Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Walk-on Wednesday - Waiting Patiently - 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 Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised. Hebrews 6:15 NLT

I’m the king of impatient.

While growing up, one of my parents’ and grandparents’ favorite sayings to me was, “That money is burning a hole in your pocket.” They were right. What little money I earned from allowance, I quickly spent. Interestingly, my wants usually occurred somewhere near my birthday or Christmas. I was cautioned about buying things so close to these special days. “Wait and see if you get it for Christmas or your birthday,” they would say. Rarely did I. As I proudly displayed my new purchase, I often witnessed a sigh. Now they would have to think of something else to get me…or even take back what they had already purchased.

God promised Abraham a son through whom millions of descendants would come. Twenty-five years passed from God’s initial promise to the son’s birth. Abraham’s patience was interrupted by his wife’s impatience. She suggested they hurry God along. She gave her servant in marriage to Abraham as a surrogate mother. God wasn’t pleased, but kept his promise.

People say not to pray for patience because I probably won’t like the methods God uses to develop it in me. Nowadays, I rarely do, but I’ve discovered God uses the methods they were referencing anyway. God manufactures patience in me through life experiences that teach me to wait even though the money still burns my leg.

Though we don’t always appreciate the methods God uses to test and develop our patience, the fact that we allow him to use them demonstrates our trust level. His methods are varied, sometimes illogical, and may seem unending, but he sees end results we can’t. Through his mercy-driven tests, we learn to take things in stride without getting angry, upset, or running ahead of him. And to top it off, he produces spiritual growth and maturity so we can be a spiritual guide to those who follow in our footsteps.

How are you responding to God’s efforts to produce patience in your life?

Prayer: Dear Father, give us the patience needed to allow You to accomplish Your plan in our life. 

Tweetable: Have you learned to wait patiently? 


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Monday, December 6, 2021

Meandering Monday - Keeping Promises - Martin Wiles

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

For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name. Hebrews 6:13 NLT

He served as the United States military advisor to the Philippines.

The day after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor—December 7, 1941—they launched an invasion against his adopted home. He was forced to flee his island fortress in 1942. Unfortunately, 90,000 Americans and Filipinos were left behind without adequate provisions or protection. As he fled to Australia, he made a promise to the people of the Philippines: “I shall return.”

Over the next two- and one-half years, it was a promise he repeated several times. On October 20, 1944, shortly after his troops had landed on the island of Leyte, General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore and made a public radio announcement: “People of the Philippines. I have returned!”

God told Abraham to leave his homeland and head for a place he’d never seen before. God also promised him he would stand by his side as he traveled. He would give him descendants as numerous as the stars in the heaven and the sands on the seashore. The assurance of the promise came when God swore by his own name, a name above which there was none greater.

When I make a promise, a handshake won’t suffice. Nor will saying, “I promise to pay,” or “I promise to do…” Anything I purchase on credit or any service I promise to perform must be accompanied by mounds of paperwork and countless signatures as well as initialing. In addition to protecting the one I’m doing business with, the contracts protect me as well.

Despite the legal issues involved in any purchase or act of service, we should be as good as our word. God was, and he’s our great example. He never reneges on his promise to love and care for us. Empty promises are of no value and reflect poorly on the one we claim to represent. Our “I shall return” promises should be legitimate, well-intentioned, and only postponed—or broken—when extenuating circumstances exist.

Have you made promises that need fulfilling?

Prayer: God in heaven, thank You that we can depend on Your promises. Give us strength to be as faithful as You when we make promises to others. 

Tweetable: How are you at keeping promises? 


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.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Failing to Success - Martin Wiles

My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. Psalm 119:71 NLT

“How does it taste?”

When my wife cooks something, and I am the first to eat it, I must be careful how I answer that question. And she had. A long time had passed since she had cooked a pound cake—something she once specialized in. She had texted me a picture of it while I was at work, and I couldn’t wait to get home and taste a slice. After all, pound cake is my favorite.

After supper, as I relaxed in my recliner, she brought me a piece of her cake, let me taste a few bites, and then asked the question. Truthfully, the cake was a might tough, but how could I tell her without hurting her feelings. I knew her. Cakes that didn’t meet her expectations went into the trash can. I had watched many a tasty cake slide from the pan and into the garbage. Cakes I would gladly have eaten. I didn’t want the same thing to happen to my pound cake.

