Friday, August 29, 2014

They Gave Me Time

 

[Graphic of a sign]


“Let us go to the house of the Lord…”
—Psalm 122:1b

From time to time, we should take a look at our lives and give honor to those who have had a significant impact on our spiritual formation. I have written on several occasions in this blog how—after three years of praying earnestly that God would bring a godly man into my life—He caused Rev. Dr. David R. Mains to cross the pathway of my life in October of 1978. My friendship with David has lasted to this very day. I am grateful that in my retirement I am able to work as David’s assistant, as he and his wife, Karen, continue to service Christ and His Kingdom.

I'm also grateful to have had two other distinctly godly men in my life. The father who raised me and the father-in-law who became such an important part of my life after I married his beautiful daughter.

My dad has been home in heaven for more than 32 years. My father-in-law joined my dad in heaven 14 years ago. Though they have been gone from us all these many years, their influence remains strong and vital in my life.

Both men put God first. Every Sunday morning they proclaimed by word and deed the message of the Psalmist from Psalm 122:1:

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

So, as I get ready to attend church each week, as I have done for virtually every Sunday of my life, I celebrate the godly heritage passed down to me by my two dads.

As I do so, I am keenly aware that not everyone had the same kind of father that I had in both of these men. I grieve for you if that was the case in your life. And, I would remind you that you do have a heavenly Father who loves you with His everlasting love.

To all dads everywhere this day, I strongly encourage you to always strive to be worthy of that name “father.” Pour yourself into the lives of your children. Let nothing stand in the way of your godly example in their lives. If you do, you will please your heavenly Father and bring honor to His Name.

 

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

 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Grateful Beginning

 

[Photo of luminescent butterflies with words superimposed]


“…the Lord delights in those who fear him…”
—Psalm 147:11a

Forgetting what we may think we lack, or even what we may think we’ve lost, let us begin this day with gratitude to God for what we do have. Let us join with the Psalmist from Psalm 147:7-11:

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

This day, let us delight in the Lord our God!

 

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

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Leadership of a Church and
Secret Meetings

 

[Drawing of a door with a sign]


“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another…”
—1 Corinthians 1:10a

I will be quite frank. I don’t like secret meetings of church leaders. I believe they violate the intent of Scripture. I think they spawn division. I think they engender distrust. I think they are unnecessary and lead to problems.

I feel this way because I have observed over my 46 years since coming of age that whenever church leaders meet in secret, no good comes out of such meetings. Rather, I believe God’s Word teaches us to be open and transparent with one another. If we are all truly brothers and sisters bonded in the love bond of Jesus Christ, then we should always be able to speak freely with each other, no matter how difficult a situation might seem.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the very troubled church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:10-31:

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.)

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
     the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

 

I am not alone in my belief that the leadership of a church should not meet in secret. Rev. Dr. Jim Meyer, a noted expert in church management—who earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Biola University, a Mastes of Divinity degree from Talbot School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary with a focus specializing in church conflict— has written the following in his widely read blog: 1

Let me make five observations about secret meetings in churches:

First, secret meetings are not found anywhere in the NT.

Secret meetings are spiritually dysfunctional… relationally damaging… highly political… and psychologically unhealthy. The secrecy itself says far more about group members than it does about anyone the group is focused on.

Peter Steinke, in his brilliant book Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach, 2 states: “When we are anxious… we are imprecise, vague, covert, less transparent. We operate in darkness. Secrecy is a deadly virus. Undetected, it can do untold damage, lasting for years. How can a congregation be a healthy community if it lives in darkness, keeps skeletons in the closet, and allows destructive disease processes to continue?”

Second, secret meetings are an unbiblical way to handle people’s grievances.

If someone was upset with me or my wife personally—according to Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:15they should have spoken with us directly, not about us to others. If they didn’t like the answer they received from us, they could have proceeded to bring in witnesses as Jesus specifies in Matthew 18:16. And if they were still unhappy about our personal conduct, they could have used the process Paul specified for correcting pastors in 1 Timothy 5:19-21.

But how was listing my faults and sharing them with board members going to help me to become a better person and pastor?

