August 16, 2022 — Whose Business are you Minding?

“The other day,” I mentioned to Stan one morning at breakfast, “I was talking to one of my neighbors about Christianity, coming to faith, and all of that.”

“Great!” Stan replied. “How’d it go?

“Not so hot,” I replied. “He basically said, ‘Why didn’t I mind my own business?’”

“Then what?” Stan asked.

“I didn’t have a response for him, so I just kind of dropped the subject.”

“Same thing happened to me quite a few times,” Stan replied. “Once when it happened, I spent some time in prayer and I was given a perspective I have used often in that sort of situation.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s not my business,” he replied. “It’s God’s business.”

“God’s business?”

“Yeah,” Stan said.  “It seems to me that the apostle Peter summed that up real nicely when he pointed out that God doesn’t want any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. That’s why He gave and sent Jesus to go to the cross.”

“Oh,” I said.  “God is in the business of saving people for His purposes, not mine. Is that it?”

“That’s what it looks like to me,” Stan replied. “I’m not to get bent out of shape because someone rejects what I say to them and tells me to mind my own business. I’m to know that my role is to be in and about God’s business. I am to tell others about Him and leave the results in His very capable hands.”

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Bible verses to consider:

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving Jesus to go to the cross so I could accept His finished work and know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you for those who  focused on your “business” and brought that truth to me (and me to that truth). I confess that too often I do not pursue what you have for me to pursue in telling others of your free and gracious provision so they have the opportunity to accept it. Please forgive me for that lack of doing what you have for me to do. And please help me to follow every step of your lead so I am always working for your business in bringing people to you. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him eternally when your time here is completed? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in being in and about God’s “business”? To you, what is God’s business? Do you see it as more important than your own? If you sense the need for change in your life regarding this, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 15, 2022 — What did the Disciples do with the Bread?

As we sat at our usual table in our favorite restaurant, Stan asked, “Do you remember the story  in Matthew’s gospel, the one about how the five thousand were fed?”

“I do,” I replied.  “The leftover bread is why this restaurant is called, ’12 Baskets’.”

“You’re right, my friend,” Stan replied, “but there’s a lot of important stuff in that story before we get to the leftovers, and I want to talk about one of them.”

“Okay,” I said, “what’s up?”

“As you may remember, after Jesus had blessed the food, He broke the bread and gave it to the disciples. In doing that, there’s an important lesson I think I’m to apply to my life and my faith walk.”

I didn’t respond, so he continued. “Jesus gave the bread to the disciples for the one purpose of passing it on to the crowd.”

“So?”

“Jesus did not give the disciples the bread for themselves,” Stan replied, “but he gave it to them to pass on. Sure seems to me that I’m to do the same thing with the blessings that God pours out on me.”

“But don’t you think the disciples ate some of the bread?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m sure they probably did at some point,” Stan replied, “but I think the main thing for them do right then was to pass it on to the hungry crowd. I think the same thing applies to me.”

“In what way?”

“What I get from God,” Stan replied, “is not just for me.  No, I think that with whatever God provides, whether physical or spiritual blessings, my role is to pass those blessings on, not hoard them for myself.”

“But,” I replied, “if God gives you something, isn’t it okay to just accept the gift and be content with His provision?”

Stan looked at me for a few seconds without saying anything, and then asked, “Is that what the disciples did with the bread Jesus gave to them?”

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Bible verses to consider:

He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  Matthew 14:19.

And He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples in turn, to the multitudes. Matthew 15:36.

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:15-17.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for all of your provision, both physically and spiritually. I confess that too often I do not seek to share with others what you have provided to me. Please forgive me and please help me to follow every step of your lead in passing on to others what you have made available to me, but is to be passed on through me. I pray this especially in regard to the spiritual blessings you pour out on and for me. Help me to help others in their faith walk and commitment to you by sharing what you make known and available to me. Help me to bless others just as you intend. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him in eternity when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing Him and Jesus on this side of eternity? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing about sharing with others what God has provided for you, both in terms of physical and spiritual blessings? If you sense the need for change in how you share what God makes available to you, so it is passed through you, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 13, 2022 — Refilling the Coffee Cup (Week of August 8, 2022)

Stan’s main takeaway for each day this past week.

The full version of each posting can be found at www.waiting4thetrain.com

Note: Feel free to forward this to friends, family, etc. as a way to introduce them to Stan,  S. Tory Teller, and the conversations about faith, discipleship, and what it means to be a Christian. 

