Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Lord, have You seen the panic? The news repeatedly predicts the economy will soon tank and we’ll be in a recession, or worse, a depression. Be prepared, we’re warned. You could lose everything you’ve worked for all your lives. Kiss your 401(k) adios. Financial institutions we’ve depended on for security could collapse. As described in Joel 2:1–10, government safety nets won’t catch the locusts coming to devour the economic well-being for societies that have turned their backs on You.

So, Lord, what are people to do? For those who trust in man and man’s plan, do the above. Panic.

Okay, Lord. What should Christ followers do? Don’t panic. Instead, trust the promises given to the faithful believers when ancient Israel turned their backs on You and their country came to ruin.

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 about long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit—Jeremiah 17:7, 8 (NLT)

Your followers went through the same hardships as everyone else. The economic collapse affected everyone, yet You met the needs of those who trusted You. They may not have had wine and roses, steak and potatoes anymore, but Your people did not go without, demonstrating their faith was not in vain. And after the trials were over, You multiplied back to them more than the locusts destroyed, (Joel 2:25–27).

Lord, we won’t panic. May we be like the trees planted by the river and our roots are deep into Your water. We trust Your Word is still true in today’s hard times as it was then. Thank You, Lord, for never changing. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Lord, I’ve heard the excitement in off-roading is like none other. However, as a Christ-follower, avoiding off-road excitement is a daily task.

Of course, I’m referring to the road of truth You are leading me on, since You planned my journey long before my birth, (Psalm 139:16). In the psalmist time, I think all chariots could be used off-road, but he knew the eternal importance of following You on our chosen road. He wrote:

Lead me by Your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me, — Psalm 25:5

But lord, we’re human living in a fallen world. You see how Your people wander off-road.

Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past.” — Psalm 25:6

We call on You Lord. Remember Your unfailing love mixed with Your compassion when dealing with Your imperfect, wayward people. As flawed but forgiven Christ-followers, we occasionally stray off the road You have chosen. Most times, our chasing after those glitzy attractions create a mess that requires a divine intervention. Like the psalmist, we find forgiveness in Your mercy. You not only save our souls, but You rescue the righteous when we cry out to You in our troubles, (Psalm 34:17). Your compassion and the warmth of Your love restore our wounded and bruised souls

Lord, don’t let the consequences of our follies be in vain. In humility and by Your grace, use our off-road experiences to motivate us to a higher level of commitment to You, transforming our character more into Your character.

Lead on, Lord. I’m right behind You. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Monday, October 17, 2022

Lord, 1 Kings 18–21 records the story of the prophet Elijah. On Mount Carmel, Elijah called down fire from heaven that consumed the sacrifice and destroyed the 400 false prophets of Baal. This incident may be considered his most noteworthy miracle since the nation repented and returned to You, God.

Was Elijah a flawless saint? Far from it. Scripture says he was like us in every way (James 5:17). Immediately after this monumental event, the evil Queen Jezebel threatened his life. In fear, he fled 300 miles to the wilderness to Mount Sinai. There, he hid in a cave.

“What are you doing here, Elijah?” the Lord said.

Depressed and exhausted, Elijah complained even though he did great exploits and miracles for God, he was the only prophet left alive, and poor me, Jezebel wants me dead too.

Perhaps Elijah should have asked himself, “How did I end up here?” Or maybe more important, “What do You want to show me, Lord?” You gave Elijah a new eye-opening revelation of who You are.  After resting, restoring, and re-energizing him, You gave him a new assignment.

“Go back the same way you came,” You commanded. You never let a wilderness experience go to waste, do You Lord? 

On Elijah’s journey back to where You wanted him to be, he would view his wilderness experience from Your perspective. He saw his mistakes, where he went wrong, what he should have done but didn’t, how that foolish choice caused him avoidable spiritual and emotional pain. However, Elijah had another eye-opening moment: he saw the faithfulness of Your hand of protection and provision on him, even before he fled from Jezebel.

We shouldn’t think depression cannot affect believers. Like Elijah, at some point all Christ-followers will go through a wilderness experience. We will want to find a cave. And like Elijah, this is especially true after a significant spiritual breakthrough. We may not have a wilderness experience to the extent of Elijah had, but stay alert—the devil, ole Slewfoot has a “Jezebel moment” waiting for you with your name on it. He will do anything to cause us to doubt our faith in Your Word.

