Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Choices and Consequences - Martin Wiles


Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7 NKJV

When her skin turned yellow, her husband wasn’t surprised.

Cattie seemed to have it all. She married a preacher and planned to fulfill all the wonderful roles that accompanied being a preacher’s wife. For a while, things went as planned. Her husband pastored a church in the low country of South Carolina. The next six years passed quickly. Then one Sunday, strangers visited the church. The next thing Cattie knew she was packing for a move to the upstate of South Carolina.

Over the next five years, Cattie tired of being a preachers’ wife and convinced herself she had never wanted to be one in the first place. She found a job in town and began hanging around with people who didn’t share her faith or her lifestyle.

Cattie’s downward spiral began innocently enough: smoking. Then she began drinking and even buying alcohol for some of the teenagers in the church. She changed her style of dress, wearing low-cut blouses and short skirts. When she filled in at stores in neighboring towns, she wouldn’t come home at night but stayed in sleazy motels.

Cattie’s husband became suspicious. Eventually, the proof of her bad habits surfaced. She admitted her addictions. Little did he know she was also dabbling in drugs and sleeping around with truck drivers and the chairman of deacons at the church he pastored.

Cattie’s husband wasn’t surprised when one day she said, “I don’t love you anymore. I want a divorce.” Nor was he surprised when she showed up to get the kids one day and was yellow all over. Her sexual escapades had rewarded her with hepatitis.

Paul states a simple but always-true truth: choices result in consequences. What we sow, we reap.

My choices never affect only me. They affect others, as Cattie’s did her husband and children. They affect my relationships with others and my relationship with God. Consequences can’t be avoided. What we sow, we reap. Later, and often to a greater degree than what we originally sowed.

God is always willing to forgive our sins, but He normally doesn’t take away the consequences. They are His reminders not to repeat our bad or unwise behavior. They also help us learn valuable lessons if we try.

Ask God to help you make good choices so you can experience healthy consequences that will help you fulfill His plan for your life.

Prayer: Father, help us monitor our behavior so we can experience Your best for us.




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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Throwback Tuesday - Moving the Mountains - Martin Wiles

Moving the Mountains

Moving a mountain doesn’t necessarily mean the mountain itself moves.

In the early nineteenth century, goods could only reach the Ohio River valley area from Charleston, South Carolina, by bypassing the mountains to the south and traveling north through Georgia and Tennessee. 

In 1835, residents of Charleston proposed a solution. Why not construct a shorter route for the Blue Ridge Railroad by crafting a series of tunnels through the South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee mountains? Things progressed smoothly until Stumphouse Mountain in Oconee County was encountered. After spending more than three years and a million dollars on this tunnel, the state of South Carolina refused to spend anymore. The tunnel remained unfinished with only 1,617 feet of the proposed 5,863 feet excavated. Some mountains simply refuse to be moved. Read more...

Tweetable: Do you have a mountain that won't move?


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Monday, November 11, 2019

Going to a Father - Martin Wiles


I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you.” Luke 15:18 NLT

I suppose I could have gone to mine, but I never felt as if I could.

Dad seemed perfect. He didn’t act uppity, but at the same time, I always felt he dwelled on a higher plain than I did. My brothers and I never felt we could approach him with our issues.

I suppose most teenagers feel the same, but it would have been nice to at least sense I could have gone to him if I wanted—when I felt the pull to smoke, get drunk, curse, do drugs, have sex. I knew those things were wrong. My friends didn’t encourage me otherwise. Dad would have.

I don’t ever remember Dad saying, “I’m here if you need to talk.” I received instructions as a young child—which gave me a proper foundation—but times arrived later when I needed to talk but didn’t feel as if I could. When he lay on his death bed sucking in his final breaths, I felt the same. Years of feeling as if he was at arm’s length kept me at arm’s length until it was too late.

The prodigal son didn’t have the same issue. He went to his dad and asked for his inheritance. He tired of living at home and wanted to do his own thing. His father gave him the money. The son left, gathered some rowdy friends, partied, and, in short order, spent all he had. One day while slopping the hogs, he came to his senses and decided to return home.

