The Spiritual Search

August 24th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? —Matthew 7:9

We mistake defiance for devotion, arguing with God instead of surrendering. We refuse to look at the evidence that clearly indicates where we are wrong. Have I been asking God to give me money for something I want, while refusing to pay someone what I owe him? Have I been asking God for liberty while I am withholding it from someone who belongs to me? Have I refused to forgive someone, and have I been unkind to that person? Have I been living as God’s child among my relatives and friends? (see Matthew 7:12).

I am a child of God only by being born again, and as His child I am good only as I “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). For most of us, prayer simply becomes some trivial religious expression, a matter of mystical and emotional fellowship with God. We are all good at producing spiritual fog that blinds our sight. But if we will search out and examine the evidence, we will see very clearly what is wrong— a friendship, an unpaid debt, or an improper attitude. There is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then Jesus says, regarding His children, “Everyone who asks receives…” (Matthew 7:8).

Prayer—Battle in “The Secret Place”

August 23rd, 2016 by Dave No comments »

When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. —Matthew 6:6

Jesus did not say, “Dream about your Father who is in the secret place,” but He said, “…pray to your Father who is in the secret place….” Prayer is an effort of the will. After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot seem to get our minds into good working order, and the first thing we have to fight is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thinking. We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer.

We must have a specially selected place for prayer, but once we get there this plague of wandering thoughts begins, as we begin to think to ourselves, “This needs to be done, and I have to do that today.” Jesus says to “shut your door.” Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him. God is in secret, and He sees us from “the secret place”— He does not see us as other people do, or as we see ourselves. When we truly live in “the secret place,” it becomes impossible for us to doubt God. We become more sure of Him than of anyone or anything else. Enter into “the secret place,” and you will find that God was right in the middle of your everyday circumstances all the time. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless you learn to open the door of your life completely and let God in from your first waking moment of each new day, you will be working on the wrong level throughout the day. But if you will swing the door of your life fully open and “pray to your Father who is in the secret place,” every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God.

Journal DJR
Good morning, Lord. Today Chambers hit on exactly what I’ve sensed that you have been teaching me, or trying to teach me these last several months. Since my cancer diagnosis, I have been sensing a “chapter change” in my life. This included the basics of research and treatment selection and improved diet and health habits, but mainly focused on, where am I to go next in my spiritual journey?…now that I’ve had this wake up call?” I have been led toward expanding my prayer life in many ways, through books, blogposts and conversations that have come my way and just an increased interest and draw in that direction. Today’s selection confirms what I’ve been hearing…. How do you do that, anyway?

I’m seeing two secret places. First is a physical location that is conducive to getting to the other secret place where You live, and want to commune with me… which is in my heart. Historically, I’ve been a little lax on having that special place, but I’m sensing your direction to finish up the tree house project that has stalled. Thanks.

That other secret place…”when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place” I had always assumed that secret place was in heaven or “out there” somewhere. But I’m becoming persuaded that this secret place is actually in my own heart – whatever that is. Verses like Colossians 1:27 come to mind.

“For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.”

That part about “shutting the door” speaks to the thoughts and ideas that spring up and want center stage in my mind… especially when I determine to pray. So I’ll be looking for your training and tips on how to shut that door. I’ve proven that plain old will power doesn’t get me very far. There isn’t too much written about the contemplative life and meditation in our Western Church, especially in the last 500 years. But there is some. I’m seeing Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer as possibilities. Of course You are my main teacher. But don’t I need some coaching by some leaders who are further along the path? Please guide me on my search. I want to be led deeper into that secret place by anyone and anything that you have for me.

“I Indeed…But He”

August 22nd, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

I indeed baptize you with water…but He…will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. —Matthew 3:11

Repentance does not cause a sense of sin— it causes a sense of inexpressible unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am absolutely helpless, and I know that through and through I am not worthy even to carry His sandals. Have I repented like that, or do I have a lingering thought of possibly trying to defend my actions? The reason God cannot come into my life is that I am not at the point of complete repentance.

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” John is not speaking here of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an experience, but as a work performed by Jesus Christ. “He will baptize you….” The only experience that those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit are ever conscious of is the experience of sensing their absolute unworthiness.

I indeed” was this in the past, “but He” came and something miraculous happened. Get to the end of yourself where you can do nothing, but where He does everything.

Self-Awareness

August 19th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

Come to Me… —Matthew 11:28  


God intends for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Then we tend to fall back into self-examination, a habit that we thought was gone. Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives. Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once, and it is not rectified by being ignored but only by coming to Jesus Christ. If we will come to Him, asking Him to produce Christ-awareness in us, He will always do it, until we fully learn to abide in Him.Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Beware of allowing the influence of your friends or your circumstances to divide your life. This only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth. Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one— “Come to Me….” The intellectual, moral, and spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words. Yet in every detail of our lives where we are found not to be real, we would rather dispute the findings than come to Jesus.

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August 19, 2016

Journal Entry for today-JDV

Are You Discouraged or Devoted?

August 17th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

…Jesus…said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. —Luke 18:22-23

Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult to you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all. Jesus says a tremendous amount to us that we listen to, but do not actually hear. And once we do hear Him, His words are harsh and unyielding.

