Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Frustration of the Unknown - Martin Wiles

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT
After numerous doctor visits which brought no answers, my wife and I were frustrated.
The unknown started after a recent move. My wife lifted an item and felt a stabbing pain. Thinking she had pulled the mesh from a recent hernia surgery, we visited the general surgeon. After testing, he determined it was only scar tissue.
Then unexplained weight gain resulted in a trip to the emergency room and then to the cardiologist. Pills to reduce her fluid didn’t work. More tests followed. One revealed an enlarged spleen and liver.
We re-visited the general surgeon who sent her to a kidney specialist. The cardiologist, in the meantime, sent her to a digestive disease doctor.
Weeks and months have passed between the tests and doctor visits. As of this writing, we still don’t know the answers to her unexplained fluid retention. Her frustration—and mine, builds as we await answers while trying not to imagine the worse.
Paul could have also been frustrated by the unknown. Would he survive the persecutions or the trip to stand trial before the Roman emperor? Would his friends betray him? Instead, he did what he advised others to do.
Praying about the unknown is crucial. Every night, I pray for my wife to have strength to face what might be ahead and for God to give the doctors wisdom to find out the reason for her dilemma.
Trusting is important in times of the unknown. God has never let me down and promises not to, regardless of life’s challenges. I can trust Him to work things for my good—even things that appear bad. He has my best interests at heart.
Additionally, I choose to believe God is in control. Doing so helps control my anxiety and frustration level. If He isn’t, I have an even larger problem than the things causing my frustration.
In my wife’s case, I believe God can guide the doctors to discover the reason for her health concerns and to give her the proper treatment. I also believe He can heal her apart from the doctor’s intervention if He so chooses.
Don’t let the frustration of the unknown lead you to doubt, anger, bitterness, or unbelief in a loving God. Rather, believe God loves you and has your situation under control.

Prayer: Father, we trust You to guide us safely into and through the unknowns of our lives. 

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Friendships’ Benefits - Martin Wiles

Welcome him in the Lord’s love and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve. Philippians 2:29 NLT
Both were named Mike, both were good friends, and both had a very different influence on me.
I met the first Mike when I was 15. My dad had been called as pastor of the church where Mike and his family attended. I was in the rebellious stages of adolescence…and so was Mike. He had experimented with a little more than I had and was eager to introduce me to alcohol, drugs, and cutting school. I was eager to follow his lead—and did. Mike was a good friend—and would have done anything for me, but his influence was negative.
I met the second Mike shortly after graduating high school when I started work at a local metal fabrication plant. He worked in quality control and had a desk in the warehouse where I worked. Mike had recently become a believer and was eager to please God with his actions and attitudes. At the time, I was still a little rough around the edges. Mike kept me sanded down. Every time I cussed, Mike gently called my name. Every time he saw or heard me committing wrongful actions, he lovingly rebuked me. Rather than get mad at Mike, I appreciated his concern for me and shaped up around him.
Forty years have passed since I hung around with the first Mike and about 34 since the second Mike. But I remember their influences well. So did Paul when it came to Epaphroditus. Paul was in prison. Epaphroditus delivered a gift to him from the believers at Philippi.
Good friends hold me accountable rather than lead me into unwise and unhealthy attitudes and actions. I’ll appreciate their rebukes because I know they have my best interests in mind.
Good friends show me unconditional love. Regardless of how I act or respond to their efforts, they will continue to love me as Christ does.
Good friends are always willing to lend me a helping hand. Helping me may inconvenience them…but they don’t mind.
And good friends and I share a common bond—belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior, and build our friendship on that foundation.
Wanting to be a good friend as well, I will return these favors for my friends.
Develop friendships that lift you up…not bring you down. Don’t let just any Mike into your life.

Prayer: Father, lead us into friendships with other believers who will enhance our journey with You. 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Throwback Tuesday - Managing Stress - Martin Wiles

Managing Stress

“A good man always knows his limitations.” A statement made by Clint Eastwood to his lieutenant in “Magnum Force (1973)-”one of his “Dirty Harry” series, when the lieutenant was bragging that he’d never taken his gun from its holster. 

Jesus managed his human limitations-and thus stress, well. Although frequently thronged by crowds demanding his attention, he never burned out. And at the end of his ministry, he was able to say, I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do (John 17:4 NLT).

Stress is inevitable, but how we manage it determines whether it becomes unhealthy. Read more...


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Monday, October 16, 2017

Just Ask - Martin Wiles

Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! John 14:14 NLT
Ask, and you might receive; ask not, and you probably won’t.
Driving in unfamiliar terrain was once more frightening than it is now. Since there was no internet, I could not pull up directions on my computer or smartphone. My only options were to ask someone who had already been where I was going or to purchase a map and figure it out myself.
And maps were readily available. The most popular place to find them was the local filling station. A place where attendants pumped gas, cleaned windshields, and checked oil. And in the center of the pump island or just inside the station, were maps.
Having a map reduced—but didn’t eliminate, the possibility of getting lost. Names and numbers were crunched into small areas. In spite of my best efforts, I’ve gotten lost. And being a typical man, I hated to stop and ask directions from anyone in the area. It was an admission I couldn’t figure out my dilemma…that I was less than an adequate direction follower. I’ve wasted gas riding in circles or sent my wife in to get directions more times than I care to remember.
The solution was simple: stop and ask someone who lived in the area I was going to. Jesus provides such a simple solution for life in general. Have any kind of need? Just ask Him. He’ll be glad to assist.
Jesus’ help is never wrong. Others have given me faulty directions—though not intentionally. Maps have concealed information I needed to see, and GPSs have sent me to the wrong place. Since Jesus is omniscient—all knowing, I don’t have to worry about this with Him.
Jesus is always willing to help. While technology is readily available, it’s not full-proof. Others are sometimes too busy to mess with my life issues. Jesus, on the other hand, wants to be involved in every detail of my life.
Jesus’ help is also free. Maps weren’t—and still aren’t. Nor are GPSs. Though I can download a free direction app on my smartphone, the phone wasn’t free. And even if it was, my monthly service isn’t. Jesus charges zero. I ask; He comes to my rescue.
Life issues present me with physical, emotional, social, and spiritual quandaries. But none are too difficult for the Savior of the world.
Need a hand? Just ask Jesus.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for Your continual readiness and willingness to help us with life issues. 

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