December 3, 2021 — Almost is not Close Enough

“Have you ever encountered someone who almost came to faith, but didn’t make the final decision?” I asked Stan one morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast.

“I won’t know for certain until I get to heaven,” Stan replied, “but there was one person back in our old town who I spent a lot of time with sharing my faith, but as far as I know he never came to faith. He just couldn’t pull the trigger! Like a lot of people.”

“Why do you think that is?” I asked.

‘There are probably as many different reasons as there are people,” Stan replied. “And while I  can only speak for myself, there’s a clear parallel path in the Bible that I’m so thankful I didn’t follow.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It has to do with a man named ‘Agrippa’ who just couldn’t get a grip!” Stan replied with a smile.

“Agrippa couldn’t get a grip?” I repeated. “What’s that mean?”

“Oh, it’s a long story,” Stan replied, “but in a very small nutshell, the apostle Paul appeared before a King who was named Agrippa to make a defense about why he had been arrested. As part of what Paul said to Agrippa, he told him about what God had done in his life.”

“Kind of like a personal testimony?” I asked.

“You could say that,” Stan replied. “It’s like the personal testimony each one of us is to have to tell others about how we came to faith.”

“So when Paul told this to the Agrippa guy,” I said, “did he come to faith?”

“Not then,” Stan replied, “and as far as I know, Agrippa didn’t ever come to faith. I will know for certain when I get to heaven, but it seems he just couldn’t pull the trigger to accept God’s free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption.”

“Did he come close?” I asked.

“Seems so,” Stan said. “The Bible indicates that Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian’. Close but not close enough. As the old saying goes, ‘Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades’.”

“It’s coming to faith that matters,”I commented, “not coming close to coming to faith, is that what you’re saying?”

“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied. “Almost is not close enough!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And Agrippa replied to Paul, “In short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” Acts of the Apostles 26:28-29.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the people you brought into my life to tell me of your free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption through Jesus. Thank you for leading me to accept the truth and to not to just come close. I pray for each person to whom the truth is presented so that each one of them will come to faith and have the assurance of life eternally with you when it’s time. I pray that they will come to faith, not just come close to coming to faith. Please help me in following every step of your lead in presenting the truth of the gospel so each person can make that choice. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you come to faith? If no, why? Do you agree that coming close to coming to faith is not close enough? If you have come to faith, do you have friends and family who have not? If so, what might you do to help them in not just being close? Is that what you would like? Why or why not?

December 2, 2021 — Rebuilding the Temple

“One of my neighbors who is also part of our church body,” Stan commented one morning, “is very interested in the role that rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem will have in relation to Jesus’ return.”

“I don’t know a whole lot about that,” I responded. “I’ve heard a little about the connection, but it’s not something that drives me.”

“I’m kind of the same way,” Stan said. “But my neighbor is really into the whole subject. He spends a lot of time doing research, reading just about anything he can get his hands on, as well as listening to podcasts and that sort of thing.”

Continuing, he added, “Myself, I’m more interested in helping people build and rebuild their own temple.”

“Build and rebuild their own temple?” I replied. “What’s that mean?”

“Well,” Stan said, “in the first instance, going with something the apostle Paul wrote about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit, as well as the fact that only believers have the Holy Spirit, it seems pretty straightforward to me that I can help people build that temple by presenting the gospel so they can become believers and have the Holy Spirit dwell in the temple of their body.”

“Makes sense to me,” I replied. “That’s the building part; how about the part about rebuilding the temple?”

“The rebuilding part,” Stan said, “I think goes to the heart of being a Christian who is pursuing spiritual maturity by giving the Holy Spirit free and total access to every part of a person’s life.”

“Kind of like,” I said, “having a temple that the Holy Spirit wants to inhabit so He can manifest His fruit? Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Sometimes Christians, for whatever reason, need to stop and examine their spiritual walk to assess whether there needs to be some rebuilding. If that assessment gives them the sense that rebuilding is what the Holy Spirit has in mind, it’s time to get going and rebuild!”

Concluding, he added, “It may not be as exciting as the prospect of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem for Jesus’ return, but ’building’ a personal temple in the first place sure has an impact on the individual’s eternal destination. As well, rebuilding that temple can have a major impact on the person’s life on this side of eternity!”

