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Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Lord, it’s not like you didn’t warn us: “if this world hates you remember the world hated me first,” (John 15:18). Matthew summed up what believers could expect—Get ready, they are coming after you, (Matthew 24:9).

Our freedom to openly worship came at the price of our blood and treasure. May we never regard this freedom lightly. Countless believers in hostile environments worship underground under the threat of death. Before our soul-changing encounter with you, we also were among those who felt your message of redemption was unnecessary.

The world rejects you— “who needs God? We’re intelligent enough to run our society ourselves.” (Hey world, how’s that working out?)

Persecution, torture, and even death happen far too often for believers. Your heart breaks for the suffering faithful, but you promised a great reward in Heaven for those who persevere under trial.

The psalmist refused to believe his suffering went unnoticed:

“Are our sufferings not all written in your book? You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book,”—Psalm 56:8 (NLT).

Yes, Lord, all our losses for the sake of the Kingdom, the abuse heaped upon us for living our faith daily, the scorn for just sharing how a new life and hope are found in you—all these, and more, are recorded in your book.

May I never stop talking about you, Jesus. Amen.

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Chatting with Jesus

Monday, May 29, 2023, Memorial Day

Lord Jesus, you teach your followers, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” (John 15:13 NLT). You proved that love on Calvary’s cross, and laid down your life to free us from sin.

On this sacred day, we honor those who made their ultimate sacrifice so we may live in our God-given rights of freedom. The 200,000 resting in Arlington National Cemetery remind us of this profound truth: “freedom isn’t free.” Freedom always comes with a cost. Thankfully, throughout history faithful men and women have stepped forward to take that risk. General George S. Patton spoke such a truth: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God such men lived.”

Perhaps no one honored our fallen heroes more eloquently than Abraham Lincoln, on that cold November day, 1863, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Lord, two-thousand years after Calvary’s sacrifice, your life’s blood still redeems us. You laid down your life for your ‘friends.’ And we praise you that brave men and women laid down their lives for their friends. Bless all our dear Gold Star families and the sacrifices they too made.

May we live worthy of your death that redeemed us from our sins. And may we live worthy of the sacrifice of those whose shed blood bought our God-given freedoms here at home. Let us prove their deaths were not in vain.  

 Amen, Jesus.

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Chatting with Jesus
Friday, May 26, 2023

Lord, you have always protected your people. You arrange interactions and encounters for our good. Even your promise of Romans 8:28, “You make all things work for the good of those who follow you,” includes what we might consider ‘bad’ encounters. Recently, you reminded me of your protection.

Lord, forgive if I’m scaring you, but I’m taking my life into my hands getting on the freeway. Forgive my anger, but you saw that other driver playing NASCAR and refusing to let me over. I shook my fist and fell behind him and finally entered the freeway. Yes, I became irritated. This apocalyptic encounter cost me possibly eight to ten seconds of travel time. Am I the only Christ follower who has thought of following a rude driver home and setting his house on fire? Forgive me, Lord.

A few miles down the road where the four lanes merge into three lanes, a multicar accident happened in front of me. At least five cars were involved, and all suffered heavy damage. Thankfully, Lord, you guided me through the wreckage and safely home.

That night, you spoke to my inner man.

“Do you believe Romans 8:28 or would you rather remain clueless?”

“Okay, Lord. What’d I miss?”

“I protected you. I sent an angel to irritate that driver to slow you down and not to let you in. Otherwise, you were headed for a NASCAR-style wreck. Big deal. That eight or ten seconds of annoyance was for your good.”

Lord, how fitting you led me to Psalm 91:11— “For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.” Especially on the Dallas-Fort Worth freeways.

Everything is a lesson to be learned with you, isn’t it Jesus? Even little annoyances are for my good.

Amen, Jesus.

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Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Lord, there are times when this life becomes overbearing. Before I put out one fire, another one erupts. One project piled on top of another—the kid’s soccer practice between dental appointments and youth night at the church—and stress marches on.  Additionally, inflation hurts our family budget, health issues can arise at any moment. Feelings of being under-qualified, out-of-sorts, as a parent, worker, or even a minister, may cause some to withdraw into their shell.

Lord, you never intended for us to be pushed so harshly, so why do we get stressed to the max? Despite our best efforts, we still get this way.

