Archive for May, 2010

The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience 5-13-2010

May 13th, 2010

The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience

May 13 2010
. . . strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men —Acts 24:16

God’s commands to us are actually given to the life of His Son in us. Consequently, to our human nature in which God’s Son has been formed (see Galatians 4:19 ), His commands are difficult. But they become divinely easy once we obey.

Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what we regard as the highest standard. This explains why conscience is different in different people. If I am in the habit of continually holding God’s standard in front of me, my conscience will always direct me to God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The question is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I can live without any offense toward anyone. I should be living in such perfect harmony with God’s Son that the spirit of my mind is being renewed through every circumstance of life, and that I may be able to quickly “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” ( Romans 12:2 ; also see Ephesians 4:23 ).

God always instructs us down to the last detail. Is my ear sensitive enough to hear even the softest whisper of the Spirit, so that I know what I should do? “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God . . .” ( Ephesians 4:30 ). He does not speak with a voice like thunder— His voice is so gentle that it is easy for us to ignore. And the only thing that keeps our conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside. When you begin to debate, stop immediately. Don’t ask, “Why can’t I do this?” You are on the wrong track. There is no debating possible once your conscience speaks. Whatever it is— drop it, and see that you keep your inner vision clear.


Journal Entry for today..

May 13, 2010

And once again I read Oswald Chambers and he reminds me of my human frailty. I am reminded of keeping a clear conscience and how I am to accomplish that. All the while I am reminding myself of the things that rise up in me that I find offensive to me; let alone God. How can I develop the right habits like keeping a good conscience when it feels like I am just one mistake away from falling completely?

And God says…” I have begun the good work in you, and I will complete it.” It is not work you do in the sense that you feel you must “hold on” to righteousness or to doing the right things. All you are to do is to accept the COMPLETE work of Jesus on the cross. Let His sacrifice have its perfect result. In my eyes your slate is clean, your sins as far as the East from the West. You will fail, you will fall. But the work of Jesus never fails and never falls. Focus on that and on the magnitude of the sacrifice and rest in Him.

Oh it sounds so easy but it is hard sometimes to see myself as anything but a self serving constant sinner, focused on myself and my failures at best and on my lustful wants and needs at worst.

You did not save yourself, and while it is natural to want to turn away from your “old man” and become a “new man”; all polished up and bright and shining and new as a result of the realization of what Jesus has done for you. You cannot. What was born of the Spirit cannot become real from the change in your flesh.

Simply focus on Jesus, His work and understand the love that is never ending. There is no condemnation..ever. Rest in me and be free. Your habits will fall away as you rest, and your conscience becomes clear as the Spirit makes you aware of your position in Jesus.

journal #2
5 13 2010
Good morning Trinity, It’s been a while, too long. But I’m so glad to be back. I just read some of our talks from a year ago. Wow your love and acceptance is so awesome. How do you do that?
It’s just who we are, and we planted the same seed in you. You are becoming that same love and acceptance.
Am I your project?
You could look at it that way. All of our children and all of our creation are in process. The difference between you and the rest of creation is that we partner with you in the project. Not so the gecko or the buffalo.
It feels good to know that my partner is the God of the Universe. Kind of gives me an Ace.
Thanks for helping yesterday with Jack and Ernesto. I felt your partnering.
Good, That’s what we do. There were more opportunities…
Yes I know. I’m sorry I missed them.
That’s what today will be for.
Please help me at the dentist. Mainly show empathy.
Go, partner.

From the CO2

Be aware that completed works surround you all day……

Another Dashboard Idiot light is when we feel inadequate and beat ourselves up with guilt and self condemnation…. Then we know it’s time to go and give some grace and mercy away.

It’s hard  for a delivery boy to stay down in the dumps and down on himself when delivering a personal miracle for the God of the universe.

And remember a baseball player only has to hit 3 out of 10 to be an All Star. And he doesn’t get consumed with self condemnation at a swing and a miss. So neither should we. Just get back up to bat with our eye on the ball….. Which is Christlikeness and delivering Him into our world.

The Habit of Having No Habits 5-12-2010

May 12th, 2010

The Habit of Having No Habits

May 12 010
If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful . . . —2 Peter 1:8

When we first begin to form a habit, we are fully aware of it. There are times when we are aware of becoming virtuous and godly, but this awareness should only be a stage we quickly pass through as we grow spiritually. If we stop at this stage, we will develop a sense of spiritual pride. The right thing to do with godly habits is to immerse them in the life of the Lord until they become such a spontaneous expression of our lives that we are no longer aware of them. Our spiritual life continually causes us to focus our attention inwardly for the determined purpose of self-examination, because each of us has some qualities we have not yet added to our lives.

Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, “I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.” No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality.

