Archive for February, 2014

Are You Listening to God?

February 12th, 2014

They said to Moses, ’You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die’ `—Exodus 20:19

We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.“You speak with us, . . . but let not God speak with us . . . .” We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative. We respond by saying, “Well, that’s only your own idea, even though I don’t deny that what you said is probably God’s truth.”Am I constantly humiliating God by ignoring Him, while He lovingly continues to treat me as His child? Once I finally do hear Him, the humiliation I have heaped on Him returns to me. My response then becomes, “Lord, why was I so insensitive and obstinate?” This is always the result once we hear God. But our real delight in finally hearing Him is tempered with the shame we feel for having taken so long to do so.



February 12, 2014-JDV

Lord, thank you for the reminder from the song that all you ever wanted was my heart.  It is interesting that we think You really want us to perform; do the right things, be a better person, but You never really called on us to perform, or do the right things. You simply called on us to love You with all of our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Thank you for the reminder that all you ever want is my heart.

And God says…”I asked for the hearts of the Israelites when they were in the desert, and they asked for rules. It is all I want from you ….. your heart. Be connected to Me, give Me your heart, and I will provide all you need for the rest of your daily living.  Trust in Me with all your heart; do not trust your own understanding and I will make your paths straight.  For this day, be connected to Me, trust Me to provide all you need, and remain curious and expectant observing how I meet all your needs.”



Is Your Mind Stayed on God?

February 11th, 2014

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You —Isaiah 26:3

Is your mind stayed on God or is it starved? Starvation of the mind, caused by neglect, is one of the chief sources of exhaustion and weakness in a servant’s life. If you have never used your mind to place yourself before God, begin to do it now. There is no reason to wait for God to come to you. You must turn your thoughts and your eyes away from the face of idols and look to Him and be saved (see Isaiah 45:22).

Your mind is the greatest gift God has given you and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him. You should seek to be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This will be one of the greatest assets of your faith when a time of trial comes, because then your faith and the Spirit of God will work together. When you have thoughts and ideas that are worthy of credit to God, learn to compare and associate them with all that happens in nature-the rising and the setting of the sun, the shining of the moon and the stars, and the changing of the seasons. You will begin to see that your thoughts are from God as well, and your mind will no longer be at the mercy of your impulsive thinking, but will always be used in service to God.

“We have sinned with our fathers . . . [and] . . . did not remember . . .” (Psalm 106:6-7). Then prod your memory and wake up immediately. Don’t say to yourself, “But God is not talking to me right now.” He ought to be. Remember whose you are and whom you serve. Encourage yourself to remember, and your affection for God will increase tenfold. Your mind will no longer be starved, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright.

Good morning Lord,
This makes total sense … when I look at it objectively. I can see that when the focus of my mind is off target, thinking my own ideas and about my own problems and struggles it is truly the devil’s playground and I can generate a lot of stress and depression. Or I can choose to not focus on all that stuff and focus on you and just stay curious and expectant about all that other stuff … and life will be better, my life, and the lives of those around me. And your kingdom will be better served. So it’s all good, to “keep my mind stayed on you” But I have two questions? Why can’t I seem to do this more consistently? And How do I share this concept with those who are hurting and I can see that this would be really good medicine for them. (even though I’d feel hypocritical prescribing it for them because I dont follow it so well myself)

The first step to cure a wandering mind is simply to decide. Decide to focus on me and our relationship. That will last a short time. But dont accept defeat. I do not condemn you when you fail and your mind begins to wander. But I’m happy when you bring your mind back to me. I’m really happy when you get consistent at that and I know I can rely on you to always and quickly bring your mind back to centering on our relationship. The more you do that, the more communication and blessings I will be able to pour out on you. And that is my desire. Here it is in The Message:

People with their minds set on you,
you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Isaiah 26:3

So make the decision, And keep on making it. Dont waste time feeling guilty when you “fall off the horse” . Just get back on. Re-make the decision to keep your mind focused on me and our relationship. Replace guilt with curiosity. Stay curious about how long you can maintain focus and what stressors you will allow to draw you away next time. Go ahead. Be curious about whether there is a problem too big for me to handle. Watch and see. Together we can handle all that will come your way

Is Your Ability to See God Blinded?

