Saturday, February 20, 2016

Good Advice From Psalm 119:9-16

Psalm 119, 9 Disciplines of Growing Christians
"God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives"(1)  and Psalm 119: 9-16 gives us nine "spiritual disciplines" for achieving that goal.

1. Live according to God's Word.

2. Seek God wholeheartedly.

3. Keep the faith (don't stray).

4. Hide God's Word in our hearts.

5. Ask God to teach us.

6. Speak God's Word often.

7. Delight in obedience.

8. Learn God's Ways.

9. Never neglect God's Word.

Sometimes we mistakenly think that God's grace exempts us from hard work. Not true.

We aren't saved by works, but we are saved so that we will do good works prepared in advance for us (Ephesians 2:10), and we can't do these works if we aren't seeking to live pure lives., 9 Disciplines from Psalm 119
To do a short Bible study on this devotion check out this Bite Size Bible Study

To read  1-minute devotion on each of these 9 Disciplines:

Discipline 1: Living According to God's Word
Discipline 2: Seeking God Wholeheartedly
Discipline 3: Keeping the Faith
Discipline 4: Hiding God's Word
Discipline 5: Being God's Student & Bible Study
Discipline 6: Speaking God's Word
Discipline 7: Enjoying Obedience
Discipline 8: Considering God's Ways
Discipline 9: Never, Never Neglecting God's Word
Bookmark the entire series HERE.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

God at a Distance - Martin Wiles

But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” Matthew 8:8 NLT

Sitting silently, it waited to be picked up to talk to people who were far away.

Telephones have changed drastically during my lifetime. The first phone I remember was solid black with only a receiver and perched on my grandmother’s buffet in her dining room. To make a call, I picked up the receiver and, if no one was talking, waited for the operator’s assistance. This was called a party line. 

The next phone looked similar but had a dial so I could place my call without the operator’s help. Then the push button phone arrived. The cordless phone followed. Now I wasn’t bound by a cord and could move about while talking. 

Finally, cellular phones revolutionized communication. I could talk while traveling. Presently, I can carry my phone (computer) with me anywhere I go. Distance is no longer an issue.

While distance was once a problem when placing calls, it never has been for God. This Roman officer knew this long before the idea of communicating by phone ever entered an inventor’s mind. His servant was paralyzed and needed healing. He approached Jesus who offered to come to his house and heal the servant. The officer suggested Jesus do it long distance. Jesus was amazed at his faith. 

Sometimes I forget distance isn’t a problem for God. I imagine when praying that my prayers drift up to heaven and then vie for God’s attention—among the millions of others being offered at the exact moment. Then God has to schedule when he’ll take care of mine. And I wait.

To begin with, God is Spirit and omnipresent. He’s not bound by time and is everywhere at the same time. He can hear my prayers and millions more at the exact time and in the same moment. He isn’t confined by chronos time but operates in kairos time. 

While God can answer my prayer from a distance, from his perspective distance is never what I perceive it to be. He is as close as the breath I breathe to utter my request.

God is never too busy or far away to answer your prayers and supplications. Go to him often, believing he will answer any prayer made in faith.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for being as close as the air we breathe and for Your willingness to answer our prayers.

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, South Carolina. He and his wife Michelle are founders of Love Lines From God, a devotional ministry helping those who want to enhance their spiritual journey with Christ. His latest book, Grits & Grace & God, is available at Amazon. Or sign up for his daily email devotions by visiting his website. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Secret Place - Martin Wiles

As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Exodus 33:22 NLT

He was a master at making and discovering secret places. 

My maternal grandparents lived in an old farmhouse. My first cousin and his family lived a stone’s throw away. When I spent time visiting my cousin, we normally spent most of our time at our grandparent’s house. During one of my visits, he showed me his most recent discovery. Just above the small closet door in the kitchen was a hidden door. 

What greeted us when we opened it was a spiral staircase. Naturally, we wanted to explore. Up we went into a dusty cavern. My hopes for discovering hidden treasure were dashed. Rolls and rolls of player piano music was all we mined. No doubt once used on my grandmother’s old player piano that had been converted to a playable piano. 