“It’s okay,” I responded.

“What do you mean, okay?” she shot back.

“Well, you taste it and see what you think.” I wanted her to judge, not me.

Later, after she had finished her housework and sat down, she tasted a piece. “It’s tough,” she said.

Tough. The word I looked for but didn’t know how to say. Fortunately, she didn’t throw the cake away—at least not initially. I munched on a few pieces before the rest made its way into the trash can.

A few days later, not satisfied with her failure, she baked another one and texted me a picture. It stood beautifully on the cake place, but so did the other. When I got home, she proudly said, “Taste this one.” I did. No heaviness or toughness. Just right. My wife had failed her way to success. And I enjoy nothing better than seeing a smile cross her face when something she bakes turns out the way she wants.

In some strange way, the psalmist said his sufferings—the failures of life—brought advantages for him. They made him pay closer attention to God’s principles and commands.

Failure is only failure if we don’t try again or if we define ourselves by one mess up. Dad often reminded me of a familiar saying: “If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again.” Good advice. Advice I’ve taken. Advice my wife has taken also when it comes to baking.

When failure or tough times come, introspection is always in order. Failure can come because we’ve sinned, because of sin in the world, because someone else has sinned, because we made an unwise decision, or because we’ve been stubborn and selfish. Knowing the reason behind the failure helps avoid the same mistake in the future.

God’s Word, as the psalmist said, provides just the advice we need for any and every situation. It gives encouragement for times of failure, and it gives principles that help us avoid failure in the first place. When we respond correctly to failure, success hides just around the corner.

Don’t let one failure define you.

Prayer: Father, thank You for guiding us through our failures so that we don’t lose hope. 

Tweetable: What makes you feel like a failure? 


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.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Apple Swirl Cake


 

APPLE SWIRL CAKE

Ingredients
1 BOX YELLOW CAKE MIX

3 EGGS

1 2/3 CUP APPLESAUCE

¼ CUP SUGAR

2 TEASPOONS CINNAMON

Directions
BLEND CAKE MIX, APPLESAUCE, AND EGGS UNTIL MOISTENED.

BEAT AS DIRECTED ON BOX.

STIR SUGAR AND CINNAMON TOGETHER.

GREASE A BUNDT PAN AND DUST WITH 1 TABLESPOON OF SUGAR MIXTURE.

POUR HALF OF THE BATTER IN PAN.

SPRINKLE REMAINING SUGAR MIXTURE AND THEN THE REST OF THE BATTER.

BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 35 TO 40 MINUTES.


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, December 1, 2021

Walk-on Wednesday - No Laziness Allowed - 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. 

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:12 NIV

Laziness wasn’t allowed in my home of origin.

As a first-born child, my parents were out to make me responsible. Early on, I was given chores: take out the trash, help with the dishes, make my bed, clean my room. At twelve, I was using my parents’ push mower to cut neighbors’ yards for a small sum. When I turned fourteen, my grandfather procured me a job as a bag boy at a local supermarket. As an added source of funds, I also cleaned the church my father pastored. As soon as I graduated high school, I entered the world of full-time work and have been there ever since. There are days when I feel like being lazy—and am—but most of my time is consumed with work and doing other things I enjoy. Sitting around isn’t my style.

My parents didn’t appreciate laziness, and it appears from this verse and many others that God doesn’t look favorably upon it either. Yes, there is a time for rest—God demonstrated that by taking a day off when he had finished the work of creation—but the norm is for us to work diligently.

Although I’ve never been lazy where it concerns secular work, there have been periods when I’ve been lazy with God’s business. Those times when I just didn’t feel like attending church, reading my Bible, saying my prayers, visiting the sick, checking on the shut-ins, teaching a class, monitoring the nursery, etc. And, of course, when my attitude sours, it becomes increasingly difficult to share or live out my faith. Inviting someone to know Christ with a sour attitude and a face to match usually isn’t inviting.

