Dear Jesus

My Peace is such an all-encompassing gift that it is independent of circumstances. Though you lose everything else, if you gain My Peace you are rich indeed.

Dear Jesus, 

There are so many aspects of my life over which I have no control. I often feel at the mercy of my circumstances. Your all-encompassing Peace is exactly what I need! Although Your Peace is a gift, I sometimes feel unable to receive it. Perhaps that is because I cling to other things—my loved ones, my possessions, my reputation. Help me to treasure Your Peace above all of these.

eloved, My Peace is a supernatural gift—bequeathed to My followers shortly before My death. A man who knows he will soon die wants to leave something precious with those he loves. Therefore, I “willed” My Peace to My disciples and all who follow Me. I knew this was a difficult gift to receive, especially in the midst of adversity. So, after My resurrection, the first words I spoke to My disciples were “Peace be with you!” They needed this reassurance, to reinforce what I taught them before I died. You also need to be reminded of the divine nature of this gift, for it is not the world’s peace I give you: It is Peace that transcends all understanding!

Clinging to other things makes it hard for you to receive My precious gift. That is like wrapping your fingers tightly around a small copper coin, while I am offering you unlimited supplies of pure gold. To receive My proffered gift, you must first open your hands and your heart to Me. By doing so, you release your concerns into My care and keeping. As you receive My glorious Peace, you gain deeper intimacy with Me—the richest blessing of all!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:6–7

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

~ John 14:27

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

~ John 20:19

Dear Jesus

As you come to Me and take My yoke upon you, I fill you with My very Life. This is how I choose to live in the world and accomplish My purposes; it is also how I bless you with inexpressible, glorious Joy.

Dear Jesus,

I delight in coming to You, but I’m not quite as eager to be yoked. That sounds restrictive, and I definitely like to feel free. However, I’m gradually learning that You do know what is best for me, even when it involves restrictions or suffering. I want to be filled with Your Life and Joy, so please show me how to take Your yoke upon me.

Beloved, the simplest way is to say yes to Me and My ways. I want you to be teachable. Receive My yoke as a teaching tool that helps you learn more and more about Me. Being yoked keeps you close to Me, on the path I have chosen for you. While this may feel restrictive at times, it protects you from many dangers.

As you live close to Me, My Life within you is nourished and strengthened. This enables Me to live more fully in you, accomplishing My purposes through you. I assure you, though, that I do not use you in a mechanistic way. There is a vibrant kinship between us as I live in and through you. This intimate connection produces immense Joy—far beyond anything the world can offer. The Joy I give is so wondrously glorious that it cannot be expressed in words.

My yoke is not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing. On the contrary, it is comfortable, gracious, and pleasant. As you submit to these bonds of Love, I fill you with Life and Joy in overflowing abundance. 

“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” 
~ Matthew 11:29–30

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
~ 1 Peter 1:8–9 

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” 
~ John 15:11

Dear Jesus

Anxiety wraps you up in yourself, trapping you in your own thoughts. When you look to Me and whisper My Name, you break free and receive My help.

Dear Jesus,

You understand me so well. When I’m feeling anxious, I lose the ability to think clearly. My thoughts spin out of control with ever-increasing velocity. This sets me on a downward spiral of increasing anxiety and runaway thoughts. At such times, it’s hard to remember You are with me—ready to help.

Beloved, I know how difficult it is for you to break free when you are trapped in anxious thoughts. That’s why I encourage you to change the subject by whispering My Name: “Jesus.” The very simplicity of this act makes it possible to do—even when you’re not thinking clearly. There is immense Power in My Name to help you break free from the anxiety closing in on you. When you speak My Name, however quietly, you acknowledge My continual Presence. This truth is promised to all My followers, and it sets you free. Freedom and My Presence make an excellent combination: enabling you to turn your thoughts into conversation with Me.

Begin by thanking Me for always hearing your prayers. Then, talk with Me about whatever is worrying you, trusting that I understand you and your situation perfectly. As you converse with Me, the weight of your burden shifts to My strong shoulders, enabling you to relax. Now you are ready to receive My help, which I continually offer you.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:31–32

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
~ Psalm 139:23

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.
~ Deuteronomy 33:12

Dear Jesus

Trouble and distress are woven into the very fabric of this perishing world. Only My Life in you can empower you to face this endless flow of problems with good cheer.

Dear Jesus,

I confess that good cheer does not describe my usual attitude when I’m faced with multiple problems. Difficulties tend to become my focus, obscuring my view of You. I know in my head that the world is in a state of brokenness, but my heart still yearns for a problem-free life. Help me to be realistic about the condition of this world without succumbing to despair.

