Monday, January 24, 2022

Meandering Monday - Eternal Health Care - Martin Wiles

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

This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. Titus 1:2 NLT

We needed it, but couldn’t get it.

My wife and I were among the thousands who had no health insurance. After five years of working at a place that offered it, I had left for a position that didn’t offer it. Due to health concerns, my wife had also resigned her position where she had also had health insurance.

Finding a physician who would see uninsured patients and affording him or her if we could find them—as well as the medicine we needed—challenged us. We postponed needed surgeries and other preventative procedures and welcomed generic medication. After a long four years and new government regulations, we finally received long-term health care at a reasonable cost. Not having to worry about paying full price for surgeries, doctor visits, and medicine refreshed us.

Paul also speaks about a health care plan—one that’s free, doesn’t terminate with a change of jobs, doesn’t have a co-pay, and doesn’t disqualify based on pre-existing conditions. The name of the plan is Eternal Life, and it’s free to all who sign up.

God doesn’t lie about his plan or place disqualifying clauses in small print at the bottom of pages no one reads. He is open and upfront. The cost of the plan has already been paid by God himself. The only requirement is that we sign on through faith, obedience, and a promise to love him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. When we build our lives on faith in Jesus Christ, eternal life is ours for the asking. We can trust the premium’s promise because it’s underwritten by a God who doesn’t lie.

What long-term health care plan have you signed up for?

Prayer: Father, we thank You for the assurance of eternal life with You.

Tweetable: Do you have eternal health care? 


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Saturday, January 22, 2022

God of Surprise - Martin Wiles

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:5 NLT

The news floored us—but it also pleased us.

My wife loves to “set up” couples—especially when they eventually date and even marry. And she had tried to do this with a young man we have known for several years. Each time, he declined her offer, telling her he wasn’t interested in finding anyone at the moment.

Occasionally, he came over to eat supper with us. He loved my wife’s cooking, even if it was nothing but hot dogs. As we sat to eat, my wife asked the normal question: “So, have you found anyone yet?” We both expected his normal answer: “No, and I’m not looking.”

But we didn’t get the traditional answer. “Well, kinda, sorta.”

My wife’s antennas went up, and the questions began. “Tell us about her. What’s her name?”

“I wish you wouldn’t have started with that question,” he said, and then began his story. His description of her interested us: pretty, churchgoer, smart, good job, single mom.

When he got to the single mom part, my wife and I got a puzzled look on my face. I doubted he could be talking about our daughter since my wife had tried to set them up quite a few times to no avail. My wife had to ask, “You’re not talking about . . .?”

He was. As our young friend burst out with laughter—and our daughter sat at the other end of the table with a sly grin on her face—my wife burst into tears, and I sat in shock. A pleasing shock. But then, our daughter is always full of surprises.

God surprised His first-century people as our daughter and friend shocked us. They looked for a warrior Messiah who would ride in on a white horse and deliver them from their Roman oppressors. They didn’t expect Messiah to ride a donkey and allow Himself to be abused, ridiculed, and crucified.

Then again, God is in the surprise business. Just when we think we have Him figured out, He’ll act in a way we don’t expect. He never acts contrary to His holy nature, but there are many surprising ways He can maneuver within the confines of that nature. We think we have life figured out, and He changes something. We imagine we know His plan, and He changes it.

Being a God of surprises challenges our faith and causes it to grow. His ways are higher than ours, so we’ll never figure Him out completely. But we can enough to know what He wants of us and where He wants to take us. That allows for obedience—among the surprises—and that’s what He desires.

Don’t let God’s surprises cause you to doubt His love for you or His guidance in your life.

Prayer: Father, when You surprise us, give us the courage to keep trusting and moving forward in obedience.

Tweetable: What are some ways God has surprised you? 


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Friday, January 21, 2022

Cheesy Chicken Noodle Soup

 


Ingredients
4 BONELESS CHICKEN BREAST
     
1 CAN CREAM  OF CELERY

1 SMALL BLOCK VELVEETA
  
2 CANS CHICKEN BROTH

1 BAG EGG NOODLES

1 CAN CREAM OF CHICKEN

1 CAN MILK

1 STICK BUTTER

SALT/PEPPER

1 CAN ROTEL

Directions
COOK CHICKEN BREASTS IN BROTH AND BUTTER
SALT AND PEPPER.

ONCE COOKED, REMOVE FROM BROTH.

ADD NOODLES TO BROTH AND LET COOK.

SHRED CHICKEN, THEN ADD BACK TO NOODLES AND BROTH.

ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS AND LET COOK FOR 30 TO 40 MINUTES ON LOW.


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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A Sacrifice of Praise - Emily Marszalek

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15 NIV

When I arrive home from work, my dog Charlie always greets me with a full-body wag and a stuffed animal portrayed proudly in her mouth.

Whether her stuffed pig, blue dinosaur, or frayed flamingo, Charlie always presents a gracious offering to me—her way of expressing her love and joy in our reunion. She does it not because she expects to receive something in return, but out of unconditional love for her master.

Witnessing Charlie’s elation in presenting me with a stuffed animal sacrifice, I’ve often reflected on what I offer God each day. Often, my prayer time is spent focused solely on me and my needs and desires. While God invites us to present our needs—and while He delights in providing those needs—we must not forget to offer Him a gracious offering in return.

The writer of Hebrews instructs us to continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God. In Philippians, Paul advises us to not be anxious about anything but to present our requests to God with thanksgiving. In 1 Thessalonians, he tells us to rejoice always.

