Archive for October, 2013

The Trial of Faith

October 30th, 2013

If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you —Matthew 17:20

We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages. But we do not earn anything through faith— faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives Him His opportunity to work. Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of your experience as His saint to get you in direct contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings. The beginning of your life of faith was very narrow and intense, centered around a small amount of experience that had as much emotion as faith in it, and it was full of light and sweetness. Then God withdrew His conscious blessings to teach you to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And you are worth much more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight with your thrilling testimony.

Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation. Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
In the last two days two devastating facts have come across my consciousness. The intense poverty in West Virginia coal towns, and the intense poverty in Haiti. The stories that went with these two made me cry. Earlier in my walk I may have thought, “how could a good God let that happen?” Same for tsunamis, hurricanes, floods and mass murderers. I dont think that anymore. That question has been replaced by 2 curiosities: …. What are you doing? and What shall I do about it? Thanks for making us curious beings. Curiosity has been a refuge for me to run into when things dont seem to make sense. Choosing and cultivating curiosity about what you are doing and how I can be involved has been one of the best things to keep my faith growing. Thank You


October 29th, 2013

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him —2 Corinthians 5:21

The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy for us. Yet the New Testament view is that He took our sin on Himself not because of sympathy, but because of His identification with us. He was “made. . . to be sin. . . .” Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the fatherhood and the lovingkindness of God, but the New Testament says that He came to take “away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And the revealing of the fatherhood of God is only to those to whom Jesus has been introduced as Savior. In speaking to the world, Jesus Christ never referred to Himself as One who revealed the Father, but He spoke instead of being a stumbling block (see John 15:22-24). John 14:9  , where Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” was spoken to His disciples.

That Christ died for me, and therefore I am completely free from penalty, is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that “He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15)— not, “He died my death”— and that through identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have His very righteousness imparted as a gift to me. The substitution which is taught in the New Testament is twofold— “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The teaching is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me (seeGalatians 4:19).

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Today I see where I have gotten tangled up in the past… Confusing the event and the process of my salvation. The event was a once and for all event. While the process of me “working out my salvation” continues on daily and will continue until I arrive there. The temptation is to work for salvation instead of toward Christlikeness. Aren’t we really working together on the project of my life? And your part is already done. It’s kind of like, you brought a Christmas gift … and I am spending a lifetime unwrapping it? Why dont I unwrap it faster and get more perfected in holiness faster? To continue the analogy of the Christmas gift, it would be one of those gifts that is a box inside of a box inside of a box …. As areas of sin and carnality get exposed and dealt with … more and deeper areas will just show up. So it’s a life long project, getting more and more of the gift unwrapped. Your ways are good. I am happy with the project. Thank you. I love you.

Justification by Faith

October 28th, 2013

If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life —Romans 5:10

I am not saved by believing— I simply realize I am saved by believing. And it is not repentance that saves me— repentance is only the sign that I realize what God has done through Christ Jesus. The danger here is putting the emphasis on the effect, instead of on the cause. Is it my obedience, consecration, and dedication that make me right with God? It is never that! I am made right with God because, prior to all of that, Christ died. When I turn to God and by belief accept what God reveals, the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ instantly places me into a right relationship with God. And as a result of the supernatural miracle of God’s grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, or because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God brings justification with a shattering, radiant light, and I know that I am saved, even though I don’t know how it was accomplished.

The salvation that comes from God is not based on human logic, but on the sacrificial death of Jesus. We can be born again solely because of the atonement of our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creations, not through their repentance or their belief, but through the wonderful work of God in Christ Jesus which preceded all of our experience (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). The unconquerable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We do not have to accomplish these things ourselves— they have been accomplished through the atonement of the Cross of Christ. The supernatural becomes natural to us through the miracle of God, and there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done— “It is finished!” (John 19:30).




October 28, 2013- JDV


This is an ongoing struggle; to trust You and simply surrender or to surrender and then engage in activities and efforts to get closer to You. I often wonder that if I am justified then why do I seem to go back to revisit the sacrifice of Jesus so often? Why am I drawn to the cross over and over as part of my surrender? Why can I not simply “move on” to the next step? Why can’t I move on past my need for Jesus redemptive sacrifice?

