Archive for May, 2015

The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience

May 13th, 2015

…strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. —Acts 24:16

God’s commands to us are actually given to the life of His Son in us. Consequently, to our human nature in which God’s Son has been formed (see Galatians 4:19), His commands are difficult. But they become divinely easy once we obey. Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what we regard as the highest standard. This explains why conscience is different in different people. If I am in the habit of continually holding God’s standard in front of me, my conscience will always direct me to God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do. The question is, will I obey? I have to make an effort to keep my conscience so sensitive that I can live without any offense toward anyone. I should be living in such perfect harmony with God’s Son that the spirit of my mind is being renewed through every circumstance of life, and that I may be able to quickly “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 ; also see Ephesians 4:23).God always instructs us down to the last detail. Is my ear sensitive enough to hear even the softest whisper of the Spirit, so that I know what I should do? “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…” (Ephesians 4:30). He does not speak with a voice like thunder— His voice is so gentle that it is easy for us to ignore. And the only thing that keeps our conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside. When you begin to debate, stop immediately. Don’t ask, “Why can’t I do this?” You are on the wrong track. There is no debating possible once your conscience speaks. Whatever it is— drop it, and see that you keep your inner vision clear.


May 13 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, once again Chambers sets the bar very high….. I should be living in such perfect harmony with God’s Son that the spirit of my mind is being renewed through every circumstance of life, and that I may be able to quickly “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 ; also see Ephesians 4:23). …Of course I SHOULD be living in perfect harmony with God’s Son that my mind is being renewed through every circumstance of life, and I should be able to quickly prove what is good and acceptable and the perfect will of God. But that is not how it has been working (or not working) for me Lord. I have tried to be more disciplined, gritting my teeth and willing myself to higher standards. But that does not seem to work. And I wonder if it ever really works for anyone.

And God says…”Have you noticed that when you are surrendered and connected you are transformed, not out of self-discipline or your own “higher self”? Do you know that the very best you can do does not (and never will) measure up? Even if you were able to set your focus and discipline and for a while obey out of your strong sense of obedience, do you know it does not measure up? When you try to do the right things, you do not. Have you noticed how in trying to control your fears and lust that you just give them more strength and power? Have you noticed that whenever you promise yourself that you will “do better”; the results are at best short term? But when you surrender your self-discipline to Me, and seek our connection…. you are transformed.  Change does actually occur. And when you take over and demonstrate your humanity and lack of discipline, know and believe that my love, grace and mercy fills the gaps. Trust in Me with all your heart, do not rely on your own discipline or understanding and I will make your paths straight…..and you can live with a very clear conscience.”

The Habit of Having No Habits

May 12th, 2015

If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful… —2 Peter 1:8

When we first begin to form a habit, we are fully aware of it. There are times when we are aware of becoming virtuous and godly, but this awareness should only be a stage we quickly pass through as we grow spiritually. If we stop at this stage, we will develop a sense of spiritual pride. The right thing to do with godly habits is to immerse them in the life of the Lord until they become such a spontaneous expression of our lives that we are no longer aware of them. Our spiritual life continually causes us to focus our attention inwardly for the determined purpose of self-examination, because each of us has some qualities we have not yet added to our lives.Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, “I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.” No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality.Love means that there are no visible habits— that your habits are so immersed in the Lord that you practice them without realizing it. If you are consciously aware of your own holiness, you place limitations on yourself from doing certain things— things God is not restricting you from at all. This means there is a missing quality that needs to be added to your life. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there someplace where you are not at home with God? Then allow God to work through whatever that particular circumstance may be until you increase in Him, adding His qualities. Your life will then become the simple life of a child.
May 12 2015Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I do not want to “sleepwalk” through any part of our relationship. I want to be aware and conscious of our connection. How can I do this? How can I be in the moment, in the Spirit, surrendered, connected, curious, expectant and obedient?

And God says…”Have you ever noticed that we are the most intimate and connected when you are in the most need? Your needs and circumstances drive you to Me. We have the most raw and engaging conversations when you are at your weakest; often your quiet and worship times become rudimentary places in your schedule when you are healthy, wealthy and wise in your own mind.  But when your peace meter is pegged out in the red, when you do not have the resources to face the challenges of the day, and when you feel adrift in the sea of humanity, historically that is when you and most of humanity, often seek a tighter, more connected relationship with Me. And that is just fine.” 

