Friday, July 29, 2016

Encourage Each Other


[Photo of clouds with words superimposed]

“For the Lord himself will come down from
heaven, with a loud command, with the
voice of the archangel and with the trumpet
call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

After that, we who are still alive and are
left will be caught up together with them
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
—1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

One of the most important sources of encouragement for those who believe in the life-transforming power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ arises from the hope we have in the future. No matter how frustrating this life may seem to be, we know that heaven waits for us. We will spend eternity in the most wonderful possible place.

Providing this encouragement to each other, especially when we feel particularly set upon by the difficulties in this world, fulfills an important role that believers play in each other’s’ lives.

The Apostle Paul offered exactly this kind of encouragement to the “Christ’s-ones” gathered in the church at Thessalonica. Notice what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

If we remain alive until the Lord Jesus Christ returns, this is exactly that to which we may look forward. We can take great comfort from these words and derive genuine encouragement from knowing what our ultimate future holds.

An old Southern Gospel song sums it up this way:

Heaven, I’m going there glories untold I’ll share;
All of it’s beauty will unfold.
Inside those pearly gates, Jesus and loved ones wait;
This is why I want to go.

I’ll see my father and my mother my sister and my brother,
Praying through all eternity.
But best of all I’ll see my Savior and share His blessed favor,
This is why I want to go.

River of life that flows, sadness unknown I’m told;
All will be glory on that day.
Living and basking in sunlight that shines within,
This is why I want to go.

I’ll see my father and my mother my sister and my brother,
Praying through all eternity.
But best of all I’ll see my Savior and share His blessed favor,
This is why I want to go.

Let’s make every effort to encourage each other this day. After all, we will spend eternity with each other.


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


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Glory in the Whole Church


[Drawing of a grassy field with words superimposed]

“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.”
—Ephesians 3:20-21

Of late, a debate is raging within the halls of Christianity. It’s certainly not a new discussion. But, once again, it has taken to the forefront.

The debate has arisen because of the varied response to certain major changes in the cultural orientation of our society. As our culture has become more accepting of heretofore highly criticized behaviors, sincere Christians find themselves debating over what position they should take on the matter.

Of course, one would hope that civility and kindness would prevail in these discussions. But, sadly, that does not seem to be the case. It reminds me of what it was like growing up in Fundamentalism over sixty years ago.

Instead of being taught that all people who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ belonged to Him, I was taught that theology and behavior out-flanked sincere commitment. I was repeatedly warned not to ever consider dating a Roman Catholic girl because that church would force me to convert to Roman Catholicism. Horrors! I could very well lose my salvation if that happened.

It didn’t take me very long in my adult life—for which I am extremely grateful to God—to meet some dear Roman Catholic folks who had a deep commitment to Christ, a love of Scripture, a zeal for evangelism, and a lifestyle of godliness that put many Fundamentalist believers to shame. While I appreciate the many, many positive influences that Fundamentalism had on my upbringing, and while I will remain eternally grateful for pastors, Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, and a host of others—especially my parents—who planted seeds of faith deep within my heart, I also recognize now the fear that drove many of the pronouncements that I heard as a young person.

I do not need to agree with every single point of doctrine to appreciate the wholehearted commitment a fellow believer may have to God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. So much of what we hold dear within our personal understanding of what the Bible means and what we sincerely believe to be true comes from our own predispositions and prejudices. That’s not a bad thing, because the Holy Spirit lives within us and He nudges us in the formation of what we believe and what we hold as “truth.”

The current debate seems to want to make God’s everlasting, unfailing, undying love override an important character of His being, as revealed in Scripture—namely that God is holy. He is a holy God. Holiness marks His being. Yes, love marks His being, as well. The questions seems to be: “Which quality of God’s person, as revealed in His Word and through the Living Word, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the very most important of all?”

I have dear, dear friends on both sides of this debate. I love all of them, respect them, and weep for the fact that they have fallen into a debate that can never be won by either side. Instead, the debate sucks the life out of the witness these sincere believers are to have to a dying world—a witness to the life-transforming power of the living Lord Jesus Christ.

Think about it for just a moment. Which quality of your person is more important? Your high level of intelligence, or your deep caring for others? Your impeccable good taste, or your gorgeous locks of hair?

Do you see how silly the debate is? God is who He is. All of the qualities that He has chosen to reveal to us are of equal importance because they define who He is. And, I have no doubt that God possess many, many more qualities that we could not possibly comprehend with our tiny human pea-brains.

