Archive for June, 2016

Do It Now!

June 30th, 2016

Agree with your adversary quickly… —Matthew 5:25

In this verse, Jesus Christ laid down a very important principle by saying, “Do what you know you must do— now. Do it quickly. If you don’t, an inevitable process will begin to work ‘till you have paid the last penny’ (Matthew 5:26) in pain, agony, and distress.” God’s laws are unchangeable and there is no escape from them. The teachings of Jesus always penetrate right to the heart of our being.

Wanting to make sure that my adversary gives me all my rights is a natural thing. But Jesus says that it is a matter of inescapable and eternal importance to me that I pay my adversary what I owe him. From our Lord’s standpoint it doesn’t matter whether I am cheated or not, but what does matter is that I don’t cheat someone else. Am I insisting on having my own rights, or am I paying what I owe from Jesus Christ’s standpoint?

Do it quickly— bring yourself to judgment now. In moral and spiritual matters, you must act immediately. If you don’t, the inevitable, relentless process will begin to work. God is determined to have His child as pure, clean, and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will allow His Spirit to use whatever process it may take to bring us to obedience. The fact that we insist on proving that we are right is almost always a clear indication that we have some point of disobedience. No wonder the Spirit of God so strongly urges us to stay steadfastly in the light! (see John 3:19-21).

“Agree with your adversary quickly….” Have you suddenly reached a certain place in your relationship with someone, only to find that you have anger in your heart? Confess it quickly— make it right before God. Be reconciled to that person— do it now!

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord, We normally think of us humans seeking You. But here we see that You are seeking us. And will do various things to encourage us to “find” you. Like let consequences happen until we wake up and connect and do the right thing.
It occurred to me that one of your strongest weapons in getting through to us and getting us to leave our old comfortable ways (with the uncomfortable results) is to give us a taste of real communion with you. After a person has connected and walked with for a little while, we are “ruined” for finding that elsewhere, although we certainly try… there just is no substitute.

The Strictest Discipline

June 29th, 2016

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. —Matthew 5:30

When God changes you through regeneration, giving you new life through spiritual rebirth, your life initially has the characteristic of being maimed. There are a hundred and one things that you dare not do— things that would be sin for you, and would be recognized as sin by those who really know you. But the unspiritual people around you will say, “What’s so wrong with doing that? How absurd you are!” There has never yet been a saint who has not lived a maimed life initially. Yet it is better to enter into life maimed but lovely in God’s sight than to appear lovely to man’s eyes but lame to God’s. At first, Jesus Christ through His Spirit has to restrain you from doing a great many things that may be perfectly right for everyone else but not right for you. Yet, see that you don’t use your restrictions to criticize someone else.

The Christian life is a maimed life initially, but in Matthew 5:48 Jesus gave us the picture of a perfectly well-rounded life— “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Held by the Grip of God

June 28th, 2016

I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. —Philippians 3:12

Never choose to be a worker for God, but once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you “turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32). We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has “laid hold of” us. And once He has done so, we never have this thought, “Well, I’m really not suited for this.” What you are to preach is also determined by God, not by your own natural leanings or desires. Keep your soul steadfastly related to God, and remember that you are called not simply to convey your testimony but also to preach the gospel. Every Christian must testify to the truth of God, but when it comes to the call to preach, there must be the agonizing grip of God’s hand on you— your life is in the grip of God for that very purpose. How many of us are held like that?

Never water down the Word of God, but preach it in its undiluted sternness. There must be unflinching faithfulness to the Word of God, but when you come to personal dealings with others, remember who you are— you are not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do…I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord
Since I don’t feel the “agonizing grip of God’s hand on you” … I was unsure of what to do with the first part of today’s selection. Perhaps it just helps me understand those who are called to preach in that way. Perhaps it helps me understand some of the dogmatic sounding preachers… at least understand how they got that way or how they justify staying that way.
But when I got to the last part…”not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.” That I could relate to. And that’s the connection with the song today.

It is easier for you to relate to receiving grace because that is the road I’ve been leading you on for quite a while. Grace for you. But how about grace for those around you? from those who cut you off in traffic to those who adamantly preach a “non-grace” message… those who would place behavioral demands on people and judge them if they don’t measure up?

Yes, Lord, that really irritates me. But I read that it really irritated you too, those Pharisees and teachers of the law. So is it OK to be irritated?

I was sad that they couldn’t hear me. So you can be sad for your brethren who are locked up in a more rigid understanding than what I’ve been teaching you. You can be curious about how they got that way. And today’s lesson can shed some light on it. It will be good when both the liberals and the conservatives read and heed my word thru Paul in Romans 14. About not judging another man’s servant.

14 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval………..10 So why do you condemn another believer[a]? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bend to me,
and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.[b]’”
12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

The Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance

June 27th, 2016

“…I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. —Jeremiah 1:8

The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).


