Monday, November 30, 2015

Living a Worthy Life


[Photo of flpwers with words from Ephesians 4:2 superimposed]

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then,
I urge you to live a life worthy
of the calling you have received.”
—Ephesians 4:1

A battle of words rages around us. Spend just a few minutes watching cable news and you will hear sharp accusations spoken with arrogance and pomposity. Yet neither side is really convincing when talking in such a way.

In a culture and society with so much harshness and strident speech, we believers in the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ can bring an entirely different attitude into every situation.

Rather than diminishing our passion for truth and for what’s right, we can channel our passion into a much more effective way of expressing the depth of what we believe.

The Apostle Paul offered these words of wise counsel in Ephesians 4:1-3:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

As we interact with the people God brings across our pathway this day, let us allow the Holy Spirit to enable us to represent God’s love in all humility.

With a humble spirit, we can bring the peace of Christ into every situation. Using gentle words rather than harsh ones, we can live out our calling in the best possible way.


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


Friday, November 27, 2015

Servant of All


[Photo of open hands with words superimposed]

“Anyone who wants to be first must be
the very last, and the servant of all.”
—Mark 9:35b

We have a leadership crisis in our society today. Many want to ascend to positions of so-called leadership where others will cater to their every need.

In situation after situation, it seems as if these exalted leaders do not have the courage to act decisively to protect the best interests of those they lead. This phenomenon occurs in government, in business, in the church, and even in our homes.

But in the Kingdom of God, Jesus wants His followers to become genuine leaders by learning to serve. Please take note of Jesus' words in Mark 9:33-35:

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?”

But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

This day we can learn a valuable lesson from Jesus' instruction. In order to lead, we must serve. We must do the opposite of most human leaders.

Instead of demanding that others serve us, in sincere humility, we must look for ways to serve others. Such is the way of the cross for those who follow Jesus.


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


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tekel: Weighed in the Scales
A Reason for Thanksgiving


[Photo of a man with outstretched arms with words superimposed]

“You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.”
—Daniel 5:27

I have a very odd message for this Thanksgiving Day. Or, at least it will likely seem quite odd unless you persist all the way to the end.

The Bible contains many interesting and fascinating stories. One of the most gripping is found in Daniel 5. In this passage Daniel narrates an encounter with King Belshazzar. Once you read this passage below you will likely remember this story, perhaps from a long-ago Sunday School class.

Here’s Daniel 5:

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.

The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.

The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”

So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

“Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.

“But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

“This is the inscription that was written: mene, mene, tekel, parsin.

“Here is what these words mean:

“Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

“Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

“Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.

Quite a fascinating story, isn’t it? I can still remember as a fifth grader sitting in Sunday School and listening to the teacher recount this story. When she got to the part where Daniel interprets the dream, one particular phrase really caught my attention: “Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.”

“Wow!” you may say. “What a downer! What does all this have to do with Thanksgiving.”

Here’s my point: on this day of Thanksgiving, I am most thankful that before the foundation of the earth God chose me to belong to Himself. In that statement, of course, I reveal my Reformed theology. God chose me. I didn’t choose Him. He chose me. And, He did so before the foundation of the earth. Long before I was born into this world and became the person I have become, God decided, in His mercy and grace, to choose me to be one of His dearly loved children.

What happened next? We Reformed people use the phrase: “In due season…” Yes! In due season, God sent His Holy Spirit to open my spiritual eyes—the eyes of my heart—to know and understand that He loved me enough to send His Son Jesus to die in my place on Calvary’s cruel cross. God loved me enough to raise Jesus from the dead and place Jesus at His own right hand to make intercession for me, thus guaranteeing my place in heaven.

Even before I was born, you see, God weighed me in His scales and, through no merit of my own, found me acceptable. And, if you are one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God who died for you and was raised from the dead for you then you, too, have been weighed in those scales and found acceptable -- not because of anything you have done, but according solely to God's mercy, grace, and love.

The most important truth—the one that governs my life—is that God loves me with His everlasting love. He has tipped the scales in my favor. He has taken what to many is “unacceptable” and made me “truly acceptable.”

So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I give God my praise, adoration, glory, and worship. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the Almighty, the King of Creation.

And, I am also thankful for YOU! Yes, you, my dear ones, mean more to me that my poor words can express. I thank God for you. And, more importantly, I pray for you every day.

