Friday, December 14, 2018

Flashback Friday - Betrayed - Martin Wiles

Betrayed

I was relatively new to the office; she was a long time employee. And what our boss decided almost wrecked our friendship. 

*Susie had been with the company a number of years and had worked her way up to one of the most important positions in the office. Comparatively, I was a newcomer—hired to fill one of the lowest paid positions. But for some reason, our boss liked me and decided to give me Susie’s position. Susie took the news in stride but inside felt I had betrayed her. It took a heart to heart talk between us to convince her I had nothing to do with the promotion and had been just as surprised as she had been. Read more...

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Seeing Only Shadows - Martin Wiles

Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. Jonah 4:5 NLT
They lay across the road like massive hands waiting for someone to trace.
As autumn approached, my evening walks welcomed more and more shadows. I invited them too. Even though the season should have been witnessing cooler temperatures, it wasn’t. Hot weather had settled in. The intermittent shadows cooled my body as I strolled through their presence.
I didn’t have to wonder what the shadow represented. I knew something nearby and something larger cast the shadows. Oak, maple, and crepe myrtle trees. I rejoiced that I wasn’t walking in an area where landscapers and homeowners had decided to strip the area bare of shade-producing trees.
But I also knew the shadows were just that. They weren’t the real thing. I could walk through and across them without harm. Walking into what they represented would have brought injury.
Jonah knew a little about shadows. He sat in shade God had provided waiting for God to send judgment on people he hated: the Ninevites. But judgment didn’t come. Grace did. And it made Jonah furious. Isn’t this why he ran from God’s command to preach judgment to the Ninevites? He knew a little about God’s grace. Now, from the shade of God’s grace, He witnessed it firsthand.
Walking through shadows without turning my head only allows me to see the shadow itself. I’ll never see what it represents. Becoming a child of God and living for Him puts me in the shadows. I walk through the shadow of faith that God exists and that He created me. I have no proof of either, but I keep walking through the faith shadow. The alternative doesn’t entice me.
I walk through the shadows of God’s promises, which fill the Bible. I believe them . . . stake my life on them. Other than God’s word, I have no assurance they’ll come true. I trust the shadow. So far, God hasn’t disappointed me. And I have faith He never will.
I’ve even chosen to bet my eternity on shadows. God says there’s a heaven, and I believe Him. A place more beautiful than my mind can comprehend. A place where no evil exists. I walk through its shadow now, but I believe one day I’ll bump into the real thing.
Try some shadow walking. Doing so requires great faith, but God won’t let you down.

Prayer: Father, as we walk through the shadows of this life, mold our faith so we are convinced the shadows represent real entities. 

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Choosing Right - Martin Wiles

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12 NLT
She took her pencil, scribbled on her desk, and covered it with books.
The class had a test, and cheating was always a possibility—although I assumed their innocence until they proved me otherwise. This time one of them did.
I wanted to look at what she had written, but couldn’t bring myself to. After the late bell rang, I instructed them to clear their desks and to get out a piece of paper to cover their tests. She made sure she put her paper over what she had written on the desk. I knew I had to confront her.
“Macy, can I see you outside.”
She looked startled, as did the other students. No one said a word. She got up and followed me outside the room.
“I’m going to give you one chance to be honest. Did you write answers for the test on your desk?”
Her head dropped. “I did, but I erased them because I knew it was being dishonest.”
I felt sorry for her. She was a smart girl. I wondered why she felt the need to cheat.
“You know that’s cheating,” I reminded her.
She did, and she apologized. I could have given her a zero, but I chose to be gracious—as God is with me.
“I’ll overlook it this time, but if it happens again, you’ll receive a zero,” I sternly reminded her.
For whatever reason, cheating seemed the right way for her. Death for her could have been a zero had I enforced the rules instead of given grace. Wise King Solomon spoke of such a path too. The path varies for everyone—and the path changes during our lifetime—but any path leading us away from God and from the choices He wants us to make means death of some sort.
Choosing wrong is always easier than choosing right. Our fleshly nature makes it so. Peer pressure from various sources makes choosing right even more difficult. God has promised no temptation would be greater than His ability to help us overcome. Making choices based on His principles and commands is the best path. And if I trust Him, He’ll give me the strength to make wise choices that grow me spiritually and provide a good example for others.
Choose to make godly choices—regardless of the circumstances.

Prayer: Father, give us Your Spirit’s power so we can choose the right paths in life. 

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - Praising Through Pain - Martin Wiles

Praising Though Pain

Praising God when things are going well is easy; praising him in painful situations is more difficult—some think impossible. 

My wife and I discovered this after inviting our adult son to live with us. Having been kicked out of his residence for using drugs, he had nowhere to go. Our hearts reached out to him. After reassurance he was no longer using drugs, we consented to let him stay with us temporarily. Little did we know he was going through withdrawal. Threats, angry outbursts, and other undesirable traits furiously emerged. A painful situation it was difficult to praise God in and for. Read more...

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