Archive for November, 2014

The Riches of the Destitute

November 28th, 2014

…being justified freely by His grace… —Romans 3:24

The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service— I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. Until we get there, our Lord is powerless. He can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution. As long as we are “rich,” particularly in the area of pride or independence, God can do nothing for us. It is only when we get hungry spiritually that we receive the Holy Spirit. The gift of the essential nature of God is placed and made effective in us by the Holy Spirit. He imparts to us the quickening life of Jesus, making us truly alive. He takes that which was “beyond” us and places it “within” us. And immediately, once “the beyond” has come “within,” it rises up to “the above,” and we are lifted into the kingdom where Jesus lives and reigns (see John 3:5).

Journal Entry for Today

November 28 2014

Lord, thank You, and Oswald Chambers for reminding me that I can do nothing without You. And as long as I think I am sufficient, in any area, You are unable to act on my behalf…in that area.  I once heard that You are a true gentleman Lord; that You will not interrupt my own efforts and self-sufficiency with your intercession. That You will not interrupt my own efforts and self-sufficiency with You supernatural effort and power. Like Chambers says, “I must be destitute”; unable either by circumstance or decision, to do anything on my own behalf. I must first surrender to You.

And God says…”Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. The operative word for this lesson is the word “all”.  Acknowledge Me means to be connected to Me. Historically You have taken the “bull by the horns” when you believed you had the experience, knowledge, personal power and resources to act.  In the past you showed Me that….. If you could do it, or believed you could do it without Me, then you would take action. You called on Me when you were faced with circumstances and difficulties you could not overcome on your own, or after your attempts and effort proved insufficient. When that occurred, you would look to Me. However, the word in the scripture is “ALL”…acknowledge Me in ALL your ways and do not rely on your own ways and means, or your own understanding, and I will make your paths straight.”

“Do not wait for success or failure before looking to Me. Know that I am God and I love you beyond your ability to understand. I came to give you life and life more abundantly, and every good thing. Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart. And when it seems that I have not shown up or you feel anxious and believe you must “take action” remember the scripture: they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

The Consecration of Spiritual Power

November 27th, 2014

…by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. —Galatians 6:14

If I dwell on the Cross of Christ, I do not simply become inwardly devout and solely interested in my own holiness— I become strongly focused on Jesus Christ’s interests. Our Lord was not a recluse nor a fanatical holy man practicing self-denial. He did not physically cut Himself off from society, but He was inwardly disconnected all the time. He was not aloof, but He lived in another world. In fact, He was so much in the common everyday world that the religious people of His day accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard. Yet our Lord never allowed anything to interfere with His consecration of spiritual power.It is not genuine consecration to think that we can refuse to be used of God now in order to store up our spiritual power for later use. That is a hopeless mistake. The Spirit of God has set a great many people free from their sin, yet they are experiencing no fullness in their lives— no true sense of freedom. The kind of religious life we see around the world today is entirely different from the vigorous holiness of the life of Jesus Christ. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). We are to be in the world but not of it— to be separated internally, not externally (see John 17:16).We must never allow anything to interfere with the consecration of our spiritual power. Consecration (being dedicated to God’s service) is our part; sanctification (being set apart from sin and being made holy) is God’s part. We must make a deliberate determination to be interested only in what God is interested. The way to make that determination, when faced with a perplexing problem, is to ask yourself, “Is this the kind of thing in which Jesus Christ is interested, or is it something in which the spirit that is diametrically opposed to Jesus is interested?”



Journal Entry for Today-JDV

November 27 2014

Lord, thank you for the devotional and song that reinforces these recent lessons: that being connected to You is more than just being close to You, it is allowing You to not only transform my heart and mind but to also transform my circumstances and to keep me focused on Your issues. And Lord I ask You to help me understand the difference between my issues, the world’s issues, church issues and Your issues. Help me to be connected and engaged in Your issues.

