Archive for March, 2011

Heedfulness or Hypocrisy in Ourselves?

March 31st, 2011

March 31, 2011
If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death —1 John 5:16

If we are not heedful and pay no attention to the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf. God reveals this truth about others to us not through the sharpness of our minds but through the direct penetration of His Spirit. If we are not attentive, we will be completely unaware of the source of the discernment God has given us, becoming critical of others and forgetting that God says, “. . . he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” Be careful that you don’t become a hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right with God before you worship Him yourself.

One of the most subtle and illusive burdens God ever places on us as saints is this burden of discernment concerning others. He gives us discernment so that we may accept the responsibility for those souls before Him and form the mind of Christ about them (see Philippians 2:5). We should intercede in accordance with what God says He will give us, namely, “life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” It is not that we are able to bring God into contact with our minds, but that we awaken ourselves to the point where God is able to convey His mind to us regarding the people for whom we intercede.

Can Jesus Christ see the agony of His soul in us? He can’t unless we are so closely identified with Him that we have His view concerning the people for whom we pray. May we learn to intercede so wholeheartedly that Jesus Christ will be completely and overwhelmingly satisfied with us as intercessors.

Holiness or Hardness Toward God?

March 30th, 2011

He . . . wondered that there was no intercessor . . . —Isaiah 59:16

The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.

Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). Instead of worshiping God, we recite speeches to God about how prayer is supposed to work. Are we worshiping God or disputing Him when we say, “But God, I just don’t see how you are going to do this”? This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people.

Are we worshiping God in a way that will raise us up to where we can take hold of Him, having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship with God, or have we become hard and dogmatic?

Do you find yourself thinking that there is no one interceding properly? Then be that person yourself. Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him. Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work-work that demands all your energy, but work which has no hidden pitfalls. Preaching the gospel has its share of pitfalls, but intercessory prayer has none whatsoever.

Journal 3 30 11 DJR
Good Morning, Lord.
It occurs to me that my business challenges may mirror my spiritual challenges and vice versa … and maybe I can learn something about one realm from observing the other? This would be great, because I have points at which I seem to be stuck with no progress in each realm of life.

It’s good that you are thinking about it … but what if you are supposed to be “stuck” as you say? What if a time of waiting and growth in the desert is part of my plan. You’ve heard of the dark night of the soul. And you see that I went for 40 days in the desert. And Moses did 40 years.

Yes I see that. But it would be good if I knew it was a desert time approved by you, rather than just my failure to persevere….


Well, then I could rest and accept the desert.

Would you rest and accept and keep on pressing in to me … or would you rest and just forget it and go do something else?

OK I see what you mean. In the past, I’ve been known to just run away and get engaged in something else.

Sometimes it will be clear to you and sometimes you need to just keep pressing in. But the more time we spend, the better you will become at hearing and the more I will trust you with. So press in to me. Intercede, even when you dont feel like it or see the point. Press thru the darkness till the dawn arrives and you will be glad.

Our Lord’s Surprise Visits

March 29th, 2011

March 29, 2011
You also be ready . . . —Luke 12:40

A Christian worker’s greatest need is a readiness to face Jesus Christ at any and every turn. This is not easy, no matter what our experience has been. This battle is not against sin, difficulties, or circumstances, but against being so absorbed in our service to Jesus Christ that we are not ready to face Jesus Himself at every turn. The greatest need is not facing our beliefs or doctrines, or even facing the question of whether or not we are of any use to Him, but the need is to face Him.

Jesus rarely comes where we expect Him; He appears where we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical situations. The only way a servant can remain true to God is to be ready for the Lord’s surprise visits. This readiness will not be brought about by service, but through intense spiritual reality, expecting Jesus Christ at every turn. This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of childlike wonder He wants it to have. If we are going to be ready for Jesus Christ, we have to stop being religious. In other words, we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of a lofty lifestyle-we must be spiritually real.

