Friday, August 14, 2020

Flashback Friday - Why Do Some Wait So Long to Answer God - Martin Wiles

 

Why Do Some Wait So Long to Answer God

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. John 6:44 NLT

The original call came when I was 12 years of age, but I could do little more than say, “I’ll do it.”

As a young believer, I felt God beckoning me to devote my life to full-time Christian service. My eagerness at 12, however, was overshadowed by rebellion at 14—and for nine years thereafter. I left high school for the work world, burned a few bad relationships, married, and had a child before I finally agreed to obey. But I wasn’t alone. While some at my Alma motto came immediately from high school, many were young adults like I was with families. A few even neared retirement age. Read more...

Tweetable: Are you waiting to answer God? 


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.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Leftovers - Martin Wiles


Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them. Romans 1:5 NLT
He lumbered through the door, meandered to the bar, and stood silently.
My wife and I were doing our normal Tuesday night thing: eating with Mom and my stepfather at a local downtown restaurant. We had finished our meal and tucked our leftovers into a carry-out plate. Now we waited for Mom to finish. As we waited and talked, an elderly man entered the establishment and approached the bar where the owner, a waiter, and a waitress stood. He asked for nothing but the restroom, but his eyes and clothing told his story.
After he returned from the bathroom, the owner offered him a cup of water. We watched his eyes drool over every tray of food the waiter and waitress delivered to patrons. Finally, he sat at an empty booth, a cup of water in hand. 
“He’s hungry. Give him our box of leftovers,” my wife whispered.
I have a habit of praying for opportunities to demonstrate God’s love, but then not seeing them. Thankfully, my wife helps my eyesight.
“You remember what happened last time we tried that,” I said.
A few years back, we’d attempted to help a local homeless man, only to have him curse us and tell us to feed our food to the dogs.
“This guy is different,” my wife commented.
I handed her the box of leftovers as we rose to leave. She took them to the gentleman. Before she could finish asking if he wanted them, he reached out, grabbed the box, and thanked us.
“You know what the Bible says about attending angels unawares,” my wife said as we walked out the door.
Paul had experienced God’s grace on the road to Damascus. His life was forever changed, but enough grace was leftover for him to share with the Gentiles. And he did.
I’m not overly fond of leftovers—and my wife is even less so. Some throw out leftovers, others give them to pets, and still others share them with friends or family members.
When we experience God’s grace, we always have leftovers, and God expects us to share them with others. The way we do so varies, but doing so is urgent because hungry people are everywhere.
Find ways to share God’s leftover grace.
Prayer: Father, thank You that Your grace is more than enough for us and everyone else.

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, August 12, 2020

Entitled - Martin Wiles


God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT
I placed my keys on the conveyor belt, the store discount card attached, and waited.
Having read the research on one trait of the younger generation, I carefully watch my encounters with them to see if they will fit the norm or be an exception. It appeared this young man would fit the norm.
As he finished with the customer in front of me, I noticed he didn’t say, “Thank you,” or “Have a good day and come again.” Just handed her the change and started with me. But the way he started with me was amusing. Instead of picking up my keys and scanning the discount card, he took his hand scanner and moved the keys around with it until he could see the bar code he needed to scan. Then, he began scanning my items without handing me my keys. I picked them up and continued watching.
As with the customer in front of me, I received no greeting or smile. In fact, he never looked at me. When he finished, he announced the total, I paid him, he gave me my change and started with the next customer. No greeting, no goodbye, no thank you.
The trait of entitlement seeped through. He thought I was privileged to have him wait on me, rather than viewing his job as a privilege and me as one of the customers responsible for his job. So I smiled, said thank you, and went on my merry way.
Entitlement. The belief that things are owed to us, that we deserve them. Where God’s forgiveness and salvation are concerned, Paul dispels this false notion in five short sentences. Grace—God’s undeserved favor—is the reason for my salvation. I didn’t do anything to deserve it, nor could I. That being said, no one has any reason to boast about their relationship with God, or that they deserve His blessings.
Hopefully, young folks plagued by the entitlement mindset will grow out of it before they become the majority in the workforce. If not, we’ll rarely hear kind remarks, and selfishness will rule. Of course, when we think we deserve whatever we have, the plague can spread to people of any age.
The Bible, however, promotes a different attitude: humility. A recognition that all I am and have—opportunities, talents, gifts—come from God. I don’t deserve them; having them is a privilege. When we have that attitude, we’ll serve others joyfully as Jesus did.
Don’t let an attitude of entitlement ruin your life—and the lives of others you impact.
Prayer: Father, helps us see when are nothing without You but can do all things with 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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Why Do Christians Interpret the Bible Differently? - Martin Wiles

 

Why Do Christians Interpret the Bible Differently?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding…those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit. II Peter 1:20-21 NLT

I thought everyone thought like me. Imagine my surprise when I discovered they didn’t. 

