Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Overcoming Discouragement


[Photo of a sunlit field with words superimposed]

“I cried out to God for help…”
—Psalm 77:1a

As a child, did you learn to sing Jiminy Crickett’s Song?

When you are discouraged
and you don’t know right from wrong.
Give a little whistle.
Give a little whistle.

If you learned the song, did you ever try it? Did it work?

The Psalmist, faced with discouragement, tried another tact in Psalm 77:1-2, 10-15:

I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.

When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted.

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

Instead of joining the “Jiminy Cricket Team,” let’s stay faithful to the team whose captain has already chosen us to belong to Him. He will help us in our discouragement. He will make certain we know right from wrong.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Ruling Peace


[Photo of a red flower with words superimposed]

“Trust in the Lord forever…”
—Isaiah 26:4a

We struggle in this sinful world to find peace. That’s because a great spiritual warfare rages around us. Satan’s desire is to entrap and then destroy every human. He works the hardest on those whom God has chosen to belong to Himself.

As believers in the life-transforming power of our risen Lord, we are daily assailed on every side. Yet, true and lasting peace awaits us in the arms of the God who loves us with His everlasting love.

Allow joy to well up in your heart as you read these words from the Prophet from Isaiah 26:3-4:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

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

Let us gratefully receive the Peace of Christ this day to sustain us on our journey through this life and into the glorious eternal life that awaits us at the feet of our Lord and Savior.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 27, 2015

The Problem with Getting Even


[Photo of a mountain lake with words superimposed]

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil.”
—Romans 12:17

“Don't get mad, get even!”

Getting even is a pretty well-defined tactic of our culture. Yet this does not square with the Apostle Paul’s instruction in Romans 12:17-21:

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Through the power of the risen Christ, which dwells within us by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, we can be overcomers. We can overcome evil and promote good. This is an excellent plan. And, besides, God's love compels us.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

We Need Each Other


[Graphic of a sign]

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”
—Romans 12:6

Do we realize we need each other in order to competently and effectively serve the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom?

That’s what the Apostle Paul was preaching about when he wrote the words found in Romans 12:3-8:

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

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Let’s go out into this new day with a humble determination to lovingly use the gifts God has given us for the benefit of our fellow humans and to bring glory to the God who loves us.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A New Law of Love


[Photo of an outstretched hand holding a glowing heart]

“Great peace have those who love your law…”
—Psalm 119:165a

In the Old Testament times, God’s chosen people could express their love for God only by following the Law He had given them. This prompted the Psalmist to write in Psalm 119:165-168:

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands. I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.

But, after God’s Son came to earth as a man, He brought a new and living way for believers to express their devotion, as recorded in Mark 12:28-31:

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

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

For us as believers, the pathway of obedience has become paved with love: love for God in all four human modalities—spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical—and love for others.

This new pathway of obedience that our Savior has opened for us really coincides with a fulfillment of the Old Testament Law, made possible within us by the enabling of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

As we follow the Great King Jesus, let us enthusiastically embrace the Law of Love. And, let's allow God’s love to flow through us this day to touch the lives of everyone with whom we come in contact.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

“You’re Being Watched!”


[Photo of a close-up of a woman's eye]

“…walk in the way of love…”
—Ephesians 5:1

“You’re being watched!”

Does that phrase startle you? Does it create fear? Apprehension? Concern?

It’s true that every person who claims the name of Jesus, every disciple, every “Christ-one,” is being watched every day by the people who cross the pathway of their lives.

How well do you and I represent Jesus? How well do we handle joys? How well do we handle sorrows? When adversity comes our way, how do we react?

Do we take every change in our lives with the same grace that our Savior would show? When someone does something that impacts negatively on our lives, do we respond the way Jesus would?

You see, people watch us every day to see if we act like we belong to the King of Kings. Do we show the kind of loving clarity that Jesus would show?

