Friday, November 28, 2014

Prosperity and Success


[Photo of Thomas Edison with words superimposed] [Graphic of a sign]

“Be strong and very courageous.”
—Joshua 1:7

No one who starts down the road of a particular task wants his or her efforts to end in failure. It is quite normal to want to succeed, even to succeed brilliantly.

But in order to learn how to keep in the very center of the one-way road that leads to success, it almost inevitably means that the person on the road will need to experience failure. There is no more powerful teacher than failure.

One of the concerns about our current culture where every participant in a contest gets a “prize” is that we are denying those participants the opportunity to learn from their own failures.

As a child, I fancied myself as having a career as a baseball pitcher. I read everything I could get my hands on about baseball pitching. I studiously watched baseball on our black and white TV, paying close attention to the pitchers. I saved my weekly allowance of a dime (yes, a dime) for months until I could raise half the cost of a pitcher’s glove. I spent hours in my back yard throwing practice pitches through an old tire.

The only problem: I had no batter to receive my pitches. As I’ve explained before, I grew up in a neighborhood where there were no other children. Alas, when I finally faced a real batter, he hit my one and only pitch over the centerfield fence. The coach immediately replaced me.

I learned a very valuable lesson from that experience: reading is not doing; practicing anything without a real scenario isn’t effective.

Many years later as a fire protection engineer, when I would audit an industrial plant’s emergency preparedness plan, I could immediately tell whether the emergency drills actually exercised the plan. Far too many drills did not realistically test the emergency preparedness of the facilities the plans were designed to protect.

When God chose Joshua to take Moses’ place and lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, He outlined for Joshua His formula for success. Notice what God says in Joshua 1:7-8:

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Notice how integral God’s Word is to success. “Keep it on your lips. Meditate on it day and night.”

Let’s make the study and application of God’s Word a key element in our own quest for spiritual maturity and the guarantee of our success.


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


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happiness or Joy?


[Aerial photo of a cross on a mountain top with words superimposed]

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in
you and that your joy may be complete.”
—John 15:11

“Happiness is a quality desired by a little child. Joy is what mature adults desire.”

A former pastor of mine, Dr. Ronald K. Nasshan, now home with the Lord, often drew a distinction between “happiness” and “joy.”

There is a whimsical, almost silly quality to happiness. It is far more fleeting. Just as a little child can be giggling one moment and dissolve into tears the next, so happiness has an insubstantial bent that reduces its value.

Mature adults should desire something more solid, something with greater depth than happiness, something more able to withstand the ups and downs of life.

Our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, offered his disciples thoughtful instruction regarding “joy” in John 15:9-11:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

Let us begin this new day by determining to remain in the love of our Savior. If we do, we will surely secure true joy.


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


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Attributing Worth to God


[Photo of Jesus on the cross in shadow]

“…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…”
—Philippians 2:10a

Worship plays a very important role in the life of a believer. That’s why we gather with other believers and sing songs of praise, confess our sins, hear the words assuring us that our sins are covered by the precious blood of Jesus, read God’s Word, listen to a proclamation of God’s truth, and return to God a portion of what He has so graciously given us.

Whether you worship with a praise band and contemporary music or with a liturgical service and traditional music like I do, worship gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the transformation that God has brought into our lives.

The word “worship” is defined as “attributing worth to the thing or person or deity who matters the most to you.” Therefore, when we worship God, we tell Him and show Him how much we value Him, how very much He means to us.

Speaking of Jesus, our Savior and Lord, the Apostle Paul explained to the “Christ-ones” or Christians at Philippi why Jesus deserves our worship, as recorded in Philippians 2:9-11:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Let us this day worship God and exalt the Name that is above all names, the name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.


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


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Examing Who We Are


[Photo of nature with words superimposed]

“Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind…”
—Psalm 26:2

As believers in the life-transforming power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, from time to time it’s helpful to examine on what or whom we rely.

Do we draw our strength and self-worth from our families? From our jobs? From those with whom we associate? From our education or lack of education? From the kind of car we drive or the kind of house in which we live? From the clubs to which we belong? From the church we attend? From the Facebook or blog posts we write?

King David set an example for us when he wrote the following in Psalm 26:2-3:

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

In these few words King David invites God to test him.

“What? Is David nuts? He’s asking God to test him?”

No, David isn’t crazy. However, he is quite confident in asking God to test him because David is relying on God’s faithfulness to give his life meaning.

Now it’s quite likely that we would not be so bold as to ask God to test us. But, we can learn to rely on God’s faithfulness to give meaning and value to our lives.

