Archive for September, 2012

The “Go” of Relationship

September 25th, 2012

Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two—Matthew 5:41

Our Lord’s teaching can be summed up in this: the relationship that He demands for us is an impossible one unless He has done a super-natural work in us. Jesus Christ demands that His disciple does not allow even the slightest trace of resentment in his heart when faced with tyranny and injustice. No amount of enthusiasm will ever stand up to the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His servant. Only one thing will bear the strain, and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Himself— a relationship that has been examined, purified, and tested until only one purpose remains and I can truly say, “I am here for God to send me where He will.” Everything else may become blurred, but this relationship with Jesus Christ must never be.

The Sermon on the Mount is not some unattainable goal; it is a statement of what will happen in me when Jesus Christ has changed my nature by putting His own nature in me. Jesus Christ is the only One who can fulfill the Sermon on the Mount.

If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must be made disciples supernaturally. And as long as we consciously maintain the determined purpose to be His disciples, we can be sure that we are not disciples. Jesus says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you. . .” (John 15:16). That is the way the grace of God begins. It is a constraint we can never escape; we can disobey it, but we can never start it or produce it ourselves. We are drawn to God by a work of His supernatural grace, and we can never trace back to find where the work began. Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. He does not build on any natural capacity of ours at all. God does not ask us to do the things that are naturally easy for us— He only asks us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord.
You just keep making the message clearer and clearer. That the success in life is in connection with you and allowing your life and power to flow thru us. And that learning scriptures and 7 steps and lists and all the will power to make the Christian life work … wont work. So what is the value of all the “Christian Education and Learning” if it doesn’t add up to discipleship? Is it the case that we must learn some ways “to not do it” before we can focus on what will work? Like Edison who learned 2000 ways not to make a light bulb?

It is true that book learning and head knowledge do not a disciple make. You know I was most irritated by the Pharisees, the Bible Scholars of that day. They memorized scriptures and lists and codes … and it just made them judgemental of those who didn’t. But there is value in all that learning … if you keep it in perspective. It is metaphor. They are pointers. Pointing in a parallel universe. If you use them and see that they point to me and it lets my supernatural life and power flow thru you … then they are good. That’s what I put them in the Book for. You and all humans are free to use my words for good or for evil. I meant them for good and I have plans for you for good. Many will twist and miss the point which is life in me. Dont let that tip you over. Demonstrating something different is the most effective preaching that you can do to a Pharisee.

The “Go” of Preparation

September 24th, 2012

If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift—Matthew 5:23-24 

It is easy for us to imagine that we will suddenly come to a point in our lives where we are fully prepared, but preparation is not suddenly accomplished. In fact, it is a process that must be steadily maintained. It is dangerous to become settled and complacent in our present level of experience. The Christian life requires preparation and more preparation.

The sense of sacrifice in the Christian life is readily appealing to a new Christian. From a human standpoint, the one thing that attracts us to Jesus Christ is our sense of the heroic, and a close examination of us by our Lord’s words suddenly puts this tide of enthusiasm to the test. “. . . go your way. First be reconciled to your brother. . . .” The “go” of preparation is to allow the Word of God to examine you closely. Your sense of heroic sacrifice is not good enough. The thing the Holy Spirit will detect in you is your nature that can never work in His service. And no one but God can detect that nature in you. Do you have anything to hide from God? If you do, then let God search you with His light. If there is sin in your life, don’t just admit it— confess it. Are you willing to obey your Lord and Master, whatever the humiliation to your right to yourself may be?

Never disregard a conviction that the Holy Spirit brings to you. If it is important enough for the Spirit of God to bring it to your mind, it is the very thing He is detecting in you. You were looking for some big thing to give up, while God is telling you of some tiny thing that must go. But behind that tiny thing lies the stronghold of obstinacy, and you say, “I will not give up my right to myself”— the very thing that God intends you to give up if you are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.


