Saturday, April 30, 2016

Restless Wanderer - Martin Wiles

From now on you will be a homeless fugitive on the earth, constantly wandering from place to place. Genesis 4:12 NLT

I’ve returned several times, but it was never the same. 

Home may be the place they have to take you when you return, but no one said it would be the same when you got there. I left home immediately after high school graduation. I couldn’t wait to put my feet under my own table and make my own rules. 

Though I didn’t care for my home of origin while there, I look back with fond memories now.  Several times since then, I’ve had to return. Once simply because I was lonesome. A relationship had ended. Another time because I was following God’s direction which would take me to college. I had a family and needed to square away some bills before we left. And a further time because I had finished college. We had nowhere to go until a church called me as pastor. 

Each time I returned home, it was different than when I originally lived there. I was restless…ready to get out again. I wasn’t a child anymore. I didn’t need parents to tend to my needs—although they continued to try. Like initially, I wanted my own place with my own rules. 

God informed the first sibling that he’d be a restless wanderer. In a moment of rage and jealousy, he had killed his brother. As a consequence for his action, he would have to wander…to be a fugitive on the earth. 

Just as going home always disappointed me, so living on earth will also. As God’s child, it’s not my home…at least not in its present form. Sin infected Cain’s life and it has the world as well. Sin has destroyed the original pristine beauty and harmony. Weeds grow, natural disasters brew, and animals and people clash. Rust eats, plastics crack, and thieves steal. 

The only peace I can find during this restless journey is in my relationship with Christ. Here, I can see beyond what’s wrong and focus on what’s right. I’m forgiven. A better place awaits…both in heaven and on a freshly re-created earth where life will function as God originally designed. 

When you’re prone to wander, remember where your true home is. 

Prayer: Father, we thank You that no matter how far or long we roam You still welcome us home. 


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Friday, April 29, 2016

Flashback Friday - Martin Wiles

Comfort Through Praise

The changing seasons sickened my wife-literally. Her journey started with the normal symptoms-sneezing, coughing and a scratchy throat, but had quickly developed into swollen glands, a severe sore throat, fever, and coughing. She needed to see a doctor, but we had no health insurance and couldn’t afford the visit.

Three days earlier…“Will you preach for me Sunday night,” the preacher piped as we ate dinner. I quickly answered “Yes,” never imagining I would need the exact compensation for my wife’s medicine and lost time at work. God orchestrated a set of circumstances ahead of time to help us carry our financial burden. Our pastor was oblivious that he was being used as God’s instrument. When I glanced at the finished puzzle, I praised God for his comfort through our financial knot. Read more...


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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Word That Lasts Part 3 - Martin Wiles

For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Like my parents before me, I attempted to instill in my children a love for God’s Word. Our nightly devotions weren’t as regular as when I was growing up. Life was hectic and busy at the time. Fitting in a nightly devotion was a challenge, but we read Bible stories often. I’m carrying on the same tradition with my firstborn grandson. Obviously, the need to digest God’s Word stuck in spite of my less-than-best efforts. Like me, my daughter and son both had their periods of rebellion. Both stopped attending church, and both involved themselves in questionable activities. In spite of their wanderings, they still know God’s Word and the right path—whether or not they choose it.  

Some aren’t of the same opinion. They question the validity of God’s Word. They discount the traditionally agreed upon authors, the miracles, the scientific and historical accounts, and perhaps even Jesus’ divinity. Rather than avoiding discussions with those who doubt, I can use the occasion to share my faith and why I believe God’s Word is profitable and accurate.

Others will use God’s Word to teach legalism. In addition to moral laws, the Old Testament contains ceremonial and civil laws. Both related to the nation of Israel and God’s interaction with the Jewish people. Some attempt to bind me by what Christ has freed me from. Grace brings liberty. Legalism majors on the things I can’t do rather than on the things I can do because of my newfound liberty in Christ. It repeats the mistakes Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for. I’m bound only by the moral laws the New Testament reiterates. I don’t have to keep bringing the old sacrifices. 

God’s Word has the power to change my life. Believing it changed me from a condemned sinner to a forgiven sinner. By reading it, I learn doctrine—the “whats” I need to believe as a Christ follower. I’m encouraged with the promises and corrected by the commandments. Like a knife, God’s Word slices into my conscious. God’s Spirit then gives me the power to make the necessary changes. 

Is God’s Word having a lasting effect in your life?

Prayer: Father, turn us toward Your Word so we can follow Your path with joy and confidence. 


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Word That Lasts Part 2 - Martin Wiles

Anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19 NLT

Doing it is a lifetime habit I don’t intend to break.

I’ve been reading the Bible daily since I was a small tike. I suppose my family instilled in me the importance of doing so. With rare exception, we had daily Bible readings. I can remember as an elementary age child, sitting on the top bunk with my Bible in hand. I didn’t always understand it—in part because of the translation I was using, but Dad was glad to explain the words I couldn’t define. 

Memorizing it was also a part of my young life. The church my father pastored encouraged children to participate in sword drills and Bible memorization exercises. Even during my periods of rebellion, I still read God’s Word daily. I still do. 

Jesus said obeying God’s Word was important. I’ve found that to be true. 

I’ve learned disregarding God’s Word will lead to me leaving God out of my daily affairs. God wants to be involved in every detail of my life—the small and the large, the important and the not so important. He wants to give me wisdom for the decisions I have to make and guidance that will see me successfully through life. When I don’t meditate on His Word, it’s easy for me to forget He’s right beside me during my life’s journey.

God’s Word is more than the Bible itself. I don’t worship the book—even though all parts of it are true and crucial to believe. Nor do I worship a particular translation. I worship the One the Book points to, and I use various translations to help me better understand what God is saying. Loving Him is the greatest commandment. When I do, I’ll obey His commands by fleshing them out in my actions. 

Spiritual maturity is built on a lifetime of studying God’s Word. Surveys continue to demonstrate the lack of discipleship among believers. At one time, I was there myself. Though I’ve grown, I still have a long ways to travel. God’s Word gives me the beliefs I need to know, and His Spirit gives me the power to put them into practice.

Commit to spending more time in God’s Word and see the difference it will make.

Prayer: Father, may we always see the importance of Your Word for our lives. 

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