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Chatting with Jesus

Friday, February 3, 2023

Lord, reading Philippians 4, I’m reminded of a story about my folks. One Sunday morning in church, the air conditioner had turned the sanctuary into a meat locker. People were shaking with cold, and my shivering mom complained to dad how cold she was. “You’ll be okay. It’s not that cold,” he said dismissively. Mom grew a little testy with my pastor dad and snapped, “I suppose you have a Scripture for this too!” Without missing a beat, dad said, “Philippians 4:11, I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I find myself.” Needless to say, dad later experienced a new kind of coldness.

The Apostle Paul had many ups and downs in his ministerial life. He preached to crowds that welcomed him, as well as crowds that tried to stone him. There were times of abundance and times when his next meal was in doubt. He slept in warm, comfortable beds and on the cold, hard ground. Paul’s writings in 2 Corinthians 4 details how the evangelist life was no picnic, yet rewarding in ways that made all the trials worth it. Christ followers down through the centuries have found comfort in Paul’s words:

“For I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength,” —Philippians 4:11-13

Lord, help me daily live Philippians 4 in my life. You give me strength and grace to do all You have called me to do. You and me, Jesus. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Lord, when Your Word instructs us to live by a godly principle You always give us an outline to accomplish Your will. The Apostle Paul encouraged the Philippian believers not to “worry about anything; instead pray about everything, tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done,” (Philippians 4:6). He left them instructions how to do this, since what he told them—and us—to do is so against our human nature. Sure, it takes discipline on our part, but here is the simple, yet perfect way to avoid worry and live in God’s peace:

“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 (NLT).

Scripture promises if we put into practice what we’ve learned and observed, worry will have difficulty gaining a foothold in our soul. The peace of God will smother the worry that wants to control our thoughts. This is thanking God for all He has done.

Lord, as one who leans toward ADHD, I need Your grace to stay focused on the truths of Philippians 4:8. We’re not to be ignorant of the world around us but being absorbed with 24-hour news stations bombarding us of everything wrong in the world has people living in fear. Peace of mind is foreign to them.

As Christ followers, as we dwell on Your promises, reveal new truths of who You are and who we are in You. Help us discipline ourselves to pray and not fret over things we cannot control, but trust You have complete control over everything that happens in our lives.

Living in Your peace, Jesus, Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Lord, when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian believers Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done,” (Philippians 4:6), could he have imagined how some would take this truth of God’s faithfulness as a blank check?

Most see the ‘don’t worry’, ‘instead pray’, ‘thank Hm’ understand what he meant. God knows our heart, and we can trust Him to supply what we need that is for our best. Sadly, for some, in their misguided theology, have turned “Tell God what you need,” into “Tell God what you want.”

“Lord, I want a Lamborghini.” “Lord, I want You to bless me with a bigger house.” “Lord, I want to be that hunka-hunka burning love’s spouse.” “Lord, I want that promotion along with the corner office with the view.” “Lord, I want to be a famous Christian celebrity and be on TV so folks will see how close I am to You.”

I envision You in Heaven, Lord, rolling Your eyes, shaking Your head.

What did the Philippians believers tell You they needed?

“Lord, I need faith when after such careful planning, things don’t go as I planned.” “Lord, help me be a godly example for my children and grandchildren so they will choose to follow You.” “Lord, I need Your love and compassion for those who don’t know You.” “Lord, give us joy amid our hardships.” “Lord, I need patience with those who so easily get on my nerves.” “Lord, I need grace to forgive those who did me wrong, so I can be free from carrying that unforgiveness baggage around.” “Lord, I need the courage to speak up for those whose voices cannot be heard.” “Lord, I need for my prodigal child to come home.” On and on the Philippians’ prayers reached Heaven’s Throne Room. May our prayers be as sincere.

Lord, show what we really need in all situations. We give You thanks for all You have done.

Amen, Jesus.

Chatting with Jesus

Monday, January 30, 2023

Lord, what would have happened to the psalmist if not for Your unfailing grace. You had forgiven his sinful past, and set him free from the penalties of those sins. Even so, the devil relentlessly tormented him, bringing up his past, which had brought him great private and public shame. Did the devil tell him he had done too much wrong, made too many bad life choices to be fully forgiven?, Did the devil lie, saying You still held over the psalmist’s head the disaster of his sinful youth? 

I read how the psalmist prayed for reassurance of Your unfailing love and grace.

“Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and unfailing love, which You have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth; remember me in the light of Your unfailing love, for You are merciful, O Lord,” — Psalm 25:6,7 (NLT)

Your Spirit reassured the psalmist his past no longer existed. In Your grace and forgiveness, he only had a future. Later, he wrote of this great truth:

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” —Psalm 103:12 (NLT)

Lord, I’m not alone. How many Christ followers today hear the same ole lies from the enemy of our soul? Every day he tries to remind me of the follies, the failures of my youth. He even claims I put the ‘stu” in stupid.

After coming to faith, Your grace wiped my slate clean. Like all Christ followers, I falter daily in my faith walk. But gratefully, as You did with the psalmist, Your grace and Your Spirit brings me back on track.

Yes, Lord, even today, You continue to remember Your compassion and unfailing love as from long ages past.  Thank You Jesus.

Amen!

Chatting with Jesus

Friday, January 27, 2023

Lord, David the psalmist, after wandering off the paths of righteousness, righted his spiritual life with You. He’d learned a painful lesson and determined never to stray again.

As I read the psalmist’s prayer, Your Spirit said I should make this my daily prayer as well.

“Show me the right path, O Lord, point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by Your truth and teach me for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You,” Psalm 25:4,5 (NLT)

Because this broken world offers pilgrims countless pathways to follow, how will we know which road to choose? Scripture instructs us that as Christ followers we should seek divine guidance to know what is true and be able to spot immediately what is counterfeit. Knowing the Scriptures is crucial to staying on track. The psalmist shared this message in his great collection of Your truths in Psalm 119:

“Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet, and a light for my path,” —Psalm 119:105 (NLT)

Lord, may I determine to learn Your Word so I may follow You as Your Spirit directs my life. You have the power to keep me from falling away from faith. Now I must choose. Do I yield to Your power and follow Your leading, even when I don’t understand where You are taking me? Or do I follow my own ways, drawn away by glitzy distractions that promise fulfillment, but always come up empty?

Like the psalmist, I’ve made my choice: All day long I put my hope in You, Jesus. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Lord, the psalmist David prayed to stay faithful in his relationship with You. His most heartbreaking fear was he would bring public shame to Your marvelous grace and doubts about Your redemptive powers. He staked his faith, his reputation—his life—that You could keep all who trust in You from being disgraced. We assured of this truth, but why do we see Christ followers do foolish things to disgrace themselves? Did the psalmist answer that question because he became a living example of God’s grace when a believer in God falls into sin. Is that why he added this warning, “but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others” (Psalm 25:3b)?

Scripture tells us You called David “a man after Your own heart,” (Acts 13:22). You forgave his offenses against You and elevated him as a national spiritual leader, yet in his weakened humanity, he yielded to adultery’s temptation.

Second Samuel 11 and 12 details the sordid story of the psalmist’s downfall. The greater his deception, the worse the matter became. Israel’s once mighty leader became the scorn of society. In humiliation and shame, he confessed the whole ugly affair. No more deceptions. No more half-truths. He came clean, repented, and pleaded for Your mercy. You forgave and restored him, but the spiritual and emotional price he paid was staggering. David is urging us to stay close to You, since You are our Shepherd who keeps us safe.

Lord, may we take to heart David’s lesson and stay close to You. Keep us from becoming too spiritually proud to think we’re too ‘holy’ to fail. We’re not.

Only Your grace, Lord, keeps Your followers from being disgraced. With a grateful heart, we humbly say, thank You Jesus for Your mercy and eternal life in Heaven. We may have to live with the consequences of our sin here, but You paid the price for them all on the cross. Lord, may Your grace always overwhelm and humble us.

Amen

Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Lord, after the psalmist committed to serving You, did he fear he might not keep his end of the deal? Did the enemy of his soul, that lying devil, whisper in his ear he could not live for God even if his life depended on it?He had done too much wrong. As I read his words, it seems that way. In Psalm 25, when he publicly declares his commitment to You, the skeptics came out in droves, watching his every move, anxious for him to stumble in his new profession of faith. As we read his plea, how many Christ followers have prayed the same. I have on many occasions.

“Oh, Lord, I give my life to You, I trust in You, my God. Do not let me be disgraced or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat,”—Psalm 25: 2

Like me, the psalmist remained flawed, but forgiven. Sure he sinned again, but immediately repented and continued his relationship with You. But what if he failed to uphold his end of the commitment? For anyone with a working conscience, what could be worse than being publicly disgraced? After publicly proclaiming faith in You, falling away from the faith would give the critics a field day.

Because of his leadership position in society, the psalmist was used to being in the spotlight. But for average new believers, being in the spotlight presents uncomfortable situations they didn’t know they signed up for.

