battle, difficulties, discipleship, draw near to God, encouragement, faith, Father God, forgiveness, forgiving sin, giving, grace, judging others, past, quotes

Forgive, and Forgiven

“Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.”

–Billy Graham

“God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness.”

–Henry Ward Beecher

“If you take care of yourself and walk with integrity, you may be confident that God will deal with those who sin against you. Above all, don’t give birth to sin yourself; rather, pray for those who persecute you. God will one day turn your persecution into praise.”

–Warren Wiersbe

“bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.”

Colossians 3:13, CSB

 

 

complaining, giving, God, goodness, grace, pilgrims and strangers, psalms, quotes, self-centered, thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Starts in Our Hearts

The First Thanksgiving

“Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.”

–Andrew Murray

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.”

Psalm 30:4

 

 

 

abiding, advice, an intense love, battle wounds, believer, Bible promises, blood of Jesus, brokenness, Bryan's comments, change, comfort, compassion, complete surrender, contrite heart, correction, decisions, desperation, devotional, difficulties, discipleship, distinctiveness, encouragement, endurance, eternal life, evil, faith, Father God, first-love, following Jesus, forgiving sin, giving, God, God's acceptance, God's dealings, goodness, grace, guidance, heart knowledge, helpful, intensity, intimacy, Jesus Christ, justification, kindness, kingdom of God, lessons learned,, life, life lessons, light vs. darkness, lordship, love, meaning, mercy, my limitations, obedience, personal comments, pleasing God, presence of God, promises, purpose, quite useful,, ragamuffins, rascals and strugglers, rest in God, sanctification, secure, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, shame, sin, special verses, spiritual lessons, spiritual thirst, spiritual warfare, struggle, teaching, the ascended life, thoughtful and aware, transformation, trials, trust, unconditional love, understanding, Very helpful, weakness, will of God, Word, zeal

On Being Loved

risk-being-loved

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all thingsand desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

Jeremiah 17:9

For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.”

Romans 8:7-8

The reality is that we are in a real fix. The grim news isn’t changed simply because we graduated from a ‘charm school’ or become Eagle Scouts. We are fundamentally flawed, our hearts throughly contaminated. Any good we try to do is a ‘freak of nature,’ and astronomically beyond our ability. The race of men has failed. (Maybe that’s why history keeps repeating itself.) Without the presence of God, we would destroy ourselves. And each other.

The word “hostile” is used. That sort of sums it all up, doesn’t it?

God’s Constant Love for You

8 “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

Romans 5:8

Although we’re in active rebellion, “God so loved the world…” His love for us is called ‘agape,’ it is a word used in the New Testament, and it’s a love marked by consistency and selflessness. God loves without any conditions or merit on our part. Agape is love undeserved. The word is full of mercy, a concept very hard for us to grasp.

God’s love for us the way the universe is run. Love is what empowers Him to save us from our sins. It is the Lord’s love that draws us to Himself. Love is like a magnet that pulls us out of darkness into the light. His love for you is infinite.

“In math, if you divide an infinite number by any number, no matter how large, you still have an infinite quotient. So Jesus’ love, being infinite, even though it is divided up for every person on earth, is still infinitely poured out on each one of us!”

  Charles Spurgeon

You can trust the Lord to be fully loving you right this minute. It is a full and constant love— there is scarcely a human parallel. The ‘prophets’ exhaust language seeking a metaphor to explain God’s love to a doubting and disobedient people. I imagine they are frustrated; they can’t explain what they’ve seen. They try, and end up explaining God’s love by type: marriage, and motherhood.

Over and over, these two metaphors are used extensively. And over and over you can see the love of God for people (flesh and blood, like you and I) for us. He loves us like a husband loves his straying wife. He loves us like a father loves his struggling child. We stray and struggle, and we will find no peace apart from His love. After all we are His, and we really can’t ‘work right” apart from His guiding presence.

Look at His heart. See His hands.

They both bear us witness of a supreme love. He loves you right now— wrecked and ravaged by your sin. I don’t know where you are at this very moment, but I do know He loves you intensely. Sin may have destroyed you, but His love never, ever vacillates. God is passionate about you— He won’t let you go. But you must risk being loved.

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.”

1 John 3:1

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

advice, alert, believer, Bible promises, bipolar disorder, Bryan's comments, change, christlikeness, church life, contrite heart, depression, devotional, discernment, discipleship, encouragement, faith, faith that works, faithfulness, following Jesus, food, giving, God, goodness, grace, guidance, helpful, homeless, humility, Jesus Christ, kindness, lessons learned,, life, life lessons, love, manic depression, mental health, mental illness, ministry, obedience, personal comments, pleasing God, pleasing self, poor, poverty, power, prophecies, quite useful,, self importance, self-centered, self-righteousness, selfishness, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, spiritual lessons, understanding

Like Well-Watered Gardens: Isaiah 58

 988260_555532177842117_1231249567_n

Feed the hungry,
    and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
    and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
    giving you water when you are dry
    and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like an ever-flowing spring.”

