Jesus Lives

Do not dread walking through the valley of the shadow of death. My radiant Presence shines brightly in that deep, sunless valley—strengthening, encouraging, and comforting you. Beloved, there is no valley or pit so deep and dark that I cannot see all the way to the bottom of it. Even if you wander from Me and fall into a slimy pit, you need not despair. When you cry out to Me, I will lift you out of the mud and mire and set your feet on a rock—giving you a firm place to stand.

Whenever you start to feel afraid, remember that I—your Shepherd—am armed. I am never without My rod of protection, and I use it with deadly accuracy. My shepherd’s staff is for guiding you. The hooked end of the staff is perfect for pulling you back from danger or rescuing you when you have fallen out of arm’s reach. Find comfort in the constant protection and guidance I provide.

“As you face your fears, remember that I am the One who goes before you and will be with you; I will never leave you. While you are walking through the valley of adversity, let these ten short words cascade through your mind: I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”

“Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.”

~ Psalm 23:4 [AMP]

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

~ Psalm 40:1–2”

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

~ John 10:11 [NKJV]

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

~ Deuteronomy 31:8

Jesus Lives

His Sufficiency

In this scattered, fragmented world I am the central Reality that holds everything together. When you keep your focus on Me, your life has meaning and beauty. Without Me the world would be utterly desolate—without meaning or hope. I came into the world to show you the way to the Father, the way to eternal Life. However, I am infinitely more than a sign pointing you in the right direction. I Myself am the Way. Since I and My Father are one, I am Almighty God! Yet I condescended to become a man so I could bear your sins and be your Friend. I also wanted to show you the Father’s Face—in and through Me.

Everything you need is concentrated in Me. Truth is in short supply in the world, but I am the Truth. As you fill your heart and mind with the wonders of My glorious Being, I keep your mind in bright focus—driving back the darkness of worldly thinking. This creates sacred space within you—space where My very Life can thrive. 

There is no way to eternal Life besides Me, but you need no other way. Why would you want to follow a man-made path when My path of Life is wide open before you? This path glows with My radiant Presence, and it stretches all the way into eternity. As you persevere along this way with Me, I give you samples of forevermore-pleasures.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

~ John 14:6

“I and My Father are one.”

~ John 10:30 [NKJV]

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

~ Hebrews 1:3

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

~ Psalm 16:11 [NKJV]

Jesus Lives

“I have prepared this day with the most tender concern and attention to detail. Instead of approaching the day as a blank page you need to fill up, try living it in a responsive mode: being on the lookout for all that I am doing. This will enable you to discover and respond to the opportunities I place before you today.

Many people think they can live independently of Me, but that is an illusion. I sustain everything by My powerful word! Not only that, I am your Creator—the Initiator of your very life. Your first cry as an infant was a response to the life I provided. When I cease sustaining someone’s life, that person dies. So, living responsively is a matter of aligning yourself with ultimate reality: My sovereignty over every aspect of your life. This can increase your sense of security if you really trust Me. Thus, the art of living well rests upon a foundation of trust—in My absolute goodness, My infinite wisdom, My unfailing Love.

“To build on this foundation, you need to be perceptive—seeing things from My perspective as well as yours. Search for what I am doing in the big picture as well as in the details of your day. Conducting your life in this way requires concentration, because the world is rigged to distract you from Me. However, when you do succeed in living responsively, you will feel fully alive and richly connected with Me. This is a foretaste of what awaits you in heaven, where you will respond to Me perfectly—throughout eternity!”

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
~ Hebrews 1:3

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
~ Matthew 10:29–31

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”
~ Psalm 13:5

Jesus Lives

I long for you to trust Me enough to be fully yourself with Me. When you are real with Me, I am able to bring out the best in you: the very gifts I planted in your soul. 

Granted, being real with Me can be quite painful, because first you have to be real with yourself. When you’re feeling bad about yourself, you would rather numb or ignore your feelings than bring them to Me. But do not be afraid: I will give you the courage to face yourself honestly.

The best way to face yourself is to remember you are constantly clothed in My robe of righteousness. I have no illusions about what lies beneath that pristine garment of salvation. Nonetheless, I take great delight in you; I even rejoice over you with singing. 

Open yourself up to My unfailing Love. Talk with Me about whatever is bothering you; experience your pain in the Light of My loving Presence. In this brilliant Light you can consider your woeful condition without despair, for the assurance of My Love provides hope. You’ll also find that what you most feared to expose is no match for the Power of My radiant Presence. Entrust yourself into My capable care, asking Me to transform you according to My plans for you. Collaborate with Me as I work on growing the gifts I seeded within your soul.

“Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband ~ the Lord Almighty is his name.”
~ Isaiah 54:4–5

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
~ Isaiah 61:10

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
~ Zephaniah 3:17

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.
~ Psalm 13:5–6

Jesus Lives

Your steps are directed by Me, even though your journey often feels haphazard. The path that lies before you now is veiled in uncertainty: You have choices to make but too little information to see the way you should go. Taking the next step feels risky—like leaping into the unknown. The best thing you can do at such times is cling to Me. Imagine a young girl walking along busy city streets with a trustworthy adult. She may feel overwhelmed by all the sensory stimulation, all the possible ways to get lost. However, if she keeps holding on to the adult’s hand, she will get safely to her destination. Similarly, as you cling to My hand for help and guidance, you are ultimately safe.

Though you may not know the way you should go, you do know the One who is the Way. Stay near Me, and you will not go astray. Because I am sovereign over your life, I actually direct your steps and make them sure even when they feel random to you. Talk with Me about your uncertainty, your fear of making wrong choices. Remember that the most important choice you make moment by moment is to stay in communication with Me. This is how you cling to My hand. This is how you trust My guiding Presence as you go—step by step—along the path you cannot see.

