Friday, August 12, 2022

When God Forgets - Martin Wiles

And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins. Jeremiah 31:34b NLT

Things began slipping away…things I didn’t want to lose.

Memory. An interesting thing. When I was young, I had no trouble memorizing—anything, or a lot of things. Even in my twenties—while in college with a professor we called the “grocery list” professor because of the long list of items he made us memorize for tests—I sailed through the class with no problem, making an A with ease.

Then it happened. In my late thirties, people's names started to escape me. Then other things. My wife became my memory board—until she developed a brain tumor and struggled with remembering herself. Now as my age progresses toward retirement, I exercise my mind in numerous ways, hoping my ability to remember will hang around a little longer.

I discovered recently that age isn’t the only thing that affects remembering and forgetting. While attending a training conference for teachers, I decided to take a class on technology, taught by a gentleman who was my age. Since I teach middle schoolers, I thought I might pick up some new technology ideas I could use in the classroom.

I did, but I also discovered why my middle schoolers can’t seem to retain anything. The rapid advance of technology, which makes knowledge available at our fingertips, has shortened the short-term capabilities of our younger generation. They struggle to memorize—or don’t even try—because they don’t have to. If they want to know something, they google it.

While most things I don’t want to forget, some things I do want God to forget: my sins, in particular. And according to Jeremiah, He will when I ask Him to forgive me. How God can forget when the Bible pictures Him as omniscient (all-knowing), I don’t understand, nor can I explain. The best I can say is He chooses to forget. With me, age takes care of forgetting. With others, it might be busyness or brain damage. With God, doing so is a choice.

God wiping my sin slate clean bears importance. If He didn’t, He would still hold me accountable. That would bring His punishment—presently and eternally. But because of what His Son accomplished on Calvary’s cross, God can clothe me in Christ’s righteousness when I come to Him for forgiveness. This involves His forgetting my sins. If He didn’t choose to forget, He couldn’t clothe me this way.

When we stand in this wonderful position, we no longer fear God’s condemnation. Instead, he loves us and has accepted us into His family, with all the fringe benefits. His forgetting our sins should prompt us to love others and to do good for them as God has done for us. It should also lead us to stand in daily appreciation to our loving heavenly Father.

Has God forgotten your sins?

Prayer: Father, we thank You for forgetting our sins and clothing us in the righteousness of Your Son.

Tweetable: Has God forgotten your sins?


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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Walk-on Wednesday - Prisoner of… - 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. 

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Ephesians 4:1 NLT

I’d never been inside a jail cell before.

Life wasn’t going as I intended, and I was only sixteen. The Christian atmosphere I’d been reared in wasn’t working for me anymore. I was tired of the rules and regulations and had been influenced by the “hippie” culture.

Since nothing held me back, a friend and I packed my car with a few belongings and headed for the hills—literally. The trouble began when I took a side road down the mountain and got stuck in the snow. With no other choice presenting itself, we hoofed it up the mountain to a motel where we used a pay phone to call for a friend’s help. Unfortunately, the hotel attendant recognized us as the runaways he had heard about on the local info system and called the police. Before we could get back to our car, the blue lights appeared, and we were cuffed and stuffed in the local jail until our parents could retrieve us.

The apostle Paul was a literal prisoner on more than one occasion due to his bold preaching of the gospel in places where people didn’t want to hear it—or where they believed it would affect the local tourist business. These prison stints were temporary, but he was a permanent prisoner of Jesus Christ and had been since their meeting on the Damascus Road.

The list of what we can be imprisoned by is endless: addictive substances, pride, praise from others, gambling, pornography, co-dependent relationships, materialism, the almighty dollar, performance of good works for the wrong reason, and sports.

Our jail time is better spent as a prisoner to serving the Lord. When his plan is our agenda, this prison will be a wonderful place to get three hots and a cot. Rather than succumbing to the plethora of things that could imprison us, we choose to be a prisoner to serving God.

Let God’s love imprison you and free you at the same time.

Prayer: Father, imprison us to a lifestyle of loving you and serving others. 

Tweetable: What are you a prisoner of? 