The father in the story represents God the Father. He’s never too busy to listen to His children. He may not approve of what we’re doing, but He understands the temptations we face and is always willing to forgive. The prodigal’s father waited day after day for his son to return and ran to him with open arms when he did.

Our heavenly father is capable of directing our lives. He is also able to save us from ourselves and the sins that separate us from Him. After salvation, He gives us the best life possible. Just as the father in the story called for his servants to kill the fatted calf. They were about to party.

Whether or not you can go to your earthly parent with your troubles, you can always go to your heavenly Father, who waits with open arms to embrace you and your troubles.

Prayer: Father, thank You for always opening Your arms to us.





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Saturday, November 9, 2019

What if God Doesn’t Come to the Rescue? - Martin Wiles


But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up. Daniel 3:18 NLT

When He comes through, I trust Him more, but when He doesn’t…

I’m no stranger to financial struggles. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve struggled more than I’ve relaxed. I hoped by my retirement age I’d have everything paid for so I wouldn’t have to worry anymore. Now that my retirement age is only a few years away, I’ve been disappointed again.

As my wife’s health continues to deteriorate and we conclude she’ll never be able to hold down a job again, we constantly look for ways to supplement our one income—which isn’t enough to pay our monthly bills. The ways God continues to answer our prayers for help amazes us, but one prayer He seems to ignore. The one I pray that our income will be enough to meet our monthly obligations.

I’ve prayed the prayer for years. No answer. Or perhaps He did answer and I just missed the delivery because I didn’t want to hear what He had to say. That He wasn’t going to answer the prayer the way I desired. That He wanted the shortfall to remain for good reason.

Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego found themselves in a similar situation. What were they going to do if God didn’t …? The king of the foreign land they’d been deported to made a large statue—perhaps of himself—and commanded everyone to worship it. Failure to do so meant the fiery furnace, and death. They refused, then made the remarkable statement: “Even if he doesn’t … we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

It takes a while, but I’ve learned God’s deliverance doesn’t always look as I might imagine or want it too. He saved the three Hebrews, but many believers have died or been persecuted in similar threatening situations. Sometimes, God delivers through life—and sometimes through death. He might give me enough monthly income to pay the bills … or He might choose to get them paid another way. He might heal the relationship … or end it. He might cure the disease … or let it take me to my eternal home. 

When we adopt the correct perspective, trials will grow our faith, promote a healthier prayer life, and develop our trust in God—regardless of whether He does or doesn’t.

Make up your mind to trust God, even if He doesn’t.

Prayer: Father, build our faith so that we will trust You even when You don’t come through in the way we desire.




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Friday, November 8, 2019

Flashback Friday - Choose Your Friends Wisely - Martin Wiles

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Some friends should carry the label, “Dangerous for Your Health.”

My parents always cautioned me to choose friends wisely. Biblical examples were offered of what happens when one doesn’t. Such as the prodigal son. Warnings reminded me that choosing bad company would corrupt my character. Stand your ground on moral principles and don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise. Imagine my surprise when one such distraction appeared in the form of a deacon’s son at the church my father pastored. We became fast friends. I had just entered adolescence, and rebellion was on my mind. And this new friend provided the fertilizer for my stubborn seeds to grow. Within a short period of time, I had acquired several addictions and was traveling down the wrong spiritual road. Read more...

Tweetable: Have you chosen the wrong friends?


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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Author Interview with Karin Beery

Today, Love Lines from God welcomes author, Karin Beery.  

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

Nine months after my husband and I were married, he was diagnosed with cancer. I needed a way to process, so I started reading. After tearing through dozens of novels, I decided to try writing one. I finished it in six weeks, and I’ve been writing ever since. 

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

Everywhere. My debut novel was inspired by the setting. My sophomore novel was inspired by a question (Could I take a historical romance trope and make it work in a contemporary setting?). I have a completed manuscript that started with a dream (which became a scene in the novel) and was inspired by nights watching Dancing with the Stars with my aunt. Literally, anything can and does become inspiration.

Why do you write what you do?

I write clean, lighthearted romance because there’s enough drama in the world. If I want to see sadness, pain, and suffering, I can turn on the news. For me, fiction has always been a way to escape, so those are the types of stories I write.

