Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Throwback Tuesday - When Life Gets Complex - Martin Wiles

When Life Gets Complex

Teaching students to identify a simple sentence is usually an easy task, but understanding compound and complex sentences is more challenging.

Simple sentences contain a subject and verb and express a complete thought. Compound sentences are made up of two simple sentences connected by a coordinating conjunction. But a complex sentence is well….complex. It hosts an independent clause (sentence) and a dependent clause. Both have subjects and verbs, but dependent clauses are dependent on independent clauses, making them more difficult to understand. Read more...


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Monday, June 26, 2017

Cleaning Fingerprints - Martin Wiles

Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean.” John 13:10 NLT

“Fingerprints all over the place.”

My oldest grandson called the dirty storm door to my attention as he and his younger brother stood looking over the back yard. Of course, he failed to mention both of them were the reason for the smudges. Since we keep them six days a week, keeping it clean was an exercise in futility I’d almost given up on. 

“Handprints are more like it” I snickered. 

“You need to clean it, Pop,” he said. 

A Type A personality like myself, he can’t stand dirt—or smudges. I walked by and left the door alone. Since we were moving in a couple of weeks, I had even more reason to ignore the grimy paw prints. When I decide to clean the door—probably just before we move, I won’t replace the entire door. I’ll just take out the window cleaner and clean the glass portion. 

Jesus proposed a similar scenario to His disciples. They didn’t need to wash all over—just their feet. They were totally cleansed when they believed in Him and decided to be His followers. Now they merely needed a daily sponge bath. 

At nine years of age, I decided to do what these early disciples did—trust Jesus as my Savior. Dad explained the gospel message of how Jesus died for my sins. I believed and invited Him into my life. In that moment, He cleansed me all over. Past, present, and future sins—of which there have been many, were washed away. The price Jesus paid on Calvary for humanity’s sins was applied to me. 

But what about the daily fingerprints that come from putting my hands where they don’t belong—like my grandchildren? They won’t send me to hell because Jesus’ blood has covered them. They will, however, interfere with my spiritual vision as the fingerprints on the door cloud the view of the backyard.

Confession will clear away the smudges. My acknowledgment of my failures and sins is what Jesus referred to when He mentioned a daily foot washing. 

Make confession a daily practice. It’s good for the soul and will keep your feet clean—and remove the smudges from the doors, so interaction between the Savior and you can be open and clear. 

Prayer: Father, keep us free from sin smudges so we can hear You clearly when You speak.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Flying Low - Martin Wiles

But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. Genesis 11:5 NLT

They popped over the tree tops and whizzed along the nape of the field. 

When I was a young lad, crop dusters were common where flat farmland was. Fields were planted with cotton, corn, and soybeans. Laws preventing certain chemicals—that we now know cause cancer and other diseases, had not been passed. So farmers and crop dusters spread cotton poison to protect their crops.
Visiting my grandfather’s farm and sitting on the front porch—watching planes crop dust the neighboring fields, was one of my favorite activities.

From out of nowhere, the plane would appear at tree top level, drop to just above the cotton, drop its load, and then pull up just before reaching power lines, homes, or trees. Enduring the stench of the cotton poison was almost more than I could bear, but it was worth it to see this acrobat’s antics. 

There was a time long ago when God came low. When a number of people got together and decided they would build the Tower of Babel. Seemingly an innocent task…until you read the rest of the story. Doing so was about selfishness and pagan worship. God dropped a load on them. Not poison but the confusion of their languages and thus the end of their project. 

A few thousand years later, God came low again. This time when He allowed His Son to take on human flesh and die for humanity’s sins. But He didn’t stop with that. After Jesus ascended back into heaven, God sent His Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, and the church was born. The psalmist had it right when he said God delights in every detail of their lives (Psalm 37:23).

As I delighted in watching the crop dusters fly low, so I enjoy knowing God flies low into my life’s experiences. And not only mine, but everyone’s who will call on Him. He’s never too busy, nor is He ever unconcerned. 

What concerns me—no matter how insignificant, concerns my Creator. 

He has the ability to come down for my needs and everyone else’s at the same time. I don’t have to take a number or wait in line. My God flies so low I can reach up and touch His grace, mercy, and assistance at any time I choose.

Let God fly low into every detail of your life. 

Prayer: Father, give us faith to reach out for You in every circumstance of our life, knowing You are as low as the stretch of our fingertips. 


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Friday, June 23, 2017

Flashback Friday - Underestimating God - Martin Wiles

Underestimating God

There sat a jar full of jelly beans. My task? To guess the correct number so I could win a gift certificate. Of course, I didn’t win. I always either over or underestimate. 

When it comes to God’s assignments, I also tend to underestimate my abilities. Gideon did too. The generation of Israelites who followed Joshua forgot God and the things he had done for Israel. God rewarded their disobedience by allowing foreign invaders to raid their land. Read more...


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