Dear Jesus

When you spend time with Me, I restore your sense of direction. I enable you to do less but accomplish more.

Dear Jesus,
                 
This is good news indeed! What You are offering is just what I need. There are so many possible ways to go through each day that I easily lose my sense of direction. When this happens, I tend to go around in circles: interrupting one task to do something else, while my thoughts flit from one thing to the next. At such times my body simply cannot keep up with the pace of my mind, and I become increasingly confused—accomplishing little. I know my time and energy are precious gifts from You, Lord. Help me use them wisely.

Beloved, when you realize you have lost your way, there is only one remedy: Stop, and reconnect with Me—the Director of your life. Admit that you are directionless, and ask for My help. Pause with Me, while I soothe your frazzled nerves. Let the peacefulness of My Presence revive you. As My Peace settles over your mind and soul, the way before you will open up step by step. Though you cannot see very far ahead of you, you can see enough to continue your journey. Try to remain conscious of Me as you go, remembering that I am with you every bit of the way.

You may think this delay is a waste of time, but it is not. When you follow My directions closely, you save great quantities of time and energy: You avoid doing worthless works—things that are not in My plan for you. This frees you to do the genuine works I prepared in advance for you. Thus, though you do less in terms of actual activity, you accomplish much more. 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
~ Proverbs 16:3 

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 
~ Exodus 33:14

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
~ Psalm 119:35 

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
~ Ephesians 2:10

Dear Jesus

In union with Me you are complete. In closeness to Me, you are transformed more and more into the one I designed you to be.

Dear Jesus,

I often feel incomplete, as if some vital part of me is missing. When this is just a feeling—not a conscious thought—I respond in many unproductive ways: foraging for food, looking for entertainment, searching for myself in the mirror, and so on. All the while, You are with me, patiently waiting for me to remember You. If I continue to go my own way—seeking satisfaction where there is none—I become increasingly frustrated. My agitated condition makes it hard for me to turn back to You, the only One who can complete me. I have found, though, that it is never too late to cry out, “Help me, Jesus!”

Beloved, when a child of Mine calls out to Me, I never fail to respond. I may not provide instant relief, as if I were just a genie, but I go to work immediately, setting in motion the conditions you need. I help you gain awareness of what you have been doing: seeking fulfillment in worldly ways. In response to your neediness, I offer you My glorious riches. When you have settled down enough to see clearly, I proffer Myself to you. I invite you to come near Me, where you can find completeness.

As you center your attention on Me, I draw closer to you. While you rest in the rarified air of My Presence, I bless you with My Peace. Though you are just a jar of clay, I fill you with My treasure: the Light of the knowledge of My Glory. This divine Light fills you to the brim—making you complete. It also transforms you, bit by bit, into the masterpiece I designed you to be.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
~ James 1:4 

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
~ Psalm 145:19

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.
~ James 4:7–8

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:6–7

Dear Jesus

Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence.

Dear Jesus, 

I admit I would prefer to be less needy. On the other hand, I do enjoy the closeness that comes from consciously depending on You. It is so true that my neediness must be properly handled. Otherwise, I’m vulnerable to becoming anxious—or even angry—about my situation. Help me accept my needy dependence as a gift from You.

Beloved, I can read your thoughts all too well: I know how much time you spend daydreaming about getting beyond your needy condition. But there is a better way. Instead of trying to figure out how to escape problems in your life, use them to come closer to Me. You need to remember—and believe—that My way is perfect. I can use everything in believers’ lives for good, to the extent that they trust Me. One of the most powerful ways to strengthen your trust in Me is to thank Me for the things that are troubling you. This expression of thankfulness will help you accept your neediness as a gift from Me.

The world has it all wrong about what constitutes success. Media (and even some churches) promote health and wealth as ultimate goals. But I have showered you with humble, rarely sought gifts: neediness and weaknesses. These gifts, properly received and used, help make My ways known on earth. Moreover, as you look up to Me in your neediness, My Face shines upon you—linking you to Me in radiant Joy.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
~ 2 Samuel 22:31 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
~ Psalm 67:1–2

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. ~ Psalm 34:5

Dear Jesus

I am everywhere at every time, ceaselessly working on your behalf. That is why your best coping strategies are trusting Me and living close to Me.

Dear Jesus,

You are indeed an awesome God! Who but You could be everywhere at every time? It amazes me that One so great as You would care about the many details of my life. Yet You do! When I ponder these glorious truths, I feel safe—knowing I am never alone. Help me, Lord, to keep these truths before me—to keep You always before me. Otherwise, I fall back into my default mode: straining and striving as if outcomes were totally up to me.

Beloved, I am pleased that you want to keep My very Presence before you—not just truths about Me. It’s so easy for My children to confuse knowledge about Me with knowing Me experientially. The apostle Paul understood this distinction: He wrote about needing Power through My Spirit, to grasp the vast magnitude of My Love—Love that surpasses knowledge! Knowing Me is so much more than an activity of the mind. 

