Archive for July, 2013

Becoming Entirely His

July 31st, 2013

Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing —James 1:4

Many of us appear to be all right in general, but there are still some areas in which we are careless and lazy; it is not a matter of sin, but the remnants of our carnal life that tend to make us careless. Carelessness is an insult to the Holy Spirit. We should have no carelessness about us either in the way we worship God, or even in the way we eat and drink.

Not only must our relationship to God be right, but the outward expression of that relationship must also be right. Ultimately, God will allow nothing to escape; every detail of our lives is under His scrutiny. God will bring us back in countless ways to the same point over and over again. And He never tires of bringing us back to that one point until we learn the lesson, because His purpose is to produce the finished product. It may be a problem arising from our impulsive nature, but again and again, with the most persistent patience, God has brought us back to that one particular point. Or the problem may be our idle and wandering thinking, or our independent nature and self-interest. Through this process, God is trying to impress upon us the one thing that is not entirely right in our lives.

We have been having a wonderful time in our studies over the revealed truth of God’s redemption, and our hearts are perfect toward Him. And His wonderful work in us makes us know that overall we are right with Him. “Let patience have its perfect work . . . .” The Holy Spirit speaking through James said, “Now let your patience become a finished product.” Beware of becoming careless over the small details of life and saying, “Oh, that will have to do for now.” Whatever it may be, God will point it out with persistence until we become entirely His.



July 31, 2013

When I am focused on You Lord, it seems that it is all I need. When I am connected to You, Jesus, I can be at peace without answers or solutions, because You are the answer and solution. You fill up my heart and head, when I seek You and You alone.  How is this Lord, and how can I sustain this kind of intimacy?

And God says…” You cannot capture nor seek intimacy with Me, you can only surrender. When you surrender to Me, you are connected. You are not connected when you try to find Me in works, study or even prayer or conformity. Although those are all things that are good .You will find our intimacy in your surrender, allowing Me to live through you; works, study prayer and transformation can then occur.  Let patience have its proper result…and allow your faith to grow through  surrender, and connection.”

The Teaching of Disillusionment

July 30th, 2013

Jesus did not commit Himself to them . . . , for He knew what was in man —John 2:24-25

Disillusionment means having no more misconceptions, false impressions, and false judgments in life; it means being free from these deceptions. However, though no longer deceived, our experience of disillusionment may actually leave us cynical and overly critical in our judgment of others. But the disillusionment that comes from God brings us to the point where we see people as they really are, yet without any cynicism or any stinging and bitter criticism. Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief, or pain, stem from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts, seeing each other as we really are; we are only true to our misconceived ideas of one another. According to our thinking, everything is either delightful and good, or it is evil, malicious, and cowardly.

Refusing to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering of human life. And this is how that suffering happens— if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord is so obviously uncompromising with regard to every human relationship because He knows that every relationship that is not based on faithfulness to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed His faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God, and in what God’s grace could do for anyone, was so perfect that He never despaired, never giving up hope for any person. If our trust is placed in human beings, we will end up despairing of everyone.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
When seen this way, “disillusionment” is a good thing. Help me today and always to be disillusioned and set free from hero worship (except you) and partisan, I’m right, they are wrong thinking. And be like you, trusting no one but believing and hoping the best for everyone. And staying curious to see what you are about in the circumstances that you bring me to.

Do You See Jesus in Your Clouds?

July 29th, 2013

Behold, He is coming with clouds . . . —Revelation 1:7

In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. “The clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow, bereavement, and suffering are actually the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near us without clouds— He does not come in clear-shining brightness.

It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?

There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him.

“. . . they were fearful as they entered the cloud” (Luke 9:34). Is there anyone except Jesus in your cloud? If so, it will only get darker until you get to the place where there is “no one anymore, but only Jesus . . .” (Mark 9:8 ; also see Mark 2-7).


July 29, 2013

Lord, why is it that I see the difficulties of this life…”as my cross” to bear, instead of seeing difficult circumstances as an opportunity to trust You again, and again and again? I would love for curiosity to be my first reaction to difficult and trying circumstances of this life, and the second reaction to be the knowledge that You are in control. And help me to find the confidence knowing and trusting that you have plans for good for me.

