Archive for January, 2011

Do You See Your Calling?

January 31st, 2011
January 31, 2011
. . . separated to the gospel of God. . . —Romans 1:1

Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the gospel of God. The one all-important thing is that the gospel of God should be recognized as the abiding reality. Reality is not human goodness, or holiness, or heaven, or hell— it is redemption. The need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker today. As workers, we have to get used to the revelation that redemption is the only reality. Personal holiness is an effect of redemption, not the cause of it. If we place our faith in human goodness we will go under when testing comes.

Paul did not say that he separated himself, but “when it pleased God, who separated me . . .” (Galatians 1:15). Paul was not overly interested in his own character. And as long as our eyes are focused on our own personal holiness, we will never even get close to the full reality of redemption. Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God. “Don’t ask me to be confronted with the strong reality of redemption on behalf of the filth of human life surrounding me today; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes.” To talk that way is a sign that the reality of the gospel of God has not begun to touch me. There is no reckless abandon to God in that. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul was not conscious of himself. He was recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose— to proclaim the gospel of God (see Romans 9:3).


January 31, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

I have been facing some interesting and challenging issues of late; issues primarily facing other people. I have been used for a portion of the challenge or opportunity to help facilitate a next step for that other person and it feels natural and somehow self-completing. Even though my own life is not “all together”, being used to help someone else seems to bring all my uneven issues into a kind of perspective…and I seem to gain faith, hope, courage, and strength.

And God says…”Jesus gave you two commandments only….love your God with all your heart and love others as yourself. He only gave you two ….and obedience to both will complete you, not as a destination, but as a journey. We have begun to discover that you are only complete as you love your God with all your heart and as you love others and reach out to them in demonstration of that love. “

Luke 10:27 (Amplified Bible)

27And he replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.(A)

How Could Someone Be So Ignorant!

January 29th, 2011

January 29, 2011
Who are You, Lord? —Acts 26:15

“The Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand . . .” (Isaiah 8:11). There is no escape when our Lord speaks. He always comes using His authority and taking hold of our understanding. Has the voice of God come to you directly? If it has, you cannot mistake the intimate insistence with which it has spoken to you. God speaks in the language you know best— not through your ears, but through your circumstances.

God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions. We say, “I know that this is what I should do”-and suddenly the voice of God speaks in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance. We show our ignorance of Him in the very way we decide to serve Him. We serve Jesus in a spirit that is not His, and hurt Him by our defense of Him. We push His claims in the spirit of the devil; our words sound all right, but the spirit is that of an enemy. “He . . . rebuked them, and said, ’You do not know what manner of spirit you are of’ ” (Luke 9:55). The spirit of our Lord in His followers is described in 1 Corinthians 13 .

Have I been persecuting Jesus by an eager determination to serve Him in my own way? If I feel I have done my duty, yet have hurt Him in the process, I can be sure that this was not my duty. My way will not be to foster a meek and quiet spirit, only the spirit of self-satisfaction. We presume that whatever is unpleasant is our duty! Is that anything like the spirit of our Lord— “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .” (Psalm 40:8).


January 29, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

I heard a radio sermon the other day and the preacher talked about obedience and how obedience was the path into the life God wants for us. A path and abundant life filled with blessings. However, he also mentioned that whenever I veer off course and consciously choose not to obey God, I will be, he said “Messing with my blessings”.

And God says…”I am not the cosmic killjoy. The guidelines I have established for you are not cumbersome and I truly want you to have a robust, full and happy life. I made you to enjoy life and have full and wonderful experiences. The reason I give you the guidelines for living is to help you live life to the fullest. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things I will add unto you.”

How Could Someone So Persecute Jesus!

January 28th, 2011

January 28, 2011
Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? —Acts 26:14

Are you determined to have your own way in living for God? We will never be free from this trap until we are brought into the experience of the baptism of “the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Stubbornness and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set on our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus. Every time we stand on our own rights and insist that this is what we intend to do, we are persecuting Him. Whenever we rely on self-respect, we systematically disturb and grieve His Spirit. And when we finally understand that it is Jesus we have been persecuting all this time, it is the most crushing revelation ever.

