Saturday, September 18, 2021

Night of the Mosquito - Martin Wiles

Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good. Ecclesiastes 9:18 NLT

She never went to bed without spraying.

My maternal grandparents lived in an old farmhouse on a rather large acreage of land. Enough that they didn’t have to worry about neighbors minding their business. But the old house had no central air or heat. A few space gas heaters kept it tolerable in the wintertime (the old fireplaces in each room had long since been boarded up), and open windows and fans kept it cool in the hot, Southern summers.

Although I don’t remember the screens in the old house having rips in them, somehow an unwelcome guest arrived every night during the warm months, about nine months out of the year.

My grandmother had a nightly ritual I observed when I spent the night with her. I slept in the front bedroom, as she called it. A large room with two full-sized beds, an old piano, and other bedroom furniture. My cousin, who lived next door, often slept over when I spent the night.

Before settling in for the night and telling ghost stories, my grandmother made her way around the room to all the windows with a can of Raid insect spray. She sprayed the screens, hoping to kill any mosquitoes that had already made their way in and to prevent any who hadn’t, but were thinking about it. This smell, along with the mosquito truck that made its regular appearance down the highway out front and let out a cloud of repellant, was almost more than I could bear. Neither seemed to help.

No sooner than my grandmother had turned the light off than I heard the singing. A female mosquito seeking blood to fertilize her eggs. My grandmother had no night lights or outside pole lights. The room was as black as tar. I swatted, but to no avail. I couldn’t see what I swatted at. I could only hear it. I covered as much of my body as possible, hoping the intruder wouldn’t get under the cover and suck on my body all night. Eventually, sleep overtook the singing, but I normally woke up to several whelps on various parts of my body.

Although bad, the mosquito had an influence. Just as Solomon says one bad person can destroy much good.

Our influence is good or bad. We make the choice. From the mosquito’s perspective, her influence brought good. She was fertilizing her eggs. From my standpoint, it involved bad. She sucked my blood and made an itchy whelp.

God’s Word tells the requirements for a good influence. It requires sacrifice. God’s ways entail love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. A good influence leads to careful consideration of our actions, attitudes, and words so that we influence in the way we intend. And our influence must be intentional for it to be good consistently.

Bad influences are easy to make. All we must do is follow the flow of the majority. They’ll lead us in the wrong direction almost every time.

Ask God to give you the power of a mosquito’s influence—only make it good.

Prayer: Father, help us to influence our world in a good way. 

Tweetable: How's your influence? 


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Friday, September 17, 2021

Taco Salad

 


Ingredients
1 POUND GROUND BEEF

1 HEAD LETTUCE

2 CUPS SHREDDED CHEESE

2 TOMATOES (DICED)

1 SMALL BOTTLE CATALINA DRESSING
     
1 LARGE BAG DORITOS

1 ENVELOPE TACO SEASONING

Directions
COOK GROUND BEEF AND DRAIN.

ADD TACO SEASONING AND COOK AS DIRECTED. SET ASIDE.

CHOP LETTUCE AND PLACE IN A LARGE BOWL.

ADD TOMATOES, CHEESE, AND MEAT. MIX TOGETHER.

ADD CATALINA DRESSING AND COVER THOROUGHLY.

WHEN READY TO SERVE, CRUSH A LARGE BAG OF DORITOS AND MIX IN THE SALAD.


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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Philemon Promise - Cindy Evans

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. 

Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever. Philemon 1:15 NIV

After a painful break-up with my then-boyfriend, Mark, I felt down.

What went wrong? We'd both been Christians and had lots of fun together, making sweet memories. Although we both had hope, it hadn’t worked.

One day, still hurting from the loss, I was on the floor, crying out for comfort and looking in God’s Word. My pages fell to a passage I'd never noticed before.

My eyes opened wide as I read the following Scripture from Philemon: “Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever.”

My jaw dropped. Lord, is this a promise for me? Could it be? Was God using this season of separation to teach us something or prepare us for the future?

I felt my soul stirring and my heart overflowing. I felt the Spirit speaking. I tucked this verse in my heart, and it brought peace. I felt my brokenness healing tenderly in a way that’s hard to explain.  

Not too long after that, Mark and I got back together. Today, I write this as his wife, and I will always remember with awe and gratitude this precious time when God shared His wonderful Word with me.

What promise have you received from God? 

Tweetable: What promise have you received from God? 


Cindy Evans is a published poet living in the greater Atlanta area. Her prayer is to be a keyboard for Christ. She enjoys her work at a faith-based hospice company and also date nights with Mark (who you read about) and church activities.


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, September 13, 2021

Meandering Monday - Greater Than… - Martin Wiles

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

This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. Hebrews 1:4 NLT

Far back in my educational journey, I learned the symbols > and < meant greater than and less than.

Knowing that in itself meant nothing, but using them to compare numbers made a little more sense. If my income was greater than my outgo, I discovered myself in the red. If my grocery bill grew greater than the amount in my checking account, I would have to put something back. If my rent payment was greater than what I had left over after paying all my other bills, I might eventually be evicted. Practical stuff.

In many of the early churches, false teachers taught God could only be approached through angels. Some even thought Jesus was God’s highest angel. Angels shouldn’t be worshiped nor is Jesus one of them. He is greater than angels and also some other things I tackle.

Jesus is greater than all our fears as well as the things or people that arouse them. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Greater is he that lives in us than anything the world can hurl our way.

Jesus is greater than all our anxieties. Numerous things can cause us to be anxious or to worry. Rather than do that, we can present our anxieties to God and experience peace beyond our comprehension (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus said we shouldn’t worry because he is in control of all our tomorrows (Matthew 6:34).

