Archive for June, 2012

The Strictest Discipline

June 29th, 2012

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell —Matthew 5:30


Jesus did not say that everyone must cut off his right hand, but that “if your right hand causes you to sin” in your walk with Him, then it is better to “cut it off.” There are many things that are perfectly legitimate, but if you are going to concentrate on God you cannot do them. Your right hand is one of the best things you have, but Jesus says that if it hinders you in following His precepts, then “cut it off.” The principle taught here is the strictest discipline or lesson that ever hit humankind.


When God changes you through regeneration, giving you new life through spiritual rebirth, your life initially has the characteristic of being maimed. There are a hundred and one things that you dare not do— things that would be sin for you, and would be recognized as sin by those who really know you. But the unspiritual people around you will say, “What’s so wrong with doing that? How absurd you are!” There has never yet been a saint who has not lived a maimed life initially. Yet it is better to enter into life maimed but lovely in God’s sight than to appear lovely to man’s eyes but lame to God’s. At first, Jesus Christ through His Spirit has to restrain you from doing a great many things that may be perfectly right for everyone else but not right for you. Yet, see that you don’t use your restrictions to criticize someone else.

The Christian life is a maimed life initially, but in Matthew 5:48 Jesus gave us the picture of a perfectly well-rounded life— “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”


June 29 2012 (a reprise from June 30 2011)

Lord when I read one of Oswald Chambers’ devotional like this one I wonder if I measure up or if I can ever measure up to the standards you have set? When I read these high standards I wonder if I am good enough to be one of your children, or if I can ever measure up to the standards You have set? Sometimes I realize I am so far off from your standards, I feel like giving up.

And God says…”That is exactly where you should find yourself…giving up. Part of the transforming process for My children is coming to realize that you must surrender your entire life to Me. You cannot hold onto any part of your old life, including the discipline to do the right things. I can use that, but you cannot. Trust in Me with all your heart, do not rely on your own devices and I will make your paths straight. I cannot be you partner in life; I cannot be your copilot. I
can only be your life. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will
be added unto you. I am the way, the truth and the life.”

Held by the Grip of God

June 28th, 2012

I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me —Philippians 3:12

Never choose to be a worker for God, but once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you “turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32). We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has “laid hold of” us. And once He has done so, we never have this thought, “Well, I’m really not suited for this.” What you are to preach is also determined by God, not by your own natural leanings or desires. Keep your soul steadfastly related to God, and remember that you are called not simply to convey your testimony but also to preach the gospel. Every Christian must testify to the truth of God, but when it comes to the call to preach, there must be the agonizing grip of God’s hand on you— your life is in the grip of God for that very purpose. How many of us are held like that?


Never water down the Word of God, but preach it in its undiluted sternness. There must be unflinching faithfulness to the Word of God, but when you come to personal dealings with others, remember who you are— you are not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do. . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Drawing on the Grace of God— Now

June 26th, 2012

We . . . plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain —2 Corinthians 6:1


The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “. . . in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.


“. . . in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors . . .” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.

“. . . having nothing . . . .” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “. . . and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).


June 26, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I really like this song, but the lyrics need a bit of a tweak. Instead of when mercy found me, or when grace found me, they should sing; when mercy and grace find me. For years I thought Your mercy and grace were given me when I first came to You and then it was up to me to meet the standards after that. Thank You for showing me that salvation is not a one-time historical “happening” in my life; it is a daily, hour by hour minute by minute occurrence. Thank You for providing the love, hope, mercy and grace for daily living.

And God says…”It is interesting to watch believers come to Jesus for His love, mercy and grace, and then abandon them all for their own “effort”.  The sacrifice of Jesus needs no help from you; it needs no assistance from your effort or trying. The sacrifice of Jesus needs no Christian service, or tithing. All these works will follow, when you simply trust Jesus. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own efforts or understanding and He will make your paths straight.”

Receiving Yourself in the Fires of Sorrow

June 25th, 2012

 . . what shall I say? ’Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. ’Father, glorify Your name’ —John 12:27-28

As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires. If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

Sorrow removes a great deal of a person’s shallowness, but it does not always make that person better. Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me. You cannot find or receive yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you. But if a person has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, having no respect or time for you, only turning you away. If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.


June 25, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord it is a difficult lesson to learn; that I learn and am shaped most when I am “up against it”. When I am in pain I hear You the loudest. When I feel threatened or fearful I reach for You. When I have nowhere else to turn, I turn to You; over and over again until I learn that turning to You is not a sign of weakness. I have had trials and difficult circumstances to the point that now I will not take even one step, without reaching out to You…….Perhaps that was the lesson and the necessary shaping. Thank You Jesus.

And God says…”In order to remove the slag or dross from silver, the silversmith must first heat it to the point where the impurities are removed and all that is left is pure silver. Trials and difficulties create the heat and pressure from which you are purified. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding and your paths will become straight. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and all things of the earth that you need will be added unto you. Whatever helps you turn your eyes to Jesus is good for you. All things work for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

The Ministry of the Inner Life

June 21st, 2012

You are . . . a royal priesthood . . . —1 Peter 2:9


By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say, “What a wonderful victory I have!” Yet there is nothing at all in that which indicates the miracle of redemption. Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. Then don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”


How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves? We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life.


