Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Throwback Tuesday - Martin Wiles

Drinking the Dirty Water

She was accustomed to cistern water-water that ran off roofs and land and was captured in pits and wells. Dirty water. Stale, stinky water. 

But when she encountered Jesus, he said, If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water (John 4:10 NLT). Water without a musty taste and no gritty sediment floating about. Pure water like that from a stream or natural spring. Not stagnant water retrieved from a pit. She could only imagine how it would tantalize her taste buds. Read more...


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Monday, January 16, 2017

Wrong Is Never Right - Martin Wiles

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil. Isaiah 5:20 NLT

Clay was normally a good student, but on this particular day, he chose to break the rules.

I sat with my back partially to the class, teaching from a power point about verbs. I could see most of them with my peripheral vision, including Clay who sat in the very back. As I taught, I noticed his hand continually slipping in and out of his pocket. Each time I looked at him, he gazed back with an innocent look. 

Toward the end of class, I remarked, “By the way, I know you’ve been eating.”

Quick to defend himself, he pulled out a piece of candy and said, “But I’ve only eaten one.” 

My look of disbelief convicted him. “Okay, two,” he said, “but I didn’t get to finish my breakfast this morning, and I didn’t have my milk."

His remark was so comical that I—along with the rest of the class, melted into a pool of laughter. Still yet, what he did was against the rules. 

Isaiah pronounced a “woe” upon those who called good evil and evil good. Their values were twisted. Clay’s actions proved the mistake still existed. 

Though people and times many have changed, God’s standards haven’t. He still has an ethical and social code He expects us to obey. I can remember when even those who weren’t believers followed God’s code simply because most of society did. 

Not so many years ago, then-President Ronald Reagan said, "Without God, there is no virtue because there's no prompting of the conscience. If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." 

Right and wrong should not be determined by circumstances. Doing so leads to situational ethics. What was wrong in the beginning is still wrong and will be when time ends, regardless of whether I think God should change His mind. And following the majority is often the wrong thing for me to do. While the majority may win the vote, they can still be wrong—and are about many forms of behavior currently accepted as permissible. 

God’s standards are based on His nature, which is characterized by holiness and goodness. I can be sure God is not out to make my life miserable. Following His guidelines will result in the best possible life there is to live. 

Satisfaction and joy never result from calling evil good. 

Prayer: Father, may our standards always replicate those detailed in Your Word.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Doing Things the Right Way - Martin Wiles

So Sarai took her servant, an Egyptian woman named Hagar, and gave her to Abram so she could bear his children. Genesis 16:1-2 NLT

Turning the handle the right way produced gas flow; turning it the wrong way produced nothing. 

Having a gas tank on his property was an essential for my maternal grandfather. After all, he was a full-time farmer who lived 20 miles from a gas station. Getting fuel from the tank took a little know-how. And I didn’t. But my cousin, who lived next door, taught me. 

The large fuel tank was equipped with a pump and large handle. To prime the pump, the handle had to be reversed three or four times. Once primed, the pump handle had to be turned in the opposite direction. When done properly, fuel would flow into the gas tank. 

God’s plan entails a right and a wrong way. God promised a son to Abraham and Sarah. Both were elderly and past the age of having children. Abraham believed God’s promise; Sarah laughed at it. Sarah also suggested a plan to help God after the promised heir didn’t arrive quickly enough. Sadly, Abraham agreed. A son was born, but it wasn’t the son of promise. 

God has a plan for each individual as well as a world plan. He had a specific direction He wanted me to travel. I did…but not initially. At the same time, I’m not a robot. God gives me free will, giving me the ability to thwart His plan—to a degree, just as Abraham and Sarah did. 

Since God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He can work around my goof-ups. He allowed me a few years of rebellion, wherein I made many stupid mistakes. He also afforded Abraham and Sarah the opportunity to do it their way. 

God’s love leads Him to bless us in spite of our periods of disobedience. He blessed me with extended opportunities, and He gave Abraham and Sarah another chance to do things the right way. God works within the confines of our free will to bring about His purposes and plans. 

Of course, when I totally ignore God’s plan, He will send discipline and punishment. Altering or temporarily postponing God’s plan can bring the same. God has a perfect plan and a permissive plan. And some parts of God’s plan are simply non-negotiable—like the Second Coming of Christ. 

Are you doing things the right way as it relates to God’s plan for you?

Prayer: Father, give us the faith we need to do things the way You instruct. 


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Flashback Friday - Martin Wiles

Living with Purpose

I’ve never been one, but I hear it’s an exhilarating experience. And as of February 21, 2013, I entered the “Grandpa (or more appropriately ‘Pee Paw’) world.”

Levi Andrew Wiles entered our universe in Anderson, South Carolina, at 1:24 a. m. Fortunately my daughter didn’t force me to wait 20 hours for his arrival. Within the space of a few hours, he guzzled his first breath of air, wallowed in his first bath, underwent a thorough inspection by medical staff, gulped his first sip of mother’s milk, and made himself ready for the holding and gawking that normally attends the birth of a first child or grandchild. Read more...


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