So, do we land on the side of God’s holiness or the side that emphasizes His love? How about we do both? Let’s recognize that God is holy and that all sin—every single sin—is terrible in His sight. And, let’s also recognize that God is love and that His love freely given to those that He chooses to belong to Him results in the erasure of all the sin that stains these ones He loves.

In closing the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes a declaration of praise as an example to these “Christ’s-ones” that he has nurtured in their faith. This particular letter actually oozes with the love that Paul feels for these dear ones. He commends them, admonishes them, counsels them, and encourages them. He shares with them some really important, life-altering theology. And, he rejoices in the gains they are making in their walk with God.

Then, Paul comes to the end of this third chapter of his letter and closes with these words found in Ephesians 3:20-21:

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.

Instead of debating over which quality of God’s being is the most important, we should embrace the reality that it is God—as He is and who He is—that really matters most of all. It is His Presence in and through us by the power of His Holy Spirit that determines the pathway of our lives.

Let’s become people who no longer try to bend the curve on the definition of sin, but at the same time, focus our attention on sharing the great love that characterizes the God who loved us enough to make provision through the death of His one and only Son for our redemption.

Let us join with the Apostle Paul and experience glory in the Church—the whole Church, the whole Body of Christ. If we do that, we can acknowledge the sins in our own lives and fall to our knees in humble gratitude that our sins have been covered by the precious blood of Jesus.


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


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

God’s Surpassing Fame


[Drawing of a waterfall with words superimposed]

“I will bow down toward your holy temple and
will praise your name for your unfailing love…”
—Psalm 138:2a

Have you ever known a really famous person? It is sometimes interesting to meet such a one and see if his or her actual behavior stands up against the image that his or her fame has created.

Many years ago, during a Christian radio station annual fund drive, I had the opportunity to meet one of the premier Christian broadcasters. He had been on the air since the late 1940s and was in his mid-70s at the time I met him. He had developed a program that uniquely reached out to young people and he had gained popularity and a sterling reputation during the 1950s and 1960s.

At the time I met him in the late 1970s, his program had become quite outdated. But in certain circles in the Midwest and South, he still had quite a following. I think at the time I met him, his program was aired on about 700 radio stations.

I should have learned by that time—having met other well-known individuals—that some famous people actually begin to believe their press releases. This man was no exception. He spoke with a gruff arrogance and did quite a bit of barking orders to the staff of radio station. “After all,” he said, “I am here to increase the giving to this station. So, let’s get with it!”

Instead of the humble, kind, loving person that I had hoped to meet, he was pompous and rude and even quite nasty. Instead of ministering to the staff and speaking in an encouraging way to the volunteers who had flocked to the little studio to help with this once-a-year event, he ended up causing confusion and more than a little discouragement.

In contrast, the very next year, the guest speaker at the annual radio station banquet—a man whose ministry had engendered even more acclaim than the fellow described above—turned out to be one of the kindest, most helpful individual’s I have ever met. In fact, he became my spiritual mentor and I now have the privilege—after more than 37 years of friendship—of working as his assistant in his ministry to pastors.

“It is good when Christians can find someone who is truly worthy of honor and praise.” That would be my key sentence if this were a sermon instead of a blog post. “It is good when Christians can find someone who is truly worthy of honor and praise.”

King David has more or less set the direction that all of us who believe in the life-transforming power of the living Lord Jesus Christ should follow. David worshipped God with a sincerity and an intensity that is hard to match. He recognized that in God he had found someone who truly was worthy. In many ways, David devoted himself to worship. At least King David really knew how to write a Psalm of Praise. Notice these words from Psalm 138:2:

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.

We believers would do well to remember that the God who loves us is worthy of our worship and praise. He should become, more and more, the delight of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We should love God with a deep devotion and look forward to sharing with others what He has done for us.

Let’s begin this day with praise on our lips and a deep love and affection in our heart for the God who loves us and who gave His one and only Son, Jesus, to die in our place on that cruel Roman cross of torture and death.


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


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Shielded in Refuge


[Photo of the inside of a cave

“…he shields all who take refuge in him.”
—Psalm 18:30c

I have acquaintances who served in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. They tell me one of the most frustrating parts of trying to fight in that horribly rocky environment was the caves—literally thousands of caves in which the Taliban could take refuge and from which they could attack our troops. My acquaintances have told me that nothing in their training prepared them for that terrain, or for the frustration caused by those caves. The caves gave the enemy a significant advantage.

I wonder, did you ever try to find a really good hiding place that would shield you from your enemies?