June 21, 2012

Journal Entry from June 2011

Lord, thank you for the lesson about love. Thank you for showing me over and over and over again that you love me anyway, regardless of who I am or what I have done…or left undone. And thank you for Your Holy Spirit that allows me to offer this same kind of forgiveness and grace. As I consider the hurts and slights of others, I suddenly notice that you have removed the notion of judgment. Thank You Lord.

And God says…”The supernatural ability to forgive is a gift of faith activated by your desire to leave your judgments behind. My grace becomes a part of your life, actions and relationships as you seek Me and stay in connection with Me. And when you let go of your concerns and judgements you are free to feed my sheep.”

My Utmost for His Highest

June 19th, 2012

. . . do you love Me? . . . Tend My sheep  —John 21:16

Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking, but He said to look after His sheep, to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him. We consider what we do in the way of Christian work as service, yet Jesus Christ calls service to be what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based solely on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on following after a particular belief or doctrine. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate . . . , he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). In this verse, there is no argument and no pressure from Jesus to follow Him; He is simply saying, in effect, “If you want to be My disciple, you must be devoted solely to Me.” A person touched by the Spirit of God suddenly says, “Now I see who Jesus is!”— that is the source of devotion.

 Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people— the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a “doormat.” The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies”— it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).


June 19, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I don’t want to just “go through the motions”.  I want my heart to break with what breaks yours.  I want to be less cynical and protective and more engaging and open. I want to be naive and open; helping instead of judging.  Lord, please make me a man after Your own heart. Please remake me in Your image and teach me how to leave my self-interests for you as I am transformed and captivated by the needs of others.

And God says…”Jesus gave you two commandments: love the Lord with all your heart and mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. You find peace and joy, becoming more whole and completed, when you pursue these two commandments.  Just “going through the motions” is simply one more way of saying that you do not trust Me to guide you and meet all your needs. When you are simply “going through the motions”, you are pursuing your own agenda, following your will, not My will, because you do not trust Me to meet all your needs. Trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding and I will make your paths straight.”

Keep Recognizing Jesus

June 18th, 2012

. . . Peter . . . walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid . . . —Matthew 14:29-30

The wind really was boisterous and the waves really were high, but Peter didn’t see them at first. He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and “walked on the water.” Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went. Why couldn’t our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves, as well as on top of them? He could have, yet neither could be done without Peter’s continuing recognition of the Lord Jesus.

We step right out with recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go. If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus. Then comes His rebuke, “. . . why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him.

If you debate for even one second when God has spoken, it is all over for you. Never start to say, “Well, I wonder if He really did speak to me?” Be reckless immediately— totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything— by casting your all upon Him. You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all.


June 18, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I get the message about keeping my eyes on you during  storms and trials, I really do. In fact, I believe I hear you most clearly when  I am in the middle of a storm. C S Lewis thought that was the case when he described  our pain as God’s megaphone. Whenever I see or even suspect a storm, I run to  You. In fact, I often feel like I may let You down because I cling to You most  tightly and seek You most desperately on the occasion of storms.

And God says…”All  things work together for good, for those that love the Lord and are called  according to His purpose. Storms, tough times, difficult circumstances; they  are all used to help shape and refine you. When you begin to see heaven as your  home, you begin to understand that this life on earth is simply a preparation for  life everlasting. All that occurs in this life shapes and helps prepare you for  the next. And the most amazing lesson is your realization that you are complete  only when you are connected to Jesus. If storms and tough times are what drive  you  closer to Jesus, then they are good for your life.”

Getting There (2)

June 12th, 2012

They said to Him, ’Rabbi . . . where are You staying?’ He said to them, ’Come and see’ —John 1:38-39


Where our self-interest sleeps and the real interest is awakened.

“They . . . remained with Him that day . . . .” That is about all some of us ever do. We stay with Him a short time, only to wake up to our own realities of life. Our self-interest rises up and our abiding with Him is past. Yet there is no circumstance of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.


“You are Simon . . . . You shall be called Cephas” (John 1:42). God writes our new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased our pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest. Some of us have our new name written only in certain spots, like spiritual measles. And in those areas of our lives we look all right. When we are in our best spiritual mood, you would think we were the highest quality saints. But don’t dare look at us when we are not in that mood. A true disciple is one who has his new name written all over him— self-interest, pride, and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.

Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.” Why aren’t you a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe that God can make you into one. You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “. . . We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.


June 12, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this lesson and song remind me that You are here with me through and in everything. It reminds me that I cannot and should not feel distance between us, even when I know I have consciously made a wrong choice. That is what the enemy wants from me; to pull away from you, believing I am not worthy of Your grace, mercy, love and blessings. And standing by myself I am not worthy. But you remind me that You are here with me through everything and I am covered by the worthiness of Jesus from which to receive all you promise.

