Friday, April 20, 2018

Flashback Friday - Discovering God's Purpose - Martin Wiles

Discovering God’s Purpose

I’m not very proficient in math, but this I know: the correct answer comes only by following the proper procedure.

For the first time this year, a grammar and Bible teacher had to teach a sixth grade math class. I accepted the challenge thinking: “How hard could it be teaching sixth grade math?” The headmaster comforted me; “Remember ‘My Dear Aunt Sally.’” Which means the order for solving problems with several operations is multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. If I put division before multiplication or subtraction before addition, my answer will be incorrect. Read more...

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Always-Answered Phone Line - Martin Wiles

Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1 NLT
There’s only one phone line I don’t have to worry about being answered.
Phones have come a long way. The oldest one I remember was at my grandparents’ home. A rotary phone with no rotary. Just a circular face and a handset. But you couldn’t talk anytime you wished. My grandparents were on a party line—a shared line. If you heard people talking when you lifted the receiver, you could either listen (which my cousin and I often did) or politely say, “I’m sorry,” and hang up.
Then came the improved rotary phone that looked the same as the party line phone, but actually had a dial. Placing one’s finger in the slots and rotating the dial got the person you called, if they were home. Push button phones were next and made dialing a number quicker.
The cordless phone revolutionized the phone industry. No longer did I have to stand in one spot and talk. I could roam about the house, doing whatever I was doing while I talked. I could even walk outside.
But nothing revolutionized the phone industry as the cell phone did. To begin with, they were bag phones and had to be plugged into an outlet in one’s vehicle. Technology soon removed them. Now I carry it on my side wherever I go, and it serves as a computer as well. A long way from the first rotary phone I used that I had to take turns sharing with other people.
In spite of phone advancements, I can still choose to ignore someone’s call—as they can mine. The psalmist pleaded for God to answer him, to free him from his troubles, and to have mercy on him. I’ve made similar prayers on numerous occasions. While God could choose to ignore me—and sometimes it appears He might—He chooses to answer. And His answers aren’t limited by technology.
Busyness isn’t a problem for God. Unlike an operator, He can handle more than one call at a time. Some calls I make don’t give me comforting answers, but the ones I make to God always do. He knows the right thing to say and the right answer to give.
God’s answers to your prayers might not be what you were expecting or desiring, but His answer is always more powerful than your problem. Trust His answers, and call Him often.

Prayer: Father, thank You for continuously answering our prayer calls. 

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fear Not - Martin Wiles

I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. Psalm 3:5 NLT
Peace ruled her days; fear governed her nights.
While my grandfather was alive, my grandmother wasn’t afraid. He was a hunter and owned a few weapons. Perhaps that was the reason. Or maybe it was just because he was a man, and she felt more secure with a man in her room at night to protect her from danger.
After my grandfather died, my grandmother’s nights changed. She lived in an old farmhouse where every room was connected to the other with a series of doors. Her bedroom had three. Though she locked all the outside doors, she still felt insecure. So she propped a chair underneath the doorknob of one of her bedroom doors and put latches on the other two. And that is how she slept—or didn’t, every night of her life as long as she stayed in that house. Yet, I doubt she slept in peace as she had when my grandfather was alive. Locks and barricades on the outside couldn’t keep away the fear on her inside.
The psalmist faced dangers as well, but he slept in peace. He was confident the Lord was watching over him.
I don’t always sleep in peace, but it’s not because I’m lying there afraid someone is going to break into my house and harm me. Fear can be crippling.
For believers, God is our shield. Better yet, He is like a wall of shields surrounding us. Regardless of what direction the attack from others, things, or circumstances comes, we are protected. There is nothing wrong with protecting ourselves. Doing so doesn’t necessarily reflect doubt that God is protecting us. I have weapons within my reach in my bedroom, but I still rely on God’s protection.
My sense of safety is found in my faith, not security measures. Faith is what initially connected me to a protecting God, and it is what keeps me relying on Him to protect me until I take my final breath. Though barricaded in her room, my grandmother was still afraid.
As Jesus said, others may kill my body—and God may allow this to happen—but they cannot kill my soul. That part of me will live on and is protected by God’s shield. And when I’m absent from this body—by whatever means—I’ll be at home with the Lord.
Don’t let fear cripple you. Trust in God’s protection.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for being a shield of protection about us. 

