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September 15, 2022 — God’s Any and All

One morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast I asked Stan, “You ever get impatient with people who are slow to respond to what you tell them about God’s provision for them?”

“Only when I focus on my perspective,” Stan replied, “rather than focusing on God’s view of the situation.”

“Your perspective versus God’s?” I commented. “Why might there be a difference?”

“Same old thing,” Stan said. “Self. Self-focus, wanting what I want, and wanting it now, rather than being surrendered to the fact, and it is a fact, that God’s will is going to be done and His purposes are going to be accomplished. Period. In His timing, not mine.”

Continuing, he added, “Seems to me that the apostle Peter pretty much covered this in a single verse in his second letter where he wrote about God’s patience towards ‘any’ and ‘all’.”

“Any and all?” I replied. “How so?”

“It’s where Peter wrote about God not wanting any to perish, but for all to come to repentance,” Stan said. “It seems that Peter wrote that in the context of God’s patience, and I think I am to have the same patience towards all of those people who have not yet come to repentance regardless of how many times I have told them about God’s provision.”

“But that kind of patience is hard, isn’t it?” I responded.

“Again,” Stan replied, “I think the answer to that has to do with self. Yes, it’s hard if I am focusing only on what I want, rather than being surrendered to what God has provided through the Holy Spirit and His patience.”

“Oh,” I said, “you think the Holy Spirit’s fruit of patience applies to this sort of thing, being patient with other people and their reluctance to come to repentance?”

“Sure do!” Stan replied. “Why wouldn’t it apply? Patience is patience. If God is patient and if He has given me the Holy Spirit who has the fruit of patience, who am I to limit the scope of that patience?”

“Seems to me,” he added, “that I am to be patient. Period. Whether it is patience waiting for the stop light to change to green, or whether it is patience in waiting for my neighbor to come to repentance. It’s not up to me to limit God’s ‘any’ and ‘all’.”

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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.

And I will ask the Father; and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. John 14:16-17.

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

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your patience in waiting for me to accept your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you when my time here is completed. Thank you, too, for your patience while you wait for me to pursue the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I do not display towards others the patience you intend by giving me your Holy Spirit whose fruit includes patience. Please forgive my lack of patience towards the any and all you want to come to repentance. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, manifest the patience you intend in every circumstance and with every person. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you come to repentance so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it is time? If you have, do you thank God for His patience while He waited for you? If you have not accepted His free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him, why? Are you testing His patience? If you are a Christian, how are doing with being patient with those who have not yet come to repentance? As patient as you would like? As patient as God would like? If you sense the need for change in this regard, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

September 16, 2022 — Making the World Smell Better

“Have you ever heard of stinkweed?” Stan asked me out of the blue one morning.

“Stinkweed? I’m not sure. Why do you ask me that?”

“When I was growing up on the farm,” Stan replied, “there was this one particular weed that grew along the road to the farm. I’m not sure if it’s official name was ‘Stinkweed,’ but that’s what my dad called it. And it was aptly named because it smelled awful!”

“But what’s that have to do with anything?” I asked.

“The other day,” Stan replied, “I was reading in the apostle Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth and stinkweed came to mind.”

“Paul wrote about stinkweed?” I said.

“No,” Stan replied, “the exact opposite.”

“What exact opposite?”

“The wonderful fragrance of Christ that is to be manifested in my life,” Stan replied. “To be honest, too often my life manifests stinkweed rather than the fragrance of Christ.”

“You manifest stinkweed rather than the fragrance of Christ?” I said. “Really?”

“Hate to admit it,” Stan replied, “but, yeah, that’s what happens way too often.”

“Why? Why would you do that?”

“Same old story,” Stan replied. “Failure to be the disciple I am intended to be.”

“In what way?”

“Ways,” Stan said. “Plural, not singular. I choose to exalt myself, rather than deny myself. Then I choose to take up what I want to take up apart from God, rather than take up what God has for me to take up. And, thirdly, I choose to try to get God to follow me, rather than choosing to follow Him.”

“Oh,” I replied, “it’s about the failure to follow the steps Jesus talked about in being a disciple.”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And when those are the choices I make, it’s pretty much guaranteed that my life will manifest the odor of stinkweed, rather than the fragrance of Christ!”

