Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Is God Real - Martin Wiles

Is God Real?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” John 20:25 NLT

Some things I’m challenged to believe even when they fail every apparent test.

I have certain tests I use to determine validity. Quite naturally, they involve my senses. How do I know my wife is real? This may seem like an absurd question, but the tests I employ to test her reality are the same ones I use for more complicated issues. I see a body lying beside mine every morning, and I know I’ve seen this person before. I smell her odors…but in a pleasant way. With my ears, I hear her speak to me and others, and I recognize the voice. I can touch her. She feels like the same person I’ve touched for the last ten years. Touch lets me know she’s not an apparition. And if I’m really bold, I can nibble on her neck. When I’ve employed all these tests, I conclude, “She is real.” Read more...

Tweetable: How do you know God is real? 


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Monday, July 6, 2020

Building a Lasting House - Martin Wiles


Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Psalm 127:1 NLT
He wasn’t a carpenter by trade—and he never built a house.
As far as I can remember, Dad never had a hobby—until he began pastoring a smaller membership church in the lower regions of South Carolina. Since he had a lot of time on his hands, he needed a hobby. He chose woodworking.
He began with small projects—a square piece of wood on which he glued a nice outdoor picture. Then he started fancying up the frames a bit. From this small beginning, he moved on to more detailed and complicated projects such as potato bins, shelves, cedar chests, toy boxes, a canopy bed for my daughter, and finally a bedroom suite from mom. Any little nick nack around the house Mom wanted, he built. Most of what he built stayed around the house or was given to a family member.
Dad had perfectionistic tendencies, so nothing he built had flaws—at least not noticeable ones. He spent more hours than he should have on everything he built. When he finished, he proudly stamped his name in some inconspicuous place.
No matter what Dad built, he always used tools of some type: saws, lathes, sanders. And of course, glue and screws. Something had to hold together the items he constructed. Without these, nothing he built would have been of any use to anyone. By the time Dad died, he had an entire shop full of tables and woodworking tools.
Jesus also knew a little about building. He was a carpenter and had been taught the trade by His earthly father. What He built, we’re not told, but He built. And by the inspiration of His Spirit, He told the psalmist hundreds of years before a little something about carpentry—although carpentry of a different type. We must involve God in the building of a house—whatever type it is—if the house is to survive.
Earthly homes are only shells. The home is the relationships that inhabit the shells, and unconditional love, time, patience, and a willingness to adapt and change must characterize these shells if the home is to survive the storms that will rage against them. Dad knew a lot about those tools too. And so did Jesus … and the psalmist.
God is the only one who can give us the tools to build lasting homes. Let Him teach you how to build such a home.
Prayer: Father, we entrust our homes to You. Teach us how to make them endure.

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Saturday, July 4, 2020

When the Barn’s Full - Martin Wiles


Then he said, “I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.” Luke 12:18 NLT
His one barn always seemed to be full.
One barn situated itself on my grandfather’s farm. I suppose one sufficed, since he was only a small farmer. He had enough money to build more, but chose to settle for only one.
And this red barn became one of the favorite places for my cousin and me to play. We pretended a monster lived in the barn, and we hid—or ran—from him. We plundered in the different rooms and stalls and looked at them as they brimmed with corn and soybeans. Some of the corn, my grandfather fed to his hogs; some he sold at market.
How the crops got into his barn, I never knew. He had no equipment that would have funneled it there. But, except for the winter months, the barn filled to overflow as my grandfather waited for the price to rise to what he wanted before he sold it. He wasn’t a wasteful man. In fact, some might have considered him cheap, but I suppose he was wise in many ways.
Also in the barn were snakes and rats. The snakes were there for the rats, and the rats were there for the crops. They couldn’t have ruined much of my grandfather’s crop, so he left them both there, hoping the snakes would take care of the rats.
Jesus knew something about full barns, too. He told a story of a man whose crop produced bountifully. So much so that his barns could not hold the crops. Unlike my grandfather, this man chose to build more barns. Then, he planned to sit back and take life easy … to eat, drink, and be merry for the rest of his years. What he didn’t know, or plan on, was that his death waited just around the corner. He stored, but didn’t plan well.
The rich man had two choices: hoard or share. God gives us time, talents, gifts, and possessions. He has expectations of us, but we have the same two choices the rich man had. I can open up my schedule and my hands to others and share, or I can close my fist and live life narcissistically. God won’t force me to do the first, and He will let me do the second—but not without consequence.
Life is better lived when we empty our barns into the lives of others. Think of something you can do to empty yours.
Prayer: Father, prompt us to empty our barns into the lives of others.

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Flashback Friday - How Can God Hear Everyone Praying? - Martin Wiles

How Can God Hear Everyone Praying at the Same Time?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18 NLT

The end of the school year was nearing, and we were about to celebrate our annual yearbook signing. The entire middle and high school gathered in the gym for the festivities. Separated by grade, they sat on the floor in their respective circles awaiting the announcement of their grade level. When each grade was named, a rousing roar ascended. Then one by one they strolled to a table to receive their long-awaited prize. For the next hour, students milled over the gym floor seeking signatures from friends and faculty. The hum of hundreds of voices played tricks on my ears. Rarely could I distinguish even a single voice. Read more...

