Archive for March, 2016

Heedfulness or Hypocrisy in Ourselves?

March 31st, 2016

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,
Chambers says that we must “awaken ourselves to the point where God is able to convey His mind to us regarding the people for whom we intercede.” OK, I agree with that, but it seems like he’s referring to our connection with you and we need to continually be strengthening that all the time anyway. Our connection with you is our lifeline and our source for everything we do, not just intercession. So I think being “good intercessors” is a by product of our good connection. If something is important to you, then we’ll pick up on that thru our connection and proceed as we are led. So what we intercede for comes not so much from study and comparisons, but from how you lead us thru our connection.

You don’t need to look for people or things to intercede for. I have plenty. And if you get them from me and let me direct your prayers, you will be more effective. If you choose them yourself through your research or your emotions, it won’t work as well. You will be tempted to intercede for something based on your human feelings. I have something higher and better for you.

Holiness or Hardness Toward God?

March 30th, 2016

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, 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord and thank You for this devotional. However, I must say, this devotional confused me a bit. When Chambers writes; …. 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? I am perplexed. You have taught us that we “take hold of You” by simply surrendering ourselves, and our own ideas to You. How can we know Your mind about someone else, when we are to be surrendered about everything, including our thoughts and ideas about everything including ourselves? And when we intercede on behalf of someone else, we often do not know the issue or circumstances, we just know through our surrender, that we are to pray for that person.


And God says…”Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways, and do not rely on your own understanding and I will make your paths straight. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will provide everything else you require for daily living including your prayer schedule and focus. Surrender and connect with Me each morning and as part of your surrender and connection, listen for that still small voice providing directions for intercessory prayers. As a part of your morning devotional, prayer, surrender and connection, take a moment and listen for my direction and guidance for your prayers. Believe that I will give you direction, and I will. Knock and the door will be opened. Seek and you shall find. You will “just know” when and for whom to pray as you give up your own ideas and thoughts and seek mine.”





Our Lord’s Surprise Visits

March 29th, 2016

You also be ready… —Luke 12:40

A Christian worker’s greatest need is a readiness to face Jesus Christ at any and every turn. This is not easy, no matter what our experience has been. This battle is not against sin, difficulties, or circumstances, but against being so absorbed in our service to Jesus Christ that we are not ready to face Jesus Himself at every turn. The greatest need is not facing our beliefs or doctrines, or even facing the question of whether or not we are of any use to Him, but the need is to face Him.

Jesus rarely comes where we expect Him; He appears where we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical situations. The only way a servant can remain true to God is to be ready for the Lord’s surprise visits. This readiness will not be brought about by service, but through intense spiritual reality, expecting Jesus Christ at every turn. This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of childlike wonder He wants it to have. If we are going to be ready for Jesus Christ, we have to stop being religious. In other words, we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of a lofty lifestyle— we must be spiritually real.

If you are avoiding the call of the religious thinking of today’s world, and instead are “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2), setting your heart on what He wants, and thinking His thoughts, you will be considered impractical and a daydreamer. But when He suddenly appears in the work of the heat of the day, you will be the only one who is ready. You should trust no one, and even ignore the finest saint on earth if he blocks your sight of Jesus Christ.


Journal DJR
Good morning Lord,
Oswald Chambers seems to use different words to describe the same thing we have been learning. A Christian’s biggest need is to be ready to face you, he says. We have learned that our greatest need is to stay connected. (and surrendered and curious and excited about the adventure that you are bringing about in our lives) Are we saying the same thing?

His term “facing Jesus” may seem redundant if you are “connected” But it bears some consideration. If you are facing me, it’s more like we are having a serious discussion. Beware of being connected but leaving me in the background. Of course strive to maintain connection but plan on stopping and facing me from time to time in your day. That will entail stopping the hustle bustle activity for a bit and focusing on just you and me. After you get used to it, you will find those times sweet and energizing.

Isn’t There Some Misunderstanding?

March 28th, 2016

“Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to Him, “…are You going there again?” —John 11:7-8

Just because I don’t understand what Jesus Christ says, I have no right to determine that He must be mistaken in what He says. That is a dangerous view, and it is never right to think that my obedience to God’s directive will bring dishonor to Jesus. The only thing that will bring dishonor is not obeying Him. To put my view of His honor ahead of what He is plainly guiding me to do is never right, even though it may come from a real desire to prevent Him from being put to an open shame. I know when the instructions have come from God because of their quiet persistence. But when I begin to weigh the pros and cons, and doubt and debate enter into my mind, I am bringing in an element that is not of God. This will only result in my concluding that His instructions to me were not right. Many of us are faithful to our ideas about Jesus Christ, but how many of us are faithful to Jesus Himself? Faithfulness to Jesus means that I must step out even when and where I can’t see anything (see Matthew 14:29). But faithfulness to my own ideas means that I first clear the way mentally. Faith, however, is not intellectual understanding; faith is a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ, even when I can’t see the way ahead.

Are you debating whether you should take a step of faith in Jesus, or whether you should wait until you can clearly see how to do what He has asked? Simply obey Him with unrestrained joy. When He tells you something and you begin to debate, it is because you have a misunderstanding of what honors Him and what doesn’t. Are you faithful to Jesus, or faithful to your ideas about Him? Are you faithful to what He says, or are you trying to compromise His words with thoughts that never came from Him? “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5).

Decreasing for His Purpose

March 24th, 2016

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).

Am I Carnally Minded?

March 23rd, 2016

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, 2016
Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord and thank you for this devotional. This one, like so many of the others, confirms Your teaching of many months; namely that our sanctification, growth and stability as children of God comes about through our surrender and connection to You; that the changes in our lives are truly an inside job, and that gritting out teeth and trying harder is not the way. Thank You for that confirmation and reassurance.