“So,” I commented, “disciples are supposed to make the world smell better. Is that it?”

“Smell better,” Stan replied, “and be better, as we manifest the fragrance of Christ!”

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Bible verses to consider:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14.

Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2.

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. 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 the sweet aroma of Christ that you make available to me so I can manifest it to others. I confess that way too often I do not manifest the aroma of Christ, but the aroma of the world, the flesh, and the devil, along with the stinkweed of self. I do that because I do not follow your steps in being a disciple; I do not deny myself, I do not take up what you have for me to take up, and I do not follow you. Please forgive the foolishness of not being the disciple you intend. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead in being and doing what you have 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 accepted God’s free and gracious provision of Christ’s finished work of the cross so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it is time? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with manifesting the sweet aroma of Christ in your life on this side of eternity? Is you life more like stinkweed? If you sense the need for change in the aroma you manifest, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

September 17, 2022 — Refilling the Coffee Cup (Week of September 12, 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: Please forward this to friends, family, etc. as a way to introduce them to Stan,  S. Tory Teller, and their conversations about faith, discipleship, and what it means to be a Christian.

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Monday, September 12 (Looking again at Bartimaeus’ response) — When Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted, should he have said, “Whatever you want to give me”? What about us?

Tuesday, September 13 (You have over 31,000 choices; have you picked one?) — It’s important to have a life verse that defines your faith walk so you can tell others. Do you have one?

Wednesday, September 14 (Peter wept. How about me?) — Peter wept over denying Jesus. Do we weep when we deny Him by our thoughts, words, and actions?

Thursday, September 15 (God’s any and all) — God does not want any to perish but for all to come to repentance. How are we relating to the “any” and the “all”?

Friday, September 16 (Making the world smell better) — Our lives are to manifest the sweet fragrance of Christ. Too often that’s not what happens. Why is that?

September 19, 2022 — Were You once Closer to God?

“Do you remember,” Stan asked me one morning, “how I have talked about the importance of James 4:8 to my faith walk?”

“Is that the one about if people draw near to God, He will draw near to them?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “It was a big truth in how I began my faith walk by drawing near to God. He responded by drawing near to me. And on and on it has gone in an ever-deepening relationship with Him.”

“I understand that,” I replied, “but why do you mention it this morning?”

“I was talking to a neighbor last night,” Stan said, “and he showed me how that verse applies to more than just coming to faith.”

“More than just coming to faith?” I replied. “How so?”

“His testimony,” Stan said, “is that there was a point in his life after he had come to faith that he started wandering away and his relationship with God just wasn’t as important to him as it had been.”

“Did he say why or how that happened?”

“Apparently there wasn’t one specific thing,” Stan replied. “It was just a gradual process where the importance of his relationship with God got overshadowed by the things of the world.”

“I suppose that’s a pretty common thing,” I commented.

“That’s a safe supposition!” Stan replied with a smile. “Way too common for people to forget about God and what He once meant to them.”

“If people forget about God,” I replied, “do you think God forgets about them?”

“Absolutely not!” Stan said. “And that’s what my neighbor was talking about how James 4:8 led him to renew his relationship with God.”

“How’d that renewal happen?”

“As my neighbor tells it,” Stan replied, “it was clearly God moving in his life through the Holy Spirit. He said that one morning while he was reading some news on his phone, an advertisement popped up that simply said, ‘Did you forget about God?’ He immediately was led to switch from the news app on his phone to a Bible app that he had not looked at for a long time.”

“Then what?” I asked.

“Believe it or not,” Stan said, “the verse the Bible app opened to was James 4:8, and my neighbor said that as he read that verse, he was led to ask God to help him remember all that He had meant to him in the past.”

“And did God help him do that?” I asked.

“Sure did,” Stan replied. “And I think God will do that with every person who has forgotten what God meant to them at one time. They may have forgotten God, but they can be assured that He has not forgotten them!”

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Bible verses to consider:

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8.

