Archive for December, 2012

The Right Kind of Help

December 20th, 2012

And I, if I am lifted up . . . will draw all peoples to Myself —John 12:32


Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is an absurdity and there is absolutely no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but major surgery.

When you find yourself face to face with a person who is spiritually lost, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the cross. If that person can get to God in any other way, then the Cross of Christ is unnecessary. If you think you are helping lost people with your sympathy and understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You must have a right-standing relationship with Him yourself, and pour your life out in helping others in His way— not in a human way that ignores God. The theme of the world’s religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner.

But our only priority must be to present Jesus Christ crucified— to lift Him up all the time (see 1 Corinthians 2:2). Every belief that is not firmly rooted in the Cross of Christ will lead people astray. If the worker himself believes in Jesus Christ and is trusting in the reality of redemption, his words will be compelling to others. What is extremely important is for the worker’s simple relationship with Jesus Christ to be strong and growing. His usefulness to God depends on that, and that alone.

The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior. Consequently, he cannot always be charming and friendly, but must be willing to be stern to accomplish major surgery. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful speeches. We must be willing to examine others as deeply as God has examined us. We must also be sharply intent on sensing those Scripture passages that will drive the truth home, and then not be afraid to apply them.


December 20, 2012

Lord, help me walk in a more complete understanding of the cross of Jesus; not an understanding of sympathy but a knowledge of the magnitude of the sacrifice. Please help me walk this day with the shadow of the cross in my vision.  I believe that if I acknowledge the cross I could stay more tightly connected to You.

And God says…”I want you to acknowledge the cross, and surrender and allow Jesus to live through you. The sacrifice of Jesus must be taken together with His life and resurrection. The cross can remind you of His sacrifice, and His resurrection reminds you that you too are being reborn, every day. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is  Jesus. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. Stay connected to Jesus and His cross and allow His resurrection to take place in you, daily.”

The Focus Of Our Message

December 19th, 2012

I did not come to bring peace but a sword —Matthew 10:34

Never be sympathetic with a person whose situation causes you to conclude that God is dealing harshly with him. God can be more tender than we can conceive, and every once in a while He gives us the opportunity to deal firmly with someone so that He may be viewed as the tender One. If a person cannot go to God, it is because he has something secret which he does not intend to give up— he may admit his sin, but would no more give up that thing than he could fly under his own power. It is impossible to deal sympathetically with people like that. We must reach down deep in their lives to the root of the problem, which will cause hostility and resentment toward the message. People want the blessing of God, but they can’t stand something that pierces right through to the heart of the matter.

If you are sensitive to God’s way, your message as His servant will be merciless and insistent, cutting to the very root. Otherwise, there will be no healing. We must drive the message home so forcefully that a person cannot possibly hide, but must apply its truth. Deal with people where they are, until they begin to realize their true need. Then hold high the standard of Jesus for their lives. Their response may be, “We can never be that.” Then drive it home with, “Jesus Christ says you must.” “But how can we be?” “You can’t, unless you have a new Spirit” (see Luke 11:13).

There must be a sense of need created before your message is of any use. Thousands of people in this world profess to be happy without God. But if we could be truly happy and moral without Jesus, then why did He come? He came because that kind of happiness and peace is only superficial. Jesus Christ came to “bring . . . a sword” through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord.
People may say, “How can we do that?” We also must ask, “How can we know, when to show sympathy, always to empathize, but sometimes to hold firm and offer no commiseration?” The answer is the same for us as for the people we are observing … We cant get it right unless we have a New Spirit.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord that you have given us a New Spirit. Help us stay connected to your life-giving Holy Spirit today. And all thru this Christmas Season, help us stay connected in the midst of all the competing voices.

Test of Faithfulness

December 17th, 2012

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . . —Romans 8:28

It is only a faithful person who truly believes that God sovereignly controls his circumstances. We take our circumstances for granted, saying God is in control, but not really believing it. We act as if the things that happen were completely controlled by people. To be faithful in every circumstance means that we have only one loyalty, or object of our faith— the Lord Jesus Christ. God may cause our circumstances to suddenly fall apart, which may bring the realization of our unfaithfulness to Him for not recognizing that He had ordained the situation. We never saw what He was trying to accomplish, and that exact event will never be repeated in our life. This is where the test of our faithfulness comes. If we will just learn to worship God even during the difficult circumstances, He will change them for the better very quickly if He so chooses.

