Archive for August, 2014

The Purpose of Prayer

August 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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


Journal DJR

Good morning Lord,
I think Oswald Chambers is emphasizing his point … that prayer changes me, more than things. But isn’t it true that prayer can change both … me, and the circumstances.

Yes, of course. But each of those aspects work differently. On prayer changing you… It works every time. And in a predictable way. It will lead you to Peace and Christlikeness. All my kids should do it more.

On prayer changing your circumstances… Only if you are dialed in and seeing thru my eyes and praying as I would pray will you have great success in seeing the circumstances change. Otherwise you will get focused on the outcome that you have in your mind and pray for that, instead of the way I taught you to pray, …Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, etc…

Also other things are going on and the Laws of the Universe that I created are in place. Like gravity. I can override that or any Law, but it’s not my usual M.O. Also sin and brokenness and death are in the world for a while longer.

You’ve learned to stay curious to see what I’ll do in various circumstances. Be curious about how I am making intercession, and when you see it and hear it… Join me in those prayers. Then you will see great things. Those prayers will change you AND the circumstances.

Living Your Theology

August 27th, 2014

Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you . . . —John 12:35

Beware of not acting upon what you see in your moments on the mountaintop with God. If you do not obey the light, it will turn into darkness. “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). The moment you forsake the matter of sanctification or neglect anything else on which God has given you His light, your spiritual life begins to disintegrate within you. Continually bring the truth out into your real life, working it out into every area, or else even the light that you possess will itself prove to be a curse.The most difficult person to deal with is the one who has the prideful self-satisfaction of a past experience, but is not working that experience out in his everyday life. If you say you are sanctified, show it. The experience must be so genuine that it shows in your life. Beware of any belief that makes you self-indulgent or self-gratifying; that belief came from the pit of hell itself, regardless of how beautiful it may sound.

Your theology must work itself out, exhibiting itself in your most common everyday relationships. Our Lord said, “. . . unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). In other words, you must be more moral than the most moral person you know. You may know all about the doctrine of sanctification, but are you working it out in the everyday issues of your life? Every detail of your life, whether physical, moral, or spiritual, is to be judged and measured by the standard of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.




August 27, 2014

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, sometimes I wonder how the church and church leaders moved so far along given the propensity for the “shoulds”, “ought’s” and “bewares”,  and all that other “spiritual” language full of rules and obligations. As I read this devotional by Chambers I wondered……how many people felt freed and how many  feel bound up by what they ought to do?  Lord how do we live an abundant life and still follow the guidelines offered up by this devotional and lots of church teaching about what we “ought” to be doing, and how we “ought” to be living.  For me, I much prefer the message of the song.

And God says…”I came to give you life and life more abundantly. When I said that I forgive ALL your sins, I meant all your sins; past, present and future; including the sins of forgetting to look to Me and getting caught up in your own life and developing spiritual pride and self-righteousness. Do not be concerned with what you “ought” to say or how you “ought” to act. Do not be concerned about pleasing Me; Jesus has done that for you.  You can please Me and live the abundant life when you simply seek to be connected to Jesus, yield to Him and allow Him to guide your life. And when you are not connected simply trust in My mercy and grace to cover the gaps left by your lack of faith and human frailty.  Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight….and when you do not acknowledge the Lord in all your ways, trust that the sacrifice of Jesus fills in the gaps where and when your humanity cannot.”



Are You Ever Troubled?

August 26th, 2014

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

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

Are you severely troubled right now? Are you afraid and confused by the waves and the turbulence God sovereignly allows to enter your life? Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort? Does your life seem completely barren to you? Then look up and receive the quiet contentment of the Lord Jesus. Reflecting His peace is proof that you are right with God, because you are exhibiting the freedom to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. Allowing anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you either causes you to become troubled or gives you a false sense of security.

