Monday, May 30, 2011

What About Praying?


13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

—The words of the Apostle James from James 5:13-18


I am fairly certain that every one of you knows at least a little bit about “praying.” We all tend to think of prayer in terms of a quick shout toward heaven whenever we get into a jam. We shouldn’t feel badly about that. God certainly understands that sometimes we only seem to want to talk to Him when we’re in some kind of trouble.

But, the truth is that prayer forms an important foundation for our daily walk of obedience with God. He wants us to learn what He expects by reading our Bible. He also wants to listen to what we have to say through prayer. And, in the quietness of time spent communing with Him, He will often give us a sense of the path He wants us to take for that day.

If you were fortunate enough to be raised in a Christian home, you likely learned about prayer when you were quite young. For most of your young life, your mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa, or your uncles and aunts, taught you about prayer.

When it was time for meals, you were taught to bow your head and thank God that He had provided the food that you were about to eat. When it was time to go to sleep at night, your mom and dad tucked you into your bed and took time to pray with you.

In your bedtime prayers you probably thanked God for the day He had given you. You probably thanked God for your mom, your dad, and your grandparents. Maybe you even thanked God for your uncles, aunts, and cousins. You probably asked God to keep you safe through the night. Then, there may have been some other special requests that your mom and dad helped you include in your prayer.

As you grew older, you learned that prayer is a very, very important part of your relationship with God. It’s your opportunity to talk with Him and tell Him what’s on your mind. It’s a time when you can tell Him your deepest feelings. It’s a time when you can tell Him the things that make you worry, or anxious, or feel sad. It’s a time when you can tell Him the things that make you happy or feel joyful.

When you pray, it’s a time for you to tell God how much He means to you, how much you love Him, how grateful you are for His Son, Jesus, and how very much you appreciate the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in your life. And, most of all, it’s a time when you can ask Him to help you do the things that the Bible tells you He wants you to do.

Even if you did not grow up in a Christ-honoring home and came to know Jesus after you had grown, you certainly have learned—and continue to learn—the enormous value of prayer.

So, what I want you to remember about our time together this day is that prayer must always remain a very, very important part of our relationship with God. He uses prayer in a very powerful way in our lives. Okay?

Will you pray with me, right now?

Thank You, God, for loving me. Thank You for giving me prayer as a way to talk with You and share with You. As I continue to grow in my relationship with You, help me to learn more about prayer, so I can know You better. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Joy of Gathering for Worship


41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

—The words of the Apostle Luke from Acts 2:41-47


Are you one of those individuals that especially has fun when you meet with your friends? Oh, it’s okay to do things by yourself. Sometimes, it’s truly enjoyable just to be by yourself and do what you want to do without anyone else being around. But, I am willing to suggest that the most fun you have takes place when you gather with other people and you all undertake an activity together.

When you do get together with other people, have you also noticed how much more fun it is when you engage in some activity that involves all of you at the same time? It may be sort of fun to be in a room with your friends where each person is doing his or her own thing. But, the really fun times occur when all of the people present gather around and do something that includes every, single person.

There is just something about being together, doing the same thing, at the same time, for the same purpose, that brings a great deal of joy and excitement.

In Acts 2:41-47, the Bible tells us that the early church was just like that. There is no doubt that each one of the early Christians set aside time to be alone with the Lord for prayer and meditation. During those times alone, each Christian was able to concentrate on what God was doing in his or her life, and express praise and thanksgiving to God in prayer.

But, the really exciting times came when the Christians would all gather together. As a group of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christians had a special bond with each other that made their times together exciting, and very fulfilling.

The Bible teaches us that this is exactly what God intended for His people. He intended for them to have the greatest sense of joy, the greatest effectiveness in doing His work, and the greatest expression of His Power within them, when they gathered together and devoted themselves to a single purpose.

That is really what the Sunday worship service at your church should be all about. You gather together with fellow Christians because you love the Lord Jesus Christ. You want to worship Him as one body of believers. You want to experience the excitement of His Presence in your midst. And, you want to have the joy of the fellowship that you can have with each other.

And, each one of you is a part of this gathering at your church. The fact that each of you is present for worship helps everyone else experience the kind of joy that God wants all of you to experience when you gather together to worship Him.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for making us so we want to be together. Help us to learn how to be people that love You and want to serve You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Thinking for Yourself


5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

—The words of the Apostle Paul from Romans 8:5-6


Do you ever copy what someone else is doing?

When you were a child, if one of your friends ran a little ways and then jumped, did you run a little ways and jump, too? Or, maybe you saw someone make a funny face, so you decided to make a funny face, too?