Being faithful to Jesus Christ is the most difficult thing we try to do today. We will be faithful to our work, to serving others, or to anything else; just don’t ask us to be faithful to Jesus Christ. Many Christians become very impatient when we talk about faithfulness to Jesus. Our Lord is dethroned more deliberately by Christian workers than by the world. We treat God as if He were a machine designed only to bless us, and we think of Jesus as just another one of the workers.

The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that He will be free to do His work through us. God calls us to His service and places tremendous responsibilities on us. He expects no complaining on our part and offers no explanation on His part. God wants to use us as He used His own Son.


Excerpt from God Letters, 101 Devotionals for Sinners and Hypocrites Just Like Me – 2008-J D Vaughn

Trust and faith are the  ingredients we lack. For some reason many of us feel that if we gave up our  control for God’s will for our lives, He would make us missionaries in outer  Mongolia, or He would turn us into some uptight version of the “church lady”  full of judgment and pious hypocrisy. For some reason we think we  have a better idea of what will fill our lives with joy and fulfillment, and  that God can be this cosmic killjoy that simply wants to ruin our fun… (Shh!—if God ever finds out I am having  fun here, I am certain He will make some adjustments). But consider
for a moment that God invented fun and humor and if you don’t believe it, then  consider a giraffe or duck- billed platypus.

God wants us to laugh and  have fun. He wants the very best for us as well. He told us He came to give us  life and life more abundantly.

God knows the future—our  very perfect futures that include our greatest levels of joy and fulfillment. I  am convinced He is prepared and waiting for us to let go and let Him give us  the ultimate fulfillment and joy for our lives.

We have written promises  that tell us God arranges all things for our benefit and that He can do more  than we could ever dream or imagine. He is waiting to be our guide. What is the  God of the universe waiting for? He is waiting for us to agree that He should  be in charge of our lives and for us to “let go” just long enough for Him to  take hold.

At the end of the day, I think He is simply waitring for us to surrender.


Redemption— Creating the Need it Satisfies

December 17th, 2012

The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him . . . —1 Corinthians 2:14

The gospel of God creates the sense of need for the gospel. Is the gospel hidden to those who are servants already? No, Paul said, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe . . .” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). The majority of people think of themselves as being completely moral, and have no sense of need for the gospel. It is God who creates this sense of need in a human being, but that person remains totally unaware of his need until God makes Himself evident. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you . . .” (Matthew 7:7). But God cannot give until a man asks. It is not that He wants to withhold something from us, but that is the plan He has established for the way of redemption. Through our asking, God puts His process in motion, creating something in us that was nonexistent until we asked. The inner reality of redemption is that it creates all the time. And as redemption creates the life of God in us, it also creates the things which belong to that life. The only thing that can possibly satisfy the need is what created the need. This is the meaning of redemption— it creates and it satisfies.

Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32). When we preach our own experiences, people may be interested, but it awakens no real sense of need. But once Jesus Christ is “lifted up,” the Spirit of God creates an awareness of the need for Him. The creative power of the redemption of God works in the souls of men only through the preaching of the gospel. It is never the sharing of personal experiences that saves people, but the truth of redemption. “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
We have struggled with the question of “What’s our part? What’s your part?” The problem we run into is that whenever we humans find that there is something that is our part to do we gravitate to making lists, checking them off, comparing our performance to others and generally get into a pride driven performance.
On the other hand, when we realize that we can do nothing and that you have done everything, there may be the tendency to sit on the couch… Over the last months we have seen that there are a few things that are “safe” for us to put on our list of things to do … One is Surrender. Another is just to Show Up. And today we add to the list: To Ask. Ask that You reveal more and more of yourself and draw us deeper and deeper into your ways and your plans for us.
No wonder this is my favorite verse….. Draw me this day, into these plans, this future and this hope….

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Intercessory Prayer

December 13th, 2012

. . . men always ought to pray and not lose heart —Luke 18:1


You cannot truly intercede through prayer if you do not believe in the reality of redemption. Instead, you will simply be turning intercession into useless sympathy for others, which will serve only to increase the contentment they have for remaining out of touch with God. True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance. Intercession means to “fill up . . . [with] what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24), and this is precisely why there are so few intercessors. People describe intercession by saying, “It is putting yourself in someone else’s place.” That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.

