“My Rainbow in the Cloud”

December 6th, 2016 by Dave No comments »

I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. —Genesis 9:13

It is the will of God that human beings should get into a right-standing relationship with Him, and His covenants are designed for this purpose. Why doesn’t God save me? He has accomplished and provided for my salvation, but I have not yet entered into a relationship with Him. Why doesn’t God do everything we ask? He has done it. The point is— will I step into that covenant relationship? All the great blessings of God are finished and complete, but they are not mine until I enter into a relationship with Him on the basis of His covenant.

Waiting for God to act is fleshly unbelief. It means that I have no faith in Him. I wait for Him to do something in me so I may trust in that. But God won’t do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. Man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond Himself in reaching out with His covenant to man. It is a question of faith in God— a very rare thing. We only have faith in our feelings. I don’t believe God until He puts something tangible in my hand, so that I know I have it. Then I say, “Now I believe.” There is no faith exhibited in that. God says, “Look to Me, and be saved…” (Isaiah 45:22).

When I have really transacted business with God on the basis of His covenant, letting everything else go, there is no sense of personal achievement— no human ingredient in it at all. Instead, there is a complete overwhelming sense of being brought into union with God, and my life is transformed and radiates peace and joy.

“The Temple of the Holy Spirit”

December 5th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

…only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you. —Genesis 41:40 


I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. Paul said he did not “set aside the grace of God”— make it ineffective (Galatians 2:21). The grace of God is absolute and limitless, and the work of salvation through Jesus is complete and finished forever. I am not being saved— I am saved. Salvation is as eternal as God’s throne, but I must put to work or use what God has placed within me. To “work out [my] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means that I am responsible for using what He has given me. It also means that I must exhibit in my own body the life of the Lord Jesus, not mysteriously or secretly, but openly and boldly. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection . . .” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Every Christian can have his body under absolute control for God. God has given us the responsibility to rule over all “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” including our thoughts and desires (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are responsible for these, and we must never give way to improper ones. But most of us are much more severe in our judgment of others than we are in judging ourselves. We make excuses for things in ourselves, while we condemn things in the lives of others simply because we are not naturally inclined to do them.

Paul said, “I beseech you…that you present your bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1). What I must decide is whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His temple. Once I agree, all the rules, regulations, and requirements of the law concerning the body are summed up for me in this revealed truth-my body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”

Christian Perfection

December 2nd, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect… —Philippians 3:12


 It is a trap to presume that God wants to make us perfect specimens of what He can do— God’s purpose is to make us one with Himself. The emphasis of holiness movements tends to be that God is producing specimens of holiness to put in His museum. If you accept this concept of personal holiness, your life’s determined purpose will not be for God, but for what you call the evidence of God in your life. How can we say, “It could never be God’s will for me to be sick”? If it was God’s will to bruise His own Son (Isaiah 53:10), why shouldn’t He bruise you? What shines forth and reveals God in your life is not your relative consistency to an idea of what a saint should be, but your genuine, living relationship with Jesus Christ, and your unrestrained devotion to Him whether you are well or sick.

Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection. Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God that shows itself to be true even amid the seemingly unimportant aspects of human life. When you obey the call of Jesus Christ, the first thing that hits you is the pointlessness of the things you have to do. The next thought that strikes you is that other people seem to be living perfectly consistent lives. Such lives may leave you with the idea that God is unnecessary— that through your own human effort and devotion you can attain God’s standard for your life. In a fallen world this can never be done. I am called to live in such a perfect relationship with God that my life produces a yearning for God in the lives of others, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God’s purpose is not to perfect me to make me a trophy in His showcase; He is getting me to the place where He can use me. Let Him do what He wants.

The Law and the Gospel

December 1st, 2016 by Dave No comments »

Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. —James 2:10

The moral law does not consider our weaknesses as human beings; in fact, it does not take into account our heredity or infirmities. It simply demands that we be absolutely moral. The moral law never changes, either for the highest of society or for the weakest in the world. It is enduring and eternally the same. The moral law, ordained by God, does not make itself weak to the weak by excusing our shortcomings. It remains absolute for all time and eternity. If we are not aware of this, it is because we are less than alive. Once we do realize it, our life immediately becomes a fatal tragedy. “I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died” (Romans 7:9). The moment we realize this, the Spirit of God convicts us of sin. Until a person gets there and sees that there is no hope, the Cross of Christ remains absurd to him. Conviction of sin always brings a fearful, confining sense of the law. It makes a person hopeless— “…sold under sin” (Romans 7:14). I, a guilty sinner, can never work to get right with God— it is impossible. There is only one way by which I can get right with God, and that is through the death of Jesus Christ. I must get rid of the underlying idea that I can ever be right with God because of my obedience. Who of us could ever obey God to absolute perfection!

