Archive for October, 2013

The Key to the Missionary’s Work (1)

October 14th, 2013

Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ’All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .’ —Matthew 28:18-19


The key to the missionary’s work is the authority of Jesus Christ, not the needs of the lost. We are inclined to look on our Lord as one who assists us in our endeavors for God. Yet our Lord places Himself as the absolute sovereign and supreme Lord over His disciples. He does not say that the lost will never be saved if we don’t go— He simply says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . .” He says, “Go on the basis of the revealed truth of My sovereignty, teaching and preaching out of your living experience of Me.”

“Then the eleven disciples went . . . to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them” (Matthew 28:16). If I want to know the universal sovereignty of Christ, I must know Him myself. I must take time to worship the One whose name I bear. Jesus says, “Come to Me . . .”— that is the place to meet Jesus— “all you who labor and are heavy laden . . .” (Matthew 11:28)— and how many missionaries are! We completely dismiss these wonderful words of the universal Sovereign of the world, but they are the words of Jesus to His disciples meant for here and now.

“Go therefore . . . .” To “go” simply means to live. Acts 1:8 is the description of how to go. Jesus did not say in this verse, “Go into Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria,” but, “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me in [all these places].” He takes upon Himself the work of sending us.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you . . .” (John 15:7)— that is the way to keep going. Where we are placed is then a matter of indifference to us, because God sovereignly engineers our goings.

“None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus . . .” (Acts 20:24). That is how to keep going until we are gone from this life.


October 15, 2013

Journal for Today-JDV

Dear Lord, thank you for the reminder that You have a plan for me and You will provide the light….. Cause sometimes I simply do not have the strength or energy to step out in faith. Sometimes I cannot figure out how to even take the next step…..but then You remind me that is not my responsibility to provide light, strength or even take the next step. I simply trust You.

And God says…”Seek Me first and all that you need will be provided. Delight yourself in Me, acknowledge Me in all your ways, and I will make your paths straight and give you the desires of your heart.  All you need do is be available and connected to Me, I will provide everything else, including the circumstances necessary for shaping you into My image and likeness.  Seek Me, and I will provide the light, energy, faith, hope and love you need for your days, and I will provide the opportunities for you to share the light I provide. “

How Will I Know?

October 10th, 2013

Jesus answered and said, ’I thank You, Father . . . that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes’ —Matthew 11:25

We do not grow into a spiritual relationship step by step— we either have a relationship or we do not. God does not continue to cleanse us more and more from sin— “But if we walk in the light,” we are cleansed “from all sin” (1 John 1:7). It is a matter of obedience, and once we obey, the relationship is instantly perfected. But if we turn away from obedience for even one second, darkness and death are immediately at work again.

All of God’s revealed truths are sealed until they are opened to us through obedience. You will never open them through philosophy or thinking. But once you obey, a flash of light comes immediately. Let God’s truth work into you by immersing yourself in it, not by worrying into it. The only way you can get to know the truth of God is to stop trying to find out and by being born again. If you obey God in the first thing He shows you, then He instantly opens up the next truth to you. You could read volumes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when five minutes of total, uncompromising obedience would make things as clear as sunlight. Don’t say, “I suppose I will understand these things someday!” You can understand them now. And it is not study that brings understanding to you, but obedience. Even the smallest bit of obedience opens heaven, and the deepest truths of God immediately become yours. Yet God will never reveal more truth about Himself to you, until you have obeyed what you know already. Beware of becoming one of the “wise and prudent.” “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know . . .” (John 7:17).

Journal DJR

Good morning Lord
Today’s devo is filled with statements that on the one hand ring true in my heart … and on the other hand are yet to be worked out in my experience. I relate to Paul who said, “I do what I dont want to do” etc. I get it that study alone wont get me to the relationship that we are both looking for. But yet you say, “Study to show yourself approved.” 1 Tim 2:15.

Studying my Word is good, and essential, but only in its place. In the context of relationship with me and focus on what Father is doing and saying, and with a commitment to obedience when a direction is revealed … then study has real value. Without that context, it can lead you to Phariseeism, and you know what I had to say to them.

OK. Help me this day to walk with you (consciously) in such a way that I can see and hear what you want to be about in the various situations. And then help me obey and Just Do It.

