Archive for February, 2011

Are You Exhausted Spiritually?

February 9th, 2011

February 09, 2011
The everlasting God . . . neither faints nor is weary —Isaiah 40:28

Exhaustion means that our vital energies are completely worn out and spent. Spiritual exhaustion is never the result of sin, but of service. Whether or not you experience exhaustion will depend on where you get your supplies. Jesus said to Peter, “Feed My sheep,” but He gave him nothing with which to feed them (John 21:17). The process of being made broken bread and poured-out wine means that you have to be the nourishment for other people’s souls until they learn to feed on God. They must drain you completely— to the very last drop. But be careful to replenish your supply, or you will quickly be utterly exhausted. Until others learn to draw on the life of the Lord Jesus directly, they will have to draw on His life through you. You must literally be their source of supply, until they learn to take their nourishment from God. We owe it to God to be our best for His lambs and sheep, as well as for Him.

Have you delivered yourself over to exhaustion because of the way you have been serving God? If so, then renew and rekindle your desires and affections. Examine your reasons for service. Is your source based on your own understanding or is it grounded on the redemption of Jesus Christ? Continually look back to the foundation of your love and affection and remember where your Source of power lies. You have no right to complain, “O Lord, I am so exhausted.” He saved and sanctified you to exhaust you. Be exhausted for God, but remember that He is your supply. “All my springs are in you” (Psalm 87:7).

2 9 11 Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord.
Getting rested up so that we can get exhausted sounds kind of strange but I guess that’s what it’s all about… You, Jesus even went away to get rested up and then went back to the crowds to pour yourself out again. So that’s a pretty good model for us.
Yes it is. That’s why that account made it into the book. .
OK. Since this is counter intuitive, we need your help and reminders to keep pouring out … and keep coming back for more….
I can bless that plan… I will bless that plan. Stay on that plan.

The Cost of Sanctification

February 8th, 2011

February 08, 2011
May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely . . . —1 Thessalonians 5:23

When we pray, asking God to sanctify us, are we prepared to measure up to what that really means? We take the word sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared to pay the cost of sanctification? The cost will be a deep restriction of all our earthly concerns, and an extensive cultivation of all our godly concerns. Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view. It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone. Are we really prepared for God to perform in us everything for which He separated us? And after He has done His work, are we then prepared to separate ourselves to God just as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself . . .” (John 17:19). The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s perspective. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us. Are we really prepared for what that will cost? It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.

Are we prepared to be caught up into the full meaning of Paul’s prayer in this verse? Are we prepared to say, “Lord, make me, a sinner saved by grace, as holy as You can”? Jesus prayed that we might be one with Him, just as He is one with the Father (see John 17:21-23). The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s work in us?


February 8, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, one after another, that is how the trials and crisis have come my way lately- at least that is how it seems to me; issues in business, the family, finances, church, and never ending friends with never ending issues. And the overwhelming and consuming issue is my brother’s terminal illness and the emotional riptides surrounding his family and caretakers.  I feel like I need a breather Lord, a deep breath and a little time off from the elements.

And God says…”If you try to understand the world and your circumstances you will be frustrated. If you try to help others and even yourself through the ongoing circumstances and difficulties of life using your own power and gifts, you will be depleted, drained and disappointed. You will experience difficult trials on earth-over and over and over. Expect them- especially when you seek sanctification. Let Jesus be the response to all the issues, all the time……seek the kingdom of God…..that quiet place in your heart and soul where you are connected to Me. Let Me be your living water and the response to all your trials regardless of their status.”

Matthew 11:28 (The Message)

 28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”


Spiritual Dejection

February 7th, 2011
February 07, 2011
We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened —Luke 24:21

Every fact that the disciples stated was right, but the conclusions they drew from those facts were wrong. Anything that has even a hint of dejection spiritually is always wrong. If I am depressed or burdened, I am to blame, not God or anyone else. Dejection stems from one of two sources— I have either satisfied a lust or I have not had it satisfied. In either case, dejection is the result. Lust means “I must have it at once.” Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer. What have I been hoping or trusting God would do? Is today “the third day” and He has still not done what I expected? Am I therefore justified in being dejected and in blaming God? Whenever we insist that God should give us an answer to prayer we are off track. The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer. It is impossible to be well physically and to be dejected, because dejection is a sign of sickness. This is also true spiritually. Dejection spiritually is wrong, and we are always to blame for it.

We look for visions from heaven and for earth-shaking events to see God’s power. Even the fact that we are dejected is proof that we do this. Yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only obey, and do the task that He has placed closest to us, we will see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.


