566. That’s A Really Ugly Sweater

“I have a friend,” Stan began one morning, “who has a sweater he wears a lot.  It’s really old and, in my humble opinion, is really ugly.  It went out of style a long time ago!”

“Why does he do that?” I asked.

“He thinks it’s nice looking and stylish,” Stan replied.

“He’s also kind of frugal and doesn’t want to spend the money to buy a new one.   He’s content with the old one.”

Continuing, Stan said, “Although it’s just a sweater, it reminds me of what I was like at one point in my Christian walk, and, if I’m not careful, can still be there.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“Make that plural,” Stan replied with a smile.  “Ways!”

Continuing, he said, “Even though I had accepted the finished wok of Christ on the cross and was given the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence when it’s time, I had not done away with the old self.  I was, in essence, still wearing the same old ugly sweater of self, but I thought I looked just fine.”

What was that all about?” I asked.

“Same old story” Stan replied.  “That was my choice.  I had not taken the basic three steps that are required to be a disciple.  I had not denied self by taking off the old ugly sweater of self.”

“And I had not put on the new sweater God had for me by taking up whatever God had for me to be and to do. “

“And then there was the choice of not wearing the new sweater wherever I went following Him.”

Concluding, Stan said, “To carry the word picture to its conclusion, it was long past time for me to clean out the closet drawers and I finally did it.   I took that ugly old sweater and threw it in the garbage.”

 “I didn’t want to give it away for fear someone else would put it on and think they looked just fine!” 

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In reference to your former manner of life, lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.  Ephesians 4:22 – 24.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you have provided me with all I need to put on a new self through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I confess that too often I allow the old self to be what is seen, rather than the new self you have for me.  Please forgive me for all of that foolishness.  I need and I ask for your help in seeing the old self for what it is:  old, comfortable, and contrary to you.  Please, Father, help me to take off and discard all of the old and to put on the new that you have for me.  Help me in denying self, taking up the cross you have for me, whatever the cost, and following you in my new self wherever you want to lead.  Thank you I can and do bring all of these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Does your wardrobe of self consist of any ugly sweaters that should be thrown away?  What would it look like to do that?  How about putting on the new self that God has for you, the one that looks just like Jesus?  How’s that fit?  Does it look the way it’s supposed to?  Any alterations needed?

565. Isn’t There Supposed To Be A Difference?

“Stan,” I began, “there’s something that really confuses me about some of the people in my church.”

“What’s that?” Stan replied.

“There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of difference between some of them and the people I know who never go to church.  Shouldn’t there be a difference?”

“Good question, my friend,” Stan replied.  “And I have an answer based on someone I know very well.”

Continuing, he said, “First of all, I think you’re right in thinking there is to be a difference.  For me, and I suspect this applies to at least some of the people you are talking about, there was not a difference that could be seen.”

“I was still attracted to at least some of the same things of the world as I was before I became a Christian.  If you looked at me on the outside, there wasn’t much difference to be seen.  Maybe none  from what I was like before conversion.”

“Kind of like,” he continued, “the story I heard once about a bank robber who became a Christian and said, ‘Now I’m going to be a Christian bank robber!’  That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.”

“No,” Stan added, “this is what discipleship and transformation are all about.  If there’s no difference in my life after I have been converted, something is very wrong.”

“Such as what?” I asked.

“Maybe a false conversion,” Stan replied.  “Or maybe it’s just the very common condition of being stuck on conversion.  Failing to begin down the road heading toward greater spiritual maturity.”

“Or,” he added, “there can be a beginning down that road but, for whatever reason, a blockage has occurred and the person just hasn’t proceeded any further.  As a general matter, I don’t think there’s the same answer for every person.”

“Yeah,” I responded, “I guess we are all different, even in how serious we are in our relationship with God.”

“Different indeed!” Stan said. “But we all have the same basic source to grow in that relationship.”

“What source?” I asked.

“The Holy Spirit,” Stan replied.  “Again, with me as the example, the seed of transformation was planted in me the moment of my conversion.  It was the seed of the Holy Spirit, but His role in my life could not grow to make an external difference until I was willing to give Him total freedom to do His work in me.”

