Saturday, May 21, 2022

Great Northern Beans and Smoked Sausage


Ingredients

1 pound dried Great Northern beans

1 pack of Hillshire (or brand of your choice) skinless smoked sausage

1 large Vidalia onion

Salt and pepper

Directions

Separate out any broken beans.

(optional) Soak in cold water overnight.

Slice smoked sausage.

Cut onion in half.

Place all ingredients in crockpot and fill half full of water. 

Cook on high for 2 hours and then on low for 2 hours or until beans are soft. 

Serve and enjoy. 


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Friday, May 20, 2022

God Moments - Martin Wiles

So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. Acts 8:27 NLT

“We invite you to sit down and play…”

I had visited quite a few hospitals that had pianos in a great room or in the lobby. But never had I seen one with a sign inviting people to sit and play.

My mom, wife, and I were visiting MUSC in Charleston, South Carolina, where my brother was undergoing surgery to repair a spinal injury from an old wreck. As the doctors worked on him, we ambled to the first floor to visit the cafeteria for breakfast. After we finished—and as we walked back to the elevator—I spotted the piano. Seeing the unusual sign, I read it to Mom.

Mom’s a sucker for a piano. She’s been playing since she was a small child. She dreamed of becoming a concert pianist—which she probably could have accomplished—but she married my dad and became a preacher’s wife instead. But she never lost her love for tickling the ivories—and showing off a little at the same time.

“Oh really,” she said when I read the sign to her. Then she mosied over in her slow manner and took a seat. Mom can play anything, and without music, but gospel music is her specialty. She’s played it all her life, beginning when she played church hymns for the little Methodist congregation where she grew up.

In our culture, I wondered what kind of crowd she’d draw by playing church hymns. And MUSC is like taking all the cars in Atlanta, Georgia, turning them into people, and compressing them into a small area. A lot of folks going in a lot of different directions, all in a hurry.

As Mom progressed from one song to another, a few people stopped to enjoy. One young man took a seat instead of standing. He listened intently as Mom played the old gospel favorites. When we finally pried Mom away from the piano so we could check on my brother, the young man thanked her, wiped the tears from his eyes, and walked away.

I must admit, I cringed when Mom sat to play. She has a way of embarrassing me and my brothers sometimes, but I guess she felt a prompting I hadn’t. Someone needed to hear what she played. I witnessed a God moment.

So did Philip. Philip enjoyed a great revival in Samaria when God called him to go to a desert road where he met a single man. He must have wondered why God would send him to one person when he could have kept preaching to hundreds. He soon found out. That one man accepted Christ and then returned to his country to tell others about God’s love.

Catching the God moments in our lives requires sensitivity to the working of God’s Spirit in our spirit. Doing so also entails asking God to send them. He wants to—and is perfectly capable of arranging them—but we must want them and ready ourselves for them. When we are in close connection with God, which comes from staying prayed up and Bible read up, we’ll see the opportunities God sends for us to bless others in His name.

Ask God to send you some God moments.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for the God moments You send our way. 

Tweetable: Are you paying attention to the God moments? 


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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Walk-on Wednesday - Bringing Down the Walls - 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. 

It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down. Hebrews 11:30 NLT

Jerry and his wife Ashton built a wall.

When they married, Ashton brought to the marriage an unfortunate habit: meth. Jerry had never delved into the drug world before, but having a wife who used made it easy. Before long, he was using as heavily as she was. Over the years, two children were born—both with mild disorders due to their mother’s drug use. Neither Jerry nor Ashton could hold a job yet always needed money for the next fix. Local child management authorities were notified, and their children were removed from the home and placed with a grandmother. This seemed to be their wake-up call. They cleaned up, found steady jobs, and for a while did well. But the old calling haunted them, and they eventually gave in. Their children were taken again. Jerry found himself in jail, accused of assault and battery, kidnapping, and possession of meth. The wall in their life was steep and solid.

Jericho was the first city the Israelites needed to conquer when they entered the Promised Land. The city’s walls were high and solid and prevented the Israelites from experiencing victory. God told them the method they were to use to see them fall. His technique seemed senseless, but they followed it by faith and enjoyed a great triumph.

Walls come in a host of varieties: drugs, fear, worry and anxiety, rebellion, addictions, unhealthy relationships, procrastination, unbelief, financial bondage, and illegal activities. Most, if not all, of my walls, have been built by me and not imposed by someone else. Either way, walls prevent me from moving forward in my personal life and can also stymie my spiritual walk.

Faith is required to destroy walls—faith to do what God instructs us to do so we can experience victory. Others may see the symptoms of our walls, but only we can accurately diagnose the root cause. Whatever it is, God will help us bring it down if we only ask and trust.

What walls need to come down in your life?

Prayer: Father, give us the power to bring down the walls that prevent us from being all You desire. 

Tweetable: Are you bringing down your walls? 


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Monday, May 16, 2022

Meandering Monday - Sin’s Temporary Pleasure - Martin Wiles

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

He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. Hebrews 11:25 NLT

My childhood was no different than most.

Parents and grandparents bought me toys for birthdays and Christmas and sometimes for no special occasion. Most were probably something I had pointed at when I was small or told them I wanted when I was older. Things I thought would bring me pleasure . . . perhaps even for a long time. As with most children, the new wore off quickly. Soon, I tucked my toy away in a closet, stored it in a trunk, or sold it at a yard sale. I moved on to something else.

Becoming an adult hasn’t changed the scenario a great deal. I still see things I think will bring me great enjoyment. As my childhood toys did, they all failed me. The pleasure is momentary, and soon I’ve discarded them for something else.

