June 15, 2022 — What to do when you don’t feel like praying

As Ricky left with our breakfast orders, I asked Stan, “You ever have times when you don’t feel like praying?”

“Just as well ask me if I’ve ever eaten a blueberry pancake,” Stan replied with a smile.

“If that’s a ‘yes’,” I said, “what do you do when you don’t feel like praying?”

“Pray,” was his one-word answer.

“Pray when you don’t feel like praying?” I said. “How does that make any sense?”

Rather than answer my question directly, Stan asked, “When you don’t feel like praying, who do you think is at the root of that feeling?”

“Oh,” I replied. “You’re probably right. Satan doesn’t want me to pray.”

“Probably right?” Stan asked with a smile. “From way too much personal experience, I’ve learned that praying to God is one of the last things Satan wants me to do.”

“And what do you do about that?”

“Pray,” Stan replied. “Tell God frankly that I don’t feel like praying. He already knows that anyway! Then ask Him to open me to hear all He has to say to me.”

“But what if I don’t hear anything?”

“Stay there in prayer until you do,” Stan replied.  “Again, this is what I have learned from too many times of not staying in prayer until I hear from God about what’s on His heart that He wants me to know.”

“What if I don’t have time for that?”

“Don’t have time?” Stan asked rather pointedly. “Something’s more important than hearing what God has for you to hear? Seems to me you may also want to ask God about that! And be sure to wait for His answer!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And it came about that while He was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1.

Pray, then, in this way: . . . . Matthew 6:9.

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

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for allowing me to come before you in prayer. I confess that too often I choose not to pray because I have the self-focused, Satan-inspired, desire to do something other than pray. Please forgive that foolishness. I also confess that too often I don’t stay in prayer long enough for you to tell me what’s on your heart. Again, please forgive that foolishness. Please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead into the deepest possible prayer life you have for me so I truly and only seek what’s on your heart, knowing you already know what’s on mine. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: How’s your prayer life? Do you find yourself sometimes saying you don’t feel like praying, don’t have time, or something similar? If so, what’s that all about? Do you believe that the main purpose of prayer is to find out what’s on God’s heart, rather than telling Him things He already knows? Why or why not? If you sense the need for change in how you pray, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

June 14, 2022 — The Diet of a Disciple

“One of my neighbors,” Stan commented one morning, “who tends to be a little overweight seems to constantly shift from one diet to another.”

“Trying to keep his weight under control,” I commented. “Good for him. Seems like too many of us are overweight and it’s not healthy.”

“You’re right about that,” Stan replied, “and earlier this morning I was reading and thinking about what John the Baptist said about the diet for disciples.”

“A diet for disciples? John the Baptist was talking about a diet? What kind of diet, locusts and honey?”

“No,” Stan replied. “What I was looking at was not exactly about what to do to lose some weight, but it seems to me he sure was talking about losing something else.”

“What’s that?”

“John the Baptist is recorded as saying that in regard to himself and his life, he must decrease while Jesus becomes more important. Seems to me that it’s the same thing for me and for all of us who are pursuing discipleship.”

“Oh,” I said, “we are to decrease, while Jesus increases. That sounds kind of like the heart of discipleship.”

“In what way?” Stan asked.

“Well,” I replied, “I am to decrease by denying myself, while Jesus is increasing in my life when I take up what He has for me to take up. As well, He certainly does continue to increase in my life as I choose to follow Him wherever He wants to lead.”

“Good point,” Stan said. “And it seems to me that such a disciple diet may be just what all of us need every single day.”

“And every hour and every minute,” I replied.

“Amen, my friend.”

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Bible verses to consider:

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30.

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.

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:38.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you when my time here is completed. Thank you for those who brought me to the truth of your free and gracious provision through the finished work of the cross. Thank you, too, for the truth of discipleship, of how I am to decrease while you increase in my life. I confess that too often I do not choose to decrease and I do not choose for you to increase, all because that is what I want to do apart from you. Please forgive that foolishness. And please, Father, help me follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, decrease and that you do, in fact, increase in my life. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you decreased and allowed God to increase in your life for eternal purposes so you know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with continually decreasing self so that Jesus can increase in your life? If you sense the need for change in that regard, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

June 13, 2022 — It’s not just Sticks and Stones

“I was out in the front yard the other day,” Stan commented one morning. “I was trimming the rose bushes and I heard some of the neighborhood children playing. One of the children said something I reflected on and know isn’t true.”

“What?” I asked.