And God says…”There is no “next thing”, there is no “moving on” past the cross. Being drawn back to the cross daily…hourly and minute by minute is a powerful step in surrender and connection. Jesus made the sacrifice and humans do not and cannot understand it. Do not try to understand it. What you can do is meet Him every day at the cross and surrender to Him. Let His life work in and through you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not rely on your own devices and He will make your paths straight. Focus on Jesus and His sacrificial gift. 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.”

The Proper Perspective

October 24th, 2013

Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ . . . —2 Corinthians 2:14

The proper perspective of a servant of God must not simply be as near to the highest as he can get, but it must be the highest. Be careful that you vigorously maintain God’s perspective, and remember that it must be done every day, little by little. Don’t think on a finite level. No outside power can touch the proper perspective.

The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, “I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,” or, “I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.” But Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” (Romans 8:37).

“We are to God the fragrance of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God.



October 24, 2013- JDV

Lord, I do want to have the proper perspective. But I need you to take me over and give me that perspective. I seem to crumble too early, stumble too often and go my own ways.  Help me be a captive of Jesus, Lord.  Like the father said to Jesus, I believe, help me in my unbelief. So I say Lord, I believe You will take me over and give me your perspective, but I ask You to please help me in my unbelief.

And God says…”As Oswald Chambers says in this devotional, to maintain My perspective, it must be little by little every day. Seek Me and you will find Me. Knock on My door and it will be opened.  Trust Me to do what I have said I will do for you.  Meet and connect with Me (that is surrender yourself to Me) in the morning and be curious about your day as I live through you.  Acknowledge me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Nothing of the Old Life!

October 23rd, 2013

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new —2 Corinthians 5:17

Our Lord never tolerates our prejudices— He is directly opposed to them and puts them to death. We tend to think that God has some special interest in our particular prejudices, and are very sure that He will never deal with us as He has to deal with others. We even say to ourselves, “God has to deal with other people in a very strict way, but of course He knows that my prejudices are all right.” But we must learn that God accepts nothing of the old life! Instead of being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately removing them from us. It is part of our moral education to see our prejudices put to death by His providence, and to watch how He does it. God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him. There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is nothing remaining of the old life. Our old gloomy outlook disappears, as does our old attitude toward things, and “all things are of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). How are we going to get a life that has no lust, no self-interest, and is not sensitive to the ridicule of others? How will we have the type of love that “is kind . . . is not provoked, [and] thinks no evil”? (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The only way is by allowing nothing of the old life to remain, and by having only simple, perfect trust in God— such a trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want God Himself. Have we come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected? Once we truly see God at work, we will never be concerned again about the things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in heaven, whom the world cannot see.



Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Jesus, when I have looked for You inside of certain kinds of blessings or events, it seems I am disappointed. When I expect to see you I do not. But it seems when I look for you in everything and every event, You are there. I cannot explain it.

And God says…”You cannot put God into a place or time, and pull Him out when you are in need or have time for worship. Seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus. When you look for Me in all things, all day, every day, I am there. Seek Me first, delight yourself in Me and I am there. I am there because you put Me first and want to see Me in all things, not just some religious times, or times when it occurs to you. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight.”

The Witness of the Spirit

October 22nd, 2013

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit . . . —Romans 8:16

We are in danger of getting into a bargaining spirit with God when we come to Him—we want the witness of the Spirit before we have done what God tells us to do.

Why doesn’t God reveal Himself to you? He cannot. It is not that He will not, but He cannot, because you are in the way as long as you won’t abandon yourself to Him in total surrender. Yet once you do, immediately God witnesses to Himself—He cannot witness to you, but He instantly witnesses to His own nature in you. If you received the witness of the Spirit before the reality and truth that comes from obedience, it would simply result in sentimental emotion. But when you act on the basis of redemption, and stop the disrespectfulness of debating with God, He immediately gives His witness. As soon as you abandon your own reasoning and arguing, God witnesses to what He has done, and you are amazed at your total disrespect in having kept Him waiting. If you are debating as to whether or not God can deliver from sin, then either let Him do it or tell Him that He cannot. Do not quote this or that person to Him. Simply obey Matthew 11:28 , “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden . . . .” Come, if you are weary, and ask, if you know you are evil (see Luke 11:9-13).

