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October 15, 2021 — Solitaire or Double Solitaire?

“I was talking with my next-door neighbor last night,” Stan began, “and he had a story to tell me about his grandchildren and a couple of decks of cards that has significance for his faith walk.”

“Grandchildren, cards, and faith walk?” I replied. “What’s that all about?”

“Well,” Stan said, “it seems his two teen-age grandchildren were visiting and he was somewhat bothered by how much time they spent on their cell phones texting, looking at social media sites, and that sort of thing.”

“Yeah,” I responded, “that can take a lot of time and attention, some of it not so good. So did your neighbor do anything about it?”

“He did,” Stan replied. “He taught them how to play old-fashioned solitaire with a deck of cards.”

“But couldn’t they have done that with an app on their phones?”

“Of course,” Stan said, “but that would have defeated the purpose of trying to get them off of their cell phones!”

“Okay,” I replied, “so he taught them to play solitaire with real cards. What’s the spiritual lesson?”

“It turned out that the grandchildren really enjoyed playing,” Stan said, “but as they both sat at the table playing individual solitaire, my neighbor was given the idea to introduce them to double solitaire so they could play together, helping each other out.”

“But I still don’t see the spiritual significance,” I commented.

“We are not to be solitary Christians,” Stan replied. “While we are to pursue an ever-deepening personal relationship with God, that personal relationship is to result in being involved in the Christian community helping others.”

“Helping others in what way?” I asked.

“Ways,” Stan replied. “Plural. Each of us is to help other believers in whatever ways they need, whether it’s physical needs, encouragement, growing in their own personal relationship with God, whatever.”

“So,” I said, “I’m not to sit there playing solitaire when there’s someone who is available for double solitaire. Is that the point?”

“You got it my friend,” Stan replied. “And it’s to be a life, not just a game!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts of the Apostles 2:42.

And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common. Acts of the Apostles 2:44.

And it came about that when He had reclined at table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Luke 24:30.

So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:12.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all of your provision in everything: life eternally with you when it’s time, the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus ever more deeply before then, and all of the physical provision you make available. I confess that too often I tend to want to keep it all for myself, rather than sharing it with others as you intend. Please forgive my selfishness. Please help me in following every step of your lead to not be a solitary Christian, but to be involved with the Christian community exactly as you intend, sharing all you have for me to share. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Sharing God’s provision should be a natural consequence of the first step of discipleship, that of denying self. Do you agree with that? Why or why not? If you have the assurance of salvation for when your time here is done, how are you doing with sharing the truth of that assurance with others so they can have the same thing? How about sharing with others what God shows you about Him. How about sharing physical resources? If you sense a calling for change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

October 14, 2021 — Have you told Him lately?

“A neighbor stopped by last night to ask if I would watch his house for a few days,” Stan commented one morning. “He wants me to take in the mail and just keep an eye out to see that everything is okay.”

“They going somewhere?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Stan replied. “He said they’re going on a road trip down the coast to get out of the heat.”

“Good for them,” I said. “That should be much cooler. When are they leaving?”

“Tomorrow,” Stan replied. “And my neighbor mentioned that he had taken his car over to Mike’s Auto Repair to have the oil changed and checked out before they head out on the road.”

“Good idea to make sure everything is okay before they leave,” I commented.

“That’s what my neighbor said he wanted,” Stan replied. “He also said that when he picked up the car there was a spiritual lesson waiting for him.”

“A spiritual lesson at Mike’s?” I said. “What was that all about?”

“Apparently Mike had indicated everything was fine with the car,” Stan replied, “but my neighbor said that when he got in the car he was reminded of something that may not be fine.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Well,” Stan replied, “he indicated that when he started the car, the music he heard on the radio was from Mike’s favorite station. Mike must have been listening to it when he took the car out for a test to see if everything was okay.”

“What music did he heard?”

“It’s a song that was first recorded a long time ago, and has been done by a lot of different people, but the version my neighbor heard was a country version of ‘Have I told you lately that I love you.’”

