Archive for February, 2012

What Do You Want The Lord to Do for You?

February 29th, 2012

Luke 18:39 Those ahead of Jesus told the man to shut up, but he only yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”

Is there something in your life that not only disturbs you, but makes you a disturbance to others? If so, it is always something you cannot handle yourself. “Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more . . .” (Luke 18:39). Be persistent with your disturbance until you get face to face with the Lord Himself. Don’t deify common sense. To sit calmly by, instead of creating a disturbance, serves only to deify our common sense. When Jesus asks what we want Him to do for us about the incredible problem that is confronting us, remember that He doesn’t work in commonsense ways, but only in supernatural ways.

Look at how we limit the Lord by only remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past. We say, “I always failed there, and I always will.” Consequently, we don’t ask for what we want. Instead, we think, “It is ridiculous to ask God to do this.” If it is an impossibility, it is the very thing for which we have to ask. If it is not an impossible thing, it is not a real disturbance. And God will do what is absolutely impossible.

This man received his sight. But the most impossible thing for you is to be so closely identified with the Lord that there is literally nothing of your old life remaining. God will do it if you will ask Him. But you have to come to the point of believing Him to be almighty. We find faith by not only believing what Jesus says, but, even more, by trusting Jesus Himself. If we only look at what He says, we will never believe. Once we see Jesus, the impossible things He does in our lives become as natural as breathing. The agony we suffer is only the result of the deliberate shallowness of our own heart. We won’t believe; we won’t let go by severing the line that secures the boat to the shore— we prefer to worry.


February 29, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this new song touched me with the lyric, where glorymeets my suffering….That is the place where I come to hear you and know you like no other. Was it C. S. Lewis that said our pain is God’s megaphone? I know I should listen to you very closely, and stay intimately connected with and to you all the time, but for some reason, early in my journey, I was able to truly surrender when my hurt and need was the greatest. Thank you for the times of hurt that became my tutor to connection and intimacy.

And God says…”I use whatever is available and necessary to bring you to surrender so that you can come to know and live the supernatural life of Jesus, within. That is how much I love you; enough to give you my Son, Jesus, so that you and I may live in intimate and daily connection with Me. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. Find your life by giving it up…. for My life.

“Do You Now Believe?”

February 28th, 2012

’By this we believe . . . .’ Jesus answered them, ’Do you now believe?’ —John 16:30-31

Now we believe. . . .” But Jesus asks, “Do you . . . ? Indeed the hour is coming . . . that you . . . will leave Me alone” (John 16:31-32). Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our soul has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-6). This is not deliberate sin and there is no punishment attached to it. But once a person realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and caused uncertainties, sorrows, and difficulties for himself, it is with shame and remorse that he has to return.

We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now. We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them; it is not in His realm to do so, and those decisions are severed from reality. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ. We become a prideful, arrogant person, thinking we know what to do in every situation. We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to “walk in the light” of our conscience or in the light of a sense of duty, but to “walk in the light asHe is in the light. . .” (1 John 1:7). When we do something out of a sense of duty, it is easy to explain the reasons for our actions to others. But when we do something out of obedience to the Lord, there can be no other explanation-just obedience. That is why a saint can be so easily ridiculed and misunderstood.


February 28, 2012

Journal for Today-JDV

Lord, David and I see “trust and obey” a bit differently based on our upbringing. And You have transformed my thinking in this area. When I was growing up I viewed “obey” as a stern, dogmatic order from someone with power over me that demanded I conform to their idea of what I should do, be and desire for my life.  And predictably, I rebelled at this notion. Why would I want to conform to someone else’s idea of who I should be, do and desire for my life?

But over time you showed me that my obedience results in living in Your will, and living in Your will results in life more abundantly. You are not the stern parent trying to make me conform to Your idea of what is right and wrong for my life. You are my loving father that loves me so much, that You give me direction and guidance that allows me to find peace, happiness and
purpose, regardless of my circumstance.

And God says…”I desire an intimate and loving relationship with you. And I know that we can walk in intimate dialog when you are walking in My will protected and secure. When you choose to follow your own ideas of right and wrong, and trust yourself, instead of Me, you break away from My perfect will for your life, and live outside of the peace, happiness and purpose I have provided. When I ask you to obey, it is not for my benefit or any kind of grading system to determine if you are good or not, that was taken care of by Jesus; your obedience is for your benefit and blessing. When you trust and obey regardless of your circumstances, you live life and life more abundantly.”


