Dear Jesus

Remember that your relationship with Me is saturated in grace. Therefore, nothing you do or don’t do can separate you from My Presence.

Dear Jesus, 

I am so thankful for Your grace. When I’m keenly aware of having failed You, I grasp on to grace for dear life. Feelings of guilt and fear conspire to convince me I have lost Your Love. My sense of unworthiness tempts me to punish myself for my sins. Then I remember You have clothed me with garments of salvation—arrayed me in Your own righteousness. My salvation is all about You and what You have done to rescue me. Help me feel more secure in Your Love.

Beloved, it is utterly impossible for Me to stop loving you. Your relationship with Me is so saturated in grace that the two are forever inseparable. Meat that has been marinated in a sauce cannot become unmarinated. The longer it soaks, the deeper the marinade penetrates: flavoring and tenderizing the meat. You have been soaking in grace ever since I became your Savior. The longer you “marinate,” the more fully My grace permeates our relationship. It is impossible for you to become un-graced! 

I want you to rest in the perfection of your salvation. My glorious grace makes you holy and blameless in My sight. So, nothing you do or fail to do could ever separate you from My Love.

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
~ Ephesians 2:8 [NKJV]

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:38–39

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.
~ Isaiah 61:10

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
~ Ephesians 1:4–6

Dear Jesus

The ultimate protection against sinking during life’s storms is devoting time to develop your friendship with Me.

Dear Jesus,

I waste a lot of time worrying about storms I can see forming along the horizon of my life. Thankfully, many of them in the past have veered off in another direction: never reaching me. Some storms have actually hit, but usually they’ve lost much of their power by the time they get to me. I need to switch my focus from difficulties that may come my way to Your Presence, which is always with me.

Beloved, you will never find security by trying to anticipate all the storms that may reach you someday. Remember that I control the atmosphere of your life. Trust Me by relaxing and releasing your concerns into My capable care. It saddens Me to see you obsessing about possible problems, rather than bringing these matters to Me. When you find yourself anxiously scanning the horizon of your life, use that as a reminder to seek My Face. You will not find Me off in the distance. I am here beside you, nearer than you dare believe.

Instead of wasting time worrying, devote that time to developing close friendship with Me. Talk with Me about everything that concerns you—your pleasures as well as your problems. I am interested in everything that matters to you, because I am your perpetual Lover. Ask Me to lift your perspective from a problem-focus to a Presence-focus. Remember that I am holding you by your right hand. I guide you with My own counsel, based on eternal wisdom; so there’s no need to worry about the future. When the time comes, I will personally escort you into Glory.

It is good for you to be near Me. Your best refuge in life’s storms is close friendship with Me. 

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

~ 1 Chronicles 16:11 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

~ Jeremiah 31:3

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. . . . But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

~ Psalm 73:23–24, 28

Dear Jesus

My Light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark. That kind of trust is supernatural: a production of My indwelling Spirit.

Dear Jesus,

I love walking in the Light with You. I am a creature who craves light—sunlight and even artificial light, but especially the Light of Your holy Presence. I trust You easily when there’s plenty of light in my world. Trusting You in the dark is another matter altogether; there’s a kind of desperation to it—clinging to You as if my life depended on it.

Beloved, growing in grace is all about trusting Me: in good times, in bad times, at all times. I am Lord over all your circumstances, so I want to be involved in every aspect of your life. One of the best ways of connecting with Me—here and now—is trusting Me in the very situation where you find yourself. When your world seems dark and you trust Me anyway, My Light shines brightly through you. You may not be aware of this illumination, but it is visible to many: both in heavenly realms and on earth. Your display of transcendent trust weakens spiritual forces of evil. People around you are strengthened and blessed by My supernatural Light showing through you.

Clinging to Me in the dark feels like an act requiring all your willpower. Exerting your will is definitely important, but there is more: My hand has an eternal grip on yours. I will never let go of you! Moreover, My indwelling Spirit empowers you to keep hanging on. When you feel on the brink of giving up, cry out for His assistance: “Help me, Holy Spirit!” This brief prayer enables you to tap into His vast Power. Be encouraged by knowing that though you may see only darkness, My Light is shining through you in surpassing splendor!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
~ 1 John 1:7 

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. 
~ Psalm 62:8 

Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. 
~ Psalm 139:10 [NKJV]

Dear Jesus

A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity.

Dear Jesus, 

I love the image of spiritual blessings falling upon me through heaven’s open windows. And all You require of me is to be thankful! That seems such an easy condition; yet I stumble over it almost every day of my life. Help me overcome my ungrateful attitude.

Beloved, I rejoice in your desire to become more grateful. Throughout the Bible I repeatedly command thankfulness because it is vital to your well-being. It is also crucial for a healthy relationship with Me, since I am your Creator, your Savior, your King. When you thank Me, you acknowledge your indebtedness to Me: how much I have done for you. This attitude brings Joy both to you and to Me.