June 27, 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning God and thank you for this devotional; a reminder to me to live in the moment knowing that all things work together for good; and that I am to seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and You will take care of everything else.

I saw a quote the other day that I modified a bit…” worry is fear of the future, depression is fear of the past; live in the present, surrendered, connected and curious about how God will unfold your day. This seems like a fine way to live out the song for today as well.

And God says…”Trust in Me with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding, awareness, planning, intellect, or control; and I will make your paths straight. When you abandon the “big four”; to look good, feel good, be right and to be in control, you can trust me to be God, and to make all things work together for your good.

When you worry about the future, (yours or the future of those you love), you are living out your lack of faith. When you are depressed about your past, you are living out your lack of belief in my forgiveness and grace. You are, in effect, says that the atonement of Jesus did not address your past, present and future.

Take a moment and think about placing all your worries about the future, past and present at the foot of the cross every day, then ask Me to help you surrender and be connected, and live out of that. Check in a couple of times today and let me know how that is working for you. But then you already know that answer. I love you.


“Acquainted With Grief”

June 23rd, 2016

He is…a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. —Isaiah 53:3

We are not “acquainted with grief” in the same way our Lord was acquainted with it. We endure it and live through it, but we do not become intimate with it. At the beginning of our lives we do not bring ourselves to the point of dealing with the reality of sin. We look at life through the eyes of reason and say that if a person will control his instincts, and educate himself, he can produce a life that will slowly evolve into the life of God. But as we continue on through life, we find the presence of something which we have not yet taken into account, namely, sin— and it upsets all of our thinking and our plans. Sin has made the foundation of our thinking unpredictable, uncontrollable, and irrational.

We have to recognize that sin is a fact of life, not just a shortcoming. Sin is blatant mutiny against God, and either sin or God must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue— if sin rules in me, God’s life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is nothing more fundamental than that. The culmination of sin was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and what was true in the history of God on earth will also be true in your history and in mine— that is, sin will kill the life of God in us. We must mentally bring ourselves to terms with this fact of sin. It is the only explanation why Jesus Christ came to earth, and it is the explanation of the grief and sorrow of life.

The Unchanging Law of Judgment

June 22nd, 2016

With what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. —Matthew 7:2

Romans 2:1 applies it in even a more definite way by saying that the one who criticizes another is guilty of the very same thing. God looks not only at the act itself, but also at the possibility of committing it, which He sees by looking at our hearts. To begin with, we do not believe the statements of the Bible. For instance, do we really believe the statement that says we criticize in others the very things we are guilty of ourselves? The reason we see hypocrisy, deceit, and a lack of genuineness in others is that they are all in our own hearts. The greatest characteristic of a saint is humility, as evidenced by being able to say honestly and humbly, “Yes, all those, as well as other evils, would have been exhibited in me if it were not for the grace of God. Therefore, I have no right to judge.”

Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). He went on to say, in effect, “If you do judge, you will be judged in exactly the same way.” Who of us would dare to stand before God and say, “My God, judge me as I have judged others”? We have judged others as sinners— if God should judge us in the same way, we would be condemned to hell. Yet God judges us on the basis of the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ.


June 22 2016

Journal Entry for Today

Good Morning God and I must tell You that this devotional snapped me up with a bolt of conviction about my judgments. I was feeling all warm and cozy in my judgements of members of what has been called the right wing conservative Christian community. For some reason I was perfectly comfortable in NOT judging sinners, I looked at the behavior differently than the person, but I did not and was not doing the same thing for the so called right wing Christian community. I was judging what I saw as their lack of acceptance and forgiveness of certain “special interest groups” within Christendom. Further, I was quite comfortable with this “noble” forgiveness I was giving “special interest groups” and even more comfortable with my “righteous indignation” aimed at my more conservative brethren. Please forgive me Lord, and help me become forgiving and accepting of everyone.

And God says…”as Socrates was reported to have said…”an unexamined life in not worth living”. You are examining your life and your judgements and opinions. Continue to do this, but remember to do this in the context of being surrendered, connected, curious and obedient. When you do this, and prioritize surrender before opinions and judgements, you can trust that Jesus will live through you. You can stand on the balcony with an objective view and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you from there. You can live out of this surrender much better than you can live out of your opinions and judgements.”

The Ministry of the Inner Life

June 21st, 2016

You are…a royal priesthood… —1 Peter 2:9

By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say, “What a wonderful victory I have!” Yet there is nothing at all in that which indicates the miracle of redemption. Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. Then don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”

How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves? We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life.


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
I like what Chambers said about jumping in and going for it… “Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete.” He then goes on to say, pray for the friend at midnight, pray for all things. We’ve learned that nothing works without connection and to seek that first. It almost sounds like he’s suggesting, just get started with will power and let the connection happen as it happens. Which seems like a recipe for disaster… What if we get started with our will power and then continue and the connection and Holy Spirit Nudge never shows up? Is it like another preacher said, “We start in the flesh and finish in the Spirit?”

