Friday, January 29, 2016

Planning the Good


[Photo of heart-shaped clouds with words superimposed]

“Do not those who plot evil go astray?”
—Proverbs 14:22a

I hope you’ve never been the target of an evil plan. It’s not a pleasant experience. In fact, it’s a horrible experience.

After I retired from full-time employment in 2003, the senior pastor of the church I attended at the time recruited me to come work with him to help repair a dangerously low staff morale and improve the communications within the church and between the church and the world outside the church.

For five-and-a-half years I volunteered virtually full time and saw many positive improvements on both fronts. But, some people in the church plotted against me.

When a new pastor came, these people convinced him, even before he actually arrived on the scene, that I and two other key staff members would have to go. So, they joined forces to plot against us and forced us out.

I cannot begin to describe the trauma this caused in my life, and more so in the lives of my two colleagues. I can say with certainty that the worst and most unfair treatment I have received in my life came at the hands of people who were my brothers and sisters in Christ.

For this very same reason in his own life, King Solomon made this declaration in Proverbs 14:22:

Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.

I hope you never have someone plot against you. If you do, please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. After all, Jesus was the subject of a terrible plot against Him by the religious leaders of His day.

And, even more important, I hope you have never plotted against someone to harm them. If you have, you must follow these steps:

  1. confess what you have done

  2. repent of your actions

  3. make restitution for the harm you’ve caused, and

  4. seek complete restoration with the brother or sister in Christ whom you have harmed.

God does not honor those who plot evil against one of His dearly loved children. And, He holds those who focus on doing good in a special place in His heart.

So go about planning good. Flee from plotting evil. Your reward will be the peace of God that passes all understanding.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Driving Out Fear


[Photo of a heart with words superimposed]

“There is no fear in love.”
—1 John 4:18a

We do a pretty good job of putting on a brave front. However, in the core of our beings, most of us have a list of things of which we are afraid. These things, whatever they are, make us full of fear.

Do you know what makes you fearful? I am all too keenly aware of my fears.

You see just about 30 years ago, my personal care physician, concerned about my morbid obesity—that’s a polite term for someone who is ghastly overweight or, in my case, strikingly fat—referred me to a psychiatrist to see if he could uncover the deep psychological reasons for my “weight problem.”

In other blog posts, I’ve recounted my eighteen months of therapy that ended when the psychiatrist fell asleep during one of our counseling sessions. I did not have an “Eureka” moment and suddenly shed pounds. In fact, as I have also recounted previously, I eventually grew my weight to a truly deadly 557 pounds and became hospitalized at Christmastime in 2005 for congestive heart failure.

Fortunately an open Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in July of 2006 resulted in a weight loss of 237 pounds. So, while I am a shadow of my former self, I’m still casting an enormous shadow.

The psychiatric counseling did not disclose any one cause for my obesity. But, I did learn a great deal about myself.

I know that I am so starved for human love and acceptance—stemming from an unreasonable sense of abandonment by my birth mother—that virtually no amount of human love and caring, no matter how genuine, will ever satisfy my “needs.”

As a result, among my many fears, I have a fear of not belonging that promotes me to behave in ways that pushes away the very people I want to love and accept me. Fear is a very powerful foe.

And, the only power that can dispel fear is God-breathed—agape—love. This knowledge prompted the Apostle John to write these words in 1 John 4:18:

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

I have no idea what fears may plague your life. I also know from my own experience that you may not even be aware of the fear that is controlling a part, or all, of your life.

I do know for an absolute certainty that the more we surrender to God’s love, the more our fear will be driven away.

If I may, I would like to suggest that you and I prayerfully open our hearts, minds, souls, and strength to God’s love this day. The more we do, the more “real” we will become; the more whole we will become; the more like our Savior we will become; and the more God’s love will cast out our fears.

And that, dear ones, will be very good, indeed.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Law-fulfilling Love


[Photo of a Valentine heart with words superimposed]

“Love does no harm to a neighbor.”
—Romans 13:10a

Whatever diminishing percentage of people in the world who actually believe in eternity—and possibly care about getting there—spend most of their time trying to follow a set of rules set forth by their religion. That’s the one thing that totally sets Christianity apart from all other religions: there really are no rules.

If you believe you’re a Christian and are shocked by that statement, well, I’m not at all surprised. But, it’s true. There is absolutely, positively nothing we can do to earn our way into heaven. That’s because God has done it all without us.

If God has chosen us to belong to Him—and we wouldn’t have any interest in Him whatsoever if He hadn’t chosen us—then He has poured His love into us, sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for us, raised Jesus from the dead to secure our eternal home in heaven, and placed His Holy Spirit within us to guide us along the pathway He has laid out before us.