And God says…”When you read the Sermon on the Mount you begin to understand that it is not possible for you to measure up. When you read Paul’s cry in Romans 7 you realize that even the Apostle Paul struggled to make the right choices and then you grasp the notion that the Bible is full of stories about men and women that made wrong choices. Imperfect people living imperfect lives. But inside of that awareness you also come to understand that even though you cannot and do not “measure up” the Holy Spirit can and does change you, over time, from the inside out, and that you can only measure up as you allow Jesus to live through you. The Holy Spirit can and does make you a man after My own heart when you give up your rights to yourself; when you live in surrender to Jesus.”


The Burning Heart

March 22nd, 2016

Did not our heart burn within us…? —Luke 24:32

We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, fires are set ablaze, and we are given wonderful visions; but then we must learn to maintain the secret of the burning heart— a heart that can go through anything. It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart— unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.

Much of the distress we experience as Christians comes not as the result of sin, but because we are ignorant of the laws of our own nature. For instance, the only test we should use to determine whether or not to allow a particular emotion to run its course in our lives is to examine what the final outcome of that emotion will be. Think it through to its logical conclusion, and if the outcome is something that God would condemn, put a stop to it immediately. But if it is an emotion that has been kindled by the Spirit of God and you don’t allow it to have its way in your life, it will cause a reaction on a lower level than God intended. That is the way unrealistic and overly emotional people are made. And the higher the emotion, the deeper the level of corruption, if it is not exercised on its intended level. If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will. We cannot stay forever on the “mount of transfiguration,” basking in the light of our mountaintop experience (see Mark 9:1-9). But we must obey the light we received there; we must put it into action. When God gives us a vision, we must transact business with Him at that point, no matter what the cost.

We cannot kindle when we will
The fire which in the heart resides,
The spirit bloweth and is still,
In mystery our soul abides;
But tasks in hours of insight willed
Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.

Identified or Simply Interested?

March 21st, 2016

I have been crucified with Christ… —Galatians 2:20

The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him” —but— “I have been identified with Him in His death.” Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.“…it is no longer I who live….” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.“…and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh— the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God….” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits— a faith that comes only from the Son of God.____________________________________________________

March 21 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord and thank you for this day and this devotional. Once more we read Chambers’ words and fit them into the lessons You keep teaching us. Where he says we are to give up the right to ourselves, our rights to look good, feel good, be right and be in control, we read this as surrender; a daily and issue by issue decision to give our lives over to You, to let go of our rights to our own ideas, motivations and perceptions. We have experienced the “peace that passes understanding” when we do this, and long for ways to stay in this surrendered condition.

And God says… “When you surrender yourself to Me, as Chambers writes, “It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits— a faith that comes only from the Son of God.” You make one decision to surrender your life to Me when you become My child. Then you face many, many decisions, opportunities and challenges over the course of your lifetime. As these challenges, trials and opportunities appear, you can leverage your intellect, experience, education, and instincts to address them or you can surrender them to Me. You can use your own understanding or mine. You can seek control, your own ideas of the “right outcomes” or you can choose to live a great new adventure, and trust in Me with all your heart. What part of your relationship with Me is asking me to give you control and the outcomes you desire, and what part of our relationship is trusting Me and being willing to step out into great adventures where you have no control or leverage? Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding and I will make your paths straight.”

The Servant’s Primary Goal

March 17th, 2016

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
Some of these scriptures seem to promote getting back on a squirrel cage or climbing a ladder to prove ourselves worthy enough and our experiences with that mentality have not been good. We’ve come to believe that you don’t use guilt as a motivator with your children… even though some of your servants use it regularly. Can we arrive at the same place, being “approved to God”, well pleasing to you, etc” from a motivation of love instead of a motivation of guilt and penalty avoidance? Perhaps acknowledging these scriptures that seem to invite us to judgement and striving but spend our time and mental energy on the others? Meanwhile placing the “hard to understand” ones at the foot of the cross and wait for you to reveal them further … in your time.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8

“All coins have two sides. You can focus on one while knowing the other exists. You can live and breathe in the scriptures like Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11. You can preach them and sing them and encourage crowds with them. Leave these other scriptures to me and Holy Spirit to reveal to each person. If you preach about judgement and measuring up… it will be heard by ones who are not ready to hear it and they will default to a “motivation by guilt” and that is not my way. I will show each of my children what I need of them in my time and my way.”

The Master Will Judge

March 16th, 2016

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ… —2 Corinthians 5:10

“If we walk in the light as He is in the light…” (1 John 1:7). For many of us, walking in the light means walking according to the standard we have set up for another person. The deadliest attitude of the Pharisees that we exhibit today is not hypocrisy but that which comes from unconsciously living a lie.


March 16 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord. For years, as a boy and young Christian, I wondered and worried about the judgement seat of Christ. Would I measure up, would Jesus be disappointed in me? Would I hear, “well done my good and faithful servant?” But then You taught me: Believers will not be judged for sin at the judgment seat of Christ. Every sin of every believer was judged at the Cross, when God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). At the cross “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). As our substitute, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24); “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12; cf. Eph. 1:7; 4:32; 1 John 2:1–2). Because of His atoning sacrifice on our behalf, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.… Who is the one who condemns?

So God if this is true, then why is 2 Corinthians 5:10 so explicit? Why do we face the thought of being judged for what we do on earth? Why is it still even a discussion?

And God says…”The judgement is and will always be; “not guilty”. You are not called to live under the threat of judgement, but under the promise of love, grace, and reward. When you surrendered your life to Jesus, you began to live under grace. And as you continue to surrender all your days and issues of your life to Me, you continue to live the abundant life. And in heaven, there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. There is only reward.”