One thing that will keep you from getting started is demanding of yourself to have all this stuff perfect before you begin. You will never get it perfect, so just begin. You’ve used the analogy before that it is easier to steer a moving car than one that is parked in the parking lot. Look also at Peter getting out of the boat and walking on the water. It was totally in his human power to hike his leg up over the edge of the boat, no divine empowerment needed up to that point. I am not saying to just start off on your own idea and then ask me to come along and bless what you are doing. At least try to establish a connection each day and maintain it and live from it throughout the day. You won’t get this perfect. But you will get better. This is one place where your good intentions and efforts are noted and they do count. As you daily strive to live from our connection, you will get better (living more from my leading and less from your “Big 4 human motivations..Look good, Feel good, Be right and Be in control) and I will ensure that you get better at it. It’s better for both of us. So keep on starting off your days like this. And I’ll show you other “techniques” that will be helpful. Like visualizing. Like taking things to the cross and leaving them there.

Have You Come to “When” Yet?

June 20th, 2016


The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. —Job 42:10

A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession. There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.

If you are not now receiving the “hundredfold” which Jesus promised (see Matthew 19:29), and not getting insight into God’s Word, then start praying for your friends— enter into the ministry of the inner life. “The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer. Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now.


June 20, 2016

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Lord, I am a bit confused by this devotional. Chambers says that we can do nothing to add to our redemption; we cannot hope to “get right with God” because Jesus has already made us right with You. …..As Chambers writes; Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession. Is this an indicator of true surrender that I am always in a mind to pray for others; to offer up intercessory prayer? What about the times when I can only find my own needs and challenges; when I am so focused on my own challenges and problems and can find no space or room in my heart for anyone else?


And God says…”When you can only find room in your heart and mind for your own challenges and issues, it is a clear indication that you are not surrendered; that you are not connected and curious. When you are truly surrendered, you do not even think about your own challenges or issues, you know deep down that “all things work together for good”. It is your mantra. When you are truly surrendered you naturally reach out on behalf of others because you know that I have control over all your issues, challenges and opportunities. You cannot be truly surrendered and concurrently be consumed by your own needs. Let this be part of your “dashboard” of surrender, connection, curiosity and obedience. When you are so consumed by your own circumstances and challenges of life, you know you are not truly surrendered. Just move back into the space where you surrender yourself and your circumstances then you can and will pray for others, as a matter of course. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will make your paths straight. “

“Will You Lay Down Your Life?”

June 16th, 2016

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends….I have called you friends… —John 15:13, 15

Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him. Peter said to the Lord, “I will lay down my life for Your sake,” and he meant it (John 13:37). He had a magnificent sense of the heroic. For us to be incapable of making this same statement Peter made would be a bad thing— our sense of duty is only fully realized through our sense of heroism. Has the Lord ever asked you, “Will you lay down your life for My sake?” (John 13:38). It is much easier to die than to lay down your life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling of God. We are not made for the bright-shining moments of life, but we have to walk in the light of them in our everyday ways. There was only one bright-shining moment in the life of Jesus, and that was on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was there that He emptied Himself of His glory for the second time, and then came down into the demon-possessed valley (seeMark 9:1-29). For thirty-three years Jesus laid down His life to do the will of His Father. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). Yet it is contrary to our human nature to do so.

If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him. It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is. Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. But the exhibiting of salvation in my life is difficult. God saves a person, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and then says, in effect, “Now you work it out in your life, and be faithful to Me, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful.” And Jesus says to us, “…I have called you friends….” Remain faithful to your Friend, and remember that His honor is at stake in your bodily life.

Get Moving! (2)

June 15th, 2016

Also…add to your faith… —2 Peter 1:5

In the matter of drudgery. Peter said in this passage that we have become “partakers of the divine nature” and that we should now be “giving all diligence,” concentrating on forming godly habits (2 Peter 1:4-5). We are to “add” to our lives all that character means. No one is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; it must be developed. Nor are we born with habits— we have to form godly habits on the basis of the new life God has placed within us.
We are not meant to be seen as God’s perfect, bright-shining examples, but to be seen as the everyday essence of ordinary life exhibiting the miracle of His grace. Drudgery is the test of genuine character. The greatest hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will only look for big things to do. Yet, “Jesus…took a towel and…began to wash the disciples’ feet…” (John 13:3-5).We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God’s way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don’t always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.
It is difficult for us to do the “adding” that Peter mentioned here. We say we do not expect God to take us to heaven on flowery beds of ease, and yet we act as if we do! I must realize that my obedience even in the smallest detail of life has all of the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I will do my duty, not for duty’s sake but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience all of the magnificent grace of God is mine through the glorious atonement by the Cross of Christ.