Archive for February, 2013

“Do You Now Believe?”

February 28th, 2013

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

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

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

Journal DJR
Good Morning, Lord. Recently I have read several blogposts that were critical of other brothers and ministries. They linked to more … and the more and more I read, the more I felt that these people taking over your job as judge. And after reading several of them I began to wonder if I could ever measure up … even doubted that I was saved. I found myself far away from joy and grace. I decided that for me, those judgmental types of messages are toxic and I have no room for them in my head. There is enough toxic self judgment and self condemnation and self doubt already in my head to last a lifetime. I dont need any more…… So, unless you direct me to one, I wont be reading any more “commentaries” that judge others and show how various groups are not measuring up, missing the mark, etc. Of course we dont measure up. Of course we miss the mark. Isn’t that what grace is for? … And to compel us by love to come home to you…

Good, you are right, you judge and condemn yourself to a fault. It is not wrong to have high standards but when you use them to condemn yourself and stay on an impossible squirrel cage … the high standards hurt more than help. Christlikeness is the highest standard … and you’ll never reach it 100% … But I know that and you know that and Jesus has handled that. So we hold it in that context of grace. You are free of the condemnation … so you are free to connect and love.

The Impoverished Ministry of Jesus

February 27th, 2013

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

“The well is deep”— and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! (John 4:11). Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature— He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.


The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.



February 27, 2013

Journal Entry for today-JDV

Lord, Sometimes I get lost in the depths of my circumstances instead of the depths of your power and love. Please help me stay connected and aware that You are the living God and everything is within your power.

And God says…”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. All things work for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart…Simply focus on Me, and you will be transformed and your faith and hope will be renewed.”

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Thanks for this day and loving us so much. It’s amazing the way you put up with us “slow learners” Some of the things that we are learning or re-learning now are things that we learned years ago.
Truths learned need to be exercised if you are to really own them. If you dont exercise a truth, just like a muscle, it will atrophy and then when it comes back around it will seem familiar in a way that you’ve seen that one before, but not in a way that you’ve mastered that truth and can relax in it. When you have exercised a truth, it will build your faith and you can relax and be curious as we walk together.

Our Misgivings About Jesus

February 26th, 2013

The woman said to Him, ’Sir, You have nothing to draw [water] with, and the
well is deep’ —John 4:11

Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of
God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those
details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis
of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We
think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in
touch with reality— that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us
thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or
misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus
away from God. While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, “Where
are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take
care of you?” Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that
our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, “It’s easy
to say, ’Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has
nothing with which to draw water— no means to be able to give us these things.”
And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, “Oh, I have no misgivings
about Jesus, only misgivings about myself.” If we are honest, we will admit
that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know
exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings
about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we

My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will
do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I
detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and
confess them openly— “Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not
believed in Your abilities, but only my own. And I have not believed in Your
almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.  
Journal for Today-DJR
Good morning Lord,I am  like the man who said, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”  The more I learn about you and your plans and your grace … the more I see how  much I need you and your grace.   But you seem to have a never ending  supply, so there is hope for me.   I just wish I could get better and not  mess up so much….Dont worry, if you “got better” as you say, if you kept  seeking me, you would find new areas in which you still need grace.   It  is a lifetime pursuit.  Of connection with me and receiving my life and my  grace.  You wont ever conquer the whole of your fallen nature … but I  already have.  So keep coming to me.  I will lead you home. 

The Destitution of Service

February 25th, 2013

. . . though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved —2 Corinthians 12:15

Natural human love expects something in return. But Paul is saying, “It doesn’t really matter to me whether you love me or not. I am willing to be completely destitute anyway; willing to be poverty-stricken, not just for your sakes, but also that I may be able to get you to God.” “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor . . .” (2 Corinthians 8:9). And Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s. He did not care how high the cost was to himself— he would gladly pay it. It was a joyful thing to Paul.


