When I have harrrrd circumstances,

it’s so helpful to THANK Him for them, instead of asking Him to remove them, change them, because THANKing is commanded in Scripture, and because THANKing Him for the harrrd reminds me that He’s totally sovereign over them, and I am not, which helps me be curious/expectant to see what He does NEXT, in me, others, circumstances.  This kind of passivity, this waiting on Jesus, seems so weird, so other-worldly, to ActivistDave/WorldlyDave.  The knee-jerk reaction of ActivistDave is to jump right in and try and fix my harrrd circumstances, or maaaaybe ask Him to remove/change them, instead of THANKing Him for them.  Even asking Jesus for something demonstrates confidence-I-know-what’s-best, which is pride/INdependence, the opposite of Jesus-dependency.  Sometimes after I THANK Him for the harrrd, He gives me a great idea to try this or that, to alleviate things, but sometimes the harrrd remains, though I’m greatly comforted by seeing a purpose in the harrrd/suffering — I’m reminded that Romans 5 says suffering produces perseverance, then character, then hope/faith/dependency, and there is NOTHing I need in life nearly as much as Jesus-dependency.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness and sovereignty-awareness, hoping the Spirit transforms us Christians so much that the seculars around us want something we have

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Thank You, Jesus, that I don’t have

the power to change myself into a thanker-for-the-harrrd, nor do I have the power to change others, though you know how much I wish I could.  Thank You for convincing me that what revival looks like in our day, is Christians so full of You that we are contagious thankers-for-the-harrrd.  Thank You that it seems-to-me impossible for any believer to become a thanker-for-the-harrrd unless s/he has sovereignty-awareness going through the day.  Thank You that today we believers are seed sown on thorny soil that does not reproduce.  Thank You that we struggle bigtime in being curious/expectant to see what You do NEXT, in us, others, circumstances, to change us for our good, Your glory, and the expansion of the Kingdom.  Thank You for Your genius plan, Your Grand Story, that You created from before the beginning of time.  And thank You for the other-worldly peace we experience when Your Spirit freshly convicts us of the sin of INdependence/confidence-we-know-what’s-thankable-and-what’s-not.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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Jesus is not ENOUGH for me.

I want something MORE than what He offers.  Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for what He offers, but it’s not ENOUGH.   Unsatisfying.  I ALSO want to feel good about myself based on MY performance, MY worthiness, MY reputation.  This role He’s scripted for me, of being a great example of a bad example, is too lowly, too humiliating, for my flesh to embrace.  My flesh HATES being down here.  Instead, it longs to be admired by others, not pitied or despised. Or better yet, ENVIED by others.  Or best yet, WORSHIPED by others.  I know, embarrassing.  I suspect that being worshiped would satisfy my flesh.  But not just worshiped by some.  Worshiped by ALL.  Ahhh.  The hungriest-neediest flesh of any human, imagining himself finally satisfied.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, always needing fresh conviction of the sin of INdependence, and always needing to be reminded that grace is for sinners, that it flows downhill to those at the bottom whose eyes have been freshly opened to see their sin, and always needing to be reminded that Jesus is only helpful to sinners, has nothing to offer non-sinners, is boring to non-sinners

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Alone time is priceless.

Whyzat?  Because it’s easiest for me to be sovereignty-aware when I’m all alone.  When I’m online, on the phone, or with others, I’m not alone, don’t FEEL alone.  Being alone gives me the opportunity to FEEL alone, FEEL the pressures on me, the disappointments, frustrations, the sense of my life being UP TO ME, the UNBELIEF in His total reign over every detail of my life.  So then.  I can CONFESS my independency — that I’m not curious/expectant to see what Jesus does NEXT in me, others, circumstances.  Ahhh, communion with Jesus.  So amazingly helpful when I realize afresh that I’m not in CHARGE, that my life is not up to ME.  Ahhh.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who treasures Jesus-dependency above all else, whenever the Spirit freshly convicts him of his independence, hoping the seculars around him are noticing the difference Jesus sometimes makes

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Bargains are a curse too.

Just like judging is a curse, and getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse.  A bargain seems so noble, so frugal, so worthy.  Problem is, bargains are ADDICTIVE.  Like other addictions, you become obsessive, and they become all-consuming, where you spend inordinate amounts of time researching to find the very-best purchase: price, condition, quality, whatever.  A purchasing regret is anathema — a purchasing success, exacerbates the addiction. Addictions are irrational.

“Hello, my name is Dave, and I’m addicted to finding bargains when I need to make a purchase.  I frequently spend as much time online researching a five-dollar purchase as a five-hundred-dollar purchase.  Irrational.  I stand before you tonight, not to help YOU folks, but to help ME.  I need to be confessing to you that I’m an addict.  Confessing reminds me of reality, and I need reality.  I need to come here every Tuesday night and stand up here and tell you about me, so I don’t live in denial.  I’ve come to conclude that I have an addictive personality.  It’s a good thing I’m not addicted to alcohol, or drugs, but perhaps those would be easier to manage.  I dunno.  I can tell you this. I feel powerless to conquer my bargain-addiction.  You fellow bargain-addicts won’t laugh, but others who do not have this addiction, may find it amusing.  They have no clue how hard it is for a bargain-addict to pay list price, average price. Probably because they are healthier emotionally/spiritually than I am.  Not proving-addicts like I am.”