Giving thanks is similar to priming a pump with water so that it will produce more water. Since thankfulness is one of the spiritual blessings I bestow on you, it will increase along with the others when you “prime” Me with thanksgiving.

Remember that I am the God of all grace. When you fail in your endeavor to be thankful, simply ask Me for forgiveness. As you freely receive this priceless gift—remembering what it cost Me—your gratitude will grow. Look up to Me, and see spiritual blessings cascading down on you through wide-open windows of heaven.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
~ Psalm 100:4 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. 
~ Ephesians 1:3 [NASB]

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
~ Colossians 4:2 

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you. 
~ Zechariah 9:9 [NKJV]

Dear Jesus

Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be.

Dear Jesus, 

I’m really not much of a risk taker. I prefer to play it safe. However, staying close to You is my heartfelt desire. I want to follow wherever You lead—even if it’s out on a limb. Help me follow You confidently, rather than fearfully. 

Beloved, bring all your fears to Me. Fears that are not dealt with tend to magnify themselves. Expose them to the revealing Light of My Presence, and they will shrink to manageable proportions. Some of them may even become comical when you view them from this perspective.

As fearfulness loosens its grip on you, you are freed to follow Me. Grasp My hand tightly, as we edge our way out onto the limb. Since I go before you in this venture, you can keep your eyes on Me as you step out in faith. Soon we will get to a resting place, and then you can look around. If you like, glance back at the tree trunk: the place from which we branched out on this adventure. While gripping My hand to steady yourself, look toward the horizon; enjoy the view from this treetop perspective.

You are actually safer here—out on this limb with Me—than you would be on the ground. In this new, challenging environment you stay alert: communicating with Me continually, holding My hand in trusting dependence. Overly familiar surroundings may feel safer, but they can lull you into sleepy self-reliance. That is when you tend to forget about Me; it’s also when you are most likely to fall. Follow Me confidently wherever I lead, and the shelter of My Presence will keep you safe.

If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. 
~ Psalm 37:23–24 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
~ Hebrews 12:2 

In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. 
~ Psalm 31:20

Dear Jesus

Trust Me in the midst of a messy day. Your inner calm—your Peace in My Presence—need not be shaken by what is going on around you.

Dear Jesus,

Messy is a very apt description of this day. Many things feel out of control, but I’m trying to trust You to help me. My yearning to restore order in my little world tends to give me an outward focus—on my circumstances. I confess that my inner calm is easily shaken by what is going on around me. I know Your Peace is still available to me, but I’m having trouble accessing it.

Beloved, your honesty appeals to Me and draws Me near you. When a messy day interrupts your Peace, you discover that your sense of security is quite dependent on circumstances. This is a very common problem, and there are ways you can overcome it. The best way is to stop what you are doing and seek My assistance. Even a brief “time-out” from the confusion is extremely beneficial. As you turn your attention to Me, I help you see from My perspective. You realize you are not in the midst of an emergency, so you give yourself permission to slow down. This slower pace makes it easier to stay conscious of Me when you return to the messy situation.

Sometimes it is impossible for you to leave the situation even briefly. In this case, your challenge is to retreat to a place of inner calmness while your mind and body remain largely engaged in problem solving. This is difficult, but it is still possible. Since I live in your heart, My Peace is accessible to you there. Ask Me to increase your awareness of My peaceful Presence. Keep returning your thoughts to Me, by whispering “Jesus.” My Name is a strong tower; as you run to it, you know you are safe.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

~ John 16:33

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

~ Psalm 121:2

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

~ Proverbs 18:10

Dear Jesus

In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My Presence. This one transcends the other four, giving you glimpses of heaven while you still reside on earth.

Dear Jesus,

I’m trying to wrap my mind around the concept of this fifth dimension — openness to Your Presence. It seems quite reasonable, because I know You transcend both space and time. However, I’m a time-bound creature: I can exist only in the present. Also, the world I see around me is decidedly three-dimensional. So, understanding this fifth dimension is a “stretch” for me — a stretch of faith.

Beloved, you are right on target. Openness to My Presence is all about faith: believing that though I am invisible, I am both Real and really with you. This is foundational to knowing Me. However, there is also an art to knowing Me. It is very personal, because each of My followers has a unique relationship with Me: comprised of all your communication with Me, your love for Me, your receptivity and responsiveness to Me.

Sometimes when you are seeking My Face, My Presence becomes more real to you than the space-time moment you occupy. The reality of My glorious Being outshines your current circumstances and lifts you above them. You feel free, and your spirit soars with Me. You rejoice in Me and are strengthened by that divine Joy. Thus, you enjoy glimpses of heaven while continuing to dwell on earth. 