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Monday, August 8, 2022

Meandering Monday - God Multiplies Differently - Martin Wiles

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

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. Luke 6:38 NLT

My wife’s way of doing multiplication isn’t the method I learned.

PVCs had driven her to the emergency room on several occasions. As she waited to be seen, she noticed a twenty-dollar bill in the seat beside her. Knowing it belonged to someone, she took it to the receptionist (who probably pocketed it later).

When she told me what she’d done, I questioned her actions. We needed that money. The fuel in our car was nearing empty, and payday was a few days away. She defended her honesty by reminding me it was the right thing to do.

Fast forward one month. While I attended the Asheville Christian Writer’s Conference, my wife and two friends went “junking” at thrift stores. Knowing I had been looking for a copy of Eugene Peterson’s The Message, my wife quickly spotted a copy at one of the stores. When she asked how much it was, the salesperson said it was free.

As I prepared to add this Bible to my collection, I noticed a bank envelope nestled inside. Seeing a twenty-dollar bill, I took it to my wife, thinking she had stashed left-over money from our trip there. Imagine our surprise when twenty-four fifty-dollar bills and four twenty-dollar bills emerged. The twenty had multiplied.

We’ve always believed in Jesus’ promise that he will give back to us if we faithfully give to him. And what he gives will far surpass the amount we initially gave. Granted, this is the only time we’ve experienced an incident like this—and we certainly don’t expect it to happen again—but God’s faithfulness has abounded in many other ways. We’ve never lacked food, drink, clothes, or a place to stay.

And may I admit, I love my wife’s—and God’s—way of multiplying better than the way I learned in school.

Be trustworthy in giving, and God will be faithful in returning.

Prayer: Father, prompt us to give out of love for you as we trust you to supply our needs. 

Tweetable: Have you experienced God's way of multiplying? 


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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Western Style Rice Skillet

 

Ingredients

1½ POUND GROUND CHUCK (BROWNED AND DRAINED)


½ TEASPOON SALT


1 PACK ONION SOUP MIX


1½ CUP WATER


¾ CUP UNCOOKED RICE


1 16-OUNCE CAN OF TOMATOES (UNDRAINED)  


         1 CAN OF ENGLISH PEAS (DRAINED)         


1 CUP SHREDDED CHEESE


Directions

MIX ALL INGREDIENTS EXCEPT CHEESE IN A SAUCEPAN.


SIMMER FOR 15 MINUTES.


STIR TO MIX WELL.


POUR INTO A BAKING DISH AND TOP WITH CHEESE.


BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 1 HOUR.




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Friday, August 5, 2022

Internal Alarm - Martin Wiles

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. 1 Timothy 1:19 NLT

Only one time in the last year has it sounded.

I don’t remember the first alarm clock I had, but I do recall the type: analog and wind-up. Eventually, the clocks progressed to battery-operated and then electric, but as long as they remained analog, setting the alarm proved tricky. Getting the alarm hand on the exact time was next to impossible.

Digital clocks revolutionized the alarm business. With a digital clock, I could tell exactly what time it was, and I could also set my alarm for the exact time I wanted it to sound. This made life easier. My analog watch—Timex, to be precise—also changed to digital, and I could do the same with it.

Years later, cell phones appeared—from a bag phone to a flip phone and finally to an iPhone, each with a more precise alarm. With satellite technology, I could know the exact time, which also allowed me to set the alarm at an exact minute.

But for most of my life, I’ve not needed any of these things. Many people, me included, have an internal alarm clock. If I know what time I need to get up, I merely tell myself before I go to bed, and I’ll wake up at that time—or close to it. In the last year, I’ve only heard my alarm—of which I have two set—one time. On the weekend, I don’t set one, and I wake up later. Funny how God has created our bodies.

God has also placed another type of alarm in me called my conscience. Not conscious. That just means I’m awake. The other conscience is the little voice in my head that directs my life’s decisions. Paul tells his young child in the faith to keep his clear. Some haven’t—and have wrecked their faith.

As my alarm is intended to wake me up to a new day or important dates, so God designs our consciences to awaken us to thoughts and actions that do and don’t please Him. 

