Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Always Doing Good


[Photo of lion with words superimposed]

“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha
in Greek her name is Dorcas; she was
always doing good and helping the poor.”
—Acts 9:36

There is no end to amazing and heart-gripping stories in God’s Word, the Bible. Please take note of this one from Acts 9:36-42:

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha in Greek her name is Dorcas; she was always doing good and helping the poor.

About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.”

She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.

This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.

This is certainly a noteworthy event. Raising someone from the dead is hardly an everyday occurrence. But that’s not the part of the story to which I wish to draw your attention.

Note how Dorcas is described: “she was always doing good and helping the poor.” What an absolutely marvelous description.

Imagine being known as someone who is so devoted to doing God’s work in the world that your very name becomes synonymous with a particular mission.

Most of you are far too young to have ever heard of this, but in the early part of the twentieth century, all across the evangelical churches in the United States and Great Britain, countless women’s Sunday School classes were known by the name “Dorcas.” In fact, my dear, sweet grandmother led the Dorcas Class in her church for over 60 years—right up to the time of her death at the age of 92.

These Dorcas Classes not only studied the Bible, they undertook specific outreach ministries to the poor.

This was at a time when no one was talking about churches becoming “missional.” These women simply lived the “Christ-life” in a humble and caring manner. They were “missional” in the most natural and unassuming way.

I am truly inspired by both this story from the Book of Acts and by the actions of countless women who gathered in Dorcas Classes and gave of themselves to serve the poor in Jesus Name.


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


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Living in the Negative


[Photo of a river bank with words superimposed]

“You are my portion, Lord…”
—Psalm 119:57a

Do you know someone who lives in the negative? This is someone who most always says “No!” and seldom says “Yes!”? Such a person rarely agrees, usually very quickly finds an excuse, and most often resists positive suggestions.

As believers in the life-transforming power of God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we must learn to say “Yes!” to His will and His Word.

The Psalmist clearly understood this when he wrote these words in Psalm 119:57-60:

You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.

I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.

This new day, let us be very quick to say “Yes!” to what God instructs us to do in His Word, making obedience to Him the habitual pattern of our lives.


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


Monday, December 29, 2014

Anticipating Bad News


[Photo of a country lane with words superimposed]

“Blessed are those who fear the Lord”
—Psalm 112:1b

I am an anticipator of bad news. I have stopped watching medical dramas because I find they feed my hypochondriacal tendencies. Every ache, every pain—and there are many in my rapidly advancing old age—spells my doom, at least in my mind.

Therefore, I am especially grateful for these words from Psalm 112:1-10:

Praise the Lord.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor.

The wicked will see and be vexed, they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

I find this Psalm reason enough to love and respect the God who first loved me. How about you?


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


Friday, December 26, 2014

When We’re in Captivity


[Graphic of a sign]

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.”
—Jeremiah 29:5

Do you sometimes feel like you’ve been carried off into captivity by our current secular, anti-Christian culture? Are you looking for some guidance as to how to live?

Maybe you’ve lost your job through no fault of your own and have not yet found a new one. Perhaps the circumstances of your life have changed dramatically because of something beyond your control and you even feel God has stopped listening to your prayers.

Let me suggest that you carefully read the following wise counsel that God gave to the people of Israel after the Babylonians carried them off into captivity, as recorded in Jeremiah 29:4-14:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters.

“Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you.

“Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.

“I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Sometimes God wants to shape and mold us in a way that will make us more useful for His service. If we follow the pathway He has laid out for us and submit to the changes He brings into our lives, He will extend great love and caring to us.

Let’s begin this day with thankful hearts for His unfailing love, even during those times when we’re in captivity.


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


Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Real “Good News”


[Graphic of a sign]

“In his great mercy he has given us new birth…”
—1 Peter 1:3b

Little of the news available to us 24/7 can be classified as “good news.” The news organizations mostly report on wars, economic strife, prejudicial treatment, and snarky rhetoric.

However, there is genuine “good news” that transcends the vagaries of our human condition. That very special “good news” was summarized by the Apostle Peter when he wrote these words in 1 Peter 1:3-6:

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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

So, here is “good news” on this Christmas Day in which we can truly rejoice. Perhaps we should focus more on this “good news” and less on the news from other sources.


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


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Let the Little Childrem Come…


[Photo of a young woman praying with words superimposed]

“Let the little children come to me…”
—Matthew 19:14a

When I was five years old in Sunday School we learned this little song:

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

A simple song, some might even say a silly song, but very true, nonetheless.

