Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Throwback Tuesday - No Death's Sting - Martin Wiles

No Death’s Sting

“If I eat this, will it kill me?”

The thought of death first entered my mind as a child and manifested itself in a multitude of questions that drove my mother crazy. Would eating particular things kill me? Would certain substances initiate my demise? I was coming to grips with my mortality. I wasn’t invincible after all.

As a teen, such curiosities took flight. I was unconquerable-or at least thought so. This mindset materialized in various unwise decisions and actions. Reality returned when I became a young adult, and several health issues reminded me I wasn’t indomitable. Read more...


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Monday, August 21, 2017

Chickening Out - Martin Wiles

So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. Numbers 13:32 NLT

When I was young, chicken was more than the animal.

I was young when I learned chicken wasn’t necessarily a chicken. Chickens ran around my grandmother’s yard during the day and were locked up in the coop at night. But if my cousin asked me to do something I was scared to do and I didn’t do it, he labeled me a chicken. And since I was somewhat scared of adventurous things, I often wore the label.
“Marty, I bet you won’t jump off the tractor shed,” he might say.

“Are you crazy,” I’d respond.

“Chicken. Bak, bak, bak.”

Or if it was something I initially said I’d do but then changed my mind about at the last minute, I would be accused of chickening out. Either way, I was a chicken.

Of the twelve spies Moses sent into the Promised Land, ten chickened out. Four hundred years of Egyptian slavery was behind the Israelites. Now, they stood on the border of the land God had promised their ancestors. 

Out of fear—or either good sense, Moses sent twelve men to peruse the land. It was promising alright but was also guarded by giants and walled cities. Ten of the men chickened out. Only Joshua and Caleb maintained they could take the land. The majority’s disobedience cost the Israelites forty years of wilderness wandering.

I’m fond of telling people God won’t ask them to do anything they can’t do—but most of the time that’s not true. God often asks me to do things I can’t do. If I can do it, I don’t need Him. If I can’t do it—but He helps me do it, then the spotlight is shone on Him and He gets the glory for what’s accomplished.

What God asks of me, He enables me to do. 

He would have enabled the people to conquer the land—and He did for another generation 40 years later. The walled cities and giants were no problem for them when God was their guide.

I wonder how many things I’ve missed doing for God because I chickened out and never started. Living the Christian life involves faith and trust, and sometimes the faith must be blind faith—the kind children have.

Don’t chicken out on what God asks of you. He’ll always supply the strength, the way, and the courage.


Prayer: Father, help us to trust You for the wisdom and power to do any and everything You ask. 

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Thinking Thoughts about God - Martin Wiles

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1 NLT

I turn God into whatever I think of Him.

Dad was a harsh disciplinarian—at least when I was young. I’m not sure where his ideas of discipline sprang from because he didn’t copy the pattern of his parents or grandparents. Dad went by the book. Severe consequences followed broken rules. His parents were more understanding and lenient.

Dad was also legalistic in his view of God. God had rules and regulations that must be adhered to. When they weren’t, discipline followed. God was also a God of love, but He was quick to punish when someone broke His laws—not lenient or understanding.

While growing up, I noticed Dad’s view of God bled over into how he conducted his household. Perhaps his idea of God explains why I had a framed set of rules hung on my bedroom wall—a list of do’s and don’ts, accompanied by a set of consequences for breaking each don’t.

Dad was right in one sense. God does have rules He expects me to abide by, and when I choose to break them consequences follow. I suppose it was the way Dad carried out the process that colored my view of God as a harsh deity instead of a loving Savior.

David knew God had rules, but he also pictured Him as his shepherd—which paints a different portrait. God disciplined him when he went astray—and he did quite a few times, but He also lovingly guided his life journey.

If I think of God as a harsh disciplinarian—sitting in heaven waiting for me to make a mistake, I might still love Him, but my relationship with Him will be somewhat distant—not close up and personal. On the other hand, if I see Him as a grandfatherly type, I might assume He’ll let me get away with anything without consequence—which He won’t.

Jesus showed us the loving characteristics of God that the rules of the religious leaders had almost covered completely. But He also reminded us God has standards He expects us to obey. When my view of God is balanced, I’ll obey Him because I love Him and because of what He’s done for me, not simply because I’m afraid He’ll punish me if I don’t.

Think correct thoughts about God so you will love Him deeply and serve Him intently.


Prayer: Father, may the thoughts we think of You cause us to have an accurate picture of who You are.


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Friday, August 18, 2017

Flashback Friday - Breaking the Chain - Martin Wiles

Breaking the Chain

My father didn’t smoke, but his father did…at least for a short period. My grandfather’s smoking consisted of rabbit tobacco (a poor man’s smoke) and Chesterfield cigarettes. But when he reached the age of being able to legally smoke, he quit. It wasn’t fun anymore. My father broke the chain by never starting.

My mother also broke a chain. Her father was a heavy drinker and smoker. Every glass of Pepsi Cola was prefaced by a shot of whiskey. Empty liquor bottles hugged the seams of every barn on his farm. Each shirt pocket housed a pack of Camel or Salem cigarettes. But as far as I know, my mother never tasted a drop of alcohol or puffed on a cigarette. Read more...


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