And God says…”The clouds of life are where you are challenged to trust Me. When things are going very well, you have no need to trust with Me with everything. But when you have uncertainty,  pain and heartache,  you listen for me very closely. I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Trust in Me with all your heart, do not rely on your devices and I will make your paths straight. Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart. Trust in Me, surrender your own ideas of what you think are your right and proper plans for your life, and be confident that I will meet all your needs and provide for your very good future.”

Am I Blessed Like This?

July 25th, 2013

Blessed are . . . —Matthew 5:3-11

When we first read the statements of Jesus, they seem wonderfully simple and unstartling, and they sink unnoticed into our subconscious minds. For instance, the Beatitudes initially seem to be merely soothing and beautiful precepts for overly spiritual and seemingly useless people, but of very little practical use in the rigid, fast-paced workdays of the world in which we live. We soon find, however, that the Beatitudes contain the “dynamite” of the Holy Spirit. And they “explode” when the circumstances of our lives cause them to do so. When the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance one of the Beatitudes, we say, “What a startling statement that is!” Then we must decide whether or not we will accept the tremendous spiritual upheaval that will be produced in our circumstances if we obey His words. That is the way the Spirit of God works. We do not need to be born again to apply the Sermon on the Mount literally. The literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount is as easy as child’s play. But the interpretation by the Spirit of God as He applies our Lord’s statements to our circumstances is the strict and difficult work of a saint.

The teachings of Jesus are all out of proportion when compared to our natural way of looking at things, and they come to us initially with astonishing discomfort. We gradually have to conform our walk and conversation to the precepts of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit applies them to our circumstances. The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of rules and regulations— it is a picture of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is having His unhindered way with us.

Journal DJR
Good morning, Lord,
?? “Strict and difficult work of a saint”?? That doesn’t sound too attractive at first reading. ” as easy as child’s play.” sounds better.

The Christian life is both … easy and difficult. It has both parts and both aspects. A lot of whether you see it as easy or difficult depends on your perspective … where you are looking from. If you are looking from a place where the burden is all on you and your will power and abilities … then life will be hard. If you put your major effort into staying connected with me and hearing my voice and staying surrendered … then life gets easier. Circumstances get easier to handle. At first, connecting and surrendering so that I can pour my power thru you will seem difficult. But it gets easier, the more you do it. That is our life long project … conforming you to the image of Jesus.

Sanctification (2)

July 23rd, 2013

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us . . . sanctification . . . —1 Corinthians 1:30

The Life Side. The mystery of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted as a gift to me, not gradually, but instantly once I enter by faith into the realization that He “became for [me] . . . sanctification . . . .” Sanctification means nothing less than the holiness of Jesus becoming mine and being exhibited in my life.

The most wonderful secret of living a holy life does not lie in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfect qualities of Jesus exhibit themselves in my human flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you . . .” (Colossians 1:27). It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification— imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His Word?

Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ to me. It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy— it is drawing from Jesus the very holiness that was exhibited in Him, and that He now exhibits in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is something altogether different. The perfection of everything is in Jesus Christ, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal. Consequently, I slowly but surely begin to live a life of inexpressible order, soundness, and holiness— “. . . kept by the power of God . . .” (1 Peter 1:5).

Journal DJR
Good morning Lord, The first sentence seems to be contradicted by the last sentence. Instantly … and Slowly but Surely. Which is it?

It is both. It is instantly credited to your account. And slowly but surely you learn to draw it out and let it live in you. The key is surrender. and let me empower it. If you try in your own power to live a better life … it just wont work. Even as you achieve some apparent success, it wont be the same as a life powered by my life. And if you do it in your own power, you’ll be proud of what you created. If you let me power it … there is no room for pride. So stay connected, stay surrendered, stay curious, and confident. I’ve provided the power. Go and live it out.

Sanctification (1)

July 22nd, 2013

This is the will of God, your sanctification. . . —1 Thessalonians 4:3


The Death Side. In sanctification God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. Sanctification requires our coming to the place of death, but many of us spend so much time there that we become morbid. There is always a tremendous battle before sanctification is realized— something within us pushing with resentment against the demands of Christ. When the Holy Spirit begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle starts immediately. Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate . . . his own life . . . he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).