May God grant you, each one, a most blessed Thanksgiving Day!

Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come
raise the glorious harvest home.


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


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

True Worshippers


[Photo of clouds with words superimposed]

“Yet a time is coming and has
now come when the true
worshipers will worship the
Father in the Spirit and in truth”
—John 4:23a

We Christians spend at least some of our time in worship. For me, this is a special time. Unlike many of my generation, I have been drawn toward a more liturgical form of worship.

The form of worship in which I participate at my little Evangelical Presbyterian Church is not at all representative of either the EPC denomination or of my fundamentalist upbringing.

But, the form of my worship matters much more to me than it does to God. The Lord Jesus Christ made it quite clear when He discussed worship forms with the Samaritan woman, as recorded in John 4:23-24:

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

So, God wants us to approach Him in worship through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. He desires us to very truthfully express our appreciation for who He is.

After all, worship doesn't depend on a particular form or set of written or unwritten rules. Worship depends on our sincere and truthful efforts to express to God our recognition of, and appreciation for, who He is.

In our worship, we attribute worth to God by acknowledging who He is—the God of the Universe, the Creator of All Things. Then, we can move on to praising Him for what He has done in our behalf—saving us from our sins through the precious blood of His Son.

Let’s respond to Jesus’ instruction by renewing our determination to approach God in the Spirit and in truth. Let’s allow of hearts and minds to soar, no matter what form of worship we may prefer.

And, let's not confine our worship to one day or one place. Even this day, let’s begin the day with worship in our hearts and on our minds.


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


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Armor On!


[Photo of a suit of armor with words superimposed]

“…put on the full armor of God…”
—Ephesians 6:13a

The Scout Motto—“Be Prepared”—is something worthy to remember as we begin each new day. As ambassadors of God in this needy world, we must be prepared for the opposition that will try to derail our testimony.

That's why we need to begin our day by reading our Bibles and in prayer. We need to examine our minds and hearts, confess our sins, and be reminded that the blood of Jesus has covered our sins.

We also must heed the words of the Apostle Paul, as recorded in Ephesians 6:12-13:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

We have no excuse. As we ready ourselves to go out into the world today to share God’s love with everyone we meet, we need to listen to Paul's instruction. Knowing that Satan will try to attack us, we need to heed the call: “Armor on!”

Prepared to meet our spiritual foe, we can become effect vessels of God’s mercy, love, and grace. And, we can praise God that He has given us all we need to protect us in battle.

May God grant us a full measure of His abiding presence this day through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us, then, tell others boldly about what God has done for us.

But, in considering the needs of those we meet, remember in sincere humility that we were once as they are: a sinner in need of a Savior.


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


Monday, November 23, 2015

A Humble Spirit


[Photo of a man kneeling with words superimposed]

“Humble yourselves before the Lord…”
—James 4:10a

We live in a very self-aggrandizing world. All day long we are bombarded by the opinions of “experts” who often do their best to prove how smart they are, how much knowledge they have accrued, and how their opinion trumps all others.

In such a social climate, it's easy to fall into a trap whereby we do and say things to prove how important we are. Even non-verbal people often sit on the sidelines, smugly convinced that they are really the ones who know the truth.

For years I have found myself trying to convince people how smart I am and what great insight I have. What a foolish waste of time on my part.

Even in writing blog posts like this one, instead of lovingly and humbly trying to share what I believe God has laid on my heart, more often than not I come across too strident, too self-assured, too arrogant, or too pompous. This is not the way of the Lord.

The Apostle James offers this keen advice in James 4:10:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

This day can become a new beginning.

In this world where a haughty self-assurance and a know-it-all attitude seems to rule the day, we Christ’s-ones can humble ourselves before the Lord. We can know whatever we know and learn to share that knowledge with respectful humility.

Even though we have the privilege of adoption by the King of Creation, we can share our knowledge of Him and His ways in a loving and careful manner. By so doing, we allow the love He has given us to shine through and touch the lives of others in a positive way.

Let us examine our own hearts to see if we have become too focused on convincing others how much more we know than they do. If we find that we have become guilty of this offense, let us humble ourselves before the Lord.

Then, let us put that humility to good use in sharing God's love with those we meet.