“The world is filled with trials and troubles, and consequently will remind you to be surrendered and connected to Me.  Do not try to get out of your troubles too early, let them have their perfect result. And remember to seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will give you everything else you require, including the desire to be surrendered and connected. Delight yourself in the Lord,  that is be surrendered, connected and curious and I will give you the desires of your heart. ”


“Love One Another”

May 11th, 2015

…add to your…brotherly kindness love. —2 Peter 1:5, 7

Love is an indefinite thing to most of us; we don’t know what we mean when we talk about love. Love is the loftiest preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that this sovereign preference be for Himself (see Luke 14:26). Initially, when “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5), it is easy to put Jesus first. But then we must practice the things mentioned in 2 Peter 1 to see them worked out in our lives.The first thing God does is forcibly remove any insincerity, pride, and vanity from my life. And the Holy Spirit reveals to me that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now He commands me to show the same love to others by saying, “…love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). He is saying, “I will bring a number of people around you whom you cannot respect, but you must exhibit My love to them, just as I have exhibited it to you.” This kind of love is not a patronizing love for the unlovable— it is His love, and it will not be evidenced in us overnight. Some of us may have tried to force it, but we were soon tired and frustrated.“The Lord…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish…” (2 Peter 3:9). I should look within and remember how wonderfully He has dealt with me. The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way. I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person. But just think how disagreeable I have been with God! Am I prepared to be identified so closely with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness will be continually poured out through Me? Neither natural love nor God’s divine love will remain and grow in me unless it is nurtured. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained through discipline.


May 11 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Love one another even as I have loved you…. Lord I am certain I cannot do this in my own strength. I frequently rationalize and justify my behavior and feelings for those that have not been so loveable. For those that have hurt me and mine, I often find very little love.  For those that seemingly want to hurt and destroy my family and or our country and way of life, I find little love or affection.  How can I honestly speak about love and loving one another when I often find myself silently cheering when a hater or destroyer gets their “just reward”?

And God says…”I loved you when you were not so loveable. I have asked you to love one other even as I have loved you. And I know you are unable to do this in your own strength and power. And when you know you do not love ….as I have loved you, simply surrender and seek your intimate connection with Me. My Spirit can and will transform your heart. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and everything you require will be provided…including the capacity to love the unlovable. When and as you surrender and live in connection with Me, you are transformed.”

Building For Eternity

May 7th, 2015


Which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it… —Luke 14:28

Our Lord was not referring here to a cost which we have to count, but to a cost which He has already counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal, and hatred, the unfathomable agony He experienced in Gethsemane, and the assault upon Him at Calvary— the central point upon which all of time and eternity turn. Jesus Christ has counted the cost. In the final analysis, people are not going to laugh at Him and say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:30).The conditions of discipleship given to us by our Lord in verses 26, 27, and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in His mighty building enterprises are those in whom He has done everything. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple ” (Luke 14:26). This verse teaches us that the only men and women our Lord will use in His building enterprises are those who love Him personally, passionately, and with great devotion— those who have a love for Him that goes far beyond any of the closest relationships on earth. The conditions are strict, but they are glorious.

All that we build is going to be inspected by God. When God inspects us with His searching and refining fire, will He detect that we have built enterprises of our own on the foundation of Jesus? (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). We are living in a time of tremendous enterprises, a time when we are trying to work for God, and that is where the trap is. Profoundly speaking, we can never work for God. Jesus, as the Master Builder, takes us over so that He may direct and control us completely for His enterprises and His building plans; and no one has any right to demand where he will be put to work.

Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

May 6th, 2015

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free… —Galatians 5:1

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand— “Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.Always measure your life solely by the standards of Jesus. Submit yourself to His yoke, and His alone; and always be careful never to place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things exactly as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one true liberty— the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.Don’t get impatient with others. Remember how God dealt with you— with patience and with gentleness. But never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, “Go…and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19), not, “Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

May 6 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, thank you for confirmation that relationship is what we are to seek from You and that the Holy Spirit deals with all of us differently.

And God says…”Sometimes My children get so wrapped up in church, or “spiritual” related activities that they forget that the main thing is the main thing; Jesus. For just a moment consider that your intimate relationship with Jesus is the main thing. And that sometimes you can be all caught up in helping others believe as you believe instead of finding connection and relationship. I may show you a truth, but that does not mean I need for you to make it your spiritual priority to show that truth to everyone. Simply show them Jesus by living in relationship with Me. You may not even be conscious of it.  Through your surrender and connection you will live in relationship and that will shine through….mostly when you are unaware.”

