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January 18, 2023 — Answers are to Build Up, not Tear Down

“I know this may be a dumb question,” Stan said with a smile, “but have you ever heard the expression that there are no dumb questions?”

“Of course,” I replied with a laugh. “Why do you ask?”

“Well,” Stan replied, “I was thinking about this the other day. It seems to me that while the expression is probably well-intended, I also think it’s probably wrong.”

“I can agree with that,” I responded. “As a matter of fact, I’ve heard a lot of dumb questions in my life! And I’ve probably asked more than my share of dumb ones.”

“Me, too,” Stan replied. “But do you know what’s worse than a dumb question?”

“No,” I said. “What?”

“A dumb answer,” he responded, “or at least answering a question in a dumb or insensitive way.”

“Seems to me,” he continued, “that the apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the church in Colossae.”

“Paul wrote about dumb questions and answers?” I asked.

“Not exactly in those words,” Stan said, “but it seems to me that Paul clearly wrote that all of my answers to questions are to be made with grace regardless of whether or not I think it’s a dumb question.”

“With grace?” I said. “How so?”

“Let me give you an example,” Stan replied.  “If my response to a person’s question makes that person feel like he or she just asked a dumb question, I have not answered with grace. Instead, I have answered in such a way that likely will shut the person down from asking any more questions. I think that’s wrong in a general way when the question is about anything, but it is especially wrong and inappropriate when the question concerns faith, spiritual growth, and anything like that.”

“Why particularly wrong with questions about faith and spiritual growth?” I asked.

“Because there’s nothing more important,” Stan replied. “A person’s eternal destination could hang in the balance. As well, I think that spiritual growth on this side of eternity is all about asking questions and getting the right answers.”

“How so?”

“The Bible has all sorts of instances where people asked Jesus questions,” Stan said. “What if His response would have been, ‘That’s a dumb question,’ when the man described as the rich young ruler asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Or what about when Nicodemus asked, ‘How can a man be born when he’s old?’ What if Jesus had said, ‘That’s a dumb question’ rather than explaining what it means to be born again?”

“So,” I responded, “when people ask us questions about our faith, Christianity, the church, discipleship, anything like that, we are to respond in grace. Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And for me the best way to keep that focus is to remember how I was treated.”

“How was that?”

“At one point in my life,” Stan said, “I knew absolutely nothing about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, faith, the church, discipleship, or anything else. I knew nothing whatsoever. I asked questions and received gracious answers that encouraged my faith. I hate to think about where I would be if my questions had not been answered graciously. I, too, am to have gracious answers that build up and never tear down.”

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Bible verses to consider:

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.

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.

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

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer with all of the questions I may have about you, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the church, discipleship, and everything. Thank you that you never make me feel that I have asked a dumb question, but that you always respond to my questions with grace. I confess that too often I am not gracious in responding to questions that are asked of me. Please forgive that foolishness. Help me follow every step of your lead so I am gracious in all of my answers to every question, but especially with questions concerning a person’s faith and faith walk. Help me to never discourage another person by the way I answer questions, but to only encourage a deeper faith. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Questions are how we get answers. Have you answered correctly the question of who Jesus is so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? Do you believe that God encourages us to ask questions about who He is, what He has provided, and what He expects of us? Do you ask such questions? Do you think God can use you to answer such questions that other people may have? How do you answer such questions? With grace, knowing that a lot may hang in the balance? If you sense the need for change in asking and answering questions like these, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

January 19, 2023 — He could have said “No,” but he didn’t

“The other day,” Stan commented one morning while we waited for breakfast, “I was looking again at how Matthew responded to Jesus and how it applies to my faith walk.”

“What were you looking at?” I asked.

“I think you know the story,” Stan replied, “how Matthew responded immediately when Jesus said to follow Him.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Wasn’t he some sort of tax collector who went by the name ‘Levi’ at that point in his life?”

“That’s right,” Stan replied. “It says that Jesus saw him in his office or booth or whatever it was, told him to follow Him, and he did. He left everything and followed Jesus. Just look at what happened with him!”

