13 Quotes From “Dear Abba”

Dear AbbaDear Abba is an intimate book of prayer and personal reflection; it’s thought-provoking and emotionally-moving. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some of the quotes and prayers I found especially meaningful.

“Dear Abba, I’ve come to the place where I’m letting You love me more each day, but I still struggle with letting You like me.” 

“It would be comical if it wasn’t so sad: all of our desires to make ourselves worthy of this world but unfit for the world to come.”

“Peace and joy go a-begging when the heart of a Christian pants for one sign after another of God’s merciful love. Nothing is taken for granted, and nothing is received with gratitude.”

“I feel like the psalmist tonight—downcast. I was upcast, bright, enjoying the warmth of the day and then suddenly my joy was pickpocketed. It was a small thing, a minor misunderstanding that I could have let roll off like water, but I held on to it and nursed it awhile, and like sin always does, it grew. Now I find my mind completely disturbed, anxious, angry, and my imagination is conjuring up all sorts of somebody-done-me-wrong songs. Why do I not trust You? After so many demonstrations of Your infinitely tender hand, why do I not trust You?”

“Sin does not magnify the suffering of man’s plight; instead, it mitigates it. When I sin, I seek an escape from my humanity. I used to say to myself, ‘Well, you’re only human!’ But sin does not make me human; it compromises my humanity. The philandering husband with his mistress on business trips, the chemically addicted, the thieves who build ivory towers out of stolen money, the sensation-seekers and power brokers who seek substitutes. They do not drink the poverty of the human situation down to the last drop. They dare not stare it full in the face.” 

Yet. Those three letters stop me in my rutted tracks of besetting sins. For You were tempted as I am, yet You did not sin. The humbling point is that on a scale from 1 to 10, I usually give in when the heat reaches 3 or 4, yet You experienced the 10—the full-in-the-face of temptation—and did not give in. You are the friend of sinners, yet You are also the Great High Priest who invites us to come with confidence to Your throne and receive both our daily bread and extra rations for emergencies.”

“To practice poverty of spirit calls us not to take offense or be supersensitive to criticism.

“When the gift of a humble heart is granted, we are more accepting of ourselves and less critical of others. … For the humble person there is a constant awareness of his or her own weakness, insufficiency, and desperate need for God.”

“My friends in Christ, the simple truth is that the Christian Church in America is divided by doctrine, history, and day-to-day living. We have come a long sad journey from the first century, when pagans exclaimed with awe and wonder, ‘See how these Christians love one another!’” 

“Christ’s breakthrough into new life on Easter morning unfettered Him from the space-time limitations of existence in the flesh and empowered Him to touch not only Nepal, but New Orleans, not only Matthew and Magdalene, but me. The Lion of Judah in His present risenness pursues, tracks, and stalks us here and now.”

“I realized today that there is a third character who goes up to the temple to pray: the pharisaic tax collector—a ragamuffin who knows she’s a ragamuffin and wants to make sure everyone else knows she’s a ragamuffin. So she ends up using her sinner status not to cry out for mercy to You, but rather to seek out the attention of others as one who is real and authentic, when in reality she is nothing more than hubris in thrift-shop fashions. I realized this today because I looked in the mirror. God, be merciful to me.” 

“The tendency to continually berate ourselves for real or imaginary failures, to belittle ourselves and underestimate our worth, to dwell exclusively on our dishonesty, self-centeredness, and lack of personal discipline, is the influence of our negative self-esteem. Reinforced by the critical feedback of our peers and the reproofs and humiliations of our community, we seem radically incapable of accepting, forgiving, or loving ourselves.”

“If nobody remembers my name or the works of my hands, if everything that I’ve worked so hard to build over the years crumbles into insignificance, if I lose my health and my wits and even, heaven forbid, my memory, You are still my refuge and strength.” 

Blessing Our Children

IMG_4195So Isaac called for Jacob and he blessed him… (Genesis 28:11).

Isaac blessed Jacob once when he was deceived by Rebekah and Jacob, but here he blesses him again knowing full well that it is Jacob that he is blessing. He starts his blessing with these words: “May God Almighty bless you.”

Later God Himself appears to Jacob to affirm this blessing that Isaac has asked for. Notice how God says He will be the One pouring out the blessing: I am the Lord … I will give you this land … I will be with you … I will bring you back … I will not leave you” (vv. 13-15).

The blessing by Jacob’s Heavenly Father was initiated by the blessing of his earthly father. 