“As I chose to walk in the world just as before, there was no difference that anyone could see.  The same was true as long as I tried to walk with one foot in the world.  It was only as I chose to surrender all of me, all of the old self, to the Holy Spirit and His leading that He was able to do what He is in me to do.”

“And,” Stan concluded, “it’s a matter of continual choice.  For there to be a difference that others can see, the difference of the manifestation of Christ, I have to choose who is going to rule in my life.  And it’s a choice that has to be made each day, each hour, each minute.”

“If I know God the Father and His Son, or if I am at least on the path to knowing them, my life is to be, and will be, different from those who do not know them and are not even trying.”

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That each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.  1 Thessalonians 4:4, 5.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you have provided me with the Holy Spirit to live in me to help, counsel, and guide me in how I am to live differently than before I became yours.  I confess that too often there is no difference between me and those who are not seeking to know you.  Please forgive me of that hypocrisy.  And please lead me, helping me to follow, in choosing to allow you to have total and free rule in every aspect of my life so I live the difference you intend.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Being stuck on conversion is not uncommon.  It’s not what God wants, but it’s not uncommon.  If there is not now a whole lot of difference in your life than what it was before conversion, do you need to take a look to see why?  Is something missing?  Is it the commitment to seek transformation that will lead in the direction of spiritual maturity?  What does it look like to be constantly seeking a deeper relationship with God?

564. Useless And Unfruitful — Or Not

“The apostle Peter,” Stan began, “in his second letter had an interesting way of saying something.  It strikes me that he was almost going out of his way to avoid being positive.”

“I know people like that,” I responded.  “They seem to have a hard time saying something in a positive way.”

“However,” Stan replied, “what Peter wrote turns out to be extremely positive.’

“You’re kind of confusing me, Stan,” I replied, “what did Peter write?”

“At the beginning of his second letter,” Stan said, “Peter lists a whole bunch of things that I’m to do in order to move along the path from conversion in the direction of transformation.  He calls them things that will help me be a partaker of God’s divine nature in and through Christ.”

“What sort of things?” I asked.

“Well,” Stan replied, “he starts with ‘moral excellence’ and several steps later ends with ‘Christian love’.”  In between are things like knowledge and self-control.  As we get around to them, we will talk about each one of the steps that Peter covers, but those will be discussions for other days.”

“However,” he continued, “what I want to focus on is Peter’s end-result and what seems to me to be a somewhat strange way to express it.”

“What did he say?” I asked.

“To put it in personal terms,” Stan replied, “what Peter wrote to me is that if the listed qualities are mine and are increasing, I will not be useless or unfruitful in the true knowledge of Christ.”

“Not useless and not unfruitful?”  I replied.  “Sounds kind of like double-speak to me. I wonder why he didn’t just write that you will be useful and fruitful.”

“You will have to ask him,” Stan responded.  “However, I do think that his two negatives turn out to be a wonderful positive in having true knowledge of Christ.”

“Knowledge of Christ,” I replied.  “Isn’t that how Jesus defined ‘eternal life’?”

“It is,” Stan replied.  “In the seventeenth chapter of John’s gospel.  And,” he continued, “I think that such knowledge is to occur on this side of eternity.  As a result, what Peter has written to me in his second letter, is the perfect road map for getting to the knowledge of God the Father and His Son on this side of eternity.”

“So,” Stan concluded, “Peter’s emphasis on the negative turns into a fabulous positive.  I just need to follow the steps!”

“Don’t not follow,” I said with a smile.

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For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:8.

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 allowing me to pursue knowing you and your Son on this side of eternity.  Thank you for showing me the steps that are available in pursuing that knowledge.  I confess that too often I do not pursue knowing you because I think I already know enough and I am too self-focused to pursue all you have for me.  Please forgive that foolishness.  And please help me in following all of your leading in pursuing and obtaining your true knowledge.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Is not being useless and not being unfruitful the same as being useful and bearing fruit?  Is it better to be acting in a positive way, rather than not acting in a negative way?  Why or why not?  How could the way you answer those questions have an impact on your faith walk?  What does that look like?

Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to S. Tory Teller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

563. Dreading Or Living In The Fear Of Evil?

“In my early days as a Christian,” Stan began, “we were involved with a fellowship group from our church.”