In fact, learning how to rely on God sounds like part of the way our Savior intends to transform our lives.


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


Monday, November 24, 2014

Rejoicing Overcomers


[Graphic of a sign]

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but
on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
—Matthew 4:4

“Tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.” This phrase from several historic creeds of the church, based on Hebrews 4:15, describes an extremely important attribute of our Savior.

Jesus faced every temptation to sin, yet He remained an overcomer. And in so doing, He gave us important instructions in how to do the same.

Notice how Jesus taught us to turn to God’s Word to feed our minds and hearts and give us the strength to overcome when tempted, as recorded in Matthew 4:3-4:

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

When we are tempted this day, let us remember our Savior who told us how to resist Satan’s wiles. And, let us become “rejoicing overcomers.”


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


Friday, November 21, 2014

Why Change?


[Graphic of a sign]

“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
—Psalm 17:6

Have you ever asked someone a question and that person didn’t answer you? Few things irritate me as much as asking a perfectly reasonable question and have the person whom I ask refuse to answer me.

When I was ten years old I was involved in a very serious bicycle accident in which I severely damaged my face. I’ve described this in a recent post, so I will not repeat the details.

When I returned to school, several children in my fifth grade class began to treat me quite cruelly. Once when four of these children surrounded me and began to hit me and call me names, I asked them why they were so mean to me and what I had done to make them so angry. They refused to answer me.

Their behavior carried all the way through the next four years of school. Finally, in the summer between ninth and tenth grade I took a self-defense course. When this group attacked me on the first day of tenth grade, I repelled their attack. They never bothered me again.

After all these years, I still do not have an answer to my question: “What have I done to make you so angry with me?”

Many other times in my life I’ve asked questions and have not received answers. As a result, when someone asks me a question, I always try to give them the courtesy of an answer.

What a comfort it is to know that the God who loves us always answers us. Sometimes His answer is "No!" Sometimes His answer is "Wait awhile!" Sometimes His answer is "Yes!" But God always gives us an answer.

Please read King David’s words from Psalm 17:6-8:

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.

Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings…

The God who loves us with His everlasting love always has our very best interest in mind. We can live confidently knowing He will always answer us.

And more so, we can live knowing His answer will come from the One who considers us “the apple of His eye.”


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


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Worthy of Honor


[Graphic of a sign]

“Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty,
great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds.”
—Jeremiah 32:18b-19a

A king is worthy of honor and majesty and wisdom and power. Other types of leaders do not evoke such allegiance, nor should they.

Our founding fathers understood this all to well. They had lived under the harsh rule of a king. They wanted nothing further to do with earthly kings.

George Washington stated on several occasions, “I shall never bow before a king again until I stand before the One True King on the day of my judgment.”

Part of the reason why our culture has drifted so far from what God intends is that people have crowned other "kings" in their lives. Whether it’s the media fawning at the feet of a enormously flawed and divisive political leader, or ordinary people who bow before entertainers or pleasure or wealth or human power or whatever.

Whether people realize it or not, there is only One True King. He is the God-in-Three-Persons, the Great Creator, The Alpha and Omega. He and He alone is worthy of our worship.

Take note of these words from the Prophet Jeremiah, found in Jeremiah 32:17-19:

Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.

You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them.

Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds.

Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve.

As we begin a new day, let us turn aside from other kings before whom we have begun to bow. Let us worship the only True King.

Let us show our devotion to Him through our obedience to His will and to His Word.


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


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spinning the Truth


[Graphic of a sign]

“The one whose walk is blameless, who does what
is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart…
Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”
—Psalm 15:2, 5

With a smug smile, the pundits call what they do “spin.” It really is lies. Anytime a person bends the truth, he or she is actually lying.

The truth does not come in shades. The truth is either precisely true or inherently not true.

We are surrounded by lies: in politics, in advertising, even in relationships. Who can push the “reset button” and return believers to a place where they will deny lies and cling to the truth?

Here’s what the Psalmist suggests in Psalm 15:2-5:

The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

Let’s declare our lives a “no spin” zone. Let’s do this by honoring the truth. Let’s us cling to the fact that sticking to the truth lays a perfect foundation for spiritual growth.


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


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finishing What’s Begun


[Photo of nature with words superimposed]

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in
you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”
—Philippians 1:6b

Do you know someone who starts projects but seldom finishes them before he or she begins another new project?

Dr. Anthony Gregorc identifies this as one characteristic of the Concrete-Random Mind Style™. C-Rs like “new”—they like new tasks, new ideas, new books, new challenges, new friends. But, they often move on to the “new” without finishing what they have so eagerly begun.

