Monday, June 30, 2014

Who’s In Charge?

 

[Graphic of a sign]


 “Now choose life…”
 —Deuteronomy 30:19b

Life seems to always embrace a series of choices. Dozens of times each day we must make a choice between two quite opposite pathways.

As you begin this day, I urge you to heed these words given to God's chosen people from Deuteronomy 30:19:

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

Choosing to follow the pathway God lays out before us determines our destiny. It is a conscious and deliberate choice on our part as to who’s in charge of our lives. Do we take sole control? Or, do we allow God to be the One to take charge of our lives?

I invite you to join me in relying on the Holy Spirit to help us choose life this day—life lived through the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Billion Stars

 

[Graphic of a sign]



 “By the word of the Lord the heavens were mad…”
 —Psalm 33:6a

“Whose in charge here?”

Have you ever found yourself surrounded by a confusing, chaotic situation? Didn’t you wonder who was in charge? That’s a very natural reaction.

In our daily lives, we who trust in God, have put our faith in His Son, and rely on the Holy Spirit can count on God because He is the One in charge.

Please take note of these words from Psalm 33:6-9:

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Endurance…

 

[Graphic of a sign]



 “Endure hardship as discipline…”
 —Hebrews 12:7a

When soldiers train, they must endure hardship in order to prepare themselves for the rigors of battle. As soldiers of Christ who must prepare for spiritual battles, the hardships we endure toughen us so we can remain strong and victorious.

Yielding our will to God’s will and allowing the Holy Spirit to toughen us through our trials builds holy discipline into our lives. Take note of these words from Hebrews 12:7:

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Powerful Friend

 

[Graphic of a sign]



 “For I know the plans I have for you”
 —Jeremiah 29:11

Can you imagine having an extremely powerful friend who always has your best interests at heart and who also has the ability to guide you in shaping your future?

As you start this day, consider these words from God recorded in Jeremiah 29:11-13:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, June 20, 2014

“Do Not Judge”

 

[Graphic of a saying]



 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
 —Matthew 7:1

An interesting, yet sad, artifact of our current culture is that it has become extremely judgmental. It is not the church people who are the most judgmental. Rather, secular society often renders the harshest judgments against people who are different than they are.

As believers in the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to remember His words to His disciples as recorded in Matthew 7:1-5:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

We who believe in that life-altering power of the Lord Jesus Christ need to take a different stand than the judgmental stand taken by the secular world. We simply can’t jump on their bandwagon.

Oddly enough, the secular world accuses us of being intolerant, judgmental, harsh, unloving, and unkind because we hold to certain teachings clearly stated in God’s Word, the Bible. But, the secular world is wrong.

We are the ones who have the power of divine love. We are the ones who bring that divine love into the world. We shed light on the darkness of evil. We bring hope to the hopeless. We bring rest for the weary. We bring new life to those thought to be dead.

Yes, we do hold a standard of righteousness impressed upon us by God’s Word and by the Holy Spirit. But, rather than cloaking that standard of righteousness in hostility, disdain, and downright meanness, we present the standard of God’s righteousness in the compassionate wrapping of His unending love.

We approach those who need a savior the same way our Savior did—with love and grace and mercy. Rather than condemning, we show an openness in the same way Jesus did. We invite those who need a covering of the blood of our Savior to come and receive the welcome of His grace.

Don’t allow the secular world to try to destroy you by accepting the label they give. Live your life in the footsteps of Jesus. Make His “Sermon on the Mount” from Matthew 4, 5, and 6 your watchwords, your pattern of living.


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

“It’s ‘Mickey Mouse,’ But It Works!”

 

[Graphic of a sign]


 “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow
a nest for herself, where she may have her young—
a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”
 —Psalm 84:1-4

Last weekend a dear Christian friend, Robert D. Anderson, ended his journey on earth and was ushered into glory. Bob was not only a good friend, he was an exceptional friend and a truly fine servant of the Lord Jesus.

A son of Maine, I met Bob, his wife and their two children, soon after I moved to Connecticut in 1973. Bob attended Wethersfield Evangelical Free Church, where we made our first church home in Connecticut.

An employee of IBM, Bob and I shared a love of electronics. We worked together on many projects involving the church sound system.

Whenever we would have to make an unanticipated modification to some equipment, in his distinctive Maine drawl, Bob would quip, “Well, it’s “Mickey Mouse,’ but it works!”

Bob lived out his faith in the kindness he extended to others, in his ready smile, in his willingness to help others, and especially in the way he lovingly treated his wife and raised his kids.

Bob lived a good and full life. His last few years he struggled with health issues, but remained a stalwart servant of Christ.

His journey on this earth has ended. Now he is truly and fully alive in the very Presence of his Savior and Lord.