“Fellowship groups can be great,” I replied.  “How was your group?”

“As a general matter,” Stan replied, “I thought it was excellent.  It provided me with a great way to be around more mature Christians.  It really helped with my spiritual growth and my faith walk.”

“However,” he continued, “there was one woman in the group who had an outlook towards evil that almost got me off track.”

“How so?” I asked.

“She had an absolute fear of evil,” Stan replied.  “She dreaded evil to such an extent that her intense focus on it seemed to really interfere with her relationship to God.  She seemed to be afraid of most everything.  Evil and her fear of it was about all she talked about in the fellowship group.  I was beginning to think that she might be right and I had better be afraid.”

“Sounds kind of like she had an Irrational fear,” I responded.

“That’s what it seemed,” Stan said, “and the leader of the fellowship group was really able to shed some valuable light on the subject.  Light that not only helped the woman, but light that certainly helped me in my fairly new faith walk.”

“How so?” I asked.

“As I remember it,” Stan replied, “the leader focused on wisdom and what it says in the Book of Proverbs about dreading evil.”

“What’s that? I asked.

“Basically three things,” Stan responded.  “First, to know that God is the source of all wisdom.  Secondly, I am to listen to the voice of His wisdom.”

“Then,” he continued, “there is the third part that struck me as probably the most important.  I am to absorb the listening of His voice into the innermost parts of my being so I live the life He intends.  And that life is not to include living in fear.”

“I am to recognize evil as a fact,” he added, “but I am not to fear it or live in dread of it.  No, I am to listen to the voice of God’s wisdom and know, as the apostle John said also, that the Spirit of God is in me, and that He is greater than anything else, especially Satan.”

“To live in fear or in the dread of evil,” Stan concluded, “is, I think, the exact opposite of what God intends for those who are His.”

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But he who listens to me (the voice of wisdom) shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil.  Proverbs 1:33.

Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.  1 John 4:4.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your absolute goodness and holiness.  I confess that I do not understand why there is evil, but I thank you for showing me that evil does indeed exist, and while I am to avoid it, I do not need to dread it.  Thank you for the provision of life eternally with you when it is time for me to live in your holy presence forever.  Thank you, too, for your provision of all you have for me on this side of eternity, including the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who is in me to help, lead, guide, and counsel me in all things, including the fact of evil and that I am not to live in fear.  Thank you that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.  Please help me in following every step of your lead in being totally at ease from the dread of evil while not ignoring its existence.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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Think on this:  Evil in this world a fact.  If we ignore it as a fact, we are foolishly in danger of being caught in its web.  Awareness is not to cause fear or dread.  Where are you in that?  What does it look like to be aware of evil, but not to be afraid of it or to dread it?  Are you living in fear or in the confidence that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world?

Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

562. Be Careful Who And What You Reject

“Looking back on my life before I became a Christian,” Stan began, “and comparing it to what I now read in the Bible, I see many instances where God watched over me even though I wanted nothing to do with Him.  I saw another instance this morning.”

“Where and what?” I asked.

“I was reading in Luke’s gospel,” Stan replied, “where there is the account of Jesus sending seventy disciples out to the places Jesus was going to visit.  Jesus was on His way to those different places, but He sent out the seventy to go before Him.”

“Why?” I asked.  “What were they supposed to do?”

“They were sent,” Stan replied, “to present the kingdom of God to those who would listen.”

Continuing, he added, “And what Jesus said about those who wouldn’t listen reminded me of myself and God’s grace in drawing me to Him so that I would listen.”

“How so?” I asked.

“For way too long in my life,” Stan responded, “I rejected every attempt that various people made to bring me to the truth, or, turning it around, to bring the truth to me.”

“And,” he continued, “I am eternally grateful that it wasn’t time for me to step into eternity while I was still in the rejecting mode.”

“No,” he added, “I believe that God, in His magnificent provision, kept me on this side of eternity so I would not have to experience the terrible price of continuing to reject His kingdom and those who were sent to present that kingdom to me.”

“What terrible price?” I asked.

“Eternal separation from God.”