In writing to the Christians gathered in the house churches in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul offered this advice in Ephesians 5:1-2, 8, 10, and 15-17:

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Someone is watching you. That one wants to see if your faith in God is real. He or she wants to measure whether devoting your life to Christ has made the kind of transformation in your behavior that validates the truth and integrity of what you may say.

Many years ago a man who worked at the insurance company where I worked approached me. He asked me if he could talk to me.

“I don't quite know how to put this,” he said, “but my wife has recently become one of those born again Christians. I would like to buy her a Christmas present that would let her know I love and support her, even though I don’t understand this decision she has made.”

“How can I help?” I asked.

“She told me that one of her new friends has a book in which she can find where any word is mentioned in the Bible. How do I get one of those books?”

“Well, that book is called a Concordance” I explained. “It looks like this.” (In God’s Providence, I just happened to keep a Concordance on my cubicle bookshelf.) After he looked at it, I then explained where he could buy one.

That encounter was the first of many conversations over the next year. Finally one day, he came to me with a huge smile on his face and just the hint of happy tears in his eyes. That’s right, you probably have guessed it. He had prayed and acknowledged Jesus as His personal Savior.

Why did this man come to me with his initial question? Because he had been watching me. I never preached to him. I never declared my faith to him. But, when it came time to ask his question, he came to me knowing I would help him.

Every single day, every one of us is being watched by people who need a life-transforming encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.

In a world where people are always trying to deceive others, we should be “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” people: people of Truth; people of Light.

Let’s make a choice to live in a way that honors the trust our King has placed in us to represent Him well to a needy world.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Lifelong Praise


[Photo of a waterfall with words superimposed]

“I will praise the Lord all my life…-”
—Psalm 146:1b

As this new day begins, the sun rises in the sky. The warmth of the sun awakens all nature. Nature lifts leaf and bloom to praise the Creator.

Can we, privileged by God, special of all creation because Father, Son, and Holy Spirit proclaimed, “Let us make mankind in Our image”? Can we fail to join our minds and hearts and say with the Psalmist from Psalm 146:1-10?

Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever.

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.

The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.

This day, and every day, let's join our hearts and voices and praise God from whom all blessings flow.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 20, 2015

A Reliable Investment


[Graphic of a sign]

“Blessed (are)…the people he chose for his inheritance.”
—Psalm 33:12

Where do we invest wholeheartedly? Mutual funds? Real Estate? The stock market? What about bonds? Or, how about precious metals: gold and silver?

The Psalmist offers an alternative investment in Psalm 33:12, 18-22:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

Trusting in God’s unfailing love is the most reliable investment we can make.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

God Supports Us


[Graphic of a sign]

“…your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.”
—Psalm 94:18b

God loves those who belong to Him. His love never fails. He constantly watches out for us.

That’s why—once we acknowledged His love and the gift of salvation He has given us through His Son—He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us.

The Psalmist expressed the reality of God’s abiding Presence in these words from Psalm 94:18-19:

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

God cares for us in a way that exceeds our ability to understand. Even when the trials of life assail us, He never leaves us.

As you walk with God throughout this day, relax into His loving arms. Rejoice in His mercy, grace, and love.

And, when an opportunity arises, share what He has done for you with those He brings across your pathway.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Condemnation Free


[Graphic of a circle of words]

“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. ”
—Romans 7:21

No one enjoys learning that he or she has come under condemnation. Even when we’ve done something wrong and deserve to be condemned, we don’t like it.

Sometimes it is all the more perplexing when we truly intended to do the right thing, but immediately find ourselves doing the exact opposite of what we intended to do.

Fortunately, we’re not alone in our self-disgust. A spiritual giant, none other than the Apostle Paul, had the very same experience. He records his frustration in Romans 7:21-25 and 8:1-2:

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

We should draw comfort from knowing that the Apostle is just like you and me! He daily faced the same kind of circumstances that we face.

Once we acknowledge the salvation that God has given us, through the atoning sacrifice of His Son, we are free from condemnation. Oh yes, we are still sinners. We will retain our sin nature that we inherited from Adam until we pass from this life. But, we now have the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit to help us overcome our bent toward sin.