Is the Word of God tremendously penetrating and sharp in me as I hand it on to you, or does my life betray the things I profess to teach? I may teach sanctification and yet exhibit the spirit of Satan, the very spirit that persecutes Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is conscious of only one thing— a perfect oneness with the Father. And He tells us, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). All I do should be based on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly. This will mean that others may use me, go around me, or completely ignore me, but if I will submit to it for His sake, I will prevent Jesus Christ from being persecuted.


January 28, 2011

Journal for Today-JDV

There were two devotionals that spoke to me with the same message this morning. They both reminded me that God’s plan is NOT for me to act holy, or even try to be holy or religious.  Even if I do good works or good deeds and or reach out to others, I can be serving myself. The devotionals combined with a prayerful listening to the Holy Spirit reminded me that any good thing from me or because of me can only come from God as He has his way in my life.

And God says…”How many times have you tried to do the right thing and failed? How many times have you promised yourself and Me that you would do this or that…..and then failed? How many times have you yearned to do the right thing and failed miserably? In fact you gave up walking with Me for a number of years because you did not experience victory or the abundant life…….Now you know that you cannot change your own life, you cannot become a better person, you cannot grow your own servant’s heart. …….but you can rest and abide in Me and observe the transformation that occurs in your life when you simply hand your life to Me.”

Romans 12:2 (The Message)

Place Your Life Before God

 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.



January 27th, 2011

January 27, 2011

“Take no thought for your life.” Matthew 6:25


A warning which needs to be reiterated is that the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, will choke all that God puts in. We are never free from the recurring tides of this encroachment. If it does not come on the line of clothes and food, it will come on the line of money or lack of money; of friends or lack of friends; or on the line of difficult circumstances. It is one steady encroachment all the time, and unless we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the standard against it, these things will come in like a flood.

“Take no thought for your life.” “Be careful about one thing only,” says our Lord – “your relationship to Me.” Common sense shouts loud and says – “That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing the thought that this statement is made by One Who does not understand our particular circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things so as to make them the one concern of our life. Whenever there is competition, be sure that you put your relationship to God first.

“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” How much evil has begun to threaten you to-day? What kind of mean little imps have been looking in and saying – Now what are you going to do next month – this summer? “Be anxious for nothing,” Jesus says. Look again and think. Keep your mind on the “much more” of your heavenly Father.


January 27, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Last night in Bible study I was struck by what seemed like hearts hardened and callused against people that have little.  Politics spewed and polarized positioning (mine included) came roaring out. Suddenly we were disconnected and passionate with political purpose. We disagreed and our rancor was alive and well. The fruits of the Spirit disappeared as we argued the issues of the days with conflicting manmade ideas and solutions.

And God says…”Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways, do not rely on your own understanding and He will make your paths straight. Rancor and vitriol break out when you are promoting yourself in the costume of political parties and ideas. Political posturing and positioning is simply one more way that you tell Me that you can solve your own problems and issues of the day. You can be engaged in your issues of the day, and I want you involved in helping other people, but remember to allow Me work through you, let Me bring the solutions to you and through you. “

“It is the same with your work and career. Look to Me, and let Me guide your hopes, dreams, thoughts and ideas. Seek Me first, and I will make your paths straight.”


January 26th, 2011
January 26, 2011  
“If God so clothe the grass of the field . . . shall He not much more clothe you?”Matthew 6:30A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us if we are not simple. How are we going to be simple with the simplicity of Jesus? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, obeying Him as He brings the word of God, and life will become amazingly simple. “Consider,” says Jesus, “how much more your Father Who clothes the grass of the field will clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him.” Every time we have gone back in spiritual communion it has been because we have impertinently known better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed the cares of the world to come in, and have forgotten the “much more” of our Heavenly Father.”Behold the fowls of the air” – their main aim is to obey the principle of life that is in them and God looks after them. Jesus says that if you are rightly related to Him and obey His Spirit that is in you, God will look after your ‘feathers.’