“And what wasn’t fine about that?” I asked.

“My neighbor said he was immediately convicted by the Holy Spirit asking him how long it had been since he had told God that he loved Him.”

“Oh,” I responded. “That’s a good question for me as well.”

“And me,” Stan replied.

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Bible verses to consider: 

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Mark 12:30.

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

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

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you so loved the world, including me, that you gave your only begotten Son so that I can have life with you for eternity when my time here is completed, as well as the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus before then. Thank you, too, for allowing me to love you with all of my being. I confess that too often I do not tell you how much I love you. As well, I do not demonstrate my love for you the way you intend. Please forgive me and please help me in following every step of your lead so I do love you, I do tell you that I love you, and I do demonstrate that love by the way I live the life you have given me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you love God? If so, do you tell Him and do you demonstrate that love by the way you live your life? If you sense you may need to make some changes in loving God, in telling Him, and in demonstrating your love for Him, how are those changes going to occur? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

October 13, 2021 — How do I do this “Working Out” Thing?

“Stan,” I said one morning, “quite often you talk about working out the salvation that has been worked in by the finished work of Christ on the cross.”

“That’s right,” Stan replied. “It’s an important subject that I believe is at the heart of discipleship.  Do you have a question about it?”

“I do,” I said. “Where Paul wrote about that in the letter to the church in Philippi, he says to work out that salvation with fear and trembling. I wonder how I’m supposed to do that; is it all about my self-efforts or is something else involved?”

“I would say that it’s both you and something else,” Stan responded. “However, I don’t think the ‘you’ part is involved with your self-efforts. I think it’s the exact opposite.”

“Exact opposite,” I said. “In what way?”

“Rather than self-effort,” Stan said, “I think it’s all about denial of self-effort.”

“Like the first step of being a disciple?” I asked. “Denying self?”

“That’s what I see,” Stan replied, “getting myself out of God’s way so He can do what Paul wrote about in the immediately following verse.”

“Which is what?” I asked.

“So God can do His work,” Stan said. “Paul points out that it’s God who is at work in the person, doing His will and His work for His pleasure.”

“God’s will, God’s work, and God’s pleasure,” I said. “That’s kind of like God does, or at least wants to do, everything. He provided the way for life eternally with Him, He provides the eternal life of knowing Him and Jesus before then, and He works out the salvation that He worked in.  What’s left for the individual person to do?”

“Get out of His way!” Stan exclaimed. “Let God do what He wants to do. Be a disciple who is fully and continually surrendered in every way there is to surrender.”

“Is it really as simple as that?” I asked.

“As simple and as complicated as that,” Stan replied with a smile.

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Bible verses to consider:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.

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

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 done in providing the way to spend eternity in your presence when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship before then. Thank you also for working in and through me to work out the salvation you have worked in through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. I confess that too often I do not get me out of your way so you can do all you want to do in and through me.  Please forgive that foolishness and please help me in following every step of your lead so you can and will do all you want. 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 life with Him in eternity that does not end? If no, why? What’s in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with working out the salvation that God has worked in? Do you agree with the premise of this devotional that it is God’s will, God’s work, and God’s pleasure being accomplished and that your role is to get out of His way so He can do what He wants? Why or why not? If the salvation worked in by the finished work of Jesus is not being worked out in your life and you sense changes are in order, what are those changes and how are they going to occur?

October 12, 2021 — Being Allowed to be a Part of what God is Doing

“I was reading in Luke’s gospel the other day,” I commented on morning, “and there’s a story that has always made me wonder.”

“Wonder about what?” Stan asked.

“How,” I replied, “as a practical matter, it could have happened.”

“What were you looking at?” Stan said.

“The story where Jesus was getting ready to enter Jerusalem and go to the cross,” I replied. “Where He sent two disciples to go and get a donkey colt for Him to ride on.”

“What about it?” Stan asked.