And God says…”Acknowledge Me in all your ways and do not rely on your own understanding and I will make your paths straight. I came to give you abundant life, and when you are connected to Me, focused on My will and directions for your life is when you will feel the most happiness, the most fulfilled and complete. Be thankful for your connection to Jesus and the spirit of God that directs you and provides the capacity and opportunity to walk in My will this day.  And remember to take up My cross daily, seek your manna daily. You cannot store up this connection; I meet you at the point of your need and happiness every day. Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you.”   

The Focal Point of Spiritual Power

November 26th, 2014

…except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… —Galatians 6:14

If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God. Instantly the power of God will be in you. “Look to Me…” (Isaiah 45:22). Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s focal point in your preaching, and even if your listeners seem to pay it no attention, they will never be the same again. If I share my own words, they are of no more importance than your words are to me. But if we share the truth of God with one another, we will encounter it again and again. We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross.
If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives. In holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings, the focus tends to be put not on the Cross of Christ but on the effects of the Cross.The feebleness of the church is being criticized today, and the criticism is justified. One reason for the feebleness is that there has not been this focus on the true center of spiritual power. We have not dwelt enough on the tragedy of Calvary or on the meaning of redemption.

Journal Entry for Today

November 26 2014

Lord, thank you for the lessons on spiritual power. Thank you for teaching me that when I am down and feeling lost inside difficult circumstances that you provide relief and rescue in the person of Jesus and the cross. The circumstances may not change, however I become acutely aware that the circumstances mean nothing compared to the power of the cross.  And it becomes abundantly clear when you tell me to pick up my cross and follow You, you have told me to pick up my circumstances, difficult and challenging times and follow Jesus. And when I do focus on Jesus while picking up my cross daily; I am transformed.

And God says…”That is correct.  Your cross is defined as the daily issues of your life; good times and bad times: Family times, holidays, all the time. You pick up your cross by focusing on Jesus, all the time. Do not focus on your circumstances, do not dwell on your pain or the “what ifs” of life. Focus on Jesus, as you live in your circumstances for this day, and be transformed. Your transformation and resurrection above your circumstances is and always will be the result of your connection to Jesus. Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart.”

The Secret of Spiritual Consistency

November 25th, 2014

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

When a person is newly born again, he seems inconsistent due to his unrelated emotions and the state of the external things or circumstances in his life. The apostle Paul had a strong and steady underlying consistency in his life. Consequently, he could let his external life change without internal distress because he was rooted and grounded in God. Most of us are not consistent spiritually because we are more concerned about being consistent externally. In the external expression of things, Paul lived in the basement, while his critics lived on the upper level. And these two levels do not begin to touch each other. But Paul’s consistency was down deep in the fundamentals. The great basis of his consistency was the agony of God in the redemption of the world, namely, the Cross of Christ.

State your beliefs to yourself again. Get back to the foundation of the Cross of Christ, doing away with any belief not based on it. In secular history the Cross is an infinitesimally small thing, but from the biblical perspective it is of more importance than all the empires of the world. If we get away from dwelling on the tragedy of God on the Cross in our preaching, our preaching produces nothing. It will not transmit the energy of God to man; it may be interesting, but it will have no power. However, when we preach the Cross, the energy of God is released. “…it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.…we preach Christ crucified…” (1 Corinthians 1:21, 23).


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
We look at Paul going thru tough circumstances, seemingly with a calm demeanor and without wavering. And we see Jesus going thru the crucifixion week also resolutely and without wavering. Of course both Jesus and Paul had their moments. If not, it wouldn’t have been “a cross, an instrument of death” Father, why have you forsaken me? … I do what I don’t want, etc Paul. But after those moments both Paul and Jesus yielded to the circumstances and “went on thru” … And came out the other side. It seems that Jesus had his moment in Gethsemane, but after that, he was resolute and calm. Is that the goal for us? And how do we get there if we find ourselves falling short of that model and stressing out, etc?