With regard to the problem that is pressing in on you right now, are you “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2) and receiving peace from Him? If so, He will be a gracious blessing of peace exhibited in and through you. But if you only try to worry your way out of the problem, you destroy His effectiveness in you, and you deserve whatever you get. We become troubled because we have not been taking Him into account. When a person confers with Jesus Christ, the confusion stops, because there is no confusion in Him. Lay everything out before Him, and when you are faced with difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, listen to Him say, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27).

Sacrifice and Friendship

August 25th, 2014

I have called you friends . . . —John 15:15

We will never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we surrender in every detail of our lives. Yet self-surrender is the most difficult thing for us to do. We make it conditional by saying, “I’ll surrender if . . . !” Or we approach it by saying, “I suppose I have to devote my life to God.” We will never find the joy of self-sacrifice in either of these ways.

But as soon as we do totally surrender, abandoning ourselves to Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives us a taste of His joy. The ultimate goal of self-sacrifice is to lay down our lives for our Friend (see John 15:13-14). When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, our greatest desire is to lay down our lives for Jesus. Yet the thought of self-sacrifice never even crosses our minds, because sacrifice is the Holy Spirit’s ultimate expression of love.

Our Lord is our example of a life of self-sacrifice, and He perfectly exemplified Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . . .” He endured tremendous personal sacrifice, yet with overflowing joy. Have I ever yielded myself in absolute submission to Jesus Christ? If He is not the One to whom I am looking for direction and guidance, then there is no benefit in my sacrifice. But when my sacrifice is made with my eyes focused on Him, slowly but surely His molding influence becomes evident in my life (see Hebrews 12:1-2).

Beware of letting your natural desires hinder your walk in love before God. One of the cruelest ways to kill natural love is through the rejection that results from having built the love on natural desires. But the one true desire of a saint is the Lord Jesus. Love for God is not something sentimental or emotional— for a saint to love as God loves is the most practical thing imaginable.

“I have called you friends. . . .” Our friendship with Jesus is based on the new life He created in us, which has no resemblance or attraction to our old life but only to the life of God. It is a life that is completely humble, pure, and devoted to God.

The Ministry of the Unnoticed.

August 21st, 2014

Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . —Matthew 5:3

The New Testament notices things that do not seem worthy of notice by our standards. “Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . .” This literally means, “Blessed are the paupers.” Paupers are remarkably commonplace! The preaching of today tends to point out a person’s strength of will or the beauty of his character— things that are easily noticed. The statement we so often hear, “Make a decision for Jesus Christ,” places the emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him— something very different. At the foundation of Jesus Christ’s kingdom is the genuine loveliness of those who are commonplace. I am truly blessed in my poverty. If I have no strength of will and a nature without worth or excellence, then Jesus says to me, “Blessed are you, because it is through your poverty that you can enter My kingdom.” I cannot enter His kingdom by virtue of my goodness— I can only enter it as an absolute pauper.

The true character of the loveliness that speaks for God is always unnoticed by the one possessing that quality. Conscious influence is prideful and unchristian. If I wonder if I am being of any use to God, I instantly lose the beauty and the freshness of the touch of the Lord. “He who believes in Me . . . out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). And if I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord.

Who are the people who have influenced us most? Certainly not the ones who thought they did, but those who did not have even the slightest idea that they were influencing us. In the Christian life, godly influence is never conscious of itself. If we are conscious of our influence, it ceases to have the genuine loveliness which is characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Thank you for the clarity that we can use defensiveness as a “dashboard indicator” that we are disconnected from you. We never saw you being defensive. When we are defensive … from someone wanting to control us or put us down … we can look to our connection with you … And we will find peace. Even in the storm and even if the people attacking us dont change. That is the other dashboard indicator … the Peace Meter. If our Peace Meter is at 100%, we can be assured that, as the song says, “it is well with my soul” These are really helpful indicators. But knowing about them and walking in peace all the time without any defensiveness are two different things. How do we implement … turn this knowledge into wisdom?