Now Sometimes when you are seeking My Face, My Presence becomes more real to you than the space-time moment you occupy. The reality of My glorious Being outshines your current circumstances and lifts you above them. You feel free, and your spirit soars with Me. You rejoice in Me and are strengthened by that divine Joy. Thus, you enjoy glimpses of heaven while continuing to dwell on earth. 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 

~ Hebrews 11:1

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

~ John 11:40

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

~ Ephesians 2:6

Dear Jesus

Come to Me. Come to Me. Come to Me. This is My continual invitation to you, proclaimed in holy whispers.

Dear Jesus,

Your invitation makes my heart leap! How I long to hear Your holy whispers and respond with my whole being. So often, though, I’m distracted by the noise of my worries and the clamor of the world. Help me remember Your inviting Presence even when I’m too hassled to hear Your Love-whispers.

Beloved, you do well to ask for help in remembering. My chosen children have consistently forgotten Me and the great works I’ve done on their behalf. I made a dry path through the Red Sea for the Israelites, saving them from the pursuing Egyptians. Yet many of those former slaves remembered the tasty food they had eaten in Egypt better than they recalled My miraculous deeds to set them free. You also tend to “major on minors,” letting trivial matters distract you from Me. You forget that My sacrificial death and miraculous resurrection shed Light on each moment of your life. I want you to live vibrantly in this Light, increasingly aware of My nearness.

To help in your endeavor to remember, think of Me as the Lover of your soul: the One who delights in you now and forevermore. View yourself first and foremost as My beloved, since that is your ultimate identity. Fill your mind with Bible verses that convince you of My perfect Love for you. 

Come to Me at all times, My loved one. Pour out your heart to Me, for I am your Refuge. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
~ Matthew 11:28

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
~ Exodus 14:21–22

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
~ Psalm 62:8

Dear Jesus

I want you to be all Mine. I am weaning you from other dependencies. Your security rests in Me alone: not in other people, not in circumstances.

Dear Jesus,

I’m grateful for the security You provide in my life. The world has become such a frightening, insecure place! If You were not my Savior, I don’t know how I would cope with all the uncertainty. However, I am not yet weaned from other dependencies: I want to depend on You plus other people and favorable circumstances.

Beloved, I am pleased by your candid admission. That gives Me an entrance into your life, so I can work with you on this matter. I’m not asking you to become a hermit or otherwise isolate yourself from other people. On the contrary, I want My children to help and love one another. One of the main ways I bless people is through the loving acts of others. However, you need to remember that every good and perfect gift is ultimately from Me, even if it comes to you through human hands. 

The main danger of misplaced dependence is that it can border on idolatry. If you let your basic well-being depend on another person’s behavior, you elevate that one to a position that only I should occupy. This is not only displeasing to Me; it is destructive. Because people are imperfect and unpredictable, your life may come to resemble a roller-coaster ride: subject to the whims and moods of another person. Even worse, your intimacy with Me will be hindered by your preoccupation with someone else. I deserve first place in your heart!

I want you to rejoice in Me at all times, in all kinds of circumstances. You may ask freely for whatever you desire, bringing Me your petitions with thanksgiving. Regardless of how I answer your requests, this prayer-transaction comes with a promise: My Peace will guard your heart and your mind, keeping you close to Me.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.

~ James 1:17

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.”

~ Revelation 2:4

Rejoice in the Lord always . . . . 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 4:4–7

Dear Jesus

I am nearer than you dare believe, closer than the air you breathe. If My children could only recognize My Presence, they would never feel lonely again.

Dear Jesus,

I deeply desire to experience Your Presence more consistently. When I am aware of Your nearness, I feel peaceful and content. It’s awesome that You are even closer than the air I breathe. Usually, I’m not conscious of being enveloped in air, because it is invisible and constantly available to me. Similarly, Your unseen Presence is a constant in my life, but I often fail to recognize You. That leaves me vulnerable to loneliness.

Beloved, it’s good that you see the connection between loneliness and lack of awareness. This is an age-old problem. When the patriarch Jacob was in a barren place—far from his family—he was quite conscious of his isolation. However, I poured out My Presence upon him, in the form of a glorious dream. When Jacob awoke, he responded, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16). 

It is possible to feel isolated even when you are with other people, because of the privacy of your thoughts and unspoken needs. The only thing that can adequately fill the gaps of isolation is awareness of My abiding Presence. Not only am I constantly with you, but I am also within you: in the inner recesses of your heart and mind. My knowledge of you is picture-perfect, and it is framed in unconditional Love.

Let feelings of loneliness remind you of your need to seek My Face. Come to Me with your ever-so-human emptiness, and My divine Presence will fill you with Life to the full!

In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. 
~ Psalm 41:12 

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 
~ Psalm 145:17–18 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” 
~ John 10:10