The reason that the stories are in the Book is for your study and growth in faith. You will note that lots of shortcomings are also recorded in the Book. They are for your learning and shaping as well. The saying that you must build your barn before the storm applies here. If you want to go thru tough circumstances with an inner calm… that ability and trust must be built before the storm hits. You are doing that as you wrestle with these issues. Stay connected with me and know that each little issue that comes your way is a practice opportunity for larger challenges.

Direction of Focus

November 24th, 2014

Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters…, so our eyes look to the Lord our God… —Psalm 123:2

This verse is a description of total reliance on God. Just as the eyes of a servant are riveted on his master, our eyes should be directed to and focused on God. This is how knowledge of His countenance is gained and how God reveals Himself to us (see Isaiah 53:1). Our spiritual strength begins to be drained when we stop lifting our eyes to Him. Our stamina is sapped, not so much through external troubles surrounding us but through problems in our thinking. We wrongfully think, “I suppose I’ve been stretching myself a little too much, standing too tall and trying to look like God instead of being an ordinary humble person.”
We have to realize that no effort can be too high.For example, you came to a crisis in your life, took a stand for God, and even had the witness of the Spirit as a confirmation that what you did was right. But now, maybe weeks or years have gone by, and you are slowly coming to the conclusion— “Well, maybe what I did showed too much pride or was superficial. Was I taking a stand a bit too high for me?” Your “rational” friends come and say, “Don’t be silly.
We knew when you first talked about this spiritual awakening that it was a passing impulse, that you couldn’t hold up under the strain. And anyway, God doesn’t expect you to endure.” You respond by saying, “Well, I suppose I was expecting too much.” That sounds humble to say, but it means that your reliance on God is gone, and you are now relying on worldly opinion.
The danger comes when, no longer relying on God, you neglect to focus your eyes on Him. Only when God brings you to a sudden stop will you realize that you have been the loser. Whenever there is a spiritual drain in your life, correct it immediately. Realize that something has been coming between you and God, and change or remove it at once.

November 24 2014

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this devotional sounds like our regular, standard everyday fare…”Stay connected to You, and I will know You are near to me.  But Lord that is not always so easy.  How do I do that? How do I stay connected and feel the strength of Your faith, love, power and grace when circumstances all around suggest that You are not here?   What do I do when my prayers seem to go unanswered, and I feel like you have gone on vacation… or that I am unworthy of Your intercession, or that You are teaching me one more lesson on waiting?  What do I do when it feels like You simply have not shown up?

And God says…”Just because I do not demonstrate My presence as you would like, does not mean that I am not there with you.  Just because you do not “feel” my presence does not mean I am not there with you. I am God, I know the future I have for you, a future for good…and I demonstrate my presence as I determine.  Trust My word, not your senses, feelings or ideas. Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you. Seek first the kingdom of God and I will provide everything else you require. Trust in Me (not your feelings, awareness, or senses, or ideas of how I should manifest Myself for and to you)…and do not rely on your own devices and I will make your paths straight.  Remember, the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

The Forgiveness of God

November 20th, 2014

In Him we have…the forgiveness of sins… —Ephesians 1:7

Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God: God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That thought, based solely on emotion, cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. The only basis on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To base our forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive our sin and reinstate us to His favor is through the Cross of Christ. There is no other way! Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony at Calvary. We should never take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and our sanctification in simple faith, and then forget the enormous cost to God that made all of this ours.

Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. The cost to God was the Cross of Christ. To forgive sin, while remaining a holy God, this price had to be paid. Never accept a view of the fatherhood of God if it blots out the atonement. The revealed truth of God is that without the atonement He cannot forgive— He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God through the atonement of the Cross. God’s forgiveness is possible only in the supernatural realm.

Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is small. Sanctification is simply the wonderful expression or evidence of the forgiveness of sins in a human life. But the thing that awakens the deepest fountain of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven his sin. Paul never got away from this. Once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vise, constrained by the love of God.


Journal DJR
Good morning Lord,
Today, right now, I am grateful. Grateful for your salvation and atonement sacrifice that allows me to come into relationship with you and receive your love. Staying grateful, consciously grateful, as the challenges of life come my way … that is the challenge. I sometimes feel disconnected, and ungratefulness usually comes along with that. How can I hold onto the gratefulness more consistently?