“Consider the lilies of the field” – they grow where they are put. Many of us refuse to grow where we are put, consequently we take root nowhere. Jesus says that if we obey the life God has given us, He will look after all the other things. Has Jesus Christ told us a lie? If we are not experiencing the “much more,” it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us, we are taken up with confusing considerations. How much time have we taken up worrying God with questions when we should have been absolutely free to concentrate on His work? Consecration means the continual separating of myself to one particular thing. We cannot consecrate once and for all. Am I continually separating myself to consider God every day of my life?


January 26, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

It takes a lot of effort trying to be “holy”, especially when I am not very good at it.

And God says…”You can be very good at it, as you rest and abide in Jesus. What effort does it take to rest and abide like a little child? It takes the effort of “letting go” and trusting in Me. You need not consider your needs or the needs of those you love. You simply trust God to meet all your needs, and it becomes even more effortless when you allow God to be God in your life. When you allow Me to take the action I deem necessary in your life and give up your right to direct Me….in faith and trust, you can then abide, rest and prosper.”

Leave Room for God

January 25th, 2011
January 25, 2011
When it pleased God . . . —Galatians Galatians

As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him-to give God “elbow room.” We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses. Would we be surprised if God came into our meeting or into our preaching in a way we had never expected Him to come? Do not look for God to come in a particular way, but do look for Him. The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly— God meets our life “. . . when it pleased God . . . .”

Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides.


January 25, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Last week I was struck by the notion that I should rethink some of my “instant answers” to spiritual and not so spiritual questions. That I should be a bit slower on the uptake with answers for questions, especially in my responses to other people. That I should occasionally rest with the question or dilemma, I might attempt to answer for myself and others. I have read the same scripture again and again and can get many different  answers and spiritual direction over time. The Holy Spirit knows how to apply that scripture in ways that will shape my heart, mind and soul  differently based on God’s will and His omnipotence.   And I suspect that I should be slow to answer as I allow God to be God as He guides me even (or especially) in territory I feel is familiar.

 And God says…”You have often taken the response from a previous learning situation and applied it to the new circumstance for yourself and others. In some cases you become the instant answer man, immediately ready with the right scripture and or reference point when responding to a brother or sister’s question or problem…..not to mention your own. However, take time with the questions and issues of and for life…they are important and deserve a clear and open heart and mind that can and will be directed. Do not be too quick with an answer or response. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and give yourself the opportunity to see the issue from the perspective of the Holy Spirit. And even though you may have experience and knowledge, rest and wait on the Holy Spirit of God.”

2 Peter 1:19-21 (The Message)

 19-21We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

1 25 11 Journal DJR
Good morning Lord. Today we learned, re-learned that bringing our expectations about how you are going to show up is dangerous. Rather we just expect you to show up. And things work better. You’ve given us some words and a few word pictures to help us in this… Expectation, Curiosity, and holding it in an open palm… The Curiosity takes the edge off of expectation … where we might get too expectant of our answer showing up on our terms in our time. Curiosity seems to leave room for you to be You. So expectation and Curiosity go well together….. Thanks.

God’s Overpowering Purpose

January 24th, 2011

January 24, 2011
I have appeared to you for this purpose . . .—Acts 26:16

The vision Paul had on the road to Damascus was not a passing emotional experience, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him. And Paul stated, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). Our Lord said to Paul, in effect, “Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Me; you are to have no end, no aim, and no purpose but Mine.” And the Lord also says to us, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go . . .” (John 15:16).

When we are born again, if we are spiritual at all, we have visions of what Jesus wants us to be. It is important that I learn not to be “disobedient to the heavenly vision”—not to doubt that it can be attained. It is not enough to give mental assent to the fact that God has redeemed the world, nor even to know that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did a reality in my life. I must have the foundation of a personal relationship with Him. Paul was not given a message or a doctrine to proclaim. He was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ.Acts 26:16 is tremendously compelling “. . . to make you a minister and a witness . . . .” There would be nothing there without a personal relationship. Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).