Tweetable: What do you believe about prayer? 


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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Remember What Is Good - Ashley Dutch

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 CSB

I was quite content on my way home from work. 

Having been told I would receive a raise the next Monday—although it wasn’t much—I was still grateful for God’s provision. At the time, I lived alone on a meager salary, but God had provided my every need. 

I thought back to a year before when I checked my mail. Sale flyer, junk mail, water bill. I opened the water bill, expecting the usual amount of $19.00. Boy, was I wrong. The bill was over $400! I’m sure my blood pressure rose as anxiety overwhelmed my mind and body. How was I going to pay that bill? More importantly, why was it $400 in the first place?

Soon, I found out there was a leak in the water line running to the house. But God was with me. Friends and family appeared to help me dig up and fix the line. The water company also excused half the bill.

One day, I walked into my house and noticed my kitchen table flooded with groceries and other necessities, from cereal to shampoo that my sister had purchased for me so I would not have to worry about the basics. What a wonderful example of selflessness, kindness, and love.

The blessings and miracles of God are everywhere, and, honestly, sometimes they are easy to forget. Whether I am in a difficult situation or things are going my way, I love to look back on all He has done for me and on all the times He was there, even when it didn’t feel as if He was. It doesn’t take long to see God’s fingerprints throughout my life and the footprints of Jesus walking beside me even when I feel alone. 

At a quick glance, we can find something demonstrating God’s love, whether through His creation, in His people, or in His Word. Sometimes, it’s easy to dwell on the negative. The bad stuff can take over our thoughts and minds. In times like these, we can cling to God’s Word, reminding us to think on what is lovely and true. 

God will always love you and will never leave you.

Tweetable: Are you remembering how good God is? 

Ashley Dutch lives in Crossville, Tennessee, with her husband who owns a pressure cleaning business. Ashley is pursuing a ministry in Christian writing. She and her husband enjoy God’s creation—hiking in the woods, searching for seashells on the beach. The Lord is their true passion, and they enjoy spending time serving Him.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Take a Slow Ride - Martin Wiles


But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. Luke 10:40 NLT
Rarely did the speedometer register over twenty-five miles per hour.
As long as I knew him, my maternal grandfather never got in a hurry. He didn’t have to punch a time clock—he was a farmer. But he did have somewhat of a schedule. He got up at five every morning, dressed, drank a cup of instant coffee, and went to the wrap-around porch. There, he sat in a chair, smoked cigarettes, and waited for the sun to rise over the pines that bordered his farmland.
By this time, my grandmother had breakfast. After eating, he might do a little plowing, ride over to another farm he owned and check the crops, check his fence rows to make sure no hogs had rooted out … or drive two miles to town to Bert Sweat’s store where he and other farmers would gather for a Pepsi or Coke and a pack of Nabs.
Regardless of where my grandfather went, he took a slow ride in his pickup, and my cousin and I loved to ride with him. If we weren’t sitting on the edge of the bed, we were standing up behind the cab, letting the wind blow in our faces. But our favorite thing to do was sit on the tailgate and drag our feet on the asphalt as my grandfather puttered along.
I think of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus when I think of those slow rides. Good friends of Jesus who often had him over for a meal or just fellowship. On this occasion, Martha busied herself preparing a meal. Mary, though, took a slow ride, which caused her sister to complain to Jesus. And He set the matter straight. Mary’s slow ride was more beneficial than the fast-paced life Martha lived.
In our busy world filled with employers who want countless hours from us, with any number of people wanting our time, talents, and money, and with countless forms of entertainment—compounded by technology’s advances, slowing down isn’t easy. In fact, it won’t happen unless we make the effort.
My cousin and I could have easily found something else to busy ourselves with, but we chose the slow ride. And those lazy days around the farm have helped me understand the necessity of taking slow rides in life.
So, go ahead and take a slow ride. You won’t regret it, your family will appreciate it, and your health will benefit.
Prayer: Father, help us to slow down so that we can enjoy life and find time for those things that are most important.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Throwback Tuesday - Am I On The Right Track? - Martin Wiles

Am I On The Right Track?

Series: Hey God…I Have a Question

Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. Exodus 31:2-3 NLT

When life collapses, it’s tempting to question whether we’re on the right track.

Newlyweds normally enjoy the candid shots photographers capture while no one is looking. But Dan and Jackie Anderson doubtlessly weren’t expecting the one their photographer snared at their wedding in Crosslake, Minnesota. Prior to the ceremony, the entire wedding party gathered on a weather-beaten dock to pose for pictures. Suddenly, life collapsed…in the form of the dock, sending many of the participants plunging into the water below. The spirits of the wedding party, however, weren’t dampened by the dive. In fact, the bride looked at the photographer with a smile and said, “Did you record that? Please tell me you got that on camera!” Read more...

Tweetable: Are you on the right track? 


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