As an adult, if one of your friends shows you his or her new high definition television, do you find yourself beginning to think about buying a new TV? Or, maybe your friend shows you his or her new smartphone. Do you find yourself checking on-line to see if it’s time for you to get a new smartphone, too?

A lot of times, whether you’re a child, or an adult, you see what someone else is doing and you decide to do the same thing.

Now sometimes, doing what someone else is doing is okay. For example, when you were a child if you saw your older brothers and sisters, or your mom and dad, washing their hands before they ate dinner and you decided to wash your hands, too—well, that was a good thing to do.

But sometimes, when we copy what other people do or say, we can get ourselves into trouble. If you see someone do something nasty or mean to another person, you might decide to be mean or nasty to that person, too. Or, if you hear someone share a bit of tasty gossip about someone you don’t like very much, you might decide to pass that tasty bit of gossip on to one of your friends.

Or, maybe you’re in a meeting and you hear someone say something that doesn’t seem quite right to you. Instead of questioning what you’re being told, you remain silent and just go along with the crowd. You might even tell yourself that by remaining silent you are “preserving the peace.” Instead, by remaining silent—by doing what the others in the room are doing—you may well be helping to create chaos.

But, do you know what? God has given us a way to help keep us from copying other people when they do bad things. That’s right. God has given us a brain inside our head. And, He expects us to use that brain. He wants us to think before we act.

So, let’s say you hear someone talking about another person in a very rude and careless way. Now, at first—particularly when you don't like the other person—you may think that you should talk rude and careless, too. But, just before you open your mouth to say something rude, you think about it and decide that it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

If you did that—stop and think about what you were going to do before you did it—you would be using the brain God gave you to help you decide what to do.

God loves us very much. He loves us so much that He wants us to use our brains to think about what we are going to do. He wants us to use our brains to think about way we are going to say. Instead of just doing or saying what we see someone else do or say, God wants us to think about it first. And, God has given us the Holy Spirit to remind us to use our brains—to think before we act or speak. The Holy Spirit will nudge us to do the right think, if we listen carefully to what He says to us.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving me. Thank You for giving me a brain. Thank you for letting me think before I do what I see someone else do, or say what I hear someone else say. Help me to keep thinking, rather than just copying the behavior of others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Holiness of God


5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
     did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
     7 but made himself nothing,
     taking the very nature of a servant,
     being made in human likeness.
     8 And being found in appearance as a man,
     he humbled himself
     and became obedient to death—
     even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
     and gave him the name that is above every name,
     10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
     11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.

—The words of the Apostle Paul from Philippians 2:5-11


Looking back on the years while you were growing into adulthood, do you remember how your mom and dad were always trying to teach you things? Almost every day, your mom or dad, or both of them, would try to teach you something that would help you become the kind of boy or girl you ought to be.

For example, I imagine that mom and dad consistently taught each of you—and it took quite some time—to say “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome.” When you asked someone for something, mom and dad taught you to always say “please.” Then, when someone gave you something, mom and dad taught you to say “thank you.” And, they also taught you that when someone says “thank you” to you, you should respond by saying “you’re welcome.”

You learned that “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” were part of what mom and dad called “manners.” And, one of the things that marked a well-behaved boy or girl was a display of good manners. That’s part of the reason why mom and dad insisted that you learn to say “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome.”

Did you realize that when you enter the presence of a King, there is a certain kind of “manners.” that you must display in order to show that you understand the King is in the room? That’s right. You can’t just march into the room and say, “Hi, King!” Or, at least you can’t do that and expect the King to think well of you.

When people enter the King’s throne room, those people must keep their heads bowed. And, when they reach the throne, they must kneel to show the King proper respect. The King has earned the right to be treated this way because, well, after all, he is the King.

In Revelation 4 the Bible tells us about a great day, coming in the future, when all of us will enter the throne room of heaven and approach the God of the universe. The Bible tells us that on that day, God’s throne will have a rainbow above it. God’s throne be surrounded by 24 other thrones and on those thrones will be 24 elders dressed in white who will have crowns of gold on their heads. Thunder and lightning will radiate from God’s throne.

The Bible also tells us that in front of God’s throne will be seven lamp stands and a sea like crystal glass. And, right in the center, near the throne, will be four creatures. One will look like a lion. One will look like an ox. One will have a face like a man. And, one will look like a flying eagle. These four creatures will have eyes all over them and each creature will have six wings. Over and over again, the creatures will say: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”

The Bible also tells us, that as the four creatures begin to praise God, the 24 elders will stand up from their thrones, bow down on their knees before God, take off their gold crowns, and lay those crowns in front of God’s throne. Then, all together, the 24 elders will say:

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.