Thus says the Lord, “I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth.” Jeremiah 2:2.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for responding to me when I first chose to draw near to you. Thank you, too, for responding to me every time I choose to draw closer to you so that we have an ever-deepening relationship. I confess that there are too many times when I forget about you and what you mean to me. Please forgive that foolishness, and please open me to want to remember all you are to me in every aspect of my life. Please help me to seek, find, claim, and embrace all you have and want for me for as long as you keep me on this side of eternity.  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 it is time? If no, why? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, are you as close (or closer) to God as you were when you began your faith walk? If you sense the need to draw closer in a renewed relationship with God, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

September 20, 2022 — You might want to give it a try

“From time to time,” I mentioned to Stan one morning, “you have talked about how you spend time with God each morning.”

“That’s right,” Stan replied. “For me it’s through journaling about what I read in the Bible, what I hear from the Holy Spirit, praying to seek what’s on God’s heart, and things like that. Why do you bring it up?”

“Just wondering if you can tell me again why you do that. What’s the point? Is there something in the Bible that tells you to do that?”

“Those are really big questions,” Stan replied with a smile. “However, in a nutshell I can give you two Bible verses that point me in the direction of wanting to spend time with God every morning. One from the Old Testament and one we’ve talked about a lot from the New Testament.”

I didn’t say anything so he continued. “The verse from the New Testament that I find meaningful with this is the one where Jesus said that eternal life is knowing Him and God the Father.”

“John 17:3,” I responded.

“That’s right,” Stan said. “As we’ve talked about many times, it seems that we are to spend the time we have on this side of eternity, before our time here is done and we get on the train, knowing Jesus and His Father in an ever-deepening way.”

“And you think that your morning time takes you in that direction?” I asked.

“I sure do,” Stan replied. “For me it is an essential step in knowing God.”

“How about the Old Testament verse you mentioned?” I asked.

“It comes from the first part of the Book of Deuteronomy,” Stan said. “It’s a pretty simple statement that Moses made about what God had told the Israelites.”

“What’s that?”

“Time to move on,” Stan replied. “Moses said that God told them that they had stayed long enough at the mountain.”

“Long enough at the mountain?”

“That’s right,” Stan said. “They had been at Mount Horeb and God had told the Israelites what He had for them to do, and it was time to go do it. It was time to leave the mountain and go face what they were going to face in entering the Promised Land.”

“Okay,” I said, “but how does that apply to your morning time?”

“As much as I love spending time with God each morning drawing ever closer to Him,” Stan replied, “when I am finished journaling for the day, it’s time to go into the day, using what God has shown me to face whatever He has for me.”

“So,” I said, “your time each morning prepares you for what lies ahead, and if you didn’t do that you wouldn’t be prepared. Is that it?”

“That’s it for me,” Stan replied. “I know there are lots of different ways to spend time drawing closer to God, but for me it’s journaling. Through that time each day I truly sense drawing closer to God to see and to hear how He is preparing me to be the disciple He intends.”

“You hear from God,” I said, “and then it’s time to move on being who and doing what He has for you. Is that it?”

“That’s it, my friend,” Stan replied. “You might want to give it a try!”

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Bible verses to consider:

The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.” Deuteronomy 1:6.

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

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come to you in an ever-deepening relationship while you keep me on this side of eternity. Thank you that you want me to spend time with you reading your word and hearing your voice as you prepare me for what lies ahead. I confess that too often I do not spend sufficient time with you to see and to hear what you have for me. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live this life without spending time with the One who created it and gave it to me to live. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I am prepared for whatever you have for me to be and to do for you and your kingdom. 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 it is time so that you can draw ever closer to Him on this side of eternity? If no, why have you not accepted the provision of life eternally with Him? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with drawing ever closer to Him on this side of eternity so you are prepared to be who and to do what He intends for you? If you sense the need for change in spending time with Him, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

September 20, 2022 — You might want to give it a try

“From time to time,” I mentioned to Stan one morning, “you have talked about how you spend time with God each morning.”

“That’s right,” Stan replied. “For me it’s through journaling about what I read in the Bible, what I hear from the Holy Spirit, praying to seek what’s on God’s heart, and things like that. Why do you bring it up?”