So, you see it’s not up to us. God has done it all. There are no rules!

What’s that you say? What about free will?

Oh, we have free will all right. We can choose to follow the pathway God has laid out for us, or we can choose not to follow it. But, we will be much happier, more fulfilled, and more at peace if we decide to bend our free will to God’s perfect will for us.

With these truths out on the table, we can finally understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote the words found in Romans 13:9-10:

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Love fulfills the Law. If we allow God-breathed love to flow through us and out into a needy world, we will become startlingly good and amazingly “well-behaved” people. Not because we’re trying to win God’s favor. But, because the only logical, reasonable, intelligent response to God’s love is to become instruments of His love in a very needy world.

If we’re trying to win God’s favor by being “good people” we need to stop. By ourselves we can never become good enough.

But we can become tuned in vessels of God-breathed love. And, if we allow that to happen, we can help change the world.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Covering Love


[Photo of a leaf with words superimposed]

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense…”
—Proverbs 17:9a

When you love someone, truly love him or her, you will tolerate a great deal of their behaviors. You will even tolerate behaviors with which you do not agree.

That’s a very fair description of how God relates to those of us He has chosen as His very own children. Even though we are sinners saved by God’s grace, we are still sinners. And, we will remain sinners—redeemed sinners, but still sinners—until we pass from this life to eternal life.

Because we’re still sinners, we all too often act contrary to God’s will for us. In spite of our sinful behavior, God still loves us. His love is not fickle. In fact, His love covers our sinful behavior.

No matter what we do, God still loves us with His everlasting love. That’s how God expects us to love others.

King Solomon wrote about this covering love in Proverbs 17:9:

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

We can hardly imagine a covering love. Our relationships with people are usually very performance oriented. As long as the ones we love meets our minimum standard of behavior, we will love them. But, let them stray too far, or too often, from our standard of behavior and we will begin to withhold our love.

We need to learn to love others in the same way that God loves us. So, this day, let’s focus on extending a covering love toward those whom God brings across our pathway.

Just imagine how pleased God will be when we extend His covering love to others.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 25, 2016

The Pathway of Love


[Photo of two children hugging]

“…since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
—1 John 4:11

Have you noticed how easy it is to reciprocate certain behaviors? If someone treats you with kindness, it becomes so much easier to treat him or her with kindness in return.

During the last twenty years of my full-time working career, from 1983 through 2003, I traveled extensively in the United States. I was “on the road” 39 weeks out of 52 for most of those years, teaching seminars, investigating large fire losses, and attending national committee meetings.

I traveled mostly by air and became all too familiar with handling canceled flights. I quickly learned that treating airline personnel with kindness usually resulted in them treating me with kindness in return.

That same principle applies in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. God has dealt with us in such a kind and loving way that it should become easy for us to show His love to others.

The Apostle John wrote these words in 1 John 4:11-12:

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have the opportunity during this new day to extend God-breathed love to everyone who crosses our pathway. So, let’s make a conscious effort to see those around us through God’s eyes of love and compassion.

Just imagine how pleased our heavenly Father will be when He sees us loving others because He first loved us. He will certainly delight in knowing that we have chosen to follow His pathway of love.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Inseparable Love - Part 2


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

Nothing…“will be able to separate us from the love
of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
—Romans 8:39b

The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul to Christians gathered in the capital city of the Roman empire. Unique of all of Paul’s letters, he was writing to believers whom he had not yet had the opportunity to meet.

The Book of Romans is the most theological book in all of the Bible. Paul presents his systematic theology in such a way that these new Christians in Rome will understand the fullness of belief in the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Chapter 8 concludes the first critical section of the book. And, the following two verses conclude chapter 8. Notice carefully what Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The whole of the gospel hinges on God's love for those He has chosen to belong to Himself and the love He has given them to show to others on His behalf. This marks Christianity as unique among all world religions.

No other religion is so totally free of performance requirements as Christianity is. God initiates love. He breathes His love into His chosen children. He provides for their salvation through the death and resurrection of His one and only Son.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love. It is an inseparable love. And, that is very good news at the beginning of this new day.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Inseparable Love - Part 1


[Photo of a wooden cross necklace with words superimpoed]

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
—Romans 8:35a

For whatever deep psychological reasons, I have always been a very insecure person. While now in my dotage I have become somewhat less bothered by insecurity, I still remember how I felt when I was younger.

If people told me that they loved me, I always expected them to stop loving me at any moment. My insecure behaviors often resulted in the people who loved me wanting to flee away from me. Their reaction to my insecurity, of course, only served to validate my feelings of insecurity.

