Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Making a Difference - Martin Wiles

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard. Romans 15:20 NLT

“I feel useless because I can’t work and help out with the bills.”

My wife made the statement while in one of her depressed moods. A number of health issues prevent her from working. While she can’t hold down an outside job, she does tend to our daughter’s two boys five days a week. And although she may not be paid in money for doing it, her efforts are, nevertheless, work.

After hearing our pastor address following God’s plan in his Mother’s Day sermon, I reminded my wife that some of my sharpest and most treasurable memories hinge on the time I spent with my grandmother when I was a young boy. She, like my wife, kept me while Mom worked and Dad went to college.

I remember riding in my grandmother’s 1950’s green Chevrolet and helping her ring doorbells as she delivered Avon products. I remember the talks we had, the presents she bought me, and the breakfasts she taught me to cook. I recall how she taught me to appreciate the beauty of flowers and how she told me often how much she loved me. And most of all, I remember the spiritual truths she taught me and the trips we made to church together. These things are indelibly ingrained in my mind.

“She made a difference in my life that I’ll never forget,” I told my wife as I assured her that she was doing the same thing in the lives of two of our grandboys.

Paul, like my wife, wanted to make a difference. He didn’t want to preach the gospel where others had, but in places where the good news of Jesus had never been heard. And he made a difference. He left us with most of our New Testament, and he started numerous churches where thousands came to know Christ as Savior.

My wife plants seeds every day in the lives of our grandboys. She has the opportunity to sow the gospel in fertile ground—ground that hasn’t been corrupted by the world’s philosophies. When these two boys face the world, they’ll have a proper foundation not only to face false teaching with but also to share with others.

Let God place you where He wants. And wherever He does, make a difference in His name and for His glory. Never underestimate what He can do through you.

Prayer: Father, use us wherever You please and in whatever way You choose.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Throwback Tuesday - Fig Leaves Won’t Do - Martin Wiles

Fig Leaves Won’t Do

God must sometimes chuckle as he views our attempts to cover ourselves.

Recently I discovered our cat was using our formal mahogany dining room table as a scratching post. When I noticed it, I became livid. I grabbed my furniture polishing kit, retrieved the Old English Scratch Cover, and went to work. While it covered the scratches, it didn’t remove them. The cat’s claws had extracted part of the wood, leaving indentations behind. I covered, but I couldn’t remove. 

Fig leaves were Adam and Eve’s scratch cover.

Tweetable: What are using to cover with?

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Monday, October 14, 2019

I Am - Martin Wiles

God replied to Moses, “I am who i am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:14 NLT

The wrong tense can lead to the wrong conclusion.

I am the President. Not likely that’s true—or that it ever will happen. One, because I don’t plan to run. Two, because I have no political experience and wouldn’t have any chance of winning. But the present tense would tell someone that is what I am, currently.

I was President. Different scenario. Somehow, I made it into the office and served my term. At some point in the past. But unless I said when, no one would know. They’d simply know it happened in the past because was is the past tense of am.

I will be President gives yet another scenario. I have not been the President in the past, nor am I the President in the present. Adding will looks to the future.

Without a verb, a sentence cannot be a sentence. Verbs link subjects to nouns or adjectives, show action, help, or show state of existence. I am shows state of existence. It tells what I am currently. I can only be in one place and time for one second and still say, “I am.” After one second passes, I will be “I was.”

With God, things are different. When God told Moses to lead His people out of Egyptian slavery, Moses said they’d want to know who sent him. God said to tell them “I AM” did.

I live in chronological time—seconds followed by minutes followed by hours followed by days followed by years. Once one second passes, I’m in the past tense, never to be in that present again. God, however, lives in the eternal now. He sees the past, present, and future all at the same time. Like watching a parade from the top of a tall building.

Pretty heavy stuff, but the implications bring comfort, encouragement, optimism—and a dose of realism. Regardless of the physical pain, God abides in the present with me to give me peace and strength to endure. If the pain is emotional—depression, discouragement, disappointment—He stays in the present present and in all future presents. When I’m doing my best to fulfill His plan for my life, God walks with me in the present, guiding me forward.

Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but enjoy the present and know God abides with you in every one of your present moments.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for dwelling with us in all of our present moments.

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Missing the Obvious - Martin Wiles

Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! Luke 24:31 NLT

Two weeks of suffering didn’t make the obvious any more … obvious.

The teacher in the room next to me and I—along with our students—sweltered in our rooms. Although the outside temperature was only in the seventies, our rooms boiled. My turning down the two hallway thermostats didn’t help. The heat frazzled our nerves and made it difficult for the students to pay attention. A quick email to our maintenance man led to an investigation.

Two weeks prior—the time our rooms began warming up—he had called the air conditioning company to have them check our systems. Unbeknownst to him, they had forgotten to turn the main breaker switches back on. When he investigated the systems, he discovered their silence. A flip of the switch—the obvious fix—brought nice cool air to our rooms.

Sometimes, the obvious isn’t obvious. It wasn’t for two men on their way to the village of Emmaus. Jesus had risen from the dead and one day joined them as they walked. They didn’t recognize Him because God prevented them from doing so. 

When Jesus asked what they were talking about, they informed Him that He must be the only person in Jerusalem who didn’t know what had happened. Then, they explained to Jesus what He already knew about His own resurrection. Going home with them, Jesus broke bread, blessed it, and handed it to them. Suddenly, what wasn’t obvious became apparent.

Regardless of the matter—financial, emotional, spiritual, relational—God is the one who conceals and reveals. Gaining the information I need—or experiencing the healing I seek—requires effort and dependence. Jesus used the writings of Moses and the Prophets to reveal to the two men that what had happened to Him had been prophesied in Scripture.