In the process of sanctification, the Spirit of God will strip me down until there is nothing left but myself, and that is the place of death. Am I willing to be myself and nothing more? Am I willing to have no friends, no father, no brother, and no self-interest— simply to be ready for death? That is the condition required for sanctification. No wonder Jesus said, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). This is where the battle comes, and where so many of us falter. We refuse to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ on this point. We say, “But this is so strict. Surely He does not require that of me.” Our Lord is strict, and He does require that of us.

Am I willing to reduce myself down to simply “me”? Am I determined enough to strip myself of all that my friends think of me, and all that I think of myself? Am I willing and determined to hand over my simple naked self to God? Once I am, He will immediately sanctify me completely, and my life will be free from being determined and persistent toward anything except God (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

When I pray, “Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,” He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus puts in me— it is Himself in me (see 1 Corinthians 1:30).




July 22, 2013

Lord, thank you for the reminder that You will mold me and shape me into your image. Thank you for the scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5 (NIV) 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

And God says…”Trust Me with your sanctification…all of it. Sanctification happens from the inside out, starting with your connection with Jesus. Trust Me to do the work inside of you. All of it. You are to simply trust Me and be connected to me. Trust Me to meet all your needs, including your sanctification. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything you need will be provided.”

The Concept of Divine Control

July 17th, 2013

. . . how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! —Matthew 7:11

Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct in this passage for those people who have His Spirit. He urges us to keep our minds filled with the concept of God’s control over everything, which means that a disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek.

Fill your mind with the thought that God is there. And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be as easy as breathing for you to remember, “My heavenly Father knows all about this!” This will be no effort at all, but will be a natural thing for you when difficulties and uncertainties arise. Before you formed this concept of divine control so powerfully in your mind, you used to go from person to person seeking help, but now you go to God about it. Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct for those people who have His Spirit, and it works on the following principle: God is my Father, He loves me, and I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?

Jesus said there are times when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but you should trust Him. At times God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He will appear like an unnatural father, but He is not; He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God’s will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in Him. Prayer is not only asking, but is an attitude of the mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural. “Ask, and it will be given to you . . .” (Matthew 7:7).


Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, is amazing how you speak to me with your promises, not just in your word, but in songs, and the words of friends and even the songs on the radio. Perhaps it is because I am listening for You that I can hear Your voice? Both thoughts are accurate…if I believe I can hear you I can , and if I believe I cannot…..well then…I cannot. I believe Lord, help me in my unbelief.

And God says…”I am the great I Am. Trust in me with all your heart, do not rely on your own devices…and I will make your paths and heart straight. You cannot come to me out of more discipline, more Bible studies, or my gritting your teeth and trying harder to be a man after My own heart. You come to me with a tiny sliver of trust and hope knowing you cannot do any good thing. Give Me your trying, effort and sliver of hope and I will be the light of your life. You can do all things through Christ Jesus. Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart. 

The Miracle of Belief

July 16th, 2013

My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom . . . —1 Corinthians 2:4

Paul was a scholar and an orator of the highest degree; he was not speaking here out of a deep sense of humility, but was saying that when he preached the gospel, he would veil the power of God if he impressed people with the excellency of his speech. Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the effectiveness of redemption, not by impressive speech, nor by wooing and persuading, but only by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of redemption comes through the preaching of the gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher.

Real and effective fasting by a preacher is not fasting from food, but fasting from eloquence, from impressive diction, and from everything else that might hinder the gospel of God being presented. The preacher is there as the representative of God— “. . . as though God were pleading through us . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:20). He is there to present the gospel of God. If it is only because of my preaching that people desire to be better, they will never get close to Jesus Christ. Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the gospel will result in making me a traitor to Jesus, and I prevent the creative power of His redemption from doing its work.

“And I, if I am lifted up. . . , will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32).

Journal DJR
Good Evening Lord
It is such a human characteristic to idolize talent. That talent is mostly gifting from you … but people dont see that. Whether a person is preaching or feeding the poor, we tend to say, “What a great speaker, or what a giving person.” It seems that the more talented and gifted we are and the more we hone those talents … the more likely we are to get in the way of people actually seeing and meeting you thru us. So what should we do to prevent that? It doesn’t seem we should make a second rate sermon to avoid the hero worship that comes with excellent sermons? Paul didn’t do that.

