Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sing to God


[Photo of a lake with words superimposed]

“ Sing to God, sing in praise of his name…”
—Psalm 68:4a

One of the things we believers can do that absolutely delights God is to sing to Him. We can sing songs that praise Him and tell everyone who hears us that God is great and that God is good.

For years, I have tried to encourage pastors at the churches where I have worshipped to find one of the attributes of God that ties in with the pastor’s sermon for that week. Then, make that attribute of God the theme for that week’s worship.

Using an attribute of God as a theme for worship helps make the entire worship service a cohesive unit, as opposed to unrelated individual parts. With a well-thought-through worship theme based on an attribute of God drawn from the sermon, the worship service becomes a tightly focused event that will draw those who attend into the very heart of what the pastor wants to convey. It also reminds the worshippers of the very qualities that God possesses.

Frankly, I’ve not had much success convincing pastors of the merits of this plan. But, I hold out hope that someday I will come across a pastor who will see the genuine value in my suggestion.

I do know that I have the Psalmist on my side. Consider these words from Psalm 68:4:

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.

Whether we consider ourselves talented singers or not, we can all lift our voices in praise to God. In so doing, we acknowledge who He is and how important He is to us. And that, dear ones, is a very good thing to do.


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


Wednesday, June 29, 2016



[Photo of a dad and his son at the beach with words superimposed]

“…the Lord has compassion on those who fear him…”
—Psalm 103:13b

The word “fear” is used in two distinct ways in Scripture: “to be afraid” and “to demonstrate respect.” This latter usage seldom appears in our day-to-day language.

This respect is born from a realization that the person or object that we “fear” has awesome power.

In the winter of 1968, I traveled with four other officers from the Houghton (NY) Fire Department to Elmira Heights (NY) to take delivery of Houghton 2Truck1 or 2T1. This was a Ward LaFrance fire truck (as opposed to a “fire engine”) with a 65 ft. High Ranger aerial platform, a 1,000 gallons-per-minute Hale pump, 212 ft. of ground ladders, and 1,000 ft. of 2 1/2-inch fire hose. It also had 150 ft. of quick-attack 1 1/2-inch hose arranged in a Mattydale-style hose bed and 150 ft. of one-inch booster hose on a motorized-rewind reel. It was powered by a 500 hp gasoline engine with an Allison HD-70 automatic transmission. It was ten-feet wide and 46 1/2-feet long. It cost $78,000.

The duties of Training Officer for this new rig were added to my duties as fire marshal and engine company captain. I had to teach other department members how to use this magnificent new rig.

At first, everyone on the fire department wanted to learn how to drive this monster and operate the aerial platform. But, after a few minutes behind the wheel, some said they “feared” this rig. They weren’t afraid of it hurting them. No, they were filled with awe and respect at it’s power.

After all, whenever you turned a corner, the turning wheels were ten feet behind you—a very different experience from driving a car or a normal truck.

So, “fear” can mean “deep respect born out of an understanding of awesome power.”

This helps us understand the words of the Psalmist found in Psalm 103:13:

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

Surely we “Christ’s-ones” have deep respect for the awesome power of God. As a result, God has great compassion toward us.

May this day in our lives be marked by God’s overwhelming compassion and unfailing love. And, may we rejoice with great thanksgiving that we belong to Him.


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


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Joy Makers


[Photo of a small child's hand inside an adult's hand]

“The father of a righteous child has great joy…”
—Proverbs 23:24a

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we do not obey God because we think we can earn points with Him. Christ has already paid the penalty for our sins on the cross. If God has chosen us to belong to Himself, our entrance to heaven is secure—as secure as His love for us.

We obey God because we love Him. The fruit of our love for God is obedience to His Word and to His will.

By obeying God, we show Him that He is more important than we are. What He wants is more important than what we want.

Obedience is an act of selflessness. We don’t obey God intentionally to benefit us. We obey God as a sign of our devotion to Him.

Now it is true that our obedience to God does bring benefits into our lives because His way for us is the best way. But, the impetus for our obedience is born out of our love for Him.

King Solomon also reported an added benefit from our obedience when he wrote these words in Proverbs 23:24:

The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.

Our obedience brings our heavenly Father joy, just as obedience brings joy to an earthly father.

Let’s determine to show our love to God today by obeying Him. And, let us do so knowing our obedience brings Him joy. Let’s become “joy makers”!


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


Monday, June 27, 2016

Truly Devoted


[Photo of a tee shirt with words written on it]

“Be devoted to one another in love.”
—Romans 12:10a

As “Christ’s-one”—Christians, or believers in the life-transforming power of the Lord Jesus—we literally have brothers and sisters in Christ scattered in all the corners of the world. Imagine how wonderful it will be in heaven to get to know all these fascinating family members.

Right now, we have the joy of relating in compassion and love to these dear ones, as we support each other in spreading the good news of what God has done in our lives through His Son.