It is important for fathers to bless their children, as this puts them in a place to receive God’s blessing. In the Greek, the word bless means “good words.” So Dad,

  • Say good words to your children
  • Say good words about your children to others
  • Say good words about your children to their Heavenly Father

Don’t ever let your children wonder what God’s blessings are like. Let them know from your blessings what sort of blessings God wants to pour out on them.

Dear Abba (book review)

Dear AbbaAbba is a term of endearment that a child would give to his father, and it’s Brennan Manning’s preferred way of addressing his Heavenly Father. As you might imagine, then, Dear Abba is an intimate prayer journey.

This is a 31-day prayer journey, utilizing passages of Scripture, a passage from one of Manning’s books, and a prayer that Manning wrote as he contemplated that Scripture. There are two readings each day—one for the morning and one for the evening. Each day’s section will only take you a couple of minutes to read, but the thoughts shared will stick with you all day long.

One of the things I especially appreciate about Brennan Manning’s writing is the realness of his words. He doesn’t write in a churchy style, but in real, raw emotion. Then to read his prayers addressed to “Dear Abba” adds an even deeper level of intimacy with God.

Whether you are a fan of Brennan Manning’s work or not, this 30-day journey will take you to a place of greater awareness of God’s abiding presence.

By the way: if you would like to read a review of The Ragamuffin Gospel, another book by Brennan Manning, please click here.

867-5309

MeditatingI know I’m showing my age with this example: But how many of you remember the song by Tommy Tutone that contained Jenny’s phone number. That song hit #4 on the charts in 1982, and yet after all of these years if you start singing the song, people can tell you that Jenny’s number is 867-5309.

Why do we remember such trivial things?!

The way God designed the human brain is absolutely astounding! Electrical impulses from our five senses filter into the brain and are saved as short-term memories, with the emphasis on short. Short-term memories usually last 20-30 seconds. But we can reset the timer by repeating the information again and again.

If we repeat it enough or think about it more, our brain realizes that it has some significance to us, and begins to “solidify” the information in our intermediate memory banks. These intermediary memories last 5-8 hours.

But in order for the intermediary memories to be stored away in our long-term memory—where they can be stored indefinitely—there needs to be an added component from us. That component is emotion.

The more important the information is to us, the greater the likelihood it will be filed in the “do not delete” section of our brain.

People tell me all the time how difficult it is for them to memorize Scripture, but the keys to memorization are built into the Scripture itself.

First, you have to approach it with a passion. Oh, how I love your law! … Therefore I hate every wrong path (Psalm 119:97, 104). The “bookends” of this section show passionate emotion.

Second, you need to sing the Word. Twice the psalmist said he mediated on God’s Word all day long (vv. 97, 99). At the root of this word is to hum. Singing God’s Word attaches emotion to it, and the emotion tells your brain to move it to long-term storage.

Third, you need to realize just how important it is to have the Scripture stored away in your memory banks. In one section of the 119th Psalm we see benefits like: makes me wiser, gives me more insight, I have greater understanding, I can avoid evil paths (vv. 98-102).

C.S. Lewis commented, “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” Jenny’s phone number won’t keep us out of trouble, or draw us closer to God, or even give us insight into helping a friend. But God’s Word will do all of those things … and so much more!

These steps will help you store and retrieve eternally useful truths, and not just fictional phone numbers! Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Painful Love

Sometimes pastors don’t want to say “No” to someone in their congregation because they don’t want to hurt them. Sometimes pastors don’t confront someone in their sinful choices because it seems “mean spirited” to do so.

David Wilkerson

David Wilkerson

Love must be tough. Love sometimes inflicts pain.

“Love inflicts pain, even as it does no harm (Romans 13:10). True love repeatedly disappoints, hurts, confronts, refuses, and disciplines. This is certainly how God has loved us, and we should not expect to love others without hurting them. Love hurts but does not harm. God’s minister bears the sword, but not in vain (v. 4) and with the hope that long-term health will come from short-term faithful wounds.” —Dick Brogden

“Elijah’s hatred for the sins of Israel sprang out of his very strong love for God’s people. He was not a people hater, only a sin hater. He was not a man of revenge, but rather a man whose heart yearned for Israel’s return to the Lord.” —David Wilkerson 

Thursdays With Oswald—Doubting

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

Doubting  

     Lord, I praise You for this place I am in; but the wonder has begun to stir in me—is this Your place for me? Hold me steady doing Your will. It may only be restlessness; if so, calm me to strength that I sin not against You by doubting. 

