Thursday, March 31, 2016

Do Not Lose Heart


[Drawing of a race track with words superimposed]

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
—Hebrews 12:1c

There are plenty of bad things happening in our world right now. But, it’s important that we not lose heart.

All around the world, Christians are being attacked and killed. People are starving because nutritional food is so scarce. But, it’s important that we not lose heart.

Millions of dollars in U.S. and Canadian aid flows overseas. But, only a small portion of it ever reaches the people who genuinely need help. But, it’s important that we not lose heart.

Here at home, people who hold their Christian faith dear have become targets for those who want to eliminate all Christian influence from the public square. But, it’s important that we not lose heart.

We “Christ’s-ones” are mocked for our faith. We are the brunt of jokes. Even though we are ambassadors for the God of the universe, we do not receive the respect we deserve. But, it’s important that we not lose heart.

The writer to the Hebrews penned these potent words in Hebrews 12:1-3:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

As we begin this new day, let us, indeed, focus our attention on Jesus. No matter what comes our way, let us remain steadfast in our faith.

“Bring it on!” we can say with confidence because of Jesus we will not lose heart.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

One and Only One


[Photo of a cross on a snowy hill with words superimposed]

“ For there is one God…”
—1 Timothy 2:5a

Translating any foreign language into the English language is always a challenge. Foreign languages often have subtleties that become lost in translation. It becomes difficult to retain all the nuances of meaning contained in a particular phrase.

For example, I’ve discussed in several blog posts the inadequacies of the English language in capturing the full meaning from New Testament Greek of the word “love.” While English has only the one word, New Testament Greek has four different words, all of which are translated “love” in English. Each of those four New Testament Greek words has a different shade of meaning.

Many people insist that all religions are essentially the same. Each religion's truth claims really produce the same results and, essentially, hold the same meanings. But this is not true.

For example, a detailed analysis of the characteristics of the God of Judaism and Christianity compared to Allah of Islam discloses that Jehovah God and Allah are not the same. So it is also true of the path to eternal life through the forgiveness of sins.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul makes this claim in 1 Timothy 2:5-6:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

A careful examination of the New Testament Greek text discloses that the original first sentence is a far more powerful claim than the translation into English provides.

A more properly nuanced translation would read: “For there is one and only one God and one and only one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus…”

The Lord Jesus Christ of Christianity in the one and only one way to eternal life through His sacrifice for our sins on a cruel Roman cross. He is the one and only one through whom we can connect to God.

Through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the one and only one who can draw us irresistibly into fellowship with the God who cares for us and who pours His mercy, grace, and unfailing love into our lives.

Let us rejoice this day that Jesus has opened up the way of genuine life to us. And, let us be quick to share this good news with others.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

We’re in this together!


[Drawing of a circle of friends]

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in
a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. ”
—Philippians 1:27

“No matter what happens, we’re in this together!” Have you ever heard someone say those words?

Nothing inspires a tight, competent, caring fellowship quite as much as shared suffering. And, to some degree, we all must endure suffering.

Most of us have suffered some loss in our lives. Or, we have had to deal with health issues. Or, our children have momentarily gone down the wrong path.

There are myriad of ways that suffering can creep into our lives. The important thing is that we don’t have to deal with suffering alone.

As ones who belong to God through the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we belong to each other, as well. We can pray for each other and support each other during times of suffering.

The Apostle Paul gave the following instruction to the Christ-ones at Philippi, and to us, in Philippians 1:27-30:

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.

This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

Paul knew suffering. He also knew that his fellow believers helped him carry his suffering well. He depended on God’s mercy, grace, and love—expressed through other Christians—to support him as he dealt with his suffering.

Today, let us remain fully aware and on the lookout for our brothers and sisters in Christ who may be suffering. Whether that suffering seems minor or overwhelming, let us stand ready to bring aid and comfort to each other.

We are, indeed, all in this together. Praise God that this is so!


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 28, 2016

The Mystery is Revealed


[Photo of a woman reading a book]

“…he made known to us the mystery of his will…”
—Ephesians 1:9a

Do you like a good mystery? I do. My favorite stories are mysteries. I greatly enjoy mystery novels. Most of the entertainment television programs I watch are mysteries.