January 24, 2010

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Every once in a while I find myself searching for faith, hope and or forgiveness.  I can become aware that I need more of a spiritual gift or a spiritual awareness; that I lack or am missing some key spiritual gift or ingredient in my life.  And then I understand ……

And God says…”Your faith, hope and love come to you in the person of Jesus Christ. You would not just seek out His arm, ear or leg would you? It is the same when you seek out a separate and single component of His love for and from the transformation in your life. You cannot seek just faith or more forgiveness or more of this or more of that at you choosing. It is for the Holy Spirit of God to furnish what you need as you identify and remain connected with Jesus……Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.”

Journal 1 24 11 DJR
Good morning Lord. I have a tendency to compare myself with Paul, or other heros of our faith and come up short. But then JD reminded me that all those guys had rough edges too … and that you put the unedited version in the book. Thanks for that. If I only saw the good stuff, I would be overwhelmed by my not so good stuff . you know, Sin. I’m glad Paul said, ” I am determined to know….” It leads me to believe that he had to schedule his days and his time with you … like I do. Or else they just slip away.

As I said, “My eyes are looking to and fro throughout the earth for a man who is wholly mine…” This includes the discipline you are speaking of. In the schedule and in the start of every day .. but then all day long. You aren’t complete in this development… but you are more complete than you once were. The thing is to keep it going, growing… If the relationship is ground zero, the centerpoint of all you do, you will be fine.

Are You Fresh for Everything?

January 20th, 2011

January 20, 2011
Jesus answered and said to him, ’Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ —John 3:3

Sometimes we are fresh and eager to attend a prayer meeting, but do we feel that same freshness for such mundane tasks as polishing shoes?

Being born again by the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, and as surprising as God Himself. We don’t know where it begins— it is hidden away in the depths of our soul. Being born again from above is an enduring, perpetual, and eternal beginning. It provides a freshness all the time in thinking, talking, and living— a continual surprise of the life of God. Staleness is an indication that something in our lives is out of step with God. We say to ourselves, “I have to do this thing or it will never get done.” That is the first sign of staleness. Do we feel fresh this very moment or are we stale, frantically searching our minds for something to do? Freshness is not the result of obedience; it comes from the Holy Spirit. Obedience keeps us “in the light as He is in the light . . .” (1 John 1:7).

Jealously guard your relationship with God. Jesus prayed “that they may be one just as We are one”-with nothing in between (John 17:22). Keep your whole life continually open to Jesus Christ. Don’t pretend to be open with Him. Are you drawing your life from any source other than God Himself? If you are depending on something else as your source of freshness and strength, you will not realize when His power is gone.

Being born of the Spirit means much more than we usually think. It gives us new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything through the never-ending supply of the life of God.


January 20, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

 One of the indicators of my connection to You is the freshness with which you allow me to see the world and my place in and out of it. I know that I am intimately connected to You when the same old things surprise and amaze me.  

When I am truly connected to You I know I am fresh in the Spirit . It is one more indicator of my daily connection.

And God says…”When you are engaged and connected with Me as a little child, you are captivated and intrigued by everything. Every experience is like brand new as you observe Me operating in and around your life. You can live in the moment, in eager anticipation of life that is directed and controlled by Me…all things work for good for those that love Me and are called according to My purpose..

Galatians 5:22-25 (The Message)

 22-23But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely


Journal DJR 1 20 11
Good Morning, Lord. Once again, you and Oswald hit me with an obvious truth that I so easily forget and need to be reminded of. … If things get stale or stressed, it’s an indication of my Connection … it needs some tightening up. This is a truth that hides in plain sight. It goes along with the rest of what we’ve been learning. Staying curious, Expecting to deliver a miracle, staying on the balcony with you. Etc. All good life rings to hang on to when the storms of life threaten to overwhelm.
Yes, you can always remember that if our relationship gets distant, I’m not the one that moved. You are learning the path back. These metaphors, balcony, delivery boy, walking with me, etc, are helpful for humans. Use them. More.