Journal DJR
Good Morning, Lord.
Some of us have a tendency to assume that all sins have specific penalties attached to them … and when we commit one (or more) we are waiting for the “shoe to drop” Grace gets lost as we focus too much on the quid pro quo or tit for tat aspect of sin and punishment.

You were all raised by imperfect parents … some more imperfect than others, But my love for you is perfect. I dont parent with a big stick. And my Grace, which is based on Jesus sacrifice covers all of your sins … even the ones you haven’t committed yet. It’s also true that consequences happen. It’s called sowing and reaping and the Universe is put together that way. What you sow, you will reap. Because I love you, I gave some guidelines about how to live and reap the best and avoid the worst. They got called “Commandments” but they are suggestions for the best way for my kids to live. You can follow the suggestions and life will be better. When you choose not to and plant bad seed, I am not “punishing” you … You have just stepped in line for the natural harvest of that seed.

Can I pray for a “crop failure?”

Yes, that’s what my Grace is all about. Crop Failure. The crop of sin first planted by rebellion in Eden and followed by you and every human since then … Bad seeds leading to bad crops. But the sacrifice of my Son covers them all.

So the blood of Jesus is like Weed Killer?

You could look at it that way.

Thank You. Word pictures like that help me. We need to talk more about this.

I would love nothing more … I’m ready when you are.

The Impoverished Ministry of Jesus

February 27th, 2012

Where then do You get that living water? —John 4:11


“The well is deep”— and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! (John 4:11). Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature— He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.____________________________________________February 27, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, it seems to me that I recall a time when I was able to manage my life just fine, thank you. And as I think about it, it was not so long ago. I could look at my future and lay it out, just about the way I wanted: I could navigate the potential issues and problems, plan for contingencies and anticipate most of the unforeseen problems. I was in control of my life and it seemed like it was just fine…but it was not just fine.

And God says…”If you want to save your life, you must lose it. I love you enough to allow your circumstances to become so difficult that you cannot  deal with the point where you must come to me. And I do this because I love you immeasurably.  I want you to experience the love, grace, and power of Jesus and to be shaped and molded into His image while you are in this life. Come to Jesus and live life and life abundantly. Turn to Jesus at every opportunity….and because I love you immeasurably, I give you these opportunities to surrender and to know me as you never could when you were/are trusting yourself. Trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding and I will make your paths straight.”

The Delight of Sacrifice

February 24th, 2012

I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls . . . —2 Corinthians 12:15

Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (see John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose— that he might win people to Jesus Christ. Paul always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).When someone thinks that to develop a holy life he must always be alone with God, he is no longer of any use to others. This is like putting himself on a pedestal and isolating himself from the rest of society. Paul was a holy person, but wherever he went Jesus Christ was always allowed to help Himself to his life. Many of us are interested only in our own goals, and Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we are totally surrendered to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve. Paul said that he knew how to be a “doormat” without resenting it, because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus. We tend to be devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things which allow us more spiritual freedom than total surrender to Him would allow. Freedom was not Paul’s motive at all. In fact, he stated, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren . . .” (Romans 9:3). Had Paul lost his ability to reason? Not at all! For someone who is in love, this is not an overstatement. And Paul was in love with Jesus Christ.

The Determination to Serve

February 23rd, 2012

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve . . .—Matthew 20:28

Jesus also said, “Yet I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:27). Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s— “. . . ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). We somehow have the idea that a person called to the ministry is called to be different and above other people. But according to Jesus Christ, he is called to be a “doormat” for others— called to be their spiritual leader, but never their superior. Paul said, “I know how to be abased . . .” (Philippians 4:12). Paul’s idea of service was to pour his life out to the last drop for others. And whether he received praise or blame made no difference. As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him. But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.
Paul’s understanding of how Christ had dealt with him is the secret behind his determination to serve others. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man . . .” (1 Timothy 1:13). In other words, no matter how badly others may have treated Paul, they could never have treated him with the same degree of spite and hatred with which he had treated Jesus Christ. Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake.


