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Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Lord, we are wonderfully created in Your image. Psalm 139 describes the intricacies of our amazing human body You created. You planned each life before time—as we know time—began. We’re unique. No one else in the world is like us. Scripture explains how You gave our creative being the right of choice: we can choose to follow You, or to follow our own desires. When Eve said, “Here, Adam, you’re gonna love this apple turnover,” the battle to choose began in earnest.

As the psalmist pondered over the direction of his life, (Psalm 119:59) he reminded himself of this eternal truth:

“You made me, You created me. Now give me the sense to follow Your commands”— Psalm 119:73

The psalmist determined to choose Your ways if he were to completely follow You. He’d been deceived into following his own ways one time too many.

Today, I face the same choice: Your way, Lord, or my way? Put another way: Your will, Lord, or my will? And like the psalmist pleaded, “Give me the sense to follow Your commands,” my plea should be likewise.

Who hasn’t made impulsive decisions they later regretted? I certainly have. How many times have I ask myself, “How could I be so stupid?” But here I’m humbled to repentence by new levels of Your tender mercies and incredible grace.

Lord, help me discipline myself to stay focused on You and order my actions and words according to Your standards. Guide me along in my journey with You here and beyond.

Jesus, hear my simple prayer. Give me good sense to completely obey and follow You. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Lord, how many times did the people who cared about the psalmist ask him, “How’s that abandoning God’s ways thingy working out for you?” Hopefully, many prayed and warned him to turn around—he was headed toward a cliff.

Like many who follow You, there was a period when the psalmist ignored Your edits to live as he desired. After all, he was a believer and took for granted You would bless his actions. God didn’t quite see it that way. Scripture tells of the psalmist’s plight: everything that could go wrong, went wrong. God, You loved him too much to let him continue on that downward path.

In mercy, You opened his spiritual eyes and he acknowledged his folly:

I pondered the direction of my life and turned to follow Your laws. Psalm 119:59

The psalmist was so human, just as we are. When he looked back at the close relationship he once had with You, and where that relationship stood now, did he scold himself—“What was I thinking? I gotta turn this ship around.” Did he humbly bow before You with a grateful heart for rescuing him from himself. He followed You faithfully the rest of his life, living Your blessings.

Lord, may I learn from the psalmist’s experience. When I ponder my life’s direction, may it be staying close to You, trusting Your leading all the way. True contentment and happiness are found living by Your precepts.

In Your love and authority, Jesus, Amen. 

Chatting with Jesus

Monday, November 14, 2022

Lord, as for Christ followers, life is good but isn’t always fair. How disturbing to see the wicked seemingly get away with their corruption without paying any consequences. For all who love righteousness and justice, this injustice is unsettling.

Nothing has changed over the millenniums. Like many today, I’m sure the psalmist must have wanted to pull his hair out over the injustices. His writings depict his frustration at the wicked thumbing their noses at You, mocking all that is sacred.

“What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” They don’t have troubles like other people. They’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. These fat cats have everything their hearts could wish for.”—Psalm 73:5, 7, 11 (NLT)

Lord, these Scriptures describe the corruption of the wicked, but their judgment day is coming. Maybe not be in this life, but judgment is guaranteed, (Hebrews 9:27). You could not have spokenclearer when You told the greedy man, “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth, but not have a rich relationship with God, (Luke 12:21).

The psalmist knew this truth. “Lord, who do I have in Heaven but You? What else could I desire on Earth?” (Psalm 73:25) You are our everything.

I am determined regardless of what I face today, or what may await me tomorrow, my hope rests in You alone, O Lord. I will base my faith on this one thing: despite good or bad circumstances, Lord God, You are good.

Amen.

Thankful for Our Vets

Chatting with Jesus

Friday, November 11, 2022

Lord, today we honor our veterans. In the prime of their life, millions put their life on hold to serve our country.

Many were stationed in hostile places, facing danger and death every day. Others served keeping the peace, but stealth enemies often proved a threat. Some flew over enemy lands, while others defended the homeland skies. Our Navy sailed the oceans, keeping free and open seas, yet always prepared for any conflict. The Army and Marines slugged it out on the ground against forces opposed to liberty. Brave men and women all who faced some of the most challenging times in history.

Our thanks seem so insufficient for the insurmountable debt of gratitude we owe our veterans. Millions  who made the ultimate sacrifice now rest in peace on sacred grounds around the world. Thousands lost arms or legs, broken in body but not in spirit, fighting the evils that entrapped mankind. Untold numbers came home appearing physically whole yet tortured by demons that accompanied them, haunting their memories from horrors no humans should have to see. Thankfully, most returned safely and now live normal, productive lives.