I wonder now what this secret room was used for. A storage room. The room an unruly child was confined to. An extra bedroom. Maybe even a secret place to hide runaway slaves. Though we didn’t know the purpose, we had uncovered yet another secret place. 

Moses was sometimes overwhelmed by his God-given task of leading millions of people across a wilderness to their Promised Land. He wanted assurance of God’s guidance. On this occasion, he asked to see God’s presence as proof. Though God didn’t allow him to see his face, he did place Moses in a secret place—the cleft of a rock, as he passed by.  

Every believer needs their secret place. I have mine, and it’s not always the same place. It’s the place I go where God and I can be alone. A quiet place where I can hear God speak to me by his Spirit. A recliner in the early morning hours, a bench in a park, the bank of a pond, the top of a mountain peak, or a chair in the backyard. 

The spot I choose isn’t as important as my frame of mind when I go there and my purpose for being there. Secret places are for seeking God’s face and his plan and for renewing my resolve to serve him and others faithfully. Secret places are essential for good spiritual healthy and should be visited often. 

Find your secret place, and go there regularly.

Prayer: Father, show us Your presence in a fresh way when we meet with You in our secret places. 

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, South Carolina. He and his wife Michelle are founders of Love Lines From God, a devotional ministry helping those who want to enhance their spiritual journey with Christ. His latest book, Grits & Grace & God, is available at Amazon. Or sign up for his daily email devotions by visiting his website. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pleading the Fifth

I am heart-broken when I see our modern culture's view of parents. I thought this devotion would be worth a second look, so I pulled it from the archives.  What do you think?  Gail

We don't pay much attention to the 10 Commandments anymore, especially the Fifth. We might refer to it when training children but we rarely talk about its relevance to adults.  

“Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother; this is the first commandment with a promise: That all may be well with you…” (Ephesians 6:2,3, Amplified Bible)

There's nothing in the command that's age-specific. We never get old enough to ignore it.
And God emphasizes the Command  in some unique ways: 
  • It's on His "Top Ten" list.
  • It’s the only command with a specific promise attached. 
  • It’s one of two positive commands (i.e. it promotes a behavior instead of prohibiting one). 
  • It's one of the three most quoted Commandments in the New Testament.
The parental relationship is our first relationship in life and one of our longest. Only our siblings will know us longer. Just as children are especially vulnerable to their parents’ injustice, indifference or selfishness when they are young; parents are especially vulnerable to the injustice, indifference and selfishness of their adult children. God designed us that way, and He has high expectations for the relationship throughout our lives.

Unfortunately, our culture has turned things upside down: Adults are far more apt to criticize than honor parents. We judge their performance more strictly than we judge our performance as adult children, sometimes acting as if they must “earn the right” to be respected while feeling we deserve their love and respect no matter how we treat them. But God commands respect for parents whether they earn it or not. In Matthew 15:1-9 Christ says adults who ignore the Fifth Commandment have turned their hearts away from God! That's powerful.

For many years I underestimated the Fifth Commandment. I got along fine with my parents, but I didn’t really understand what it meant to honor them. And I was even less faithful in my relationship with my in-laws. Only as I changed my attitudes did I realize the well-being I'd been missing (God's promise).

I studied the Hebrew word used for honor in the Fifth Commandment and found it is the same word used for honoring God.   Here's a summary of what God taught me:
  • It matters how I speak to my parents--they aren't my peers.  I owe them more consideration and respect than my friends.
  • It matters how I listen to my parents.  Their opinions should be more important than friends' opinions. I don't need to agree or obey, but I need to listen respectfully and respond respectfully.  
  • My attitude matters more than my actions. A critical, ungrateful, indifferent, self-righteous or disrespectful attitude will come across even if I'm fulfilling my "duties."
  • I need to deliberately develop and maintain the relationship, taking an adult responsibility to call, write, visit, remember special days, and prioritize time with my parents. When I was young, they were the initiators. Now it's my turn.
  • Honor means finding out what matters to them and doing my best to please them unless their desires are unreasonable. (And I should beware of what I call "unreasonable" unless I am equally judging my own desires.)
  • I need to do my very best to work through problems, disagreements, or conflicts with my parentsOne of the highest forms of disrespect is deciding my parents are not worth the time or effort to explain my feelings and listen carefully and prayerfully to theirs. My desire to honor God and His commands is best reflected in the hard times, not the easy ones.
The Fifth Commandment is an awesome responsibility which involves self-sacrifice, but God is eager to help us fulfill it and has promised to bless us if we obey. It's really up to us whether we want our parents to be a blessing or a liability in our lives.
Hi! I'm Gail. My husband Michael and I have 2 grown children and 7 grandchildren. I used to edit and maintain the WOW blog until my duties with 1-Minute Bible Love Notes became too time-consuming.  1-Minute Bible Love Notes has over 8000 subscribers, over 19,000 Facebook followers, and over 10,000 Pinterest followers. I'd love to have you check it out.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Infinitely More - Martin Wiles