If you are avoiding the call of the religious thinking of today’s world, and instead are “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), setting your heart on what He wants, and thinking His thoughts, you will be considered impractical and a daydreamer. But when He suddenly appears in the work of the heat of the day, you will be the only one who is ready. You should trust no one, and even ignore the finest saint on earth if he blocks your sight of Jesus Christ.


March 29 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

It has occurred to me that I am not to wait on the Lord in the sense that I stand still waiting on Him to show up so that I can finally move or take some action, but that I am to live fully and completely expecting Him to show up at every turn. I am to step out in faith expecting Him to be there all the time, at every turn.  I am to live life fully even though there are great big question marks in the future of my life. Whenever I try to answer all the questions or address all the uncertainties before I move, I am not allowing God room to operate in my life. 

And God Says…”You try to control the uncertainty in your life so that you will not be required to live by faith. You would rather live by sight and certainty than by faith.  You want to be sure before you step out into service or change. Where is the faith in that? Without faith it is impossible to please Me, without faith you cannot access our relationship.”

“Your faith will grow as you expect Me to intercept your life day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. With a growing and developing faith, you will grow confident in our relationship and trust Me even more. And as a result your life can become a life of faith, hope and joy as you trust in Me. Trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding and I will make your paths straight. If you are to live life in joy and happiness and peace, you are to live moving forward step by step believing that I have your next step in My control and care.”


A Beautiful Musical Interlude for relection and prayer:

Isn’t There Some Misunderstanding?

March 28th, 2011
March 28,  2011
’Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to Him, ’. . . are You going there again?’ —John 11:7-8

Just because I don’t understand what Jesus Christ says, I have no right to determine that He must be mistaken in what He says. That is a dangerous view, and it is never right to think that my obedience to God’s directive will bring dishonor to Jesus. The only thing that will bring dishonor is not obeying Him. To put my view of His honor ahead of what He is plainly guiding me to do is never right, even though it may come from a real desire to prevent Him from being put to an open shame. I know when the instructions have come from God because of their quiet persistence. But when I begin to weigh the pros and cons, and doubt and debate enter into my mind, I am bringing in an element that is not of God. This will only result in my concluding that His instructions to me were not right. Many of us are faithful to our ideas about Jesus Christ, but how many of us are faithful to Jesus Himself? Faithfulness to Jesus means that I must step out even when and where I can’t see anything (see Matthew 14:29). But faithfulness to my own ideas means that I first clear the way mentally. Faith, however, is not intellectual understanding; faith is a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ, even when I can’t see the way ahead.

Are you debating whether you should take a step of faith in Jesus, or whether you should wait until you can clearly see how to do what He has asked? Simply obey Him with unrestrained joy. When He tells you something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a misunderstanding of what honors Him and what doesn’t. Are you faithful to Jesus, or faithful to your ideas about Him? Are you faithful to what He says, or are you trying to compromise His words with thoughts that never came from Him? “Whatever He says to you, do it ” (John 2:5).


March 28, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

I thought I understood the way I was being led, and then….whoa, it all changed. I thought I had it all under control as I began to get comfortable in my discomfort. The changes you brought about began to seem regular and normal as I adjusted my expectations– I took a breath and began to “settle in” for some rest and then you changed it all up again.

And God says…”When you set your expectations of Me you inadvertently set the boundaries of your faith. When you expect Me to do things in certain ways you limit My ability to operate in your life. You have heard it said that some people make Me too small, and this is how it is done…by setting their expectations inside preconceived notions. Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Seek first the kingdom of God..and release your limits of Me and let Me be God in your life.”

Spiritual Vision Through Personal Purity (1)

March 26th, 2011

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God —Matthew 5:8

Purity is not innocence— it is much more than that. Purity is the result of continued spiritual harmony with God. We have to grow in purity. Our life with God may be right and our inner purity unblemished, yet occasionally our outer life may become spotted and stained. God intentionally does not protect us from this possibility, because this is the way we recognize the necessity of maintaining our spiritual vision through personal purity. If the outer level of our spiritual life with God is impaired to the slightest degree, we must put everything else aside until we make it right. Remember that spiritual vision depends on our character— it is “the pure in heart ” who “see God.”

