Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - Angels All Around - Martin Wiles

Angels All Around

She came when we least expected it, and only a few bags of items and a quiet knock revealed her presence.

My wife and I were enjoying a leisurely evening when a thump caught our attention. Thinking a picture had fallen or the cat had knocked something over, I reluctantly relinquished my comfortable chair to search for the culprit but found nothing out of order.

A few moments later, a knock at the door once again sent me from my evening repose. Read more...

Tweetable: Have you had an angel visit?


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Monday, May 21, 2018

Waking Up God - Martin Wiles

Wake up, my God, and bring justice! Psalm 7:6 NLT

I come from a family of nappers.

Power naps. The men on my father’s side of the family believed in them. When supper was over and the kitchen cleaned, my grandfather would sit down on the couch to watch the news or a football game. Several minutes later, his head was bowed.

My father’s profession allowed him time to nap during lunch. And he did. When lunch was over, he retired to the recliner where he took a fifteen-minute nap. No alarm clock was needed to awaken him.
I’ve followed in the tradition. When I can, I take a power nap after lunch. In twenty minutes or so, I wake up. I know how to take a nap.

My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t. Although she claims she is going to take a nap, she really means she is going to sleep for two hours. Waking her goes something like this:

“Hey, babe. It’s time to get up.”

“I’m awake,” she says—followed by snoring.

“Are you gonna get up?

“Give me 30 more minutes.”

After thirty minutes, “Hey, babe. Your thirty minutes are up.”

After several episodes of this, she finally gets up. 

God doesn’t sleep—or even take naps. But it seems as if He did to the psalmist. He was being falsely accused of trying to kill the king and take the throne. Although God had selected David as the next king of Israel, David needed God to wake up and deal with his accusers.

God’s time frame is different than mine. To me, it may appear He’s sleeping when in reality He’s only napping. He sees the injustices in the world and those committed against me by others—as He did David’s, but I must trust Him to act according to His timetable, not mine.

What appears as bad or an injustice to me might not to Him—so He naps. I normally thought my parents’ punishments were bad for me but later learned they weren’t. I have to trust God to do what’s best as my heavenly Father.

Nor is revenge mine. David could have dealt with his accusers, but he chose to ask God to instead. God says revenge belongs to Him, not us.

In times of trouble, call out to God. But remember, He never naps or sleeps, and He is always concerned about what concerns you.



Prayer: Father, thank You for always coming to our rescue, even when it appears You are sleeping and unconcerned. 

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Do the Book - Martin Wiles

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22 NLT

When a four-year-old teaches you something you don’t know, you listen.

At evening, just before bedtime, is when my daughter and my oldest grandson have some of their most meaningful conversations. Such as the recent one about book parts.

“Who wrote this book?” he asked

My daughter gave him the author’s name, but he said that wasn’t right. “Well who then,” she asked.

“The author.”

Opening the book to the first page, he asked what page this was. She said, “The front page.”

“No, the title page.”

“And what about this part,” pointing to the edge where the book title is printed.

“The edge?” my daughter questioned.

“No, the spine.”

Funny, I don’t remember knowing the parts of a book when I was four years old. In fact, I’m not sure I learned those things until I was in middle school. Of course, I didn’t know a lot of things children seem to be born knowing how to do now.

But knowing the parts of the book isn’t the most important part. If my grandson didn’t know what was inside the book, he was missing out. According to James, the same is true when it comes to the Bible. Knowing where the title page is, who the authors are, where the books are, where the concordance is, and where the spine is will do me little good if I’m not familiar with the information therein. I have to do the book, not just know the book.

Dad made sure I did. He read the Bible to me before I could read and taught me the importance of reading it myself after I learned to read. He also taught me the necessity of learning God’s command and principles and then obeying them. Though there have been periodic times when I did a little disobeying on purpose, for the most part, I’ve been a doer of the Word.

Knowing what God’s Word says does little good if I don’t put the teachings into action. Jesus says loving Him equals obeying Him. The Word shapes my life into the form God wants it to be. It leads me to the most exciting life I could possibly live as well as gives me strength for the trials and armor for the temptations.

Don’t just know the book; do the book.



Prayer: Father, give us the courage to be doers of Your Word, not just hearers. 