I imagine it won’t be too long and he will meet me at the celestial gate, as I make my own journey home to heaven. I suspect he will report, “I’ve been working on a project and I can use your help. I’ve had to change things around a bit. It’s “Mickey Mouse,’ but it works!”

 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

“What’ in a Name?”

 

[Photo of a newspaper clipping]



 “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
 —Acts 11:26

What’s in a name? Said another way, how seriously do you take the labels by which you might be called?

Take the label “Christian” or “Christ’s Ones,” for example. How meaningful is that label? Do you know its origin, as recorded in Acts 11:19-26:

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.

Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

So, it was the believers in the church at Antioch who first became known as “Christians.”

It’s fun to be first. First in line, first in your class, first across the finish line, first with a new car, first with an elegant dress, first one married among your friends—it is definitely fun to be first. But, what if being first mean hardship, persecution, and a new heap of trouble in your life?

That was the price the first Christians paid. Within the context of their culture, they had no honor for being first called “Christians.” Instead of a badge of honor, that label became a targe for disdain and hatred.

I sometimes wonder how we would fair if we were numbered among the first to be called by the name of our Lord and Savior? Maybe we’re going to get the opportunity to find out. Our culture seems to becoming increasingly hostile to genuine believersmdash;people who revere God and honor the teachings of His Word.

Let us humbly determine to hold up the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ with boldness and unwavering devotion. Let us strive to be “salt” and “light” in this troubled and needy world.

Imagine how very pleased God will be when He sees us proudly wearing the name “Christian” on the testimony of our lives of discipleship and obedience.


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 16, 2014

“Doing What’s Right”

 

[Graphic of a saying]



 “The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.”
 —1 Samuel 26:23a

“Doing what’s right at all times.” That’s a challenge we face as we begin another day. We live at a time where all around us people lie and cheat and steal and do all manner of evil without a shred of regret. Whether it’s our political leaders, our boss at work, our co-workers, maybe even our spouse or children, we appear to be surrounded by people intent on doing what’s wrong, rather than doing what’s right.

Maybe we even struggle in our own lives to determine to do what’s right. It is so very easy to fall into a pattern where we do what’s expedient—to take the easy way out. We allow the patterns of our culture to become the patters for our own lives.

It’s high time we put a stop to whatever part we may contribute to this culture of doing what’s wrong, rather than doing what’s right. We need to surrender our natural human bent toward sin and allow the grace of God to wash us thoroughly clean.

We to whom God has shown His loving kindness and tender mercies need to remember that the pathway of obedience holds a great reward. We need to remember that the pattern of lives lived in obedience to God’s will and to His Word brings joy and true fulfillment to our lives.

Let us cling to these words from 1 Samuel 26:23a:

The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.

When faced with decisions, we can begin this new day with the determination to make the right choice. We can decide, right now, that we will do what’s right. No matter what others around us may do, we can choose to be the ones to do what’s right.


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Father’s Day Reality Check

 

[Graphic of a sign]


 “Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift…”
 —1 Corinthians 1:7a

We get to make a lot of choices in this life: what we eat; where we live; who we select as friends; where we worship. The choices go on and on.

We also get to choose how we respond to things that happen in our lives.

For example, this particular weekend is a difficult one for me. On Father's Day in 2011, a dear friend of mine who had served a church with determination and diligent work was fired without just cause and in total violation of Matthew 18:15-17.

Imagine! Fired on Father's Day! This dear friend grew up without a father in his life and yet has raised three wonderful sons of his own. Now he must live with a horrible memory that will forever mar what is supposed to be a day of celebration.

How did he respond to those who treated him so horribly? He has consistently reached out to those who harmed him seeking reconciliation, just as the Bible commands.

Of course many of those who acted so hurtfully have refused to be reconciled. Only a very few have acknowledged their sin and sought forgiveness. And, no one has sought to make restitution for the harm they have done.

My friend made a choice to follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, even when those who harmed him ignored the requirements of Scripture in order to satisfy their own evil intent.

I have been greatly blessed in observing how faithfully my friend has clung to Jesus' teaching, especially since after three years he remains without suitable full-time employment.

As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:7-9:

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

In every situation that comes our way, may we strive to purposefully make wise choices. If we do, we will bring glory to the God who loves us.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, June 13, 2014

“My grace is sufficient…”

 

[Graphic of a saying]



 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
 —2 Corinthians 12:9

Hopefully your day yesterday went well. Perhaps, after you finished your work, you watched a sporting event. Or, maybe you participated in a cookout with family or friends. I hope you took time to consider how very blessed we are to live inside the circle of those deeply loved by God.