We only begin to realize the power of the moral law once we see that it comes with a condition and a promise. But God never coerces us. Sometimes we wish He would make us be obedient, and at other times we wish He would leave us alone. Whenever God’s will is in complete control, He removes all pressure. And when we deliberately choose to obey Him, He will reach to the remotest star and to the ends of the earth to assist us with all of His almighty power.

Journal DJR
Good morning Lord, Today I’m seeing a truth that you and I hold together. You on a higher level, but me also on a different, lower level. It is the ability to hold two seeming opposites and retain a level of peace. You are much better at it than I, perfect of course, but your example helps guide me in my own struggles. The two opposites that you hold are my sin and my obedience. You are somehow able to observe my sin, and my sometime obedience, and oftentimes failure…all with the backdrop of your Moral Law and commands… and at the same time love me and have compassion on me. Wow! Love and Grace win.
With that as an example, I set out to live a moral life and of course fail. Then I get to hold the two opposites. For me it is trying to do right, knowing that I can never attain it perfectly, knowing the penalty, and knowing and accepting your grace and forgiveness. Seeing my sin and accepting your grace helps me accept shortcomings in others and extend grace to them, rather than anger and judgement. At least that’s how it works on my (our?) best days! I’m still a work in process. Help me walk in peace with your love and my sin without going crazy or drowning in depression and giving up. Only with your grace will it be possible. So thank you for your endless Grace supply and that you totally love me at even my most unlovable points. Double Wow!

“By the Grace of God, I Am What I Am”

November 30th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain… —1 Corinthians 15:10


The way we continually talk about our own inabilities is an insult to our Creator. To complain over our incompetence is to accuse God falsely of having overlooked us. Get into the habit of examining from God’s perspective those things that sound so humble to men. You will be amazed at how unbelievably inappropriate and disrespectful they are to Him. We say things such as, “Oh, I shouldn’t claim to be sanctified; I’m not a saint.” But to say that before God means, “No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are opportunities I have not had and so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn’t possible.” That may sound wonderfully humble to others, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.
Conversely, the things that sound humble before God may sound exactly the opposite to people. To say, “Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified,” is in God’s eyes the purest expression of humility. It means you have so completely surrendered yourself to God that you know He is true. Never worry about whether what you say sounds humble before others or not. But always be humble before God, and allow Him to be your all in all.
There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life.
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November 30, 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning God and thank You for the devotional and the presence of the Holy Spirit and our Savior, Jesus. As I look around my office, I can sense your presence. As I write this journal entry I can feel Your love and grace. Thank you for demonstrating both through the cross. This line from the devotional caught my eye and heart on my first read through this morning….”There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life.” This sounds a great deal like surrendering everything to Jesus.

And God says…”That is exactly the way. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding and He will make your paths straight. Focus on Me , the cross, and the measures to which I have gone to demonstrate My love. You will be transformed over time as you surrender your right to yourself; your need to look good, be right, to feel good and to be in control. When you let everything else go, you will be treated to an amazing reality; I provide everything else you need for living day to day, while also fulfilling My purpose through your life.”

The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

November 29th, 2016 by Dave No comments »

He will glorify Me… —John 16:14

The holiness movements of today have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them. There is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ. All that is required is a pious atmosphere, prayer, and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous. It did not cost the sufferings of God, nor is it stained with “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). It is not marked or sealed by the Holy Spirit as being genuine, and it has no visual sign that causes people to exclaim with awe and wonder, “That is the work of God Almighty!” Yet the New Testament is about the work of God and nothing else.

The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other kind of so-called Christian experience is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration— no being born again into the kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Savior long before He is the pattern. Today He is being portrayed as the figurehead of a religion— a mere example. He is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; He is the gospel of God!

Jesus said, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,…He will glorify Me…” (John 16:13-14). When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did. The Spirit of God does in me internally all that Jesus Christ did for me externally.

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Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord, I like what Chambers brings today… but with an uneasiness in the liking. It comes from seeing things thru a different lens and seeing additional things. Only when I realize this does the uneasiness melt away. It’s like the 4 blind men reporting their experience of an elephant. And I’m OK with realizing that Chambers and I are both seeing the same elephant with different lenses and different emphasis. This has been happening a lot, lately. I didn’t set out to change lenses, but seem to be gravitating to new (to me) views of the elephant. It seems that my theology is changing. Expanding is a better word. Because I’m still believing 99% of what I’ve always believed…. It’s scripture. But now I’m also seeing some additional things. Also scripture. They were there all along, hiding in plain sight. It’s a little unnerving, like the ground shifting under my feet. But remembering that you are Love and that I came from You and you live in me, and I in you, and I will return to you… helps me receive these more expansive and inclusive views with anticipation. That favorite verse of ours also helps me rest on these shifting sands.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
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.