“He went on to be an apostle who wrote one of the four gospels,” I commented. “Quite a legacy.”

“Legacy, indeed,” Stan said. “All because he did what Jesus said. It makes me wonder about what if he would have responded differently and how that relates to me and my faith walk.”

“Responded differently?” I said. “How?”

“What if Matthew would have said, ‘No’?” Stan replied. “Just think about what he would have missed. I look at all I probably missed in my life by saying ‘No’ for too long. I think about all I am missing now when I say “No’.”

“Oh,” I replied. “I guess Matthew could have said ‘No.’ Kind of like the guy referred to as the ‘rich young ruler.’ He said ‘No,’ he went away, and was never heard from again.”

“That’s right,” Stan said. “We all have a choice to make when Jesus says, ‘Follow Me.” Do we do like Matthew and drop everything, get up, and follow, or do we say ‘No’ or something like, ‘I’m kind of busy right now, can I get back to you?’ Matthew could have said ‘No,’ or put it off, but he didn’t. How about me? How about you?”

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Bible verses to consider:

And after that He went out, and noticed a tax-gatherer named Levi, sitting in the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he left everything behind, and rose up and began to follow Him. Luke 5:27-28.

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 Jesus said to him (the rich young ruler), “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property. Matthew 19:21-22.

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.

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

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you through the cross of Christ. Thank you for those people you brought into my life to tell me the truth so I could choose to accept your free and gracious provision. Thank you, too, for your provision of discipleship so I can work out the salvation that was worked in by Jesus’ finished work. I confess that too often I do not follow as closely as you intend. I do that because that is what I choose to do. Please forgive the foolishness of not denying myself, not taking up what you have for me to take up, and not following as closely as you want. Please help me to do so, just as you intend. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of the One I am to follow. Amen.

Think on this: Have you chosen to follow Jesus in the sense that you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting God’s free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with following Jesus on this side of eternity in working out the salvation He worked in by His finished work on the cross? If you sense the need for change in how you follow Him, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

January 20, 2023 — The Faith Mechanic

“One of my neighbors just got back from a road trip,” Stan commented one morning. “Last night he was telling me a lesson he learned — or re-learned — concerning how just about everything has a lesson for his faith walk if he’s open to seeing and hearing.”

“What was that all about?” I asked.

“About how important it is to have the right stuff in your gas tank, and what you’re supposed to do when you don’t.”

“What happened to show him that lesson?” I asked.

“Well,” Stan replied, “it seems that he wasn’t paying much attention one day when he had pulled into a self-serve gas station to fill the car. He was distracted by something and ended up filling the car with diesel fuel rather than with gasoline.”

“Wow,” I said, “that can really cause a lot of problems. Maybe even ruin the engine. Is that what happened to your neighbor?”

“No,” Stan replied. “He said that he realized what he had done after he filled the tank but before he had started the engine.”

“That was lucky,” I said, “Then what?”

“More than ‘luck’,” Stan replied. “It turned out that there was a mechanic at the gas station who was able to help, not only with the car, but also with his faith walk.”

“How so?”

“After my neighbor realized what he had done, he went in and told the cashier,” Stan replied. “She called the mechanic. They were able to push the car to where the mechanic could drain the tank of the diesel and fill it with the proper fuel.”

“So where did the faith-walk lesson come from?”

“The mechanic,” Stan replied. “Seems like he was more than just a car mechanic; he was also a faith mechanic.”

“Faith mechanic?”

“Yeah,” Stan replied. “My neighbor said that as he was thanking and paying the mechanic for his work, the mechanic told him that what he had done for the car was just like what Jesus did and what we’re supposed to do.”

“Just like what Jesus did and what we’re supposed to do? In what way?”

“The apostle Paul wrote about that in his letter to the church in Philippi,” Stan replied, “where he wrote about how Jesus emptied Himself and was obedient to the Father in going to the cross.”

“For our salvation and redemption,” I commented.

“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And, further, Jesus talked about denying or emptying ourselves as the first step in being disciples.”

