Monday, April 24, 2017

God Hunger - Martin Wiles

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 NLT

Appetite doesn’t always diminish with age.

At 95 years of age, you’d think she’d eat like a bird. But not this nursing home resident. She’s one of our church’s shut-ins who recently found herself in the hospital. 

As I walked in, her daughter-in-law was busy feeding her a liquid diet composed of apple juice, chicken broth, and Jell-O. None of that sounded appetizing to me, but I hadn’t been five days without food as she had. 

“Apple juice,” she called, and her daughter-in-law put it to her mouth. “Chicken broth.” And the same response. Then, “Jell-O.” She continued to demand food until she had eaten—or drunk, every last bite. 

I’ve watched many elderly people’s appetites change. Some who were healthy eaters now eat just enough to get by—or don’t and dehydrate. Others experience a change of taste buds. Whereas they once ate healthy food, now they want sweets. 

But this elderly lady wanted the good stuff. She ate everything—and anything, they served her at the nursing facility. 

As I watched her demand food to satisfy her hunger, I thought of this verse. Jesus addressed hunger, but He wasn’t talking about physical hunger. Spiritual hunger was on His mind. Physical hunger—in the extreme, leads to death, but spiritual hunger can lead to death or a healthier life. 

From the time a person is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, God begins to create a spiritual hunger in their souls.

This explains why all people groups in history have worshiped something. It might have been the elements of nature or wooden or stone objects that represented their gods. Yet they worshiped. 

What I do to satisfy this hunger is crucial.

Turning to nature or man-made idols won’t satisfy my appetite. My idols have never been constructed of stone or wood, but I have formed them in the shapes of sports, hobbies, work, and relationships. That was before I reached the point when I had a hunger for God…to know Him better…to serve Him fully. I discovered no thing, person, or relationship could properly take His place. The ache in my belly can only be satisfied by loving God with all my heart, soul, spirit, and mind. 

Let God, and God alone, satisfy your spiritual cravings. 

Prayer: Father, create in us a hunger that only You can satisfy.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Feast Day - Martin Wiles

Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Deuteronomy 11:19 NLT

Some called it, “Founder’s Day;” others simply referred to it as “Feast Day.”

A church member extended an invitation for my wife and me to join them on their family property for “Feast Day.” Neither my wife nor I understood what she was talking about, but we were looking forward to a Sunday meal. This couple—along with a number of family members, lived on a piece of property purchased 70 years before by their traveling preacher ancestor. 

The family patriarch had loaded up his wife and children in a 25-foot trailer turned into a box and left Kentucky, unsure of where they would settle. At each church where he stopped to preach, he asked if there was any land available. Finally, in what is now Greenwood, South Carolina, he was directed to a tract of land that was for sale. 

Looking over the beauty of the land—and believing this was where God wanted him to settle, he drew up a contract between himself and God. If God would make the way for him to purchase the land, he and his family would gather once a year to celebrate God’s goodness. God did, and his family has gathered annually for 70 years to honor their ancestor’s contract . . . and feast.

The nation of Israel observed several feasts during the year to celebrate various historical events. These celebrations helped the people—along with their children and grandchildren, to remember God’s involvement in their lives. But there was one thing they were to do every day: teach their posterity the laws of God. 

Leaving behind a spiritual heritage won’t just happen. It requires effort. 

I must be vigilant in living for the Lord and teaching my children and grandchildren to do the same. While my descendants have the free will to choose or reject God, they are more likely to choose Him if they see my love for Him and observe how I incorporate that love into my daily affairs. Even if they choose to walk away from their heritage, the foundation has been laid through my example and by my teaching God’s commands to them.
  
Lead the way in helping your family feast on God’s Word.

Prayer: Father, may we live in such a way that we leave a spiritual heritage to our posterity.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Flashback Friday - Martin Wiles

Looking in the Wrong Place

As the early morning light was chasing away the darkness, they arrived at their destination. But they didn’t find what they pursued. They were in the wrong place.

Women were among Jesus’ staunchest supporters. A group of them had watched as Jesus was taken from the cross and carried to a tomb. When the Sabbath ended, they made their early morning trek to the tomb to properly prepare his body. Read more...


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Healing the Hurting - Martin Wiles

The crowds asked, “What should we do?” John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” Luke 3:10-11 NLT

God brought the saying to my mind; I never imagined anything would come of it. 

Bimonthly, I change the saying on the sign in front of the church I pastor. Since I tire of trying to find unique sayings—and since we didn’t have anything special happening to advertise, I try to listen to God’s still small voice. “Hurting people find healing here” came to mind. Appropriate, I thought. After all, churches should be places where anyone can come for emotional, spiritual, and even physical healing.

A couple in our church who own a construction company had been remodeling our Sunday school area and feverishly trying to finish it before our annual Vacation Bible School. As they worked late one night, a stranger banged on the door. Wary at first to let him in since the stench of alcohol surrounded him, they eventually decided to open the door. He wanted nothing but to talk. "You may have saved my life," he said later when he left. 

Hundreds of years had passed since anyone had heard from a prophet of God. Then John the Baptist emerged from the wilderness. Not the kind of person you’d think God would send with an important message, but, then again, God often operates outside of the box. After destroying their trust in their family heritage for salvation, John hears them ask what they should do. Share with others was his answer. This would show love. Jesus parroted John’s message. 

As God’s representative, I must share His love with others. 

The only way I can do this is through tangible acts that touch their lives. Even those incapacitated by health ailments can carry on an active intercessory prayer ministry. Others acts might include supporting an orphaned child, encouraging missionaries serving overseas in dangerous areas, carrying meals to shut-ins, or teaching in a local church. 

Opportunities abound, but healing the hurting is a mandate we can’t ignore. 

Through acts of love, I validate my relationship with Christ to myself and others. When they see love in action, they will be more likely to trust the Savior I serve. 

Think of one way you can help heal those who are hurting.

Prayer: Father, motivate us to reach out in love to those who are hurting.


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