Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Answering Only What’s Asked


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“A person finds joy in giving an apt
reply—and how good is a timely word!”
—Proverbs 15:23

We don’t see the word “apt” in print much these days. Nor can I remember the last time I heard someone use the word “apt” in normal conversation. Yet, this little three-letter word expresses a very powerful idea.

The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary website defines the word “apt” as “unusually fitted or qualified; suited to the purpose; keenly intelligent and responsive.” Wow! Who knew that three letters could pack such decisive power?

In an age where we seldom take our communications seriously, responding in an “apt” manner would mean that what we had to write or say contained a well-reasoned statement that would offer a clear, concise, and definitive answer to whatever question someone had asked us. This is exactly what King Solomon had in mind when he wrote these words found in Proverbs 15:23:

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!

There definitely is a certain satisfaction in knowing that we had given a questioner an apt answer. It shows we care about the person asking. It illustrates that we take such a question seriously enough to give an appropriately reasoned response.

I recently had a very troubling experience where I clearly failed to give an apt reply. Someone who attended a Christian Education class I was teaching wrote me an email to disagree with something I had said in class. The individual put the thrust of the disagreement in the form of a question. My Concrete-Sequential Mind Style totally ignored the underlying message in this email. I took the question seriously without realizing that the person simply wanted me to acknowledge the person’s right to disagree.

Instead of giving a short acknowledgement that expressed appreciation for the email, I proceeded to write a very lengthy six-page answer to the question. The fact that I did so with the sincere intent of trying to be genuinely helpful still totally missed the under-the-surface needs of the writer. As a result, this person has given me the cold shoulder ever since.

I hope that I have learned from this experience. My first response to any such communications in the future will be a very short acknowledgement and an invitation to discuss the subject further, should the writer so desire. I have seen the light. I know now, more than ever before, the need to always give an apt reply.

As we encounter people who cross our pathway this day—in our roles as ambassadors for God’s Kingdom—let’s determine to give apt replies to every question. Let’s make certain we understand what the person is really asking. Let’s do our best to meet the person’s needs, even if those needs lie beneath the surface of what may seem to be a simple question.

If we do this, I am quite sure we will experience the kind of joy that King Solomon talks about in the verse above.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Knowing What’s Right


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
—Psalm 40:8

How do we know what’s the right thing to do? Whenever we’re faced with a decision concerning right and wrong, we almost always know what choice is the right one to make. We know right from wrong. We often call that inward knowledge our “conscience.”

One of the attributes that clinically defines a sociopath is someone who knows right from wrong, but doesn’t care which choice he or she makes. Some describe that “I could care less” attitude as a lack of empathy. A sociopath does not care about the feelings or safety of any other person. Yes, he or she can learn to fake a sense of empathy. In fact, many sociopaths become very good at faking how they really feel. But, ultimately, a sociopath will disclose his or her lack of empathy.

For those of us not afflicted by the untreatable mental illness of the sociopath—and make no mistake, for while most mental illnesses can be cured or controlled, there is no cure or control for the sociopath—we rely on our conscience to dictate to us what is right and what is wrong.

Now in actual practice, to satisfy our selfish wills, we may purposefully choose to do the wrong thing. That’s what sin is all about. The sin nature we inherited from our parents, and they from theirs all the way back to Adam, pushes us to choose what we want to do, even when we know it’s wrong.

When we become Christians, through the love of God expressed in His Son, Jesus’ death on the cross in our behalf and through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and He takes over our conscience. In a very real sense our conscience becomes sanctified, that is, made holy. Now we not only know the difference between right and wrong, we also know the difference between what pleases God and what doesn’t please Him.

This powerful new knowledge is expressed by King David in these words found in Psalm 40:8:

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.

God creates in us an overwhelming awareness of His law. He plants the knowledge of His will for us in our hearts. He guides our thinking in new ways. We become new creations of His mercy, grace, and love.

How comforting, as we begin a new day, to realize that the choices we make are continually under the guardianship of the Holy Spirit. We need to pause and listen to His voice speaking deep within our minds and hearts. If we make God’s will our will, then we will know what choices will please Him. And, we will become vessels of His love and grace to those around us.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Restoring Our Joy


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
—Psalm 51:12

Do you feel joyful? I’m not talking about happiness.

A long-ago pastor once told his congregation that “happiness” was a quality of a child. But, genuine “joy” had an eternal quality that surpassed the normal human foibles.

Whether or not that’s true, I do know that joy has a depth to it that happiness does not possess.

It is very easy in the darkened world in which we live to loose one’s joy. Every day we are assailed by trials, tribulations, circumstances, annoyances, provocations, and a host of other events, all of which tend to steal our joy. We can determine to hold onto our joy. But, the moment we feel secure in protecting our joy, something will happen to take that joy away.

Is there a source of joy that will endure against the onslaughts of life? I believe there is. And, I believe that King David learned how to pray during a time of great trial in his life and, in so doing, found that unbending source of joy.

David had sinned by lusting after Bathsheba, the wife of one of his key soldiers. He slept with her and she became pregnant while her husband was at the far away battle. When the husband came home—his name was Uriah the Hittite—David urged him to go to his own house, hoping that Uriah would sleep with his wife and thus hide the true father of this child. But, Uriah refused to go to his house as long as his fellow soldiers were at the battle.

So, David ordered his general to place Uriah at the very front line where he would more likely be killed. And, he was killed.

When Bathsheba gave birth, the baby died. Not long after that, the Prophet Nathan came to confront David about the sin David had committed.

In response, David prayed one of the most powerful prayers of confession and repentance in all of Scripture. It is to this prayer that the following verse belongs, as found in Psalm 51:12:

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

No one had experienced quite the same deep trouble that David had experienced in this horrible moment of his life. He had undone a life of devoted service to God in one moment of unbridled lust. It is interesting that in speaking about David, the Scripture records these words in 1 Kings 15:5:

For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

Imagine having that kind of a reputation. The only genuine failure in David’s life was this sin—the very one that had stolen David’s joy.

But, the good news for David and for us today: God is a joy restorer. Yes! God restores the joys of those who come to Him in confession and true repentance.

As we begin this day, if we need to bolster our joy, let’s pray David’s prayer. We may not have sinned in the same way David did. But, we have sinned. That’s why we need a Savior. That’s why God send His Son, Jesus, to die in our place.

Let’s ask God to restore our joy. If we do, I know that He will.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

In What Do We Delight?


