Saturday, February 25, 2017

Known by the Markings - Martin Wiles

You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. Matthew 7:16 NLT

The excitement over my first killed bird quickly turned to disappointment. 

My cousin lived on my grandfather’s farm and introduced me to dove hunting. Of all the birds flying around, I wondered how he could distinguish a dove. “Look for curved wings,” he said. 

One day, Dad and I were invited on a dove hunt. Now in the middle of strangers, I wasn’t sure if I’d bag any birds. After a few misses, a single dove came directly toward me. These were the easiest shots to make. I aimed carefully, pulled the trigger, and watched the bird fold and fall to the ground. 

Proudly, I walked over to retrieve my prize. When I reached down for the bird, I noticed I had killed a mockingbird, not a dove. Obviously, I needed more training in recognizing the markings.  

Jesus made it plain that His followers would have markings—things that would distinguish them from others and make them stand out. Among the markings is unconditional love. The ability to love like their heavenly Father. An ability to show love consistently, regardless of how others treat them in return. 

They are also marked with kindness. Empathy for others exudes from their veins. They will inconvenience themselves to convenience others. 

Another marking is a servant attitude. For them, it’s not enough to love. They are driven by a desire to put love into action and obey the second greatest commandment.

Abundant joy invades their lives. Regardless of their circumstances, they have a smile that radiates from the inner peace of knowing God is in control of their lives.

Patience is a further virtue they’ve mastered. When others treat them harshly or unjustly, they tolerantly endure. 

Jesus’ followers have also learned crowd control. Not how to control the crowd but how to control themselves so they don’t have to follow the crowd to find contentment in life. 

Make sure your markings are evident for everyone to see.

Prayer: Father, mark us with those traits that show others we belong to You. 


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Friday, February 24, 2017

Flashback Friday - Martin Wiles

The Safety Net

They ran as quickly as possible; their life savings were at stake. But they were greeted with only a “Closed” sign and the demise of their savings.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929-along with hundreds of banks closing, led to loss for thousands of people. No safety net hung above the bottom to prevent people from falling into poverty’s pit. Fortunately, American President Franklin Roosevelt saw the need for one. With Congress’ help, he signed the Banking Act of 1933 and established the Federal Deposit Insurance Cooperation (FDIC) which insured depositor’s savings up to $250,000. Read more...



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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Happy to See You - Martin Wiles

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalm 16:1l NLT

As I walk to the front door, the expression on his face reveals the joy in his heart. 

My wife and I have the privilege of keeping two of our three grandsons. The middle one, Colton, is almost two years old and is still learning to balance as he walks and runs. When I come home from work each day, he meets me at the front door with a huge smile on his face and arms waving. If I don’t pick him up immediately, he cries. His older brother, however, is content to continue watching television or doing whatever he is doing. 

The psalmist found joy in God’s company presently and looked forward to experiencing the same joy throughout eternity. 

So often my happiness in God’s presence is tied to something He has done for me. God promises to supply my needs, and when He comes through I experience joy. 

But if He doesn’t supply them the way I anticipated or think He should have, my joy is tainted—or even absent. My goal is to reach the pinnacle of finding joy in the sheer presence of God regardless of what my circumstances are. Relishing in the relationship itself…even if there are no frills. 

If I’m not careful, the passage of time—along with busyness, will steal the first love I had for God. My oldest grandson once ran to the door to meet me as his younger brother does now. Age and interest in other things have curtailed his excitement over seeing Pop. 

Colton loves for me to stroll him when I first get home. Although his vocabulary is very limited at the moment, he has ways of letting me know what he wants. Neither can I have a normal verbal conversation with God, but if I look for joy in His presence, His spirit will speak to mine, and I’ll eventually find joy from simply being in His presence. 

Learn to discover your peace and joy in the presence of God.

Prayer: Father, may Your presence in our lives be enough to bring us joy. 


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book of Books - Martin Wiles

For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

No book exists forever…with the exception of one. 

Collecting old books is a hobby I started several years ago. In that short time, I’ve amassed hundreds of books dating from the 1800’s. One I happened upon was dated 1821. For its age, the book was in excellent condition. The inside page noted it had been housed in a Charleston, South Carolina, library. I quickly grabbed it, took it to the register, and gave them two dollars. But despite its condition, one day it too will deteriorate.

Only one book will last forever, and the writer of Hebrews tells why. The Bible is living, not bound by covers that will fade, crumble, separate from pages, and finally dissolve or be thrown away. No material that books are made from is indestructible—the Bible included, but God’s Word won’t cease to exist because the covers and pages deteriorate. 

The Word of God is more than covers and paper. It is a person. John wrote, "In the beginning the Word already existed" (John 1:1). God gave His Word to writers, but it existed before then, and it will continue to exist even if all Bibles are destroyed. 

God’s Word is preserved by His life-giving Spirit who is more powerful than any force imaginable. The Word is sharper than the sharpest knife, slicing deep into my innermost being to expose my true self so that I might compare my current state with what God wants it to be. When the gap has been revealed, I can petition Him for guidance to bridge the chasm. 

I shelve my old books. Some I wrap in cellophane. Rarely do I read any of them. Turning the pages would only hasten their demise. Not so with God’s Word. It is meant to be handled, digested, and experienced. 

Let God’s eternal Word shape your actions and attitudes. 

Prayer: Father, enable Your Word to become alive in our lives. 



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