You asked for help in keeping Me always before you. This is largely a matter of trusting Me. Sometimes you are keenly aware of My Presence; at other times, this awareness is minimal—or even absent. When you feel alone, you need to rely on your trust in Me. Continue to live and communicate as if I am with you, because I am! I have promised I will never leave you or forsake you. Instead of running after other gods when you feel needy, concentrate on coming nearer to Me. No matter what is happening, trusting Me and drawing close to Me are excellent strategies for living well.

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
~ Psalm 16:8

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 
~Ephesians 3:16–19

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 
~ Hebrews 13:5

Dear Jesus

Holiness is letting Me live through you. Since I dwell in you, you are fully equipped to be holy. Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you.

Dear Jesus,

Holiness is one of those virtues that seems so elusive. If I strive to be holy, I’m in danger of falling prey to serious sins, especially pride and hypocrisy. Yet Your Word clearly instructs me to be holy. I’m intrigued by the idea that holiness is a matter of letting You live through me. That seems more feasible than trying with all my might to be good.

Beloved, be careful not to confuse being holy with trying to appear holy. The Pharisees fell into that trap: parading their pretension of holiness on street corners, at banquets, in the temple—wherever they found an audience. I reserved some of My strongest condemnation for them and their hypocrisy.

When you became a Christian, I put the Holy Spirit in you, thus equipping you to be holy. However, you are still vulnerable to the world, the flesh (sinful nature), and the devil. These three conspire against holiness, tempting you to respond to people and situations in your old, habitual ways. My Spirit will not force His ways on you, so it’s easy for you to ignore His inner Presence. That’s why I encourage you to pause before responding—inviting the Spirit to live and love through you.

Remember that I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory. The more you know Me and love Me, the easier it is for you to let Me live through you. Without your even realizing it, intimacy with Me transforms you into My likeness—My holy image.

Remember that I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory. The more you know Me and love Me, the easier it is for you to let Me live through you. Without your even realizing it, intimacy with Me transforms you into My likeness—My holy image. 

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 
~ 1 Peter 1:15–16 

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 
~ Romans 8:9 

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 
~ Colossians 1:27

Dear Jesus

Bearing your circumstances bravely—even thanking Me for them—is one of the highest forms of praise. This sacrifice of thanksgiving rings golden-toned bells of Joy throughout heavenly realms. On earth, also, your patient suffering sends out ripples of good tidings in ever-widening circles.

Dear Jesus, You have been training me in the discipline of thankfulness for a long time. Yet I still find it quite challenging to thank You for suffering—my own or others’. Sometimes, though, I am able to thank You for painful circumstances. This seems unnatural at first, but it is actually quite freeing. When I am able to do this, I find that I relax and feel closer to You. Please help me endure my circumstances bravely—with gratitude.

Beloved, thanking Me for adversity requires a deep level of trust: in My goodness, My mercy, My Love. People who are leaning on their own understanding cannot achieve this depth of trust. So, handling difficulties courageously involves relinquishing your demand to understand.

You have experienced personal benefits from thanking Me for hard situations, but there is more—much more! Your grateful acceptance of adversity has major repercussions far beyond yourself: in heaven as well as on earth. Joy-bells resound in heavenly domains when suffering believers trust Me enough to give thanks. Also, your sacrifice of thanksgiving has divine Power to weaken spiritual strongholds of evil. Moreover, your patient endurance of suffering can strengthen and encourage My people on earth.

Sacrifice thank offerings to Me. Tell of My works with songs of Joy (Psalm 107:22)! 

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
~ Ephesians 5:20 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 
~ Proverbs 3:5 

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 
~ 2 Corinthians 10:3–4

Dear Jesus

I hate it when My children grumble, casually despising My sovereignty. Thankfulness is a safeguard against this deadly sin. Furthermore, a grateful attitude becomes a grid through which you perceive life.

Dear Jesus,

I confess I am a grumbler. When things are not as I’d like them to be, my first impulse is to complain. Even if I manage to keep my mouth shut, I tend to grumble in my thoughts. Usually when I complain, it doesn’t occur to me that I am opposing You and Your ways. It shocks me to realize that grumbling amounts to casually despising Your sovereignty. Forgive me, Lord!

Beloved, complaining is quite common among My children, but it is nonetheless a deadly sin. When the Israelites grumbled against their leader, Moses, I dealt with them severely. Though they may not have been aware of it, they were actually rebelling against Me, and I responded accordingly: All those complainers who were twenty or older died in the desert, never reaching the Promised Land.

The best safeguard against falling prey to grumbling is thankfulness. When gratitude fills your heart and mind, you will not be tempted to complain. My Word is seasoned with multiple commands to be thankful—for good reason! I ransomed you from eternal punishment through My torturous death on the cross. That alone is sufficient reason for thankfulness. However, I continue to shower additional blessings upon you. Work at developing a grateful mind-set, and you will be able to perceive My gifts more clearly. Gratitude also enables you to draw closer to Me. As you learn to give thanks in all circumstances, My loving Presence will increasingly brighten your vision of life.

Moses also said . . . “Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.” 
~ Exodus 16:8 

“In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more . . . who has grumbled against me.”
~ Numbers 14:29 

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18