“Just wondering if you can tell me again why you do that. What’s the point? Is there something in the Bible that tells you to do that?”

“That’s a really big question,” Stan replied with a smile. “However, in a nutshell I can give you two Bible verses that point me in the direction of wanting to spend time with God every morning. One from the Old Testament and one we’ve talked about a lot from the New Testament.”

I didn’t say anything so he continued. “The verse from the New Testament that I find meaningful with this is the one where Jesus said that eternal life is knowing Him and God the Father.”

“John 17:3,” I responded.

“That’s right,” Stan said. “As we’ve talked about many times, it seems that we are to spend the time we have on this side of eternity, before our time here is done, knowing Jesus and His Father in an ever-deepening way.”

“And you think that your morning time takes you in that direction,” I commented.

“Sure does,” Stan replied. “For me it is an essential step in knowing God.”

“How about the Old Testament verse you mentioned?” I asked.

“It comes from the first part of the Book of Deuteronomy,” Stan said. “It’s a pretty simple statement that Moses made about what God had told the Israelites.”

“What’s that?”

“Time to move on,” Stan replied. “Moses said that God told them that they had stayed long enough at the mountain.”

“Long enough at the mountain?”

“That’s right,” Stan said. “They had been at Mount Horeb and God had told the Israelites what He had for them to do, and it was time to go do it. It was time to leave the mountain and go face what they were going to face in entering the Promised Land.”

“Okay,” I said, “but how does that apply to your morning time?”

“As much as I love spending time with God each morning drawing ever closer to Him,” Stan replied, “when I am finished journaling for the day, it’s time to go into the day, using what God has shown me to face whatever He has for me.”

“So,” I said, “your time each morning prepares you for what lies ahead, and if you didn’t do that you wouldn’t be prepared. Is that it?”

“That’s it for me,” Stan replied. “I know there are lots of different ways to spend time drawing closer to God, but for me it’s journaling. Through that time each day I truly sense drawing closer to God to see and to hear how He is preparing me to be the disciple He intends.”

“You hear from God,” I said, “and then it’s time to move on being who and doing what He has for you. Is that it?”

“That’s it, my friend,” Stan replied. “You might want to give it a try!”

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Bible verses to consider:

The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Deuteronomy 1:6.

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

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come to you in an ever-deepening relationship while you keep me on this side of eternity. Thank you that you want me to spend time with you reading your word and hearing your voice as you prepare me for what lies ahead. I confess that too often I do not spend sufficient time with you to see and to hear what you have for me. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live this life without spending time with the One who created it and gave it to me to live. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I am prepared for whatever you have for me to be and to do for you and your kingdom. 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 free and gracious provision of life with Him eternally when it is time so that you can draw ever closer to Him on this side of eternity? If no, why have you not accepted the provision of life eternally with Him? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with drawing ever closer to Him on this side of eternity so you are prepared to be and to do what He intends for you? If you sense the need for change in spending time with Him, how is that goin to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

September 21, 2022 — Telling God what is and what is not going to happen

One morning while we waited for breakfast, Stan asked me, “Have you ever told God that something He wanted to do wasn’t going to happen?”

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”

“I was reading in Matthew’s gospel earlier this morning,” Stan replied, “and I saw something like that from the apostle Peter that clearly reflects too much of my personal experience.”

“How so?” I asked. “What was going on with Peter?”

“Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem,” Stan said. “Peter and some of the disciples were with Him.”

“Is that when Jesus was on the way to the cross?” I asked.

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And at one point, Jesus was telling the disciples what was going to happen to Him when they got to Jerusalem, including that He was going to be killed. That’s when it happened.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“It seems that Peter didn’t really listen to or understand all that Jesus had to say, but he rebuked Jesus, telling Him that what He just said wasn’t going to happen.”

“Rebuked Jesus?” I said. “That doesn’t seem like a real good idea.”

“I think you’re right about that,” Stan replied, “and I also think that it’s not a real good idea to interrupt God when He’s in the middle of saying something, especially if the interruption is to tell Him, ‘It’s not going to happen’!”

“Have you ever done that?” I asked.