Building on the Atonement

October 9th, 2013

. . . present . . . your members as instruments of righteousness to God —Romans 6:13

I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot make atonement for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I cannot right what is wrong, purify what is impure, or make holy what is unholy. That is all the sovereign work of God. Do I have faith in what Jesus Christ has done? He has made the perfect atonement for sin. Am I in the habit of constantly realizing it? The greatest need we have is not to do things, but to believe things. The redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith on it. If I construct my faith on my own experience, I produce the most unscriptural kind of life— an isolated life, with my eyes focused solely on my own holiness. Beware of that human holiness that is not based on the atonement of the Lord. It has no value for anything except a life of isolation— it is useless to God and a nuisance to man. Measure every kind of experience you have by our Lord Himself. We cannot do anything pleasing to God unless we deliberately build on the foundation of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.

The atonement of Jesus must be exhibited in practical, unassuming ways in my life. Every time I obey, the absolute deity of God is on my side, so that the grace of God and my natural obedience are in perfect agreement. Obedience means that I have completely placed my trust in the atonement, and my obedience is immediately met by the delight of the supernatural grace of God.

Beware of the human holiness that denies the reality of the natural life— it is a fraud. Continually bring yourself to the trial or test of the atonement and ask, “Where is the discernment of the atonement in this, and in that?”


October 9, 2013 JDV

Lord, thank you for the reminder that I cannot sanctify myself. I cannot atone for my sin nor make myself a better person in your eyes.  Every once in a while I evaluate my position with You based on my work, study, attendance, tithing, and what I am doing for others. Thank you for the reminder that my position with You is all based on Jesus and the cross.

And God says…”The daily lesson you have found in your journey through co2 Manna Today has been the same day after day; that all love, hope, grace, truth, redemption and atonement begins and ends with Jesus. Start here every day. And the work, study, attendance and tithing will have meaning.

Coming to Jesus

October 8th, 2013

Come to Me . . . —Matthew 11:28

Isn’t it humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things about which we will not come to Jesus Christ. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words— “Come to Me . . . .” In every dimension in which you are not real, you will argue or evade the issue altogether rather than come; you will go through sorrow rather than come; and you will do anything rather than come the last lap of the race of seemingly unspeakable foolishness and say, “Just as I am, I come.” As long as you have even the least bit of spiritual disrespect, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do something very big, and yet all He is telling you to do is to “Come . . . .”

“Come to Me . . . .” When you hear those words, you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, and it will involve anything that will uproot whatever is preventing you from getting through to Jesus. And you will never get any further until you are willing to do that very thing. The Holy Spirit will search out that one immovable stronghold within you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him do so.

How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away thinking, “I’ve really received what I wanted this time!” And yet you go away with nothing, while all the time God has stood with His hands outstretched not only to take you but also for you to take Him. Just think of the invincible, unconquerable, and untiring patience of Jesus, who lovingly says, “Come to Me. . . .”

Journal DJR

A couple of verses at the beginning and end of Psalm 139 say it so well……

1 O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

That’s my prayer. Help me do that today.

The Nature of Reconciliation

October 7th, 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

Sin is a fundamental relationship— it is not wrong doing, but wrong being— it is deliberate and determined independence from God. The Christian faith bases everything on the extreme, self-confident nature of sin. Other faiths deal with sins— the Bible alone deals with sin. The first thing Jesus Christ confronted in people was the heredity of sin, and it is because we have ignored this in our presentation of the gospel that the message of the gospel has lost its sting and its explosive power.The revealed truth of the Bible is not that Jesus Christ took on Himself our fleshly sins, but that He took on Himself the heredity of sin that no man can even touch. God made His own Son “to be sin” that He might make the sinner into a saint. It is revealed throughout the Bible that our Lord took on Himself the sin of the world through identification with us, not through sympathy for us. He deliberately took on His own shoulders, and endured in His own body, the complete, cumulative sin of the human race. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us. . .” and by so doing He placed salvation for the entire human race solely on the basis of redemption. Jesus Christ reconciled the human race, putting it back to where God designed it to be. And now anyone can experience that reconciliation, being brought into oneness with God, on the basis of what our Lord has done on the cross.A man cannot redeem himself— redemption is the work of God, and is absolutely finished and complete. And its application to individual people is a matter of their own individual action or response to it. A distinction must always be made between the revealed truth of redemption and the actual conscious experience of salvation in a person’s life.
October 7, 2013
Journal Entry for Today-JDV
Thank You Lord for the reminder that I am not to consider my difficulties, circumstances or wrongdoing; I am to consider Jesus. Thank You for showing me that the path to growth is not that I sin less, or act as a “proper Christian” but that I identify and connect with Jesus….accepting His redemption and my rebirth in all things.
And God says…”I have given you the gift of redemption, simply accept it.  Focus on Jesus. When you find yourself in circumstances, difficulties and or going down the wrong path, focus on Jesus. He has given you love, power, strength, abundance, wellbeing and the peace that passes all understanding. Live in it.  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight. Seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything you need for your life will be provided. “

