Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Killing Giants with a History - Martin Wiles

Killing Giants with a History 

I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations. Exodus 20:5 NLT

My mom and dad both had a few characteristics I didn’t plan on carrying over into my role as a spouse and parent; sadly, I found myself facing the same giants. 

Dad was a churchaholic and a workaholic. As a pastor, he devoted his life to the church first of all. My brothers and I all agree: rarely do we remember him spending time with us doing the normal things dads should do with their sons. Mom seemed to be able to find the negative side of every situation. As I witnessed these patterns, I determined I wouldn’t repeat them. Read more...

Tweetable: Are you in the giant-slaying business?

Thanks to all our faithful followers who share our posts! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram. Help us spread God's encouragement through His Love Lines.

Monday, October 26, 2020

One Chair’s Journey - Martin Wiles

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:17 NLT

Some chairs are good for more than just sitting on.

When I was a young lad, my maternal grandmother—who lived in Vance, South Carolina—purchased a living room suit from a local furniture store. The reason I remember it so well is because she placed it in her formal living room—the front room she called it—and told us not to sit on it. She reserved this for company, which she rarely had. The suit contained a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, and two end tables.

After my grandmother died, Mom and her sister divided the living room suit. Mom took the couch and the chair, and my aunt got the tables. Mom didn’t like all white furniture, so she had it recovered. When Dad retired, he and Mom moved into a smaller home that didn’t have room for the living room suit. Mom passed it along to me.

My wife and I kept my grandmother’s furniture for several years until we moved into a smaller place. We stored the couch and chairs for a time but eventually concluded we’d probably never live in a home large enough for them again. Reluctantly, I decided to sell the couch and matching chair, but kept one chair for sentimental reasons.

The chair now sits in our den and isn’t used as a formal piece of furniture any longer. The grandboys sit on it, and yes, things have been spilled on it, leaving stains we can’t remove. I’m sure if the chair could tell me about its journey, it would share things even I don’t know. One thing remains: it is loved for whom it belonged to. It was a good gift from a loving grandmother and then a mother.

We never know where our life journey will take us. Often, it includes sicknesses, relationship challenges, financial crunches, emotional struggles, death, change, and tough decisions. But James gives us comforting assurances. All the good things in life—and I might add the not-so-good things—ultimately come from a loving God who brings or allows them into our life journey. And this God does not change in His opinion toward us.

God loves us before we’re born, and nothing will alter His love for us. He always works for the good of His children—whether we see it—and He gives us His Spirit permanently to guide us along life’s journey.  

So, remember, wherever your life journey takes you, God remains by your side.

Prayer: Father, thank You for walking beside us and guiding us along our life’s journey.

Tweetable: What have you kept on your life's journey? 


Thanks to all our faithful followers who share our posts! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram. Help us spread God's encouragement through His Love Lines.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Going into the Desert - Martin Wiles

As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Acts 8:26 NLT

Deserts are a part of life.

Furnace Creek at Death Valley National Park in the Mohave Desert of eastern California is the driest place in the US. Between 1971 and 2000, it averaged only 2.3 inches of rain annually. And from 1911 to 1960, the annual rainfall was only 1.6 inches.

 

I’ve been in some desert places myself. As a teen and a young adult, I wondered whether or not I’d find that special person to spend the rest of my life with. I also remember several relationships that went south and the desert conditions that resulted when they did.

And the finances. The times I lost a job I loved. The times I worked at places that couldn’t pay enough for me to satisfy my monthly obligations. The walk through the financial desert lasted longer than I wanted.

Philip found himself in a desert. Persecution assaulted the early church, scattering the believers. Philip went to Samaria where a great revival broke out. Crowds listened eagerly to his message about Jesus. Healings occurred, and joy permeated the city. Philip surely enjoyed himself.

Until God’s angel told him to go south to a desert road. What in the world would he find there? And why? To witness to a solitary official reading a passage in Isaiah that he didn’t understand. Philip explained it, and the man believed and was baptized. We can only imagine the mission possibilities this desert conversion held.

God often leads us into dry places … desert places. Places we don’t understand. Relationship deserts. Financial or emotional deserts. Just as God’s Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. We don’t normally know the reason God puts us there, but God knows.

While sin or disobedience can put us there, more often other reasons do. For Philip, his obedience had the possibility of taking God’s love to an entire continent. In the desert, God teaches and prepares us for the next phase of His plan. When things in our lives dry up, we tend to do a better job of listening to God. Our listening leads to spiritual growth, which God also desires. 

Deserts often precede new opportunities. Our desert preparation gets us ready for what God has next on His agenda for us.

When God leads you into a desert, ask Him for patience and guidance. Know He has something better ahead.

Prayer: Father, teach us to walk obediently through the deserts, trusting You as we do.

Tweetable: Are you in a desert? 


Thanks to all our faithful followers who share our posts! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram. Help us spread God's encouragement through His Love Lines.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Flashback Friday - Facing Loneliness - Martin Wiles

Facing Loneliness

You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend. Psalm 88:18 NLT

The cloud of loneliness hung heavily above her. She appeared to be out of options.

