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August 12, 2022 — Did God Pack up and Leave, or was it You?

“The other day,” Stan began, “a neighbor and I were talking and we got on the subject of his testimony.”

“How he came to faith?” I asked.

“Not so much that,” Stan replied. “More about how he came back to faith.”

“Back to faith? Had he wandered away?”

“That’s his testimony,” Stan said, “and he indicated that what started him on the road back was a single verse from the Old Testament.”

“Which verse was that?” I asked.

“It’s in the Book of Judges,” Stan said. “The story about Samson and Delilah where it says that Samson did not know that the Lord had departed from him.”

“Did your neighbor say that God had departed from him?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “He said he was struck by the notion that God had not gone anywhere, but it was him who had departed from God.”

“He had departed from God? How?”

“Little by little. A little unconfessed sin here, a little lack of repentance there, and pretty soon what was little grew larger. All of a sudden he looked around and saw that he was no longer close to God. Someone had departed, and it wasn’t God.”

“Then what?”

“He confessed, repented, and began anew his walk with God.”

“And that helped?” I asked.

“Sure did,” Stan replied, “and he does something every morning to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“What’s that?”

“He comes before God and asks Him for His help in examining every part of his life for any unconfessed sin, any lack of repentance, along with anything else that might interfere with his ongoing, ever-deepening relationship with God.”

“Every morning?” I said. “He must consider it important.”

“He does,” Stan replied. “He realized it was not God who had packed up and left, it was him. And he doesn’t ever want that to happen again!”

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Bible verses to consider:

But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Judges 16:20.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24.

Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart. Psalm 26:2.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want me to walk closely with you. I confess that too often I choose to walk apart from you. I do that because that’s what I want to do. Please forgive that foolish way of living the life you have given me to live with and for you. And please help me follow every step of your lead in allowing you to examine and convict me of any and all unconfessed sin, failed repentance, and anything else that keeps me from walking closely with you. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Do you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when your time here is completed? If no, why? Do you not know it is a free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in not wandering away from God on this side of eternity? Is there unconfessed sin or failed repentance that you need to bring before Him? If you sense the need for change in how you pursue an ever-deepening relationship with God so there is no distance between you and Him, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 13, 2022 — Refilling the Coffee Cup (Week of August 8, 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. 

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Monday, August 8 (He doesn’t always come the same way) — If we always look for God to manifest Himself to us in the same way, we may miss what He has for us.

Tuesday, August 9 (Do you have the right answer to the question?) — “Who is Jesus?” That’s the most important question that can be asked. Make certain you have the right answer!

Wednesday, August 10 (Being ready is not a game) — There is a connection between “ready golf” and being ready to share the truth of the gospel: be ready!

Thursday, August 11 (Does it matter if there are creature comforts?) — Following Jesus is to be wherever, however, and whenever without regard to our comfort. How are we doing with that?

Friday, August 12 (Did God pack up and leave, or was it you?) — It’s easy to wander away from God — unconfessed sin and missing repentance are two significant causes. What can we do to keep from wandering?

August 15, 2022 — What did the Disciples do with the Bread?

As we sat at our usual table in our favorite restaurant, Stan asked, “Do you remember the story  in Matthew’s gospel, the one about how the five thousand were fed?”

“I do,” I replied.  “The leftover bread is why this restaurant is called, ’12 Baskets’.”

“You’re right, my friend,” Stan replied, “but there’s a lot of important stuff in that story before we get to the leftovers, and I want to talk about one of them.”

“Okay,” I said, “what’s up?”

“As you may remember, after Jesus had blessed the food, He broke the bread and gave it to the disciples. In doing that, there’s an important lesson I think I’m to apply to my life and my faith walk.”

I didn’t respond, so he continued. “Jesus gave the bread to the disciples for the one purpose of passing it on to the crowd.”

“So?”

“Jesus did not give the disciples the bread for themselves,” Stan replied, “but he gave it to them to pass on. Sure seems to me that I’m to do the same thing with the blessings that God pours out on me.”

“But don’t you think the disciples ate some of the bread?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m sure they probably did at some point,” Stan replied, “but I think the main thing for them do right then was to pass it on to the hungry crowd. I think the same thing applies to me.”

“In what way?”

“What I get from God,” Stan replied, “is not just for me.  No, I think that with whatever God provides, whether physical or spiritual blessings, my role is to pass those blessings on, not hoard them for myself.”

