Monday, July 4, 2022

Meandering Monday - Keeping the Commitment - Martin Wiles

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

Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Hebrews 13:4 NLT

“If it wouldn’t ruin his ministry, I’d leave him.”

But she never did. In fact, she stayed with him for over fifty years until he took his final breath. I watched my mom endure moving from place to place, continually having to put her sons in different schools, repeatedly having to change employment, adapting to new surroundings and churches, and putting up with everything that goes along with being a preacher’s wife. She wasn’t the only one in my family I saw exhibit marital commitment though. My paternal grandparents were married sixty plus years and were even placed in the same nursing home in the end. My grandmother held my grandfather’s hand as he took his final breath. My maternal grandparents hung in there together until the end as well. My grandmother waited on my grandfather hand and foot after strokes continued to take away his abilities. 

Unfortunately, faithlessness—rather than love and stick-to-it-iveness—seems to be the norm. Living together before marriage is common and socially accepted by most. Many think this is a viable option to determine if they are suited for one another. Quickie divorces are also common. If we can’t work out our disagreements with little fanfare, it’s over. Must have married the wrong person. Didn’t bargain for this. 

Marriage is an honorable estate and not to be entered into lightly. God performed the first one in the Garden of Eden thousands of years ago, and he designed it to be an example. I certainly don’t have a perfect marriage, but I intend to stick by my spouse until she or I breathe our last—regardless of what comes before that time. I’m faithful to her, and I expect the same in return. I don’t plan to be one of those persons whom God will have to reprimand for walking away. God gave me a wonderful treasure, and I plan to treasure her.

Does your view of marriage align with God’s?

Prayer: Father, guide us to faithfulness in our marital relationships, knowing they are pictures of Your relationship to us, the church. 

Tweetable: Are you keeping your marriage commitment? 


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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Pimento Cheese

 

INGREDIENTS
2 CUPS SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE

2 CUPS MAYONNAISE

SALT/PEPPER

1 JAR PIMENTO

DIRECTIONS
MIX ALL TOGETHER AND REFRIGERATE.



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Friday, July 1, 2022

The Best Book - Martin Wiles

Hilkiah said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!” 2 Chronicles 34:15 NLT

I am a connoisseur of old books.

In the spare bedroom of our small patio townhome, bookshelves rest against the walls, encircling the area where bedroom furniture should reside. I have no choice. The square footage is small, and I don’t want to box up my treasures but display them. I’ve put much time and energy into collecting these books—most of which boast a copyright date before 1940. I haven’t invested much money since I discovered most of them at thrift shops, not antique stores.

The oldest ones I wrap in cellophane paper to preserve the covers. Some of the books are in great shape, considering their age. My oldest book is two hundred years old, came from a Charleston, South Carolina, library, and has no scratches, mildew, or tears.

Many of the books have content that doesn’t interest me—but their condition intrigues me. They have survived so long. I’m also amazed by the covers. Not dull like so many modern-day books. Some have intricate designs and carvings, such as a sculptor would place on his work of art—no mass production.

I have read a few of my old books. Most just sit on the shelf. Thumbing through the pages would probably loosen them from the spine and even separate the cover. But within their pages reside truth and error. None mimic the book Hilkiah discovered.

One of young King Josiah’s projects, when he took over the throne, involved restoring the temple, which had fallen into disrepair. In the cleanup, Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law. Scholars think this was our book of Deuteronomy. When the king read God’s Word, he tore his clothes. The people—and the king—had disobeyed. Surely, punishment marched on the horizon. The king led the people to repent and turn back to God.

We can discover tidbits of truth in many places, but only one place hosts complete, absolute truth that never changes: the Bible. The words held truth when God first spoke them through the various writers, and they still contain truth presently.

When truth confronts us, it always calls for change, as it did with the king and his people. God’s Words leads us to repentance, confession, sorrow, joy, peace, encouragement, and abundant life. No other book can change us as God’s Word can because no other book has been breathed by God’s Spirit.

Many good books avail themselves for our reading, but God’s Word is the best book. Make it a point to read it often. Doing so will change your life. Don’t just place it on a shelf.

Prayer: Father, prompt us to read and meditate on Your Word daily. 

Tweetable: How is the Bible changing you? 


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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Walk-on Wednesday - Entertaining Angels - 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. 

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2 NLT

The promise was an old one.

He’d prayed that his wife would be able to conceive and give him a child—hopefully, a male child. In his spirit, he thought he had heard God tell him it would happen in time. Years went by. Nothing. Now he and his wife were long past the age of having and rearing children.

Then one day unexpectedly—as he lounged in his tent under a cool shade tree, three men appeared. He hadn’t had company to entertain in quite some time, so he welcomed them and instructed his servants to prepare some food.

One of the strangers asked where his wife was. She was resting in the tent. Then came the startling announcement: “About this time next year, I will return, and your wife will have a son.” His wife heard the announcement and laughed silently—or so she thought. The stranger heard her and cautioned her not to doubt God. The following year, she and her husband held a son.

Abraham and Sarah weren’t the only ones in history to entertain angels and not know it. Old Testament Gideon and Manoah did as well. Not until the angel left did they understand what had happened. Angels often show up as strangers.

Except for the first three months of my existence, I’ve lived in the South my entire life. One characteristic of the South that so many appreciate is our friendliness. Being spoken to, waved at, or smiled at by strangers is typical. Strangers aren’t afraid to make eye contact with other strangers. In fact, if you walk around without doing those things, you’ll be considered the odd one out.

I admit my hesitancy to help strangers. Our world is dangerous—and many people are untrustworthy, but it doesn’t unwind my responsibility to help those God places in my path. If he puts them there, I must trust him to protect me as I serve them. Are you open to entertaining strangers . . . or angels?

Prayer: Father, open our eyes to helping those You place in our paths. 

Tweetable: Are you entertaining angels and don't know it? 


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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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