Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stop Doubting and Believe!


19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

—The words of the Apostle John from John 20:19-31


One Sunday morning during the morning worship service, when I was about seven-years-old, the pastor of my home church in Bradford, Pennsylvania, called all the children down to the front of the church. We all scampered down the sloping aisles and gathered around him just in front of the altar rail.

“I want to tell you a secret this morning if you promise not to tell anyone that I told you. Does that sound okay to you? Secrets are kind of fun. We’ll just pretend that all these people sitting here in the congregation can’t hear me talking to you.

“Here’s the secret: this is the most believable time in your life. That’s right. This is the most believable time in your life. The ages that all you children have reached, right now, places you at a time in your life when you are the most likely to believe than you will ever be as you grow older. You see, the older you get, the less you will be willing to believe.”

I remember wondering exactly what point the pastor was making. But, do you know what? I’ve learned that he was right. That period of time when I was a child was the most believable time in my life. As I have grown older, I have learned over and over again that I just can’t trust what other people say. That’s part of the reason that I have become so passionate about seeking out first sources for my information.

Whenever someone, anyone, tells you something, you should ask yourself whether or not that information comes from a “first source.” Often you will discover that you are making quite a few decisions based on second-hand information. Sometimes, information comes to you third-hand, or even tenth-hand. You owe it to yourself, and everyone else, to rely only on information from first sources.

One of the first sources I have learned to trust implicitly rests in God’s written Word, the Bible. I especially find myself drawn to the first-hand accounts of real events recorded in the Bible. The passage at the beginning of this blog post contains one of those first-hand accounts. The Apostle John has written down for us the account of Jesus following His crucifixion.

This Bible passage describes one of Jesus’ disciples, a man named Thomas, who has become famous down through history as a man who was not willing to believe without seeing for himself. After Jesus rose from the grave on Easter morning, Jesus had appeared to the disciples, but for some reason, Thomas was not present. When the other disciples told Thomas that Jesus had appeared to them, Thomas said that he wasn’t going to believe it unless he saw the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and the place in Jesus’ side where the sword of the Roman soldier had pierced Him.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples again, Thomas was present and he got to see exactly those things that he needed to see in order to believe. However, Jesus responded by saying, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.”

So, if you happen to have children or grandchildren in your life, I want you to promise me that you will strongly encourage them to fully enjoy this “childhood” part of their lives. Tell them to enjoy the fact that, at least for right now, believing is quite easy for them.

And, for your own part, as well as for the sake of your children or grandchildren, never lose sight of the fact that believing what Jesus tells us is true is one of the most important lessons we can learn.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Help us be people who come to trust that whatever Jesus tells us is absolutely true. We pray in and through the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

God’s Plans Have Priority!


31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

—The words of the Apostle Luke from Luke 13:31-35


Do you realize that God has a priority plan for your life? You may think that you’re not a very important person. But, I assure you that to God you have importance beyond your ability to measure. God loves you with His everlasting love. And, He has a plan for your life that can take priority over every other intervening thought, word, or deed. Still not convinced? Let me illustrate this truth for you.

Have you ever visited a farm? On the farm that you visited did they have chickens? Chickens lead fascinating lives. At some farms, the chickens spend all day in the barnyard walking back and forth, pecking at the ground to pick up kernels of feed. At other farms, the chickens live in wire cages where the farmer brings their food and water to them.

Mother chickens lead very fascinating lives. If a mother hen has young chicks, it seems as if she spends most of her time walking around in a circle trying to keep her chicks nearby. She wants to make certain those chicks stay close so she can protect them against any harm that might come to them.

Once in a while there will be one or two chicks that just seem to delight in keeping away from their mother hen. Try as she might to gather them to herself, those chicks keep running in the opposite direction.

In the Scripture passage at the beginning of this blog post, Jesus talks about hens gathering their chickens. He says that He has longed to gather those He loves together like a hen gathers her chicks. But, he says, those He loves were not willing to be gathered under the protection of His loving arms.