“Wait a minute,” you say. “What makes you think I have the kind of enemies from which I need to take refuge? I’m not that kind of person. Everybody likes me.”

Okay. I understand. Of course you wouldn’t have any enemies like that. I forgot that you’re not like me. You’re a “normal” person.

In late elementary school, junior high school, and my first year of high school, I often had to find someplace to hide from my enemies. I was mercilessly bullied by a group of boys who hated the very ground on which I walked. Why did they hate me so much? I never really knew for certain. But, during required therapy for Psychology majors in college, I got a sense that they probably didn’t like me because, well, I was different.

I literally hated organized sports. Oh, I played a little pick up baseball and basketball in elementary school. But, I was never any good at it. Even as an adult on a church softball team I played right field. Anyone who knows anything at all about sports knows what that means.

I also did not have the “normal” interests of boys my age. I didn’t like roughhousing. I didn’t like working on cars. I didn’t like telling dirty stories and the host of other activities that went along with the juvenile harassment of girls.

Instead, I liked radio broadcasting, electrical wiring, sound systems, strategy games, magic tricks, fire protection, and reading. I spent an enormous amount of my time reading. I read every book on which I could get my hands. I devoured Dewey decimal 621.384—the books on radio broadcasting—so much so that it eventually called my reading habits to the attention a school teacher who also worked at the radio station and invited me to visit him there.

I also had the “curse” of usually understanding the things the teachers were trying to teach us well before the other kids in my classes. Because I was a verbal person, I very likely flaunted my knowledge far too quickly. And, thus, I earned the hatred of most of the boys and many of the girls in my classes.

I carried my bright red Youth for Christ Bible on top of my books and met with a few other students for prayer before school once a week. Like I said, I was “different.”

A group of boys began to wait for me at lunch time and after school to give me a beating. Those beatings went on day after day, month after month, year after year. So, you see, I had enemies from which I needed to find a place of refuge. And, I found some really good ones. For example, at the end of the school day, I had to figure out a way to get from my last class to the city bus stop without getting waylaid by my enemies who waited to beat me up.

Day after day, I would try to find a route that would get me to the bus stop without falling into the trap my enemies had set for me. I eventually found a way down into the basement of the school through a normally unused passageway. This led through a tunnel to an entrance that was only used to bring heavy pieces of equipment into the boiler room.

From the exit of that tunnel, I could go through a couple of back yards and reach the next closest city bus stop. If I was fast enough and careful enough, I could get on the bus, find a seat in the back, and crouch down, so my tormentors would not see me as the city bus passed them by.

You see, they all rode the school buses, since they lived outside the city limits. So, they never rode the city bus, which I had to ride since I lived inside the city limits. And, for one more day I had escaped a beating. I actually used that route for months and months until, one day, I found that someone had put a chain and padlock on the exit door. So, I had to find another place of refuge. And, of course, I did.

In Psalm 18:30, King David expresses his overwhelming joy at knowing that he had found the ultimate place of refuge from all his enemies. Notice what he wrote:

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

That’s it! That’s the answer! God is the One who shields His beloved children. He provides a safe place for all who take refuge in Him. He protects us and keeps us and makes us invisible to our enemies.

Each day, when we go out into a hostile world, God gives us a shield of His mercy, grace, and love to keep us safe in the territory held by our enemy, the devil. He also enables us to speak truth against Satan’s lies. And, He gives us the ability to represent Him well to a needy and dying world.

Let us rejoice this day that God is our refuge. As Psalm 46:1 declares:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

That, dear ones, is really, really good news!


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


Monday, July 25, 2016

He Says What He Means and
He Means What He Says


[Photo of a mountain lake at sunrise]

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
—Matthew 24:25

Generally, people like things that last. We would prefer to buy appliances for our kitchens one time and have those appliances last for the entire time we live in that particular dwelling. At least that is the experience that many of us observed from our parents growing up in the late 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s.

Alas, that is no longer possible. While the appliances today have many more technologically superior features than the appliances of those long-ago days, they also do not last nearly as long. In fact, rather than make connections with a skilled craftsman to maintain our appliances, we quickly buy new ones when the ones we have break down.

My family is very fortunate. We live in a place where we have found a most excellent appliance service technician. Mike Kennedy has kept our fourteen-year-old appliances in good shape. We have saved thousands of dollars because of his very reasonably priced and highly skilled care. But, we realize we are very unusual. Many of our friends in other areas have had to replace their appliances a couple of times in the same period of time.