“But,” I replied, “if God gives you something, isn’t it okay to just accept the gift and be content with His provision?”

Stan looked at me for a few seconds without saying anything, and then asked, “Is that what the disciples did with the bread Jesus gave to them?”

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Bible verses to consider:

He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  Matthew 14:19.

And He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples in turn, to the multitudes. Matthew 15:36.

If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:15-17.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for all of your provision, both physically and spiritually. I confess that too often I do not seek to share with others what you have provided to me. Please forgive me and please help me to follow every step of your lead in passing on to others what you have made available to me, but is to be passed on through me. I pray this especially in regard to the spiritual blessings you pour out on and for me. Help me to help others in their faith walk and commitment to you by sharing what you make known and available to me. Help me to bless others just as you intend. Thank you that 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 when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing Him and Jesus on this side of eternity? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing about sharing with others what God has provided for you, both in terms of physical and spiritual blessings? If you sense the need for change in how you share what God makes available to you, so it is passed through you, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 16, 2022 — Whose Business are you Minding?

“The other day,” I mentioned to Stan one morning at breakfast, “I was talking to one of my neighbors about Christianity, coming to faith, and all of that.”

“Great!” Stan replied. “How’d it go?

“Not so hot,” I replied. “He basically said, ‘Why didn’t I mind my own business?’”

“Then what?” Stan asked.

“I didn’t have a response for him, so I just kind of dropped the subject.”

“Same thing happened to me quite a few times,” Stan replied. “Once when it happened, I spent some time in prayer and I was given a perspective I have used often in that sort of situation.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s not my business,” he replied. “It’s God’s business.”

“God’s business?”

“Yeah,” Stan said.  “It seems to me that the apostle Peter summed that up real nicely when he pointed out that God doesn’t want any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. That’s why He gave and sent Jesus to go to the cross.”

“Oh,” I said.  “God is in the business of saving people for His purposes, not mine. Is that it?”

“That’s what it looks like to me,” Stan replied. “I’m not to get bent out of shape because someone rejects what I say to them and tells me to mind my own business. I’m to know that my role is to be in and about God’s business. I am to tell others about Him and leave the results in His very capable hands.”

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Bible verses to consider:

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.

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.

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

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving Jesus to go to the cross so I could accept His finished work and know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you for those who  focused on your “business” and brought that truth to me (and me to that truth). I confess that too often I do not pursue what you have for me to pursue in telling others of your free and gracious provision so they have the opportunity to accept it. Please forgive me for that lack of doing what you have for me to do. And please help me to follow every step of your lead so I am always working for your business in bringing people to you. Thank you that 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 eternally 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 in being in and about God’s “business”? To you, what is God’s business? Do you see it as more important than your own? If you sense the need for change in your life regarding this, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 17, 2022 — From Being Delighted to Being Delightful

“I just love reading the Book of Proverbs,” Stan commented one morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast.

“Lots of wisdom in that book,” I replied.

“Sure is,” Stan said. “Wisdom for our relationship with God as well as for our relationships with other people. Sometimes I will see a verse that doesn’t seem to be specifically about God, but can have a significant impact on my faith walk with Him.”

“You got an example of that?” I asked.

“Sure do,” Stan said, “I ran across one earlier this morning dealing with a father writing or talking to a son that, it seems to me, can be read as coming from God the Father to any of us who are His children.”

“What was that one about?”

“Delight,” was Stan’s one-word answer.

“Delight? As contrasted to de-dark?” I said with a smile.

Stan laughed. “No, delight as in being delighted and then being delightful.”

I didn’t say anything so he continued. “In the verse I was looking at, the father is addressing his son, telling the son to give the father his heart and let his eyes delight in the ways of the father.”

“You’re right,” I replied, “I can see that could be God talking or writing to each one of us. He wants us to give Him our hearts and He certainly wants us to delight in His ways.”

“Sure seems that way to me,” Stan said. “When I came to faith, I gave God not only my heart, but my entire life. He gave me the assurance of salvation and redemption so I know I will spend eternity with Him when my time here is completed.”

“And what about your time before then, while you wait for the train?” I asked.

“That’s when I am to delight in God’s ways by drawing ever closer to Him in a deepening personal relationship based on knowing God the Father and Jesus the Son.”

“Delight in Him and in His ways so you will manifest Him and His ways in your life,” I said. “Is that it?”