As an intercessor, be careful not to seek too much information from God regarding the situation you are praying about, because you may be overwhelmed. If you know too much, more than God has ordained for you to know, you can’t pray; the circumstances of the people become so overpowering that you are no longer able to get to the underlying truth.

Our work is to be in such close contact with God that we may have His mind about everything, but we shirk that responsibility by substituting doing for interceding. And yet intercession is the only thing that has no drawbacks, because it keeps our relationship completely open with God.

What we must avoid in intercession is praying for someone to be simply “patched up.” We must pray that person completely through into contact with the very life of God. Think of the number of people God has brought across our path, only to see us drop them! When we pray on the basis of redemption, God creates something He can create in no other way than through intercessory prayer.


December 19, 2011 (Reprise Journal Entry from 2011)

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this devotional suggests that I make the decision about  who needs  compassion and who does not. I am not certain I am capable of making  that kind of decision. In fact my history says I am not even remotely (and never will be) capable of making that kind of distinction. When people are in  need I suspect I must simply trust You to lead me to my calling.

And God says…”That is  exactly right, when you encounter people in need of Me; you are to rely on Me to respond through you. You are not capable of making those kinds of  distinctions. Trust in Me and simply be available. Trust  in Me with all your heart  and I will make your path straight. When you have absolutely no idea what to say or do for a person that needs Me, simply trust Me and place yourself on My  alter. Let Me deal with them through you; simply be available. Acknowledge Me  in all your ways, and I will make your paths straight.”


December 12th, 2012

. . . that they may be one just as We are one . . . —John 17:22

Personality is the unique, limitless part of our life that makes us distinct from everyone else. It is too vast for us even to comprehend. An island in the sea may be just the top of a large mountain, and our personality is like that island. We don’t know the great depths of our being, therefore we cannot measure ourselves. We start out thinking we can, but soon realize that there is really only one Being who fully understands us, and that is our Creator.

Personality is the characteristic mark of the inner, spiritual man, just as individuality is the characteristic of the outer, natural man. Our Lord can never be described in terms of individuality and independence, but only in terms of His total Person— “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). Personality merges, and you only reach your true identity once you are merged with another person. When love or the Spirit of God come upon a person, he is transformed. He will then no longer insist on maintaining his individuality. Our Lord never referred to a person’s individuality or his isolated position, but spoke in terms of the total person— “. . . that they may be one just as We are one . . . .” Once your rights to yourself are surrendered to God, your true personal nature begins responding to God immediately. Jesus Christ brings freedom to your total person, and even your individuality is transformed. The transformation is brought about by love— personal devotion to Jesus. Love is the overflowing result of one person in true fellowship with another.

Journal, DJR
Good Morning, Lord.
It is truly good to walk in that state where love has taken over and exceeded our individuality (and independence and rebellion and a lot of other terms that mean doing our own thing with our pleasure, or avoiding pain as our main objective) Why I cant stay in that state more, I dont know, I really do like myself better, and I think you do to, when I am in what Oswald is referring to as personality rather than individuality state.
It has been normal since the garden for humans to think first of themselves. I have offered you a better way to live … with your independence and individuality surrendered and allowing yourself to be led by love. It takes practice and there is some decision making involved. Surrender can be a decision … or it can be what happens when no other options are left. Surrender by decision is a higher level life skill. But I’ll take your surrender either way. And either way, you’ll have a better life. You can surrender your individuality to another person and that is good, you’ll be a team, and two is more than twice as much as one … But the highest and best surrender in the Universe it surrender to the maker of the Universe and the Lover of your soul. It’s really the best way to live and I provided it for you because I love you and want to be in relationship with you.


December 11th, 2012


December 11th, 2012

Jesus said to His disciples, ’If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself . . .’ —Matthew 16:24


Individuality is the hard outer layer surrounding the inner spiritual life. Individuality shoves others aside, separating and isolating people. We see it as the primary characteristic of a child, and rightly so. When we confuse individuality with the spiritual life, we remain isolated. This shell of individuality is God’s created natural covering designed to protect the spiritual life. But our individuality must be yielded to God so that our spiritual life may be brought forth into fellowship with Him. Individuality counterfeits spirituality, just as lust counterfeits love. God designed human nature for Himself, but individuality corrupts that human nature for its own purposes.