You see, we have both a great privilege and a significant responsibility to work in concert with other believers to fulfill the Great Commission recorded in Matthew 28:16-20. That’s what the Body of Christ—His Church—is all about.

When we talk about “His Church” with a capital letter “C,” we’re talking about all believers, no matter with which denomination they may have identified. In God’s eyes, we are a single force for His purpose: Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Messianic Jewish, and every single combination, split, division, and subgroup. We need to think ever-more-globally about our calling as believers.

But, I’m certainly not suggesting we simply lay aside our distinctions. Just as the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—represents the perfect example of diversity in unity, so we, with our numerous denominations, can remain diverse in our parsing of Christianity, while remaining perfectly unified as one in Christ, determined to serve Him with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strengths.

So, let me suggest that we focus during this week on showing our oneness in Christ to our fellow believers, and, thus, to the world around us.

The Apostle Paul urges us, in Romans 12:10, to:

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

The needy world around us needs to see us Christians as united in our devotion to Christ and to each other. I know we can do this. Yes! I absolutely know we can!


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


Friday, June 24, 2016

The Best Gift


[Photo of a wrapped package with words superimposed]

“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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
—Luke 11:13

As a young child in elementary school, I remember waiting with eager anticipation for the arrival in early November of the Sears’ Christmas Catalog. I would spend hours looking at the many pages of toys trying to decide which toy I should request as my one Christmas gift.

We were like many middle class families in those post-World War II days. We had very modest means. It was a real sacrifice to buy gifts. I had learned never to expect the kind of showering of gifts that children seem to receive today.

One gift—one carefully chosen gift for which to study and compare and dream about and finally to humbly request. Then, the wait until Christmas Day began.

In our home, the gifts were a relatively minor part of Christmas. We spent far more time talking about and celebrating Jesus’ birth. Our Savior is born—God with us.

But always, in the back of my mind, as I sat looking at that Sears’ Christmas Catalog was the hopeful expectation that on Christmas Day I would receive the gift I had requested.

Jesus understood the importance of the very best gift His disciples needed if they were to go out and help change the world. That’s why He spoke these words, as recorded in Luke 11:13:

“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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

This day we can go out and help change the world in behalf of Christ because the Holy Spirit dwells within us. The Spirit leads us and guides us. He helps us and protects us. He makes the way laid out before us passable, no matter what barrier Satan tries to place in our pathway.

Let us humbly thank God for this very best gift of His Spirit. And, let us go out into our world ready to help defeat the evil that strives to destroy it.


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


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Glory Declared


[Photo of mountains with words superimposed]

“The heavens declare the glory of God…”
—Psalm 19:1a

Some people assert there is no God. They look around and all they see seems to them like the result of some grand accident.

When we “Christ’s-ones” look around us at the marvels of creation, we see the creative hand of the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Image of God within us gives ready testimony that the God who loves us has created all things.

The Psalmist stood in awe at God’s creative work when he wrote these words in Psalm 19:1-2:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

A high school classmate of mine went on to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy and become a pilot during the time period at the end of the Viet Nam War. In a newspaper interview for the hometown newspaper, he tried to describe what it was like to fly a jet fighter plane. He used the phrase “surrounded by the hand of God.”

As we take off into this new day, let us rejoice that we are truly surrounded by the hands of the God who loves us with His everlasting love.

And, as we look at all He has created around us, let us rejoice in knowing that we belong to the one who has created everything in the heavens and on earth.


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


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Be Still


[Photo of a tree with words superimposed]

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that
I am God; I will be exalted among the
nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the
God of Jacob is our fortress.”
—Psalm 46:10-11

During my wife’s 30-plus years as an elementary and middle school music teacher, she encountered a wide range of interesting fellow teachers.

One lady became so used to trying to quiet the children in her classroom, that she began to idiosyncratically punctuate her phrases in normal conversation with a “shushing” sound.

We do live in a noise-filled world. Some noise exists as ambient sounds, some noise we make ourselves. This apparently is not a new phenomenon.

The Psalmist had to urge those singing his words from Psalm 46:10-11 to heed God’s instruction:

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

In order to experience the fullness of God’s Presence, we sometimes need to silence the din of the world around us.

Let’s determine to take time this day to silently wait on God and, then, to bask in the glory of His Presence.


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


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Forgiving Heart


[Photo of a cliff with words superimposed]

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
—Colossians 3:13b

The hardest thing we will ever do in this life is to forgive someone who has genuinely harmed us. I’m not talking about small offenses or little hurts. I’m talking about those whopper of attacks that have nearly ruined our lives.

I’ve shared on this blog before that my deepest personal attacks have come at the hands of fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Two men in particular conspired with a sociopathically-behaving pastor, who then turned others against me, in order to deprive me and several others of our jobs. All three of these men are bullies. They acted as despicable troublemakers.