“You just as well ask me if I have ever taken a breath,” Stan responded with a smile. “Many times before I finally came to faith, I told God I didn’t believe and that coming to faith simply wasn’t going to happen, but then I was opened to truly see what God had in mind. Just like Peter.”

“Just like Peter? How?”

“Peter didn’t see the whole picture of why Jesus was going to Jerusalem and the cross,” Stan replied. “Later he did see and he became a pillar of the early church who still has an impact today.”

Continuing, he added, “I didn’t see the picture of what God wanted to do in my life, but I finally did and I told Him to go ahead and do whatever He wanted in and through me. I stopped telling Him what was and what was not going to happen, but I surrendered to whatever He wanted.”

“That sounds kind of like the third step of being a disciple,” I said. “The step of following wherever, however, and whenever.”

“Sounds right to me,” Stan replied with a smile. “And I can only do that when I stop telling God what is and what is not going to happen!”

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Bible verses to consider:

From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.  And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him saying, “God forbid it, Lord!  This shall never happen to You.” Matthew 16:21-22.

And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. Mark 8:32.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of the cross of Christ so that all who believe will spend eternity in your presence. Thank you, too, for bringing me to that truth so I stopped rebuking you and telling you I was not going to come to believe. I confess that too often I still tell you that certain things are not going to happen. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to tell you anything about what you can and cannot do, along with what will and what will not happen. And please help me in following every step of your lead so I am totally surrendered to all you want to do in and through me for you and for your kingdom. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you stopped telling God that you are not going to come to faith so that you now know you will spend eternity in His presence when it is time? If no, why? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with telling God what is and what is not going to happen while He keeps you on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for change in how you are surrendered to whatever God has for you to be and to do, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

September 22, 2022 — First Savior and then Lord

“I was talking with a neighbor the other night,” Stan commented one morning, “about how he came to the realization of why he should listen to what Jesus has to say.”

“Kind of like his personal testimony of how he came to faith?” I asked.

“Not so much how he came to faith in the first instance,” Stan replied. “More about how he came to see Jesus as his Lord and not just as his Savior.”

“Lord, not just Savior? How so?”

“Well,” Stan replied, “as you know, God the Father gave Jesus so that all who believe can have the assurance of spending eternity in His presence when it is time.”

“Yes,” I said, “the wonderful statement of John 3:16 where Jesus saved us by going to the cross.”

“That’s the Savior part for when we step into eternity,” Stan replied. “Then comes the ‘Lord’ part that is to occur on this side of eternity.”

“While we wait for the train,” I commented.

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And that’s what my neighbor was talking about. How he came to realize that he is to listen to what Jesus says in order to be a disciple with Him as Lord of his life for as long as he remains here.”

“How’d he come to realize that?” I asked.

“From Jesus’ statement near the end of Matthew’s gospel,” Stan replied, “where Jesus said that He had been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”

“All authority,” I commented, “not just some. That’s pretty inclusive. Sounds like that might be a good reason to listen to what Jesus has to say.”

“Might be?” Stan asked with a smile. “How about it being the absolute reason for studying the Bible so we will know what Jesus is recorded as saying, along with listening to His voice through the Holy Spirit while we are living our lives here?”

“You’re right,” I replied. “It’s more than ‘might be.’ It’s how to make Him Lord of my life after I have accepted Him as Savior.”

“That’s it,” Stan said. “First Savior, and then Lord.”

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Bible verses to consider:

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18.

All things have been handed over to Me by My Father. Matthew 11:27.

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:9.

He is the head over all rule and authority. Colossians 2:10.

And why do you call Me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving Jesus as Savior for all who believe so they will know they will spend eternity in your presence when it is time. Thank you that I could and did accept Him as Savior. I confess that too often I do not submit to His lordship on this side of eternity; I see Him as only my Savior for eternal purposes. Please forgive the foolishness of choosing not to surrender to His lordship. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, make Jesus Lord of every part of this life you have given me to live. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in His name. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted Jesus as Savior so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it is time? If no, why? What’s standing in the way of accepting His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with making Jesus Lord of every part of your life while you remain on this side of eternity? As well as you would like? As well as God intends? If you sense the need for change in how Jesus is Lord of your life, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

September 23, 2022 — Knowing Who to ask First

“Do you ever shop over at Harold’s Hardware?” Stan asked me one morning.

