Monday, November 28, 2022

Just Passing Through - Martin Wiles

just passing through
I am only a foreigner in the land. Don’t hide your commands from me! Psalm 119:19 NLT

I was passing through; I had no plans to stay forever. 

As a pastor’s son, I passed through many places. We passed through Hilda, South Carolina, and stayed for three years. Next, we passed through Jackson, Tennessee, where we stopped over for four years. Then we went to Cameron, South Carolina, where we passed through in one year. Finally, we journeyed to Orangeburg, South Carolina, and settled for five years. By the time the trip ended in Orangeburg, I had graduated high school. I thought I had finished passing through, but then God called me to preach, and I passed through some more places: Branchville, Iva, Harleyville, and Hodges, South Carolina. 

God’s Old Testament people passed through quite a few places themselves. They passed through four hundred years in Egyptian slavery. Next, they stopped over in Assyria for a couple of hundred years. Then they passed through Babylon for seventy years. But wherever they passed through, they never forgot where home was. Neither did they forget God’s commands and their responsibility to obey them. 

I’m not considered a foreigner unless I visit another country. God, however, considers me a foreigner regardless of where I live. I can travel the world and never find a place I can truly call home. My journey here is temporary. I’m just passing through. And when I leave on my final journey, I can’t take any of the things I’ve accumulated. It makes sense, then, that I should travel with a light load instead of burdening myself with things that make the journey unenjoyable. 

My passing throughs taught me to hold things lightly, even in many relationships, except for the one person who’d never betray or leave me.  Believers are just passing through earth to a new heaven and earth. Our priorities on our journey determine whether the trip will be enjoyable or depressing. 

Let loving God and people be the only baggage you carry as you pass through. 

Prayer: Father, thank You that when we have completed our passing through, we will be in heaven with You eternally. 

Tweetable: Have you realized you're just passing through? 


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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Broccoli and Potato Soup

Broccoli and Potato Soup

 


Ingredients

4 RED POTATOES (CUT INTO LONG STRIPS)     

2 CUPS CHOPPED BROCCOLI

1 ONION (DICED)

1 CAN EVAPORATED MILK

½ TEASPOON SALT

¼ TEASPOON PEPPER

½ CUP VELVEETA CHEESE

1 TABLESPOON CORNSTARCH

Directions
COOK POTATOES, BROCCOLI, AND ONION IN A QUART OF WATER UNTIL TENDER.

ADD SALT, PEPPER, MILK, AND CHEESE.

DISSOLVE CORNSTARCH IN COLD WATER TO THICKEN SOUP.


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Friday, November 25, 2022

Pointing the Finger - Martin Wiles

Pointing the Finger
The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12 NLT

She stood in the road—pointing her finger—and shouted, “Well, if you would stop, I could get him.”

As I took my daily stroll, I turned into a neighboring subdivision I had walked through for six years. I noticed a small dog crisscrossing the road about twenty-five yards ahead. I wondered what he would do when I approached—the reason why I carry a large stick.

Sure enough, when I reached where he stood in the front yard with his owner, he saw me, barked, and ran into the road after me. I spoke kindly to him, but he continued to yap, follow me, and place his muzzle against my ankle. I knew at any minute I would feel his teeth sink into my skin. Every few yards, I stopped, turned around, and shooed him away, but as soon as I turned to walk again, he returned to my ankle.

After thirty yards of this yapping, I stopped, turned, and hollered at him. It was then that I noticed the owner standing in the middle of the road telling me to stop so she could get her dog.

As politely as I could under the circumstances, I said, “Mame, you do know there is a leash law in this county?”

She replied, “Well, he has never seen you before.”

Suddenly, her breaking the law had become my fault. I made a mental note that in the future I would introduce myself to any strange dogs.

Pointing the finger has a long history, beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God gave them one rule to follow, but they broke it. When God confronted Adam about his sin, he pointed the finger at Eve. When God confronted Eve, she pointed the finger at the serpent.

What God wanted from the first couple—and what He wants from us now—was for them to take responsibility for their actions. Shifting the blame to others provides the easy way out but doesn’t relieve us of our responsibility in God’s eyes. I am responsible for my sin, for my refusal to forgive those who sin against me, for my unkind words, for the squabbles I initiate, and for the way I talk to a dog owner who doesn’t want to take responsibility for her animal’s actions.

The solution is simple, yet challenging: personal action. I must confess, I must forgive, I must apologize, I must love those who are unlovable, and I must rectify wrongs. The good news is that God goes before us when we take responsibility for our actions. He gives strength and wisdom. He knows always pointing the finger at someone else for our troubles will only lead us down a path to emotional sickness and stunt our spiritual growth.

Ask God to help you stop pointing the finger at others and take responsibility for your actions.

Prayer: Father, when we’re tempted to point the finger at others, help us to look at ourselves instead. 

Tweetable: Are you pointing the finger? 


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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Spirit of Confidence - Karen Huffaker

Spirit of Confidence
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Jeremiah 17:7 NIV

Every time she steps on the mat, I see a spirit of confidence beyond the ordinary level. 

My granddaughter’s nose is up, and her shoulders are back. We joke that she has an “attitude.” She has been a gymnast almost all of her young life. She’s grown in skill, strength, and poise yearly. Watching her in action is a joy—tumbling, flipping, spinning, and jumping to new heights. No matter the size of the crowd or how much noise they make, she remains focused and confident.

But her successes didn’t come easy. They required years of focus, practice, and commitment—and pushing herself to new limits. Today’s athletes are highly competitive, exceptional, bold, and confident.

Her example reminds me of how my relationship and spiritual walk with God should be. I can approach Him with complete freedom and confidence through faith.