Isaiah 58:10-11, NLT

This is the precise key many need for this moment. It just could be as vital as your next breath.

You see our faith was never intended to be a personal ‘spiritual make-over.’ Discipleship was not meant to be about becoming a ‘new-and-improved’ person. That simply is not the message. There can be an emphasis placed on a selfish preoccupation with becoming better (and nicer) and we miss out on God’s real intent for His redeemed people. The difference is subtle but significant. We cannot sanctify our selfishness— no matter how hard we might try. 

For years I travelled under a misconception that God wanted from me ‘a better Bryan.’ I felt like a juggler trying to keep the balls moving. But by making this my focus, and not on others, I only exacerbated my mental illness. For me, my depression is only intensified when I look inside. Often I can’t see the needs around me. All I can see are my own issues (which are formidable.)

Isaiah prophesies a spiritual ’cause-and-effect.” If a person will only reach out to others will there be a spiritual blessing. Often we struggle because we don’t realize the implications of being spent for others. We become ‘a well-watered garden’ if we will only reach out to others. If we would only learn that it is when we give out— we receive. The kingdom is reciprocal in the way blessings come.

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Acts 20:35

The entire chapter of Isaiah 58 makes it a vital point to the people of God. Our own healing is contingent on becoming a blessing to others. If we will pour out we will be poured on. We become ‘a well-watered garden’ when we begin to serve others. Our own ‘healing’ will come when we reach out to the desperate needs around us. After all, isn’t that what we’re supposed to be about?

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

accepting Christ, advice, an intense love, battle, believer, Bible promises, Bryan's comments, christlikeness, church life, compassion, correction, creativity, Creator, devotional, discipleship, encouragement, endurance, eternal life, faith, faithfulness, fellowship, first-love, following Jesus, forgiving sin, gentleness, giving, glory of God, goodness, grace, helpful, Holy Spirit, hope, humility, idolatry, intensity, Jesus Christ, joy, justification, lessons learned,, life lessons, lost causes, love, meaning, mental illness, ministry, miracle, obedience, personal comments, pleasing God, praise, presence of God, quotes, rest in God, resurrection, sanctification, self importance, self-righteousness, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, sin, special verses, spiritual lessons, taste and see, teaching, theology, thoughtful and aware, transformation, transparency, trust, truth, understanding, Very helpful, watching and waiting, weakness, will of God, wisdom, worry, worship

Putting It Simply

10565197_10152631028653385_42394872681436879_n

“But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42, ESV

I tend to over-think things a lot. Everything gets so darn complicated. Often there is ‘a paralysis of analysis’ that gels into something stagnant and murky. I am definitely not the decisive person I admire from a distance. My illness is such that I can easily become “immobilized” in making simple decisions.

But I am aware of my desperate need of Christ Himself. My many issues demand a ‘heavy duty’ Savior, one who is capable of handling them. I guess I have tried many ‘gods’ and I haven’t found any of them who can take the load like Jesus can.

All that He has done in the Gospels, and all that He does presently declares to me his trustworthiness and power. My admiration for Christ as my Savior and Deliverer is written on the pages of the Bible. His present day ministry to me (and many others) is consistent with what I read about him in the Word.

And it is amazingly simple, when you think it through. He lived, died, and rose again for those ‘rebels’ who deserve death. The simplicity is profound. I do not have to be a Nobel Prize winner to understand. Without cheapening ‘redemption’ He has reduced things to a straightforward idea. He dies in my place, and now gives me his life to live.

I want to listen to Him. I want to come so close that I can hear the very inflection of his voice when he does speak to me. You see, we are built as communicators, and that is the part that ‘small gods’ can’t provide. They’re merely ‘dead idols.’

I so want to please him, even if he corrects me.

I want to learn at his feet, just as Mary did at her home in Bethany. Often I feel like I will probably be ‘the least of all the disciples’, but I’m okay with that. After all, it’s all about Him.

aabryscript

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

Revelation 3:20

flourish-bird

abiding, battle, battle wounds, believer, Borderline, Brennan Manning, broken believers, brokenness, calling, desperation, devotional, difficulties, discipleship, encouragement, faith, following Jesus, forgiveness, giftedness, giving, God, God's dealings, grace, holiness, hope, intimacy, Jesus Christ, kingdom of God, kyrie eleison, life lessons, love, manic depression, mental illness, mental or physical illness, misjudging Jesus, my limitations, obedience, pain, personal comments, presence of God, quotes, ragamuffins, rascals and strugglers, rest in God, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, spiritual lessons, understanding, Very helpful

Brokenness, Depression and Brennan Manning

I’ve put together a collection of quotes by my favorite author, Brennan Manning.  I have found that when he writes, he penetrates.  What he writes goes deep into the soul of this ex-junkie, loser, and mentally ill person—he tells me of God’s love like few have ever done. 