Sometimes people today are like those chicks that keep running away. Jesus desires to draw all men and women and boys and girls to Himself. But sometimes, people just seem to keep running away from the protection Jesus wants to provide against all of the bad things in the world.

The lesson for us is that we can consciously and purposefully give our lives to Jesus. When we do that, He has promised to always be with us. He will keep us safe in the hollow of His Mighty Hand.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank you that He wants to draw us to Himself. Help us become people who purposely let Jesus keep us safe from harm and direct every aspect of our lives. We pray in the strong and powerful Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Every Word of Jesus
   is Absolutely True!


1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.

—The words of the Apostle John from John 20:1-8


“I was just so surprised!” Have you every heard anyone say that: “I was just so surprised?” People usually say words like that when something happens that catches them totally unprepared.

In the Bible story recorded in the Scripture passage at the beginning of this blog post, very early on a Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where the friends of Jesus had buried him late Friday afternoon. She went expecting to have a few quiet moments at the graveside of Jesus. Imagine her surprise when she discovered that the big stone that they had rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb had moved aside and the tomb was empty! Right away, she ran off to find Peter and John and tell them that someone had moved Jesus’ body.

Upon hearing her news, Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves. They, too, were quite surprised, but in a different way than Mary. You see, Jesus had told them several times that He was going to die and then rise from the dead three days later. As much as Peter and John might have liked to believe what Jesus said, they just couldn’t quite accept the fact that what He said was what was going to happen. So, their surprise was as much about accepting the truth of Jesus’ words, as it was surprise that the tomb was empty.

The lesson for all of us is we can believe that whatever Jesus says is absolutely the truth. The Bible gives us many words that Jesus said while He was here on earth. Every word Jesus said is absolutely true. That means that when we read something Jesus said, we can count on Jesus to tell us the truth.

The tomb is empty! It is empty because Jesus said it would be empty. It is empty because after dying for us on the cross and bearing the penalty for our sins, Jesus rose from the grave. He rose just exactly like He said He would.

The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank you for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Help us be people who come to trust that whatever Jesus tells us is absolutely true. Help us today, and every day, as we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive!. In His Wonderful and Precious Name. Amen.

Copyright © 2011 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Doing What Jesus Says


1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2 he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

—The words of the Apostle Luke from Luke 5:1-11


Have you ever gone fishing? Maybe you are currently an ardent fisherman or fisherwoman. Or, maybe you remember going fishing when you were a child. Perhaps your dad or grandpa or one of your uncles, or maybe even your mom and her sisters, your aunts, took you fishing. Fishing can be a really interesting experience.

Sometimes you set your alarm clock so you can get up really early in the morning. Maybe it is still dark outside. You load the car with all the fishing poles and fishing tackle. Maybe you have that special bait box filled with a little bit of dirt and those wonderfully juicy earthworms that the fish like so well.

Then you drive off to the place where you will spend your day fishing.

Maybe you get into a boat and row out into the middle of a lake. Or, maybe you just stand along the shore of a lake, or a stream, or a river.

You take one of those juicy worms and very carefully put it on your hook. Then you cast your line out into the water and hope for that exciting tug on your line that lets you know a fish has taken the bait.

In Jesus’ time, the fishermen often used large nets. They would row out in their boats onto the Sea of Galilee—also known as the Lake of Gennesaret—and cast their nets over the side. The fish would swim in and fill the nets. The fishermen would hoist the nets into their boats. Then, they would row for shore.

In the passage of Scripture at the beginning of this blog post, the Apostle Luke records an occasion when the fishermen had been fishing all night, but hadn’t caught any fish. Jesus had been standing on the shore speaking to a crowd of people. As the people pressed in around Him, Jesus asked if the fishermen would give him a ride out a ways from shore so He could continue speaking to the people.

The fishermen complied.