“I didn’t hear what the first child said to the other,” Stan replied, “but the second child recited the old English children’s rhyme, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me’.”

“So?”

“The one child,” Stan responded, “obviously said something to the other that wasn’t particularly nice, but the child’s response isn’t true. Words can and do hurt. They can do lasting damage. Maybe even for a lifetime.”

“Sounds like you may have some experience with that,” I commented.

“Way too much,” he replied. “And there’s another expression that reflects a lot of things that have caused trouble in my life.”

“What’s that?”

“Engage brain before putting mouth in gear!” Stan said with a smile.

Continuing, he added, “There have been so many times when I have said something to another person, especially my wife, that I regretted as soon as the words came out of my mouth. But once the words are out, they can’t be taken back. They have done their damage.”

“Anything you can do about that?” I asked.

“Confess, ask for forgiveness, and repent,” Stan replied. “And the most important part about repenting is, I think, to pay attention to all that God has to say about this and continually ask for His help with how James describes my tongue.”

“Describes your tongue?” I said. “What’s that?”

“He describes it as a restless evil full of deadly poison,” Stan replied.

“Sounds like the snake in the garden,” I commented.

“Sure does,” Stan said “but if I give my tongue to God, along with everything else about me, if I surrender all of me to His leading through His Holy Spirit, there’s a much better chance that I’m not going to be hurting other people with the words that come out of my mouth!”

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Bible verses to consider:

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. James 3:8-10.

And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned. Matthew 12:36-37.

Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent. Proverbs 17:28.

Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. James 1:19.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth . . . . Ephesians 4:29.

The mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. Matthew 12:34.

Prayer: Father, I come before you in confession that too often I speak hurtful words, words that do not bring you honor and glory. Please forgive me the foolishness of not taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus before I allow those words to be spoken and cause damage to others, particularly to those who are closest to me. Please help me in following every step of your lead in giving you all of me, including my tongue, so I manifest you to others, not defile you by the words I allow out of my mouth. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you used your mouth to confess Jesus so that you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with the words you speak on this side of eternity? Do you too often say things you immediately regret? If so, what’s that all about? If you sense the need for change in what comes out of your mouth, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

Prayer Request

On Monday, June 13, a friend of Stan’s is having some surgery to fix something that needs to be fixed. Prayers that all goes well and that the intended results will happen are appreciated. Thank you!

June 10, 2022 — Being a Philip

“I needed some fuel for the car yesterday,” Stan commented, “and I stopped by Philip’s Fill-Up over on Abernathy Street.”

“I haven’t been there for awhile,” I said. “I’ve been going to Big Box when I need some gas. It’s a little cheaper. How’s Philip doing?”

“He said things have slowed down,” Stan replied, “but he also said that’s just fine with him. Gives him more time to do why he’s named ‘Philip’.”

“What’d he mean by that?” I asked.

“You familiar with Philip in the Bible?”

“A little,” I replied. “He was one of the apostles wasn’t he?”

“That’s right,” Stan said. “Jesus appointed him as one of the twelve.”

“In the early church,” he continued, “God was using Philip in a mighty and successful way to spread the truth of the gospel, but Philip was willing to leave whatever he was doing when God had something else for him to do.”

“He was always ready to be used by God?” I said. “Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Whenever, wherever, and however. That’s what Philip the apostle did when God told him to arise and go elsewhere. And that’s what Philip at the gas station is ready to do if that’s what God wants. And it seems to me that’s what God has for me and for each one of us.”

“Sounds kind of like discipleship,” I said with a smile.

“In what way, my friend?” Stan asked.

“How about deny what I want to do apart from God,” I replied, “then take up what He has for me to take up, and then follow Him just as He intends?”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Stan said with a smile.

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Bible verses to consider:

The next day He purposed to go forth into Galilee, and He found Philip, and Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.” John 1:43.

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: . . . Philip . . . . Matthew 10:2-3.

But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Arise and go forth south to the road that descends to Gaza.” And he arose and went. Acts of the Apostles 8:26-27.

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 have places for me to go and things for me to do for you and for your kingdom. I confess that too often I am unwilling to hear your voice and follow your leading. I do that because I want to do what I want to do apart from you. Please forgive that foolishness, and please help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, go where you have for me to go, and I do what you have for me to do for you and for your kingdom. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you chosen to go where God has for you to go in the sense that you know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting His free and gracious provision of salvation and redemption? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with going and doing as God has for you on this side of eternity? If you sense the need for change in how you listen to and obey what God has for you, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

June 9, 2022 — All Dressed Up; Where are You Going to Go?