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “Manifest Him so it may make a difference to those who are watching. I am to be delighted in Him and then I am to be delightful to Him so I make a difference for Him.”

“Be delighted and delightful,” I said. “In, to, and for. As simple as that?”

“As simple as that,” Stan replied, “but always remember just because something may sound simple, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.”

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Bible verses to be considered:

Give me your heart, my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways. Proverbs 23:26.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2.

Thy testimonies are also my delight; they are my counselors. Psalm 119:24.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8.

And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you when my time here is completed.  I gave you my heart, along with my entire being, when I accepted your free and gracious provision through the cross of Christ. Thank you for allowing me to observe your ways so I can manifest them for you and your kingdom while you keep me on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I don’t make the effort to observe your ways and certainly do not manifest them. Please forgive that foolish approach to living this life you have given to me. Please, Father, help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, observe and manifest your ways to make a difference 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 given your heart to God so you know you will spend eternity with Him when your time here is completed? If no, why? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with observing God’s ways and making those ways a part of your life on this side of eternity? And how are you doing in manifesting God’s ways to those who are watching? If you sense the need for change in that, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 18, 2022 — Is there Sufficient Evidence to Convict?

“Last weekend,” Stan commented, “we had a neighborhood couple over for dinner.”

“Have a nice time?” I asked.

“Very much so,” Stan replied.  “Good friends. Nice Christian couple.”

“One thing we talked about,” he continued, “was that the wife had just finished jury duty on a fairly long trial that concerned a man who was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants.  She didn’t give a lot of the detail, but did say that the jury after a pretty long deliberation concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to convict.”

“Interesting,” I responded, “I thought most of those kinds of cases were pretty much open and shut.”

“Guess not,” Stan said, “but what she had to say led us into a discussion of whether or not there is enough evidence to convict each one of us of being a Christian.”

“Being convicted of being a Christian?” I responded.  “Has it come to that?”

“Not completely in the sense of being persecuted,” Stan said. “It may come to that eventually, but it’s always a question for me in the sense of whether or not I’m living the Christian life God intends.”

“You mean living like a disciple?” I asked.

“That’s it,” Stan replied. He continued, “When I first became a Christian, there were all sorts of things in my life that didn’t belong there as a Christian.”

“What kind of things?”

“You really don’t want to know,” Stan replied. “Just take my word for it.”

“Okay.”

“In any event,” Stan said, “It all boiled down to the question of whether I was going to get rid of those things and walk in a manner worthy of being called a Christian, or whether I was I going to continue in a lifestyle that presented insufficient evidence of being a Christian.”

“Sounds like the kind of question we should all ask ourselves,” I commented. “Is there enough evidence to convict?”

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Bible verses to consider:

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worth of the calling with which you have been called. Ephesians 4:1.

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the provision of life with you eternally when it’s time through the finished work of the cross. Thank you, too, that you want me to walk in a manner worth of being called yours on this side of eternity. I confess that too often my life does not present sufficient evidence that I am a Christian. Please forgive that foolish way of living the life you have given me to live. And please, Father, help me to follow every step of your lead in being only who you intend, manifesting only what you have for me to manifest as a Christian. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Are you a Christian? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him in eternity when it’s time? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with living a life that displays sufficient evidence that you are, in fact, a Christian? If you sense the need for change in your life so there is greater evidence, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 19, 2022 — The Motivation to Hear His “Well Done!”

“You know,” Stan commented one morning, “it can be interesting to think about and look at what motivates people to do what they do.”

“Motivated to do what?” I asked.

“Anything, everything, whatever,” Stan replied.

Continuing, he added, “I was reading in the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi and I ran across something that struck me as a way to examine what I do and why I do it.”

“In other words, what motivates you?” I responded.

“That’s it,” Stan replied.

“What was Paul writing about?”

“Preaching and proclaiming Christ,” Stan said.  “Paul was writing about why some people were doing what they were doing in preaching and proclaiming Christ.  Some were doing it out love, while others were doing it out of selfish ambition.  This led me to think about what motivates me in my relationship with Christ.”

“Any conclusions?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he responded, “and it comes from Paul’s use of the expression, ‘pure motives’.”

“Pure motives?” I replied. “Versus what, impure motives?”

“That’s a good question,” Stan said, and added, “what I do in ‘proclaiming’ Christ, whether it’s in preaching or presenting the gospel or whether it’s in living the gospel, it seems to me that such proclaiming is to come only from the pure motive of seeking God’s ‘Well done!’”