They harmed me, but nearly destroyed two of my colleagues, one of whom has yet to recover financially and otherwise. The most natural thing in the world is to hate these three perpetrators with a white hot hatred.

How can I possibly forgive them? More precisely, how can I not forgive them?

The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, offered these words of instruction in Colossians 3:13:

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Forgiveness, true forgiveness, is not easy. But, when considering the depths of my own sin for which my Savior bled and died, how can I possibly withhold my forgiveness?

And so, I must allow the power of Christ within me to be ready, willing, and able to forgive. I must develop, with God’s enabling, a forgiving heart.

It seems very unlikely that those who harmed me and my colleagues will ever ask for forgiveness. They will likely never confess their sin against us, repent of that sin, make restitution for that sin, and then, seek restoration. Nevertheless, I must stand ready to forgive them.

If you are holding an unforgiving spirit today, in your mind and heart, lay that unforgiveness at the foot of the cross. Ask Jesus to enable you to forgive.

He will set you free from the chains that bind you and give you a forgiving heart. And, that will lift a huge burden from your soul.


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


Monday, June 20, 2016

Choosing the Proper Gate


[Photo of a narrow pathway with words superimposed]

“Enter through the narrow gate.”
—Matthew 7:13a

Life consists of a series of choices. Every day, we make many, many choices. Looking back over our lives, we likely see numerous choices we wish we had made differently.

Knowing that we make choices continually, prompted our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to offer these words of instruction, as recorded in Matthew 7:13-14:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Jesus knew that we would be tempted, time and again, to choose the easier pathway. It’s only natural to think that the broad road with the wide gate would make the best choice.

But the easiest way is not the best way. It takes concentration and effort to stay on the narrow path. It takes more than a little hard work to squeeze through the narrow gate.

Fortunately, we do not have to rely simply on our own effort. God has given us His blessed Holy Spirit to prompt us to stay on the narrow path and to squeeze through the narrow gate.

Today, as we launch out into the world around us, let’s determine to remain very sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. Let’s stay on the narrow pathway. Let’s push through the narrow gate. Let’s honor God and His great love for us through our conscious and willful obedience.


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


Friday, June 17, 2016

The True Source of Strength


[Photo of a deer with words superimposed]

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength…”
—Habakkuk 3:19a

Every person on earth draws strength to face the day from some source. As believers in the life-transforming power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ, our source of strength comes from the God who loves us with His everlasting love.

The Prophet has made this very clear in Habakkuk 3:19:

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.

I particularly like this verse because I have not been able to climb stairs since 2003. The profound progressive osteo-arthritis of the knees, hips, and back that limits my mobility certainly keeps me from “prancing like a deer,” as I once did.

Every step that I now can takes is a precious gift from God. The two canes on which I rely in order to walk short distances are precious gifts from God. The powered wheel chair I use for longer distances is a precious gift from God. And, my continued ability to walk around within my home without using either my canes or my powered wheel chair is most certainly a precious gift from God.

In our spiritual lives, as well as in our physical lives, God is our strength. He enables us to achieve ever more Christ-likeness in our hearts, minds, and behavior. God, who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, grants us the ability to act as His ambassadors to a troubled and deeply needy world.

So, as we begin this day, let’s thank Him and praise Him for the strength He lovingly provides.

In Thomas Chisholm’s marvelous hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” he included this phrase: “...strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”

Truly God is our strength, for this day and every day. May all praise, glory, honor, and majesty ever abide with His blessed and holy name.


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


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Salvation For Those Who Wait


[Drawing of Christ returning in glory]

“…so Christ was sacrificed once to take
away the sins of many; and he will appear
a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring
salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
—Hebrews 9:28

When I was eight years old, my father began an every-two-weeks’ tradition that lasted through each summer until I turned twelve years old. To understand this bi-weekly event, I need to explain that my dad was a salesman of hotel and restaurant supplies, including a custom blend of locally roasted coffee. He called on customers in a two-week rotation.

In addition to hotels and restaurants, he also called on a wide variety of mom and pop stores. So, every two weeks, on a Wednesday, he made a swing through Derrick City, Duke Center, Rixford, and Eldred. These little central northwestern Pennsylvania towns were all located in McKean County, not far from my hometown of Bradford.

I loved to swim. But, because I had been severely bullied, I was afraid to use the community swimming pool in my hometown. Fortunately, on this bi-weekly route, my dad drove past the community pool next to the Otto-Eldred High School. Since no one there knew who I was, I could swim safely without fear of being bullied.

My dad would drop me off at about 11:30 in the morning. I would sit on a park bench and eat a snack. When the pool opened at Noon, I would enter and spend the afternoon in the water. (I realize leaving an eight-year-old alone today would be unheard of—even be cause for arrest. But, it was a safer time back in 1955.)

