Dear Jesus

I have designed you to need Me moment by moment. As your awareness of your neediness increases, so does your realization of My abundant sufficiency.

Dear Jesus, 

The longer I live, the more aware I become of my neediness. Many people—as they gain life experience—seem to become increasingly confident about the accuracy of their opinions. I, on the other hand, am increasingly aware that my understanding is like the tip of an iceberg: What I don’t comprehend is so much greater than what I actually understand. This is just one of many areas where my neediness has become more apparent to me.

Beloved, recognizing the limits of your understanding is good, because it can enhance your relationship with Me. You need Me continually ~ not only for daily bread and blessings, but also for the myriad decisions you must make each day. If you had greater confidence in your knowledge and opinions, you might feel more comfortable. But walking close to Me on the path of Life is far more important than comfort. Remember that the road leading to Life is a narrow one, and only a few find it. So don’t expect your journey along this path to be easy. Awareness of your neediness helps you receive many blessings from Me. As you come to Me with your vast insufficiency, I draw near you with My infinite sufficiency. My abundant supply and your needy condition fit together perfectly ~ keeping you intimately connected to Me. The more consistently you rely on Me, the better your life will be. Not only will I meet all your needs through My glorious riches, I will also delight you with the Joy of My Presence. This is the way I want you to live: in joyful dependence on Me!

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:19

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

~ Matthew 7:13–14

Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight.

~ Psalm 43:4

Dear Jesus

I guarantee you will always have problems in your life, but they must not become your focus. When you feel yourself sinking in the sea of circumstances, cry out: “Help me, Jesus!” and I will draw you back to Me.

Dear Jesus, 

Guarantees are usually about something positive, but this one (about constant problems) has a negative feel to it. It reminds me of a parent saying to a wailing child, “If you keep on crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!” However, I know You well enough to trust that Your motive is not to threaten me but to help me.

Beloved, I do indeed want to help you deal with the problems in your life. There are a variety of wrong ways to handle difficulties: Some people simply pretend they don’t exist—like ostriches hiding their heads in the sand. You, however, tend to go to the other extreme: You focus on problems much more than necessary. When you give in to this tendency, you become anxious and disheartened. I am training you to pry your mind away from trouble, so you can fix your thoughts on Me. You are making progress, but you need to persevere in directing wayward thoughts toward Me.

One of the most challenging situations is when you are faced with many difficulties at the same time. You start to feel overwhelmed as your mind goes into high gear, trying to take care of everything at once. Your thoughts play hopscotch—jumping from one problem to the next, then turning around and jumping back again. If this continues too long, you become exhausted and begin to sink in the swirling sea of your circumstances. At this point, your emotional pain will alert you to your need for help. In a split second you can cry out: “Help me, Jesus!” and I will come to your rescue. As I pull you away from your problems, I draw you close to Me. While you gaze at Me, your panic begins to subside and you regain some sense of security. As you take time to enjoy My Presence, I bless you with My Peace.

Therefore . . . fix your thoughts on Jesus.
~ Hebrews 3:1

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
~ Psalm 145:18

For He Himself is our peace.
~ Ephesians 2:14 [NKJV]

Dear Jesus

The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens but whether you and I together can handle anything that occurs. It is this you-and-I-together factor that gives you confidence to face the day cheerfully.

Dear Jesus,

I really want to live this day confidently and cheerfully. That seems only fitting, since I am one of Your followers. But I often begin the day wondering how demanding it will be and whether I’ll be able to cope. Help me in my unbelief!

Beloved, come to Me in your state of unbelief. I want you to experience My loving you perfectly even when your faith seems weak. Many of My followers wake up in a foggy, frazzled state of mind—as you do. However, I can see into your heart, where I find genuine trust in Me. Your challenge each morning is to untangle your thoughts so that they line up with the faith in your heart. You need to set aside adequate time each morning for this vital task. I want you to stay in My Presence—reading Scripture, praying, meditating on Me—till your mind is clear.

When you begin the day with a muddled mind, you tend to ask yourself the wrong question: whether you will be able to cope with whatever happens. But the true question is whether you and I together can handle the circumstances you face. As you look forward into the day, broaden your perspective so you can “see” Me there alongside you—strengthening, guiding, and encouraging you. If you omit this you-and-I-together factor from your perspective, you miss out on the help I am offering. So, as you work to unscramble your thinking, focus on who I am: Immanuel—God with you. While you meditate on this joyous focus, the qualms you had about the day will gradually give way to cheerful confidence.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
~ Philippians 4:13

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
~ Psalm 112:7

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
~ Matthew 1:23

Dear Jesus

Rejoice in this day of life, being willing to follow wherever I lead. Follow Me wholeheartedly, anticipating blessings as we journey together.

Dear Jesus,

Since You have created this day of life and presented it to me free of charge, help me receive it gratefully. My natural tendency when I wake up is to assess the day before me: trying to discern how good (or bad) it will be. I do this almost unconsciously, often basing my conclusions on something as trivial as the weather. I would like to break free from this habit, so I can be more receptive to You and Your blessings.