Dealing with children crossing our southern border is actually a very complicated political and social issue. But as followers of Jesus, our response to the individual children is very simple: we must follow in footsteps of our Savior.

The “road map” for dealing with children is described in Matthew 19:13-14:

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Let us this day look at all children with the same eyes of love as our Savior. Then, let us treat them the same way He would.


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


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No Favorites


[Photo of a street scene with words superimposed]

“But if you show favoritism, you sin…”
—James 2:9

It is truly hard not to have “favorites.” Almost everyone has personal preferences that predispose him or her to treat some people one way and others another way.

Maybe we are influenced by the way someone dresses, or smells, or talks, or acts, or a host of other factors. But, such behavior on our part is not in accord with Scripture.

Here’s what the Apostle James, the head of the church in Jerusalem and the half-brother of our Lord, wrote about this subject in James 2:1-10:

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.

Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor.

Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words to his "son in the faith," Timothy, regarding this subject in 1 Timothy 5:21:

I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

We do well if we determine to purposefully treat every person the same: with kindness, compassion, and always extending the love of Jesus.


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


Monday, December 22, 2014

Who is Jesus?


[Photo of a hewn cross with words superimposed]

“Who do you say I am?…”
—Matthew 16:15b

The most important question any human being can ever be asked is “Who is Jesus?”

Our present culture increasingly labels Jesus an irrelevant historical figure. Some would say He was a wise man with helpful teachings.

Others would say He was a charlatan who led millions of people into a fantasy world of religious foolishness.

Still others don’t even consciously think about such a question, let alone make time to formulate an answer.

The original question forms the most critical turning point in all of Scripture. It is the lynchpin around which the story of God’s merciful, gracious, loving relationship with humankind revolves.

Matthew captures this critical moment in Matthew 16:13-16:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Let us carefully consider on this new day how we will answer when people around ask us who Jesus is. Will we acknowledge with joy that He is the Son of God, our Savior, the Lord of our lives?

As the hymn writer, Jennie E. Hussey, has written:

King of my life, I crown Thee now,
Thine shall my glory be.
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary.

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.


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


Friday, December 19, 2014

It’s All in the Finishing


[Photo of a stone-lined path with words superimposed]

“I have brought you glory on earth by
finishing the work you gave me to do…”
—John 17:4a

My father, who as a young man quit high school and apprenticed as a carpenter, used to tell me stories of watching the most expert carpentry he ever observed. This was the work of a cabinetmaker.

My father described the excellence of the joinery. He told about the cabinetmaker’s care in selecting the wood, making certain the grain of the companion pieces matched, and finally carefully sanding and applying several coats of finish with feather-like sanding in between applying the coats.

“It’s all in the finishing,” my dad explained. Yes, it is all in the finishing: in cabinetmaking and in life.

Our Savior made this very point at the very beginning of His High Priestly Prayer recorded in John 17:1-5:

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

Jesus has finished His work of salvation. So, let us continue to run the race set before us and determine to finish well.

Remember, it’s all in the finishing.


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


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keep Me…


[Graphic of a sign]

“Keep me from deceitful ways…”
—Psalm 119:29a

Maintaining our spiritual equilibrium in the face of the many opportunities to yield to temptation may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately God has given those who believe in Him the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and uphold them.

God listens to our cries for help. He rushes to our aid because He loves us with His everlasting love. He extends His mercy and grace to us in the fullest possible measure.

We are not alone in our quest to stay on the path of obedience. The Psalmist gives voice to the same needs we have in Psalm 119:29-30:

Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law. I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.

With great joy, let’s great this new day with hearts and minds focused on obedience to God’s will and to His Word.

When we’re tempted, let’s look to the Holy Spirit to help us in our determination to turn aside from temptation.


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


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stand in the Light


[Photo of a new shoot with words superimposed]

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
—1 John 1:5b

If you’ve ever worked on a stage, or in a TV studio, or at a portrait photographer’s studio, you will understand how important light is. It’s not enough to hang around the periphery of the lighted space. To gain the most benefit, a person must stand in the center of the light.

This fact remains true in the spiritual realm, too. To get the maximum benefit of the Light of God’s Presence, we must stay in the center of that Light.

The Apostle John schooled the Christians under his care when he wrote to them what’s recorded 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.

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

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.

As we prepare to go out into the world throughout the coming week, let’s purpose to stay in the very center of God’s Light. If we do, we will see much clearer the pathway He has laid out before us.


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


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It’s Mine!


