Archive for October, 2011

The Trial of Faith

October 31st, 2011

If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you —Matthew 17:20

Walk by Faith

We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages. But we do not earn anything through faith— faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives Him His opportunity to work. Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of your experience as His saint to get you in direct contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings. The beginning of your life of faith was very narrow and intense, centered around a small amount of experience that had as much emotion as faith in it, and it was full of light and sweetness. Then God withdrew His conscious blessings to teach you to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And you are worth much more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight with your thrilling testimony.

Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation. Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).


October 31, 2011


Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, the scripture is clear that faith comes from hearing the word of God.  But I am learning that I only need faith the size of a mustard seed, because Jesus has all the faith I need for our relationship. Living in me, He brings the faith I need for every circumstance.

And God says…”Absolutely. When Jesus said “It is finished, He meant it is ALL finished. He did not say it is finished as long as you have enough faith, or as long as you do the right things, or as long as you go to the right church.  Jesus brings you everything you need for life and life more abundantly, which includes trials and challenges.  These trials and challenges are essential to helping you realize and understand that the life of peace is Jesus living in and through you. Whatever is required of you, let Jesus deliver and provide.”

Justification by Faith

October 28th, 2011

If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life —Romans 5:10

I am not saved by believing— I simply realize I am saved by believing. And it is not repentance that saves me— repentance is only the sign that I realize what God has done through Christ Jesus. The danger here is putting the emphasis on the effect, instead of on the cause. Is it my obedience, consecration, and dedication that make me right with God? It is never that! I am made right with God because, prior to all of that, Christ died. When I turn to God and by belief accept what God reveals, the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ instantly places me into a right relationship with God. And as a result of the supernatural miracle of God’s grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, or because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God brings justification with a shattering, radiant light, and I know that I am saved, even though I don’t know how it was accomplished.

The salvation that comes from God is not based on human logic, but on the sacrificial death of Jesus. We can be born again solely because of the atonement of our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creations, not through their repentance or their belief, but through the wonderful work of God in Christ Jesus which preceded all of our experience (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). The unconquerable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We do not have to accomplish these things ourselves— they have been accomplished through the atonement of the Cross of Christ. The supernatural becomes natural to us through the miracle of God, and there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done— “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

The Method of Missions

October 26th, 2011

October 27, 2011

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . —Matthew 28:19

Jesus Christ did not say, “Go and save souls” (the salvation of souls is the supernatural work of God), but He said, “Go . . . make disciples of all the nations . . . .” Yet you cannot make disciples unless you are a disciple yourself. When the disciples returned from their first mission, they were filled with joy because even the demons were subject to them. But Jesus said, in effect, “Don’t rejoice in successful service— the great secret of joy is that you have the right relationship with Me” (see Luke 10:17-20). The missionary’s great essential is remaining true to the call of God, and realizing that his one and only purpose is to disciple men and women to Jesus. Remember that there is a passion for souls that does not come from God, but from our desire to make converts to our point of view.

The challenge to the missionary does not come from the fact that people are difficult to bring to salvation, that backsliders are difficult to reclaim, or that there is a barrier of callous indifference. No, the challenge comes from the perspective of the missionary’s own personal relationship with Jesus Christ— “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). Our Lord unwaveringly asks us that question, and it confronts us in every individual situation we encounter. The one great challenge to us is— do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God’s sight, but foolish enough according to the wisdom of the world, to trust in what Jesus Christ has said? Or am I abandoning the great supernatural position of limitless confidence in Christ Jesus, which is really God’s only call for a missionary? If I follow any other method, I depart altogether from the methods prescribed by our Lord— “All authority has been given to Me . . . . Gotherefore. . .” (Matthew 28:18-19).


October 27, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, the more I read and understand about your grace and love, the less and less I see of it in the institutional church. Instead of accepting your righteousness, we try to find it in our activities and works. We aren’t led to grace, holiness and love and then works out of love, we are often led to works out of obligation and guilt, from the church or well-intentioned brothers and sisters. What are we to do when we find works, obligation and guilt being offered up instead of your grace and love?