And God says…”The sacrifice of Jesus was and is sufficient. It requires nothing more. You cannot add your value to His worthiness. You cannot add value by good works, or “Christian service”. And you do not and cannot “qualify” for His grace, mercy, love and blessings by following a “right path”. You “qualify” by believing in Jesus and allowing Him to live through you…through everything, at all times in your life. If you want life and life more abundantly, simply stay connected to Jesus;  through everything. Even in the times when you make the wrong choices. Trust in  the Lord with all your heart, do not rely on your own understanding or ideas  and He will make your paths straight.”



Getting There (1)

June 11th, 2012

Come to Me . . . —Matthew 11:28


Where sin and sorrow stops, and the song of the saint starts.

Do I really want to get there? I can right now. The questions that truly matter in life are remarkably few, and they are all answered by these words— “Come to Me.” Our Lord’s words are not, “Do this, or don’t do that,” but— “Come to me.” If I will simply come to Jesus, my real life will be brought into harmony with my real desires. I will actually cease from sin, and will find the song of the Lord beginning in my life.


Have you ever come to Jesus? Look at the stubbornness of your heart. You would rather do anything than this one simple childlike thing— “Come to Me.” If you really want to experience ceasing from sin, you must come to Jesus.

Jesus Christ makes Himself the test to determine your genuineness. Look how He used the word come. At the most unexpected moments in your life there is this whisper of the Lord— “Come to Me,” and you are immediately drawn to Him. Personal contact with Jesus changes everything. Be “foolish” enough to come and commit yourself to what He says. The attitude necessary for you to come to Him is one where your will has made the determination to let go of everything and deliberately commit it all to Him.

“. . . and I will give you rest”— that is, “I will sustain you, causing you to stand firm.” He is not saying, “I will put you to bed, hold your hand, and sing you to sleep.” But, in essence, He is saying, “I will get you out of bed— out of your listlessness and exhaustion, and out of your condition of being half dead while you are still alive. I will penetrate you with the spirit of life, and you will be sustained by the perfection of vital activity.” Yet we become so weak and pitiful and talk about “suffering” the will of the Lord! Where is the majestic vitality and the power of the Son of God in that?



June 11, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord the lesson You give me over and over and over is simply, for me to embrace and focus on my relationship with Jesus. No rules about what to do or not to do or how to become a better person; the lesson is the same and while on the one hand it makes no sense at all, at my very core I know that it makes all the sense in the world. I am to focus and engage Jesus in the morning, when I rise and all the day and all my life long. Everything else will follow our relationship.

And God says…”Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. No one can come to the Father, except through Jesus. It is a very simple message; come to Jesus, and trust Him to lead you into all that you need; spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially….in every way trust Him and know a peace that passes all understanding. You come to mornings knowing that Jesus has you in His hands, and all you can do is praise Him. Come to the place where you review your day, your tasks, and your demands and responsibilities and simply say, give me Jesus.”

What’s Next To Do?

June 8th, 2012

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them —John 13:17

Be determined to know more than others. If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send you out to sea. Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and your eyes will be opened. If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock. You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God, and begin to know things for yourself— begin to have spiritual discernment.


When you know that you should do something and you do it, immediately you know more. Examine where you have become sluggish, where you began losing interest spiritually, and you will find that it goes back to a point where you did not do something you knew you should do. You did not do it because there seemed to be no immediate call to do it. But now you have no insight or discernment, and at a time of crisis you are spiritually distracted instead of spiritually self-controlled. It is a dangerous thing to refuse to continue learning and knowing more.

The counterfeit of obedience is a state of mind in which you create your own opportunities to sacrifice yourself, and your zeal and enthusiasm are mistaken for discernment. It is easier to sacrifice yourself than to fulfill your spiritual destiny, which is stated in Romans 12:1-2. It is much better to fulfill the purpose of God in your life by discerning His will than it is to perform great acts of self-sacrifice. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice . . .” (1 Samuel 15:22). Beware of paying attention or going back to what you once were, when God wants you to be something that you have never been. “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know . . .” (John 7:17).



June 8, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I have learned, and am still learning all I can about trusting You to deal with the uncertainty in my life. I am learning to let go of the idea that IF I can control, see or touch my own solutions and answers only then will be at peace. But it is hard Lord. Just when I have the idea that you have it all under Your control for my good; I am reminded by the enemy that I am not worthy of Your blessings. I remind myself of how I have failed You and then conclude that You certainly would not bless someone like me.

And God says…”You must remember that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. And recall that nothing can separate you from my love, not even your shortcomings or failures. I will not allow you to be hurt or damaged, although I will allow you to endure pain and circumstances that will make you stronger. You can never be worthy of My blessings, but you are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus, and He will always be sufficient to cover you and make you acceptable and pleasing to Me. I will bless and keep you because you are more than acceptable to Me, in Christ Jesus.  My grace is sufficient, My mercy unending and My love for you everlasting.”