Where you excel,

is the area of your greatest idolatry — that which brings you artificial LIFE, that which causes you to be UNsatisfied with Jesus and His imputed excellence.  This is the area where you are the most failure-avoidant, defensive, intense, agendafied, where your joy and peace are most circumstance-dependent, making you a difficult person to live with, work with.  People around you need to give you lots of grace, and these people tend to become unusually gracious over time.  The intensity of your idolatry is used by Jesus to retrain THEM in graciousness.  Or they can’t take it anymore, and leave.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, embarrassed to admit he’s been married for 57 years to a lady Jesus has been growing unusually gracious over years of living with DAVE

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Jesus-power is like having a superpower,

an alien power, kinda like that possessed by Superman — uncharacteristic for normal humans.  Bystanders are wowed.  When you operate with Jesus-power, you are a channel of grace into the lives of others, both Christian and nonChristian, adult and child — even your OWN child — especially your own child.

Sadly, using your own puny power, instead of using Jesus’ power in your life and ministry, is normal, expected, but boring.  When you are confident-you-know-what’s-best, leaning on your own understanding, wise in your own eyes, you are using your own puny, human power.  INdependent, not Jesus-dependent.  Proud, not humble.  When you are Jesus-dependent you are clueless-you-know-what’s-best, trusting that HE knows, so you are curious/expectant to see what He does NEXT, in you, others, circumstances.  When you are Jesus-dependent, you are operating with HIS power, wisdom, understanding, not your own. 

But you get no credit, no glory, for operating with Jesus-power, because the only way you get Jesus-power, is by the Spirit freshly opening your eyes to see your sin of INdependence.  Jesus-dependency is a fruit of the Spirit’s work, not your work.  Is there anything you can do?  You can ASK for the Spirit afresh, claiming the promise of Luke 11.  Good to surrender the timetable for when that prayer might be answered, but this is harrrd, for us Christians, wise in our own eyes, leaning on our own understanding, in trying to direct the CreatorSustainer of the Universe through prayer.

When you operate with Jesus-power you operate without inhibition — living with reckless abandon.  When you operate with Jesus-power you are never circumstance-dependent for your joy and peace.  To operate with Jesus-power means being freshly dead to your flesh’s confidence-it-knows-what’s-best.  Dead to your agenda.  Alive to Jesus’ agenda.  To be clueless-you-know-what’s-best, is to be despised by Americans outside the Church, and inside too.  Not cool for an adult to be so lowly — so pathetically DEpendent, without any power of your own.  We like our leaders STRONG, in charge.

The biggest problem of Christian leaders/followers, seems to me, is a lack of self-awareness, causing us to imagine we are following Jesus when we are not.  “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees,” Jesus said.  Self-deception.  Just because Jesus has grown me a lot in self-awareness so He’s enabled me to somewhat see the problem, doesn’t mean I’m better than others.  I just somewhat see the problem.  But my hungry, needy, competitive flesh wants me to think I’m better.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who operates with Dave-power somewhat less than he used to, because he’s more-frequently convicted of the sin of INdependence

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Looking for something, anything, other than You, Jesus.

Thank You, Lord, for the work of Your Spirit in our lives, convicting us at times, of our pursuit of meaningful, rewarding living apart from You, exposing to ourselves, our foolishness, stupidity, idolatry.  Thank You that no matter how much our flesh has tried, over and over and over, it has never EVER found any accomplishment, any success, any possession, any relationship, that compares to living and working out of communion with You, dependent on You, dead to our flesh, curious/expectant to see what You do NEXT, in us, others, circumstances.  

And when we DO pray to You, it’s typically because we want You to DO something for us, or someone we love.  Seems so holy, but  truth is, we’re just USING You to get what our flesh is convinced is best, will make us/others happIEST.  Thank You, that the nicest, sweetest, kindest thing you ever do for us, is to open our eyes afresh to see how self-absorbed — how INdependent, we really are.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, neediest of all, but promoting Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness to Christians — especially DAVE, in hopes that the Spirit might overhaul Christians in our day, so seculars are attracted to an overflowing Jesus in Christians

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The idol that challenges my contentment

more than any other, is my health — feeling good physiologically.  Pert-near impossible to be content when you feel lousy.  All the glasses that seemed half-full, suddenly seem half-empty, though nothing has changed.  Easily overwhelmed by the challenges of the day.  Life is really harrrrd.

