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Chatting with Jesus

Friday, March 24, 2023

Lord, Your Word tells us, “You approve of those who are good, but condemn those who plan wickedness” Proverbs 12:2 (NLT). Other biblical translations say You give favor to those whose hearts seek You. How grateful we are You approve those who are good, because if You said You approve of those who are perfect, everyone would be left out. You look at our heart and know everything about us. However, I have a question. According to Your Word, does everyone have the potential to do good as well as have the capacity to act wickedly? Even for Christ followers, are You inferring we can do both? Even after You have redeemed us, do we still have within us the potential to do evil? As well as good? (Lord, that’s me.)

Sadly, yes. But by Your grace, we are given the choice: do good, or act in ways that otherwise dishonors You?

Your definition of doing good is to seek to make You the center of our life and live by Your precepts even though You know we will fail from time to time. We will never be perfect as the skeptics expect we should be. The mockers delight in calling us hypocrites. What they cannot understand, or to their detriment, refuse to understand, is that You forgive and redeem sinners like us through faith in Jesus, and not by our good works or charitable deeds, regardless how noble they may be, (Ephesians 2:8,9). Only You, Lord Jesus, are perfect.

Lord, in this broken world, help us stay close to You. Give us Your grace to consistently what is good—for us, for others in our world—so we may honor Your Kingdom. Amen. When we falter, Your grace will always bring us back.

Amen, Jesus.

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Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Lord, You have never remained a stranger but have always communicated with people in various ways. Jesus, before You came to us, You often spoke to Old Testament people using Your audible voice. Today, You speak to our inner man via the Holy Spirit.  You also speak to us, sometime loudly, other times softly, through Your Word—the Bible. Some describe the Bible as the only book that reads back to us.

The prophet Micah prophesied to Your rebellious people, Israel, that unless they repented from doing evil and returned to You, You were left with no other choice than to remove Your blessings and allow Israel to be taken captive by a cruel enemy. Micah pleaded Your message with these stubborn people:

“Will the Lord’s Spirit have patience with such [evil] behavior? If you would [repent] do what is right, you would find my words [not condemning] comforting,”—Micah 2:7 (NLT). [emphasis added]

Israel rejected You as unnecessary. They foolishly thought they could live “godly” without You, Lord. They ignored Your repeated warnings, thinking they were too big to fail. Finally, with their conscience seared, their enemy destroyed their land, slaughtered thousands, and carried off the remnants into exile to a hostile country.

Lord, obviously, today, You are speaking to us today, through Your Word and through our inner man, warning us about our rebellious and evil ways. We have trespassed against You, ignoring Your principles, thinking we are too big to fail.  Forgive us, Lord. We need a spiritual renewal. Help us turn this ship around, repent individually, and as a people, and return to You. Otherwise, we are so sunk. Have mercy on us, oh, Lord. Amen.

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Chatting with Jesus

Friday, March 17, 2023

Lord, many followed You when You walked among us. You prayerfully picked Your apostles and a few supporters as Your constant companions and be Your closest friends. You offered relationship to all You encountered, but not all accepted. Many followed You for a while, and then, for whatever reasons, stopped. When You taught the Parable of the Sower, You described these kinds of people as “rocky soil” and “thorny ground” believers. (Matthew 13:3–9). When Your message of grace and mercy didn’t suit them, they bailed.  Today, we might label these folks as “fair-weather” believers, or friends.

The psalmist went through similar relationships. As his popularity grew, so did the number of people who wanted to be known as the psalmist’s friend. When troubles and scandal plagued the repentant psalmist, most of his “friends” were nowhere to be seen. Seeing the fickleness of his so-called friends, to guard his vow to wholeheartedly follow You, he made a new vow:

“I will search for faithful people to be my companions,” —Psalm 101:6 (NLT)

As Your representative here on Earth, the psalmist showed kindness to all, and shared the message of grace and forgiveness with anyone who would listen. However, he guarded who he chose to be closest to him. Only those of like-faith would be his companions. They held one another accountable to stay on track.

May we follow the psalmist example for choosing our close companions. May we be gracious to all as You are, Jesus, but give us godly wisdom when choosing our closest BFF(s).

Amen, Jesus.

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Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Lord, many are nervous. Every news outlet reports on the failure of prominent banks, which many felt were too big to fail. Hard times are in store for those folks whose trust lay in those financial institutions. Many are in panic mode, wondering what to do, looking at every option—except looking to You.