Love means that there are no visible habits— that your habits are so immersed in the Lord that you practice them without realizing it. If you are consciously aware of your own holiness, you place limitations on yourself from doing certain things— things God is not restricting you from at all. This means there is a missing quality that needs to be added to your life. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there someplace where you are not at home with God? Then allow God to work through whatever that particular circumstance may be until you increase in Him, adding His qualities. Your life will then become the simple life of a child.


Journaling for today’s devotional

May 12, 2010

I wonder if I have the discipline and courage to stand for Jesus when it is more my natural self to try to forget or put my mind on other things. Where can I find the strength to follow Jesus and be available to Him open and connected even when I am being tried and found guilty by a colleague or an internal pressure of some maturity?

And God says…”I know every flaw every blemish, every scheme of yours before you were born. I know every failure before it occurs. I know this about every human. Why then do you think the sacrifice was so magnificent?

You do not have the courage; you do not have the strength, which is why you have the Holy Spirit inside of you. That is why I can live in you in the Spirit. I provide the strength and courage and discipline. And when you choose to ignore the urging Spirit, I am still there when you return. I will never let you go, and nothing can separate us. You have the freedom to be open, honest and transparent. You have my power when you choose to access the Spirit. When you choose NOT to access the Spirit, and make a bad decision, I am still here washing you, cleansing you and standing you right back up.

Your witness is not necessarily in the good you do all the time, but in the hearts and lives you touch openly with the love of Christ. Forget your propensity to fail, I have forgotten it. Stay engaged with others and watch your Spirit grow and come alive.

So how do I prepare for the challenges, the tests and trials that come against me?

Know that I have already overcome them all on your behalf

What if I fail over and over and over?

You have and will. Simply let me live through, you and turn around and look at yourself next month, next year.

That doesn’t speak too highly of my discipline and my strength.

No it does not. You can only trust and glorify Jesus. He is the strength and courage and discipline of your live.

“Love One Another” 5-11-2010

May 11th, 2010

“Love One Another”

May 11 2010
. . . add to your . . . brotherly kindness love —2 Peter 1:5, 7

Love is an indefinite thing to most of us; we don’t know what we mean when we talk about love. Love is the loftiest preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that this sovereign preference be for Himself (see Luke 14:26 ). Initially, when “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” ( Romans 5:5 ), it is easy to put Jesus first. But then we must practice the things mentioned in 2 Peter 1 to see them worked out in our lives.

The first thing God does is forcibly remove any insincerity, pride, and vanity from my life. And the Holy Spirit reveals to me that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now He commands me to show the same love to others by saying, “. . . love one another as I have loved you” ( John 15:12 ). He is saying, “I will bring a number of people around you whom you cannot respect, but you must exhibit My love to them, just as I have exhibited it to you.” This kind of love is not a patronizing love for the unlovable— it is His love, and it will not be evidenced in us overnight. Some of us may have tried to force it, but we were soon tired and frustrated.

“The Lord . . . is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish . . .” ( 2 Peter 3:9 ). I should look within and remember how wonderfully He has dealt with me. The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way

I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person. But just think how disagreeable I have been with God! Am I prepared to be identified so closely with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness will be continually poured out through Me? Neither natural love nor God’s divine love will remain and grow in me unless it is nurtured. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained through discipline.


A Journal Excerpt for today’s devotional…..

May 11, 2010

Yesterday I took steps, one at a time toward the tasks I have put off because of fear and uncertainty. I learned that one step opened up the way for the next and then the next and the task was after all not so daunting.

And God says…This is one of the great mysteries of the age; I have given you the courage and strength and peace from the love of a sacrifice so great that it covers all fear and anxiety. And yet you continue to go there time after time after time. The relationship and the intimacy we both want can only come from trust and faith. One step outside your comfort zone into faith opens up a whole new opportunity for me to work in your life. If you stay inside your comfort zones you have said, “This is alright, I am fine right where I am….and then I cannot work in your life”. But when you step out in faith I can act on your behalf.”

It is the same when loving others. When you step out on their behalf, trusting me to be your source and the source for the other, I can act. My love can flow through you when you are reaching out to others. When you do not reach out to and for others, my love cannot flow through you. It can flow to you but not through you. Love that flows through you is a stream constantly flowing. Love that stops with you and does not flow to others does not flow at all.

And so I wonder about love that stops with me. Does that mean that when it stops with me and I am trying to get connected and stay intimate with God because I want to “feel better” or “feel connected” that I cannot? Does this mean that real intimacy means I must be reaching out to others at all times? Does this mean that I cannot be truly connected unless I am loving others with the love that flows through me?

And God says.”Yes, that is exactly what it means. The second commandment Love you neighbor as yourself” is one of only two given you by Jesus. It is almost as important and the first, however the first commandment truly comes alive and you become connected only when you are also operating in the second. If you want to be truly connected, love your brother

Take the Initiative 5-10-2010

May 10th, 2010
Take the Initiative
. . . add to your faith virtue . . . —2 Peter 1:5

We cannot save nor sanctify ourselves— God does that. But God will not give us good habits or character, and He will not force us to walk correctly before Him. We have to do all that ourselves. We must “work out” our “own salvation” which God has worked in us ( Philippians 2:12 ). Add means that we must get into the habit of doing things, and in the initial stages that is difficult. To take the initiative is to make a beginning— to instruct yourself in the way you must go.