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will
give you the desires of your heart.”
—Psalm 37:4

What brings us delight? Perhaps you delight in your children or grandchildren. Perhaps you delight in your husband or your wife, or your girlfriend or boyfriend. Perhaps you take special delight in your car or home. Perhaps you take delight in your job or one of your hobbies.

Over the years, I have taken delight in a variety of people and things. I take great delight in the wonderful wife God has given me. I greatly appreciate her talent as a musician, teacher, and writer. I take delight in her love of God and in her extreme patience with me and the love she shows me each day in so many ways.

I take great delight in my nieces and nephews. I have watched them grow from little children into spectacular adults. Those who are married are now wonderful parents with children of their own.

They have all been very successful in their chosen fields. Some of them have made a significant mark on their communities. Others have devoted themselves to the success of their families’ farms and introduced modern agri-business techniques.

One of them has obtained his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and is now teaching at my Alma Mater. One of my nieces graduated last June from that same Alma Mater. She joins several other nieces and/or their husbands who have graduated from that school.

I now take enormous delight in watching my grand-nieces and grand-nephews. The oldest grand-nephew is now a freshman in college. I am excited to see what the future holds for him. He is a very bright and very handsome young man.

Most of all, I am particularly pleased that each one of these dearly loved family members has chosen to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. As committed “Christ’s-ones,” I can see the mark of God on their lives and observe their devotion to His Kingdom. That surely brings me delight.

I have long delighted in my chosen career as a fire protection engineer. Having started as a member of the fire service and moved into industrial fire protection engineering a lifetime ago, I have the delight of seeing this field from both sides of the hose line. I continue to take delight in watching new developments in the field emerge.

I also continue to take great delight in radio broadcasting. Though it has now been many years since I’ve actually been on the air at a radio station, I still take delight in watching how new technology has revolutionized the radio industry. I also look forward with hope that some radio stations will return from their nationalized formats to include more local news coverage and emphasis on community events. I’m beginning to see this trend come to light and it brings me delight.

I take great delight in the opportunity God has given me each day to assist dear friends in their Kingdom ministry. Helping them has given me a renewed sense of purpose in these sunset years of my life.

On a more personal spiritual note, I am all too keenly aware of the words of King David, as recorded in Psalm 37:4:

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I’ve written about this verse in a previous blog post some years ago. I mentioned then how fascinated I am with the construction of the Hebrew. This verse can be properly read two very distinct ways.

It can be read that by taking delight in the Lord, He will give us whatever our hearts desire. That is an encouraging thought. Obviously, by taking delight in God, the desires of our heart will fall into line with His wishes for us. So, what we desire will come from our hearts attuned to God’s perfect will.

The verse can also be read that by taking delight in God, He will actually place within us that which our hearts will then desire. Said another way, because we faithfully find our delight in God, He will reward us by placing inside us desires that comes from His perfect will for us.

However you may choose to interpret this verse, it still is very good news. It tells us that the reward for obedience is a closer and more intimate relationship with the God who loves us. As we find our delight in Him, He will give us true delight in our minds and hearts.

With this revelation fresh in our minds, we can launch out into another new day with a smile on our face and a song in our heart. The God who loves us is a God of delight. He delights in us and we can truly delight in Him.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wait on God


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and
take heart and wait for the Lord.”
—Psalm 27:14

Generally speaking, we are very impatient people. That impatience is particularly in evidence whenever we get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Not long ago, I was waiting at a red-lighted traffic signal at a six lane intersection. To my left, the driver kept revving the engine of her pickup truck. She false started at least three times, as the traffic signal went through its various turn arrow cycles. When it finally turned green, she hit the accelerator of her vehicle so sharply that her drive wheels squealed and left a black patch of smoking rubber on the pavement.

To my complete surprise, she abruptly slowed about 40 feet after crossing the intersection and turned into the parking lot of a neighborhood pub. Obviously, she was either late for work, or for a date, or really needed some booze. As she hopped out of the cab of her pickup, she paused to light a cigarette. All I could do was shake my head in wonderment.

Sometimes, we “Christ’s-ones” display our impatience when we ask God in prayer to meet some need in our lives, or in the lives of others we care about. We might as well append a postscript to our prayers, “And Lord, we want what we’ve asked for right now!”

God doesn’t seem to respond very well to our sense of urgency. Instead He often seems to have a much different time frame than we do. He patiently waits to work out His perfect will according to His timing—not ours.

Almost three years ago, my dearly loved sister-in-law was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. As a devout believer, she placed her trust in God to continue to love her, care for her, and meet her needs throughout her treatment. After a five month initial fight, she received a bone marrow transplant of her own harvested bone marrow. She slowly recovered from that procedure and enjoyed five months of freedom from cancer. But then, very suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, the cancer returned with a vengeance. Within two months she was dead.

All throughout her ordeal, I prayed earnestly and fervently. In fact, I believe I may have prayed with more determination for her healing than I have ever prayed for anything. I used every prayer technique I had ever learned. I quoted Scripture. I called down fire against the forces of evil. I implored God to bring glory to His Name by healing my loved one. I asked for God to give insight, wisdom beyond their training, and supernatural skill to her doctors and nurses. I literally did everything I could do to seek God’s Hand of mercy and grace in her behalf.

And, I was certainly not alone. My wife’s family members are all devout, committed Christians with a long, long family history of faithfulness to God. Every family member prayed with the same fervency and urgency that I did. We all pounded against the Gates of Heaven on our loved one’s behalf.

But, she died.

Yes, I understand that, in fact, God “healed” her. He robbed Satan and cancer of all power over her by bringing her home to heaven. It is not the outcome for which we prayed so intently. But, it was God’s perfect will.

Many times during the weeks and months of prayer, I became impatient with God. I knew He could snap His fingers and bring instant and complete healing. Why was He waiting? Why didn’t He act?

Looking back, I can see glimmers—and, of course, I only see through a glass darkly—of why God waited to act. During the extension of her life that God so graciously gave her, her second grandson was born.

It’s long been a family chuckle that my sister-in-law gave birth to three children, all girls. Those three daughters have given birth to a total of ten children. The first grandchild was a boy, now a freshman in college. Some eighteen years later, with an intervening eight granddaughters, another boy was born. If my sister-in-law had not lived as long as she did, she would never have held in her arms what will probably be her last grandson.

So, God had a plan and He worked His plan for His glory. If God had responded to my impatience, my sister-in-law may well have ended up in heaven sooner, but missed meeting her new grandson.

