Reflections on Brennan Manning: A Teacher of God’s Love and Grace

Today 4/13/2013 news that Brennan Manning left this life on 4/12/2013. He was a man of God, a disciple who now has moved on. Yet, he was a teacher of much controversy. The top of the controversy was that he taught “contemplative prayer” with use of things like emptying thoughts and repeating words. This controversy exists and is out there, yet, I have no question that in He was a true follower of Jesus the Messiah. His teaching and from what I understand even his life was fractured and flawed. He knew fully what it was to experience God’s grace. Yet, he is really know different than any other disciple of Jesus. He tought things wrong, he did things wrong, he was flawed. Yet, he knew what it was to be loved by God. He was a teacher and preacher of God’s love. His messages focused on deepening the understanding of God and His love. This is true for me.
I heard Brennan Manning speak at Church of the Open Door in Minnesota two or maybe three times. When he spoke his words and presence displayed and shown the love of God. His words touched to the very core. I do not remember his words or his teaching at that time. I do know what he taught and spoke of on those days changed me. He gave words that brought closer awareness to the love of God. He taught in such a way that got beyond the fractured images I had of God the Father and God used to touch hurt and pain and let God’s love in. God used this man. And for that I am grateful. He served and was used by God and he touch my life and many others. There are a great many quotes out there that demonstrate the truth he taught. It is important to note in God’s economy the words of Love and truth have far greater impact than the things we speak that are flawed, dangerous, or destructive. Truth and love always have greater effect. In closing this article I am posting some Brennan Manning quotes that demonstrate the Truth and Love that he taught that impacted so many.

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

“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.”

“God is love. In human beings, love is a quality, a high-prized virtue; in God, love is His identity.“

“God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.”

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

“Christianity was not some moral code; it was a love affair, & I experienced it first hand.”

“If we conceal our wounds out of fear & shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”

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Musings on Pentecost Sunday (Shavu’ot)

Sunday May 23rd, 2010 is the day of the Anniversary of Pentecost. It is also the day of the Biblical Festival know as Shavu’ot which means Festival of Weeks. It is also known as Hag ha-Bikkurim: Festival of First Fruits and Hag Matan Torateinu: the Festival of the Giving of Torah. So this day is a day that God has chosen as a day of significance and He gave two significant gifts on this day. This day paints a picture of God’s initiation and our response. God’s initiation involved two things.

The first gift from God was of the Torah, the Law, which provided the way and directions to be free from idolatry and immorality and pointed the way to Jesus. It is a day where focus in on what God has established and the importance of surrendering to Him, to walk in His way. One of the practices on this day in Jewish households is the reading of the book of Ruth, which really emphasizes the total surrender to God, of following His way not our way. It also points to the redeeming work of God, through Jesus the Messiah, to establish the way for all that may follow. Now here is an important fact. The Torah serves to lead us to the need of repentance; a written standard exposed the sinfulness and deceitfulness of the heart. The Torah exposes the need for repentance and surrender pointing to the eternal answer. The Torah serves as the lamp showing the way, the way being Jesus.

The other gift from God given on this day, was the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. He is the means by which God’s ways and laws our written on our hearts. The Holy Spirit empowers and brings us to repentance and surrender. On this day, the Holy Spirit came to all who believed. No longer was the Holy Spirit limited to a select few God chose to anoint. Rather, the Holy Spirit indwells all who surrender to God and enter into His Kingdom found through Jesus and what He did at the cross. Being made clean and whole enable the Holy Spirit to reside within, guiding us day by day moment by moment. The being indwelt with the Holy Spirit enables worship in spirit and truth, for without that ongoing presence we all falter.

Ultimately through God’s gifts, He simply gave fully of Himself to give us what we need, to set us free. God’s gifts need a response, an act of worship. Worship exhibited by bringing the first of everything produced during the early Harvest. It is the starting point of all that comes ahead, but it is when the initial rewards are returned back to God as an act of submission. It is a representation of giving fully of self, of surrendering to God fully. God’s precious gifts should bring about a response of total surrender and as we surrender, we receive more from God. When we surrender to the Holy Spirit he is able to move in sanctifying, empowering, and healing. The surrender results in more fruit and a greater Harvest. A genuine response to God of giving back results in God being free to do more. Any such response is one based not on compulsion but on true joy over what God has already given.

What God has given us is precious; freedom from idolatry, darkness, immorality, and selfishness. He has given us Salvation. He has given us life. He has given us His words to direct and the Holy Spirit to lead and empower. It is a wondrous day. How then do you respond to day and the days to come? Do you surrender fully? Do you find ways to respond in love? Do you seek to please God or satisfy self? Check yourself and see what is your response, and if it falters, then wake up and recognize what God has given and done. Reflect on where you were and how He has changed you. Give of yourself as He requests with all you are from the first to the last and ever moment in-between.

Video Selection: Not by Might but by His Spirit-Three takes

Recently had conversation with someone and felt led to draw them to “Not by might, not by power, but by My spirit, says the Lord.”  The verse is found in Zechariah 4:6. Here is the full context of the passage.  May God lead the reader to discernment, open eyes, open ears, and open heart to what God is speaking in this verse. 