As a preacher’s son, most of my biblical knowledge and interpretation came directly from my dad. He preached on a passage of Scripture and told the congregation—and me, what it meant. He was God’s representative. God told him what to preach. So what he said must be the “gospel truth.” Or so I thought. With college arrived professors and authors who took issue with some of his interpretations. Read more...

Tweetable: Do different Bible interpretations bother 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.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Seeing with Different Eyes - Martin Wiles


Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here.” Luke 7:44 NLT
I put them on, hoping I’d be able to see … but I couldn’t.
Glasses I was accustomed to. I’d had them since I turned ten. Through the years, my vision had deteriorated. As I neared forty, not only could I not see far away, which was my first vision issue, but I also now couldn’t see close up, which I’d always been able to do.
Walking in a retail store one day, I decided to try on the strongest pair of reading glasses they carried, thinking this might help. No luck. Things were still blurry. I knew my next step was bifocals. The doctor had already warned me. I was simply trying to avoid the inevitable.
I made an eye appointment and told the optometrist I was ready. After the technicians readied my glasses and I put them on, I was astounded at how clearly I could see. 
Simon the Pharisee had a vision problem also, but it had nothing to do with defective eyes. His related to attitudes, ingrained prejudices, and religious traditions. As Jesus dined with him for dinner, an immoral woman intruded, poured perfume and tears on Jesus’ feet, and then wiped Jesus feet dry with her hair. Simon saw her as a nothing more than a sinner who had no business being there and who Jesus had no business having contact with. Jesus, on the other hand, saw her potential.
Jesus saw with different eyes, and I will too when I learn to see as He does. Jesus didn’t allow prejudice, hateful attitudes, or religious traditions to keep Him from associating with those who needed Him to give them hope. Nor should I.
People who need hope—like this immoral woman and all of us at some point—fill the world. As believers, we have the message of hope they need. Letting sour attitudes—regardless of how we adopted them into our life—keep us from others extinguishes the hope we have to share.
Jesus wants His followers to see others as He does. Everyone can become His child if they choose. Once in the family, God becomes our Father who watches over us, meets our needs, and unites us together in a spirit of love and unity.
If your spiritual vision is blurry, ask God to clear it up.
Prayer: Father, help us to see others with the same eyes You see them.

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, August 8, 2020

Limitations Are Real - Martin Wiles


He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.” John 1:20 NLT
It appeared he could do it all.
I know a man who in his younger years amazed me. His father farmed and taught him the trade—along with a little bit of everything else. Tractor needed mechanical repair? No problem. Shed needed rewiring? Still no problem. And a few years after he married, when he and his wife decided to sell their mobile home and build a house, he launched right in and did it.
Nor did his days seem to have limitations. He had a kind heart and showed it by saying “yes” to almost anything anyone asked of him. If I spent the day with him, we spent more time helping others than we did doing things he needed to get done.
But my friend does have limitations—and he did then. He couldn’t have walked onto a college campus, applied for a professor’s position, and got hired. Nor could he have entered a science lab and developed a cure that would have changed the world of medicine. He had limitations on his knowledge. He also had limitations on his time.
John the Baptist held a significant place in history. His job was introducing the Messiah. But when he appeared out of the wilderness, dressed in strange garb and eating funny food, people thought he might be the long-awaited Messiah. He quickly told them he wasn’t—and he couldn’t be.
I was once a yes man who thought I could do it all—and wanted to do it all … for the wrong reasons. All it got me was disappointment and a bleeding ulcer.
We all have limitations. We can’t do it all, nor does God expect us to. Each of us lives within a confined amount of time, in a specific geographical place, with a limited amount of knowledge, and with limited opportunities.
We only have enough time to do exactly what God wants us to do. John’s job was introducing the Messiah. My friend’s was quality control and farming. When we ask, God will show us what He wants us to do, give us the abilities, and provide the opportunities. He doesn’t want us to feel guilty because we sometimes have to say, “No.”
Accept your limitations, not as a defect, but as God-given. Discover what God wants you to do … and do it.
Prayer: Father, show us what You want us to do, and then give us the courage to do it.

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, August 7, 2020

Flashback Friday - Why Are There So Many Denominations? - Martin Wiles

Why Are There So Many Denominations?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. Ephesians 4:5-6 NLT

Variety is the spice of life, and with religion, there’s certainly a plethora of flavors.

During my early years—the ones I don’t remember, I was a Baptist because my parents were. Around age six, I became a Methodist—not by choice but because my father decided God was calling him into the ministry. He chose a local college that happened to be Methodist. The only difference I noticed then—or for the next eight years, was that Methodists sprinkled for baptism while Baptists dunked. At mid-life, I was scorned by a particular denomination due to an unfortunate divorce. Having a bad taste in my mouth, I mosied over to a charismatic denomination where I stayed for the next five years. Here I noticed quite a few differences in liturgy, music, and doctrine. Currently, I’m back where I began as a child. Read more...

Tweetable: Do denominations confuse 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.