Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Lord, You helped the psalmist wear a number of hats. shepherd, poet, songwriter, king, giant-slaying warrior to name a few. With each role, he strived to stay true to his faith. However, he recorded a prayer that, to be honest, I’m not sure I would pray. Or could pray. His faith must have been rock solid, for he unwaveringly put his “money” where his faith was.

Declare me innocent, O Lord, for I have acted with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart. For I am always aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth,” Psalm 26:1-3 (NLT).

Even as a Christ follower, with trembling lips and sweaty palms, I’d have to swallow hard before praying that prayer. “What am I asking the Lord to do?” I know the only possible verdict—Guilty!

Lord, I can’t pray that prayer. I’d fail big time. I’m so flawed. Faithfully, Your Spirit tenderly spoke to my inner man.

“Did the psalmist have imperfections? Absolutely. Did the psalmist struggle with life issues? Without a doubt. Did he fail in obedience? Routinely. But read the psalmist’s words: ‘Test my motives and my heart.’ He made mistakes, and so do you, but I know the hearts and intentions of people. The psalmist’s motives were sincere, to please me and do the right thing. I claimed his heart when he put his trust in me. And my grace allowed the psalmist to get up after stumbling and continue living in my unfailing love. And the same goes for you. I declare you innocent, my child.”

Lord, help me keep my motives pure and my heart true to You. Amen, Jesus.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Lord, what a day that will be, for tomorrow, I shall see. Do cataracts naturally develop as people age? Cataracts have slowly stolen my once clear and distinct eyesight. Now my vision is as clear as looking through the Coke bottle my grandfather abandoned in the garage in 1955. But when I compare this eye problem with other serious afflictions, I have nothing to complain about. Untold millions are far worse off than me and would gladly trade their affliction for a little cataract issue. God has abundantly blessed me.

Dulled vision reminded me what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers. Many scholars believe Paul had eye problems, since he dictated all his letters. At this time, he said he saw some spiritual things as though looking through a dark glass. He trusted God that in Heaven, he would understand why things happened as they did.

“Now [in this broken world] we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then [in Heaven] we shall see face to face [Jesus and me talking it over]. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” [now I see Your hand way always on me, Jesus]—1 Corinthians 13:12

I can rest and not fret, for You are in control of the events surrounding me. I might not understand now why things happen as they do. Most are out of my control anyway, but You assure us we will be okay.

One truth I can see plainly. This world may fall apart, but “these three things remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love,” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Amen Jesus

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Lord, You know everything about me, and according to Psalm 139, before I was born, You had a plan for my life. But when I’m uncooperative with Your plan, must You compare me to a mule? Seriously?  Couldn’t You use a more gentle animal? A puppy maybe? I confess that occasionally I may be a little obstinate, and I promise to work on that. That being said, You have stated clearly in Your Word:

 “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control” —Psalm 32:8 (NLT)

Lord, Your plans are always better. You have the whole view of my life from beginning to end, yet our humanity seeks to rule ourselves and resist any who opposes our plans. As a Christ follower, however, I must seek to imitate Jesus. He was completely submissive to Your will and plans. “Not my will, but Your will, oh God,” he cried as He faced taking on the sins of the world, (Matthew 26:39).

Lord, You haven’t called me to take on the sins of the world, but You have called me to be a “light in the darkness around me.”  Guide me along Your path for my life as I submit to Your plans.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope,”—Jeremiah 29:11

As Christ followers, forgive our mule-like tendencies. May we all submit to Your plans, Lord.  Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Lord, as I meditated in Psalm 37 this morning, the Scriptures spoke to my inner man. You say:

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act,” (Psalm 37:7).

Be still? Wait? You know You are asking me to do something contrary to my nature. May I remind You that You wired me this way? When You created me in my momma’s womb, did You cross a couple wires somewhere? As You have witnessed over my lifetime, I am an antsy person. I get fidgety. When I need something, I don’t need it later, I need it right now! In my cross-wired brain, my mind races ahead of the words in my mouth and I stammer and stutter trying to relay to others that unless something I want happens right now, my world will end!

While I meditated on 37:7, at the same time I was thinking what to get my wife for Valentines, what will I have for lunch, and contemplating how the Aggies might win the National Championship. Faithfully, Your Spirit spoke again to my inner man.

“My dear Aggie child, I had you in mind when I wrote that Scripture. I knew following that Scripture would be difficult for you, because I wanted you to learn to call on me for help. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you don’t. I’m patient with you, waiting for you to be consistent to do what I ask of you.”

Oh, Lord, how many others are you being patient with, waiting on them to call on You?

Forgive me for the times I’ve jumped ahead of You, Lord. I admit I’ve caused more headaches for myself and others by not waiting for You to act on our behalf. Oh, Lord, like the Apostle Paul, we all are a work in progress, (Philippians 1:6; 3:12, 13)

Amen, Jesus

Chatting with Jesus

Monday, February 13, 2023

Lord, I loved the “Jesus Gets Us” commercials aired during the Super Bowl. To me, the messages made perfect sense. Not all agree. Many who don’t know You responded harshly, and some self-righteous religious snobs who don’t know grace were overly critical of these messages to the masses. However, according to Your Word, You came to love and redeem these misguided folks as much as You did for all the biblical saints. And me. And the psalmist. He was 3000+ years ahead of the game on this one. He wrote his version of “Jesus Gets Us.”