February 7, 2011

Lord, I do not understand. I have tried to be right where you want me. I have praised you and worshiped you in spirit and in trust and I have stayed connected to you through crisis after crisis. And now right in the middle of this crisis with my brother, I have another crisis to face. More obstacles, and accompanying emotional riptides. Where did you go?

And God says…”I am right here with you. I did not promise you that your circumstances would be peaceful. I did not promise you fairness, nor did I promise that your friends, family and neighbors would treat you fairly. In fact I promised the opposite. I did promise that your trials would help shape you into a man after My own heart, and I promised to be with you. Stay connected and trust in Me while new challenges face you and I use them to shape and mold you.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5

Are You Ready To Be Poured Out As an Offering? (1)

February 5th, 2011

February 05, 2011
If I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all—Philippians 2:17

Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer—to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, ’Well done.’ “

It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased . . .” (Philippians 4:12). Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket—to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted—not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work while maintaining a saintly attitude, because they feel such service is beneath their dignity.


February 5, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

It has been a whirlwind week Lord. I reached out to you a over and over just to make certain we were tightly connected. The emotional hurricane hit pretty hard this week, and occasionally I felt as if I was afloat and adrift…..They say my brother only has days left and while I try to fill the emotional void with you it is a very difficult time for all of us holding vigil at his  home. How can I reflect you and be an offering during this time?

And God says…”I am the offering; you are simply the conduit through which I can flow. And if you stay connected to Me I can flow through you. I can and will be manifest through you as you stay connected. Be sensitive to my voice and immediately obedient as I continue to touch those all around you during this time. Be at peace and know that I have your brother in My arms even now.”


The Compelling Majesty of His Power

February 5th, 2011

February 04, 2011
The love of Christ compels us . . . —2 Corinthians 5:14

Paul said that he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by “the love of Christ.” Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience. The one thing that gripped and held Paul, to the exclusion of everything else, was the love of God. “The love of Christ compels us . . . .” When you hear that coming from the life of a man or woman it is unmistakable. You will know that the Spirit of God is completely unhindered in that person’s life.

When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . .” (Acts 1:8). Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . . .” Not witnesses to what Jesus can do— that is basic and understood— but “witnesses to Me . . . .” We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward. No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally compelled by the majesty of His power. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it’s the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane-he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for— to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.” This total surrender to “the love of Christ” is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will always leave the mark of God’s holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.

Becoming the “Filth of the World”

February 3rd, 2011

February 03, 2011
We have been made as the filth of the world . . . —1 Corinthians 4:13

These words are not an exaggeration. The only reason they may not be true of us who call ourselves ministers of the gospel is not that Paul forgot or misunderstood the exact truth of them, but that we are too cautious and concerned about our own desires to allow ourselves to become the refuse or “filth of the world.” “Fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ . . .” (Colossians 1:24) is not the result of the holiness of sanctification, but the evidence of consecration-being “separated to the gospel of God . . .” (Romans 1:1).

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you . . .” (1 Peter 4:12). If we do think the things we encounter are strange, it is because we are fearful and cowardly. We pay such close attention to our own interests and desires that we stay out of the mire and say, “I won’t submit; I won’t bow or bend.” And you don’t have to— you can be saved by the “skin of your teeth” if you like. You can refuse to let God count you as one who is “separated to the gospel . . . .” Or you can say, “I don’t care if I am treated like ’the filth of the world’ as long as the gospel is proclaimed.” A true servant of Jesus Christ is one who is willing to experience martyrdom for the reality of the gospel of God. When a moral person is confronted with contempt, immorality, disloyalty, or dishonesty, he is so repulsed by the offense that he turns away and in despair closes his heart to the offender. But the miracle of the redemptive reality of God is that the worst and the vilest offender can never exhaust the depths of His love. Paul did not say that God separated him to show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but “to reveal His Son in me. . .” (Galatians 1:16).


February 3, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Five days ago the doctor told my brother and me that he has stage four cancer. Yesterday they took him home to make him more comfortable for the few weeks he has left.  During diagnostic testing and waiting for the lab results I wondered about the capacity and value of my love and support.

And God says…”Your brother belongs to Me. I love him more than you can ever imagine and he is mine. He is my responsibility not yours, but I am speaking with you about how and when I want you to be a comfort from Me.  You will notice that I am rebuilding relationships and providing the love and reassurance needed in this circumstance right now. Your role is to stay connected to Me, and listen for My voice. When you hear that clear and still small voice inside your heart, respond quickly and allow Me to make many of your family and friends aware that this is one of those “all things” that work for the good of those that are called according to My purpose.“

