Archive for November, 2015

“By the Grace of God I Am What I Am”

November 30th, 2015

By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain… —1 Corinthians 15:10

The way we continually talk about our own inabilities is an insult to our Creator. To complain over our incompetence is to accuse God falsely of having overlooked us. Get into the habit of examining from God’s perspective those things that sound so humble to men. You will be amazed at how unbelievably inappropriate and disrespectful they are to Him. We say things such as, “Oh, I shouldn’t claim to be sanctified; I’m not a saint.” But to say that before God means, “No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are opportunities I have not had and so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn’t possible.” That may sound wonderfully humble to others, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.Conversely, the things that sound humble before God may sound exactly the opposite to people. To say, “Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified,” is in God’s eyes the purest expression of humility. It means you have so completely surrendered yourself to God that you know He is true. Never worry about whether what you say sounds humble before others or not. But always be humble before God, and allow Him to be your all in all.

There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life.


November 30 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning God, and thank You for this day, this devotional and the lessons You keep teaching David and me. The last paragraph of Chambers’ devotional seems to encapsulate Your teaching of the last months and years. There is only one relationship that really matters and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life.

That seems to be the lesson You have given us over and over and over again. We are to be surrendered and connected to You through the cross of Jesus. From there we can live curious, obedient, and abundant lives, regardless of our circumstances.

And God says…”That is the lesson and that is the simple and everlasting way to the peace that passes all understanding. Be surrendered; that is give up your right to yourself, every day, at every opportunity, and be connected to Jesus. Allow the person of Jesus via the very Spirit of God to live through you, and I can fulfill My purpose through your life. Acknowledge Me in all your ways, 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 and I will provide everything else you require for your daily life. Seek Me, and give up your right to look good, feel good, be right and to be in control. When you surrender these things you acknowledge Me as your God and I can lead you into all things.”

The Consecration of Spiritual Power

November 27th, 2015

…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?”



November 27 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning God and thank You for the Thanksgiving and gratitude reminders yesterday. And thank You for the lesson today about consecration, and how we might live more consecrated lives. Consecration or setting ourselves apart seems to me to be almost synonymous with surrender; giving up my rights to myself and choosing You and Your rest. Is that right Lord? When David and I speak about surrender and being focused on You we talk about how we are so easily distracted by the stressors of our days, the demands on our time, and how we get caught up in all of that. But then the song today stopped me in my tracks when I heard the chorus; just breathe.

And God says…”When you take the time to stop, just stop, and breathe Me in, notice how the world slows down, and the main things become the main things? When you focus on the cross of Jesus, notice how the needs you thought were so important become points of trust and faith. When you trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on your own ways, means and frenetic activity, you allow Me to make your paths straight. When you take your hands off of your life and the “control” and “speed” buttons, and seek Me, I can then provide everything you need. And when you focus on Jesus and the cross you receive power to live an abundant life without concern or worry about the material things of this world. You also receive the power to live without concern about the ongoing pressures of everyday life. You begin to trust Me and know, simply know, that all things work together for your good. Take a moment ,  just breathe, and know that I am your God, and I love you more than you can ever imagine. ”

November 26th, 2015

…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.

The Secret of Spiritual Consistency

November 25th, 2015


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).

Direction of Focus

November 24th, 2015

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.


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
These points sound good and we agree with them more than ever… But working them out daily all day long is still problematic. I find that I start well and then the distractions of the day get me off track. I’m reminded of your parable of the seeds planted on the various types of ground. First you tell the story, Your guys don’t really get it, then you explain it to them in Matt 13:19–

The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

I see all of the mentioned types of soil in my life. But rarely do I see “good soil” and 30-60-100 fold returns on a long term and consistent basis.

We talk about Surrender and we do surrender. But it doesn’t seem to last. Especially in areas where we are competent… it’s like we say, “OK, thanks, Lord, I see what you’re saying, Now I can take it from here.” And off we go, running amuck. What’s up with that? Why can’t we surrender and stay surrendered?