Jesus did not show the least concern that this rich young ruler should do what He told him, nor did Jesus make any attempt to keep this man with Him. He simply said to him, “Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.” Our Lord never pleaded with him; He never tried to lure him— He simply spoke the strictest words that human ears have ever heard, and then left him alone.

Have I ever heard Jesus say something difficult and unyielding to me? Has He said something personally to me to which I have deliberately listened— not something I can explain for the sake of others, but something I have heard Him say directly to me? This man understood what Jesus said. He heard it clearly, realizing the full impact of its meaning, and it broke his heart. He did not go away as a defiant person, but as one who was sorrowful and discouraged. He had come to Jesus on fire with zeal and determination, but the words of Jesus simply froze him. Instead of producing enthusiastic devotion to Jesus, they produced heartbreaking discouragement. And Jesus did not go after him, but let him go. Our Lord knows perfectly well that once His word is truly heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. What is so terrible is that some of us prevent His words from bearing fruit in our present life. I wonder what we will say when we finally make up our minds to be devoted to Him on that particular point? One thing is certain— He will never throw our past failures back in our faces.

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August 17, 2016

Journal for Today-JDV

Good morning God and thank you for the time and opportunity to meet with you this morning. It seems that both David and I have been managing health issues over the past several days and have not been able to meet early in the morning, However, we have had ample opportunities to take you at your word as we experience pain, fear and discouragements. Perhaps this is how we live out the experiences that help us ….know that all things work for the good of those that love the Lord. Perhaps this is how we live out Jeremiah 29:11… I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Today’s devotional is about the rich young ruler Lord, not our infirmities, how are they connected?

And God says…” When you are surrendered, connected, curious, and obedient, you begin to see God at work in everything. You see Me in the circumstance with the rich young ruler; knowing that I did use the opportunity to make Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 come alive for the rich young ruler just as you see the connection to your own circumstances. When you are surrendered and connected, you can be curious as to how I will use a difficult circumstance for good but you know, you just know that all things work together for good.

 

…Jesus…said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. —Luke 18:22-23

August 17th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

Jesus…said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. —Luke 18:22-23

Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult to you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all. Jesus says a tremendous amount to us that we listen to, but do not actually hear. And once we do hear Him, His words are harsh and unyielding.

Jesus did not show the least concern that this rich young ruler should do what He told him, nor did Jesus make any attempt to keep this man with Him. He simply said to him, “Sell all that you have…and come, follow Me.” Our Lord never pleaded with him; He never tried to lure him— He simply spoke the strictest words that human ears have ever heard, and then left him alone.

Have I ever heard Jesus say something difficult and unyielding to me? Has He said something personally to me to which I have deliberately listened— not something I can explain for the sake of others, but something I have heard Him say directly to me? This man understood what Jesus said. He heard it clearly, realizing the full impact of its meaning, and it broke his heart. He did not go away as a defiant person, but as one who was sorrowful and discouraged. He had come to Jesus on fire with zeal and determination, but the words of Jesus simply froze him. Instead of producing enthusiastic devotion to Jesus, they produced heartbreaking discouragement. And Jesus did not go after him, but let him go. Our Lord knows perfectly well that once His word is truly heard, it will bear fruit sooner or later. What is so terrible is that some of us prevent His words from bearing fruit in our present life. I wonder what we will say when we finally make up our minds to be devoted to Him on that particular point? One thing is certain— He will never throw our past failures back in our faces.

The Evidence of the New Birth

August 15th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

You must be born again. —John 3:7

The answer to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” is: Only when he is willing to die to everything in his life, including his rights, his virtues, and his religion, and becomes willing to receive into himself a new life that he has never before experienced (John 3:4). This new life exhibits itself in our conscious repentance and through our unconscious holiness.

But as many as received Him…” (John 1:12). Is my knowledge of Jesus the result of my own internal spiritual perception, or is it only what I have learned through listening to others? Is there something in my life that unites me with the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior? My spiritual history must have as its underlying foundation a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. To be born again means that I see Jesus.

“…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God ” (John 3:3). Am I seeking only for the evidence of God’s kingdom, or am I actually recognizing His absolute sovereign control? The new birth gives me a new power of vision by which I begin to discern God’s control. His sovereignty was there all the time, but with God being true to His nature, I could not see it until I received His very nature myself.

Whoever has been born of God does not sin…” (1 John 3:9). Am I seeking to stop sinning or have I actually stopped? To be born of God means that I have His supernatural power to stop sinning. The Bible never asks, “Should a Christian sin?” The Bible emphatically states that a Christian must not sin. The work of the new birth is being effective in us when we do not commit sin. It is not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have actually stopped sinning. Yet 1 John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin— it simply means that if we will obey the life of God in us, that we do not have to sin.

Prayer in the Father’s Honor

August 8th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. —Luke 1:35

Am I simple enough to identify myself with my Lord in this way? Is He having His wonderful way with me? Is God’s will being fulfilled in that His Son has been formed in me (see Galatians 4:19), or have I carefully pushed Him to one side? Oh, the noisy outcry of today! Why does everyone seem to be crying out so loudly? People today are crying out for the Son of God to be put to death. There is no room here for God’s Son right now— no room for quiet, holy fellowship and oneness with the Father.