We like permanence, but realize it is hard to find nowadays. The same thing is true of people keeping their word. We prefer to deal with people who say what they mean and mean what they say. But, our society prizes untruth. Look at the media. Most news stories are couched in terms that distort the truth and give us a skewed version of the facts. The political and social biases of the reporters often shape the reporting of the news far more than the truth of the actual facts.

This lack of truth telling has spilled over into our normal conversations. Many people say one thing, but never really intend to so what they say. “I’ll check back with you later today,” a friend promises. Literally days go by before we hear from that friend. Often, we don’t hear at all until we initiate contact. Did our friend intend to lie? Possibly not, but she lied just the same.

Where can we find unbending truth? I’ll tell you where. Take note of what the Lord Jesus Christ says, as recorded in Matthew 24:25:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Jesus always speaks the truth. Not only does He speak the truth, He says what He means and He means what He says. That’s why when he says in Matthew 11:28:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Jesus means exactly what He says. All who are weary and burdened with the sin that has entrapped them inside a prison of evil can come to Him and He will give them rest. He will forgive their sins, bring healing to their souls, and make all things in their lives new.

Jesus is trustworthy. His words will endure well beyond the length of days. And, that, dear ones, is something we can celebrate, as we begin this new day.


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


Friday, July 22, 2016

What’s It Like In Heaven?


[Drawing of a person sitting on a question mark]

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name…”
—Isaiah 12:4a

Not long ago, someone asked me, “When we get to heaven, what will we do there?”

I thought it was a rather intriguing question. I didn’t exactly know how to answer. But, never one to shy away from a challenge, I gave an answer anyway.

“I suppose,” I said, “That we will have tasks to do that God wants us to accomplish for His glory. I can’t imagine what those tasks might be. After all, the angels already perform a host of tasks. Since they’ve been doing their jobs for millions of years, I can’t imagine that we will be taking over any of their responsibilities.

“I don’t think that we will just lounge around all day. But, I expect that a good bit of our time will be spent worshipping God and giving Him our adoration. He has redeemed us by the precious blood of His one and only Son, Jesus. The very least we can do is express praise and thanksgiving for this great gift He has given to us.”

As soon as the words left my lips, I knew that they were completely inadequate to express the wonders and magnificence that would face us once we arrive on the heavenly shore. I would like to think that we will spend a considerable amount of time during our early days in heaven exploring. Perhaps those who have gone before us will greet us, take us by the hand, and lead us to some of the more spectacular discoveries they have made.

“Come with us, Dean!” my dad and mom will say. “You will simply not believe all that we have to show you!”

Since I’m an adopted child, perhaps I will meet my birth mother and father in heaven for the first time. I know very little about my birth father except that he was a pastor who had an affair with the church organist—my birth mother. I am more fortunate than some adoptees in that I know my birth mother’s name, but not my birth father’s. I have found out a little more about my birth mother in the last ten years. I know that she lived into her 90s. I also know she was devoted to her church. It is my fondest hope that both my birth mother and birth father were “Christ-one’s” and that I will see them in heaven.

I must confess that my overwhelming loyalty belongs to the wonderful adoptive parents who raised me with such love and care. They are the ones who led me to Jesus. They are the ones who helped to plant the seed of faith in my heart.

The Prophet gives us some indication of what we might do in heaven. Take note of his words recorded in Isaiah 12:4:

In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.”

Actually, spending time exalting the name of the Lord is not a bad way to spend time in heaven. God has given us everything. Every breath that we take, every beat of our hearts, is a precious gift from Him. He has loved us and saved us and led us by the power of the Holy Spirit every moment of every day of our lives. Certainly, giving Him exalted praise is a worthy occupation for us citizens of His Kingdom.

No, I don’t know for certain what we will do in heaven. But, I do know what God expects of us as we finish our days here on earth. God wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And, He wants us to love our neighbor with the same devotion and same intensify that we love ourselves.

That’s a pretty big assignment for today. I invite you to join me in fulfilling our roles here on earth as God’s ambassadors of His mercy, love, and grace. Okay?


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


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Christ-like Love


[Photo of a young married couple with words superimposed]

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…”
—Ephesians 5:25a

You wouldn’t think that husbands would need to be told to love their wives and how to love them. And yet, the Apostle Paul, an unmarried man, had observed enough interactions between husbands and their wives to feel he must offer these words recorded in Ephesians 5:25-26:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word...

Husbands, love your wives with a completely self-sacrificing, selfless love. What could be clearer?

More than a decade ago, a famous theologian and professor retired early from his position at a southern seminary. He was at the top of his profession and had many more years in which to contribute to the lives of hundreds of pastors and Christian educators. He retired so that he could stay home and care for his wife of 40 years who had been diagnosed with Alzheimers.

