Friday, October 31, 2014

Results Oriented


[Photo of a bridge with words superimposed]

“I am the light of the world.”
—John 8:12a

Many years ago I made a fire protection inspection at a major manufacturer of photographic film. In one film processing room, machinery operated in total darkness. The only time lights were permitted was during an annual shutdown.

Workers actually trained to repair the machinery in complete darkness. The light switches for the room required two keys to operate. Each key was held by a different individual. Even the maintenance department had a rigorous process of having two maintenance workers go through an elaborate sign-our procedure in order to obtain the keys to turn on the lights.

I was amazed at how disorienting total darkness could be. Fortunately, I wore a harness with a guide and safety rope in case I lost my way.

In such complete darkness even a sliver of the dimmest light would ruin the unexposed film. But also, in such blackness, even a sliver of light would have been enough illumination for me to find my way.

Our Savior made an important declaration when he stated in John 8:12:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus is the Light of Life. His Presence utterly dispels darkness from our lives. It is for this reason that the Apostle John stated in 1 John 1:5, 7:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

By the mercy and grace of God, we can walk in the Light of His Son. I think it would be a very good decision if we would choose to do so.

And, once we make that choice often enough, it becomes ingrained into the very fabric of our being.


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


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Be Careful What You Say!


[Graphic of a sign]

“I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin…”
—Psalm 39:1

Do you remember this children’s Sunday School song:

O be careful little lips what you say.
O be careful little lips what you say.
For your Father up above
Is looking down in love.
O be careful little lips what you say.

There are other verses to this song, of course, and perhaps we’ll look at them another time. But, this verse emphasizes how potent and powerful what we say can become.

The blogosphere is one place where many bloggers could much more carefully choose their words.

I’m a very, very conservative person. At the same time, I have a number of friends who are deeply committed to following the Lord Jesus Christ and who hold polar opposite postion with respect to my ultra-conservative viewpoint. In all of our discussions, we should be able to state our respective cases with great passion, but without rancor, without name-calling, and with kindness and compassion.

Whenever we discuss any subject with any other person, we should do so with open hearts and open minds. Especially when we deal with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should lovingly guard what we say.

Part of our witness to the world around us as to how Christ has transformed our lives must involve the way we speak. Note what the Psalmist says in Psalm 39:1-2:

I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”

So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good.

We will all benefit greatly if we choose our words carefully, particularly when we disagree.


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


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Satisfies?


[Photo of the sky with words superimposed]

“…fear the Lord your God as long as you live
by keeping all his decrees and commands…”
—Deuteronomy 6:2b

As a Concrete-Sequential, I really like a well-written, precise set of step-by-step instructions. The problem with such instructions is that one must closely follow them.

I assembled an entertainment center once. With my wife’s help it took eight hours to complete. At the very end, I realized I had misinterpreted the very first instruction in a list of over seventy steps. I was at the very last step, but I had to get my drill out and make a modification in order to finish the project. If only I had read that first step with greater understanding.

Through Moses, God gave the people of Israel some very specific instructions, as recorded in Deuteronomy 6:1-25:

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.

Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you.

Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.

In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors.

“The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”

On the cross of Calvary, our Savior, God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, covered our sins with His precious blood. Through Jesus, God made a new covenant with us.

Now the in-dwelling power of the Holy Spirit enables us to obey the will of God. We can learn from Israel of old because we have been grafted into Israel. That’s right! Through Christ we have become numbered among God’s chosen people.

Let us determine this day to remember God’s way and follow it with joy.


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


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Rending of the Veil


[Photo of a flag with words superimposed]

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
—2 Corinthians 3:16

At the moment the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, an earthquake occurred. The veil in the Temple that separated The Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple was divided in two from the top to the bottom.

This event signaled the end of mankind’s limited access to God through the priestly office. From that point forward, mankind would have access directly to God through His Son.

Another veil ceased to be needed that day: the veil that covered Moses face when he brought the tablets of the Law down from the mountain. With Christ’s death and resurrection, and with the coming of the Holy Spirit to live in the hearts and minds of believers, God’s glory would become visible—first in Jesus and then in His followers.

A new freedom was born in Christ’s death and resurrection. A freedom to worship God without hindrance. A freedom to develop an intimate and personal relationship with Him.