Is the Son of God praying in me, bringing honor to the Father, or am I dictating my demands to Him? Is He ministering in me as He did in the time of His manhood here on earth? Is God’s Son in me going through His passion, suffering so that His own purposes might be fulfilled? The more a person knows of the inner life of God’s most mature saints, the more he sees what God’s purpose really is: to “…fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” (Colossians 1:24). And when we think of what it takes to “fill up,” there is always something yet to be done.

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August 8, 2016

My prayer for today-JDV

Father God, thank You for this day, and this devotional and song. And thank You for reminding me that the very same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in me. I pray that I can live in that realization this day.

I ask You to remind me of this fact over and over today as issues and troubles of this day try to ambush my awareness of my surrender, connection expectations and curiosity. Please remind me to be aware of my need to live this day allowing You to “have Your wonderful way with me.”

I ask you to heal those that are in need of healing; my mom, David, Luell, and others that are suffering. I thank You for Your healing power over my own infirmities, and I ask You to help me remember to surrender my healing to You as well.  Please watch over and care for my daughters; Melissa in her move to Seattle, and Amanda in her  studies and preparations for her next career step.

Thank You for this day, please continue to make me a man after Your own heart, and help me to spread the Gospel today, and use words only when necessary.

The Brave Friendship of God

August 4th, 2016 by Dave No comments »

He took the twelve aside… —Luke 18:31

Oh, the bravery of God in trusting us! Do you say, “But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing good in me and I have no value”? That is exactly why He chose you. As long as you think that you are of value to Him He cannot choose you, because you have purposes of your own to serve. But if you will allow Him to take you to the end of your own self-sufficiency, then He can choose you to go with Him “to Jerusalem” (Luke 18:31). And that will mean the fulfillment of purposes which He does not discuss with you.

We tend to say that because a person has natural ability, he will make a good Christian. It is not a matter of our equipment, but a matter of our poverty; not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us; not a matter of natural virtues, of strength of character, of knowledge, or of experience— all of that is of no avail in this concern. The only thing of value is being taken into the compelling purpose of God and being made His friends (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). God’s friendship is with people who know their poverty. He can accomplish nothing with the person who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all— we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God’s compelling purpose is, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.

Learning About His Ways

August 1st, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

When Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples…He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities. —Matthew 11:1


He comes where He commands us to leave. If you stayed home when God told you to go because you were so concerned about your own people there, then you actually robbed them of the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all the consequences to God, the Lord went into your city to teach, but as long as you were disobedient, you blocked His way. Watch where you begin to debate with Him and put what you call your duty into competition with His commands. If you say, “I know that He told me to go, but my duty is here,” it simply means that you do not believe that Jesus means what He says.He teaches where He instructs us not to teach. “Master…let us make three tabernacles…” (Luke 9:33).Are we playing the part of an amateur providence, trying to play God’s role in the lives of others? Are we so noisy in our instruction of other people that God cannot get near them? We must learn to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert. God wants to instruct us regarding His Son, and He wants to turn our times of prayer into mounts of transfiguration. When we become certain that God is going to work in a particular way, He will never work in that way again.He works where He sends us to wait. “…tarry…until…” (Luke 24:49). “Wait on the Lord” and He will work (Psalm 37:34). But don’t wait sulking spiritually and feeling sorry for yourself, just because you can’t see one inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual fits of emotion to “wait patiently for Him”? (Psalm 37:7). Waiting is not sitting with folded hands doing nothing, but it is learning to do what we are told.

These are some of the facets of His ways that we rarely recognize.

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August 1, 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord and thank you for this devotional and the study time with You and David this morning. We arrived at the same place once again; namely that we are not to try and figure out what You are doing, nor are we to expect You to act or work in any single particular way. It seems that once again You are reaffirming that we are to trust You and let go of our own ideas about how and when You will respond to us or those we pray for. It seems that we are once again reminded that You are God, we are not, and You are good all the time; regardless of the diagnosis, employment or marital status and circumstances. What we do know is that out of our surrender, connection, obedience and expectation, we find a peace that passes all understanding, and “a knowing” that You will meet all our needs.

And God says…”Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and do not rely on your own understanding, actions or even faith, and I will make your paths straight. Seek first the kingdom of God which is Jesus, and I will meet all your worldly and daily needs. When you rely on Me and let go of your own need to look good, feel good, be right or to be in control, I can work in your circumstance. I may not change the circumstance; perhaps I will only change your view and expectations. Perhaps I will simply give you the peace that passes all understanding. But know this, you do not need to know how or when I will respond in your life or in the of the lives of those you love. You simply need to surrender, be connected and obedient, and then I am free to move and act on your behalf. I am happy that you have made your mantra Romans 8:28….”all things work together for good for those that love the Lord.  It is true, and helps you capture the peace that passes all understanding even when you cannot or do not understand how or when I am working it all out for your good and My glory.”