Thursday, October 18, 2018

Giving in or Getting Over - Martin Wiles

She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.” But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Mark 14:67-68 NLT
Everyone did it, so giving in made more sense than getting over.
My grandfather kept a pack of cigarettes in each shirt pocket. He seemed to puff continuously. He wouldn’t even stop when our family visited—although Mom asked him too because my middle brother had asthma. 
I didn’t spend an enormous amount of time with this grandfather or uncle, but when I did the smoke he exhaled curled beneath my nose. Trying it seemed the only logical thing to do. So I did. Of course, having peers who smoked didn’t help. After all, everyone smoked in the seventies—or so it seemed. It couldn’t be that bad if everyone was doing it.
I held onto to the habit for a number of years. Along the way, I quit a few times for short periods, only to pick the habit back up at a heavier rate. When I finally made up my mind to quit—because God aggravated me mercilessly—the demons ranted in my head for a few days, then left. Giving in was much easier than getting over.
Peter felt my pain. He was a staunch follower of Jesus, but when the pressure of following Him multiplied, Peter gave in rather than got over. After Jesus’ arrest, Peter followed at a distance. Entering the courtyard, a servant girl questioned him: “You were with Jesus, weren’t you.” Swearing, Peter denied the accusation.
Some equate temptation with sin, but they are worlds apart. Only when I give in do I sin. If temptation itself was a sin, Jesus would have sinned—since Satan tempted Him in the wilderness and, no doubt, at other times.
Who I spend time with increases the pressure to give in. Being around my grandfather and others who smoked made it difficult for me to say no. Satan often uses others as avenues of temptation—peers especially. Since we look up to our peers—and often want to emulate them—the pressure we feel from them seems intensified. Friends can hinder or help us in our spiritual journey.
Fear is perhaps the main reason for giving in. Peter feared he’d get the same treatment Jesus was about to get. I thought I’d be laughed at if I didn’t puff.
Regardless of the temptation, God is faithful to help you not give in or get over it if you have. Put your trust in Him.

Prayer: Father, we rely on You for the power to overcome the temptations to sin. 

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Clock of Life - Martin Wiles

For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. Job 8:9 ESV
Their soothing ticks calm my nerves and give a steady rhythm to my busy days.
Our home once housed numerous spring-wound clocks. At the top of each hour, chimes reverberated throughout our house. Visitors remarked, “How can you stand that?” But my wife and I loved it. 
Little did we know our collection of clocks would require maintenance—expensive maintenance which we had no money for. One by one, they stopped. Maybe the chime would cease before the time, but eventually both terminated. Finding someone to repair spring-wound clocks was difficult, and when we did we discovered their skills were expensive. Bearings aren’t cheap and neither is replacing the spring. Our fifty-dollar Seth Thomas clock suddenly needed a two hundred dollar repair job.
Presently, we only have one Gingerbread clock which proudly sits on our mantelpiece. Age creeps up on it, but it steadily provides a perfect tick tock. I know, however, one day this clock will stop too.
As age creeps up on me—and others I love—I see more how my life compares to the clocks I love. The tick-tocks become out of sync and one day they stop completely. Job knew this too. His life was filled with troubles, but one day they would end when he took his final breath.
My clocks were once new. They needed no repair and no oil, just a weekly winding. They ran steadily, never missing a beat. Life begins the same. When I was young, each day seemed like an eternity. I could run, jump, climb, and do many things I wouldn’t dare try now.
As the clocks aged, things failed. Bearings and springs needed replacing. The same happens in life. Bodies often need parts replaced or repaired. Sin deteriorates the components.
Like my clocks, my body parts—the ones keeping me alive—cease functioning. I take my final breath, my heart makes its final beat, and life is over. Clocks can be repaired, but some things on the body can’t be.
But my body is only a shell housing a permanent part: my soul. This lives on, and when I make preparation to meet my maker, I’ll spend eternity with Him—even though my body ceases to function.
Life will end, but your eternity can be bright. Make sure you’re ready to spend it with the clockmaker.

Prayer: Father, may we always remember our lives are in Your hands. Prepare us to meet You. 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - When Anxiety Comes - Martin Wiles

When Anxiety Comes

I watched anxiety darken her face. Where would the money come from? 

Our family budget has taken a severe hit over the last five years. Recently, we struggled through a summer without the income my wife was receiving from keeping an afterschool child. As the start of the new school year approached, she was informed her services were no longer required. A change in jobs had eliminated the necessity for afterschool care. Now what? Read more...

Tweetable: How do you handle anxiety?



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Monday, October 15, 2018

Staying in the Lines - Martin Wiles

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV
Although no lines were present, I struggled to stay within them.
I had passed my rite of passage and secured my driver’s license. Now I was anxious to get on the highway legally. We lived ten miles from a major city, and I happily jumped behind the wheel when Mom said let’s go to town.
Crews had recently paved the highway from our house to town. One thing the highway department hadn’t quite finished was painting the lines. How could I stay on my side of the road when no lines existed to show me where my side was? Mom told me to imagine where the center of the road was and remain to the right of that imaginary line. I did.
Jesus painted the lines for believers when He said they would obey His commands—commands given thousands of years before to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Staying inside God’s lines takes discipline. Satan loves to tempt me to get outside of the lines. Such as when I get behind a slow driver and I’m in a hurry but there’s a double yellow line, which makes it illegal to pass. Staying behind a slow driver aggravates me, so I’ve passed where I shouldn’t have. Not passing takes patience—and discipline. God’s commands are for my wellbeing. I know this, and disciplining myself to obey keeps me within the boundaries.
Learning to drive took practice. Remaining in God’s lines does as well. First, I have to know God’s commands. Once I’ve mastered the knowledge, I must practice obeying. Doing so isn’t always easy—or convenient.
Fortunately, God provides others to help me stay within the lines. While my enemy will also provide many who tempt me to drive outside the lines, God will send people to help me stay within them. But I must search for good company, knowing bad company corrupts good morals.
Remaining on God’s side takes practice. I didn’t practice driving one time and then hit the road. Even after obtaining my license, I had to have an adult with me until I reached a certain age. I also had to study the driver’s manual before taking the driver’s test. God gives the guidebook in His Word. Digesting it daily is necessary if I want to stay within the lines.
Drive inside the lines God established. Life is sweeter, and you’ll be happier.

Prayer: Father, guide us by Your Spirit so that we might stay within the boundaries You’ve established for us. 

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