The Apostle Paul wrote about this in 2 Corinthians 3:15-18:

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

The Spirit of the Lord—the Holy Spirit—brings true freedom. Whenever we talk about or celebrate our freedom as a nation, let us remember that true freedom is a precious gift from God paid for with the blood of His one and only Son.


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


Monday, October 27, 2014

Learning from Our Choices


[Graphic of a sign]

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.”
—Joshua 24:14a

Every day we make dozens of choices. Some of them turn out well. Others may leave us teetering on the edge of disaster.

As a ten-year-old on a Sunday afternoon, I rode my English bicycle with a boy from another neighborhood to the top of a steep hill. The dirt road stretched out before us. The other boy hoisted his little sister on the handlebars of his bike and rode off down the hill.

I hesitated a moment. I remember thinking, “This is really stupid!” But, nevertheless, I made a choice and started down the hill.

Part way down the hill, the front axle of my bike broke propelling me over the handlebars. I slid 75 feet with only my face in contact with the road.

I woke up as the other boy was yelling for help from a man in a Jeep. He took me to my house where my parents loaded me into their car and whisked me to the hospital.

During fourteen hours of surgery, a plastic surgeon rebuilt my face making reference to a school photo of me that my dad carried in his wallet.

When my pastor came to visit me, he fainted. They would not allow me to look in mirror for many weeks. Obviously, I made a very bad choice.

God often uses our choices to teach us to trust Him and to promote our obedience to His will and His Word.

Joshua outlined an important choice, for the people of Israel, as recorded in Joshua 24:14-15:

Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.

But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua made the wisest choice he would ever make. He decided to serve God. As a result, God used Joshua in an amazingly powerful way.

Perhaps we should learn from Joshua. Perhaps one choice we should make is to serve God. Maybe we will have get rid of some things in our lives once we’ve made that choice.

Making such a choice worked out very well for Joshua. And, I believe that making such a choice will work out well for you and for me.


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


Friday, October 24, 2014

Are We Settling?


[Graphic of a quotation]

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me.”
—Matthew 16:24b

Growing up in the early 1950s, roadside signs conveyed messages that today we might see on bumper stickers. Most people in those days would not imagine defacing their cars by pasting something on the shiny chrome bumper.

One sign that was very popular in my neck of the woods read: “Let Go and Let God.” That sentiment, in five tiny words, expresses a key concept that leads to an ever-maturing Christian life.

We cannot live the “Christ-life” strictly through our own efforts. In fact, our efforts alone will squash any hope of achieving all that God wants us to be, as His dearly loved children.

It’s almost as if an attitude of complete self-reliance will eventually squander the high price Christ paid for our salvation when He shed His precious blood on the cross.

Notice what Jesus says to His disciples, as recorded in Matthew 16:24-26:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

Yes, “Let Go and Let God” offers a succinct guideline to a spiritually healthy life. Let’s begin this new day by consciously and purposefully surrendering our wills to God’s perfect will for us. If we do, God will lovingly lead us along the pathway that He has laid out before us.

We will discover a new joy. This new joy comes from allowing God to use us for His purpose and for His glory.


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


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Come To Me


[Graphic of a sign]

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.”
—Isaiah 12:2a

Even though we like to believe we can thoughtfully and carefully plan out our lives, the truth is we cannot see beyond this very moment in time. We simply do not know what our future truly holds.

The only certainty in our lives is the reality of God’s promises. What God has declared in His Word will truly come to pass.

No matter what you may be experiencing in your life at this moment, God has a plan for you. He has a pathway for you to follow. All you need to do is trust Him.

The Prophet Isaiah declares to his people this very truth when he writes in Isaiah 12:1-6:

In that day you will say: “I will praise you, Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 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.

“Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

God longs for us to trust His mercy, grace, and love. As we begin this day, no matter what our circumstances might be, let’s consciously decide to trust Him to love and care for us.


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


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reproducing Character


[Photo of a tree with words superimposed]

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”
—Matthew 28:19a

The Great Commission goes well beyond simply carrying the “Good News” of the great outpouring of God’s love through the death and resurrection of His Son. It’s not enough to share what God has done. The Great Commission commands us to make disciples.

Notice what Jesus says, as recorded in Matthew 28:16-20:

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In this encounter, Jesus commands more than the simple telling of our story—the way the power of God has intersected with our lives. He commands the making of disciples.

Telling our story is truly an important part of the process. But, telling our story may take but a moment compared to the amount of time and effort it takes to make disciples.