Then, the other three Mind Styles have to pick up the pieces and try to finish what the C-Rs have left undone.

Fortunately for those of us who believe in God, He has not left His work in us unfinished. The Apostle Paul explains this in Philippians 1:3-6:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

God began our salvation when, before the foundation of the world, He chose us to belong to Him. The Lord Jesus continued our salvation when He died on the cross in our place and when He rose from the grave. He continues that work through the Holy Spirit each day by guiding us along the pathway of obedience He has laid out before us.

Let us rejoice this day that we never walk alone. God is always at work in and through us, completing His plan for us that He started before the world began.


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


Monday, November 17, 2014

Queen of the Arts and Crafts


[Photo of the sun coming over the mountains with words superimposed]

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good work…”
—Ephesians 2:10a

I know someone, a very clever someone, who ought to have the words “Queen of the Arts and Crafts” emblazoned on a sash that she would wear over her shoulder.

Whatever she decides to pursue in the field of arts and crafts she does very well and with great style. Each new work of art she creates shows great skill and represents her well as her handiwork.

It’s comforting to know there are people who strive to live well-accomplished lives.

The Apostle Paul talks about how to live such a life. But in his example it takes more “surrender” than it takes determined effort.

Notice what Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1-10:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Dear ones, because we are God’s handiwork, fashioned in the image of Christ our Savior by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, let us determine to live lives of obedience. In this age of disobedience, let us live counter-culturally to the glory of God.


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


Friday, November 14, 2014

“Out of His Glorious Riches…”


[Graphic of a sign]

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you
with power through his Spirit in your inner being…”
—Ephesians 3:14-21

At the beginning of this new day, it seems appropriate to adopt for ourselves a prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed on behalf of the Christians gathered at Ephesus. This prayer is recorded in Ephesians 3:14-21:

I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Now, dear ones, let us go forth and take on this new day through the power in the Holy Spirit.


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


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Being Good


[Photo of Jesus with words superimposed]

“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
—Psalm 51:2

“If only good people would just be good.”

The pundit on the afternoon talk radio show spoke with a frustrated wistfulness. Concerned about those who hold a political viewpoint that laws should be enforced without making special exceptions, this pundit seems to want to be the one who picks and chooses who has to obey the law and who gets a pass.

Those of us who follow in the pathway of the Great King Jesus recognize that no one is truly good. Yes, for a limited finite period of time, some individuals can exhibit “good behavior.” But ultimately, some “bad behavior” will always surface.

We believers know the Bible teaches we are all sinners. The only goodness we can possess comes by way of a life-transforming relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist has summed up our position quite well in Psalm 51:1-4:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

Let’s stop pretending we can become good. Instead, let us rely fully on the work of the Holy Spirit to create in us the mind and heart and behavior of Jesus.


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


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Worthy of Worship


[Graphic of a quote by N. T. Wright]

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart…”
—Psalm 138:1

The word “worship,” like so many other words with deeply spiritual meanings, has become weakened by secular overuse. The word intends to embody deep commitment and devotion toward someone or something that the worshipper believes has supernatural power.

Today, we hear TV hosts tell contestants in musical reality shows that, “All the nation is worshipping you after hearing you sing that song!”

As talented as a singer might be, he or she does not posses supernatural power. Nor do sports teams, or fast cars, or beauty queens, or political figures, or, well, you choose any current object of worship in our twisted culture. None of them are worthy of worship.

The Psalmist knew the only One who was worthy of worship when he wrote these words in Psalm 138:1-3:

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the ‘gods’ I will sing your praise.

I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.

When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.

Yes! When we call on God, He does answer us. He pours His compassion and unfailing love on us. He listens carefully to our prayers. And, He saves us through the sacrificial gift of His Son.

He emboldens us to follow His perfect will for our lives and to do His work in this world.

He alone is worthy of our worship.


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


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Eternity in View


[Photo of a sunset over water]

“ If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son
of God, God lives in them and they in God.”
—1 John 4:15

From time to time, most people wonder, at least for a moment or two, what eternity will be like.

C. S. Lewis wrote the seven books in his The Chronicles of Narnia series largely to answer questions some children of his fellow professors had asked their fathers.

Lewis characterizes heaven when he invites those traveling with him to “come further up, come further in.”

The gospel songwriters, Virgil and Blanche Brock, described eternity in the sentimentality of these words that fairly drip with emotion:

Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning
When with our Savior heaven is begun
Earth’s toiling ended, O glorious dawning
Beyond the sunset when day is done.

Beyond the sunset, no clouds will gather
No storms will threaten, no fears annoy
O day of gladness, O day unending
Beyond the sunset eternal joy.

