Saturday, June 23, 2018

Can Run, Can’t Hide - Martin Wiles

I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. Jeremiah 16:17 NLT
Standing in the middle of the floor with his hands covering his eyes, he thought he was hidden.
I remember when our middle grandson was old enough to understand how to play hide-n-seek with his older brother. But he didn’t understand the game completely. When his older brother told him to hide, he simply stood in the middle of the room and covered his eyes. Since he couldn’t see anything, he assumed no one could see him.
God gave Jeremiah a hide-n-seek message to deliver to the people who lived in the southern kingdom of Judah: destruction was on the way because of their sinful behavior. They could run, but they couldn’t hide from God’s hand of judgment.
Jonah also tried running. He thought if he left the place where he had heard God’s call that he left God too. But he discovered God wasn’t confined to space. Jonah couldn’t hide from Him no matter where he went.
The theological term for God being everywhere at once and at all times is omnipresence. That’s why I can’t truly run from Him. No matter where I go, He’s there. Especially if I’m His child. He lives in each one of His children through the presence of His Holy Spirit. Not only is He everywhere, but He also sees everything everyone is doing. My actions and my presence are like an open book He’s continuously reading. Always turned to the proper page where His eye is constantly on me.
Sin was why the people of Jeremiah’s time were in trouble with God, and sin gets me in dire straits with Him also. Sin is serious—regardless of how we try to tone it down. The wages of sin—if not forgiven or paid by someone else—is death, physical and spiritual.
Adam and Eve tried hiding when they disobeyed God by sewing fig leaves together to cover their newly discovered nakedness. Their antics didn’t work. God saw beneath the cover.
The only solution for running and hiding is repentance. God simply wants us to confess our sins so the relationship between Him and us can be renewed. He wants our best, but sin will ruin it every time.
Don’t run and hide from God; rather run to Him. His arms of love are always open.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that You love us enough to thwart our attempts to escape from our responsibility. 

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Flashback Friday - Planting Seeds - Martin Wiles

Planting Seeds

How could one tree grow so tall and stout? 

While walking our dog one afternoon, I observed something I’d never noticed before. An oak tree at least one hundred feet tall. Since the subdivision we live in was once wooded, it’s doubtful anyone planted this tree. Its beginning no doubt started when an acorn fell from a neighboring tree or when a squirrel planted an acorn. Had the acorn never fell or been planted, the tree would never have existed. Read more...

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Judged - Martin Wiles

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. 2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT
Standing before a judge is frightening.
I’ve never stood before a judge—at least not as a criminal. I have served on jury duty—soon after graduating from high school. The one case I was picked for involved a serious crime. But we didn’t have a chance to finish deliberating. The accused confessed to a lesser charge.
Judges are daunting. They’ve been to school and received legal training. They have the power to say “guilty” or “not guilty” and then send you to jail or fine you a large sum of money.
Paul speaks of not just a judge but of the judge. He is qualified to judge because He is the creator of all humanity. He made the rules we’re supposed to abide by, and He has the power to pass sentence when we don’t. Our eternity is in His hand, but He determines it based on decisions we make—really just one decision.
The judgment bar is a future reality for everyone who has ever or ever will live. We must all stand before Christ to be judged. Escaping this judgment bar is not possible. On earth, if I obey the laws, I don’t have to worry about standing before a judge. But the final judgment I’ll attend whether I want to or not.
As people standing before a judge and jury are tried based on whether or not they committed certain actions, I’ll be judged in the final judgment based on one decision: what I did with Jesus Christ. Did I acknowledge Him as my Savior and repent of my sins, or did I merely think He was a good man who lived long ago and ignore Him? My entrance into heaven hinges on this decision.
Once the judge of all humanity has let me face the consequences of my earthly decision concerning His Son, there is no reversal. Once in hell, I can’t come back and do it all over again. The decision is tied to my earthly experience.
No one will escape the final judgment, but the good news is that the judge is a loving Savior. Not one who will overlook sin. Not one who will say, “Well, I know you did some bad things, but we’ll just overlook them.” But one who truly wants me in heaven with Him.
Make sure you’ve decided for Christ before you stand before His judgment bar.