The Compelling Force of the Call Feb 2, 2011

February 2nd, 2011

Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! —1 Corinthians 9:16

Beware of refusing to hear the call of God. Everyone who is saved is called to testify to the fact of his salvation. That, however, is not the same as the call to preach, but is merely an illustration which can be used in preaching. In this verse, Paul was referring to the stinging pains produced in him by the compelling force of the call to preach the gospel. Never try to apply what Paul said regarding the call to preach to those souls who are being called to God for salvation. There is nothing easier than getting saved, because it is solely God’s sovereign work— “Look to Me, and be saved . . .” (Isaiah 45:22). Our Lord never requires the same conditions for discipleship that he requires for salvation. We are condemned to salvation through the Cross of Christ. But discipleship has an option with it-”If anyone . . .” (Luke 14:26).
Paul’s words have to do with our being made servants of Jesus Christ, and our permission is never asked as to what we will do or where we will go. God makes us as broken bread and poured-out wine to please Himself. To be “separated to the gospel” means being able to hear the call of God (Romans 1:1). Once someone begins to hear that call, a suffering worthy of the name of Christ is produced. Suddenly, every ambition, every desire of life, and every outlook is completely blotted out and extinguished. Only one thing remains— “. . . separated to the gospel. . . .” Woe be to the soul who tries to head in any other direction once that call has come to him. The Bible Training College exists so that each of you may know whether or not God has a man or woman here who truly cares about proclaiming His gospel and to see if God grips you for this purpose. Beware of competing calls once the call of God grips you.

Journal 2 2 11 DJR
Good morning Lord, Sharing the Gospel & Preaching the Gospel. It seems like a continuum where on the one end, all Christians are to Share their faith and the gospel and at the other there are evangelists like Billy Graham who Preach the gospel. Do we just grow along the continuum or is there a quantum leap where we are called and separated?
You saw many of my servants called and separated, Elisha barbecuing his oxen and following Elijah, Isaiah saying, “here am I, send me” and all of my 12 disciples … there was a moment in time that a decision was made. A line was stepped over. …. In some there was slow growth and turmoil prior to reaching that point. In others, they weren’t even thinking about it, just minding their own business, fishing, or riding on the Damascus Road. I cannot be put in a box. I can call every man and woman a different way. Do not compare my dealings with you with my dealings with Paul or any other disciple. You are different from all others but I love you all the same.
When I compare ….
I said, “Dont compare” It’s the devils playground and he will tangle you up in a comparison squirrel cage. Dont compare, just come to me. I am totally capable of custom designing the most beautiful life for you.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11
OK, I trust you, I love you, I believe you … but like that other disciple said, “help my unbelief” It is so easy to fall back into my own plans and thinking
That’s why I have given you this picture of being up here with me on this balcony. From here you see more clearly. And CO2, because I know you and know your ways and your weaknesses. You need it. So I gave it to you. Use it, keep on walking with me. You wont want to miss what I have planned for you.
What can I say. I love you.

The Call of God

February 1st, 2011

February 01, 2011
Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel . . . —1 Corinthians 1:17

Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel. But remember what Paul means by “the gospel,” namely, the reality of redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are inclined to make sanctification the goal of our preaching. Paul refers to personal experiences only by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter. We are not commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification— we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (see John 12:32). It is an injustice to say that Jesus Christ labored in redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ labored in redemption to redeem the whole world and to place it perfectly whole and restored before the throne of God. The fact that we can experience redemption illustrates the power of its reality, but that experience is a byproduct and not the goal of redemption. If God were human, how sick and tired He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation and for our sanctification. We burden His energies from morning till night asking for things for ourselves or for something from which we want to be delivered! When we finally touch the underlying foundation of the reality of the gospel of God, we will never bother Him anymore with little personal complaints.

The one passion of Paul’s life was to proclaim the gospel of God. He welcomed heartbreak, disillusionment, and tribulation for only one reason— these things kept him unmovable in his devotion to the gospel of God.

Journal 2 1 11 DJR
Good morning Lord, From this high perspective that Oswald brings, it can seem petty, our little problems of life that seem to be the main thing we bring to you in prayer…. But didn’t you say, “pray without ceasing” and “everything by prayer and supplication?”
Yes, I did, and it’s a matter of perspective and priority. Perspective because if you stay up here on this balcony with me, you wont be tempted to think that the item in front of you is the whole world. Priority because all things are important, but from here, viewing with me, you will be able to keep first things first. Even let some things lower on the list go, but never the first and most important things.
I totally agree … when we are sitting here talking about it … but when the day gets going and the things pile up, and stress ratchets up … I seem to forget these things and this perspective that seems so clear … here in my quiet place. What’s to do?
You are doing the right things, meeting here, and Oswald, although he irritates you sometimes, is my chosen instrument to bring you this message. Keep on coming to me and encouraging your brother and be ready to expand your circle. You wont reach perfection in this until you get here. Just be perfectly in the process… Know my love and share it.
OK I love you.