There will be an ebb and flow. It’s natural and part of the human condition. After a busy schedule of being with people, I needed to get away and recharge and reconnect with my purpose and my power source. That’s what you are doing when you consciously re-connect. You wouldn’t need to reconnect if there had not been a disconnect. Life will do that to you. Expect it. But don’t live there. Reconnect with me. Make it part of your life structure. It is one of the few things that is safe to make a structure around.

Winning into Freedom

November 18th, 2014

If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. —John 8:36

If there is even a trace of individual self-satisfaction left in us, it always says, “I can’t surrender,” or “I can’t be free.” But the spiritual part of our being never says “I can’t”; it simply soaks up everything around it. Our spirit hungers for more and more. It is the way we are built. We are designed with a great capacity for God, but sin, our own individuality, and wrong thinking keep us from getting to Him. God delivers us from sin— we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality. This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life through our obedience.

God pays no attention to our natural individuality in the development of our spiritual life. His plan runs right through our natural life. We must see to it that we aid and assist God, and not stand against Him by saying, “I can’t do that.” God will not discipline us; we must discipline ourselves. God will not bring our “arguments…and every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)— we have to do it. Don’t say, “Oh, Lord, I suffer from wandering thoughts.” Don’t suffer from wandering thoughts. Stop listening to the tyranny of your individual natural life and win freedom into the spiritual life.

“If the Son makes you free….” Do not substitute Savior for Son in this passage. The Savior has set us free from sin, but this is the freedom that comes from being set free from myself by the Son. It is what Paul meant in Galatians 2:20 when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” His individuality had been broken and his spirit had been united with his Lord; not just merged into Him, but made one with Him. “…you shall be free indeed”— free to the very core of your being; free from the inside to the outside. We tend to rely on our own energy, instead of being energized by the power that comes from identification with Jesus.

The Eternal Goal

November 17th, 2014

By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing…I will bless you… —Genesis 22:16-17

Abraham, at this point, has reached where he is in touch with the very nature of God. He now understands the reality of God……My goal is God Himself… At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.

“At any cost…by any road” means submitting to God’s way of bringing us to the goal.

There is no possibility of questioning God when He speaks, if He speaks to His own nature in me. Prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says, “Come,” I simply come; when He says, “Let go,” I let go; when He says, “Trust God in this matter,” I trust. This work of obedience is the evidence that the nature of God is in me. God’s revelation of Himself to me is influenced by my character, not by God’s character. ’Tis because I am ordinary,  Thy ways so often look ordinary to me.

It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ. Then I will know and can boldly proclaim, “In all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.”

The promises of God are of no value to us until, through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. We may read some things in the Bible every day for a year and they may mean nothing to us. Then, because we have been obedient to God in some small detail, we suddenly see what God means and His nature is instantly opened up to us. “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Our “Yes” must be born of obedience; when by obedience we ratify a promise of God by saying, “Amen,” or, “So be it.” That promise becomes ours.



November 17, 2014

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this devotional brought to my attention my propensity for shaping my own behavior, discussions, actions and living so that I can, in my own judgment and opinion,  move my agenda or my idea of Your agenda forward. I will guard my words or offer up watered down or watered up status of a circumstance or opinion so that I do not offend anyone, or such that it casts a good light on my idea or initiative. I help shape the discussion so that it benefits me and my agenda. It is especially true when I can also feel as if I have moved Your agenda forward by shaping it in the “right way”.  But You tell me this is not obedience, even when my motivation and the outcome seems to support my efforts to grow Your Kingdom.