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Monday, August 8 (He doesn’t always come the same way) — If we always look for God to manifest Himself to us in the same way, we may miss what He has for us.

Tuesday, August 9 (Do you have the right answer to the question?) — “Who is Jesus?” That’s the most important question that can be asked. Make certain you have the right answer!

Wednesday, August 10 (Being ready is not a game) — There is a connection between “ready golf” and being ready to share the truth of the gospel: be ready!

Thursday, August 11 (Does it matter if there are creature comforts?) — Following Jesus is to be wherever, however, and whenever without regard to our comfort. How are we doing with that?

Friday, August 12 (Did God pack up and leave, or was it you?) — It’s easy to wander away from God — unconfessed sin and missing repentance are two significant causes. What can we do to keep from wandering?

August 12, 2022 — Did God Pack up and Leave, or was it You?

“The other day,” Stan began, “a neighbor and I were talking and we got on the subject of his testimony.”

“How he came to faith?” I asked.

“Not so much that,” Stan replied. “More about how he came back to faith.”

“Back to faith? Had he wandered away?”

“That’s his testimony,” Stan said, “and he indicated that what started him on the road back was a single verse from the Old Testament.”

“Which verse was that?” I asked.

“It’s in the Book of Judges,” Stan said. “The story about Samson and Delilah where it says that Samson did not know that the Lord had departed from him.”

“Did your neighbor say that God had departed from him?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “He said he was struck by the notion that God had not gone anywhere, but it was him who had departed from God.”

“He had departed from God? How?”

“Little by little. A little unconfessed sin here, a little lack of repentance there, and pretty soon what was little grew larger. All of a sudden he looked around and saw that he was no longer close to God. Someone had departed, and it wasn’t God.”

“Then what?”

“He confessed, repented, and began anew his walk with God.”

“And that helped?” I asked.

“Sure did,” Stan replied, “and he does something every morning to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“What’s that?”

“He comes before God and asks Him for His help in examining every part of his life for any unconfessed sin, any lack of repentance, along with anything else that might interfere with his ongoing, ever-deepening relationship with God.”

“Every morning?” I said. “He must consider it important.”

“He does,” Stan replied. “He realized it was not God who had packed up and left, it was him. And he doesn’t ever want that to happen again!”

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Bible verses to consider:

But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Judges 16:20.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24.

Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart. Psalm 26:2.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want me to walk closely with you. I confess that too often I choose to walk apart from you. I do that because that’s what I want to do. Please forgive that foolish way of living the life you have given me to live with and for you. And please help me follow every step of your lead in allowing you to examine and convict me of any and all unconfessed sin, failed repentance, and anything else that keeps me from walking closely with you. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when your time here is completed? If no, why? Do you not know it is a free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in not wandering away from God on this side of eternity? Is there unconfessed sin or failed repentance that you need to bring before Him? If you sense the need for change in how you pursue an ever-deepening relationship with God so there is no distance between you and Him, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 11, 2022 — Does it Matter if there are Creature Comforts?

“I think I told you this before,” Stan commented one morning, “that I’m part of a men’s group at the church.”

“Yeah,” I said, “you have mentioned that. What about it?”

“We’re going to have a weekend retreat next month,” he replied, “with a fabulous speaker who should make a big difference with a lot of the guys.”

“Sounds great.”

“Should be,” Stan said.  “I invited one of my neighbors. He’s a fairly new Christian and I know it would be a good time for him if he would be open to listening to all that is presented.”

“Is he going to go?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Stan responded, “but I do know that his first question about it was not a real encouraging sign.”

“How so?”

“He wanted to know where we would be staying,” Stan replied.

“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.

“Maybe nothing,” Stan said, “but he did make it clear that he wasn’t too big on going anywhere that might not be comfortable.”

“And,” he continued, “his attitude reminded me of an incident recorded in Matthew’s gospel where Jesus said something to a fellow who told Jesus he would follow Him wherever He was going to go.”

“That sounds like a good thing,” I said. “How did that work out? What did Jesus say to him?”

“Jesus told him that He had no place to rest His head.”

“No place to rest His head?” I repeated. “Why did He say that?”

“Seems to me what Jesus was saying,” Stan replied, “is that if this fellow was going to follow Jesus, he needed to be prepared to stay wherever might be available even though it might not be too comfortable.”

