Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Walk-on Wednesday - No Greater Love - Martin Wiles

No Greater Love
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.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13 NKJV

No greater love must have been his motto.

Although Joseph O’Callahan loved teaching at Holy Cross College, he felt the need to enlist. World War II raged, and he thought he could better exhaust his calling by helping those who fought.

Four years later, he found himself on the aircraft carrier, the USS Franklin, when a Japanese plane suddenly appeared and dropped two five-hundred-pound bombs. Flames erupted.

As a captain watched the flames creep closer to two enclosed gun turrets, he saw the padre moving through the flames with a fire hose. O’Callahan calmed others and even helped defuse bombs.

The ship was eventually saved. On May 17, 1945, in the Brooklyn Navy Ship Yard, awards were presented. As O’Callahan’s mother came aboard, Les Gehres, the captain, met her. He said, “I’m not a religious man. But I watched your son that day, and I thought if faith can do this for a man, there must be something to it.”

What better person to talk about laying down one’s life for others than the person who did? Thousands followed Jesus. Laying down his life for them—his friends—was honorable. But what about those who despised, abused, ridiculed, and tried to kill him? Could he lay down his life for them with the same ease?

Love demands action, as it did with Father O’Callahan and Jesus. If we only love in words, few benefit. True love for others requires that we do something . . . anything.

Jesus calls the ultimate expression evangelism. We don’t have to berate others with Bible verses or be obnoxious in other ways. We can simply demonstrate the love of Jesus in kind actions. Making Jesus a regular part of our daily conversations also helps us obey Jesus’ command. We don’t have to be Bible scholars—just Jesus talkers. In numerous simple ways, we can lay down our lives for others.

Choose one way you can give of yourself to someone.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, move us to lay down our lives for others even as you did yours for us. 

Tweetable: How are you showing God's love to others?


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Monday, September 26, 2022

Expectations - Cathy Joy Hill

expectations
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

“Expectations rob joy.” 

I have become fond of this saying and have shared it with many people. I had become a believer in the lack of expectation and the perfunctory perfection of being surprised. If we don’t expect, we can only be surprised. There is truth in the saying still, but there is also the truth that removing expectations can steal blessings. 

Six of us sat around the table for the first time in forever and said thank you. The chair my dad once occupied was empty. I pushed it off to the side. I didn’t want to see, feel, or hear its void. 

My girls made the place cards. I reminded them repeatedly that we would be “doing things differently this year.” Different does not deliver, but it does distract. 

We made it through dinner well. The kids were ecstatic about the holiday plans. They were also old enough to notice the food and comment on the recipes, letting me know what was a keeper and a passer for next year. I ate it up, along with every buttered bite. 

Then came the moment after dinner and before dessert when we went from person to person and saluted those places, people, and circumstances for whom we were grateful. 

The kids were fabulous—laughing and reminding us that all the work that goes into this parenting thing is worth it. They see and hear, even if we think they are blind and deaf on most day 

My husband looked down the table at me. I was ready—joy-filled—but then, before I spoke a word, the tears came. Not over what I had lost but rather over what I had gained.

Suddenly, expectations did not seem like the villain I had portrayed for many years. I am grateful for what has been and terrifically ecstatic about what will be—beloveds around the table. Beloveds I will see again. That expectation does not disappoint. It heals. I smiled to myself. It is me, not my children, who often does not hear.

My mother lost two children who came and went too soon. She spent forty years waiting to see them again. Every one of those years, every trip to their grave, she said, “The day they went, heaven became sweeter.”

I didn’t listen until today. Mom’s sweetness came when her babies went home. Mine came when she and daddy went.

The stuff and the stuffing. They are all just decorations. The divine is starting to hold me. I catch my breath at the thought of it.

I am becoming grateful. I am learning expectations of heaven and Jesus are the grace with which we live and die—a grace-filled life packed with expectation.

What are your expectations? 

Tweetable: What are your expectations? 