Many marveled at his decision. After all, he could have placed her in a care facility. In fact, if he would divorce her, the state would pay for her care.

He told his colleagues at the seminary that his wife had sacrificed for many years to pay their bills while he made his way through graduate school, so he could become a professor. He was not going to abandon her in her time of need.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...”

Husbands, the instruction is clear. So, do it.


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


Wednesday, July 20, 2016



[Photo of a heart on top of a leaf with words superimposed]

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”
—Jeremiah 17:9a

Have you ever known someone who seems to have all the answers, then later you learn she or he is a liar?

When this person talks or answers questions, he or she seems smart, witty, engaging, and genuine. But you learn, sometimes through a painful experience, that this person has lied over and over again.

It is just such a person that the Prophet was writing about when he penned these words in Jeremiah 17:9-10:

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Have we always told the absolute truth? Do we change the facts to suit our own selfish needs? Do we hold back helpful information simply for our own purposes?

God knows our hearts. He wants us to speak the truth at all times. And, He always knows when were being truthful or telling lies.

More and more in this desperate age we need to be people who always tell the truth. The most important person in our life, God, always knows whether we are speaking the truth or lying. So, let’s determine to have clean hearts and minds.

The Holy Spirit eagerly waits to help us be truthful. Accepting His help is a very wise thing to do.


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


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Think Humbly About Who We Are


[Cartoon of a young girl with words superimposed]

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought…”
—Romans 12:3b

One of the delightful experiences with children is to watch them develop their sense of “self.” As they grow from toddler-hood, they begin to fantasize about who they are.

Little girls may think of themselves as princesses, or mommies, or teachers. Little boys may think of themselves as firefighters, or police officers, or cowboys, or superheroes.

But, as children grow into adults, we hope to observe some reality settling into their sense of self.

In their teenage years, some boys see themselves as invincible sports heroes with a sense of being arrogantly entitled and some girls see themselves as deeply unworthy and learn to draw their sense of self from the boys who date them.

In both cases, their sense of self has become harmfully distorted. Good and loving parents can help teens keep a proper perspective on their sense of self—realistic and well-balanced.

As believers in Christ, we must know who we are in order to properly relate to others. That’s why The Apostle Paul penned these words in Romans 12:3:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

We must learn to use sober judgment when we think about who we are.

On the one hand, we are sinners, separated from God by our sin. On the other hand, before the foundation of the earth, God chose us to belong to Himself. He loves us and sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. God raised Jesus from the dead to give us victory over death.

So, our true identity rests in Christ. We are chosen, forgiven, and in the process of being made holy.

Let us remember all through this day that no matter what anyone may say about us, our identity in Christ is secure. He gives us our true sense of self. And that, dear ones, is absolutely amazing!


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


Monday, July 18, 2016

The Only Name


[Drawing of Christ's Return]

“ The Lord will be king over the whole earth.”
—Zechariah 14:9a

When I was a child, I very much liked having something exciting to which I could look forward. Perhaps it was a special holiday. Or, maybe it was a time of vacation. Or, perhaps it was a visit from some special friends or relatives.

Whatever the event, I would mark it on the calendar. Then, every day I would look at that mark and imagine how much fun that event would be.

As believers, we can look forward to that glorious day when our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, will return. The Prophet wrote these words in Zechariah 14:9:

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

A great day is coming. It's a day to which we can look forward. We won’t be able to mark it on a calendar. But, we can still look forward with eager anticipation.

On that day, we will celebrate as never before. Our Great King will have returned. His Name will be the only name that matters.


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


Friday, July 15, 2016

They Hate Us!


[Photo of a stairwell with wall stenciling of a Scripture verse]

“Lord, you have been our dwelling
place throughout all generations.”
—Psalm 90:1

Here in the United States, we Christians—who believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the authors to write the Bible, that the Spirit has preserved God’s Word, and that the words mean what they say—have come to a startling awareness of late that many other people—including some other Christians who do not necessarily believe in the inerrancy of Scripture or accept the interpretation of Scripture to which we hold—actually despise us. It’s a startling awareness. But, it’s also one which Christians in other parts of the world have lived with for a very long time. We should not be surprised, nor should we become “cry babies” about this. We are, however, allowed to feel sad about it.

In our current culture, it is not only “not cool” to take the Bible literally, it is a reason to be despised and rejected. It is especially painful to realize that people we love and care about reject us because we believe the Bible means what it says.