The best part of a mystery is the solution. I particularly like it when the solution of the mystery results in a victory for the good and a punishment for the bad.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the church gathered at Ephesus, reveals the mystery of God’s plan of salvation in ten short verses of Scripture. Please take careful note of what Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:3-10:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.

With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

The mystery of the ages is revealed. Christ has redeemed each of us. God has chosen us to belong to Himself.

Our Savior has won the victory over sin, death, and Satan. The good is victorious. The bad is condemned.

We are set free from the bonds of sin. Our place in heaven is secure. Eternal life waits for us. Yes! The mystery is revealed! Hallelujah!


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Glory in the Rock


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“My salvation and my honor depend on
God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.”
—Psalm 62:7

Did you ever think of what it might be like to be placed in a small tomb-like cave and have a heavy stone rolled over the entrance to seal you inside with no possible way out? That’s exactly what happened to Jesus after He died on the cruel Roman cross of torture to pay the penalty for our sin.

The stone was supposedly to keep His followers from stealing the body and then claiming that He had risen from the dead. After all, He had said that He would rise from the dead. Of course, virtually no one believed Him. And, the Roman government, spurred on by the Jewish leaders, were so fearful that His disciples would, indeed, steal His body that they determined this was not going to happen. So, the authorities not only rolled this huge stone over the entrance to the tomb, they posted Roman soldiers to guard the entrance.

When we read about Roman soldiers we may tend to think about the members we might know who are members of our own military. But, Roman soldiers were not at all like the men and women who serve in our military today. Roman soldiers were a crude, coarse, angry bunch of battle-hardened men. Many had been conscripted into service, ripped from the bosom of their families, and they were not at all happy with being sent to godforsaken Palestine. So, these men guarding the tomb were definitely not men with whom one would trifle.

You may remember that the disciples, and particularly the women who wanted to go to the tomb to make certain our Savior had received the proper Jewish ablutions necessary for burial, discussed how they would possibly be able to roll the stone away from the tomb. Yet, on that glorious resurrection morning, as the women approached the Savior’s resting place, they found the stone lying next to the open tomb and the tomb was empty. Jesus had risen from the dead!

At that point in our lives when we recognized what God had done for us through Christ and when we acknowledged Jesus as our Savior and Lord, the sin-filled tomb of our hearts was cleaned thoroughly by the Holy Spirit. God then filled that “tomb” with a great outpouring of His mercy, grace, and unfailing love. Next, God sealed the tomb of our hearts with a great stone—a mighty rock. And, that rock is Jesus. He is the guardian of our hearts. He is the stone that cannot be moved. He is the rock of our salvation.

This is what King David was talking about when he penned these words found in Psalm 62:7:

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

God is our mighty rock. Jesus is the rock of life to those of us who believe. With His guarding care, we can begin this new day knowing that through His life on earth, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension to heaven, we are vouchsafed for all eternity. What a glory and majesty is our rock!

On this Easter morning, let’s lift our voices in praise to God. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen from the dead!

Here’s an appropriate song that expresses the glory of the resurrection. I hope you will enjoy it.

[Graphic of a play music arrow]


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 25, 2016

The Ultimate Sacrifice


[Photo of a forest glad with words superimposed]

“This is how we know what love is:
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”
—1 John 3:16a

In our society today, each person seems to live as if he or she held the number one priority. Extreme selfishness is most often the rule of life.

But, for “Christ's-ones,” a whole different agenda has been set by our Savior. The Apostle John describes it this way in 1 John 3:16:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

This is definitely not the selfish way that most people live today. This is as counter-cultural as possible.

Instead of “me first,” it is “I lay down my very life for you.” It is a self-sacrificing way of life.

As we begin another new day, let's meditate on what it might mean if we began to live this way. What changes would we make in our lives? How would we treat people differently? What would this new attitude look like?


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nobody Told Me


[Painting of Jesus talking to His disciples]

“On the way, he took the Twelve aside…”
—Matthew 20:18a

One of my former colleagues had a somewhat unusual response to any news I would deliver. After hearing of any change in procedure or new policy, he would say, “Well, nobody told me!”

“But, Bill,” I would say, “I just told you.”

He would respond, “Well, nobody told me!”

I would always feel a bit frustrated with this exchange. I wonder if this is how Jesus felt with His disciples.

In the days preceding His crucifixion, Jesus clearly told His disciples what would happen. Yet, the disciples seemed surprised and shaken when exactly what Jesus told them would take place came to pass.

