Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Finding the Right Path - Martin Wiles

Finding the Right Path

My wife, younger brother, and I were off for a three-night four-day camping trip in North Carolina’s Great Smokey Mountains. So we conjured up Siri on our cell phone and asked for driving directions to our destination. We arrived late afternoon but found the campground office closed. 

After finally locating the hosts and requesting information, we were told we were at the wrong campground. They suggested one a little farther down the road with the same name. Here we received the same story. Wrong  place. The host suggested yet another campground farther down the road, again with the same name. After three attempts, we finally discovered the campground where my wife had made reservations. This wasn’t the one we preferred, but evidently, I had given her an incorrect reservation number. Finding the correct campground was essential. Had we camped at the other two, we may well have been fined. That they seemed like the correct ones mattered not. Read more...

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Monday, January 20, 2020

When Life Changes in a Second - Martin Wiles

Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt. Exodus 3:10 NLT

He was there … and then he wasn’t.

My son and daughter-in-law threw a birthday for our youngest grandson and his step-brother. The same kind they’d thrown for the past two years. The same kind we hadn’t attended. A pool party.

This year differed. Our son had just ended a one-year silence with us. We had made amends and wanted to keep it that way. So we went. I watched the children carefully—as if I could have done anything had one of them fallen in.

Supper came in the form of pizza. People finished at different times while kids continued running around the pool. Several returned to the pool, including my son who held my youngest grandson.

My middle grandson thought he didn’t need holding. It took him only a second to step off the step he sat upon. My daughter and I saw him at the same time. He bobbled, gasping for air. She hollered, “Get Colton,” and my son grabbed him. He coughed a few times, but, fortunately, was okay.

Not all situations turn out so well. Children, and adults, drown every year. Natural disaster destroys property and lives. Criminal acts steal lives and possessions. Financial meltdowns melt down families and friends. Partners steal. Diseases alter the course of our lives. Life can change … in a second.

It did with Moses. Abandoned by his mother because of a cruel king’s edict, Moses was placed in a basket and set upon the Nile River. Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the little baby, adopted him, and raised him in the splendor of Egypt. Everything went well for Moses, until, as an adult, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his kin people—who. by the way, were slaves in Egypt. Moses became angry and killed the Egyptian. Pharaoh swore he’d kill him, and Moses ran for his life to the backside of a desert where he married and became a shepherd. Until his life changed when God called him to lead God’s people out of slavery.

Regardless of how or when life changes, God never does. He continues to love and protect us—from or through the pain and change. He led Moses, he led my son, and he’ll lead everyone who asks. His presence comforts, and His wisdom guides. He can do what no one else can.

When your life changes, trust the One who never does.

Prayer: Father, we trust You to guide us through the changes of life.

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

When Famine Strikes - Martin Wiles

Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. Genesis 12:10 NLT

One million people died, and another million left the country.

History records it as the Irish Potato Famine, and it occurred between the years of 1845 and 1849. Since two fifths of the population depended on this crop for various reasons, the famine led to mass starvation and disease. When it had run its course, twenty to twenty-five percent of the island’s population disappeared.

Thousands of years before the Irish Potato Famine, another famine struck the land of Canaan, the land that God had called Abram to leave his homeland for … the land where God promised to make him great by giving him numerous descendants.

But when the famine struck, Abram ran to Egypt. That’s when the trouble started. Abram’s wife, Sarai, was beautiful. Abram knew the king of the land would see her, kill him, and then take Sarai as his wife. So Abram devised a plan … a half-truth. He told Sarai to tell the king she was his sister.

Sure enough, the king took her as his wife. But God wasn’t pleased. And neither was the king when he discovered he had taken a married woman. He released her and told Abram to leave his land. Famines—whether physical or spiritual—lead us to do unnatural things.

Our personal famines show up in what the Bible refers to as a sin nature. Our souls experience a dearth because we are not rightly related to our Creator. Sin separates us from Him. We long for God as those in famine lands long for food and water.

