Archive for August, 2013

The Unsurpassed Intimacy of Tested Faith

August 29th, 2013

Jesus said to her, ’Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’ —John 11:40

Every time you venture out in your life of faith, you will find something in your circumstances that, from a commonsense standpoint, will flatly contradict your faith. But common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense. In fact, they are as different as the natural life and the spiritual. Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture out with courage on the words of Jesus Christ, while the realities of your commonsense life continue to shout, “It’s all a lie”? When you are on the mountaintop, it’s easy to say, “Oh yes, I believe God can do it,” but you have to come down from the mountain to the demon-possessed valley and face the realities that scoff at your Mount-of-Transfiguration belief (see Luke 9:28-42). Every time my theology becomes clear to my own mind, I encounter something that contradicts it. As soon as I say, “I believe ’God shall supply all [my] need,’ ” the testing of my faith begins (Philippians 4:19). When my strength runs dry and my vision is blinded, will I endure this trial of my faith victoriously or will I turn back in defeat?

Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict. What is challenging your faith right now? The test will either prove your faith right, or it will kill it. Jesus said, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” Matthew 11:6). The ultimate thing is confidence in Jesus. “We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .” (Hebrews 3:14). Believe steadfastly on Him and everything that challenges you will strengthen your faith. There is continual testing in the life of faith up to the point of our physical death, which is the last great test. Faith is absolute trust in God— trust that could never imagine that He would forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5-6).


Lord, it is so easy to talk about faith and hope when they are not the glue of our days and nights. It is easy to stand back in the distance and study faith and hope and love. It is when I am required to live in intense faith and hope that I am drawn even closer to You though. And even as I am drawn closer and closer to You through pain and sorrow it seems clear that my faith and hope becomes renewed, refreshed and sustaining.

And God says…”Do not try to get out of your trials too easily or quickly, let them have their perfect desired outcomes, namely bringing you closer to Me. Praise Me in your trials and notice how their meaning and power shifts. Seek first the Kingdom of heaven, which is Jesus, and all the things you want or need will be added to your life. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Acknowledge the Lord in all of your life, even the trials, and notice how your capacity for love, faith and hope is increased.”

The Purpose of Prayer

August 28th, 2013

. . . one of His disciples said to Him, ’Lord, teach us to pray . . .’ —Luke 11:1


Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

“Ask, and you will receive . . .” (John 16:24). We complain before God, and sometimes we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Our Lord said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). Ask and God will do. Give Jesus Christ the opportunity and the room to work. The problem is that no one will ever do this until he is at his wits’ end. When a person is at his wits’ end, it no longer seems to be a cowardly thing to pray; in fact, it is the only way he can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. Be yourself before God and present Him with your problems— the very things that have brought you to your wits’ end. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.



August 28, 2013

Lord, thank you for the reminder about prayer and how it nourishes Jesus living inside of me.  Sometimes I forget that it is not my nature that is changed, and that it is the very person of Jesus receiving the nourishment of the Father through my prayers. Thank you for giving me this insight this morning through Chambers’ devotional.

And God says…”Jesus can and do nothing apart from the Father. And you can accomplish no good and lasting thing apart from Jesus. Be connected to Jesus and allow Him to guide your life as He is connected to Me. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything else you need will be provided.”

Are You Ever Troubled?

August 26th, 2013

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you . . . —John 14:27

There are times in our lives when our peace is based simply on our own ignorance. But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus. When our Lord speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words that He speaks are always “spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Have I ever received what Jesus speaks? “. . . My peace I give to you. . .”— a peace that comes from looking into His face and fully understanding and receiving His quiet contentment.

Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life? Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you? Then look up and receive the quiet contentment of the Lord Jesus. Reflecting His peace is proof that you are right with God, because you are exhibiting the freedom to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. Allowing anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you either causes you to become troubled or gives you a false sense of security.With regard to the problem that is pressing in on you right now, are you “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and receiving peace from Him? If so, He will be a gracious blessing of peace exhibited in and through you. But if you only try to worry your way out of the problem, you destroy His effectiveness in you, and you deserve whatever you get. We become troubled because we have not been taking Him into account. When a person confers with Jesus Christ, the confusion stops, because there is no confusion in Him. Lay everything out before Him, and when you are faced with difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, listen to Him say, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27).
August 26, 2013- JDV
Lord,  when I cannot find the peace you give me, I wonder what happened, where did it go? What did I do?  I used to believe that I lost my peace because I disobeyed in some way, that when I lost my religion for a moment it was because I had stepped out of line….failed to live up to the requirements. Then you showed me that is never the case. Thank you Lord, for the reminder.
And God says…”On occasion you forget that there are no requirements; only that you believe, and allow Jesus to live through you. You cannot do this with will power or strength or even discipline, although discipline can be a very good thing. You can only find real peace through your daily connection to Jesus. Your feelings can be very good indicators of your connection status. When you do not feel peace, reach out and check your connection. When You feel troubled, your feelings are telling you to check your connection status. Jesus brought you peace and life more abundantly, and all you must do is accept these gifts. Accept the peace, harmony, and abundant life that I give you every day. Trust in Me, not your circumstances. Seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will meet all your needs, according to His riches in glory. “

“I Indeed . . . But He”

August 22nd, 2013

I indeed baptize you with water . . . but He . . . will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire —Matthew 3:11


Have I ever come to the point in my life where I can say, “I indeed . . . but He . . .”? Until that moment comes, I will never know what the baptism of the Holy Spirit means. I indeed am at the end, and I cannot do anything more— but He begins right there— He does the things that no one else can ever do. Am I prepared for His coming? Jesus cannot come and do His work in me as long as there is anything blocking the way, whether it is something good or bad. When He comes to me, am I prepared for Him to drag every wrong thing I have ever done into the light? That is exactly where He comes. Wherever I know I am unclean is where He will put His feet and stand, and wherever I think I am clean is where He will remove His feet and walk away.

Repentance does not cause a sense of sin— it causes a sense of inexpressible unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am absolutely helpless, and I know that through and through I am not worthy even to carry His sandals. Have I repented like that, or do I have a lingering thought of possibly trying to defend my actions? The reason God cannot come into my life is that I am not at the point of complete repentance.

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” John is not speaking here of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an experience, but as a work performed by Jesus Christ. “He will baptize you . . . .” The only experience that those who are baptized with the Holy Spirit are ever conscious of is the experience of sensing their absolute unworthiness.

I indeed” was this in the past, “but He” came and something miraculous happened. Get to the end of yourself where you can do nothing, but where He does everything.


August 22, 2013

Lord, thank you for the reminder that the way to live in your love is to surrender. Surrender my right to be right, my notion of what is right and my right to defend myself, to you or anyone. Help me to live in your love through my moment by moment surrender today. Help me give You my worry, trials, hopes and dreams this day and to trust You with every aspect of my life and future.

And God says…”I cannot put my hands on your life as long as you hold on so tightly. Let go and let Me live through you. I cannot take on your trials, hopes or dreams as long as you hold onto the control so tightly. You must let go first. And if you do not know how to do this, simply ask Me. And if you feel you do not have enough faith, simply ask Me…”.I believe, help me in my unbelief”. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own ideas and control and I will make your paths straight”.


August 19th, 2013

Come to Me . . . —Matthew 11:28

God intends for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Then we tend to fall back into self-examination, a habit that we thought was gone. Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives. Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once, and it is not rectified by being ignored but only by coming to Jesus Christ. If we will come to Him, asking Him to produce Christ-awareness in us, He will always do it, until we fully learn to abide in Him.

Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Beware of allowing the influence of your friends or your circumstances to divide your life. This only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth. Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one— “Come to Me . . . .” The intellectual, moral, and spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words. Yet in every detail of our lives where we are found not to be real, we would rather dispute the findings than come to Jesus.