God, bless and keep our vets. Protect and provice for our homeless vets, abandoned by their government’s promise to care for them. Move upon the hearts of our government officials to do the right things and support them. Protect our vets from a spirit of suicide. Lord, we can’t lose them that way after what they have been through. You have been with them through their many trials and You’ve never abandoned them. As Matthew West sings, You are the God who stays.

Lord, we ask You to reserve a special place in Heaven for our vets. In Your love and authority, Jesus, amen.

Thankful Ego has to Go

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Lord, talk about blind. Why do people with obnoxious egos wonder why others cannot see their brilliance? (gag) This political season has tested our patience. Candidates ranted and railed that they must be elected, since only they can cancel Armageddon, which their opponent had scheduled the next week. Their boastful claims make me to roll my eyes, knowing their hot air only increases global warming.

Since the serpent convinced Adam and Eve that the apple would send them to the head of the class, ego, along with its buddy pride, plagues mankind—for those who exalt themselves above others to those who must endure their narcissistic behaviors.

In his day, the Apostle Paul encountered people, who despite being Christ followers, dealt with ego issues. Even though Psalm 139 vividly descriptions our finding our worth in You, ego refuses to go down easily. Paul pulled no punches:

“Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived”. —Galatians 6:1–3 (MSG).

Paul reminded the Philippians believers of the way Christ Jesus thought of Himself.

“He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of Himself that He had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all.” — Philippians 2:5 (MSG)

Should we not also have this same attitude? By all means. Prideful, egotistical, arrogant, narcissistic Christ followers are so shallow and un-Christlike. Sadly, such attitudes turn off more people who are seeking a relationship with You.

May we never fall among that group, Jesus. Amen

Chatting with Jesus

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Lord, as Christ followers, how often we are misjudged, labeled as bigoted, hateful, intolerant, and at times, downright looney? No wonder in times of weakness, we have even questioned our worth.

We live in a hostile environment that rejects the truths of Your sovereignty. This leaves our fallen world with no shortage of wounded souls. The world chews people up, then spits them out once their usefulness has depleted. Why the broken continually reject Your invitation to a new life of grace and forgiveness through Jesus is bewildering to me. Lord, the world today needs a relationship with You.

As Christ followers, we see how the enemy of our soul dresses up the glitz of this world to offer one surefire thing yet delivers the opposite. Fallen man is the only creature who would rather die than be considered worthless. Who doesn’t want to feel valuable? How many dear souls have been left crushed in spirit after chasing the false promises of “worth and purpose can be attained by your own merits without Christ” only to discover it turned out to be just that—false promises. Seeking man’s approval for our worth always leaves us vulnerable.

Christ followers have great worth. How much? Jesus said our worth is to die for. And He did. He took all our sin and transgression upon Himself when He willingly went to the cross on our behalf.

Lord Jesus, once we understand how the impact of Your Cross gives us worth, no one can ever make us feel worthless again. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Lord, this day is our opportunity to begin righting the wrongs we have committed against You and our fellow man. For numerous reason, our nation has turned away from You. Our nonchalant attitude toward our God-given rights has created a mess. Lord, we need to return to Your model of government: leaders are to serve their constituents. We have drifted far from that standard.

All Christ followers should vote. Men and women have sacrificed their lives to secure and maintain this privilege. Billions oppressed around the world would crawl over broken glass to have the voting rights we have.

Thankfully, Lord, You haven’t called us to set up a theocracy. Our first amendment rights respect the beliefs of all its citizens, religious or non-religious. Instead, You called Your people to set up a government that is fair and transparent, and to be ruled by just laws, (Isaiah 1:16, 17). We pray Lady Justice no longer lifts her blindfold to wink-wink at injustice but will render justice fairly to everyone.

Every candidate for office is a flawed, imperfect human. No amount of PR money will change this truth. All have fallen short of Your glory. We pray we will vote according to biblical principles and pray for our leaders to turn their hearts toward You, and that our nation will suppress evil and promote good for all people.

As believers, we will pray and vote. That’s our part of faith. And may we continue to trust You whether we agree or disagree with the outcome. That’s also our part of faith.You got this, Jesus, Amen

Chatting with Jesus

Monday, November 7, 2022

Lord, are you as disgusted with politics as we are? What began in the 60s as Vietnam War protests metastasized over the decades into irreconcilable distrust between the Left’s radical ideology and the Right’s conservative views. From the old-timers of the “Greatest Generation” to the up-and-coming Millennials, most agree our nation is dangerously divided. Politics has become a blood sport. No doubt corruption when found should be righteously called out, but even among Christ followers, many eagerly participate in the hateful verbiage of personal destruction. This should not be. It only hurts the cause of Christ and gives fodder to the kingdom of darkness.