We can praise God for all He has already provided. We can thank Him for who He is. We can rejoice before Him, knowing that we have the privilege of serving the Almighty Creator of the heavens and the earth.

We serve an amazing God. As we present our requests, anxieties, stresses, needs, and fears to Him, let’s not forget to also offer Him a sacrifice of praise, gratitude, and joy. As we maintain a heart of gratitude toward God and a sacrifice of praise on our lips, we honor our Master.

What are you offering to God today? 

Tweetable: What types of sacrifices are you making for God? 


Emily Marszalek enjoys the simple pleasures in life with her two Goldendoodles—Charlie and Lucy—and her fiancé Nick in the Pacific Northwest. Her writing has appeared in publications including Angels on Earth, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Listen to your Dreams, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Blessings of Christmas, The Lutheran Digest, Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, and Daily Inspired Life.


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Monday, January 17, 2022

Meandering Monday - Giving with Joy - Martin Wiles

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

I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. Psalm 116:19 NLT

As the offering plate passed, Nancy tossed in her envelope—but not willingly.

What she had once easily and joyfully given now stung when it left her hand. Life had taken a sour turn and snatched her happiness with it. Two kids and a full-time job consumed her time. The husband who once loved her decided he wanted a younger version and no responsibilities to match. As she placed her money in the plate, all she could think of was how she needed it to clothe and feed her children and put gas in her car. She hated to admit it, but she often thought about grabbing it back—or not even giving it in the first place.

The psalm’s author is anonymous, but if it happened to be David, he was no stranger to sacrifice and heartache. His military faithfulness was rewarded with jealousy from an emotionally disturbed king who hunted him down as he would have a criminal. Incest infected David’s family. He was even betrayed by his own son who ran him out of town and stole his mistresses to boot. In spite of his troubles—some self-inflicted and some not—David was able to offer a joyful sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

Thanksgiving may be a sacrifice I can offer, but no one ever said sacrificing would be inherently easy or joyful. Only as I understand that God is in control of my life’s situations and is working them for my benefit can I offer him joyful sacrifices. When I question his motives or his power to turn around my circumstances, my sacrifice will be more difficult to make—if I make it at all. Even if I do, my motives will probably be questionable at best.

Giving with joy is easy when we remember God’s unconditional love and that he always has our best interests at heart. Harming us is never on his mind.

Are you giving God your sacrifices with a joyful spirit?

Father, we offer You the sacrifice of praise with a joyful heart.

Tweetable: Are you giving with joy? 


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Saturday, January 15, 2022

The Challenges of Aging - Martin Wiles

Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 NLT

“I guess I’m just dying.”

For five years, we had attempted to get a doctor to test Mom for dementia. We saw the signs—not many, but they were coming with more regularity. Since her mom had contracted dementia and then Alzheimer’s, we were concerned. Each doctor swept our concerns under the rug. They asked her a few questions, and then told her she was okay. They only saw the snapshot; we saw the full picture.

Then one day, Mom fell at a local department store and hit the back of her head. We sent her to the emergency room where they did a CT. The scan showed white-matter brain disease, which a number of things can cause. When her family physician reviewed the results, he agreed to refer her to a neurologist.

The neurologist asked Mom several normal questions. She answered them all correctly. No signs of confusion. Then he drew an analog clock face and told her to fill it in and to show the time as 10:30. Confusion reared its ugly head. Mom drew the clock and numbers backward, as well as the time.

Mom’s rendition of the clock led the doctor to put her on medicine. He also scheduled an MRI to look further at her brain.

What we’ll have to undergo with Mom before she dies, we don’t know. One thing we do know: aging brings challenges. My wife and I are already facing them, and we’re not as old as Mom.

Mom’s words when she and my wife left the doctor’s office rang truer than she knew. In fact, we are all dying from the moment we take our first breath. Even though God used Paul to spread the gospel to the Gentile world, Paul knew his body was giving out. Thankfully, his spirit wasn’t.

None of us can stop the aging process. It affects some more than others, but we all face some aspects of living in bodies that break down as they grow older. We can eat right and exercise our bodies and minds, but we’ll still age. The culprit is sin, which made its entrance into the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve long years ago.

What we can do is keep going—at least in some way. Physical disabilities confine some, but even under confinement we can pray, send cards, email, make calls, and text. God doesn’t want us to retire from his work.

Preparing for death is important also. Mom has written her obituary and made all the arrangements, but her greatest preparation came when she trusted Christ as her Savior. That’s true for anyone.

Don’t fear the challenges of aging. God’s grace will see you through each one.

Prayer: Father, give us grace and strength to face the aging process with faith in You. 

Tweetable: How are you facing the challenges of aging? 


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Friday, January 14, 2022

Beef and Chicken Stew

 

Ingredients
1 ½ POUNDS BEEF STEW MEAT

3 CHICKEN BREASTS

1 CUP CELERY (CHOPPED)

2 ONIONS (QUARTERED)

2 CUPS CARROTS (CHOPPED)
     
6 POTATOES (QUARTERED)

1 CAN ROTEL

5 GARLIC CLOVES (CRUSHED)

SALT/PEPPER

Directions
COOK MEAT UNTIL TENDER.

ADD VEGETABLES AND COOK UNTIL TENDER.

ADD A CAN OF BEEF BROTH IF NEEDED.

STEW CAN BE THICKENED WITH 1 ½ TABLESPOONS OF CORNSTARCH AND WATER. 


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