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Flashback Friday - Hope Assured - Martin Wiles

Hope Assured

As a child, I had hopes. As an adult, I still cling to some of them, but I’ve also formed others my childhood mind couldn’t comprehend.

I hoped to make it to adulthood where I could enjoy life apart from my parent’s control. I hoped to find a good job so I could live comfortably. I hoped to make good grades in school. (That was an earlier hope. By the time I reached high school, I no longer cared.)

As an adult, I hope to avoid contracting a fatal disease that leads to an earlier than normal demise. I hope my children will serve the Lord. I hope my wife and I will grow old together. I hope, I hope, I hope. But I have no guarantee any of these hopes will actually materialize. Read more...

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Good Grief - Martin Wiles

I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. Psalm 6:6 NLT

Months passed. She only got worse.

Losing a spouse must be hard. I’ve never done it—at least, not by death—but I’ve known many who have. I’ve performed funerals for their loved one, comforted them, prayed for them, visited them, taken food to them, and counseled them. Most adapt quicker than I wonder if I would.

But Bennie didn’t. She and her husband had been married for many years. His death was unexpected. She was unprepared. Lost is a good word to describe her. Lost financially, and lost emotionally. Lost weight too. She sought counseling from several pastors, from grief experts, and from friends. All told her the same thing—she was going to have to move forward—but she couldn’t seem to take the first step.

Then one day—after many months had passed, too many some might say—she made the turn. She moved past the crying and her inability to function, went back to work, fixed herself up, and got on with her life. Like the psalmist, Bennie was worn out from sobbing, but God was faithful in seeing her through.

People grieve differently. Some a short time, others a long time. Some cry while others never shed a tear. Some hold on to their loved one’s possessions, not changing a thing, while others sell or give away everything associated with their memory.

Regardless of how we grieve, grieving is necessary. The alternative is repression and depression. Jesus grieved over the death of his good friend, Lazarus. Grief heals the emotions associated with loss.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross suggests people pass through stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. Having spent much time with those who grieve, I believe she’s right. They may not do it in the same order or spend the same amount of time in each stage, but the stages are present and normal.

Moving on doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten our loved one or the love we had. It simply means we understand God doesn’t want us to be stuck in grief so that we are unusable in His kingdom’s work. God walks with us through the grieving process, and thereafter. Getting involved in others’ lives, as Bennie did, is a good way to process grief and move forward.

When loss comes, take time to grieve. Then move on into God’s new future for you.



Prayer: Father, we depend on You to move us through the grieving process and into a new future.


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Letter - Martin Wiles

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 NLT

A solitary letter, addressed and dated, lay among other stuff.

The text from my daughter read, “Hope chest treasures.” Along with it came a picture. My father had made her a small cedar chest she called her hope chest. In it, she placed things she hoped to use when she got married, along with other sentimental items. I recognized the handwriting on the letter as mine. The date was eighteen years earlier.

“What does the letter say?” I texted back.

“You don’t remember,” she responded.

“Of course not.” 

“Well, you can read it when you come to the house.”

I hurried my wife, and we made our way to our daughter’s home.

“Where’s the letter,” I quickly said.

She handed it over, and I eagerly opened it. She and I had just finished a five-day backpacking trip. In the letter, I told her how much fun I had had, how much I loved her, and how I hoped she would always feel comfortable coming to me when she needed to talk. I think my hope that she placed in her hope chest came true.

Parenting is tough, but the writer of the proverb says training children correctly has its advantages. The proverbs in the book of Proverbs are not absolutes but norms. Usually, when a child is taught the right way, they follow it—even though they may temporarily stray. I am proof of the truth—as is my daughter. My son is still straying.

An African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And it does. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, school teachers, church teachers, deacons, preachers, etc. Training them spiritually is essential, but so is training them to use the gifts and talents God has created in them. This means allowing them to follow their God-ordained employment or professional path, whether it’s the one I’d prefer or not. God doesn’t want a world filled with only preachers, evangelists, and missionaries.

Training children takes time. It’s easier to throw a tech gadget their way, to sit them in front of the television, or to simply bail them out when they get into trouble. Teaching them and creating an atmosphere where they’ll feel comfortable talking requires effort and time.

God is more than willing to give you wisdom to raise your children. Depend on Him for it. Don’t try to go it alone.



Prayer: Father, thank You for our children. Give us the courage and patience to teach them your ways. 

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