Archive for February, 2016

What Do You Want The Lord to Do for You?

February 29th, 2016

“What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” —Luke 18:41

Is there something in your life that not only disturbs you, but makes you a disturbance to others? If so, it is always something you cannot handle yourself. “Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more…” (Luke 18:39). Be persistent with your disturbance until you get face to face with the Lord Himself. Don’t deify common sense. To sit calmly by, instead of creating a disturbance, serves only to deify our common sense. When Jesus asks what we want Him to do for us about the incredible problem that is confronting us, remember that He doesn’t work in commonsense ways, but only in supernatural ways.

Look at how we limit the Lord by only remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past. We say, “I always failed there, and I always will.” Consequently, we don’t ask for what we want. Instead, we think, “It is ridiculous to ask God to do this.” If it is an impossibility, it is the very thing for which we have to ask. If it is not an impossible thing, it is not a real disturbance. And God will do what is absolutely impossible.

This man received his sight. But the most impossible thing for you is to be so closely identified with the Lord that there is literally nothing of your old life remaining. God will do it if you will ask Him. But you have to come to the point of believing Him to be almighty. We find faith by not only believing what Jesus says, but, even more, by trusting Jesus Himself. If we only look at what He says, we will never believe. Once we see Jesus, the impossible things He does in our lives become as natural as breathing. The agony we suffer is only the result of the deliberate shallowness of our own heart. We won’t believe; we won’t let go by severing the line that secures the boat to the shore— we prefer to worry.


February 29, 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning God and thank You for the reminder about rescue. Thank You for nudging me to recall how You meet me right at the point of my need and that there is nothing in my life too large or small to surrender to You. I sometimes forget that I am to acknowledge You in ALL my ways. I sometimes think that You would not like to be involved in this area of my life, or that area. I forget that that You want me to surrender my entire life, all my wants, needs, hopes and dreams to You every day, hour and minute of the day. Thank You for this devotional reminder.

And God says…”As you recall the scripture, acknowledge Me in all your ways, do not rely on your own understanding, skills or talents, and I will make your paths straight. Seek first the kingdom of God which is Jesus and I will make provision for everything else you require. It is right and proper for you to seek Me and to trust Me to meet all your needs according to My riches in glory. Do not separate your worldly needs into categories: This one is yours that one is mine; you have skills in one area, you will handle your needs there, and give me the needs you could not possibly secure. The way to live the abundant life I promise is to surrender all your needs to Me, and trust that I will arrange and work out all things together for your good. If I would not spare my own Son, how is it that I would withhold any good thing from you? So like the blind man, shout out your needs, wants, hopes, desires to Me. Delight yourself in Me and allow Me to give you the desires of your heart.”




Our Misgivings About Jesus

February 26th, 2016

The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw [water] with, and the well is deep.” —John 4:11

Have you ever said to yourself, “I am impressed with the wonderful truths of God’s Word, but He can’t really expect me to live up to that and work all those details into my life!” When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. We think His ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality— that what He says cannot actually be done. Each of us thinks this about Jesus in one area of our life or another. These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God. While we talk of our dealings with Him, others ask us, “Where are you going to get enough money to live? How will you live and who will take care of you?” Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, “It’s easy to say, ‘Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live; and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water— no means to be able to give us these things.”

And beware of exhibiting religious deceit by saying, “Oh, I have no misgivings about Jesus, only misgivings about myself.” If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t.

My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and confess them openly— “Lord, I have had misgivings about You. I have not believed in Your abilities, but only my own. And I have not believed in Your almighty power apart from my finite understanding of it.”

The Destitution of Service

February 25th, 2016

…though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. —2 Corinthians 12:15

Natural human love expects something in return. But Paul is saying, “It doesn’t really matter to me whether you love me or not. I am willing to be completely destitute anyway; willing to be poverty-stricken, not just for your sakes, but also that I may be able to get you to God.” “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor…” (2 Corinthians 8:9). And Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s. He did not care how high the cost was to himself— he would gladly pay it. It was a joyful thing to Paul.

