You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2Corinthians 3:2-3
…incredibly few believers live each day as if the God of the universe has great affection for them.
The pull of religion can be far stronger than the freedom of relationship.
I have observed all over the world that those who discover the depth of the Father’s affection for them and learn to live in it find greater passion for Jesus and freedom from sin and are more engaged with the world than anyone driven by religious obligation.
Nothing fulfills his purpose more than when his love overwhelms you, then transforms you, and then leads you through the rest of your life as a reflection of his glory in the earth.
Truly God has never acted toward us in any way other than with a depth of love that defies human understanding.
…perception is not necessarily reality. If we define God only in our limited interpretation of our own circumstances, we will never discover who he really is.
He does love you more deeply than you’ve ever imagined; he has done so throughout your entire life.
Learning to trust him like that is not something any of us can resolve in an instant; it’s something we’ll grow to discover for the whole of our lives.
– the freedom to be honest, to laugh, to ask the seemingly stupid question, and to relax in one another’s presence.
I understand why he had to take on a disguise to have the relationship with people he had always desired.
For the first time since he walked the Garden with Adam and Eve, God was among people the way he had always wanted to be.
Having just told them that he and the Father were one because the Father was in him, he then invited them into that same relationship.
The friendship Jesus shared with his disciples was the model for the relationship he extends to you.
How can mere humans enjoy such a friendship with the almighty God who created with a word all we see?
What we have not so critically examined is whether or not threatening people with hell engages them in the relationship God has always wanted with them.
If you are in this kingdom only because you fear the alternative, you’ve missed the greatest part of what it means to know God.
How can we feel safe with a God who is seemingly anxious to dangle us over the flames of hell?
He fully reflected the Father’s glory so we might know him as he really is and no longer be victims of our own misinterpretations.
His wrath against sin was not his rejection of us in anger, but only a reflection of the depth of his love that cannot look away unconcerned as sin destroys us.
Instead of desiring to walk in friendship with him, we are only preoccupied with securing his goodies. It’s his blessing we want, not him! How painful that must be for him.
There is no one God does not love with all that he is.
(About the Father of the Prodigal son) The father’s actions make no sense at all, unless he wanted something more for his son than mere responsible behavior.
(Same) He didn’t want his sons’ obedience, but their hearts.
In the long run it doesn’t matter whether rebellion or religion keeps you from a vibrant relationship with the Father; the result is still the same. He is cheated out of the relationship he wants with you, and you never come to know how he feels about you.
We so easily miss the point of his words when we mistakenly relegate them to the distant future involving a second coming and mansions in heaven.
The cross stands as the pivotal event in opening the door for us to dwell in the Father’s love.
It may take a while, but God can help us define his fatherhood based not on the failed record of broken humanity, but on what it really is to be loved by the most awesome Father in the universe.
What is the favor line? It’s the invisible line that tells us whether or not we’ve met enough of someone’s expectations to merit approval.
I never knew that God was simply delighted with me as his child.
I now know that the key to God’s favor doesn’t rest on what I give him but on what he already has given me.
(About Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler) He only wanted him to discover what his attempts to keep the Law already should have – that he didn’t have enough in himself to meet any standard of qualification for God’s life.
He simply put all of his confidence in the mercy of the man from God.
Anytime we set ourselves above others, we only demonstrate how little we understand God’s mercy.
When you are tempted to stake your relationship with God on your own goodness or your sacrifice, don’t even try. Picture the bar so high that you’ll never find away to clear it.
Abandoning our own attempts to establish our won worthiness is central to the power of the gospel.
Fear is so powerful that almost all of our human institutions use various forms of it to keep people under control.
In a fallen world, fear is the only way to hold society in check.
He invited those around him to a God who loved them completely and to a kingdom more valuable than anything they had ever known. He didn’t use their fears because he knew that fear was part of the problem, even their fear of God. Though it might be easily manipulated to secure a temporal response, it would never be enough to bring them to the fullness of his Father’s glory.
"The Lord God gives me the right words to encourage the weary.
Each morning he awakens me eager to learn his teaching;
he made me willing to listen and not rebel or run away."
"We are your symphony, Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life."
— Governor Gertrude Lang (Joanna Gleason) in Mr. Holland's Opus
"It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
"...to be little with God is to be little for God."
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
"He became what we are that He might make us what He is"
Saint Athanasius, 295-373
"It is the Christ in you, who recognizes the Christ in me...From now on, wherever you go, or wherever I go, all the ground between us will be holy ground."
Henri J.M. Nouwen
"…I have no better answer than the example of Jesus, who knew above any of us the wisdom of the Father and yet who felt a strong need to flood the heavens with requests."
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."
"The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him."