Beloved, I take much pleasure in your desire for greater receptivity to Me. You have already mentioned something that can help you in this quest: a grateful attitude. If you awaken to find a dark, rainy day, thank Me for the rain. Having done so, you will be much less likely to grumble about the weather. Also, remember that I have arranged the conditions of your day. So you can assume there is much good to be found in it.

Rejoicing will help you find blessings in this day. If your circumstances are looking rather bleak, then be joyful in Me—your faithful Companion. Knowing how much I gave to rescue you from sin, you can trust that I have placed precious gifts along the path we are following. In faith, be on the lookout for good things—both great and small. Because I am your Teacher, I promise to provide learning opportunities as we travel together. When you reach the end of this day, stop and look back at the distance we have covered. Take time to ponder what you have learned and to savor the gifts you have found. Let your mind dwell on these things as you lie down to sleep, rejoicing in Me and My blessings.

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
~ Psalm 118:24

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.”
~ John 13:13

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
~ Romans 8:32

Dear Jesus

Limitations can be liberating, when your strongest desire is living close to Me.

Dear Jesus, 

This is a fascinating concept. It seems almost paradoxical: Liberation is about becoming free, and limitations set boundaries around freedom. My desires bump up against such boundaries many times each day. I do want to live close to You, but I yearn for more freedom in my life.

Beloved, I know your limitations are hard to accept, but I also know how much good I can bring out of them. Many people are troubled by having too much freedom in their lives. This can have a paralyzing effect: They face so many possibilities that making decisions becomes extremely difficult. Your limitations actually provide a solid structure within which you can make choices about your life. Significantly, as you say yes to the boundaries I have placed around you, you can look up and see Me smiling upon you. You realize that up is the only direction where you face no limitations. What’s more, you recognize that this is the most important dimension of your life.

Sometimes you feel cramped because you can’t go very far to the right or the left, forward or backward, without bumping against a boundary. At such times you face an important choice: You can give in to feelings of frustration and self-pity, or you can look up to Me for help. If you choose Me, your limitations will give you wings. You can use those wings to soar heavenward, closer to Me. As you enjoy the heights in My Presence, glance down at the ground where your restrictions await you. From this perspective they look unimpressive—like lines drawn in the earth. Even when you return to ground level and your boundaries surround you again, you can look up to Me anytime. Bask in the Light of My smile, enjoying the easy intimacy of our relationship. Limitations can indeed be liberating, when your utmost desire is to live ever-so-near Me.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

~ Psalm 34:18

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
~ Ephesians 2:6

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
~ 2 Corinthians 3:17

Dear Jesus

The secret of being thankful is learning to see everything from My perspective. My world is your classroom. My Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.

Dear Jesus,

I know from experience that days when I’m thankful tend to be times of blessing. Sometimes it’s easy to be grateful—when I wake up on the right side of the bed and encounter no major problems. At other times, thankfulness feels as unreachable as the stars. That’s when I need a perspective-lift: helping me see things from Your viewpoint.

Beloved, I delight in lifting your perspective. That’s why I ventured into your world as an infant, even though I knew the price I would pay. My motivation was to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. When you are feeling thankless, ask Me to open your eyes and release you from the dark dungeon of ungratefulness. 

You live in an age of entitlement, so you need to counteract the barrage of propaganda proclaiming you deserve more. One way to lean against such lies is to jot down each day some things for which you are thankful. This helps you focus on blessings in your life, rather than on things you want but do not have.

It is crucial to saturate your mind with Scripture: reading it, pondering it, memorizing portions of it. This can help you see things from My infinitely wise perspective. My Word is sharper than any double-edged sword; I use it to perform spiritual surgery on the thoughts and attitudes of your heart. As Scripture lights up your perspective and your path, I set you free from the prison of ingratitude. Thus I release you to enjoy the pleasures of a thankful heart.

To open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

~ Isaiah 42:7

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

~ Psalm 119:105

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

~Hebrews 4:12

Dear Jesus

Because you are human, you will always have ups and downs in your life experience. But the promise of My Presence limits how far down you can go.

Dear Jesus, 

I have a hard time accepting the downs in my life. I tend to feel like a failure at such times. It comforts me to realize this is simply part of being human. When I’m really feeling down, it’s almost impossible to remember the Joy of Your Presence. So when You are absent from my emotions, I cling to the promise of Your Presence.

Beloved, I assure you that I can bring much good out of the times in your life when you are sad. These painful times teach you to depend on Me more fully, as you seek My Face for help and strength. I have blessed you with many joyful experiences as well, but you must not cling to them or try to make them permanent. Rather, hold them lightly ~ with open hands ~ enjoying the beauty of the moment. Thank Me for what you are experiencing, and your gratitude will increase your Joy. Be willing to release the pleasures to Me in due time; then move on to the next stage of your journey.