Beyond the sunset, a hand will guide me
To God the Father whom I adore
His glorious presence, His words of welcome
Will be my portion on that fair shore.

Beyond the sunset, O glad reunion
With our dear loved ones who’ve gone before
In that fair homeland we’ll know no parting
Beyond the sunset forever more.

But there is a much more practical side to eternity, as Jesus stated in His words recorded in 1 John 4:15-21:

“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.

“For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

“And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

Eternity will hold for us the perfection of genuine love. And that experience—the experience of the Kingdom of God—begins in the here and now.

Let us cast off any feelings of hostility we may have for our brothers and sisters in Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with God-breathed love for one another.


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


Monday, November 10, 2014

Those Special Gifts


[Graphic of a sign]

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother
is born for a time of adversity.”
—Proverbs 17:17-

Have you ever been struggling with some kind of problem or challenge and just at the right moment someone steps in and offers to help? That has happened to me time and again throughout my life.

We are tempted to chalk such occurrences up to coincidence. But, I have come to understand that God often supplies special people to step into our lives at just the moment we need them. God gives us the gifts of people to help us find our way through the jungle of life.

I have told the story before in this blog, but for nearly three-and-a-half years back in the mid-1970s I prayed earnestly and asked God to send some godly man to help me grow in my relationship to Him. I knew it would have to be someone very unusual and very special. I really don't get along with people all that well. I have a domineering personality born out of issues from my childhood and strengthened by being bullied as a teenager. So, anyone that God would bring into my life would have to be someone that I could trust and respect.

You would think that after such a long time of asking God for this specific request I would have given up. I certainly considered doing that. But, I also knew from Scripture that sometimes God waits to answer our prayers until we have reached a point where we are truly ready to receive that answer.

And, that's exactly what happened. After three-and-a-half years of prayer, God brought a godly man into my life in a very amazing way. That man sensed something in me that no one else had ever sensed. He sensed a dormant value in me that he felt was worth investing his time and effort. As a result, I began to experience amazing spiritual growth and an increase in my closeness to God that I had not thought possible.

This man became my dear friend and that friendship continues to this day. In fact, after all these years, just within the last few years I have had the privilege of working with him directly, helping him in his ministry.

Notice what King Solomon says about such friendships in Proverbs 17:17:

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

God gives us special gifts when he brings certain people into our lives. We may not even realize what God is doing. We may simply accept new friendships as a matter of course. But, God knows exactly what He is doing. He always has our best interest at heart.

As you consider the people who have a positive influence in your life, take a moment today and thank God for these very special gifts He has given you in the lives of other precious people He has directed onto the pathway of your life.

All too soon this life will end. But, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the great anticipation of spending eternity with these very same precious people that God has made our friends in this earthly life.


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


Friday, November 7, 2014

In What Do You Trust?


[Graphic of a sign]

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?”
—Psalm 13:1

Living in our current culture is like being caught in the middle of an angry crowd. I feel like I don’t want to be here. I’m surrounded by people, some of whom I know, others I don’t.

They’re fighting about, well, everything. Politics, entertainment, employment, their children, the traffic, the list goes on and on.

Some of the sweetest people I know hold views on certain matters that flabbergast me. And, they’re angry, so very angry with one another.

I feel swept along by this angry mob. I feel anger rising within me. How can sensible, normally caring people become so angry?

I feel I need someone to rescue me. I hear the words of the Psalmist echo through my mind from Psalm 13:1-6:

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ’I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love; because you have rescued me my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.

This short Psalm encapsulates the cry of my heart at the beginning of this new day.

“Stop shouting! Stop fighting! Stop being carried along by the angry crowd of our culture! Rescue me, O God! Please save me from the foolishness of this world!”

As we begin a new day, let us examine our hearts to make certain we are investing the energy of our hearts and minds in the right “cause.”

Do politics matter more to us than the life-transforming love of God? Does being in the forefront of cultural trends hold more of our hearts and minds than investing ourselves in serving God?

Perhaps we need to be rescued.


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


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Making the Imperfect Perfect


[Photo of a woman with words superimposed]

“For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?”
—Psalm 18:31

If we try to live perfect lives we will not succeed. The sin nature we inherited from Adam through our biological parents guarantees we can never become perfect on our own.

Only through the life-altering blood of the Lord Jesus Christ can we become the perfect people God wants to see when He looks on us. The stain of that sin-cleansing blood imparts all of God’s goodness, kindness, compassion, and love to us.

By relying on the moment-by-moment guidance of the Holy Spirit we can become more and more like the God who loves us.