“The Lord looks down from Heaven and sees the whole human race. From His throne, He observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts so He understands everything they do.”— Psalm 33:13-15 (NLT).

Lord, You have always “Get Us!” You understand all we go through. When You came to Earth, You became fully human, subjecting Yourself to everything this broken world throws at us. Jesus, You get us. You enjoyed humanity’s best, and You suffered humanity’s worse, yet You still gave Your life to redeem the “best” of us and the “worse” of us. Without You “getting us,” we would be so lost.

Lord, how can we as Christ followers emulate “Jesus Gets Us?” You’ve shown us that as well.

“O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of You: to do right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God,” Micah 6:8 (NLT).

By following Micah’s mandate, our “Jesus Gets Us” will fall into place with those in our sphere of influence. After all, Jesus, You get us all—Your followers, and those who do not follow You—yet.

Amen, Jesus.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Lord, if there were such a program as The Real Psalmists of Israel, Davidwould have the leading role. Talk about drama. One crisis followed by another seemed to define his life. When he trusted his ingenuity, the situations worsened. Thankfully, the psalmist came to realize he could trust You in all matters. His declaration of faith has inspired believers through the centuries:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, so why should I tremble?” — Psalm 27:1

By fully trusting You, Lord, the psalmist survived several calamities. Being the ‘runt’ of the family, his brothers practically disowned him even after he slayed the giant Goliath. The king he served faithfully wanted his head. Enemies kidnapped his wives and children. His son rebelled and tried to assassinate him. Some scholars believe he suffered from diabetes. In his humanity, the psalmist made some dumb choices and paid dearly for them. But the psalmist learned to trust You, Lord, and You brought him through perilous times, (1 Samuel 16-31).

Our life may be spared the drama the psalmist experienced, but we all have problems in this broken world. Friends betray us. Disappointments come. Promises are broken. Sickness and disease afflict the good and the evil. We’re blessed with abundance, yet suffer lack. The list is endless.

As Your mercy and grace kept the psalmist, so does it keep all who trust You. Facing the difficulties of life, the psalmist stated:

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living,” —Psalm 27:13

As Christ followers, at times we may not understand, yet in this fallen world, we are assured we will see Your goodness—and probably in unexpected ways.

Amen, Jesus.

Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Lord, how did the psalmist respond after receiving one bad report after another, telling how hopeless everything looked? Was all he had worked for in danger of ruination? Was there no good news? Anywhere?

Jump forward three thousand years and these circumstances sound much like today. Twenty-four/seven news channels bring little hope for tomorrow. For unbelievers, fear can be paralyzing, governing their lives. Like the psalmist, Christ followers are subjected to the same fears. Being as human as we are, did the psalmist wring his hands, pace back and forth, entertaining thoughts of doom? He probably did, but then You must have sent Your Spirit to remind the psalmist as to whom he belonged to.

When he came to his senses, did he ask himself, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I doubting God?” It was time to stand on his faith.” I refuse to live in fear.”

“The Lord is my light and my salvation!” he declared aloud. Because You are his God, the psalmist spoke faith to his fear. “So . . . why should I be afraid?”

I like how he reaffirmed his faith in You was greater than the fear taunting him. “The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger!” He said, giving notice to the devil’s lies, “So why should I tremble?” —Psalm 27:1 (NLT)

Lord, help me emulate the psalmist’s response to the fear in my world. This broken world has always experienced perilous times, but for we who put their trust in You, Lord, have always found comfort and strength in Your promises. Your power to protect and provide for Your own has not diminished.

Amen, Jesus

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Lord, for years I didn’t understand what the psalmist meant about living in the house of the Lord forever.

“I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” — Psalm 23:6 (NLT)

“The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life . . .”— Psalm 27:4 (NLT)

Lord, since You made sure I was born in Georgia, I understood the psalmist wanted us to live in the church building. Attending church on Sunday wasn’t enough, we had to live there too. Did I make You chuckle? Finally it dawned on me—living in the ‘house of the Lord’ means I belong to the House of God. I’m a member of God’s family.

Jesus, as a Christ follower, belonging to the House of the Lord allows me to partake of the benefits and inheritance You offers those who belong to You. Most important is the forgiveness of sins through faith in Your sacrifice on the cross. It took a while, but when I finally understood the impact of the cross, Your grace became more powerful in my life. The great extent You went through to redeem me leaves me humbled . . . and grateful.

Living in the House of the Lord also means the House of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, lives within me. Wherever I go, whatever I do, You, Lord, are always with me. When I’m making good choices according to Your principles, You are quick to give me an ‘atta boy!’ Likewise, when I do something foolish Your Spirit is quick to say, ‘Stop that nonsense now!’

Jesus, like the psalmist, I desire to live in Your House forever. Why would I want to live anywhere else? Amen, Jesus!

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.