Telling our story may certainly represent a personal act of obedience on our part. Making disciples takes the corporate effort of the Church—the Body of Christ—to apply all its missional engagement in order to guide new believers along the pathway that leads to true discipleship.

I urge each one of us to reconsider the implications of this Great Commission from our Savior. Let’s determine to tell our story of how God’s grace has overtaken us. And, let’s determine to be Christ’s ambassadors in making a disciple of each one who hears our story and opens his or her heart to God’s life-transforming power.


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


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Earth Is Filled With Awe


[Photo of hills and sky]

“Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.”
—Psalm 65:1

A family in my church has recently completed a three-week trip across the United States. They undertook this journey for the benefit of their two teenage sons.

Having traveled extensively during my working days, I greatly enjoyed hearing what these two boys have to say about their journey.

King David never traveled very far, relatively speaking, but his days as a shepherd boy implanted deep within him an awesome awareness of the land where he lived.

Listen to David’s testimony recorded in Psalm 65:1-13:

Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.

When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.

You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.

The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.

I don’t know how reading that Psalm may make you feel. It makes me want to shout from the housetop: “How great our God is!”


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


Monday, October 20, 2014

Doing Something New


[Photo of a brick wall with words superimposed]

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”
—Revelation 21:5a

I’m always amazed by people who constantly seek out new adventures, new places to visit, new recipes, new challenges, new friends, new skills, new… Well, you get the idea.

One of the characteristics of people who have been pre-wired by God to have a dominant Concrete-Random Mind Style™ is that they constantly thirst for the “new” in their lives. New projects, new ideas, new venues, all define the life of a dominant C-R.

The downside for such individuals is that they are good at starting, but poor at finishing.

For example, one church leader started each new church year with an exciting new book he had read over the summer. He bought copies for all his board members. He planned to study the book with them throughout the year.

But, in his six years at the church, he never finished his study with the board of any of the books. Before the board could finish the first book, the leader had moved on to another new and exciting book.

Just as before, the pastor bought copies for the board members and the whole process started over again. The board members never received the kind of benefit they could have received if the pastor had only stuck to a book and studied all the way to its conclusion.

In business, in churches, and in life we need the Concrete-Randoms. They are the ones who fairly burst with new ideas. They are the ones who embody an entrepreneurial spirit. But, they need the other three dominant Mind Styles™ to implement their ideas and to bring projects to fulfillment.

One of the amazing qualities of our Lord Jesus Christ is that He posses all four Mind Styles™ in perfectly equal measure. Thus, He not only brings newness to our existence, giving us a whole new life, He perfectly implements that new life through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle John learned this first hand when he recorded these words of our Lord in Revelation 21:5:

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

If we will seek newness in our lives this day, through the Presence of the living Lord Jesus Christ within us, we will surely experience the reality that He is making all things new.


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


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Good Old Days


[Photo of a field with words superimposed]

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
—Philippians 3:14

“Ah! The good old days! Things aren’t the same any more, laddie. When I was a boy, why we knew what hard work was. No one gave us a handout. We earned our keep, or we went hungry.”

Mr. MacPherson was a most interesting man. He supervised the late night cleaning crew at the insurance company where I worked for 30 years.

On occasion, when I was working on a difficult problem and felt I needed extreme quiet in order to concentrate, I would return to the office in the wee hours of the morning. It was on one of these occasions when Mr. Mac, as he liked to be called, laid out his philosophy of life.

“God gave me a new beginning, don’t ya know,” he told me. “I had got me self into a fair bind, I did. But God took pity on me and sent a wee lass from God’s Army. She showed me great kindness, that she did.

“I started to go to meetings and God fair squeezed His love into my heart. The Lord Jesus became me Savior. Yes, He did.”

As I listened to Mr. Mac’s brief telling of his conversion at that long-ago Salvation Army meeting, a “light” went on inside my head. Here was a man giving witness to the life-transforming power of God’s love. And, all he did to present a powerful witness was to simply tell me his story.

Sometimes we get mired in the past. We wish we could return to former times when things seemed so much better. We long for the good old days.

Mr. Mac did not let the past hold him in its sway. But, he did celebrate the past for what it really represented in his life: a new beginning.

The Apostle Paul wrote his perspective on the past in his letter to the Christians in the church at Philippi, as recorded in Philippians 3:13b-14:

…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

We can give the past a proper perspective. We can celebrate what God has done in our past without becoming anchored to the past.

