Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Forsaken - Martin Wiles

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? Psalm 22:1 NIV
Silence was his way of forsaking his father—and it wasn’t golden.
Sam had two children. His oldest, he saw regularly. The youngest, more infrequently. He and his family lived one hour away, which made seeing them more inconvenient.  
When Sam’s wife received a worrisome diagnosis from the doctor, Sam quite naturally told his daughter and put the news on Facebook so friends and family members could pray. But he forgot to text his son. Through a mutual friend, his son found out before Sam remembered to text him the next day.
Now Sam heard only silence from his son. Although he apologized, it wasn’t enough for his son. His anger and hurt remained. Time will tell how long the silence will continue, but in the meantime, Sam feels forsaken by one he loves—his own flesh and blood.
Some days, the silence deafens Sam, and he sends another text or tries to call. But the message never shows read and the calls go unanswered.
Though the trial is unknown, experiencing it motivated David to write the psalm. The words also rang prophetically. Jesus would utter them years later as He hung on the cross. Old Testament Joseph also knew a little about being forsaken. His brothers sold him, Potiphar enslaved him, Potiphar’s wife accused him of rape, and the butler who was jailed with him forgot him. Years passed before his release and promotion.
While others may forsake me in life, God is never one of those people. He hadn’t forsaken David either; it merely felt that way. I’ve experienced the feeling myself. When there wasn’t enough money to pay the monthly bills—and I was doing all I could to earn money. When friends or family members didn’t call to check on me when I was going through a tough time. When a loved one walked away—and didn’t return.
Feeling forsaken by God is just that—a feeling. Feelings are fleeting and fickle. They aren’t good foundations to make important decisions on. If I feel God has forsaken me, I am experiencing just that—a feeling. Seeing life from a flawed perspective.
God promises never to leave or forsake me. Feelings can fool me, but the truth sets me free from worry, anxiety, foolishness, depression, and discouragement.
When you feel forsaken by God, remember He never leaves those who belong to Him.

Prayer: Father, thank You for never leaving us and for always remaining close by our sides. 

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - God's Guardrail - Martin Wiles

God’s Guardrail

Have you ever thanked God for a guardrail? I’m not sure I have, but I know my grandfather did.

My uncle, aunt, and cousins enjoyed traveling to the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Places like Cherokee, North Carolina, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Sites where the roads were mountainous and curvy. I’m sure I went with them a time or two when I was a small lad. While I don’t specifically remember those trips, I do remember my grandparents going. And my grandfather was always overjoyed to return to flat land and straight roads. Apparently, my uncle took the mountainous curves a little too quickly for him. He was always thankful for the guardrails. Read more...

Tweetable: Do you appreciate God's guardrails?


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Monday, November 19, 2018

Share My Toys? - Martin Wiles

Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11:2 NKJV
“Some kids don’t have as much as you do.”
I was the first-born grandchild, and as such was spoiled by my parents and paternal grandparents. Whatever I wanted—within reason—I got. And some things I didn’t’ even know I needed. Like the large metal Tonka toys. 
Mom and Dad both had Type A personalities. Mom hated clutter. So, if I accumulated too many toys, she thought of a way to remove some without me noticing. Trouble was, I noticed anything she moved. A trait that still haunts me and drives my wife crazy.
Mom’s right smart, so she concocted a way to get rid of some of my toys and teach me a lesson at the same time. Knowing I had a tender heart—and wanting to capitalize on that quality—she told me about children who didn’t have as much as I did. They would be so happy if I shared some of my toys with them. And of course, I did.
Wise King Solomon knew the merits of sharing also. His instructions were to cast bread upon the water or as another translation says, “send your grain across the sea.” Profits would come back. Perhaps in greater monetary quantities, but if not, in the satisfaction of knowing one had shared.
Sharing doesn’t come naturally. Children must be taught to share. They’d rather clutch and hold tightly to what they have. I did—and so did my children. While some children are more prone to share than others, parents and teachers still must teach them to open their hands and let go.
When I share, it helps me develop a correct perspective on life. I don’t own anything. Everything I have comes from God, and I can only keep it because He allows me to. Sharing helps develop my heart. God wants it to be tender toward others and their needs. He wants me to realize—as Jesus demonstrated—that life is about others and their needs.
My sharing with others pleases God, and when I cast my bread upon the waters it will return to me in greater measure than I sent it. Perhaps not in more goods or money, but in a greater pleasure that I have done the right thing and learned what life is truly about. And my faith will grow in the process.
Don’t hold onto your bread. Cast it upon the waters.

Prayer: Father, teach us to open our hands to others so Your blessings can flow to them. 

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Permeated - Martin Wiles

And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8 NLT
Pshshshshshshsh. As the sound tickled my ears and the smell assaulted my nasal cavity, I knew the custodian was chasing germs away.
Disinfecting a school isn’t easy. Two weeks into the school year, and some students have already missed days due to allergies and sinus infections. As autumn and winter approach, we teachers know we have to hold the old devil flu at bay. So we disinfect and chase germs from our rooms.
When each day is over, I take out the Clorox wipes and wipe desks. I’ve listened to kids sneeze and watched them lay germy hands and contaminated Kleenexes on the desk surfaces. Occasionally, I, too, get out the can of Lysol and spray the entire room. It’s a tireless job, but I know doing this will lessen the chances of illness striking me and the children. As the disinfectants permeate our school, we trust it will kill harmful germs.
Jesus wanted permeation also—but not by germs that sicken and perhaps kill. He wanted permeation that gave life. So when His time on earth neared an end, He charged His followers with the task of permeating the world with the good news about the salvation He’d purchased on Calvary’s cross.
Just as our disinfectants permeate the school building, Jesus wants the message of His love and forgiveness to touch each person’s ears so they can have an opportunity to respond by faith. I don’t have to be a full-time missionary to obey His directives. Every believer is a missionary where they are. And the ways to spread the good news are myriad.
I have the privilege to spread the gospel every day as I teach middle schoolers. I also disseminate it with the press of a key or the click of a mouse as my devotions travel worldwide each day. Jesus gives all His followers daily opportunities to live out His love before others through our actions, attitudes, and words. All we have to do is ask Him to make us aware of the opportunities.
God wants the message of His love to spread and multiply like germs. He could charge the angels to spread it, but He chose us. Doing so isn’t difficult, and there aren’t any magic words we have to say. The message is simple: we’re sinners, God loves us, Christ paid for our sins, and we must believe in Him by faith.
Don’t keep God’s love inside. Spread it around.

Prayer: Father, give us the courage to spread the message of Your love to others. 

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