Saturday, June 24, 2017

Flying Low - Martin Wiles

But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. Genesis 11:5 NLT

They popped over the tree tops and whizzed along the nape of the field. 

When I was a young lad, crop dusters were common where flat farmland was. Fields were planted with cotton, corn, and soybeans. Laws preventing certain chemicals—that we now know cause cancer and other diseases, had not been passed. So farmers and crop dusters spread cotton poison to protect their crops.
Visiting my grandfather’s farm and sitting on the front porch—watching planes crop dust the neighboring fields, was one of my favorite activities.

From out of nowhere, the plane would appear at tree top level, drop to just above the cotton, drop its load, and then pull up just before reaching power lines, homes, or trees. Enduring the stench of the cotton poison was almost more than I could bear, but it was worth it to see this acrobat’s antics. 

There was a time long ago when God came low. When a number of people got together and decided they would build the Tower of Babel. Seemingly an innocent task…until you read the rest of the story. Doing so was about selfishness and pagan worship. God dropped a load on them. Not poison but the confusion of their languages and thus the end of their project. 

A few thousand years later, God came low again. This time when He allowed His Son to take on human flesh and die for humanity’s sins. But He didn’t stop with that. After Jesus ascended back into heaven, God sent His Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, and the church was born. The psalmist had it right when he said God delights in every detail of their lives (Psalm 37:23).

As I delighted in watching the crop dusters fly low, so I enjoy knowing God flies low into my life’s experiences. And not only mine, but everyone’s who will call on Him. He’s never too busy, nor is He ever unconcerned. 

What concerns me—no matter how insignificant, concerns my Creator. 

He has the ability to come down for my needs and everyone else’s at the same time. I don’t have to take a number or wait in line. My God flies so low I can reach up and touch His grace, mercy, and assistance at any time I choose.

Let God fly low into every detail of your life. 

Prayer: Father, give us faith to reach out for You in every circumstance of our life, knowing You are as low as the stretch of our fingertips. 


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Friday, June 23, 2017

Flashback Friday - Underestimating God - Martin Wiles

Underestimating God

There sat a jar full of jelly beans. My task? To guess the correct number so I could win a gift certificate. Of course, I didn’t win. I always either over or underestimate. 

When it comes to God’s assignments, I also tend to underestimate my abilities. Gideon did too. The generation of Israelites who followed Joshua forgot God and the things he had done for Israel. God rewarded their disobedience by allowing foreign invaders to raid their land. Read more...


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Just Trust - Martin Wiles

Series: The Things We Say

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT

Just trust God, and everything will work out for the good.

The Porters were college friends we had a common bond with: we were both from South Carolina. They also had two children who were close in age to our two. One of which was our daughter’s “boyfriend.” 

As so often happens, we lost track of them after graduation. Several years later, I received devastating news: their daughter had been killed. She was riding a bicycle—which was a little too large for her, rolled into the path of an oncoming truck, was struck, and died from the impact. 

Our family was stunned…and heartbroken. When I called to express my sympathies, the mom—with a broken voice, said, “We’re just trusting God to get us through this.” 

I’ve heard enough religious platitudes in my lifetime to fill a small book. Some of them biblical, some of them not. Some well-timed, some ill-timed. Telling someone to trust God and everything will work out for the good happens to be true. How, when, and where I say it should be carefully considered. 

Everything that comes into my life won’t be good. 

I’ve also experienced enough regretful things to fill a book. Actually, they have. Several, in fact. Having good things happen continuously wouldn’t necessarily cause me to trust God more. When things go well all the time, I have a tendency to trust myself instead of God. Bad things turn my focus on Him. Some turn a bitter focus, but others—myself included, turn a longing focus. A longing to know why and a longing to know how I should respond. 

As I look back on the unfortunate things I’ve experienced, I also see how God brought good from them. The lessons I learned when I responded correctly are innumerable. My trust level in God rose as did my degree of faith. Since the consequences of bad events tend to hang around—sometimes for years, I’ve been able to continually see God bringing good things from bad circumstances. 

God is a good God who wants His children to experience good things—even if they have to come through unpleasant circumstances.

Trust God to manufacture good out of the bad times in your life. 

Prayer: Father, we have faith that You will turn the bad in our life into good that will spur us on to spiritual growth and bring glory to Your name. 


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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Unexpected Move - Martin Wiles

So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. Genesis 27:43 NLT

We hadn’t planned on moving again until I retired…but things changed. 

The landlady was coming to pick up the rent check. Finding an affordable place to stay in a safe section of town had been a chore four years ago. We finally found an owner of a townhouse in a nice subdivision who said she’d lease. After checking our references, we moved in. For three more years we repeated the process and hoped we’d do it for six more. No such luck.

After picking up the rent check, we received the news. We’d have to move. Our landlord was selling the townhouse. She and her husband were getting older and wanted to get everything out of their names. Our hope that she’d sell it to us on contract fell through as well. So we’re doing what we didn’t want to do: making an unexpected move.

Jacob found himself making an unexpected move as well. He had schemed and tricked his entire life. Now it was catching up with him. He had stolen his older brother’s birthright and final blessing. After hearing that her older son was scheming to kill her favored son, Jacob’s mother sent him on an unexpected move to his uncle’s house.

Unexpected moves can be enjoyable if a person likes change, but human nature usually bucks against unwanted change. 

I wasn’t looking forward to packing up our belongings and moving—even though our move would just be one subdivision over. Jacob probably wasn’t excited about the prospect of leaving his mommy either. 

Unexpected moves can come because of poor decisions we’ve made—as in Jacob’s case, because of decisions other’s make—as in our case, or because of the wacky way the world turns due to its infection with sin. 

Confession is in order if a sinful decision has led to my unexpected move. If another’s actions—or a sinful turn of the world, has led to my move, I must accept it with a joyful attitude and be content in the new place God puts me. 

Regardless of why I’m in a new place, God is with me and promises to guide my steps, and He’ll do the same for you. We may change places, but God never leaves our side.

If life has taken you on an unexpected move, take God along. 

Prayer: Father, thank You for being by our side regardless of where life takes us. 

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