Friday, October 31, 2014

Flashback Friday - Martin Wiles

Spiritual Cultivation

My garden is plowed but nothing grows. And with good reason. Nothing is planted. 

I grew up around gardens and have always intermittently gardened myself. My grandparents had them, and most parishioners in my father’s churches did as well. 

I’m most familiar with my paternal grandfather’s. He spent a great deal of time cultivating his garden. Preparation for planting involved tilling, spreading fertilizer and purchasing seeds and plants. Maintenance required hoeing, pulling weeds and spraying for insects. When the fruit was ready, the real work began: picking, digging, snapping, peeling, canning and blanching. Once after watching me sweat in the garden, my father-who wasn’t a gardener, said: “I could go to the market and buy it cheaper.” He was right but that avoided cultivation. Read more...

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Martin N Michelle
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Appointed to Death - Martin Wiles

Death is a reality.

And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27 NLT

In her essay, “The Existential Frankenstein,” Jennifer McMahon attempts to prove several conclusions about death. The phenomena are ones proposed by existential philosopher, Martin Heidegger, and psychological theorist, Ernest Becker. They include denying death, ignoring the prospect of death, attempting to conquer death, and accepting death. By alluding to various scenes in the movie Frankenstein, she attempts to illustrate the first three phenomena. In addressing certain aspects of horror flicks, McMahon makes true statements about real life. 

Many Biblical scholars believe humans would have lived forever had Adam and Eve not sinned. Disobedience had dire results, among them spiritual and physical. The prospect of death brings fear which in turn leads to anxiety. Adam and Eve didn’t experience this fear until they walked into forbidden areas. 

Fear of death is an innate emotional state that begins troubling us as soon as we’re old enough to understand our mortality. The fear first haunted me when I was of middle school age. Even though a believer, I still dreaded the unknown. I can attempt to deny the prospect of death, but it will arrive anyway sooner or later.

I can also attempt to ignore it. My inattention won’t make it disappear. I—like many others, do this by busying myself with life’s mundane affairs. If I can fill my plate to overflowing, I won’t have time to think about it. Death will still come. In ignorance, I might even think medical science or healthy living will exempt me from it. 

Healthy living is only achieved by accepting death’s reality. Contrary to McMahon’s conclusion that religious systems are invented to deal with death’s fear, belief in the One True 
God is the only way to challenge this unnatural fear. Accepting Christ’s forgiveness of my sins—and believing he has a bright future in store for me where death will once again be absent, is the only way to conquer my fear of death and any unhealthy emotional states it may erect. 

How are you confronting the prospects of your impending demise?

Prayer: Almighty God, we thank You that in Christ death loses its sting.

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Martin N Michelle
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why Do Many Professing Christians Not Live for Christ - Martin Wiles

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16 NLT

I remember the day she accepted Christ as her Savior, but now she was gone.

Mary* was a teenager who came from a shallow religious family. Her mother was the only spiritual light in her life. Mary followed in her mother’s footsteps for a number of years. She married a wonderful Christian man, and they had two children together. Yet for some unknown reason, Mary decided to walk away from them all—God included. Twelve years have passed, and she still hasn’t returned. Oh she might take her grandchildren to church, but she continues to live a lifestyle that’s radically different from a dedicated believer. 

Mary’s not the only person I’ve known who demonstrated no visible signs of their declared identity with Christ. I have family members who’ve done the same. When warning his followers about false teachers, Jesus said they could be identified by their fruits. Believers can as well. 

Persistent sin prevents others from perceiving my true identity, keeping me far away from the one I claim to love. Sin creates static between me and God—not the unintentional sins I quickly confess but rather those I repeatedly revel in. Unbelievers won’t see any difference between themselves and me, and Satan will use my persistent sin to make me question my salvation as well.

Deep hurts can also keep me away from God’s desired lifestyle for me. I’ve known many professing believers who haven’t darkened church doors for decades because a church member said or did something unsavory to them. Satan can easily convince me the church is hypocritical. 

Others choose to walk away—and stay away, because Satan convinces them that the church is full of hypocrites and religion was something they choose when they were an innocent, na├»ve child. Now that they’ve matured, they know better. 

If you’re one of those who have walked away, it’s never too late to return.

Prayer: God of love and mercy, draw unto Yourself those who have strayed from Your fold. 
*Name changed to protect individual’s privacy. 


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Martin N Michelle
Thanks to all our faithful followers who are "sharing" our posts--please keep it up! We also invite you to follow and like us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Help us spread God's encouragement through his love lines.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Throwback Tuesday - Martin Wiles

Blinded To See

I wasn’t excited about going, but I had no choice.

Hiding the fact you can’t see isn’t easy for a young boy. Contacts and laser surgery weren’t an option for me in the 1960’s. Glasses were. Having friends who had glasses, I knew what was in store-being called “four eyes.” Wearing glasses just wasn’t masculine.

I suppose coming to within six feet of the chalkboard so I could see what the teacher was writing gave my blindness away. She called my parents, and I was given a Mom version sight test and then ushered to the optometrist. I had to admit blindness before receiving help. Read more...


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Martin N Michelle
Help us spread God's encouragement through his love lines. Share this devotion with a friend. 
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