Judgment and the Love of God

May 5th, 2015

The time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God… —1 Peter 4:17

The Christian servant must never forget that salvation is God’s idea, not man’s; therefore, it has an unfathomable depth. Salvation is the great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is simply the door through which salvation comes into the conscious level of our life so that we are aware of what has taken place on a much deeper level. Never preach the experience— preach the great thought of God behind the experience. When we preach, we are not simply proclaiming how people can be saved from hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.

In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out— it is the sign of the love of God. Never sympathize with someone who finds it difficult to get to God; God is not to blame. It is not for us to figure out the reason for the difficulty, but only to present the truth of God so that the Spirit of God will reveal what is wrong. The greatest test of the quality of our preaching is whether or not it brings everyone to judgment. When the truth is preached, the Spirit of God brings each person face to face with God Himself.

If Jesus ever commanded us to do something that He was unable to equip us to accomplish, He would be a liar. And if we make our own inability a stumbling block or an excuse not to be obedient, it means that we are telling God that there is something which He has not yet taken into account. Every element of our own self-reliance must be put to death by the power of God. The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
The last two sentences summarize the message and points toward something “actionable.” You know my tendency to get myself overloaded and distracted. This is where I’m tempted to crank up my self reliance and power thru and wind up getting stressed out and doing a poor job at all the tasks that I was failing at multi tasking. Chambers says, Every element of our own self-reliance must be put to death by the power of God.
That is foreign to my “human nature” … so give me some pointers here, on how to do this.

For starters, consider the story of Mary and Martha. Martha got overloaded and distracted (and judgmental of her sister who didn’t join in on the stress) Mary, you’ll remember, chose the really important part. Which was connection with me. Too often you choose Martha’s long list of obligations and get stressed out like she did. Our connection gets lost and you stress out. There is a better way to live. It’s OK to make your long lists of the things that should or might be done. But choose the one that I show you is for now and we’ll go do it together. And set your list aside. You can keep a couple in the background, but if you try to do and think about 27 items at a time, you will stress yourself out and the first things that you will lose are your peace and our connection.

Vicarious Intercession

May 4th, 2015

…having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus… —Hebrews 10:19

Beware of thinking that intercession means bringing our own personal sympathies and concerns into the presence of God, and then demanding that He do whatever we ask. Our ability to approach God is due entirely to the vicarious, or substitutionary, identification of our Lord with sin. We have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus.”Spiritual stubbornness is the most effective hindrance to intercession, because it is based on a sympathetic “understanding” of things we see in ourselves and others that we think needs no atonement.
We have the idea that there are certain good and virtuous things in each of us that do not need to be based on the atonement by the Cross of Christ. Just the sluggishness and lack of interest produced by this kind of thinking makes us unable to intercede. We do not identify ourselves with God’s interests and concerns for others, and we get irritated with Him. Yet we are always ready with our own ideas, and our intercession becomes only the glorification of our own natural sympathies. We have to realize that the identification of Jesus with sin means a radical change of all of our sympathies and interests.
Vicarious intercession means that we deliberately substitute God’s interests in others for our natural sympathy with them. Am I stubborn or substituted? Am I spoiled or complete in my relationship to God? Am I irritable or spiritual? Am I determined to have my own way or determined to be identified with Him?

May 4, 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, Dave and I agreed that we really did not grasp the significance or the issue of vicarious intercession as outlined by Oswald Chambers. Clearly, if we follow our own ideas, sympathies, or preconceived notions of what is good for others we will miss the mark. However You have also been teaching us that is the case for everything we examine, or act on in this life, is it not? You have been teaching us to surrender our own ideas, thoughts and actions on every topic to You. That we are not to use our own un-surrendered notions as the basis for anything we do or decide not to do. It is our understanding that You would have us live a life day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute that is concentrated and focused on being surrendered to You, connected to You,  and curious about how You will live through us and meet all our needs.  You have shown us that through this process of being surrendered and connected, we will receive the strength and power that allow us to be obedient. And when we are not obedient, You provide the love, grace and mercy to fill the gaps.

And God says…”Trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on our own ways and means and I will make your paths straight. Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus and I will provide everything else you need for this life…..”

“When you are surrendered to Me it means you trust Me to meet your needs. You trust Me to be the God of your life. When you give up (surrender) your own notions of what you and others need for your lives, and trust Me with the ways and means, you are living a life of faith. You understand that My ways are not your ways, and while you may not understand the outcomes, you do trust Me to be God in your life and in the lives of others.”