Monday, May 30, 2016

Choosing the Right Weapons - Martin Wiles

“I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. 1 Samuel 17:39-40 NLT

Choosing the right weapons can make the difference between a victory and a loss. 

Hunting squirrels was the first type of hunting my father taught me. While some hunted them with .22 rifles, we chose shotguns. We left before daylight, strolled through the woods with our flashlights—shining the beams up into the trees to look for nests, and then picked a tree to sit beneath and wait. Just before the first rays of light penetrated the hard wood forests, the cries began. As soon as we saw the shapes of the trees against the intruding light, the squirrels began scampering from their nests. We were there to welcome them with lead. Had we chosen bows and arrows, I doubt we would have bagged much—if any, game. 

Young shepherd-boy David was successful for the same reason. While the Israelite army cowered in fear before the Philistine giant Goliath, Dave said, “Let me at him.” He was too small for the king’s armor. He chose five smooth stones instead. All he needed was one. 

Believers are in a spiritual battle with Satan and his army of demons. God tells us to put on the whole armor of God so we’ll be prepared. He also assures us no battle will be more intense than we can handle with the help of His Spirit’s power in us. We are already more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

David chose smooth stones. Perhaps he took five in case he needed the others for more Philistines or in case he needed more than one to do Goliath in. As believers, the stones we should choose include confidence, righteous anger, courage, and a firm handle on the truth. 

We fight with confidence because God is on our side and greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. If we neglect righteous indignation over sin, we won’t even see the need to fight the battles. We march forward with courage, for the battle is the Lord’s. We also step into battle with truth because it is truth that sets us free. 

What stones have you chosen to fight your battles with? 

Prayer: Father, we ask for the right weapons so that we might be victorious in our spiritual battles.

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Models of Christ - Martin Wiles

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Titus 2:7 NLT

Every male friend I had seemed to enjoy it, but somehow I didn’t share their enthusiasm. 

When I was a pre-teen, putting together model cars was the in thing. Most of my male friends did it and seemed to love it. I would look at the shelves lined with model cars of various styles, shapes, models, and prices and wonder how someone could get so excited. I suppose most young men wanted to know how to work on cars. Assembling a model car would give them a chance to learn the various parts of the motor. 

Not wanting to be the odd boy out, I bought one and quickly discovered this wasn’t for me. While the finished product was stylish, getting to that point was difficult. Model car glue and super glue were surely related. Parts had to be placed in the correct spot quickly and with no glue on your fingers. After one shabby attempt, I decided I’d get the snap together type from then on. 

Model cars were impressive when assembled correctly, but mine were a poor representation of the real thing. Paul reminds Titus he was a model to those God had called him to teach. He may have been young, but his good works, teaching, and integrity were to model Christ well. 

Believers are models of Christ. I’m not sure my one cemented together model car was a good representation of the real thing. My life, however, should display a more accurate depiction. Jesus modeled the Father. He said looking at Him was the same as gazing upon the heavenly Father. He was kind, compassionate, empathetic, service minded, conscientious of others’ needs, and firmly grounded in the Word. When tempted, He was armored to resist the fiery darts of Satan. In times of persecution—even death—for His beliefs, He stood firm. 

Constant attention to what kind of models we are is essential. An unfocused mind is a wandering mind—into places, actions, and words that don’t represent Christ well. Distractions will take us where we don’t need to go and in the process distort the model others see. 

Remember how the Christ who put you together appears. Don’t let someone or something glue pieces where they don’t belong. 

Prayer: Father, give us strength to model Your attributes well before others.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Flashback Friday - Martin Wiles

Be Patient

As a teacher, I admit I’m not always as patient as I should be.

A teacher’s day can be bombarded with many patient-robbing episodes. Six questioning hands raised before I’ve finished my first sentence-most have nothing to do with the lesson. A few appear stuck in the up position. Test scores reflect the majority of the class doesn’t comprehend a particular subject matter even though we’ve spent twelve weeks dissecting it. And the muddled chatter keeps me continuously mouthing “Shhhh.”  Read more...


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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pierced for God - Martin Wiles

But suppose your servant says, ‘I will not leave you’…In that case, take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door. After that, he will be your servant for life. Deuteronomy 15:16-17 NLT

They were popular among boys and men at the time, so when my son asked if he could get an earring, I said, “Sure.” After all, I’d make sure he wore it in the right ear. 

His anxiety level was high. We loaded up in the car and made our way to the local mall where we found a piercing pagoda located in the middle. Though only 12, he sat in the chair like a little man and let the attendant jam a needle through his ear lobe. He beamed, and everything seemed well—until we started walking. 

“Dad, I don’t feel so well,” he remarked. I found myself laying him down on a mall bench and retrieving a wet paper towel for his face. 

Six weeks later, it came time to change the stud. Once again, he was excited, having picked out a new earring to install in his ear. This time he didn’t make it to the bench but collapsed on the bathroom floor. Several weeks later—when his ear got infected—he decided he didn’t want an earring after all.

If a Hebrew owned a fellow Hebrew servant for some reason, he was to free him after six years of service. But if the slave loved him and wanted to stay, the master pierced his ear with an awl. He would be his slave forever. 

I’ve never had my ear pierced, but I have had my heart punctured. When I placed my faith in Jesus Christ, I became His forever. He didn’t take an awl and make a hole in my ear, but He did pierce my heart with the presence of His Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is the Seal that proves I belong to Christ—forever. 

What kept the servant awled to his master was love. What keeps our heart pierced for Christ is the same. No amount of service we can offer can ever repay Him for all He’s done for us. He’s carried our sins away as far as the East is from the West, and He’s buried them in the deepest portions of the ocean—never to be held against us again. 

Has your heart been pierced for Christ? If not, He’s waiting with the awl. 

Prayer: Father, we dedicate ourselves to You…forever. 


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