King David had well learned the importance of waiting on God. That is, no doubt, why he wrote the words recorded in Psalm 27:14:

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

As we begin a new day, let’s remember that when we pray to seek God’s help, part of our praying is also a waiting—a waiting for God. We wait for Him because His timing is always perfect. He knows what we need and, all the more so, He knows exactly when we need it.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Eyes Fixed on God


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“My eyes are ever on the Lord…”
—Psalm 25:15a

I have never been the kind of person who would have been brave enough to attempt to climb the side of a cliff. I seem to have a built-in self-protective element that prevents me from intentionally entering into dangerous situations.

In my days as a firefighter, I relied on the protection afforded me by the equipment to assure my safety. Nevertheless, at one fire, I did fall through the floor of the attic, through the floor of the second and first floors, and ended up in the basement. Fortunately, I was not seriously injured.

I am told that those who climb cliffs and other such dangerous obstacles maintain their sense of balance by keeping their eyes fixed on a point of reference. That singular focus is what keeps them in balance and in a self-created bubble of safety.

So it is in our walk with God. He is our singular point of reference. If we keep our spiritual eyes fixed on Him, we will walk the pathway He lays out before us in relative safety. We will be able to move forward, step by step, until we ultimately reach the goal He has given us.

King David seemed to understand the need to keep his eyes fixed on God. Notice David’s words in Psalm 25:14-15:

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.

As we begin a new day, we will do well if we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord. He is the one who will keep us in balance. He will enable us to do His will. He will bless the work He has assigned to us. And, He will rejoice with us when we reach the goal He has given us.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Prayer-controlled Speech


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“May these words of my mouth and
this meditation of my heart be
pleasing in your sight, Lord,
my Rock and my Redeemer.”
—Psalm 19:14

Unless you are vastly different than I am, on occasion you probably speak first and think later. That most often happens when we react to something we’ve seen or heard. Before our mind considers what we are about to say, our mouth moves and out comes the words.

This way of speaking does not always honor our membership in God’s Kingdom. In contrast, King David offered these wise words of instruction, as found in Psalm 19:14:

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

We may often hear certain pastors pray this prayer before they deliver their weekly sermons. But, this Scripture does not belong to pastors alone. It is a worthy prayer for all of us.

Whenever we speak, we should seek to honor God and to honor the people to whom and about whom we may be speaking. Frankly, our current society militates strongly against this. In general, secular society has become strident, accusatory, and often downright nasty. Many Christians fall into this same pattern of speech.

When we find something with which we disagree, we often speak out in the harshest terms. Instead of moderating what we say to speak forthrightly, but kindly, we take hold of the same tactics the secular world uses and make them our own.

As we begin another new day, let’s keep in mind that we want our speech to honor Christ and to show kindness to everyone—even people with whom we may have serious disagreement. If we bathe our speech in prayer, we will soon find that our speaking will match that of the God who loves us. As His ambassadors, that is certainly what we want to do.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, January 20, 2017

We Have Heard With Our Own Ears!


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“How great you are, Sovereign Lord!”
—2 Samuel 7:22a

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, after a lifelong experience in the church—first as a Fundamentalist and then as a mainstream Evangelical—I have come in these latter years to the point where my soul prefers a more liturgical worship experience. I would like to think that my rather eclectic musical tastes—for example, I’m an enormous fan of the Eagles, of the Heritage Singers, of Phil Keaggy, of George Beverly Shea, and of most classical music—allows me to appreciate a wide range of worship styles. But, I have come to prefer a structured liturgical style. I find that this style draws me into the very core of the sense of coming into God’s Presence with a humility and an awareness of His holiness.

As a result, every Sunday I am exposed to certain calls and responses. For example, in the church where I attend, following the reading of Scripture, the Liturgist concludes with the words, “The Word of the Lord”—to which the congregation responds, “Thanks be to God.”

Every time I say those words, I sense a deep joy in my heart that comes from knowing our God has given us His precious Word to instruct us in righteousness and demonstrate to us His love and His great power.

Another litany of response that can occur whenever a Scripture passage tells of the greatness of God, the magnificence of His power, the overwhelming gift of His mercy, grace, and love, comes from Scripture itself in the words recorded in 2 Samuel 7:22:

“How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.”

After hearing a passage of Scripture that elevates us to the sense of God’s holy Presence and reminds us of how powerfully He has acted in our behalf, I can think of no more appropriate a response than to speak these words that King David used in one of his very special prayers.

Of all people, David knew how worthy God was of honor and worship. David experienced over and over again a great outpouring of God’s grace. He had witnessed what it meant to be chosen by God for a place of service in God’s Kingdom. He saw his enemies defeated and knew what it was to have God’s goodness toward him prompt the people to say, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands.”

David knew—he absolutely knew—he was totally unworthy. But, he also knew that for His own reasons God had made David worthy.

And that, dear ones, is the very state in which we are, as we walk this world knowing that we belong to God. In and of ourselves, we are utterly unworthy. There is nothing that commends us to God. We aren’t special. We aren’t better than others. We are the worst of the worst.

And yet, God has known us and chosen us before He created the world. He has made us His own before we even were born. He has revealed Himself to us by the Holy Spirit and irresistibly called us to Himself.

Thus, when we hear of the greatness of God, we can surely respond with all humility and with great joy: “How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.”

Yes! When we hear the stories from God’s Word of the wonders of His power and His grace, we have heard with our own ears how great our God really is.

So, let’s remember that fact all through this new day and every new day, until we stand at His feet and bow before Him in heaven on that Great Day.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Holy Nonconformists


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world…”
—Romans 12:2a

When I think of the label “nonconformist,” I think of the beatniks of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s. But then, I’m an old dude.

Today, people might think of nonconformists, such as the “Occupy Wall Street” or “Black Lives Matter” adherents. In either my vision of nonconformists or the current vision, the word has a somewhat negative connotation to those outside of the nonconformists themselves.

But, do you realize that those of us who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and have received the gift of our salvation from sin given to us freely by a God who chose us to belong to Himself before the foundation of the world, are called to be nonconformists? That’s right! We “Christ’s-ones” are called by God to become nonconformists.

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote to the fledgling church in Rome, as recorded in Romans 12:2:

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

We are called to step away from conformity to the patterns of this world. We are called to allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to so transform our minds and renew the patterns of our thinking that we will become testing grounds for the will of God. And, in this process, we are to experience the fullness of how very good, pleasing, and perfect God’s will for us really is.

