Archive for March, 2015

Heedfulness or Hypocrisy in Ourselves?

March 31st, 2015

If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. —1 John 5:16

If we are not heedful and pay no attention to the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf. God reveals this truth about others to us not through the sharpness of our minds but through the direct penetration of His Spirit. If we are not attentive, we will be completely unaware of the source of the discernment God has given us, becoming critical of others and forgetting that God says, “…he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” Be careful that you don’t become a hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right with God before you worship Him yourself.

One of the most subtle and illusive burdens God ever places on us as saints is this burden of discernment concerning others. He gives us discernment so that we may accept the responsibility for those souls before Him and form the mind of Christ about them (see Philippians 2:5). We should intercede in accordance with what God says He will give us, namely, “life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” It is not that we are able to bring God into contact with our minds, but that we awaken ourselves to the point where God is able to convey His mind to us regarding the people for whom we intercede.

Can Jesus Christ see the agony of His soul in us? He can’t unless we are so closely identified with Him that we have His view concerning the people for whom we pray. May we learn to intercede so wholeheartedly that Jesus Christ will be completely and overwhelmingly satisfied with us as intercessors.


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Getting your “view concerning the people for whom we pray” is not only how we want to pray about people but also how we want to pray about everything … and even how we should live our whole life. Easy to say and easy to see that it would be a wonderful way to live. There just seem to be so many barriers to it’s implementation. Like the strong pull to judge ourselves unworthy and get onto a squirrel cage of guilt management where we try to “get better” When we are striving, I suspect that missing your best is just built in, as striving and peace dont seem to go together.

If you want to strive, strive only for this: to know me, to connect with me and to love as I love … actually get connected so tightly that you can love not only as I love but with my love. It will be my love flowing thru you.

OK, I believe, Help my unbelief. I’ve been mentally convinced and am even more convinced today. So here I go into my day. Let’s see if I can just stay connected with you and deliver your love into the folks you bring across my path.

Yes, let’s go have an adventure today. The only dragons I have for you to slay today are the backsliding dragons that would pull you back into self reliance instead of relying on me. Resist those and stay with me.


BTW as we were playing the song today, this other song with a similar title came to mind. Together they bring a fuller message. Enjoy.

Holiness or Hardness Toward God?

March 30th, 2015

He…wondered that there was no intercessor… —Isaiah 59:16

The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). Instead of worshiping God, we recite speeches to God about how prayer is supposed to work. Are we worshiping God or disputing Him when we say, “But God, I just don’t see how you are going to do this”? This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people.Are we worshiping God in a way that will raise us up to where we can take hold of Him, having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship with God, or have we become hard and dogmatic?Do you find yourself thinking that there is no one interceding properly? Then be that person yourself. Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him. Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work— work that demands all your energy, but work which has no hidden pitfalls. Preaching the gospel has its share of pitfalls, but intercessory prayer has none whatsoever.

March 30 2015

Journal Entry for March 30 2015

Lord, when Chambers says that intercessory prayer is hard work, he loses me.  You have been teaching us that spiritual work that is done out of our own energy, and our own sense of obligation and responsibility will always be hard work. But intercessory prayer and “good works” done out of love and connection with You will never be hard work. You have taught us that You will lead us into the good works and provide everything else we need including energy, vision and commitment….seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will provide everything you need including energy, hope, commitment and the love necessary for the completion of your service. ……Did I miss something or is the way of it?

And God says…”Your first step in any endeavor, perceived as “spiritual”, commercial, or personal starts with your connection with Me. Let me live through you, moving and shaping your heart, mind and mission. When I came to give you life and life more abundantly, I gave you the capacity to know that I am God, and that I love you. I gave you the capacity to understand that love is the fulcrum of the abundant life, regardless of your task and mission. I did not come to give you obligations, responsibility and guilt about what you have not done, or what you cannot accomplish on your own. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. And when it feels like anything other than love; stop and reset you connection with Me. If in connection your mission does not feel like love, hope and grace; stop what you are doing and get reconnected, curious, obedient and expectant. Then move forward.”

Spiritual Vision Through Personal Purity

March 26th, 2015

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. —Matthew 5:8

Purity is not innocence— it is much more than that. Purity is the result of continued spiritual harmony with God. We have to grow in purity. Our life with God may be right and our inner purity unblemished, yet occasionally our outer life may become spotted and stained. God intentionally does not protect us from this possibility, because this is the way we recognize the necessity of maintaining our spiritual vision through personal purity. If the outer level of our spiritual life with God is impaired to the slightest degree, we must put everything else aside until we make it right. Remember that spiritual vision depends on our character— it is “the pure in heart” who “see God.”