Yet, instead of eating of the Bread of Life and drinking from the Living Water as Jesus invites us to, we often turn to other things, thinking they will satisfy our hunger and thirst. They won’t, and they leave us hungrier and thirstier than we were before.

What the Irish people needed was something to replace the potato—or something to kill what was killing the potatoes. What Abram needed was to trust God and stay in the land God told him to go to. 

What we need when the famines of our souls come is to turn to God. He alone has what we need. He alone can give us wisdom for our situations. Whatever the famine has stolen, He can restore.

When famine strikes your life, go to the One who can provide for your need.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that no famine is so great that You cannot sustain us in these times of drought.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Flashback Friday - Right Is Never Wrong - Martin Wiles

Right Is Never Wrong

Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
During the 1960s, what was considered right by many Americans was challenged by others who believed this right was actually wrong. For too long, black Americans had endured “separate but equal” status…until the premise was finally challenged and ruled an impossibility. No more “white” and “colored” signs above restrooms and water fountains. No more “Coloreds use back door” signs plastered near the front entrances of restaurants. 

The time had arrived for right to prevail. And prevail it did…through marches, sit-ins, blood, sweat, tears, hangings, beatings, murders, tears, loss, speeches, clubbings, dog attacks, police brutality, sexual abuse, and a number of other unmentionables. Doing right is never wrong, but it can be painful. Read more...

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Author Interview with Judy DuCharme

Love Lines from God welcomes author, Judy DuCharme, as our guest today.

Welcome, Judy. Tell us when you decided to become a writer. In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?

I always wanted to write, even as a little girl. A high-school teacher encouraged me in my writing, and I wrote short stories and poetry in high school and college. As life was busy and I thought I’d have to hide away for hours on end to be a writer, I set it aside until about ten years ago. Stories began to rise up within me, and I began to feel it was a calling. Now, I have six books published and a couple more I’d like to get published.

Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from?

Ideas always run through my mind. I wish I had the time and discipline to write all of them. It’s usually when I sense the story in my spirit and it won’t leave me, or it just has to come out, that I write it.

Why do you write what you do?

I write that others may become strong in the Lord. I don’t just want to entertain, although I love to include humor in my writing. I want to write so that others are stronger as a result of reading my writing.

What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing?

Staying in active voice rather than passive voice is a constant challenge. Also keeping in point of view and developing a deep point of view. Editing is a challenge–time-consuming and slightly painful.

If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future?

Cultural worldviews don’t like the Christian worldview, and that hostility is growing in every area. I think some writers want to cross some lines that I’m uncomfortable with in order to reach a wider audience. I think if we’re true to what the Lord calls us to write, we’ll be okay. Addressing the culture is a big challenge, and I admire those who do it well.

Tell us the most difficult thing about writing your last book. How long does it typically take you to finish your books?

The book really flowed, and the characters seemed to almost take over. I felt as if I was watching the story and trying to type fast enough to keep up. It skirted the edge politically, biblically, and culturally, so it made publishers a bit uncomfortable (and my editor) because of the subject matter. Hence, it took a long time to get a publisher. That book took about nine months to write. The one I’m working on now has taken about three years, but there have been many interruptions.

Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.

One, publishers will only look at the first few pages to decide if they are interested. I understand that they only have so much time, but when you’ve worked so many hours and have so many pages, I do wish they’d go a few more pages.

Two, when you are told to submit, it can’t miss a single direction. If it does, round file, and you never know why. I realize it isn’t always that harsh, and that’s the business, but it is frustrating.

Three, more emphasis is placed on a writer’s social media platform than on their quality of writing.

On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?

I love the way a story unfolds—the way that without realizing it I include something that provides the background or the clue for something that happens later. I love how when I reread my writing I laugh or cry. I enjoy it when I’m impressed with how I worded something, and I don’t even recall struggling with the wording. I’m glad when I catch a poorly written part and can correct it. And I love that others enjoy and are blessed by my writing.

