Saturday, December 20, 2014

Scoring Points at Home - Martin Wiles

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21 NLT

One by one I plucked them and nestled their stems in the cup of my hand. 

My wife and I once lived in an old home. Next door was an even older deserted home which was slowly dying from age. Numerous weeds snaked across the yard, yet once a year in the spring the yard transformed itself. Jonquils appeared among the weeds and displayed their yellow hearts. I would sneak over and pluck them one by one until I had enough for my purpose. Then finding an old milk bottle, I filled it with water, carefully placed the flowers inside, and placed the arrangement by our kitchen window. Nothing was more precious than the smile on my wife’s face when she noticed. 

Points are scored differently with women and men, but score them we must. Points are scored at home through caring actions. My mother always showed love through these rather than through “I love you’s.” Cooking my favorite meal, buying me something special for Christmas or my birthday, or sending me an encouraging card. Men have to make an effort to score points in these and other ways while it seems to come natural to women. A romantic meal, a date night, fresh cut flowers, a card for no special reason, washing the dishes, and putting the toilet lid down are all things women appreciate. 

Points are also scored through intimacy. Men and women gauge this differently as well. Men tend to think intimacy only occurs through physical sexual acts while women are often content to simply cuddle and hug. Touching and time together enhance a couple’s closeness. 

Communication is an essential for scoring points. An occasional um hum, ah hah, or really will let a woman know her man is listening. I can communicate only on the surface level with my mate or I can progress to the deeper and healthier level of sharing my personal preferences, ideas, feelings, and beliefs. 

What can you do to score more points with your significant other?

Prayer: Thank You Father God for the special people You bring into our lives. May we love them with the same type of love You have for us. 

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Flashback Friday - Martin Wiles

When Rough Spots Blind

Newfound Gap is nestled between Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee and was our destination on a cold winter day. We were headed for Charlie’s Bunion-a rock edifice dangling on the edge of sheer cliffs. 

In addition to my daypack, I carried pepper spray in my pants pocket. A steep iced over decline preceded our destination. Leaving the trail, we picked our way carefully through the thick forest but not before a burning sensation on my leg caused me to transfer the pepper spray to my coat pocket. Read more...

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Looks Aren’t Everything - Martin Wiles

“Isn’t there even one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry?” they asked. “Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?” Judges 14:3 NLT

His untimely death proved to many that looks aren’t everything. 

*Jimmy was born with a severely disfigured face and a medical condition that resulted in seizures. Doctors prescribed medicines to control the seizures, but there was nothing further they could do to change his appearance. My wife and I happened to be good friends with his mother. She shared his difficult journey and how no one would even employ him because of his appearance. Knowing of an open position in a restaurant owned by another friend of ours, my wife immediately called and secured him the job. Unfortunately, Jimmy died from a seizure a few months after beginning his first situation, but at his funeral his employer testified about what a superior employee he had been. Looks mattered not. 

Samson, one of Israel’s judges, wasn’t satisfied with the women of his own country; he pandered after foreign women God had forbidden his people to marry. He, too, soon discovered that looks aren’t everything. His father and mother objected. 

Looks weren’t everything for me as a young lad. A face covered in freckles, a chest bone that protruded, and a skinny frame were only three of my issues. Good looks probably weren’t young David’s strong point either. He started out as a ruddy shepherd boy tending to stinking sheep. 

Happily, looks don’t count in God’s economy. Samson lacked the one thing that makes a person beautiful: God focus. I’m beautiful because of my Creator, and when I focus my attention on loving and serving him with all my being, I get better looking with spiritual age. Fulfilling his personal plan for me, hungering after the things that please him, and sharing his love with others always improve my looks. And when I look good to God, what others think is immaterial. 

You may not look beautiful to others, but you can to God. 

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for making me beautiful in Your eyes. 

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rejection Hurts - Martin Wiles

But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate. Mark 6:11 NLT

They were told not to move, but what if moving would quell another’s loneliness and feelings of rejection?

Lunch room rules state a student must remain in the same seat. No getting up or changing places. New students often feel uncomfortable regardless of where they sit, especially if they don’t know anyone—and *Scarlet didn’t. One student, however, took the initiative to break the rule. I assumed she was coming to ask permission to go to the bathroom or her locker. Imagine my surprise when instead she asked, “Dr. Wiles, can me and ____ go and sit by the new girl. She’s sitting by herself?” Last year, she had been the new girl. I suppose she knew how rejection felt and didn’t want someone else to experience what she had tasted. An honorable act of intervention. 

Jesus sent his disciples out with a message of love and an offer of forgiveness. He knew, however, they would be rejected by many. During my lifetime, I’ve been rejected numerous times for various things. When I was young, I was normally the last one picked for a game team. I’ve been turned down for jobs and overlooked for promotions. And I have numerous notches in my belt representing the times one of my articles or devotions has been turned down for publication. 

Yet I take comfort in knowing God never rejects me or anyone else—unless they purposefully ignore him. We are all created in God’s image which makes us important and worthy of acceptance. In fact, Jesus said the second greatest commandment—behind loving him with all my heart, was for me to love others as I do myself. 

The ways I can show acceptance are abundant. Among them are showing forgiveness when I’ve been wronged, giving restoration to someone who has failed, initiating friendships, and encouraging those who are discouraged. 

What’s one way you can show acceptance to someone today?

Prayer: Merciful God, when others reject, enable us to be the ones who accept. 

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