“Empty or deny ourselves so we can then be filled with what God has for us to be filled with,” I said. “Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “That’s the second step of discipleship where we are to take up what God has for us to take up. If I’m not empty of self, there’s no room for Him and for what He has for me to be and to do while He keeps me on this side of eternity.”

“So,” I said, “first empty and then re-fill. Get rid of the wrong stuff, and be filled with what’s right.”

“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied with a smile.

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Bible verses to consider:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8.

Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18.

He will be filled with the Holy Spirit . . . . Luke 1:15.

And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts of the Apostles 2:38.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving your only begotten Son so that all who believe in Him will have life eternally with you. Thank you that Jesus emptied Himself as the example of how we are to empty ourselves so we can be who, doing what, you intend for us. I confess that too often I do not empty and deny myself and, as a result, I cannot take up what you have for me to take up in being the disciple you intend for me to be. Please forgive the foolishness of not emptying me of me. Help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, empty myself of all that is in the way of being filled 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 emptied yourself in the eternal sense so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why have you not accepted His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with emptying or denying yourself so you can take up or be filled with what God has for you? If you sense the need for change in being emptied and filled, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

January 21, 2023 — Refilling the Coffee Cup (Week of January 16, 2023)

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, colleagues, 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.

Also, don’t forget that S. Tory Teller’s book, the 100-day devotional, Waiting for the Train — Biblical Food for Growing Before Going, is available from amazon.com, other on-line book sellers, and directly from the publisher at www.s-toryteller.com 

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Monday, January 16 (Just like the shepherds) — After the shepherds saw and heard what God had for them, they went back glorifying and praising Him. What do we do with what He shows and tells us?

Tuesday, January 17 (A lifetime of prayer) Anna spent her entire life in prayer. How about me? How much time do I spend seeking what’s on God’s heart?

Wednesday, January 18 (Answers are to build up, not tear down) — Our answers to questions about anything, but especially about our faith, are to be gracious. How are we doing with that?

Thursday, January 19 (He could have said “no,” but he didn’t) — When Jesus called Matthew to follow Him, that’s what Matthew did. How about me? How about you?

Friday, January 20 (The faith mechanic) — Before we can be filled with what God has for us, we have to be emptied of everything else. How’s that going?

January 23, 2023 — Telling Others, not Keeping it a Secret

“We’ve talked about this a little bit before,” Stan commented, “but I keep seeing the same thing in the Bible and I have the sense it must be important, so let’s talk about it again.”

“What same thing to you keep seeing?” I asked.

“How the news about Jesus spread when He was walking the earth,” Stan replied. “And it makes me wonder why things may seem to be different now.”

“Different how?”

“When Jesus was walking the earth, the news of Him spread from person to person,” Stan replied. “It was like a neighbor telling a neighbor, and it makes me wonder why that doesn’t happen so much now.”

“Maybe because of what Paul wrote about Satan blinding the minds of the unbelieving,” I replied.

“Maybe,” Stan said, “but what about the believers?”

“What about them?”

“Who’s binding their mouths to keep them from telling others?”

“Oh,” I said, “blinding the mind versus binding the mouth.”

“Yeah,” Stan replied. “I know for a fact that I was blind to the truth until someone told me, and I know there are many people out there whose lives and eternal destinations can and will be changed if someone who knows the truth, beginning with me, will just stop keeping it a secret and tell them!”

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Bible verses to consider:

But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and great multitudes were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Luke 5:15.

And the news about Him went into all Syria . . . . Matthew 5:24.

And immediately the news about Him went out everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee. Mark 1:28.

Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:13-15.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving Jesus so that all who believe will spend eternity in your presence. Thank you for those who brought me to the truth — and the truth to me — so I could believe. I confess that too often I do not tell others the truth of your free and gracious provision so they, too, can and will believe. Please forgive me. Please help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, spread the news of Jesus so that others will know the truth. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in His magnificent name. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him when it’s time? If you have done that, how did you hear the truth of His provision? Did it come from someone telling you? If you have not yet accepted the truth, is that because no one has told you, or is it because you simply don’t believe? Why would you want to spend eternity, beginning now, separated from God? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with telling others the truth of God’s provision for them? If you sense the need for change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

January 24, 2023 — Disappointing Satan when he thinks it’s an Opportune Time

“I read something the other day in Luke’s gospel,” Stan commented, “that pertained specifically to Jesus, but sure looks like it has a clear application for me as well as for every other person.”

