Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Throwback Tuesday - Misplaced Focus - Martin Wiles

Misplaced Focus 

Some days no matter how much I squint and rub, they just won’t focus. 

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was elementary age. My eyes have grown progressively worse and didn’t stabilize until I reached my 40’s. They are still changing slightly, but for the most part, they are what they are. But some days the blurriness rushes in. No doubt because I’ve looked at the computer screen too long, graded too many papers, or didn’t get enough sleep. My focus isn’t always what I wish it was. Read more...

Tweetable: Where is your focus?


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Monday, September 24, 2018

Covered with a Comforter - Martin Wiles

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. John 14:16 KJV

Hot, sultry air circulated around the room and across my body. Still, I wanted a comforter.

My maternal grandparents lived in an old farmhouse with no air and barely any heat. Summers in the South Carolina Lowcountry are murderous. Humidity levels rise to almost one hundred percent. Sweat pours from just walking outside. No work required.

The inside of my grandparents’ house wasn’t much better. One lone circular fan perched between two double beds in the front room where my cousin and I slept when I spent summer weeks with them. Raised windows helped little. No air stirred. Screens didn’t keep mosquitoes out. They circled my head throughout the night, seeking a squirt of my blood to fertilize their eggs.

In spite of the miserable conditions, I longed for cover. I cannot sleep totally uncovered. So with feet and head hanging out, I covered my chest and endured the Lowcountry heat while fighting off mosquitoes. I needed cover from a comforter.

Jesus knew His disciples would need a comforter too. He was about to leave them. After His crucifixion and resurrection, He would ascend back to the Father. They would need His presence to carry on His work. Persecution would be rife. They’d be tempted to quit—to go back to fishing, tax collecting, and whatever else they did. And the comforter came to dwell permanently with them and all believers—on the Day of Pentecost when the church was born.

The comfort of God’s indwelling Spirit surpasses all other forms of comfort. He comforted the early believers as they faced ridicule, misunderstanding, temptations, persecution, and even death. He comforts believers today as we face similar situations.

God’s Spirit gives an unexplainable peace. In times of opposition or misunderstanding, giving up becomes easy. Even the strong disciple Peter went back to fishing after Jesus’ death. The Holy Spirit gives us power to carry on. He gives us the courage to take another step of faith, even when we can’t see where the path is leading.

This Comforter from God also teaches us when we don’t understand: God’s Word, our circumstances, others’ reactions. He shows us how biblical principles relate to life and gives us faith that God will work all elements of our life together for good.

When you need to be covered with comfort, don’t rely on anything else but God’s Spirit.



Prayer: Father, thank You for the presence and power of Your Spirit who constantly lives with us. 


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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Quitters Never Win - Martin Wiles

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NLT

“The first time you quit, it’s hard. The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don’t even have to think about it.”

Paul “the Bear” Bryant said the above. He accumulated 324 career wins at the University of Kentucky, Texas A & M, and the University of Alabama. His philosophy was, “Sacrifice. Work. Self-discipline. I teach these things, and my boys don’t forget them.”

Prior to the 1954 football season, Bryant took 111 Texas A & M players to Junction, Texas, for a ten-day football camp. After ten days, only thirty-five were left. The rest walked away because of the rigorous schedule and the desert conditions. But those who survived went on to great success both on and off the field.

The writer of Hebrews reminds believers we are in a competition to win also. But ours is between good and evil. As representatives of Christ, we are assigned the responsibility of disseminating His love across the globe. Winning at that involves intentionality.

To win we must train, which requires dedication and hard work. Those who occasionally win without training can chalk it up to good luck. Most winning requires rigorous training. For the believer, it entails stripping off weights that slow us down and putting away sins that trip us up. Weights come in variegated forms: busyness, misplaced priorities, unhealthy relationships, neglect of spiritual disciplines.

We also have to monitor our reaction to failure when things don’t turn out as planned—even though we think we’re following God’s plan. I can be a sour loser, or I can seek God’s direction, get up, and try again.

Experience is a great teacher. While it would have been nice to know as a young boy what I know now as an adult, I would have missed the experiences that furnished me that knowledge. Enjoying the journey is part of winning.

Believers are always winners in God’s eyes—whether or not we win at everything we put our hand to in life. How I handle setbacks speaks volumes about my character. In life, not everyone gets a trophy—as they might in sporting events where the children are small and just learning to play.

When you run the race of faith, you never lose—so don’t quit along the way. God’s power will carry you through every circumstance.



Prayer: Father, give us strength and courage to run the race of faith so at the end we can hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 


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Friday, September 21, 2018

Flashback Friday - Praying God’s Will for Others - Martin Wiles

Praying God’s Will for Others

When I think about mine, it sometimes appears pretty selfish.

I have a general daily prayer list. While I don’t adhere rigidly to it, for the most part, my prayers follow this schedule. Occasionally, I pause to consider who is benefiting most from these prayers. Are they all about me, my family, my wishes, and my wants, or am I interceding more for others than I am concentrating on me? After all, I’m human and tend to be a little selfish. If I’m not careful God can become the big Santa Claus in the sky. Read more...

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