The Vision and The Reality

October 4th, 2013

. . . to those who are . . . called to be saints . . . —1 Corinthians 1:2

Thank God for being able to see all that you have not yet been. You have had the vision, but you are not yet to the reality of it by any means. It is when we are in the valley, where we prove whether we will be the choice ones, that most of us turn back. We are not quite prepared for the bumps and bruises that must come if we are going to be turned into the shape of the vision. We have seen what we are not, and what God wants us to be, but are we willing to be battered into the shape of the vision to be used by God? The beatings will always come in the most common, everyday ways and through common, everyday people.

There are times when we do know what God’s purpose is; whether we will let the vision be turned into actual character depends on us, not on God. If we prefer to relax on the mountaintop and live in the memory of the vision, then we will be of no real use in the ordinary things of which human life is made. We have to learn to live in reliance upon what we saw in the vision, not simply live in ecstatic delight and conscious reflection upon God. This means living the realities of our lives in the light of the vision until the truth of the vision is actually realized in us. Every bit of our training is in that direction. Learn to thank God for making His demands known.

Our little “I am” always sulks and pouts when God says do. Let your little “I am” be shriveled up in God’s wrath and indignation–”I AM WHO I AM . . . has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:14). He must dominate. Isn’t it piercing to realize that God not only knows where we live, but also knows the gutters into which we crawl! He will hunt us down as fast as a flash of lightning. No human being knows human beings as God does.


October 4, 2013

Journal Entry for Today JDV

Lord, help me find the road I should walk. You have never let me down and yet when I find myself wandering, frightened by the pressure and circumstances of life, and what I believe to be my needs, I often do not trust You to do what you have done dozens and dozens of times.  Why do I seem to trust only what I can see, touch and feel? Your love, provision and rescues are also a part of my “knowing”. I wonder why I am unable to hang onto those memories and experiences as tightly as I often hang onto my fear and uncertainty. Lord, help me find your peace and the faith that passes all understanding as I try to trust you completely. As the man said Lord, “I believe, help me in my unbelief”.

And God says…”Just stay open, engaged and transparent with Me. Stay curious; wondering how I will deal with every issue and circumstance that you believe is important. I may provide immediate impactful solutions and provision, or you may discover the fear you held onto was misplaced and unwarranted when I simply let you confront your worst fears. I am God, you are not. I know what you are, what you need and I have demonstrated my love through the gift of Jesus. Seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will provide everything else you need. And you should remember that I truly know your wants, needs and the shaping and sanding required to make you more and more like Jesus. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Acknowledge me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. 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.”

The Place of Ministry

October 3rd, 2013

He said to them, ’This kind [of unclean spirit] can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting’ —Mark 9:29

His disciples asked Him privately, ’Why could we not cast it out?’ ” (Mark 9:28). The answer lies in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “This kind can come out by nothing but” concentrating on Him, and then doubling and redoubling that concentration on Him. We can remain powerless forever, as the disciples were in this situation, by trying to do God’s work without concentrating on His power, and by following instead the ideas that we draw from our own nature. We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve Him without knowing Him.

When you are brought face to face with a difficult situation and nothing happens externally, you can still know that freedom and release will be given because of your continued concentration on Jesus Christ. Your duty in service and ministry is to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there anything between you and Jesus even now? If there is, you must get through it, not by ignoring it as an irritation, or by going up and over it, but by facing it and getting through it into the presence of Jesus Christ. Then that very problem itself, and all that you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way that you will never know until you see Him face to face.

We must be able to “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and in the living that is done in the valley. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and what he was referring to were mostly humiliating things. And yet it is in our power to refuse to be humiliated and to say, “No, thank you, I much prefer to be on the mountaintop with God.” Can I face things as they actually are in the light of the reality of Jesus Christ, or do things as they really are destroy my faith in Him, and put me into a panic?