The conscience is negative and positive. With its promptings, we can do a good deed or say something positive to someone that we might not otherwise do or say. On the flip side, it might help us avoid doing or saying something we shouldn’t.

Honing our consciences regularly with spiritual truth from God’s Word is essential in keeping it working properly. God allows His Spirit to work through our consciences. When they are filled with God’s truth, the process works smoother, leading us to pure actions and thoughts.

We might not need a physical clock, but we do need our internal clocks. Without it—or if we refuse to listen to it—our lives will be a mess.

Don’t turn your internal clock off. God has placed it there for a purpose.

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us an internal clock to keep us on track. 

Tweetable: Is your internal alarm clock working? 


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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Walk-on Wednesday - Don’t Forget God - 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. 

But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands. Deuteronomy 8:11 NLT 

Forgetting can be embarrassing and aggravating.

I once could memorize things, names, and events easily. Having a college professor who required memorizing long lists of answers to numerous questions wasn’t a problem. Despite having a good memory, I’ve always carried several calendars. Then I turned forty, and life changed. Names were the first thing to go. I could look at people I’d known for years and forget their last names—and sometimes their first. I still record scheduled events, birthdays, anniversaries, and a “to do” list on several calendars, but now I need to. These memory lapses disturb me, but I’ve accepted them as a part of the aging process.

God’s Old Testament followers tended to forget as well, but it wasn’t due to age. Instead, they usually forgot because they turned their attention to something else—often idol worship. Or because things were going so well they didn’t see the need for God anymore. God cautioned them to be careful.

Forgetting God is never something I intend to do, but it happens just the same. If things go too well in my life, I begin thinking I have life under control and can handle anything that comes my way. So, God sends or allows a little adversity to remind me I can’t handle life without him—at least not without messing it up.

Things can easily distract us: relationships, material things, hobbies, sports, substances, etc. 

When distracted, we’re more apt to focus on the distraction than on the God who wants our undivided attention. 

Taking precautions is necessary if we’re to focus on God and obey his commands continuously. God is behind every success we enjoy, and he will see us through every adversity we encounter.

Don’t forget God along life’s journey.

Prayer: Father, may we never forget loving and serving You are the most essential things in our lives.

Tweetable: Have you forgotten God? 

 

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Monday, August 1, 2022

Meandering Monday - Equipped for Service - Martin Wiles

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

And now, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. Hebrews 13:20 NLT

If I were to do it and enjoy it, I would have to purchase the right equipment.

Having the necessary equipment is essential for success and enjoyment when backpacking. A cumbersome, heavy pack weighs on the back and steals my joy. Packing a good backpack with unnecessary items will do the same. Waterproof tents are crucial. I’ve spent nights enduring storms in ones that weren’t. A good pair of shoes or boots are also a must. Blisters will appear if they’re too heavy, loose, or tight. Cold food isn’t tempting, so a light stove is also an excellent companion. If I’m backpacking in the winter, I’ll need a sleeping bag with a low-temperature rating. Otherwise, I will get hypothermia or spend an uncomfortable night sleeping in every pair of clothes I have. An endurable raincoat is another must. I’ve hiked in the rain in cheap ones that leaked and funneled water against my body.   

This first-century writer wanted his fellow believers to be equipped to serve God. He knew God would prepare them; he just hoped they’d see the need to put on the gear he offered.

Praying this prayer for myself and other believers is still a good idea twenty centuries later. 

If we attempt to do God’s work in our own strength, we’ll fail miserably—or either do it with the wrong motives and receive human rather than divine recognition.

When young David tried to wear the king’s armor to fight the giant Goliath, he discovered immediately it wasn’t the right equipment. God provides the equipment—salvation, forgiveness, a desire to share his love, faith, truth—all we must do is put it on. Perhaps a better prayer is that we’ll see the need to wear God’s equipment as we work in his Kingdom.

Are you equipped for God’s work?

Prayer: Father, we trust You to equip us for whatever You direct us to do. 

Tweetable: Are you equipped for God's work? 


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.