Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Throwback Tuesday - Martin Wiles

Watching the Tongue

He was a prior police officer and a current fellow pastor and good friend, but idle tongues cost him his present position and almost ruined his reputation.

I pastored on one end of town and he on the other. Riding past his church one day, I observed an adage on the marquee denigrating gossip. A red flag shot up. My friend was counseling a woman with marital trouble, and some in the church assumed the worse. Talk continued in spite of his discretion, and he soon felt it best to resign. Fortunately, he had another career to fall back on, but the church suffered needlessly-and so did his reputation. Read more...


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Monday, August 29, 2016

Smelling Good for God - Martin Wiles

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15 NLT

Having been antique collectors and dealers for a number of years, my wife and I love the smell of “old.”

How does old smell? Perhaps only those who deal with old things can tell. When I open a book published in the 1800’s, I smell old. When I bought an old oak desk and brought it home, I opened the drawers to the aroma of “old.” “Smell this,” I said to my wife. Recently, we inherited my mother’s first china cabinet. Opening the bottom two cabinets, my wife remarked, “This smells old.” 

While we like things that smell old, we don’t necessarily want our home to smell old. And it can’t because it’s not old. My wife has air fresheners in almost every room, normally along with a few candles. When all are lit or plugged in, a variety of fragrances float through the air, touching every piece of furniture and clothes. We don’t necessarily perceive it while there, but if we leave we notice our clothes smell like our house. 

Paul says our lives are a Christ-like fragrance that ascends to God. Just as my wife and I have fragrances we adore—old being one of them, so God does as well. There are some air fresheners we won’t buy because the aroma repels us. God has special fragrances He enjoys too. Not all that rise to Him will receive a “That smells good” response. 

God loves the fragrance of holiness. He is holy, and He expects the same aroma from His children. While we are given the fragrance of righteousness (holiness) when we trust Christ as our Savior, it takes effort on our part—as well as reliance on God’s indwelling Spirit, to emit that fragrance on a regular basis. Holiness doesn’t happen automatically. Our position must be transferred into practice. 

Only by complete dependence on God’s power—as well as placing ourselves around those things and people that discharge holiness, can we ever hope to smell good for God. Those emitting the same aroma as us will enjoy the similar fragrance, but those emitting sinful aromas will most likely not appreciate our smell. When smelling good for God, we will always face opposition of some type. 

What type of fragrance are you emitting?

Prayer: Father, remind us of who we represent so we can release a fragrance that pleases You and points others to You.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

First Things First - Martin Wiles

Anyone who wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else. Mark 9:35 NLT

On November 21, 2015, I experienced another first. 

Firsts are important. On this particular day, two of my cousins brought a mahogany china cabinet to our home. The reason it was a first is not because it’s the first one I’ve ever owned but because it was the first piece of furniture my mom ever bought with her own money. She purchased it to hold china she was getting for her upcoming marriage to my Dad. 

After marrying Dad and Uncle Sam calling him up, she gave it to her sister to hold for her because she had no room for it. Recently, my aunt died, and her children returned the piece. Ironically, mom doesn’t have room for it now. We have less room than her, but because it was a “first” we squeezed it in. 

Knowing the human heart’s tendency toward selfishness, Jesus spoke several times about firsts. When asked what the greatest commandment was, He said to put God first. On this occasion, He was correcting His disciples who were arguing about which one of them was the greatest. Jesus said it was the one who was willing to become a servant. 

My most important first was August 31, 1960—the day I sucked my first breath of outside air and entered this world. The second was nine years later when I was born again—the day I recognized I was a sinner and needed Jesus’ forgiveness. 

Putting first things first entails recognizing our sinful bent, asking Jesus to forgive our sins, and committing our lives to Him. Without this first, other firsts will be of little if any value. This first first should lead to a second first: humility. Jesus’ disciples wanted to rule, but Jesus reminded them firstness came from serving not lording. Pride gets us nowhere with God—or others. Humility, on the other hand, is praised by God and normally others. 

When we love God above all other people and things, serving becomes much easier. Jesus says we’ll be rewarded if we offer a mere cup of cold water to someone in His name. We serve God by adopting a servant mindset. We achieve firstness by serving even though it might appear we’re not first at all. 

In the midst of the many things that clamor for your attention, ask God to help you put first things first. 

Prayer: Father, as we set priorities in life, guide us to put first things first: You, our families, our churches, and others. 

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Flashback Friday - Martin Wiles

Speaking Truth

She was in a precarious situation. Was it acceptable to lie?

The battle commander assembled his troops and made plans to defeat his quarry. Little did Rahab know she was part of the strategy but would be faced with an ethical dilemma in the process. The army’s incursion was delayed until a report from two spies was received…two spies who happened upon Rahab’s house. When the king sent sentries to capture them, Rahab hid them beneath piles of flax and said, They left the city at dusk, as the city gates were about to close, and I don’t know where they went (Joshua 2:5 NLT).

Rahab’s predicament is one which believers don’t unanimously agree on…Is it ever permissible to lie? Read more...


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