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Thursday, July 21, 2022

Lord, are most people like the psalmist? He wondered why You chose to bless him despite his many sinful ways. I wonder the same about me. Even though I’ve placed my faith in You, Jesus, You know how flawed I remain, struggling with sins that should have been out of my life long ago. Sinful me deserving of blessings? By the world’s standards—fat chance! But Your grace and holy character say otherwise. How can I not fall on my knees before You in reverence and agree with the psalmist when he wrote of Your eternal character:

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love — Psalm 103:7

Lord, it is Your nature to love. Unlike human love, Your love is steadfast. It never fails, it never disappoints. You are mindful how fragile we are. The psalmist wrote:

“For He knows how weak we are, He remembers we are only dust” — Psalm 103:14.

Your compassion sees how easily we can fall apart when life’s stuff hits. But You hold us. close to Your heart. If most Christ-followers are like me, we are thankful beyond description how Your patience with us is literally out of this world. Because of Your grace, Your mercy never condemns when we stumble and miss the standards You have set. Instead, You pick us up, dust us off, wipe the mud from our face, straighten our cap, and say, “C’mon, my child. Keep walking with Me. We’re gonna make it home.”

Lord, Your compassion, mercy, patience and love never change. They are like none other. We are most grateful, Jesus. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Lord, when the psalmist penned his great blessings psalm (Psalm 103) did he question why You richly blessed him when You knew his many flaws, his imperfections, and the guarantee he would fail You again in some way? Did he feel unworthy to come before You to ask for anything? Did he grappled to understand the depths of Your grace knowing his sinful ways? Why would You bless him so abundantly? Why do You bless me since I’m so much like the psalmist? Could it b

Exodus chapter three describes Moses’ reaction to Your accessibility when You appeared to him as the ‘Angel of God’ amid the burning bush. He had to cover his face in the presence of Your glory. I would do the same. When You revealed to Moses Your name, “I AM WHO I AM,” You were saying ‘come to Me. I AM accessible and I AM everything we need You to be and more.’

“He revealed His character to Moses,” the psalmist recounted. “And His deeds to the people of Israel,” (Psalm 103:7).

Just as You revealed Yourself to Moses, You remain accessible to all who seek You, whose cries for mercy You hear. And those who place their trust in You, Jesus, know You in a most intimate way, since Your Spirit comes to live within every believer and reveals more of Your holy character.

Thank You, Lord, that despite our many flaws and imperfections, You are still the accessible great I AM who calls us to come to You as we are. Your spiritual blessing and mercies never cease. They are new every day.  Love You, Lord. Amen

Chatting with Jesus

Monday July 18, 2022

Lord, in the famous praise Psalm 103, the psalmist transitions from listing his blessings to describing Your sovereignty as a loving and merciful God. It’s no wonder he begins his list defining Your attribute as a righteous judge.

“The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly,” (Psalm 103:6).

Lord, You are mindful of the oppressed. Their mistreatment does not escape Your notice as You hears their cries of distress. Your sovereign justice is perfect, and You defend those who cannot fend for themselves according to Your righteous character. However, the psalmist is mindful of the Scripture cautioning believers not to retaliate on our own, but allow You, Go, to take Your righteous vengeance on the wicked.

I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them, (Deuteronomy 32:35).

Lord, give us patience to wait for Your divine vengeance on those who oppress and take advantage of those who cannot fend for themselves. You gave us Your Word:

For the LORD will vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants when He sees that their strength is gone (Deuteronomy 32: 36)

Lord, as Christ-followers, we can rest in Your sovereignty as our righteous and just God.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Lord, as the psalmist listed his blessings, he saw his life much differently.  I agree with the psalmist’s words:

“Who satisfies my life with good things, so my youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103:5)

Does our list of blessing have an end? Hardly.

To begin, our redemption from sin’s condemnation has brought us peace with You. Your Spirit gives us an internal peace that assures us, regardless of circumstances, You are working behind the scenes on our behalf.

Love, joy, peace are only a fraction of the good things You give.  We have family and loyal friends with whom we laugh, play and pray together. How about feeling our baby’s soft breath on our cheek. There’s joys that accompany the challenges of raising children. Sipping coffee, watching a sunrise chase away the darkness. Sitting reverently, watching a spectacularly colorful sunset only You can create.