“You familiar with the expression, ‘All dressed up with no place to go’?” Stan asked me one morning.

“Of course,” I replied. “Why do you ask that?”

“It happened with some neighbors the other night,” Stan said. “He and his wife were just about to head out the door to have dinner with some friends when they got a call from their friends saying they weren’t feeling well and needed to cancel.”

“Probably disappointed,” I commented.

“They were,” Stan replied. “But they called us to see if we were available for a spur-of-the-moment invitation to go out to dinner with them.”

“Did you?”

“Yeah,” Stan said, “we ended up at Mario’s over on Franklin. Had a nice time with some good food and great conversation about being all dressed up with everywhere to go.”

“Don’t you mean nowhere to go?”

“No,” Stan replied. “We were talking about being all dressed up in Christ’s robe of righteousness for when we step into eternity, but how we are left on this side of eternity to manifest the righteousness of Christ wherever we go and whatever we do.”

“Oh,” I said, “being all dressed with everywhere to go. Kind of like what Jesus said about going into the whole world to make disciples.”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “The ‘whole world’ is certainly ‘everywhere,’ and that’s where we’re supposed to go in manifesting the righteousness of Christ, but we have to be careful.”

“Careful about what?”

“To not practice righteousness just to be seen by other people,” Stan replied.

“Yeah,” I said, “I guess there could be a difference in the motivation behind why I want to practice righteousness, to be seen by others as self-righteous or to be seen by others as manifesting the righteousness of Christ.”

“More than a guess, my friend,” Stan replied.

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Bible verses to consider:

I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10.

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me. Job 29:14.

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, . . . Ephesians 6:14.

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 6:1.

But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; . . . Matthew 23:5.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father for your provision of the finished work of the cross that I could accept and be clothed with Christ’s righteousness for when I step into eternity to spent the rest of it with you.  Thank you, too, that you have left me on this side of eternity to practice and manifest the righteousness of Christ in the life you have given me to live. I confess that too often I do not manifest His righteousness because I choose to manifest something else apart from Him and apart from you. Please forgive that foolishness, and please help me in following every step of your lead in manifesting the righteousness of Christ in every aspect of my life. 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 provision of Christ’s robe of righteousness for when your time here is completed? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption for when you step into eternity, how are you doing with manifesting Christ’s righteousness on this side of eternity? If you sense the need for changes in your life, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

June 8, 2022 — Dealing with the Wilderness

“I had an appointment over in Ettonville the other day,” Stan commented. “I went over there to meet with a group from the community church to talk about discipleship.”

“How’d it go?” I asked.

“It was just fine,” Stan replied, “but God had an interesting stop for me on the way that really helped.”

“A stop before you got there?”

“That’s right,” Stan said. “As I was going over the summit of Weston Mountain, I suddenly had the sense I was supposed to stop and see something.”

“Did you stop?”

“I did. I pulled over and stopped at the lookout point. You know what you can see from there?”

“What?”

“Wilderness. You see wilderness for as far as you can see. Nothing but wilderness.”

“So?”

“That’s what God wanted me to see,” Stan replied. “Kind of like John the Baptist who is described as a voice calling in the wilderness.”

“Too often,” he continued, “I get kind of frustrated in talking to people about God, Jesus, the church, discipleship, and all that. I get frustrated because there doesn’t seem to be any change. It’s like a voice in the wilderness that doesn’t make any difference.”

“And you think God showed you something about that?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Stan replied. “As I was looking at the vast wilderness from the top of Weston Mountain, God made it clear to me that my role is to be a voice. I am to keep talking about what He has for me to talk about to those who are in the wilderness of the world. He will take care of how that voice is heard and received.”

“And that made a difference with the people you were talking with in Ettonville?” I asked.

“It certainly did,” Stan replied. “I’m not certain about any difference for them, but it sure made a difference with me in seeing that my role is to tell people what God has for me to tell them. And it’s the same for each one of us. God will take it from there.”

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Bible verses to consider:

A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3.

He (John the Baptist) said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” John 1:23.

Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for those people you brought into my life who helped bring me out of the wilderness of the world into your eternal presence when my time here is completed. Thank you, too, for allowing me to draw ever closer to you on this side of eternity—and ever further away from the wilderness of the world, the flesh, and the devil. I confess that too often I do not speak to others the truth that will help them out of the wilderness of separation from you. Please forgive me, and please help me in following every step of your lead so I can be used by you exactly as you intend in keeping myself out of the world’s wilderness, and in helping others in the same way. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you left the “wilderness” in the sense of having accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him eternally when your time here is completed? If no, why? Do you actually prefer that wilderness over God’s presence? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in helping others out of the wilderness of separation from God? If you sense the need for change with that, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

June 7, 2022 — The Progression of Repentance

“Do you remember,” Stan asked, “the other day when we talked about repentance from the standpoint of whether I really repent or just intend to repent?”

“I do remember that,” I replied. “If I just have the intent to repent, without actually repenting, I’m not going to make much progress in changing directions in my life.  [Note to Reader:  See Posting for May 26, 2022, “Is it just an intent to repent?”].

“That’s right,” Stan said, “and this morning I would like to add something I’ve found to be helpful to me in making progress in repenting.”

“Progress in repenting?” I replied. “Isn’t it just repenting or not repenting?”

“Not in my experience,” Stan said. “Way too many times in my faith walk, I have started in the direction of repenting, stopped, and ended up right back where I was. Then I repeated the process of repenting, failing, and starting over. Same thing again and again, but at least there was progress until I finally could say that I had, in fact, repented.”

“Finally changed directions,” I commented. “Any magical formula for that?”

“No magical formula,” Stan replied with a smile, “but I did discover something I found to be helpful to me.”

“I didn’t respond, so he continued. “There’s a little story I ran across some time ago that I’ve found helpful. As far as I remember, it doesn’t specifically mention repentance, but I read between the lines and think it has application to making progress with repentance.”

“Love to hear it!” I responded.

“The story begins.” Stan said, “when the author said she walked down a street, fell into a hole in the street, and it took her seemingly forever to find a way out of that hole.”

“Next,” he continued, “the author walked down the same street and fell into the same hole. Then it took her less time to get out of that hole.”

“So,” I said, “fell in the same hold twice, but the second time it didn’t take her as long to get out?”

“That’s right,” Stan replied. “After that, she walked down the same street, fell into the same hole, but got right out.”

“Got right out! Good for her. Then what?”

“She then walked down the same street, saw the same hole, and walked around it.”

“Walked around the hole so she wouldn’t fall in and have to get out. Anything else?”

“There is,” Stan replied. “The final part of the story is that she then chose to walk down a different street.”

“Walk down a different street and avoid the possibility of falling into the same old hole. Good for her!”

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And as I mentioned, while the story doesn’t specifically say it is about repentance, the lesson for me is all about listening to and following the voice of the Hoy Spirit regarding streets I choose to walk down, along with the holes into which I fall and continue to fall. Listening to the voice that leads me in a different direction to avoid the same old thing. To me, that’s the essence of the progression of repentance.”

“Progression of repentance?”

“Yeah,” Stan responded. “It’s real easy to condemn myself for failed repentance, but it is essential that I not end my repenting efforts with the first failure, or even those failures that come later, but to measure the progress that comes from my listening and following the Holy Spirit.  If I do that, there will come a time I can look back and rejoice that I am walking down God’s street, not the street of self, the world, the flesh, and the devil. God’s street has no holes!”

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Bible verses to consider:

Repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.  Acts of the Apostles 26:20.

Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with your repentance. Matthew 3:8.

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 3:10.

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.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of repentance, both for eternal purposes and for while you keep me on this side of eternity. Through your free and gracious provision, you granted me the opportunity to repent from my separation from you so I know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. As well, you help me in repenting while I stay on this side of eternity so I can draw ever closer to you. Thank you, and please help me in choosing to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit as He leads me in avoiding the pits and the falls that so easily keep me away from you and your will. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you repented from your separation from God so you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? If you have repented for eternal purposes, how are you doing with the day-to-day repentance on this side of eternity? Do you find yourself often needing to repent from the same thing(s)? If so, what is that all about? If you sense the need to “walk down different streets” to avoid the same holes, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

Note: The story referred to in this devotional is loosely based on a writing by Portia Nelson.

June 6, 2022 — Too Much Dust in the Air

“If I remember correctly,” Stan said one morning, “I told you about the farm I grew up on, that it was all dry-land farming without any irrigation except for what fell out of the sky.”

“I remember,” I replied, “and some years there wasn’t a whole lot of rain to help the crops grow.”

“Exactly,” Stan said. “And when there wasn’t much rain and the wind blew, usually out of the west, there could be a lot of dust in the air.”

