Archive for February, 2017

“Do You Now Believe?”

February 28th, 2017

“By this we believe….” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?” —John 16:30-31

“Now we believe….” But Jesus asks, “Do you…? Indeed the hour is coming…that you…will leave Me alone” (John 16:31-32). Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our soul has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-6). This is not deliberate sin and there is no punishment attached to it. But once a person realizes how he has hindered his understanding of Jesus Christ, and caused uncertainties, sorrows, and difficulties for himself, it is with shame and remorse that he has to return.We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now.
We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them; it is not in His realm to do so, and those decisions are severed from reality. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ. We become a prideful, arrogant person, thinking we know what to do in every situation. We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus. We are not told to “walk in the light” of our conscience or in the light of a sense of duty, but to “walk in the light as He is in the light…” (1 John 1:7).
When we do something out of a sense of duty, it is easy to explain the reasons for our actions to others. But when we do something out of obedience to the Lord, there can be no other explanation— just obedience. That is why a saint can be so easily ridiculed and misunderstood.

The Impoverished Ministry of Jesus

February 27th, 2017

Where then do You get that living water? —John 4:11

“The well is deep” — and even a great deal deeper than the Samaritan woman knew! (John 4:11). Think of the depths of human nature and human life; think of the depth of the “wells” in you. Have you been limiting, or impoverishing, the ministry of Jesus to the point that He is unable to work in your life? Suppose that you have a deep “well” of hurt and trouble inside your heart, and Jesus comes and says to you, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1). Would your response be to shrug your shoulders and say, “But, Lord, the well is too deep, and even You can’t draw up quietness and comfort out of it.” Actually, that is correct. Jesus doesn’t bring anything up from the wells of human nature— He brings them down from above. We limit the Holy One of Israel by remembering only what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and also by saying, “Of course, I cannot expect God to do this particular thing.” The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. The impoverishment is in us, not in Him. We will come to Jesus for Him to be our comforter or our sympathizer, but we refrain from approaching Him as our Almighty God.

The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to get water for ourselves. Beware of sitting back, and saying, “It can’t be done.” You will know it can be done if you will look to Jesus. The well of your incompleteness runs deep, but make the effort to look away from yourself and to look toward Him.

Journal DJR
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”
Mark 11:24 -NLT

The Delight of Sacrifice

February 24th, 2017

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

Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (see John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose— that he might win people to Jesus Christ. Paul always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

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.


February 24 2017

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord and thank you for the devotionals; Oswald Chambers and Richard Rohr’s, . At the end of the day, David and I felt led to study the notion that 1) In whatever we do, if we want You to be leading, we must be present in the moment, and 2) focus on the vision, the goal and not the elements or pieces of the vision. It seems that when we are concerned about elements of our lives, like discipleship or managing our time or the proximity of our houses to our families, or our lack of funds to pay for tuition, that we are living inside of our human big four; to be right, look good, feel good and be in control.  As we talked, prayed and debated Your lesson for today, it struck us that if we really want to have victory, we simply start and finish with You. That if we surrender (all our concerns and qualifications)…even ourselves to You, and simply seek Your face, Your love, Your guidance, that we no longer need to be concerned about our lack of anything.


And God says…”Yes. That is right. When you let go of your concerns (the tares, and cares…details) of your life, let go of trying to control everything including yourself, and follow Me, I will give you a vision, you simply focus on that; everything else will follow. My people perish for lack of vision. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and do not rely on your own understanding and will make your paths straight. Delight yourself in the Lord and I will give you the desires of your heart.”

“You can stop trying to be a better Christian, husband, father,  friend and or employee. Stop trying to get better at time management, discipleship, goal setting and being more productive. Simply take time to surrender all of that and connect with Me. Let Me then take care of the issues of your life and you will, as a result, become a better Christian, husband, father,  friend and or employee. Focus on Jesus and the vision I will provide.   Remember to seek first the Kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will give you everything else you require for daily living.”

The Determination to Serve

February 23rd, 2017

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… —Matthew 20:28

Jesus also said, “Yet I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:27). Paul’s idea of service was the same as our Lord’s— “…ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). We somehow have the idea that a person called to the ministry is called to be different and above other people. But according to Jesus Christ, he is called to be a “doormat” for others— called to be their spiritual leader, but never their superior. Paul said, “I know how to be abased…” (Philippians 4:12). Paul’s idea of service was to pour his life out to the last drop for others. And whether he received praise or blame made no difference.
As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him. But the chief motivation behind Paul’s service was not love for others but love for his Lord. If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.