The Spirit of God witnesses to the redemption of our Lord, and to nothing else. He cannot witness to our reason. We are inclined to mistake the simplicity that comes from our natural commonsense decisions for the witness of the Spirit, but the Spirit witnesses only to His own nature, and to the work of redemption, never to our reason. If we are trying to make Him witness to our reason, it is no wonder that we are in darkness and uncertainty. Throw it all overboard, trust in Him, and He will give you the witness of the Spirit.



October 22, 2013

Journal for Today-JDV

Lord, when I read a devotional like this it makes me think that I am not capable of doing what it takes to be connected to You. Then it occurs to me, that You did it all, and I cannot add more. I cannot make myself more acceptable to You, even with obedience, study or prayer. I can only and simply surrender.

And God says…”It is easy to try and measure your standing with me by your works; study, prayer and obedience. But you have no standing with Me except the standing provided by Jesus; His sacrifice and your acceptance of that sacrifice. Study, obedience and prayer follow as a natural byproduct of your surrender.  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.”

Impulsiveness or Discipleship?

October 21st, 2013

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith . . . —Jude 20

There was nothing of the nature of impulsive or thoughtless action about our Lord, but only a calm strength that never got into a panic. Most of us develop our Christianity along the lines of our own nature, not along the lines of God’s nature. Impulsiveness is a trait of the natural life, and our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God gives a sense of restraint to impulsiveness, suddenly bringing us a feeling of self-conscious foolishness, which makes us instantly want to vindicate ourselves. Impulsiveness is all right in a child, but is disastrous in a man or woman—an impulsive adult is always a spoiled person. Impulsiveness needs to be trained into intuition through discipline.

Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he “followed Him at a distance” on dry land (Mark 14:54). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Today it’s pointed out that surviving crisis can be handled with pride and ego, impetuousness and individuality. Adrenaline can get us through a lot of the crises that we face regardless of the quality of our connection with you. But when the adrenaline fades and it’s time to walk through the mundane and drudgery of everyday common events … and exude Christlikeness in the process … That takes a good connection with Christ. An academic understanding of theology won’t do.

You get 24 hours each day to practice this. Punctuated by some crisis type of stressors. You should evaluate yourself in both the mundane and in crisis. I will be there with you in both types as I have been with my children in all lands and all centuries. If you are unhappy with what you see as you evaluate … the answer is in tightening the connection with me. Start the day with connection on purpose. Then ask yourself a few times a day how you are doing. You will probably find it harder to flow my life thru your mundane circumstances than your crises. So practice it more, and dont expect perfection in a week. I give you all of your days to practice this. And know that I see you and cherish every move you make toward Christlikeness, especially in the mundane circumstances of life.

The Key of the Greater Work

October 17th, 2013

. . . I say to you, he who believes in Me, . . . greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father —John 14:12

Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work. In the teachings of Jesus Christ, prayer is the working of the miracle of redemption in me, which produces the miracle of redemption in others, through the power of God. The way fruit remains firm is through prayer, but remember that it is prayer based on the agony of Christ in redemption, not on my own agony. We must go to God as His child, because only a child gets his prayers answered; a “wise” man does not (see Matthew 11:25).

Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are. However God may engineer your circumstances, your duty is to pray. Never allow yourself this thought, “I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly cannot be used where you have not yet been placed. Wherever God has placed you and whatever your circumstances, you should pray, continually offering up prayers to Him. And He promises, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do . . .” (John 14:13). Yet we refuse to pray unless it thrills or excites us, which is the most intense form of spiritual selfishness. We must learn to work according to God’s direction, and He says to pray. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

There is nothing thrilling about a laboring person’s work, but it is the laboring person who makes the ideas of the genius possible. And it is the laboring saint who makes the ideas of his Master possible. When you labor at prayer, from God’s perspective there are always results. What an astonishment it will be to see, once the veil is finally lifted, all the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you have been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord, These admonitions to keep it simple and focus on prayer seem like excellent logical advice. But then we ask ourselves, “How do we do that?” and when focusing on the How, we lose sight of “Who” (you). How then, can we “come as a child” especially when we find ourselves unchildlike?

You analyze too much. You will do better to focus on my first two commandments, Love God & neighbor, and then just focus on me and stay curious  about the circumstances that come your way … keeping just those two commandments in mind. Let me lead you beyond that.

