Archive for December, 2013

“And Every Virtue We Possess”

December 31st, 2013

. . . All my springs are in you —Psalm 87:7

Our Lord never “patches up” our natural virtues, that is, our natural traits, qualities, or characteristics. He completely remakes a person on the inside— “. . . put on the new man . . .” (Ephesians 4:24). In other words, see that your natural human life is putting on all that is in keeping with the new life. The life God places within us develops its own new virtues, not the virtues of the seed of Adam, but of Jesus Christ. Once God has begun the process of sanctification in your life, watch and see how God causes your confidence in your own natural virtues and power to wither away. He will continue until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through this drying-up experience!

The sign that God is at work in us is that He is destroying our confidence in the natural virtues, because they are not promises of what we are going to be, but only a wasted reminder of what God created man to be. We want to cling to our natural virtues, while all the time God is trying to get us in contact with the life of Jesus Christ— a life that can never be described in terms of natural virtues. It is the saddest thing to see people who are trying to serve God depending on that which the grace of God never gave them. They are depending solely on what they have by virtue of heredity. God does not take our natural virtues and transform them, because our natural virtues could never even come close to what Jesus Christ wants. No natural love, no natural patience, no natural purity can ever come up to His demands. But as we bring every part of our natural bodily life into harmony with the new life God has placed within us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus.

And every virtue we possess
Is His alone.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
I think maybe You are showing me some of the things the deco is talking about today. There are areas where I am at the end of myself. Areas of total failure … where I am backing up and saying, “This isn’t working … I think I’ll try another way. Is that You, Lord? Are you in that? Or am I just looking for another way out of my problems.
Getting out of problems is not a bad thing. It’s whether or not you are doing it my way or your way. If it’s just your next idea, well good luck. If you’ve been hearing my voice, then you won’t need luck. It will be right and you’ll know it and see the results soon enough. When you hit on “my way” you’re home free. Even if all the problems dont dissolve instantly (and they probably won’t) … you’ll walk in peace because you’ll know we are in this together.

Sharing in the Atonement

December 23rd, 2013

God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . —Galatians 6:14

The gospel of Jesus Christ always forces a decision of our will. Have I accepted God’s verdict on sin as judged on the Cross of Christ? Do I have even the slightest interest in the death of Jesus? Do I want to be identified with His death— to be completely dead to all interest in sin, worldliness, and self? Do I long to be so closely identified with Jesus that I am of no value for anything except Him and His purposes? The great privilege of discipleship is that I can commit myself under the banner of His Cross, and that means death to sin. You must get alone with Jesus and either decide to tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you, or that at any cost you want to be identified with His death. When you act in confident faith in what our Lord did on the cross, a supernatural identification with His death takes place immediately. And you will come to know through a higher knowledge that your old life was “crucified with Him” (Romans 6:6). The proof that your old life is dead, having been “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20), is the amazing ease with which the life of God in you now enables you to obey the voice of Jesus Christ.Every once in a while our Lord gives us a glimpse of what we would be like if it were not for Him. This is a confirmation of what He said— “. . . without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). That is why the underlying foundation of Christianity is personal, passionate devotion to the Lord Jesus. We mistake the joy of our first introduction into God’s kingdom as His purpose for getting us there. Yet God’s purpose in getting us into His kingdom is that we may realize all that identification with Jesus Christ means.
Reprise Journal-JDV
Lord, Sometimes I get lost in the depths of my circumstances instead of the depths of your power and love. Please help me stay connected and aware that You are the living God and everything is within your power.
And God says…”I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. All things work for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart…Simply focus on Me, and you will be transformed and your faith and hope will be renewed.”

The Focus Of Our Message

December 19th, 2013

I did not come to bring peace but a sword —Matthew 10:34

Never be sympathetic with a person whose situation causes you to conclude that God is dealing harshly with him. God can be more tender than we can conceive, and every once in a while He gives us the opportunity to deal firmly with someone so that He may be viewed as the tender One. If a person cannot go to God, it is because he has something secret which he does not intend to give up— he may admit his sin, but would no more give up that thing than he could fly under his own power. It is impossible to deal sympathetically with people like that. We must reach down deep in their lives to the root of the problem, which will cause hostility and resentment toward the message. People want the blessing of God, but they can’t stand something that pierces right through to the heart of the matter.

If you are sensitive to God’s way, your message as His servant will be merciless and insistent, cutting to the very root. Otherwise, there will be no healing. We must drive the message home so forcefully that a person cannot possibly hide, but must apply its truth. Deal with people where they are, until they begin to realize their true need. Then hold high the standard of Jesus for their lives. Their response may be, “We can never be that.” Then drive it home with, “Jesus Christ says you must.” “But how can we be?” “You can’t, unless you have a new Spirit” (see Luke 11:13).