Once He finished speaking, Jesus made an amazing request of them. He asked the fishermen to row out into deep water and lower their nets to catch fish. This request was all the more amazing because it came from a carpenter. Jesus, you may remember, had grown up learning how to be a carpenter from his father. So, here was a carpenter telling the fishermen how to catch fish.

On the face of it, Jesus’ request was absurd. Every fisherman on the Sea of Galilee knew that you did not catch fish in deep water. And, every fisherman on the Sea of Galilee knew that you did not catch fish in the middle of the day. To catch fish, you had to begin fishing while it was still dark, just before dawn, and you had to fish in relatively shallow water.

But, here is Jesus telling the fishermen to sail out to deep water in the middle of the day, let down their nets, and prepare to catch fish.

Do you know how those fishermen responded to Jesus’ suggestion? Very wisely, they did exactly what He told them to do. And, do you know what happened? They caught the biggest catch of fish any of them had ever seen.

You see, when we do what Jesus tells us to do, amazing things will happen. That is a lesson worth learning.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending You Son, Jesus, to be our Savior. Thank you for teaching us to do what Jesus tells us. Please continue to help us be people who look for amazing things to happen. In Jesus’ Precious Name. Amen.

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


Thursday, June 16, 2011

We Don’t Like What You Say!


22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

—The words of the Apostle Luke from Luke 4:22-30


In the last blog post, I suggested to you “The words we say have great power.” I gave the illustration of you telling someone how happy he or she looked and how that would probably make the person feel very good about himself or herself. It really is true that the words we say have great power.

In the Scripture passage at the beginning of today’s blog post, the Apostle Luke describes how the people in Jesus’ hometown reacted when He spoke words of truth that they did not want to hear.

Do you know what they did to Jesus? They chased Him out of the synagogue, down the street, and out to the edge of town. Can you imagine that? These people did not want to hear the truth that Jesus was telling them. So, instead of confronting the truth, they tried to get rid of the person telling them the truth.

Do you see what happened in this case? Jesus’ words had great power. He spoke the truth and the harsh reality of that truth caused the people hearing Jesus’ words to drive Him out of town.

It is important for us to understand that even today, or maybe I should say, “especially today,” these words that Jesus preached have great power.

In fact, truth always has great power. Constantly be on your guard for anyone who wants to suppress the truth. Whenever you encounter someone—or a group of someones—who wants to suppress the truth, take notice and remain very wary. No one who has pure motives ever wants to suppress the truth. Particularly, do not follow anyone who wants to hide the truth. Instead, follow Jesus. His words are truth, and they have great power.

As you grow closer to God through your daily walk with Him, and as you learn more and more about our magnificent Savior, you are going to come to understand that His words can have great power in your own life.

Jesus’ words can be released to empower your service to the Kingdom of God through the enabling of the Holy Spirit. The truth of Jesus’ words can literally set you free.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior and Lord. Thank you for His powerful words. Help us be people who want to learn more about You. In Jesus’ Wonderful Name. Amen.

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


Monday, June 13, 2011

The Power of Words


14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
     because he has anointed me
     to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom
        for the prisoners
     and recovery of sight for the blind,
     to release the oppressed,
     19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

—The words of the Apostle Luke from Luke 4:14-21


The words we say to each other have great power. If I met you walking along a hallway at work and I say to you, “You look very happy today.” Those words will probably make you feel good about yourself. If I say to you, “I really appreciated the stand you took in the meeting this morning. You made several really important observations.” Those words will most likely give you a good feeling inside. Words have great power.

Likewise, if I speak to you in a harsh tone. Or, if I say something to you that has a biting sting to it. Or, if when I speak to you, I accuse you of bad behavior. You will likely not feel very good about yourself. And, you will likely feel very bad about me. Words have great power.

The Scripture text at the beginning of this blog post tells the story of when Jesus preached in the synagogue of his home town and used very powerful words. Jesus chose to read a passage of Scripture to the congregation that outlined the ministry He would have. He told them that He had come to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and declare the year of the Lord’s favor.