[Photo of a scroll with a written note]

“Every good and perfect gift is from above…”
—James 1:17a

“What’s mine is mine and what’s mine I’ll keep!”

The cartoon character spat out those words with a snarl. All the children laughed because they knew the villain would get his comeuppance before the cartoon would come to an end.

Sometimes we act like that villain. We begin to think that the things we’ve acquired actually belong to us and we deserve to keep those things all to ourselves.

As Christ-ones, all that we are and all that we have has come to us as a precious gift from God. We do not own what we have. Rather, we are stewards in whom our Master has placed a trust to receive and wisely use what He has given us for His purposes.

The Apostle James made this quite clear when he wrote these words in James 1:16-18:

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

You and I, dear ones, are the firstfruits of a great harvest. Because of this, God showers us with many gifts of inestimable value, including His mercy, grace, and unconditional love.

Let us pledge to be faithful stewards of all He has given us. May we use His gifts to us to bring Him honor and glory.


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


Monday, December 15, 2014



[Graphic of a sign]

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation…”
—Matthew 26:41a

Some days it seems like temptation comes in such waves that we almost get knocked over. When that happens, prayer can serve as our flotation device and enable us to ride out the surf.

How do I know this? Because Jesus gave this instruction to His disciples in Matthew 26:41:

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Sounds to me like this is good advice to follow.


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


Friday, December 12, 2014

We Belong to Him


[Photo of a park with words superimposed]

“I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.”
—Isaiah 41:9

This time of year many people receive very special invitations. Perhaps a family member or friend has announced an impending marriage. You’ve been summoned to come from wherever you are and gather to celebrate this momentous event.

Or maybe your high school or college graduating class is holding a reunion. You’ve been strongly encouraged to travel "home" so you may become reacquainted with the people you spent significant time with in your younger years.

In each case, you’re being gathered for fellowship and it promises to be a happy and joyful time.

God also summons us. He sends the Holy Spirit to whisper words of mercy, grace, and love into the very depths of our hearts. God gathers us to Himself. He declares that we belong to Him. It is a time of great celebration in our lives when we recognize that He has chosen us and summoned us to Himself.

God declares the depth of His gathering love for us through the voice of the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 41:9-10:

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.

I said, “You are my servant”; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Let us take heart at the beginning of this new day that we belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let's bask in the glory of His choosing. Let's allow sincere gratitude to well up in our hearts and minds.

And, let’s praise God that before the foundation of the earth He chose us to belong to Himself.


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


Thursday, December 11, 2014

For Whom Do You Work?


[Photo of a watch with words superimposed]

“Whatever you do, work at it with all
your heart, as working for the Lord…”
—Colossians 3:23a

For most of us, another work week has come to a close—unless, of course, you happen to be a woman, for then your work is never done.

Did your work this week please you? Did your work this week please your boss? Did your work this week please God?

“Whaaaat?” you say. “What does God have to do with my work?”

The Apostle Paul answers your question in Colossians 3:23-24:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

No matter what work you accomplish, as a “Christ-one” you are working for God. Your work should honor Him.

Likewise, we should use this weekend to genuinely rest, recharge, and restore in preparation for the week ahead.

The writer to the Hebrews affirms this in Hebrews 4:9-11:

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

Make the most of your work, dear ones. You are working for God. Also, make the most of your rest. Your rest is an act of obedience.


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


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

True and Faithful Friends


[Photo of a hazy sunlit mountain valley with words superimposed]

“The righteous choose their friends carefully…”
—Proverbs 12:26a

“Who are your true and faithful friends?”

In this increasingly self-centered society, deep, trustworthy, consistent, faithful friends are much harder to come by than we might suppose they are.

Do you have someone in your life whom you can trust to always have your best interests at heart? Someone who places your interests above their own? Someone with whom you can share your most intimate secrets, your doubts, your fears? Someone who will celebrate your joys and weep over your sorrows?

If you do have such a person, you are uniquely blessed. Such a one is a precious gift from God.

King Solomon recognized the great value of such a faithful and devoted friend when he wrote these words in Proverbs 12:26:

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

We need to choose our friends very carefully—the ones we trust with our minds and hearts. When God brings someone into our lives with like precious faith, someone we can trust, someone who loves us with a God-breathed (agape) love, we need to receive such a one as the gift he or she truly is.

This new day let us cling tightly to those who are our true and faithful friends. Let us recognize with joy that such friends are a precious gift from God and be thankful.


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


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On the Right Track?