OK, Please help us do that today.

The Key to the Master’s Orders

October 16th, 2013

Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest —Matthew 9:38

The key to the missionary’s difficult task is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer, not work— that is, not work as the word is commonly used today, which often results in the shifting of our focus away from God. The key to the missionary’s difficult task is also not the key of common sense, nor is it the key of medicine, civilization, education, or even evangelization. The key is in following the Master’s orders— the key is prayer. “Pray the Lord of the harvest . . . .” In the natural realm, prayer is not practical but absurd. We have to realize that prayer is foolish from the commonsense point of view.

From Jesus Christ’s perspective, there are no nations, but only the world. How many of us pray without regard to the persons, but with regard to only one Person— Jesus Christ? He owns the harvest that is produced through distress and through conviction of sin. This is the harvest for which we have to pray that laborers be sent out to reap. We stay busy at work, while people all around us are ripe and ready to be harvested; we do not reap even one of them, but simply waste our Lord’s time in over-energized activities and programs. Suppose a crisis were to come into your father’s or your brother’s life— are you there as a laborer to reap the harvest for Jesus Christ? Is your response, “Oh, but I have a special work to do!” No Christian has a special work to do. A Christian is called to be Jesus Christ’s own, “a servant [who] is not greater than his master” (John 13:16), and someone who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls us to no special work— He calls us to Himself. “Pray the Lord of the harvest,” and He will engineer your circumstances to send you out as His laborer

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Your message is clear … stay connected thru prayer such that I hear your voice and see what you see … and then be quickly obedient. This can be done without programs or agendas. Actually our own programs and agendas will complicate things and we will get less (of your work) done, rather than more. But we seem to be lacking something in seeing this really work out. It’s like a piece is missing. We have looked around and tried lots of things, surely all the common Christian advice, read the Word more, etc. So today we seemed to hear that our responsibility is simply be loved by You and recognize that love, absorb it and let it energize whatever you direct next. So help us in that today, we pray.

The Key to the Missionary’s Work (2)

October 15th, 2013

He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world —1 John 2:2

The key to the missionary’s message is the propitiation of Christ Jesus— His sacrifice for us that completely satisfied the wrath of God. Look at any other aspect of Christ’s work, whether it is healing, saving, or sanctifying, and you will see that there is nothing limitless about those. But— “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”— that is limitless (John 1:29). The missionary’s message is the limitless importance of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins, and a missionary is someone who is immersed in the truth of that revelation.

The real key to the missionary’s message is the “remissionary” aspect of Christ’s life, not His kindness, His goodness, or even His revealing of the fatherhood of God to us. “. . . repentance and remission of sins should be preached . . . to all nations . . .” (Luke 24:47). The greatest message of limitless importance is that “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins . . . .” The missionary’s message is not nationalistic, favoring nations or individuals; it is “for the whole world.” When the Holy Spirit comes into me, He does not consider my partialities or preferences; He simply brings me into oneness with the Lord Jesus.A missionary is someone who is bound by marriage to the stated mission and purpose of his Lord and Master. He is not to proclaim his own point of view, but is only to proclaim “the Lamb of God.” It is easier to belong to a faction that simply tells what Jesus Christ has done for me, and easier to become a devotee of divine healing, or of a special type of sanctification, or of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But Paul did not say, “Woe is me if I do not preach what Christ has done for me,” but, “. . . woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). And this is the gospel— “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
October 15, 2013

Journal for Today-JDV

Lord, this is not a new message or revolutionary message; that Jesus paid the price for me. I have been hearing this message since I was a child. But it is a message that I need to recall every day. Thank you for the reminder.  I need to recall the depth of your love and just how far You are willing to go to have a relationship with me. Thank You for the reminder that my first responsibility as a child of God is to be loved by You. Thank You for your overwhelming love.

And God says…”The magnitude of the sacrifice should demonstrate just how much I love you. And whenever you lose connection with that notion and My overwhelming love you can feel adrift and alone. But it is never that way. I am with you always. I loved you even as you were being shaped, before you were born, and I arrange all circumstances to work for your good because I called you and love you. Trust in Me, not your own sight or feelings.  Trust in Me and My promises. I know the future I have planned for you, a future for good. Seek Jesus first and everything you need will be provided.”