Even in times of weakness, God remains a fortress of strength. Note these words of the Apostle Paul writing about the affliction he called “my thorn in the flesh” from 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul sets an excellent example for us. We should rejoice in our hardships. Each of us may well have our very own “thorn in the flesh.” Like Paul, we should pray and ask God to take it away from us. But, if He decides that “thorn” serves some purpose for our ultimate good, then we should receive that hardship and, depending completely on the power of the Holy Spirit, accept it as a sign of God’s perfect will at work in us.

With God’s help, we can fall back into His loving arms and release our sorrow and disappointment into the ocean of His grace.


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

“Rejoice in God’s Love…”

 

[Graphic of saying]



 “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous…”
 —Psalm 32:11

Does anyone doubt that our current culture breeds negativity? In virtually every sphere, people are polarized: about politics, about the environment, about the economy, about religion—the list goes on and on. It’s very easy to become entrapped by this negativism.

Faith in God offers us a solution. Instead of complaining and bickering, we should express gratitude for the many ways God has filled our lives with reasons to rejoice.

Instead of yielding to the pressures the culture tries to thrust on us, we should determine to live our lives inside out. We should reorder our priorities. We should turn our grumbling into rejoicing. If we do, we will join those who have overcome the world.

As the Psalmist has declared in Psalm 32:8-11:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Why not join me in determining to begin this day with rejoicing. Let us purpose to thank God for His mercy, grace, and love. At every turn throughout this day, we can choose to express gratitude to the one who loves us with His everlasting love.


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 9, 2014

“God will never leave you…”

 

[Graphic of a saying]



 “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”
 —Job 42:12

Everyone faces little annoyances in the course of our daily lives. But sometimes something really big happens that knocks us flat.

Perhaps its the loss of a loved one, the dissolution of a marriage, a devastating accident, the termination of employment, or some other tragic event. Whatever this intrusion may be, it throws us for a loop.

Consider the Patriarch, Job. His devotion to God was tested in a striking way. He lost his children and all of his possessions along with his health. But the tragedy of Job's life was not the end of the story.

Take note of these closing words to Job’s narrative as recorded in Job 42:12-16:

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters.

The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.

God has a perfect plan for each one of us who belong to Him. In the midst of the trials and tragedies of life, we need to learn how to fall backwards into the safety of His loving arms.


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Our Awesome God

 

[Photo of man with outstretched hands]



 “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps
his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear
the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night…”
 —Nehemiah 1:5-6

As we take time this day to begin another day by worshipping the God who loves us with an everlasting love, let us remember these words from Nehemiah 9:29-33:

“You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’

“Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

“Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love… In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly.”

Our God is awesome. His everlasting love reaches down to us. He cradles us in His mighty Hand. He opens up a new pathway for us each day. He cleanes us from our sins through the blood of His own dear Son, Jesus.

Let us begin this day with rejoicing. Our God reigns. He reigns in our hearts and minds. He reigns over all the earth. He reigns over all the universe. Our God is an awesome God!


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Answer with Faith

 

[Graphic of a sign]



 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
 —Psalm 56:3-4

In the morning, we can face each new day with confidence that God goes before us extending the pathway He intends us to follow. No evil can come against us, for the shield of faith guards us from evil’s attack.

With confidence and great joy, we can say with the Psalmist these words from Psalm 57:9-10:

“I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

Back in 1904, Civilla D. Martin penned the words to the following poem that her husband, Walter S. Martin set to music. While the language of this hymn retains the more formal prose of the Authorized Version of Scripture, what many people refer to as the King James Version, nevertheless the sentiment of the hymn rings true, especially today.

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

Refrain: God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

Refrain: God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.

Refrain: God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.

Refrain: God will take care of you,
Through every day, over all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

We need not fear. The God who loves us with His everlasting love stands ever ready to protect us and quiet our fears. We only need to trust in His unfailing grace.


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, June 2, 2014

“Angel Unaware”

 

[Photo of Billy Graham with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans]



 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some
people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
 —Hebrews 13:2

Do you recognize this trio? Rev. Dr. Billy Graham with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

Are you old enough to remember watching Roy and Dale on Saturday morning television in the 1950s? How about their closing song: “Happy Trails to You”?

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again.

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here’s a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

 



(Note: Your browser must support Adobe Flash in order to view this video)

 

Did you know that Roy and Dale were deeply committed evangelical Christians?

Dale wrote one of the most moving books I have ever read. It chronicled the all-too-short life of their special needs little girl: Angel Unaware. This book is still available from used booksellers on Amazon.com.

Along the trail of life, the most happiness we can obtain occurs when we place our faith and trust in God, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Roy and Dale are now in heaven. They have been reunited with their lovely daughter, the subject of Dale’s book.

I would like to think that as the sun goes down after a marvelous day of fellowship at the feet of Jesus, just maybe Roy and Dale lead those gathered in singing “Happy Trails to You.”


 

Copyright © 2014 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.