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - What Fear Does - Martin Wiles

What Fear Does

Darkness and silence saturated the three-sided shelter my son and I slept in until the silence was shattered by banging pots and wild yelling.

We were on the Appalachian Trail and out for an overnight hike. My son wasn’t a fan of backpacking but had reluctantly agreed to go. Since bears were prevalent in the area, I took Roscoe (my .38) along just in case. Our hike to the trail shelter was uneventful, and we saw no other hikers until two young men sauntered along just before dusk and erected their tent near the shelter.

As darkness settled over the mountains, we hunkered down on the hard planked floors. My son fell fast asleep, but fear kept me awake. Read more...

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Trying to Change the Unchangeable - Martin Wiles

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Ephesians 4:14 NLT
“He’s worse than a man with a remote.”
Although I have no scientific proof, I’m convinced children come into this world with different kinds of brains than I did fifty-seven years ago. I watch middle and senior age adults struggle to keep up with technology, to work a smartphone, or to use a computer. Then I watch my two youngest grandchildren—not yet two years old—take smartphones or IPads and maneuver them as if they’ve been to school and taken lessons.
One grandson’s favorite activity is going to kid’s YouTube and looking at video clips of Thomas the Train or Barney the Purple Dinosaur. My wife made the remote remark because he flips from one video to the next, rarely watching anyone for more than a few minutes. Perhaps evidence of the short attention span people have and of how technology has made attention spans even shorter. He loves to tap the various screens and slide his finger across the screen to achieve change.
But not all change is good. Surveys show a large percentage of Christians are unsure of their beliefs or that they have mixed elements of Christian doctrine with that of other religions. And the result is that we are being blown about by the winds of different doctrines.
While there are some things Christians disagree over and interpret differently—those things the Bible isn’t completely clear on, such as events surround the second coming of Christ—there are other things that are non-negotiable.
The virgin birth. If Christ was born with sin, He cannot save us. Nor did He sin thereafter. He was sinless and made a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
One way to heaven. Jesus said He was it. Many roads may have led to Rome, but they don’t to God. If there are many ways, then what Christ did was useless.
Eternity. Death doesn’t end our existence. God created us to live forever with Him, but He gives us the choice as to whether or not we want to.
Salvation. We are born sinners, and, left in that state, cannot have interaction with God. Our sins must be forgiven. Only Christ can accomplish that.
The Bible. It’s reliable. If there’s error in some areas, how can I trust it in any area?
Trying to change the unchangeable only leads to loss. Stake your life on the unchangeable.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for giving us truths that never change. 

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Ne’er a Broken Bone - Martin Wiles

For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Psalm 34:20 NLT
In a matter of seconds, I was sliding across the asphalt road.
As a child, Mom and Dad had taught me to be careful—especially after I had to get glasses. They could not afford to buy me more glasses if I broke the ones I had. So when I played sporting games during PE at school or with my neighborhood friends, I was careful to avoid any contact that endangered my glasses. A practice I continued long beyond middle school.
Then one day my girlfriend and I were riding our bicycles on a rough asphalt road behind the church where my father pastored. Things were going well until we crossed a railroad track that intersected the road at an angle. When my front tire hit the groove in the track, it caught and turned quickly to the left, throwing me and my girlfriend to the right. She landed on the soft grassy side of the road and was uninjured. I skidded on my arm for what seemed like an eternity across the rocky road.
After gathering my wits, I got up to check on her. She was fine, but my arm was injured. A trip to the emergency room revealed a bad fracture. I wore a sling for two weeks, missed two weeks of work, and had to wear an elbow brace for a while thereafter.
Since I was righteous—one of God’s children, how do I explain my broken bone in light of what the psalmist says. In the New Testament, John says these words were a prophecy that none of Jesus’ bones would be broken during His crucifixion. And they weren’t. But surely David meant more. He was a warrior and no doubt believed in God’s protection.
While the bones of my body can and might be broken, the structure of my soul can’t be. As a believer, I am sealed with the Spirit of God. Jesus said no one could snatch His children from His hands. My body may get injured—and even killed. Baring the return of Christ, it will certainly die. Yet my soul is safe in God’s hands. The bones of my body may break, but ne’er a bone of my soul will crack.
As God’s child, you are safe in His arms. Worry and anxiety have no place in your life.

Prayer: Father, thank You for keeping us safe in Your arms of love. 

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