Note these words recorded in Matthew 20:17-19:

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem.

On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.

“They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified.

“On the third day he will be raised to life!”

Jesus could not have given His disciples any clearer information. Yet they seemed surprised as events unfolded.

I wonder sometimes, as things become worse and worse in this world, why we seem so surprised. The Bible clearly states that in the last days things will become more chaotic, sin will abound, and the followers of Jesus will come under attack.

Let’s not act surprised when what God has told us in His Word happens exactly as He said it would. Let’s prepare for what’s ahead. And, let’s rest in the knowledge that Christ has already won the victory on our behalf.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Foolish, Corrupt, and Vile


[Graphic of a sign]

“They are corrupt, their deeds are vile…”
—Psalm 14:1b

Sometimes we think that the way things are today are fresh and new and vibrant. There’s never been a time in all of history when humankind has been so wise, so enlightened.

Likewise, we believe that Christians and their beliefs are under attack like they have never been before. Everyone else seems to belong to one “protected class” or another. But not Christians. It’s open season on Christians.

But then we remember that, from a human perspective, those who believe in God have always been in the minority. The vast majority of people on earth have always believed in false gods or in no God at all.

Notice what the Psalmist writes in Psalm 14:1-2:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

Many are those who do not believe. Few are those who truly love God and seek to serve Him.

We who belong to Christ. we Christ's-ones, have an enormous responsibility to devote ourselves to Him through every aspect of our lives. Faced with an unbelieving world, we are God’s lights that shine in the darkness. We are His salt that preserves the world, which otherwise would utterly rot. We are the counterbalance to the foolish, corrupt, and vile.

Let us begin this new day recognizing our role in God’s plan for this world. Let us joyfully serve Him as salt and light to those around us. And, let’s remember with humility, but with great joy, that before the foundation of the earth He chose us to belong to Himself.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Price of Our Salvation


[Graphic of a sign]

“But he was pierced for our transgressions…”
—Isaiah 53:5a

We were held hostage by sin. That’s the condition in which we came into this world.

We were born already stained by Adam’s sin, which we inherited from our parents. From the day of our birth onward, we added to our inherited sin our own long list of willful acts of disobedience.

Trapped, held captive by sin, we needed someone to redeem us, someone to pay the price for our transgressions.

A gospel songwriter encapsulated this truth in these words:

Jesus paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left its crimson stain.
He washed me white as snow.

But, at what price did our Savior redeem us? The Prophet Isaiah wrote these words in Isaiah 53:5-6:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Such an enormous price—a price we could never have paid on our own. He paid this price to redeem us, to release us from the captivity of our sins.

Let us bow in humble gratitude at the beginning of this new day. Let us rise up and declare with joy that Jesus has paid the price for our salvation.

Let us go out into the world today prepared to share, with great joy, the good news of the price that was paid for our redemption.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Despised and Rejected


[Drawing of Jesus on the cross]

“He was despised and rejected by mankind…”
—Isaiah 53:3a

“I despise you!” Three words, yet they carry such power. Has anyone ever said them to you? No, I’m not talking about a childish outburst. I’m talking about a serious adult conversation.

There are few words more emotionally rending than “I despise you.” Now imagine these words come from the very people for which you intended to die.

Imagine, those same people have all told you they don’t care what you want to do for them. You have done everything you possibly can to show them your love, yet they return only rejection to you.

You are now 33 years old and you yourself have done nothing wrong. Yet because you—in your mercy, grace, and love—have agreed to take on yourself the sins of every human who has ever lived and the sins of every human who would ever live, the people you have come to set free from sin have despised you, as you die a horribly painful death on a cruel Roman cross.

That is exactly how humankind behaved toward our Savior. That’s exactly what our sins did to Jesus. And that’s exactly what the Prophet Isaiah described when he wrote these words in Isaiah 53:3-4:

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

Jesus paid the price for our sins. In His moment of greatest physical agony, He experienced the rejection of the very ones He intended to save.

As we stand at the foot of the cross, at the beginning of this new day, let us pause to consider how great a salvation God has provided for us through the death and resurrection of His one and only Son, Jesus.