We can tell our story and share with others what God has done in our lives. That’s a proper and positive and helpful use of our past.


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


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Power of Hope


[Photo of woman looking at the ocean with words superimposed]

“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
—Romans 5:2b

Hopefulness represents a quality that supports our faith while we live in the muck and mire of a troubled world. All around us, the setting in which we live our daily lives seems destined for anguish and destruction.

In our lifetimes, has politics ever seemed more rancorous? Have the poor seemed more neglected by God’s people in spite of massive programs of social welfare designed to keep poor people dependent on government handouts? Have relationships between people of different races and ethnic origins ever seemed more strained, even hostile? Have incomes seemed more flat?

In the world of religion, have churches ever seemed less effective? Has the focus of the church ever seemed more on entertainment and less on making mature disciples? Has the principles of successful business ever seemed to have more greatly invaded the decision-making of ministry?

This is a time in the history of our nation where a hopelessness has become pervasive.

And yet, for those of us who hold fast to the life-changing power of the Gospel, hope does indeed leap forth. The Apostle Paul captured this anchoring reality when he wrote the words recorded in Romans 5:1-5:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

We must remember that Paul was writing to believers whom he had not yet met face to face. He had heard of their faith. He longed to see them and fellowship with them. But for now, this letter would have to suffice. For this reason, Paul’s letter to the church at Rome stands as a masterpiece of systematic theology.

Do we feel hopeless in our present circumstances? Then we must turn to Jesus. We must allow the Holy Spirit to breathe hope into our beings this very day.

If we surrender—and fall back into His mercy, grace, and love—hope will, indeed, rise within us.


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


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why You Should Speak the Truth


[Graphic of a sign]

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…”
—1 Corinthians 13:6

Searching for an honest person? That’s what Diogenes of Sinope did. You may remember him from your high school history class. Among many counter-cultural things he did, he lit a lantern in daylight and walked through the marketplace. When asked what he was doing, he explained that he was looking for an honest man.

Honesty seems hard to find in our current American society. Whether it’s government, commerce, or just ordinary relationships, lies abound.

It has become culturally accepted, even expected, to tell lies.

The computer hard drives of seven key witnesses in the government IRS scandal mysteriously crashed and lost emails from the exact period that was the center point of the investigation.

The company that makes the new miracle drug or medical implant ends up as the defendant in a billion dollar lawsuit because of falsified test results.

Marriages or friendships dissolve because the two parties lie to each other instead of calmly talking through their difficulties.

Certain sales people lie so much they become a caricature—like car salesmen, for example.

Scripture talks much about the absolute value that God places on the truth. One of the reasons that Christianity is so hated by our culture is that it continually calls for truthfulness.

The Apostle Paul wrote about truth with these words recorded in 1 Corinthians 13:6-7:

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

So, love and truth are tightly linked together. Lies are simply not a part of love.

As we begin a new day, we need to examine our own lives and make certain we tell the truth in every situation. Yes, we should always wrap the truth in love. But, we should always—always—tell the truth


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


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Is The Source Of Your Happiness?


[Graphic of a sign]

“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God…”
—Psalm 68:3a

In order to experience genuine gratitude for what God has done on our behalf, we must first recognize how much we need His mercy, grace, and love.

Colonel W. Ian Thomas wrote in his book, The Saving Life of Christ, that once we understood what God has done for us through the death and resurrection of His Son, our sense of unrighteousness will usually become more intense. Thomas says that the concept of how sinful we are rises above the “height of our goodness.”

Thus, when we acknowledge God’s gift to us of a transformed life, we become all the more aware of how very much our lives needed transforming. This leads to two very different, yet two very important reactions.

On the one hand, we may, and should, feel horror at how truly sinful we are. Starting with the sin nature that we inherited from Adam through our parents and continuing with a long list of sins that we ourselves have committed, we have amassed quite a catalog of sins.

On the other hand, having recognized with a clearer spiritual vision how horribly sinful we are, we should feel enormous relief and overwhelming gratitude that God has paid the penalty for our sins by the shedding of Jesus’ precious blood. Moreover, we should rejoice at realizing that Christ’s resurrection has vouchsafed our place in heaven.

Eventually, our gratitude should soar above our horror. We should sing praises for this great outpouring of God’s love that has flooded into our lives.

The Psalmist has captured how we should feel in Psalm 68:3:

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.