What are you reading now, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?

I just finished Joel Rosenberg’s The Persian Gamble and Fire by Night by Lynn Austin. I’m partway through The Oracle by Jonathan Cahn. I love the intensity and the biblical prophetic aspect of Joel Rosenberg. I’ve read so many Bodie Thoene books, loving the history and the biblical insight as well. I haven’t seen much from her in a while. Lynn Austin presents such great history and wonderful characters. Colleen Coble can sure weave a mystery with so many twists and turns.

Could you tell the readers how they can purchase your books?

Blood Moon Redemption: amazon.com/dp/1620208229
The Cheesehead Devotional Hall of Fame Edition: amazon.com/dp/1946016330
The Cheesehead Devotional Kickoff Edition: amazon.com/dp/1938499239
Run With the Wind: amazon.com/dp/B07PTPCXXN
Christmas Ivy: amazon.com/dp/B07PTYNKSX
Society of the L.A.M.B.: amazon.com/dp/153777039X

And what are your social media links so readers can follow you? 

Judy DuCharme is a retired fifth-grade teacher and ridiculous Packer fan from Door County, Wisconsin. She and her husband have two children and one amazing grandson. Judy has authored six books, won numerous awards, and writes for Guideposts Magazine. Her passion is to write that others may be strong in the Lord.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Living with Balance - Martin Wiles

Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. Proverbs 30:8 NLT

Every time she mounted it, I cringed.

For four years, my daughter took gymnastics. One part of the sport made me cringe. I didn’t mind the floor exercise. She could only fall. The vault wasn’t too bad either. She ran down a mat, bounced off a trampoline, and vaulted over a small beam. The bars scared me more. The coach lifted her so she could reach them. My daughter could injure herself. Break a neck or limb. Suffer a concussion.

But the balance beam troubled me more than anything else. A long piece of wood so narrow that my daughter’s two narrow feet couldn’t fit side by side. If she only had to walk along it, I wouldn’t have minded, but she had to perform stunts on it. Cartwheels. Backflips. And then a running dismount. Mastering the balance beam required … well … balance.

Wise King Solomon, who had all the wealth a person could possibly want, asked God not to give him poverty or riches. He needed only enough to satisfy his needs. The apostle Paul later said something similar: For I have learned how to be content with whatever I have (Philippians 4:11).

Living with balance isn’t easy, especially when the world throws so much at us that can easily unbalance our lives. Listening to advertisements makes us think we need more than we actually have to live, causing us to mix up the definitions of wants and needs.

If we’re to live with balance, it takes planning. I have to know my income, along with a proper definition of a need. A need is something I must have to live and to accomplish God’s will for my life. Anything more is a want.

Living with balance relieves—or prevents—anxiety, something our world seems afflicted with. If I don’t overextend myself—with payments for unnecessary things or with my time—my anxiety level will stay low. I’ll be able to walk the balance beam successfully. When anxiety leaves, peace arrives.

Most of all, living with balance is God’s will. How do I know? Jesus did, and He perfectly accomplished God’s will. He lived modestly, but depended on the Father to supply His needs. And He did.

If your life is out of balance, tell God. He can give you the needed wisdom to live a balanced life.

Prayer: Father, teach us how to live a balanced life. One that demonstrates to others that You will indeed supply all of our needs.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Putting on the Grace Face - Martin Wiles

Putting on the Grace Face

Supposedly it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. While the saying has been around for quite some time, the numbers used to prove the conclusion vary with each story. In spite of the discrepancies, the basic premise is certainly true: it’s more relaxing and pleasant to smile than frown. 

Yet life’s dilemmas, downturns, and tragedies make it difficult to keep a smile on my face continuously. A restless night of sleep, a berating by the boss, or a child not satisfied with my parenting methods can prevent a smile from appearing on my face. Nor do I want my smile to be manufactured as the ones plastered on model’s faces often are. When I smile, I want it to reflect that I have an honest reason to smile. Read more...

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