Zechariah 4:1-7 And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it.  And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.  And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord? Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.”Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!'” Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.

Also felt led to find the video of the Hymn based on the passage.  One video selection of that hymn is found below as well as other related music pieces, one by Robin Mark.  May God bless you as read listen and read and may it touch your heart at the depths and draw you to God’s strength beyond your own.

Video Selections: Heaven or Hell

News Commentary: The Hoa Nguyen saga

Yesterday the Star Tribune reported on the situations Hoa Nguyenfinds herself in. Apparently Hoa is facing deportation to Vietnam in spite of being married and having  spent ten years in the United States.  Apparently she entered the United States on a student visa, met her husband at Luther College, and continued academic studies.  They apparently had a court date in August which was missed and now Hoa was jailed to be deported.  Hoa’s family and friends post updates at a website www.freehoa.org.  The bare essential fact is she confused her court hearing and has been jailed and facing deportation as a result.

Now I do not know where Dan Hanson and Hoa are at in their spiritual life.  They are facing a difficult trial and need political pressure for any chance of not facing separation.  I would hope they are able to lean on and turn to God in this ordeal.  However, they could well be missing that source of hope and strength.  Regardless,  it is a sad situation and I pray that they may be granted mercy.  It is a sad state of affairs that getting confused and missing a court date results in such severe consequences.  Personally there have been moments where things have been confused or forgotten.  If something like this happened with me and my wife it would have been devastating.  So the wish and hope is for this couple be granted some mercy here, as they did miss the mark regarding legal immigration standards, albeit unintentionally. However, the law does not look at intention or circumstances, but rather did you do what you were supposed to do.  This is a case where there really is not a legal remedy, rather they need some form of political mercy.

It was amazing to read the comments at the Star Tribune article. The majority of responses were showing no sense of mercy and compassion and simply want the letter of the law enforced and see it as appropriate in this instance.  My thoughts went to consider how these people will be before God when God holds them to His law.  We are all guilty before God, thankfully God has given us each a chance for grace and mercy through Jesus.  We each have violated the law and face the eternal consequences.  Jesus meets the conditions for the required consequences and sets us free if we simply turn to Jesus in faith and accept his gift.  It involves surrender of self. This whole situation plays out whether the law be simply executed without any regard to the situation or any willingness for mercy.  I am glad that God has given me grace and mercy for how I have faltered and remained self-centered.  I think when the ultimate time of judgment come many will plead for special understanding and God can simply say, you did not regard circumstances for others, you failed to live righteously and did not accept the mercy and grace offered and therefore stand condemned.

Blog Anniversary 6/10/2009: One year and still ticking.

Wow, this blog has been up and running for a year now.  It is amazing to look back at when I started writing for the blog and where things have gone since.  I think some important articles have been written. Some mistake were made as well but over all the blog is meeting the vision for the blog.  I wanted to make some comments about things happening in the world, do movie commentaries as led, shine light to ways people are deceived, and hopefully shine a light of truth on how really to be in true peace. 

This blog still has room to grow and develop. At some point the blog will migrate over to being hosted at www.peacebringer.netbut in the meantime I am still writing here.  Besides the blog, God lead me to start the forum and domain.  The forum is up and active and has further shaped the vision of looking to shine the light of truth, expose darkness, and build each other up.  I feel blessed by each person God has led to participate in the discussion and find myself challenged as well as hopefully challenge others to grow and evaluate themselves before God.

Now, I know this blog has plenty of growth to do. I realize there are some pretty consistent weaknesses.  One weakness is the inconsistency of posting.  I apologize for making those that follow the blog wonder when I next will post.  I have too often given in to my energy levels and let other things get in the way of writing.  Such a fact is part of the reason I missed making this post on the actual anniversary date. 

I also know I need to better define and organize my categories and broaden them out.  Currently the categories do not make for narrowed down selection to find particular types of posts.  So this is on my ever extensive to do list.   I also plan to reorganize and update my links and blogroll.

In terms of articles you can expect to see in the future there is a good “to do list.” : Ongoing Foundations of Strong Delusion Series, Barriers to the Gospel Series, A series on what we are taught by our culture through entertainment, a Christian approach to conspiracy,  an article or small series on examing morality perspectives, and other series or articles that are not at the top of my mind at the moment.

In the next year I also do hope to have the web portal actually have productive, useful, and interesting content.  Hopefully those of you who follow the blog consistently will continue to have patience as the blog, my writing, and the other services grow and mature.  I look forward to seeing what things God leads me to write on in the year to come. 

If there is anything you would like to see in the blog, portal, or forum please feel free to make a comment. If any content on the blog has touched you within the past year, I love to hear and read testimonies.  You can either post a comment here or drop me an email at peacebringer@peacebringer.net

Above all things I want to wish the readers blessing and may God draw you into deeper awareness of His love, truth, peace, and joy.  May God draw you into true deeper intimacy with Him and may the things the hinder, blind, bind, or get in the way become evident and released.  May God grant all the readers eyes to see, ears to hear, and an open heart to the things of God the Father, Jesus the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.

So with that I bless you all in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, let us together see what God will do.