The Psalmist captured this vision of imparted holiness in Psalm 18:30-36:

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.

This day we can trust the God who loves us with His undying love to take our imperfect lives and make them perfect in His sight.


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


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thank You, God!


[Photo of a woman thinking with words superimposed]

“Taste and see that the Lord is good…”
—Psalm 34:8a

For some it happens very suddenly. For others it happens gradually over an extended period of time. Whether it happens suddenly or gradually, the result is life-transforming.

I’m talking about a person becoming aware that God loves him or her with an everlasting love. In fact, God loves that one so much that He sent His one and only Son to become a man, to live a sinless life, to die on Calvary’s cross of Roman torture, and to rise from the dead.

God did all this because He wants to reconcile men, women, boys, and girls to Himself by providing a blood sacrifice to cover their sins: the sin nature they inherited from Adam through their parents and their own sins.

Once the Holy Spirit makes a person aware of God’s love and what He has done, most people report an immediate sense of relief, peace, joy. and overwhelming thankfulness.

But, over time, it’s easy to become so used to the goodness of God that we sometimes forget the enormity of what He has done for us.

If I may, I would like to suggest we read once again the words of the Psalmist, as recorded in Psalm 34:8-10:

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

I have, indeed, tasted and seen that the Lord is good. He is, in fact, good beyond my comprehension. Perhaps you, too, have had this same experience.

If so, I invite you to join with me and say “Thank, You!” to the God who loves us with His infinite love.


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


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When Friends Become Foes


[Graphic of a sign]

“The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
—Proverbs 12:26

Have you ever had a friend who seemed to always get you into trouble? Maybe as a young child you had a friend who dared you to do something that put you in danger. Or, maybe you had a group of friends that engaged in questionable activities and you found yourself going along, even though you realized that by following their lead you were placing yourself in possible peril.

Most of us hope that by the time we reach adulthood we have put those kind of friends behind us. But, the truth is that sometimes we fall under the influence of friends who lead us in a direction that is all the more dangerous than those perils of our childhood.

In a former church, I became aware of a group of four young mothers who met together at least once a week intending to share the joys and trials of their marriages and child rearing. They seemed to form a natural support group. However, over time their too-intimate sharing ended up putting one or more of the group in danger.

As they became closer in their relationship with each other, they began to share details of their marriages and even of their thought life that revealed too much about their husbands, their own feelings about each one’s love life, and other very intimate details of their lives. As a result, they developed a co-dependent enabling relationship with each other that ultimately led three out of the four members of the group to begin affairs and eventually divorce their unsuspecting spouses.

Without the mutual encouragement to make wrong choices, it is quite possible that these women would never have gone down the pathway they chose to pursue. Instead of helping each other grow in their relationships with the Lord Jesus Christ, their mutual sharing led them to abandon their commitment to Christ and pursue short-lived pleasure.

There was no happy endings to their stories. The three who got divorced eventually each got another divorce from the man with whom they had cheated on their husbands. And, those third husbands ended up cheating on each of their new wives. One of the four ended up seriously addicted to prescription pain killers. Another of the four committed suicide when the children she had abandoned to pursue a life of pleasure refused to have anything to do with her.

It’s quite possible that you and I might make bad choices when it comes to picking our friends and we would not end up in such dire straits as the women in my illustration. But, our lives will be impacted negatively by choosing friends who point us away from Christ.

King Solomon offered wise words when he wrote in Proverbs 12:26:

The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Let’s examine our friendships and make certain that our chosen friends are helping us move forward along the road to Christian maturity. If we have made questionable choices, let’s reverse those decisions and seek relationships with people who are truly like-minded and willing to cheer us along the pathway that God has laid out before us.


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


Monday, November 3, 2014

Mind Your Business!


[Graphic of a sign]

“…you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.”
—1 Thessalonians 4:9b

Busybodies can become very annoying. Those who give unsolicited advice can also make the hackles rise.

It’s one thing to show genuine concern for others. It’s quite another to try to control another person through an unwanted intrusion into his or her life.

Of course, sometimes really good friends will ask for help or invite constructive criticism. In fact, really strongly bonded friends often have each others’ best interests in sync most all of the time.

Apart from such special friendships, it is much better if we take the advice the Apostle Paul gave to the people in the church at Thessalonica, as recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12:

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia.

Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

As we begin another day, let’s determine to make it our ambition to lead quiet lives, to continue to offer God-breathed love to those who cross our pathway, while we also avoid giving unsolicited advice and specifically mind our own business.

If we choose to do this, we will much better represent our Lord and Savior to a needy world.


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