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


Friday, November 20, 2015

Divine Wisdom


[Drawing of a key with words superimposed]

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God…”
—James 1:5

People make the choices they make for a variety of reasons. Some people are led by their feelings. If it feels right—if it satisfies some desire or longing they have—they choose to do whatever they want to do.

Others strive to gather as much detailed information as possible and then, somewhat hesitatingly make a choice. Still others apply logic and reason to weigh the upside and downside before they make their decision. They let facts and logic lead the way. And, even others make choices driven by a quest for something new and exciting. They’ve hardly begun to enjoy the fruit from their most recent decision before they’ve moved on looking for some new experience.

The Apostle James urges us to ask God to grant us divine wisdom. With the leading of the Holy Spirit, our choices become instruments of God’s grace in our lives. Notice what the Apostle writes in James 1:5-8:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

As we greet a new day, let’s determine to ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom. Armed with that divine wisdom let’s make wise choices in everything we do and everything we say this day.


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


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ask, Seek, Knock


[Photo of an open door with words superimposed]

“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you.”
—Matthew 7:7

As “Christ’s-ones,” certain passages of Scripture become ingrained into our minds and hearts. Many of those verses lie within Matthew 5, 6, and 7—the “Sermon on the Mount.” Here is one of those familiar set of verses from Matthew 7:7-8:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

As usual, Jesus speaks somewhat mystically in these verses, yet very practically at the same time. Our Savior is speaking about spiritual “asking, seeking, and knocking.” But He is also speaking very practically about temporal matters, too.

In our walk with God, when we have a need to refresh our spirit or receive a special outpouring of God’s mercy, grace, and love, we only need to ask, seek, and knock. God delights in giving a great outpouring of His most precious gifts to His dearly loved children.

In our day-to-day temporal lives, when a need arises, God invites us to ask Him for help. He always graciously responds in accordance with His perfect will for us.

As we move through this day, with humility and with great joy, let us bask in the goodness of God’s urging us to ask, seek, and knock. Our Loving Father takes great delight in giving, in being found, and in opening doors to us, especially the door of our hearts.


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


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sowing the Good


[Photo of a plant with words superimposed]

“Let us not become weary in doing good…”
—Galatians 6:7-10

Whenever I watch a police procedural on television, I am always pleased when the perpetrator is caught and punished. In contrast, I have acquaintances who always root for the perp. Not me. I want to see the perpetrator get what he or she deserves.

As a result of my strong desire for justice, there are certain television shows I will not watch. I will not watch any show where an evil person does bad things for a so-called “good” purpose.

Getting what one deserves and focusing on “good” is the theme that the Apostle Paul takes up in Galatians 6:9a:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

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.

This passage of Scripture seems quite clear to me. We dare not mock God by our behavior. God will not be mocked.

Likewise, we will reap whatever we sow. Therefore, it makes sense to do our best to behave in a way that honors God and that focuses on doing good.

As we launch off into this new day, it seems quite clear that we must ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to do good toward those who cross our pathway.

And, we must particularly do good for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Imagine how blessed we will be if we do, indeed, respond to this admonition in obedience.


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


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Passing the Test


[Photo of a runner with words superimposed]

“…the testing of your faith produces perseverance…”
—James 1:3

Most people do not like tests. It is the rare individual who looks forward to an examination. That one seems eager to prove what she or he has learned. For most of the rest of us, the time of testing is not a pleasant time. There is more than a little dread involved.

Nevertheless, the Apostle James describes how we believers are supposed to feel when our Schoolmaster puts us to the test, as recorded in James 1:2-3:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance…

We learn how to push our way through the time of testing—how to persevere—by facing that test directly. We know we can rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Sometimes the trial lasts just a little while. Sometimes the time of testing seems endless.

If you are in the midst of a testing today, ask God to empower you to seize joy. As God allows more and more joy to fill your mind and heart, you will experience the time of testing with a renewed sense of God's Presence.

You have come to the time of testing because God felt you were ready to face this trial. Prove God right. Let joy flood the totality of your being this day.


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


Monday, November 16, 2015

The Balanced Life


[Photo of trees with words superimposed]

“So in everything, do to others what
you would have them do to you”
—Matthew 7:12a

Living a balanced life presents quite a challenge to most of us. It’s easy to find ourselves obsessing in one direction or another.