Let’s rejoice that, because of Jesus, we are “condemnation free”!


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Responding Rightly


[Photo of chess pieces with words superimposed]

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

Trials come at an ever-faster pace. Difficulties arise that seek to smack us down and take us out of this “Game of Life.”

It’s almost like a star player on the football field. The running back is valued for his ability to get the ball over the goal line. Nothing brings the fans to their feet faster than watching a running back bob and weave through the defenders and streak across the goal line to score a touchdown. Likewise, nothing deflates the screaming fans quite as much as seeing a defender knock a running back to the ground after he’s traveled just a few feet from the line of scrimmage.

In our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, we have to be prepared to run determinedly to the goal. We also have to understand that Satan wants to knock us to the ground.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words of loving instruction in Philippians 1:27a:

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

Living worthy lives presents us with a great challenge. But, with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we can surely rise to the challenge this new day, to the glory of God.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Doing Good To Others


[Graphic of a person's neck with words superimposed]

“Let us not become weary in doing good…”
—Galatians 6:9a

A “Kingdom” exists wherever a King is recognized and that King’s wishes are obeyed.

Our Savior, the Son of God—the Lord Jesus Christ—ushered in His Kingdom here on earth when He took on human form over 2,000 years ago. Therefore, the Kingdom of God exists right here and right now wherever people recognize Jesus as King and determine to obey His will.

As believers, it is our task to develop an understanding of the essence of Christ’s mission here on earth and then connect ourselves to that mission.

One aspect of the essence of Christ’s mission is for His devoted followers to do good to others in Jesus’ name. As the Apostle Paul taught in Galatians 6:9-10:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

As our night of rest fades into a new and busy day ahead, let’s determine to make every effort, as we are enabled by the Holy Spirit, to do good to others in the name of our King Jesus.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Shining Ever Brighter


[Photo of a sunset or a sunrise]

“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun…”
—Proverbs 4:18a

Have you ever awakened with a start in the early morning hours just before dawn and for a brief moment felt the panic of not knowing where you are?

From 1986 through 2003, I traveled extensively on business. During each of those years, I was on the road 39 weeks out of 52. I logged over 1,250,000 miles on Delta Airlines alone.

Staying in so many different hotel rooms, I did occasionally awaken and not know where I was. I felt that moment of panic. I sometimes would wish that the early light of morning would flood in through the window.

As believers in the life-transforming power of God’s Son, Jesus, we don’t always know where the pathway God has laid out before us will lead. But, we can be certain it leads us where He wants us to go. And, we can be certain that He will always brighten the light we need to find our way, if we will simply wait patiently for Him to act.

The closer we draw to God, the more we purposefully surrender our will to Him, the more of His light we will have available to illuminate our path. We must draw closer, ever closer to God until we experience what King Solomon wrote about in Proverbs 4:18:

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

God has given us another new day in which to serve Him. Let us embark on this new day with a renewed commitment to glorify Him through everything we do.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Calling Forth Songs of Joy


[Photo of a sunrise or a sunset]

“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders…”
—Psalm 65:8a

King David knew a great deal about the inward fading light of early morning and the outward fading light of evening. He had observed both of these phenomena from the Judean hillside where he had tended sheep as a boy.

Many times in the waxing and waning dusk, David would play softly on his shepherd’s flute, quieting the sheep, especially the newly born lambs.

Is it any wonder that he would remember those days when he wrote these words from Psalm 65:8:

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

King David knew first hand that God, the One True King, is the source of all joy. In order to possess the fullness of joy, we must honor this Great King and love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

If we do this, He will call forth joy from within the very depths of our beings.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Godly Sorrow


[Photo of the silouette of a man praying]

“Godly sorrow brings repentance…”
—2 Corinthians 7:10a

More than 60 years ago, I heard an evangelist preach a sermon on what he called “Godly Sorrow.” I left that service somewhat mystified.