What does Your Word say about times like this, since both believers and non-believers are affected? Read what the prophet Jeremiah wrote when challenging times came in his day.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit,” — Jeremiah 17:7–8 (NLT).

Scripture urges believers to keep their confidence in the Lord. The Lord is saying, “I’m putting your faith to the test. Trust me and see if My Word doesn’t come through for you.”

You never run out of grace in any circumstance for Your followers. We’re not asked to understand how You will come through for us, but just exercise faith, and anticipate expectedly for You to do what You say You will. What a great way to show a skeptical world of Your faithfulness to those who follow You. And may the truths of the “fruit we never stop producing” be shared with those who need to see You are who You say You are.

Amen, Jesus.

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Chatting with Jesus

Monday, March 13, 2023

Lord, Peter warned Christ followers to “stay alert,” to stay close to You. He had the devil pegged, likening him “as a roaring lion, prowling around for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8).

This sinner agrees. The devil knows he’s lost me because You claimed me forever, (Hebrews 7:25). Being human, I remain flawed, however You have forgiven all my past, my failures, and shame. Knowing these truths, why do I beat myself up for getting off-track from time to time? Could distractions keep me from “staying alert” as Peter warned, allowing that roaring lion to prowl into my personal space?

Your grace knows no limits. I’m fully aware once we confess and repent, our sin slate remains clean and You remember them no more, (Psalm 103:12). But when this roaring lion senses a weakness in my spiritual life, he doesn’t hesitate to bring up the past and the ugliness of that life. He lies, claiming I still bear the load of my trespasses, and I’ve disappointed You for failing You again. The devil claims, “God will forgive repeated failures only so much and then, hey man, you’re a lost cause. You’re on your own to bear the consequences of your sins.”

Nonsense! The truth: those who place their faith in God are forgiven and declared righteous by God. All sins—past, present, future—forgiven. So who am I to say Jesus’ sacrifice for sins isn’t enough and to elevate myself above God and His grace? If God forgives me, who am I not to forgive myself?

Lord, thank You that all Christ followers are forever forgiven of their past and declared righteous in Your sight. As You helped Peter, help us keep this roaring lion toothless.

Amen, Jesus.

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Chatting with Jesus
Thursday, March 9, 2023

Lord, how often have I prayed I will trust You wholeheartedly in all things? You know my heart wants to be in the right place, but then, when it came time for the rubber to meet the road, I haven’t always stay true to my prayer, have I? Where do I start to learn to trust You completely? How do I go about changing my fickle ways? Recently, as I read and meditated in Luke 16, Your answer jumped off the page at me. You couldn’t have made it clearer.

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest (unfaithful, untrusting) in little things, you won’t be honest (faithful, trusting) with greater responsibilities,” — Luke 16:10 (NLT) [emphasis added]

Lord, I see what You are saying. Start over. Begin to trust and obey Your Word with the smallest of incidents regardless how insignificant they seem to me.

Help me develop an attitude of constant prayer and suppress any grumbling or complaining. Life can be hard. I don’t need to make it more difficult by trying to solve issues by my own efforts, or try to manipulate an outcome. Help me learn to trust You with these basic issues so when a bigger issue arises, or a life-changing crisis happens, I will trust You completely. Or should I say, You can trust me to be faithful.

Lead me in faithfulness, even in the small things, Lord. Amen

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Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Lord, how many years had slipped by since I saw her? Our beloved great Aunt Oleta, or affectionately known as Aunt “Doodle,” was celebrating her 103rd birthday. Amazingly, her mind remained sharp and alert. Despite my aging, she recognized me right away. I noticed immediately she still had that sparkle in her eyes, that indication her inner self was alive and well, not to mention her feistiness remained active. Over the years she more than had her share of heartaches and pains in this broken world, yet her life was well lived. Oh, she still loves western dancing. Her 100th birthday party found her on the dance floor scooting a boot.

When I asked Doodle what advice she would give young people about life, she thought a few moments before answering. She didn’t offer a great philosophy or the usual common platitudes about life. She looked me in the eye and simply said: “Be kind.” That was her secret to a long life well lived? Be kind to one another? That profound advice could not be truer.