And God says…”My ways are not your ways. I often move in ways that you will never understand and your attempts to make it right, or make it better or more spiritual can become acts of disobedience even when it looks more religious or spiritual.  Just because your words are soothing, or your actions support the ABCs of churches (Attendance, Buildings and Cash) does not mean you are being obedient, in fact it may mean the opposite. And when you add your own ways and means of growing the vision I have given you, you dilute the vision and by your actions tell me that you can take “take it from here”.  Surrender, and let Me take it from here, there and everywhere. Be connected to Me and allow Me to act because you have not interceded and given it your own brand of shaping. Trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on your own ways and means and I will make your paths straight.  And your character will be shaped by the knowledge that it was and is God that manifests the vision.”

Discovering Divine Design

November 14th, 2014

As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me… —Genesis 24:27

We should be so one with God that we don’t need to ask continually for guidance. Sanctification means that we are made the children of God. A child’s life is normally obedient, until he chooses disobedience. But as soon as he chooses to disobey, an inherent inner conflict is produced. On the spiritual level, inner conflict is the warning of the Spirit of God. When He warns us in this way, we must stop at once and be renewed in the spirit of our mind to discern God’s will (see Romans 12:2). If we are born again by the Spirit of God, our devotion to Him is hindered, or even stopped, by continually asking Him to guide us here and there. “…the Lord led me…” and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design. If we are born of God we will see His guiding hand and give Him the credit.

We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the growth of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never believe that the so-called random events of life are anything less than God’s appointed order. Be ready to discover His divine designs anywhere and everywhere.

Beware of being obsessed with consistency to your own convictions instead of being devoted to God. If you are a saint and say, “I will never do this or that,” in all probability this will be exactly what God will require of you. There was never a more inconsistent being on this earth than our Lord, but He was never inconsistent with His Father. The important consistency in a saint is not to a principle but to the divine life. It is the divine life that continually makes more and more discoveries about the divine mind. It is easier to be an excessive fanatic than it is to be consistently faithful, because God causes an amazing humbling of our religious conceit when we are faithful to Him.

Faith or Experience?

November 13th, 2014

…the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. —Galatians 2:20

We should battle through our moods, feelings, and emotions into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus. We must break out of our own little world of experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think who the New Testament says Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meagerness of the miserable faith we exhibit by saying, “I haven’t had this experience or that experience”! Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims and provides— He can present us faultless before the throne of God, inexpressibly pure, absolutely righteous, and profoundly justified. Stand in absolute adoring faith “in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” (1 Corinthians 1:30). How dare we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! We are saved from hell and total destruction, and then we talk about making sacrifices!We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ— not a “prayer meeting” Jesus Christ, or a “book” Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate, and who ought to strike us dead at His feet. Our faith must be in the One from whom our salvation springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute, unrestrained devotion to Himself. We can never experience Jesus Christ, or selfishly bind Him in the confines of our own hearts. Our faith must be built on strong determined confidence in Him.

It is because of our trusting in experience that we see the steadfast impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All of our fears are sinful, and we create our own fears by refusing to nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief.



November 13, 2014

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Whoa Lord, this devotional sounds and feels like a rebuke from Brother Chambers.  Look at chastising remarks just as he starts the devotional…”We should battle through our moods, feelings, and emotions into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus. We must break out of our own little world of experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think who the New Testament says Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meagerness of the miserable faith we exhibit by saying, “I haven’t had this experience or that experience!”… Lord, this makes me wonder if I should even ask for help, rescue or blessings; because I have been locked in my own little world of experience as Chambers calls it.

And God says…”Oswald Chambers was teaching young men that wanted to become missionaries. And like a great many young and eager believers, they wanted more and more spiritual experiences. They wanted to experience more mountain tops,   more spiritual euphoria.  And Oswald Chamber was simply trying to tell them, in his way, that being connected and focused on Jesus is the answer, not a spiritual or mountaintop experience.  And yes Chambers does leverage a bit of guilt and shame; emotions that have no place in your relationship with Jesus. However, the message is the same, day in and day out; be connected to Jesus, communicate with Him, love Him, and get to know Him more and more. Then remain curious about how the Spirit will guide you, answer your prayers and build you up in the faith.  Trust the Lord to lead and guide you into all things; blessings, experiences, answers and day to day life when you surrender and are connected.”