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

First drafts. I really enjoy editing, but sitting down and writing the first draft is almost painful for me. I don’t know why, but I have a hard time doing it.
If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future? 
Fewer people identify as evangelical Christians these days, and they’ve been the primary readers of Christian fiction. That means the audience is shrinking, so publishers don’t have as many spots for new authors. Writing a good book is much harder than most people think, so it’s harder than ever to break into the traditional publishing market—although it can be done.

If you would, please tell us what was the hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your books?

I’m a painfully slow writer, but I’m working on it. It usually takes me 12-18 months to write a novel, but that’s really my fault–it’s hard to commit time and energy to something when you’re not seeing results (I was unpublished for many years). Now that I have a couple of books out, however, I realize I need to write more quickly. My goal for my next book is to get the first draft down in a month, and then take three to four months editing it. We’ll see how that goes.

Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.

The ease with which people can self-publish (thereby flooding the market with books). 
The misconception that publishers are greedy and price gouging. Therefore, books should only be $0.99 (as if I can make a living spending 6-12 months writing a book to only sell it for a dollar). 
The expectation that unknown writers should be able to develop audiences and online followings before they publish books.

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

Being able to create different people in different locations and throwing them into any situation I want. There’s really no limit when it comes to writing fiction.

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

I’m currently reading Wish by Jake Smith. He’s a local author whose book I bought several years ago. I’m just getting around to reading it. Right now, I’m enjoying books by Karen Witemeyer and Jennifer Peel. They both consistently create unique characters and wonderful romance stories. I haven’t been disappointed by any of their books yet.

Can you tell the readers how they can purchase your book?

My debut novel can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Plans-Other-Disasters-Karin-ebook/dp/B07H1YRQP4. My latest release can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Practically-Married-Karin-Beery/dp/1645262367

Karin Beery grew up in a small, rural Michigan town where she wrote her first novel in high school. She’s still writing today, telling contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing or teaching it. And when she’s not doing that, she enjoys time at home with her husband and fur babies, once again living in a small, rural Michigan town. 

You can connect with Karin on the following sites: 
https://www.facebook.com/authorkarinbeery
https://www.twitter.com/karinbeery
https://www.instagram.com/karinbeery
http://www.karinbeery.com


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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

When Bling Becomes Bad - Martin Wiles


Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. Joshua 7:20-21 NLT

I was amazed by what happened when a piece of bling went up for auction.

My wife loves jewelry. Not expensive jewelry—although I’m sure she’d wear it if we could afford it. But we’ve never been able to dress her in rubies and diamonds, except for her wedding ring. She does, however, love bling. Not too much. Just a little.

My wife has a friend who sells jewelry, with a little bling mixed in. They call it paparazzi jewelry. Each piece, regardless of what it is, is only five dollars. Her greatest sales come from her online auctions. One night a week, my wife sits in the recliner and listens to her friend’s online party. Occasionally, my wife has one at the house and helps her. 

Bling sells better than the other jewelry. I had to ask my wife to define bling. After finding out, I listened as she and her friend sold it. Although the price never changes, more of the bling sells. For some reason, the sparkling, dangling, and extravagant attracts.

Achan liked bling. The bling were things set apart for the Lord that God had instructed the Israelites to destroy when they conquered Jericho. Achan chose to steal some bling and hide it. His disobedience cost Israel victory at the next town they attempted to conquer. The bling became bad.

Bling in and of itself isn’t bad, although some think so. I remember when some denominations forbade women to wear jewelry altogether and used a few Old and New Testament verses to support their views. Many of these same folks now wear the bling and reinterpret the verses.

Bling is different for various people. Bling becomes bad when I forget God sees I have put it before Him. Priorities. Decisions. Choices. When I choose things that remove God from first place, I let the bling take over.

Bling is bad when I think I need to have it instead of remembering God has promised to supply my needs. Bling often involves wants, not needs. It’s the extra … the sparkly … the enticing.

Bling also keeps me from experiencing the maturity and spiritual growth that comes through the times when I don’t have the bling. God rarely grows us much in the good times.

Ask God to help you discern when the bling is becoming harmful in your life.

Prayer: Father, we need Your wisdom to know when the bling has become bad.




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