“How Jesus told the disciples to tell anyone who asked what they were doing, that ‘the Lord has need of it’. How is the owner of the colt going to give it to some strangers just because they said that?”

“Seems to me,” Stan replied, “that this may be another instance of where God moved to allow some people to be a part of what He was doing.”

“How so?” I asked.

“In the first instance,” Stan said, “I don’t think Jesus needed to have these people loan Him the donkey colt. He could have just made one appear like He did with the water into wine or the feeding of the five thousand with virtually nothing.”

“You really think that?” I asked.

“God can do whatever He wants,” Stan responded. “He doesn’t need us, but He does want us to be involved in what He’s doing. In this instance, I think by telling the disciples to tell the owner of the colt that He had need of it, Jesus was allowing the owners to be involved in what God was doing, even though they may not have understood it at the time.”

“You ever experience anything like that?” I asked.

“Being allowed to be a part of what God is doing?” he asked.  “Is that what you’re asking?”

“Yeah, that’s it,” I replied. “That ever happen to you?”

“Only all of the time, if, and I emphasize ‘if,’ I’m open to seeing, being led, and following!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And it came about when He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, in which, as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it, and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ thus you shall speak, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” Luke 19:29-31.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to be a part of what you are doing to accomplish whatever it is you want. I confess that too often I am not involved in what you are doing because either I am not open to seeing how you want to involve me, or I choose to not be involved.  Please forgive that foolishness, and please help me in following every step of your lead so I am involved with what you are doing to accomplish your purposes exactly as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you chosen to be involved with God for eternity when your time here is completed? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting His free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with choosing to be involved in God’s kingdom purposes on this side of eternity? If you sense you are being called to be more involved with what God is doing, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

October 11, 2021 — Is it okay to ask God for greater faith?

“There’s a fellow I’ve been meeting with off and on for a long time,” Stan commented one morning. “I’ve been sharing my faith with him, with the hope and prayer he will come to faith.”

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“There may have been a breakthrough,” Stan replied. I’m going to have to wait and see what God has in mind for him.”

“How so?” I asked.

“This man is not unlike a lot of people I have dealt with over the years,” Stan replied. “His basic approach to what I have to say to him is that he simply doesn’t have faith. He says that he thinks it’s just fine that I have such faith, but he doesn’t have faith, and he just can’t believe the way I do.”

“Yeah,” I responded, “I’ve known a lot of people like that.”

“In fact,” Stan replied, “that’s exactly where I was at one point in my life, and this is what I lately shared with this man. It might have made a difference with him. I didn’t have faith and I didn’t believe. I wasn’t hostile to those who did have such faith, but I didn’t.”

“But obviously something changed at some point,” I said. “What was it?”

“God showed me that’s it’s okay to ask Him for faith to believe.”

“How did He do that?”

“Well,” Stan replied, “as I said, I wasn’t hostile to those who did have faith, and I would occasionally open the Bible to see if it had anything to say to me. One day I opened the Bible to Luke’s gospel. I just opened it, but in retrospect I believe it was God who opened it to the seventeenth chapter and to a specific verse.”

“Which verse?” I asked.

“Five,” he replied. “That verse records that the apostles said to Jesus, ‘Increase our faith!’”

“And that verse opened you to see something?” I asked.

“Yes,” Stan replied, “to the truth that if those walking closely with Jesus, the apostles, asked Him to increase their faith, that it was certainly just fine for me who was not walking with Him to ask Him for the same thing.”

“And did you ask Him that?” I said.

“I did. He responded and nothing has been the same for me since then. My prayer is that it will be the same with the man I have been meeting with. That he, along with everyone, will see that there’s nothing wrong with asking for faith. God is more than happy to respond!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5.

Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24.

Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for all you have available for each one of us who will by faith accept what you have: life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus. Thank you, too, that you are perfectly willing to help my unbelief and lack of faith, if I will only ask and seek what you have for me. I confess that too often I do not come to you with my lack of faith and belief, but I stay away. Please forgive that foolishness. And please help me to follow every step of your lead in bringing to you everything that may be in the way of deeper faith and belief, knowing you will respond. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you, by faith, accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him when it’s time? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with bringing any lack of faith and belief to God? Do you think it’s okay to bring such things to God? Why or why not? If you sense God is waiting for you to bring such things to Him so He can help, are you going to do that? Why or why not?

October 8, 2021 — If you don’t go, you won’t know

“You remember the story in Luke’s gospel about the ten lepers who were healed?” Stan asked me one morning.

“Yeah,” I replied, “about how only one of them bothered to thank Jesus.”

“That’s a point we will cover another day,” Stan said. “What I want to focus on this morning is the importance of doing what Jesus says. In this instance, the lepers were healed only as they did what Jesus told them to do.”

“He didn’t just heal them?” I asked.

“Not in this instance,” Stan replied. “There are other stories where Jesus healed lepers, but here with these ten, Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests. And it was while they were doing what Jesus told them to do that they were healed.”

“He told them to go, they went, and they were healed,” is that what you’re saying?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “It seems to me that if they wouldn’t have gone in obedience they may not have been healed. It’s kind of like the ‘Go’ that Jesus said to do in the Great Commission.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Jesus said to ‘Go and make disciples,’ Stan replied. “If I don’t go, how am I going to know what God is going to do? With the ten lepers, they went and God healed them. With the Great Commission, if I don’t go how am I going to see how God is going to heal all of those people who will be reached by the truth of the gospel?”

“Healed for eternity by accepting the free and gracious gift of salvation,” I commented, “along with the healing of being a disciple before then. Is that it?”

“You got it, my friend,” Stan said with a smile. “If you don’t go, you won’t know!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And when He (Jesus) saw them (the ten lepers), He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And it came about that as they were going, they were cleansed. Luke 17:14.

And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” And stretching out His hand, He touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and present the offering that Moses prescribed for a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:2-4.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

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

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of cleansing me from all of my sin and unrighteousness by the cross of Christ so I can spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, for your provision of all you have for me when I obey what you have for me to obey. I confess that too often I do not obey because I choose not to obey. I choose to go my own way apart from you and miss out on what you have for me that is available if I will only do what you say. Please forgive my foolish disobedience. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do obey and can see the fruit of that obedience. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you been cleansed for eternity by accepting God’s free and gracious gift of salvation and redemption? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence, how are you doing with obeying what He says to you on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense changes in your obedience may be appropriate, how are those changes going to occur?

October 7, 2021 — Is it “Always” or “All Ways?” Yes!

“Last night,” I commented to Stan, “I was reading in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, and I saw something that seems impossible to me.”

“What’s that?” Stan asked.

“Where Paul says that I am to rejoice in the Lord always,” I replied. “I just don’t see how I can do that.”

“Why not?” he responded.

“There’s just so much not to rejoice about. Just look around at what’s going on in the world. How am I supposed to rejoice in all of that stuff?”

“Maybe that’s the problem,” Stan said. “What you’re looking at. I know for me that if I start looking at all there may be for me not to rejoice in, it takes my focus off of all that I do have to rejoice in and about.”

“For me,” he added, “it’s helpful if I look at what Paul wrote about in a slightly different way.”

“How so?” I asked.

“If I look at what Paul wrote and see that where he wrote I am to rejoice ‘always’ as also including ‘all ways,’ I have a much better chance of doing what he wrote.”

“Okay,” I said, “I see what you mean. In addition to always rejoicing, I am to rejoice in every way there is to rejoice. But how do I do that?”

“Focus,” Stan replied. “Choose what you focus on. In the first instance, remember that Jesus told His disciples that they were to rejoice that their names are recorded in heaven. If I do that, if I always rejoice that I know where I’m going when my time here is done, I am way ahead of the game in rejoicing in ‘all ways’.”

“As well,” he continued, “if I look at rejoicing as being part of what it means to be a disciple, and if I follow the steps that Jesus said lead to discipleship, I can and will rejoice always in all ways.”