Journal DJR
Good morning Lord,
Today’s music catches part of the written message very well … Do it anyway. Even when things aren’t working out the way we think they should. But it leaves the possibility that we are to grit our teeth and hang in there. This is the human way of serving people and we see many folks with good hearts doing just that. Oswald and Paul have a different perspective which changes everything. Dont just serve people … Serve God. And of course serving God will entail serving people, since it is the second commandment.

The difference in the core motivation will show up in how tired you get from your serving and how ready to go again you are upon waking.   Serving me from gratitude and love will energize you.  Serving people with grit and determination because you believe that it’s the right thing to do … will always leave you drained.

The Discipline of Spiritual Perseverance

February 22nd, 2012

Be still, and know that I am God . . . —Psalm 46:10


Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling. Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men— will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated.If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified. Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, “because you have kept My command to persevere . . .” (Revelation 3:10).

February 22, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I used to wonder how I could be certain that You would answer my prayers; and I knew that certainty was (and is) an essential ingredient for the faith necessary to see my prayers manifest. Nowadays I am more and more certain that you will answer my prayers, when I am connected to and with You. When I am connected and in relationship with You, Your will seems perfectly clear.

And God says…”This is the confidence you can have in approaching Me: that if you ask anything according to My will, I hear you. And if you know that I hear you—whatever you ask—you know that you can and will have what you asked of Me. The key is to get into relationship and stay connected so that you are living, breathing and praying in My will. It is an exciting and peaceful place to live. You live in eager anticipation, wondering what amazing thing I will do for you and those you love and pray for, while at peace about the timing of it all. ”

Do You Really Love Him?

February 21st, 2012

She has done a good work for Me —Mark 14:6

If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and it may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love.

Have you ever been driven to do something for God not because you felt that it was useful or your duty to do so, or that there was anything in it for you, but simply because you love Him? Have you ever realized that you can give things to God that are of value to Him? Or are you just sitting around daydreaming about the greatness of His redemption, while neglecting all the things you could be doing for Him? I’m not referring to works which could be regarded as divine and miraculous, but ordinary, simple human things— things which would be evidence to God that you are totally surrendered to Him. Have you ever created what Mary of Bethany created in the heart of the Lord Jesus? “She has done a good work for Me.”

There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him even small gifts of surrender, just to show how genuine our love is for Him. To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. “. . . but perfect love casts out fear . . .” once we are surrendered to God (1 John 4:18). We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time.


Journal DJR
Good morning, Lord.
This is a good lesson for me … to just do it … sometimes just do a thing, just for love, regardless of the bottom line or functionality or anything else. When we disconnect ourselves from the context of judging our actions by their functionality or the end results … we become free to love, free to do lavish and unreasonable things, like the lady smashing the perfume jar and washing Jesus feet. So help me Lord, to do something outrageous today. Outrageous for love, not just plain old outrageous.

It is a higher road you are talking about. You know that those who walk that road will be misunderstood and criticized.

It seems that it goes with the territory … but in that territory, the criticism shrinks to minor status relative to the love which covers it all.

Just be sure that your connection and communication with Me is strong and secure. If you wander off on your own and do outrageous things, the pain can hurt real bad. But even then, there will be lessons of value and of course I’ll be standing right there waiting for you to wake up and reconnect.

You know me well. I love you.

Taking the Initiative Against Daydreaming

February 20th, 2012

Arise, let us go from here —John 14:31


Daydreaming about something in order to do it properly is right, but daydreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong. In this passage, after having said these wonderful things to His disciples, we might have expected our Lord to tell them to go away and meditate over them all. But Jesus never allowed idle daydreaming. When our purpose is to seek God and to discover His will for us, daydreaming is right and acceptable. But when our inclination is to spend time daydreaming over what we have already been told to do, it is unacceptable and God’s blessing is never on it. God will take the initiative against this kind of daydreaming by prodding us to action. His instructions to us will be along the lines of this: “Don’t sit or stand there, just go!”If we are quietly waiting before God after He has said to us, “Come aside by yourselves . . .” then that is meditation before Him to seek His will (Mark 6:31). Beware, however, of giving in to mere daydreaming once God has spoken. Allow Him to be the source of all your dreams, joys, and delights, and be careful to go and obey what He has said. If you are in love with someone, you don’t sit and daydream about that person all the time— you go and do something for him. That is what Jesus Christ expects us to do. Daydreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.