God makes us pure by an act of His sovereign grace, but we still have something that we must carefully watch. It is through our bodily life coming in contact with other people and other points of view that we tend to become tarnished. Not only must our “inner sanctuary” be kept right with God, but also the “outer courts” must be brought into perfect harmony with the purity God gives us through His grace. Our spiritual vision and understanding is immediately blurred when our “outer court” is stained. If we want to maintain personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean refusing to do or even think certain things. And some things that are acceptable for others will become unacceptable for us.

A practical help in keeping your personal purity unblemished in your relations with other people is to begin to see them as God does. Say to yourself, “That man or that woman is perfect in Christ Jesus! That friend or that relative is perfect in Christ Jesus!”

Maintaining the Proper Relationship

March 25th, 2011

March 25, 2011
. . . the friend of the bridegroom . . . —John 3:29

Goodness and purity should never be traits that draw attention to themselves, but should simply be magnets that draw people to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing others to Him, it is not the right kind of holiness; it is only an influence which awakens undue emotions and evil desires in people and diverts them from heading in the right direction. A person who is a beautiful saint can be a hindrance in leading people to the Lord by presenting only what Christ has done for him, instead of presenting Jesus Christ Himself. Others will be left with this thought— “What a fine person that man is!” That is not being a true “friend of the bridegroom”— I am increasing all the time; He is not.

To maintain this friendship and faithfulness to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful to have the moral and vital relationship to Him above everything else, including obedience. Sometimes there is nothing to obey and our only task is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, seeing that nothing interferes with it. Only occasionally is it a matter of obedience. At those times when a crisis arises, we have to find out what God’s will is. Yet most of our life is not spent in trying to be consciously obedient, but in maintaining this relationship— being the “friend of the bridegroom.” Christian work can actually be a means of diverting a person’s focus away from Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends “of the bridegroom,” we may become amateur providences of God to someone else, working against Him while we use His weapons.


March 25, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

I am learning that my service is not what I believe to be right and proper…or even what needs to be done to help others. If I am to be a servant of God and others, once again I must give myself up.  God will give me the direction. He will direct me and provide the outcomes He desires. I am not even to judge the outcome; was that person helped, did he or she come to Christ,  did we attract larger numbers of attendees to church, did we collect a larger offering, what did the homeless man do with the money I gave him? All these questions I would ask were designed to allow me to judge the value of my service, work or offerings. God is teaching me that I am not to even consider the outcomes; my role is to simply be obedient to His direction. He is responsible for the result.

And God says…”Trust in Me in all your ways and do not rely on your own understanding …..My ways are not your ways. I am the potter you are the clay, is the clay to ask the potter the future outcome? Keep your eyes on Jesus, trust in Me and watch as I weave remarkable outcomes in your life and the lives of others over time. But do not try to understand the bits and pieces of this life and then evaluate your impact by the “good” you think you do. We will discuss your service when we are together in eternity. Simply rest in Me, be available and follow the only two commandments Jesus gave you; love Me with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. Everything else belongs to Me.”

Decreasing for His Purpose

March 24th, 2011

March 24, 2011
He must increase, but I must decrease —John 3:30

If you become a necessity to someone else’s life, you are out of God’s will. As a servant, your primary responsibility is to be a “friend of the bridegroom” (John 3:29). When you see a person who is close to grasping the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been used in the right direction. And when you begin to see that person in the middle of a difficult and painful struggle, don’t try to prevent it, but pray that his difficulty will grow even ten times stronger, until no power on earth or in hell could hold him away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we try to be amateur providences in someone’s life. We are indeed amateurs, coming in and actually preventing God’s will and saying, “This person should not have to experience this difficulty.” Instead of being friends of the Bridegroom, our sympathy gets in the way. One day that person will say to us, “You are a thief; you stole my desire to follow Jesus, and because of you I lost sight of Him.”

Beware of rejoicing with someone over the wrong thing, but always look to rejoice over the right thing. “. . . the friend of the bridegroom . . . rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29-30). This was spoken with joy, not with sadness-at last they were to see the Bridegroom! And John said this was his joy. It represents a stepping aside, an absolute removal of the servant, never to be thought of again.