There must be a sense of need created before your message is of any use. Thousands of people in this world profess to be happy without God. But if we could be truly happy and moral without Jesus, then why did He come? He came because that kind of happiness and peace is only superficial. Jesus Christ came to “bring . . . a sword” through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself.

Test of Faithfulness

December 18th, 2013

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . . —Romans 8:28

It is only a faithful person who truly believes that God sovereignly controls his circumstances. We take our circumstances for granted, saying God is in control, but not really believing it. We act as if the things that happen were completely controlled by people. To be faithful in every circumstance means that we have only one loyalty, or object of our faith— the Lord Jesus Christ. God may cause our circumstances to suddenly fall apart, which may bring the realization of our unfaithfulness to Him for not recognizing that He had ordained the situation. We never saw what He was trying to accomplish, and that exact event will never be repeated in our life. This is where the test of our faithfulness comes. If we will just learn to worship God even during the difficult circumstances, He will change them for the better very quickly if He so chooses.

Being faithful to Jesus Christ is the most difficult thing we try to do today. We will be faithful to our work, to serving others, or to anything else; just don’t ask us to be faithful to Jesus Christ. Many Christians become very impatient when we talk about faithfulness to Jesus. Our Lord is dethroned more deliberately by Christian workers than by the world. We treat God as if He were a machine designed only to bless us, and we think of Jesus as just another one of the workers.

The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that He will be free to do His work through us. God calls us to His service and places tremendous responsibilities on us. He expects no complaining on our part and offers no explanation on His part. God wants to use us as He used His own Son.



December 18, 2013-JDV

Lord, sometimes it seems like all the promises of God are under the umbrella…”if I obey, if I do the right thing, if you want to straighten out my circumstance, if all things are in alignment. “I know my failings, my wandering heart. I know that I do not stay connected all the time. Does this mean that when I am frightened, disobedient, uncertain and disconnected that You are not there working out my life? Am I required to do “the right and Christian thing” all the time, in order to receive the blessings and benefits of being a child of God?

And God says…”The very reason for the magnitude of the sacrifice of Jesus is that I must see perfection when I look at you for our relationship. However, you are unable to live a perfect life. And I cannot grade on the curve; 90% of perfect does not work…getting or being better does not work. I require perfection, and because you are unable to live up to this requirement I gave you the perfect sacrifice and substitute; Jesus Christ.  So do not try to be perfect, do not even try to live the perfect or almost perfect life. Live life more abundantly, by staying connected to Jesus, knowing that as you are near to Him you will be transformed, over time.  Seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else you need, including how to be connected, curious and in the present with God will be provided.”

Redemption— Creating the Need it Satisfies

December 17th, 2013

The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him . . . —1 Corinthians 2:14

The gospel of God creates the sense of need for the gospel. Is the gospel hidden to those who are servants already? No, Paul said, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe . . .” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). The majority of people think of themselves as being completely moral, and have no sense of need for the gospel. It is God who creates this sense of need in a human being, but that person remains totally unaware of his need until God makes Himself evident. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you . . .” (Matthew 7:7). But God cannot give until a man asks. It is not that He wants to withhold something from us, but that is the plan He has established for the way of redemption. Through our asking, God puts His process in motion, creating something in us that was nonexistent until we asked. The inner reality of redemption is that it creates all the time. And as redemption creates the life of God in us, it also creates the things which belong to that life. The only thing that can possibly satisfy the need is what created the need. This is the meaning of redemption— it creates and it satisfies.

Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32). When we preach our own experiences, people may be interested, but it awakens no real sense of need. But once Jesus Christ is “lifted up,” the Spirit of God creates an awareness of the need for Him. The creative power of the redemption of God works in the souls of men only through the preaching of the gospel. It is never the sharing of personal experiences that saves people, but the truth of redemption. “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
It seems to me (us) that saying that you only work thru preaching is too restrictive … You are God, and can work however you want. And you can get a person’s attention however you want. The aborigine who’s never heard the “gospel” but looks up at the stars and says Wow – Thank you.

Psalm 19 19 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.

You are correct, I am God and I can achieve my objectives many different ways, including some that dont fit in the lists of traditional ways. Like the aborigine you mentioned. But this does not mean that I dont also work thru those other methods … Sometimes. I love to work through yielded vessels who are listening to me and who want to team with me in my work. Those are doing what they do for the right reason. Remember though, I am bigger. I can even get my work done through those who do what they do for the wrong reason and those with less than pure motivation. It is not for you to analyze my motivation and predict when and where I will or won’t work. You will do best to just connect with me and follow me and share as I lead. And share that same message to those I bring across your path. That message contains enough “gospel” My Holy Spirit can take it from there inside the hearts of the hearers and observers.