To Manning, every person is redeemable, none are too far gone.  Brennan Manning was a strong voice to the weak, the lame, the mentally challenged, and for the prodigal.


crucifixion

“There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.”

My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”

 “To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.”

“To be alive is to be broken; to be broken is to stand in need of grace.”

“Christianity doesn’t deny the reality of suffering and evil… Our hope… is not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering. Rather, it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over suffering.”

“I am what I am in the sight of Jesus and nothing more. It is His approval that counts.”

“[Be] daring enough to be different, humble enough to make mistakes, wild enough to be burnt in the fire of love, real enough to make others see how phony [you] are.”

“The blood of the Lamb points to the truth of grace: what we cannot do for ourselves, God has done for us. On the cross, somehow, someway, Christ bore our sins, took our place, died for us. At the cross, Jesus unmasks the sinner not only as a beggar but as a criminal before God.”

“Do the truth quietly without display.”

“It is for the inconsistent, the unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.”

“The dominant characteristic of an authentic spiritual life is the gratitude that flows from trust—not only for all the gifts that I receive from God, but gratitude for all the suffering. Because in that purifying experience, suffering has often been the shortest path to intimacy with God.”

“I am deeply distressed by what I only can call in our Christian culture the idolatry of the Scriptures. For many Christians, the Bible is not a pointer to God but God himself… God cannot be confined within the covers of a leather-bound book. I develop a nasty rash around people who speak as if mere scrutiny of its pages will reveal precisely how God thinks and precisely what God wants.”

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny him with their life style. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

“The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise. He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven. It serves as an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness.”

“In essence, there is only one thing God asks of us–that we be men and women of prayer, people who live close to God, people for whom God is everything and for whom God is enough. That is the root of peace.”

***********

I really hope some of these quotes have connected.  Brennan Manning has authored several books all of which I can heartily recommend. 

I blame him for this blog’s theme–that brokenness is our path out of depression: Bipolar, Schizophrenia, OCD, PTSD, Schizoaffective disorder, and addictions.

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

*

advice, alert, battle, battle wounds, believer, Bible promises, bipolar disorder, blessings, brokenness, bruised mind, Bryan's comments, comfort, confidence, contrite heart, delusions, depersonalization, depression, despair, desperation, devotional, difficulties, discernment, discipleship, encouragement, faith, first-love, following Jesus, giftedness, giving, God, goodness, grace, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, lessons learned,, life lessons, lost causes, manic depression, medications, mental health, mental illness, paranoia, personal comments, presence of God, ragamuffins, rascals and strugglers, rest in God, scars, schizophrenia, Serving Mentally Ill Christians, sin, spiritual lessons, strength, trust, truth, understanding, watching and waiting

Of A Sound Mind, [Healthy & Sane]

 

2-Timothy_1-7

“A sound mind.” For some of us that doesn’t seem remotely possible. Over the years we personally have reason to believe this is not real. As mentally ill people we seem to think that we can’t be this way. We think that maybe this applies to normal people, and certainly not me (2 Tim. 1:7).

But it is a gift. That’s important to note. (Just as eternal life is a gift.) I can’t earn it; nor can I generate it up. It must be simply acknowledged and received as a bonus for being a sinner who believes. Sanity is not a fixed condition, but rather a definite process we make. Some of us maybe healthier than others. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we are told that our amazing salvation (!) includes:

  • an amazing love,
  • incredible power,
  • and a sound (healthy) mind.

These three are a gift from God. You don’t buy a gift, nor do you earn it. Rather it comes from someone who loves you (!) and only wants to bless. We may have issues, but the Spirit is sound and lucid.

The healthy mind is a mind without any sick or crippling deficiencies. It is a mind that is vigorous and robust. For those of us who struggle with a mental illness this is astonishingly good news. And it may very well be that you are impaired; but even then you’re given a strength.

My own experience is that the Holy Spirit is working, with my meds, to ‘hold me’ in a good place. Just as a diabetic must take insulin, so I need to take my antidepressant. The brain is an organ that can get sick also. We live in a fallen and broken world.

Grace does heal many, but some of us find ‘weakness’ becoming our real strength.

The very presence of the Holy Spirit is what enables. Broken believers are coming to see that their illnesses are helping them to be weak enough for God to use. “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” 2 Cor. 3:5, NLT

Some thoughts that have helped me out:

“Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives.“ 

— Michael Yaconelli

bizen-kintsukuroi-tea-cup-1 (1)“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold [‘kintsukuroi’]. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”

–Barbara Bloom

aabryscript

cropped-cropped-cropped-christiangraffiti1-11.jpg