Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Walk-on Wednesday - Need Rest - 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. 

So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest. Hebrews 3:19 NLT

“When do you sleep?”

I was asked the question once by a fellow church member. He knew I was a full-time school teacher, part-time Associate Pastor, writer, proof editor, husband, and granddad.

As Thanksgiving approached, I was desperately in need of rest. Teachers at our school once received no break from Labor Day until the Thanksgiving holidays. A long stretch, unless it’s broken up by a day off. My nerves were shot, the kids were anxious, and I needed some downtime.

Rest is enjoyable and required for good spiritual, emotional, and physical health. Like many others, I don’t get enough of it, in part because I’m bad about loading too many duties on my plate. Good things, mind you, just too many of them.

The Bible speaks of several types of rest, the above included. The rest these rebellious former slaves would not enter was of a different variety. Heaven was its name. They had followed Moses out of Egyptian slavery but had repeatedly rebelled against God in the wilderness. With the exception of a few, the entire generation who left Egypt perished in the wilderness because of their unbelief and never experienced the rest of the Promised Land. They rested in the ground, but not in God’s eternal rest.

God’s ultimate rest is heaven, but if I stubbornly refuse to admit and confess my sins, I won’t ever experience that rest. Heaven is only for those who repent of their sins and turn in God’s direction. I look forward to that rest. While living on earth is enjoyable, it’s also tiring. The challenges, brokenness, sin, and struggles can sometimes almost be overwhelming.

I can, however, experience God’s rest even on earth as I await heaven. Jesus said he gives abundant (restful) life now and in eternity. As I seek, depend upon, and believe in God’s daily guidance and care, I enter his rest—the peace of knowing all is well with my soul because I’m God’s child, and he’s my Savior.

Have you entered God’s rest? His rest is available to all who will simply trust him.

Prayer: Thank You, heavenly Father, for providing a present and eternal rest for all who will come to You by faith. 

Tweetable: Are you in need of rest? 


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Monday, October 25, 2021

Meandering Monday - How Not to Encourage - Martin Wiles

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

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13 NIV

John looked for encouragement—he thought in the right place.

John had been drawing disability from the company he had worked with for several years. Sadly, the medical benefits portion of it would soon run dry. He was feeling discouraged when he called his mom for encouragement. Trying to be a good mom, she dished out what she assumed would be encouraging words. Unfortunately, she failed, just as I do sometimes.

“Mom, I was just informed that my health care benefits will be discontinued at the end of the year. Neither I nor the kids will have any insurance. Don’t know how I will afford to buy my medicines.”

“Don’t worry, son. God will work things out. Don’t let it get you down”

“I’m trying not to let it get me down.”

“Do you remember Mike Farmer?”

“No.”

“Yes, you do. He was married to your first cousin’s best friend. He worked at the cotton mill in Orangeburg—the same one I did. Well, anyway, I was talking to his mother the other day, and she said it took him five years to get his disability. He ended up in a homeless shelter for three years. And then when he finally got it, it was six months before he got his first check.”

“Well, I hope mine doesn’t take that long.”

“And do you remember Philip Dawson who used to go to that church your dad pastored in Tennessee?”

“No, I was only three years old when we lived there.”

“Well, you ought to remember him. He used to give you and your brother tootsie rolls all the time. Anyway, his son developed some kind of neurological disease when he was young—probably in his thirties. He was turned down every time he applied for disability. In fact, he died before he was ever approved. They didn’t even have money to bury him.”

“Well, I think I will go now.”

“Okay, son. But just remember, God is in control. And if you ever need any more stories of encouragement, I’m just a phone call away.”

The temptations to sin and the difficulties of living in a world gone sour make encouragement a necessity—giving it and receiving it. The writer of Hebrews encourages his readers to give it to each other, but not the kind this mom tried so hard to give her son.

Encouragement by its very nature should be uplifting. Spirits rise, fortitude increases, and steps are livelier when encouragement is received.

Who can you give a word of encouragement to today?

Prayer: As You, Father, encourage us each day, so help us to encourage others. 

Tweetable: Whom do you need to encourage? 


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, October 23, 2021

Tell Someone - Martin Wiles

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. Psalm 66:16 NLT

“Now, don’t tell anyone.”