“Seems to me,” I responded, “that rebuilding a personal temple is kind of like the pursuit of discipleship. You think that’s a fair statement?”

“What do you think?” Stan asked.

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Bible verses to consider:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because the world does not behold Him or know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. John 14:16-17.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the people you brought into my life to tell me about your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you when it’s time for me to step into eternity. I am forever grateful that I made that faith commitment so the Holy Spirit came into me to provide all  that He has for me in drawing ever closer to you. I confess that too often I do not present the truth of the gospel to others so they can have their own temple for the Holy Spirit. And too often I do not “rebuild the temple” so the Holy Spirit’s fruit is manifested as you intend. Please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead in building and rebuilding the temple just 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 built the temple for the Holy Spirit to reside in you in the sense that you have by faith accepted all of God’s provision for you through the finished work of the cross? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of being in God’s eternal presence when your time here is completed, how are you doing with the present-day temple of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence? If you sense some “rebuilding” of that temple may be appropriate so the Spirit’s fruit is manifested more as God intends, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

December 1, 2021 — It’s Merely Prologue

“I was reading in John’s gospel earlier this morning,” Stan commented, “and I was reminded of a taxi ride I took when I first became a Christian, a ride that had a big impact on my faith walk.”

“You were reminded of a taxi ride by John’s gospel?” I replied. “What was that all about?”

“It had to do with the story of two men, Phillip and Nathanael,” Stan said. “Philip told Nathanael that he had found Jesus and he told Nathanael to come and see Jesus for himself.”

“Yeah,” I replied. “We talked about that the other day. [Note to reader: See the posting for November 29, 2021, “Who do You Want to Come and See?”]

“That’s right,” Stan said. “And when Nathanael was talking with Jesus, he came to believe because Jesus told him that He had seen him sitting under a fig tree before Philip told him about Jesus.”

“He came to believe just on the basis of that?” I asked.

“That’s what it says,” Stan replied, “and Jesus had something to say to Nathanael about that, something similar to what a taxi driver once told me.”

“John’s gospel, Philip, Nathanael, a taxi driver, and your faith walk?” I said. “How does this all tie together?”

“I was a new Christian,” Stan replied. “I was on a business trip. I got into a taxi where the driver had taped a piece of paper on the sun visor that said, ‘The past is prologue’.”

Continuing, he added, “I asked him about that and the driver said, ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet!’”

“Oh,” I replied, “like in what has gone before is nothing compared to what’s coming.”

“That’s it,” Stan said. “Although the taxi guy and I didn’t talk anything about spiritual matters, I just couldn’t get that thought out of his mind. What was it that God had for me to see that  I hadn’t already seen?”

“That’s probably a good question for all of us,” I ventured.

“More than ‘probably’, my friend,” Stan replied. “And, getting back to John’s gospel, it seems to me that Jesus was saying to Nathanael the same thing as the taxi driver.”

“How so?” I asked.

“When Nathanael told Jesus that he believed in Jesus because Jesus had told him that He had seen him before Philip got to him, Jesus said, ‘You shall see greater things than these.’”

“Greater things than these,” I repeated. “Seek to see what God has for me to see. Is that it?”

“That’s it, my friend,” Stan replied. “Don’t be content with what you have already seen, but seek to see, as well as to hear, all that God has for you as long as you are on this side of eternity.”

Concluding, he said, “I won’t know what there is to see and to hear unless I take the time to know that the past is merely prologue to what God has for me.”

“This,” I replied, “sounds kind of like what you talk about when you say that eternal life is about knowing God the Father and Jesus the Son.”

“When I say that,” Stan responded, “I’m merely quoting Jesus!”

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Bible verses to consider:

Nathanael said to Him (Jesus), “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” John 1:48-50.

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 all you have for me to see and to hear from and about you. I confess that too often I do not make the effort to know you and Jesus as well as you have available for me. Please help me in following every step of your lead into the deepest and closest relationship with you that is humanly possible so I will truly see and hear all you have for me. Not only see and hear, but respond as you want. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you know God for eternal purposes in the sense that you know you will spend eternity with Him when it’s time? If no, is that because you have not accepted His free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption through the finished work of the Cross? Don’t wait! If you do have the assurance of salvation, are you pursuing an ever-deepening personal relationship with Him? If no, why? If you sense a calling to go deeper in your relationship with God so that what has gone before is merely prologue, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

November 30, 2021 — First You Find the Disciples

“You haven’t always lived here,” I said to Stan one morning. “Is that right?”

