Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Best Water - Martin Wiles

He leads me beside quiet waters. Psalm 23:2 NIV

The water was murky at best, but it provided the only source we had.

On the first overnight camping trip my brother and I ever took, we failed to map out whether good water sources existed near our camping spot. In fact, we didn’t even map out where we would camp. Our tents ended up in a wooded area that we could hardly call a campsite, and our only water source was a murky, bug-topped trickle that crossed the trail and then disappeared. Fortunately, we had a filtering system that removed 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria. The water was still brown after filtering it, but it tasted good and was purified.

Much of our bodies consist of water, and if we don’t have it, we’ll die. Bottled water is a big item in today’s world because of its purity—and for some, it provides a status symbol—but even it has its downfalls, as we found out when our middle grandson visited the dentist.

“It appears he’s not getting enough fluoride,” the dentist remarked when my wife took him for a cleaning. “Does he brush with fluoride toothpaste?” she continued. “And what about water. Does he drink tap or bottled water?”

Our daughter and son-in-law, being naturalists, use toothpaste without fluoride. Fluoride has some possible bad effects. They also buy bottled water. A bad mixture when a child’s teeth are prone to cavities.

The psalmist said God led him to quiet or still waters. When filtering water, I always tried to get it from a place where the water ran quickly. But that didn’t change the result: most water sources are polluted. Most animals, sheep included, want to drink from a spot where the water doesn’t flow rapidly, but still, water tends to stagnate.

Water is one more thing sheep must have for them to lie down. If they are thirsty, they will be restless. And many times, their water source is nothing more than the dew from the grass they graze on. They can go for extended periods without drinking water in the traditional sense.

No matter how much water we drink, we’ll thirst again—unless we drink from the water Jesus offers. The same water He offered to the Samaritan woman He met at the well. He told her if she drank the water He offered, she would not thirst again. This excited her. She thought she’d never have to make another trip to the well. Jesus meant otherwise.

Jesus’ water is an offer for fulfillment. It begins when we place our faith in Him as our Savior and ask Him to forgive our sins. His water continues to quench our thirst as we live in obedience to His commands and as we trust Him to meet all our needs: physical, spiritual, and emotional.

We have a habit of visiting the wrong sources, trying to fill the spiritual void that occupies a spot in our life where only a relationship with Christ will suffice. Jesus will take us to the best sources of clean refreshing water that will keep us satisfied. While we don’t have to keep returning to Him for salvation, we do have to keep going back through prayer and Bible study for the daily water we need.

Don’t settle for less than the best water.

Saint Augustine of Africa summed it up: “O God! Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our souls are restless, searching, ’til they find their rest in Thee.”

Prayer: Father, lead us to the quiet waters that will forever quench our thirsty souls.

Tweetable: What type of water are you drinking? 


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Friday, July 30, 2021

Banana Nut Bread

 


Ingredients
2 1/3 CUP BISQUICK MIX

1/3 CUP VEGETABLE OIL

1 TEASPOON VANILLA

1 ½ CUP MASHED BANANAS

½ CUP PECANS (CHOPPED)

1 CUP SUGAR

3 EGGS

Directions
STIR ALL INGREDIENTS TOGETHER AND BLEND WELL.

BAKE IN A GREASED 9 X 13 PAN OR A LOAF PAN.

BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 40 TO 45 MINUTES.


We believe good food and God's Word go well together. After you've enjoyed this dessert--or even as you enjoy it--why not hop over to our main page and enjoy one of our encouraging devotions.


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, July 28, 2021

Walk-on Wednesday - Water Walker - 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. 

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Matthew 14:28 NLT

I don’t walk on water, float on water, or swim in the water.

I grew up in a family of swimless people. But being able to float without any chance of going under would be enticing. I’ve never visited the Dead Sea, but if I did, I could walk out until I was waist-deep in water, lean back, and watch my feet and body pop up like a jack-in-the-box. This lowest place on earth is dominated by salinity that makes floating a breeze.

Peter wanted to walk, not float. He and the disciples were fighting a storm on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus came walking toward them on the water. Impetuous and prideful Peter asked if he could come to Jesus on the water. Jesus permitted him. Strutting like the sole cock in the chicken yard, Peter did well until he felt the violent wind blowing through his hair and noticed the struggling waves at his feet. As he spiraled downward, Jesus rescued him.

Peter was a seasoned fisherman and knew how to swim, but in this case, ability failed him. Pride outweighed his skill and sent him reeling toward the sea’s bottom. Pride does this. When I think I’m walking tall, pride will take me down. So popular has Peter’s story become through time that “walking on water” is now used as a synonym phrase for pride.

God is the one who holds me up day by day. He may give me strength, wisdom, and other natural abilities, but his hand is responsible for my floating and not sinking. He should receive the credit and glory for any and everything I accomplish.

While God won’t prevent all the storms in our lives—self-inflicted or not—he will keep us from succumbing to the warrior waves they bring. And when we cry out to him as Peter did, he will even grow our faith through them.

Are you guilty of thinking you can walk on water? If so, rebuke pride and invite humility into your life.

Prayer: God of glory and grace, remove any pride from our lives so that we might serve You in humility and power. 

Tweetable: Are you trying to walk on water? 


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Monday, July 26, 2021

Meandering Monday - Can’t Get Up - Martin Wiles

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

But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Luke 22:34 NLT

One life support company made popular the saying, “Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.”

Along with the saying was the picture of an elderly lady lying alone on the floor for hours. Thankfully, a neighbor, postman, or family member would eventually find and help her before it was too late. Then the advertisement for the company’s product. A good investment for those times when we’re down and can’t get up.

Peter didn’t have an accident, but he did seem down for the count. At the last supper, he proudly crowed he’d never desert Jesus. Jesus quickly squelched his confidence by telling him he would disown him three times before the rooster crowed the next morning.