I have a friend who loves a juicy piece of gossip. He doesn’t mean to share anything that would harm anyone else—he’s the kindest and most helpful person you’d ever want to meet—but he just can’t help spreading a little news.

Often, in our conversations together, I ask him to keep what I had told him confidential. He promises he will. But later, I would always run into someone who knew what I had told my friend. Knowing there was no other way they could have discovered the information, I realized my friend had told them.

Of course, he liked to tell me the same thing when he found out something about someone. His “Now, don’t tell anyone” followed many stories he shared with me. Interestingly, I didn’t have to worry about telling anyone. He’d take care of that.

I learned over time that I had to be careful what I shared with him. If I didn’t want something told, I better not tell him. He just couldn’t help telling someone. He had the gift of gab, and in his too much talk came too much information.

The psalmist wanted to tell something too, but what he had to share needed sharing. He wanted to tell others what God had done for him. He cried out to God when he recognized his sinfulness, and God came to his rescue by forgiving him. God could have turned His face away from the psalmist, but He didn’t.

While we shouldn’t be spreaders of gossip, we should share how God has and does work in our lives. Our world appears a hopeless place, but as believers, we have words of hope that others need to hear. Our world is often a joyless place, but we have a lifestyle to share that ushers in joy regardless of our circumstances. Keeping our discoveries a secret keeps others from enjoying the hope and joy we live with.

We also have an eternal lover who keeps giving us love no matter how many times we fail to do the same for Him. Our Savior loves us unconditionally, and He is always there for us when we need Him. Through our walk with Him, we discover there’s more to life than getting and trying to maintain stuff. A relationship with Him that never grows old awaits us. And that needs to be told.

Who have you not told about God, but need to?

Prayer: Father, motivate us to spread the good news of Your love. 

Tweetable: What are you telling that you shouldn't? 


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Friday, October 22, 2021

Skillet Apple Pie

 


Skillet Apple Pie

Ingredients
1 can apple pie filling
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can 8 homestyle biscuits
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cream or milk

Directions
Pour apple pie filling onto a cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Mix in vanilla and stir until mixed.
In a bowl, mix melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until smooth.
Cut canned biscuits into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl.
Add in apple pie mixture and stir.
Pour into skillet.
Cook at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
While cooking, make glaze: whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of cream or milk.



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, October 20, 2021

Walk-on Wednesday - Hardened - 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. 

You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.  Hebrews 3:13 NLT

Toasted bread is sumptuous, but hard bread isn’t.

When selecting a loaf of bread, I choose the loaf that is softest to the touch. Soft bread means fresh bread. I’ve also learned putting the twist tie back after retrieving slices ensures the freshness lasts longer. My wife and I often encase our loaf of bread in a Tupperware container or place it in the refrigerator. Yet, if the loaf of bread remains uneaten long enough, it will harden, get stale, and perhaps even mold. Hardening of bread is inevitable.

Moses faithfully led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery, but many in the loaf weren’t as sensitive to God as he was. No sooner had they left Egypt than they complained—not enough water, food, shoes, or clothes. And when Moses stayed on the mountain too long retrieving the Ten Commandments, they had his brother construct a golden calf for them to worship. In spite of all they witnessed God do, they readily hardened their hearts.

Hardening can happen in believers’ lives. I know; it did with me. As a rebellious teenager, I was hardened to God’s voice. I heard him, but his voice was faint because of my sinful practices.

Hardening isn’t instantaneous but takes place slowly and sometimes over a long period of time. I didn’t suddenly become a teenager with a hardened heart. My temporary walk away from God came on slowly and almost unnoticeably. It began with rebellious thoughts in my pre-teen years and blossomed into full-blown rebellion several years later.

I’ve discovered the best way to avoid hardening is to stay close to God, meditate on his Word, pray, hang around with other believers, and keep my priorities in order. These practices make it easier for me to reject rebellious thoughts.

Since I’m not perfect, I’ll fall occasionally, but it doesn’t have to be purposefully or regularly. When I do, I’m quick to confess so the wrong attitude doesn’t linger and cause more destruction.

What action can you take to prevent the hardening of your heart?