“That sounds like a very broad application,” I said. “What were you reading about?”

“The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness,” Stan replied.

“I remember that,” I said. “Jesus had some great answers for Satan’s temptations. Good  example for all of us in how to respond to Satan with the truth of Scripture. Is that the application you saw?”

“That’s a very important application,” Stan replied. “One we will focus on another day, but what I was looking is where Luke wrote that when Satan had finished every temptation with Jesus, he headed out of town until an opportune time.”

“An opportune time,” I commented. “That sounds kind of ominous.”

“It is,” Stan replied. “And that’s what Satan does. He waits. And when the time is right, when he thinks there’s an opportune time, he raises his ugly head and tempts.”

“When might such an opportune time occur?” I asked.

“Whenever I’m not prepared for how Satan wants to drag me down to his level.”

“Whenever, like in always?” I asked. “Why does God allow that?”

“If I knew for certain about that,” Stan replied, “I’d be sure to tell you. But it seems to me that one reason might be that God wants me to rely on Him for all things in an ever-deepening relationship.”

Continuing, he added, “God clearly provides the way out of every temptation. As well, He wants me to draw ever closer to Him so I will know Him and be able to claim all that He has for me. Seems to me that includes the way of escaping every one of Satan’s temptations.”

“Knowing God as the way out of temptation,” I commented. “That sounds kind of like that could fit under what Jesus said in John 17:3.”

“In what way?” Stan asked.

“Well,” I replied, “Jesus said that eternal life is knowing Him and His Father. If I spend the time I have remaining here pursuing that knowledge of God the Father and God the Son, it’s likely I will be prepared for when Satan comes calling with his temptation.”

“I think you’re right,” Stan said. “Know the Father, know the Son, and know how to disappoint Satan.”

“Know how to disappoint Satan?” I replied. “In what way?”

“By turning what he thinks is an opportune time,” Stan said with a smile, “into something that’s the exact opposite!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And when the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. Luke 4:13.

And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” Job 1:7.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8.

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your warnings about Satan’s temptations and how he wants to pull me down to his level. Thank you, too, for your provision of the ways out of his temptation. I confess that too often I am not sufficiently alert to what Satan wants to do and I give him an “opportune time” to pull me down. Please help me to be alert to what he wants to do to impact my faith walk with you. Help me to follow every step of your lead in recognizing and avoiding all that Satan wants to do in tempting 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 life eternally with Him so you can rely on Him to overcome Satan’s temptations? If no, why? Whether or not you are a Christian, do you believe that Satan is just waiting for an “opportune time” to tempt you and drag you down to his level? If no, you will not be prepared for what he wants to do. If you do believe it, how are you doing with being prepared? If you sense the need for greater preparedness, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

January 25, 2023 — They were searching for Jesus; How about me?

“I was reading in Luke’s gospel the other day,” Stan commented, “and I saw a simple statement in one verse that reflected the exact opposite of me for way too long.”

“The exact opposite? How?”

“People were searching for Jesus,” Stan replied.

“So?”

“In the particular verse I was looking at,” Stan responded, “it says that the multitudes were searching for Jesus and they came to Him.”

“Why were they searching for Him?”

“I can’t answer for all of them,” Stan replied, “but it seems that some of them were just looking for what Jesus could do for them with physical healing. It could be that some were looking for spiritual healing, but that’s not where I was.”

“If that’s not where you were, where were you?” I asked.

“In my search for Jesus, I was nowhere,” Stan said. “I wasn’t searching for Jesus for anything. I simply was not looking for Him, and I’m concerned that it’s the same thing for many people today.”

“In what way?”