Peter probably doubted Jesus’ words, but he soon discovered what it felt like to be down and helpless. As predicted, Peter said “I don’t know Him” three times. The rooster crowed, Jesus glanced Peter’s way, and Peter was crushed.

Sometimes life’s circumstances appear insurmountable.

I, too, can find myself down when I deny Christ, whether it is an outright denial with words—as Peter’s was—or denial through neglect and hypocrisy. Either way, I’ve placed myself in an untenable position where help is needed. Fear of what others will say if I voice my Christianity can put me down. And in extreme cases, fear of death if I acknowledge my association with Christ can paralyze me.

A further type of denial that will stymie me happens when I compartmentalize my life, erecting sections for religion, work, family, and hobbies. Believing what happens in one area won’t affect the other will lay me down. Peter quickly discovered his walk with the Lord affected his entire lifestyle.

The good news is that with Christ we’re never down and unable to get up. We may be down, but by his power and under the umbrella of his forgiveness, we can rise to new heights and experience second chances.

If you feel down and out, let Christ raise you up.

Prayer: Lord of grace, we give You thanks for the continual restoration You offer. 

Tweetable: Are you down and can't see your way up? 


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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Take a Break - Martin Wiles

He makes me lie down in green pastures. Psalm 23:2 NIV

God made me lie down—even when I didn’t want to.

Life was busy. I sometimes didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I had taken a new position at a small church and busied myself trying to fall into my new responsibilities—one of which was planning two revivals each year.

Not knowing a preacher in the area to invite to preach our first revival, I chose my dad, a long-time pastor. Not wanting to make the long drive back and forth each night, he decided to stay with us. He arrived the Saturday before the Sunday the revival was scheduled to begin.

Saturday proved an exhausting day for me—but I couldn’t explain why. Every little thing I did tired me out. I slept little that night, and Sunday morning I discovered the reason for my exhaustion when I visited the bathroom. Dad had experienced a bleeding ulcer before. I knew the signs. I had one.

Instead of attending the revival, I attended the hospital—for five days. God made me lie down when I would have rather attended the revival and carried out my daily responsibilities. But in the lying down, God also taught me some important lessons. One, that I needed to take a break.

The psalmist said God made him lie down. As a former shepherd, David knew what it took for his sheep to lie down. They had to experience an absence of fear, hunger, aggravation, and friction. Jesus later termed Himself the Good Shepherd who does the same for His sheep as David’s God did for him.

All of us need a break from time to time. A period when we stop and evaluate—or reevaluate. A time when we stop, look, and listen. Studies have shown power naps during the day increase our productivity. So will rest at night.

As God’s children, we can experience these periods of rest. We can lie down for the same reasons sheep can. Through Paul, God says He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. Knowing our good Shepherd controls our life removes unwarranted fears.

Nor do we have to have to worry about the necessities of life, hunger among them. Jesus also tells us not to worry. He knows the needs of the small sparrow, and we are more important to Him than sparrows are.

The aggravation for sheep came in the form of pests, which the shepherd drove away by anointing the sheep with various things. Temptation will aggravate us, but God says He will not allow the temptations to trump our ability to withstand them—with His help.

No one likes friction either. When sheep are fighting, they won’t lie down. God wants us to love everyone, especially those who share our faith. He wants us to be peacemakers, as far as it depends on us.

So, claim God’s promises—and take a break.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for making us lie down when we need to rest. 

Tweetable: Do you need to take a break? 


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Friday, July 23, 2021

Black Bean Dip

 


Ingredients
1 CAN BLACK BEANS (DRAINED AND RINSED)

1 TABLESPOON JALAPENO (CHOPPED)

1/4 CUP DICED ONIONS

1/4 CUP SOUR CREAM

1/2 TEASPOON SALT

2 TABLESPOONS SALSA

1 1/4 CUP SHREDDED CHEESE

TORTILLA CHIPS

Directions
MASH BEANS WITH FORK.

ADD JALAPENO, ONION, SOUR CREAM, SALT, SALSA, AND 1 CUP CHEESE. MIX WELL.

POUR INTO A BAKING DISH.

TOP WITH REMAINING CHEESE.

BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 20 TO 30 MINUTES.

SERVE WITH CHIPS.



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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Walk-on Wednesday - Ask of God - Victoria Weser

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. 

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1.5 KJV

I took my scriptures and a notebook and headed up into the red rock canyon of southern Utah.

I had a question and needed an answer. I knew God was the only One who could give it. I thought back on a scripture I had heard so many times before: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5 KJV).

I knew God was my heavenly Father. He loved me more than I could comprehend. Like any loving father, he would answer my questions, but only if I were willing to ask.

As I sat on that bench, amidst all the red rock and blue sky, I poured out my heart to God, hoping He would answer. And He did. As I read in the scriptures and wrote in my notebook, the Spirit gave me the answer I needed.

Every person has their questions, their quiet pleadings of the heart. Every person has doubts and concerns—the things that keep them up at night. Every person wants answers. But only the people who ask God with “nothing wavering” will be the ones who get those answers.

God invites us to ask, to talk to Him. He doesn’t turn us away because we don’t perfectly understand something. He loves us and has all of the answers but is waiting for us to read the Scriptures, to pray, to seek revelation, and to ask Him. He wants us to show Him we are genuinely seeking wisdom.

Let us ask God, expecting Him to give us the answer we need, which may not be the answer we always want.

Think about questions you have and take those questions to God with the faith that He will answer you.

Tweetable: Are you afraid to ask of God? 

Victoria Weser is a university student, currently volunteering in Germany to share the good Word of God with others through her website FindeChristus.org. She enjoys medicine, hiking, and facetiming her dog every week. 


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