Friday, September 25, 2020

Flashback Friday - Appointed to Death - Martin Wiles

Appointed to Death

Death is a reality.

And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27 NLT

In her essay, “The Existential Frankenstein,” Jennifer McMahon attempts to prove several conclusions about death. The phenomena are ones proposed by existential philosopher, Martin Heidegger, and psychological theorist, Ernest Becker. They include denying death, ignoring the prospect of death, attempting to conquer death, and accepting death. By alluding to various scenes in the movie Frankenstein, she attempts to illustrate the first three phenomena. In addressing certain aspects of horror flicks, McMahon makes true statements about real life. Read more...

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

Quail to the Rescue - Martin Wiles

That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. Exodus 16:13 NLT

One by one, they dropped from the tree.

As a young lad growing up in the flatlands of South Carolina, seeing blackbirds in the fall and winter months was common. Thousands decorated the sky, and I clapped to make them separate. Hundreds adorned trees, then dropped one by one to consume the fruit beneath.

For many years now, I’ve not seen blackbirds as I once did. Perhaps their migratory patterns have changed. Maybe I live in the wrong region.

Then, one day I saw them again as I took my late afternoon walk one warm winter day in February. Hundreds covered an oak tree. Two by two they dropped to the ground beneath to eat the acorns that lay on the ground. Memories of carefree days when I was young and the world seemed like a better place returned.

But I’ve never seen thousands of quail as the Israelites did. No sooner had God delivered them from 400 years of slavery than they grumbled because they didn’t have food and water. God solved the problem. As evening neared, He sent thousands of quail upon their camp. So many that they couldn’t eat them all. A demonstration of His grace and wrath.

The story reminds me that God will provide for His people … for me … one among millions, but also that His provision varies. Such as the time when my wife and I experienced a rough financial period and someone deposited #100 in our bank account. Thinking a teller had put money in the wrong account, we called our daughter who’s a teller at the bank. No mistake, but it was a cash deposit so she couldn’t tell us who made it. We thanked them anyway—and God—for placing our need upon their hearts.

Sometime, God provides for us in miraculous ways. He sends the quail … or the money. On other occasions, He gives us the wisdom to figure things out. For my wife and I, the latter has been the norm. We still give God the credit. Regardless of the way He chooses to provide, God will provide.

Trust that God will meet your needs because You are His child. He has promised.

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending just what we need when we need it.

Tweetable: How has God come to your rescue? 


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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Joy from Tears - Martin Wiles

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. Psalm 84:6 NLT

The tears flowed only inward—if then.

I grew up in a home where tears rarely appeared. I never remember my father crying—not even when he performed his grandmother, mother, and father’s funerals. Nor when some church members he pastored treated him in unkind ways. Perhaps he did when he had his quiet moments with God, but never in front of me.

Nor did I ever witness my mother cry. Not when she lost her father and mother. Or when one of us three boys would do something stupid that got us in trouble. Or when one of our marriages fell apart. No tears of sadness. No tears of joy.

I suppose my parents got this honestly because I never saw their parents cry either—and I spent enough time with both sets of grandparents to notice.

So, I followed suit. No tears. Not outwardly at least. But I was a crier. Inwardly. When I watched a sad movie. When a pet died. I’d secretly wipe the tears, hoping no one noticed them streaming down my face.

The change came when Dad died. As the music played at his funeral, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. They flooded from my eyes. Loud wails pushed from my throat. I’d never experienced this type of grief before.

According to the psalmist, those on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem would find joy even as they passed through the Valley of Weeping.

God has a way of bringing joy from tears—tears we shouldn’t hold back in times of sorrow and in times of joy. Society once taught boys not to cry. Doing so wasn’t manly. Perhaps my grandparents taught my dad that. But tears bring a cleansing to our souls, especially in times of sorrow. Our pent-up emotions are released. Stress is released. Tears help joy return.

Tears demonstrate empathy when we shed them for others. They also demonstrate our trust that God controls the situation bringing the tears. We trust His judgment … and timing.

Tears don’t mean we’re happy about what we’re crying about. Happiness and joy differ. Happiness depends on the circumstances. We can experience joy regardless of the circumstances by remembering God is in control.

Go ahead. Shed those tears. God will gently dap them away and give you a new perspective.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the tears that cleanse our souls.

Tweetable: Have you discovered joy from tears? 


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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Can I Know the Truth? - Martin Wiles

 Can I Know the Truth?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime.” John 18:38 NLT

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but truth isn’t. 

What is truth? Is there truth? Where can I find it? Is truth for me truth for everyone? Does it change? All questions people wrangle with and reach different conclusions. Relativism makes truth relative, or changeable. Individual relativism allows the individual to set the parameters. Cultural relativism lets each culture define truth. Imagine the missionary’s surprise when, after telling a native tribe about Judas betraying Jesus, he noticed they praised Judas instead of seeing his error. In their culture, betrayal was an honorable trait. Read more...

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Monday, September 21, 2020

When Darkness Abounds - Martin Wiles


Darkness is all around me; thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.
Job 23:17 NLT

He needed no flashlight—and feared nothing. I did.

My first job after graduating high school was with Orkin Exterminating Company working under houses. Doing so wasn’t a pleasant experience. Broken sewer lines, snakes, snake skins, low areas, protruding nails, spiders, junk. I saw it all.

An older gentleman trained me. What amazed me about him was he never used his flashlight when he went underneath a house—until he reached the area where work was needed. Me, on the other hand? I used mine before I ever stuck my head under the house. It wasn’t so much the darkness that bothered me, but what I knew could be in the darkness. I wanted light.

Darkness surrounded Job. Because of a test between God and Satan concerning why Job obeyed God, Job had lost everything but his life—and that hung in the balance. Family, real estate, servants. All gone. Except for a wife who told him to curse God and die, which he refused to do.

Dark periods punctuate life’s journey. Death, disease, pain, brokenness, rebellion, unforgiveness, financial ruin. Whatever the darkness, someone … many people … have experienced it. And we don’t always know the purpose. Job didn’t. He didn’t know God had given Satan permission to ruin his life just to prove Job would remain faithful to God—regardless of how terrible things became.

But there is purpose. Fate does not rule the world—or our lives. God controls our journey and allows or brings certain things to grow us spiritually, to test our faithfulness, and to teach us things about ourselves we need to know.

What we need in the dark periods is light. Light brought an entirely new perspective to my under-the-house experiences. And the light of Christ does the same for dark periods. Through gut-wrenching prayer, intense periods of meditation on God’s Word, and the counsel of spiritually mature friends, light shines into our dark periods.

As the old man plunged under the houses with no light, so we can plunge into our dark periods with confidence God will bring good from them. Job did. He said, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last” (19:25).

Darkness may surround you, but remember God provides the light that will get you through each day.

Prayer: Father, give us light in our dark periods so our faith and trust in You will grow.

Tweetable: Whom do you trust when darkness abounds?


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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Looking with Fear - Martin Wiles

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. Exodus 14:13 NLT

For four long hours, I trembled in fear. The only thing that stood between me, my son, and our certain demise was a .38 pistol.

On one of those rare instances when my son hiked with me in the mountains, we decided on an overnight camping trip—a short distance down the Appalachian Trail. The trail was easy, and we planned to stay in one of the shelters. No setting up a tent, which hopefully would help my son enjoy the trip a little more.

At dusk, two young men arrived and set up a tent site twenty yards away. We spoke, ate our supper, fixed our sleeping quarters, and hit the sack. Several hours into the night, I heard pots clanging and voices yelling. I knew the verdict. Black bears robbed their camp, stealing the only food they had to eat for their three-day excursion. 

Sweat beaded on my trembling body. Would the bears amber into our shelter looking for food, which we didn’t have? My son slept while I feared. Although the bears never entered our spot, I lay awake all night, frightened of the deadly possibilities that roamed just a few yards away.

Moses led 600,000 men plus women and children, and they all feared as they watched the Egyptian army coming to recapture them and return them to Egypt where once again they’d serve as slaves. The Red Sea lay in the other direction. Despite danger behind and ahead, their leader told them not to fear. God would intervene. And He did. He opened the Red Sea for the Israelites and then closed it on the Egyptians.

When it comes to living life, only two options exist: live it with fear or live it with faith. Choosing fear means living with worry, anxiety, and a prevailing attitude of uncertainty—all of which make life miserable. We’ll make our own plans, manipulate people and situations for our own good, live with selfishness, and always wonder whether we’ve done enough.

Living with faith brings the opposite results. Since we trust God to guide our life and handle each situation, we can operate each day with peace and joy. He’ll handle anything that comes our way—or give us the wisdom to. We’ll lie down in peace at night, knowing He protects us.

Don’t let fear rob your life of joy. Live with faith.

Prayer: Father, help us to live each day by faith and not fear.

Tweetable: Are you living with a spirit of fear? 


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Friday, September 18, 2020

Flashback Friday - Why Do Many Christians Not Live for Christ - Martin Wiles

 Why Do Many Professing Christians Not Live for Christ

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16 NLT

I remember the day she accepted Christ as her Savior, but now she was gone.

Mary* was a teenager who came from a shallow religious family. Her mother was the only spiritual light in her life. Mary followed in her mother’s footsteps for a number of years. She married a wonderful Christian man, and they had two children together. Yet for some unknown reason, Mary decided to walk away from them all—God included. Twelve years have passed, and she still hasn’t returned. Oh, she might take her grandchildren to church, but she continues to live a lifestyle that’s radically different from a dedicated believer. Read more...

Tweetable: Are you living for Christ? 


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