[Photo of moonlit railroad tracks]

“And when you look up to the sky…do not
be enticed into bowing down…and
worshiping things the Lord your God has
apportioned to all the nations under heaven.”
—Deuteronomy 4:19

“If you follow a track laid down by someone else, make certain it actually leads to the place you really want to go.”

That caption goes well with the photo accompanying this post. Yet, as we move forward along the track laid out in front of us, it appears we can become all-too-easily sidetracked.

In the last forty years, more and more emphasis seems to have been placed on various concerns related to the survival of nature and our planet. While I believe we followers of Christ must act as good stewards of all God has created, there is a danger of focusing too much concern and attention on nature to the exclusion of an equal or greater concern for humankind.

For example, it seems incongruent to me to focus attention on intentionally preserving the lives of animals, but to not blink an eye when a human baby is destroyed by means of an abortion. If you want to pursue some cause, why not pursue one that honors and preserves human life?

Likewise, it is pretty well known through my Facebook posts that I do not believe whatsoever in anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. Instead, I believe that God alone determines our planet’s climate. In my view, humans and the things they may do have no significant impact on climate.

"But what about the scientists?" you may ask.

The truth is that the scientific community is much more divided on anthropogenic climate change than the popular press would lead us to believe. But, even if 100% of scientists truly believed in human-caused climate change, it wouldn’t particularly matter to me. You see, I know that the universe God spoke into existence is far too complex for puny, arrogant humans to ever fully comprehend.

I remember reading how the majority of scientists once believed with certainty the sun revolved around the earth. It was more politically expedient to hold to such a belief.

But that was not how God actually designed the universe. Eventually, a few brave souls took exception to the commonly held beliefs. As science matured, the brave stand of a few was proven true. Earth was in subjection to God’s created universe, not the other way around.

I believe it is politically and economically expedient to insist the actions of man can adversely affect climate. I further believe that a maturing science will ultimately reject this rather arrogant assertion, as it has, in fact, already begun to do so.

These issues all expose a growing trend in our society to worship the creation rather than the Creator. God warned His chosen people about the foolishness and danger of falling under the spell of the creation worshippers in Deuteronomy 4:19:

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

In other words: "Do not worship the creation." That’s the watchword contained in this passage. Instead, worship the Creator, the One True God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That sounds like a really good idea to me.

Now, if you would prefer to believe in human-caused climate change, or the equality of animals with humans, or a host of other creation-worshipping ideas, I will do my best to respect your right to do so.

But, I, personally, will continue to choose to worship the Creator. Since I expect to spend eternity with Him, at least for me, it’s the wisest choice.

So, I urge all of us to choose wisely the track we will follow. It matters quite a lot if those who laid down the track were headed in the right direction.


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


Monday, December 8, 2014

Let the Light of Christ Shine Through


[Photo of a valley with words superimposed]

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the
power of God that brings salvation to everyone
who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
—Romans 1:16

“I wish these religious nuts would just shut up!”

The female pundit on MSNBC shook with anger as she spewed forth these words during a discussion of the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court.

“Don’t they understand we’re sick of hearing about their so-called faith?”

My heart hurt at the anger she seemed to feel toward Christians. I wondered if someone had specifically and personally offended her, or if she was just repeating a mantra her side of the issue had devised.

My temptation, after sensing her annoyance, was to keep my mouth shut about my faith. Why go to the trouble of sharing the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ when it would only evoke such anger?

Then I remembered the words of the Apostle Paul. In writing to the “Christ-ones” gathered in Rome, Paul very methodically laid out for these believers, whom he had not yet been able to visit, the core of his theology.

Paul wrote, in Romans 1:16-17:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Let’s take hold of this lesson from Paul. No matter what others may tell us about keeping our faith to ourselves, let’s determine to allow the love of Christ to shine through our every word and deed. And, let’s humbly declare the salvation God offers to all He calls to Himself.

After all, we would not have faith if someone hadn’t helped plant the seed of the gospel in our own hearts. Right?


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


Friday, December 5, 2014

Turning Adversity Into A Blessing


[Photo of the ocean shore with words superimposed]

“So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan
seven times, as the man of God had told
him, and his flesh was restored and became
clean like that of a young boy.”
—2 Kings 5:14

Every once in a while in this life things get a little difficult. What’s that, you say? Things in your life seem to be difficult most of the time?

Well, I certainly understand how you may feel. But, I’m talking about those really big challenges that come along.