Fortunately, God’s love does not depend on our behaviors. No matter how insecure we may feel about His love, God’s love is an inseparable love.

The Apostle Paul confirms this in Romans 8:35-37:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

We can rely on the inseparability of God’s love. Once He chooses us as His dearly loved children, He never, ever stops loving us.

Let us respond this day to God’s inseparable love by greeting every person who crosses our pathway with that same kind of God-breathed love.

In this tit-for-tat world, let us keep loving others no matter how they may behave. In this way we will model the inseparable love God has for us.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Message Repeated


[Photo of a brand burned into a tree stump]

“We should love one another.”
—1 John 3:11b

Whenever someone tells us the same message over and over it usually means one of two things. Either the person repeating the message has a mental impairment, so he or she can’t remember what was said, or the message is a really important one.

In the case of the message regarding love, it is obviously the latter. The often-repeated message of love in the Bible is really important.

The Apostle John confirms this in 1 John 3:11:

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

John states that we have heard the message of love from the beginning. It is a message repeated over and over because it’s really important that we understand how crucial love is in the life of a believer.

For those times we have not acted or spoken lovingly, we need to confess and repent. When faced with new challenges or new opportunities, we need to act and speak with love.

Let us begin this new day with love in our hearts and on our minds. Let’s prove to God that we’ve received His message.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This is Love…


[Graphic of 1 John 4:12]

“This is love: not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his
Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. ”
—1 John 4:10

In the movies, love is a constant theme. The same is true for literature and music. It seems as if love is always on our minds.

The great Christian writer of the 20th century, C. S. Lewis, wrote an amazing little book entitled The Four Loves in which he carefully explains the difference between the four words in the New Testament Greek language that are simply translated “love” in the English language.

What does the word “love” really mean? The Apostle John offers this cogent definition of the word “love” in 1 John 4:10-12:

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Through the resurrection power of the living Lord Jesus Christ, God’s love is made complete in us. So, we believers should live and act in ways that demonstrate the fullness of God’s love within us.

Let’s begin another new day keenly aware of God's love. And, let us become willing vessels of that love, carrying into a desperately needy world.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Life-giving Love


[Photo of a door with words superimposed]

“A new command I give you: Love one another.”
—John 13:34

There’s something extraordinary about deeply devoted love. It has a unique healing power.

People who find themselves in the darkest of situations can begin to see a glimmer of hope when love floods into their lives.

Jesus commanded us—those who believe in and follow Him—to extend His love enthusiastically. Notice what He said in John 13:34-35:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So, we have a new command. Let’s burst into this day ready, willing, and able to extend God-breathed love to those we meet, particularly our brothers and sisters in Christ.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, January 15, 2016

No Greater Love


[Photo of the globe in God's hands with Scripture verse superimposed]

“For God did not send his Son into
the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.”
—John 3:17

One of my all time favorite songs comes from the Broadway production of A Chorus Line. Here are the lyrics:

Kiss today goodbye,
The sweetness and the sorrow
Wish me luck, the same to you
But I can’t reget what I did for love,
What I did for love.

Look, my eyes are dry,
The gift was ours to borrow
It’s as if we always knew
And I won't forget what I did for love,
What I did for love.

Gone, love is never gone,
As we travel on,
Love’s what we’ll remember.

Kiss today goodbye,
And point me toward tomorrow
We did what we had to do
Won’t forget,
Can’t regret what I did for love.
What I did for love…
What I did for love…
What I did for love.

The song “What I Did for Love” was written by Edward Lawrence Kleban, Marvin Hamlisch, and Edward Kleban. It has hauntingly soulful lyrics and a very wistful melody.

When I listen to that song, particularly on a day like today, I cannot help but hear God say, “Do you know how much I love you? Do you know what I did for love?”

The answer comes to us in Jesus’ own words, recorded in John 3:16-17:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

There is no greater love. And, we are the recipients of that amazing love.

In case you’re not familiar with the song I referenced above, here’s an example of it from the new cast album of A Chorus Line:


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



Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Persevering Love


[Graphic of the word Love superimposed over Scripture verse]

“Love… always perseveres. ”
—1 Corinthians 13:7b

God loves us no matter what! No matter what we do, no matter what we say, no matter what we feel, no matter what we think, God loves us.

The Apostle Paul confirms this quality of God-breathed love when he writes these words in 1 Corinthians 13:6-7:

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

Of course, God desires that we, His dearly loved children, will be obedient to His Word and to His will. But He never stops loving us.

