Archive for March, 2012

Holiness or Hardness Toward God?

March 30th, 2012

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.

March 30, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I am not experiencing what Chambers is writing about…. becoming hard and dogmatic toward You. He writes that we can try to dictate to You, throwing our petitions at the throne like we are telling You what You ought to be doing, how You are to answer our prayers.

I have been frustrated when You have not responded to my prayers and petitions like I want, but it seems to me that You know a great deal more about what is good for me and mine and those for whom I pray. I trust You to respond in the ways that are best, as you know all things, including our future for eternity.

This lesson seems to hold no relevance for me until I get to the part where he writes…” 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….?” Lord I truly strive for this.

And God says…”When you seek Jesus, and through Him a daily, hourly and moment by moment relationship with Me, you draw closer and closer to Me, being transformed into the image of Christ. As you live out your intimate daily relationship with Me you will feel, and know with certainty, that you know My mind. It is often not the kind of knowledge you can share with others, but you begin to know and understand nonetheless, the very mind of Christ. Your petitions turn to worship and praise as you begin to understand and know without a doubt your Father in heaven will not withhold any good thing from you.”

Our Lord’s Surprise Visits

March 29th, 2012

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

Lord, I admit that sometimes in the living I take my eyes off of the life giver. Sometimes I get focused on the comings and goings; all the natural day to day issues of life and I forget the most important thing of all, staying connected to You. My list of “to dos” grows, people call for appointments, my “important” list of what I must do grows larger as the day grows shorter, and suddenly I realize that I was off in my own little world chasing issues and answers that really do not matter in the long run. And then I discover that I can take care of all my “to dos” when I hold them up to you, and make communion and connection with You my very first and most important item of the day.

And God says…”Seek first the kingdom of God (which is Jesus), and all these things shall be given you. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. Ask anything in keeping with My will (and you know my will by being in relationship with Me) and it will be granted; I will supply all your needs according to My riches.”

“When you let go of your fear of not accomplishing, having or getting, of even not living, and embrace Me as your savior, provider and Lord, I can give you a peace that passes all understanding and lead you into a daily abundant life. Go ahead and make your lists, and review your “to dos” but this time put our relationship at the very top of that list, hold your list up to Me, and engage your day knowing that you can accomplish “all things” in Christ Jesus”.

Isn’t There Some Misunderstanding?

March 28th, 2012

’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, 2012


Thank You for Your redemption, grace and mercy. Thank You for washing me clean every day, and allowing me to start fresh. I recall that You said You are the God “I am” and I took that to mean that You are with me right now; in the present. That I find You in the present. I cannot find you in my yesterdays or my tomorrows; I find You living and breathing life into me in the present. Thank You for reminding me that I can always find You in the present moment.

And God says…”Yesterdays are where you find regret and guilt; you will not find me there. Tomorrow is where you find your anxiety and fear. You will not find me inside of your anxiety, worry and fear. You will find Me holding you right now, in the present. Seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened. Let go of your yesterdays, and tomorrows and live with Me in the present. I give you this day,
your daily bread…that is to say that I give you all that you need for this day. You live the abundant life, when you live one day at a time, immersed in My love, grace, mercy and power. Simply close your eyes, and feel My arms around  you, present in your day.”

Spiritual Vision Through Personal Purity (2)

March 27th, 2012

Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place . . . —Revelation 4:1

A higher state of mind and spiritual vision can only be achieved through the higher practice of personal character. If you live up to the highest and best that you know in the outer level of your life, God will continually say to you, “Friend, come up even higher.” There is also a continuing rule in temptation which calls you to go higher; but when you do, you only encounter other temptations and character traits. Both God and Satan use the strategy of elevation, but Satan uses it in temptation, and the effect is quite different. When the devil elevates you to a certain place, he causes you to fasten your idea of what holiness is far beyond what flesh and blood could ever bear or achieve. Your life becomes a spiritual acrobatic performance high atop a steeple. You cling to it, trying to maintain your balance and daring not to move. But when God elevates you by His grace into heavenly places, you find a vast plateau where you can move about with ease.Compare this week in your spiritual life with the same week last year to see how God has called you to a higher level. We have all been brought to see from a higher viewpoint. Never allow God to show you a truth which you do not instantly begin to live up to, applying it to your life. Always work through it, staying in its light.Your growth in grace is not measured by the fact that you haven’t turned back, but that you have an insight and understanding into where you are spiritually. Have you heard God say, “Come up higher,” not audibly on the outer level, but to the innermost part of your character?“Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing . . . ?” (Genesis 18:17). God has to hide from us what He does, until, due to the growth of our personal character, we get to the level where He is then able to reveal it.



March 27, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV


Lord, just when I think I have become bulletproof, protected by my faith and obedience, I up and do something or say something….or just think something far and away from the man and character I thought I had become. Just when I thought I was “measuring up” to your standards, I fell to earth. My selfless thoughts and prayers for others suddenly shifted into a selfish concentrated focus onto myself and my wants and needs….and carry with them an intensity that I had forgotten was inside of me. How can I deal with this? How can I reclaim the man I thought I was and am in you?