Prayer: Father, thank You for making the way possible for us to spend eternity in heaven with You.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Racing Against Life - Martin Wiles

If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? Jeremiah 12:5 NLT
The finish line was three and one-tenth miles away, but it seemed farther.
At almost forty years of age, I decided to run. I had heard about the runner’s “high” and wanted to experience it. My daughter had been running track and cross country for a few years. Watching her and her teammates made my longing to run even keener. 
My goal was to run in 5K races. My morning walks were two miles. After getting conditioned to fast walking, I began jogging. My body could tell the difference. When I had the jogging down, I started running half my normal walking distance. In time, I began running the entire two miles.
Eventually, I worked up to 5K. When I felt I was in good enough shape to try a race, I signed up my daughter and me for charitable 5K races in nearby towns. I ran in several, but the running wasn’t easy. I finally decided I was either too heavy, too old, or too arthritic to run. I returned to walking.
As Jeremiah delivered his doomsday message that the southern kingdom of Judah would soon fall into the hands of their Babylonian enemies, people opposed him. God’s question was how he would stand—or run—when things got really bad.
At middle age, I’ve determined I can’t handle life. I never could; I just thought I could. When I was young, I was invincible—or so I thought. No harm could come to my body or my emotions. Death was conquerable. You know, the normal thoughts teens and young adults think—even though they know they’re irrational.
The fact that I needed God, truly needed Him, finally dawned on me. I didn’t need Him as a crutch. I could function. But I needed Him for a relationship. The issues of life often grow more complicated when one gets older. Things are not always cut and dry . . . black or white.
I won’t always understand life—as I’m sure Jeremiah didn’t. Leaning on God and letting Him help me run, will result in stronger faith, better wisdom, and greater dependence. His Spirit in me can help me run the race of life as nothing else can.
Running against life can be difficult. Depending on God’s Spirit, Christian friends, and other beneficial support systems helps. Don’t try to run the race of life alone.

Prayer: Father, guide us by Your Spirit so we might run well this race called life. 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - Helping Hands - Martin Wiles

Helping Hands

The doctor’s words shocked us: “You have one on each foot. I can do one at a time or both at the same time.”

We decided for both, and for the next two weeks, I helped my wife recover from planter’s wart surgery. If we went to the store, I pushed her in a wheelchair. At home, I helped her from point A to B by holding one of her arms while she hobbled on her heels. Without my helping hands, she would’ve been confined to her recliner. Read more...

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Sheltered - Martin Wiles

The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9 NLT
A shelter can be a welcome sight—and if often was for me.
The Appalachian Trail—which extends from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine—is a two thousand plus mile trail dotted with shelters. Some who thru-hike the trail don’t even carry a tent but depend on the shelters to protect them from the elements and provide a place to sleep, relax, read, wash clothes, and do other necessary things.
While their construction style varies, every one I’ve seen is three sided. Some have fireplaces, but the missing side allows snow and rain to blow in during storms, predators—such as bears and raccoons—to enter at will, and cold and heat to penetrate. Still, sleeping in a shelter is better than lying on the ground during the cold months or in inclement weather.
I’ve slept in a few of the shelters, and one thing they’re not is comfortable. They provide what is necessary, but no creature comforts. While better than nothing, they don’t begin to compare with a plush home. After all, those who stay there are backpacking and want to rough it in the wild.
The psalmist didn’t find his shelter in a three-sided structure, but in the Lord. He, too, as a lad, was an outside person. He tended sheep and also lived in the wilderness in caves for a time while running from a jealous king. He knew a thing or two about shelters.
As a shelter, God shelters me from sin and its dangers. When I ask, He forgives my sin and restores me to a right relationship with Him. Forgiveness shelters me from the eternal consequences of rejecting Him: hell. He also promises not to let temptations get so intense that I can’t walk away from them with His help.
God shelters me through life’s disappointments—and they are many. He won’t take them all away. They may often have a place in His plan for my life. But He will shelter me from the damaging emotional effects if I turn to Him instead of other things.
God also shelters me through periods of brokenness. When I’ve lost a job, a child, a spouse, my reputation, my peace, my friends. He gives a peace that surpasses my understanding.
Unlike the Appalachian Trail shelters, God’s shelter is fully enclosed, warm, peaceful, and always available. Run there often.

Prayer: Father, thank You for being our shelter in our times of need. 

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