The Psalmist knew what it was to feel such rejection. He also knew what it was to seek comfort from the one who would never reject him. Notice the words of praise that he writes in Psalm 90:1-2, 4:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.

We “Christ’s-ones” are already a minority. Yet, God asks us to remain faithful—faithful in our sincerely held beliefs, but also faithful as instruments in this world of God’s mercy, grace, and unfailing love.

God calls us to respond with love toward everyone who despises and rejects us. With the hard-realized humility that comes from knowing that we are truly and only despicable sinners saved by God’s grace through Christ, we need to wrap our firmly held beliefs in God-breathed love.

It’s a challenge that I pray we will rise to in these troubled days.


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


Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Surrendered Life


[Photo of a butterfly with words superimposed]

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,
but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
—Matthew 16:25

We tend to hold very tightly to those things that we want to preserve as a part of our life. It’s a natural tendency. Who can blame us?

We may have worked very hard to achieve a particular goal. We’ve invested a great deal of time. We may have invested a great deal of money. We may have made serious sacrificial choices.

Once we have the fruit of whatever goal we’ve pursued, we’re certainly not going to let go of that fruit. And yet, to achieve an even higher goal, we must hold everything we have in an open hand.

Jesus instructs us thusly in Matthew 16:25:

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

In order to become fully obedient followers of our Savior and Lord, we must surrender every aspect of our being to Him. We must let go of every quality that defines our very being and allow Him to mold us into the people He wants us to be.

I’ve shared this gospel song before and it’s most appropriate in this context.

All to Jesus I surrender.
All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him.
In His Presence daily live.

I surrender all. I surrender all.
All to Thee my blessed Savior;
I surrender all.

As we begin another day, let’s truly surrender all we are and all we have to the God who loves us and who waits patiently to take our surrendered life and use us for His glory.


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


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No Grudges


[Photo of a tag with words printed on it]

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge…”
—Leviticus 19:18a

People notice how we believers in the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ behave toward others. That’s why we must look to God’s Word to know how to live.

Today’s message comes to us from Leviticus 19:18:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

This message could not be any clearer: no grudges—only love.

People in our ever-darkening world seem intent on drawing lines in the sand and daring others to cross those lines. Such behavior must not become a part of our lives.

Instead, the love God has placed in our hearts must overcome our natural tendency to hold a grudge. So, this day, let us determine to set aside any grudges we may have and instead allow God’s love to fill our lives.


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


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

No Hiding


[Drawing of a sailing ship at sea with words superimposed]

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?”
—Jeremiah 23:24a

Growing up as teenagers, before the dangers of smoking were known and so well publicized, it was common for young men and women to hide their fledgling efforts at becoming smokers from their patents. All over the small city where I grew up one could find groups of teenage kids smoking in their hiding places.

In those brazen days nearly 60 years ago, “coming out” meant telling one’s parents—nearly everyone had both a mom and a dad—that one had taken up smoking.

Sometimes parents were shocked and dismayed. More likely they already knew from evidence that kids simply couldn’t hide.

All throughout the history of mankind, people have tried to hide their sinfulness from a loving God. Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin in the Garden. But God already knew they had disobeyed the one command He had given them (see Genesis 3).

One of the many aspects of the God who loves us and chose us to belong to Himself is that we simply cannot hide from Him. He has tagged us with a divine GPS. He always knows where we are and what we are doing. He watches over us with loving and tender care.

God speaks through the Prophet in Jeremiah 23:24:

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?”declares the Lord.

“Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

We should take great confidence in knowing we cannot hide from God. As we begin a new day, let us rejoice that He watches over us with His loving eyes.


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


Monday, July 11, 2016

Safe in the Storms


[Photo of a small boat on a vast ocean with words superimposed]

“But the Lord is faithful…”
—2 Thessalonians 3:3a

Have you ever felt threatened by the circumstances into which you’ve gotten yourself? I am not a particularly brave person. I work hard to avoid danger. At least I usually do.

Once, when I was a young teenager staying for a week on Lake Chautauqua in western New York state, I joined three of my friends to travel by boat several miles up the Lake to the Chautauqua Institution for an evening concert in the large amphitheater.

As soon as we boarded the small 14-foot runabout for the trip back to our cottage, it began to storm. The wind blew, lightning filled the sky, and a heavy rain washed over the boat. I was terrified. All I could think of was Jesus and His disciples crossing the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee) in the famous storm recorded in Mark 4:35-41.

I prayed. I sang hymns. I thought we would all drown. But, obviously, we made it safely back to the cottage.