Listen intently with your entire being until you hear the Bridegroom’s voice in the life of another person. And never give any thought to what devastation, difficulties, or sickness it will bring. Just rejoice with godly excitement that His voice has been heard. You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it (see Matthew 10:34).


March 24, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

It occurs to me that much of our (and my) religious energy is spent trying to make things …”right”. Trying to …do the right thing, make things right for those around me and create a better place in this world for myself.

And God says…”It is not wrong to try to do the right thing…but I came to give you life and life more abundantly. You have the life more abundantly as you give your life, your trying and your ideas of what is right and “better” to Me. You can stop your striving and trying and focus your energy on Me. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Am I Carnally Minded?

March 23rd, 2011
March 23, 2011
Where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal . . . ? —1 Corinthians 3:3

The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it. But Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). In other words, carnality will disappear.

Are you quarrelsome and easily upset over small things? Do you think that no one who is a Christian is ever like that? Paul said they are, and he connected these attitudes with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens a spirit of malice or resentment in you? If so, that is proof that you are still carnal. If the process of sanctification is continuing in your life, there will be no trace of that kind of spirit remaining.

If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, “Oh, I can explain that.” When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.

What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it-it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, “If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!” And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.


March 23, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

One more lesson to remind me that I am not the one to change me, God, you will do that. I am to keep my eyes on You. I am to bring my failures to you along with my confession and repentance and trust You to make me into the image of Jesus.  Lord you know I have tried, and tried and failed time after time.  But I have changed, as I look back I can see the changes…and they could only have occurred supernaturally. Thank you.

And God says…”Remember that I want a relationship with you, just like the relationship I sought with Adam. His disobedience and yours would not let that occur without Jesus. As you look to Me and the sacrifice of Jesus, your disobedience and failures become fewer and fewer, and when I look at you I can only see Jesus.  Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight…. (All the time….. in My time). Remember that all things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to My purpose…even your failures. Stay close to Me- do not hide from Me when you fail….(notice I did not say IF you fail). Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart… you delight yourself in Me you and your desires are transformed. ,,, Enjoy this life while you are here, live in delight.”

Journal DJR 3 23 11

Good morning Lord,   I think you showed me something the other day after the church group was discussing sex and what to tell teenagers.   And those who are falling short of the highest moral ground.    … When we come to a point where our best attempts at living out our best intentions are falling short … we are at a crossroads.   We can rationalize and lower the standard … or we can appropriate Grace, acknowledge the shortcoming (sin) and be thankful for the forgiveness as we continue (let you continue) the work in us.   It seemed a clear revelation to me at the time, after we had left.   Dont mess with the OrthoDoxy when the Ortho Praxis isn’t measuring up.  Find the Grace and live in the tension….   When I’ve tried to share the concept with a few folks since then, it didn’t seem so awesome to them.  To one it seemed trite and basic.  The other didn’t “get it”

That’s the way revelation is.   It’s for you and for now.   And a different revelation is for them and for then … and you may not get it that time.    It’s OK and it’s all truth if it’s from me.   My truth and my Ways are higher… so accept it and ride the wave.

I am continuing to love what my mentor Dave Peck said about the commandments,  He preferred to look at them as the 10 Suggestions.   That a loving father would have for his children that he loved and wanted the best for them.   But in the self limited context of free will and consequences, he could only suggest what would work out best for them.    As you know, that got me kicked out once.   But I think it’s brilliant.     These current folks didn’t kick me out … but they didn’t think it’s as brilliant and so much of an answer as I do.

Once again, it is revelation that is for you for now.   All my children will get what they need in my time as they work together with me.   Trust me.

I do.   I find it easy to trust you for them.    But for me.  There I sometimes stumble.  Like this appointment today.   Is it a waste of time?  Are you in it?  Where is this going?   I wish I were more sure.

Some things benefit from the maxim,   Dont doubt in the dark what you’ve seen in the light.    You saw this in the light.  Now it’s not so clear.   Dont doubt.  Dont even think about it until there is a reason to.   I will give you more light when you are ready for it.