Sarah* was in her senior years. Her husband had died five years ago. Initially, she enjoyed her independence, but her freedom from responsibility for another soon turned into a sea of loneliness. An empty house, one place setting at the table, a bed with too much space, financial burdens, no one to talk to or scold for not completing her “honey-do” list—it was more than she could endure. When the chance came for her to marry a man she’d known most of her life, she jumped in with both feet. Sadly, Sarah discovered she could be lonely even in a crowd. Read more...

Tweetable: Are you facing loneliness? 


Thanks to all our faithful followers who share our posts! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram. Help us spread God's encouragement through His Love Lines.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Eyes All Over - Martin Wiles

The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT

“Look, dear, I assigned lunch detention when I wasn’t there.”

My wife and I were headed to Asheville, North Carolina, for a writer’s conference when I received the email. One of my middle school students had behaved inappropriately in my class, and the substitute had reprimanded him and sent him to the headmaster.

After investigating the incident, the principal assigned him lunch detention and sent out our normal behavior notification to the parents. Since the incident happened in my class, the email said I had assigned the detention. But I wasn’t there.

The incident reminded me of something I heard growing up and something my wife now tells our grandchildren: “You know MeMe has eyes in the back of her head.”

Our oldest grandchild is sneaky, and sometimes does small incidental things he shouldn’t. When my wife calls him down, he says, “MeMe, how did you know.” That’s when she pops off the saying.

While I don’t use the saying on my middle schoolers, I do remind them of my age and that I was once their age. “Anything you try, I probably did. So don’t try it.”

God has eyes all over, too, as Hanani the prophet told King Asa. The king had chosen to place his trust in a pagan king named Aram instead of God when it came to fighting battles. The seer warned him, and in the course of the warning reminded the king that God’s eyes see everything.

We call what the prophet defined God’s omnipresence. Anywhere I go, God is and has already been. Nothing we do escapes His notice, as Adam and Eve discovered when they ate the forbidden fruit.

Not only does God see our outward actions, but He also notices our inner motives. The things others can’t see. Knowing that, we should live a holy lifestyle, and our actions toward others should come from a grateful heart.

Even more, since God sees all, He can help us see His plan for us, as well as the avenues we need to take to follow that plan. He knows everything we’ll face on the journey, but also has a plan on how to help us navigate the struggles and roadblocks that will arise.

Since God sees everything in your life and knows what’s best, let Him guide you through your life’s journey.

Prayer: Father, help us trust Your all-seeing eyes to guide us through life.

Tweetable: Do you know God's eyes are watching you? 


Thanks to all our faithful followers who share our posts! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram. Help us spread God's encouragement through His Love Lines.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

More Than Asked For - Martin Wiles

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. Luke 6:38 NLT

I asked—and she gave.

My wife was there again—the emergency room. This time because she couldn’t get over the stomach virus she and I had contracted the week before. Mine left in two days. Hers hung around. Now dehydration had taken over.

As we awaited test results, my stomach growled for supper. Having brought no money, I called Mom to see if she could bring me a bite from a local fast food joint.

“I just made some chicken salad,” she said. “I’ll bring you a sandwich in just a little bit.”

“Just one sandwich and a 20-ounce drink is all I want,” I said.

More than an hour later, I still hadn’t heard from Mom. Finally, she called. “Meet me in the lobby.”

I watched as she lumbered through the automatic doors, carrying a Walmart bag in each hand along with a zip-loc bag with two cups filled with ice and Pepsi. I thanked her and returned to the room. Eager to eat my sandwich, I peeped inside the bags.

What Mom brought was much more than I asked for. Two sandwiches, two bags of chips, two bananas, one fudge brownie, two packs of crackers, a small bag of peppermints, toiletry wipes, a travel toothbrush complete with toothpaste, two bottles of water, and two bottled drinks.

“That was way more than I asked for,” I texted, “but thank you.”

“You never know. You might need it,” she replied.

That’s how Mom is, always giving more than I or anyone else asks. She’s not a rich woman. Never has been. She was married to a preacher of small country churches. But she has given … much.

God does the same for His children as Jesus mentions. When we make it a priority to give to God’s work, He’ll give back to us. And what He gives will far surpass what we initially gave. He may not give us money, but He’ll give us more opportunities. And most of all, He’ll give us a sense of fulfillment. We’ve done what He created us to do.

So go ahead. Surprise people with more than they ask for. Ask God for what you need to do this giving with, and then believe in faith He’ll give it to you.

Prayer: Father, we ask that You give to us so that we might share with others.

Tweetable: Are you giving others more than they ask for? 


Thanks to all our faithful followers who share our posts! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram. Help us spread God's encouragement through His Love Lines.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Wilderness Thinking - Martin Wiles

Wilderness Thinking

Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea…But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt…Moses addressed the people. Deuteronomy 1:2-3 NLT

What should have been a four-hour drive took us twice as long…but it was our fault. 

Once, my wife and I—along with another couple--rented a cabin in the Tennessee mountains. We had no specific plans other than to visit antique shops and thrift stores. After four days of doing what we love, we headed home…a short four-hour drive. Yet it was eight hours later before we finally pulled into our driveway. We didn’t get lost, nor was traffic the culprit. Love for flea markets was. We chose to stop at several on the way home.  

The Israelite’s trip was lengthier for a different reason. Read more...

Tweetable: Are you bogged down in wilderness thinking? 


Thanks to all our faithful followers who share our posts! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram. Help us spread God's encouragement through His Love Lines.