We see this in every area of life. On the one hand we want to be treated quite fairly by others. On the other hand most of us want any advantage to flow in our direction.

Our natural bent is to expect kindness without being willing to first extend kindness. So our expectation becomes unbalanced.

Jesus gave wise instructions to His disciples when He told them in Matthew 7:9-12:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

This passage is part of the Scripture that Bible students call the “Sermon on the Mount.” This sermon is found in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. It offers some of the most comprehensive, yet most difficult, teachings of our Savior and Lord.

We frankly do not want to show kindness to many people in our lives. Some people annoy us. Others treat us badly. Still others voice beliefs that we find offensive or with which we do not agree.

Maintaining a balance in our lives is very difficult. But, it’s possible if we surrender our selfish wills to God’s perfect will.

Relying on the help from the Holy Spirit, we can learn how to bring our lives into balance. We can treat others with kindness and with a generosity of spirit. We can greet the cruelty of this world with a godly spirit of kindness that shows concern and compassion without surrendering or hiding the truth.

Let us seek God’s help this day, so that we may follow Jesus' teaching and bring honor to His precious and holy name.


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


Friday, November 13, 2015

Really Knowing the King


[Graphic of a Scirpture verse]

“ I want to know Christ…”
—Philippians 3:10a

Have you ever had the privilege of knowing someone famous? I’m not talking about a casual acquaintanceship. I’m talking about a deep friendship where you know every aspect of the famous person and can understand who that one really is beneath his or her outward appearance.

It is a great blessing to have such a deep relationship with someone so important. Now imagine if that person is the Son of God—the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Apostle Paul clearly expresses his fondest wish when he declares in Philippians 3:10:

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…

Can we truly say with Paul that we want to know Christ? Do we want to know Jesus in all the fullness of His glory, majesty, and power?

If so, from what Paul goes on to say, it appears that a very difficult pathway of obedience stretches out before us. We must learn to yield our selfish human wills to God’s perfect will. We must learn to trust the leading of the Holy Spirit to show us the direction we need to go.

Truly knowing Jesus is not a simple journey. But, the rewards will overwhelmingly exceed our fondest dream.

Let me suggest that we seek to know our Savior, Lord, and King in the fullest way possible. Then, let us bask in the glory of this powerful relationship with the One who knows us best and loves us the most.


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


Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Grumbling-free Day


[Cartoon of children with words superimposed]

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing”
—Philippians 2:14

A wise older man told me once, “The easiest thing a person can do is to grumble or complain.”

I realize that he was right. It is very easy to greet each day of life with a negative attitude, wondering what will go wrong next.

In contrast, the Apostle Paul urged the Christians at Philippi to set aside their negativity, as recorded in Philippians 2:14-16:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”

Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.

And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

Paul wanted the behavior of the Philippians to reflect well on his teaching. He didn’t want their negative attitude to become attributed to him. Paul also knew it was very much in the best interests of these beloved “Christ’s-ones” to face each day with a positive-leaning heart and mind.

Let today become a “grumbling-free day.” As we move forward through this day with a positive attitude, we are bound to bring joy wherever we go.

Our positive attitudes will reflect well the love of God that dwells within us. That will certainly make us very different from our argument-filled culture.


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


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On the Right Path


[Photo of a person walking in the sand with words superimposed]

“So I say, walk by the Spirit…”
—Galatians 5:16a

In his wonderful book, The Saving Life of Christ, the late Col. W. Ian Thomas, the founder of the Torchbearers in the U.K., talks about flying on instruments during World War II. Thomas explains that after turning from the down wind leg, the pilot would hear a tone in either his left or right headphone if he strayed off the proper landing approach. The tones kept him on the straight path.

Thomas likened this technology to the way the Holy Spirit will guide our lives as Christians if we will allow Him to do so.

Thomas explains, “I pray each day, if I’m off to the left, nudge me to the right. If I’m off to the right, nudge me to the left. If I commit a boo, pick me up and nudge me to keep going forward.”

I really like that image of how we can have that kind of intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul shared these words, as recorded in Galatians 5:16-17:

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.

They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

This day, let us walk in the center of God’s will by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. He will surely keep us on the right path.