These words that Jesus preached had great power that day in the synagogue. And, the exciting thing is that Jesus’ words still have great power today.

As you grow closer to God, and as you learn more and more about Jesus, you will come to understand that His words can have great power in your own life, too. The truth of Jesus words can literally set you free.

That’s why it’s important to spend time each day reading your Bible. The more you read Jesus’ words, the more the Holy Spirit will plant those words deep into your heart and mind. The more that Jesus’ words live in your heart and mind, the more what He has to say will guide you along the pathway of your life. Words have great power.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank you for His powerful words. Help us be people who want to learn more about You. In Jesus’ Precious Name. Amen.

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


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Living On Purpose


1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

—The words of the Apostle John from John 2:1-11


Have you ever watched anyone build something? Maybe you’ve watched someone in your neighborhood remodel part of a house. Or, maybe you’ve seen construction workers building a new house or working on a new office building around the corner from where you live.

It’s fun to watch people build things. Every time you pass the location where construction is going on, you can see something new happening. It is kind of exciting and lots of fun to watch a new building being built.

It’s fun to watch people build things in factories, too. Maybe you’ve visited a factory and watched the workers build something. It’s fun to watch how they start out with very little and add more and more pieces until whatever they are building takes shape.

Out in Appleton, Wisconsin there is a company called Pierce Manufacturing Company. Do you know what they make at that factory? They make fire engines and fire trucks.

When you were a youngster did you have a fascination with fire engines and fire trucks? Most kids love to visit their local fire house. By the way, do you know what the difference is between a fire engine and a fire truck? A fire engine carries hose and pumps water. A fire truck carries ladders and tools. Each type of fire apparatus serves a specific purpose.

When you watch a fire engine being built it is quite a neat experience. You watch them start with a heavy metal frame and then build all the metal compartments. You can see them place the diesel engine on the frame and mount the pump. Every part of the fire engine goes in a specific place on the vehicle and serves a particular purpose.

When they are almost finished building the fire engine, what do you suppose is one of the last things they do? They paint it. And, what color do you suppose almost every fire engine gets painted? That’s right. They paint it red. Long ago someone decided that the color “red” represented the color of flames and helps warn people of danger. The people who choose to paint the fire engine red do so for a purpose.

The Scripture passage at the beginning of this blog post from the Gospel of John tells the story of Jesus attending a wedding at Cana. This is a really interesting story where Jesus performs an amazing miracle: He turns ordinary water into wine. Jesus did this miracle for a purpose. He acted deliberately.

God wants us to do things on purpose. In fact, there are a number of purposeful things God wants us to do every day. He wants us to spend time reading the Bible because it's the way He chooses to communicate with us. Likewise, He wants us to communicate with Him by talking to Him in prayer.

God also wants us, purposefully, to always tell the truth. He wants us to purposefully verify information we receive from first sources. When someone tells us something—even when that person is an authority figure—we need to verify that what we’re being told is the truth and contains the full and complete details of the particular situation.

God wants us to show His love to others. God wants us to treat other people with kindness. He wants us to extend His mercy and grace to everyone who crosses our pathway. He wants us to give generously of our time, talent, and treasure. And, God wants us to become keenly aware of the leading of His Holy Spirit in our daily lives.

Many years ago, I first heard the following poem by Helen Kromer during a performance of the musical drama For Heaven’s Sake at Houghton College. It sums up well what it means to live life on purpose.

A drop in the bucket is only a drop,
A minor and moist detail;
For a drop can’t the color or taste
Of a ten-quart watering pail.

But if the drop has the color of love
And the taste of tears divine,
One drop dropped into the vessel of life
Can turn the water to wine.

You see, as we learn more about God, He wants us to come to understand that He wants all of us to live every aspect of our daily lives on purpose.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to be our Savior. Thank you for wanting us to live our lives on purpose. Help us be people who constantly desire to learn more about You. We pray in Jesus’ Precious and Holy Name. Amen.