God reveals through various sources: prayer, meditation, consultation with spiritually mature people, worship, and reading. When I go to the wrong sources, the obvious may remain concealed, but when I consult the right sources, God will unfold the information I need. He wants to meet our needs, He wants to guide us along the right paths, and He wants us to know His will in any given situation.

Don’t wander through life without purpose, missing what God wants to do in your life. Let God reveal what you can’t see.

Prayer: Father, give us the spiritual insight we need for every situation we face in life.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Flashback Friday - When Sin Gets Comfortable - Martin Wiles

When Sin Gets Comfortable

What happens when what I once feared I no longer dread?

As a child, I was terrified of the darkness. My parent’s solution was to assure me there was nothing in the darkness that wasn’t present in the light—which I discovered later was not exactly the truth, and to make me walk into dark rooms or yards. Eventually, my fear of the darkness dissipated. Now I will stroll through a darkened church or school building with no thought at all of danger lurking in every corner. I may walk outside at night without a flashlight and even sleep without a nightlight. I’ve become comfortable with darkness. Read more...

Tweetable: Are you comfortable with sin?

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Author Interview with Denise Weimer

Today, Love Lines from God welcomes Denise Weimer.

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

My parents were avid historians who took me to historical sites across the Southeast when I was growing up. My active imagination would wonder who lived in those beautiful old homes and charming towns. Around age eleven, I started scribbling down stories about those people in spiral-bound notebooks. I’d read them aloud to my mother, who encouraged me to keep writing.

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

Most of my story ideas come from the legend, lore, or unique history from around my state: Georgia. I love to find a fascinating topic or event that most people don’t know about and explore it in story form. For instance, most folks are aware of the Amish, Shakers, and Quakers but are not familiar with the Moravians. The story line of my latest release from Smitten Historical Romance, The Witness Tree (The Witness Tree on Amazon), starts with a marriage of convenience in the Moravian town of 1805 Salem, North Carolina, and leads to a dangerous assignment in Cherokee Territory.

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

In the past, because I write from home and don’t have my own office there, and because my husband and daughters have all been on different schedules, the biggest challenge has been finding a solid chunk of uninterrupted quiet time. The creative process, at least for me, requires reflection and concentration. Mentally, you go to another place to find that flow.

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

With a shrinking Christian market and fewer Christian publishers accepting overt presentations of faith in novels, now is the time for authors to learn how to better integrate faith elements into their stories. We should look at it as not all a bad thing, but a challenge we can rise to. Writing for entertainment alone is a worthy pursuit, but if you can share God’s truths organically with those who need to hear them but might have never picked up a “Christian” title, isn’t that why we’re here?

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?

The amount of time it takes me to write a book varies a good bit. I write both historical and contemporary romance (check out Fall Flip on Amazon, a Hallmark-HGTV-style renovation romance released last month with Candlelight Fiction). Bet you can guess which one is quicker.

For my first published series, The Georgia Gold Series, I researched a full year before I ever started to write, then continued researching during the nearly three years it took me to write all four books. By contrast, the most recent book I wrote which is not published yet was a historical in a setting and time period completely new to me. But by a gift of God, I finished it in a blistering six weeks. And I believe it’s my best work yet. The mixed-blood hero of that story is a child at the mission school in The Witness Tree.

And the hardest thing about The Witness Tree, my last published book? Definitely the challenge of bringing two very different people groups together on the page in an accurate and respectful manner. The Moravians and Cherokees had completely different customs and could barely communicate when they started the school for the children of the chiefs.

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

What author doesn’t love that moment when we’re in the zone and the words are flowing, and we know we’re communicating deep emotion or a truth of God that could impact someone for good?

Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She is the Managing Editor of Smitten Historical Romance and Heritage Beacon Historical Fiction (imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, now Iron Stream Media) and the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy, and a number of novellas, including Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Colonial Backcountry Brides Collection. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses. Connect with Denise here:

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The F.A.L.L - Martin Wiles

So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. Genesis 3:6 NLT

Other than being bitten by a snake or mauled by a bear, I feared it more than anything else.

Hiking in the mountains carries the risk of falling. Roots liter any trail hiked in the Southern Appalachians because forests cover most of the mountains. Stumping a toe on them is painful. Mixed in with the roots are rocks. On some trails, they cover the entire trail. Twisting an ankle is easy. And steep cliffs bank many of the trails.

Falling when I was young didn’t bother me. I never broke a bone. But when I was in my early twenties and fell, I did. Bones get more brittle as we age—and I had. I’ve fallen only a couple of times since then and fortunately didn’t break anything.

Tripping over a root or rock and then falling could have meant a broken knee or hip or a twisted ankle. Falling off the side of the mountain could mean death. Luckily, I only fell once while hiking and that was on the trail. My pack broke my fall, keeping me from breaking anything else.

Adam and Eve experienced a fall of a different kind. The Bible doesn’t use the word, FALL, but their story—and many others throughout the Bible—imply the message. Instead of breaking a limb, they broke something more important: their relationship with God.

God didn’t want a bunch of robots running around, forced to worship Him, so He gave humans Freedom. Although God created us for His pleasure—and because He wanted fellowship with us—He still wanted us to choose to return what He desired.

Freedom involves Action. Adam and Eve chose a rebellious act. Although I’m not responsible for their sin, the sin nature they inherited when they disobeyed God has been transferred to every person born since then. 

While I have good in me, my rebellious bent shows up in various ways. The Bible calls my state, Lost.

But Love led God to pursue me—and everyone else. He did so by allowing His Son to pay for my sin. Then He sent His Spirit to convict me of my need for forgiveness. If I choose to accept it, He grants forgiveness and frees me to be the person He created me to be.

You have fallen, but God wants to pick you up. Why not let Him.

Prayer: Father, we praise You for Your grace and mercy that provides a way for our restoration.

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