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


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Holding On


[Photo of stone arch with words superimposed]

“If you hold to my teaching,
you are really my disciples.”
—John 8:31b

How do you react when you learn something quite remarkable? Life-changing information is hard for me to ignore. When someone offers insight that can revolutionize my entire life, I grab onto that information and hold on to it.

When I began working at a radio station back in 1959, one of my first jobs was to edit safe driving public service announcements. Various state and local police officers would come to the studio and record short scripts provided by AAA. I would then add an opening and closing that had been prerecorded by one of our announcers.

To complete this task, I would take the reel-to-reel tape, place it on an aluminum splicing block, cut the tape with a razor blade and splice the sections together with special splicing tape. It was very tedious and time-consuming work.

In this age of digitized audio, I can perform such a task by electronically cutting and splicing on a computer screen that shows the waveform of the audio in much the same way that someone cuts and pastes paragraphs using a word processor.

Once someone taught me this new way of doing an old task, it revolutionized that small part of my life. I now “hold on” to a new way of living.

Now, imagine what you might do if someone offered you a total makeover for every aspect of your life. If this was attractive to you, you surely would hold on to this new way of living.

The Lord Jesus Christ has offered each of us a whole new life. We have become transformed. A whole new way of living has opened up before us.

The only thing Jesus asks of us is obedience to His will and to His Word. Notice what Jesus says in John 8:31-32:

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Holding on to Jesus’ teaching, resting in the life-transforming reality of His mercy, grace, and love—with the help of the Holy Spirit —seems like a very wise way to live our totally new life.

Let’s launch off into this new day with a mindset of obedience. Let’s hold on tightly to Jesus teaching and watch our transformed life unfold before our very eyes. We will surely experience a life set free by God’s truth.


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


Monday, November 9, 2015

Brotherly and Sisterly Love


[Drawing of a heart with words superimposed]

“We love because he first loved us.”
—1 John 4:19

Because I grew up as an an only adopted child of much older parents, I really don’t have any idea what it’s like to have brothers and sisters.

My wife of 47 years comes from a family of three girls and a boy. So, watching her family, I have observed over the years some familial interaction.

One time my wife opined that having a brother and two sisters meant there were at least three people in her life that would always be linked to her with a bond that was unchangeable. “No matter what might happen,” she said. “They will always be my brother and sisters.”

That is exactly the unbroken kind of bond God expects us to have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re family. And, God expects us to love our family of “Christ’s-ones.”

The Apostle John addresses this very subject in 1 John 4:19-21:

We love because he first loved us.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

You see, we don't really have a choice. We must love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We may not always approve of what they say or what they do. But, we must always love them—always.


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


Friday, November 6, 2015

He Took the Rap for Me


[Photo of a cross in the desert during a sunrise]

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us…”
—2 Corinthians 5:21a

A lifetime ago, when I was a student at Houghton College in the winter of 1967, we performed Helen Kromer’s and Fredrick Silver’s musical review For Heaven's Sake.

Among Kromer’s unique lyrics was a soliloquy spoken by the narrator as an interlude between songs:

He took the rap for me.

But I don't know what
I ever did to deserve
the rap He says He
took for me.

Or, maybe that is
the rap pinned on me.

That I don't know what
I ever did to deserve
the rap He says He
took for me.

Blissfully unaware of our need for a Savior, we cruise through life until that moment when the Holy Spirit suddenly reveals what wretched sinners we really are. At that same moment, thankfully, the Spirit also reveals the great gift God has given us: salvation through His one and only Son, Jesus.

Writing to the Christians gathered in Corinth, the Apostle Paul reminds them in 2 Corinthians 5:21:

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

What a glorious reminder! Jesus took our place on a Roman cross of torture. The spotless Lamb of God has covered our sins with His precious blood.

We can begin this new day with joy. Our sins are forgiven. We have been washed clean. And, we have this good news to share with others.

Yes, He took the rap for me and for you. Praise God we’re clean from our sins, truly clean.


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


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Grafted In


[Photo of a grape stem with a graft]

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children
of God through faith, for all of you
who were baptized into Christ have
clothed yourselves with Christ.”
—Galatians 3:26-27

“I don’t understand why you Evangelicals are so pro-Israel? Don’t you see how awful it is for the Palestinians who have lost their homeland?”

This great mystery that seems to confound many, including the majority of the mainline Protestant denominations and most left-leaning non-Evangelicals, stems from an ignorance of both history and Scripture.

