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The Ministry of the Inner Life

June 21st, 2017

You are…a royal priesthood… —1 Peter 2:9


By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say,
“What a wonderful victory I have!” Yet there is nothing at all in that which indicates the miracle of redemption. Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. Then don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves?
We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life
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The Path of Descent
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jesus himself taught and exemplified the path of descent, which Christians have often called “the way of the cross.” The path downward is much more trustworthy than any path upward, which tends to feed the ego. Like few other Christians, it was Francis of Assisi who profoundly understood that.

Authentic spirituality is always on some level or in some way about letting go. Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Once we see truly what traps us and keeps us from freedom we should see the need to let it go. But in a consumer society most of us have had no training in that direction. Rather, more is usually considered better.

True liberation is letting go of our small self, letting go of our cultural biases, and letting go of our fear of loss and death.  (read more)…..https://cac.org/the-path-of-descent-2017-06-21/

Journal DJR
Good morning Lord,
Today both or our writers mention “letting go” rather than holding on as the way to freedom and peace. You have taught us to be suspect of what we’ve called the Big Four… the need to Look good, Feel good, Be right, and Be in control. Rohr adds a view thru a slightly different lens… letting go of our need for power and control, safety and security, and affection and esteem. In meditation about letting go of all of this stuff, I’m seeing that none of those items are bad in themselves, being right, having safety or affection, etc. Rather it is the “need” for those thing and the striving for them to the extent that we become blind and deaf to the needs around us and what you are saying to us. So the challenge seems to be the de-coupling of the need and striving from those things. Being right, Feeling Good, Being in control and having security and esteem are not bad if they come to us, rather than being things that we strive after. How can that de-coupling happen? How do we work together with you to walk in those blessings without getting tangled up in chasing after them?

Have You Come to “When” Yet?

June 20th, 2017

The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. —Job 42:10


A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession.
There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.If you are not now receiving the “hundredfold” which Jesus promised (see Matthew 19:29), and not getting insight into God’s Word, then start praying for your friends— enter into the ministry of the inner life.

“The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer. Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now._________________________________________________

https://cac.org/freedom-2017-06-20/

Freedom

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June 20, 2017

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord, and thank you for this day and both of these devotionals. It seems that Richard Rohr is leading us past the issue of sin management and how that can get in the way of surrendered and connected living. As Rohr said…Jesus was neither surprised nor upset at what we usually call sin. Jesus was upset at human pain and suffering. What else do all the healing stories mean? They are half of the Gospel! Jesus did not focus on sin. Jesus went where the pain was. Wherever he found human pain, there he went, there he touched, and there he healed.

Lord please help me focus on going where the pain is. Help me engage and support the marginalized and those that are hurting.  I believe that is where you want me to be, is it not?

And God says…”When you are surrendered, connected and available, I can lead you to the exact place and time(s) where your life can and will touch and impact the lives of others. I can lead you to connect and engage with people that need to hear your story and be impacted by your life and gifts when you are surrendered and connected to Me.”

 

“Will You Lay Down Your Life?”

June 16th, 2017

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends….I have called you friends… —John 15:13, 15


Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him. Peter said to the Lord, “I will lay down my life for Your sake,” and he meant it (John 13:37). He had a magnificent sense of the heroic. For us to be incapable of making this same statement Peter made would be a bad thing— our sense of duty is only fully realized through our sense of heroism. Has the Lord ever asked you, “Will you lay down your life for My sake?” (John 13:38).
It is much easier to die than to lay down your life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling of God. We are not made for the bright-shining moments of life, but we have to walk in the light of them in our everyday ways. There was only one bright-shining moment in the life of Jesus, and that was on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was there that He emptied Himself of His glory for the second time, and then came down into the demon-possessed valley (seeMark 9:1-29). For thirty-three years Jesus laid down His life to do the will of His Father. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). Yet it is contrary to our human nature to do so.If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him.
It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is. Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. But the exhibiting of salvation in my life is difficult. God saves a person, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and then says, in effect, “Now you work it out in your life, and be faithful to Me, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful.” And Jesus says to us, “…I have called you friends….” Remain faithful to your Friend, and remember that His honor is at stake in your bodily life.
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https://cac.org/inner-authority-2017-06-16/

Get Moving! (1)

June 14th, 2017

Abide in Me… —John 15:4

In the matter of determination. The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus— I have to do it myself. I have to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Abide in Me”— in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. Our lives are not made up of only one neatly confined area.

Am I preventing God from doing things in my circumstances by saying that it will only serve to hinder my fellowship with Him? How irrelevant and disrespectful that is! It does not matter what my circumstances are. I can be as much assured of abiding in Jesus in any one of them as I am in any prayer meeting. It is unnecessary to change and arrange my circumstances myself. Our Lord’s inner abiding was pure and unblemished. He was at home with God wherever His body was. He never chose His own circumstances, but was meek, submitting to His Father’s plans and directions for Him. Just think of how amazingly relaxed our Lord’s life was! But we tend to keep God at a fever pitch in our lives. We have none of the serenity of the life which is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.