If someone was upset about a church policy—like changes in the worship service—they could have spoken with any board member because we had all agreed on the changes together. If they didn’t like the answer they received from a board member, they had two options: stay and submit to church leadership, or leave the church peacefully. A secret meeting was not going to resolve any of their concerns.

But when people pool their grievances, they automatically become divisive. Joe is upset with the pastor for Offense A… and now Madge is upset with the pastor for Offense A as well. She takes Joe’s side… carries his offense… adds a few of her own… and the whole group falls right into the trap that one author calls The Bait of Satan.

Division in a church begins when people begin to pool their grievances.

Third, secret meetings tend to overfocus on one personusually the pastor.

These meetings are specifically arranged to find a scapegoat for the unresolved anxiety experienced by some group members. “We’re feeling uncomfortable right now, so let’s blame how we feel on the pastor —and if we can make a case against him, we’ll all feel ecstatic very soon.”

But the church would have been in far better shape spiritually if those who had met to hypercriticize their pastor met instead to confess their sins… read Scripture together… pray for church leaders… and engage in a service project for somebody else. But for some reason, they never found the time to do that.

Fourth, secret meetings reveal the immaturity of participants.

Let me quote Peter Steinke once again: “Secret meetings are not arranged for the welfare of the whole community, nor are they dialogical in nature…. Secrets support immaturity. Underground murmurers in a community are usually insecure, dependent, and childish people.”

Why is this? Because participants in secret meetings do not feel strong enough to share how they feel with their pastor or leaders. They only feel strong when they meet with fellow malcontents. But when they do, nobody will challenge them… nobody will disagree with them… and nobody will love them into health. And when they finally leave the room clinging to a list of somebody else’s faults, they are silently confessing that they don’t know anything about grace or redemption.

Rather than becoming angry with people who resort to secret meetings, we should genuinely feel sorry for them… and if they don’t repent, pray them right out of the church.

Finally, secret meetings consist of ecclesiastical vigilantes.

These people ignore the teachings of Scripture on reconciliation… bypass due process as outlined in church bylaws… and decide to take matters into their own hands. Their group alone knows what’s best for the church!

That particular group of vigilantes couldn’t make a go of their new church. They found attracting newcomers was hard going, although I have a feeling that they never figured out why. Their church eventually disbanded.

And you know what was ironic? When two of the people in that group died, I was asked to conduct their funerals.

I assumed that everyone in that group hated me, but they didn’t. Only a couple of people in that group really hated me.

It’s been 25 years since that secret meeting took place. I’ve learned a lot since then about healthy and unhealthy behavior among Christians.

And one of the things I’ve learned is that many of the secrets that arise out of secret meetings eventually become known. Nothing stays hidden forever.

And yet tonight… all over this land… Christians will be holding secret meetings… most of them aimed at their pastor.

To quote from an old folk song, “When will they ever learn?”

 

I strongly urge every church leadership body—no matter what your particular polity may call such a body—to never, ever meet in secret. The love bond of the Lord Jesus Christ should allow you to handle 99.44% of all matters in full transparency.

On the extremely rare occasion where the absolute confidentiality involving a matter where it is necessary to protect a member of the congregation from harm, then, and only then, should the leadership meet in secret. However, the leadership should never meet in secret regarding members of the professional staff or support staff of the church. It should never meet in secret to resolve a conflict within the leadership. Nor should it meet in secret to avoid following Matthew 18:15-17.

Rather, every matter regarding the leadership or the staff should be discussed with full transparency in accord with Matthew 18 and resolved accordingly. Every matter of strategy and long-range planning should be dealt with transparently.

The leadership cannot become a servant of the Body of Christ when it meets in secret. Meeting in secret tends to breed an attitude of “it’s us against them.” There is no place for such thinking in the Kingdom of God.

______________________

1 http://blog.restoringkingdombuilders.org/2013/08/14/the-foolishness-of-secret-meetings/
2 Steinke, Peter L. Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach. Herndon, VA: The Alban Institute, 2006.

 

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

 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

For Such a Moment as This

 

[Photo inside a cave with words superimposed]


“And who knows but that you have come to your
royal position for such a time as this?”
—Esther 4:16

Back in the 1970s, Col. W. Ian Thomas, head of the Torchbearers in the U.K., wrote a piercing analysis of the Book of Esther entitled If I Perish, I Perish. This stunning little book came on the heels of Thomas’ equally powerful book The Saving Life of Christ.