“So,” I said, “if people are to follow Jesus, where they might be staying is not the important part. Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “I think that the important part is that if I’m going to be a disciple and follow Jesus, I am to follow Him wherever, however, and whenever He wants to lead without any regard to whether or not there are creature comforts involved.”

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Bible verses to consider:

And a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”  And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:19-20.

And as they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Luke 9:57-58.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you through the cross of Jesus. Thank you, too, that you want me to follow Him as a disciple on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do not follow Him as closely as you want because where, when, and how He wants to lead me may involve some discomfort I am not prepared to accept. Please forgive that foolishness. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead so I do follow wherever, however, and whenever you want, knowing that the “whenever” is always. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of the One you want me to follow.  Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision so you know you will be staying with Him in His eternal home when your time here is completed? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with following Jesus on this side of eternity? Are you following Him wherever, however, and whenever He leads without regard to anything other than following Him? If you sense the need for change in your view of following Jesus as a disciple, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

The Train Arrived

Earlier this morning, our friend who was waiting for the train (see posting for August 7 (“It’s almost time”) stepped onto the train when it arrived. She is now in a much better place. Please continue to pray for her husband, family, and friends as they deal with her passing. Thank you!

S.Tory Teller

August 10, 2022 — Being Ready is not a Game

“I don’t do it much any more,” Stan commented, “but I used to play golf with some guys fairly regularly. It was a casual game and we always played ‘ready golf’,”

“Whoever was ready would hit the ball regardless of who was furtherest from the hole?” I replied.

“That’s it,” Stan said. “And there was this one guy who always said that the problem with his golf game was that he was never ready to hit his ball!”

“However,” he continued, “this guy was always ready to do what the apostle Peter wrote about in his first letter.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“To share his faith,” Stan replied. “To be ready to make a defense to anyone who asked about his faith and hope.”

“That’s probably a good thing,” I commented.

“Probably?” Stan asked with a smile. He continued, “This fellow once told me that the reason he’s always ready now is that once he wasn’t ready when someone asked him about his faith and he always regretted not having an answer.”

“Regretted? How? Why?”

“That he missed the opportunity to have an eternal impact on that person who asked, as well as the possibility of having an impact on changing that person’s life on this side of eternity.”

“So he used that regret to build on being ready?” I replied. “Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan said, “and I think being ready is to be the same for each one of us. Be ready, knowing that there may not be time to get ready when the questions come, and by not being ready there may be missed opportunities.”

“As well,” I commented, “how about the idea that a ready person doesn’t have to get ready?”

“Good point, my friend,” Stan replied. “If I’m always ready I don’t have to be concerned that I will miss my turn, whether it’s about golf or other people’s eternal destination or their lives on this side of eternity. I am to be ready. Period!”

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Bible verses to consider:

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart, always being ready to make a defense to every one who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15.

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6.

And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 2:24-25.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for those people you brought into my life to tell me of their faith and hope in you. Because they were ready to do what you had for them to do, I was presented with the truth I could accept and change my eternal destination to be with you forever when it’s time. I confess that too often I am not ready to present the truth so it may make a difference in lives and eternal destinations. Please forgive me. And please, Father, help me follow every step of your lead so I am ready to make a difference for you and your kingdom. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Are you ready so that you know you will be in God’s eternal presence when your time here is completed? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being ready to share your faith with people God brings into your life? Are you as ready as you would like? As ready as God would like? If you sense the need for change in how you are ready, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 9, 2022 — Do You have the Right Answer to the Question?

“As I’ve mentioned more than once,” Stan commented one morning, “it took me a long time to come to faith — a long time to ask the right question and have the right answer.”

“Right question? Right answer? How so?”

“As to the right question,” Stan replied, “Jesus asked it of His disciples. As well, the people in Jerusalem asked it when Jesus came riding in on His way to the cross.”

“What was the question?” I asked.

“To His disciples, Jesus asked, ‘Who do you say I am?’ Stan replied. “The people in Jerusalem said, ‘Who is this?’ For me, I eventually came to ask the same question, and I think it’s essential that each person come to the same point of asking that question: ‘Who is Jesus?’”

“Okay,” I said. “That’s the question. What’s the answer?”

“When Jesus asked His disciples the question,” Stan replied, “the apostle Peter got it right by saying, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ The people in Jerusalem got it right when they said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee’. But that wasn’t enough.”