The institutional church’s idea of a servant of God is not at all like Jesus Christ’s idea. His idea is that we serve Him by being the servants of others. Jesus Christ actually “out-socialized” the socialists. He said that in His kingdom the greatest one would be the servant of all (see Matthew 23:11). The real test of a saint is not one’s willingness to preach the gospel, but one’s willingness to do something like washing the disciples’ feet— that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God. It was Paul’s delight to spend his life for God’s interests in other people, and he did not care what it cost. But before we will serve, we stop to ponder our personal and financial concerns— “What if God wants me to go over there? And what about my salary? What is the climate like there? Who will take care of me? A person must consider all these things.” All that is an indication that we have reservations about serving God. But the apostle Paul had no conditions or reservations. Paul focused his life on Jesus Christ’s idea of a New Testament saint; that is, not one who merely proclaims the gospel, but one who becomes broken bread and poured-out wine in the hands of Jesus Christ for the sake of others.

The Delight of Sacrifice

February 24th, 2016

I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls… —2 Corinthians 12:15

When someone thinks that to develop a holy life he must always be alone with God, he is no longer of any use to others. This is like putting himself on a pedestal and isolating himself from the rest of society. Paul was a holy person, but wherever he went Jesus Christ was always allowed to help Himself to his life. Many of us are interested only in our own goals, and Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we are totally surrendered to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve. Paul said that he knew how to be a “doormat” without resenting it, because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus. We tend to be devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things which allow us more spiritual freedom than total surrender to Him would allow. Freedom was not Paul’s motive at all. In fact, he stated, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren…” (Romans 9:3). Had Paul lost his ability to reason? Not at all! For someone who is in love, this is not an overstatement. And Paul was in love with Jesus Christ.

The Discipline of Spiritual Perseverance

February 22nd, 2016

Be still, and know that I am God… —Psalm 46:10

Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on, which may be only exposing our fear of letting go and falling.
Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered. Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men— will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us. Then there is the call to spiritual perseverance. A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated.
If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified. Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, “because you have kept My command to persevere…” (Revelation3:10).
Journal Entry for Today-JDVFebruary 22, 2016

Good Morning Lord and thank you for this devotional and the opportunity to once again explore the abundant life of surrender, connection and curiosity. Chambers says….”Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men— will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us”. However, I find that this does not ring true for me. My greatest fear is NOT that Jesus Christ will be defeated, nor do I fear that what the Lord stood for: love, justice, forgiveness and kindness among men will not win out in the end. My fear has always been that I cannot or will not measure up to Jesus and His character, and that the tools God uses to form Christ in me will prove very difficult and painful.


And God says…”Imagine how you feel about your children, and consider the lengths you would go to spare them pain and heartache. And also consider how you might allow them to make their own wrong decisions as an act of love and kindness. You may well allow them to make wrong choices, so that they will learn about the impact of choices in the future. I love you so much that I gave you My only Son, how can I withhold any good thing from you? When I encourage you to stay in your trials…”Do not try to get out of your trials too early, let them have their perfect result”; it is with the hope and plan that you will be strengthened, and made more like Jesus.”

“And to be sure, you neither can nor will ever measure up. But that is not a requirement. The only requirement for perseverance is surrender, connection and curiosity. When you surrender and allow Me to live through you, you can do all things. When you acknowledge Me in all your ways and forget about your strengths and weaknesses, I will make your paths straight. And when you seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, I will provide everything else you require for successful abundant living. Do not worry about “measuring up”; Jesus has done that for you.”


Continue to persevere spiritually.

Taking the Initiative Against Despair

February 18th, 2016

Rise, let us be going. —Matthew 26:46

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, “Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore.” If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.

There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them. The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.” If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption.

Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.


Journal DJR
Good morning Lord, I am reminded of Thomas Edison who said, “These are not failures. I have learned 2000 ways how to not make a light bulb” Perseverance and getting on with a happy attitude, unhindered by past mistakes, is the lesson here. But also it’s important to be persevering on the right track (your track.) If we are following your lead thru surrender, connection, curiosity, and obedience as you have been teaching us…. we can get up after an unlimited number of “failures” and move forward. Perseverance by itself, driven by plain human desires can run amuck and then Edison-like perseverance will only make it worse. Adolf Hitler persevered a long distance down the wrong road.

You are right, it is important to learn to hear and see what Father and I and the Holy Spirit have next for you. We give you nudges and signs and tools, but you have to choose. The stories, like you mentioned about Thomas, and the stories I told that got recorded in the Book are helpful. Also the tool of visioning and imagination will help you live in today unencumbered by yesterdays failures. If you will make a vision and invite me into it, I will come. Like for example, what your brother has shared, picturing boxing up your issues and bringing them to the foot of my cross.
I will step into that picture and enrich your life TODAY.