“Sure,” I replied. “I like Harold and he seems to have most everything I ever need. Why do you ask?”

“Well,” Stan said rather sheepishly, “I made a mistake yesterday by going to that new gigantic hardware store in Cedarville. I should have gone to Harold’s in the first place, but I wanted to see what that big store looked like.”

“Why was it a mistake?” I asked.

“Too big,” Stan replied. “I was looking for something pretty simple, but couldn’t find it. I asked one clerk who said he couldn’t help me because he didn’t know anything about that department. He told me I would have to go ask someone else.”

“Did you?”

“After being told the same thing by three clerks, that I needed to ask someone else, I finally got to the right department and was told I couldn’t be helped because they didn’t have what I was looking for.”

“Then what?”

“I came back and went to Harold’s,” Stan said. “I told Harold what I was looking for, he walked down one of his aisles and picked up exactly what I needed.”

“That’s Harold for you,” I said. “You should have asked him first.”

“Exactly,” Stan replied, “and I saw the same thing in Matthew’s gospel the other day.”

“What same thing?”

“The importance of not only asking the right question, but the importance of asking the right person.”

“Was someone looking for something they couldn’t find?” I asked.

“Yeah, kind of,” Stan replied. “It’s the story about the disciples who were left behind when Jesus, along with Peter, James, and John, went up on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured, but the transfiguration is another story for another day. Here I want to focus on the disciples who stayed down below.”

“Why were they left behind?” I asked.

“I really have no idea,” Stan replied, “maybe it was so this story could be told! But the ‘why’ is not important.”

“What is important here?”

“There was a father with a very sick son,” Stan replied.  “He was looking for someone to heal his son. He had asked the disciples who didn’t go up on the mountain to cure him, but they couldn’t.  Rather than leaving and going elsewhere, the father patiently waited to find the right person to ask.”

“Who was that?”

“Jesus,” Stan replied. “And what this shows me is the importance of asking the right person.  In this instance, the father, rather than leaving when the disciples couldn’t cure his son, waited for Jesus. When Jesus got there, the father approached Him and asked Him to heal his son.”

“Did He?”

“Not only did Jesus heal the man’s son,” Stan said, “it showed me an essential lesson about who I ask to do what.  People have obvious limitations in what they can do; God does not.  If I trust in and rely on people, I’m likely to be severely disappointed. God does not disappoint. I just have to remember that He is the right One to ask, and that I am to ask Him first!”

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Bible verses to consider:

When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, “Lord have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.”  Matthew 17:14-16.

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.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer. You know all of my needs and wants before I ever come to you, but you want me to come and ask so I will know you better by seeing your provision. I confess that too often I do not come to you in the first instance, but I try to rely on myself or on others who cannot help me. Please forgive the foolishness of not coming to you first every time. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I do, in fact, come to you first to seek, find, and embrace everything you have for me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Whose help do you seek first in every situation you face? Do you rely on yourself, on others, or do you go before God in prayer to see and to hear what He has for you? If you sense the need for greater reliance on God and His provision for every aspect of the life He has given you to live, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

September 24, 2022 — Refilling the Coffee Cup (Week of September 19, 2022)

The main takeaway for each day this past week.

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

Note: Please 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, September 19 (Were you once closer to God?) — We may forget about God, but He does not forget about us. How do we draw closer to Him if we have wandered away?

Tuesday, September 20 (You might want to give it a try) — Spending time with God is essential to knowing Him and what He has for us. There are many ways to do that. Stan likes journaling.

Wednesday, September 21 (Telling God what is and what is not going to happen) — Peter rebuked Jesus when Jesus told him what was going to happen. Do we do the same thing?

Thursday, September 22 (First Savior and then Lord) — Jesus is our Savior for eternal purposes.  He is to be our Lord on this side of eternity. How are we doing with that?

Friday, September 23 (Knowing who to ask first) — Who do we go to first when we have a want or a need? Is it ourselves, other people, other things, or is it God?