle’s monthly newsletter

Life-Changing Love

I shared a beautiful story yesterday from Brennan Manning’s book, “The Furious Longing of God”. I could hardly put it down and finished it in a few hours. I can’t remember reading a book that has had such an impact on me. I ordered 3 more of his other books. Another powerful story from the same book is about a young man named Larry Malaney. He is described as an ugly, short, unkempt obese man, who professed to be an agnostic. Larry was going back to college after the Christmas vacation on a bus accompanied by his father. As he and his father got off of the bus, a group of men across the street started yelling terrible insults about Larry. They were brutal, calling him names like pig and slob. Brennan continues. “Larry Malaney told me that in that moment, for the first time in his life, his father reached out and embraced him, kissed him on the lips, and said ‘Larry, if your mother and I live to be 200 years old, that wouldn’t be long enough to thank God for the gift he gave to us in you. I am so proud that you’re my son!’ It would be hard to describe in words the transformation that took place in Larry Mullaney, but I’ll try. He came back to school and remained a hippy, but he cleaned up the best he could. Miracles of miracles, Larry began dating a girl. And to top it off, he became the president of one of the fraternities. By the way he was the first student in the history of our university to graduate with a 4.2 grade average. Larry Malaney had a brilliant mind.” He asked Brennan to tell him about Jesus, was ordained a priest, and was a missionary for over 20 years in South America.

Abba I Belong To You

Brennan Manning shares this powerful story that happened while he was giving a retreat years ago. During the night a 78 year old nun knocked on his door to see if Brennan could help her. From the age of 5 her father sexually abused her. She told him, “I’ve lived with so much hatred of my father and hatred of myself”. He prayed with her for healing and asked her if she would do this. “Find a quiet place every morning for the next 30 days, sit down in a chair, close her eyes, upturn her palms, and pray this one phrase over and over, “Abba, I belong to you”…. (Abba referring to Daddy-God)….He then finished the story. “One of the most moving and poetic follow up letters I’ve ever received came from the sister. In it she described the inner healing of her heart, a complete forgiveness of her father, and an inner peace she never known in her 78 years. She concluded her letter with these words. ‘A year ago, I would’ve signed this letter with my real name in religious life – Sister Mary Genevieve. But from now on, I’m Daddy’s little girl.'” Brennan then concludes with these words. “The greatest gift I’ve ever received in my life in Jesus is the Abba experience. I can only stutter and stammer about the life-changing power of the Abba encounter. My name is Brennan Manning, and I’m Daddy’s little boy.” Wow, that whole story reduces me to tears every time I read it.

God Can Do Anything

“In Him, we can deal with anything because:
No promise is too hard for God to keep.
No prayer is too difficult for God to answer.
No problem is too complex for God to solve.
No person is too hardened for God to save.
No mountain is too big for God to move.
No need is too great for God to meet.
There is nothing our God cannot do!

As Jesus Himself proclaimed, ‘With God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26)! So we really can have unshakable confidence and unshakable faith.” ——-An excerpt from Christine Caine’s devotional, “Unshakeable”

Stand And Deliver

As I turned in my CEV bible to read Titus yesterday, I found this interesting article at the bottom of the page. So I looked up the movie. It was released in 1988 and looks like it would really be good. The following gives a good summary of the movie. “In the movie, “Stand and Deliver”, math teacher Jaime Escalante took on the challenge to teach math to inner city students. Nobody expected his students to learn anything – they were tough kids from bad families. Everything in their academic background said they would fail. But Escalante decided to give those kids a chance. He demanded excellence from them when everyone else expected failure. He devoted his life to them when everyone else begrudged them an hour of class time. He was tough on the kids and expected them to be tougher on themselves. Many of the kids gave up, but those who hung in there won so many math prizes that the State contest officials accused him of cheating.” Persistence always pays off. It’s an attitude that keeps you going in the face of all adversity and knowing that you will win and overcome all. As Ephesians 6:13 says, “…And having done all, to STAND.” AND HE WILL DELIVER YOU!!!

A Trinitarian Song

“Oh my soul come taste and see
The brilliance of the Trinity
Holy Spirit Father Son
Living water is poured from one
In their shadow hide yourself,
In their company find your help,
Cleave to them it will be well
Oh my soul come praise your God.”
By Keith Getty, co-written with Margaret Becker
From the book, “Worshipping The Trinity, Coming Back to The Heart of Worship” by Robin Parry

Always Faithful

I always did like motto of the Marines, Semper Fi, being always faithful, meaning unswerving adherence and loyalty to a person or thing. That’s why I liked the following story. “Newsweek printed an article years ago titled “Letters in the Sand,” a compilation of letters written by military personnel to family and friends in the States during the Gulf War. One was written by Marine Corporal Preston Coffer. He told a friend, ‘We are talking about Marines, not the Boy Scouts. We all joined the service knowing full well what might be expected of us.’ He signed off with the Marine motto, Semper Fi, Latin for always faithful. The Bible says, Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful’. (Corinthians 4:2) NIV” ——From 1001 Quotes, Illustrations & Humorous Stories

Let Love Push You Up Higher

“1 Corinthians 13:1-8, ‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.’In our relationships, we have to learn to let the ones that are more difficult push us into a higher place. We must let love push us higher. Every challenge is an opportunity to either step up or step down. You can take the high road or the low road. Make your challenges a stepping stone to come up higher with the Lord. When difficult times come they can either drive us into the Lord or away from the Lord, but it is our choice. All you have to do is ‘lean into the Lord’ and access His grace to help you overcome. There is no greater reward you can have than to stand before Jesus and hear Him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'” —–From an article by John Belt, “A New Season of Glory and Higher Places”

Don’t Depend On Guesswork

Who do you turn to when you need help, when you need an important answer to an important question? Do you ask God first?…Follow the example of King David. In 1 Chronicles 14, the Bible tells us he was about to face a battle with the very powerful Philistines who had all come out against him. The Philistine nation had been an enemy of Israel for years. David probably could have guessed that God would tell him to go to battle against them. But he didn’t guess! He went to God and inquired, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand” (verse 10). Don’t depend on guesswork. When you encounter a problem, seek the Lord through the Word and in prayer and ask Him what the solution is. No matter how much scripture you learn, no matter how fully you perceive who you are in Christ Jesus, you’ll never outgrow your need to do that. Go to the Lord and find out exactly what He wants you to do. Don’t decide your course of action and then ask God to bless your plans. Go to Him and say, “Lord, what are Your plans?” His plans are already blessed. If you follow them, your victory is guaranteed. ——An excerpt from Kenneth Copeland’s Faith to Faith Daily Devotional