Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Proud Parent - Martin Wiles


Everything was created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16 NLT

I once pulled out my wallet to show how proud I was. Not anymore.

I still have one of the favorite pictures of my daughter stuck in my wallet, but I don’t show it to anyone anymore. Now my proud pictures of my daughter, son, wife, and grandchildren are on my smartphone. When I want to brag a little, I whip out my phone and tap on the photos. My wife and I recently had to upgrade our iPhones so we’d have enough space for pictures.

Although the way I show off the pictures of my family has changed, my proudness hasn’t. My two children at times have not acted as I wanted them too—sometimes departing from the godly paths their mother and I taught them to walk. Even though they’re now adults with families of their own, they sometimes fail to perform up to my expectations. My grandboys, though still young, don’t either. We teach them such things as not to talk back to adults, to tell the truth, to be kind, to share, and to love everyone. But occasionally they fail to obey our teachings or follow our example.

Even though I’m not always proud of my children and grandchildren’s actions, I’m proud of them. They’re my flesh and blood, and I will love them regardless of what they do. Paul says the same about God. Everything, including humans … especially humans, was created by Him and for His glory.

God is holy and created His children to be also. When we fail to be through our actions, words, or attitudes, we disappoint God, but He remains proud that we are His children. Just as children want to please their parents—no matter how old the child is—so we should want to make God proud of us. God created us in His image, and we should reflect that to others.

When we show Christ-like behavior in our actions and attitudes, when we shine the light of Christ to others, and when we help others be the people God desires, we make God proud.

My parents weren’t always proud of my behavior—or some decisions I made—but they were proud I belonged to them. I never heard them say, “You are no longer my son.” God, too, forgives when we fail.

Make up your mind to let your lifestyle make God proud.

Prayer: Father, we want to make You proud. Give us strength to live in such a way that we would.





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Hang Tough - Martin Wiles


Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. Matthew 4:11 NLT

“Tough times don’t last; tough people do.”

I figured if Jesus needed help then I did too. And I did. When I conducted a funeral for a young child who had been killed because his mom was driving drunk. When I told a husband his wife had been involved in a serious accident. When I endured years of financial hardship because of an immoral decision another person had made that affected me. When my son didn’t talk to me for a year because of an insignificant mishap on my part. When I waited on my dad to die after we had him disconnected from life-support instruments because he wished us too. And when I helped Dad conduct my grandmother and granddaddy’s funeral.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. If I listed the hardships I’ve needed help to get through, the incidents would fill pages. Family issues. Church problems. Employment matters. Emotional concerns. Each one was tough … some tougher than others, but I made it through.

God, through His Spirit, led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil for forty days. A strange scenario, but Jesus in His humanity had to learn obedience—and that lesson was tough. During His stint in the wilderness, Jesus endured every category of temptation we’ll ever face: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. At the end of the fight, angels came and comforted Jesus.

Knowing God controls the intensity and length of the tough time helps us endure. Jesus endured by the power of the Spirit, which is the same way we last. The moment we accept Christ as our Savior, God gives the Spirit. When we allow Him to fill us, we can persist through whatever life throws our way.

In His humanity, Jesus learned obedience through the tough time, and we do the same. Tough times increase our patience level and develop character in us.

Jesus fought Satan’s temptations with God’s Word—and He was victorious. When experiencing tough times or temptations, using God’s Word holds the key to our victory. Satan can’t stand against it, and the promises and stories will comfort and encourage us when we’re ready to give up.

In God’s power, you are tough. Don’t give up when the going gets rough.

Prayer: Father, thank You for equipping us for the tough times. When they arrive, give us the courage to trust You to get us through. 




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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Making a Difference - Martin Wiles


My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard. Romans 15:20 NLT

“I feel useless because I can’t work and help out with the bills.”

My wife made the statement while in one of her depressed moods. A number of health issues prevent her from working. While she can’t hold down an outside job, she does tend to our daughter’s two boys five days a week. And although she may not be paid in money for doing it, her efforts are, nevertheless, work.

After hearing our pastor address following God’s plan in his Mother’s Day sermon, I reminded my wife that some of my sharpest and most treasurable memories hinge on the time I spent with my grandmother when I was a young boy. She, like my wife, kept me while Mom worked and Dad went to college.

I remember riding in my grandmother’s 1950’s green Chevrolet and helping her ring doorbells as she delivered Avon products. I remember the talks we had, the presents she bought me, and the breakfasts she taught me to cook. I recall how she taught me to appreciate the beauty of flowers and how she told me often how much she loved me. And most of all, I remember the spiritual truths she taught me and the trips we made to church together. These things are indelibly ingrained in my mind.

“She made a difference in my life that I’ll never forget,” I told my wife as I assured her that she was doing the same thing in the lives of two of our grandboys.

Paul, like my wife, wanted to make a difference. He didn’t want to preach the gospel where others had, but in places where the good news of Jesus had never been heard. And he made a difference. He left us with most of our New Testament, and he started numerous churches where thousands came to know Christ as Savior.

My wife plants seeds every day in the lives of our grandboys. She has the opportunity to sow the gospel in fertile ground—ground that hasn’t been corrupted by the world’s philosophies. When these two boys face the world, they’ll have a proper foundation not only to face false teaching with but also to share with others.

