Blog

August 3, 2022 — Being Foolish or Seeking to Understand?

“As I’ve said to you more than once,” Stan commented one morning, “I think the apostle Paul was uniquely gifted by God to say a whole lot in just a few words.”

“Saying a lot in a few words,” I replied. “That’s better than saying nothing in a whole bunch of words!”

“You’re right,” Stan said, “and what I saw earlier this morning when I was looking at Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus is another example of one of his zingers I think was aimed right at me.”

“Right at you? What’d he have to say?”

“Don’t be foolish, but understand the will of God.”

“Don’t be foolish, but understand the will of God,” I repeated. “That sounds like it could cover a lot of ground!”

“Sure does,” Stan replied. “Especially with me.”

“You?” I said. “How’s it apply to you?”

“Every time I go off on my own, doing what I want to do apart from God without even seeking to understand His will for me, I’m being foolish.”

“I can see,” I replied, “how that might apply to just about everyone.”

“Might apply?” Stan asked with a smile. “I know for a fact that it does apply to me, and I also know the solution is to do what Jesus said in being a disciple.”

“What’s that?”

“Deny what I want to do in being foolish,” Stan replied, “then take up what He has for me to take up in understanding His will for me, then comes the third step of following Him.”

“Wherever, however, and whenever,” I said. “Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied, “and remember the ‘whenever’ is always!”

___________________________________

Bible verses to consider:

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2.

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

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for convicting me by the truth of your word. You say clearly that you want me to stop being foolish and to seek to understand your will for me. I confess that too often I don’t do that because I want to do what I want to do apart from you. That is foolishness, and I ask you to forgive me. Please help me in not being foolish and in following every step of your lead into your perfect will for me in all things, all of the time. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this: Have you stopped being foolish in rejecting God’s provision for you to spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? What’s keeping you being foolish in that way? If you are a Christian, how are you doing in not being foolish by truly seeking God’s will for every aspect of your life? If you can see that you are foolish in that way and want to change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 4, 2022 — Are you in Training?

“You know,” Stan commented one morning, “we’ve talked quite a bit about the power of personal testimony.”

“You’re right,” I replied. “It’s pretty essential for each Christian to have a personal testimony that can be shared at any time to help another person see the truth of how a person’s eternal destination and life on this side of eternity can be changed.”

“Exactly,” Stan said. “And I observed another instance of that last night when I was talking with a neighbor.”

“How so?”

“He was talking about how he used to get up in the early dark every morning to train for running marathons. He said he would run for at least a couple of hours every morning. Sometimes more.”

“Good for him,” I replied. “That’s a great testimony for physical discipline to be prepared.”

“That was the jumping-off point for him,” Stan said. “My neighbor was talking about the difference that happened after he came to faith.”

“The jumping-off point?” I asked. “If what way?”

“He said that after he came to faith he continued getting up early every morning to run, but at one point he clearly heard the Holy Spirit say something like, ‘What are you training for?’ And it was that voice that caused him to reflect on what’s important and what’s not.”

I didn’t say anything, so Stan continued. “My neighbor said that he began to focus on what the apostle Paul wrote about concerning perishable and imperishable prizes.”

“Perishable and imperishable prizes,” I repeated. “What’s that mean?”

“The apostle Paul wrote about that in his first letter to the church in Corinth,” Stan replied. “Paul wrote about how the world will train to receive an award that is perishable, but that we as Christians are to train for the imperishable prize that comes from God.”

“So your neighbor changed because of what Paul wrote?” I asked.

“That’s his testimony,” Stan replied. “He said that he was convicted to realize that even if he won a marathon or some other race, the trophy he would get wouldn’t last; but if he trained to be and to do whatever God had for him, that would be the imperishable trophy.”

“Then what?”

“My neighbor said he still gets up in the early dark each morning,” Stan replied. “And he’s still training, but he spends his time reading and studying God’s word, along with praying to be prepared.”

“Prepared for what?”

“Whatever it is God has for him to be and to do.” Stan replied.

_____________________________

Bible verses to consider:  

And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1 Corinthians 9:25.

Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. I Timothy 4:7-8.

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.

But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control. Galatians 5:22-23.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you have provided the way for me to have the “prize” of life eternally with you when it’s time. Thank you, too, for how you want me to train on this side of eternity to work out the salvation you have worked in through the finished work of Jesus’ cross. I confess that too often I don’t train to be who you can and will use for your kingdom purposes. Please forgive that foolishness. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead so I do train by spending with you the time to see and to hear all you have for me to be and to do for as long as you keep me on this side of eternity. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you have the “prize” of life eternally with God when your time here is competed? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with training on this side of eternity for whatever God has for you to be and to do? What does that sort of training look like to you? If you sense the need for change in how you train for God, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 5, 2022 — Why am I not like Matthew?