February 20, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, my brother and I have not struggled with this problem….daydreaming after we hear your voice or and know Your will. Our difficulty has been taking off before we are certain. Historically, we “go” after we think we know the next steps. Acting on Your voice has not been the issue for us; acting before we are absolutely certain of Your will has been the issue. If we know Your will we do take action. It is the “knowing” that gets in our way.
And God says…”I understand, and many have the same issue, like Peter, you are “quick to act”, slower with obedience. You already know my will for your life in many, many areas (simply read and follow My word); and yet you are slow to act. When you are slow to obedience on biblical direction, you cannot hear the Holy Spirit as clearly, on the more subtle and personal issues where I speak to you clearly yet softly.”

The Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative

February 16th, 2012

Arise from the dead . . .—Ephesians 5:14

Not all initiative, the willingness to take the first step, is inspired by God. Someone may say to you, “Get up and get going! Take your reluctance by the throat and throw it overboard—just do what needs to be done!” That is what we mean by ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes to us and says, in effect, “Get up and get going,” suddenly we find that the initiative is inspired.
We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead. But God comes and says to us, “Arise from the dead . . . .” When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to “arise from the dead” and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going.” God does not give us overcoming life—He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead . . . ,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord, We hear the phrase, No Pain, No Gain, in secular society, especially in Sports and Business. But it seems to contain some truth spiritually as well. It seems that when we struggle to overcome, we become owners of a truth that cannot happen just with academic study. But there remains the question of today … Was it just our struggle on our own initiative? … or were we struggling for you? On one level, it may not matter. The lessons gained from experience and struggle are in a different class than those learned academically … whether they were of your inspiration or our own.

It is in the process of your life that we connect and you get to know me and trust me. So those who “play it safe” and never step out and risk will miss out on some of what could have been. So do your best hear my inspiration and then step out in your best effort at obedience. Of course you will miss sometimes. It’s the way to learn. Just keep coming and remember to keep the focus on our relationship. I will always be there for you.

Proverbs 14:4
New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Without oxen a stable stays clean,
but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.

So we dont want a “clean stable” because it leads to a small harvest. Of course our parents and our leaders are always pushing us to clean rooms and clean paperwork and clean lives. Nothing wrong with clean but it’s better as an outcome than as an objective.

True, if you keep “Connection with me” as the objective, the messes and misses of your life will work out and you will see them become the building blocks of what we are building together.

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”

February 15th, 2012

None of us lives to himself . . . —Romans 14:7


Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. We “sit together in the heavenly places . . .” (Ephesians 2:6). “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:26). If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer. But you ask, “Who is sufficient to be able to live up to such a lofty standard?” “Our sufficiency is from God . . .” and God alone (2 Corinthians 3:5).“You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). How many of us are willing to spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus Christ? That is what God means when He uses the word witness. But it takes time, so be patient with yourself. Why has God left us on the earth? Is it simply to be saved and sanctified? No, it is to be at work in service to Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured-out wine for Him? Am I willing to be of no value to this age or this life except for one purpose and one alone— to be used to disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life of service to God is the way I say “thank you” to Him for His inexpressibly wonderful salvation. Remember, it is quite possible for God to set any of us aside if we refuse to be of service to Him— “. . . lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

February 15, 2011

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, while I understand that I am to be broken bread and poured wine for others, my own circumstances often get in my way, as I focus on my own issues, opportunities and circumstances. Please help me move my focus from my “own stuff” and take hold of the the peace that passes all understanding that can come from living out the gospel to and for others.

And God says…” I made you to be your brother’s keeper and you are most complete when you live out your life to this purpose. Jesus gave you but two commandments; love God with all that you are, and love others as yourself. When you live out these commandments,  you are living in My will, and over time you are transformed, and your life grows  into a life more abundant. 

Matthew 22:36-40 (MSG) the Most Important Command

When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them; posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”  Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.