Get Moving (1)

June 14th, 2017

Abide in Me… —John 15:4

In the matter of determination. The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus— I have to do it myself. I have to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Abide in Me”— in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. Our lives are not made up of only one neatly confined area.Am I preventing God from doing things in my circumstances by saying that it will only serve to hinder my fellowship with Him? How irrelevant and disrespectful that is! It does not matter what my circumstances are. I can be as much assured of abiding in Jesus in any one of them as I am in any prayer meeting. It is unnecessary to change and arrange my circumstances myself. Our Lord’s inner abiding was pure and unblemished. He was at home with God wherever His body was. He never chose His own circumstances, but was meek, submitting to His Father’s plans and directions for Him. Just think of how amazingly relaxed our Lord’s life was! But we tend to keep God at a fever pitch in our lives. We have none of the serenity of the life which is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.________________________________________________

Getting There (3)

June 13th, 2017

…come, follow Me. —Luke 18:22

 
Where our individual desire dies and sanctified surrender lives. One of the greatest hindrances in coming to Jesus is the excuse of our own individual temperament. We make our temperament and our natural desires barriers to coming to Jesus. Yet the first thing we realize when we do come to Jesus is that He pays no attention whatsoever to our natural desires. We have the idea that we can dedicate our gifts to God. However, you cannot dedicate what is not yours. There is actually only one thing you can dedicate to God, and that is your right to yourself (see Romans 12:1). If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you— and His experiments always succeed.
The one true mark of a saint of God is the inner creativity that flows from being totally surrendered to Jesus Christ. In the life of a saint there is this amazing Well, which is a continual Source of original life. The Spirit of God is a Well of water springing up perpetually fresh. A saint realizes that it is God who engineers his circumstances; consequently there are no complaints, only unrestrained surrender to Jesus. Never try to make your experience a principle for others, but allow God to be as creative and original with others as He is with you.

If you abandon everything to Jesus, and come when He says, “Come,” then He will continue to say, “Come,” through you. You will go out into the world reproducing the echo of Christ’s “Come.” That is the result in every soul who has abandoned all and come to Jesus.

Have I come to Him? Will I come now?

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The Primacy of Love

Getting There (2)

June 12th, 2017

They said to Him, “Rabbi…where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” —John 1:38-39


Where our self-interest sleeps and the real interest is awakened. “They…remained with Him that day….” That is about all some of us ever do. We stay with Him a short time, only to wake up to our own realities of life. Our self-interest rises up and our abiding with Him is past. Yet there is no circumstance of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.“You are Simon….You shall be called Cephas” (John 1:42). God writes our new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased our pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest. Some of us have our new name written only in certain spots, like spiritual measles.
And in those areas of our lives we look all right. When we are in our best spiritual mood, you would think we were the highest quality saints. But don’t dare look at us when we are not in that mood. A true disciple is one who has his new name written all over him— self-interest, pride, and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.” Why aren’t you a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe that God can make you into one.

You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “…We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.____________

Richard Rohr’s Daily Devotional

There Is Nothing to Regret (God Uses Everything in Our Favor)
Monday, June 12, 2017

Toward the end of his life, Saint Francis told the friars, “Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing.” [1] That enigmatic sense of beginning again at the end of life, at the end of an era, in the middle of so much failure, when we just want to rest and put the past behind us, that is the gift for reconstruction that we want to discover in these meditations. It makes Francis a man for all seasons, particularly for seasons of winter and death, when we do not know how, much less want, to begin again.

Francis also said as he lay dying, “I have done what is mine; may Christ teach you what is yours!” [2] We cannot change the world except insofar as we have changed ourselves.  (see more) https://cac.org/category/daily-meditations/

Then What’s Next To Do?

June 9th, 2017

Everyone who asks receives… —Luke 11:10

Ask if you have not received. There is nothing more difficult than asking. We will have yearnings and desires for certain things, and even suffer as a result of their going unfulfilled, but not until we are at the limit of desperation will we ask. It is the sense of not being spiritually real that causes us to ask. Have you ever asked out of the depths of your total insufficiency and poverty? “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…” (James 1:5), but be sure that you do lack wisdom before you ask. You cannot bring yourself to the point of spiritual reality anytime you choose. The best thing to do, once you realize you are not spiritually real, is to ask God for the Holy Spirit, basing your request on the promise of Jesus Christ (see Luke 11:13). The Holy Spirit is the one who makes everything that Jesus did for you real in your life.