The dangers lurking to trap us during stressful times is we tend to turn to our idols instead of turning to you. Stress and anxiety cause many to turn to food for relief. Who wouldn’t be surprised if the devil didn’t invent chocolate for just such purposes. Others may lose themselves in social media, spending hours posting embellishments, hoping that many ‘likes’ will confirm their self-worth. Sadly, for many under stress, substance abuse is prevalent, even to those who follow you.

Lord, help us take our eyes off our circumstances and run to you before stress becomes overwhelming. May we find our strength, comfort, and peace in your Word. The psalmist knew stress long before we did. He wrote:

“God is my refuge and strength. An ever-present help [comfort] in time of trouble [stress, anxiety].”—Psalm 46:1  

Lord, as I keep my focus on you and your power, make that mountain before me into a pebble. Create a kiddie pool out of that raging stormy sea. May our praise, adorations, and worship bring your mighty breath of peace over our circumstances. Nothing is too big for you, Lord. And help me never believe the lie “chocolate is my friend.”

Amen, Jesus.

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Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Lord, John records how you healed the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda, (John 5:1–15). You asked him a simple question: Do you want to be made well?

In his broken condition, the lame man heard, “Do you want to walk again?”

That answer should be a no-brainer. Of course, I want to walk again. Who wouldn’t want to walk after being crippled for thirty-eight years? Instead, he made excuses why he could not be healed. It was other’s fault. People blocked his way to the water. They pushed him aside. God is against me.

But, Lord, you didn’t ask if he wanted to walk again You asked if he wanted to be well.

The lame man saw himself as physically handicapped. You saw him as spiritually handicapped, and needed healing in body, soul, and spirit. Most importantly, you asked him if he wanted to change and leave his old life behind.

Did the man experience an epiphany when you commanded him to stand, take up his mat, and go home?

I believe so.

Later, we find him worshiping in the Temple. You warned him not to return to his old life of sin, or he might find his life to be worse than before.

Lord, to become a Christ follower, we must answer the same question: Do I want to be well? In body, soul, and spirit? Do I want to leave my old ways and live according to your ways? Am I willing to stand on your Word, take up my new life, and walk in faith  with you?

And Jesus, like the formerly lame man, now leaping in celebration and freed from the sins that so easily cripples your people, may I never stop telling others what you have done for me. Amen.

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Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Lord, Your peace, which is above and beyond any faux or temporary peace this world offers, is needed today more than ever. Life is more meaningful when Your peace rules our life. My friend Al said it succinctly—only an idiot would stand in line to return Your gift of peace. Who doesn’t want Your peace in their heart? Evidently, some do.

Colossians 3:15 implores us to:

“Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (NLT)

Writers pay attention to words because words matter. Another word for “let” is “allow.” The Apostle Paul encourages us to allow God’s peace to rule our lives. Allowing indicates I have a choice. I can open my heart to receive Your peace or close my heart to the Spirit and fight spiritual battles on my own. The latter would make me a person standing in the return line.

Lord, how do we allow Your peace to rule our heart? Paul shared the ‘secret’ of continually living in peace. “And always be thankful.” Continual praise and adoration, Lord, increases Your peace and presence in our lives. Where praise and worship abound, gloom, stress, and anxiety are forced to leave. All creation praises You, so who am I to withhold my praise? Where does praise lead?

“Then you will experience Christ’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:7 (NLT)

Lord, You are the Prince of peace. May I always allow Your peace to rule my life. Amen.

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Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Lord, we are wise to plan our future. Financial planners advise us about preparing for our golden years, hopefully enjoying a comfortable retirement. Some starting out in the workforce do so by hit and miss while others plan their career and work their plan to make their dream happen. When it comes to romance, most wonder if, or when, they will stumble upon Mr./Ms. Right. We question what our future holds, hoping for answers.

From his wisdom, King Solomon wrote, “We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer,” (Proverbs 16:1 NLT). How well the king knew the unpredictability of life and the importance of trusting You since man has the capability to mess things up.

Uncertainties abounds. Perhaps the relationship I deeply loved dissolved, leaving my spirit wounded, my soul scarred. What if my company goes under and I’m forced to start all over? Will I rise out of poverty if that scholarship fails to come through? And on it goes. Plans can fizzle before our eyes.

For we who follow You, Lord, our future is not in the hands of the stock market, or various government agencies, or other human endeavors.  How can we trust these fickle entities that repeatedly let us down?Our trust and security is in You, Lord Jesus. Our confidence is that You are in control and know what You are allowing to happen.