Dont get too analytical. Analysis of peace will chase the peace away. Rather, keep these dashboard indicators in the background. Dont look at them all the time. that is not peace. Just like in your car, look at them occasionally and know the ones that need immediate attention. Those will flash or even buzz. Like the low fuel gage. or the seatbelt alarm. Stress and defensiveness are like those. The solution is to step back, come to me, remind yourself that I am with you, and stay curious, knowing that you and I can have peace, even when another person is fighting their own demons. Let the peace sneak up on you. Notice it happily and move on with what’s next. That’s the best kind.


August 20th, 2014

. . . and I will give you rest —Matthew 11:28

Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once, asking Him to re-establish your rest. Never allow anything to remain in your life that is causing the unrest. Think of every detail of your life that is causing the disintegration as something to fight against, not as something you should allow to remain. Ask the Lord to put awareness of Himself in you, and your self-awareness will disappear. Then He will be your all in all. Beware of allowing your self-awareness to continue, because slowly but surely it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is satanic. Don’t allow yourself to say, “Well, they have just misunderstood me, and this is something over which they should be apologizing to me; I’m sure I must have this cleared up with them already.” Learn to leave others alone regarding this. Simply ask the Lord to give you Christ-awareness, and He will steady you until your completeness in Him is absolute.A complete life is the life of a child. When I am fully conscious of my awareness of Christ, there is something wrong. It is the sick person who really knows what health is. A child of God is not aware of the will of God because he is the will of God. When we have deviated even slightly from the will of God, we begin to ask, “Lord, what is your will?” A child of God never prays to be made aware of the fact that God answers prayer, because he is so restfully certain that God always answers prayer.

If we try to overcome our self-awareness through any of our own commonsense methods, we will only serve to strengthen our self-awareness tremendously. Jesus says, “Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest,” that is, Christ-awareness will take the place of self-awareness. Wherever Jesus comes He establishes rest— the rest of the completion of activity in our lives that is never aware of itself.



August 20, 2014

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this devotional says that when I am aware of You, my connection with You  is not right; that when I am well connected to You, it is such a natural thing, that I am not even aware of being in Your will, I am Your will.  Perhaps the lesson is as Dave wrote yesterday, simply live in joy and peace in the moment, because when we are truly connected to You we are not even aware of any other way to live.

And God says…”Trust in God with all your heart, do not rely on your own understanding and I will make your paths straight. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything else you need in your day will be provided. It is not unusual for you to focus on your life circumstances, or difficult situations, but it is not beneficial. When you focus on your circumstances, you give them power.  When you focus on Me and are connected, your circumstances do not even register.  You know that I will make your paths straight, you know that I will give you rest, you know that I will give you the desires of our heart. When you are connected with Me, you can simply live in the moment, knowing that all things work for good of those that love the Lord.  You know that I have a good plan for you, to prosper and keep you. Simply be connected to Me and live out these promises without even considering the how or why. You simply know and understand that I am God, and I love you with an all consuming love.”


August 19th, 2014

Come to Me . . . —Matthew 11:28

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

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



Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
This business of Coming to You. It seems like it should be so simple … and maybe someday it will be. But stumbling away from you, pursuing some project or thought or stress or emotion … it’s so easy. And I find myself away and with you nowhere in my thoughts. Then I jerk my mind back to you but it only stays fixed on you for a period of time… then wanders off again. I must be doing something wrong.

You are describing exactly the self awareness and self analysis that Chambers is referring to in the devotion today. It will rob your joy and send you in a tailspin of analysis … in which you will never measure up or be “good enough” Look at your dog. And live like him. at least in this aspect. He lives in the moment. He does not analyze himself to see whether he has been thinking about you enough. Or whether he is being an adequately “good dog” When he sees you, he’s instantly ready to go. Throw a stick. There’s no analysis about the trajectory of the arc or whether getting the stick is an A, B, or C priority. He just lives in the moment and goes all out, going after the stick.