“What do you mean, it wasn’t enough?”

“Based on my personal experience,” Stan replied, “just knowing who Jesus is without actually confessing and believing in Him doesn’t accomplish anything. I had to come to the point of accepting and embracing the truth of who He is. Same for all of us.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Doesn’t the Bible say something somewhere about that even the demons believe?”

“James wrote that,” Stan replied, “and I think it’s a true reflection that we have to go beyond believing to accepting the right answer to the right question!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered and said, “You art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16.

And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the multitudes were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:10-11.

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe and shudder. James 2:19.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for sending your only Son, Jesus, to provide the way to your eternal presence when it’s time. Thank you for those who brought me to that truth so I could know, believe, accept, and embrace it. I confess that too often I do not share with others the truth so they can come to the point of asking the right question and have the right answer so their eternal destination is changed. Please forgive that lack of sharing the truth. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I live and share the truth exactly as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you asked the most important question you can ever ask, along with having accepted and embraced the right answer so you know you will spend eternity with God when it’s time? If no, why? There is no more important question and answer. If you have asked and accepted the answer, how are you doing with spreading the truth so others will come to the same point? If you sense changes may be appropriate, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 8, 2022 — He Doesn’t Always Come the Same Way

I got to the restaurant before Stan did one morning. I took a seat at our favorite table facing the door and waited for him.

After a few minutes I looked at my watch wondering where he was. Just then someone tapped me on the shoulder and I jumped.

“Sorry to startle you,” Stan said as he sat down, “but I came in the back door.”

“I didn’t even know there was a back door,” I replied.

“Yeah,” Stan said, “it’s off the alley that runs along the side of the building. There’s also a door in the kitchen to the outside, but that’s just for the staff.”

“This isn’t what I was planning to talk about today,” he continued, “but what just happened does have a spiritual component. Why don’t we focus on that?”

“What spiritual component?” I asked.

“When I tapped you on the shoulder,” he replied, “what were you doing?”

“Watching for you to come in the front door.”

“Because I always come in that way?” he asked.

“That’s it,” I replied. “Why?”

“Well,” Stan said, “I came in a different way you didn’t expect, and I think God does the same thing. He doesn’t always show up the way I expect.”

“But doesn’t the Bible say something somewhere about God always being the same?” I asked.

“Sure does,” Stan replied, “but that’s another story for another day. For now, just know that being the same doesn’t mean doing things the same way.”

“Okay,” I said, “but if God may not always come into my life the same way, how can I make sure I don’t miss Him?”

“Seems to me,” Stan replied, “that the best way for that is for us to keep our spiritual eyes and ears open and not be restricted in our view of God and what He wants to do in and through us.”

“Let me give you an example,” he continued. “Suppose God spoke to you in a dream and you thought that dreams were the only way He was ever going to speak to you. What would you do?”

“Probably stay in bed and try to sleep so I would have more dreams,” I replied.

“Probably so,” Stan said. “Rather than getting up into each new day expecting God to show up whenever, however, and wherever He wants.”

“Sounds kind of like discipleship,” I said.

“How so?” Stan asked.

“If I don’t always expect God to show up the same way, that’s kind of like denying self,” I replied, “and then if I take up the fact that God will come into my life however, wherever, and whenever He wants, I can step forward and follow Him. How’s that?”

Stan smiled and said, “I think that’s good!”

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Bible verses to consider:

He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3.

I have directed you in the path of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. Proverbs 4:11.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you come into my life exactly as you want. I confess that too often I do not look for you in the way I should, that I only look for you to come the way I expect. Please forgive that foolishness, and please help me to follow every step of your lead so I am open to seeing you at all times in all places just as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Has God come into your life in the sense that you know you will spend eternity in His presence when your time here is completed? If no, why? What’s holding you back? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being totally open to seeing God in your life however, wherever, and whenever He wants? If you sense the need for change in being open in that way, how is that change going to happen. Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 7, 2022 — It’s Almost Time

A friend has been called back to the train station platform to await the train. It will be arriving soon. It’s almost time. Please join in prayer for her comfort and peace as she waits. Also pray for her husband and family as they wait with her, prepare for life here without her, and anticipate being with her again when it’s their time. Pray, too, for the caregivers. They are a fabulous blessing from God. Thank you for all your prayers!

—S. Tory Teller