Monday, January 21, 2019

Am God, Will Travel - Martin Wiles

Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. Exodus 25:8 NLT

What I had on my back went with me everywhere I traveled.

On a bright morning, my wife dropped my daughter and I off at a secluded parking lot that accessed the Footrails Trail. Five days later, she would pick us up thirty-eight miles down the trail. On our backs, we carried everything we needed to survive.
  
Over the next five days, our backpacks followed us wherever we went. And we wanted them too, though many moments arrived when we wanted to shed them. The weight slowed us down and made our backs ache. Their cumbersomeness made walking awkward, but we knew the importance of a properly supplied pack. So we carried them all the way to the end. We dared not leave them behind.

After delivering His people from four hundred years of slavery, God led them to Mount Sinai where He gave Moses the Ten Commandments, along with many other ceremonial and dietary laws. Additionally, he told him to construct a tabernacle to house, among other things, the Ark of the Covenant—a box-like piece of ornate furniture with rings on each corner for poles so they could carry it everywhere they traveled on their way to the Promised Land. 

Even the tabernacle was portable. God wanted them to understand that while He was God, He still traveled with them everywhere their feet marched.

God still travels with His people. He’s not confined to a church or a denomination. He temples on the inside of His children through the presence of His Spirit. I can’t leave Him behind when I go places I’d rather He not go or when I say things I’d rather Him not hear. He’s with me everywhere—when I’m obedient, and when I’m not.

Wherever life takes me, God goes with me. He protects, guides, encourages, and comforts. I can’t leave Him behind, though in times of rebellion I might want to. He formulates every detail of my life for good, for He has my best at heart. And as my pack supplied all I needed for the hiking journey, so God gives me all I need to do life.

Regardless of where life takes you, remember God goes with you. He loves you, directs your life, and wants you to consult Him with every detail.



Prayer: Father, thank You for traveling with us through life and for supplying all we need to have an abundant time along the way. 


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Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Source of No Disappointment - Martin Wiles

They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disappointed. Psalm 22:5 NLT
I thought we had a friendship bond—and perhaps we did—but they didn’t know how to respond. When the chips fell, they walked out.
Like most people, I’d experienced a few sour patches along life’s journey, but this one came without warning. Things moved along at a smooth speed—or so I thought. Then it happened. Words were spoken by a loved one. Words I thought I’d never hear. My world collapsed. My mind numbed. Overnight, things metamorphosed from good to bad . . . worse than bad.
Having friends and family to comfort you when life takes a downward spiral is important. My family did a good job. They came to my rescue more than once financially. They called regularly to check on me. But some of my professional friends—whom I thought cared about me—abandoned me. No calls. No visits. No, “We’re praying for you,” or “What can we do to help?” Only one of two stood bravely by my side. I was disappointed. Thankfully, I had my source of no disappointment to depend on.
Disappointment sprinkles life, but one person who will never disappoint is God. He didn’t the ancient Israelites—and He won’t me. They had spent 400 years in Egyptian slavery, but when they cried out for God’s deliverance, He didn’t disappoint them. He appeared to Moses in a burning bush and told him to lead His people to freedom. With God’s assistance, Moses succeeded.
I don’t always understand God’s workings in my life. His ways are higher than mine and beyond my understanding. My faith must take over during these periods of misunderstanding. Otherwise, disappointment will gladly move in. When I trust Him to move me through tough times—at His pace, in His timing, and with His methods—disappointment won’t taunt me.
Others can’t always be depended on. They’re human and will disappoint me. I’m sure I’ve delivered my share of disappointment to others unintentionally. God, however, doesn’t share this human quality. He is faithful to His promises. What His Word says, I can depend on. What He says He will do, He will do—and will forever. He is continuously by His children’s side, never leaving or forsaking them.
God will never disappoint you when you trust Him with your life. 

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your continual presence that guides us through every step of life—good and bad. 

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Flashback Friday - Living with Limitations - Martin Wiles

Living with Limitations

I’ve come to the conclusion I can’t do what I once did. 

Though I’m considered to be only in mid-life, I’ve noticed my limitations seem to grow daily. I could once toss a 50-pound sack of feed over my shoulder and walk proudly to the checkout counter and then to my truck. If I do that now, my back will ache for three days. Hiking up and over mountains while carrying a backpack was once a relatively minor task. I haven’t tried this in 12 years, but I’m relatively sure I couldn’t do it at present. And if I wake up and make it through the day pain free it gives me reason to celebrate. Read more...

Tweetable: How do you handle your limitations?


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Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Prison of Guilt - Martin Wiles

Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. Psalm 19:13 NLT
Bars aren’t the only things imprisoning people.
I’ve never been in prison, but I have known a few people who have. Bars, fences, and razor wire are all designed to keep prisoners confined. Locks ensure prisoners don’t enter forbidden areas. Guards watch over them to make sure the deterrents do their job.
And then there are the threats prisoners impose on each other. Rape, murder, homosexual activity, cursing, and beatings. Things that bars, fences, and razor wire can’t prevent. Couple these with loneliness, guilt, depression, and disappointment and the experience is more than some can stand—leading them to commit suicide.
Deliberate sins will do such things to a person, as the psalmist knew. He’d never spent time in prison, but he had committed deliberate sins that invited trouble into his life—and guilt. He, however, wanted to live free from guilt—not be controlled by it. Some of his guilt was healthy; some of it was not.
The nature of guilt hasn’t changed. Guilt has a purpose, but, like many things, Satan twists and uses guilt for purposes God didn’t intend.
Guilt brings me to Christ. When my father first explained to me how my sin separated me from a God who loved me, I felt guilt over my sins. I knew I had done or thought things that displeased Him. Guilt moved me to repentance and led to God’s forgiveness.
Guilt also propels me to confession. Being a Christian doesn’t make me perfect. During times of rebellion—or when I had committed deliberate sins—guilt, placed there by a loving God, moved me to confess my sins so I could experience the fullness of my relationship with Christ.
False guilt, on the other hand, keeps me in a prison God never intended for me to inhabit. Fear He will take away the forgiveness He has graciously given. The fear I’ve committed a sin He won’t forgive. Worry over not living up to His expectations. Or a permanent state of anxiety that I’ll never measure up to His hope for me. Guilt leading to these types of worry or anxiety doesn’t originate with God, but with the enemy of my soul.
God’s grace sufficiently covers all our sins—past, present, and future. Let true guilt lead you to repentance and confession, but don’t let false guilt imprison you in worry and anxiety.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the guilt over sin that leads us to You, but thank You even more for the grace that covers all our sins. 

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