Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Throwback Tuesday - More Than a Bargain - Martin Wiles

More Than a Bargain

We eagerly awaited the auctioneer’s first words. And finally they came: “Okay, the first item up for bid is…What do you give? How bout a ten dollar bid? Anywhere, anywhere?” Nothing. “What about a five dollar bid? Who’ll give me five?” Still silence. Finally, “Who’ll start me at $2.50?” My wife quickly shoved our card into the air, and the auctioneer gladly pronounced “Sold!”

We love auctions and have attended enough of them to know that one person’s trash really is someone else’s treasure. Finding jewels is exciting, especially when they’re bargains we can resell for a nice profit. Clean-out auctions are our favorites because we can buy countless treasures at bargain prices. Read more...


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Monday, November 20, 2017

Tools of the Shed - Martin Wiles

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. Acts 9:15 NLT
Dad’s first woodworking project began in a small storage shed.
My dad’s full-time work was pastoring churches, but his hobby was working with wood. He took up the hobby when he was pastoring a small church in the lower regions of South Carolina. The congregation was small, so he had more time on his hands than normal for a pastor. A small storage shed out back where yard implements and the lawnmower were kept became his first wood shop. And his first projects were wooden picture frames he glued outdoor scenes on.
By the time Dad retired, he had purchased a large shed and filled it with woodworking implements of all sorts. Table saws, band saws, planes, routers, sanders, and drill presses. Anything he needed for a project, he purchased. Hammers, screwdrivers, pencils, screws, nails, and dowels. And when he finished for the day, everything he had used was returned to its place. His small projects evolved into larger ones, such as bedroom suites, tables, and china cabinets.
Ananias wasn’t excited when God told him about a special tool: Saul. Ananias knew him as a persecutor and killer of Christians, not someone friendly to religious folks. What he didn’t know was that God had changed Saul’s heart and was going to use him as a tool to spread the gospel across the known world. Ananias couldn’t imagine Saul as God’s tool.
As believers, we’re all special tools in God’s shed, and we each have a particular purpose. Dad didn’t use a saw to hammer a nail, nor did he use a hammer to drive in a screw. The drill press was used for drilling holes not cutting wood. God has given me tools that match my personality and His plan for my life. Your tool may be different, but you are a tool He wants to use nevertheless.
Many of Dad’s tools outlasted him and were passed down to my middle brother who still uses them. God used Paul until he died, and He wants to do the same with me. Older tools manufactured by popular companies are valuable. God has stamped His brand name on believers, which gives us value and use for a lifetime.
Let God help you discover the tool you are so you can get busy with the work He wants you to do.

Prayer: Father, thank You for using us as tools in Your Kingdom work. Help us to be faithful in the work You assign us. 

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

When God Hides - Martin Wiles

He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds. Psalm 18:11 NLT
I knew it was there, but I couldn’t see it.
When a New or Full Moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach to the Earth, it is called a Supermoon. This happened recently and was the first occurrence since January 26, 1948. I wanted to see this one—but couldn’t. Several wildfires were raging nearby, and each morning and evening witnessed a thick coat of smoke that veiled the sky, shutting out my ability to see the stars or the Supermoon. Add to that the geography of our neighborhood—tall trees and other nearby townhouses, and my wish to witness this marvel of nature went ungranted.
The psalmist was hounded by enemies, one in particular—a jealous king. But he wasn’t worried. Using picturesque words to describe what was indescribable, he related how God came down to save him. Mounted on an angelic being, God soared on the wings of the wind with storm clouds beneath His feet. But He also shrouded Himself in darkness so His enemy couldn’t see His approach.
God has been known to hide. For 13 years, Joseph must have wondered where He was. Joseph was hated by his jealous brothers, and then sold by them to a band of traders who took him to Egypt and sold him again. Falsely accused of trying to rape the king’s wife, Joseph was cast into prison where he was promptly forgotten. For two more years, he languished in squalid conditions until God suddenly turned his situation around and promoted him to prime minister of Egypt.
Just because I don’t see the hand of God in my situation doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Jesus promised never to leave or forsake His children—and He doesn’t. He is working behind the scenes, orchestrating the events of my life, thwarting the schemes of the enemy, and manufacturing good for me. My duty is simply to trust in His sovereignty, His unconditional love, and His power.
When God hides I must wait for Him to show Himself. Biblical waiting is not inactivity. I continue to do to the last thing He told me to do until He opens another door and provides clear guidance for a change of direction.
God may appear to be hidden, but He is never absent from the details of your life. Trust in that promise daily.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for always being near, whether we can perceive You or not. 

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Flashback Friday - Fruit the Hard Way - Martin Wiles

Fruit the Hard Way

Some think it’s easy, but I didn’t. I’d watched my grandfather do it for too many years.