Cathy is a writer, teacher, and entrepreneur. She met her husband Brian while studying in Paris, France. They make their home in Geneva, IL, with their four children and their daughter-in-love. She loves writing about the wonder and whimsy of life and her love for Jesus. Her first book is Destination: Fierce, Moving from Fear to Fierce. Learn more about Cathy at www.cathyjoyhill.com.


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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Sweet Potato Souffle

 

Ingredients
3 LARGE SWEET POTATOES

½ STICK BUTTER

1 CUP BROWN SUGAR

1 CUP WHITE SUGAR

2 EGGS

1 CUP MILK

1 TEASPOON VANILLA

2 CUPS CHOPPED PECANS

2 TABLESPOONS PLAIN FLOUR

Directions
WASH, PEEL, AND CUT POTATOES INTO CHUNKS. COOK UNTIL TENDER.

IN A BOWL, MASH  THE POTATOES. 

ADD WHITE SUGAR, 1/2 CUP BROWN SUGAR, EGGS, MILK, VANILLA, AND 1/4 STICK OF BUTTER.

MIX WELL. POUR INTO A GREASED CASSEROLE DISH.

IN A SEPARATE BOWL MIX THE REST OF BUTTER, BROWN SUGAR, FLOUR, AND PECANS. 

PLACE ON TOP OF POTATO MIXTURE.

BAKE AT 350 FOR 35 AT 40 MINUTES.


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Friday, September 23, 2022

The D’s of Discipline - Martin Wiles

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. Hebrews 12:10 NLT

Knowing the D’s of discipline is important.

My great-grandparents did it unto my grandparents. My grandparents did it unto my parents. My parents did it unto me, and I did it unto my children. Now, my children do it unto my grandchildren.

Discipline. A tricky word. And not everyone agrees on the adverb questions surrounding it: when, where, how, how often, why, under what conditions, and to what extent.

My father had a clear and consistent plan. He knew everyone didn’t agree with it, but neither did he care. He was responsible for my brothers and me, and he disciplined us as he saw fit. His methods weren’t up for debate, and he didn’t care what we thought about them. Nor do I ever remember him asking my opinion.

For obstinate rebellious behavior, my father had a buckleless black belt—one he no longer wore. He applied a certain number of licks for certain behavior, which he had thought about ahead of time. This way, he didn’t go beyond what he should have. He applied the licks to my dairy air, and nowhere else. Abuse never entered the picture, nor did his methods damage my self-esteem.

But he used other methods more often than he did the belt. He loved to take things away from me—things I enjoyed. Otherwise, the discipline wouldn’t do its trick. And the thing he loved to do most was to make me get a haircut. I was a hippie teenager living in the ‘70s and loved my long hair. Nothing galled me more than having it cut when I didn’t want to. After all, this discipline affected me for some time. Hair grows slowly, so the lesson continued to have its effect long after the initial shock.

Although I hated the discipline when it came, I knew my parents did it out of love—something hard for an underage dependent to admit. The writer of Hebrews compares a parent’s discipline to God’s—only God’s is perfect, whereas no parents’ is. God uses the D’s of discipline, and they also provide an excellent example for parents.

Doer. Discipline has a doer—someone to carry it out. Dad did it most of the time, Mom only occasionally. But God did it all the time. When we are His children, He wants to ensure we obey His commands and directives. He knows we might not like all of them, or enjoy obeying them all of the time. Still, He disciplines because He loves.

Destination. God’s destination for us involves a harvest of righteousness. Hopefully, parents want the same thing. Although Christ clothes us in His righteousness from the moment we trust Him as our Savior, we do not behave ideally. God works in our life through various disciplinary measures, attempting to make our practice match our position.

Desire. God’s desire for His discipline is that we submit and learn. Discipline, by its definition, should involve learning. Rebelling against God’s discipline only makes Him turn up the heat. Submitting and learning keep us from repeating the behavior that led to discipline in the first place.

Don’t buck against discipline when it comes from God. Let it accomplish the goal for which He gives it.

Prayer: Father, help us learn from Your discipline, knowing it originates out of love. 