Every one of us faces storms, as we travel through life: health issues, relationship issue, financial issues, work issues, church issues, and so forth. God is always right there with us during these storms.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words in 2 Thessalonians 3:3:

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

When Satan tries to destroy us by bringing storms our way, God will protect us. He will hold us safely in the hollow of His mighty hand.

We can face the storms in our lives without fear. God is always with us. He will protect us and see us safely through those storms that come our way.


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


Friday, July 8, 2016

Have You Not Heard?


[Graphic of a Scripture verse]

“The Lord is the everlasting God…”
—Isaiah 40:28b

Sometimes in life we become so busily engaged with whatever we’re doing that we miss an important piece of information.

I began hanging out at the radio station in my hometown when I was 12 years old. By the time I got my driver’s license at age 16, I was eager to help in any way I could.

One day the chief engineer of the radio station asked me to run an errand. He had ordered some parts and asked me to drive to get them and bring them back to the station. I was thrilled that I could help.

I headed out for the electronics wholesale store. But, when I got to the store it was boarded up and empty. It had obviously moved and I had no idea where.

This was before the days of cell phones. I had to find a pay phone. Then, I had to find someone who could give me change for the lone dollar bill I had in my pocket.

When I called a friend who I knew worked at the store, he was very surprised. “Haven’t you heard?” he said. And then, he proceeded to tell me the new location of the store.

Yes, sometimes our busy days crowd out very important information—information that is critical to our well being. The Prophet Isaiah writes with more than a little incredulity that his audience—including many of us—have missed some very important news. Here’s what he wrote in Isaiah 40:28-31:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

This is very important information about the God who loves us with His everlasting love. We must not only receive this news, we must always remember it.

God is the source of our personal renewable energy. He gives us a restarting jolt every time we need it.

So, let’s begin this new day with joy in our hearts, knowing that an inexhaustible source of supernatural energy is at our disposal.


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


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Watched Over


[Graphic of a sign]

“The Lord will keep you from all harm…”
—Psalm 121:7a

The very first time I ventured out to ride my bicycle from my home to my grandmother’s house—a distance of about four miles—I was about ten years old. It was a much safer time for kids back in 1957 than it is today. I spent a lot of time riding my bike in the neighborhood, but I had never ridden so far from home.

I had discussed the route I would take with my dad. I had chosen mostly side streets to avoid as much heavy traffic. I confess that while I very much wanted to prove my independence, I was also a little scared about any dogs I might encounter along the way. You see, I had been attacked and bitten by a rabid dog at age six while I was walking home from school. After enduring the rabies shots in my abdomen, I had a real fear of dogs.

Nevertheless, I launched out on my adventure and, in due time I arrived at my grandma’s house.

A few minutes after I arrived, my dad walked through the door. I was glad to see him, but more than a little puzzled.

As he talked to me about my journey, I began to realize that all the time I pedaled my way across the city, my dad had discreetly followed me. He had allowed me to experience this new adventure, but he was watching over me the entire time.

So it is with our heavenly Father. The Psalmist wrote these words in Psalm 121:7-8:

The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

God gives us the freedom to launch out each new day onto the roads of life. We get to choose the route we will take. He offers guidance in His Word—the Bible—but we make the decision as to whether or not we will obediently follow His direction.

As we proceed through each day, God lovingly watches over us. He knows where we are at all times. He anticipates our needs and stands ready to rush to our aid.

God may allow us to learn critically important lessons along the way. He even lets us taste the consequences of our wrong choices. But, we are never out of His sight. We cannot hide from Him.

God watches over us. And that, dear ones, is a very great blessing.


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


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Resting in God’s Shadow


[Photo of the sun shining through a tree with words superimposed]

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
—Psalm 91:1

When the toils of life overtake us, we need a quiet and peaceful place to rest and recharge. No better place exists than in the shelter of God’s abiding love.

The Psalmist understood this when he wrote these words in Psalm 91:1:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

We need to ask ourselves this day, “Where do we abide?”

Do we abide in God’s shadow? Do we find our shelter from the storms of life in His mercy, grace, and love?

That’s where we belong. That’s where we can find true rest and peace. That’s where we can find genuine safety and protection.


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


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Real Gain


[Photo of the earth from space with words superimposed]

“What good is it for someone to gain
the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
—Mark 8:36

In Helen Kromer’s and Frederick Silver’s now classic Christian musical from the early 1960s, “For Heaven’s Sake,” one of the female characters sings a lovely ballad entitled “Aim for Heaven.” The message of the song has deep roots in Scripture. The chorus ends with these words: “Aim for heaven and earth will be thrown in.”