At the close of each day, as we take time to review what has happened and look to see God’s Hand on our lives in many small and large ways, let us feel extreme gratitude and rejoice!


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


Monday, October 13, 2014

Everything Happens For A Reason


[Graphic of a sign]

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

One of the most meaningful honors someone in fire protection engineering can receive is to be elected a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

The honoree must be nominated by a group of his or her peers. Each nominator must provide many pages of testimony that document the accomplishments the nominee has made to the field of fire protection engineering.

Then an SFPE committee must review all of the documentation to determine if the work done by the nominee rises to the level of excellence of this signal honor. If the committee agrees with the nomination, the nominee is inducted as a Fellow at the next annual meeting of the Society.

When I was writing my own acceptance speech for this honor several years ago, I carefully considered all the events that had occurred in my life and in my professional career that gave me the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of fire protection engineering.

I quickly realized that, without exception, every single opportunity had come to me as a very specific gift from God. It was He who laid out the pathway of my life. He put key people along that path so they could mentor me. He arranged events through unusual linkage and timing that would give me insight and knowledge.

In my acceptance speech I told the story of the first time I was called to ride in the “shotgun” seat of an Engine—the seat normally occupied by the company officer—on the way to a fire. We were short-handed that day with several fire fighters and officers attending a training class. When the bell hit for a working house fire, the Chief ordered me to ride shotgun on Engine 29.

“What do I do?” I asked the driver.

“See that switch on the floor next to your foot? That runs the siren. When we approach an intersection, stomp on that switch.”

We rolled out of the fire house. I put my foot on the siren switch. The motor on that old Federal Q10 siren started to wind up. The siren howled and we were off on our way to the fire.

I was so caught up in the adrenaline rush that I never took my foot off the siren switch. Later, as the fire was out and we were performing overhaul operations, the Chief approached me.

“Good job, Wilson,” he said with a smile. “Next time, let your foot off the siren switch once in a while.”

As I concluded my acceptance speech, I told the audience gathered to honor me:

“I’m very grateful that many years ago I made the wise choice of allowing God to drive the Engine of my life. And, I'm grateful to Him that He’s let me ride shotgun and operate the siren.

“Every place I’ve gone and all I may appear to have accomplished is because He’s been in the driver’s seat. All I did was jam that siren switch to the floor and not let it up.”

From my current vantage point almost ten years later, I feel like I identify with what the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 138:1-3:

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame. When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.

God delights in “driving” to the places He wants us to go. He sincerely hopes that we are grateful for His direction.


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


Friday, October 10, 2014

Learning From Our Mistakes


[Graphic of a sign]

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and
pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
—James 5:16a

Confession is difficult for most people. Admitting that we’re wrong or that we’ve made a mistake is hard.

But failing to confess does serious damage to a person’s heart and mind. If we fail to acknowledge the sins we have committed, over time our hearts become hardened and our minds become numb to wrong doing.

It takes determination, humility, self-awareness, and an openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit to become a person who readily confesses sins.

The Apostle James writes about the value of confession in James 5:16:

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Let this new day begin by wiping the slate of our hearts and minds clean from the sins we’ve committed. Let us turn to God and confess our sins to Him. And, let us ask those we may have sinned against to forgive us, even as with move from confession to repentance to restitution, and finally, to restoration.

We’ll be much better off if we do so.


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


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Finding Healing


[Photo of a forest with words superimposed]

“I have seen their ways, but I will heal them…”
—Isaiah 57:18a

Sometimes events happen in our lives that deeply hurt us. This hurt could come purposely at the hand of someone who wants to harm us. Or, the hurt could come from circumstances.

Whatever the source of such hurt, we need healing. Without a way to bind up our wounds, we can become hurtful towards other people.

The Prophet Isaiah records these words from God in Isaiah 57:18-19:

“I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners, creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”

We who believe in the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ have been grafted into the vine of Israel. So, these words from God are for us as well.

We need God’s healing in our own lives, so that we can speak words of healing to others. By so doing, we show forth God’s love and bring the miracle of His mercy and grace to others.

Let us this day joyfully receive God’s healing and, in turn, speak healing words to others who cross the pathway of our lives.


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


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

“Because Always He Bes My Friend!”


[Photo of two little kids on a motorcycle with words superimposed]

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one…”
—Romans 8:34a

An exasperated teacher pulls two little boys aside in class and asks, “Why do you two boys always insist on sitting next to each other?”