“That’s right,” he replied. “A few years ago, we had the sense if was time to move from where we were and we started looking around for the right spot. After looking into a lot of different places we decided to move here.”

“Then what?” I said. “What was the first thing you did to get settled here?”

“We did the same thing the apostle Paul did when he got to Tyre,” Stan replied.

“Tyre?” I said. “What’s that?”

“It was, and I think still is, a town in what is now the country of Lebanon,” Stan said.

“And what does that have to do with your moving here?” I asked.

“The Book of Acts,” Stan said, “records that the apostle Paul went to Tyre and the first thing he  did when he got there was to find some disciples, fellow believers. And that is the first thing we did when we got here. We wanted to find fellow believers and disciples with whom we could fellowship.”

“So,” I replied, “would it be fair to say that you think that’s the most important thing Christians should do when they are in a new place?”

“I do,” Stan said. “I think the apostle Paul is a good example I should follow, whether I am moving to a new place on a permanent basis or whether I am just passing through, such as when I’m traveling on vacation, business, or whatever. The first thing I want to do is to find a church of fellow believers with whom I can spend time.”

“Are you always successful in finding fellow believers and disciples?” I asked.

“If I look closely enough,” Stan replied. “Always!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And when we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload its cargo. And after looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days. Acts of the Apostles 21:3-4.

And it came about that for an entire year they met with the church, and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Acts of the Apostles 11:26.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the fellow-believers you bring into my life. I confess that too often I do not seek them out so I can spend time with them and have myself opened to what you have for them to bring into my life. Please help me in following your lead to seek out and find fellow-believers and disciples wherever you may have for me to be. Help me to seek and to find them in exact accordance with your will. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you come to faith so that you are a believer that others might seek to find? If you have not come to faith, why? What’s in the way of accepting by faith all that God has for you in being a believer that others may seek? If you do have the assurance of salvation for when your time here is completed, do you seek out fellow-believers and disciples wherever you might be? If yes, what has been your experience? If no, why? If you sense the need to change and to seek other believers and disciples, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want to do? Why or why not?

November 29, 2021 — Who do you want to Come and See?

“As we’ve talked about many times,” Stan commented one morning, “I just love hearing the testimonies of other people about how they came to faith.”

“Personal testimonies provide a lot of insight that can be helpful in relating to other people,” I commented.

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And there was another instance of that the other day when I was talking to a neighbor who described himself as having been a skeptic.”

“Having been a skeptic about what?” I asked.

“God, Jesus Christ, the church, everything dealing with faith,” Stan said. “But he said there was a person he describes as a ‘Philip’ who persisted and made a difference in overcoming his skepticism.”

“A Philip?” I replied. “What’s that mean?”

“Early in Jesus’ earthly ministry,” Stan replied, “there was a person named Philip who Jesus found and said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ And he did. Then Philip found a skeptic named Nathanael who he told about having found Jesus the Messiah.”

“But,” I asked, “if this Nathanael was a skeptic, how did that work out?”

‘That’s the Philip part that my neighbor described,” Stan replied. “In the gospel account, Philip told Nathanael ‘to come and see.’ Nathanael did and he came to faith by believing in Jesus. And my neighbor said that’s what happened with him. A ‘Philip’ helped him ‘to come and see’.”

“So,” I responded, “we are all to be like Philip by saying to the skeptics in our lives, ‘Come and see’. Is that what you’re saying?”

“That’s it, my friend,” Stan said. “Someone did that for me. A neighbor cared enough about me and my eternal destination to say, ‘Come and see.’ She didn’t give up when I didn’t respond in the first instance. She kept inviting me. I’m to do the same thing with the skeptics in my life; and I think we are all to do that. How else are the skeptics going to know the truth?”

“Let me think about this,” I said. “Who is it I want to have come and see Jesus? I’m going to make a list of who to invite, and I’m going to keep on inviting them!”