Lord, I’ve been there. Lovingly, You met me where I was, hiding in my cave. You met me in my emotional and spiritual pain. And You showed me where and how I got off-track. You did what only You can do—restore, refresh, re-energize.

You will do the same for all who call out to You, Lord Jesus. With a grateful heart, Amen

Chatting with Jesus

Friday, October 14, 2022

Lord — oh, the follies of youth. It seems like man’s fallen nature upshifts into turbocharger mode in our youth. The enemy of our soul, that crafty, lying devil Lucifer, plants thoughts into impressionable young minds how their wisdom exceeds that of their predecessors. The book of Proverbs is rich in wisdom for the young if they will pay attention. Other warnings against youthful rebellion are scattered throughout Scripture. After walking over seven decades on this Earth, when I reflect over my youth, I can only shake my head, wondering what in the world I was thinking.

This youthful rebellion is as old as dirt. Read what the psalmist wrote after reflecting on his youth. He was certainly no exception:

“Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. [Instead] Remember me in the light of Your unfailing love, for You are merciful, O Lord” — Psalm 25:7

Like the psalmist, Lord, I admit the foolishness of my youth, and like uncountable millions, we’re immeasurably thankful that even in our stupid years, You protected our souls until we came to our senses to come to You when You called. The psalmist wrote from a grateful heart that You didn’t hold his youthful indiscretions against him. Instead, You saw him as redeemed from his sins because of Your unfailing love and mercy. We echo the psalmist thankfulness.

Living in this sinful world, we’re still flawed, but forgiven and accepted by You. Your grace is unending and merciful. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Lord, as believers trapped in this fallen world, we face hardships and persecution because we have placed our hope in You. Whereas those who trust in themselves or the government instead of trusting in Your precepts, see only despair and oppression. Not so for Christ followers. We see hope and confidence in You amid this troubled world.

Talk about a work of futility? Lord, You must laugh how today’s cancel culture attempts to “cancel” You, the “Light” of the world.” People who don’t know You aggressively mischaracterize Christ-followers as intolerant, hateful, and out of touch because we don’t embrace today’s values. Since Cain killed Abel, the ungodly have hated the godly. Jesus, You arned Your followers to get ready—if the world hated You, they would hate us as well, (John 15:20). Following You, Lord, is not for the weak-hearted.

Even though the psalmist faced deadly persecution, he remained confident of Your goodness.

“For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living,” —Psalm 26:12, 13. (NLT)

Yes, Lord, for believers we experience Your grace amid our trials and troubles. Open our spiritual eyes to see Your goodness in our circumstances, as You are working on our behalf, molding our character to be more like Your character. The ungodly sees darkness. Christ followers see Your Light shining in the world.

Lord, strengthen our hearts. We desire to be strong-hearted believers. In Your authority, Jesus. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Monday, October 10, 2022

Lord, I want to know Your heart. The psalmist knew that to grow spiritually we needed to have a proper view of You in all our circumstances. It’s true, because “You direct the steps of the godly and delight in every detail of their lives,” (Psalm 37:23). So just knowing about You won’t sustain us when life’s stuff hits. And life’s stuff hits us all.

People may know important facts about You, Lord Jesus, where You were born, the places You traveled, even Your gift of salvation and eternal life. But You are calling us to a deeper relationship, deeper than an intellectual knowledge of You.

You are not calling us just to know about You, You are calling us to know You personally. Having an intellectual knowledge is one thing but having a heart knowledge of You is different. Your heart, Lord, not only directs truths of You into our heart but also You give us fuller understanding of Your character, knowing the truth about You, who You are, in our hearts. The psalmist bared his heart—God I want to know Your heart:

“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,” — Psalm 25;4, 5 NLT

Lord, I pray You give me a teachable spirit. May my nature become less as Your nature rises within me, so people will know I’m not the same. They can only conclude I’ve spent more time with You, Jesus. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Lord, before we were born, You already detailed every aspect of our life to influence us to follow You. You lay before us our individual plan, to live a meaningful life in this broken world that honors You and blesses others. Of course, You leave the choice of whether to follow You up to us. Nonetheless, Christ-followers, are not exempt from the harmful consequences introduced by fallen humanity. We have good and bad days. Some relationships flourish while others wither. Some prayers remain unanswered. We’ll experience sickness as well as good health. We celebrate the victories and weep with the heartaches. Sin’s consequences affect everyone.