The characteristics of individuality are independence and self-will. We hinder our spiritual growth more than any other way by continually asserting our individuality. If you say, “I can’t believe,” it is because your individuality is blocking the way; individuality can never believe. But our spirit cannot help believing. Watch yourself closely when the Spirit of God is at work in you. He pushes you to the limits of your individuality where a choice must be made. The choice is either to say, “I will not surrender,” or to surrender, breaking the hard shell of individuality, which allows the spiritual life to emerge. The Holy Spirit narrows it down every time to one thing (see Matthew 5:23-24). It is your individuality that refuses to “be reconciled to your brother” (Matthew 5:24). God wants to bring you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing to give up your right to yourself, He cannot. “. . . let him deny himself . . .”— deny his independent right to himself. Then the real life-the spiritual life-is allowed the opportunity to grow.


December 11, 2012

Lord, it seems lately that I have been consumed by my own issues and opportunities and frankly Lord, I needed this devotional. I needed to be reminded that it is not just population…me.  I needed this reminder that life is not my  movie around which everyone else plays a supporting role to my lead character.  Lord, help me see myself not  as an individual but as part of Your kingdom.


And God says…” The enemy would like you to feel like an individual, isolated, and alone even in your victories; and especially in your pain. But you are not alone, ever. I hold you in my hands and arms as I do everyone. And I loved them all even before they loved Me.  Seek Me in all you do…stay connected to Me and you will feel and act on your connection to others. When you are connected to Me, you will be connected to others as I live through you, reaching out and connecting all the time. One way to determine if we are truly connected is your connection with others. When you are reaching out naturally, it is an extension of you and I being connected. When you feel isolated, check
your connection with Me. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus ……..”

The Offering of the Natural

December 10th, 2012

It is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman —Galatians 4:22

Paul was not dealing with sin in this chapter of Galatians, but with the relation of the natural to the spiritual. The natural can be turned into the spiritual only through sacrifice. Without this a person will lead a divided life. Why did God demand that the natural must be sacrificed? God did not demand it. It is not God’s perfect will, but His permissive will. God’s perfect will was for the natural to be changed into the spiritual through obedience. Sin is what made it necessary for the natural to be sacrificed.

Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac (see Genesis 21:8-14). Some of us are trying to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice . . .” (Romans 12:1). Sanctification means more than being freed from sin. It means the deliberate commitment of myself to the God of my salvation, and being willing to pay whatever it may cost.

If we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will resist and defy the life of the Son of God in us and will produce continual turmoil. This is always the result of an undisciplined spiritual nature. We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves physically, morally, or mentally. We excuse ourselves by saying, “Well, I wasn’t taught to be disciplined when I was a child.” Then discipline yourself now! If you don’t, you will ruin your entire personal life for God.

God is not actively involved with our natural life as long as we continue to pamper and gratify it. But once we are willing to put it out in the desert and are determined to keep it under control, God will be with it. He will then provide wells and oases and fulfill all His promises for the natural (see Genesis 21:15-19).

“My Rainbow in the Cloud”

December 6th, 2012

I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth —Genesis 9:13


It is the will of God that human beings should get into a right-standing relationship with Him, and His covenants are designed for this purpose. Why doesn’t God save me? He has accomplished and provided for my salvation, but I have not yet entered into a relationship with Him. Why doesn’t God do everything we ask? He has done it. The point is— will I step into that covenant relationship? All the great blessings of God are finished and complete, but they are not mine until I enter into a relationship with Him on the basis of His covenant.

Waiting for God to act is fleshly unbelief. It means that I have no faith in Him. I wait for Him to do something in me so I may trust in that. But God won’t do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. Man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond Himself in reaching out with His covenant to man. It is a question of faith in God–a very rare thing. We only have faith in our feelings. I don’t believe God until He puts something tangible in my hand, so that I know I have it. Then I say, “Now I believe.” There is no faith exhibited in that. God says, “Look to Me, and be saved . . .” (Isaiah 45:22).

When I have really transacted business with God on the basis of His covenant, letting everything else go, there is no sense of personal achievement— no human ingredient in it at all. Instead, there is a complete overwhelming sense of being brought into union with God, and my life is transformed and radiates peace and joy.