As we start another day of our lives, we need to remain fully aware that, by following in the footsteps of Jesus, we are becoming totally new creations. As this process moves forward, we will no longer think, act, and be the way we once were. Rather, we will become holy nonconformists—representatives of a holy God to a needy and dying world.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Plans to Prosper


[Photo of Scripture verse]

““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord”
—Jeremiah 29:11a

“Uh-oh!” I can hear someone say. “I surely hope he’s not going to write about how following Jesus will bring prosperity into my life. How seeking to know God through His Word and by living in the footsteps of Jesus is going to bring blessing upon blessing into my life. I can’t stand all that ‘Prosperity Gospel’ nonsense.”

It’s amazing to me how we can become so focused on a few bad apples in the world of televised church services and big tent evangelistic crusades of the past that we fail to see the truth that God’s Word actually declares.

For example, questioning one, explain to me how you intend to interpret the Prophet Jeremiah’s words, as recorded in Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Wait! Let me take a stab at it. First of all, this passage recorded by the prophet only applied to the very specific situation that Jeremiah found himself in, as he tried to deal with in his day. He was writing a letter to those Israelites in exile. His letter was intended to encourage them and to give them hope. He wanted to lift their spirits, so that they would continue to hold fast to their faith and trust God for their future.

Okay. That’s fair—to a point. But, here’s my response to that.

We live as exiles from heaven in a very troubled world. In some ways, we are under a more intensive, if more subtle, attack than those long ago Israelites. We have been carried off by a culture that increasingly hates God and the people of God.

This foreign culture wants to kill us, or at the very least, silence us. It wants to pursue every kind of sin without anyone calling a halt to the foolishness.

Whether it is the political scene, or the everyday work-a-day world, sin prevails. Dishonesty is common. Lies abound. People disregard the feelings of others. They have surrendered to the Enemy.

I acknowledge that I need to hear a word of encouragement. I need a word of hope. I need to know that God is still on the throne. I need to feel the warmth of His Presence within me by His precious Holy Spirit. I need to know that my ever-deepening faith remains the right pathway.

So, like it or not—dear one who so greatly loathes the so-called “Prosperity Gospel”—I am going to appropriate Jeremiah’s words and cling to them in the ever-darkening age. I am going to purposefully choose to believe that God does have plans for me—plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.

I know that trusting Jesus does not mean that I will suddenly wake up surrounded by riches. I will not drive a new car or live in a new home. I will not have an end to my health problems or see my predicted short remaining years lengthened far into the next century.

But, I will recognize that every breath I take, every beat of my heart is already a precious gift from God. I will accept that the career he has given me—though it came to a sudden end twelve years ago—was also His gift to me.

I will recognize that I am still alive, even though doctors told me I would be long dead by now, is an indication of the fact that God still has a plan for me. I will recognize that God has prospered me and accept the reality that His love pervades everything that has come into my life for lo these 68 years.

As we begin a new day, let us recognize that while some may have bent the intention of God’s message with regard to what “prosperity” means, because God has chosen us to belong to Himself as His dearly loved children, we—of all people—are most assuredly experiencing His prosperity.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Grace of Godly Parents


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching…”
—Proverbs 1:8

I am all too keenly aware that not everyone had the opportunity to experience the blessing of godly parents. For those of you who may have had a less than ideal parental encounter, please know that your Father in heaven understands and willingly embraces you as His dearly loved children. He will be a father and mother to you in ways that earthly parents could never have been—no matter how wonderful you might have wished them to be.

For those of us who were blessed to have godly parents, we should daily remember them with thanksgiving in our hearts for their faithful witness to the gospel of God’s mercy, grace, and unfailing love. I am so very fortunate, as an only adopted child, to have been chosen by two godly people who desperately wanted to share the love God had placed in their hearts with a child. They loved me with a deeply caring love that truly shaped the rest of my life.

In so many ways, my mom and dad mirrored what they experienced at the hands of our loving Father God. Because they were somewhat older than many parents at that time—mom was 42 and dad was 40 when they adopted me—they also brought a life-experience and maturity that many parents in their twenties had not yet achieved. That there were no longer any children in my immediate neighborhood and the fact that I spent most of my time with adults, also profoundly shaped my life.

King Solomon knew how important godly parents are to the spiritual formation of a child. Notice what he wrote, as recorded in Proverbs 1:8-9:

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

Think about the image that Solomon paints with his words: a father’s instruction and a mother’s teaching are “a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” Said another way, your parents’ teaching are like the finest jewelry given to signal the honor of being someone of significance and importance in the kingdom where you lived as a child.

That pretty much sums up how I feel about my parents. They blessed my life in so many, many ways. I am deeply grateful for all the sacrifices they made and the great love they showered on me during my formative years.

Sadly for me, my father has been in heaven since December 15, 1981, and my mother has been in heaven since December 16, 1985. But, not a day goes by that I don’t think of something one or the other of them taught me. Their words guide my life to this very day.

As we begin another day of life, let’s remember the profound influence we have on the children around us. Let’s do our best to mirror the way Jesus related to children. Let’s show His love to the children who cross our pathway—and to the children that God may have placed in our charge. In so doing, we bring honor to God and a blessing to those children.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Never Shaken


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Truly my soul finds rest in God…”
—Psalm 62:1-2

I became an engineer by accident—well, almost by accident. You see, I had three very distinct career paths laid out before me as I was growing up.

The first was radio broadcasting, which I was extremely fortunate to take an interest in beginning at age ten. By age twelve, God had provided a very amazing connection with the local radio station in my home town. I became an unpaid apprentice and spent six years learning every aspect of radio: announcing, engineering, production, news gathering and writing, commercial writing, along with the more mundane tasks of traffic (that’s keeping track of the records, tapes, and other media) and even cleaning the studios.

The second career path, fire protection, also began at age twelve with the death of a little boy in my Sunday School class. He and several of his siblings were killed in a fire. This was 1959, the year after the tragic Our Lady of the Angels school fire in Chicago. Fascinated with the stories about that horrible fire that claimed the lives of 95 teachers and students, I began to correspond with the chief fire investigator for the National Fire Protection Association. Because I had laboriously typed my letters to him, it took several years of back and forth correspondence before he realized he was writing to a teenaged boy. But, during junior high and high school, my interest in fire protection grew with the same intensity, and at the same time, as my interest in radio broadcasting and electronic systems.