Puppy kisses. Tabasco sauce that gives our food a zing! Smiling at a six-year-old’s innocent take on the world. Listening inently, holding the wrinkled hand of an elderly as they impart their wisdom. The hope and courage You give when the doctor says he doesn’t like the looks of the biopsy.

For Christ-followers, we have hope. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day,” (2 Corinthians 4:16). How well the psalmist knew this when he penned: “My youth is being renewed like the eagle’s!”

Lord, open our eyes to see Your bountiful blessings are everywhere. Amen.

Chatting With Jesus

Wednesday, July 13, 2022,

Lord, while the psalmist wrote his list of blessings, no doubt Your Spirit kept reminding him of one blessing after another, and of all You did for him. You are doing the same for me as my list closely matches the psalmist’s.

“He redeems me from death, and crowns me with love and tender mercies,” Psalm 103:4

Of course, the psalmist and I know there is no escaping our appointments with physical death. The psalmist beat me and is with You. But we both had a “BAM!” moment when we realized we were already dead on the inside. We needed God. Without God, our internal man — our spirit — is dead. In our BAM! moment, You heard our pleas for mercy and forgave all our sins, redeeming our souls from spiritual death.

Because of man’s disobedience against You in the Garden, we all come hard-wired with a sin nature that desires to rebel against You and reject Your precepts. But God, when we placed our faith in You, Your Spirit within us began the lifelong work of replacing our sin nature with Your nature. Gone are our old ways with its prejudices and worldly influences that left little satisfaction within. Lord, You crowned us with Your love and mercies that enables us to see others through Your eyes.

Realizing the magnitude of Your love and grace changes us forever. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Lord, when the psalmist listed his blessings, he emphasized not only does “He forgives all my sins,” redeem us to You forever but Your redemption also “heals all my diseases,” (Psalm 103:3). This statement may be confusing to many folks since we all know Christ-followers get sick, have cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or any myriad of diseases that lead to death. Some You heal miraculously. Some You heal through medicine and treatments. Some enter into eternity. So, what did the psalmist mean You heal all my diseases?

The results of that ugly incident between Eve and the snake in the Garden ushered the disease of sin into the world, which brought along other diseases, afflictions, suffering, and every kind of wickedness. And, of course, physical death was the biggie. All people will succumb to death, some from natural causes and some from illnesses.

The psalmist evidently means the default “spiritual diseases” that come standard with our sin nature, which Your grace redeems us from. Your Spirit, now alive within our new inside person, goes to work on these soul afflictions. Unforgiveness, greed, hatred, bigotry, jealousy, lust for power, control, narcissism are only a few of these soul-crippling diseases. However, not all spiritual maladies are healed at once. As the Apostle Paul wrote from experience, all Christ-followers are a work in progress. As we surrender our will to You, Lord, Your Spirit heals our spiritual disease and conforms us into Your image, (Philippians 1:6).

I’m eternally grateful, Lord, that You are continually healing all my diseases. Amen

Chatting with Jesus

Monday July 11, 2022

Lord, how sad for non-believers, skeptics, or those who just reject anything about You. When the “blues” come knocking on their soul’s door, singing the old hymn “nobody knows the trouble I seen,” they join in and sing right along. But as a Christ-follower, help me implement what the psalmist employed when those same ole blues wanted to hang out with him.  He simply reminded himself of all You have done for him. There is absolutely no room for the blues among Your blessings, (Psalm 103:2).

It’s a no-brainer that first on his list of blessings, he reminded himself of his right standing with You.

“He forgives all my sins …” (verse 3)

In humility, the psalmist knew his lingering sins kept him from becoming all who You created him to be. He would be shamed if others knew of those hidden sins he battled daily.  Despite knowing every flaw and failure, You forgave, and continued to forgive, the psalmist’s sins. You especially helped the psalmist to forgive himself. He could rest from fear or worry since You secured his eternity with You.   

That’s the same for me and all Christ-followers. By placing our trust in Your sacrifice for sins on the cross, Jesus, Your grace forgives all our sins: past, present, and those sins we will yet commit. Not that we deliberately intend to trespass against You, but living in this broken world, Christ-followers are not exempt from sinning. May we always remember we’re forgiven, not because of our good behavior or strictly keeping rules, but because on the cross, all our iniquities were placed on You, Jesus.  

Lord, singing “I am redeemed, by Love Divine!” makes the blues want to leave town! Goodbye!