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Bible verses to consider:

Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” John 1:45-46.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving your Son Jesus so that all who believe can have life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Him on this side of eternity. Thank you, too, for those you brought into my life to say, “Come and see” to overcome my skepticism about you, Jesus, and everything to do with belief and faith. I confess that there are skeptics in my life who I do not reach out to and say, “Come and see.” Please forgive me and help me in caring enough about their eternal destination and life on this side of eternity to help them overcome their skepticism. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Are there skeptics about God in your life? If so, have you tried to reach out to them by saying, “Come and see”? If no, why? Someone told you about the truth of God’s provision of life eternally with Him when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing Him in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity. Isn’t it worth it to say to the skeptics in your life, “Come and see”? There is much for them that hangs in the balance!

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S. Tory Teller’s book, with a Foreword by Josh McDowell, Waiting for the Train: Biblical Food for Growing Before Going, is available at amazon.com and through the publisher at http://www.s-toryteller.com. Come and see by getting and giving copies!

November 26, 2021 — Words Matter — For Both Sides of Eternity

“I was working out in my front yard yesterday digging some weeds out of the flower bed,” Stan began, “and one of the neighbor moms came by with her young son.”

“Did she stop and talk?” I asked.

“Sure did,” Stan replied. “Nice lady. She  and I were having a conversation about flowers, weeds, gardening, and the like, but her son got a little impatient. It seems that they were on their way to Issac’s Ice Cream for some goodies, and he wanted to get going.  At one point he said something totally inappropriate and his mother reacted quickly.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“When her son said what he did, she responded with something like, ‘If you want to go to Issac’s you better watch your mouth, young man!’”

“Did he mind her?” I replied.

“He did,” Stan said, “and I complimented the mom on her quick discipline as they headed on their way after a little more conversation.”

“Later on I was thinking about what had happened,” Stan continued, “and I saw a correlation between what the mom said to her son and how God points out the importance of watching our mouths.”

“How’s that?” I asked.

“At least two ways,” Stan replied.  “In the first instance, the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, points out that we are to confess with our mouths Jesus as Lord.  Doing that is the key to spending eternity in God’s presence when it’s time. I can’t imagine that there’s anything more important that I can say with my mouth.”

“A really important reason for people to watch their mouths,” I commented. “But you mentioned there was a second point. What’s that?”

“It comes from James’ letter to the church that sets out all sorts of instructions for how I am to control my mouth on this side of eternity.  I have the choice with my mouth to build up or to tear down; the choice to manifest what God has for me to manifest or to manifest the opposite of what He has for me.”

“So,” I commented, “words matter.”

“They do,” Stan replied. “For both sides of eternity. I have the assurance of life eternally with God when it’s time because I have confessed with my mouth that Jesus is Lord.”

“As well,” he continued, “while God keeps me on this side of eternity it’s not uncommon for Him, through the Holy Spirit, to say, ‘Watch your mouth!’ When I hear that, I am to listen and take seriously His admonition.”

“To manifest what He has for you to manifest. Is that it?” I asked.

“That’s it, my friend,” Stan replied. “Not the manifestation of self. And not the manifestation of the world, the flesh, the devil, or anything contrary to what God has for me to manifest.”

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Bible verses to consider:

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  Romans 10:9

And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.  James 3:6.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14.

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.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of salvation and redemption by confession of faith through my mouth.  Thank you, too, for your instructions on how to control what comes out of my mouth on this side of eternity.  Too often what I allow out of my mouth does not manifest what you intend, but manifests the opposite.  Please forgive me.  And please, Father, help me in controlling my mouth so my words are of praise, honor, glory, and manifestation of you, not of me, and not of the world, the flesh, the devil, or anything apart from you.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this: Have you confessed with your mouth Jesus as Lord so you have the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? If you do have that assurance, how are you doing with watching what comes out of your mouth on this side of eternity? If you sense changes may be needed in what you manifest with your words, how are those changes going to occur and what difference will they make? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

November 25, 2021 — Thanksgiving: For a Day, for a Life, and for Eternity

The restaurant is closed today. Cook, Ricky, and the rest of the staff have the day off and are not there. Neither is Stan.  Rather than having me tell you a story today about being thankful, how about if you take a few minutes (or however long you need) to write your own story of your thankfulness? It’s important to express thanks to the One who provides all for which you have to be thankful. Wishing you Happy Thanksgiving — for a day, for a lifetime, and for eternity! —S. Tory Teller

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Bible verses to consider:

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

I will rejoice and be glad in Thy lovingkindness, . . . Psalm 31:7

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for all you have provided for both sides of eternity.  Out of your love you gave your only begotten Son so that all who believe can by faith accept your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you when it’s time. As well, you have provided the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship while waiting for the train. I confess that too often I do not express my thankfulness to you as I should. Please help me in following every step of your lead in expressing my thankfulness for all you are, all you have done, all you are doing, and all you will be doing as I choose to draw closer to you. Thank you 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 gift of salvation for which you can be eternally thankful? If no, why? what’s in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation, are you able to express thankfulness for drawing ever closer to God in a deepening personal relationship while you want for the train to glory? If no, is that because you are not growing before going? If you sense changes are in order, how are those changes going to occur so you truly live a life (not just a day) of thanksgiving? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

November 24, 2021 — A Ministry to Fulfill?

“Earlier this morning,” Stan commented,” I again finished going through the apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians. At the end of that letter I was reminded about a friend and how what Paul wrote had a significant impact on his faith walk and his work for the kingdom.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Paul wrote about a guy with kind of a funny name,” Stan replied. “His name was Archippus, but I wouldn’t be surprised if his friends called him ‘Arch’ or “Archie.’ He lived in Colossae and was part of the church. I don’t know what kind of ministry he had, but Paul wrote to the church to tell Arch to be sure to do whatever that ministry was.”

“Kind of like encouraging him to do what the Lord had for him to do?” I said. “Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And that’s exactly what I was reminded about with a friend I had in our old town church.”

“Did he have a ministry?” I asked.

“He did,” Stan said. “He had a strong sense that God wanted him to start a ministry that would help provide food to people who needed help. As part of that help, my friend sensed it would open doors to be able to witness about his faith and bring people into the kingdom.”

“So,” I replied, “did he do that? Did he start a ministry?”

“He started,” Stan said, “but soon became discouraged because there wasn’t much of a response.”

“By the people he was trying to help?” I asked.

“More with the people in the church,” Stan replied. “My friend had trouble getting people to donate and to help distribute the food to people who came to the church to get the food. It was like a one-man show and he became discouraged.”

“Then what?”

“He was ready to quit,” Stan said, “but he told me that one morning he was reading the exact verse about Arch in Paul’s letter and the Holy Spirit made it clear to him who was discouraging him and who wanted him to continue.”

“Satan, the great discourager,” I said, “versus the One who had called him to the ministry. Is that it?”

“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied. “And Satan lost again! Not only did my friend take heed from what Paul wrote about Arch, he gave everything about the food ministry to the Lord for His direction. My friend figured that if God called him to this ministry, God was more than capable of bringing it to fruition exactly as He wanted.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“The ministry flourished,” Stan said. “Countless hungry people have been fed with physical food through a ministry that has involved many people in the church.  As well, there are lots of people who have become part of the church and are feasting on the spiritual food God has for them.”

“All,” I replied, “because your friend read about Paul encouraging the man called ‘Arch’.”

“No big surprise there,” Stan said. “The Bible is full of encouragement if we will just read and apply it!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” Colossians 4:17.

But you be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have ministry for me and each one of your people to be involved with. I confess that too often I do not pursue the ministry you have for me to do, the ministry to which you have called me. Please forgive that disobedience. And please help me, along with all of the others, to follow every step of your lead in pursuing the ministry you have so your church and your kingdom increases just as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: What is your view of “ministry”? Do you see it as only something for other people to do? Are you involved in ministry? If no, why? How many different ways can you think of to be involved in ministry? A bare-bone minimum would be to pray for and encourage people who are involved in ministry. Start there and follow God’s lead!

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The book by S. Tory Teller (Foreword by Josh McDowell), Waiting for the Train—Biblical Food for Growing Before Going, is available from http://www.Amazon.com, http://www.Barnesandnoble.com, and http://www.S-toryteller.com.

November 23, 2021 — A Mother’s Wisdom

“God gives mothers special wisdom,” Stan commented one morning.

“I agree completely,” I replied, “but why did you say that?”

“I read it in the first part of John’s gospel earlier this morning,” Stan said.

“It covers the subject of a mother’s wisdom?” I asked.