Tommy speaks for both of them when he sheepishly replies, “Because sometimes Eddie bes my friend!”

I have always cherished the word “friend.” Perhaps I have cherished it inordinately. I have said in the past, “I have many acquaintances, but only a few real friends.”

That probably seems strange to some and downright offensive to others. I do admit to being more than a little “strange.” But, I most certainly do not intend to offend anyone with my honest appraisal of myself. For that is what my foregoing statement about friendship truly is—an appraisal of myself.

When I first went to elementary school in 1952, I was not as “socialized” as the other children. Adults normally didn’t use such a word back in the 1950s, but these words accurately described me—“poorly socialized.”

I remain “poorly socialized” to this day. I’m absolutely no good at small talk, so I don’t attend parties or similar social gatherings. I have interests that are very different from the interests of most people, so I am extremely awkward around strangers.

“So what?” you may ask.

Well, I’m just trying to explain why I have come, over the course of my life, to cherish the word “friend.” The very concept of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media flies in the face of my definition.

For example, Facebook encourages people to invite near strangers into their lives and call them “friends.” Why I have noticed one ordinary person who has over 1,000 Facebook friends. Imagine that—1,000 people posting and commenting and instant messaging and… Well, it boggles my mind.

If you’re reading this, and you happen to be one of my very own “Facebook friends,” please know that I value you, or I would not have “accepted” your Facebook “friend request.” Truthfully, though, if you think about it carefully, for the most part we are really more “acquaintances” than “friends,” aren’t we?

Please don’t get me wrong. I like the people who are my Facebook friends quite well. In fact, I’m rather amazed that any person would like me enough to want to be my Facebook friend. But, let'’s be honest, with very few exceptions, how well do we really know each other?

Do you know my favorite color? What kind of music I like? What color hair I find attractive? How I feel when I look in a mirror (shudder)? My favorite breakfast food? What career I wish I had pursued?

No, of course you don’t know these things about me—along with an even greater list of really important things. And, I don’t know them about most of you either.

Nevertheless, the more we spend time together, even on the somewhat sterile medium of Facebook, we do get to know a little more about each other, don’t we?

For example, I know that one of you is really enthralled with the Outer Banks. I know a couple of you are trying to lose weight. I know some of you are ardent conservatives and others of you think that President Obama is, well, brilliant beyond description.

I know quite a few of you really like cats. Others of you are dog lovers. Some of you absolutely adore soccer, especially during the World Cup matches. Others of you follow football, or baseball, or basketball, or hockey—you know, “normal” American sports.

Okay… what’s my point? If you’re still reading, I must have enticed you in some way to consider what it means to think a bit about the word “friend.” Maybe as you’ve read my self analysis you’ve thought to yourself: “I wonder, how many real friends do I have?”

I know one friend that many of you have. It’s the same friend that the Patriarch Job spoke about when he spoke these words recorded in Job 16:19-21:

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.

Who is this friend who sits at the right hand of God making intercession for Job—and for all who belong to Him? The Apostle Paul writes about this friend in Romans 8:34:

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

So, Jesus—the Lord Jesus Christ—is our friend and He sits at God’s right hand and makes intercession for us. He whispers in God the Father’s ear and tells God that we, you and me, belong to Him and that He has paid the penalty for our sins.

In my self-centered, possibly even twisted, outlook on life—where I draw such a foolish distinction between the words “acquaintance” and “friend”—I am very glad to have this friend: Jesus. I don’t deserve Him as my friend. But for reasons beyond my comprehension, I have come to believe that He is my friend. And, I'’m quite certain that for many of you, He’s your friend, too.

That’s reason enough to celebrate. And, by the way, reason enough for me to begin to look at everyone through eyes of God-breathed love.

The gospel hymn writer, Johnson Oatman, penned these words:

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain: Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! No, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain: Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,
No, not one! No, not one!
No night so dark but His love can cheer us,
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain: Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!

Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him?
No, not one! No, not one!
Or sinner find that He would not take him?
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain: Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!

Was e’er a gift like the Savior given?
No, not one! No, not one!
Will He refuse us a home in heaven?
No, not one! No, not one!

Refrain: Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!


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


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Resting In God


[Graphic of a sign]

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.”
—Psalm 62:1

On many Sunday afternoons when I was growing up, I would look over at my dear grandmother and find her sitting with her eyes closed.

