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Glad you stopped by on this blog. If there is anything I can do to help you, please e-mail me @ anitawriter7@ yahoo.com

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Martin Wiles : Love Lines From God




I'm excited to introduce you to author, editor and minister Martin Wiles, who is our featured guest this week. I invite you to become acquainted with this dedicated man of God and his work.

How long have you known that you were a writer?  Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

I played around with writing a little when I was in college. For some reason, I began writing poetry. Poetry had never been a genre of literature I read earlier in my life, so I’m not quite sure why I was pulled in this direction. When my father died in 2009, I became serious about writing. How the two were connected, I’m not sure, but I believe I received a clear call at that moment. My father never wrote anything except the sermons he preached and the Bible studies he taught. Nor did he ever have anything published. Though I have written a few articles, most of my writing—which began at that point, is devotional in nature.

How do you spend your writing days?  Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? 

My personal writing consists of five days each week: Monday through Friday. I think every writer needs a day or two off to refresh. My morning routine is to eat breakfast and then head to my computer. Since I’m a devotional writer, my goal is to write around 400 words each morning. I am also a freelance editor, so I also spend a part of my day editing the devotions of other writers. I see this as my contribution to help other writers succeed. Doing so also keeps me sharp on my editing and proofing skills which in turn helps me become a better writer.

You recently had another book published.  Would you take this time to describe it to us?  How and where can readers buy your books?

My most recent book—Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church, was published by SonRise Devotionals, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. This is a follow up to Grits and Grace and God, also published by LPC three years ago. Both books have a Southern theme. The most recent contains 30 devotions which have stories about my years growing up as a preacher’s kid—along with the practical spiritual application I learned.
Readers can purchase the book from LPC (http://ow.ly/iXLi304EQV8), Amazon (http://ow.ly/UWqQ304ER0L), and Barnes and Noble (http://ow.ly/InlP304ERb8).
Where do you get ideas? 

My ideas come from real life and my personal experiences. I write short devotions because I believe more people will read something brief. Studies about our decreasing attention spans support my philosophy. God has taken me on a number of unpleasant journeys during my lifetime, but he has also taught me some important spiritual and life lessons along the way. I attempt to share these with readers who may be experiencing similar occurrences in their life. I also see spiritual lessons all around me every day through my life experiences and those of others.
 
Do you ever feel like giving up?  Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer.  How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?  Who’s inspired you the most?

One of the most discouraging things about having my writing published is the editing process. Since I’m a freelance editor myself, I know how frustrating it can be for an author to please an editor. For me, once I’ve written what was on my heart, it’s difficult to change anything, but over the years I’ve learned to take an editor’s advice whether I enjoy it or not. The finished product is always better.

Another frustration is the rejections. They seem to mount up quicker than the acceptances do. This too just comes with the territory.

And I suppose the temptation to be jealous of other writers is also a frustration. Through the advice of sound Christian authors and editors, I’ve also learned to let go of the jealousy and instead to be glad about what God does for every author.

The flip side of rejections is the challenge to find a publisher who will publish my book, accept my article, or publish one or more of my devotions. When the acceptance letters come or the contract arrives, the sweat of the creative process becomes worth it.
 
Would you explain how you “chose” (or was chosen by) a publisher? Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?


I had been affiliated with Christian Devotions for a couple of years by way of submitting devotions to their website and by attending their annual writer’s conference at The Cove. When Eddie Jones founded Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, I approached him about the possibility of publishing one of my devotional books. He agreed and chose the Southern theme. My original book was a compilation of 365 devotions. Due to cost and sale ability, Eddie decided to divide it into three works. Grits and Grace and God was the first, and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church is the second. Whether the third will be published, I’m not sure. It may depend on sales.

I doubt I will ever sit back, relax, and be satisfied. My personality bucks against it. I will continue writing and posting to my website—whether another book is published or not.
  
Bio
Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is an author, minister, and freelance editor. He is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three. 

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out?   Anything else you’d like to share?  Promotional information?



Social media links:


Friday, November 25, 2016

Your True Identity



Here is an excerpt from When God Speaks 40 Days of His Promises, now on sale for .99 on kindle 

TRUE IDENTITY


Many people run around searching for who they are and trying to prove their value. However, our true identity and worth are found as children of God.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:15-16

