Thursday, April 24, 2014

Choose Your Friends Wisely by Martin Wiles

Some friends should carry the label, “Dangerous for Your Health.”

My parents always cautioned me to choose friends wisely. Biblical examples were offered of what happens when one doesn’t. Such as the prodigal son. Warnings reminded me that choosing bad company would corrupt my character. Stand your ground on moral principles and don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise. Imagine my surprise when one such distraction appeared in the form of a deacon’s son at the church my father pastored. We became fast friends. I had just entered adolescence, and rebellion was on my mind. And this new friend provided the fertilizer for my stubborn seeds to grow. Within a short period of time, I had acquired several addictions and was traveling down the wrong spiritual road. 

Friendship with the world has consequences. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 NLT)

World in biblical terminology seldom refers to the geographical ball dangling in space. Rather it’s the entire system of action and thought that doesn’t align with God’s standards and commands. Worldly friendships manifest themselves through actions and relationships that dishonor God. 

James makes it clear I can’t have the proverbial cake and eat it too scenario. I either chose the world or Christ. I must select sinful living or godly living. Since the beginning of time, the option has always been God or the world. Adam and Eve had a choice: the fruit of the one forbidden tree (world) or God (the fruit of every other tree). James even uses the good teaching technique of repetition to reinforce the impossibility of having it both ways. Friends with the world equal enemies of God. What I attempted to do during my teenage journey, God says is impossible. 

Who are you choosing as a friend, the world or God? 

Prayer: Give us courage, Dear Lord, to choose godly relationships so our spiritual journey is enhanced and we are encouraged to obey You rather than our sinful desires. 

Martin N Michelle
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

God Can Handle Complaints by Martin Wiles

God gives us permission to tell him exactly how we feel.

“God, I just don’t understand. We give our tithes and offerings, we attend church regularly, we use our gifts in your church, we share your love with others. We do all the good things a Christian should, but we never seem to get ahead.”

My wife has made some or all of these statements at one time or another. If I haven’t said them, I’ve at least thought them. Having taken on another part-time job, I hoped we’d finally get our heads above water. My wife did too. That was before she discovered she had inadvertently entered a bank deposit twice. Now there wasn’t enough to cover the rent check, and we were almost one hundred dollars in the red. So we complained to God. 

Sometimes I feel guilty about complaining to God, but I’ve discovered he can handle it. And when I have complaints, he’s the best and safest source to present them to. The psalmist thought so too. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. (Psalm 142:2 NLT)

The psalmist—along with many other biblical characters, obviously had no qualms about complaining to God. So perhaps there’s nothing necessarily sinful about this bold act. And it isn’t. God can handle my complaints. When they arise out of genuineness, it evidences my desire for answers to my personal unpleasant situation or to circumstances that anger or confuse me. 

On the other hand, what I complain about can arise from sinful practices I need to address. The trial may be God’s way of getting my attention about something that needs my attention. Through trials, God refines—and sometimes realigns, me, but when I respond with an attitude of trust, he’ll give me a form of peace that’s impossible to understand or convey to others. It simply has to be experienced.

Is a situation or person aggravating and confusing you? Take your complaint to God. 

Prayer: Prompt us, merciful Lord, to bring our complaints to You where we’ll find wisdom to understand and strength to endure. 
Martin N Michelle
Thanks to all our faithful followers who are "sharing" our posts--please keep it up! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Help us spread God's encouragement through his love lines. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Throwback Tuesday by Martin Wiles


Regret’s Poison

I should have listened, but it was too late.  

College wasn’t in the plans. I wasn’t even fond of high school and proved it by quitting my senior year only to return a few months later when the grass on the other side turned tasteless. I eventually graduated but entered the work world instead of another classroom. Read more...

Ever feel like you just can't get the Christian life right? Read Jesus' solution for success. Download your copy today.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Enjoy the Journey by Martin Wiles

When finishing the task is all that’s on my mind, I don’t often enjoy the journey.

I’m task oriented. Born with a Type A personality and two parents who had the same, I was marked from the beginning. With no chance at being laid back, I live life with rapid fury. How I functioned in college, in particular, illustrates this well. Within the first two days of a semester’s beginning, I received all my syllabi. Contained in those pages were numerous papers I was required to write to receive credit for the course. Rather than waiting until the last minute like many of my classmates, I immediately put my assignments in order by date and began pecking away to complete them. Perhaps my anxiety and hurriedness along the way prevented me from enjoying what I could have learned during the research and writing phase of each project. 

The Israelites Moses led to the Promised Land didn’t enjoy the journey either. And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3 NKJV) 

When I’m enjoying the journey, I’ll learn lessons along the way in addition to the ones I discover when I reach the end. I’ll understand how to trust God to meet my needs not only in the end but along the way also. Happiness, peace, and contentment can be mine during the trek. 

Enjoying the journey reminds me that my Christian pilgrimage isn’t just about reaching heaven. Earth is the proving and preparation grounds for my eternity there. Taking pleasure in the earthly sojourn gives me experiences to learn from. I can then use these lessons to assist others who are facing similar circumstances. 

When I get pleasure from the journey, I’ll appreciate the end product more. Are you enjoying your journey?

Prayer: Father, may we take pleasure all during the trip and not just at the final stop. 

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