Wrestling Before God

December 16th, 2013

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God . . . praying always . . . — Ephesians 6:13,18


You have to wrestle against the things that prevent you from getting to God, and you wrestle in prayer for other souls; but never say that you wrestle with God in prayer, it is scripturally untrue. If you do wrestle with God, you will be crippled all the rest of your life. If, when God comes in some way you do not want, you take hold of Him as Jacob did and wrestle with Him, you compel Him to put you out of joint. Don’t be a hirpler in God’s ways, but be one who wrestles before God with things, becoming more than conqueror through Him. Wrestling before God tells in His Kingdom. If you ask me to pray for you and I am not complete in Christ, I may pray but it avails nothing; but if I am complete in Christ my prayer prevails all the time. Prayer is only effective when there is completeness – “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God.”

Always distinguish between God’s order and His permissive will, i.e., His providential purpose towards us. God’s order is unchangeable; His permissive will is that with which we must wrestle before Him. It is our reaction to the permissive will of God that enables us to get at His order. “All things work together for good to them that love God” – to those who remain true to God’s order, to His calling in Christ Jesus. God’s permissive will is the means whereby His sons and daughters are to be manifested. We are not to be like jelly-fish saying, “It’s the Lord’s will.” We have not to put up a fight before God, not to wrestle with God, but to wrestle before God with things. Beware of squatting lazily before God instead of putting up a glorious fight so that you may lay hold of His strength.

Intercessory Prayer

December 13th, 2013

. . . men always ought to pray and not lose heart —Luke 18:1

You cannot truly intercede through prayer if you do not believe in the reality of redemption. Instead, you will simply be turning intercession into useless sympathy for others, which will serve only to increase the contentment they have for remaining out of touch with God. True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance. Intercession means to “fill up . . . [with] what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24), and this is precisely why there are so few intercessors. People describe intercession by saying, “It is putting yourself in someone else’s place.” That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.

As an intercessor, be careful not to seek too much information from God regarding the situation you are praying about, because you may be overwhelmed. If you know too much, more than God has ordained for you to know, you can’t pray; the circumstances of the people become so overpowering that you are no longer able to get to the underlying truth.

Our work is to be in such close contact with God that we may have His mind about everything, but we shirk that responsibility by substituting doing for interceding. And yet intercession is the only thing that has no drawbacks, because it keeps our relationship completely open with God.

What we must avoid in intercession is praying for someone to be simply “patched up.” We must pray that person completely through into contact with the very life of God. Think of the number of people God has brought across our path, only to see us drop them! When we pray on the basis of redemption, God creates something He can create in no other way than through intercessory prayer.



December 13, 20130-JDV

God I am afraid I don’t know much about intercessory prayer versus simple prayer for others. When I pray for others, is there a formula?  Does this mean I cannot simply pray for others as I become aware of their needs, hurts and difficult circumstances?  Please help me understand and become a man that effectively prays for others early and often.

And God says…”There are no formulas. Jesus gave you but two commandments, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

“When you love Me with all your heart, mind and soul, and are connected to Me, you are transformed and cannot help but pray effectively. Concentrate on your connection with Me, and then your love and connection with others will evolve from your transformation.  Seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything else you need, including an effective intercessory prayer life, will be provided you by the Holy Spirit. “



December 12th, 2013

. . . that they may be one just as We are one . . . —John 17:22

Personality is the unique, limitless part of our life that makes us distinct from everyone else. It is too vast for us even to comprehend. An island in the sea may be just the top of a large mountain, and our personality is like that island. We don’t know the great depths of our being, therefore we cannot measure ourselves. We start out thinking we can, but soon realize that there is really only one Being who fully understands us, and that is our Creator.

Personality is the characteristic mark of the inner, spiritual man, just as individuality is the characteristic of the outer, natural man. Our Lord can never be described in terms of individuality and independence, but only in terms of His total Person— “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). Personality merges, and you only reach your true identity once you are merged with another person. When love or the Spirit of God come upon a person, he is transformed. He will then no longer insist on maintaining his individuality. Our Lord never referred to a person’s individuality or his isolated position, but spoke in terms of the total person— “. . . that they may be one just as We are one . . . .” Once your rights to yourself are surrendered to God, your true personal nature begins responding to God immediately. Jesus Christ brings freedom to your total person, and even your individuality is transformed. The transformation is brought about by love— personal devotion to Jesus. Love is the overflowing result of one person in true fellowship with another.


December 12, 2013-JDV

Lord, this has become such a regular part of my prayers …”please make me a man after Your own heart” that it sometimes becomes rote, routine; just another group of words to speak without truly embracing the impact. Lord thank You for waking me up to the idea and the potential impact of these words.  As the song says today, Lord; let Your love take me over, and stand in my place.