The third career path was the Christian ministry. As a junior in high school, I felt a genuine call to become a pastor and went to college to pursue the very beginning aspects of that calling—including two years of New Testament Greek and several Bible courses. However, during my freshman year of college, I became painfully aware that, psychologically and temperamentally, I was wholly unsuited to be a pastor. Thus, I changed direction and began to focus on fire protection.

Solely because of God’s grace and provision, I had a 30 year career with a major Highly Protected Risk insurance company and five more years with the major national fire protection engineering consulting firm. I eventually earned my Professional Engineering registration in fire protection engineering from the State of Connecticut.

Looking back on my career in fire protection that started as a firefighter in 1965 and concluded, at least officially, with my disability retirement in 2003, I can clearly see the many times that God opened up amazing and wonderful opportunities.

However, all through those years, I never lost my interest in radio broadcasting and now find that in these sunset years of my life that interest has risen to a new high.

So, as I stated at the beginning of this blog post, I became an engineer by accident—well, almost by accident. One thing I have learned about engineering is that much of the progress that has been made in designing safer buildings comes from a grave concern that, in some type of emergency, a building might collapse before all the occupants can safely evacuate the building.

For example, in an earthquake, will the building withstand the dynamic forces set up by the shifting of the earth? The answer: when properly engineered to withstand those forces, the building might experience some shaking, but from a structural standpoint it will remain unshaken. It will steadfastly protect the occupants until they can safely evacuate. And, that’s what a properly engineered building design is all about.

In our walk with God, He has made provision for us to remain unshaken, as well. He is a steadfast, unmovable God. He is always the same. He never changes. It’s no accident that faith in Jesus is the foundation of our spiritual formation. Jesus is our Rock.

King David wrote these very important words in Psalm 62:1-2:

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

As we move out into the world today, let’s remember that nothing can shake us. We stand firmly secure on the Rock—the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our never-changing God. He will not let us down. He will keep us from shaking. With the unshakeable foundation He provides, we will surely withstand all that may come our way. We need only relax into His loving arms and trust Him for everything.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Follow Closely


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“It is the Lord your God you must follow…”
—Deuteronomy 13:4a

One of the most fun, and also most scary, parts of training to become a firefighter takes place in a building called the Smoke House. In this concrete structure, the Training Officer builds a fire out of straw that will produce large quantities of thick, black smoke. The burning material will also produce a significant amount of fairly localized heat.

A firefighter-in-training enters the Smoke House in full protective clothing and with self-contained breathing apparatus. He or she has been prepared by lecture, and sometimes even by watching a video, for what will take place in the Smoke House.

At first, the firefighter feels quite secure—wrapped in a fire coat, bunker pants, heavy gloves, and special boots. He or she is sealed in a cocoon of fresh air to breath with a mask covering his or her face and a Nomex liner covering the rest of his or her head under the sturdy helmet.

Soon, he or she begins to feel the heat from the fire and is quickly engulfed in that thick, black smoke. Suddenly, the firefighter can see… well… nothing—absolutely nothing. He or she immediately becomes disoriented. Most of the time, the disorientation is enhanced by the body’s panic response. The firefighter’s ears begin to ring slightly. A bit of dizziness hits him or her.

In the pre-training explanation, the firefighter was told to keep his or her right hand against the wall—or hanging on to a safety rope—and the left hand on the left shoulder of the firefighter in front of him or her. But, inevitably, someone lets go and the chain of safety is broken.

Fortunately, the Training Officer, or one of the assistants, keeps a sharp eye on the firefighters as they move through this exercise. If someone becomes totally disoriented and filled with panic, the observer can take action to stop the training exercise and rescue the disoriented firefighter.

Recruits learn very quickly that they absolutely must follow instructions. And, they must follow the person leading them through the peril of the fire ground whenever they make an interior fire attack. Following closely is an absolute necessity.

This is true in our daily walk with Jesus, as well. We must follow closely the leading of the Holy Spirit, as He opens up the pathway that God intends for us to follow in our lives. Notice what Moses told the Israelites, as recorded in Deuteronomy 13:4:

It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

To stay on the straight path, as we begin this new day, let’s determine to keep our minds and hearts fixed on the leading of the Holy Spirit. He often gently nudges us when we come to a fork in the road of our lives. His still, small, inner voice gives us direction and reminds us of His constant Presence.

We can step out into the smoke-filled world darkened by sin when we rely on God to lead the way. We need to equip ourselves with the full protective gear that God provides (Ephesians 6:10-20) and keep our hand on His shoulder.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Who Are You?


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart
from me there is no savior.”
—Isaiah 43:11a

For many years now, I have had the privilege of using an instrument called the Gregorc Style Delineator to help people learn more about their true “self.” Developed by phenomenologist, Anthony Gregorc, Ph.D. (http://www.gregorc.com/), this instrument helps disclose certain pre-wired ways in which people perceive information, or take information in, and how they process and order this information out. The instrument reveals which of four well-described Mind Styles is dominant in an individual.

I have witnessed several thousands of people become positively affected, as they understood themselves and as they understood their relationships with others.

Through this experience over the last 25 years, I have learned that most of us do not have as clear an understanding of who we really are as we may think that we do. So, an instrument such as the Gregorc Style Delineator offers people who are willing to seek to know themselves an absolutely wonderful way to begin to do so.

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and followers of His journey, we strive to know more and more about God.

I read a blog post recently which decried those who have studied a systematic theology—that is, a way of systematically categorizing what the Bible teaches about God. The blogger felt that it gave some students an overriding arrogance because it made them think they actually knew and understood God. While, in reality, all they were doing was cloaking God in their presuppositions.

I heartily disagree. It has been my personal experience that studying what the Bible reveals about the magnificent God who loves us—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—only makes me all too keenly aware of how very little I know about Him.

God is so magnificent and so beyond my comprehension that I can only fall on my knees and worship Him. The little that He reveals of Himself to us is the major motivator for us to realize how enormous He is and how very tiny we are. Arrogance is the very last feeling I receive when I systematically categorize what the Bible teaches about God.

I am grateful that through the Bible—God’s precious Word—He has shown us enough of Himself to convince us of His immeasurable greatness. For example, take note of these words from God recorded by the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 43:11-12:

“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.”

The “Great I Am”—that’s the God who loves us, who pours out His mercy and grace on us, who has drawn us irresistibly to Himself, who has cleansed us from our sins through the very blood of His Son, Jesus. We bow before Him and glorify His precious and Holy Name.

