08/24/11 My comments about… and excerpts from Daryl Kraft's, “A Different Place” . by Merwin
"A Different Place" by Daryl Kraft - ISBN 978-0-9845566-2-5
The following excerpts begin with the next paragraph in Daryl's book, after the paragraphs excerpted in my last Hub posting...
For the first time in my life, I wanted to really know God, to have a relationship with Him. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, I wanted to walk and talk with God in the cool of the day and know His thoughts. And I was not alone among the people in that room of forty patients. Dave didn't try to preach the gospel to those dear people. His life was the gospel. The love and peace that flowed from him filled that auditorium like a sweet fragrance of great worth. I could sense that everyone was affected by it.
Dave's living relationship with God made me want to to open myself up to Him as well. To give up on all my human effort, the earthly ways that led me to spiritual exhaustion and the depths of despair. All of it was nothing more than my own self-righteous, prideful ways, not God's ways. As it is written:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
This was the beginning of wisdom for me. A clear and simple understanding from God that He has a way that is different from my own. I sensed God opening my heart to His new way. I was flooded with hope that maybe, just maybe, there was a way out of the morass I was in. There was nothing He asked me to do: just to come to the end of myself and recognize that His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts. From that moment until today, as I write this book, God has been faithful beyond my wildest dreams.
You know, there are those non-believers that like to offer their counter-reasons for why people come to Christ. One of their favorites is to take snippets of testimonies of they that have hit rock-bottom in their lives, being saved from all manner of drug or alcohol induced skid-row destitution. And say, "Well who wouldn't want to be saved from that..? Any piece of flot-sam can save a drowning man."
There are many ways to hit rock-bottom. Daryl's "rock-bottom" could not in any way be considered social failure. He was affluent, he was a believer, guided by the letter of the Bible, for all intents and purposes he did not need to be saved. At least not on the surface. And I have no doubt, that he did not need to be saved from hell as he was already a believer.
He did need, to be saved from the personally inflicted hell and choking chains of personal performance. His rock-bottom deliverance, was in the discovery that all his righteousness was as filthy rags. And that all his goodly acts left him bereft of hope.
From our earthly perspective, we often think of ourselves as pleasing God through all of our effort and hard work for Him. After all, working hard to be successful is the American Way. Regrettably, many of us have internalized and applied this cultural concept to our spiritual life. Haven't we all heard it said, "God helps those who help themselves?" Or a similar saying that floats on the Internet: "What you are is God's gift to you; what you make of yourself is your gift to God." We pray to Him, that He will help us. That He will bless our efforts mightily in Christian service to Him. We contemplate the rewards we are building in heaven from our ministry or from the number of people we have led to the Lord. We want to be one of the good workers who double the five talents given to them by the Master. We fear to be the one that buried his talent. We want to hear from the Lord, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
From God's perspective, as revealed in scripture, He doesn't need our help. He is not interested in what we can do for Him but in what He has already done for us. He wants us to focus on Him alone. Remember the story of Mary and Martha -- in Luke 10:38 - 42 -- When Jesus came into their house? Martha busied herself in service to God, While Mary seated herself firmly at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. Martha finally complained to the Lord that Mary wasn't helping her serve and asked Him to order her to do so. In Martha's opinion at that moment, Mary was her lazy "do nothing" sister. The Lord's response was incredible:
But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taked away from her." Luke 10:41 - 42
From God's perspective only one thing is necessary. Why? In my experience, if you do the one thing, that is, you focus on Him alone, all the rest follows automatically from God. Every time Mary is mentioned in scripture, she is at the feet of Jesus. For example, when she anoints Jesus' feet with a vial of expensive perfume, the disciples are scandalized by her wastefulness. She appears to be "doing nothing" but drinking in Christ's words. Yet God used her in service in such a way that Christ commanded that what she did in serving Him should be told everywhere the gospel was preached. Does that sound like "do-nothing" to you? Far from it!
Scripture records that Jesus loved both Mary and Martha. They both were believers in the Christ. Yet I confess that I was exactly like Martha during those work-filled years. All of my self-effort to help God was really the height of my own arrogance, nothing more than my old flesh dressed up in modern clothing. In reality, everything flows from God; and He means it when He says that He is the "author and perfecter" of our faith.
As we buzz about, busy in our own Christian labors, God is working all things together for our good. In my case, He allowed me to pour out my energy until I was at the end of myself; until I was exhausted to the point could do no more. Some Christians refer to this as a place of "brokenness." Whatever term you give to this human condition, "broken" is an accurate description of how I felt inside. While I am not suggesting that every believer must experience this same place of "brokenness" that i did, my own experience and that of many I have counseled over the years tell me it is common. For me, God used this as my starting point for knowing Him.
He does not want us to dedicate and rededicate ourselves, again and again, with all our good intentions and abilities. He wants us to give up; to lose all hope in our own resources. He desires to bring us to a different place where we trust Him for everything. A place where peace and freedom come from knowing that God has done it all and He is all we need. This is the sme place that Mary was drawn to by God, the different place I refer to in the title of this book. It is a fruitful and joyous life that has nothing to do with what we can do for Him, and everything to do with resting in Him to accomplish His working in us. He is the Master Potter and we are but clay. Scripture says He formed us as an object of His love, as vessels of mercy to contain His glory and nothing more.
Now I know this flies in the face of many sermons and Sunday school lessons that you may have heard. To be clear, I am not talking about a "do nothing" Christianity and I am certainly not against Christian service. But whose service is it? Is it sourced in God's life or in your own resources? Scripture says that God's ways are not our ways. That is a promise we can cling to.
You may ask, "What's the difference? God's work still gets done, doesn't it?" The answer is the liberating difference between living under Law or Grace. It is the difference between trying on our own to earn our way to heaven through good works, versus knowing that we abide in God who produces His fruit in our life. It is the divine difference that Jesus Himself described, through the powerful example of the Vine and the branches:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the braches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:4 - 5
Now, some of us would say at this point: "But we are the ones who need to abide in the Vine." I can't tell you the number of years that I said this myself. We have been taught that it is up to us to do the abiding; and that we should inwardly monitor our life to see whether we are "bearing enough fruit," which, in turn, would indicate whether we are properly abiding in Christ. To our human logic, this all sounds reasonable.
But read, without any add-ons or mental qualifiers, what this same Apostle John said in 1 John 4:15: "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." This verse states a wonderful freedom-truth for us: that every believer, as a matter of spiritual reality, "abides in God." It is a completed fact accomplished by God. This verse is completely consistent with the word picture that Christ Jesus used in John 15:4 - 5, to depict us as branches who are fully dependent on Him -- the Vine -- for their every need. Do you see the difference this makes to your freedom as a Christian?
I will try to do a post at least every other day with the hope that those who are able will acquire copies for themselves, and as gifts for loved ones.
For those that may be interested, Daryl also does Bible studies from his business headquarters here in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. And that he does offer as live feed broadcasting through his website at, graceupongraceministries.org and the live feed (for certain) as well as downloads of previous classes (I think) are at no charge. And they are also accessible on Youtube.
His Bible study classes will begin again on September 29th and run until the middle of Spring. For those who are able to attend in person, classes start at 6:30 and conclude at 7:45 and rarely go "over". They are an immense blessing.
Directions to can be gained through his website from the top tool bar "Bible study locations" choose "home" study from the drop-down, for there may be satellite locations offered as well.
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