August 19, 2013

Lord, I have never thought that self-awareness was anything but a positive trait. I thought that keeping myself in the right state of mind to help me see myself in the right light was a good thing; especially as I interact with others. But as I rethink it, I suppose I need Your eyes and Your state of mind to see myself clearly.

And God says…”You cannot see yourself as I see you, unless you are connected to Me. I do not see you in your natural state. When I look at you, I see Jesus. I see His sacrifice covering you. I do not see your natural state, because I cannot look on your natural state. I can only see the goodness of Jesus when I look at you. And when you are connected to Jesus, tightly connected to Him you can see yourself as I do.  Delight yourself in the Lord, seek first the kingdom of God (which is Jesus), acknowledge Me in all your ways…and you will see yourself in the proper light…….and  live the abundant life I promised.”

The Discipline of the Lord

August 14th, 2013

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him —Hebrews 12:5

It is very easy to grieve the Spirit of God; we do it by despising the discipline of the Lord, or by becoming discouraged when He rebukes us. If our experience of being set apart from sin and being made holy through the process of sanctification is still very shallow, we tend to mistake the reality of God for something else. And when the Spirit of God gives us a sense of warning or restraint, we are apt to say mistakenly, “Oh, that must be from the devil.”

“Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and do not despise Him when He says to you, in effect, “Don’t be blind on this point anymore— you are not as far along spiritually as you thought you were. Until now I have not been able to reveal this to you, but I’m revealing it to you right now.” When the Lord disciplines you like that, let Him have His way with you. Allow Him to put you into a right-standing relationship before God.

“. . . nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him.” We begin to pout, become irritated with God, and then say, “Oh well, I can’t help it. I prayed and things didn’t turn out right anyway. So I’m simply going to give up on everything.” Just think what would happen if we acted like this in any other area of our lives!

Am I fully prepared to allow God to grip me by His power and do a work in me that is truly worthy of Himself? Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me— sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me. But He has to get me into the state of mind and spirit where I will allow Him to sanctify me completely, whatever the cost (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).


August 14, 2013

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I really do not like the idea of being disciplined. My experience with discipline has not been positive over the years. It hurts. Not just the chastening, but the realization that I slipped again and again; the realization that I had not grown like I had hoped and prayed. Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief; help me understand and trust You to make me a man after Your own heart.

And God says…”When you consider the sacrifice I provided for you, you begin to grasp the depth and breadth of My love for you. Consider the cross and then examine the molding and shaping you experience. I will never give you more than you can bear, nor are you disciplined as payment for your deeds or actions. The sacrifice of Jesus covers all of you; past, present and future. The loving discipline I provide as well as the circumstances I allow, are designed to help make you a man after my own heart. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything else you need will be provided.”

“Do Not Quench the Spirit”

August 13th, 2013

Do not quench the Spirit —1 Thessalonians 5:19

The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it. The sense of warning and restraint that the Spirit gives comes to us in the most amazingly gentle ways. And if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice, you will quench it, and your spiritual life will be impaired. This sense of restraint will always come as a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12), so faint that no one except a saint of God will notice it.

Beware if in sharing your personal testimony you continually have to look back, saying, “Once, a number of years ago, I was saved.” If you have put your “hand to the plow” and are walking in the light, there is no “looking back”— the past is instilled into the present wonder of fellowship and oneness with God (Luke 9:62 ; also see 1 John 1:6-7). If you get out of the light, you become a sentimental Christian, and live only on your memories, and your testimony will have a hard metallic ring to it. Beware of trying to cover up your present refusal to “walk in the light” by recalling your past experiences when you did “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). When-ever the Spirit gives you that sense of restraint, call a halt and make things right, or else you will go on quenching and grieving Him without even knowing it.