As Christ followers, we believe:

“The Lord is God! He made us . . . we are his people, the sheep of his pasture,” —Psalm 100:3).

Lord, we knew what to expect when You said we would be as “sheep sent among wolves.” However, most Christ followers were not prepared when we were sent as “sheep among sheep.” Your sheep are forgiven, but oh, are we flawed. We experience another reality—sheep bite.

Sheep bite other sheep. Sheep will lie and cheat to move up in the sheep pecking order. Sheep are jealous. Sheep gossip. Sheep lust. Sheep judge lost sheep. Sheep judge redeemed sheep. Sheep frequently fail to demonstrate Your mandate “to love your neighbor as yourself.”

The apostle Paul warned the Galatian believers of the dangers of infighting among the redeemed. Paul wrote:

“If you keep on biting and devouring one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another,” —Galatians 5:15 (NLT)

Lord, if sheep are gonna bite, help us instead to bite chunks out of the devil’s kingdom of darkness. Amen, Jesus

Chatting with Jesus

Friday, November 4, 2022

Lord, as a Christ follower, when we determined to fully follow You, the skeptics and mockers crawl out of every nook and cranny just to point an accusing finger at us. Even friends will sometimes join the chorus of doubters, secretly hoping we fail. Everything we do, every word we say, everyone we talk to is under their microscope. In ancient times, TMZ wasn’t following the psalmist around, but he certainly had his share of critics. He wrote how to handle the naysayers Your way.

“Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on Your decrees. Your laws please me; they give me good advice”—Psalm 119:23, 24.

The psalmist found spiritual and emotional strength when meditating on Your promises. Your Word revealed how pleased You were by his firm resolve to follow Your precepts. He could disregard what “friends” and enemies say, since Your Word described how You see him: Your beloved child, fully forgiven and an heir to all Your heavenly blessings.

Did the psalmist live a perfect life? Hardly. Scripture doesn’t hide his multiple failures. Scripture also doesn’t hide the extent of Your grace and mercy with each fall. With each failure, he humbled himself, acknowledged his sin and fell upon Your mercy. You graciously forgave and restored him.

Do Christ followers live flawlessly today? LOL! Wondrously, we find the same strength by following this ancient wisdom. Your Word never changes. Your grace is always abundant, Your unfailing love never ceases, Your Spirit still draws the broken and gives us peace with You. Our critics miss out on so much of life by not knowing You.

Lord, strengthen our spirit as we meditate on Your Word. Only what You think of us matters. Amen, Jesus.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Lord, You’ve seen no matter how hard I try, I cannot hide anything from You. You see it all. Attempting to sneak an un-Christlike action, word salad, or carnal thought past You is truly the proverbial exercise in futility.

The psalmist acknowledged Your omniscience in all matters. With his soul fully exposed, he stood defenseless when You revealed that “You have tested my thoughts . . .” (Psalm 17:3). You alone, Lord, possess all knowledge about everything, even the deepest secrets buried within each person’s heart.

Lord, that’s a wake-up call for me too. Knowing You test my every thought against Your holiness, I’ve surely failed the tests more times than passed. I echo the psalmist’s plea in this vital area of my life:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord—Psalm 19:14.

The world measures our words by the world’s standards, The “woke” standards, which change daily, if not hourly, leave many walking on eggshells, fearful of offending anyone and being cancelled. The world’s standard has no room for grace, forgiveness, or redemption.

Not so with You, Lord. The holy standard by which my words are measured leave me at Your mercy. Any excuses I make to justify my wayward thoughts fall flat, since my lame excuses are from my flawed, yet by Your grace, forgiven heart. You offer grace. You offer forgiveness. You offer redemption.

On a good note, as Christ followers, we please You when our thoughts match Your thoughts, and our ways match Your ways, (Isaiah 55:8, 9). By meditating on Your promises and precepts, You reveal new truths of Your holy character. If we are to keep our minds dwelling on You, we need Your divine help, so when other observe us they will want to know how we remain hopeful, despite living in this chaotic world.

And Lord, in this hostile political season, help me keep my thoughts and statements Christlike. I don’t want to sin by what I say.

By Your love and in Your authority, Jesus, Amen.