Growing a garden is relaxing but also taxing. Breaking up a piece of unplowed ground with a tiller emits sweat, filthiness, and if I’m not cautious a few words better left unsaid. Rows must be drawn off, fertilizer added, and seed planted. Plants must be weeded and watered and sometimes sprayed with poison. Then the fruit must be harvested and canned or placed in the freezer. All time-consuming endeavors. While fresh fruit is delicious, it’s the product of demanding work. Read more...


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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cry Out - Martin Wiles

But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. Psalm 18:6 NLT
She raised up on the bed, writhing in pain.
I’d watched my wife suffer with kidney stones before. Over the course of a week, her abdominal pain had worsened to the point that it merited a trip to the local emergency room. After a shot of morphine and a CT, the doctors sent her home. No explanation—but no emergency either.
Four days later, the pain had intensified. We made another trip. As pains shot through her abdomen, causing her to almost come off the bed, nurses shot her with morphine—again. Nothing helped. After changing the pain medication, she finally found some relief. Seeing her pain—and hearing my frustration, the doctor finally consented to perform another CT scan. This time, the culprit raised its ugly head: diverticulitis.
I’ve watched others struggle with more pain than my wife experienced. Some cry out to God, and some cry out against God. Others curse and cry. Some bite their tongues and close their eyes. The psalmist chose to cry out to God. A jealous king—and other enemies--was after him. He needed deliverance. And David believed God heard him.
Jesus was God’s representative on earth. He said to see Him was to see the Father. He also proclaimed that He always did the Father’s will. One trait He demonstrated consistently was His concern for others. He continually went about doing good. As people heard of His love and miracles, they hounded Him when He approached their region or either left their homes to find Him.
Though no longer here personally and tangibly, Jesus still cares when I face distressing circumstances. And there is no end to the things that can cause us pain, sorrow, frustration, and confusion. Regardless of what it is—whether small or large, Jesus wants us to cry out to Him as David did. Time is of no concern. God is up continuously. He doesn’t rest or sleep. Nor is He confined by time. It’s never too late to call upon Him.
How God hears the thousands who pray to Him at the same time is unexplainable and takes a leap of faith to believe. But He does, and He demonstrates He does by answering our prayers according to His will—which is perfect.
When you’re in distress, call on the One who always cares and who will always answer.

Prayer: Father, thank You for coming to us and delivering us in our moments of distress. 

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Death Pangs - Martin Wiles

The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. Psalm 18:4-5 NLT
The thought of experiencing it unnerved me—even though I claimed to be prepared.
While a pre-teen, the fear of dying overcame me. As a nine-year-old, I had accepted Jesus and knew He had a place in heaven for me, but I feared what I had to experience to get there: death.
A few years later, relatives began dying. First, my paternal grandfather’s unhealthy living habits finally caught up with him. A couple of years later, he was followed by both of my great-grandparents. Soon after, the remainder of my grandparents died. Now at 56, I have lost one parent, and my wife and I know our remaining parents won’t be here forever.
Old age wasn’t why David feared death—he wasn’t old. A jealous king was on his trail, and he was running for his life, hiding in caves and in the wilderness. Death seemed near at all times, but God preserved his life. King Saul didn’t kill him—but was killed himself, and David was made the next ruler.
Only a very few welcome the thought of death. Regardless of how tough circumstances might be or how intense the pain of disease or other body ailments can get, most don’t wish for death. Rather, they pray for healing or for God to soothe the debilitating situation. But the healings of diseases and the removing of stressful situations won’t stop death. Barring the return of Jesus Christ, everyone will experience it.
Living peacefully while at the same time knowing the pang of death is just around the corner is possible. Doing what I did as a nine-year-old is the first step in facing the death pang: asking Jesus to forgive my sins and committing myself to be His follower. This act removes the condemnation I’m under and takes care of the sins I’m responsible for—all of which keep me out of heaven.
Knowing I’ll immediately enter heaven upon my death is also comforting. I won’t have to lie unconsciously in the ground until Christ returns. The apostle Paul said to be absent from the body was to be at home with the Lord. Jesus told the thief on the cross who begged for His forgiveness that he would be with Him in Paradise that day.
When you make things between you and God right, you no longer have to fear death’s pangs.

Prayer: Father, thank You for taking away the fear of death when we trust in You as our God. 

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Throwback Tuesday - Courtney's Prayer - Jeff Wiles

Courtney’s Prayer by Jeff Wiles

The most moving and beautiful prayers I ever heard came from a skinny, energetic little girl that my wife and I once taught at Children’s Church. Her name was Courtney, and every time we asked for volunteers to lead in prayer, she always raised her hand. 

But something happened to me when I listened to Courtney’s prayers: I cried. And often when I went home, I’d wonder what specific qualities made her prayers so soul-stirring and powerful. Was it her honesty? The simplicity of her words? One day I realized it had nothing to do with her words or requests. What made her prayers so beautiful was the God she prayed to. Read more...


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