And, let us become overwhelmed with the deepest possible gratitude.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Sharpened By A Friend


[Graphic of a sign]

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
—Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

When I was about nine years old, I became aware of the fact that I really didn't have any close friends. I did have a few church friends, but I didn’t see them outside of church. Looking back, i was every bit as much of an oddball as I am today. No wonder other children found me strange and off-putting.

One day, I decided to talk to my dad about my observation that I really didn’t have any close friends. While my father had quit school in the tenth grade, I later came to realize he was a very smart man—actually a very wise man.

“I think you will find, son,” he told me, “that some people seem to have lots of friends. What they really have is lots of acquaintances. They may seem gregarious and easily attract people, but they’re actually quite shallow. You will likely only have a few real friends. But, these will be friends who add a depth and balance to your life. They will have value in your life beyond measure.”

My dad’s prediction has come true. I am still not very attractive to most people. But, for a very few people who seem to particularly enjoy my uniqueness and have chosen to be my genuine friends, we have great value in each other’s lives.

As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, we truly do have inestimable value in the lives of our truest friends. King Solomon clearly understood this when he wrote these words in Proverbs 27:17 (NLT):

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Today, let’s celebrate those true friends who appreciate us and challenge us to be the best servants of Christ we can be. Let’s determine to wrap our iron sharpening in the blanket of deep friendship.

And, during this weekend when we celebrate our Savior’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, let us lay palm branches at His feet and declare with all our brothers and sisters in Christ: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pour Out Your Hearts


[Photo of a shoreline with words superimposed]

“ My salvation and my honor depend on God…”
—Psalm 62:7a

When faced with trials and troubles, some people clam up. Other people quickly, almost without thought, tell everyone they meet about what’s weighing them down.

For example, in my own life, I confess that because I have deep-seated trust issues—artifacts from the bullying I endured during my formative years—I am very reluctant to share the actual trials and troubles that affect me most deeply.

Of course, I do pour my heart out to my wife. But, she’s so used to my blathering, after nearly 48 years of marriage, that she most likely pays little attention to much of what I'm complaining about.

As believers in the life-transforming power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, we have a relationship with God that affords us many benefits. One of the most important benefits is His always-open door. He patiently waits for us to come into His Presence in prayer and pour our hearts out to Him.

The Psalmist has explained this well in Psalm 62:7-8:

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

As we face good things and bad in our lives—as we face times of plenty and times of need—let us sit at the feet of God in prayer and tell Him what's on our hearts.

God loves us with His powerful and compassionate love. He longs to be our confidant. So, let us pour out our hearts to Him and be glad.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Justified by Grace


[Graphic of a sign]

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s
sight by the works of the law…”
—Romans 3:20

I know quite a few people who wake up each day and determine to be good. In fact, just yesterday I heard a woman describe someone she had met as “a really good person.” But, of course, that’s a lie.

The truth is that every person, including you and me, are filthy, rotten, horrible, awful sinners. Most of us are reluctant to admit that terrible truth.

The good news is described well by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:20-24:

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

We are justified by God's grace given freely to us in His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we are all sinners, God so loved us that He has saved us from eternal death through the shed blood of His Son.

“Now what?” we might ask.

Now He asks us to put our faith and trust in Him. He wants us to read His Word, to talk with Him in prayer, and to extend His mercy, love, and grace to everyone we meet.

He wants us to let the Light of Christ within us to illuminate our pathway through this dark world and also fall across the pathway of every person we meet along the road of life.

As I write this, I have some dear friends—fellow believers in Christ—attending a large national convention. They are there to represent their employer. Over the next few days, they will do their job very well. They are uniquely talented, even gifted individuals. They will introduce convention attendees to some amazing new products. They will answer questions. They will educate and inform.

But, they posses the Holy Spirit within their hearts and minds. So, they will also well represent the mercy, grace, and love of Christ to those they meet. The smiles on their faces, the gentleness of their spirits, a special kindness they possess will all testify to the world that they belong to God as His dearly loved children.

They won’t have to give a single spoken word of testimony—but if prompted they are certainly willing to do so. No, their very lives testify to the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus.

That’s the way we all should live this day. Yes, we are all sinners. But we whom God has chosen to belong to Him are special. We have been justified by grace. And that gives us a whole new perspective on life. A perspective worthy to share with those who cross our paths.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cross Carriers


[Photo of a cross with words superimposed]

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it”
—Luke 9:24a

I’ve never been a lifeguard, received lifeguard training, or played a lifeguard on television. But, I once had a pastor who did work as a lifeguard at summer camp.