“How?” I asked.

“The first step of denying self,” Stan replied, “is getting me out of the way so I can and will rejoice in what God has for me to rejoice in.  Second, I am to take up what God has for me to take up, in this case, rejoicing is what I am to take up.”

“And then the third step,” I added, “would be following in rejoicing. Wherever, however, and wherever God has for me. I guess that would make what Paul wrote include ‘all ways’ in addition to ‘always’.”

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

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Bible verses to consider:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice! Philippians 4:4.

Rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven. Luke 10:20.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that I have so much to rejoice about. First, that my name is written in heaven because I have accepted your free and gracious gift of life with you in eternity when my time here is done. Second, that you give me the opportunity to rejoice in knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I take my focus off of you and the reasons I have to rejoice. Please forgive that foolishness. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, rejoice in you always and in all ways. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you have reason to rejoice that your name is written in heaven? If no, is that because you have not accepted God’s free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him? If that’s the case, what’s standing in the way? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing in rejoicing on this side of eternity? Do you rejoice “always” as well as in “all ways”? If you sense you are being called to deeper and more consistent rejoicing, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

October 6, 2021 — In a Holding Pattern?

“The other day,” Stan commented, “I went to the airport to pick up a friend who was flying in to spend a few days with us.”

“Good friend?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Stan replied, “we’ve been friends for a long time. We both became Christians at about the same point and have been able to help each other in our growing faith walks.”

“That’ great,” I responded. “Did he get here okay?”

“He did,” Stan said, “but the plane was almost an hour late in landing.”

“Was it late in taking off?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “My friend said it actually took off a few minutes before the scheduled departure time.”

“Why was it late?”

“It seems it was in a holding pattern waiting for something, but my friend was not sure what that was. But he did say that he got to see a lot of Weston Mountain as the plane kept circling in the holding pattern!”

“On the way home from the airport,” Stan continued, “we were talking about the spiritual significance of what happened.”

“Spiritual significance?” I replied. “In what way?”

“Being in a holding pattern rather than taking hold of what God has for us,” Stan said. “Just circling what God has for us to do and to be rather than getting involved in the doing and being.”

Continuing, he added, “The apostle Paul focused on this in his letter to the church in Philippi, one of the letters that has also been made available to me and to all of us.”

“He wrote about being in a holding pattern?” I asked.

“He did,” Stan replied. “He didn’t specifically mention a ‘holding pattern,’ but I think that’s what he was referring to when he wrote to ‘take hold’ of what God has for us. Take hold, not just be waiting to take hold.”

“Kind of like going ahead and taking the steps to be a disciple,” I said, “not just hanging around waiting for something to happen.”

“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied “only I think it’s more than ‘kind of like’!”

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Bible verses to consider:

. . . I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12.

Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so they may take hold of that which is life indeed. 1 Timothy 6:18-19.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your free and gracious provision of all that you have for me to claim or lay hold of: life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do not lay hold of all you have for me to be and to do for you and your kingdom. Rather than laying hold of what you have, I stay in a “holding pattern” away from you. Please forgive that foolishness. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, lay hold of all you have for me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you “laid hold” of God’s provision of life eternally with Him when your time here is completed? If no, why? Do you not know it’s available as God’s free and gracious gift? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with laying hold of all that God has for you to be and to do as a disciple on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for some changes in how you lay hold of what God has for you, how are those changes going to occur? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

October 5, 2021 — The Old Road or the New Highway?

“Last Saturday,” I said to Stan one morning, “I decided to drive over to Cedar Creek to visit with a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time.”

“How was that?” Stan asked.

“Didn’t make it,” I said. “I made a crucial error that caused all sorts of problems.”

“What happened?” 

“Rather than taking the new highway that goes through Junction City,” I replied, “I decided to take the old road that goes up over Weston Mountain. Bad choice. Ever since the new highway opened, there has been little or no maintenance to the old road. It’s pretty rough with lots of potholes. I ended up with two flat tires and needed a tow truck.”

