November 10, 2021 — He said he would rather stay in bed

“As we’ve talked about many times,” Stan commented one morning, “journaling prayers, devotions, and general conversation with God is a passion for me.”

“Because it has made such a difference in your faith walk,” I commented.

“Exactly,” he replied.  “It has made such a difference for me that I would like it for everyone.”

“But you can’t force it,” I said.

“You’re right,” Stan replied. “And earlier this morning as I finished one volume of a journal and began another, I was reminded of a time when I had the opportunity to talk to a fairly large group of people about what I call my journal of the journey.”

“Journal of the journey?” I responded. I thought for a few seconds, and said, “Oh, I remember now, that’s how you refer to what you do each morning.” [Note to Reader: See Day 10,”The Journal of the Journey,” in S. Tory Teller’s, Waiting for the Train – Biblical Food for Growing before Going.]

“That’s it,” Stan said. “That’s what I call my time of journaling prayers, praise, thanksgiving, and conversation with God.”

“How did your talk with the group about that go?” I asked.

“Mixed,” Stan responded. “I think the presentation went well, but the response was not what I hoped for or what I prayerfully expected.”

“How so?” I asked.

“I thought that relating my experience,” Stan said, ”might have encouraged some of the people in the audience to try journaling as a way for them to draw closer to God, but the general response was reflected in what I overheard one person say to another.”

“What was that?”

“In essence,” Stan replied, “what the person said was, ‘that’s fine for him, but not for me; I like to stay in bed in the morning’.”

“Did that bother you?” I asked.

“It did,” Stan replied, “but not in the sense of someone rejecting my suggestion of journaling, but in the sense of a person possibly choosing to reject efforts to draw closer to God.”

“Of course, I could be wrong,” he continued, “but my sense is that if a person chooses not to spend time with God first thing in the morning, it’s likely that the person will choose not to spend any time with God at any point during the day. Life gets busy and time with God gets set aside.”

“If you say that,” I asked, “aren’t you just making someone feel guilty?”

“The point is not to make anyone feel guilty,” Stan replied. “The point is to try to open them to see what God may want to show them by telling them what He has shown me.”

“Kind of like a personal testimony,” I commented.

“That’s a good way to look at it,” Stan replied. “After all, God has granted us salvation as the beginning of a closer walk with Him.  Coming to faith is not the end of the story. I think it’s just the beginning of a closer walk with Him on this side of eternity.”

“Pursuing the eternal life of knowing God the Father and Jesus the Son,” I commented. “Is that what you’re talking about?”

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And I think that pursuit is important, even essential. If what I or anyone else says makes other people feel guilty and the result is change, great.  If, however, it makes them feel guilty but doesn’t result in any change, they will have to talk with God about that, maybe while they are lying in bed!”


Bible verses to consider:

And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. Mark 1:35.

But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:16.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8.

And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank you, too, that you allow me to draw closer to you in an ever-deepening personal relationship as I choose to pursue knowing you and Jesus. I confess that too often I do not choose to draw closer to you because I do not want to be closer to you.  Please forgive me.  And please help me in following every step of your lead in pursuing the knowledge of you and Jesus in the ever-deepening, ever-closer, relationship you have for me while you keep me on this side of eternity.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  God has provided the free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him when our time here is finished. Have you accepted that gift? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation, are you pursuing an ever-depending relationship with Him on this side of eternity? If you sense changes should be made in the way you relate to God, in the way you are pursuing the eternal life of knowing the Father and the Son, how is that going to happen? Do you want it to happen? Why or why not?

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