Outrageous Grace

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When people realize that they have received a gift they can never repay, they notify their faces and their actions, and the tenor of their lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. They simply rejoice in the gift. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love is everlasting” (Ps. 107:1).

–Brennan Manning,
Ruthless Trust

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Published in: on 05/30/2017 at 16:59  Leave a Comment  
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Whispering forgiveness

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This is the gospel of grace. A God, who out of love for us, sent the only Son He ever had wrapped in our skin. He learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for His milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross and died whispering forgiveness on us all.

–Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel

When God drew near

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On a wintry night
in an obscure cave,
the infant Jesus was
a humble, naked,
helpless God who
allowed us to get
close to him.

–Brennan Manning

Image: Michael Dudash

Incomprehensible

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You can more easily
catch a hurricane in a shrimp net
than understand the wild, relentless,
love of God made present
in the manger.

–Brennan Manning

Image: Michael Dudash

God’s beloved

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The heart of it is this: to make The Lord and his immense love for you constitutive of your personal worth. Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. God’s love for you and his choice of you constitute your worth. Accept that and let it become the most important thing in your life.

–quoted by Brennan Manning
Abba’s Child

Published in: on 05/31/2013 at 8:54  Leave a Comment  
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It will end well

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[T]he God who came in history and comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory. God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right. Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; he simply stated that the Kingdom of God would conquer all of these horrors, that the Father’s love is so prodigal that no evil could possibly resist it.

–Brennan Manning

Furious love

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“So, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, with all God’s holy people you will have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; so that, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond knowledge, you may be filled with the utter fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Do we really hear what Paul is saying? Stretch, man stretch! Let go of impoverished, circumscribed, and finite perceptions of God. The love of Christ is beyond all knowledge, beyond anything we can intellectualize or imagine.

It is not a mild benevolence but a consuming fire.

Jesus is so unbearably forgiving, so infinitely patient, and so unendingly loving that He provides us with the resources we need to live lives of gracious response.

Does it sound like an easy religion?

Love has its own exigencies. It weighs and counts nothing but expects everything. Perhaps that explains our reluctance to risk. We know only too well that the gospel of grace is an irresistible call to love the same way. No wonder so many of us elect to surrender our souls to rules rather than to live in union with Love.

–Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel

Do you love Me?

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An extraordinary transaction takes place between Jesus and Peter on the Tiberian seashore. The most plaintive words ever spoken take the form of a heart-stopping question: “Do you love Me?” As we lay aside our fuzzy distractions and actively listen, we hear the suffering cry of a God never heard of before. What is going on here?

No deity of any world religion
has ever condescended to inquire
how we feel about that god.

The pagan gods fired thunderbolts to remind persons who was in charge. The Rabbi in whom infinity dwells asks if we care about Him. The Jesus who died a bloody, God-forsaken death that we might live, is asking if we love Him!

–Brennan Manning

Tender and terrible

I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery.

–Brennan Manning

Saturated with grace

Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter—in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.

–Brennan Manning

Where’s the cookies?

In His reply to the disciples’ question about who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1), Jesus abolished any distinction between the elite and the ordinary in the Christian community. “He called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said,I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-4).

Jesus cuts to the heart of the matter as He sits the child on His knee. The child is unself-conscious, incapable of pretense. I am reminded of the night little John Dyer, three years old, knocked on our door flanked by his parents. I looked down and said, “Hi, John. I am delighted to see you.” He looked neither to the right nor left. His face was set like flint. He narrowed his eyes with the apocalyptic glint of an aimed gun. “Where’s the cookies?” he demanded.

The Kingdom belongs to people who aren’t trying to look good or impress anybody, even themselves. They are not plotting how they can call attention to themselves, worrying about how their actions will be interpreted or wondering if they will get gold stars for their behaviour. Twenty centuries later, Jesus speaks pointedly to the preening ascetic trapped in the fatal narcissism of spiritual perfectionism, to those of us caught up in boasting about our victories in the vineyard, to those of us fretting and flapping about our human weakness and character defects.

The child doesn’t have to struggle
to get himself in a good position
for having a relationship with God…

He doesn’t have to craft ingenious way of explaining his position to Jesus; he doesn’t have to create a pretty face for himself; he doesn’t have to achieve any state of spiritual feeling or intellectual understanding. All he has to do is to happily accept the cookies: the gift of the Kingdom.