And God says…”Let Me live through you and respond in love. Love conquers all things. If I am living through you, others will respond. And be very careful trying to explain or evangelize grace and love. It can be threatening to those that have built their lives on their own righteousness. Simply let Me shine through and love will prevail.  Stay in the church, and let the gospel of grace and love simply shine through your life. Spread the good news of freedom, grace and love without words….let My life in you speak volumes.”

What is a Missionary?

October 25th, 2011

October 26, 2011

Jesus said to them again, ’. . . As the Father has sent Me, I also send you’ —John 20:21

A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God. The great controlling factor is not the needs of people, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in our service for God is behind us, not ahead of us. The tendency today is to put the inspiration out in front— to sweep everything together in front of us and make it conform to our definition of success. But in the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, and is the Lord Jesus Himself. The goal is to be true to Him— to carry out His plans.

Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and to His perspective is the one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary work the great danger is that God’s call will be replaced by the needs of the people, to the point that human sympathy for those needs will absolutely overwhelm the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, and the conditions so difficult, that every power of the mind falters and fails. We tend to forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary work is not primarily the elevation of the people, their education, nor their needs, but is first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ— “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .” (Matthew 28:19).

When looking back on the lives of men and women of God, the tendency is to say, “What wonderfully keen and intelligent wisdom they had, and how perfectly they understood all that God wanted!” But the keen and intelligent mind behind them was the mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the divine guidance of God being exhibited through childlike people who were “foolish” enough to trust God’s wisdom and His supernatural equipment.


October 26, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this lesson you have been teaching me about your love and grace is wonderful and overwhelming at the same time. However, if I am not to try and BE righteous by reading my bible, praying and helping others, and if I am not to try and “be a good Christian” or become a “better person” then where is my motivation?

And God says…”You are truly motivated by the grace and knowledge of how much I love you. Do not pray to love Me more, pray to know how much I love you. And while you cannot truly fathom (this side of heaven) just how much I do love you, you are and will continue to be transformed by this growing knowledge. I cannot and do not accept you and love you “more” because of your own efforts, regardless of your motives.  I love you and can accept you because of Jesus.  Trust in Jesus. And your works that follow become acceptable because it is Jesus living through you.“

Submitting to God’s Purpose

October 24th, 2011

October 25, 2011

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some —1 Corinthians 9:22

A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. Never protest by saying, “If only I were somewhere else!” All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God. We are not workers for God by choice. Many people deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no purpose of God’s almighty grace or His mighty Word in them. Paul’s whole heart, mind, and soul were consumed with the great purpose of what Jesus Christ came to do, and he never lost sight of that one thing. We must continually confront ourselves with one central fact— “. . . Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

“I chose you . . .” (John 15:16). Keep these words as a wonderful reminder in your theology. It is not that you have gotten God, but that He has gotten you. God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses. And why is He doing it? He is doing it for only one purpose— that He may be able to say, “This is My man, and this is My woman.” We have to be in God’s hand so that He can place others on the Rock, Jesus Christ, just as He has placed us.

Never choose to be a worker, but once God has placed His call upon you, woe be to you if you “turn aside . . . to the right or the left . . .” (Deuteronomy 28:14). He will do with you what He never did before His call came to you, and He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.


October 25, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, what is my purpose here. Is it to be light of the world, a city on a hill? Why have you called me into the family of God?

And God says…”It is enough for you to know and believe that I have called you for one purpose, and that is to be in a relationship with Me. We made you in our own image so that we could have a relationship with you.  Jesus came as a man and gave himself away… to take away the sins of the world so that we could have a relationship.  You were called for one purpose, and that is to be in relationship with Me;  Every other purpose of and for your life will flow from our relationship. “

The Proper Perspective

October 24th, 2011

Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ . . . —2 Corinthians 2:14

The proper perspective of a servant of God must not simply be as near to the highest as he can get, but it must be the highest. Be careful that you vigorously maintain God’s perspective, and remember that it must be done every day, little by little. Don’t think on a finite level. No outside power can touch the proper perspective.

The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, “I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,” or, “I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.” But Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” (Romans 8:37).