God makes us pure by an act of His sovereign grace, but we still have something that we must carefully watch. It is through our bodily life coming in contact with other people and other points of view that we tend to become tarnished. Not only must our “inner sanctuary” be kept right with God, but also the “outer courts” must be brought into perfect harmony with the purity God gives us through His grace. Our spiritual vision and understanding is immediately blurred when our “outer court” is stained. If we want to maintain personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ, it will mean refusing to do or even think certain things. And some things that are acceptable for others will become unacceptable for us.

A practical help in keeping your personal purity unblemished in your relations with other people is to begin to see them as God does. Say to yourself, “That man or that woman is perfect in Christ Jesus! That friend or that relative is perfect in Christ Jesus!”


March 26 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Dear Lord, being and or keeping myself pure seems like an unattainable goal.  Sometimes I feel like my Christian life is two steps forward and three steps backward.  When my pride or selfish wants and needs get in the way, I can make choices that have more to do with making me look or feel good.  I can rationalize and otherwise obfuscate my responsibilities and Christian discipline. How can I be certain that I am growing in purity when it seems like I am always behind the curve in that area?

And God says…”First of all you must always see yourself as I see you; as a child of God, perfect in every way, as the result of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus.  And instead of looking at your blemishes, or working hard on more and more discipline, trust that I will mold and shape you in and to my likeness.”

“Remember, purity is the result of being in continued harmony with Me.  And when you are in harmony, or when (as you say) you are connected with Me, you are being transformed.  And as this transformation is being accomplished you will find that you no longer have to struggle to make the right choices. Over time, the blemishes disappear and you find that right choices are the only choices you are able to make.  Acknowledge me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight.  Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will provide everything else you need in your life, including your transformation and purity. Your role is to surrender, be connected, curious, expectant and obedient.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and I will give you the desires of your heart.”


Journal DJR
Good Morning, Lord,

Today Oswald Chambers gives the practical advice of looking at others and trying to see them through your eyes … perfect in Christ. This is a useful tool, but perhaps even more important and primary is to look at ourselves and see ourselves through your eyes … perfect in Christ. Seeing ourselves this way frees us from the bondage of guilt and allows us to see others that way also. We have been so used to “human motivations” (guilt management, comparing against others or checklists, etc) that we are left with the question, “how then shall we deal with the remaining sin that we see in our lives?” or why try to get better if we’re already perfect in Christ? Especially if we dont feel like it.

You are right. Human motivation will fail at perfecting you in Christ. But remember, My ways are higher than your ways. My thoughts are different and higher than your thoughts. If you strive for perfection with guilt management and checking off checklists, you will get tired and disappointed in your lack of perfection. On the other hand if you rely on my completed work and hold your remaining imperfections in a stress free “open palm”… and stay connected daily with me … I will give you the motivation and ability to leave those imperfections behind. Stressing to be better won’t make you better. It will actually hold you back because when you’re stressing, you’re not hearing or seeing.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28

Maintaining the Proper Relationship

March 25th, 2015

…the friend of the bridegroom… —John 3:29

Goodness and purity should never be traits that draw attention to themselves, but should simply be magnets that draw people to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing others to Him, it is not the right kind of holiness; it is only an influence which awakens undue emotions and evil desires in people and diverts them from heading in the right direction. A person who is a beautiful saint can be a hindrance in leading people to the Lord by presenting only what Christ has done for him, instead of presenting Jesus Christ Himself. Others will be left with this thought— “What a fine person that man is!” That is not being a true “friend of the bridegroom”— I am increasing all the time; He is not.To maintain this friendship and faithfulness to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful to have the moral and vital relationship to Him above everything else, including obedience. Sometimes there is nothing to obey and our only task is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, seeing that nothing interferes with it. Only occasionally is it a matter of obedience. At those times when a crisis arises, we have to find out what God’s will is. Yet most of our life is not spent in trying to be consciously obedient, but in maintaining this relationship— being the “friend of the bridegroom.” Christian work can actually be a means of diverting a person’s focus away from Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends “of the bridegroom,” we may become amateur providences of God to someone else, working against Him while we use His weapons.


Journal DJR
Good morning Lord. It was nice today to hear Chambers saying something that you have been emphasizing to us for a long time now …

“Sometimes there is nothing to obey and our only task is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, seeing that nothing interferes with it.”

The temptation is great, however, to systemize, and quantify what we see and hear into checklists and systems. At first these seem valuable but ultimately they become bondage and lead us away from the connection that developed them. Since making up systems and checklists doesn’t keep us on track, is there a way to live that is more helpful?