Surrender is not only an event. It is a process. A continuing process. Even a lifestyle. If it remains only an event, you will continue doing just as you described and bounce back and forth between surrender and hanging on to your normal and worldly thinking. Part of your problem is how you define surrender in general. You see it as “losing” in the game or the wrestling match. Since you are so programmed to strive and compete and excel, you tend to fall back into that thinking and that mode as soon as you relax. Try this: Think of surrender as “getting set free” from those burdensome ways of thinking. They only lead to stress and missing the mark. Then you can maintain our connection longer and stronger. When one of the normal worldly thoughts creeps back in, rather than welcoming it, and jumping back on to the stress wheel, since it feels normal, you can see it as it is: an intruder into our connection. One to be reprimanded, sent away, and escaped from. Try thinking like that and let’s talk again tomorrow. Today, regularly check your “peace meter” If you are being successful at this way of living… your peace meter will show it. Regardless of the circumstances.

OK thanks

The Distraction of Contempt

November 23rd, 2015

Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. —Psalm 123:3

What we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind. “Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously” (Malachi 2:16). Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God. There are certain attitudes we should never dare to indulge. If we do, we will find they have distracted us from faith in God. Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives.
Beware of “the cares of this world…” (Mark 4:19). They are the very things that produce the wrong attitudes in our soul. It is incredible what enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention away from God. Refuse to be swamped by “the cares of this world.”
Another thing that distracts us is our passion for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul’s faith in God. Don’t say, “I must explain myself,” or, “I must get people to understand.” Our Lord never explained anything— He left the misunderstandings or misconceptions of others to correct themselves.
When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God. God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

November 23 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning God and thank You for this day, this life, this lesson.  This devotional talks to a number of indicators that tell us when we are not surrendered nor connected to You. We are in need of Your mercy and grace as we fall into contempt for things we do not trust or believe in other people and You. It is hard to trust the goodness of Your unconditional love, mercy and grace, when we feel so underserving and we have so little experience with unconditional love, mercy and grace. It is also hard for us to trust those traits in people, because we do not have much experience with people that live out those traits either. We are much more concerned about the big four issues of humankind that David and I talk about:  being right, looking good, feeling good and being in control. How can I avoid being trapped in my own ideas of what is right and good for me and mine, and learn to trust You all the time? Is it just a matter of surrender and connection again?

And God says…”Well, how has it worked out for you to live in your own head and nature  seeking to be right, look good, feel good, and to be in control? What have been the outcomes?  How has that worked for you? You have enough experience with surrender and connection with Me to have experienced the peace that passes all understanding.  You have experienced life abundantly even when you have not enjoyed material abundance. And you have lived knowing that all things are working out for your good, even when it appears that no good thing could possibly come out of your circumstance.”

“You have lived enough to know you can never meet your own needs. But when you surrender your own ways and means and seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, you are then free to receive everything else you need from Me. When you trust in Me with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding and notions of how to “be right, look good, feel good and to be in control”, I am free to make your paths straight. Trust in Me, and believe. And when you cannot, trust that I will answer your prayers anyway. Believe and I will help you with your unbelief. Live out of that.”  

The Forgiveness of God

November 20th, 2015

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.

“When He Has Come”

November 19th, 2015

When He has come, He will convict the world of sin… —John 16:8

Very few of us know anything about conviction of sin. We know the experience of being disturbed because we have done wrong things. But conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit blots out every relationship on earth and makes us aware of only one— “Against You, You only, have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:4). When a person is convicted of sin in this way, he knows with every bit of his conscience that God would not dare to forgive him. If God did forgive him, then this person would have a stronger sense of justice than God. God does forgive, but it cost the breaking of His heart with grief in the death of Christ to enable Him to do so.
The great miracle of the grace of God is that He forgives sin, and it is the death of Jesus Christ alone that enables the divine nature to forgive and to remain true to itself in doing so. It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ.
It is there that His conscience is satisfied.Forgiveness doesn’t merely mean that I am saved from hell and have been made ready for heaven (no one would accept forgiveness on that level). Forgiveness means that I am forgiven into a newly created relationship which identifies me with God in Christ. The miracle of redemption is that God turns me, the unholy one, into the standard of Himself, the Holy One. He does this by putting into me a new nature, the nature of Jesus Christ.