Now that’s a pretty amazing word picture of what it will be like on that great day in heaven.

You see, God is worthy of all that attention and praise because He is Holy. And, it is the Holiness of God that motivates us to worship Him by devoting our lives to please Him in the way we live, and to serve Him with all of our hearts.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for being Holy. Thank You for loving me and sending your Son, Jesus to be my Savior. Help me to learn how to live my life in a way that pleases You. I praise You, God, because You are Holy. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Keeping Watch for the Truth


5 A truthful witness does not deceive,
  but a false witness pours out lies.

—The words of King Solomon from Proverbs 14:5


1 Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. 2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. 3 Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. 4 But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.

5 “We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect 6 and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. 8 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”

9 The Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

10 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.
14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”

—The words of the Apostle Luke from Acts 24:1-14


Once again, I want to ask you to think back over the course of your life. For some of you, that may take a bit longer than it does for others. I know, in my own case, I have to search through more than six decades to cover that span of time.

During your life, have you ever been rewarded for being good?

When I was a little boy, there were two places where little boys were likely to receive a reward for being on their best behavior. One was at the doctor’s office, and the other was at the barber shop.

When my mom would take me to the doctor’s office so he could give me a checkup, the doctor would listen to my heart. He would look into my ears, nose, and throat. He would shine his little flashlight into my eyes. He would poke me a little bit on my chest and tummy.

If I endured all the doctor’s looking and poking without crying or squirming, when I went back out into the waiting room, the nurse would give me a lollipop. You know, a piece of candy on a stick.

When mom would take me to the barber shop to get a haircut, the barber would put this booster seat on the barber’s chair and my mom would lift me up onto that big chair. You know, the one that turns around and around.

Then, the barber would put a big cloth around my neck to catch the little hairs he would cut off my head. Next, he would comb my hair and take the electric razor and cut around my neck and side of my head. He would then take his scissors and snip, snip away at the hairs on the top and sides of my head. Finally, he would make a few minor adjustments to my haircut, brush me off with a camel’s hair brush, and remove the protective cloth.

If I would endure all of those buzzes and snips without moving around too much, when the barber was finished and my mom would lift me out of the barber’s chair and set my feet on the floor, the barber would let me choose a lollipop from a big basket.

Do you remember the neat thing about lollipops? Surely you do. You can tell the flavor by the color. Red lollipops taste like cherries. Purple ones taste like grapes. Orange ones taste like oranges. And, yellow ones taste like lemons.

You know what would be really silly? It would be really silly if, on purpose, just to be mean, someone mixed up the colors and the flavors.

You would pick out a yellow lollipop expecting it to taste like a lemon, and it would taste like grapes. Or, you would select a red lollipop expecting it to taste like cherries, and it would taste like oranges. That would be really silly, wouldn’t it?

The person who would mix up the colors and the flavors just to be mean would be doing a really bad thing. He or she would be telling a kind of lie. He or she would be “deceiving” us. He or she would deliberately try to trick us.

Some people seem to lie as much as they tell the truth. In fact, some people seem to have developed such a pattern of lying that they will twist and turn the smallest detail to produce the outcome they want. Always focusing attention on themselves. Or, always telling a story in a way that favors their own reputation. These are all forms of lying.

When we love someone, we don’t lie to him or her. When we love someone, really love that one, we always want to tell him or her the truth.

That’s the way God treats you and me. God really loves us. He loves us so much that he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. Because God loves us so much, the most important thing we can do is to love Him right back. And, because we love God, we always want to tell the truth. Telling the truth—always telling the truth—is one way that we show God we love him.

Wise people stay alert for lies. They never let their guard down. No matter who speaks to them, they always receive information and filter it looking for possible lies. This is particularly important for people who hold positions of responsibility. God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us tell the difference between the truth and lies.

God also teaches us in His Word that we must insist on information coming from “first sources.” So, in receiving information—especially information about some other person or event—insist on obtaining that information from first sources. Never, never, never take the word of someone else about something important. Find out for yourself what’s true and what’s not.

In the Scripture passage from Acts 24 at the beginning of this blog post, the Jewish leaders had accused the Apostle Paul and told lies about him to the Roman Governor, Felix. But, Felix wisely insisted on hearing directly from Paul. Felix did not rely on what the Jewish leaders had told him about what Paul had supposedly done or said. Rather, Felix relied on first sources. Upon hearing charges against Paul, Felix went directly to Paul and gave Paul the opportunity to explain. Felix did not pass judgment until he had heard directly from Paul.