As we begin another day, let’s remember that while we can never even partially comprehend the full glory and majesty of God this side of heaven, we can seek Him through His Word and find glimpses of His greatness. We can worship and adore Him. We can honor His love for us by extending His love to others. We can put our selfish wills under the subjection of His Holy Spirit. And, we can rejoice that this nearly unknowable God has loved us with His everlasting love.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quenching Our Thirst


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;”
—Psalm 63:1a

Have you ever been really, really thirsty? I have experienced true thirst only a few times in my life. In each case, I was hospitalized for either surgery or fighting an infection. For one reason or another, I was denied oral liquids. The inside of my mouth felt like pressed cotton—like felt. My throat was sore. I had difficulty forming certain words. I experienced an unusual distress. I wanted a drink of water!

There are times in our lives, whether we consciously realize it or not, when our souls become so very thirsty that we begin to experience a misery so exquisite that it nearly drives us mad. It’s a longing to connect with God.

In fact, trying to connect with God, yet without God Himself, is what drives multitudes of bad behaviors in our society. The soul longs for the satisfaction that comes with a spiritual embrace. So, we try to fill a void some other way that only God can fill.

King David experienced this in both a physical and spiritual way when he was in the desert. His body and his soul longed for something to quench his physical and spiritual thirst. Fortunately, David knew the source that would satisfy.

Notice what he wrote in Psalm 63:1:

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Today, at the beginning of yet another page in our personal Book of Life, if we sense that longing for the cooling waters of God’s mercy, grace, and love, let’s reach out to Him, as David did.

God will always satisfy the longing of our hearts. He will imbue us with His divine Presence through the in-dwelling Holy Spirit. He will satisfy our longing. He will quench our thirst. He will truly satisfy our souls.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How Long Should I Trust Him?


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord,
the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”
—Isaiah 26:4

Some people are naturally trusting. They enter every relationship with a positive attitude and always look for the very best possible outcome. It doesn’t ever occur to them that the persons with whom they have developed relationships might, at some point, prove untrustworthy. Frankly, I envy these open, accepting, and positive-attitude people.

Then, there are people like me. Because of my personal history, dating back to childhood experiences, I approach every relationship with suspicion, expecting any new person who crosses my pathway to eventually betray me. It is quite likely that my generally negative attitude creates a self-fulfilling prophecy time after time.

So, a question that people like me tend to ask is “How long should I trust him or her?”

A logical answer from my inner voice might be, “Until that person does something untrustworthy.”

“But, shouldn’t I stay on my guard? Shouldn’t I microscopically examine everything this new person does or says to make certain that one is not somehow betraying my trust?”

“No, actually you shouldn’t” my inner voice replies.

This dialogue plays out in my mind. Although I must admit that as I have gotten older, it plays out less often. That’s partly because I don’t have the opportunity to form many new relationships. But, I can’t help wondering if a more positive attitude on my part might have made it easier for people to have a relationship with me.

Because of this background, I am very intrigued by a statement the Prophet Isaiah has made in Isaiah 26:4:

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

In our relationship with God, we must learn to trust Him implicitly and continually. He will never betray our trust. He will never let us down. He will always surround us with His loving care. We can count on Him in every situation.

For someone like me, who has lived his whole life waiting for the people around me to betray my trust, can you begin to imagine how comforting the reality of God’s faithfulness is? It is simply astonishing. And, I am so very, very grateful.

As we begin a new day, let’s truly be thankful for the constancy of God. He never changes. As a result, to answer the question, “How long should I trust Him?” we can truly trust Him forever!


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 9, 2017

A Window of Opportunity


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Seek the Lord while he may be
found; call on him while he is near.”
—Isaiah 55:6

Have you ever sought something and, in the midst of your seeking, recognized that there was a particular window of opportunity during which you could do your seeking?

I rely on the Absentee Ballot process in order to cast my vote in local, state, and national elections. Due to the difficulty I have in walking, it is not easy for me to go to the polling place on Election Day. So, I must file a request for an absentee ballot. There is a very particular window of opportunity to fill out the required form and mail it to the proper government office. If I miss that window, I am unable to obtain the Absentee Ballot.

As a young man in junior high school, I fell deeply in love—isn’t that a rather silly phrase for a junior high student to use “fell deeply in love”?—with a girl from my church who was also in some of my classes at junior high. I had actually been “in love” with this girl since she had come to my church in 5th grade. Because I was very shy, I never got up the nerve to let her know how I felt about her. Since she was very pretty—and I strongly felt that I was definitely not in her league—realistically, I likely had very little chance of ever becoming her boyfriend.

One day, I thought, “Today, I am going to tell her how I feel about her!” I waited patiently for just the right time. Finally, there was a moment when no one else was paying attention to us. I started to speak and I froze.

The seconds ticked by. As I began to regain my composure and started to speak again, a very popular boy popped up and began to speak to the object of my affection. And, I had missed my window of opportunity.

I carried a torch for that young lady for many years. I never did have a chance to tell her how I felt. Ah! Puppy love! It’s truly an amazing phenomenon!

Several times in my life an opportunity has presented itself with a time frame attached. Sometimes, my indecision has prevented me from taking full advantage of those opportunities.

I think that happens to most of us at one time or another. We have to make certain we take full advantage of the windows of genuine opportunity that may appear in our lives.

On balance, I am grateful to report, there have been countless other times in my life when I did, indeed, act within the window of opportunity. In every case, God has used my decisiveness to open up amazing career opportunities and even to bring into my life the fabulous woman to whom I have been happily married for 47 years.

I have learned through these very positive experiences how important it is for us to act when we have a chance to act—to act within the window of opportunity.

The Prophet Isaiah understood what it meant to take action when a window of opportunity opened. That motivated him to urge the Israelites in Isaiah 55:6:

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Whenever the Holy Spirit nudges us to turn to God for answers, or for a new pathway in our lives, we need to follow that leading and act. We need to take full advantage of God’s window of opportunity.

Maybe you’re one whom God has been speaking to about something in your life. Or, maybe you’re one whom God has been irresistibly drawing to Himself. If so, you need to act during the window of opportunity He has opened.

For those of us who already belong to God, we need to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit to present those windows of opportunity that will launch us into a new level of spiritual formation, so that we may be even more effective as ambassadors for Christ in our fallen world.