November 19 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning God and thank you for this devotional. This lesson echoes the awareness that our gift of salvation also comes with a newly created relationship with You in and through Christ. Thank You for that reminder this morning; the reminder that with our salvation comes an intimate relationship with You that comes from identification with Jesus on the cross.  We are in a relationship that is full of love, hope, mercy, grace and power; one that gives us faith and hope for a more abundant life, even inside our trials and difficult circumstances. A relationship that gives us a “knowing”. Being able to rest in the awareness that You are God and You work all things for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

And God says…”When you seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, I provide everything else you require; including the capacity for faith, hope and love in the middle of trials and difficult times. When you identify with the cross, are surrendered and connected with Me, you experience a peace and become aware that the abundant life is not about material things, although you begin to learn that I will meet all your needs. The abundant life is a life undeterred by the noise of struggles, doubt and concern, because you just “know” that I am God and I am good all the time. You just “know” that when you let go of your life, and only when you let go of your life, I can and will catch you, always. Your trials simply become your tools and teachers.”

“And when you cannot identify with the cross of Jesus, when you can only see the difficult circumstances surrounding you and yours, remember that I can bridge that gap for you as well. Simply ask for My help. Believe, and I will help you in your unbelief.”

Winning into Freedom

November 18th, 2015

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.


November 18 2015

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, this looks at first glance like one more of those “iron sharpening iron” devotionals I am about to study with Oswald Chambers; especially when he says…”we have to deliver ourselves from our individuality.“ But then, just when I get all worked up to debate the issue, he redeems himself with…”This means offering our natural life to God and sacrificing it to Him, so He may transform it into spiritual life “. But then once more Chambers adds these last three words, “through our obedience” and seems to suggest that we must first add our own strength and power to the equation.  I seem to be arguing in my mind and heart with Chambers about how much and what kind of power, strength or discipline we are supposed to add to the equation in order to be surrendered.

In my own experience, I find I am unable to be the man I want to be through my sheer will, discipline and practiced obedience.  And there are sufficient scriptures to tell me I can do nothing apart from You. Like John 15:5 (NIV) 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” So Lord which is it? Must we gather our strength and deliver ourselves from our individuality?

And God says…”Apart from Me you can do nothing”. In your own strength, you can only be human, frail and full of failure. And when you realize this, you can surrender. Your strength flows directly from the Holy Spirit to and through you as you “give up”.  As the song says, you do not have to be strong enough. God is not your co-pilot. God is your pilot, copilot, and engineer. You are the passenger.  You have surrendered your right to control your life to Me. And from that single act, you are able to do all things through Christ Jesus, because you no longer live, it is Christ Jesus that lives within you.

You and Chambers are not that far apart, and it is perfectly alright to disagree about certain things, especially as language, culture, and semantics try to divert understanding.  But the Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth. Simply surrender yourself, be connected to Jesus, and live out of that. You will find that all things, including disagreement, work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”

The Eternal Goal

November 17th, 2015

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.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
You are bringing us closer to you, all the time. Getting closer to you is not like what we expected. Mainly it is simpler than expected. So simple that we can’t believe it could be that simple…. Just believe. Believe in your goodness and love. And surrender our preconceptions and demands, and then do our best to hear the “still small voice” and the “nudges” of your Holy Spirit. And then just live naturally out of that. With this approach we can forget about the things that were previously important to us. They could still be good ideas but could also hinder us from staying in step with you. The other part that is counter intuitive is that it has little to do with “understanding” You in an intellectual or academic way. Actually it seems that this type of study (academic etc) may even be detrimental to the central understanding that is essential…. That you are good and you are for us and that we can trust you. Detailed academic understanding can hinder that single understanding…as it did with the Pharisees. So help us get Simple. And at the same time, not disdain higher learning and theology…. But keep it in it’s proper place. And can you share what that is, by the way….

I value academic and theological thought. I like humans to study me and all are called to do so at some level. The only problem is in keeping first things first. As you are learning, Surrender and Curiosity, followed by obedience is the “first thing” and the context in which all other things need to be framed. If you do that first and that is your context… then you can dive as deeply into philosophy and theology as you want without stumbling as the Pharisees did. Only keep those first things first. Live out of that connection and all will be well.