Thomas reminds those of us who choose to devote ourselves as true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, that every event in our lives prepares us for service to His Kingdom. No matter what we may experience, we are being prepared for a life of showing Kingdom principles to a world that desperately needs to recognize and celebrate God’s mercy, grace, and love.

I long, in this very moment you are reading my words, to whisper encouragement into your listening ears: “God loves you. He has a plan for you. He has already used you powerfully and will continue to use you powerfully in Kingdom service.

“You have value and great worth to the God who loved you enough to send His Son to die for you, to be raised from the dead for you, and to return to heaven for you so that He might some day return for you!”

Let a strong sense of His divine Presence wash over you, even in this very moment. The events of your life have prepared you for just such a time as this!

Walk in the footsteps of Queen Esther, as recorded in Esther 4:12-16:

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do.

“When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Determination to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, to do exactly what God wants us to do. That is the kind of attitude that will guide our pathway as we move forward along the road of life.

 

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

 

Friday, August 22, 2014

When the “Bowl of Cherries” Drops

 

[Photo of a tiny plant circumventing a rock with words superimposed]


“Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds”
—James 1:2

As a small boy I remember my dad singing a song: “Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries” with music by Ray Henderson and lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown, published in 1931 and made famous by singer Ethel Merman. The tune is lilting and the lyrics describe a carefree approach to life. Just laugh your way through life. Here’s a version of the song from Judy Garland’s TV show in the mid-1960s:

 



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

 

But in real life that simply isn't true—life usually is not a bowl of cherries.

Yes, some people do seem to cruise through life without a care in the world. But then, “BOOM!” some difficulty strikes. It’s during those difficult times when we must rely on the God who loves us to strengthen our faith in Him.

God is the One who knows us best and loves us the most. He is able to stand with us when circumstances turn our lives upside down.

If you are going through a rough patch in your life right now, or if someone you love very much is facing difficulties in his or her life, take heart from these words of the Apostle James recorded in James 1:2-4:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Face whatever has become a burden in your life with the knowledge that the Holy Spirit is walking with you. God’s love has the power to shield your mind and heart from even greater trials and attacks from Satan.

The trial you are going through will end in ultimate victory. Be strong and courageous. Know that your brothers and sisters in Christ stand with you in much prayer.

Let God increase your faith. Let Him surround you with His matchless love. Let Him hold you tenderly in His strong arms. Fall back into the protection of His mercy and grace.

 

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

 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three Types of Friends

 

[Photo of block cloth with words superimposed]


“When Job’s three friends…heard about all the troubles that had come upon him₀to go and sympathize with him and comfort him”
—Job 2:11

Friends are very important elements in our lives. They can be very specific gifts from God. Friends can help us lead a more balanced life.

Friends support and encourage us. They help us bear our burdens. Friends pray for us, sometimes interceding when we simply cannot pray for ourselves.

Friends laugh with us and cry with us. They help guide us through good times and bad times.

Sometimes, friends exhort us to think differently about something. Sometimes, with deep love and affection, they may even patiently and kindly disagree with us.

Above all else, friends can encourage us to listen more carefully to the voice of the Holy Spirit within us. They can nudge us along our walk of faith.

When the Patriarch Job was tested, Scripture records that three friends came to support him. Here’s Job 2:11:

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.

Of course, if you remember this story, over time, Job’s friends—drawing on their own misunderstanding of the work God was doing in Job’s life—gave him inappropriate counsel and their failure to understand God’s purpose caused their efforts to go awry.

Here’s Job 42:7:

After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”

Friends can greatly bless our lives. But, we do well to choose our friends wisely. Then, we must always compare what they tell us with the standard of truth put forth in God’s Word.

 

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

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Not Conformed, But Transformed

 

[Photo of woman looking out to sea with words superimposed]


“Love the Lord your God…”
—Mark 12:30a

Looking for some guidance as to how to live your life? Struggling to know what “obedience” to God’s will and His Word really means?

The Great Commandment tells us in Mark 12:30:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

In each of these human modalities—emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical—we are to harbor within us an ever-increasing love for the God who first loved us with His everlasting love.