Let’s keep a sharp eye out today for any window of opportunity that God may open before us. And, let’s move forward and act courageously in taking the step to follow His divine leading.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Tomorrow? Who Knows?


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you
do not know what a day may bring.”
—Proverbs 27:1

It was her fourteenth birthday. She was thrilled that she was growing up. Soon, she hoped, people would begin treating her more like an adult than a child. He fondest wish as she bent over the blow out the candles on her pink-frosted birthday cake was, “Two more years—just two more years until I can learn to drive.”

Just one week later, she slipped on the tennis court, hit her head on the stanchion that supported the net, and died instantly. She never learned how to drive. She never reached age sixteen. She never experienced anything more that this life had to offer. She had placed all her hopes, all her dreams in the future, even to the point of setting aside her enjoyment of the here and now.

Yes, it’s a very tragic story. But, it is one repeated over and over again, day after day, throughout our world. Instead of enjoying the present, people live in expectation of happiness at some point in the near or distant future.

King Solomon understood the importance of focusing on “today” when he wrote these words in Proverbs 27:1:

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

This simple Proverb has great power and great wisdom. It reminds me of the parable Jesus told, as recorded in Luke 12:16-21:

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

We who follow Jesus must take every step forward with care and caution. We must not run ahead of God. We must not presume to know what the future holds. Rather, we must allow plenty of room for the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us along the right pathway.

As we begin this new day, let’s acknowledge that we can take comfort from knowing that God will lead us forward step-by-step. We can remain hopeful for the future. But, we can also rest in the knowledge that only God truly knows what the future holds.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Born into a Living Hope


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Praise be to the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
—1 Peter 1:3a

In the early days of personal computers, I purchase a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A. This unit used a television screen as a monitor through an rf modulator operating on a TV channel. Storage consisted as an interface to a cassette tape recorder. It came equipped with a BASIC language interpreter. It was the first consumer-grade computer with a 16-bit processor.

One of the first things I learned about computing with this unit was that, when everything went wrong, I could unplug the unit and reset it to normal operating condition. By cutting the power, I effectively pushed a non-existent reset button to bring the unit back from wherever it had gone astray.

Sometimes, especially when we’ve really messed up and found ourselves caught in the entanglement of sin, we may wish that we had a reset button to bring our lives back into normal operating condition. Fortunately, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ has already pushed that reset button when he died on the cross, bearing the penalty for all our sins.

The Apostle Peter understood that this spiritual reset button existed in the form of an entire new life brought to us by Jesus. Notice these words found in 1 Peter 1:3:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

We can truly rejoice when we accept the reality that God has given us a new life in Christ. The ultimate spiritual reset button has been pushed in our behalf.

All of our sins have been erased. We have a totally new beginning. That is more than enough reason to start this new day with a smile on our faces and a song in our hearts.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Fear No One


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare…”
—Proverbs 29:25a

There is a lot of fear in the world today. Sometimes the fear is real. Sometimes the fear is imagined. Nevertheless, fear seems pervasive.

Speaking of fear, have you ever been bullied? The older you are the less likely that you are routinely bullied. Although, I have noticed some situations lately where really elderly people are sometimes bullied by really young people. This tends to happen when an older person encounters a group of younger men or women. In fact, I’ve recently seen an incident where the most vicious bullying came from young women toward an older man and woman walking through a park.

When surrounded by fear, it is sometimes difficult to know what to do. But, I have a suggestion. I am convinced that we who follow Jesus must become more and more aware that we must not fear other men and women. Why? Well, for one reason, because King Solomon suggests the following in Proverbs 29:25:

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Our real safety from fear and the effects of fear depends on the power of Christ, our Savior and Lord. We need not fear what other men and women might do to us. Our protector is the Holy Spirit. He dwells within us and comes along side us to lead us and guide us along the pathway that He has opened up before us.

If we feel fear, let’s determine to trust the God who loves us. He dispels fear. All we have to do is allow Him to do so. And, that is really good news.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

When Attacked—Rejoice


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Blessed are you when people insult you…”
—Matthew 5:11a

We don’t like it when someone says something bad about us. You don’t like it. And, I don’t like it. It hurts our feelings and makes us angry.

Here’s how I used to explain my behavior when I would respond to someone who had attacked me:

When someone says something bad about me, I go into “maximum destroy” mode. I don’t go looking for trouble and I don’t make people my enemies. But, if someone decides to make me his or her enemy, watch out! Their destruction is on the way.

Frankly, I’m no longer at all proud of that philosophy. But, I confess that it eventually built a reputation whereby people generally did not mess with me. They knew if they tried to destroy me, I would usually end up prevailing in such a contest.

Recently, a representative of an organization for which I once worked wrote some words about me on the organization’s website that, in my opinion, were patently untrue. Amazingly, I suppose in large measure because I have grown a little bit wiser with age, I did not launch a counter-blast of destruction. Instead, I called a trusted friend who I thought might have some influence and tried to explain to him that what was written about me was not accurate. He listened very patiently to me. When I was finished, I thanked him for listening and told him that just because he had listened so kindly, I would now drop any concern that I had and take no further action.

He apparently did talk to someone at the organization, because the publicly available statement that included the falsehoods about me was recently changed. I am grateful for his kindness in reaching out to the offender. And, I am grateful—very grateful—that I did not respond as I once might have responded.

In thinking about how poorly, even inappropriately, I might have reacted in the past, I remembered Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:11-12:

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

I hardly consider myself worthy of the same reward as one of the prophets. Nevertheless, these two verses hold the key to showing Christ’s love, even in circumstances where we find ourselves under attack. Instead of launching our own counter-attack, we are to rejoice in the unkindness.

Admittedly, that is very hard to do. At least it’s hard for me to do.

But, if we are to believe Jesus’ words, there is a significant reward attached to following in His footsteps. And, after all, we must remember that as He hung on the cruel Roman cross of torture, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Defining the Wise Ones


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“Listen to advice and accept discipline…”
—Proverbs 19:20a

My father had a pet phrase he would use whenever we encountered someone who was arrogant or pompous. He would say, “It’s always okay to be a wise man, but never okay to be a wise guy.”

Naturally, as with many of my dad’s wise sayings, it took me a while to comprehend the depth of what he was really saying. I wonder, as I look back over my life, how many wise men or women I have encountered—as opposed to “wise guys” who crossed my path? And, what defines whether or not someone is wise?