September 24, 2012

Journal Entry-JDV

Lord, this lesson is about being prepared to serve You. However, I am certain there is no preparation that would be “good enough”.  We cannot prepare ourselves for a life that is to be lived by Jesus through us, can we? I mean, how can we even think about how to prepare ourselves for a work that can only be done by Jesus?

And God says…”The preparation you can do is to surrender, every day, every way, and at every opportunity. Give your life to Jesus as a sacrifice and let Him live through you. I it is not necessary for you to try and live the “good Christian life”, and even if you tried gallantly, you would over time, fail, again and again. However, when you surrender to Jesus, he can and does accomplish more than you can dream, through you. And most times you will not even realize the testimony you have delivered simply by allowing Jesus to live through you. To live the Christian life does not mean you will quote the 4 spiritual laws and introduce John 3:16 to your brothers and sisters, it means that they will come to see Jesus in you as a result of your surrender.”


The Divine Commandment of Life

September 20th, 2012

. . . be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect —Matthew 5:48

Our Lord’s exhortation to us in Matthew 5:38-48 is to be generous in our behavior toward everyone. Beware of living according to your natural affections in your spiritual life. Everyone has natural affections— some people we like and others we don’t like. Yet we must never let those likes and dislikes rule our Christian life. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (1 John 1:7), even those toward whom we have no affection.

The example our Lord gave us here is not that of a good person, or even of a good Christian, but of God Himself. “. . . be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” In other words, simply show to the other person what God has shown to you. And God will give you plenty of real life opportunities to prove whether or not you are “perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Being a disciple means deliberately identifying yourself with God’s interests in other people. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not just good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian’s life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him as a result of the grace of God, and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical, everyday details of life, not in times of intimate fellowship with God. And when we come in contact with things that create confusion and a flurry of activity, we find to our own amazement that we have the power to stay wonderfully poised even in the center of it all.

Are You Going on With Jesus?

September 19th, 2012

You are those who have continued with Me in My trials —Luke 22:28

It is true that Jesus Christ is with us through our temptations, but are we going on with Him through His temptations? Many of us turn back from going on with Jesus from the very moment we have an experience of what He can do. Watch when God changes your circumstances to see whether you are going on with Jesus, or siding with the world, the flesh, and the devil. We wear His name, but are we going on with Him? “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).


The temptations of Jesus continued throughout His earthly life, and they will continue throughout the life of the Son of God in us. Are we going on with Jesus in the life we are living right now?

We have the idea that we ought to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings around us. May it never be! It is God who engineers our circumstances, and whatever they may be we must see that we face them while continually abiding with Him in His temptations. They are His temptations, not temptations to us, but temptations to the life of the Son of God in us. Jesus Christ’s honor is at stake in our bodily lives. Are we remaining faithful to the Son of God in everything that attacks His life in us?

Are you going on with Jesus? The way goes through Gethsemane, through the city gate, and on “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:13). The way is lonely and goes on until there is no longer even a trace of a footprint to follow— but only the voice saying, “FollowMe” (Matthew 4:19).


September 19, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I do want to follow you wherever You lead, but sometimes I want to go my own way, where I believe I will find rest, hope and safety. Help me Lord find Your vision, peace and happiness for my life. Help me
surrender my victories as well as my difficult times and seek You in all that I am and all that I do. I am prone to wander off in my own direction.

And God says…”Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. Even when you know you are chasing the wrong things, seek Him, do not hide. Your connection to Jesus will help you walk upright even when you are living in victory celebrating your own accomplishments…Keep your connection and let Jesus have His way with you and notice how the victories are all the more victorious, the vision much brighter and hope a constant. As you seek your constant connection with Jesus, He shall transform you and mold you into His likeness…and you will  (super) naturally follow Him. Seek first the kingdom of God which is Jesus and all the things you need will be provided.”