Vision and Darkness

January 19th, 2011
    January 19, 2011When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him.
    —Genesis 15:12 Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand” (Isaiah 49:2). The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a “darkness” that comes from too much light-that is the time to listen. The story of Abram and Hagar in Genesis 16 is an excellent example of listening to so-called good advice during a time of darkness, rather than waiting for God to send the light. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing. Never try to help God fulfill His word. Abram went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all of his self-sufficiency was destroyed. He grew past the point of relying on his own common sense. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. There is never any need to pretend that your life is filled with joy and confidence; just wait upon God and be grounded in Him (see Isaiah 50:10-11).
    Do I trust at all in the flesh? Or have I learned to go beyond all confidence in myself and other people of God? Do I trust in books and prayers or other joys in my life? Or have I placed my confidence in God Himself, not in His blessings? “I am Almighty God . . .”— El-Shaddai, the All-Powerful God (Genesis 17:1). The reason we are all being disciplined is that we will know God is real. As soon as God becomes real to us, people pale by comparison, becoming shadows of reality. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God.


January 19, 2011

Wait on the Lord. Be patient. God is never late. ….Phrases I absolutely hate to hear when I am anxious, fearful or in pain. It is easy for me to offer them up to others, but when I am in the middle of the fear, pain or anxiety, these are not words or phrases I want to hear.

And God says…”Waiting and patience are human concepts usually associated with wanting something in your life or the life of another to change. You are certain that your joy will be increased if a circumstance is different; someone is healed, finances are improved, a diagnosis more positive, a job secured. But I came to give you life and life more abundantly….. What if your joy was not dependent on new circumstances or changing circumstances? What if your trust, faith and hope  are sufficient and your joy complete regardless of the circumstance? What if you experienced the joy of the immediate all the time because you trust Me to Be God regardless of what circumstances seem to indicate? Would there even be a reason to consider patience and waiting when your joy is already and always full and complete?”


Journal DJR 1 19 11
Good morning Lord. I seem to not like this whole waiting thing. … but I admit that when I take a short cut, that I usually get something inferior to the real deal that you had promised.
Good observation. It’s not only that you wind up with something less as you say, it’s also that the shaping and development is short changed. So taking short cuts rather than learning to wait with peaceful acceptance has a double negative consequence. You get inferior deals and less Christlikeness …. Not a good choice
OK, I believe. Help my unbelief. I love you.


“It Is the Lord!”

January 18th, 2011

January 18, 2011
Thomas answered and said to Him, ’My Lord and my God!’ —John 20:28

Jesus said to her, ’Give Me a drink’ ” (John 4:7).

 How many of us are expecting   Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us.

Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?

Journal 1 18 11 DJR
I think we come hard wired to want Jesus or anyone else to quench our thirst. It is the cry of the newborn for someone, anyone to make it better … by feeding or holding or…. So then we develop and eventually are hard wired to care for our own children. And along the way, learn to quench our Lord’s thirst, as well as continuing to get our thirst quenched by him. Keeping this balanced is the challenge. Personally, I am overwhelmed, if “evangelize the whole world, or even the continent of Africa” is the quenching of His thirst that is in focus. Fortunately, I get to start at home, and in my neighborhood, the teller at the bank, the man I pass in the parking lot, or maybe how I respond to the policeman writing me a ticket or my wife in the passenger seat with an, “I told you to slow down”

You are right that obedience is a progression and you do need to start small. But with me, all things are possible, so be ready. I may give you the opportunity to obey something bigger than you think you are ready for. In fact, few people “feel ready” for the big opportunities that I bring. Of course you are spending your whole life getting ready … but dont waste your life getting ready. Live ready. Like a cat ready to pounce on a mouse … look for opportunities for instant obedience … and then pounce on them. I will cover you if you miss. Remember, OPPORTUNITIES PASS.