One of the wisest men who ever lived is King Solomon. I’m not at all certain I understand his relationship with women—but, that will have to be a subject for another blog post sometime. Nevertheless, Solomon earned the title: “The Wise.” And, he deserved it.

Notice what King Solomon writes, as recorded in Proverbs 19:20-21:

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

So, some of the defining characteristics of a wise man or woman includes one who listens to advice and accepts discipline. That surely would mean that the wise man or woman was in tune with God.

By listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit and by subjecting himself or herself to God’s loving discipline, that one would achieve a wisdom quite uncommon in our world today.

As we begin this new day, let’s make a conscious decision to study God’s Word, so that we may become aware of His advice. And, let’s also decide to willingly subject ourselves to God’s discipline, that we may learn from it and make the necessary changes in our lives.

If we do this, I am certain we would pass muster as those who are wise. And, that would be a very, very good thing.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Don’t Worry


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You
believe in God; believe also in me.”
—John 14:1-3

Several years ago, in fact back in 1988, singer Bobby McFerrin wrote, recorded, and released a song that set the toes a-tappin’ for people all over the world. “Don’t worry, be happy” the song instructed.

Part of the uniqueness of this song came from the fact that it was sung a cappella. To provide a pseudo-instrumental background, McFerrin overdubbed a whole orchestra of mouth sounds to give the song some aural depth and charm.

The song topped the Billboard 100 in the U.S. and also hit the No. 1 spot in Australia, Austria, Canada, and Germany.

Here are the lyrics to McFerrin’s big hit:

Here’s a little song I wrote.
You might want to sing it note for note.
Don’t worry, be happy!
In every life we have some trouble.
But, when you worry, you make it double.
Don’t worry, be happy!
Don’t worry, be happy!

Ain’t got no place to lay your head?
Somebody came and took your bed.
Don’t worry, be happy!
The landlord say your rent is late.
He may have to litigate.
Don’t worry, be happy!
(Look at me, I’m happy!)
Don’t worry, be happy!

(I give you my phone number.
When your worry, give me a call.
I’ll make you happy.)
Don’t worry, be happy!

Ain’t got no cash?
Ain’t got no style?
Ain’t got no gal to make you smile?
Don’t worry, be happy!
When you worry your face will frown.
That will bring everybody down.
Don’t worry, be happy!

Don’t worry, be happy!
Don’t worry, be happy!
Don’t worry, be happy!

Don’t worry! Don’t worry, be happy!
Put a smile on your face!
Don’t bring everybody down!

Don’t worry!
It will soon pass, whatever it is!
Don’t worry, be happy!

I’m not worried! I’m happy!

Bobby McFerrin is certainly not the first person to express the value of positive thinking. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale made a life-transforming experience for many people through his 1952 book The Power of Positive Thinking. Peale, a minister of the Reformed Church in America, pastored Marble Collegiate Church in New York City for 52 years. And while, over the years, his most notable book has garnered many strong criticisms from within the Christian and Psychological communities, it has sold over five million copies and stayed on the New York Times “Bestseller List” for 186 consecutive weeks. This book certainly awakened Americans to the idea that there was great value to looking at life through a positive lens.

For Christians down through the ages, one of the major, and most important, proponents of setting aside worry and anxiety in one’s life was our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Often read at funerals, as words of encouragement for grieving families, Jesus began several days of intense personal counseling for His closest disciples—as recorded in John 14 through 17—in the days just before His crucifixion with these words from John 14:1-3:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Nothing would cause greater angst in the lives of His disciples than Jesus death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven. In a 43 day period, they would lose their leader, have Him come back to them from the dead, and leave them again to return to His heavenly throne. Yes, He gave them the indwelling Holy Spirit shortly after His ascension during Pentecost. But, the disciples must still have felt very anxious about what would unfold in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

Many of them would be martyred for their faith. Many would suffer intense persecution. But, they would experience the joy of witnessing the spread of the good news of the life-changing power of Jesus, as countless lives became transformed by the intense spiritual power that would become what we, today, call Christianity.

As we begin another day, a day that might well have moments of fear, anxiety, disappointment, discouragement, and difficulty of many kinds, let us remember Jesus’ words.

Our home is in heaven. Our place there is secure. Nothing in this world can harm us eternally. So, let us take heart, think and act positively, and trust God to see us through. He has never, never failed. And, He surely will not fail us now.

Here’s a music video that Bobby McFerrin and some friends you might recognize made of his famous song:


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



Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Nap Time


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“Come to me, all you who are weary
and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
—Matthew 11:28

Happy New Year! How wonderful that the first day of this new year falls on the first day of the week.

Sunday afternoon in my household growing up was nap time. When I was seven years old, my dad was forty-seven years old. He was more than ready for a nap on Sunday afternoons. I was not. Nevertheless, he would make me lie down next to him in the bed.

He would almost immediately drop off into a rather deep sleep. I would wonder if I might possibly—very slowly and deliberately—move off the bed and pursue other interests.

So, I would ever so slightly start to move, inch by inch, slowly, carefully off the bed. Invariably, my slight movements would rouse my dad from his slumber and he would order me back up onto the bed.

I’ve never really been a nap person. I find if I doze off during the day, when I awaken I am too groggy and uncomfortable. And yet, in my dotage, I find that sitting quietly in my recliner on a Sunday afternoon inevitably lulls me into a snooze. I still don’t look forward to it, but I have reluctantly accepted it as part of the price of old age.

God anticipates that when we wholeheartedly pursue righteous obedience to His will for our lives that effort will extract a certain price from us. So, naturally, God wants to give us an opportunity to find spiritual rest for the labor of our souls.

Jesus makes this very clear when He speaks to His followers, as recorded in Matthew 11:28:

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

One source of the exhaustion may have come from battling the forces of evil. While some people will not accept the fact that evil persists in our world today, the Bible makes it clear that a great battle is always raging between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

We who follow Jesus become part of that battle. It’s quite certain that we expend far more energy than we might imagine in the battle that rages around us.

We also use our physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual resources to stay on the pathway that God has opened up before us. We cannot possibly charge full steam ahead all day long, day after day, without needing an occasional respite from the calling of following Jesus. Thus, He provides perfect rest for all of our human modalities: heart, soul, mind, and strength.

As we launch off into another day, let us not lose sight of the fact that Jesus purposefully offers a rest for our weariness. We can turn to Him at any time and seek His refreshment. And, that is a very good thing to keep in mind.


Copyright © 2017 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.