And, He desires to breathe that same kind of love into us this day through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

So, let us open our hearts to this God-breathed love and love God back. Let us also share His magnificent love with everyone who crosses our pathway today.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Genuine Love


[Graphic of words]

“Love is patient, love is kind.”
—1 Corinthians 13:4a

The words “I was just pretending” can be the most devastating words if they come from the lips of someone who said that he or she loved you.

More than 50 years ago, when I was in high school, there was a football player who developed a reputation for lying about his feelings of love in order to trick girls into submitting to his advances. Even as his behavior became relatively well known and even as he left a wake of tearful girls, he still kept successfully tricking an ever-increasing number of other girls to submitting to his requests.

Genuine love is never wrapped in pretense. As the Apostle Paul explains, genuine love has well-defined qualities because it is God-breathed love. Notice what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

The love that Paul describes is totally opposite from the utterly selfish “I was just pretending” love of the high school football player from half a century ago.

As we begin this new day, let us seek God-breathed love so that we may show the world around us what genuine love looks like. The culture that surrounds us will, frankly, be startled by this look at genuine love.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Without Love…


[Photo of flower petals forming the word Love]

“If I speak in the tongues of men
or of angels, but do not have
love, I am only a resounding
gong or a clanging cymbal.”
—1 Corinthians 13:1

Without Love…

God-breathed love is the most powerful force in the lives of believers. That’s why the Apostle Paul devoted an entire chapter of Scripture to the subject.

Paul begins by declaring these truths in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Paul had experienced first hand the power of God-breathed love. Let us follow in Paul's footsteps this day and open ourselves to this mighty power.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Ever-Increasing Love


[Graphic of a Scripture verse]

“We ought always to thank God for you…”
—2 Thessalonians 1:3a

Can you imagine the mess we would be in if God’s love was fickle? One moment God would love us. The next moment He wouldn’t love us. As believers, we would be in a constant state of confusion. We would never know where we stood with regard to God's love for us.

But, God’s love isn't fickle. His love is constant and never-changing. Because God’s love is constant, our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ should not only be constant, but ever-increasing.

The Apostle Paul confirms this fact in 2 Thessalonians 1:3:

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

As our faith in God grows, as the Holy Spirit builds an ever-stronger spiritual foundation within our hearts and minds, a natural outcome will be ever-increasing love for our fellow believers.

This new day, ask God to enable you to love you brothers and sisters in Christ with an ever-increasing love. By the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you, God will truly answer this prayer.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Enabling Love


[Photo of varied colors with words superimposed]

“But I tell you, love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you”
—Matthew 5:44a

A friend of mine in the ministry recently wrote these words: “If it is not of love, it is not of God. If it doesn’t exhibit or embody or extend love, it doesn't exhibit or embody or extend God.”

I believe Jesus would agree. Notice what our Lord says, as recorded in Matthew 5:43-48:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

God-breathed love is an enabling force. And, of course, it must be God-breathed love because left to our own devices we cannot conjure up the kind of love Jesus is talking about.

Love my enemies? Not without the enablement of the Holy Spirit. In my flesh I not only do not want to love those who have chosen to make themselves my enemy, I want to see them suffer and be destroyed.

But that is not of God. God’s way is an enabling love—a love that heals and restores and binds up wounds and blesses. Only the Holy Spirit can give us this enabling love.

Let us seek this love as we begin another day. Let us open our minds and hearts to God's enabling love.


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


Thursday, January 7, 2016

God Guards Our Lives


[Photo of mother and son with words superimposed]

“ Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful one”
—Psalm 97:10

In a world where danger seems to lurk around every corner, who will protect us? Of course, we’re not the first group of people to have to walk a dangerous road.

From his own experience, the Psalmist offers these words from Psalm 97:10-12:

Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.

Not only does the Psalmist assure us that God guards our lives, he offers us a way of responding when he instructs us to “Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.”

Let us take this opportunity at the beginning of a new day to rejoice in God’s loving protection. Let’s praise Him for guarding our lives.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Promise Despised?


[Photo of gapes with words superimposed]

“Whoever pursues righteousness and
love finds life, prosperity and honor.”
—Proverbs 21:21

So, we graduate from high school or college. Spurred on by a success-obsessed culture, we look for a way to achieve success as quickly as possible.

Before long we meet some people who illustrate for us that by compromising your values, by cutting corners here and there, and by telling an occasional lie we can climb to the top.

We make compromises and drift from our values. Now we're beginning to realize success as measured by our culture. But, one day we wake up to the reality that we are no longer the persons we once were.