As a child, Moses was snatched from his childhood tent home and deposited in the grand palace of a foreign king. The riches of Egypt were at his disposal—riches that brought with them a sinful lifestyle. When he matured and recognized who he was, he left the sinful pleasures behind and identified with the oppression his people experienced as slaves.

God isn’t against me enjoying the pleasurable things of this world, but he does expect me to stay away from those that are sinful. Satan has a long history of taking innocent things and dressing them up in sinful wrappings. The fruit Eve ate in the Garden of Eden wasn’t sinful; the act of disobeying God’s command to eat it was.

Things that are outright and obviously sinful don’t usually concern us. Rather, it’s the momentary and innocent pleasurable things we struggle with. The newest smartphone. The latest laptop. The most up-to-date iPad or video game. Things that in the short run provide pleasure but that overall steal our attention from what God has in mind for us.

Sin promises a lifetime of pleasure but only delivers short-term benefits. What do you need to put aside so God can give you something better?

Prayer: Father, may we use everything we have to glorify and serve You. 

Tweetable: Are temporary pleasures failing you? 


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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Beefy Macaroni and Cheese

 


Ingredients
1 POUND GROUND BEEF

1 ONION (DICED)

1 CAN ROTEL

1 CAN TOMATO PASTE

1 ½ TEASPOON CHILI POWDER

SALT/PEPPER

¼ CUP WATER

1 ½ TEASPOON SUGAR

8 OUNCES MACARONI NOODLES (COOKED AND DRAINED)

Directions
BROWN MEAT AND DRAIN.

ADD ALL INGREDIENTS TO MEAT EXCEPT CHEESE AND NOODLES.

COOK ON MEDIUM HEAT FOR 30 MINUTES OR UNTIL SAUCE THICKENS. 

STIR IN MACARONI NOODLES AND TOP WITH CHEESE.

BAKE IN A GREASED CASSEROLE DISH AT 350 DEGREES UNTIL CHEESE IS MELTED.



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Friday, May 13, 2022

Be Thrifty - Martin Wiles

The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get. Proverbs 21:20 NLT

“Eat what you can; can what you can’t.”

I never heard my maternal grandmother use that saying, but she lived it. Each year, my grandfather plowed her a spot of ground just to the side of her house near the pecan orchard. There, she grew beans, corn, tomatoes, and other vegetables. And when the crops came in, she prepared some for the family and canned the leftovers. She also spent hours picking up pecans, cracking them, and freezing them. She’d use them for her infamous pecan pies.

Not only did my grandmother can and freeze her abundance of vegetables, but she also froze any leftover food she had. These scraps—I say that because often that’s exactly what they were—went into the freezer. If she had only a spoonful of corn left over—or two spoonfuls of beans—she wrapped them in aluminum foil and stuck them in the freezer.

The trouble was, my grandmother never labeled what she put in aluminum foil, so she never knew what it was. Normally, it stayed there until Mom or her sister cleaned out the freezer. As my grandmother’s dementia, and then Alzheimer’s, worsened, she made more of a habit of freezing any small amount of food left over from her cooking.

Why my grandmother exercised such thriftiness, I’m not sure. She grew up in hard times, so perhaps she wanted to save so she’d never have to go through what she had been through as a child. Perhaps, she was trying to save money. Nevertheless, one thing I learned from her was how to be thrifty and how to save a dollar.

The writer of this proverb says those who spend whatever they get are foolish. We can add they also throw away whatever they don’t eat instead of saving the leftovers for another meal, which would save money. I’m often amazed, when eating at restaurants, at how much food customers waste. I’m also convicted when I see how much my family sometimes dumps into the trash.

Being thrifty requires effort and takes planning. I must think about what goes into the recycling bin. It’s easier to dump everything into the trash can, but that doesn’t help the environment. And rolling our recycle can to the far end of the subdivision requires more effort than just placing the trash can across the street.

Being thrifty necessitates wisdom from God—and requires trusting Him for the less we’ll use. But doing so also better preserves the earth He’s created and helps our budget. When we live with less, it will always give us more in the end.

Think of several ways you could better use and conserve the resources God has given you.

Prayer: Father, help us to use wisely what You entrust to us.

Tweetable: How thrifty are you? 


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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Walk-on Wednesday - Seeing Beyond the Present - 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. 

Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead. Hebrews 11:19 NLT

Sam couldn’t see beyond the present, and it almost cost him his happiness—and life.

His dad had left the family for another woman when Sam was a small child. Now, ten years later, his mom had decided to re-marry. The guy was okay, but Sam couldn’t focus on anything but his real dad. For years, he had dreamed and imagined that his mom and dad might get back together. But her present marriage sealed the coffin. Not only was she marrying, but he and his siblings would also be moving to another state with a different culture. New school, new church, new friends.

When they got to their new location, Sam didn’t adjust well. He needed something to help him get through. When one of his new “so-called” friends offered him a pill to help him do just that, he took one. And later, another. One day, he took too many and found himself in the hospital. He just couldn’t see beyond the present—and the picture was murky.

By faith, Abraham had the ability to see beyond the present. He and his wife had waited for years on the promised son God said would arrive. Now Isaac was a young man, and God was asking Abraham to do the unthinkable: sacrifice his son. Abraham knew God’s promise, however, and could see beyond the untenable moment.

I’m often more like Sam than Abraham. Life’s troubles bottle up and cloud my vision: finances, relationships, employment, kids, friendships. Life requires every bit of energy I have just to get through the day. I’m consumed with fighting daily battles and worrying about how it will all pan out tomorrow.

Only by a confident faith and trust in God’s guidance over our lives in the present and his concern for our future can we see beyond today. By faith, we can let God hold our tomorrows—and the next day, and the next day.

Let God help you see beyond your present struggles.

Prayer: Father, give us faith to trust You for the future we cannot see. 

Tweetable: Can you see beyond the present? 


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