When Sorrow becomes your travel companion, embrace her as a blessing from Me. If you receive her into your heart, she will bring new depth and richness to your soul. She can teach you more about Me—a Man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. She can also give you hope, based on the promise of My Presence. Hoping in Me will limit how far down you go in your suffering; it assures you that you will again praise Me for the help of My Presence. Although this protects you from falling into deep despair, it is not a “quick fix.” You and Sorrow may continue to journey together for a while. Nonetheless, you will discover along the way a new capacity growing within you: the ability to be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 
~ Isaiah 53:3 

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. 
~ Psalm 42:5  [NASB]

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing . . .
~ 2 Corinthians 6:10

Dear Jesus

Remember that you live in a fallen world: an abnormal world tainted by sin. Much frustration and failure result from your seeking perfection in this life

Dear Jesus,

I know I live in a fallen world, but sometimes I slip into denial of that truth. I’m still driven to seek perfection where it can never be found—this world. I waste so much time and energy trying to do things perfectly, when simply getting them done would be sufficient. This leads not only to frustration but also, at times, to its close ally: anger. Please help me break out of this self-defeating behavior. 

Beloved, your yearning for perfection is not bad in itself. I placed this longing in your heart so you would search for Me. However, your heart also contains many effects of the Fall. As a result, you often seek perfection apart from Me. This sets you on a path of frustration and failure—sometimes even idolatry. You can always return to Me by choosing to seek Me first and foremost. As you do so, I set your feet on a rock and give you a firm place to stand. I also put a new song in your mouth: a hymn of praise.

Do not try to stifle your longing for perfection. It serves a paramount purpose—pointing you not only to Me but also to your future, eternal home. Your unsatisfied yearnings can awaken you to the radiant perfection awaiting you in heaven. So, let the frustration of living in a fallen world remind you that you originated in a perfect place (Eden) and you’re on the way to an inexpressibly glorious place—heaven!

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. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
~ Psalm 40:2–3 

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
~ Genesis 2:8

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
~ Philippians 3:20–21

Dear Jesus

Come to Me when you are hurting, and I will share your pain. Come to Me when you are joyful, and I will share your Joy ~ multiplying it many times over.

Dear Jesus, 
I’m grateful that no matter what condition I’m in, I can come to You—just as I am. I don’t have to clean up my act first, since You already know the worst about me. When I’m hurting, I want to be with someone who understands me without condemning me. When I’m happy, I delight in being with someone who loves me enough to celebrate with me. Help me bring more and more of myself to You.

Beloved, this is a good request: better than you realize. Most people are selective about which parts of themselves they bring to Me. Some hesitate to bring traits they consider shameful. Others are so used to living with painful feelings ~ loneliness, fear, guilt ~ that it never occurs to them to ask for help in dealing with these things. Still, others get so preoccupied with their struggles that they forget I’m even here.

There are hurting parts of you that I desire to heal. However, some of them have been with you so long that you consider them part of your identity. You carry them with you wherever you go, with little awareness. On occasions when you have brought some damaged portion of yourself to Me, I have helped you walk in newfound freedom. However, you are so addicted to certain painful patterns that you cannot easily break free from them. Only repeatedly exposing them to My healing Presence will bring you long-term freedom. When that happens, you will be released to experience Joy in much fuller measure. I will share your Joy and multiply it many times over.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

~ Romans 8:1 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. 

~ Psalm 126:3

In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.

~ Psalm 118:5

Dear Jesus

Spend time allowing My Light to infuse your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality.

Dear Jesus, 
I bring You my dreams. Some of them are shadowy and two-dimensional: lacking reality. Only You can breathe life into them. I’m tired of waiting, but the very nature of dreams is that they are beyond my control. So I wait in Your Presence, asking You to do what is impossible for me.

Beloved, someday you will realize this time of waiting is really a gift from Me. Whether or not your dreams come true, spending time in the Light of My Presence is extremely good for you. Consider the richness of sunlight: When it passes through a prism, you can see the seven distinct colors that are in it. Sunlight promotes growth and healing, and it has many other helpful qualities. However, the Light of My holy Presence is much more powerful and beneficial than natural light. That is why waiting on Me brings bountiful blessings. The full spectrum of My supernatural Light shines upon you while you linger in My Presence. Thus you receive many benefits: new strength, guidance, protection, encouragement, and countless other blessings

Bring all your dreams into My vibrant Light, so we can look at them together. Some of them are not in My plans for you; as you commit them to Me, seeking My will, I gradually remove them from your heart. Other dreams I approve, encouraging you to work prayerfully toward reaching those goals. Some dreams, however, remain veiled in mystery. I neither remove them from your heart nor provide a path for you to follow. This keeps you waiting on Me, enjoying the benefits of My Presence. When time is right, I can transform your long-held hopes into delightful reality.

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
~ Psalm 36:9 

Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles. 
~ Isaiah 40:30–31 [NASB]

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. . . . Blessed are all who wait for him! 
~ Isaiah 30:18