Scripture tells us kindness is one of the spiritual gifts God gives to those who follow and revere Him. Space does not allow me to list all the Scriptures about kindness, but one in particular stands out. Proverbs tells us that as fallen human beings, we have two streaks: kindness and cruelty. Choose kindness.

“Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you,”—Proverbs 11:17 (NLT)

Lord, we’re thankful Aunt Doodle chose kindness. She has blessed untold numbers of people over her 103 years. May we choose likewise and show those in our world Your Love, Grace, and Kindness.

Showing kindness because You are kind, Lord Jesus, amen.

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Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Lord, Your Word teaches us to pray for wisdom in all matters. King Solomon’s Proverbs repeatedly urge us to seek wisdom, for wisdom protects us from deception and guides us to make wise decisions. Your earthly brother James wrote of the importance of wisdom.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking,” James 1:5 (NLT).

Lord, You delight to give wisdom to anyone who asks. Sadly, there were times I wasn’t thinking and jumped the gun and created a mess You had to clean up. And if it’s any comfort to me, or others who have done the same, reading the Scriptures find us in notable company.

Consider Abraham, the father of our Judeo-Christian faiths. He created a blundering mess when he told Pharaoh that Sarah was not his wife but his sister. When Pharaoh took Sarah as a wife, Abraham panicked, “What were you thinking?”

King David, who wrote 74 of the Psalms, unfortunately disgraced himself with Bathsheba and created a national scandal. “What were you thinking?”

Although King Solomon wrote most of the Proverbs, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. I’m left shaking my head at his lack of wisdom. “Well, duh! What were you thinking?”

Reading stories about biblical giants such as Isaac, Jacob, Peter, and Paul leave me questioning their bone-headed actions, “What were you thinking?” I’m no biblical giant, but I too often have fallen into that group. “What was I thinking?”

Lord, reading the Scriptures reveals what’s on Your mind.

“For God so loved the world He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent His Son not to condemn the world (us) but to save us,” (John 3:16,17).

You delight to save and restore members of the “bone-headed actions” club.

“Love! That’s what I was thinking.”—God


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Chatting with Jesus
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Lord, throughout Scripture, You tell Your followers not to fear. When You say, “Do not be afraid,” You’re asking us to suppress our human nature and put our faith into action, to believe Your promises of security, provision, the safe return of a prodigal loved one—whatever our need at the time, that You will walk with us. For those who closely follow national and world events, unrest, turmoil, wars grip people with fear, even Christ followers. These human woes have plagued mankind since the second bite of the apple in the Garden. God’s people have never been exempt from these human sufferings even though some misguided religious people claim otherwise.

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah to comfort His suffering people. “Do not be afraid,” the Lord says, “for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine,” (Isaiah 43:1)

Lord, You know each one of us and see how sinful we are, yet You claim us as one of Your own anyway. That’s Your grace at work.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you,” (Isaiah 43:2).

At some time, we all will experience “deep waters,” “rivers of difficulty,” or “the fire of oppression.” Lord, I’ve noticed You never said “if” but “when” we suffer, You will be with us. When these things happen, help us reject fear, but instead, first look to You for our comfort, strength and guidance.

I’m thankful, Jesus, no matter my circumstances, You are always with me. Amen.

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Chatting with Jesus

Monday, February 27, 2023

Lord, You didn’t have to do it. Was it Your love for mankind? Perhaps amazingly, Your love for me? You could have remained in the splendors of Heaven, surrounded by millions of heavenly angels, and the redeemed worshiping You. Why did You choose to come down here to become one of us. Surely You saw the mess we created of Your beautiful world? You came anyway. You had a plan to reconcile fallen man. And redeem me.

You were well aware how Your most marvelous creation—mankind—ignored Your precepts and wanted no part of You ruling our lives. Talk about delusion? We convinced ourselves we could be good by our own efforts without Your input. Among many, I too fell for that nonsense.

Sadly, my sin and rebellion blinded my spiritual eyes. I can think of nothing about me that would cause You to willingly give Your sinless life to reconcile me back to You, but You saw something in me I couldn’t see. You also saw the horrors that awaited me if I died without establishing a personal relationship with You. And it broke Your heart. I was that lost sheep who wandered off—and You came to rescue me, (Matthew 18:12; Isaiah 53:6). Jesus, You shouldn’t have suffered what was meant for me.

Jesus, may the sacrifice You made on my behalf not have been in vain, but I pray my life honors You and reflects Your love. Amen.

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