The term “prosperity gospel” has taken on a horrible connotation in our Evangelical sub-culture. The very idea that placing our lives uncompromisingly in God'’s hands will bring us spiritual and material prosperity is an anathema to many.

There are plenty of preachers who urge us to surrender everything we are and everything we possess to God and, in return, He will pour out unimaginable blessings to fill our lives full to overflowing. Many other Evangelical preachers look at their own lives and circumstances and declare such “prosperity preaching” just isn’t true. After all, they believe they have totally given their lives over to service to God, yet they remain in near abject poverty—at least as far as material things are concerned. As a result of this thinking, they despise the very idea that faithfulness to God will result in prosperity and even become angry about the very idea.

But, the truth is that surrendering our wills to God through Christ and opening ourselves up to the leading of the Holy Spirit will bring us an extraordinary prosperity—a prosperity, however, defined solely by the God who loves us with His everlasting love.

Will we become fabulously wealthy? Will we rise to positions of power and influence in our chosen professions? Will we own multiple residences and travel extensively? Will we become so wise that people will flock to hear and heed our advice?

Maybe—maybe not. But, we will live lives of transformational prosperity. If we bend our foolish, sinful, selfish wills to God's perfect will—as the Holy Spirit enables us—we will experience a great outpouring of God's overwhelming goodness.

King Solomon nailed it when he wrote in Proverbs 21:21:

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

Is there a “prosperity gospel”? I guess it depends on how you choose to define the term. Is the promise contained in the wrappings of Solomon’s proverb true? After all, he became the richest man who ever lived. How dare he suggest that God would do for others what He had done for Solomon. So, the question remains: is there a “prosperity gospel”?

I can testify that following Jesus has enriched my life beyond my ability to measure. Even at this point in my life—with some significant mobility issues from profound-progressive osteoarthritis of the knees, hips, and back—I experience a richer, fuller life than I would have ever experienced without a great outpouring of God’s mercy, grace, and love.

I am not “healthy, wealthy, and wise.” But, I am far better off because God chose me to belong to Himself than I could ever be if I despised His promise.

So, yes, pursuing the pathway of righteousness that God lays out for us does lead to a prosperity of the most valuable kind. There is no point in despising the promise.

King Solomon was right. And, that should not be a surprise.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Worshiping Night and Day


[Drawing of Anna holding the baby Jesus]

“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter
of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher.”
—Luke 2:36

Most of us find ourselves so wrapped up in the busy world we inhabit that it seems difficult to find time to worship. We are constantly pulled this way and that way. Seldom are we pulled toward the church and the worship of the God who loves us.

But not Anna. Having lost her husband after only seven years of marriage, she spent the rest of her unusually long life devoted to worship.

Dr. Luke records her encounter with the Messiah in Luke 2:36-40:

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.

She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.

Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Oh that we could have such devotion!

Even as we go about our many tasks, we can foster within us a spirit of worship. We can be always listening for the leading and guiding voice of the Holy Spirit.

We can have a word of testimony about the goodness of God ready on our lips. We can be quick to tell others what God has done for us through His one and only Son, Jesus.

Let us surely take time this day, and every day, to praise and worship the God who is the Lover of our Souls.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Revealing the Thoughts of Many Hearts


[Drawing of Simeon holding the baby Jesus]

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called
Simeon, who was righteous and devout.”
—Luke 2:25

The Lord Jesus Christ is the most controversial person in all of history. You either love Him, or you secretly hate Him.

Satan has manipulated humankind in such a way that the powerful name of Jesus has become a common curse word. I sometimes wonder if the name of Jesus is spoken more as a curse than it is spoken as an entreaty for help in sincere prayer.

The wise older man, Simeon, who greeted Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem, predicted this very outcome, as recorded in Luke 2:25-35:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

You see, Simeon predicted quite accurately that Jesus would become “a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”

What do you make of Jesus? Is He your Savior and Lord? Or has His precious name become your common curse words, spoken whenever you’re frustrated?

If the latter, repent. Then, embrace Him as He really is—the one who became a son of man that you might become a son of God.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Thoughtful Obedience


[Drawing of Mary cuddling the baby Jesus]

“Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”
—Luke 2:23

The miracle of the Incarnation rocked Mary’s and Joseph’s world. In the midst of everything to which they had to adjust, they remembered the instruction God had given them. Here’s Luke 2:21-24:

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

The lesson for us from this passage: when God instructs us through His Word, we must respond in obedience.

Let us determine this day—particularly as a new calendar year begins—that, with the enabling help of the Holy Spirit, we will be obedient. For obedience to God’s will and to His Word is the only thing God requires of us.


Copyright © 2016 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.