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


Monday, June 6, 2011

What It Means To Love


31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

—The words of Jesus from Matthew 25:31-40


“Love” can seem like a hard thing to talk about.

If I cup my hands together and hold them up high, I could tell you that I am holding some “love” in my hands. But, because you can’t see “love” the same way you can see one of your most prized possessions, you can’t really tell whether I have “love” in my hands or not.

But, do you know what? You actually can see “love” every day. That’s right. Every single day, each one of you sees examples of “love.”

Last night, or early this morning, when you finished your bath or shower and grabbed a nice soft towel to dry off with, did you realize, when someone washed that towel and placed it there for you to use, that was an example of “love.”

This morning, when someone made a nice breakfast for you, did you realize that was an example of “love?”

Even if you did these things for yourself, they were acts of “love.”

When you came to church this last weekend, and you sat down in a freshly dusted pew, or walked along the hall with a nice clean floor, the fact that one of your church staff members, or maybe a volunteer, had carefully cleaned the church so you could worship there, that was an example of “love.”

Everywhere we look, we can see examples of people’s “love” for us. Every act of kindness, every carefully prepared meal, every single thing anyone does for us that helps us, shows us “love.”

Likewise, if we have an opportunity to do something for someone and decide not to do it, that decision keeps us from showing “love.” When someone asks you to do something and you decide not to do it, in that moment at least, you decide not to show “love.”

Now in many cases, it may seem that showing “love” is really hard. But, all you have to do to show “love” is to do whatever that person asked you to do. So, showing “love” really isn’t that hard at all.

God has shown His love for us, by sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. God expects us to show Him our love, by giving our “love” to others. When we say a kind word to someone, we show them our love and God’s love, too. When we help someone, we show them our love and God’s love, too. When we gladly do what someone asks us to do, we show them our love and God’s love, too.

So the lesson for today is that God expects us to show Him our love, by showing love to others.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving me. Thank You for letting me show You my love by doing loving things for others. In the magnificent Name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why We Go To Church


17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

—The words of the Apostle Paul from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21


Have you ever wondered why we go to church each weekend? If I were to ask each one of you why you will be in church this weekend, most of you would probably answer, “Because it’s just what I do.” Maybe your mom or dad started bringing you to church when you were a little child. Or, maybe you discovered church as a teenager, or as a college student, or even as a mid-life adult. Whatever circumstances started you connecting with church, you’re still attending.

This weekend, if you look out over the group of people in the sanctuary of your church, you might wonder, “Why are they all here today?” I mean, look at them. You will see some young people. You will see some students in middle school or high school. You will see some college students. You will see some young adults. You will see some adults in the middle portion of their lives. And, you will see some older people. You will see a whole room full of people who, for some reason, decided to come together for worship.

Thinking about why we come to church cuts right to the heart of what church and worship is all about. It gets right to the very most basic truth of all that the Bible has to say. It sets aside all of the frills and fancy stuff, and deals with the complete and unadorned truth.

And, do you know what that truth is? The whole reason why every one you see gathered in worship, the whole reason why we even have churches, is that “Jesus loves us, this we know, for the Bible tells us so!”

That simple truth is what drives the whole of the Christian faith. Our response to this simple, yet very important, truth is why we gather for worship.

The fact is that, in the Garden of Eden, Adam broke the relationship he had with God by disobeying God’s one commandment. As a result, the curse of that sin has fallen on all of us, down through the ages, right to this present day.

But, the wonderful part of the story is that God—in His mercy and grace, through the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary—has paid the penalty for our sin and restored us to fellowship with Him. This wonderful love of Jesus has brought us back into fellowship with God, both now, and for all eternity.

So, when we gather to worship God, we do so as a people who have been given a magnificent gift—the gift of new life through Jesus Christ. And, that is truly a reason to celebrate.

Will you pray with me?

Thank You, God, for loving us. Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Help us to learn how to be people that love You and want to serve You. In Jesus’ Precious Name. Amen.

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