You dont need to dial back the gifts I’ve given you. Or do second rate work to avoid compliments. If you just stay connected with me and listen for my voice and follow it … I’ll keep you safe from that. When you’ve found yourself worshipped in the past, wasn’t it after a season of poor connection between us?

Yes, sir. I get it. We are back to the Centrality of Connection. In theology they talk about the Centrality of the Cross, but you keep talking to us about the Centrality of Connection. I suppose they are both important.

Yes, and I talk to each of my children about what they need to hear. So for you, Stay connected and you will do well. Run on your own and … well you’ve seen how well that worked.

Not too well at all… So help me stay connected, and I wont worry about the rest of it.

My Life’s Spiritual Honor and Duty

July 15th, 2013

I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians . . . —Romans 1:14

Paul was overwhelmed with the sense of his indebtedness to Jesus Christ, and he spent his life to express it. The greatest inspiration in Paul’s life was his view of Jesus Christ as his spiritual creditor. Do I feel that same sense of indebtedness to Christ regarding every unsaved soul? As a saint, my life’s spiritual honor and duty is to fulfill my debt to Christ in relation to these lost souls. Every tiny bit of my life that has value I owe to the redemption of Jesus Christ. Am I doing anything to enable Him to bring His redemption into evident reality in the lives of others? I will only be able to do this as the Spirit of God works into me this sense of indebtedness.

I am not a superior person among other people— I am a bondservant of the Lord Jesus. Paul said, “. . . you are not your own . . . you were bought at a price . . .” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Paul sold himself to Jesus Christ and he said, in effect, “I am a debtor to everyone on the face of the earth because of the gospel of Jesus; I am free only that I may be an absolute bondservant of His.” That is the characteristic of a Christian’s life once this level of spiritual honor and duty becomes real. Quit praying about yourself and spend your life for the sake of others as the bondservant of Jesus. That is the true meaning of being broken bread and poured-out wine in real life.


July 15, 2013

Lord this devotional from Oswald Chambers could lead one to feel inadequate about reaching out to others with the Gospel. After all, who can measure up to the Apostle Paul? And do you really want me to feel inadequate, or incomplete regarding my own experience? Am I not complete in You? Must I do something else to become “good enough”?

And God says…”

The Spiritually Vigorous Saint

July 11th, 2013

. . . that I may know Him . . . —Philippians 3:10

A saint is not to take the initiative toward self-realization, but toward knowing Jesus Christ. A spiritually vigorous saint never believes that his circumstances simply happen at random, nor does he ever think of his life as being divided into the secular and the sacred. He sees every situation in which he finds himself as the means of obtaining a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ, and he has an attitude of unrestrained abandon and total surrender about him. The Holy Spirit is determined that we will have the realization of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives, and He will bring us back to the same point over and over again until we do. Self-realization only leads to the glorification of good works, whereas a saint of God glorifies Jesus Christ through his good works. Whatever we may be doing— even eating, drinking, or washing disciples’ feet— we have to take the initiative of realizing and recognizing Jesus Christ in it. Every phase of our life has its counterpart in the life of Jesus. Our Lord realized His relationship to the Father even in the most menial task. “Jesus, knowing . . . that He had come from God and was going to God, . . . took a towel . . . and began to wash the disciples’ feet . . .” (John 13:3-5).

The aim of a spiritually vigorous saint is “that I may know Him . . .” Do I know Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am not here for self-realization, but to know Jesus Christ. In Christian work our initiative and motivation are too often simply the result of realizing that there is work to be done and that we must do it. Yet that is never the attitude of a spiritually vigorous saint. His aim is to achieve the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
It is interesting that we might wind up doing the exact same activity from just seeing the need and deciding to act, or feeling guilt and deciding to act … or hearing your voice and being obedient and doing the same act. But the motivation is totally different. One difference seems to be how tired we are at the end of the activity. If it is powered by you, we feel energized and ready for whatever you want to do next.