“By the time I got towed back to Ted’s Tire Store and got the tires fixed,” I continued, “it was too late to get to Cedar Creek. Next time I’m going to take the new highway.”

“Not unlike our faith walks,” Stan responded.

“How so?” I asked.

“God’s highway of holiness,” he said. “Traveling on that highway is a whole lot better than an old road full of potholes!”

“Highway of holiness? What’s that?”

“The Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament mentions it,” Stan replied. “Jesus talked about it and several of the New Testament writers cover it as well. It has to do with the choices I make in following the path God has for me to use.”

“Following God’s path, versus some other path?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Choosing God’s way on His highway of holiness, rather than my way on the road of self, the world, the flesh, and the devil.”

“Makes sense,” I said. “Sounds kind of like the steps of discipleship.”

“How so?” Stan asked.

“Well,” I replied, “Denying self could be seen as the part about not taking the old road. Taking up what God has for me to take up is like going on God’s highway, and, of course, the follow part of discipleship is staying on that highway to wherever it leads. Maybe we should call it the ‘Highway of Discipleship’!”

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

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Bible verses to consider:

And a highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called “the highway of holiness.” The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it. Isaiah 35:8.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. John 14:6.

Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. Matthew 7:13-14.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving Jesus as the way to you. Thank you for those who brought me to the truth so I can look forward to spending eternity in your presence when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship before then. I confess that too often I do not choose to travel your highway of holiness, but I choose a different road that takes me away from you. Please forgive that foolishness. Please help me in following every step of your lead to travel your highway of holiness exactly as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Jesus called Himself the “Way.” What does that mean to you? Have you accepted the way to the Father so you have the assurance of spending eternity with Him when it’s time? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation, how are you doing with traveling God’s highway of holiness on this side of eternity? If you sense there should be changes in your life in that regard, how are those changes going to occur? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

October 4, 2021 — From “My” to “Thy”

“Some time ago,” Stan commented one morning, “there was a song that was pretty popular. In fact, I still hear it every once in awhile.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I don’t remember the exact title,” Stan replied, “but it had something to do with living a life my way.”

“I think that’s the title,” I said, “My Way.”

“Maybe so,” Stan said. “In any event, I know it reflected my view of this life for way too long.  As well, I think there are still too many times when that’s what I do.”

“Rather than what?” I asked.

“Doing it ‘Thy Way’!”

“Thy Way versus my way,” I commented. “Didn’t Jesus say something about that?”

“He did,” Stan replied, “several times. He talked about it when He was teaching His disciples how to pray, telling them to pray that ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.”

“As well,” he continued, “that’s certainly what Jesus prayed to His Father right before He went to the cross when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane.”

“I remember that,” I replied. “He asked His Father to change what was going to happen, if He was willing to do so, but that Jesus said He would submit to the Father’s will whatever it was.”

“Exactly,” Stan said. “And that’s the view I’m to have in everything, being committed to telling God that I am willing to change ‘my will’ to ‘Thy will’ when my will is contrary to His!”

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Bible verses to consider:

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10.

And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.” Luke 22:41-42.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that your will is going to be done on earth as it is in heaven. I confess that too often I choose not to be a part of your will being done in and through me because I prefer to do my will rather than yours. Please forgive that foolishness. Please help me in following every step of your lead so my life is a reflection and manifestation of your will being done. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you believe that God’s will is going to be done on earth as in heaven? Why or why not? How are you doing with God’s will being done in and through you? Is doing things your way rather than God’s way something you sense could use some changes in your life. If so, how is that going to happen? Is that what you would like to have happen? Why or why not?

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The Book: Waiting for the Train — Biblical Food for Growing Before Going, by S. Tory Teller (Foreword by Josh McDowell) is a 100-day devotional focused on discipleship. If you haven’t yet taken a look, find it on Amazon.com and check out the “Look Inside” feature to see the first 20 or so pages of the book.