Of course there are some add-ons to the metaphor when we move it from dogs to humans. But analysis and continual self criticism is not one of the human capabilities that leads to a happy, peaceful life. Simply dedicate each day to following me and watching for clues and just live in the moment, giving 100% to the tasks at hand. Stay curious and I will lead you. If you dedicate your life and your day to me and you dont sense me for a time…. perhaps I’m taking off the training wheels and watching to see how you do. Dont worry, I have not left you. I will never leave you or forsake you …. even if you dont feel me always.

Have You Ever Been Speechless with Sorrow?

August 18th, 2014

When he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich —Luke 18:23

The rich young ruler went away from Jesus speechless with sorrow, having nothing to say in response to Jesus’ words. He had no doubt about what Jesus had said or what it meant, and it produced in him a sorrow with no words with which to respond. Have you ever been there? Has God’s Word ever come to you, pointing out an area of your life, requiring you to yield it to Him? Maybe He has pointed out certain personal qualities, desires, and interests, or possibly relationships of your heart and mind. If so, then you have often been speechless with sorrow. The Lord will not go after you, and He will not plead with you. But every time He meets you at the place where He has pointed, He will simply repeat His words, saying, “If you really mean what you say, these are the conditions.”“Sell all that you have . . .” (Luke 18:22). In other words, rid yourself before God of everything that might be considered a possession until you are a mere conscious human being standing before Him, and then give God that. That is where the battle is truly fought— in the realm of your will before God. Are you more devoted to your idea of what Jesus wants than to Jesus Himself? If so, you are likely to hear one of His harsh and unyielding statements that will produce sorrow in you. What Jesus says is difficult— it is only easy when it is heard by those who have His nature in them. Beware of allowing anything to soften the hard words of Jesus Christ.

I can be so rich in my own poverty, or in the awareness of the fact that I am nobody, that I will never be a disciple of Jesus. Or I can be so rich in the awareness that I am somebody that I will never be a disciple. Am I willing to be destitute and poor even in my sense of awareness of my destitution and poverty? If not, that is why I become discouraged. Discouragement is disillusioned self-love, and self-love may be love for my devotion to Jesus— not love for Jesus Himself.



August 18, 2014

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, it seems that every devotional lately is conditional. I can follow you if…or if I really mean what I say then I will do this to prove it to You.  I am already concerned about my inability to stay continually connected to You. I stray, say the wrong thing (s), and I am often selfish and self-centered.  How is it that You love me unconditionally, and then offer up conditional devotionals like this one?

And God says…”My love is never conditional. Your connection to my love, is conditional in that you can be connected to many other things.  You can surrender portions of your life, and hold back other areas of your life. This lesson is about holding back nothing; about giving your life to Me. If you are willing and able to do that, then you are connected. Very often you are willing to surrender the portions of your life that are broken, but are you willing to give me the areas of your life that (in your mind) are not? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding and I will make your paths straight. And if you find that you cannot surrender what you hold dear, simply ask my help and direction.  I know you believe, and I will help you in your unbelief.”


The Discipline of the Lord

August 14th, 2014

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

It is very easy to grieve the Spirit of God; we do it by despising the discipline of the Lord, or by becoming discouraged when He rebukes us. If our experience of being set apart from sin and being made holy through the process of sanctification is still very shallow, we tend to mistake the reality of God for something else. And when the Spirit of God gives us a sense of warning or restraint, we are apt to say mistakenly, “Oh, that must be from the devil.”“Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and do not despise Him when He says to you, in effect, “Don’t be blind on this point anymore— you are not as far along spiritually as you thought you were. Until now I have not been able to reveal this to you, but I’m revealing it to you right now.” When the Lord disciplines you like that, let Him have His way with you. Allow Him to put you into a right-standing relationship before God.“. . . nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him.” We begin to pout, become irritated with God, and then say, “Oh well, I can’t help it. I prayed and things didn’t turn out right anyway. So I’m simply going to give up on everything.” Just think what would happen if we acted like this in any other area of our lives!