Just as physical laziness will affect our health, spiritual laziness will bear on our spiritual health. There are days when we won’t feel like going to work, but we must go anyway. And there will be times when Satan discourages us from doing God’s work, but we must maintain the course, knowing that our labor for God is crucial and will be rewarded by him.

Has an attitude of laziness stolen your joy and your effectiveness for God?

Prayer: God of glory and grace, when an attitude of laziness steals our effectiveness for You, redirect our minds and hands to the work before us. 

Tweetable: What helps you overcome laziness? 


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Monday, November 29, 2021

Meandering Monday - Keep on Loving - Martin Wiles

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

Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Hebrews 6:11 NLT

I’m the first to admit, I’m not perfect. Never have been.

And I’m sure there have been many times during my life when acquaintances, friends, family, and co-workers have found me difficult to love. Yet, despite what I know about myself, I still frequently find it hard to love others unqualitatively.

Such as the church treasurer who got mad because the ruling body decided they would audit the books annually. He took this as an affront to his credibility, and I was the one he chose to direct his toward. Or the woman who blatantly accused my wife of trying to take over things in the church…activities no one else was doing. And the deacon who wanted to “think” about allowing me to go bi-vocational even though the church couldn’t pay me enough to live on. And how can I forget the man who challenged my decision to have a toilet at the church repaired without first voting on it at a church business meeting? All people who were difficult to love.

Whoever wrote this letter wanted these believers to keep on loving those difficult-to-love people. In fact, their love would fulfill all God’s commands and keep them from becoming spiritually dull and indifferent.

Just after loving God with our entire hearts and beings—according to Jesus—comes loving our neighbors as we do ourselves. The above are just a few examples of neighbors who were difficult to love. All of us can give our personal examples. But then again, loving them only when they’re easy to love doesn’t take much effort—or love—and doesn’t even define love.

Unconditional is a better term and the type of love we need to show. This is the way God loves us when we disobey him, affront him, neglect him, try to manipulate him, or totally disregard him.

Whom do you need to show love to?

Prayer: God of all love, teach us to love others unconditionally as You do us. 

Tweetable: Whom do you need to keep on loving? 


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.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

In or Out of Control - Martin Wiles

Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes. Psalm 115:3 NLT

“I like to be in control,” my wife smirked.

The battery-operated toothbrush had lain on the bathroom counter for a week before I asked her where she got it from. By this time, it had either collected dust or come in its present condition when the company shipped it to my wife.

Thinking she had spent money on something we didn’t have extra funds for, I questioned her about the purchase. She had ordered it from a website she does business with where she can buy things for a dollar. I couldn’t argue with a dollar purchase, especially since I know how much those type of toothbrushes cost.

“Why haven’t you opened the package and used the brush?” I finally asked after watching the thing lie around for a week.

The next day, she did. After using her new brush once, she informed me she didn’t like it and wouldn’t be using it again. When I asked why, I got the smirk and the answer. She couldn’t control her toothbrush; the batteries controlled it. All she could do was let the bristles circulate over her teeth. She liked to put pressure on her teeth. She couldn’t with this toothbrush.

According to the psalmist, God is like the battery-operated toothbrush. Nothing controls Him. He does as He wishes.

The psalmist’s statement comforts me when I understand everything else the Bible says about God. He is holy, kind, loving, and fair. When I worship a God such as that, I’m okay with Him doing what He wants when He wants. If He were a different kind of deity, I might not relish His rule.

When it comes to controlling, I’ve discovered I can only control one person: me. I have no power over what others do—even if I’m their manager or supervisor. Perhaps I can control how they act while they are under my watch, but I can’t control what they do at other times or even what they’re thinking while they are under my supervision.

If we try to do what only God can do, we get disappointed and depressed. Life will not always go as we plan. When things are out of our hands—and we don’t trust God to control them—we’ll jump into bed with misery. And on the heels of unending misery comes depression.

We can also run off friends. No one wants to hang around with a control freak. And chances are, we’ll have a bad attitude to boot. Lack of friends, depression, and disappointment can lead to that. To reverse it, we must reverse our attempts to control.

Let go of the struggle to control and let God take His rightful position. This is the only way to enjoy the peace Jesus gives.

Prayer: Father, prompt us to relinquish control of our lives to You, and only You.

Tweetable: Are you in or out of control? 


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.