“Not so much in talking about the wisdom,” Stan said, “but there’s a single verse that certainly presents a real-life example of the importance of listening to a mother’s wisdom.  It’s an example for me in my faith walk and, I think, is an example for you and for every believer.”

“Okay,” I said, “you’ve got my attention. What was going on?”

“There was a wedding in Cana. There was a whole bunch of people there, including Jesus, some of His disciples, and His mother.”

“Is that where they ran out of wine,” I asked, “and Jesus performed His first miracle by turning some water into wine?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “But the wise lesson for my faith walk that came from the lips of Jesus’ mother occurred before the miracle.”

“Which was what?” I asked.

“In a single verse,” Stan said, “John quotes Jesus’ mother as saying to someone else essentially all I need to know about being a disciple.”

“All you need to know about being a disciple,” I repeated. “Tell me.”

“She is reported to have said to the servants who were working the wedding,” Stan replied, ‘Whatever Jesus says to you, do it’.”

“Whatever Jesus says, do it!” I exclaimed. “I can see where that might make a difference in my faith walk.”

“Might make a difference?” Stan replied. “How about will make a difference?”

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Bible verses to consider:

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” John 2:5.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for sending your Son into the world to provide the way to your eternal presence. Thank you, too, for the provision of knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deeper personal relationship on this side of eternity that is available by doing what you say. I confess that too often I don’t do what you say because that’s what I choose. Please forgive that foolishness and help me follow every step of your lead by doing all you say to me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you do whatever Jesus says to you to do? If no, why? is that because you do not accept that “whatever” means what it says? Is it because you choose to do whatever you want rather than whatever He wants? If you sense the need for some change in your view of “whatever,” how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

November 22, 2021 — It’s Raining; It’s Pouring. Are You Snoring?

“Did you see or hear that rain storm that passed through about five o’clock this morning?” Stan asked.

“No,” I replied, “I was still asleep, but I did see the rain puddles on the way here.”

“Yeah,” Stan said, “lots of rain puddles. There actually was another shower just as I parked the car and was walking here. I saw some children having a great time jumping in the puddles and singing that Mother Goose rhyme about it raining and pouring.”

“And the old man is snoring,” I added. “Kind of like me when I was asleep during the rain storm earlier this morning!”

“Kind of like a lot of us when we sleep through God’s pouring out,” Stan responded.  “At least for me, way too often!”

“God’s pouring out,” I repeated. “What does God pour out that I might be sleeping through?”

“Big subject,” Stan replied. “One that is at the heart of Christianity, what it means to be a Christian, and everything that is involved in our relationship with God. But in a nutshell I think it’s what discipleship is all about.”

“A rainstorm, a nursery rhyme, and discipleship,” I said. “How do you tie those together?”

“It seems to me,” Stan replied, “that everything about my faith walk, everything to do with discipleship, revolves around seeing who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He wants to do in and through me. And that all concerns His pouring out.”

“And,” he continued, “it’s too easy for me to sleep rather than be involved with what God has for me to be and do in being a disciple.”

“Let me see if I get this,” I replied. “The first step of discipleship, that of denying self, would be like not sleeping through what God has for me. The second step, of taking up what God has for me to take up, would be like waking up to what he has for me.”

“You got it, my friend,” Stan said. “And the third step is following Him wherever, however, and whenever He wants.”

“Even during a rainstorm?” I asked.

“Even during, and maybe especially in, a rainstorm,” he replied.

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Bible verses to consider:

“Drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it. I the Lord, have created it.” Isaiah 45:8.

And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, and old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. Joel 2:28. (Repeated by the apostle Peter in Acts 2:15-17.)

And when He (Jesus) rose from prayer, He came to His disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:45-46.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have poured out all that you have for me. You gave your only Son to provide the way for me to have life eternally with you when it’s time, and you have provided the way for me to know you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship before then. You have poured out your Spirit on me and on all who believe. I confess that too often I sleep though what you have poured out, what you have for me to be and to do. I sleep because I choose to not be awake to you. Please forgive me of that foolishness. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I accept, receive, and embrace all you have poured out for me as well as all you keep pouring out. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted all that God has poured out for you, both in terms of life eternally with Him when it’s time and in terms of pursuing the eternal life of knowing Him and Jesus on this side of eternity? If you sense changes are needed in waking up to all that God has for you, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?