Monday, June 27, 2022

Unexpected Presence - Anne Adams

Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree . . . [while] Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Judges 6:11–12 NKJV

“Did you beep me?”

I heard the question on the front desk phone at the big church where I once worked. I quickly did a mental inventory of the ministers I knew had beepers. It wasn’t any of them, so I blurted, “Who are you?”

The person answered my blunt question, “Walter.” The senior minister. Oops!

After I dove for the switch to connect him to his secretary, I realized what had happened. Usually, when she beeped him, she’d alert me, but this time she hadn’t. Thus the unexpected presence.

Gideon had a similar experience when a divine visitor appeared as he threshed wheat in a hole. The unexpected divine presence brought instructions for God's new job for Gideon.

I’ve never had a visit like Gideon, but I’ve occasionally felt the same sense of a divine presence. It can take various forms–perhaps a sudden urge to say or do something that encourages someone or maybe a new idea I can implement in my writing ministry. Sometimes, God’s unexpected presence approaches me with a new task, as He did with Gideon.

When God shows up unexpectedly or in an unusual way, remember the Lord behind the visit is prepared to provide what you need to follow His divine orders. 

How do you respond when God shows up with a new task for you? 

Tweetable: How do you respond to God's unexpected presence? 


Anne Adams is a retired church staffer living in Athens, Texas, where she writes a historical column for the local newspaper. Her book Brittany, Child of Joy, tells about her mentally disabled daughter and was published in 1986 by Broadman. She has taught junior college history and has published in Christian and secular publications for forty years. 


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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Peach Pie

 

 
Ingredients
6 peaches peeled and chopped

2 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring

One half stick of butter

Two deep dish frozen pie shells

Corn Starch
 
Directions
In a saucepan, mix peaches, sugar, vanilla flavoring, and one-fourth cup of water.

Add one fourth of the stick of butter.

Bring mixture to boil, reduce to medium heat, and then let cook until peaches are tender.

Thicken with corn starch.

Pour into pie shell.

Place second pie shell on top upside down.

Spread remaining butter over crust.

Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.


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Friday, June 24, 2022

Time for Change - Martin Wiles

Then in the twelfth year he (Josiah) began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. 2 Chronicles 34:3 NLT

“We need to change the . . .”

I had heard the words before—and would hear them again. At present, I had just been called as pastor of a small church whose previous pastor had been there quite some time. During his stay, not much had changed. After his resignation, the deacons passed out survey forms, asking the church members what changes they would like. Sure enough, the lists were long. Since my wife and I had previously been members of the church, I had my own list. Interestingly, mine matched those of the church members.

One change related to music. For years, choir members had sung the same songs, and the congregation rotated through the same hymns and praise songs. A few weeks after I began my duties, the music minister resigned. I asked a younger lady to lead the music, thinking she’d be able to help the church make a smooth transition to some new songs and styles of songs. Wrong.

In no time at all, complaints arose. And from some of the same people who said they wanted a change. I discovered they only thought they wanted to change. When they saw how it would look, they weren’t ready. Learning new songs took work, practice, and mistakes.

Several years later, just before my resignation, the church decided to return to the old songs. The church needed change—but doing so was too difficult. Staying the same was easier.

Eight-year-old King Josiah faced a nation that needed to change also. God’s people had fallen into worshipping false gods, and their representations were everywhere. God instructed Josiah to tear down the false idols and cleanse the land of idol worship. A great revival took place because he wanted to change—and so did the people.

Changes fill our lives. We can attempt to live change-free, but we’ll never master it. Even if we don’t personally change on purpose, circumstances will force us. Sometimes, spiritual change is even more difficult. God convinced Josiah of the need to change, and He does the same for us—in whatever area the change needs to happen. Maybe with our habits or friends.

God didn’t force Josiah or the people to change, and He won’t force us either, but He has a way of making us uncomfortable if we don’t. Especially if our failure to change keeps us in sinful habits or prevents us from fulfilling His plan. He gives us the freedom to balk and refuse, but He also has the power to discipline and make our lives miserable.

When God prompts us to change, He has a good reason. Viewing change as an exciting new adventure into His best makes those transitions easier.

If God leads you to change, trust Him to guide you through it.

Prayer: Father, give us the courage to step into Your desired changes. 

Tweetable: Is it time for you to do some changing?


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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Walk-on Wednesday - Living with a Thankful Spirit - Martin Wiles

Welcome to Walk-on Wednesday. By Hump Day, we are struggling, but we believe a good devotion can strengthen us to finish the week strong. 

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:28 NLT

I received his message as I sat down at my computer to write.

The message read simply, “I’ve been enjoying your Love Lines. Can you send me your number?” Ironically, I had just thought about my friend a week ago. Almost eight years had passed since we’d sat down and reminisced. He and I had been work associates right after graduating from high school—over three decades before—but our lives had taken us in different directions. Periodically, we’d spend some time catching up.

Excitedly, I sent him my number. Within five minutes, my phone rang. His voice sounded the same—his spirit just as chipper as I remember it always had been. For the next thirty minutes, we caught up on the last eight years. I was thankful I had a good friend. Although the miles separated us, I knew I could depend on him if I truly needed him.