“They are not searching for Jesus in the first instance to gain life eternally with God the Father when it’s time,” Stan replied. “And, even if they have the assurance of salvation and redemption, they’re not searching for Jesus in the sense of wanting an ever-deepening relationship with Him while they remain on this side of eternity.”

“If that’s true, do you have any idea why?”

“I do,” Stan replied. “Based on way too much personal experience, I can say that the failure to search for and find Jesus in the first instance is because Satan blinds the minds of the unbelieving so they can’t see the truth.”

“Excuse the pun,” I said, “but I can see that!”

Stan smiled, laughed, and said, “Again, based on way too much personal experience, I can say that many believers, although they have the assurance of salvation and redemption, don’t search for Jesus to have an ever-deepening relationship with Him and God the Father.”

“Based on your personal experience?” I questioned. “How and why?”

“Failure to be a disciple who is pursuing discipleship.”

“You mean like not denying self, not taking up what’s to be taken up, and not following?” I said. “Is that it?”

“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied. “Seems to me that’s what searching for and finding Jesus is all about!”

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Bible verses to consider:

And when day came, He departed and went to a lonely place; and the multitudes were searching for Him, and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from going away from them. Luke 4:42.

And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. And Simon and his companions hunted for Him; and they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” Mark 1: 35-37.

Seek and you shall find. Matthew 7:7.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

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 sending Jesus into the world so that all who believe will have life eternally with you when it’s time. Thank you for those who brought me to the truth of your provision so I could accept it and know that my search for you has been satisfied for eternal purposes. I confess that too often I don’t search for you and for all you have for me on this side of eternity because that’s what I choose. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live this life for you and your kingdom without searching for you and for all you have for me. Help me follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, keep on searching for all you have for me. Help me to search for, find, and live 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 searched for and found Jesus so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? What’s in the way of such searching and finding? Do you really want to spend eternity separated from God? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with searching for and finding all that God has for you as He keeps you on this side of eternity? If you sense the need for change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

January 26, 2023 — Another “just as” — Mercy

“I was reading in Luke’s gospel the other day,” Stan commented, “and I ran into another one of those ‘just as’ statements.”

I responded, “‘Just as’ statements? Oh, you mean where it says we are to do something ‘just as’ someone or something else?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “We’ve talked a little bit about that before.”

“About husbands and wives,” I said, “if I remember correctly.”

“You’re right,” Stan responded. “We talked a little bit about how the apostle Paul wrote to husbands in Ephesus encouraging them to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” [Note to reader: See the posting for June 1, 2022, “The ‘Just As’ of the Cross.”]

“That’s a very high standard,” I commented, “to do something ‘just as’ Jesus did it.”

“High standard indeed,” Stan said. “And the one I saw the other day in Luke’s gospel is the same sort of thing.”

“In what way?”

“Luke quotes Jesus as saying that we are ‘to be merciful, just as the Father is merciful’.”

“Be merciful just as God the Father is merciful,” I repeated. “Wow, how are we supposed to do that? How can a person measure up to that high standard?”

“Based on way too much personal experience,” Stan said, “I can say without a doubt that I can’t do that on my own. I’m too self-focused. The only way I can do that is to get me out of God’s way so He can do what He wants in and through me, including showing mercy ‘just as’ He does.”

“By surrendering to the Holy Spirit?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied.

“But,” I said, “if I remember correctly, the list of the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t include ‘mercy’.”

“You’re right,” Stan replied, “mercy is not specifically mentioned in Paul’s statement about the fruit of the Spirit. However, it seems to me that the Holy Spirit is God, so the fruit of the Spirit includes everything about God, including mercy.”

“So,” I said, “if we surrender to the Holy Spirit like it says we are supposed to surrender in order to be disciples, then mercy just like the Father’s should flow in and through us. Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Deny self by surrendering all that’s in God’s way, take up what God has for us to take up, in this case His mercy, and then follow. That should get us to the ‘just as’ of His mercy!”