But Lord, You have given us everything we need to live for You. You have our backs. You gave Your Holy Spirit to live inside us, to guide and protect us. And not only that, You promised Your followers that once they belong to You, nothing on Earth or in Hell can snatch us out of Your hand, (John 10:28). According to Romans 8:35-38, nothing can separate us from Your love. Jude recorded another great truth to assure believers of their eternal security.

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault,” —Jude 1:24 (emphasis added)

Lord, I agree with the psalmist: You go all out to keep all who trust You from being disgraced,” Psalm 25:3.

Amen, Jesus

Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Lord, meditating on the psalmist’s comments in Psalm 25, I sensed his brokenness and his need for redemption. His anxiety over the future gnawed at his soul. He was in a dark place. Many Christ followers have found themselves in similar situations. I have.

“O Lord,” the psalmist pledged. “I give my life to You. I trust in You my God,” (Psalm 25:1,2).

Living by his own standards didn’t pan out. Where’s the happiness? The fulfillment? He finally gave up trying to live on his own terms. Yes, he respected You. Yes, he acknowledged You as God. But being human, he inherited from Adam the “I’m the Supreme Ruler of My Life” DNA. Eventually, that DNA made its way to me.

God, You are adamant. We don’t play Let’s Make a Deal with You. When we come to You, we come to You on Your terms, not ours. Your terms are straightforward: humble ourselves, confess we’ve sinned, repent and trust that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid for our sins. (drum roll) Welcome to the Kingdom of God.

To trust You, God, means I trust my eternal soul to Your safekeeping. I trust what You say, I trust You are who You say You are, and will do what You say You will do. I believe Jesus’ sacrifice paid for my sins.

We’re redeemed but remain imperfect humans. I trust You for my salvation but what about other areas of my life? Only by Your Spirit’s help can I trust You 100 percent fully. My plea is often the same as the desperate father in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe [trust], help my unbelief.”

Jesus, I trust You. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Monday, January 16, 2023

Lord, today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who left a legacy of loving one another, accepting one another, listening to one another, and to quickly offer forgiveness, since he knew how human everyone is. He did the right thing, yet his godly character cost him his life. Despite hostilities, he consistently presented the Gospel of peace of Jesus Christ to a racist world trying to destroy him. He preached the timeless truth of the Gospel. Christ broke down the barriers that separated us by his sacrifice on the cross for the sins of mankind:

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female [Black, White, Brown, all color]. For you are all one in Christ Jesus, —Galatians 3:28

Evil men finally did take his life at the young age of 39, but they never took his spirit or quenched his dreams of a society where “people are judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.” His famous “I Have a Dream” speech will live on long after we are gone.

Dr. King was imprisoned 29 times. Although verbally and physically attacked, he modeled the peaceful example of Christ, to the shame his oppressors, especially his religious persecutors. Oh, for the grace to model the same. His critics are quick to point out his imperfections, his failures. His critics could do the same to me—and you. Flawed people are all God has to work with here.

Jesus, You are the Lord of one race, the human race. Help us bury our differences and live in peace, as You designed and Dr. King dreamed.

Amen, Jesus.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Lord, I don’t understand how some Christ followers believe that once we surrendered our life to You we became exempt from the fears, troubles, and sorrows that we had as unbelievers. How many were surprised, then confused, these human events remained? Taught with good intentions, many promoted the misguided theology that for Christ followers, everything is “pie in the sky” and “turning up rosy.” Sadly, when reality sinks in and these “promises” fail to appear, many are disillusioned. Some lose faith.

Nowhere does Scripture indicate You told Your followers they would receive a “Troubles and Sorrows Exemption” card. These are Your words, Jesus:

“Here on Earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33

The reality is being a Christ follower doesn’t magically erase our genuine concerns or fear about life’s stuff. Lord, You said You would never leave us nor forsake us.

When the doctor says he doesn’t like the looks of the biopsy, You are holding our hand.

When the one we loved most and dedicated our life to slams the door and walks out, You are holding us in Your arms, our broken heart close to Your loving heart.

When our prodigal child rebels and we helplessly watch them destroy their life, we feel Your tears running down our cheek as we cry on Your shoulder yet knowing one day they will return.

When our employer says the company needs to make cuts and security walks us to our car, we may not see now but You are walking with us toward a greater faith and a brighter future.

As the casket is lower into the ground, the anguish in our heart seems unbearable, yet You show in our spirit our loved one, now whole and vibrant, walking with You on streets of gold.

Lord, may we live confidently trusting Your Word, “take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Amen, Jesus!