“We are to God the fragrance of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God.


October 24, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Thank you Lord for the joy I have discovered in worshiping you throughout the day.  I am also learning that praising You when I face challenges is a wonderful way to find the joy and security of my salvation. Praising and worshiping You as I go through my day has almost become a pattern Lord, and I thank You for the joy, peace and optimism that accompanies the praise and worship.

And God says…” The scriptures say “acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and all these things will follow. It becomes an easier path when you praise and join the Holy Spirit in worship during you day. When you keep your eyes on Jesus, your eyes are no longer on the circumstances around you, and your faith is renewed as the Holy Spirit worships through you.”

Impulsiveness or Discipleship?

October 21st, 2011

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith . . . —Jude 20

There was nothing of the nature of impulsive or thoughtless action about our Lord, but only a calm strength that never got into a panic. Most of us develop our Christianity along the lines of our own nature, not along the lines of God’s nature. Impulsiveness is a trait of the natural life, and our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God gives a sense of restraint to impulsiveness, suddenly bringing us a feeling of self-conscious foolishness, which makes us instantly want to vindicate ourselves. Impulsiveness is all right in a child, but is disastrous in a man or woman—an impulsive adult is always a spoiled person. Impulsiveness needs to be trained into intuition through discipline.

Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he “followed Him at a distance” on dry land (Mark 14:54). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.


October 21, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I am not certain I totally agree with Chambers this morning,  when he says…”We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.” I have tried and tried to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life and holy on the ordinary streets among ordinary people, and just when I think I am doing all that I am supposed to do….. I fail. And Lord I know You do not grade on the curve. Being 80% on track is not being on track at all. I suspect that this is one more lesson in discovering that the only way I can “measure up” to Your expectations is to stop trying to measure up, and let Jesus measure up for me.

And God says…”That is absolutely correct. You can never measure up, and your struggle to be a better person will always be a very slippery slope, because perfection is the only acceptable condition. And as you realize, and are reminded too often by others, you are not perfect, nor will you be perfect this side of heaven. However, Christ Jesus is perfect and He is prepared to live through you, allowing His perfection to replace your imperfections. Let Jesus be the perfection you can never be, let Him live through you.”

Galatians 2:19-21

The Message (MSG)

19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Is God’s Will My Will?

October 20th, 2011

This is the will of God, your sanctification . . . —1 Thessalonians 4:3

Sanctification is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me— is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me everything that has been made possible through the atonement of the Cross of Christ? Am I willing to let Jesus become sanctification to me, and to let His life be exhibited in my human flesh? (see 1 Corinthians 1:30). Beware of saying, “Oh, I am longing to be sanctified.” No, you are not. Recognize your need, but stop longing and make it a matter of action. Receive Jesus Christ to become sanctification for you by absolute, unquestioning faith, and the great miracle of the atonement of Jesus will become real in you.

All that Jesus made possible becomes mine through the free and loving gift of God on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross. And my attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound, humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness).

It is a holiness based on agonizing repentance, a sense of inexpressible shame and degradation, and also on the amazing realization that the love of God demonstrated itself to me while I cared nothing about Him (see Romans 5:8).He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification. No wonder Paul said that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is accomplished only through the magnificent atonement of Christ. Never confuse the effect with the cause. The effect in me is obedience, service, and prayer, and is the outcome of inexpressible thanks and adoration for the miraculous sanctification that has been brought about in me because of the atonement through the Cross of Christ.


October 20, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, thank you for reminding me that You do not see me as I was, or am, You see Jesus in me. Even though I cannot “see” the change, I only see my errors, mistakes and missteps, You still see Jesus. Thank You for Jesus and His life in me.

And God says…”Your growth is not made up by the changes or growth in you. You are not really becoming a better person. It is simply that more of Jesus is showing through. Your sanctification is not about making you better; it is about Jesus living through you. As more and more of Jesus shines through you, less and less of you is visible. The kingdom of God, that is Jesus, is within you. Let Him shine through …… sanctified.”