How can we do this? We need to become “transformed” through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. That transformation is the essence of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the church at Rome as recorded in Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

As we begin a new day, let us surrender our will to God’s will and allow Him to renew, refresh, restore, and fundamentally transform us, so that we may go out as “salt and light” into a needy and troubled world. Doing so will allow us to truly love the Lord our God with the totality of our being.

 

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

 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Glorying in the Cross

 

[Photo of Calvary as seen from the tomb]


“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
—Galatians 6:14a

It’s hard to imagine that any believer in the Lord Jesus Christ could “glory” in that horrible instrument of Roman torture: the cross. And yet, that is exactly what the Apostle Paul declared in Galatians 6:14:

May I never boast (or “glory”) except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Paul glories in the cross because the cross of Calvary was the means through which God declared His forgiving love to all those who would put their faith in Him.

We must not lose sight of the great price paid for our salvation that reconciles us to God. The blood of our Lord Jesus was shed to cover our sins. His death and resurrection is our assurance of eternal life.

So, let us join with Paul and “glory” in the cross—for through the death of our Lord on the cross, we have received new life.

 

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

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Who Surrounds You?

 

[Graphic of a sign]


“A friend loves at all times…”
—Proverbs 17:17a

One of the more difficult things we do as we travel along the road of life is to choose wisely the people with whom we will associate. Our friends can bring influences into our lives that will either build us up or tear us down.

King Solomon understood this. He wrote these words in Proverbs 17:17:

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Someone who brings joy and support and help and a positive attitude into our lives is a true friend—a genuine brother or sister. Someone who brings a negative, harmful influence into our lives is not really our friend, nor a genuine brother or sister.

We need to caarefully examine our relationships with others and choose wisely the people we allow to come alongside us in our lives.

 

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

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Spiritual Gimbal

 

[Photo of waves against the shore with words superimposed]


“I keep my eyes always on the Lord…”
—Psalm 16:8a

Some of the most spectacular nature photography would simply not be possible were it not for a mechanical camera mount called a “gimbal.” A gimbal allows a camera operator to quickly move a camera up, down, left, and right.

[Photo of a gimbal]

A camera with telephoto lens mounted on a gimbal

A gimbal also lets an operator make very smooth and steady movements: to follow the flight path of a bird; to switch between predator and prey; to change the perspective from backward-looking to forward-looking.

Sometimes it’s helpful in an ever-maturing Christian life to live your life on a “spiritual gimbal.” In fact, keeping your perspective will help you strength your spiritual formation.

In Psalm 16:8, the Psalmist provides one direction to help us maintain our perspective:

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Let’s determine to keep ourselves ready to move in whatever direction God may open up for us. After all, we do want to be able to serve Him effectively, don’t we?

 

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

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Are You Spiritually Out of Breath?

 

[Photo of a steep outdoor stairs with words superimposed]


“When you walk, your steps will not be hampered…”
—Proverbs 4:12

It isn’t so much that I don’t know the way I’m supposed to go. Nor is it that I cannot see the pathway I’m supposed to follow.

Rather, I sometimes feel tired and weary and out of breath spiritually. Part of the beauty of a new day is the promise it holds for new mercies from the God who loves me with His unfailing love.

I take special comfort on this day from these words recorded in Proverbs 4:11-12, where God says:

I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.

Perhaps you, too, feel already weary at the beginning of another day. Take heart! Our God is a sustaining God. He will provide everything we need to follow the road He has opened up before us.

Even if we must climb many “stairs” today, He will give us the strength we need to do so.

 

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

 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The God of Wonder

 

[Photo of sunshine behind dark clouds]


“Who among the gods is like you, Lord?”
—Exodus 15:11

Our God is a God of wonder. Everywhere we turn we see evidences of His amazing creativity.

Perhaps the greatest wonder is the fact that God sent His one and only Son to take human form, to die in our place on Calvary’s cruel cross, and to rise again from the grave. Such an outpouring of unconditional love is unfathomable.