The Apostle Paul, however, speaks about godly sorrow in a way that is quite clear when he writes in 2 Corinthians 7:10:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Let us welcome the kind of godly sorrow that the Holy Spirit brings us. It helps keep us on the pathway of obedience. It encourages us to quickly confess our sins, repent of our sins, make restitution for our sins, and receive reconciliation.

Godly sorrow clears the channels of our lives so God’s love can flow through us and into the lives of needy people around us. And, ultimately, godly sorrow produces the greatest possible joy.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Overflowing Love


[Photo of water flowing over a dam]

“…whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
—Romans 13:8c

“The flow of God's love from our hearts to others is like water bursting over the top of a dam.”

Scripture often contains instructions that seem very difficult to enflesh. Our sin nature always remains at war with the new nature Christ has given us through the Holy Spirit.

Here’s just one example from Romans 13:8:

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

We know we are to allow God-breathed love to flow through us and touch the lives of everyone in our lives. But, most of us have at least one person who has treated us so unfairly, even despicably, that it is very difficult to allow God to love that one through us.

Even so, that is our calling—that is our instruction. As we cruise into this weekend, let us not forget to pray for hearts so full of God’s love that His love will overflow the “dam” our stubborn will may have built to keep His love from overwhelming the one person who has treated us so hatefully.

If we bend our will to God’s perfect will in this matter, then—and only then—we will be able to have a truly good day.

Let us allow the flood of His love to overflow!


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Withholding Criticism


[Graphic of a sign]

“For none of us lives for ourselves alone…”
—Romans 14:7a

We live in an age where criticism of others is almost a sport of the realm. Everywhere we turn people are judging each other harshly.

Galatians 6 urges us to restore our sinful brothers and sisters gently, lest we fall into sin. So, harsh judgment has no place in the lives of believers, especially when dealing with other members of the family of God.

Sometimes we try to hide our own sinfulness by harshly criticizing others. Instead, we should be tenderly calling our brothers and sisters to confession, repentance, restitution, and reconciliation. But, only after we have dealt with our own sins.

The Apostle Paul offers these challenging words in Romans 14:7-10, 12-13:

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.

So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt?

For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

Let’s begin this new day by allowing God’s grace to so permeate our minds and hearts that we look at each other through His eyes of love.

When we see some behavior in other brothers and sisters in Christ that we don't agree with, before we jump to criticize, let'’s make certain we have first properly dealt with our own pet sins.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Instruments of God’s Grace


[Graphic of a humming bird with words superimposed]

“…they spoke so effectively that a great number…believed.”
—Acts 14:1b

Since that moment when the Holy Spirit did His work in our lives that revealed God’s love for us, we have walked the pathway of our lives as instruments of His grace. Every person we encounter along the road of life gets a glimpse of God’s mercy, grace, and love at work within us.

Most of the time, that glimpse of God’s working in us comes by way of our actions. People can sense the Spirit of Christ within us by what we do and the way we do it.

Occasionally, God gives us an opportunity to say a word in His behalf. Scripture tells us that on such occasions the Holy Spirit will give us exactly the right words to say.

So whether by our actions or by our words, we represent the God who loves us to a very needy world.

Of course, we hope that our efforts will become such a natural part of our lives that we will always represent our Lord in an effective way. Dr. Luke gives an example of this when he writes in Acts 14:1:

At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.

As we begin a new day, let’s think about the hours that will open up ahead and pray for the people who will come across our pathway in the course of this day. If we follow in the footsteps of Jesus today, we will plant a seed of Christ in each person we pass along our way.

As we pray for each person we might encounter, ask the Holy Spirit to make both our actions and our words effective testimonies of God’s mercy, grace, and love.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

“I know your deeds…”


[Graphic of a sign]

“I know your deeds.”
—Revelation 3:8a

We who are loved by God—the ones He has chosen before the foundation of the earth to belong to Himself, the ones to whom in due season He revealed His love through the Holy Spirit—are most fortunate, most blessed, and most driven to respond to God in obedience to His will and to His Word.