“Are you sleeping, Grandma?” I would ask her.

“No dear,” she would answer with a sweet smile. “I’m just resting my eyes. I just need a little rest.”

A little rest. Sometimes I think all of us just need a little rest.

A little rest from the hassles of our daily lives. A little rest from financial problems. A little rest from family or relationship problems. A little rest from trying to find a job. A little rest from health problems. A little rest from disagreements at church. A little rest from stridently divisive politics. A little rest from not enough hours in the day to accomplish our appointed tasks.

We all just need a little rest.

Perhaps we should take a cue from the Psalmist who declares in Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8:

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.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Do we need a little rest? Yes, we do! So, let’s turn to the God who loves us with his unfathomable love. He waits lovingly to give us our needed rest.


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


Monday, October 6, 2014

There Is No Fear In Love…


[Photo of a sunset with words superimposed]

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.”
—1 John 4:16

The recent Supreme Court decision favoring the religious right of closely held, family corporations to opt out of providing the four of twenty birth control methods that abort a fetus has caused an outcry. In their fear, many scream, “Where is love? Why don’t these Christians love women enough to pay for all forms of birth control, even those four that abort a newly formed fetus? There’s a war on women!”

Discussions regarding the philosophical underpinnings of this controversy will need to wait for another day—at least on this blog. But the outcry does show how divisive fear can become.

The outcry also illustrates how the word “love” can become misused by those who do not take into account the whole counsel of God. God’s love is an extremely important quality. But is not God’s only quality. His love does not trump His justice, or His mercy, or His grace, or His jealousy.

Yes, God tells us in Exodus 20 that He is a jealous God, not willing to share our worship with other gods. This includes the god of fear.

So many evil things take place in our lives that are promoted by fear. We must determine to not bow down and worship at the feet of fear.

Take note how love and fear are connected, as found in 1 John 4:16-19:

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

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

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

In the most loving way possible, I urge you to flee whenever fear calls your name. Don’t worship at the feet of fear.

Let God’s love draw you irresistibly into His mercy and grace, never forgetting that He is a jealous God who wants you to worship Him and Him alone.


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


Friday, October 3, 2014

Miracles at Sunset


[Photo of a sunset at Willow Bay]

“At sunset, the people brought to Jesus
all who had various kinds of sickness,
and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. ”
—Luke 4:40

We tend to think of sunset as the time when we wind down, put away our work, and start to prepare for a night of rest.

Here along the shore of Lake Erie, the summertime sun lingers to nine o’clock or later. Farmers appreciate the long workdays, as they plant and harvest crops several times during the summer—gathering food to feed their dairy cows.

Dr. Luke tells a story about Jesus at sunset that is striking because it is obvious that our Lord was far from ending His work as the sun begins to sink below the horizon.

Please take note of these words recorded in Luke 4:40-41:

At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.

Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!”

But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

I wonder, if someone comes to us for help at the end of the day, are we as ready to extend God’s love and healing as Jesus was?

It’s certainly worth thinking about.


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


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Your Mind Guides Your Life


[Graphic of a sign]

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
—Colossians 3:2a

Many places in Scripture the writers remind us that the way we think, the things we think about, the way we focus our minds all have a profound effect on our lives. If we think negative thoughts, negative actions follows. If we think positive thoughts, positive actions follow.

Then there is always the smart alec who says, “I was positive I would fail!” And, just as he said, so he did—he failed miserably.

Taking just one familiar passage from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians gathered in Colosse, as recorded in Colossians 3:1-3, we read the following good advice:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Thus, we need to focus our minds on positive, heavenly things. Not so that we can escape from the daily grind here on earth. But, rather, so that we can bring heaven home with us to dwell with us and become the reality in which we live our daily lives.


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


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Well-lighted Pathway


[Graphic of a sign]

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
—Psalm 119:105

In the "“darkness” of this sin-filled world, we who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ need a strong lamp to illuminate our pathway.

God has graciously provided such a lamp through His written Word, the Bible. That is why we should spend time each day reading our Bibles.

Please carefully read these words that follow and notice the recognition the Psalmist gives to God’s Word as a powerful force in his life. The Psalmist recorded them in Psalm 119:105-112:

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.

Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.

The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.

Please join me this day in setting aside some quiet time to read the Bible and consider the message God has placed there for you and me this day. Surely God’s Word will brightly illuminate our path.


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