I am also reminded of Hero, my dog who is absolutely sure that today is the best day of his life. He is sure of that every day and every time he sees me coming. I think there is a lesson here. Something about a “dog’s life” at least that part of it. Is not a bad way to live.

So help us leave the past and seize today and receive it as a gift, and together with you, “Get up, and do the next thing.”

Taking the Initiative Againist Depression

February 17th, 2016

Arise and eat. —1 Kings 19:5

The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive— only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation.
There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things— things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there.
The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

February 17, 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning God and thank You for this day and this devotional. Chambers’ writing was uplifting for me today. Especially when he wrote about You touching us inside the most simplest of things….. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things— things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. This is true, and my experience is that I find You inside the simple and most complex of things. I can feel Your inspiration inside of the most complex of problems and issues, and inside a very simple observation of nature. I can feel Your inspiration inside a pop song on the radio, or the sound of a song bird. It seems like I find You whenever and wherever I look for You.

And God says…” Knock and the door will be opened. Seek and you will find. As the Psalmist said, The Lord is near to all who call on him. If you look for Me you will find Me. But look to Me in faith, believing that I will be there for you and yours. And if you feel as if your faith is not strong enough remember that I even provide the faith and grace you need. Seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will provide everything else you require. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight.”

“When you find yourself depressed, use your vision to step out of it; like you have done many times over the years with other issues, trials, prayer requests and circumstances. Close your eyes and envision yourself putting your depression inside of a box, tie it with a bow, and write in block letters, “DEPRESSION”. Now watch yourself carry it to the foot of the cross where Jesus hangs, and leave it there. Now set your mind on the wonderful things that that I have done in your life over the years as you take up your personal mantra once again…”All things work together for the good of those that love the Lord”.

The Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative

February 16th, 2016

Arise from the dead… —Ephesians 5:14

Not all initiative, the willingness to take the first step, is inspired by God. Someone may say to you, “Get up and get going! Take your reluctance by the throat and throw it overboard— just do what needs to be done!” That is what we mean by ordinary human initiative. But when the Spirit of God comes to us and says, in effect, “Get up and get going,” suddenly we find that the initiative is inspired.

We all have many dreams and aspirations when we are young, but sooner or later we realize we have no power to accomplish them. We cannot do the things we long to do, so our tendency is to think of our dreams and aspirations as dead. But God comes and says to us, “Arise from the dead….” When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such miraculous power that we are able to “arise from the dead” and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power comes after we “get up and get going.” God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says, “Arise from the dead…,” we have to get ourselves up; God will not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch out your hand” (Matthew 12:13). As soon as the man did so, his hand was healed. But he had to take the initiative. If we will take the initiative to overcome, we will find that we have the inspiration of God, because He immediately gives us the power of life.


Journal, DJR
Good morning, Lord. We have the tendency to live life like it’s all about us. And we make all our own choices, live with their consequences and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. That’s pretty ingrained in the American psyche. And it seems to work pretty well (at least the self help seminar industry does well promoting it) .. until we do a closer examination and begin to see from your point of view. Then we see that you give us all of our abilities in the first place. And the inspirations and the ideas and the nudges from the Holy Spirit. So what is our place in any initiative? Like Peter walking on the water. You certainly made the miracle possible. You inspired him (told him to come). And held him up and picked him back up when his faith failed him. So his part was to lift his leg and step out. You could have forced that…. but you aren’t like that… So is that all that we need to do? wait for your inspiration and then just obey?

You have, perhaps, over simplified it, but yes. You will find that a good way to live and walk in the peace that passes understanding. You will notice that that is what I did when I walked among you….

John 5:19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing.

There are many things that will de-rail you from that simple process if you allow them. Just look at my explanation of the parable of the sower and the seed.

Mark 4:13-20 Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? 14The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. 15The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. 16The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17But 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. 18The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 20And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

“There’s a lot in there, to consider, like Satan who will come at once… but for today, lets focus on the “worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things” You’ll notice that although Satan came immediately, trying to get me off track… that I didn’t let him, nor did I let these three distract me either. You really can live this way. Just stay surrendered, connected, curious, about what the Father is doing in any situation and how you are going to respond in addition to curious, you can stay suspicious. Yes, I said suspicious. Suspicious that one of the “Big Four” human motivations is sneaking in… masquerading as inspiration from me. They are slippery. So stay suspicious of your desire to Look Good, Feel Good, Be Right and Be In Control. You’ll notice that I never spent any time catering to any of those. When you give them up, you’ll be well on your way to that simplified life of peace that passes (human) understanding.”

“Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”

February 15th, 2016

None of us lives to himself… —Romans 14:7

“You shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8). How many of us are willing to spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus Christ? That is what God means when He uses the word witness. But it takes time, so be patient with yourself. Why has God left us on the earth? Is it simply to be saved and sanctified? No, it is to be at work in service to Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured-out wine for Him? Am I willing to be of no value to this age or this life except for one purpose and one alone— to be used to disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life of service to God is the way I say “thank you” to Him for His inexpressibly wonderful salvation. Remember, it is quite possible for God to set any of us aside if we refuse to be of service to Him— “…lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).


February 15, 2016

Journal Entry for 2-15-2916

Lord, once again thank You for this day and devotional. And once again it appears that Chambers and I will be at odds on a couple of issues. However, I suspect this “iron sharpening iron” is a very good tool for learning and relying on the Holy Spirit. If I am opposed to issues and premises brought forth by a great writer and Christian such as Oswald Chambers, You must be leading me. When Chambers says…”How many of us are willing to spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus Christ; I suspect most of us would say we cannot imagine being able to invest every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus; even if we worked very hard at it. It feels like the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus raises the bar so high that there is no way we can reach it in our own power, or with our own effort. And when Chambers says… it is quite possible for God to set any of us aside if we refuse to be of service to Him— “, it feels like one more Christian guilt hook. Are we to be motivated to by guilt and fear? Is this the way to daily sanctification?

And God says…”Do not be concerned with what other people say about your life, how you live it or how and where you serve, The question will always be, are you surrendered to Jesus in all you do? Are you surrendered, connected, and curious about how Jesus will lead you day by day and minute by minute? When you surrender your life to Jesus, your energy will be directed just as it should be by the Holy Spirit. And when you live out of your surrender, connection, curiosity and obedience, you will be right in the center of My will. Seek first the kingdom of God and I will furnish, everything else you require, including the vision, strength and power to properly invest your energy. And when you live out of this, there is no worry or concern about being of service to Me. You know, just KNOW that I am God and I will work all things out for your good. Acknowledge Me in all your ways, do not rely on your own understanding, discipline, or effort, and I will make all your paths straight. Continue to live in surrender, connection, curiosity and the ability to obey and serve as I intend will flow supernaturally into and from your life.”

Are You Listening to God?

February 12th, 2016

They said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” —Exodus 20:19

We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God— we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them— not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.“You speak with us,…but let not God speak with us….” We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. But if it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us, we feel obedience is optional, not imperative. We respond by saying, “Well, that’s only your own idea, even though I don’t deny that what you said is probably God’s truth.”Am I constantly humiliating God by ignoring Him, while He lovingly continues to treat me as His child? Once I finally do hear Him, the humiliation I have heaped on Him returns to me. My response then becomes, “Lord, why was I so insensitive and obstinate?” This is always the result once we hear God. But our real delight in finally hearing Him is tempered with the shame we feel for having taken so long to do so.__________________________________________________________________

February 12 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good Morning Lord and thank You for this day and this devotional. And once again I read Chambers feeling like he just cannot help himself and must use guilt and condemnation to try and “persuade” his students (and now his readers) to do as he says. Chambers says we do not listen to You because we do not love You and because we do not want to keep Your commandments. He lays some pretty good guilt hooks inside his teaching today Lord. He says we humiliate You when we do not listen. This kind of teaching does not seem to hold true with Romans 8:1: there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. How do we respond to teaching like this Lord?

And God says…”The church and teachers in the church have been leveraging guilt and condemnation to try and bring sinners to Me and closer to Me for centuries. It is natural for children of God to want the very best for their brothers and sisters, and many believe that guilt, condemnation and obligation used in the “right doses” will help bring sinners and wayward believers back to Me. However, they forget that this “natural” human tendency is just one more way humans use their own ways and means instead of trusting in My supernatural ways. It is one more way humans can try to control circumstances and others. However, there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.”

“The way to reach others for Me and on my behalf is by demonstrating the life of Jesus that flows freely from Jesus to one that is surrendered, connected and curious; living life out with My strength to be obedient and responsive. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will provide everything else you need, including the ability and motivation to listen and respond to my voice. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight.”