He told the story of how, during a water rescue, a lifeguard must calm the person being rescued by any means necessary. The person being rescued must relax into the control of the rescuer. Only then can the rescuer effect a rescue.

So it is in our spiritual lives. In our striving to become true disciples, we must relax into the control of the Holy Spirit, bend our selfish natural wills to God’s perfect will, and follow the pathway of spiritual formation that God lays out for us.

Dr. Luke described this process in Jesus’ own words, as recorded in Luke 9:23-25:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

Just as Jesus surrendered His own will to His Father’s will, took up the cross of Calvary, and followed the pathway to His redeeming death, so we must lift up whatever “cross” symbolizes our own surrender to God's will for our lives, and obediently follow His pathway for us.

As “cross carriers,” we become ever closer to becoming true disciples. And, we must never forget that our role, as disciples, is to share God’s love with others.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 14, 2016

A Continuing Debt to Love


[Photo of a sunrise with words uperimposed]

“Of all the commandments,
which is the most important?”
—Mark 12:28c

Do Christians have an overriding, one-word mission statement? Yes! It is the word “love.”

Jesus told us in Mark 12:28-31.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

As I’ve described in other blog posts, Jesus focuses on the four modalities of human beings:

  • heart = emotional

  • soul = spiritual

  • mind = intellectual

  • strength = physical

In other words, we are to love God with the totality of our beings.

Secondly, we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. To illustrate this truth, and to clarify who is our neighbor, Jesus tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).

The Apostle Paul reminds the “Christ’s-ones” gathered at Rome of the importance of this truth in Romans 13:8:

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

So, we who belong to God through the life-transforming power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, have a continuing debt to love one another.

And, that’s our marching order for today: go out into the world and show God’s love to everyone we meet.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Taking Our Stand


[Photo of a knight in armor with words superimposed]

“ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
—Ephesians 6:10

Are we as conscious of Satan’s attempts to destroy us as we should be? Probably not. Do we find ourselves taking a stand against the evil that Satan perpetrates against us? The enemy does indeed want to divert us from showing God’s love to those around us.

That’s because God’s love is one of His irresistible qualities that draws people to have faith in Him. Along with His mercy and grace, God’s love is extremely powerful.

So, our enemy always tries to defeat our efforts to display God’s love to a very needy world. That’s why the Apostle Paul urged us, in Ephesians 6:10-11, to:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Let’s begin this new day by putting on the armor the Holy Spirit has provided. Then, let’s go out into the world today taking our stand, determined to be strong and unfailing beacons of God’s love.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

We Lack Nothing


[Photo of sun shinging through a leaf with the text of Psalm 23:1 superimposed]

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
—Psalm 23:1

If we live in the shelter of God’s loving arms, we lack nothing. If we have surrendered our selfish wills to God’s perfect will—and if we are willing to so surrender day after day after day—we lack nothing.

If we are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us along the pathway that God has laid out for us, we lack nothing. If we receive God’s overwhelming gifts with humility and gratitude, we lack nothing.

If we are willing to look at those who cross our pathway with eyes of love and compassion—to endeavor to see them as God sees them—we lack nothing. If we put the interests of others ahead of our own interests, we lack nothing.

We lack nothing when we can join with the Psalmist and declare in Psalm 23:1-3:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Let us purpose to begin this day by declaring to all who will listen that we lack nothing. Yes! We lack nothing! Say it: “We lack nothing!”

That’s right! All throughout this day and for tomorrow and for all the tomorrows until eternity we can declare with joy: “We lack nothing!”


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Slaves to What?


[Photo of a mountain stream with words superimposed]

“When you were slaves to sin, you were
free from the control of righteousness.”
—Romans 6:20a

The word “slaves” has such a horrible connotation in our culture. The idea of someone being taken against his or her will and forced into a pattern of behavior is appalling. The whole idea that the agrarian society of early America was based on slavery is terrible.

But, as distasteful as the word “slavery” may be, it accurately describes our human condition. We are all slaves to something.

In writing to the Christians at Rome, the Apostle Paul put it this way in Romans 6:20-23:

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For we Christians who have acknowledged the gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been set free from the bonds of sin. We have been bought with a price—the very blood of Jesus.