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Lord, Scripture commands anyone who is breathing to praise You (Psalm 150:6). You are God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and worthy of all the praise and glory. It’s a no-brainer that atheists, non-believers, or skeptics wouldn’t praise You. That’s understandable. But Lord, as a Christ-follower, what am I to do those times I just don’t feel like praising You? Whether I’m physically tired, mentally exhausted, emotionally drained — whatever has caused my soul’s slothfulness, I just can’t muster the spiritual energy to praise You. Maybe it’s the pain from this lingering illness that numbs my praise motivation? Or disappointment from a loved one’s failure and the hurt is too deep? Possibly an unrepentant sin in my life shuts out Your voice to come to You and set things right.

Lord, did the psalmist suggest he wallowed in similar spiritual lethargy when he penned Psalm 103? Seems like it. “Bless the Lord,” he ordered his soul. “All that is within me—Praise the Lord!” The ways in which life’s stuff came against him wherever he turned must have worn him down. His spirit knew he needed to get back on track. “Bless the Lord, my soul! Praise Him! And do not forget all He has done for you!” (Psalm 103:1,2). He went on to list all Your blessings. Wouldn’t you know it. The more blessings he remembered, the more exuberant his praise became. By the end of the Psalm, the psalmist is praising You in song and dance.

Forgive me, Lord. Who am I to withhold praise to You? When I slow down, ignore all the negatives vying for my attention, and remember all You have done for me and my family, our countless blessings at every corner, how can I not praise You? May my praise from a grateful heart, resounding throughout the halls of Heaven, please You, Lord. Amen.

Chatting with Jesus

Thursday July 6, 2022

Lord, It seem like the psalmist story of redemption had a rough beginning. He “waited patiently for the Lord to help him,” (Psalm 40:1). Wait! How was that a rocky start? You were ready to immediately step in to help, but in his zeal to be perfect, the psalmist kept getting in the way. He was determined to conquer sin and temptations on his own to show his sincerity to live all-in for You. When did he realize he couldn’t conquer his sins on his own without Your help? Was it his second failure? Maybe his third? Perhaps his tenth, twentieth, or who knows how many attempts? Discouraged, he may have thrown up his hands in frustration. Trying as hard as he could, he knew his behavior didn’t always please You, Lord. Did he get to the point where he thought of himself as a believer You could not use?

Finally, the psalmist discovered grace. And after waiting patiently for the psalmist to get out of the way, You came charging in to rescue him from his frustrations. When he finally understood how only Your grace could set him free from his sins, (Psalm 103:12) You “lifted him out of the pit of spiritual despair, out of the mud and mire, and set his feet on solid spiritual ground,” (verse 2). But You weren’t through. You put a new song in his heart, and a new skip in his step. The psalmist life took on another dimension. Many were amazed seeing the dynamic change in the psalmist, causing many to put their trust in You, (verse 3).

Lord, how many could substitute their name for the psalmist and the story would be the same? I certainly could. You know me, Lord. I so easily can get in the way. When I do, just move me to the side.

Amen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Lord, what a perfect morning. Coffee in hand, I sat on the patio, meditating and reading Psalms. An old hymn from decades past came to mind. I softly hummed along with the words singing in my mind.

“Something good is going to happen to you,

Happen to you, this very day.

Something good is going to happen to you,

Jesus of Nazareth is passing this way.”

Without warning, another old song I’d not thought of in decades shattered the tranquility of the moment.

“My boomerang won’t come back,

My boomerang won’t come back.

I’ve waved the thing all over the place,

Practiced till I was black in the face,

I’m a big disgrace to the Aborigine race.

My boomerang won’t come back!”

In 1961, as an impressionable 14-year-old, along with millions of other kids, I sang this novel song ad nauseum to the annoyance of my parents.

So true to form, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me. “How did you remember those words when you haven’t thought of that song in decades?” While fumbling for an answer, the Holy Spirit answered the question. “Repetition. Plain and simple. How did you learn the alphabet? Or the states and their capitals? Or the multiplication tables — before calculators on cell phones, of course?”

Jesus, You said, “When the Holy Spirit comes, He will remind you of all that I’ve told you” (John 14:26).  So repeating what the Scriptures say increases our faith? According to Romans 10:17, it does.  “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.”

You’re so right, Lord. How else would i have remembered these Scriptures if I hadn’t in the past repeated them in faith? And unlike the boomerang that won’t come back, You tell us Your Word will come back to You after it has accomplished what You sent it out to do, (Isaiah 55:11).

Gotcha, Jesus.