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
We’ve been learning that relationship with you is the key to everything … But today we see a specific aspect of that relationship … concentrating more and more on you. And that seems to go along with what you said in John 5:19, you only did what you saw the Father doing. But you were able to concentrate on watching what Father was doing and yet it is never recorded that you were “staring off into space.” You were able to “multi-task?” with at least two things getting full attention … the person in front of you, and what Father wants. That is the challenge. I find that if I focus on one, I lose focus on the other. And if I try to multi task on several things at once, as productivity gurus counsel, I find that concentration on you is squeezed out of my mind.

You have free will. You get to choose, which will take priority. Sometimes intense circumstances will high jack your mind. I understand. But keep on practicing keeping a focus on me and what Father recommends in all the circumstances that come your way. You won’t get it perfect until you get here with us. But it’s the main thing you can do until then. Concentrate on me and what Father wants … And then when you hear it or see it … Then just do it. It’s the best way to live. It’s what I did for those 33 years.

The verse in Mark indicates more than just watching watching and listening during the day. Fasting and Prayer.

Yes, separate times apart for fasting and prayer without distractions will charge your batteries and make you stronger at focusing on me when those distraction opportunities come along.
Once again, you get to choose … how well charged your batteries are and how well you can keep your focus in the middle of intense circumstances will depend to a large extent on the time we spend together apart and on purpose. The Fasting and Praying that I referred to in Mk 9:29 had gone on in the days and weeks prior to that event. I didn’t pray and fast for a specific issue when it came up … Rather I just stayed “prayed up” with regular times away for just that purpose … and so can you.

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The Place of Humiliation

October 2nd, 2013

If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us —Mark 9:22

After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God— that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at some heroic level of intensity, simply because of the natural selfishness of our own hearts. But God wants us to be at the drab everyday level, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with Him. Peter thought it would be a wonderful thing for them to remain on the mountain, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mountain and into the valley, where the true meaning of the vision was explained (see Mark 9:5-6 , Mark 9:14-23).

“If you can do anything . . . .” It takes the valley of humiliation to remove the skepticism from us. Look back at your own experience and you will find that until you learned who Jesus really was, you were a skillful skeptic about His power. When you were on the mountaintop you could believe anything, but what about when you were faced with the facts of the valley? You may be able to give a testimony regarding your sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you right now? The last time you were on the mountain with God, you saw that all the power in heaven and on earth belonged to Jesus— will you be skeptical now, simply because you are in the valley of humiliation?

Journal DJR

Good Morning Lord,
I understand the mountain top experience, and its value. And the valley experience and their value … although that usually happens when looking back after exiting the valley. But the time in between the mountaintops and the valleys, where much of life is lived, what are we to do there? How are we to live for you in those neutral places? And is there a way to live there that makes us better able to live well in the valleys and the mountaintops?
All of life is preparation and character building. One thing to strive for in all three states is connection with me … like I did with Father when I was there (John 5:19 etc) If you stay connected and curious, you will be ready for what’s next. Staying connected is hardest for most of you in the neutral place, it’s where you forget who you are and who I am. There is neither agony nor ecstasy and you wander off on your own pursuits…. That is where a continual attitude of Curiosity will help you keep your connection with me strong. And then the blindsiding events of life …wont really blindside you. Together we’ll get through everything.

The Place of Exaltation

October 1st, 2013

. . . Jesus took . . . them up on a high mountain apart by themselves . . . —Mark 9:2

We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18). We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Yet our spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mountain. We feel that we could talk and live like perfect angels, if we could only stay on the mountaintop. Those times of exaltation are exceptional and they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware to prevent our spiritual selfishness from wanting to make them the only time.

We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a terrible trap in always asking, “What’s the use of this experience?” We can never measure spiritual matters in that way. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.


October 1, 2013

Lord, why is it that I seem to be much more pliable and connected when I am experiencing the rain and valleys of this life Lord? Was it C S Lewis that said C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains?… It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I wish I were not so hard of hearing Lord, and could and would hear you very clearly all the time.

And God says…”I know the human condition very well. I too wish it were simply a matter of us talking and walking along together, being connected in relationship.  But the fact of the matter is that in your fallen world, you will always experience and cause heartbreak and pain.  You will always seek your own counsel, chase after your own pleasures and paths to avoid pain. And there will be times on the mountaintop where you will be well connected to Me.  But much like a child, you turn to Me in your times of struggle, doubt and pain. Those are the times that you pay very close attention to Me.  Those are the refining times of your life.”