“You mean like dust storms?”

“Yeah,” Stan replied. “I remember times when you could see a dust storm coming from a long way off. The sky would get real dark and then it would hit. Dust blowing everywhere.”

“I’ve never seen a dust storm,” I replied, “but I can imagine it must have been kind of scary.”

“You’re right,” Stan said. “Kind of scary, but not as scary as the dust storms Jesus talked about.”

“Jesus talked about dust storms?”

“Well,” Stan replied, “not exactly dust storms, but He sure did tell His disciples to shake the dust off of their feet and travel on when they weren’t received or when the people didn’t listen to what they had to say. And if you look at all of the people who have done that down through the ages, and the number of people who continue to do that, it’s quite a dust storm!”

“Maybe,” I said, “that’s why so much of our world seems to be getting a lot darker; maybe there’s too much dust in the air.”

“Could be,” Stan replied. “But just because there may be a lot of dust in the air from so many people not welcoming and not listening to the truth, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story.”

“How so?”

“Let me give you an example from the person I know best.” Stan said.  “I was very slow in coming to faith.  So slow, in fact, there was a time when some people gave up on talking to me about it.  They quit talking, but they continued to pray for me, and I believe that because of those prayers I was eventually opened to hearing, accepting, and embracing the truth of salvation, redemption, life eternally with God when it’s time, and the eternal life of knowing Him and Jesus on this side of eternity.”

“So,” I replied, “those people may have shaken the dust off of their feet, but they didn’t stop caring by praying, is that it?”

“That’s it, my friend,” Stan said.  “It may be okay to shake a little dust, but don’t leave it at that!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust from the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.  Mark 6:11.

And whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet.  Matthew 10:14.

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.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you when my time here is done, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus before then.  Thank you, too, for those people you sent into my life, the ones who were diligent in presenting that truth to me and in praying for me to believe, accept, and embrace the truth.  Thank you they did not give up on me. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do not give up on anyone you bring into my life. Help me to continue to present the truth and to pray for each person you bring before me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Do you have the assurance of redemption and salvation for when your time here is completed?  If no, why?  If you do have that assurance, it is likely because someone presented you with the truth and prayed for you. Do you thank God for that person? Are there people in your life who have not yet come to faith?  Are you talking with them about it?  Are you praying for them? If you sense the need for change in your life in how you reach out and pray for others, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

June 3, 2022 — Listening to Tychicus

“You ever have a Tychicus?” Stan asked me one morning.

“Not sure,” I replied, “what do they taste like?”

“Tough question,” Stan said, “because it’s a person, not something to eat.”

“A person? What kind of person?”

“One who tells you how someone else is doing,” Stan replied. “At least that’s what I saw when I was looking at the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus.”

I didn’t say anything, so he continued. “Near the end of Paul’s letter, he mentions that he was going to send a dear friend and brother in Christ to tell the people about Paul’s circumstances and how he was doing.”

“Oh,” I said, “like a messenger. You ever have anyone like that?”

“All the time,” Stan replied, “if I care enough and am open to listening to what other people have to say.”

Continuing, he added “Just for example, the other day I ran into somebody I hadn’t seen for a while. She told me about a mutual friend who is going through some rough times. Because of what she told me, I was able to reach out to our mutual friend with some help.”

“So,” I replied, “the first person was kind of like a Tychicus to let you know how someone else was doing. Is that it?”

“Yeah,” Stan said, “except I do see a difference. Paul sent Tychicus; I think God sends people into our lives to be like a Tychicus to let us know how other people are doing so we will know how we can help them.”

“What kind of help?” I ask.

“Depends on what they need,” Stan replied. “And I will only know that if I listen to those people God sends into my life.”

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Bible verses to consider:

But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. And I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts. Ephesians 6:21-22.

As to all of my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow-bondslave in the Lord, will bring you information. For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. Colossians 4:7-8.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the people you send into my life to let me know how other people are doing. I confess that too often I do not seek to find out how others are doing and how I might help them because I am too self-focused and do not care the way you intend. Please forgive that foolishness. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead so I am receptive to every “Tychicus” you send into my life for your purposes. Please open me to listen to how others are doing and know how you want me to help them in any way they may need. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you believe God sends people into your life to let you know how others are doing and how you might help them? Has that ever happened to you? If so, what was your response? If it has not happened, why do you think that might be? If you sense the need to be more open to hearing from a “Tychicus,” how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?