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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Monday, July 19, 2021

Meandering Monday - Capable of the Worst - Martin Wiles

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

Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” Matthew 26:33 NLT

She stood before the minister and uttered the words of most brides.

She promised before the congregation and God to be faithful to her husband and to care for him in sickness and in health. For the first few years, keeping her promise was easy. She was in love. Then life got hectic. Her husband’s job kept him away from home for long stretches of time. The attention she craved from him began coming from a work cohort who preyed on dissatisfied, lonely women. Their fling started with innocent flirting but finished with full-blown unfaithfulness. She did what she promised she never would.

Peter felt her pain. Impetuous. Bold. Prideful. When Jesus announced at his last supper that all of his disciples would desert him, Peter proudly proclaimed he never would—even if it meant dying. He discovered, however, he could do what he imagined he never would.

Peter obviously never reflected on what he was capable of—the good, but in this case the bad. What I’m capable of runs the gamut of good and evil. Saying I will never commit a particular sin—as Peter did—sets me up for Satan’s temptation. Words I speak or think give Satan the information he seeks to establish a stronghold in my life.

What I say I won’t do may be the very thing I do. Since I have a sinful nature, I can fall into the uttermost depths of evil if I listen to the wrong voices. Peter did. Two voices vie for my attention. One says, “Do good,” while the other says, “Do evil.” Even as a believer, I still have the flesh to contend with, which makes listening to the wrong voice possible.

Letting down my guard will also lead me into worse-case scenarios. Putting on the armor of God daily keeps me protected from the fiery darts of Satan. Failing to do so allows his darts of sin to penetrate my spirit, and my worst will emerge.

Though your worst can resurrect itself, God can overpower it with good.

Prayer: Merciful God, we thank You that when our worst comes out, You cover it with Your forgiveness. 

Tweetable: Have you discovered what you are capable of? 


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Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Table Prepared - Martin Wiles

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Psalm 23:5 NIV

“Can you clear the table?”

I love it when I hear my wife ask this question because I know a sumptuous meal awaits. My wife is a true “Southern” cook. She knows no other way. It’s the way her mom taught her to cook, and it’s how she’s cooked all her life. This means the healthy things we eat often become a little unhealthy because of the way they are cooked (read fried and with grease).

I recall one occasion when she tried to cook healthier. Friends of ours planned to join us for supper (our supper may be dinner for you, depending on where you live). The husband of the couple loves eating healthy, so my wife thought she’d surprise him with some healthy cooking. The meal was a flop, as we all admitted, including my wife. We told my wife to stick to how she knew to cook.

The reason my wife wants me to clear the table is that she loves to put the entire spread on the table. No leaving it on the stove and counter for us to fix our plates. Doing this became easier when our daughter decided she no longer wanted her drop-leaf table—with two leaves—and gave it to us. Now, we can seat up to twelve people around our table, and we also have room to set out all the food.

One of the more recent meals—which fed us, my brother and his wife, and our daughter and her two boys—consisted of rice (a Southern thing that goes with anything), stewed tomatoes, cucumbers, lima beans, fried pork chops, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried potatoes (notice all the “fried’s”), corn, and, of course, biscuits.

I tell my wife she cooks too many items, but it’s in her nature. She wants to make sure everyone has something they enjoy. The psalmist said God does the same: He prepared a table before him. I’m sure God never actually cooked anything for David, but He gave him everything he needed…and more…in life.

Like my wife, God prepares our life meals out of love. Unconditional love. He can do no less because doing so decorates His nature. He created us for fellowship…relationship…and He wants us to enjoy the meal He serves.

God prepares our meals with knowledge we don’t have. I have no idea how my wife makes what she cooks taste so good. I can cook the same things, but not get the same taste. She says it’s because she cooks with love. She also knows things about cooking that I don’t.

God does, too. He knows what He has ahead for me. The goals He has in mind. The main one is conforming me to the image of His Son. This takes a lot of cooking over the course of a lifetime and involves eating some things I don’t enjoy. Like the cauliflower or broccoli my wife sometimes throws into our meals.

My wife doesn’t always cook with what’s best for me. She fries, puts in too much salt, adds too much sugar. God never does this. What He gives is always for my good, whether it appears so or not.

The table God prepares for us is like no other. Our part is learning to enjoy the meal, despite the circumstances that surround it.

Learn to enjoy what God gives you, even if you don’t like it initially.

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us the life meals that are best for us.

Tweetable: Are you enjoying the table God has prepared for you? 


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.