And God says…”You are no more saint or sinner than the Apostle Paul when he wrote to the Romans about wanting to do the right thing and then being pulled in another direction…..”Romans 7: 21-25 (MSG)…It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that
delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is  there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.”

“Focus on Jesus, who He is and what He has done for you, and you will be energized, and transformed, as the song says…one day at a time.”

Spiritual Vision Through Personal Purity (1)

March 26th, 2012

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!”



March 26, 2012

Lord, on this retreat, I thought I would rise up and embrace You even more tightly than before. But then I found that I was and am the same man with the same short sightedness, the same man creating the same roadblocks for myself. And then You remind me that Jesus removes all the roadblocks and all my failed attempts for becoming a better person. You remind me that I can live
like a man consumed by Jesus, not through any effort of my own, but by simply focusing on Jesus. You remind me to let go of the results, the outcomes, and to give myself to Jesus.

And God says…”Jesus is the way, the trust and the light. All things are accomplished by and through Him. Do not try to become a better person, or to live out the commandments, or
even to demonstrate your Christianity.  Do not give to the poor, invest in missions, or build a new and powerful church. Rest and trust in Jesus, and let Him accomplish all things as you are simply available, open and surrendered. In this way you will become a better person, you will live out the commandments, and your Christianity will be visible to all. You may then give to the poor, invest in missions and build a powerful and new church. But it will not be you living your Christianity and demonstrating Jesus, it will be Jesus living through you.”

Maintaining the Proper Relationship

March 25th, 2012

. . . 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.

Decreasing for His Purpose

March 24th, 2012

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).

Am I Carnally Minded?

March 23rd, 2012

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, 2012

Journal Entry for Today

Lord, thank you for your reassurance. Thank you for reminding me that your grace and power are sufficient for transforming me into the man You want me to be. Once again You have shown me that my role is to simply rely on You; to trust and obey. And even when I do not trust and obey, You have shown me that You are sufficient for me then as well.

And God says…”Trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding, your own good deeds, or even your ability to trust and obey. Trust in Me. Trust in the transforming power of Jesus. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the things you need shall be added to you.”

“Give Me your life, and I will give you a life abundant with hope, love, peace and joy. And I will transform you into a man after my own heart.”

The Burning Heart

March 22nd, 2012

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, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, Chambers seems to be reminding me that I am to act on the vision You gave me even though I may be consumed by the dreary issues of day to day living. Even though I am caught up in the mundane day to day “stuff”, I am to keep my eyes on the vision and act on it. Is that the message; keep focused on the vision You gave me, even though I am bombarded by trials and circumstances?

And God says…”That is almost right, but in being almost right your conclusion is most certainly wrong. If you are connected and identified with Jesus, you cannot get caught up in the mundane. When you are connected to Jesus and to others, letting Him flow through you ….hours of insight willed will always transcend hours of gloom….and be…  fulfilled. One way to notice that you are living connected to Jesus, is when you discover that potentially dreary times are now filled with eager expectation, knowing that whatever comes to you, or not, is blessed by Jesus. You live in eager anticipation, knowing full well that all things work for good for those that love the God and are called according to His purpose.”

“In times like these you come to realize that there is no dreary, mundane, fear, nor gloom. And you are not deterred by many exciting experiences and emotions of the moment; although those times can be very stimulating and exciting. You come to realize that your life and vision are fulfilled simply and purposely when you are connected to Jesus.”

Identified or Simply Interested?

March 21st, 2012

I have been crucified with Christ . . . —Galatians 2:20

The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ . . . .” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him”-but-”I have been identified with Him in His death.” Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished inme. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.“. . . it is no longer I who live . . . .” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.“. . . and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh-the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God . . . .” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits-a faith that comes only from the Son of God.

March 21, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, Chambers makes it sound so easy; that all I need do is identify with Jesus and become holy. If that also means that I no longer fall short of the mark, well, that cannot be right. Your word says that if I say I have no sin, then I am not being honest. I know I fall short of the mark…too often.  Is Chambers saying we are holy, regardless of our behavior and thoughts, because we identify with Jesus?

And God says…”When you identify with Jesus and the cross, you are holy, even when you miss the mark; even when you consciously act out your natural inclinations. I knewthe beginning of time, that you would fall short of the mark yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus and His cross covers all your failure; yesterday, today and in the future. You were not saved by grace and then left to complete the process on your own, nor is your “effort” and personal commitment of value. The grace of God and power of the cross covers your entire life; yesterday, today and tomorrow. Simply trust and identify with Jesus.

Remember, you cannot determine your position with Me by evaluating your every wayward thought or deed.  You are to trust in Me, identify with Jesus, and let the power of the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus have its life changing way in your life. Simply trust in Jesus, and identify with the cross, and you become holy, not because of your deeds or thoughts, but because of Jesus.