Growing up to be more like Jesus in strength, conduct, and grace should be a natural result of spending time daily with God in prayer and Bible study. I find more confidence and strength in quietness and devotion to live out His will. 

God is my strength, and my confidence lies in Him. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in powerful people. We are blessed when we place our trust and confidence in the Lord.

I trust in God because He keeps His promises. I know He will never fail or forsake me. He is the true and faithful one. Therefore, I can depend on Him. My confidence in Him grows daily, and I am blessed.

How does meditating on God help build your confidence in Him?

Tweetable: Do you have a spirit of confidence? 


Karen Huffaker is a freelance Christian writer. She has taught children’s Sunday school and single mom’s Bible studies and written poetry. She is from the Deep South and loves reading Christian books, devotionals, genealogy adventures, fishing, and all things family. She is also passionate about her grandchildren’s sporting events. 


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Monday, November 21, 2022

A Short Watchtower - Autumn Wilson

a short watchtower
I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Habakkuk 2:1 NIV

Our home almost killed my mom, and I was angry—but only because I looked on from a short watchtower. 

It took years after she became ill for us to uncover the pitch-black mold coating our insulation. We later discovered that health issues from mold had triggered the previous owners to sell the house to us—a detail neither they nor their realtor disclosed.

After pouring sweat, tears, and thousands of dollars into the house, we eliminated the pestilence and sold the house. For years, I scanned the horizon for even a spark of righteous judgment—one of the suit-clad lawyers from the billboards marching his away across our lawn with righteous indignation and a hefty check, perhaps. He never arrived. How could God watch while my mom suffered? How could he not punish the previous owners? 

Habakkuk, the prophet, asked God why he allowed his people to suffer injustice and violence from lawlessness. The Lord told the prophet that he planned to correct Judah by using the Chaldeans—a “ruthless and impetuous people.” 

Habakkuk complained again. How could God punish the sins of Judah while tolerating the evils of Chaldea? What judge allows a bank robber to chastise a petty thief? Whose court permits a murderer to condemn a trespasser? While standing atop his tower and scanning the horizon, the prophet demands an answer.

God assures the prophet he will punish the Chaldeans as well. Yet, the Lord doesn’t end his response with an itinerary of his judgment. Rather, he declares his sovereignty: “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” (2:20). 

We rightly ask God to exact justice. Yet, his justice extends beyond what we see in our short watchtowers. No matter how high we climb, we always fail to see God’s whole plan. I did. 

Has your mom started telling people you stole her Floridian lawn flamingos?

Has your catalytic converter disappeared?

Has your family suffered harm from homeowners’ hiding information?

Pray for and pursue justice. But if God chooses to delay, trust him in the meantime. God’s justice will come like a raging fire—even if we never see the spark. 

Tweetable: Are you watching what God is doing in your life? 


Autumn Wilson is a writer and perpetual student of church history. She lives in Dallas, TX, where she studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. On any given day, you can find her staring at a blank Word document, wrangling third graders at church, furrowing her brows at Anselm, or creating homemade escape rooms. 


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Saturday, November 19, 2022

Banana Pudding

banana pudding

 

Ingredients
6 Bananas

1 large box Vanilla Instant Pudding

1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 large tub of Cool Whip

3 cups of whole milk

8 ounces of sour cream

1 box of Vanilla Wafers 

Directions
Mix pudding and whole milk.

Add Sweetened Condensed Milk and fold in Cool Whip and sour cream.

In a bowl, layer bananas and vanilla wafers.

Pour pudding on top. 

Refrigerate.
 

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Those Dreaded Decisions - Martin Wiles

Those Dreaded Decisions
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. James 1:5 NLT

“You made your bed. Now lie on it.” Ah, those dreaded decisions.

She had a plan, but it required being eighteen, which she wasn’t. Jonesy loved her parents but hated their rules. Even more, she hated the rules of the private religious school her parents had her enrolled in. Their rules seemed to mimic her parents’ rules. She and her friends always came up with some plan to disobey the rules and then see how long it would take before someone reported them to the principal.

But Jonesy could see graduation in her future, and she didn’t plan to live with her parents any longer than she had to after that. She started her search for a man to marry. Any man would do. And she found one. Seemingly, a nice fella. He proposed, they married, and her misery began all over again. Physical abuse. Emotional abuse. He even abused her cats and the dogs they raised.

Jonesy needed another escape plan, but knew she couldn’t go home. She had made her bed, and now she was lying on it. For thirteen years, she lay in her hard bed before she decided to get off it and find something better . . . someone who would love her and treat her as she deserved.

Jonesy didn’t do what James told his readers to do: ask God for wisdom. Had she, she would never have married the man she did, nor lay on the hard bed she did for so long.

Asking God for wisdom in our decisions is important because we can’t undo many of our choices. And some come with consequences we didn’t think about or plan. God can provide forgiveness for foolish and sinful decisions, but He often lets us wallow in our consequences so that we won’t make the same mistake again. Like a parent who lets their child feel the heat of their bad decisions.

Since we are human and don’t have perfect wisdom, asking God for advice before we make decisions only makes sense. This requires a degree of humility and intentionality because we’re prone to think we know it all, and we’re also quick to decide without thinking or asking first. 

When faced with decisions, the correct order is God, others, and then trusted resources.

And when possible, we should always avoid spur-of-the-moment decisions. They rarely provide anything beneficial for us and often lead to debt, anger, regret, and addictions.

Map out a godly plan for how you will make decisions.

Prayer: Father, give us the wisdom we need for our daily decisions. 

Tweetable: Who do you consult before making those dreaded decisions? 


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