And God says…” If you truly want to be a man after My own heart, stay connected to Me and avoid anything that will disrupt the connection.  In your day to day eating, sleeping, working, living, and loving, be connected to Me offering up these life activities to Me. Seek Me first in all you do, and I will provide everything else you need.  I have promised that all things will work for your good.  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. I know the plans I have for you and they are plans for good and for a wonderful future.”


December 11th, 2013

Jesus said to His disciples, ’If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself . . .’ —Matthew 16:24

Individuality is the hard outer layer surrounding the inner spiritual life. Individuality shoves others aside, separating and isolating people. We see it as the primary characteristic of a child, and rightly so. When we confuse individuality with the spiritual life, we remain isolated. This shell of individuality is God’s created natural covering designed to protect the spiritual life. But our individuality must be yielded to God so that our spiritual life may be brought forth into fellowship with Him. Individuality counterfeits spirituality, just as lust counterfeits love. God designed human nature for Himself, but individuality corrupts that human nature for its own purposes.

The characteristics of individuality are independence and self-will. We hinder our spiritual growth more than any other way by continually asserting our individuality. If you say, “I can’t believe,” it is because your individuality is blocking the way; individuality can never believe. But our spirit cannot help believing. Watch yourself closely when the Spirit of God is at work in you. He pushes you to the limits of your individuality where a choice must be made. The choice is either to say, “I will not surrender,” or to surrender, breaking the hard shell of individuality, which allows the spiritual life to emerge. The Holy Spirit narrows it down every time to one thing (see Matthew 5:23-24). It is your individuality that refuses to “be reconciled to your brother” (Matthew 5:24). God wants to bring you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing to give up your right to yourself, He cannot. “. . . let him deny himself . . .”— deny his independent right to himself. Then the real life-the spiritual life-is allowed the opportunity to grow.



December 11, 2013-JDV

Lord, thank you for the reminder about my individuality…that it can get in the way. It seems that You only want one thing, my surrender to You. And when I surrender, I can relax, be at peace and simply “go play”.

And God says…”Everything in the Bible and life can be summed up in two steps; love your God with all your heart and mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Now go play. Go live life and life more abundantly; laugh, love, work, sleep, eat, knowing that I will meet all your needs, according to my riches in heaven. Know that when you seek Me first I provide everything else you need. Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart.”

“Surrender to Me, then live out your day, eagerly and expectant, curious about what I am going to do…knowing that I have plans for your good, and  I sealed that promise with My Son”

The Offering of the Natural

December 10th, 2013

It is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman —Galatians 4:22

Paul was not dealing with sin in this chapter of Galatians, but with the relation of the natural to the spiritual. The natural can be turned into the spiritual only through sacrifice. Without this a person will lead a divided life. Why did God demand that the natural must be sacrificed? God did not demand it. It is not God’s perfect will, but His permissive will. God’s perfect will was for the natural to be changed into the spiritual through obedience. Sin is what made it necessary for the natural to be sacrificed.

Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac (see Genesis 21:8-14). Some of us are trying to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice . . .” (Romans 12:1). Sanctification means more than being freed from sin. It means the deliberate commitment of myself to the God of my salvation, and being willing to pay whatever it may cost.

If we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will resist and defy the life of the Son of God in us and will produce continual turmoil. This is always the result of an undisciplined spiritual nature. We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves physically, morally, or mentally. We excuse ourselves by saying, “Well, I wasn’t taught to be disciplined when I was a child.” Then discipline yourself now! If you don’t, you will ruin your entire personal life for God.

God is not actively involved with our natural life as long as we continue to pamper and gratify it. But once we are willing to put it out in the desert and are determined to keep it under control, God will be with it. He will then provide wells and oases and fulfill all His promises for the natural (see Genesis 21:15-19).

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord, I was realizing that we are quick to agree with John the Baptist and Jesus and Paul about the Pharisees and Saducees … “You brood of vipers, etc” … But in different ways, we do our own brand of Phariseeism when we try to clean ourselves up, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and check off the checklist of what it means to be a good Christian, and all the other means of Sin Management … We miss the grace that you have for us. There is a huge difference between “got to” and “get to” I’ve got to stay out of brothels … vs I get to stay out of brothels. If I’m doing something because I have to or I must, or I ought to … then I join the Pharisee crowd and miss the best of what Jesus has for me here. On the other hand, I may do those same things motivated by my connection with you. I get to do them, rather than I’ve got to do them. It can make all the difference. Help us Lord, this day, to walk close with you, to hear your voice, and quickly obey … because we get to. And thanks for the gift you sent in Eugene Petersen, who says here in the Message…….

Romans 12:1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.