Continuing, Stan said, “Jesus laid it out real clearly, And this is what I was focusing on in Luke’s gospel.  Jesus was talking to the seventy He was sending out, but I think that what He was saying applies way beyond those seventy.  It applies to everyone who rejects those He sends.”

“Rejection comes with a price,” Stan concluded.  “We must be careful who and what we reject.”

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The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.  Luke 10:16.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for sending into my life people who wanted to present you and your kingdom so I would have the assurance of spending eternity with you when it’s time.  Thank you, too, for your love, grace, and mercy that kept me on this side of eternity long enough for me to quit rejecting those you sent.  I also thank you for those you continue to send into my life to help me draw ever closer to you on this side of eternity.  I ask you to help me to follow your lead in listening to and accepting all you have to say to me through those people.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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Think on this:  Rejecting what God has for us comes with a steep price, both here and for when it is time to step into eternity.  Are you rejecting anyone or anything that God has for you to accept?  If so, why would you do that?  And what would it take for you to accept all that God has for you on both sides of eternity?

Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

561. Remembering What You Know; Learning What You Don’t

“There’s an obvious difference,” Stan began, “between learning something new about God and being reminded of something I already know.”

“That makes sense to me,” I responded.  “Why do you bring that up?”

“Because in my relationship with God, I tend to forget things I know,” Stan replied.  “And I’m not always eager to learn new things.”

“In addition,” he said, “the apostle Peter, in his second letter, reminded me of this whole subject earlier this morning.”

“In fact, what Peter wrote is, I think, an exact reflection of what my attitude should be regarding the Holy Spirit’s role in reminding me of who I am in Christ as well as what that is supposed to mean for me on this side of eternity.”

“That sounds like a lot of reminding,” I replied with a smile.

“It is,” Stan said.  “And the reason for that is because I need a lot of reminding.  If I am not reminded, I tend to go off on my own, following my own path rather than the path God has for me.”

Continuing, he said, “It’s not that I don’t know what it is that God has for me to be and to do, it’s that I forget — and sometimes the forgetting is on purpose because I choose not to remember!”

“Okay,” I replied, “that’s the remembering part.  What about the part of learning something new about God?”

“That, I think,” Stan said, “goes to the heart of what Jesus said about eternal life.”

“Jesus said that eternal life is knowing God the Father and Jesus the Son.  I will never know the Father and the Son as fully as possible on this side of eternity, but I am to pursue that knowledge as long as I am still here, waiting for the train.”

“Learn something new,” I replied, “and remember what I know.  How am I supposed to do that?”

“For me,” Stan said, “it’s all about giving the Holy Spirit unlimited permission to lead, along with my commitment to follow.  I am to be open to be reminded of what I know, as well as being open to learn what I don’t!”

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Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.  2 Peter 1:12.

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 shown me about what it means to walk with you on this side of eternity, working out the salvation you have worked in through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  And thank you for all that you have for me in knowing you and Jesus more deeply on this side of eternity.  I confess that too often I forget what you have already taught me, sometimes on purpose because I do not want to remember.  Please forgive me.  And please, Father, help me to remember all you have for me to remember, as well as leading me to want to know you as deeply as is humanly possible.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  We all have a tendency to forget.  It is part of the human condition, especially as we age.  As well, sometimes we just don’t want to learn new things, especially about God, thinking we know all we need to know.  That is not what God wants.  Where are you in remembering and learning?  Where do you want to be?  What does that look like?

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Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to S. Tory Teller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

560. Making Satan Little, Or Making Little Of Satan?

“I had one of those ‘from-the-mouth-of-babes’ experiences yesterday that warmed my heart to its core,” Stan began one morning.

“What was that all about?” I asked.

“I was out in the front yard yesterday afternoon doing some gardening,’ Stan replied.  “A neighborhood child came by and we talked.”

“About what?” I asked.

“Oh, just little stuff,” Stan replied.  “You know, the kind of things you talk about with a child.”

“But, out of the blue,” Stan continued, “this child said something like, ‘Mr. Stan, do you know that I can change the devil into a flea?’”

“How did you respond to that?” I asked.

“I told him that I didn’t know that, and I asked him how he knew that he could.”