The institutional church’s idea of a servant of God is not at all like Jesus Christ’s idea. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of others. Jesus Christ actually “out-socialized” the socialists. He said that in His kingdom the greatest one would be the servant of all (see Matthew 23:11). The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet— that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God. It was Paul’s delight to spend his life for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. But before we will serve, we stop to ponder our personal and financial concerns— “What if God wants me to go over there? And what about my salary? What is the climate like there? Who will take care of me? A person must consider all these things.” All that is an indication that we have reservations about serving God. But the apostle Paul had no conditions or reservations. Paul focused his life on Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint; that is, not one who merely proclaims the gospel, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for the sake of others.


February 25, 2013

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I look to You to lead guide and direct me this day. I will look to you and Your word for connection and direction. Please guide me this day and provide the direction and connection I need to sustain myself as I engage those You would have me engage.

And God says…”I want you available and connected this day so that you can respond when you are needed. Stay available, open and connected and I will bring you opportunities. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own sight and wisdom and I will make your paths straight.  I know you love Me:  loving others manifests and compounds that love. And even when you are not capable, through our connection, I am able to love others through you. Seek Me, and be available…..then observe your transformation and my love through you.”

Do You Really Love Him?

February 21st, 2013

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

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

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

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

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Thank you for the reminder that it is the little things that we get to practice surrendering everyday. Then when a big Surrender opportunity comes along, we will more likely be ready.

Matthew 25:21 (NIV) “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Taking the Initiative Against Daydreaming

February 20th, 2013

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

Daydreaming about something in order to do it properly is right, but daydreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong. In this passage, after having said these wonderful things to His disciples, we might have expected our Lord to tell them to go away and meditate over them all. But Jesus never allowed idle daydreaming. When our purpose is to seek God and to discover His will for us, daydreaming is right and acceptable. But when our inclination is to spend time daydreaming over what we have already been told to do, it is unacceptable and God’s blessing is never on it. God will take the initiative against this kind of daydreaming by prodding us to action. His instructions to us will be along the lines of this: “Don’t sit or stand there, just go!”


If we are quietly waiting before God after He has said to us, “Come aside by yourselves . . .” then that is meditation before Him to seek His will (Mark 6:31). Beware, however, of giving in to mere daydreaming once God has spoken. Allow Him to be the source of all your dreams, joys, and delights, and be careful to go and obey what He has said. If you are in love with someone, you don’t sit and daydream about that person all the time— you go and do something for him. That is what Jesus Christ expects us to do. Daydreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.


February 20, 2013

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I truly believe that when I hear Your voice, I will act.  When I know it is You speaking to me and not my own voice,  or messages I am bombarded with daily from other sources, I have taken action. My concern is not doing what You ask of me, of avoiding daydreaming, but knowing with absolute certainty that it is You speaking to me, providing the directions. How can I be certain that it is You talking to me Lord?

And God says…”My sheep know My voice. Seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Include Me in every part of your life for 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. When you and I are connected and in an intimate ongoing day to day relationship, you have no problem hearing my voice. Your faith and your familiarity let you know it is Me speaking. It is only when you have been “out of practice”, and disconnected that you have difficulty discerning My voice from your own voice and the cacophony of voices and messages all around you.”


Taking the Initiative Against Drudgery

February 19th, 2013

Arise, shine . . . —Isaiah 60:1

When it comes to taking the initiative against drudgery, we have to take the first step as though there were no God. There is no point in waiting for God to help us— He will not. But once we arise, immediately we find He is there. Whenever God gives us His inspiration, suddenly taking the initiative becomes a moral issue— a matter of obedience. Then we must act to be obedient and not continue to lie down doing nothing. If we will arise and shine, drudgery will be divinely transformed.