Some of the changes come with the focus on “Christ” rather than just Jesus. I started off as a child, thinking that Christ was Jesus’ last name. I got past that, but never got a really clear view of the difference. These days I’m seeing that Christ was always there from before the foundations of the world, and will always be there as part of the Trinity. And has even implanted a bit of himself in me. So, if I can get past my habits, ego and self protection… He can look thru my eyes and I can look thru His eyes. We can commune together. John starts off his gospel with these words which indicate that he was looking thru a different lens than the other gospel writers. Same elephant, different lens.

John 1 (NLT)

Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word
1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.

The Riches of the Destitute

November 28th, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

being justified freely by His grace… —Romans 3:24


The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service— I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves.
We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).
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November 28, 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord and thank you for this devotional. These lines in the second paragraph spoke to me… “The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves.” Clearly this is an extension of the surrender, connection, curiosity, and obedience principles You have been teaching us. David and I were also struck by the notion that we are also “bound” by “good” services or actions we think we need to perform or agree to perform. After all, if it is “good service”, or helps someone that needs our help, we should be doing it right? Then I asked David if the good deeds or requests for good deeds got in the way of the rest he needs since  his proton/radiation therapy. How was he responding to the “good deeds requests” he was getting from others? Where and when do we say “no” to others and ourselves and simply rest and or recover?”

And God says…” To your church, family and friends, you look the same; no scars or surgical reminders that you have been battling cancer. However, you have been in a war and you are wounded. But the “old man” in you does not want to hear about rest, recovery, and healing throughout. You want to step right back in a race, like your war never occurred. But you were and are in a war, and you were and are wounded and will need rest for some time. You cannot take on projects like you used to do. “

“You cannot take on the family projects, friendly projects or church projects, just because they came from friends, family or the church. Test them against the surrender, connection, curiosity and obedience test that I have given you. Bring the requested project to Me, and surrender it. If I give it back to you, I will make a way, and give you the strength to complete it. If I do not give it back to you; then your friend, family or church(and I) will find some other way. There is a time for all things, a time for sowing, for reaping, for building up, for tearing down. Let Me decide your projects, your healing and your rest. Simply surrender the request or your sense of obligation to Me. When I give it back I will also provide the means, the energy, time, and sense of wellbeing. Trust in the Lord with all your might, and do not trust your own understanding and I will make your paths straight.”

 

The Distraction of Contempt

November 23rd, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. —Psalm 123:3


What we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind. “Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16). Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God. There are certain attitudes we should never dare to indulge. If we do, we will find they have distracted us from faith in God. Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives.Beware of “the cares of this world…” (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by “the cares of this world.”

Another thing that distracts us is our passion for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul’s faith in God. Don’t say, “I must explain myself,” or, “I must get people to understand.” Our Lord never explained anything— He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.

When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God. God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

Shallow and Profound

November 22nd, 2016 by Dave No comments »

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31

Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound. We sometimes refuse to be shallow, not out of our deep devotion to God but because we wish to impress other people with the fact that we are not shallow. This is a sure sign of spiritual pride. We must be careful, for this is how contempt for others is produced in our lives. And it causes us to be a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than we are. Beware of posing as a profound person— God became a baby.

To be shallow is not a sign of being sinful, nor is shallowness an indication that there is no depth to your life at all— the ocean has a shore. Even the shallow things of life, such as eating and drinking, walking and talking, are ordained by God. These are all things our Lord did. He did them as the Son of God, and He said, “A disciple is not above his teacher…” (Matthew 10:24).

We are safeguarded by the shallow things of life. We have to live the surface, commonsense life in a commonsense way. Then when God gives us the deeper things, they are obviously separated from the shallow concerns. Never show the depth of your life to anyone but God. We are so nauseatingly serious, so desperately interested in our own character and reputation, we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life.

Make a determination to take no one seriously except God. You may find that the first person you must be the most critical with, as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.

“It is Finished!”

November 21st, 2016 by JDVaughn No comments »

I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. —John 17:4


The death of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in history of the very mind and intent of God. There is no place for seeing Jesus Christ as a martyr. His death was not something that happened to Him— something that might have been prevented. His death was the very reason He came.Never build your case for forgiveness on the idea that God is our Father and He will forgive us because He loves us. That contradicts the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ. It makes the Cross unnecessary, and the redemption “much ado about nothing.” God forgives sin only because of the death of Christ. God could forgive people in no other way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted as Savior because of His death. “We see Jesus…for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor…” (Hebrews 2:9). The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” (John 19:30). That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.

Anything that lessens or completely obliterates the holiness of God, through a false view of His love, contradicts the truth of God as revealed by Jesus Christ. Never allow yourself to believe that Jesus Christ stands with us, and against God, out of pity and compassion, or that He became a curse for us out of sympathy for us. Jesus Christ became a curse for us by divine decree. Our part in realizing the tremendous meaning of His curse is the conviction of sin. Conviction is given to us as a gift of shame and repentance; it is the great mercy of God. Jesus Christ hates the sin in people, and Calvary is the measure of His hatred.