That message contrasts starkly with our secular culture that urges people to “get all you can and can all you can.” Said another way, “focus all your effort in life on grabbing for yourself everything you are able and then hold on to it tightly.”

But, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, instructed His disciples, and thus us as well, with these words recorded in Mark 8:36:

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

We believers need to become heaven focused. Yes, in the midst of doing our best to obediently follow our King’s assignment while we’re here on earth, we must not lose sight of the fact that heaven is our true home.

This day, let’s begin to live as citizen’s of God’s eternal Kingdom—faithful in the tasks He has given us—with our minds and hearts accepting the reality that the best of everything awaits us in heaven when our work on earth is done.


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


Monday, July 4, 2016

Righteousness Exalts


[Graphic of a sign]

“Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin condemns any people.”
—Proverbs 14:34

As we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our great nation, I feel a nearly overwhelming sense of shame at what our once amazing nation has become over the course of my lifetime.

Yes, we remain the greatest nation on earth and there is no other country where I would prefer to live. But, we have more and more lost our way.

Even people who call themselves Christians have largely become so enamored of the culture that they have abandoned their heretofore deeply held sense of right and wrong.

I will soon celebrate my 68th birthday. As I look back over the years of my life, I am appalled at the downward spiral our nation has taken. Today, we are more divided than at any other time in my life.

Not only do we have deep philosophical differences with regard to how the government should rule our nation, the political climate has become horribly rancorous on both sides of the political spectrum. At every turn, the government intrudes more and more into our lives. It takes away our freedoms and makes us victims of foolish and soul-weakening policies.

In the name of helping the less fortunate, we have created an underclass that has little motivation to rise above their dependence on the government for help. Instead of giving those in need a hand up, we are miring them under the weight of government handouts that leave them with utterly no incentive to strive for a better life.

Gross sin abounds in our nation to such an extent that is almost unimaginable. The unwed birth rate has become astronomical. Sexual deviation has been declared normative. Not only do people cheat and lie with regularity, the government itself has become the biggest cheater and liar of all.

God has been kicked out of the public square. Our nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values has tried to re-write history to cover its departure from the very principles on which it was founded.

King Solomon could have been writing about the United States of America when he penned these words found in Proverbs 14:34:

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.

In the midst of our wretched condition, I still retain the hope that God will withhold His judgment yet a little longer and send a great revival to our land. I pray each day for His mercy on America.

But, we who belong to Christ need to examine our own hearts and repent while we pray for God’s mercy. Where we have turned from righteousness in our own lives, we need to return to God. We need to ask God to fill our hearts and minds with His love.

We must love God with all four human modalities: heart, soul, mind, and strength—emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical. We must love our neighbors with same intensity of love with which we love ourselves.

If we allow the righteousness of Christ to fill our beings, perhaps then we will once again become salt and light in this deeply troubled nation.

At least that's my prayer on the eve of our nation’s birthday. Will you join me in this prayer?


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


Friday, July 1, 2016

Words to Dads


[Drawing of a man holding his son's hand with words superimposed]

“ Fathers, do not exasperate your children…”
—Ephesians 6:4a

Did you ever read a verse of Scripture and wonder what incident prompted the writer to write those particular words?

I spent the bulk of my career as a fire protection engineer developing procedures for other fire protection engineers to follow and training them in those procedures. As a part of that responsibility, I had the privilege of serving on a number of Technical Committees of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) developing various codes and standards that were part of the National Fire Codes.

I can look at various sections of those codes and standards and tell you exactly what fire or explosion prompted a change in the language in order to promote greater safety for people and greater protection for property.

I suppose that experience is why I wonder what incident prompted the Apostle Paul to write these words recorded in Ephesians 6:4:

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Did Paul observe certain behaviors in some fathers that the Holy Spirit then used to inspire Paul to offer this sage advice?

Fathers have a huge responsibility in shaping the lives of their children. That’s one reason we should be greatly alarmed at the rising birth rate among unwed women in certain segments of our population. Every birth where there is no father present in the household puts that child at risk.

Has the church where you worship undertaken the task of helping fatherless families by providing some godly male influence in the lives of such children? If not, why not?

And, do your pastors and Christian educators promote sexual purity as the best, most responsible, and most godly way to live to the young people in your congregations?

These are all things to consider as we strive to be Christ’s ambassadors to a troubled world. Spiritual formation always has practical applications. We dare not ignore them.


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