Continuing, he said, “This sweet child told me it came from his Sunday school teacher.  He said the teacher told him that if he told the devil he wasn’t going to do what the devil wanted him to do, that the devil would turn into a flea.”

“How long,” I asked, “did it take you to understand that the child was confusing ‘flee’, with an ‘e’, and ‘flea’, with an ‘a’?”

“I got it right away,” Stan replied. “I’m smarter than I look!  But I didn’t want to embarrass the child.  I merely suggested that he might want to talk to his teacher some more about that on Sunday, just to make sure he got it right.”

“Good,” I replied.  “Never a good idea to embarrass children for something they innocently misunderstand.”

“Right,” Stan said, “but later as I thought about the whole conversation, I was thinking that the child, even though he had the wrong word in mind, was not that far off base by minimizing Satan in his life.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Fleas are pretty small little creatures,” Stan replied.  “God wants me to resist Satan in every aspect of my being, so the devil will flee, but a good step in that direction is to at least minimize his evil influence in my life.”

It’s a whole lot better for me and my faith walk with God,” Stan concluded, “to make the devil little in my life, rather than for me to take the opposite track.”

“Opposite track?” I replied.  “What opposite track?”

 “Making little of the devil,” Stan responded with a smile!  “I’m on the wrong road if I do not take seriously the influence Satan can have on my life and my walk with God.”

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Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:7.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision for resisting the devil so he will flee and leave me alone.  You know how desperately I need help in resisting the influence he seeks to have in my life.  I confess that too often I have chosen not to resist him, and have, instead, chosen to allow his influence in my life.  Please forgive me.  And please help me in following every step of your lead in doing whatever I need to do in order to resist Satan so he will, in fact, flee from my life and leave me alone.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Satan just loves to influence us to make bad choices.  Where are you in recognizing what Satan wants to do in and through you?  God has every provision for us to resist Satan and cause him to leave us alone.  Where are you with that?  Where would you like to be?  What would that look like?

Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to S. Tory Teller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

559. Taking The Time To Love

“I went to the grocery store yesterday,” Stan began.  “As I was waiting in the checkout line, I got caught up on all of the tabloid news I need!”

“Anything interesting?” I asked.

“Somebody I’ve never heard of is divorcing someone else I’ve never heard of after being married for just a few weeks.”

Continuing, he said, “It seems that they got married two days after meeting one another and falling madly in love.  Now they say they don’t love one another.”

“Hardly surprising,” I replied.

“You’re right,” Stan said.  “It takes time to develop true love, whether you are talking about loving another person or about loving God.”

Continuing, he said, “The longer I am married, the more deeply I am in love with my wife.  It comes from spending time with her.  The same is true with my love for God.  In order to grow more deeply in love with Him, I need to spend more time with Him.”

“The more time, the more love,” I responded.

“Exactly, my friend!” Stan replied.  “Not so, however, with God’s love for you or for me.  He loved and loves us unconditionally from the beginning of time.”

“And,” he continued, God wants that same love to grow in us.  Not only for Him, but for others as well.  That’s another part of the whole process of being a disciple.  And, of course, love is the first-listed fruit of the Spirit.”

“But it takes time,” Stan concluded.  “And I have to choose to take the time.  I have to choose to take the time that is needed to develop love, lasting love, for God and for others.”

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God so loved the world . . . .  John 3:16.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:34, 35.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, . . . . Galatians 5:22.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for loving me.  Thank you that you sent Jesus into the world, and into my world, as an expression of your love.  Thank you for showing me what you want and expect in the love I have for you and for others on this side of eternity.  Thank you for wanting me to spend time with you to develop the love you want.  I confess that too often I choose not to spend the time developing the love you intend for you and for others.  Please forgive me.  And please help me in following your lead in every aspect of the love you have for me to have.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  The words, “I love you,” flow easily, but it takes time to develop real love behind the words.  Where are you in your love for God?  For others?  As loving as He wants?  As you want?  What will it take to have that kind of love?

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Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to S. Tory Teller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

558. Praising Or Grumbling — It’s A Matter Of Perspective

“Stan,” I said to him one morning, “you seem to usually have something good to say about most everything.  You seem to be kind of full of praise most of the time.”

“I have a lot for which to offer praise,’ he responded.