Now we have a new master. The kind, benevolent master spoken of in Deuteronomy 15:12-18. God’s perfect love has invaded our lives. Now we belong to Him.

Let us begin this day with joy knowing that God’s love fills us full to overflowing. His holiness is our portion because we belong to Him.

Let us go forth into our needy world as instruments of His mercy, grace, and love. Let us cheerfully share with all who ask us the joy of belonging to God through His Son, Jesus.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Responding to Trials


[Photo of a snow-filled tree with words superimposed]

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial”
—James 1:12a

Everyone experiences trials in their lives. If you have not yet experienced some kind of trial or difficulty in your life, you haven’t lived long enough yet.

Trials come our way because we live in a world that is under the curse of sin. First man, Adam, sinned willfully and, as a result, we have inherited his sin. Along with that sin comes the difficulties and trials that sin produces in our lives.

The key for those of us who belong to God through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, rests in how we respond to the trials that we encounter along the road of life.

The Apostle James offers this wise advice in James 1:12:

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

When trials come, we must not abandon our faith in God. Instead, we must hold tightly to the reality of Christ’s Presence in our lives through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

No matter what trial may come, God is able to help us persevere in our faith. With confidence, we can totally rely on Him to see us through to the very end.

In and through the Lord Jesus, victory over trials becomes the normal reality of our lives. In every situation, God’s love will prevail.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 7, 2016

No Worries


[Graphic of a sign]

“…blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord…”
—Jeremiah 17:7a

Two foreign phrases have become a part of the vernacular of the Millennial generation in America. From these younger people, the phrases have spread to the older generations.

The first phrase, taken from Hispanic culture, includes the words: “no problem.” This phrase has replaced the more polite and infinitely more preferred—in my opinion—“you’re welcome.”

The phrase “no problem” is the Anglicized translation of the common Hispanic response to “gracias” (thank you), which is “de nada.” “De nada” literally translates “of nothing.” So, “no problem” actually has a different bite to it than the nuance of the South American Spanish phrase. Whereas, “de nada” is typically spoken with a bowed head of self-deprecatoon, “no problem” has a more dismissive tone that smacks, at least a little, of arrogance.

In response to “thank you,” I much prefer the infinitely more polite “you’re welcome.”

The second phrase comes from Australia. It also is used in response to “thank you.” It’s the phrase “no worries.”

When spoken outside the very specific context of the rich and vibrant Australian culture, such as when the phrase is spoken here in America, the flippancy of its tone has a similar negative arrogance as the phrase “no problem.” Yet somehow, the jocularity of “no worries” does not seem quite as pompous nor dismissive to me as “no problem.”

I still much prefer the phrase “you’re welcome” as a more polite response to the phrase “thank you.”

But, have the Australians inadvertently stumbled on a spiritual truth? Even though their culture—based heavily on the laid back “tomorrow’s another day” attitude of the south Pacific mixed in with the banished prisoner “I don’t care” attitude of their forebears—has spawned the relaxed attitude behind the phrase “no worries,” is this an attitude that followers of Jesus should cultivate?

The Prophet Jeremiah certainly recorded such words directly from God in Jeremiah 17:7-8:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Let us begin this day by leaving our worries at the feet of Jesus. If He will care for us in the midst of a spiritual drought, He will care for us at all times.

We can surely face whatever this day brings and respond: “no worries.”


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Overflowing with Hope


[Photo of a family holding hands with words superimposed]

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy…”
—Romans 15:13a

Normally the word “overflow” carries an ominously negative connotation.

One summer’s evening in 1963 at about 9:20, the family who lived next door arrived home from a weekend trip. As soon as the wife opened the front door to her rented home, she let out a blood-curdling scream.

My dad and I bounded off the front porch and ran next door to see what was wrong. When we reached the front hallway we saw a collapsed ceiling and water everywhere.

It was later discovered that the cold water tap in the upstairs bathroom sink had a small leak—about one drop every two seconds. Unfortunately, a small piece of paper that had once wrapped a hair ribbon had fallen into the drain and blocked the trap below the sink.

Over the course of the 60 hours the family had been away, that slow drip...drip...drip had filled the sink, overflowed onto the floor, filled the upstairs floor with a layer of water that had then flowed down through the floor and eventually collapsed the ceiling of the first floor. A stretch of continuous vinyl flooring had stopped the water from flowing into the basement.