February 10th, 2014

Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things . . . —Isaiah 40:26

The people of God in Isaiah’s time had blinded their minds’ ability to see God by looking on the face of idols. But Isaiah made them look up at the heavens; that is, he made them begin to use their power to think and to visualize correctly. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades, if we will only begin to use our blinded thinking to visualize it.The real test of spiritual focus is being able to bring your mind and thoughts under control. Is your mind focused on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Is it your work? Is it your idea of what a servant should be, or maybe your experience of salvation and sanctification? If so, then your ability to see God is blinded. You will be powerless when faced with difficulties and will be forced to endure in darkness. If your power to see has been blinded, don’t look back on your own experiences, but look to God. It is God you need. Go beyond yourself and away from the faces of your idols and away from everything else that has been blinding your thinking. Wake up and accept the ridicule that Isaiah gave to his people, and deliberately turn your thoughts and your eyes to God.One of the reasons for our sense of futility in prayer is that we have lost our power to visualize. We can no longer even imagine putting ourselves deliberately before God. It is actually more important to be broken bread and poured-out wine in the area of intercession than in our personal contact with others. The power of visualization is what God gives a saint so that he can go beyond himself and be firmly placed into relationships he never before experienced.




February 10, 2014-JDV

Lord, I would truly like to live the words to the song …”Let them see You in me”. But I am afraid that I spend too much time and energy just trying to keep myself on the “straight and narrow”. I spend too much time trying to find my own blessings and opportunities…. to find my own way.  Lord, please help me to be connected to You so that I can surrender my own notions (and perhaps even the notions of my church) about how to live day to day to day. Help me be connected to You so that I can become a man after Your own heart.

And God says…”You can be connected to Me by simply giving up your ideas of how to work, live and love. Trust Me with your minute by minute, hour by hour day by day steps of living.  Seek Me first in all you take on this day: Your work, living, loving, giving….all of it, and I will give you everything else you need. You do not need to know any of the answers in advance, I know the answers, your role is to trust Me; and to trust that I will keep my word to you.  How can you fail to trust a God that gives up His own Son?  Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart.  You can help them see Me in you, by simply trusting Me to live through you as you surrender. “

Are You Ready To Be Poured Out As an Offering? (2)

February 6th, 2014

I am already being poured out as a drink offering . . . —2 Timothy 4:6

Are you ready to be poured out as an offering? It is an act of your will, not your emotions. Tell God you are ready to be offered as a sacrifice for Him. Then accept the consequences as they come, without any complaints, in spite of what God may send your way. God sends you through a crisis in private, where no other person can help you. From the outside your life may appear to be the same, but the difference is taking place in your will. Once you have experienced the crisis in your will, you will take no thought of the cost when it begins to affect you externally. If you don’t deal with God on the level of your will first, the result will be only to arouse sympathy for yourself.

“Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar” (Psalm 118:27). You must be willing to be placed on the altar and go through the fire; willing to experience what the altar represents-burning, purification, and separation for only one purpose-the elimination of every desire and affection not grounded in or directed toward God. But you don’t eliminate it, God does. You “bind the sacrifice . . . to the horns of the altar” and see to it that you don’t wallow in self-pity once the fire begins. After you have gone through the fire, there will be nothing that will be able to trouble or depress you. When another crisis arises, you will realize that things cannot touch you as they used to do. What fire lies ahead in your life?

Tell God you are ready to be poured out as an offering, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.