Jesus is greater than any problem we will face. We must trust in him with all our hearts and not depend on our understanding. When we do, he will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus is also greater than any temptation we confront. He’s promised not to allow them to become so intense that we can’t endure and conquer them with his help. A way of escape always exists (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Have you discovered that God is greater than anything you might meet?

Prayer: God of power and God of grace, we humbly trust our fear, worries, anxieties, problems, and temptations to You. 

Tweetable: Is God greater than what you are facing? 


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, September 11, 2021

Shame, Shame, Shame - Martin Wiles

Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. Romans 10:11 NIV

As I child, I heard it from parents and grandparents.

“Shame, shame, shame,” one of my parents…or more likely one of my grandparents…might say. If they did, it meant I had broken one of their rules or behaved in a way they deemed inappropriate. Even as a young child, which is when I normally heard this, I knew what it meant.

As I got older, the three words didn’t bring the same response as they had when I was younger and wanted to please everyone. The larger problem related to God’s rules, which my parents’ and grandparents’ rules supposedly mimicked. If I broke their rules, I was guilty of infringing upon God’s principles.

But I also experienced another type of shame: shame over my body. To say the least, I hated it. Skinny. Bony. And if that wasn’t enough, I had to get ugly glasses while in elementary school. Other classmates made fun of my shape, and I certainly wasn’t one they wanted on their team in Physical Education class when we played basketball or dodgeball.

Paul says anyone who believes in Christ should never be put to shame.

Shame comes in two varieties: misplaced and rightly placed. One bad, the other good. If I do the opposite of what Paul says, I experience misplaced shame. I should never be ashamed of who I am in Christ. Nor should I ever refrain from telling others through my actions and words that I belong to Him. Hiding who I am because I don’t want others to make fun of me or persecute me leads to misplaced shame.

Misplaced shame also shows up when I try to improve on how God made me and who He made me to be. He gave me my body and my personality. What others think is, on one hand, important, but on the other hand, not so important. I’m here to please God, not others. When I fail to accept that, along with the gifts God has given me, I feel shame when I shouldn’t.

Rightly placed shame entails recognizing I am what the Bible says: a sinner in need of forgiveness. I should feel ashamed that I’ve failed God. The good news is that God made a way out of that shame. Through believing in His Son, I can experience forgiveness and release from condemnation, knowing Christ has paid for all my sins. Daily confession of my failures and sins keeps me on good terms with God.

Satan wants us to continually beat ourselves up, making us think we are no good, getting us to think God can never use us. If he convinces us, we’re defeated, and God won’t be able to use us. Because of misplaced shame.

Don’t let the wrong type of shame lead you to a life of misery. Experience God’s forgiveness and enjoy being the person He created you to be.

Prayer: Father, thank You for making it possible for us to live without shame.

Tweetable: Are you living with shame? 


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Friday, September 10, 2021

Ritzy Chicken Casserole

  

 
Ingredients
2 SLEEVES OF RITZ CRACKERS

1 CAN CREAM OF CHICKEN

1 CAN CREAM OF MUSHROOM

1 CUP SOUR CREAM

½ CAN CHICKEN BROTH

2 TABLESPOONS BUTTER

4 to 6 CHICKEN BREASTS (COOKED)


Directions
CRUMBLE ONE SLEEVE OF CRACKERS IN THE BOTTOM OF A GREASED CASSEROLE DISH.

DRIZZLE HALF OF THE MELTED BUTTER OVER THE CRACKERS.

MIX CHICKEN WITH SOUPS, SOUR CREAM, AND BROTH.

POUR OVER CRACKERS.

CRUSH REMAINING CRACKERS OVER CHICKEN MIXTURE AND DRIZZLE REMAINING BUTTER ON TOP.

BAKE AT 350 FOR 30 to 40 MINUTES.


We believe good food and God's Word go well together. After you've enjoyed this dessert--or even as you enjoy it--why not hop over to our main page and enjoy one of our encouraging devotions.

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, September 8, 2021

Walk-On Wednesday - Take a Seat - 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. 

When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.  Hebrews 1:3 NLT

Tim was a good friend. So good that when I visited him, he would give me the seat of honor: his recliner.

Tim was a pastor. During the day, he was either at the church preparing his sermons or on the road visiting the sick and shut-ins. Yet when his day ended and his work was complete, he sat in his recliner—a nice large plush leather repository. My wife and I would visit with him and his wife monthly, and when we did, Tim would always say, “Sit here in the nice chair.” Tim was just that kind of guy.

Almost 2,000 years ago, Christ took a seat. He had sat there before, but at a certain point in time, he got up, left his comfy seat of honor, and traded it for human flesh, a smelly stable, abuse, misunderstanding, unbelief, and finally death. Three days later, however, he got up. Forty days later, he returned to the place he’d been and sat down. His hard day at work was finished—the work of dying for humanity’s sins.  

Now that Christ has taken a seat, he offers me one as well. Spiritual restlessness is parcel to humanity. I’ve experienced it myself. Only when I recognized the source was I able to calm my soul’s uneasiness.

God created this void, and the something that was missing was him. When I confessed my sins, received his forgiveness, and invited Christ into my life, I too was able to sit down. I found peace in knowing all was well between me and my Creator. He took my unrighteousness and gave me his righteousness.

When the Father looks upon me, he sees me as “right.” Trying to work my way to God only leads to tired feet from continually standing up. Accepting what he’s already done allows me to get off my feet and sit in the plush recliner of righteousness.

Are you busy trying to impress God, or are you resting in the righteousness of Christ?

Prayer: Eternal God, thank You for loving us enough to send Your Son to die in our place. 

Tweetable: Where are you sitting? 


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.