It would be best simply to maintain connection with me and simply live out of that. …… But I know you, and how you are wired and that having a metaphor is helpful. So why don’t you try seeing your life as a movie. Try being the main character but looking to me for cues. You could be a supporting actor, still looking to me and delivering excellence. How about the director, staying calm when things go wrong, and you need to improvise. Don’t let this movie metaphor get out of hand. You can direct some things and you can improvise, But you will always deliver an excellent performance if you are focused and connected with me. I will lead you to ways to serve and be a blessing. Just stay curious about what I have for you next. The thing about this movie metaphor is that you can’t pre read and memorize the whole script. But you do get to know the happy ending. Between here and there you need to stay curious, look for cues, suspect the best, look for my trademarks, heed my nudges, and don’t take yourself too seriously. You will miss it from time to time. Pick yourself up and get back in the movie. Remember, we win in the end, so have fun in the middle and be a blessing to as many as you can along the way.

Decreasing for His Purpose

March 24th, 2015

He must increase, but I must decrease. —John 3:30

If you become a necessity to someone else’s life, you are out of God’s will. As a servant, your primary responsibility is to be a “friend of the bridegroom” (John 3:29). When you see a person who is close to grasping the claims of Jesus Christ, you know that your influence has been used in the right direction. And when you begin to see that person in the middle of a difficult and painful struggle, don’t try to prevent it, but pray that his difficulty will grow even ten times stronger, until no power on earth or in hell could hold him away from Jesus Christ. Over and over again, we try to be amateur providences in someone’s life. We are indeed amateurs, coming in and actually preventing God’s will and saying, “This person should not have to experience this difficulty.” Instead of being friends of the Bridegroom, our sympathy gets in the way. One day that person will say to us, “You are a thief; you stole my desire to follow Jesus, and because of you I lost sight of Him.”

Beware of rejoicing with someone over the wrong thing, but always look to rejoice over the right thing. “…the friend of the bridegroom…rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29-30). This was spoken with joy, not with sadness— at last they were to see the Bridegroom! And John said this was his joy. It represents a stepping aside, an absolute removal of the servant, never to be thought of again.

Listen intently with your entire being until you hear the Bridegroom’s voice in the life of another person. And never give any thought to what devastation, difficulties, or sickness it will bring. Just rejoice with godly excitement that His voice has been heard. You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it (see Matthew 10:34).


March 24 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I really don’t get this devotional from Chambers today.  I mean I understand what he is saying, but it doesn’t stand up for me against the two commandments given us by Jesus; love your Lord God with all your heart mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And for me, I have never been very good (that is to day I’m not even close to a 100% the only standard for comparison) to understanding how You are working in another’s life.

And God says…”When you seek your intimate relationship with Me, before any decisions or actions that can impact others, you can trust the Holy Spirit to guide you.  Stay within your discipline; surrender, seek connection with Me , then curiosity, obedience and expectation.   If you search My word you will find example after example and scripture after scripture about reaching out and helping others.  If you are ever in conflict about helping someone or not, err on the side of helping.  And remember, helping is not enabling, or blind support, but you are called to love one another, and if you read 1 Corinthians 13, the guidelines of love are clear…….Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Am I Carnally Minded?

March 23rd, 2015

Where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal…? —1 Corinthians 3:3

The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it. But Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). In other words, carnality will disappear.Are you quarrelsome and easily upset over small things? Do you think that no one who is a Christian is ever like that? Paul said they are, and he connected these attitudes with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens a spirit of malice or resentment in you? If so, that is proof that you are still carnal. If the process of sanctification is continuing in your life, there will be no trace of that kind of spirit remaining.If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, “Oh, I can explain that.” When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it— it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, “If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!” And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.



March 23, 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, the first thing that I noticed about this devotional was that this is exactly how it has worked for me.  I often struggle to say and do the right things; I often struggle to be the man that You have called me to be.  And I find that I can still look for the change in my circumstances instead of looking for You.  But you do not see my shortsightedness, or my selfish requests for changes in my life circumstances, You remind me that You only see Jesus. Through it all You are my God, faithful, full of mercy and grace.

And God says…”You have enough experience being intimate with Me that you know when you are connected, curious, expectant and obedient.  And you have learned that circumstances cannot dictate your peace of mind. and neither can carnality. So continue to seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and notice that everything else you require: food, shelter, friends, acceptance, and health….everything you require is provided.  Not in the sense that you will always have all the resources, or strength of character you think you need, but in your knowledge that I will meet all your needs according to my riches in glory.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and I will give you the desires of your heart. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight. And you can observe the transformation in yourself as you look back and see the changes wrought by My Spirit.”