From Knocking At God’s Door 

I love the “realness” of this prayer!

I’ve been in this same place where Oswald Chambers was. Have you? I know that I know that God has called me to a certain place, but then I begin to second-guess that call. Perhaps challenges have come against me. Perhaps things aren’t moving as easily as I thought they should. Perhaps I don’t have the passion I once had.

Is this God speaking to me, or is this just my impatience? Am I restless because I’m dissatisfied, or am I restless because God is preparing to move me?

Whatever the case, I need to ask the Holy Spirit to calm me. It’s in those calm times that I am strengthened to hear God’s unmistakable Voice. I don’t want to make a rash decision based on the emotion of the moment; I want to clearly hear what God has to say to me. He will either reenergize me to stay put, or He will clearly show me it’s time to move.

21 Quotes From “All In”

All InAll In by Mark Batterson is the sequel to his fantastic book on prayer called The Circle Maker. All In is the challenge to followup our prayer times with bold action. You can read my full book review by clicking here. These are some of the quotes I especially liked from All In—

“When did we start believing God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things?”

“You cannot be in the presence of God and be bored at the same time. For that matter, you cannot be in the will of God and be bored at the same time.”

“The Rich Young Ruler may rank as one of the most religious people in the pages of Scripture. The text tells us that he kept all the commandments. He did nothing wrong, but you can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right. By definition, righteousness is doing something right. We’ve reduced it to doing nothing wrong. … [Jesus] asks the Rich Young Ruler to ante up everything. Why? Because He loved the Rich Young Ruler too much to ask for anything less! We focus on what Jesus asked him to give up but fail to consider what He offered up in exchange.”

“God cannot reveal His faithfulness until we exercise our faith.”

“The first step is always the longest and the hardest. And you can’t just take a step forward into the future. You also have to eliminate the possibility of moving backward into the past.”

“One of our fundamental spiritual problems is this: we want God to do something new while we keep doing the same old thing.”

“When we cling too tightly to what God did last, we often miss what God wants to do next.”

“We all want to spend eternity with God. We just don’t want to spend time with Him. We stand and stare from a distance, satisfied with superficiality. We Facebook more that we seek His face. We text more than we study The Text. And our eyes aren’t fixed on Jesus. They’re fixed on our iPhone and iPads—emphasis on ‘i.’ Then we wonder why God feels so distant.”

“You cannot go to church because you are the church. … Your workplace is your mission field. Your job is your sermon. Your colleagues are your congregation.”

“Our lack of guts is really a lack of faith. Instead of playing to win, we play not to lose.”

“There are two kinds of people in the world—those who ask why and those who ask why not. Going all out is asking why not. Why people look for excuses. Why not people look for opportunities. Why people are afraid of making mistakes. Why not people don’t want to miss out on God-ordained opportunities.”

“We treat failure and success like their antonyms. Failure is a part of every success story. Think of it as the prologue.”

“No matter what tool you use in your trade—a hammer, a keyboard, a mop, a football, a spreadsheet, a microphone, or an espresso machine—using it is an act of obedience. It’s the mechanism whereby you worship God. It’s the way you do what you are supposed to do.”

“I’ve discovered that if I don’t take the first step, God generally won’t reveal the next step.”

“It doesn’t matter what you do, God wants to help you do it. He wants to favor your business plan, your political campaign, your manuscript, your lesson plan, your legal brief, your film, and your sales pitch. But you’ve got to position yourself for that favor by acting in obedience. And if God knows He’ll get the glory, He will bless you beyond your ability, beyond your resources.”

“Courage doesn’t wait until situational factors turn in one’s favor. It doesn’t wait until a plan is perfectly formed. It doesn’t wait until the tide of popular opinion is turned. Courage only waits for one thing: a green light from God. And when God gives the go, it’s full steam ahead, no questions asked.”

“Opportunities typically come disguised as impossible problems.”

“When it comes to sinful rationalizations, we are infinitely creative. But it’s our rationalizations that often annul His revelations. When we compromise our integrity, we don’t leave room for divine intervention. When we take matters into our own hands, we take God out of the equation. When we try to manipulate a situation, we miss out on the miracle.”

“Integrity won’t keep us from getting thrown into a fiery furnace, but it can keep us from getting burned.”

“It’s much easier to act like a Christian than it is to react like one!”

“There has never been and never will be anyone like you, but that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you. And that means no one can worship God like you or for you. You are absolutely irreplaceable in God’s grand scheme. And God is jealous for you—all of you.”

%d bloggers like this: