Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - If God Can Prevent Tragedies, Why Doesn't He - Martin Wiles

If God Can Prevent Tragedies, Why Doesn’t He?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

I was standing before my congregation on a Wednesday night. The prayer request that surfaced from a member was innocent enough, but I doubt they had completely thought through what they asked.

We lived fairly close to the South Carolina coast, and a dangerous hurricane was heading in our direction. It wasn’t the first time a hurricane threatened, nor was it the first time I had heard such a request. “Let’s pray that God will turn the hurricane away from us.” Though I acknowledged and commended the request, I couldn’t help but think: “So do you want him to send it someone else’s way?” Read more...

Tweetable: What do you believe about tragedies? 


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Monday, March 30, 2020

Honesty … At All Times - Martin Wiles


The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. Proverbs 12:22 NLT

I had no proof she lied, but the evidence seemed pretty weighty.

My brother and his fiancé were coming for supper. My wife wanted to cook a particular dish she didn’t have all the ingredients for. My normal routine after work is to take a thirty-minute walk. Since we live just behind a major grocery chain, my wife often asks me to stop by and pick up a few things. She did this time.

Looking at the text my wife sent, telling me exactly what to get (I have a habit of getting the wrong thing.), I scanned the aisle for the cans of broth and consume—noting the sale price beneath them. But when the cashier scanned them, they rang up at the regular price. I questioned him. He sent for a supervisor, a young girl who didn’t look overly excited about helping.

She walked four aisles toward the back to check the price. Staying gone longer than it should have taken her, I wondered what she was doing. Could she not find the item? Was she moving a tag someone placed in the wrong spot? Should I have taken a picture? I wished I had.

“Only the soups are on sale, not the broth,” she said after a long absence.

“So, there wasn’t a tag saying $1.79 beneath the broth?” I questioned.

“No,” she said with a sly smile.

“Are you sure,” I questioned again.

“Yes, but I’ll give them to you for that.”

I wanted to walk back to the aisle to make sure I saw the price correctly, but feared I wouldn’t find the original price tag. Next time, I’ll take a picture. Something else my wife has taught me to do.

Solomon makes it quite plain how God feels about lying. He detests it. Whether the young girl lied or not, she’ll have to live with it—and I’ll never know. But I’m not responsible for her, just me.

Even though God implants a new nature in His children, we can still be prone to lie when it suits what we perceive as our best interests, when we want to escape punishment, or when we’re trying to protect others or ourselves. None, however, are valid reasons in God’s sight.

Practicing honesty is a daily challenge—but one God gives us the power to master if we rely on Him.

Make it a point to let honesty be your life policy.

Prayer: Father, help us make honest choices each day.



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Saturday, March 28, 2020

When the Days Are Long - Martin Wiles


Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. Exodus 17:12 NLT

The day seemed long … much longer than twenty-four hours.

I awoke at six a.m., knowing I had several things to do before my wife and I left. I needed to work on my website and send off a couple of devotions to a local newspaper and to another website for which I’d been writing for a number of years.

By the time my wife was ready, I too was ready for our thirty-five-minute drive to the small church which had asked me to preach for the next two Sundays. Once the morning service concluded, we drove another twenty miles to my wife’s family reunion. 

After a quick lunch, and a few minutes of her visiting with relatives, we drove forty-five minutes back home where I took a thirty-minute nap, showered, and hit the road again for the evening services—another thirty-five-minute drive away.

After services, we headed for home, but not before stopping by a local restaurant to eat with friends—who then came to our house for a short visit.

By nine p.m., my eyelids lowered, and the bed called. One long day behind me. A day in which I felt I needed someone to hold me up. Moses felt the same. Israel’s enemies, the Amalekites, attacked. Moses mounted a mountain where he held up his staff. As long as the staff was raised, the Israelites conquered, but if lowered, they lost. Fortunately, Aaron and Hur came to Moses’ aid and helped him hold up his arms.

Our world is a busy place, perhaps busier than it’s ever been. Technology allows us to do more in less time but seems to have stolen the extra time it promised us. We visit by Facebook, Instagram, email, LinkedIn, and text—but rarely in person. Not that anything is inherently wrong with those methods, but they shouldn’t substitute for hands-on contact with others. We need each other … and more than just through the internet.

Sending an email to let someone in need know I’m praying for them is nice, but going to them with a helping hand, when I can, is better. God understands our life circumstances and will work within our limitations to give us opportunities to demonstrate His love to others. Making choices that give us free time to help others is our responsibility.

Make time in your long days to lend a helping hand to others.

Prayer: Father, help us make wise choices so we’ll have time left over to lend others a helping hand.



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Friday, March 27, 2020

Flashback Friday - If God’s so Good, Why Is There Evil? - Martin Wiles

If God’s so Good, Why Is There Evil?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

While visiting the cemeteries surrounding the old churches in Cades Cove, Tennessee, my brother and I marveled over the numerous headstones showing children’s names—children who had lived only a few days or months. Children who lived in a place where medical care was scarce and fell far short of today’s standards. As they watched their children slowly slip from this life, some of these parents must have wondered why God was allowing this if he was so good. As a minister, I too have had this question posed to me by those who’ve lost children to illnesses or tragedies. And by some who haven’t experienced any personal tragedies but are simply trying to rectify in their minds how a good God and the presence of evil can co-exist. Read more...

Tweetable: Are you confused by evil? 


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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Open Wide - Martin Wiles


Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. Psalm 81:10 NLT

“Open wide!”

I can’t remember how many times I’ve said it. To children, and then grandchildren. When they didn’t want to eat a particular kind of baby food, but I knew they needed it. Or when they didn’t want to take medicine. Along with the plea sometimes came a song … or a promise to get something they liked. Sometimes, the bribery worked.

I’m sure Mom and Dad used the same tactic on me when I was a baby. And surely, my grandmother did also. And even at fifty-eight, there are still some make-you-gag medicines I don’t care to open my mouth for. 

But for some things, I love opening my mouth. Such as a chocolate glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut. Or a plain one will do, especially if the “Hot and Ready” sign is on. Better yet, the chocolate covered crème filled honey bun that I buy occasionally. This little jewel contains 450 calories. I reserve it for my cheat days when I’m not counting my calories.

I love to munch … and on things that aren’t necessarily good for me … and these are the things for which I enjoy opening my mouth. So did God’s people in the Old Testament period. They loved to open their mouths widely to worship pagan gods—gods the one true God had told them to leave alone. And when they did, God got a belly full and sent punishment their way. Not because He was a mean deity, but because He loved them.

God wants us to open our mouths widely for the good things He has in store for us. He desires that we ingest the life-giving principles of His Word. He wants us to revel in talking to Him on a regular basis—checking with Him before we make decisions, large and small. And He wants us to hang around with others who will feed us the same type of principles and encouragement we’ll receive from His Word.

Although God doesn’t enjoy doing so, He will send along discipline when we open our mouths for the wrong things. He knows if He doesn’t intervene that we’ll keep eating the wrong things, and they will harm us spiritually.

Instead of shutting your mouth tightly against what God attempts to feed you, open your mouth widely, knowing that what He gives you is the best.

Prayer: Father, thank You for feeding us only what is good for us.



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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Worm Attack - Martin Wiles


Some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. Jude 1:4 NLT

Though only two inches long, he—and his friends—left destruction in their path.

Spring witnessed the emergence of numerous Canon lilies in our backyard. I had only planted several, but they multiplied with ferocity. My wife and I watched as they sprouted upward to seven feet tall and hailed their bright yellow blooms over and over again.

Then, I noticed it. Damage on a few leaves. Leaves too high for a rabbit or other varmint to reach. Later in the summer, I removed several other lilies from pots and planted them in the ground. Soon their leaves looked the same. As the summer wore on and fall approached, the smaller plants looked as if a hungry rabbit had stripped them.

We had no idea what was attacking our plants until we walked outside late one evening and saw a green caterpillar on our patio. The scientific name isn’t important—nor is the fact that it will eventually turn into a beautiful moth. At the moment, he and a multitude of his friends were destroying our Canon lilies. Although our dog enjoyed playing with him and his family, I wanted them gone before they completely destroyed our garden of lilies. We were under worm attack.

Jude was the brother of Jesus and James and wrote to first-century Jewish Christians experiencing the worms of heresy and false teaching. Some of whom said believers could live any way they wanted since God had forgiven their sins.

Some heresy is so heretical we can’t miss it. Other false teaching is just subtle enough for it to deceive us. Church leaders are responsible to keep false teachers from influencing their flock, but we as individuals are also accountable for protecting ourselves.

Fortunately, I had parents who laid a firm foundation for me early in life, giving me the ability to spot false teachings quickly. Others are not so lucky. Grounding ourselves in God’s Word—and the proper methods to interpret it—is the only sure way to detect false teaching or heresy when it arrives. Because it will come, just as the worm wormed its way into my lily garden. And those who bring it are often enticing and interesting and come with a message that matches their personality.

When you find yourself under worm attack, go to God’s Word to find the truth.

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us the weapon to fight off false teaching.



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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Was Jesus God or Just a Man? - Martin Wiles

Was Jesus God or Just a Man?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

When I glance at my dog and cat, I can easily distinguish the difference. How can I do this so easily? After all, they both have ears, mouths, tongues, eyes, tails, legs and feet, teeth, and fur. I suppose the obvious giveaway is that one meows while the other barks. 

But suppose I was deaf. Then how would I know? Somewhere in my distant past, my parents, grandparents, nursery workers, and other significant people taught me the difference. They either showed me a picture or the real thing and said “Dog” or “Cat.” Why even my fifteen-month-old grandson knows the difference. If I ask him where the kitty is, he looks at the cat and points. When he sees the dog, he says “Dog.” How does he know? Because I’ve done the same with him as others did with me. I show him the real thing as well as point them out in books we read. I know…he knows, because someone told us so and because I see others naming them the same thing. Read more...

Tweetable: Who is Jesus to you? 

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