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...

Tweetable: Do you know the truth? 


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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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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Gone…and Forgotten - Martin Wiles

Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. Ecclesiastes 9:15 NKJV

If others will forget everything I do … and me … what’s the point in doing anything?

I’ve forgotten most of the friends I’ve made. I surely can’t remember all the toys I had as a child. Nor can I remember the names of all the schools I attended, since Dad was a preacher and we moved around a lot. As I get older, I even struggle to remember current things. Such as my wife’s birthday, my anniversary, the kids’ birthdays, and the grandkids’ birthdays.

Unless I keep in mind Solomon’s purpose in writing the book, I’ll be sorely depressed by the time I finish reading his meanderings. In this instance, he tells of a wise man who by some act of wisdom saved a city from destruction … but he was forgotten soon thereafter.

The story makes me wonder about my own life. Although a number of people know me now, how many will remember me after I’m dead—and for how long? After all, those who know me now will face my fate. Will they tell their children about me so they will remember me? Or will my name soon fade into oblivion after my demise? Will my children pass along memories about me to their children … and grandchildren? Will I be gone—and quickly forgotten?

Maybe this is why Jesus instructed us to store our treasures in heaven rather than on earth. A place where moth and rust cannot destroy them, nor can thieves steal them. I, and my life contributions, will be quickly forgotten on earth, but not if I store them in heaven.

Through a life of obedience to God, I send treasures to heaven where they are safe and secure and where God will never forget them. I’ll receive rewards for things done with the proper motives—crowns I’ll quickly cast at the feet of Jesus.

Of course, being so heavenly minded makes me no earthly good—and I should be earthly good. Through technology … by placing encouraging words from God on the Internet … I can help keep my memory alive for years after my death. And more importantly, I can make sure God’s Word keeps affecting people’s lives long after I’m gone and forgotten.

What can you do to keep your influence alive long after you’ve gone?

Prayer: Father, help us live each day in light of eternity, knowing the things of this world are only temporary.

Tweetable: What will others remember about you?


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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Letting Go - Martin Wiles

But Jacob replied, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left.” Genesis 42:38 NLT

She loves to play fetch; she doesn’t love to let go.

Two years ago, my wife and I inherited a Chihuahua-terrier mix. This Chihuahua differed from others I’d owned. She wasn’t moody and welcomed visitors she’d seen before—but at the same time alerted us to strangers. And she loved to play fetch—not something I’ve ever known a Chihuahua to enjoy.

Although she loves to fetch her favorite toys, she doesn’t enjoy letting go. I play tug of war with her for a few minutes, then stop. When I do, she lays the toy down, wanting me to throw it. As long as I toss the toy, she’ll fetch it. She loves holding on; she reluctantly lets go.

Jacob knew a little about holding on, too. He had two sons by his beloved wife: Joseph and Benjamin. His other sons hated Joseph, sold him into slavery, and told their father a wild animal had killed him. What they didn’t know was that their hated brother now commanded the food distribution program in Egypt. And since a famine ravaged their homeland, the family needed to see him to get food. They also needed Benjamin. Joseph wanted to see his blood brother and wouldn’t give his other brothers food unless they brought him along. Jacob, facing starvation, reluctantly let him go.

Letting go isn’t the easiest thing in the world. For parents who are sending their child off to their first day of school … or college. For Moms and Dads who are giving their son or daughter away in marriage. For one spouse who is telling the other spouse goodbye as they leave on a military tour of duty. Or for family and friends telling a loved one goodbye as they leave to serve on the mission field.

Neither is it easy to let go of hurt, disobedience, or pride. When others hurt us, we hurt. Letting go through forgiveness takes courage, giving up sinful habits we enjoy takes guts, and learning to let God guide us rather than using our own ingenuity takes humility.

To enjoy life as God intends takes a lifetime of letting go. Until we do, the peace we seek will lay unexperienced in our laps, just as the bone I refuse to throw lies in my lap.

Let go of whatever holds you back from God’s best.

Prayer: Father, give us the courage to let go of the things that prevent us from experiencing Your best.

Tweetable: Are you holding on when you need to let go? 


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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Does God Really Need Me? - MartinWiles

 Does God Really Need Me?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Matthew 3:9 NLT

Is it possible that an omnipotent and omniscient being actually needs me?

Among our most important needs are security, self-worth, and significance. Believing there is an individual who can consistently meet these three needs without failure positions me for disappointment. I can’t constantly meet all the needs of any one person nor can they return the favor. Only God has the ability to satisfy every need I have without ever failing. Read more...

Tweetable: Do you think God needs you? 


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