Beloved, you need to remember that this fallen world is temporary: It is perishing! The world is not your true home; thus, it’s normal for you to feel uncomfortable in it. The yearnings of your heart point to your real, eternal home, so do not squelch those longings. Instead, let them serve as reminders that your ultimate destination is heaven. Nonetheless, I do want you to live well in this world for as long as I keep you here.

I have not left you to handle by yourself the trouble and distress of this life. I have poured My very Being into you, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Make plenty of space in your heart for this glorious One. Let Him empower you to live above your circumstances. I am telling you these things so that you can experience My Peace in the midst of a problem-filled life. You will continue to have trials and frustration in this world, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”
~ John 14:2 

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. . . . For he lives with you and will be in you.”
~ John 14:16–17 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 
~ John 16:33

Dear Jesus

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.

Dear Jesus,

This is the way I want to live—discovering what You are doing, and responding to the opportunities You place before me. I know this is the most joyful and productive way to live. Nonetheless, the part of me that likes being in control resists this manner of living. Please teach me the art of living responsively.

Beloved, because I am your Creator, I am the Initiator of your very life. Your first cry as an infant was a response to the life I provided. Many people think they can live independently of Me, but that is an illusion. I sustain everything by My powerful Word! 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 the universe. The fact that I am sovereign over every aspect of your life can increase your sense of security, to the extent that you trust in My perfect Love. Thus, the art of living responsively rests upon a foundation of trust—in My absolute goodness, My infinite wisdom, My loving Presence.

To build on this trust-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. Living this way requires concentration, because the world is rigged to distract you from Me. However, the times when you do succeed in living responsively will be the best in your life: You will feel fully alive and richly connected with Me at such times. 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

Dear Jesus

I am ever so near you, hovering over your shoulder, reading every thought. People think that thoughts are fleeting and worthless, but yours are precious to Me.

Dear Jesus,

This is glorious—yet disconcerting! My thinking is not only the part of me that feels most hidden and secret; it is also the most difficult part of my behavior to master. In relationships with other people I can interact with them while keeping my secret thoughts to myself. Your ability to read my every thought is alarming, but it is also wonderful. It’s a relief that there is Someone from whom I cannot hide: Secretiveness breeds loneliness. Moreover, the fact that You care about every aspect of me—even all my thoughts—demonstrates how important I am to You.

Beloved, I know how difficult it is for you to control your thoughts. Your mind is a battleground, and evil spirits work tirelessly to influence your thinking: even deceiving you with intrusive thoughts at times. Your own sinfulness also finds ample expression in your thoughts. You need to stay alert and fight against evil! I fought and died for you, so remember who you are and Whose you are. Thus, you put on the helmet of salvation. This helmet not only protects your mind, it also reminds you of the victory I secured for you on the cross.

Your thoughts are precious to Me because you are My treasure. As soon as your thinking turns My way, I notice and rejoice. The more thoughts you bring to Me, the more you can share in My Joy. I disarm evil thoughts and render them powerless. Then I help you think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable—excellent and praiseworthy things. Ponder these things, while resting in the Peace of My Presence.

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

~ Psalm 139:1–2

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

~ Ephesians 6:17

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

~Philippians 4:8

Dear Jesus

As the Holy Spirit controls your mind and actions more fully, you become free in Me. You are increasingly released to become the one I created you to be.

Dear Jesus,

This sounds like a contradiction: becoming free through being controlled. Yet I know that when Your Spirit is controlling my thinking and behavior, I feel more alive—more real! You have taught me to pray, “Holy Spirit, think through me, live through me, love through me.” I’ve found I am most content when I intentionally yield to You: inviting You to live through me. Nonetheless, my desire to be in control and do things my way often sabotages me.

Beloved, in My kingdom freedom comes from yielding to My will, which is perfect. Because I am infinite and you are not, My will may appear to be anything but perfect. I want you to trust Me at all times, even when you cannot understand what I’m doing. The Holy Spirit will help you in this, as you invite Him to control your thinking. He lives in the depths of your spirit, and He knows you better than you know yourself. His work in you can liberate you to become more completely the one I designed you to be. The Spirit and I work together in perfect harmony.

I am pleased when you ask My Spirit to think, live, and love through you. This is the collaborative way of living I had in mind when I created mankind. The more you collaborate with the Spirit, the freer you become: free to live exuberantly, to love extravagantly, to know Me in ever-increasing intimacy!

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

~ Romans 8:6                 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

~ Romans 12:2 

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 

~ Romans 8:26–27