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Quotes by David Garland


Battles are won or lost on the field of prayer, but even prayer can be a battle.


Only those who resist temptation to the end know the full force of temptation.


Tithing is not a New Testament concept, because it allows one to ignore how much one keeps.


Looking for indubitable proof kills faith. The most important facts of life cannot be proven.


One should also count the cost of not following Jesus… If the option is unconditional surrender to Jesus or Satan, the former is the only one that will prove to be the wise choice.


The choice is not between Jesus and the devil, it is far more subtle. It is between Jesus and our strongest allegiances…family…business…[etc].


Usually, those who possess riches are possessed by them.


Jesus does not hide His extreme requirements in the fine print but proclaims them boldly in headlines… Faithful discipleship that will stick it out to the end does not rest on a momentary burst of feeling. Enthusiasm may wane as quickly as it blazes up.


Faith is a response to God’s initiative that trusts that we are empowered to do what God requires.


Grace is not something that one earns or gets; it is something that one can only receive.




The devil may be fawning and wily to break one’s commitment to God, or he may be hostile and deadly. He appeals to the innate selfishness of humans to get us to disobey God: “You desire things, you deserve them, and you will get them.” The word that we can gain anything we want in life – wealth, health, the perfect mate, business success, respect from others – is irresistible to those who are obsessed with themselves. The devil can quote Scripture and tell lies about God so that evil masquerades as something good. He can get persons to believe that their personal interests are indistinguishable from God’s interests. When we do not get what we want, the devil uses a snake-headed bitterness that rears up from the caverns of the heart to destroy others and ourselves. Satan also tries to lead us to mistrust God and so to put God to the test.





Prophets…declare what God will do and what God requires. They speak the truth that people often do not want to hear. This rubs against the grain of a culture that treats religion as a consumer item. Those who adjust the Word of God to meet market trends, assuming the consumer is always right, are simply peddlers (2 Cor. 2:17). Those who come to religion assuming that the chief goal of God is to glorify humankind and asking, “What will it all get me?” receive only spiritual chaff.




Jesus did not come to reward the deserving but to serve the needy with reckless abandon.




When the devil comes to [tempt], he is not in control or all-powerful. He can be resisted, and Christians have a far more powerful ally in the Holy Spirit to fend him off.





Humans do not bring in God’s reign, build God’s kingdom, hasten its final consummation, or hinder its advance. Jesus’ preaching announces that God is in action and that one’s ultimate well-being is tied to what God is doing, not what they are doing. They can only receive it and enter it or reject it and be swept away in judgment.





Prayer is not a spiritual crowbar or jackhammer that pries open God’s willingness to act but a means by which Christians open themselves up to God – to grasp God’s will and be grasped by it.





[When God tests us] discipline and purification are usually the object, not punishment and destruction.




A forgiving spirit is the outstretched hand by which we grasp God’s forgiveness.




We ought not to expect to receive from God what we are not prepared to bestow on others.



The cross must be borne before the crown can be worn.




“Cross-bearing” derives from the Roman custom of making condemned persons carry their crossbar to the place of execution…. It implies that one’s life in this world is already finished.





Deliverance ministries assume that demons are behind the inability to stop certain sins and addictions, and they tend to look for the quick fix. But sin is not so easily dispatched. Being rid of these sins requires yielding oneself completely to God, and it can take time… What Christians need is not deliverance from demons (from which they have already been delivered) but immersion and submersion in the Holy Spirit.



The promise of reward remains in heaven, but the joy of anticipation can be experienced now on earth.




A person should respond not on the basis of how one is treated but on the basis of how one wants to be treated. Maybe nothing happens to enemies. They may hate one all the more, but incredible things happen within the one who lives this ethic out. Hate has nowhere to go except inside. Love frees up energy.


The story of Christmas celebrates the fulfillment of God’s promises and the incarnation of God in human flesh. That meaning is memorably captured by John 3:16. God loves, and God gives in order to save… It meant giving rather than getting, and Christ gave until He was empty; but His obedience led to an empty tomb and ultimate vindication that will culminate when throngs in heaven and on earth and under the earth, not just a host of angels, will bow down and sing glory in the highest to the One whose name is above every name.



The sentimental Christmas may be popular as a religious holiday for some because it can come off as celebrating the birth of a helpless baby. Jesus lies in a manger to be gazed upon and adored, but not to be heard and heeded. A speechless babe wrapped tightly in swaddling cloths seems more obliging in allowing people to tailor their religious beliefs however they see fit.



The Savior who dies on a shameful cross was placed in a lowly trough for barn animals when He was born.



If one sees oneself as being saved without the obligation to be saving, then clearly one needs to grow in salvation. The evidence of salvation – that God’s grace has taken effect in one’s life – is to be found in one’s participation in bringing salvation to others.


Knowledge provides the illusion of certainty, which then becomes a poor substitute for the more vital confidence of faith.


Jesus Christ can only be preached as the crucified one, and no one can preach Christ crucified to win personal renown.


The only rightful place for sexual intercourse is within marriage and that those who marry are sexually active. For them to attempt precipitously to suppress awakened desires will only expose them to a sexual undertow that will tug them into a sea of temptation, where they will ultimately drown.


The danger for us is that we will want to keep up with our entertainment culture and its focus on the eyes by turning our worship into a religious stage show. We must walk a fine line between offering worship that is appealing and engaging without becoming simply a splashy performance, and worship that has depth without becoming tedious and flat.


The "flesh" stands for a certain orientation of life. It is the sin-bent self characterized by self-sufficiency that wages war against God… The flesh and the spirit denote not two coexisting parts of the individual, but a contrast of tendencies and loyalties which compete for dominance as powers within each person… It creates estrangement from God that is broken only when persons submit in faith to the gospel and allow God’s Spirit to seize control.


God’s grace does not mean that God benignly accepts humans in all their fallenness, forgives them, and then leaves them in that fallenness.  God is in the business not of whitewashing sins but of transforming sinners.


The absolutely worst way to respond to the challenge of secularism is to adapt to secular standards in language, thought, and way of life. If members of a secularist society turn to religion at all, they do so because they are looking for something other than what the culture already provides. It is counterproductive to offer them religion in a secular mode that is carefully trimmed in order not to offend their secular sensibilities.


There is a limit beyond which patience, tolerance and charity toward another’s sin ceases to be a virtue.


[In explaining his imprisonment, the Apostle] Paul subtly notifies his readers that proclaiming the mystery of Christ crucified is more likely to open the door to a prison cell for them instead of the door to financial and social success.