Still, what helps me MOST when I feel lousy, is THANKing Him that He’s in charge, not Dave, reminding me that Romans 5 is true — suffering produces perseverance, then character, then hope/faith/dependency.  There is nothing I need as much as growth in Jesus-dependency.  THANKing Him for the harrrd, reminds me that He’s in charge, loves me immeasurably, knows what He’s doing, is worthy of my trust.  I still feel lousy, but it helps bigtime to be reminded of the PURPOSE of suffering.   

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, whose flesh HATES suffering, but whose flesh also knows NOTHing about delivering happiness to Dave

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Why do I wannabe content?

For a follower of Jesus, contentment is a litmus-paper test for Jesus-dependency. Why do I wannabe Jesus-dependent? Because I know it’s right, and I wannabe a good follower of Jesus. Why do I wannabe a good follower of Jesus? Because I wanna feel good about myself. Jesus and His imputed worthiness are not ENOUGH for me. I ALSO wannabe a good Christian. No such thing as a good Christian. We’re all bad Christians. Jesus came for the likes of US. Grace flows DOWNhill to the failures, losers, needy ones, at the bottom. We don’t like the lowly bottom. We don’t like being great examples of bad examples. We wannabe on TOP. Admired by all for our wonderfulness, our outward obedience. So we live in denial of the depth of our prideful self-absorption, hidden from others, and from ourselves.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, preaching Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness to Christians — especially DAVE, hoping the Spirit will be poured out on all believers in our day, so Christians are like Jesus to surrounding seculars

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The only Christians who experience contentment


are the freshly humble — the freshly Jesus-dependent — the freshly dead to self.  Impossible to experience contentment without the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, opening our eyes to see how DIScontent we are, with who we are, how we are, what we do, where we live, what we drive, what we can afford, and with our health.  Everything around us in this world woos us to malcontentedness, looking for some way, shape or form to IMPROVE our lives so we are happIER.

The enemy of contentment, is agenda, rooted in confidence-we-know-what’s-best for us and those we love.  Only the content are curious/expectant to see what SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, in us, others, circumstances.  Only the content experience happiness. Only the content are thankful for everyone just as we are, and everything just as it is.  Only the content love like Jesus. Only the content reproduce — are fruitful with nonChristians. Only the proud do not reproduce — are like seed sown on thorny soil, choked by the cares of this world so we do not reproduce.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, Christian malcontent, freshly grateful that Jesus came for sicko’s not the healthy, that grace flows downhill to sinners, failures, at the bottom — the proud who know they are proud

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If you’re going through extreme suffering

you can either wallow in self-pity, or you can live in denial of the suffering with a positive mental attitude, focusing on the positives, ignoring the negatives.  OR.  You can THANK Jesus for the extreme suffering.  My flesh likes either self-pity or denial, but my flesh knows NOTHing about delivering happiness to Dave.  Jesus uses extreme suffering to retrain me in a much-better way to live: as a Jesus-dependent, clueless-I-know-what’s-best, trusting that He’s in charge and is delivering precisely what is best, so I’m curious/expectant to see what He does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances.  Ahhh.  Extreme suffering is paaainful, costly, but when it comes from the hand of a Loving Savior who knows exactly what we need, it’s a BARGAIN.  The happiness flowing from fresh sanity doesn’t last long, however.  I’m in constant need of the Spirit’s fresh work in my life.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, being grown by Jesus as a thank-er for evathang, wondering if the seculars around him are noticing the difference

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This is only for Christians in rugged circumstances.

I feel ENTITLED to easier

when I have fresh suffering on top of extended suffering.  Unless.  I’m freshly convicted by Jesus’ Spirit of being confident-I-know-what’s-best, wise in my own eyes, leaning on my own understanding.  Then, it’s, “Give me whatever is best, Jesus.  Don’t give me the easy my flesh demands.  I believe a little bit that You’re in charge, know exactly what you’re doing, love me immeasurably, are worthy of my trust, but help my unbelief, and please forgive my unbelief.”

Bigtime sufferers are frequent strugglers to believe.  And our flesh HATES weakness, HATES us struggling.  If everyone else were bigtime sufferers, it’d be easier.  It’s pert-near impossible to not feel ENTITLED when others seem to have easier, normal.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, a struggler to believe, especially when he feels lousy

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