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



August 14, 2014

Journal for Today-JDV

Father God, it seems like almost every other devotional from Chambers is about beware of this, beware of that. If I do not do this then this will occur, and I can only receive God’s favor if I do such and such. And now I read that God loves me when I am disciplined and rebuked. Can you help me understand this, because it doesn’t seem right.

And God says…”I can see how this can be misinterpreted, and as you know my people have been trying to help Me out with their interpretations of how to please Me since time and the garden. Here is the very simple explanation: when you pursue your own ways and means and goals, leaving Me out of your thoughts and pursuits, you will not find true happiness and or peace. Regardless of your circumstances, seek to be connected to Me, curious and expectant about how I will bless you and your situations, and you will find true peace, joy and happiness. because I will be guiding your life. Seek first the kingdom of God which is Jesus, and I will provide everything else you require, including joy and peace. And remember, my yoke is never burdensome.”

Do Not Quench the Spirit”

August 13th, 2014

Do not quench the Spirit —1 Thessalonians 5:19

The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it. The sense of warning and restraint that the Spirit gives comes to us in the most amazingly gentle ways. And if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice, you will quench it, and your spiritual life will be impaired. This sense of restraint will always come as a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12), so faint that no one except a saint of God will notice it.Beware if in sharing your personal testimony you continually have to look back, saying, “Once, a number of years ago, I was saved.” If you have put your “hand to the plow” and are walking in the light, there is no “looking back”— the past is instilled into the present wonder of fellowship and oneness with God (Luke 9:62 ; also see 1 John 1:6-7). If you get out of the light, you become a sentimental Christian, and live only on your memories, and your testimony will have a hard metallic ring to it. Beware of trying to cover up your present refusal to “walk in the light” by recalling your past experiences when you did “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7). When-ever the Spirit gives you that sense of restraint, call a halt and make things right, or else you will go on quenching and grieving Him without even knowing it.Suppose God brings you to a crisis and you almost endure it, but not completely. He will engineer the crisis again, but this time some of the intensity will be lost. You will have less discernment and more humiliation at having disobeyed. If you continue to grieve His Spirit, there will come a time when that crisis cannot be repeated, because you have totally quenched Him. But if you will go on through the crisis, your life will become a hymn of praise to God. Never become attached to anything that continues to hurt God. For you to be free of it, God must be allowed to hurt whatever it may be.______________________________________________________________


August 13, 2014

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord the implication I am reading here from Chambers is that if, because of my inattention and focus, I do not hear Your voice, You will stop talking to me; I will quench Your Spirit. Is that right? If so, this feels like one more “quid pro quo” from religious leaders: I must do this or that in order to receive from You.  I must walk in the light. Not look backward, beware of this or that.  Sometimes it feels like a tightrope I must walk in order to get it “just right” or I will miss your voice.  

And God says…”I will never leave you or desert you. Once you come to me, you cannot remove yourself from My voice or the Spirit.  However, if you get out of the habit of hearing My voice, you can miss Me speaking to you. If you seek Me you will find Me. When you knock I will answer, and do not worry about what others say you must do or do not do in order to hear my voice. Whenever you call upon my name you will hear Me.  Sometimes you get caught up in following your own paths and you will not find Me in your ways and means.  When you walk with your life firmly in your control it will be very difficult to hear Me. But when you acknowledge Me as your Lord and seek Jesus in your daily living, you will hear Me. And you will hear Me in your pain and crisis. As C.S. Lewis said…“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”  Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will provide everything else you require for daily living. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight.  You need not worry about quenching the Spirit when you are connected to Jesus, curious about how He will deal with your circumstances, as you expect Him to act on your behalf.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own ways and means, and He will make your paths straight.”