Let God place you where He wants. And wherever He does, make a difference in His name and for His glory. Never underestimate what He can do through you.

Prayer: Father, use us wherever You please and in whatever way You choose.




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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Throwback Tuesday - Fig Leaves Won’t Do - Martin Wiles

Fig Leaves Won’t Do

God must sometimes chuckle as he views our attempts to cover ourselves.

Recently I discovered our cat was using our formal mahogany dining room table as a scratching post. When I noticed it, I became livid. I grabbed my furniture polishing kit, retrieved the Old English Scratch Cover, and went to work. While it covered the scratches, it didn’t remove them. The cat’s claws had extracted part of the wood, leaving indentations behind. I covered, but I couldn’t remove. 

Fig leaves were Adam and Eve’s scratch cover. Read more...

Tweetable: What are using to cover with?



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Monday, October 14, 2019

I Am - Martin Wiles


God replied to Moses, “I am who i am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:14 NLT

The wrong tense can lead to the wrong conclusion.

I am the President. Not likely that’s true—or that it ever will happen. One, because I don’t plan to run. Two, because I have no political experience and wouldn’t have any chance of winning. But the present tense would tell someone that is what I am, currently.

I was President. Different scenario. Somehow, I made it into the office and served my term. At some point in the past. But unless I said when, no one would know. They’d simply know it happened in the past because was is the past tense of am.

I will be President gives yet another scenario. I have not been the President in the past, nor am I the President in the present. Adding will looks to the future.

Without a verb, a sentence cannot be a sentence. Verbs link subjects to nouns or adjectives, show action, help, or show state of existence. I am shows state of existence. It tells what I am currently. I can only be in one place and time for one second and still say, “I am.” After one second passes, I will be “I was.”

With God, things are different. When God told Moses to lead His people out of Egyptian slavery, Moses said they’d want to know who sent him. God said to tell them “I AM” did.

I live in chronological time—seconds followed by minutes followed by hours followed by days followed by years. Once one second passes, I’m in the past tense, never to be in that present again. God, however, lives in the eternal now. He sees the past, present, and future all at the same time. Like watching a parade from the top of a tall building.

Pretty heavy stuff, but the implications bring comfort, encouragement, optimism—and a dose of realism. Regardless of the physical pain, God abides in the present with me to give me peace and strength to endure. If the pain is emotional—depression, discouragement, disappointment—He stays in the present present and in all future presents. When I’m doing my best to fulfill His plan for my life, God walks with me in the present, guiding me forward.

Learn from the past, look forward to the future, but enjoy the present and know God abides with you in every one of your present moments.

Prayer: Father, we thank You for dwelling with us in all of our present moments.




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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Missing the Obvious - Martin Wiles


Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! Luke 24:31 NLT

Two weeks of suffering didn’t make the obvious any more … obvious.

The teacher in the room next to me and I—along with our students—sweltered in our rooms. Although the outside temperature was only in the seventies, our rooms boiled. My turning down the two hallway thermostats didn’t help. The heat frazzled our nerves and made it difficult for the students to pay attention. A quick email to our maintenance man led to an investigation.

Two weeks prior—the time our rooms began warming up—he had called the air conditioning company to have them check our systems. Unbeknownst to him, they had forgotten to turn the main breaker switches back on. When he investigated the systems, he discovered their silence. A flip of the switch—the obvious fix—brought nice cool air to our rooms.

Sometimes, the obvious isn’t obvious. It wasn’t for two men on their way to the village of Emmaus. Jesus had risen from the dead and one day joined them as they walked. They didn’t recognize Him because God prevented them from doing so. 

When Jesus asked what they were talking about, they informed Him that He must be the only person in Jerusalem who didn’t know what had happened. Then, they explained to Jesus what He already knew about His own resurrection. Going home with them, Jesus broke bread, blessed it, and handed it to them. Suddenly, what wasn’t obvious became apparent.

Regardless of the matter—financial, emotional, spiritual, relational—God is the one who conceals and reveals. Gaining the information I need—or experiencing the healing I seek—requires effort and dependence. Jesus used the writings of Moses and the Prophets to reveal to the two men that what had happened to Him had been prophesied in Scripture.

God reveals through various sources: prayer, meditation, consultation with spiritually mature people, worship, and reading. When I go to the wrong sources, the obvious may remain concealed, but when I consult the right sources, God will unfold the information I need. He wants to meet our needs, He wants to guide us along the right paths, and He wants us to know His will in any given situation.

Don’t wander through life without purpose, missing what God wants to do in your life. Let God reveal what you can’t see.

Prayer: Father, give us the spiritual insight we need for every situation we face in life.




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Friday, October 11, 2019

Flashback Friday - When Sin Gets Comfortable - Martin Wiles

When Sin Gets Comfortable

What happens when what I once feared I no longer dread?

As a child, I was terrified of the darkness. My parent’s solution was to assure me there was nothing in the darkness that wasn’t present in the light—which I discovered later was not exactly the truth, and to make me walk into dark rooms or yards. Eventually, my fear of the darkness dissipated. Now I will stroll through a darkened church or school building with no thought at all of danger lurking in every corner. I may walk outside at night without a flashlight and even sleep without a nightlight. I’ve become comfortable with darkness. Read more...

Tweetable: Are you comfortable with sin?



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