Suppose God brings you to a crisis and you almost endure it, but not completely. He will engineer the crisis again, but this time some of the intensity will be lost. You will have less discernment and more humiliation at having disobeyed. If you continue to grieve His Spirit, there will come a time when that crisis cannot be repeated, because you have totally quenched Him. But if you will go on through the crisis, your life will become a hymn of praise to God. Never become attached to anything that continues to hurt God. For you to be free of it, God must be allowed to hurt whatever it may be.


August 13, 2013

Today’s Journal Entry-JDV

Lord, I did not really understand the idea that the Spirit of God could be quenched. This is like….God losing patience with me and I know from the lessons about grace and mercy that your grace and love have no boundaries or limit; and certainly no boundaries that can be created by a believer. The only boundary I know about is the boundary of knowing or not knowing Jesus. If I am your child, through my identification with Christ then I understand that your grace, patience and mercy is unending; that I cannot possibly disobey or sin beyond your grace and forgiveness. If this is the case, then how can I quench the Spirit?

And God says…”The Holy Spirit deals with you on issues and opportunities all the day long. And as long as you listen closely you will hear the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is always trying to engage you, I never stop reaching out to you and speaking to you. However, you can and often do stop listening to Me. In certain areas of your life, where you do not want My involvement, where you want to have your own way, you stop hearing Me. And because you quit hearing me you cannot avail yourself of my direction, guidance and resulting blessings and growth; you in effect quench the Spirit by failing to listen and respond. Seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything you need will be provided. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart.”

The Theology of Resting in God

August 12th, 2013

Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? —Matthew 8:26


When we are afraid, the least we can do is pray to God. But our Lord has a right to expect that those who name His name have an underlying confidence in Him. God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in any crisis they are the ones who are reliable. Yet our trust is only in God up to a certain point, then we turn back to the elementary panic-stricken prayers of those people who do not even know God. We come to our wits’ end, showing that we don’t have even the slightest amount of confidence in Him or in His sovereign control of the world. To us He seems to be asleep, and we can see nothing but giant, breaking waves on the sea ahead of us.

“. . . O you of little faith!” What a stinging pain must have shot through the disciples as they surely thought to themselves, “We missed the mark again!” And what a sharp pain will go through us when we suddenly realize that we could have produced complete and utter joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, in spite of what we were facing.

There are times when there is no storm or crisis in our lives, and we do all that is humanly possible. But it is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely. If we have been learning to worship God and to place our trust in Him, the crisis will reveal that we can go to the point of breaking, yet without breaking our confidence in Him.

We have been talking quite a lot about sanctification, but what will be the result in our lives? It will be expressed in our lives as a peaceful resting in God, which means a total oneness with Him. And this oneness will make us not only blameless in His sight, but also a profound joy to Him.



August 12, 2013

Thank you Lord, for the reminder; for the encouragement to trust You this day, in all that I encounter. Often I get caught up in my own ideas about helping myself. “Oh God does not want or need to be bothered about this little thing, I can handle this one. Or worse, I don’t even begin to think about You in this area of my life, because I am certain You would not want to be associated with that part of my life. Thank You for reminding me that You want to be in control of every area of my life, not to control me, but to  give me an abundant and happy life.

And God says…”Trust in Me with your entire life; the big things, the little things, and the in between things, everything from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night. Trust in Me, and rest in the knowledge that if I would not withhold my very own Son from you, I would not withhold any good thing from you. You may think a person, place or opportunity is good for you, but how often have you been wrong? How many times have you hurt yourself and those you love with your own notions of what is and is not good for you?”

“How often has it turned out the way you expected? You keep searching for your own treasure of happiness and love. And I have already secured it for you.  Trust in Me with all your heart, and do not rely on your own 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 and experience My river of love and happiness running through your heart.”

Prayer in the Father’s House

August 7th, 2013

. . . they found Him in the temple . . . . And He said to them, ’. . . Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ —Luke 2:46, 49

Our Lord’s childhood was not immaturity waiting to grow into manhood— His childhood is an eternal fact. Am I a holy, innocent child of God as a result of my identification with my Lord and Savior? Do I look at my life as being in my Father’s house? Is the Son of God living in His Father’s house within me?