A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?
~ Proverbs 20:24

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
~ John 14:6 [NKJV]

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
~ Proverbs 16:9 [AMP]

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

~ 2 Corinthians 5:7 [NKJV]

Jesus Lives

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances. The only way to be joyful consistently is to take pleasure in your invincible relationship with Me—the One who rules the universe. This relationship is full of hope, so it is possible to be joyful in hope even in the midst of ongoing affliction. 

The simplest way to find Joy in Me is to give thanks in all circumstances. There is immense Power in praying simply, “Thank You, Jesus.” This brief prayer is appropriate for all times and all situations because of My great sacrifice for you. I encourage you to thank Me for every good thing as soon as you become aware of it. This practice adds sparkle to your blessings, increasing your Joy; it also helps you pray continually—persistently, perseveringly. 

When you are feeling dull or downhearted, it is still a good time to thank Me. This tiny act of gratitude can brighten your perspective immediately. To deepen your thankfulness, ponder specific things about Me that delight you—for instance: My lavish grace, My unfailing Love, My continual Presence. Giving thanks in all circumstances is a joyous discipline; it empowers you to lift up your soul and live close to Me.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 
~ Romans 12:12

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. ~ Ephesians 1:7–8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

~ Psalm 143:8

Jesus Lives

A life lived close to Me will never be dull or predictable. Expect each day to contain some surprises! I know you greet that prospect with mixed emotions because of your love-hate relationship with surprises. You enjoy the adrenaline rush that accompanies new, unexpected experiences; this wakes you up and takes you beyond your ordinary routine. Yet there is also a part of you that longs for your life to be predictable. In fact, you usually try to arrange things so as to minimize the possibility of being taken by surprise. 

I will never limit Myself to doing only what you can anticipate and understand. My ways and thoughts are too high above yours for that to be possible. To do so would be to cease being God! So, expect your life to become increasingly surprising as you grow closer to Me. Still, I want to help you become more joyful about your unpredictable journey with Me.

There is actually much merit in expecting surprises. This helps you view an unforeseen event not as something wrong but as something from Me. With this mind-set you are more likely to turn to Me immediately rather than getting upset. You can ask Me to help you find all the good I have infused into the event so you can respond appropriately. If you feel unsteady, simply draw nearer to Me. 

As you learn to expect surprises each day, your life will become more exciting. You will discover traces of My vibrant Presence in unusual places. Increasingly, you will find your days bright with Joy – the pleasure of knowing Me more intimately.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 
~ Isaiah 55:9 

With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. 
~ Psalm 18:29 

And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. 
~ 1 Peter 1:8 [NASB]

Jesus Lives

Renewing Your Mind

I redeem you from hell—crowning you with Love and mercy; I wrap you in goodness and renew your youth. I delight in giving you these marvelous gifts because I take pleasure in you. Let My delight in you sink into the depths of your being. This satisfies your soul as nothing else can. Although I see your sins and flaws, my perfect Love for you never wavers. I see you first and foremost as My redeemed one—wearing a paradise crown and wrapped in beauty eternal.

I want your identity as My beloved to be front and center in your mind. However, your thoughts often get stuck on trivial matters, especially when your mind is in neutral. This is why I urge you to be alert and always keep on praying. In fact, praying is one of the most effective ways to keep your mind well-focused. As you face your circumstances here and now, invite Me to enter into them. Bring Me whatever you are doing, thinking, feeling; stay in conversation with Me. This will help you focus not on trivial matters but on glorious realities. While you commune with Me, I will renew your strength. No matter how old you are in years, you’re always young in My Presence!

He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence. 
~ Psalm 103:4–5 [MSG]

For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. 
~ Psalm 149:4 [NKJV]

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 
~ Ephesians 6:18 

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. 
~ Isaiah 40:31 [NKJV]

Jesus Lives

I am faithful: I will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. Find comfort and hope in this powerful promise. I know you sometimes feel as if you’re at the outer limits of your endurance. Nonetheless, I am present in the midst of your struggles—available to help you. 

Every trial that comes into your life can either strengthen you (if you keep on trusting in My care) or become a temptation to sin (if you choose instead to doubt Me and go your own way). Thus, any difficulty you face becomes a test of your faith. This faith of yours is much more precious than gold, and it grows deeper through the testing process. So your trials contain meaning and purpose.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 

That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

~ 1 Peter 1:7 [NKJV]

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!

~ Psalm 27:14 [NKJV]

Jesus Lives

Listen to Me! Thus you can live in peace and safety, unafraid. Listening to Me is the way of wisdom. I make wisdom available to everyone who is willing to hear Me. Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares—proclaiming the truth openly. Those who ignore her message will cry out for mercy on the day of judgment, but it will be too late. Now is the time to listen!

It is vital for you to hear Me accurately and consistently. If you hear Me inaccurately, you may find yourself worshiping a false god: practicing idolatry. The best safeguard against this deadly deception is studying My Word and meditating on it. As you do so, Scripture takes root and flourishes within you—changing the way you think. My Word is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword—able to accomplish great things in you.

Listening to Me consistently is both a discipline and a matter of the heart. The more convinced you are of My Love for you, the more motivated you are to listen. I have deep, unfailing Love for all who know Me as Savior-God. Look up to Me through eyes of faith, and see My Face shining on you with loving approval. Listen to Me, for this is the way of Peace.

All who listen to me shall live in peace and safety, unafraid.
~ Proverbs 1:33 [TLB]

Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; . . . in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: . . . “How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?”
~ Proverbs 1:20–22

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
~ Hebrews 4:12 [NKJV]

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.
~ Psalm 31:16