His Temptation and Ours

September 18th, 2012

We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin —Hebrews 4:15

Until we are born again, the only kind of temptation we understand is the kind mentioned in James 1:14, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” But through regeneration we are lifted into another realm where there are other temptations to face, namely, the kind of temptations our Lord faced. The temptations of Jesus had no appeal to us as unbelievers because they were not at home in our human nature. Our Lord’s temptations and ours are in different realms until we are born again and become His brothers. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a mere man, but the temptations of God as Man. Through regeneration, the Son of God is formed in us (see Galatians 4:19), and in our physical life He has the same setting that He had on earth. Satan does not tempt us just to make us do wrong things— he tempts us to make us lose what God has put into us through regeneration, namely, the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come to us on the premise of tempting us to sin, but on the premise of shifting our point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.

Temptation means a test of the possessions held within the inner, spiritual part of our being by a power outside us and foreign to us. This makes the temptation of our Lord explainable. After Jesus’ baptism, having accepted His mission of being the One “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) He “was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matthew 4:1) and into the testing devices of the devil. Yet He did not become weary or exhausted. He went through the temptation “without sin,” and He retained all the possessions of His spiritual nature completely intact.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Today I’m seeing that Satan’s job description, (kill, steal & destroy) John 10:10, actually means more than just killing, stealing and destroying our bodies and our physical lives. It also includes killing, stealing and destroying the life that God has put in me when I was born again. That life is the source of the vision and mission and possibilities to do kingdom things while still walking around on this planet. If Satan can kill, steal or destroy my vision and hope and belief … he’s won as much as he can … for now. That’s why I keep loving what You said in Jer 29:11 and hanging on to it, more and more …

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Here it is in the Message: I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Is There Good in Temptation?

September 17th, 2012

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man . . . —1 Corinthians 10:13


The word temptation has come to mean something bad to us today, but we tend to use the word in the wrong way. Temptation itself is not sin; it is something we are bound to face simply by virtue of being human. Not to be tempted would mean that we were already so shameful that we would be beneath contempt. Yet many of us suffer from temptations we should never have to suffer, simply because we have refused to allow God to lift us to a higher level where we would face temptations of another kind.

A person’s inner nature, what he possesses in the inner, spiritual part of his being, determines what he is tempted by on the outside. The temptation fits the true nature of the person being tempted and reveals the possibilities of his nature. Every person actually determines or sets the level of his own temptation, because temptation will come to him in accordance with the level of his controlling, inner nature.

Temptation comes to me, suggesting a possible shortcut to the realization of my highest goal— it does not direct me toward what I understand to be evil, but toward what I understand to be good. Temptation is something that confuses me for a while, and I don’t know whether something is right or wrong. When I yield to it, I have made lust a god, and the temptation itself becomes the proof that it was only my own fear that prevented me from falling into the sin earlier.

Temptation is not something we can escape; in fact, it is essential to the well-rounded life of a person. Beware of thinking that you are tempted as no one else–what you go through is the common inheritance of the human race, not something that no one has ever before endured. God does not save us from temptations–He sustains us in the midst of them (see Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15-16).


September 17, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this seems to be one more lesson in the ongoing series of lessons about being connected to Jesus. Inside of temptation, or peril and difficulties of any kind, You are teaching me to simply stay connected and You will work out the ending to your honor and glory and for my ultimate good.

And God says…”All things work for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, seek first the Kingdome of God, which is Jesus, and everything you need will be provided. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. When you are connected and truly living in trust and faith, the kind that I provide you, there are no temptations or difficulties…only opportunities for Me to demonstrate my love and grace to and for you.”


Going Through Spiritual Confusion

September 12th, 2012

Jesus answered and said, ’You do not know what you ask’ —Matthew 20:22

There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.


The Shrouding of His Friendship (see Luke 11:5-8). Jesus gave the illustration here of a man who appears not to care for his friend. He was saying, in effect, that is how the heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think that He is an unkind friend, but remember?He is not. The time will come when everything will be explained. There seems to be a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller fellowship and oneness. When God appears to be completely shrouded, will you hang on with confidence in Him?