In a sentence, what I’m trying to convey: “Wise leaders always keep watch for the truth by insisting that information comes to them only from first sources.” Let me say that again. “Wise leaders always keep watch for the truth by insisting that information comes to them only from first sources.”

Will you pray with me?

Precious Father, thank You for loving us. Thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to be our Savior. We want to show You we love You by always telling the truth and by always seeking information from first sources. Help us to do what pleases You. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Showing Favorites, Showing Love


1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

—The words of the Apostle James from James 2:1-13


Do you have a favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite flavor? Do you know what the number one favorite flavor of ice cream is? Vanilla! Yes, vanilla. Vanilla is the number one flavor of ice cream. And, the second most favorite flavor is chocolate!

What about colors? Do you have a favorite color? Most people have a favorite color, a favorite song, a favorite food, a favorite gadget or toy, maybe a favorite car, a favorite golf course, or a favorite vacation spot. We all have “things” that we like better than other “things.” It is really okay to have favorite “things.”

But, when it comes to the way we treat other people—the way we talk to them, the way we look at them, they way we smile at them, the way we show kindness and love to them—we really should not have favorites.

How would you like it if your husband or wife, or your mom or dad, treated your best friend better than they treat you? If your best friend came over to your house to visit, and your spouse or parent gave your friend a big bowl of ice cream, but didn’t give you any. Wouldn’t that be really silly?

You see God wants us to show His love to other people by treating them with kindness no matter what they look like, no matter what kind of clothes they wear, no matter how rich they are, or no matter how poor they are.

God loves us very much. He loves you very much. And, He loves me very much. God loves you and me so much, that He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our Savior.

God loves us exactly as we are. He loves us if we are tall. He loves us if we are short. He loves us if we are fat. He loves us if we are thin. He loves us if we have new clothes. He loves us if we have old clothes. He loves us if we are rich. And, He loves us if we are poor. God loves us exactly as we are.

And, God expects us to love other people the same way He loves us. He expects us to love them if they are tall. He expects us to love them if they are short. He expects us to love them if they are fat. He expects us to love them if they are thin. He expects us to love them if they have new clothes. He expects us to love them if they have old clothes. He expects us to love them if they are rich. He expects us to love them if they are poor.

You see, it is okay to have favorite things like flavors of ice cream, or colors, or gadgets, or toys, or foods, or golf courses, or vacation spots. It’s okay to have favorite “things.” But, when it comes to people, God wants us to love all people the same way He loves us.

Will you pray with me?

Precious Father, thank You for loving us just the way we are. Help us to love other people the same way You love them. Help us to love them just the way they are. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Serving Others


14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

—The words of the Apostle James from James 2:14-18


Please think back to that time when you were a child. Did you ever ask your mom or dad to help you with something? Maybe you asked them to help you put on your shoes, or comb your hair, or brush your teeth? Maybe you asked them to take you to McDonalds or Burger King for lunch? Maybe you asked them to take you to the beach, so you could swim in the Lake?

Do you know why your mom and dad helped you when you asked them? Your mom and dad were willing to help you because they love you. You see, when we love someone, we are willing to help that person. Another way of saying that is that if we love someone, we are willing to serve that one. That’s right. If we love someone, we are willing to serve that one.

The writer of the Book of James in the Bible talks about the fact that if we love the Lord Jesus Christ and have placed our faith in Him as our Savior, we will be willing to serve Him. That means we will be willing to help others in His behalf. We will be willing to help others, just as Jesus would help them if He were with them in person.

But, you know what? Sometimes people get it backwards. Sometimes people try to help others, not because they love Jesus, but just because they think by helping others Jesus will love them. And, when they do that, they miss the whole point.

Jesus already loves us. Jesus loves you and Jesus loves me. He loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His life in our place on the Cross. He died so that the shedding of His blood would serve as the ultimate payment for the atonement of the sins of everyone who has ever lived and everyone who will ever live. And, He rose from the grave, conquering death, so that everyone who accepts the reality of His great gift can spend eternity with Him.

If that wasn’t enough, He sent the Holy Spirit to live in the heart of everyone who believes in Him. The Holy Spirit helps us follow obediently the pathway that God lays out before us every day. And, that includes showing love to others by serving them in Jesus’ Name.

So when people think that they can do things to help others to get Jesus to love them, they have it backwards. The only right way is to do things Jesus would want us to do for others because we love Him.

When we help others because we love Jesus, we put our faith in Him to work. That’s what James is talking about. James is telling us that “The faith that saves, is the kind that works.” Let me say that again. “The faith that saves is the kind that works.”

Will you pray with me?