If you happen to be facing a really big challenge in your life right now, please let me introduce you to a man who discovered that his biggest challenge was really a pathway to his greatest blessing. His name is Naaman. You will find his story in 2 Kings 5:1-14:

Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ’If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’

Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

Naaman learned a very valuable lesson. No matter how difficult and distasteful the task placed before him seemed to be, it was really a pathway to blessing. Naaman’s ultimate obedience brought healing and restoration to his life.

If some nearly overwhelming difficulty is bearing down on you, take heart. We serve a God who takes great joy in turning adversity into blessing.


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


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Choosing to Trust God


[Graphic of a sign]

“See to it that no one takes you captive
through hollow and deceptive philosophy”
—Colossians 2:8

In our present culture, we are pulled in many directions. A whole host of philosophies, traditions, and concepts vie for control over our hearts and minds. We struggle not to become deceived and fall under the spell of evil influences.

The first century Christians faced similar struggles. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:8-10:

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

With renewed confidence in our Savior and Lord, let us begin this day knowing that we can place our trust in His Word to keep our hearts and minds pointed in the right direction.


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


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Two Huge Lies


[Graphic of a sign]

“Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.”
—James 3:5b

In the last five-and-a-half years, it seems to me that blog posts, TV and radio pundits’ analyses, and social media exchanges have become more strident and more nasty. What starts out as a thoughtful exchange sometimes seems to all-too-quickly degrade into a trading of insults and personal barbs.

Whatever the cause of this lack of common decency, it fosters division, dislike, and an ever-rising level of anger. Social media seems to play an important role in this downward trend.

Social media is a dragon who invites us to tame it, enjoy it, ride into the sky on its back. But, alas, we must be wary of its slashing tail and fiery breath.

I don’t know how Jesus would have advised His disciples had He faced this problem during His earthly life. But the half-brother of our Lord, the Apostle James, did address the prevalent Social Media device of that day when he wrote these words in James 3:3-10:

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.

Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.

It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Whenever we engage someone, whether in person, in a blog or Facebook post, or by means of some other Social Media, let’s be guided by the love of our Savior. No matter how passionate we may feel about some issue or cause, let’s be sure to guard our tongue and only speak words that will honor God.

May we always listen carefully to the Holy Spirit for His convicting nudge and respond in obedience.


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


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Immersing Ourselves in His Word


[Graphic of a sign]

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so
deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
—James 1:22

What if the captain of a ship was given a detailed set of carefully devised marine charts for every bit of ocean and every port along the course he or she was to sail. But instead of studying those charts, the captain put them on a shelf and never even opened them. What possible good would those charts serve, especially if the captain got into trouble along the way?

Some believers in the Lord Jesus Christ treat God’s Word, the Bible, that way. They never set aside time to open God’s Word, read it, study it, and then meditate on what it says.

When problems suddenly arise in their lives, these dear ones have nothing to turn to for help. Their unfamiliarity with the instruction God has given means they will often continue to sail further into troubled waters.

They might say, “Hey! I listen to the sermon or homily when I go to church. I hear the Scriptures when someone reads them aloud.”

The Apostle James offers suitable commentary on this particular defense when he writes in James 1:22-25:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Let’s consciously immerse ourselves in God’s Word this day and allow the instruction it contains to chart the course of our days. The Holy Spirit longs to make God’s Word come alive in our hearts and minds and lives.


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


Monday, December 1, 2014

Chosen Ones


[Photo of children with their teacher]

“You did not choose me, but I chose you…”
—John 15:16a

“Pick me! Pick me! Please! Pick me!”

Every person would prefer to be chosen. Children line up hoping they will be chosen early when teams form to play a game.

Some children bristle with an inner confidence knowing they will be among the first ones chosen. Others look down sheepishly, recognizing that they will likely be chosen last or nearly last.

As one who was always in the latter category, I can assure you it’s no fun to always be the last one to hear your name called. But, at least most of the time, I was eventually and reluctantly chosen.

With a great sense of relief, I can confidently share with you that when it comes to the Team of “Christ-ones,” however, there’s no first or last in the choosing. Scripture tells us that before the foundation of the earth God chose those who would belong to Him. (see Ephesians 1:4)

And, that choosing has a purpose. Notice what Jesus says to His disciples in John 15:16:

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

As you consider your role as a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom, start by rejoicing that He has chosen you and, by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, He has drawn you irresistibly to Himself. Then, obediently seek to more and more become a “fruit bearer.”

After all Jesus has done for us, it should bring us great joy to serve His purpose in and through us. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to enable our obedience to our Lord.


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