Beware of the tendency to ask the way when you know it perfectly well. Take the initiative— stop hesitating— take the first step.Be determined to act immediately in faith on what God says to you when He speaks, and never reconsider or change your initial decisions. If you hesitate when God tells you to do something, you are being careless, spurning the grace in which you stand. Take the initiative yourself, make a decision of your will right now, and make it impossible to go back. Burn your bridges behind you, saying, “I will write that letter,” or “I will pay that debt”; and then do it! Make it irrevocable.

Perhaps we are reluctant to take that first step because we are afraid of the unknown, or of the potential for failure and disappointment or because the steps we know we must first take do not fit our notion of what we would like to do or believe should be our next steps. Or maybe we just need to “get around to it”. Our next steps are normally little steps  that

will ultimately add up to giant growth and accomplishment. God normally will not ask us to pick up thousand pound rocks. We are to take it one step at a time….If we can become distracted or wounded and diverted the enemy knows we may not be focused or connected enough to take the first steps of a journey that will take us to life and life more abundantly. JDV/DJR

We have to get into the habit of carefully listening to God about everything, forming the habit of finding out what He says and heeding it. If, when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we will know that the habit has been formed in us. We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been.

Building For Eternity 5-7-2010

May 7th, 2010

Building For Eternity

May 07 2010
Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has
enough to finish it . . . —Luke 14:28

Our Lord was not referring here to a cost which we have to count, but to a cost which He has already counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal, and hatred, the unfathomable agony He experienced in Gethsemane, and the assault upon Him at Calvary— the central point upon which all of time and eternity turn. Jesus Christ has counted the cost. In the final analysis, people are not going to laugh at Him and say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish” ( Luke 14:30 ).

The conditions of discipleship given to us by our Lord in verses 26, 27, and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple ” (Luke 14:26 ). This verse teaches us that the only men and women our Lord will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately, and with great devotion— those who have a love for Him that goes far beyond any of the closest relationships on earth. The conditions are strict, but they are glorious.

All that we build is going to be inspected by God. When God inspects us with His searching and refining fire, will He detect that we have built enterprises of our own on the foundation of Jesus? (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 ). We are living in a time of tremendous enterprises, a time when we are trying to work for God, and that is where the trap is. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God. Jesus, as the Master Builder, takes us over so that He may direct and control us completely for His enterprises and His building plans; and no one has any right to demand where he will be put to work.

Liberty and the Standards of Jesus 5-6-2010

May 6th, 2010

Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

May 06 2010
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free . . . —Galatians 5:1

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand—”Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40 ). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.

Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty— the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.

Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you— with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go . . . and make disciples. . .” ( Matthew 28:19 ), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

Vital Intercession 5-03-2010

May 3rd, 2010

Vital Intercession

May 03 2010
. . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit . . . —Ephesians 6:18

As we continue on in our intercession for others, we may find that our obedience to God in interceding is going to cost those for whom we intercede more than we ever thought. The danger in this is that we begin to intercede in sympathy with those whom God was gradually lifting up to a totally different level in direct answer to our prayers. Whenever we step back from our close identification with God’s interest and concern for others and step into having emotional sympathy with them, the vital connection with God is gone. We have then put our sympathy and concern for them in the way, and this is a deliberate rebuke to God.

It is the same issue we have with blessing and miracles that God wants to provide in our own lives.

We often take action on our own behalf or on behalf of the vision we think we “see’ and as a result, we “tell” God that we do not trust Him to provide whatever is needed for the vision or to deliver us. And as a result, He cannot deliver us…because of our lack of faith. We accept our best instead of waiting obediently for God’s best.  JDV/DJR

It is impossible for us to have living and vital intercession unless we are perfectly and completely sure of God. And the greatest destroyer of that confident relationship to God, so necessary for intercession, is our own personal sympathy and preconceived bias. Identification with God is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with Him it is because of our sympathy with others, not because of sin. It is not likely that sin will interfere with our intercessory relationship with God, but sympathy will. It is sympathy with ourselves or with others that makes us say, “I will not allow that thing to happen.” And instantly we are out of that vital connection with God.

Perhaps there is a thought we should consider at the end of Romans 8:28:….”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.”  IF WE LET ALL THINGS WORK FOR GOOD and do not get in the way….JDV/DJR

Vital intercession leaves you with neither the time nor the inclination to pray for your own “sad and pitiful self.” You do not have to struggle to keep thoughts of yourself out, because they are not even there to be kept out of your thinking. You are completely and entirely identified with God’s interests and concerns in other lives. God gives us discernment in the lives of others to call us to intercession for them, never so that we may find fault with them.