To understand our position, one must carefully study the events surrounding Israel becoming an independent nation back after World War II.

In the Old Testament times, God gave His chosen people far more of the land they have now re-occupied. The land is theirs.

Furthermore, the Israelites were willing to live peacefully with the Palestinians. It was the Palestinians who would not sign the treaty and, instead, chose to start a war back in 1947 and 1948.

In addition to all of that, we who follow Christ have been grafted into the people of Israel and become brothers and sisters with God’s chosen people.

(This is a complicated theological issue that would take far more pages to fully explore. But let me make a more simplistic attempt to explain.)

There are many passages in the New Testament that declare this truth. For example, here’s Galatians 3:26-29:

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Of course, we must look on all people through God’s eyes of love and join with God in acknowledging that He has chosen some people from every tribe and nation to belong to Himself.

We must pray for peace in the Middle East. We must show compassion for those Palestinians who have become children of God through Christ. We must recognize that the government of Israel may not have always made the right decision in every situation.

But, when it comes to choosing to whom our first loyalty belongs, we must choose those to whom we have been joined by God.

Many will strongly disagree with what I have written. Nevertheless, when someone asks me why do so many Evangelicals show favor to Israel, I have now explained why.

But, above all else, we must not let any political matter ever interfere with our most important role. We are, first and foremost, Christ’s ambassadors. We must show forth His love to all people. Even people who hold vastly different political views than we do.


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


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Come, Let Us Worship


[Photo of an Alaskan sunrise with words superimposed]

“…live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.”
—1 Peter 1:17b

Do you ever wonder why we take time out of our week to worship God? The dictionary defines the word “worship” as “attributing worth to God.”

When we worship, we in effect tell God that we value Him. We value Him not because of what He has done for us. Rather, we value God for who He is—the God of the universe, the God of all creation, the One who is above all others.

Yes, we praise and thank God for what He has done for us. But, we worship Him because of who He is. He deserves our praise and out thanks. But, He is worthy of our worship.

The Apostle Peter understood full well the importance of worship. Notice this instruction from 1 Peter 1:17-21:

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

As you gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ in church this week, come reverently before God and worship Him. Let Him know that you value Him above all others because of who He is.

Then, raise your voice in praise and thanksgiving for what He has done for you.

Remember, all across the world this week, Christ’s-ones are joining with you in worship, praise, and prayer. And, isn’t that a glorious realization?


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


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Choose Holiness


[Photo of two paths diverging]

“As obedient children, do not conform to the
evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”
—----Scripture Reference----

The way we live our lives is a series of choices. We actually make many choices each day. Most of those choices are relatively routine.

But certain choices we make reveal whether we intend to follow our own will, or whether we have consciously and purposefully decided to allow the Holy Spirit to enable us to surrender our wills to God’s will.

The Apostle Peter offered this counsel found in 1 Peter 1:13-16:

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

The pathway of obedience—bending our will to God’s will, as enabled by the Holy Spirit—reaps great rewards.

Let’s choose holiness this day. It’s a much better pathway than the one we might naturally choose on our own.


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


Monday, November 2, 2015

Heavenly Deposits


[Photo of gold bars]

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…”
—Matthew 6:19

Where is your heart? I don't mean your physical heart. I’m really asking, “What has the most importance to you of all the things in your life?”

Whatever matters most to you will become that which grips your heart and mind.

Jesus understood this so very well when He spoke these words as recorded in Matthew 6:19-21:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

So, how do we store up treasures in heaven? We do so through humble, self-sacrificing obedience to God’s will and to God’s Word.

That’s why it’s so important to study the Bible, to pray, and to remain fully open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In everything we do each day, we represent the Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason our every activity should become an opportunity to do our very best. Excellence should become a natural part of who we are.

We should pour ourselves wholeheartedly into loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We should love our neighbors to the same degree we love ourselves.

When it comes to the key people in our lives—our spouses, our children, our other family members, our friends—we should treat each one as a precious jewel of inestimable value.

As people cross the pathway of our lives, we should see each one with God’s eyes of love and greet each one as His ambassadors.

Even as we have already made deposits in our heavenly bank account, let us continue today to store up incorruptible treasures to bring glory and honor to the God who loves us with His everlasting love.


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