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 NLT

Dropout wasn’t a word with enough negative connotations to keep me from becoming one. By the midpoint of my senior year, I’d had enough. Education had been disgusting me for quite some time. I could now legally decide whether I wanted to continue or not. I chose not to. But after several months in the work world, I saw how important a high school diploma was. Reluctantly, I returned and graduated. A few years later, God confronted my “I hate education” attitude by calling me into the ministry, which required I attend four years of college. Several years later, he allowed me to earn my Master’s degree. One year later, he put me in touch with a gentleman who offered to pay the tuition and book fees for me to earn my Doctor of Christian Ministry degree. By God’s strength, I was able to accomplish infinitely more than I ever could have by myself. 

Sometimes I forget about the mighty God I serve and about the presence of His Spirit within me. Occasionally, I launch out into tasks with the plan mapped out, thinking I have all the answers. Periods of failure remind me I control nothing but myself and that even the best laid out plans can go awry. God also has a habit of reminding me I can only do all things through Him and His power—not my own. 

Underestimating God’s power and being satisfied with less than He wants to give or accomplish is tempting. This verse reminds me He can do infinitely more through me than I could ever imagine. God’s power over the world is limitless, and it is unlimited in believers as well. When our focus is where it should be, and when our faith is great and pure, God will take us to new heights and greater accomplishments for His Kingdom.

Don’t sell God short. Let Him achieve more through you than you could ever dream of.

Prayer: Father, prepare our hearts so that You might accomplish more through us than we could ever imagine.

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, South Carolina. He and his wife Michelle are founders of Love Lines From God (, a devotional ministry helping those who want to enhance their spiritual journey with Christ. His latest book, Grits & Grace & God, is available at Amazon. Or sign up for his daily email devotions by visiting his website. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What to Do While You're Waiting

Life generally passes quickly.

Too quickly, in my estimation. I blink and it’s Christmas again. I open my eyes to a new day and discover that my daughters are a year older (and so am I). I pay my taxes and find that they’re due again. Like an Olympic luge competitor, I tip my day into motion and discover I’m already at the finish line.

There are, however, a few exceptions to the speeding chute of life. One is when we're waiting for important results that will affect the course of our lives. 

A legal or financial judgment.

Medical test results.

An acceptance letter.

Waiting for any one of these makes time move as slowly as grandma on the interstate. So what do we do while we’re waiting for the news?

We purpose not to fear.

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psa. 46:2).

We reaffirm our trust in God, who holds our days in his hands.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psa. 56:3).

We appeal to God’s mercy instead of bargaining and negotiating with him on the basis of our good works. 

“We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy” (Dan. 9:18).

We pray with fervency and persistence, as long as there is hope. David prayed this way when his infant son lay dying.

"While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live'" (2 Sam. 12:22).

We decide in advance to accept whatever comes from God’s hand, trusting that God’s grace will enable us to bear it, even if the verdict isn’t what we hope. 

“What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10).

We remind ourselves that God is for us, that he can use everything for good, and that his ultimate purpose for our lives is to redeem us and point others to himself. In this we place our hope. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

We fix our eyes on the finish line. 

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

If you’re waiting for a verdict today, large or small, I pray the time will move quickly and that you will accept God’s grace to face whatever lies ahead with faith and courage.

Are you trying to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life?

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• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

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