Drudgery is one of the finest tests to determine the genuineness of our character. Drudgery is work that is far removed from anything we think of as ideal work. It is the utterly hard, menial, tiresome, and dirty work. And when we experience it, our spirituality is instantly tested and we will know whether or not we are spiritually genuine. Read John 13. In this chapter, we see the Incarnate God performing the greatest example of drudgery— washing fishermen’s feet. He then says to them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14). The inspiration of God is required if drudgery is to shine with the light of God upon it. In some cases the way a person does a task makes that work sanctified and holy forever. It may be a very common everyday task, but after we have seen it done, it becomes different. When the Lord does something through us, He always transforms it. Our Lord takes our human flesh and transforms it, and now every believer’s body has become “the temple of the Holy Spirit”

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord, Thank you for this day and the workshop that you showed up for us in last weekend. I haven’t liked “drudgery” type of activities … But I can see that if I allow it and look for it, that you can be in all things, no matter how small and mundane seeming and when I recognize it, you will transform those things into something greater, more exciting … even an adventure.
If my people will humble themselves and pray and seek me with a whole heart… life can indeed become an adventure. And you wont categorize things as drudgery or mundane. But rather just like following the breadcrumbs in an adventure … staying curious to see where I lead.

The Discipline of Hearing

February 14th, 2013

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops —Matthew 10:27

Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and God puts us into “the shadow of His hand” until we learn to hear Him (Isaiah 49:2). “Whatever I tell you in the dark. . .”— pay attention when God puts you into darkness, and keep your mouth closed while you are there. Are you in the dark right now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? If so, then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will speak while in the wrong mood— darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason for the darkness; just listen and obey. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else once you are back in the light.

After every time of darkness, we should experience a mixture of delight and humiliation. If there is only delight, I question whether we have really heard God at all. We should experience delight for having heard God speak, but mostly humiliation for having taken so long to hear Him! Then we will exclaim, “How slow I have been to listen and understand what God has been telling me!” And yet God has been saying it for days and even weeks. But once you hear Him, He gives you the gift of humiliation, which brings a softness of heart— a gift that will always cause you to listen to God now.

The Devotion of Hearing

February 13th, 2013

Samuel answered, ’Speak, for Your servant hears’ —1 Samuel 3:10


Just because I have listened carefully and intently to one thing from God does not mean that I will listen to everything He says. I show God my lack of love and respect for Him by the insensitivity of my heart and mind toward what He says. If I love my friend, I will instinctively understand what he wants. And Jesus said, “You are My friends . . .” (John 15:14). Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not have deliberately disobeyed it. But most of us show incredible disrespect to God because we don’t even hear Him. He might as well never have spoken to us.

The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever He wants, but I just don’t hear Him. The attitude of a child of God should always be, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things— things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today?


February 13, 2013

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, “what hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things…” please help me focus on my connection with Jesus and not be deterred by the details and distractions of today.

And God says…” My child, your connection is a byproduct of simply paying attention. When you look for Me you will find Me. My sheep know My voice. Seek Me and you will find Me. You do not hear Me simply because you are not listening. Listen and you will hear, seek and you will find. Several times today simply listen for Me  and notice the conversations we are having.”

Are You Listening to God?

February 12th, 2013

They said to Moses, ’You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die’ `—Exodus 20:19

We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.

“You speak with us, . . . but let not God speak with us . . . .” We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative. We respond by saying, “Well, that’s only your own idea, even though I don’t deny that what you said is probably God’s truth.”

Am I constantly humiliating God by ignoring Him, while He lovingly continues to treat me as His child? Once I finally do hear Him, the humiliation I have heaped on Him returns to me. My response then becomes, “Lord, why was I so insensitive and obstinate?” This is always the result once we hear God. But our real delight in finally hearing Him is tempered with the shame we feel for having taken so long to do so.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
I relate to the humiliation that comes from realizing the times I have wasted … chasing after my own things rather than your things. The only way I can survive the weight of realizing all my shortcomings is to realize your infinite love and willingness to forgive. I am so glad you put the story of the prodigal son in the book. Without your grace, I would be hopeless and helpless.
Yes, all my children, even the best performers, fall short of the standard. So I’ve made a way for you that doesn’t rely on your meeting the standard, but rather just simply accepting that Jesus has met it for you and paid your entrance fee.
Why then am I so sad when I realize my failures?
Realize that it is only the entrance fee that has been paid 100% by Jesus and you can do nothing to add to it. After you have entered into new life (now) … it is up to you what you do with it. You still need my power to live the abundant life I want for you. And it is available to all my children. It comes thru connection with me. So dont struggle to get better. If you want to struggle … struggle to tighten your connection with me.