Precious Father, thank You for loving us. Thank you for letting us show our love for You by serving others. Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to helps us do what You want us to do every day. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recognizing What’s True


15 If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

—The words of Jesus from John 14:15-17


Has anyone ever told you something that was just really hard for you to believe? You weren’t sure whether or not it was true?

I know that every one of you enjoys stories. A good novel engages you and you simply can’t put it down. Out of the hundreds of television shows, you have a few that you really follow closely. Most surely you have a favorite movie or two. In every case, you feel drawn to the book, TV show, or movie because of the story it tells. Even the so-called “reality shows” actually tell a story.

You've enjoyed stories since those days when mom or dad read to you just before you went to sleep at night. Each one of those children’s stories had some lesson to teach you or something fun to explain. The person who wrote those stories did so to bring joy to children.

Some of those children’s stories told you about animals that can talk. For example, in the Winnie the Pooh stories, A. A. Milne has created a whole forest full of animals that talk and have adventures. The only human in those stories is Christopher Robin. And, he only appears in the stories once in a while. The rest of the time, Milne has written about Pooh Bear, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, and Baby Roo. And, if mom or dad read a Winnie the Pooh story to you when you were a child, I imagine you enjoyed it quite a lot.

But, I also know that as you grew older, you realized that real, live rabbits, bears, pigs, tigers, and kangaroos don’t talk to each other in the English language. Even so, it was fun to read a story about talking animals because it helped us imagine what it might be like if animals did talk to one another.

Sometimes when someone tells us something, it is hard for us to know for sure whether or not what they are telling us is true. When we have a hard time deciding, we might say, “I don’t believe you.” In order to believe something, we have to know that it is true.

When something is absolutely true, it has a way of helping us believe in whatever that something is. For example, the Bible tells us that on one occasion Jesus’ mother, Mary, came to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, before Jesus was born. Elizabeth was also going to have a baby. Elizabeth told Mary, “You are blessed because you believe what the Lord has told you will happen.”

You see, an angel had appeared to Mary many months before and told her that she was going to have a baby, that his name would be “Jesus,” and that he would grow up to become the Messiah. Mary believed what the angel told her. She believed what the angel told her because in her heart she knew it was absolutely true. And, she knew this in her heart because God gave her the ability to recognize that it was true.

Understanding what is true and what isn’t true is a gift from God. And, that is a really important lesson we all need to learn. God empowers the Holy Spirit—who lives within the heart of every person who believes in the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ—to help us know for certain what is true and what isn’t.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to give us eternal life. Thank you for helping us understand what is true and what isn’t. Help us, more and more, to become people who believe Your truth. We pray in Jesus’ matchless Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Real or Make Believe?


26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.


If I offered to give a young seven-year-old child my car keys, do you think that child would be willing to take my keys and take my car for a drive?

Well, a particularly bold child might just make a grab for my keys and head out the door. Yet, I am quite sure that no seven-year-old knows how to safely drive a car. Why, most children of that age couldn’t even reach the gas or brake pedals.

There are just some things in life that we have to wait until we are older before we can fully understand what’s involved. Driving a car is one of those things. Another of those things is being able to tell for certain what is “real” and what is “make-believe.”

Many seven-year-old children’s lives are filled with storybooks and videos and TV programs that have characters that have become their friends. The older the children get, the more clearly they will be able to tell which of those characters are “real” and which are “make believe.”

Most children might be surprised to know that sometimes adults have trouble deciding what is “real” and what is “make-believe.”

Scripture talks about the return of Jesus Christ to earth, what people often call the “Second Coming of Christ.” One particular verse in Revelation 1:7 says:

7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

Some adults aren’t sure whether that verse is talking about a “real” event or a “make believe” one. But, I know for an absolute certainty that what that verse talks about is real. One day, maybe even one day soon, Jesus will return and everyone on earth will see Him. That will truly be an exciting day.

Because Jesus loves us so much, and because we love Him right back, we can look forward to that day when He returns to earth. Knowing that He is coming back some day, gives us joy and also helps us want to live in a way that pleases Him.

So, some things in your life right now may be “make-believe.” But, one thing you can count on—something that is very real—is that Jesus loves you, and that He has a wonderful, wonderful plan for your life. He has promised to return to earth. And, that is exactly what He will do.

Until He does return, Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to walk alongside us each day. The Holy Spirit will help us stay on the pathway that God has laid out before us. We are not alone. Until Jesus returns, the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us into the pathway of obedience every single day.

Will you pray with me?

Precious Father, thank You for loving us. Thank You for promising to send Jesus back to earth some day. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us each day. Please help me to learn how to follow the plan You have for my life. In Jesus’ Precious and Holy Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.