Well, I’ve never been to a 12-step meeting, but that’s how I imagine my participation.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, so we Christians might have integrity with seculars, so we might have something they want

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Getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse,

not a blessing.  WHAT?  Yup.  Pathway to miserable addiction.  Getting-my-way THWARTED by Jesus, is an enormous blessing, because it opens the door to my being retrained in a much-better way of living — disillusioned in my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-what’ll-make-me-happy.  But getting-my-way thwarted by Jesus is ONLY an enormous blessing when I’m convinced that getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse.

I know, sounds crazy.  All my life, and all my Christian life, I’ve gotten this backwards.  I think we’ve all gotten it backwards.  I know, sounds so radical, so unAmerican, unChristian.

Think about it.  When I get-my-way, it feels good, and like any addiction, I want more of this.  And more, and more.  In time, I grow addicted to control, addicted to getting-my-way.  My independence is strengthened/encouraged, my flesh’s confidence-it-knows-best is strengthened/encouraged.  I’m wiser and wiser in my own eyes, lean even more on my own understanding.  This is the Curse of INdependence passed down to the descendants of Adam and Eve.  We INdependents are a miserable lot, and I’m convinced that most of us, Christian and nonChristian, live in denial of the extent of our misery.

And every time I want-my-way, I return to life under the Curse.  Miserable existence.  And every time I’m freshly convicted of my INdependence, and embrace Jesus’ genius plan, want HIS way, trust Him to lead the way, confess I dunno best, I’m moved out from under the Curse, momentarily.  Ahhh, relief.

Impossible to be in a hurry, unless I’m wanting-my-way.  Impossible to be frustrated unless I’m wanting-my-way. Impossible to be competitive, to wannabe superior, unless I’m wanting-my-way.  Impossible to analyze, critique, judge, unless I’m wanting-my-way, confident-I-know-what’s-best.

Getting-my-way is not a bad thing, but it’s a mini-success, and like big success, it’s not a bad thing, but verrry dangerous to the health of my soul.  Strengthens my INdependency, my addiction to my confidence-I-know-what’ll-make-me-happy.  Miserable addiction.

So helpful lately, as I go through my day reminding myself over and over, “Getting-or-wanting-my-way is a curse.”

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, championing Gospel-awareness, self-awareness, and sovereignty-awareness, so we Christians might have something the seculars around us want

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I don’t need different circumstances,

easier circumstances, better circumstances — I need a different Dave — a Dave content with Jesus and the circumstances He’s carefully crafted for Dave, needing nothing more, nothing different.

So, why hasn’t Jesus given me easier circumstances?  Because He’s using the harrrd, the suffering, to retrain me in a better way of living — from dependent on Dave, confident-I-know-what’s-best, what’s-thankable-and-what’s-not, to dependent on Jesus, clueless-I-know-what’s-best, trusting that Jesus DOES.  And THANKing Him for everything just as it is, and everyone just as we are.

My flesh would have me believe I’d be happIER if I lived out west, where the sky is big, the sun shines most of the time, it’s warmer, and there are FEW CARS on the road.  My flesh knows NOTHing about how to engineer happiness for me, but it THINKS it does. I don’t need a different place to live: I need a different Dave, who lives where I live, facing all I face, with surprising joy and peace, THANKing Jesus for the harrrd because I believe in Jesus’ sovereign-and-loving reign over every detail of my life.  So I’ll have something seculars want.

And Jesus has me living in congested, cloudy, SE Pennsylvania, and has me feeling rotten physiologically some of the time, to retrain me further in Jesus-dependency, so I care LESS and LESS about the things my flesh believes will make Dave happy.  Jesus is making me a different Dave — a thanking Dave, and it’s painful to be overhauled in order to experience a better life, but it’s beneficially painful, lovingly painful. Actually, wonderfully painful.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships

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When I read the Bible,

it’s so helpful when I remember that I’m not ALONE, that it’s not up to ME to figgeritallout perfectly, and that my interpretation/understanding is not up to ME — that Jesus is totally sovereign over every detail of my life, including my biblical understanding.  Ahhh, s’wunnerful to rest in the sovereign reign of my ShepherdJesus. Blissful peace. Not alone and not up to me.

— Dave McCarty, GospelFriendships, who is only curious and expectant to see what his SovereignShepherdJesus does NEXT, in him, others, circumstances, when freshly convicted of the sin of independence/confidence-he-knows-what’s-best, so he’s freshly enabled to thank Him for everyone just as they are, and everything just as it is, all according to His genius plan

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