Saturday, April 20, 2019

Date with Destiny - Martin Wiles

Then you will die there on the mountain. You will join your ancestors, just as Aaron, your brother, died. Deuteronomy 32:50 NLT

The fear of death haunted me.

Why my date with destiny troubled me at twelve years of age, I wasn’t sure. I had no medical issues. Additionally, I had trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior and believed I would spend eternity with Him.

My early fear of death eventually passed, but forty-six years later the thought still periodically terrifies me. I still believe I will spend eternity in heaven, but I also know I have far fewer years ahead of me than I did as a twelve-year-old boy. I’m also more susceptible to life-altering or life-threatening diseases than I was then. A stroke, heart attack, or deadly disease may lurk just around the corner.

As I periodically consider my date with destiny, I also wonder if I’ll accomplish as much as I want to before that date arrives. I wonder whether or not I’ll outlive my children . . . or my spouse. I ponder what quality of life I’ll have until the end.

Moses certainly thought a little about his date with destiny also. The difference is he knew when his would happen. He had led the Israelites through forty years of wilderness wandering—due to their disobedience—and now hoisted them to the border of the Promised Land. But his disobedience would keep him out. God allowed him to see it from a mountaintop, but he could not enter. He would die on the mountain.

Knowing we all face death, it only makes sense to do as much as we can in the time we have left. And since we often don’t know how long that is, it’s important that what we do we do quickly. As long as it is day, we must do the works of the one who we belong to for darkness approaches (John 9:4).

But busyness just to be busy isn’t healthy . . . or wise. We need to do the right stuff. The correct path involves actions that advance the Kingdom of God. The path that distributes love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The path that puts God first, others second, and self last. When doing these things, we’ll leave a legacy for others to emulate.

None of us are immortal. We will die. The question is what will you do between now and your date with destiny that will fulfill God’s plan for you.



Prayer: Father, we believe the time of our death is in Your hands. Help us fulfill Your will between now and that day. 


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Friday, April 19, 2019

Flashback Friday - Defined Not Labeled - Martin Wiles

Defined Not Labeled 

I’ve been labeled a few times in my life; fortunately, none of them stuck. 

Growing up, I was labeled a PK (Preacher’s Kid). The label was accurate because my father was a preacher, but the label was designed to speak more than about who I was. PK’s are usually considered bad kids, and I lived up to the tag. Why I felt the need to act badly, I’m not sure. Perhaps because I wanted to demonstrate that I didn’t have to be good just because my father was a pastor.
  
And of course, there are other labels people might attempt to paste on others: porn addict, alcoholic, druggie, abuser, lawyer, doctor, teacher, slut, etc. But who I am is described by what Christ did on my behalf. Read more...

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Saying I’m Sorry - Martin Wiles

Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive. Luke 17:4 NLT

“I want to apologize for disrupting your class.”

Teaching middle schoolers brings new experiences each day. I’m fortunate to teach in a school where normally the worse behavior problem we have concerns students talking in class when they should not. And this young man had. He’s a great kid, but he merely needed to learn there are times when you have to be quiet. I had endured more than I should have and finally assigned him and his talking partner lunch and learn.

The next morning—and the day of his sentence—he approached me with his apology. He didn’t ask me to let him off the hook, but took it like a man. I thanked him for his apology. I now have greater respect for him. I have hopes he will turn into a fine adult who will make a difference in his world. Whether his parents told him to apologize or not, I’m not sure. But he did, and that’s what’s important.

Although Jesus addressed the matter of forgiveness, apologizing still dominated the scene. Someone said it often because they had offended often. And no matter how frequently they apologized, Jesus said forgiveness was in order.

Apologizing isn’t easy. I’m sure it wasn’t for my student. It takes a great deal of humility to admit we’re wrong. While rearing my children, several occasions cropped up when I had to say “I’m sorry” for something I did or said. I hope it made me a better parent in their eyes.

Apologies make for good relationships. None of us are perfect. Mistakes are inevitable. Apologizing when we’ve wronged or offended someone establishes healthy relationships. Doing so causes us to exercise the practice of forgiveness, which Jesus speaks highly of. Not doing so leads to emotional and physical dilemmas.

Apologizing builds character by causing us to dress in humility. Apologizing when I’m wrong helps me remember I’m no better than anyone else. God created each individual. This, in turn, helps to build healthy self-esteem. Pride endangers and, according to the Bible, should be avoided. We are what we are only because of God’s grace.

Shifting the blame to someone or something else to avoid apologizing is easier than saying you’re sorry—but not healthier. 

Learn to say you’re sorry. You’ll enjoy healthier living, and the light of your life will shine brighter.



Prayer: Father, make us humble so we’ll find it easy to apologize when we’ve wronged You and others. 


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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Privileged to Pray - Martin Wiles

And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. 2 Corinthians 1:11 NLT

Two words were handwritten on the front: Prayer Book.

Nine years after my dad died, Mom handed me a small notebook journal with the above words on the front. “You want this?” she asked. Of course, I wanted anything that belonged to my dad. Especially anything that had his actual handwriting on it—and this did. In the small journal, he had listed the various days of the week. Under each day, he recorded the things and people he prayed for. On one day, I saw “Marty and his family.” Knowing your dad prayed for you means a lot.

My dad was a pray-er. For as long as I can remember, he rose at five each morning and went to his study. He prayed at other times during the day, but this was his designated time. And when he finished his prayers, he read and meditated on the Bible. He counted it a privilege to pray.

Dad’s example stuck with me, and I’ve tried to follow the aspects of what he believed about prayer. Paul thought prayer helped too. He believed other believers praying for him as he made his missionary journeys guaranteed his safety.

Pray should be consistent. Dad’s were, and I’ve tried to follow his example. My designated prayer times have varied depending on my work schedule. While I make many “microwave” prayers during the day, I’ve always had one designated block of time when I came before the Lord. Making it a habit increases the likelihood of my consistency.

Humility should characterize our prayers. I always begin by thanking God for making it possible for me—a sinner—to come before His throne of grace. Because He has clothed me with the righteousness of His Son, I can come boldly and confidently.

More intercession than supplication should characterize our prayers. God doesn’t mind us asking for personal things, but turning our attention away from ourselves—unless it’s a petition to grow closer to God—should consume the bulk of our prayers. Most of Dad’s prayer list involved other people and other situations.

Faith must adorn our prayers for them to be effective. We may have to ask God to increase our faith, but we should pray with faith that God will answer and that His answers will be the best.

If you’re not enjoying the privilege of prayer, why not start today.



Prayer: Father, thank You for the privilege You give us of coming before You in prayer. 


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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Throwback Tuesday - Chosen Not Substituted - Martin Wiles

Chosen Not Substituted

They weren’t what the doctor prescribed, but according to the pharmacist, they accomplished the same results. 

Visiting the doctor isn’t my favorite activity. Maybe I’m afraid of what he might find…or charge for my visit…or that he will prescribe distasteful medicine. But when I’m feeling extremely blah and over-the-counter medicine hasn’t worked, I gladly generate the appointment. Often, however, when presenting my prescription to the pharmacist, I hear, “We don’t carry what your doctor prescribed, but we have substituted…” As long as it delivers the same punch, I’m okay with the replacement. But I wonder, “If the substitute is as good as what the doctor originally prescribed, why didn’t he prescribe that in the first place?” Read more...

Tweetable: Have you realized God chose you?


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