Friendship with God

March 20th, 2015

Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing…? —Genesis 18:17

The Delights of His Friendship. Genesis 18 brings out the delight of true friendship with God, as compared with simply feeling His presence occasionally in prayer. This friendship means being so intimately in touch with God that you never even need to ask Him to show you His will. It is evidence of a level of intimacy which confirms that you are nearing the final stage of your discipline in the life of faith. When you have a right-standing relationship with God, you have a life of freedom, liberty, and delight; you are God’s will. And all of your commonsense decisions are actually His will for you, unless you sense a feeling of restraint brought on by a check in your spirit. You are free to make decisions in the light of a perfect and delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will lovingly produce that sense of restraint. Once he does, you must stop immediately.The Difficulties of His Friendship. Why did Abraham stop praying when he did? He stopped because he still was lacking the level of intimacy in his relationship with God, which would enable him boldly to continue on with the Lord in prayer until his desire was granted. Whenever we stop short of our true desire in prayer and say, “Well, I don’t know, maybe this is not God’s will,” then we still have another level to go. It shows that we are not as intimately acquainted with God as Jesus was, and as Jesus would have us to be— “…that they may be one just as We are one…” (John 17:22). Think of the last thing you prayed about— were you devoted to your desire or to God? Was your determination to get some gift of the Spirit for yourself or to get to God? “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). The reason for asking is so you may get to know God better. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). We should keep praying to get a perfect understanding of God Himself.

Abraham’s Life of Faith

March 19th, 2015

He went out, not knowing where he was going. —Hebrews 11:8

In the Old Testament, a person’s relationship with God was seen by the degree of separation in that person’s life. This separation is exhibited in the life of Abraham by his separation from his country and his family. When we think of separation today, we do not mean to be literally separated from those family members who do not have a personal relationship with God, but to be separated mentally and morally from their viewpoints. This is what Jesus Christ was referring to in Luke 14:26. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading. It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason— a life of knowing Him who calls us to go. Faith is rooted in the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest traps we fall into is the belief that if we have faith, God will surely lead us to success in the world.

The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character, and we encounter many changes in the process. We feel the presence of God around us when we pray, yet we are only momentarily changed. We tend to keep going back to our everyday ways and the glory vanishes. A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, like soaring on eagles’ wings, but is a life of day-in and day-out consistency; a life of walking without fainting (see Isaiah 40:31). It is not even a question of the holiness of sanctification, but of something which comes much farther down the road. It is a faith that has been tried and proved and has withstood the test. Abraham is not a type or an example of the holiness of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith— a faith, tested and true, built on the true God. “Abraham believed God…” (Romans 4:3).


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
Thank you for the picture today of the end goal of our journey. And some of the sign posts along the way toward this “character” that we can see was developed in Abraham and others, even some contemporary folks that you’ve brought into our lives. Thanks for pointing out that getting to that Abraham type of faith is a process, a journey, and includes ups and downs, some mountaintops and some dark jungle places where we can’t see. Those are the times when character which is built on our relationship with you will sustain us … until we can once again see clearly. Also it seems that this character is built slowly over time and can best be seen by looking back. It seems that getting analytical in the moment leads us into legalism and performance based systems which lead to guilt management. And we’ve learned that we can never win that game.
So, rather than focus on our character, We can focus on You, and our connection with you and let the character be built out of our living in relationship with you. “Our part” seems merely to show up and connect with you and live out of that. The only thing to strive for is to maintain the relationship. All other striving to be better opens the door to self promotion and the belief that we can fix ourselves.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. Rom 7:18

Prayer: Help me today to resist the urge to make myself holy, and rather, come to you, surrendered, curious, expectant, and ready to be obedient …. and let you make me holy.

You lead, I follow. I love you.

Will I Bring Myself Up to This Level?

March 18th, 2015

…perfecting holiness in the fear of God. —2 Corinthians 7:1

“Therefore, having these promises….” I claim God’s promises for my life and look to their fulfillment, and rightly so, but that shows only the human perspective on them. God’s perspective is that through His promises I will come to recognize His claim of ownership on me. For example, do I realize that my “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” or am I condoning some habit in my body which clearly could not withstand the light of God on it? (1 Corinthians 6:19). God formed His Son in me through sanctification, setting me apart from sin and making me holy in His sight (see Galatians 4:19). But I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. God instructs us even in the smallest details of life. And when He brings you conviction of sin, do not “confer with flesh and blood,” but cleanse yourself from it at once (Galatians 1:16). Keep yourself cleansed in your daily walk.I must cleanse myself from all filthiness in my flesh and my spirit until both are in harmony with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I mentally rebellious and defiant? Am I allowing the mind of Christ to be formed in me? (see Philippians 2:5). Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. I also have the responsibility to keep my spirit in agreement with His Spirit. And when I do, Jesus gradually lifts me up to the level where He lived— a level of perfect submission to His Father’s will— where I pay no attention to anything else. Am I perfecting this kind of holiness in the fear of God? Is God having His way with me, and are people beginning to see God in my life more and more?Be serious in your commitment to God and gladly leave everything else alone. Literally put God first in your life._________________________________________________________