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Bible verses to consider:

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

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.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your mercy in placing on your only begotten Son the penalty for my sin and separation from you so I can be yours, both now and for all of eternity. I confess that too often I don’t display mercy towards others in the way you intend and the way you demonstrated by the cross of Christ. Please forgive me. Please help me to follow every step of your lead in being surrendered to all you have for me through your Holy Spirit so I will manifest mercy just as you do. 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 mercy as demonstrated by the cross of Christ so you know you will spend eternity in His presence, beginning now? If no, why have you not accepted His grace and mercy? It’s free and only needs to be accepted! If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being merciful “just as” God is merciful? If you need help with that high standard, it’s available from the Helper (John 14:16). Just ask!

January 27, 2023 — A Blind Guide

“I was reading in Luke’s gospel earlier this morning,” Stan commented, “and I was reminded of something I experienced a few years ago before we moved here.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“In a single verse,” Stan replied, “Luke quotes Jesus as asking about how a blind man can lead a blind man.”

“I think I remember that,” I said. “Didn’t Jesus say they would both fall into a pit, or something like that?”

“He did,” Stan replied. “And that’s what I was reminded about with a neighbor back in our old town.”

“Was he blind?” I asked.

“Let me tell you his story,” Stan said. “He had been ordained as a pastor or minister in one of the mainline denominations. I don’t remember which one. He had been in that role for several years as the leader of a local church when he realized he was one of those people Jesus was talking about?”

“In what way?”

“That he was part of the blind leading the blind.”

“How so?”

“He said he realized he was in a role where he was supposed to lead people into faith and help them into a deeper faith, but he couldn’t because he wasn’t a Christian himself.”

“Wasn’t a Christian himself?” I responded. “A minister? Did he say how he came to realize that?”

“He did,” Stan replied. “He said that one Sunday after the service, one of the members of the congregation took him aside and asked him about his faith.”

“One of the members asked the pastor about his faith?” I said. “You must be kidding!”

“That’s what he said,” Stan replied, “And he also said that those questions led him to examine what he knew and what he believed. And that led him to becoming a Christian who was able to lead that congregation into the kind of faith and faith walk that God intended.”

‘Wow!” I said. “All because someone recognized and pointed out one person’s blindness, that person was no longer blind and could lead others. That sounds kind of like somethingI that might be good for all of us!”

“It does, doesn’t it?” Stan replied with a smile.

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Bible verses to consider:

And He spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?” Luke 6:39.

They are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit. Matthew 15:14.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you sent your only begotten Son into the world to give us sight so we would see you and your provision of life eternally with you. Thank you, too, for the sight into knowing you and Jesus that is available for as long as you keep us on this side of eternity. Thank you that I am no longer blind to the truth. I confess that too often I do not seek to help other people see the truth so they can accept it and see you. Please forgive me, and please help me follow every step of your lead so that I, who am no longer blind, can and will help others to have the sight you intend for them. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted the truth of the gospel so that you are no longer blind to God and know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why have you not accepted His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, are you sharing your sight with those who are still blind to the truth so they, too, can see? If you sense the need for change, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

January 28, 2023 — Refilling the Coffee Cup (Week of January 23, 2023)

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, colleagues, 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.

Also, don’t forget that S. Tory Teller’s book, the 100-day devotional, Waiting for the Train — Biblical Food for Growing Before Going, is available from amazon.com, other on-line book sellers, and directly from the publisher at www.s-toryteller.com 

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Monday, January 23 (Telling others, not keeping it a secret) — The truth of the gospel is spread by telling others. How are we doing with that?

Tuesday, January 24 (Disappointing Satan when he thinks it’s an opportune time) — Satan is just waiting for the right time to tempt us. Will we be ready?

Wednesday, January 25 (They were looking for Jesus; how about me?) — When Jesus walked the earth, “multitudes” were looking for Him. Am I looking for Him? How about you?

Thursday, January 26 (Another “just as” — Mercy) — Jesus gave us the standard for showing mercy: just as God the Father.  That’s a high standard. How are we doing with that? 

Friday, January 27 (A blind guide) — Jesus talked about the blind leading the blind. How’s our sight for leading, as well as for following?