The Shadow on His Fatherhood (see Luke 11:11-13). Jesus said that there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father?as if He were callous and indifferent— but remember, He is not. “Everyone who asks receives . . .” (Luke 11:10). If all you see is a shadow on the face of the Father right now, hang on to the fact that He will ultimately give you clear understanding and will fully justify Himself in everything that He has allowed into your life.

The Strangeness of His Faithfulness (see Luke 18:1-8). “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find the kind of faith that counts on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now.


September 12, 2011 (Journal entry from last year)

There are times Lord when I have absolutely no idea what is going on. Just like the devotional says, I am confused and it does not make any sense to me…right now. But I am learning Lord that things do not always have to make  sense. Circumstances in my life and the world may not make sense to me, but I am learning to trust you regardless. Now I understand how patience has its perfect reward…that is my faith has become stronger even though my  circumstances may remain the same.

And God says…”Trusting in Me is not a natural response even for believers. Trust in Me is a supernatural response that can require development over time. Remember that nothing can ever separate you from My love, and that all things work together for your good…regardless of how you may interpret them. Acknowledge Me in all your ways, and I will make your paths straight. And ask Me for wisdom and understanding and trust Me to meet all Your needs including the need for a stronger faith.”

Missionary Weapons

September 11th, 2012

No lyrics on screen. Let the video speak.

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet —John 13:14

Ministering in Everyday Opportunities. Ministering in everyday opportunities that surround us does not mean that we select our own surroundings— it means being God’s very special choice to be available for use in any of the seemingly random surroundings which He has engineered for us. The very character we exhibit in our present surroundings is an indication of what we will be like in other surroundings.

The things Jesus did were the most menial of everyday tasks, and this is an indication that it takes all of God’s power in me to accomplish even the most common tasks in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels, dishes, sandals, and all the other ordinary things in our lives reveal what we are made of more quickly than anything else. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the most menial duty as it ought to be done.

Jesus said, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (13:15). Notice the kind of people that God brings around you, and you will be humiliated once you realize that this is actually His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him. Now He says we should exhibit to those around us exactly what He has exhibited to us.

Do you find yourself responding by saying, “Oh, I will do all that once I’m out on the mission field”? Talking in this way is like trying to produce the weapons of war while in the trenches of the battlefield–you will be killed while trying to do it.

We have to go the “second mile” with God (see Matthew 5:41). Yet some of us become worn out in the first ten steps. Then we say, “Well, I’ll just wait until I get closer to the next big crisis in my life.” But if we do not steadily minister in everyday opportunities, we will do nothing when the crisis comes.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord.
We dont want this message to become or promote, “Sin Management” … where we continually try to get better and better, at little things and big things. It’s too close to doing it in our own power … and we found how well that doesn’t work. And you call that kind of righteousness “filthy rags”. Another thing we see as a trap is the bumper sticker, Jesus is my Co Pilot. That still leaves us as the pilot. Doing our own thing and asking Jesus to bless it. Better let Jesus be the pilot. We’ve decided that the best way to prevent slipping into doing our own thing is to remember that our job is merely to show up. Show up surrendered and with an attitude of expectation. Expecting that you are here in the mundane and the magnificent. And that you always have plans for us. And they are for good, for a hope and a future. Jer 29:11 Thank You Jesus.

Missionary Weapons (1)

September 10th, 2012

When you were under the fig tree, I saw you —John 1:48

Worshiping in Everyday Occasions. We presume that we would be ready for battle if confronted with a great crisis, but it is not the crisis that builds something within us— it simply reveals what we are made of already. Do you find yourself saying, “If God calls me to battle, of course I will rise to the occasion”? Yet you won’t rise to the occasion unless you have done so on God’s training ground. If you are not doing the task that is closest to you now, which God has engineered into your life, when the crisis comes, instead of being fit for battle, you will be revealed as being unfit. Crises always reveal a person’s true character.