Since that long-ago night, I have never heard or read the word “overflow” without thinking about this tragic incident. But. for Christians, the word “overflow” can have a gloriously positive meaning. For example, please read these words of the Apostle Paul from Romans 15:13:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In this benediction, Paul gives the Christ-ones in Rome something to welcome into their daily lives. And, Paul writes these same words to us today.

Let us begin this new day full of God-given joy and peace. Let us welcome the reality of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And, let us bask in the hope that God has placed in our hearts.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Right Kind of Craving


[Photo of a baby and bottle with words superimposed]

“…crave pure spiritual milk…”
—1 Peter 2:2b

Most people, from time to time, develop a craving for one thing or another. Perhaps they crave adventure. Maybe they crave a particular dessert. Possibly they crave travel, or a particular sport, or the opportunity to fellowship with a close friend, or time to just do what they want to do.

Newly born babies are very insistent in their craving for food, a clean diaper, or the loving cuddle from a parent.

The Apostle Peter urged Christians to crave pure spiritual food, when he wrote these words in 1 Peter 2:2-3:

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

My question for us at the beginning of this new day: Do we crave pure spiritual food? Do we delight in spending time reading God’s Word and in talking to God in prayer?

Because we have tasted of the blessings of an intimate fellowship with God through His Son, Jesus, and found that relationship is good, do we desire an even closer relationship with Him.

In the hustle and bustle of this new day, let us follow our craving for intimacy with God. Let us read our Bibles and pray. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to fill our lives full-to-overflowing with God's choicest blessings.

Then, let us share the joy of feeding on the pure milk of God’s Word with others. Let us always be willing to tell others the source of the hope that resides within us.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fruit Inventory


[Graphic of a sign]

“Against such things there is no law.”
—Galatians 5:23

Did you ever work somewhere that required you to take inventory?

During my junior high and high school years I worked part-time at four different places: a boat store, a jewelry store, a wholesale electronics store, and a radio station. At all four places, once each year, I had to take inventory.

We had to count every item in stock and write down how many we had of each item. This was in the period of time from 1959 through 1965. We had no computers. The inventory was done manually. It was an arduous task, especially at the wholesale electronics store.

In our lives as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should pause from time to time and conduct an inventory of the fruit we are allowing the Holy Spirit to produce in our lives as we submit our selfish wills to God’s perfect will.

The Apostle Paul helps us by naming the fruit in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

How about it? As we examine our lives at the beginning of this new day, does this fruit grow within the core of our spiritual beings? Do we manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s divine Presence in our lives? Do the people with whom we come into contact each day clearly see the vitality of this fruit marking our lives?

Let us take a fruit inventory today. And, if we have a deficit, let us humbly ask God to renew the particular kind of fruit that may be missing from our lives.

Allowing the fruit of the Spirit to take hold in our lives will make us more like Jesus. As His ambassadors in this very needy world, that surely is one of our most important goals.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Proper Clothing


[Drawing of a coat hanger bent into the words of a verse]

“…clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
—Colossians 3:12

When we prepare to begin each new day, we get to choose how we will represent ourselves to the world.

Some days we may dress in our finest clothing. We want those we meet to see us as professionals whose appearance exudes a sense of competence. When people engage with us, they follow the mood set by our attire. Because we are dressed more seriously, people approach us more seriously.

At other times, we choose a more casual attire. On such days our clothing sends the message that we are relaxing and taking a break from the high pressure world of business. People approach us in a more amiable manner because they respond to the mood set by our choice of clothing.

As we begin each new day, we also dress our spiritual nature with chosen clothing as well. Our choice for any particular day communicates where we stand spiritually and the people who engage with us respond accordingly.

The Apostle Paul recognized how our choice of spiritual clothing might affect our testimony as citizens of God’s Kingdom when he wrote these words in Colossians 3:12:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Let’s keep our spiritual image in mind as we dress our inner selves for this day. By choosing the proper spiritual clothing, we start the day prepared to touch the minds and hearts of those who may cross the pathway of our lives this day.

In so many people’s lives, we will be the Presence of the living Lord Jesus Christ. Proper spiritual clothing will help us represent our King in the best possible way.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.