First-century inhabitants also had reason to be thankful if they listened to and accepted the message of the early apostles. Their contemporaries may have killed Jesus and placed his body in a cold tomb, but God had raised him up and validated salvation for anyone who chose to believe. An eternal kingdom awaited them.

I’m not always as thankful as I should be. Sometimes it takes a call from an old acquaintance to remind me what I’ve had and still have. Among the many things I don’t have on earth that I might enjoy having, the eternal things ahead outweigh them all and should prompt me to give thanks in the present. I have a promise from an eternal God that he knows and will supply my needs and a further promise that he has an eternal home prepared for me to enjoy. By worshipping him in truth and spirit, I show my thankfulness for these two promises and many more he gives.

Are you demonstrating a thankful spirit?

Prayer: Father, we thank You for all that’s good and for Your love for us. 

Tweetable: Are you living with a thankful spirit? 


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Monday, June 20, 2022

Meandering Monday - At the End of the Journey - Martin Wiles

Welcome to Meandering Monday, where we take a trip back to an earlier post and enjoy it again.

No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. Hebrews 12:22 NLT

She lay in a hospital bed in a local nursing home, waiting to end her journey.

What kept her hanging on, I didn’t understand. She had gone there after leaving another nursing home—the one she and my grandfather were in together . . . the one from which he had made his final journey. Now it was her time, but it was as if she didn’t want her journey to end.

My aunt called, “You need to come to see her. She’s waiting to see you before she goes.”

I had just started a new job and was afraid to ask for time off.

“Well, can you just talk to her if I call you?” my aunt asked.

I could, and I did. I told her it was okay to go home. And she did. 

Mount Zion was literal and figurative. Literally, it was the place where Solomon had built the Jerusalem temple. The figurative meaning holds more importance, however. It represents heaven, the end of the journey for all who chose to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

I’ve heard it said, “I have more miles behind me than I do before me.” I always classified the speakers as old. As I calculate their age, however, I realize they were about my age now. Suddenly, I’m the one with more miles behind than in front of me. On some days, knowing that comforts me; on others, it causes a wave of fear to wash over me. Not fear of missing heaven but of journeying where I’ve never been before: death and heaven.

My confidence for the final journey is built on a decision I made when I was nine: the decision to follow Christ. The same decision my grandmother had made. Forgiveness of my sins gives me the fortitude to close my eyes in death and know I’ll immediately open them in heaven.

Is heaven waiting at the end of your journey?

Prayer: Father, thank You for the assurance of an eternal home with You. 

Tweetable: Are you prepared for the end of your journey? 


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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Red Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

 

Ingredients
8 OUNCES OF CREAM CHEESE

½ CUP RANCH SALAD DRESSING

½ CUP RED HOT BUFFALO WING SAUCE

½ CUP SHREDDED MOZZARELLA CHEESE

2 CUPS SHREDDED COOKED CHICKEN

Directions
PLACE CREAM CHEESE IN A SMALL ROUND DISH.

MICROWAVE FOR 1 MINUTE TO SOFTEN.

MIX SALAD DRESSING, WING SAUCE, CREAM CHEESE, AND MOZZARELLA CHEESE UNTIL SMOOTH.

ADD CHICKEN AND MIX WELL.

BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 20 MINUTES.



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Friday, June 17, 2022

Love Does Mercy - Martin Wiles

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Galatians 6:10 NLT

The time for the annual adventure had arrived—and I dreaded it.

In my younger years, Dad’s present of choice for my mom on Christmas and her birthday was a dress. What made him think I’d like to accompany him on these excursions, I’m not quite sure. But when I reached my middle school years, he invited me along—well, not really invited. He told me I was going. I don’t remember whether I fussed or balked, but it would have done no good.

Of all the days for Dad to search for Mom’s dress, he chose Saturday. The only day I had to do nothing—since he preached and going to church filled our Sundays. Dad was also a perfectionist, like Mom. Not any dress would do. It had to be the perfect one—and we never found it at the first store we visited.

I'm not sure whether Dad’s persnicketiness caused him to take half a day to pick out a dress or whether he knew how particular Mom was. All I know is that this middle school boy spent half a day twice each year helping his dad pick out a dress for his mom. A dress she may not have liked—and one she just might have taken back, hurting Dad’s feelings in the process.

But good ole Dad knew on what side his bread was buttered. Mom had spoiled him from the beginning . . . and he loved it and wanted it to continue. So, he shopped, and so did I.

Dad did good all his life for my mom, up until the day he died in an Atlanta, Georgia, hospital. Paul told the early believers to do the same thing. And the command continues to the present.

When we love, we can’t help but do good—to show mercy. Often, those we show mercy to face dire straits. We understand we could be in a similar position. We long to show mercy. Love propels us to act in the best interest of others.

True love monitors its motives. Dad had no ulterior reasons. He loved Mom from the moment he saw her and wanted to spend his life with her. Sure, she pampered him, but that wasn’t why he performed his acts of love. Loving with the wrong motives always leads to disaster.

Love also expects nothing in return. Mom and Dad bought each other special day presents because they loved each other, but neither expected anything in return. God loves us, regardless of how we respond to Him, and He wants us to do the same for others—even our enemies.

Let your love for others lead you to merciful acts.

Prayer: Father, guide us to the acts of love You would have us to do. 

Tweetable: Are you showing mercy? 


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