OK, sounds good.


March 22nd, 2011
March 22, 2011
Did not our heart burn within us . . . ? —Luke 24:32

We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, fires are set ablaze, and we are given wonderful visions; but then we must learn to maintain the secret of the burning heart— a heart that can go through anything. It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart— unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.

Much of the distress we experience as Christians comes not as the result of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature. For instance, the only test we should use to determine whether or not to allow a particular emotion to run its course in our lives is to examine what the final outcome of that emotion will be. Think it through to its logical conclusion, and if the outcome is something that God would condemn, put a stop to it immediately. But if it is an emotion that has been kindled by the Spirit of God and you don’t allow it to have its way in your life, it will cause a reaction on a lower level than God intended. That is the way unrealistic and overly emotional people are made. And the higher the emotion, the deeper the level of corruption, if it is not exercised on its intended level. If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will. We cannot stay forever on the “mount of transfiguration,” basking in the light of our mountaintop experience (see Mark 9:1-9). But we must obey the light we received there; we must put it into action. When God gives us a vision, we must transact business with Him at that point, no matter what the cost.

We cannot kindle when we will The fire which in the heart resides, The spirit bloweth and is still, In mystery our soul abides; But tasks in hours of insight willed Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.


March 22, 2011

I think I am learning a lesson in a series of lessons about staying connected to you Lord, even though I may have sinned and or fallen short of your laws and my expectations. It is a lesson about embracing you even when I feel unworthy of your love, mercy and grace.

And God says…”You will fail Me, others and yourself. Trying not to fail is like walking on rocks in a river, teetering every time there is a wind or wave and you lose your balance. I came to give you life and life more abundantly, to set you free from the bondage of sin…not that you would sin no more, but that you would stay connected to Me through Jesus Christ. And through the connection let me change you from the inside out. Whatever happens in your life know that I will not leave you. Nothing can separate you from My love…nothing.

Romans 8:38-39 (New International Version, ©2011)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.




March 21st, 2011

March 21, 2010

“I have been crucified with Christ.” Galatians 2:20

The imperative need spiritually is to sign the death warrant of the disposition of sin, to turn all emotional impressions and intellectual beliefs into a moral verdict against the disposition of sin, viz., my claim to my right to myself.

Paul says – “I have been crucified with Christ”; he does not say – “I have determined to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will endeavour to follow Him” – but – “I have been identified with Him in His death.”When I come to such a moral decision and act upon it, then all that Christ wrought for me on the Cross is wrought in me. The free committal of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the chance to impart to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.

“. . . nevertheless I live. . . .” The individuality remains, but the mainspring, the ruling disposition, is radically altered. The same human body remains, but the old satanic right to myself is destroyed.

“And the life which I now live in the flesh . . . ,” not the life which I long to live and pray to live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh, the life which men can see, “I live by the faith of the Son of God.”This faith is not Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith that the Son of God has imparted to him – “the faith of the Son of God.” It is no longer faith in faith, but faith which has overleapt all conscious bounds, the identical faith of the Son of God.


March 21, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Last week I was very concerned about a number of business issues, and I was wondering where God was in my circumstances. I could not see any solutions in the time I thought I needed solutions. I kept thinking that maybe I did not deserve any answers from God, given the quality of my service and commitment. Perhaps I had stepped over the line “one too many times?” Maybe God had finally tired of my lack of maturity and simply abandoned me to my own devices.  But I was connected enough to know I was (and am) to pray, and asked my brothers to pray with me and for me.  You answered my prayers.

And God says…” My mercy and grace extends far beyond your bad choices and natural inclinations. The magnitude of the sacrifice is the key. I left you inside your circumstances to help you develop your patience, faith and hope.  As you live in this world, you will make mistake after mistake after mistake, and all I will ever see is Jesus. I do not require you to live inside your mistakes, simply come to Jesus and live; trust in Me with all your heart and do not trust your own understanding, and I will make it all clear. Come to Me and I will give you rest”