The Unheeded Secret

October 19th, 2011

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world —John 18:36

The great enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ today is the idea of practical work that has no basis in the New Testament but comes from the systems of the world. This work insists upon endless energy and activities, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation . . . . For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). It is a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives to be seen by others, while it is the innermost, personal area that reveals the power of a person’s life.

We must get rid of the plague of the spirit of this religious age in which we live. In our Lord’s life there was none of the pressure and the rushing of tremendous activity that we regard so highly today, and a disciple is to be like His Master. The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others.

It is not the practical activities that are the strength of this Bible Training College— its entire strength lies in the fact that here you are immersed in the truths of God to soak in them before Him. You have no idea of where or how God is going to engineer your future circumstances, and no knowledge of what stress and strain is going to be placed on you either at home or abroad. And if you waste your time in overactivity, instead of being immersed in the great fundamental truths of God’s redemption, then you will snap when the stress and strain do come. But if this time of soaking before God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in Him, which may appear to be impractical, then you will remain true to Him whatever happens.


October 19, 2011

Journal Entry for Today

Lord, the thought crossed my mind this morning that I can choose to live in Your kingdom or this world, daily, hourly and even minute by minute. I can choose to allow you to live through me, or I can choose to live my own live in my own ways….calling on You when I find I cannot deal with my circumstances. I can live a more robust, adventuresome life, curious about how you will manifest yourself in my circumstances. Or I can seek my own ways; running back and forth to you as I find myself overcome by the trials and circumstances of this life.

Lord, I am not really certain how it is accomplished, but I want You to live through me.

And God said…”Seek first the kingdom of God. All you are to do is to seek Me and My kingdom. Trust in Me regardless of your circumstances, stay curious and connected to Me. Bring your petitions and requests to Me and trust Me to know how to respond so that the very best outcomes are yours. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and do not revert to your old ways of doing things, and I will make all your paths straight.”

The Key to the Missionary’s Devotion

October 18th, 2011

they went forth for His name’s sake . . . 3 John 7

Our Lord told us how our love for Him is to exhibit itself when He asked, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:17). And then He said, “Feed My sheep.” In effect, He said, “Identify yourself with My interests in other people,” not, “Identify Me with your interests in other people.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 shows us the characteristics of this love— it is actually the love of God expressing itself. The true test of my love for Jesus is a very practical one, and all the rest is sentimental talk.

Faithfulness to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of redemption that has been performed in me by the Holy Spirit— “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . .” (Romans 5:5). And it is that love in me that effectively works through me and comes in contact with everyone I meet. I remain faithful to His name, even though the commonsense view of my life may seemingly deny that, and may appear to be declaring that He has no more power than the morning mist.

The key to the missionary’s devotion is that he is attached to nothing and to no one except our Lord Himself. It does not mean simply being detached from the external things surrounding us. Our Lord was amazingly in touch with the ordinary things of life, but He had an inner detachment except toward God. External detachment is often an actual indication of a secret, growing, inner attachment to the things we stay away from externally.

The duty of a faithful missionary is to concentrate on keeping his soul completely and continually open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women our Lord sends out on His endeavors are ordinary human people, but people who are controlled by their devotion to Him, which has been brought about through the work of the Holy Spirit.


October 18, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I get a bit uneasy when I worry about things and then remember all that You have done. It strikes me that I should immediately recall all Your blessings and provision. But the urgency of the immediate threatens my memory of your faithfulness, and then I feel less faithful to You. When threatened by a pressing need, I can forget your history of faithfulness, and fall into despair, searching for a modicum of faith and hope.

And God says…”The enemy wants you to condemn yourself, when your natural man takes over. When you know you should feel safe and secure in My arms, and do not, you can fall into deeper despair wondering why you are not strong or faithful enough. It is only natural that you will be unable to find the strength, courage or hope.  That is why it is important to find your strength in Jesus and the knowledge that Jesus has the faith, hope, strength and courage you need. He lives through you. Let your own weakness simply testify to His strength. Let your failures be reminders of His victory. It is not necessary for you to be victorious. It is only important that you identify with Jesus and His victory, and be transformed.”