Tweetable: Are you letting God's discipline accomplish its purpose? 


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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Walk-on Wednesday - Death’s Lessening Effect - 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. 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 21:4 NLT

His death helped me understand death’s lessening effect.

John Donne said, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” And his did.

He and I became good friends when I pastored a church in the same town as he did. Although we belonged to different denominations, the differences didn’t interfere with our friendship. We worked together in community events and multi-church gatherings.

After two years, I moved away. Shortly afterward, I received a disturbing call from my friend. He had passed out bending over and was transported to the hospital for tests. The results were life-transforming. He had an inoperable brain tumor. He agreed to take treatments, but the doctors weren’t hopeful.

On a trip to the area to visit a relative, my wife and I stopped by the nursing home where he had been placed. He looked old and different. We had a good talk, and I prayed for him. I imagined it would be the last time I’d see him . . . and it was. His death, however, diminished me.

Thankfully, God has prepared a place for his children where death isn’t. Neither will there be sorrow, pain, grief, or any other unpleasant things we disdain. But until then, we must live, knowing our families and friends will die—us included.

Humanity has various genealogical lines, but we share a common ancestry. If we trace our roots back far enough, we discover the first couple—Adam and Eve. All humanity runs through our bloodline whether we consider them relatives or not. Paul said the entire law of God could be summed up in one directive: love others. Jesus said it was the second greatest commandment. Recognizing everyone is important to God should make them equally important to me.

We are all God’s creations and worthy of showing respect to—respect that should increase even more toward those who are in the same spiritual family. The death of others diminishes us, but love builds us up.

How can you love others the way God loves you.

Prayer: Father, may the lives of others be as important to us as they are to you. 

Tweetable: How do others' deaths affect you? 


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Monday, September 19, 2022

Knowing Our Identity - Anne Adams

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19 NKJV

Knowing our identity is crucial.

After his speech at a campaign fundraiser rally, a hungry Mayor George hurried to the food stand for a late lunch. But he soon encountered a challenge. 

The glum server dispensing the food shoved a paltry serving of fried chicken, potato salad, and beans across the counter.

“Hey, can I get some more chicken?” the mayor asked. “I’m really hungry.”

“No more!” the server snapped. “We’ve got a lot of folks to feed, and we’re running low. Now move along.”

A glance behind him revealed an oncoming crowd, so he decided on a new tactic.

“Look, I want some more chicken. Do you know who I am? I’m the mayor–I’m in charge of the government.”

By now, a line had formed behind him, but the woman was unfazed.

“And do you know who I am?” she sniffed. “I’m in charge of the chicken. Now move on!”

That lady certainly had self-confidence—a trait I usually lack, particularly when it comes to spiritual self-confidence. Yet, one way to get it is to know my identity.  

Jesus assures us that since He’s chosen us to live in His presence, we should have the assurance of who we are. We are entitled to rely on Him for our needs, rather than bowing to fear, self-pity, and uncertainty.

How can realizing your identity change your perspective on life? Don’t cringe like an orphan.

Tweetable: Do you know your identity? 


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, September 17, 2022

Southern Fried Chicken Strips

Southern Fried Chicken Strips

 

 Ingredients
1 EGG

½ CUP BUTTERMILK

1 CUP PLAIN FLOUR

 ½ TEASPOON GARLIC POWDER

1 ½ TEASPOON PEPPER

½ TEASPOON SALT

½ TEASPOON PAPRIKA

2 POUNDS CHICKEN TENDERLOINS

OIL FOR FRYING

Directions
WHISK EGG AND BUTTERMILK IN A BOWL.

COMBINE FLOUR, GARLIC POWDER, PEPPER, SALT, AND PAPRIKA.

DIP CHICKEN IN EGG MIXTURE, FLOUR, AND THEN IN EGG MIXTURE AGAIN.

HEAT OIL TO 375 DEGREES.

FRY CHICKEN FOR 2 TO 3 MINUTES ON EACH SIDE.


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