The only abiding reality is God Himself, and His order comes to me moment by moment. Am I continually in touch with the reality of God, or do I pray only when things have gone wrong— when there is some disturbance in my life? I must learn to identify myself closely with my Lord in ways of holy fellowship and oneness that some of us have not yet even begun to learn. “. . . I must be about My Father’s business”— and I must learn to live every moment of my life in my Father’s house.

Think about your own circumstances. Are you so closely identified with the Lord’s life that you are simply a child of God, continually talking to Him and realizing that everything comes from His hands? Is the eternal Child in you living in His Father’s house? Is the grace of His ministering life being worked out through you in your home, your business, and in your circle of friends? Have you been wondering why you are going through certain circumstances? In fact, it is not that you have to go through them. It is because of your relationship with the Son of God who comes, through the providential will of His Father, into your life. You must allow Him to have His way with you, staying in perfect oneness with Him.

The life of your Lord is to become your vital, simple life, and the way He worked and lived among people while here on earth must be the way He works and lives in you.


August 7, 2013

Lord, I recall an old and dear friend telling me that you never understand what you are going through until years later and you are well out of those circumstances. And then I can recall saying, and believing …. in the midst of a storm of very difficult circumstances, that we GET to go through the storms….not we have to go through the storms. Is that the way of it?

And God says…”I allow circumstances and difficulties to come your way so that you will be “forced” to turn to Me and pray. I allow the world and the fallen nature of your loved ones to impact you in ways that help you surrender. Let your trials have their perfect result, trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on your own ideas and energy, and I will make your paths straight.  Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart.”

The Cross in Prayer

August 6th, 2013

In that day you will ask in My name . . . —John 16:26

We too often think of the Cross of Christ as something we have to get through, yet we get through for the purpose of getting into it. The Cross represents only one thing for us— complete, entire, absolute identification with the Lord Jesus Christ— and there is nothing in which this identification is more real to us than in prayer.

“Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Then why should we ask? The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him. If we pray only because we want answers, we will become irritated and angry with God. We receive an answer every time we pray, but it does not always come in the way we expect, and our spiritual irritation shows our refusal to identify ourselves truly with our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of God’s grace.

“. . . I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you . . .” (John 16:26-27). Have you reached such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one with the prayer life of Jesus Christ? Has our Lord exchanged your life with His vital life? If so, then “in that day” you will be so closely identified with Jesus that there will be no distinction.

When prayer seems to be unanswered, beware of trying to place the blame on someone else. That is always a trap of Satan. When you seem to have no answer, there is always a reason— God uses these times to give you deep personal instruction, and it is not for anyone else but you.


August 6, 2013

Journal for Today-JDV

Lord it is hard to change my mind and immediate responses about many things (and people) that are important to me. Every time I think this way or act that way…or fail to tell the whole story …. it occurs to me that what I am in fact saying is that I do not trust You to guide me through this world and the issues of everyday life. Every time the issues or relationships seem important, I seem to want to “take over” instead of trusting You to guide my life and circumstances. I try to believe you will make my paths straight, but will You help me in my unbelief?

And God says…”How does it work for you when you are in charge of your life and circumstances? Are you at peace, happy and content regardless of the storms and broken things and people around you?  I never promised to remove the storms, or give you everything you wanted, but I did promise to bring you life and life more abundant. I did promise to provide everything you need if you would first seek the Kingdom of Heaven (which is Jesus). Trust Me for everything you need in your life, try to stand on the balcony and observe your life unfold as I take over.  You will know the peace that passes all understanding. Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart.”


Journal DJR
Good Morning, Lord: The words of the song today speak to all of us. But the hip-hop style is different than a lot of us grew up with. So I wanted to share the artist’s testimony here. Thank you, Lord for the work you are doing in and thru our brother, Lecrae.