“You know,” Stan commented one morning, “every time I read the Bible, even though I may have read a particular part many times, it seems there is always something new for me to consider, or something for me to focus on more deeply.”

“You have something particular in mind?” I asked.

“Sure do,” he replied. “I was reading in Matthew’s gospel earlier this morning and what I saw made me focus again on wondering why I didn’t respond like Matthew did.”

“Respond to what?” I asked.

“Jesus,” Stan said. “It’s recorded that when Jesus and Matthew ran into one another, Jesus said one thing to Matthew. He said, ‘Follow Me,’ and Matthew immediately dropped everything he was doing and obeyed by following Jesus. This made me wonder.”

“About what?”

“Me,” was Stan’s one-word answer. “Before I finally came to faith, Jesus had said the same thing to me many times without any positive response from me. Why did it take me so long? Similarly, even now, I often hear Jesus say, ‘Follow Me,’ and I’m reluctant to do that. I wonder why?”

“Any answers to your wondering?” I asked.

“Same answer I see all the time,” Stan replied. “Me. Self. Preferring what I want to do apart from God rather than purposefully choosing to surrender to be who and what He intends.”

“Who and what?” I repeated. “How so?”

“The ‘Who’ part is being a Christian,” Stan said. “The ‘What’ part is being a disciple.”

“For me,” he continued, “there was a time when my self-centered ears were finally unplugged and I truly heard and responded to the ‘Follow Me’ all the way to heaven when it’s time. After that eternal question was settled, there’s the daily ‘Follow Me’ of being a disciple by knowing Him on this side of eternity.”

“But,” I commented, “that doesn’t answer the question of why it took and takes so long for that to happen.”

“You’re right,” Stan replied. “I don’t know why it took and takes me so long, and I can’t answer for anyone else. All I know is that I thank God every day that He keeps asking me to follow Him and that He helps me when I’m willing to step forward to follow Him.”

________________________________

Bible verses to consider:

And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man, called Matthew, sitting in the tax office; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he rose, and followed Him.  Matthew 9:9.

And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alpheus sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he rose and followed Him. Mark 2:14.

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. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-24.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of the cross of Christ so I could accept your free and gracious provision and follow you all the way to heaven when my time here is completed. Thank you, too, that I can follow you on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do not choose to follow you because I choose to follow something or someone else, including myself. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live the life you have given me without truly following you. And please help me to follow every step of your lead wherever, however, and whenever you want. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of the One you want me to follow. Amen.

Think on this: Have you made the decision to follow Jesus all the way to heaven when your time here is completed? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting God’s free and gracious gift of life with Him eternally when it’s time? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with following Jesus on this side of eternity? If you sense changes may be in order in how you follow Him, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 6, 2022 — Refilling the Coffee Cup (Week of August 1, 2022)

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

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

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

_________________________________

Monday, August 1 (Speaking up rather than being silent) — Speaking the truth can change an eternal destination as well as a life on this side of eternity. Why don’t we do it more often?

Tuesday, August 2 (Time to move on?) — Coming to faith is just the beginning of a new life. Are you stuck on conversion? Is it time to move on to transformation?

Wednesday, August 3 (Being foolish or seeking to understand?) — It seems pretty clear that not seeking to understand God’s will is foolish. Where are we with that?

Thursday, August 4 (Are you in training?) — It takes discipline and training to do anything well, including a closer walk with God. Each of us has to ask, “For what are we training?”

Friday, August 5 (Why am I not like Matthew?) — Jesus said to Matthew, “Follow Me” and he did so. Why am I so reluctant to respond in the same way?

August 7, 2022 — It’s Almost Time

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

—S. Tory Teller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What spiritual component?” I asked.

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

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

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

“That’s it,” I replied. “Why?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sounds kind of like discipleship,” I said.

“How so?” Stan asked.

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

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

___________________________________

Bible verses to consider:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Right question? Right answer? How so?”

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

“What was the question?” I asked.

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

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

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

“What do you mean, it wasn’t enough?”

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

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

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

______________________________

Bible verses to consider:

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

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

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

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

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

August 10, 2022 — Being Ready is not a Game

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

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

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

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

“What’s that?” I asked.

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

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

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

“Regretted? How? Why?”

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________

Bible verses to consider:

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

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

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

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

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

The Train Arrived

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

S.Tory Teller

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

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

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

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

“Sounds great.”

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

“Is he going to go?” I asked.

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

“How so?”

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

“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________

Bible verses to consider:

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

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

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

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

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