–Brennan Manning

Loved as we are

If in our hearts we really don’t believe that God loves us as we are, if we are still tainted by the lie that we can do something to make God love us more, we are rejecting the message of the cross.

–Brennan Manning

Letting ourselves be loved

Instead of our self-conscious efforts to be good, we should allow ourselves the luxury of letting ourselves be loved, not after we clean up our act and get all our ducks in a row, not after we have eliminated every trace of sin, selfishness, dishonesty, and degraded love from our resume, not after we have developed a disciplined prayer life and spent ten years in Calcutta with Mother Teresa’s missionaries, but right now, right here . . .

–Brennan Manning

Published in: on 03/04/2012 at 7:23  Leave a Comment  
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Knowing God

The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written Word. Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of “knowing” Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited.

— Brennan Manning

Published in: on 01/26/2012 at 9:00  Leave a Comment  
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Lord of laughter

Jesus Christ risen from the dead is the source, reason, and basis for the inarticulate joy of Christian living. He is the Lord of the dance—the dance of living. He is lord of laughter, and our laughter is the echo of his risen live within us. On Easter Monday, Orthodox monks sit in the monastery all day telling jokes and laughing till their sides hurt.

–Brennan Manning

Published in: on 12/05/2011 at 10:29  Leave a Comment  
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Muffled thunder

Is this miracle enough for anybody?

Or has the thunder of “God so loved the world so much” been so muffled by the roar of religious rhetoric that we are deaf to the word that God could  have tender feelings for us?

–Brennan Manning

Published in: on 06/12/2011 at 19:18  Leave a Comment  
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Irrational Love

It is only the revelation
that God is love that clarifies
the happy irrationality
of God’s conduct and
His relentless pursuit.
For love tends to be irrational.
It pursues in spite of infidelity.

-Brennan Manning

Published in: on 05/28/2011 at 23:42  Leave a Comment  
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The Christlike God

The old religious image of a vindictive, angry punitive God gives way to Jesus, who cherishes all people, even sinners. Jesus does not present a God who demands but who forgives, who does not oppress but raises up, who does not wound but heals, who does not condemn but forgives. Woe then to those who wound, condemn, oppress and punish in his name. It can only be said, they do not know the God of Jesus Christ.

 –Brennan Manning

Belovedness

Living in awareness
of our belovedness
is the axis around which
the Christian life revolves.

–Brennan Manning


Radically loved

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Define yourself radically
as one beloved by God.
This is the true self.
Every other identity
is illusion.

–Brennan Manning

Image: Keith Dixon


No separation

The cross reveals that Jesus has conquered sin and death and that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of Christ. Neither the imposter nor the Pharisee, neither the lack of awareness nor the lack of passion, neither the negative judgments of others nor the debased perception of ourselves, neither our scandalous past nor our uncertain future, neither the power struggles in the church nor the tensions in our marriage, nor fear, guilt, shame, self-hatred, or even death can tear away from the love of God, made visible in Jesus the Lord.

–Brennan Manning

Published in: on 07/07/2010 at 0:31  Comments (2)  
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What are you afraid of?

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The question which the gospel of grace puts to you is simply this: Who shall separate you from the love of Christ?
What are you afraid of?
Are you afraid that your weakness could separate you from the love of Christ? It can’t.
Are you afraid that your inadequacies could separate you from the love of Christ. They can’t.
Are you afraid your inner poverty could separate you from the love of Christ? It can’t.
Difficult marriage, loneliness, anxiety; over the children’s future? They can’t.
Negative self-image? It can’t.
Economic hardship, racial hatred, street crime? They can’t.
Rejection by loved ones or the suffering of loved ones? They can’t.
Persecution by authorities, going to jail? They can’t.
Nuclear war? It can’t.
Mistakes, fears, uncertainties? They can’t.
The gospel of grace calls out: Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

–Brennan Manning

Published in: on 05/21/2010 at 12:16  Leave a Comment  
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Love beyond measure

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Jesus said, “He who sees Me sees the Father.” From our brother Jesus, who alone knows the Father, we learn that there is a welcoming love, unconditional acceptance, a relentless and eternal affection that so far exceeds our human experience that even the passion and death of Jesus is only a hint of it. Think on that for a moment: the torn, broken, lacerated, spit-covered, blood-drenched body of Jesus is only a hint of the Father’s love. The very substance of our faith is an unwavering confidence that beyond the hint lies love beyond measure.

–Brennan Manning
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