Prayer: Lead us, Holy Father, into a closer journey with You so we might avoid paths leading to hardened hearts.  

Tweetable: Is your heart hard or soft?  


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Monday, October 18, 2021

Meandering Monday - Promoted - Martin Wiles

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

For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house. Hebrews 3:2 NLT

On some days, it seemed she despised me; on other days, it appeared I was her favorite.

Imagine my surprise when the boss called me into her office and said, “I’m giving you a promotion.” And not just any promotion, but one that took me from an ordinary office worker to supervisor. I worried about how others in the office who had done more time than I would welcome me in my new position.

With the exception of a few bumps, the transition went well as I settled into my new title with its added responsibilities. I was accountable for more than I had been before, but there were days I wanted to return to my old position.

Jesus was greater than Moses, but like Moses, he was faithful to the mission the Father sent him on. Old Testament Moses was admirable as well and served God faithfully. From a small baby hidden in the bulrushes to escape a jealous king to the one who led more than a million people through a foreboding wilderness to the Promised Land, he served God with passion. He ruled over both complaisant and rebellious people but handled his promotion well—all things considered.   

Promotions at my various places of employment were always nice. Yet, with more authority came more responsibility—which made the promotion somewhat of a mixed blessing.

My best promotions, however, have come spiritually. Born a sinner with a horrendous future, I’ve now been promoted to a saint—not in practice but in position. Ironically, I’ve also been elevated to a servant rather than a ruler. In God’s kingdom, serving makes me greater than ruling.

My promotion involved a new heart that would prompt me to love and serve others regardless of their race, gender, cultural background, or financial standing. And although I’m not there yet physically, I’m now spiritually seated in the heavenlies with Christ. My promotion to heaven from hell is a sure thing.

Are you enjoying the promotions God has given you?

Prayer: Thank You gracious God for making us something more than we ever could have attained in our own power. 

Tweetable: Has God promoted 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.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Fall In - Martin Wiles

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 1 Peter 1:14 NLT

I looked around. He sat like a good little boy.

Every morning, when the big hand of my old school clock moved to the six, my grandson said, “Pop, it’s on the six.” That meant it was time for me to walk him to his class. This particular morning, we observed our normal routine. I took him by his hand, and we made our way across the campus to his room.

The previous night, intense thunderstorms had moved through the area. They downed one tree and many limbs on campus. They even blew the chain-link fence around the playground from its poles. In a nearby town, lightning struck a historical Presbyterian church, burning it almost to the ground.

My grandson’s teacher lived next to the burned church. As I chatted with her about the details of the previous night, I took my eyes off my grandson. Neither I nor she needed to watch him. The assistant teacher was also in the classroom.

After finishing my conversation, I turned to leave. That’s when I noticed what my grandson had done. He had walked to his cubby hole, hung his bookbag, and then proceeded to a large rectangular rug where he found the square with his name and sat. He never said a word, other than to tell me goodbye.

On the first day of school, my grandson’s teachers had given their students instructions on what to do when they came into the room. He followed them, and fell in line.

Peter encouraged his listeners to live as God’s obedient children. They had tried the other way of living and discovered it didn’t work. But they, like everyone else, were tempted to return to their old way of living.

I haven’t always been as compliant as my grandson. I’m sure at his age, I listened, too. But not always. And not always for the right reason. Often, I listened because I had been taught to obey authority figures, even if I didn’t agree with the rule. That teaching bled over into my relationship with God. I obeyed the commands, but not always for the right reason. Why my grandson obeyed at this point, I don’t know. He probably didn’t either.

When it comes to obedience, I can obey because I want to, because it’s the right thing to do, or because I love and appreciate the person I’m obeying. If I obey only because someone has made a law or a rule, at some point I’ll probably question the rule and disobey. Rote obedience isn’t enough. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day did that, and He reprimanded them … telling them they weren’t doing as well as they thought.

Obedience must flow from love and appreciation. When we reach the point where we obey God’s commands because we love and appreciate Him, our obedience will be more consistent. His principles bring us hope now and give us hope for the future. And that’s enough to produce obedience.

Make sure you’re obeying God’s commands for the right reason.

Prayer: Father, move us to obey You simply because we love You. 

Tweetable: Have you fallen in line with God's will? 


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.