“Such as?” I asked.

“I know where I was, which was totally separated from God.”

“And,” he continued, “I know where I am now, in an ever-deepening relationship with God for whatever He has for me to be and to do on this side of eternity.”

“Furthermore,” Stan added, “I know where I’m going when my time on this side of eternity is over.  Going to get on the train to glory.  My time of doing and being while waiting for the train will be over, and I will be in the eternal presence of God!”

“In addition,” he continued, “all I have to do is look to see every provision I have that comes from God.  When I take the time to look, there is no way for me to allow grumbling and complaining to replace the praise that is to be flowing from me to God.”

“Well,” I responded, “when you put it like that, I guess you do have a lot of reasons to be filled with praise.”

“It’s more than a guess, my friend,” Stan replied.  “It’s a sure thing.  There is no way for me not to be filled with praise if I will only keep my eyes on all God has provided, and is providing, for me on both sides of eternity.”

Concluding, he said, “Who wouldn’t or couldn’t be filled with praise?”

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O Lord, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee.  I will give thanks to Thy name; for Thou hast worked wonders, plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness.  Isaiah 25:1.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for all of the reasons I have to praise you.  You have given me the assurance of spending eternity with you when my time here is finished.  You have given me the opportunity to know you and your Son on this side of eternity, all through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I confess that too often I do not praise you as I should because I choose to not focus on the reasons I have to praise you.  I prefer to complain and grumble. Please forgive me.  And please, Father, help me in following every step as you lead me in praising you just as you intend.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Is it easy or hard for you to offer praise to God?  Do you sometimes think there is nothing to praise Him about?  If so, do you need to think again?  If you had a life filled with praise of God for His every provision, what would that look like?  

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Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to S. Tory Teller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.

557. The Shepherd’s Question Mark

“I was talking with one of my neighbors last night,” Stan began, “about his faith walk.  How he got started and how he progressed.”

“Find out anything?” I asked.

“I did,” Stan replied.  “And it always amazes me how many different ways God has for drawing people to Him in an ever-deepening relationship.”

“I gather that your neighbor had a story to tell,” I said.  “What was it?”

“His story was not unlike mine,” Stan replied.  “He described himself as having been a ‘nominal Christian’.  He had his ticket to glory, but that was about the extent of his relationship with God.  As I said, not unlike me!”

“So, was there something that changed for him?” I asked.

“There was,” Stan replied.  “A funeral service.  A friend of his died.  At the funeral service, the twenty-third Psalm was printed in what was handed out for the order of the service.  My neighbor said that while he was waiting for the service to start, he read the first verse over and over.”

“The part about the Lord being the shepherd?” I asked.

“Exactly,” Stan replied.  “My neighbor said it was clearly God speaking to him through that verse.  He said it was like God asking him, ‘Am I your shepherd?’  The man admitted that for the first time he had to confront that question.  His answer was ‘No’, and it changed forever his faith walk.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“He said he went home after the service,” Stan responded, “and spent several hours talking with God about His role as the Shepherd.”

Continuing, he added, “The man said he had no doubt that Jesus was his Savior in that he knew where he is going when it is time for his funeral service, but he did not know Him as Lord and Shepherd for the time remaining on this side of eternity.”

“He was probably sorry that his friend died,” I replied, “but I bet he was really thankful for the funeral service.”

“That’s exactly what he said,” Stan replied.  “He said his life on this side of eternity has never been the same since that day.  God opened him to a life-changing truth in one verse, by turning it into a question!”

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The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  Psalm 23:1.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of everything I need for both sides of eternity.  Life eternally in your presence when it is time by my acceptance of your salvation through Jesus’ finished work on the cross.  Included in your every provision is the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus ever more deeply on this side of eternity.  Thank you for all of the truths you have for me if I will only be open to see and to hear.  I confess that too often I am not open because I choose not to be open.  Please forgive me.  And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead, wherever and however it may occur, to be totally open to all you have for me for the relationship you want and intend.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers  before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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Think on this:  Is the Lord your Shepherd?  If not, why? What would it look like for Him to fill that role in every aspect of your life?  

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Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to S. Tory Teller at: waiting4thetrain@gmail.com.