Are You Ready To Be Poured Out As an Offering? (1)

February 5th, 2014

If I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all—Philippians 2:17

Are you willing to sacrifice yourself for the work of another believer—to pour out your life sacrificially for the ministry and faith of others? Or do you say, “I am not willing to be poured out right now, and I don’t want God to tell me how to serve Him. I want to choose the place of my own sacrifice. And I want to have certain people watching me and saying, ’Well done.’
”It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased . . .” (Philippians 4:12). Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket—to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served?
Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted—not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work while maintaining a saintly attitude, because they feel such service is beneath their dignity.

February 5, 2015- JDV

God is this lesson about helping others or is it about allowing You to help others through me? I am not certain I can respond to the obligation and guilt that Oswald Chambers uses so well in many of his devotionals. In fact I am not even certain that obligation and guilt have any place at all in spiritual lessons. One thing You have taught us is that if we do anything for You apart from the motivation of love, it is wrong.

And God says…”I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. I do not want your fearful obedience. I do not want you to help others out of some sort of obligation and fear.  And I do not want you to reach out to help others because you feel it is your “duty”.  I gave you Jesus so that you could see my love for you, and so that you would be transformed and connected to Me. I gave you Jesus so that we could and would have a relationship of love. When you are connected to Me and you allow Jesus to live through you, you will be as amazed (as well as everyone else) by your actions to help others.  When you are connected to Me and allow Jesus to live though you, you reach out to help others, because you are unable to do anything less, given the love that pours out from Me to you. “

Becoming the “Filth of the World”

February 3rd, 2014


We have been made as the filth of the world . . . —1 Corinthians 4:13

These words are not an exaggeration. The only reason they may not be true of us who call ourselves ministers of the gospel is not that Paul forgot or misunderstood the exact truth of them, but that we are too cautious and concerned about our own desires to allow ourselves to become the refuse or “filth of the world.” “Fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ . . .” (Colossians 1:24) is not the result of the holiness of sanctification, but the evidence of consecration-being “separated to the gospel of God . . .” (Romans 1:1).“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you . . .” (1 Peter 4:12). If we do think the things we encounter are strange, it is because we are fearful and cowardly. We pay such close attention to our own interests and desires that we stay out of the mire and say, “I won’t submit; I won’t bow or bend.” And you don’t have to— you can be saved by the “skin of your teeth” if you like. You can refuse to let God count you as one who is “separated to the gospel . . . .” Or you can say, “I don’t care if I am treated like ’the filth of the world’ as long as the gospel is proclaimed.” A true servant of Jesus Christ is one who is willing to experience martyrdom for the reality of the gospel of God. When a moral person is confronted with contempt, immorality, disloyalty, or dishonesty, he is so repulsed by the offense that he turns away and in despair closes his heart to the offender. But the miracle of the redemptive reality of God is that the worst and the vilest offender can never exhaust the depths of His love. Paul did not say that God separated him to show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but “to reveal His Son in me. . .” (Galatians 1:16).

February 3, 2014

Lord please help me live out this song…whatever will come my way….I won’t be shaken.  When circumstances seem to be too much, I seem to only be able to see the circumstances, and wonder about my position with You. I mean if I am Your son, a man after your own heart, how can I be placed in these circumstances so often?  How can I find myself struggling over and over with the same trials with relationships, tent making, and my walk with You? I would think by now I would have achieved a certain position that would not allow me to be shaken by circumstances or difficulties.


And God says…”All things work for the good of those that love God and are called according to His purpose. All things work for your good…everything that occurs in your life; all the circumstances, all the difficulties, all the victories, all your achievements and failures to achieve work for your good.”

“It may not appear to be that way, when your life and daily living does not turn out the way you think it should or would like it to.  But consider that I know what is good for you, in the very long run, not just this life but the everlasting next life as well.  I know what will help make you a man after My own heart.  If I would not spare My own Son how would I withhold any good thing from you?  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own devices, and I will make your paths straight. Simply be connected to Jesus, and trust Me to work out and provide all that you need in this world.”