March 18, 2015

Journal for Today

Lord, once more it seems Chambers is leveraging guilt and responsibility as tools to help motivate his students to sanctification. …Christ never spoke of His right to Himself, but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father. Chambers also reminds me that I must cleanse myself….and then I recall Jesus teaching that doing the right thing isn’t enough, that we must think the right thoughts. If we even think the wrong thoughts then we are guilty. It seems that Chambers puts an unachievable standard up once again and is using it to try and “guilt” his students into an effort that is bound to fail.  Using my strong will and discipline to help shape myself into a better person and Christian  has never seemed to work for me.

And God says…”Religion has and will always point out your responsibilities and adherence to rules and expectations. But I do not want you submitting to rules or religious expectations. You are to be surrendered to Jesus: Surrendered, connected, curious and committed to obedience as the Holy Spirit shapes, molds and guides you. The sacrifice of Jesus and His grace and mercy are sufficient for you and your daily living. I do not want you consciously making right choices; I want you transformed so that right choices are the only ones you are able to make. Let the Spirit of God transform you as you are connected to Me…seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything else you need will be provided, including your transformation. You will run and not grow weary, your wants and needs will be transformed into wants and needs that are pleasing to Me. And when you fail, as you surely will, My love, mercy and grace are more than sufficient to bring you back to connection. Keep fighting the good fight”

The Servant’s Primary Goal

March 17th, 2015

We make it our aim…to be well pleasing to Him. —2 Corinthians 5:9

“We make it our aim….” It requires a conscious decision and effort to keep our primary goal constantly in front of us. It means holding ourselves to the highest priority year in and year out; not making our first priority to win souls, or to establish churches, or to have revivals, but seeking only “to be well pleasing to Him.” It is not a lack of spiritual experience that leads to failure, but a lack of working to keep our eyes focused and on the right goal. At least once a week examine yourself before God to see if your life is measuring up to the standard He has for you. Paul was like a musician who gives no thought to audience approval, if he can only catch a look of approval from his Conductor.

Any goal we have that diverts us even to the slightest degree from the central goal of being “approved to God” (2 Timothy 2:15) may result in our rejection from further service for Him. When you discern where the goal leads, you will understand why it is so necessary to keep “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Paul spoke of the importance of controlling his own body so that it would not take him in the wrong direction. He said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest…I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

I must learn to relate everything to the primary goal, maintaining it without interruption. My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life. Is my primary goal in life to please Him and to be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how lofty it may sound?


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord, I dont think Oswald Chambers meant to deliver a guilt trip to his readers, but that can be the result of this selection, especially if we have a background of performance, judgement, and striving … and never measuring up. The song was selected to bring the counterpoint. I see the scriptures mentioned by Chambers, and they were certainly included in The Book for a reason. But I also see the scriptures that the song draws from that speak to a different side of Jesus. A kinder, more loving side. I’ve not had much success in striving and self inventories and judging myself. I always fall short and give up after a time.

It all depends on how you see me and how you see the Goal. Believe the words of the song, I am more than you think I am. You see both a God of judgement and a God of Love in scripture. They are both parts of me … but which will you focus on? And which over rides in a seeming conflict? I AM Love. Love overrides. Mercy triumphs over judgement James 2:13 But Mercy does not triumph over justice. They are joined together.

Psalm 85:10 (NLT) 10 Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed!

You’ve heard the story of the tourist in Israel observing shepherds leading their sheep. But one was driving the sheep. He asked why that shepherd was driving the sheep. It was explained, the one driving the sheep was not a shepherd, he was the butcher. I am the good shepherd. I lead my sheep. I lay down my life for my sheep. I am not the butcher. I dont drive sheep. Look into your motives and discern my leading. I will lead you, not drive you. If you are feeling driven, Stop. Something is not right. It may even be the “right thing for the wrong reason.” The goals may seem similar. Good works and Christlikeness are admirable. But guilt management and striving won’t get you there. I will lead you to those goals as you connect with me. Dont let the butcher drive you.