Paul’s understanding of how Christ had dealt with him is the secret behind his determination to serve others. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man…” (1 Timothy 1:13). In other words, no matter how badly others may have treated Paul, they could never have treated him with the same degree of spite and hatred with which he had treated Jesus Christ. Once we realize that Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake.

The Discipline of Spiritual Perseverance

February 22nd, 2017

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…” (Revelation 3:10).

Continue to persevere spiritually.

Do You Really Love Him?

February 21st, 2017

She has done a good work for Me. —Mark 14:6

If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and it may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love.
Have you ever been driven to do something for God not because you felt that it was useful or your duty to do so, or that there was anything in it for you, but simply because you love Him? Have you ever realized that you can give things to God that are of value to Him? Or are you just sitting around daydreaming about the greatness of His redemption, while neglecting all the things you could be doing for Him? I’m not referring to works which could be regarded as divine and miraculous, but ordinary, simple human things— things which would be evidence to God that you are totally surrendered to Him. Have you ever created what Mary of Bethany created in the heart of the Lord Jesus? “She has done a good work for Me.”There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him even small gifts of surrender, just to show how genuine our love is for Him. To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness.

Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. “…but perfect love casts out fear…” once we are surrendered to God (1 John 4:18). We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use?” and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to Him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, He will work through us all the time._____________________________________________________

February 21, 2017

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord, and thank you for the Chambers devotional and the Richard Rohr devotional as well. It has become a good thing to study and learn form the juxtaposition. Chambers with his 19th and 20th Century guilt and obligatory leverage and Rohr’s teaching about the contemplative mind. ( . But they both seem to agree that the most important part of our “to live is Christ” is found in surrender and connection with You. And as Rohr’s devotional says this morning, living out of surrender and connection can become an ordinary experience that does not require any special feelings or extraordinary effort other than allowing our religious and human veneer to be stripped away. Is this the learning for us today God?

And God says…”Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own ways, means and or understanding and I will make your paths straight. Seek first the kingdom of God, which is Jesus, and I will meet all your daily, worldly needs. Acknowledge Me in all your ways and I will make your paths straight….Over and over, and over I have communicated this truth to You; seek Me and I will respond to you. Knock and the door will be answered. David and you have been taught over the past few months and years, that there are no other covenants or commands other than to love Me with all your heart, mind and spirit, and out of that, love your neighbor as yourself. As you let go of your rights to yourself, and surrender, we, you and Me, are able to connect and communicate in ways we otherwise could not. You now have the supernatural ability to trust Me to light your path one step at a time as you step out into your day.”

Taking the Initiative Against Daydreaming

February 20th, 2017

Arise, let us go from here. —John 14:31

Daydreaming about something in order to do it properly is right, but daydreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong. In this passage, after having said these wonderful things to His disciples, we might have expected our Lord to tell them to go away and meditate over them all. But Jesus never allowed idle daydreaming. When our purpose is to seek God and to discover His will for us, daydreaming is right and acceptable. But when our inclination is to spend time daydreaming over what we have already been told to do, it is unacceptable and God’s blessing is never on it. God will take the initiative against this kind of daydreaming by prodding us to action. His instructions to us will be along the lines of this: “Don’t sit or stand there, just go!”

If we are quietly waiting before God after He has said to us, “Come aside by yourselves…” then that is meditation before Him to seek His will (Mark 6:31). Beware, however, of giving in to mere daydreaming once God has spoken. Allow Him to be the source of all your dreams, joys, and delights, and be careful to go and obey what He has said. If you are in love with someone, you don’t sit and daydream about that person all the time— you go and do something for him. That is what Jesus Christ expects us to do. Daydreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.


Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord. Thank you for bringing us the understanding of dualistic thinking that categorizes everything right or wrong, in or out, for me or against me. And it’s alternative, unitive thinking or whatever we are going to call it…. that accepts paradox and mystery and sees all sides of a situation… Now that we see these two ways of perception, Chambers’ first sentence jumps out and self identifies as dualistic. His very last sentence is also pretty black and white. As are a lot of his sentences, in all of his devotions. That is not to say they don’t contain truth and good concepts to think about. But from where we now stand, we have the tools to at least attempt to separate out what you are saying to us and for us today (CO2MannaToday) from Oswald Chambers’ own ideas that reflect where he was at his time in history, speaking to his intended audience. Is thinking this way, being able to see all sides, and accept the paradox and mystery and seeming contradictions, what Paul was talking about when he said,

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus….

Yes, and it’s a good example of where unitive thinking is essential. For starters, don’t take things out of context. Read the sections before and after that. That will help you see the different aspects that are all being referred to in that verse.

2 …by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Thank you for the parallel reading that we are doing over on Richard Rohr’s site. The teaching here from Chambers in the last few days can be summarized as, “daydream or meditate until you hear God’s will, then get up and get going” Which is good but leaves us a little short on exactly how to do that? Daydreaming by itself can last and last and (seemingly) never get anywhere… flitting from thought to thought to thought. We seem to need a little guidance in our daydreaming, or it may stay just daydreaming. Inviting you into it is our obvious first step, but Rohr and his guest writers have been giving good guidelines in “Centering Prayer” meditation.


For those interested, here is today’s devotional from Richard Rohr’s site.

If you find it helpful, there is a link to subscribe to receive it daily by email.

Taking the Initiative Against Despair

February 18th, 2017

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, The last three days entries fit together well – and bring a necessary message to humans like me who blow it, and get depressed or despair from time to time. “Let the failures go into the grace of the past. Don’t beat yourself up. And get up and do the next thing…probably a simple thing, but make sure it is the inspired thing, instead of my own self help thing.” This is good advice and good news, but it seems difficult to implement consistently. At least in my experience. Am I missing something?
As usual, the companion or counterpoint devotional that JD and I are reading this year gives a valuable perspective. This week’s summary of Centering Prayer gives some tools and perspective on how we can walk more consistently… out of despair, out of depression, and on to the next thing, inspired thru our connection with you. Here’s a link for those interested.

Thank you Lord for the juxtaposition of both daily devotionals. It is providing an “iron sharpening iron” effect when we mix both of their inputs plus our own and (hopefully) your overriding input. The message that boils down out of it all is amazingly consistent. And is leading us ever more toward a simple, and as Dietrich Bonnhoeffer called for, “a religionless Christianity” One where we simply surrender our will, ego, Big Four needs to look good, feel good, be right and be in control, and through Connection with You, we can stay Curious, see what you are saying to us, and just live out of that. With this type of living, the only thing worth striving for is maintaining our connection with you. And that striving isn’t really striving. It’s more like releasing, letting go, self emptying and falling into it. Sometimes, like this week, one devotional provides a “what” and the other fills in the “how.” Thank you for your love and grace. We couldn’t make it without you.

Taking the Initiative Against Depression

February 17th, 2017

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.

The Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative

February 16th, 2017

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.

February 16, 2017

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord and thank You for the devotional from Chambers, our lesson from Richard Rohr (guest writer Cynthia Bourgeault today and the music of Johnny Diaz. These elements together with Your Spirit offered David and me a lesson in resting….in a surrendered state as we listen for your voice. We are also thinking that just because You give us a truth or a word does not mean we run out and share it immediately. It seems You are teaching us to rest, surrender and wait for specific direction even or especially when we feel we or our ideas (or spiritual ideas) are under attack. And that it is not necessarily our roles to effect or be affected by the issues, and or polarized political or emotional storms that swirl around us. It seems that we are to “just breathe” and listen for Your voice that will provide specific direction at the right time, place and opportunity. Are we on the right track God?

And God says…”There is no polarity or dual thinking support for human interaction from the Holy Spirit. There is no “us and them” or a right way or wrong way, there is only love and the blood of Jesus shed for all mankind; that is right, all mankind. When you are in a fiery communications, and or feel you or your ideas are under attack, “just breathe”. When you feel like there is an entire group or a single loved one attacking you or what you believe to be truth, “just breathe” and remember I am love. ……if you have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, you are nothing. If you give all you possess to the poor and give over your body to hardship that you may boast, but do not have love, you gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”

“My sheep know My voice. And you can validate hearing My voice, when my words come wrapped in Love”.