As a result of God enabling our obedience through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can read with great joy these words written to the Christians in Philadelphia, as recorded in Revelation 3:8, 10:

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.

I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

At the start of this new day, we can move forward along the path God has laid out before us knowing that in our weakness we will find His strength. We can press onward and “endure patiently” knowing that the trials we must face in this life are but for a little while.

Let us rejoice in the mercy, grace, and love of God. Let us celebrate that we belong to Him. Let us humbly receive the gifts He gives us, especially the gift of forgiveness for our sins and the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Marks of Maturity


[Graphic of a sign]

“I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.”
—Proverbs 4:10b

For the Christian, following the pathway of obedience flies in the face of our culture. For one thing, we live in a society of ever-increasing disobedience wrapped in a cloak of mindless conformity.

Our culture also demands instant gratification. Obediently following the leading of the Holy Spirit is more of a triple-marathon than a 50-yard sprint.

One moves quite slowly along the pathway of spiritual maturity. That’s because overcoming bad habits and besetting sins takes quite a significant investment of time and effort.

Then, just as soon as the Christ-one declares victory over a specific sin, the Holy Spirit gently and lovingly reveals another sin with which the believer must deal.

King Solomon tried to lay out this walk toward spiritual adulthood when he wrote these words in Proverbs 4:10-13:

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.

I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.

Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

Here Solomon repeats what he has learned from God. In the literal Hebrew for Proverbs 4:12, God is saying, “Step by step I will open up the way before you.”

So, let’s take heart! In His mercy, grace, and love, God is daily opening up the way in front of each one who follows His Son, the Lord Jesus. And, God is doing this incrementally—that is to say, step by step.

We need to celebrate each victory along the pathway toward holiness. We also need to pray for each other and encourage each other, as we struggle to overcome our besetting sins.

As the Apostle Paul urges us in Galatians 6:2:

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Indeed, as we walk together along the pathway of obedience, your burdens are mine and my burdens are yours. Together, we will joyfully cheer each other onward.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Extending God’s Love


[Photo of a Valentine heart with words superimposed]

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made
us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…”
—Ephesians 2:4

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have many reasons to be filled with joy and to express that joy by doing good deeds that touch the lives of others. When I read what some of my friends are doing to extend God’s love to the people around them, I am greatly encouraged.

I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1-10:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I am greatly humbled to realize that the good works my dear friends perform, as they reach out to those in need, were prepared in advance by God for them to do. That should cause great joy to well up within their hearts.

Each kind word, each act of grace, each expression of God’s love, each act of mercy is a testimony to the ultimate act of mercy, grace, and liove that Christ gave you and me on Calvary’s cruel cross.

Let us celebrate this day the awesome privilege we have to touch the lives of others in the blessed Name of our Savior and Lord. And, let us bask in the joy that true obedience brings when we do those good works He has prepared for us to do.


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Singing Boldly


[Photo of a mountain lake with words superimposed]

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and
wept when we remembered Zion.”
—Psalm 137:1

Most people my age who grew up in the strong, yet nurturing, grip of Christian fundamentalism, will remember singing this song during Wednesday night prayer meetings:

This world is not my home,
I’m just a-passin’ through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door.
And, I can’t feel at home
In this world any more.

The sentiment in this song expresses the reality that, having come to understand the great work God has done in our behalf through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross, we now live as citizens of Christ’s Kingdom. We are no longer of this world, even though we remain in this world.

The people of Israel experienced a similar reality, as expressed in Psalm 137:1-6:

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.

There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.

Carried off by the Babylonians, the Israelites languished in this foreign land. They were mocked because of their faith in God. The Babylonian culture hated them because their faith stood in stark contrast to the unabashed sinfulness of their captors.

“How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”

By singing them boldly, yet with overwhelming love. That’s how!


Copyright © 2015 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.