But sooner or later, all Christ-followers, without exception, will stumble in our journey of faith. The psalmist described this phenomenon:

“Though they stumble, they will never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand,” — Psalm 37:24 (NLT).

The psalmist didn’t write “if” they stumble, but “though” they stumble. Most translation use “when” they stumble, meaning this hiccup in our faith walk is a certainty. But Lord, You always take care of Your followers. When we stumble, “we will never fall,” because You are holding our hand. Nothing that happens will cause us to be destroyed or damaged our spirit and soul beyond repair. Nothing will sever our relationship with You, (Romans 8:34-39).

Thank You, Lord, that You do everything to ensure our redemption is permanent, never to be snatched from Your nail-scarred hand. And when we lose our shoe and stumble, You retie our shoe, dust us off, straighten our cap, and lead us on.

Although I’m a stumbler, I’m following You, Jesus. Amen

Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Lord, before Adam and Eve ate that worm-infested apple, You had a plan, a destiny, for all who would live. The psalmist wrote:

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out  before a single day had passed” — Psalm 139:16 (NLT).

As the psalmist meditated on the magnitude of this truth, Your Spirit led him to pen another truth of Your sovereignty:

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives,” — Psalm 37:23.

Lord, You reveal Your glory and salvation to all people. But what about those who have never heard about Jesus sacrificed for their sins? The first chapter of Romans clearly illustrates how You placed within everyone the desire to know You. Psalms 37 and 139 include them as well.

As You guide Your followers through this broken world, reveal how You want them to live. You see it all and know what is best for us. The psalmist recognized how everything in our lives—every relationship, every interaction, every obstacle, every mountain we face, everything—You orchestrated so we would learn to trust You and develop more Christlikeness within our character.

O Lord, how You love being involved in every detail of my life. And as much as You love being involved, You also allow me to choose to follow You and lead a meaningful life or ignore You and fall flat on my face.

Lord, I don’t look good with a flat face. May I always follow Your plan. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Lord, the psalmist experienced life at both ends. He lived modestly, being content the simple things in life. Later, he attained great wealth and could have whatever his heart desired. But he also knew the dangers wealth brings, how easily wealth turns a person’s heart away from You when their riches become their god.

He recorded the truth of riches. “It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.” He clarified his statement.

“For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly,”— Psalm 37:17 (NLT).

The psalmist emphasized how wealth can change people, especially wealth gained unjustly. (Proverbs 13:11 NLT). Wealth brings problems. Sleepless nights, worries of losing it all, being cheated themselves after cheating others, distrust of people, fair weather friends, fake charities, and don’t forget freeloading relatives coming out of everywhere. And the list goes on. The psalmist witnessed the rise and fall of many wealthy people, and they all had one thing in common: trusting in their riches never satisfied their search for meaning and purpose in life. Their riches always left them wanting.

In contrast, the godly have no such problems. You, Lord God, take care of Your people. You meet their needs and give them contentment by Your presence in their lives. The godly enjoy the peace of mind and heart that the wealthy seek after, but their riches cannot buy.

It’s so simple, Lord. Rich, poor or in between, we find true riches in life having our life centered around You. So true, Jesus.


Chatting with Jesus

Monday, October 3, 2022

Lord, is this one of the passages of Scripture where skeptics claim the godly should be poor as a church mouse, that it is somehow virtuous for Your followers to just barely squeak by in life? Where did they get this nonsense? Not from the psalmist. He wrote:

“It is better to be godly and have less than to be evil and rich. —Psalm 37:16

The psalmist didn’t state it’s better to be poor than to be rich. Again, that’s nonsense. Poverty is not a virtue (Proverbs 10:15). The psalmist was comparing the godly with the wicked, the righteous with the unrighteous

The godly seek to follow Your will and live a life that pleases You. They may not have the biggest house on the block, the fanciest car, or not even the newest iPhone, but You meet their needs. They live contented, enjoying true riches, knowing what’s important in life. You give their life purpose. However, You have trusted many godly people with great wealth, like Abraham, Jacob, David, or Joseph of Arimathea, but they use their wealth to expand Your Kingdom.

For the wicked, greed drives them since their wealth is their god. They are never content. Nothing satisfies their insatiable desire for more—more wealth, more power, more control. But all the things money can buy, all the power or influence they gain, still leaves them empty on the inside. Only You, God, can satisfy that void in their soul.

Thank You, Lord, that in knowing You we find the true riches in life. Amen.