“Everyone who asks receives….” This does not mean that you will not get if you do not ask, but it means that until you come to the point of asking, you will not receive from God (seeMatthew 5:45). To be able to receive means that you have to come into the relationship of a child of God, and then you comprehend and appreciate mentally, morally, and with spiritual understanding, that these things come from God.

“If any of you lacks wisdom….” If you realize that you are lacking, it is because you have come in contact with spiritual reality— do not put the blinders of reason on again. The word ask actually means “beg.” Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are poor enough spiritually to show our interest. Yet we will never receive if we ask with a certain result in mind, because we are asking out of our lust, not out of our poverty. A pauper does not ask out of any reason other than the completely hopeless and painful condition of his poverty. He is not ashamed to beg— blessed are the paupers in spirit (see Matthew 5:3).

Inherent Dignity

What’s Next To Do?

June 8th, 2017

» Read more: What’s Next To Do?

The Greatest Source of Power

June 7th, 2017

Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do… —John 14:13

Am I fulfilling this ministry of intercession deep within the hidden recesses of my life? There is no trap nor any danger at all of being deceived or of showing pride in true intercession. It is a hidden ministry that brings forth fruit through which the Father is glorified. Am I allowing my spiritual life to waste away, or am I focused, bringing everything to one central point— the atonement of my Lord? Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest of my life? If the central point, or the most powerful influence, of my life is the atonement of the Lord, then every aspect of my life will bear fruit for Him.

However, I must take the time to realize what this central point of power is. Am I willing to give one minute out of every hour to concentrate on it? “If you abide in Me…”— that is, if you continue to act, and think, and work from that central point— “you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Am I abiding? Am I taking the time to abide? What is the greatest source of power in my life? Is it my work, service, and sacrifice for others, or is it my striving to work for God? It should be none of these— what ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the atonement of the Lord. It is not on what we spend the greatest amount of time that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us. We must make a determination to limit and concentrate our desires and interests on the atonement by the Cross of Christ.

“Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do….” The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and what appears to be his free choices are actually God’s foreordained decrees. Is this mysterious? Does it appear to contradict sound logic or seem totally absurd? Yes, but what a glorious truth it is to a saint of God.

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June 7, 20017

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Where have you been? This a question you may have asked? Did we just get tired or bored? Did we lose interest?……. Not at all. We just got caught up in being led and directed to some teaching that was very new for us, and we struggled with how or even IF we should share this teaching. You know how we can read a book, or hear a sermon and run off and try to share this new spiritual insight with a brother or a sister and it just doesn’t work? They were not as excited as we were about this “new insight”. Well that is where we landed for about six months as we contrasted and compared (iron sharpening iron) Richard Rohr’s devotionals https://cac.org/category/daily-meditations/ and Oswald Chambers https://utmost.org/.  But we agreed, even as we are still learning about this new (to us) teaching about God’s love, we also learned (or were guided to know) that journaling was and is an essential part of our learning and communicating. And if this teaching is truth, and was to find its way out of us, that it would do so naturally wrapped inside our regular living, learning and writing.

Today Chambers says atonement is to be our focus. Christ’s atonement for us. In dictionaries, the meaning is “the reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ” or; “the reparation or expiation for sin.”  

But what if, as we are being taught by Richard Roher and his colleagues, Jesus was not about atonement at all, He came as a love offering……. to simply demonstrate God’s love for us? Our Franciscan teachers ask us to consider that perhaps God does not make mistakes and He knew before he even made Adam and Eve how they would respond to His direction. What if, as they suggest, God is love, grace and mercy and all of this covered mankind since the beginning of time?  What if it was not our sin that God wants to cover; what if as they suggest,  Jesus is not atonement, but is The cosmic, transformative and powerful statement of love?

Well, David and I decided, after days and weeks of prayer and connection, that it was not our place to communicate or try to teach this kind of theology, even as we are still learning thoughtfully. In fact it is not even our place to understand it fully. It is our place to surrender ourselves, our rights to ourselves and our rights to offer up any proposed teaching, give it up and be connected to Jesus. And live out of that.

We decided for us that doctrines and conflicting teaching does not matter as long as we are surrendered and connected to Jesus. He will lead us as we live it out in a surrendered and connected state. And we know that what we learn tomorrow will be revealed tomorrow. However, day by day,  as Chambers says, we agree to ask ourselves, “Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest of my life?”

If the central point or the most powerful influence of my life is my surrender and connection to Jesus, then I am to live out of that because whatever is revealed or manifested as a result comes from God. So for us the teaching or truth of it is not the discussion. Our surrender and connection is. God will take care of the rest.

And God said, “Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything else you need will be provided. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. I do not want your good behavior, nor do I care about your doctrines or how you interpret the scriptures. I simply desire a personal relationship with you, and this starts with your surrender and connection. Live out of that and let Me live through you; and I will take care of everything else.