Monday, May 20, 2019

Only One Way Out - Martin Wiles


There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 NLT

Water swirled around my head and stifled my cries.

I enjoyed time with friends at a pool. Four of us floated on an intertube in the shallow end. As an eight-year-old, my parents had not taught me how to swim. But my friends wanted to go to the deep end.

As my grip loosened from the pool’s concrete edge—and the intertube pulled away—I slipped beneath the water. Before I succumbed, one of my friends jumped in and rescued me.

As Peter stood before a ruling council who questioned how he and John had healed a crippled man, Peter told them about another rescue and the one way it happened: Jesus delivered humanity from sin’s penalty through His sacrifice on the cross.

We might like to think there are many ways to heaven, but the Bible says there’s only one. Jesus paid our sin debt on Calvary’s cross. When we believe that and ask Him to forgive our sins, He raises us from the waters of sin we’re drowning in.

Have you trusted the only one who can deliver you from your sin’s penalty?


Prayer: Jesus, we look to You for salvation, believing there is salvation in no other name.



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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Rising above Rejection - Martin Wiles


Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. Mark 8:31 NLT

“It would be best if you didn’t come back.”

The words stung—especially since I was this man’s pastor and his wife was a shut-in I visited regularly. I had made a change at church they didn’t appreciate, and they expressed their displeasure by uninviting me from their house.

Jesus knew about rejection too. Although thousands followed Him, many others rejected Him. Their rejection ultimately led to His arrest, torture, and crucifixion. But He rose above the rejection. Three days after being placed in a tomb, God raised Him up.

Rejection hurts, but rejection is a part of life. Some will always reject us because of our race, social class, religious standing, appearance, political stance, or personality. If Jesus couldn’t please everyone, we won’t either.

Comfort comes in knowing we, too, can rise above rejection. Others will reject us for various reasons, but God never turns us away. God’s love and acceptance are never-ending and always available to any who ask for it.

When others reject you, run to God’s loving arms of comfort.


Prayer: God of comfort, thank you for always accepting us when others reject us.




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Friday, May 17, 2019

Flashback Friday - Three P’s for Failure - Martin Wiles

Three P’s for Failure

What might appear to signal success can actually forecast failure.

Had I been Eve, I would have probably fallen to Satan’s temptations just as she did. Though I didn’t know her personally, I think I know her personality through her story. I would even venture to say my personality is similar. Psychology hadn’t been invented, but I’d risk concluding she had a Type A personality. She was driven. She hungered for more than God’s hand had dealt her. She wasn’t satisfied. She craved God’s qualities. She wanted more than 99% of the garden’s delights. She starved for them all. But what she imagined would bring delight and success delivered failure. Read more... 

Tweetable: How do you avoid the three P's of failure? 


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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Forgiving When It’s Difficult - Martin Wiles


Series: The Road to Humility

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” Matthew 18:21 NLT

She could forgive her daughter for almost anything, except for how she treated her children.

Jan had struggled with drug addiction most of her teen and adult life, even spending time in prison for drug dealings. She loved her children but just couldn’t muster the fortitude to be there for them when they were growing up and needed her the most. Her mom and dad had to step in and raise her children. Otherwise, social services would have taken them away.

Although her children are now in college and high school, Jan still struggles with drug use and depression. Her mom and dad continue to tend to her needs and the needs of her children—who have lived with them for years. And Jan’s mom continues to struggle with forgiving her adult daughter for what she’s done to the children.

I know a little of her pain. I too have struggled with a son who has battled substance abuse and who sometimes chooses not to talk to me or allow me to see my grandchild for months at a time. But I choose to forgive, as difficult as it is.

Peter recognized the difficulty of forgiving. He thought forgiving someone seven times for the same offense was a gracious plenty, but Jesus said no.

According to Jesus, we should attach no limit to our forgiveness. We represent God, and God doesn’t limit His.

Defined, forgiveness is releasing someone for a debt they owe because of a wrong they’ve committed against us. Jesus did it on the cross for those who crucified Him. Nothing anyone could do to us can compare to the harm our sin did to our relationship with God. But knowing we need to forgive and can’t justify not forgiving makes it no easier.

Only by God’s power can I forgive those who hurt me—and sometimes the hurts cut deeply. And sometimes I have to forgive the same person more than once for the same offense. Satan has a way of bringing back up the offense—and with the memory comes anger and unforgiveness.

Yet, failing to forgive demonstrates that I misunderstand God’s forgiveness. Regardless of the offenses—or how many times they’re committed—He continues to forgive. Love will let Him do no less. And it shouldn’t me either.

Ask God to help you forgive as you have been forgiven.


Prayer: Father, give us the strength to forgive those who wrong us just as You forgive our trespasses against You.



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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Confession: Good for the Soul - Martin Wiles


Series: The Road to Humility

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” Luke 18:13 NLT

The garden stakes with identifying tags stood tall, but not for long.

What made eight-year-old Michelle want to remove the garden stakes is anybody’s guess. My guess—since she is now my wife—is that her personality got in the way. She likes things in order, and the garden stakes probably didn’t fit. So she pulled each one up and laid them to the side. What she didn’t know was that her neighbor watched from the window. Not only did she watch but she also called Michelle’s mom who in turn confronted Michelle about her actions. Michelle confessed, not having intended to do anything wrong.

My heart wasn’t as tender as Michelle’s. As a pre-teen, I began delving into addictive substances and hanging out with the wrong crowd. I had trusted Christ as my Savior at nine, so God’s Spirit regularly aggravated me about my sinful actions—but I didn’t listen. Neither did I confess. Confessing wouldn’t have done any good because I wasn’t sorry and didn’t intend to change my behavior. Eight years later, I did confess. I then felt sorrow. 

In Jesus’ story, the one who needed to confess didn’t: the Pharisee. He was self-righteous, put God under obligation to himself, thought he was all that, and bragged about his many good deeds. But he was a sinner. The tax collector—considered a sinner by all—recognized his sinfulness and confessed to God. Jesus pronounced him forgiven, not the Pharisee.

Humility breeds in the practice of confession. Our initial confession and repentance bring forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. Perfection, however, doesn’t follow salvation. I fail God daily, although not intentionally. Daily confessing my sins and failures keeps the communication line between me and God open. When I don’t, the lines get static in them. God speaks, but I can’t hear Him clearly.

Confession also reminds me someone greater than I controls me. I’m answerable to God. He is my boss. I can do as I like … but not without consequence. My eternity—and present enjoyment of life—lies in His hands, and my choices affect it.

Confess your sins and failures daily to God so you can enjoy life at its best.


Prayer: Father, thank You for the forgiveness You continually give when we confess our faults to You.



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