“As contrasted to what?” I replied.

“Let me give you an example,” Stan said. “If I get to the point that I’m living the life I think God intends, but I’m doing it only so others will see me as something special, I’m way off base and heading down the wrong road.”

Continuing, he added, “I think that would be practicing righteousness to be seen by people rather than having the right and pure motive only to be pleasing in God’s sight.”

“Fine line isn’t it?” I asked.

“I don’t think so, my friend,” Stan said. “It is definitely a line, but I don’t think it’s a fine one.  I’m either exalting self or I’m exalting God.  One or the other.  Can’t be both.  In proclaiming Christ and in living the life God intends for me, my only motive is to be able to hear His ‘Well done!’”

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Bible verses to consider:

The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives. Philippians 1:17.

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.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. Philippians 2:3.

For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for those who proclaimed the gospel so I could accept your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you when it’s time. Please help me in proclaiming and living the gospel for no other reason than to please you, not to ever practice righteousness to be seen by others. Help me to live the life you intend so it may make a difference in the life and eternal destination of each person you bring before me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Did someone proclaim and present the truth of the gospel so you were able to accept God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him eternally when it’s time? If so, have you thanked that person? If you have not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ, why not? What’s standing in the way? If you are a Christian, how are you doing in your proclamation of the gospel? How are you doing in living your life only to hear God’s “Well done” and not to be seen as righteous in the eyes of other people?  If you sense the need for change in how you present Christianity and how you live the Christian life, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 20, 2022 — Refilling the Coffee Cup (Week of August 15, 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.

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Monday, August 15 (What did the disciples do with the bread?) — When Jesus gave the disciples bread for the feeding of the 5000, what did they do with it? What are we to do with what God gives us?

Tuesday, August 16 (Whose business are you minding?) — How do you respond when you share your faith and the person says, “Why don’t you mind your own business?”

Wednesday, August 17 (From being delighted to being delightful) — God wants us to be delighted in Him and to be delightful to Him. How are we doing with that?

Thursday, August 18 (Is there sufficient evidence to convict?) — Our lives as Christians are supposed to manifest Christ and what He taught. Is there sufficient evidence of that?

Friday, August 19 (The motivation to hear His “well done”) — What motivates us to live godly lives — is it to impress others with our godliness, or is it purely to please God?

August 22, 2022 — Going from a Crooked Road to a Straight Street

“It seems to me,” Stan commented one morning, “that the story of the apostle Paul’s conversion is one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible.”

“Yeah,” I said, “what happened to him on that road to Damascus was really something.”

“There’s a part of that story,”Stan replied, “that paints a good picture for me about my faith walk, what it is, as well as being a picture of what it’s to look like on an ongoing basis.”

“What’s that?”

“Before I get to that,” Stan said, “let’s do a quick recap of what was going on. Paul, who before then was known as Saul of Tarsus, didn’t care much for Christians.”

“That’s why he was going to Damascus, wasn’t it?” I asked.

“That’s right,” Stan replied. “He was on his way there to get rid of some more Christians.”

“But God interrupted his journey,” I commented.

“His journey, his eternal destination, his life, and everything about him,” Stan added.

Continuing, he said “You ever notice where he went after that encounter with Jesus?”

“He went on to Damascus, didn’t he?” I said.

“He did,” Stan replied, “and where he went is what reflects on my faith walk.”

“Where he went?” I said. “Where did he go?”

“Straight Street,” Stan responded. “It says he went to a street called Straight and was staying at a house that belonged to someone named Judas.”

“Probably a different Judas,” I ventured.

“Certainly,” Stan said, “the Judas who betrayed Jesus was long gone. But the fact Paul or Saul went to a street called Straight is important to me and my faith walk.”

“In what way?”

“I like to look at it as Jesus interrupted Paul’s journey on a crooked road, straightened him out, and sent him to Straight Street. Same with me.”

“Same with you?”

“Yeah,” Stan replied, “Before I came to faith, I was certainly walking down a lot of crooked streets doing a lot of stuff that was contrary to why God created me and why He drew me to Him. While my conversion was not as dramatic as Paul’s, God clearly interrupted my journey on the crooked roads of life so I could walk the straight street with Him.”

“So,” I said, “I guess it would be worthwhile for each one of us to look at the roads we are traveling to see if they are more crooked than God wants for us.”

“Not only that,” Stan replied, “but then we are to look to see if the street we are walking is as straight as it should be!”