Moses writes these words in Exodus 15:11, 13:

Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

Back in 1956, George Beverly Shea penned these words to his famous gospel song, “The Wonder Of It All”:

There’s the wonder of sunset at evening
The wonder as sunrise I see
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me

Chorus:
The wonder of it all
The wonder of it all
Just to think that God loves me
Oh the wonder of it all
The wonder of it all
Just to think that God loves me

There's the wonder of spring time and harvest
The sky, the stars, the sun
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that's only begun

Chorus:
The wonder of it all
The wonder of it all
Just to think that God loves me
Oh the wonder of it all
The wonder of it all
Just to think that God loves me

Here’s a video of Geroge Beverly Shea singing this song he wrote. The video was recorded as part of Mr. Shea’s appearance in January of 2009 on the “100 Huntley Street” Christian television program from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. At the end of the song, Mr. Shea narrates a story about his conversion experience.

Mr. Shea and his entire family have very close personal ties to my alma mater, Houghton College. In fact, his nephew, Paul Shea, was a classmate of mine who became a professor at Houghton. Mr. Shea was ushered into the Presence of His Lord on April 16, 2013, at the age of 104.

 



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

 

 

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

 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Showing Kindness to Children

 

[Photo of a dad walking hand-in-hand with his children with words superimposed]


“Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
—Matthew 18:1

Children have enormous importance to Jesus. Therefore, children should have enormous importance to us.

If you’re a parent, you already have a huge responsibility for the spiritual formation that will guide your children’s walk with the Lord all the days of their lives. But, you also have responsibility for every child that God brings to your attention.

If you’re like me and have no children of your own, you are not freed from responsibility for every child you know. This includes your nieces and nephews and other relatives, as well as children God may bring into your life.

We do well to take to heart these words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 18:1-6:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Let us press onward into this new week aware of the children around us. Let us determine to show them kindness and compassion. Let us allow the Light of Christ'’s Presence within us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, shine into the lives of the children who cross the pathway of our lives. And, let us be grateful that God has entrusted us with this assignment to love children, even as He loves them.

 

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

 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Being A Part Of The Right Pride

 

[Photo of lions with words superimposed]


“…make my joy complete by being like-minded,
having the same love, being one in spirit…”
—Philippians 2:2

All across the world on this Lord’s Day, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will gather for worship. As you join with them, heed these words from the Apostle Paul as recorded in Philippians 2:1-4:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Choose wisely those with whom you will fellowship today. Then, invest yourself freely in these dear ones.

 

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

 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Start Your Children on the Right Path

 

[Graphic of a sign]


“Start children off on the way they should go…”
—Proverbs 22:6a

Were you raised? Or, did you simply grow up?

I’m pretty certain that I am very fortunate to have had the privilege and the opportunity of being raised by two loving parents who held to a set of standards. I am equally certain that my upbrining has proven foundational in forming proper patterns of behavior in my life.

Not everyone has the blessing of two Christ-honoring parents. Many have had to overcome many obstacles to reach the point where they are today. Maybe you are one who has had to work very hard to establish yourself as someone who makes wise choices and displays acceptable behavior. Even though you may not have had the same growing up experience that I had, now that you belong to Jesus, you can do your very best to secure a healthy upbringing for your children, no matter what your circumstances may be.

King Solomon offered these wise words in Proverbs 22:6:

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Are you treating your children the way your were treated? Is that treatment the very best that your children deserve? Think about how you would answer. If you need to make some corrections, then make those corrections today.

 

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

 

Friday, August 1, 2014

“Be Glad You’re You!”

 

[Photo of open Bible with verse superimposed]


“For you created my inmost being…”
—Psalm 139:13a

Don’t spend even one second wishing you were more like someone else. You are exactly the person God created you to be.

Yes, you may have issues to deal with in your life: sins to overcome, challenges to face, new horizons to reach, and goals toward which you should strive.

But the fundamental “you” is exactly the person God created you to be. The Psalmist said it best in Psalm 139:13-17:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

The current trends in our society tend to breed insecurity and point us toward covetousness: we look at someone else and wish that we could become them. What a foolish waste of time! How silly to want to become someone else.

At the start of this new day, and every new day, we should begin by praising God that He has made us exactly as He intends us to be. We are glorious in His sight. When He looks at us, He sees someone worthy of His unfailing, undying love.

So, let us rejoice that we are God’s very special, very precious, and very deeply loved creation. He has fashioned us exactly as He wishes. And, we bear the very stamp of His image. Be glad you’re you!

 

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