Solomon went on to write, “We make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps,”(Proverbs 16:9).

Lord, increase my faith to believe You control my future, and this future is the best for me.   

Amen, Jesus.

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Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Lord, You see how our society is divided, with one group battling another group that is battling yet another group. On and on it goes. Talk radio becomes shout radio. Cable news channels are often verbal free-for-alls.  Most arguments spring from a real or perceived slight or disrespect about a point of view. Ethic and integrity? Meh. Their objective isn’t to just prove someone is wrong, but the goal is to cancel them and turn them into a pariah. Life is stressful enough without continually walking on eggshells so not to upset some people.

History records heated arguments have plagued everyone from time to time, from the early church leaders to the Founding Fathers and especially to our leaders today.  

Certainly, Lord, You were the object of many quarrels concerning who You are and where You came from. The conflicting beliefs of Your deity continues long after Your resurrection and ascension. Paul warned his young protégé Timothy not to get sucked up in senseless arguments.

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know the produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful”—2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NLT).

When we are confronted by skeptics of the Gospel, or those religious people who only want to stir up trouble among believers, give us the Holy Spirit’s wisdom not to fall for that nonsense. Nothing would thrill Satan more. Instead, as Christ followers, may our conversations be seasoned with grace, so as not to be drawn into any senseless argument that paints a negative picture of You. Let Your peace reign in our words.

In the name of the author of peace, Jesus, Amen.


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Chatting with Jesus
Monday, May 15, 2023

Lord, from the tiny protons and neutrons in the atom to the largest star in the galaxies, You spoke, and creation happened. Your glory is evident in everything You wondrously created.

The Gospel of John begins explaining how You created everything. You give life, You give meaning, You give purpose to everything You created. For Christ followers, nothing is happenstance. And, yes, You created the fallen angel, Lucifer, the devil Satan, who has haunted humanity since Eve and the ugly apple incident in the Garden of Eden. Was Your purpose for allowing us to experience evil be so that we would experience Your goodness? Live in Your grace? In our sinful state, how else would we know of Your love, mercy, and forgiveness to redeem mankind?

Lord, to stay close to You in all circumstances, I need to recognize You are working on my behalf in all things. I see You in the blessings that flow our way, the abundance of joys and happiness of life with family and friends and being at peace with You. Our Rock. Our help in time of trouble.

But Lord, for my faith to be complete, I must believe—help me believe!—that in the hard times, in unexpected sickness, when the doctor says he doesn’t like the results of the biopsy, when my heart is broken beyond remedy as I lay to rest the most dearest in life to me, help me recognize You in all things. When nothing makes sense, increase my faith to know You have a higher purpose for allowing my suffering. When I have questions with no answers, You do, and in Your timing, You will reveal Your purpose. Help me know when all I have is trust, You are holding me.

Jesus, good or bad, I’m looking for You purposefully working for me in all things. Amen.

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Chatting with Jesus

Friday, May 12, 2023

Lord, those who commit to follow You cannot remain the same. When You make us a new person on the inside, and Your Spirit comes to live within us, You reveal areas of our life You desire to change, or if needed, eliminate. Harmful habits, negative attitudes, or unhealthy relationships can hinder our growth in our relationship with You. Other areas may take more time, such as improving self-discipline, letting go of selfishness, or developing humility. Surrendering ego has been a challenge to Christ followers. Thankfully, You understand our weaknesses, and Your Spirit helps us make these changes.

Lord, often You bring another believer to come along beside us on our spiritual journey. You never intended us to walk alone in faith. There is nothing like having a believer buddy. A friend to cry with you when life disappoints us. Someone who shares our triumphs when we break free of a sinful habit or overcome a mental bondage about ourselves. We’re thankful for a buddy can encourage us when we lose our shoe and stumble in our race of faith. They are there to help us up, tie our shoe, straighten our cap, and keep running our race with You.

But like all Christ followers, daily I fight the internal battle to surrender my will to Yours. My natural man says, “if I’ve gotta change, Lord, this is how I want to be.” My regenerated, spiritual man says, “Lord, transform me into becoming the Christ follower You want me to be.”

I must stand on this truth: God wants to transform me into the person He wants, because that would make me into the best “me” possible.

Lord, make me as You wish. You want us all to be someone’s believer buddy.

 Amen, Jesus.

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