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Bible verses to consider:

Arise and go to the street called Straight. Acts of the Apostles 9:11.

He 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.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for those who brought me to the truth that I was walking on crooked roads apart from where you had for me to walk with you. Thank you, too, that you want me to go where you want and do what you intend for as long as you keep me on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I choose crooked roads apart from you rather than walking with you on your straight paths. Please forgive that foolishness. And please help me to follow every step of your lead so I do walk only the paths you intend for me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you stopped walking the crooked road apart from God so you know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? Do you not know of His free and gracious provision that only needs to be accepted? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with walking with God the way He intends on this side of eternity? Are there crooked paths you need to abandon in favor of His straight ones? If you sense the need for change in the paths you are walking, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

August 23, 2022 — You ever Heard of Spiritual Duct Tape?

“You familiar with Archimedes?” Stan asked me one morning.

“Archimedes?” I replied. “Wow, I haven’t thought about him for a long time. Wasn’t he some sort of Greek rocket scientist a long time ago?”

“He was a Greek,” Stan replied, “who, among other things, was a mathematician, physicist, and engineer who lived two or three hundred years before Jesus. He probably could have been a rocket scientist if they would have had rockets back then, but they didn’t.”

“Well,” I said, “I suppose that’s interesting, but why did you bring Archimedes up?”

“Something I remember he said, along with something a neighbor said the other day, reminded me of Archimedes.”

“What’d they say?

“First of all, Archimedes is reported to have said something like, ‘Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will move the world’.”

“Okay,” I replied. “The power of levers and fulcrums for moving stuff. What about your neighbor, was he trying to move something?”

“No,” Stan said. “He fixes things and often says that if I give him a big enough roll of duct tape he can fix anything.”

“Big enough roll of duct tape,” I responded with a laugh. “Duct tape is good for fixing a lots of broken stuff.”

“It’s good not only for fixing things,” Stan said, “but I’ve learned that using duct tape in a mental way, a kind of visualizing, can also be good for my faith walk.”

“Mental duct tape and your faith walk?” I replied. “You kidding?”

“Not really,” Stan said. “I’ve found that if I envision some duct tape across my mouth when I’m praying, there’s a much better chance that I will be quiet and be able to listen to what God wants to tell me, rather than just going on and on about stuff He already knows.”

“Mental duct tape as a prayer tool,” I commented. “Something to thing about.”

“Not only that,” Stan replied, “but I was reading in the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus and I saw another use for mental duct tape.”

“Don’t tell me that Paul was using duct tape in Ephesus,” I said with a smile.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Stan replied, “but Paul did write about something that sure seems to me to require mental duct tape.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“He was telling the church in Ephesus,” Stan replied, “and I think it clearly applies today to each of us, especially to me, to watch what comes out of our mouths. He wrote that we are to speak only what is good and gives grace to those who hear.”

“And tape over our mouths would help keep us from saying anything contrary to that,” I commented.

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “It’s kind of like a tool that helps me take every thought captive until I have gotten rid of a thought that would lead to saying something that isn’t good and doesn’t give grace.”

“You think that really works?”

“It does for me,” Stan replied, “but it’s like everything else, it only works when I do it. If I will mentally envision the duct tape over my mouth so I don’t say anything inappropriate, there’s a much greater chance I will do what Paul was writing about?

“Bring grace to those who hear what you have to say, is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied, “and I’m to take that duct tape off of my mouth only when I have something worthwhile to say, something God has for me to say that brings grace!”

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Bible verses to consider:

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29.

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

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

We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you when my time here is completed. Thank you, too, for the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus on this side of eternity through drawing ever closer to you that comes from listening to your voice. I confess that too often my prayers consist of me speaking and not listening. Please help me to keep quiet, whatever it takes, so I will hear and listen to your voice.  The same thing applies to every aspect of the life you have for me to live as I am to take every thought captive and speak only words of edification that bring grace. You know how much help I need with that. I ask for your help in following every step of your lead in speaking only what you have for me to speak. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Where are you in your relationship with God for eternal purposes? Do you know  you will spend eternity with Him when your time here is completed? If no, do you not understand it’s a free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted and that speaking the words of acceptance is the greatest thing you will ever say? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing on this side of eternity with controlling what comes out of your mouth? Do you regularly speak words that bring grace to the hearers? Do you speak when you should be listening to God in your prayers? If you sense the need for change in how and what you speak, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?