For many years I lived in bondage, yet unaware of its subtle hold on me. I had to be busy all the time— pleasing others, God and myself. I filled my life with constant activity: working, writing, taking care of the house, the children, meetings, Bible study and so on. I wanted to be a fruit-bearing tree, yet I grew too leafy.
Until one day the Master Gardener noticed how bushy my branches looked and how small my fruit. His heart longed for me to be what He originally planned, so He took out His pruning shears and began cutting. First He pruned a few leaves, a hobby here and there. It only hurt a little. Then He chopped off a major branch that cut deep—my career. Ouch! I didn’t understand what He was doing. After that, limbs fell off left and right.
I felt stripped bare. For the first time in twenty years, I didn’t have a teaching job or ministry. Except of course, taking care of the family. That clung like a lonesome leaf in winter. Other than that, I felt useless; though I realized in my spirit that God must be at work. I just didn’t know at what!
During that time I prayed a lot and cried out to God. I thought for sure I’d get another position by September, since I went on several interviews. However, God had other plans in mind. He wanted me to learn something far more important than furthering my career, and He longed for me to be secure in Him. For this to happen, there were some things I had to confront.
I came face to face with myself.
If I wasn’t a teacher, then who was I? The question loomed like an ax, ready to swing. Was God going to completely chop down my tree and start all over?

To read what happens next, see it on Amazon

 Each entry also includes a prayer and an application: 


Dear Heavenly Father,
Let us not forget the important lessons You have taught us. Help us to realize the full impact of Your love. It will sustain us through all circumstances, whether in abundance or lack. Teach me to abide as a child under Your wing of protection. In Jesus’ precious, loving Name. Amen.



 

Application



Do you struggle with your identity? If so, look up the appropriate verses that include promises for the children of God. (You can do this with a concordance in the back of your Bible or on-line with web-sites like Bible Gateway.) Dwell on the inheritance you will have as God’s child. Ask God to bring you fulfillment in whatever role you are in at the present time. Seek direction for your future career or endeavors and most of all—trust God to take care of you.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Outward Signs, Inner Wisdom and Refuges



More and more wisdom is needed to navigate wisely through the culture and have godly insight into controversial issues. One of these "hot topics" today is that of immigration of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. Some want to close our borders and protect America from terrorism. Others say we should be American and welcome them as The Statue of Liberty proclaims embracing the tired masses under her wing. So what would Jesus do? He told us to be "as shrewd as snakes but as innocent as doves" ( Matthew 10:16). So how do we do that?


            To answer that question let's just take a step back into time for a moment when the Israelites were encamped in the desert having fled Egypt. They were a migrating mass of humanity. Though not immediately looking to step  into a country, they had to rely on God for food, water and  clothing and their shoes not wearing out after 40 years! But they also relied on  God for how they encamped (see Numbers 2-3) and when they moved. "On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire.  That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.
At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped" (Number 9: 15-18).


            How incredible would that be if God gave us such a tangible sign when we are trying to make decisions! But Jesus gave us clear guidelines to live our life, which gives us direction. The most notable is what He called the greatest commandment, not suggestion. " He(Jesus) said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27). He also answered the question of who is our neighbor in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) in which Jesus basically said that anyone can be our neighbor, even our enemy. 

            He took it one step further and added “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5: 42-44). It certainly appears that Jesus is directing us to love those who are foreigners, immigrants and even those who persecute us, like ISIS! You might be saying right now " Stop right there!" God doesn't require that we love evil! Okay, I know it sounds extreme because the balance to that is that we are to hate evil and I agree. We are to hate anything that has lifted itself above God. Yet our target should be Satan and his demonic hordes, not people. Here's where wisdom  needs to be applied. Let me take an example from my own life.

            A few years ago I thought we should  hate ISIS because they were slaughtering and beheading Christians, but then  the Lord revealed to me that I should be loving them by praying them into the kingdom, and so I began to pray for them, attend conferences held by former Muslims who are Christians and read books about them. Though persecution is on the rise there are stories of Muslims and even terrorists who have come to know Jesus. In addition, I have learned more about how they truly think and who they are, but still questions remain as to how we as Christians are to deal with them here in America.

            Does that mean we are to embrace them to the point where we allow terrorists to easily come into the United States? No, we are to be as wise as serpents. We must use wisdom in allowing in refuges, but we should love them and pray for them. Does loving them also include allowing some of them who have gone through the vetting process to come into the U. S.? Yes, I believe that is what Jesus would have us do. If the U.S. clears them and they come into our communities we need to extend the hand of Christ, which might look different for each one of us.

            But I do not think we should fear them. God tells us to trust Him, for "perfect love drives out fear"( 1 John 4:18). Fear is the enemy of our soul and robs us of peace. Remember it is the true peacemakers who shall be called children of God (Matt. 5:9). Jesus takes it yet another step further and warns us not to fear the one who can take away our mortal life, such as persecutors and terrorists, but to fear losing eternal life. Fear or reverence God who imparts eternal life as a free gift to those who believe. If we love God above all else, He will impart wisdom to all of the issues we face today. Though He doesn't often  give us tangible signs of His presence such as a cloud, He does give us wisdom which guides us and peace, which can be visible to others. Let's then go out into the world as the Lord commanded, both shrewd and innocent--a perfect blend of both which will make a visible difference in the world!