A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest essential element of spiritual fitness. The time will come, as Nathanael experienced in this passage, that a private “fig-tree” life will no longer be possible. Everything will be out in the open, and you will find yourself to be of no value there if you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions in your own home. If your worship is right in your private relationship with God, then when He sets you free, you will be ready. It is in the unseen life, which only God saw, that you have become perfectly fit. And when the strain of the crisis comes, you can be relied upon by God.

Are you saying, “But I can’t be expected to live a sanctified life in my present circumstances; I have no time for prayer or Bible study right now; besides, my opportunity for battle hasn’t come yet, but when it does, of course I will be ready”? No, you will not. If you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions, when you get involved in God’s work, you will not only be useless yourself but also a hindrance to those around you.

God’s training ground, where the missionary weapons are found, is the hidden, personal, worshiping life of the saint.


September 10, 2012

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, how to be a missionary for you is not a question that crosses my mind. How to live a life that reflects you IS the question I ask often, especially when I feel fear, anger or just plain old selfishness rising up inside.

And God says…”You are not worthy, or capable of being a missionary or reflection of Jesus. However
Jesus can live through you, and reflect himself. Once again the lesson is one of surrender. Surrender your life daily, take up your cross, and give up your life so that Jesus can live through you. You do not have to be worthy to accomplish this, you simply need to surrender. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways, and I will make your paths straight. Seek first the kingdom of God and all that you need for your life……including the ability to reflect Jesus will be provided.”



Fountains of Blessings

September 7th, 2012

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life —John 4:14

The picture our Lord described here is not that of a simple stream of water, but an overflowing fountain. Continue to “be filled” (Ephesians 5:18) and the sweetness of your vital relationship to Jesus will flow as generously out of you as it has been given to you. If you find that His life is not springing up as it should, you are to blame— something is obstructing the flow. Was Jesus saying to stay focused on the Source so that you may be blessed personally? No, you are to focus on the Source so that out of you “will flow rivers of living water”— irrepressible life (John 7:38).


We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as “rivers of living water” in blessing to everyone. Yet some of us are like the Dead Sea, always receiving but never giving, because our relationship is not right with the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive blessings from Him, He will pour out blessings through us. But whenever the blessings are not being poured out in the same measure they are received, there is a defect in our relationship with Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything hindering your faith in Him? If not, then Jesus says that out of you “will flow rivers of living water.” It is not a blessing that you pass on, or an experience that you share with others, but a river that continually flows through you. Stay at the Source, closely guarding your faith in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow into the lives of others with no dryness or deadness whatsoever.

Is it excessive to say that rivers will flow out of one individual believer? Do you look at yourself and say, “But I don’t see the rivers”? Through the history of God’s work you will usually find that He has started with the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but those who have been steadfastly true to Jesus Christ.


September 7, 2011 (Reprise Journal entry from 2011)

Thank you Lord for the fountain of life, love, peace and joy. We used to talk about “peace meters” and other ways to tell if we were really connected to you, but we talk about that less and less now. Over time
and a bit of history and experience it is easy to know if we are truly connected to you. It is not necessarily explainable, but we just “know” when we are connected to You. We just “know” when Your fountain of living waters flow through us. And Lord, the peace, love and joy we experience, reflects desire to stay right here with you in Your fountain. And we understand that our fountain continues freely flowing as we give away the blessings You provide. I am not really certain how to accomplish this but stand ready and eager to be used in this fashion.

And God says…”You will not be aware of the blessing you are to many people and circumstances. I cannot tell you, as you cannot carry the burden of glory. It is toxic to you. But you will know it is a fountain freely flowing as your love, peace and joy is manifested in you.  Simply continue to ask to be changed from the inside out and be willing to be used by Me and many blessings will flow without your knowledge or awareness.  You will, however, be aware that your connection has been secured as you live moment by moment.”