As the afternoon drew to a close, I would get dressed and wait for my dad to pick me up. Sometimes, because the pool closed at 5:00 p.m., nearly every other person would have left by the time my dad arrived.

I would sit there waiting, never really afraid that my dad wouldn’t come, but often greatly anticipating his arrival. When I would spot his car turning into the parking lot, a surge of joy would course through my body. My dad had returned and I was always very glad to see him.

What I would feel on those long ago days is very similar to the kind of anticipation the writer of the Book of Hebrews draws upon when he writes these words in Hebrews 9:28:

…so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

We wait for Christ’s return with eager anticipation. We know He will return. We don’t know exactly when our Savior will come back. And, we don’t know whether we will graduate to Glory before He does so.

Nevertheless, whenever we pause from the tasks He has given us as His ambassadors, we sit on the park benches of our lives and look at the horizon toward eternity consumed with both joy and a very special peace—knowing that the time of His return is near.

As the Apostle Paul writes to his “son in the faith” in 2 Timothy 4:8:

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

We long for Christ’s appearing. Let’s remember that fact this very day. As we move forward into this new day, let’s anticipate our blessed Savior’s imminent return and wait for Him with eager anticipation.


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


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Established in Love


[Graphic with words superimposed]

“I pray that out of his glorious riches
he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being…”
—Ephesians 3:16a

The most powerful force in the universe is God-breathed (agape) love. This love from God transcends all other powers.

This unique love surpasses and triumphs over the power of evil. It defeats all attempts to destroy it. It brings true joy and true peace.

Notice these words from the Apostle Paul, as recorded in Ephesians 3:16-19:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Paul prays this prayer of special blessing for the “Christ’s-ones” gathered in Ephesus and for us today. May we this day bask in this glorious love that God has given us in Christ Jesus.

May we move out into this day as Christ’s ambassadors, established in love and ready to share God’s mercy and grace with everyone who crosses the pathways of our lives.


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


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

You Are Special


[Graphic of a Scripture verse]

“ Therefore encourage one another…”
—1 Thessalonians 5:11a

Everyone wants to feel that someone truly believes he or she is special. You probably heard someone say, “I really do love him (or her). But, I sometimes don't like him (or her) very much.”

That kind of talk is counter-cultural among believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not only enjoined to love each other with God-breathed (agape) love, we are to appreciate each other, respect each other, want the best for each other, and do all we can to encourage one another.

One of the reason I write these blog posts is to help encourage those who read them. I want to plant seeds of joy and hope and spiritual formation in their hearts when they take the time to read what I’ve written.

The Apostle Paul gave these words of instruction in 1 Thessalonians 5:11:

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

So, dear ones, let’s determine to build up and encourage our fellow believers, as we walk along the pathway that God has opened up before us this day and every day.


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


Monday, June 13, 2016

Begin with Praise


[Photo of mountains with words superimposed]

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power…”
—1 Chronicles 29:11a

One of the helpful aspects of life on earth for a believer is the opportunity to learn critically important lessons. For example, in dealing with the trials of life, we learn to become fully and unreservedly dependent on God.

If we pay very close attention, we can learn many significant and important lessons that will prove useful for all eternity. Among them is to start our day with words of praise for God.

Notice these words of praise found in 1 Chronicles 29:11:

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

These words are part of a prayer that King David prayed. He exalts God and speaks words of eternal truth about the majesty and glory of the Lord.

No matter what trials we may face this day, let us learn from David and start our day praising God. He will surely see us through our trial and bring us into His eternal glory.


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


Friday, June 10, 2016

A Gentle Answer


[Graphic of a Scripture verse]

“A gentle answer turns away wrath…”
—Proverbs 15:1a

The experiences of life often validate the teachings of Scripture. At least that’s what I’ve found over the years of my own life.

Thirteen years ago, when I began working as Director of Communications at a large downtown church, I became the staff representative who served on the Communications Committee. In the course of that responsibility, at one evening’s meeting, I offered my analysis of the culture held tightly by the people who have lived in this city all their lives.

It is a culture that celebrates mediocrity out of a fear of being thought uppity. People do not want others to feel that they think more highly of themselves than they should. They also take a very long time to make important decisions out of a fear that they will make the wrong decisions.

During the meeting, I offered these observations along with several others. I illustrated how the culture of the community affected decision-making within the church.

The next day, the chairperson of the committee telephoned me. She was furious with what I had said. She yelled at me and became very strident in her remarks to me.

My natural tendency, when backed into such a corner, was to respond in kind. I have a very quick and hot temper. I could have all too easily attacked her in return with white hot anger.

Just as I was about to unload some very blistering retorts of my own, God reminded me of these words from Proverbs 15:1:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Instead of unleashing my normal fury, I began to speak very softly and very quietly apologized for causing the chairperson such offense. Instantly, the tone of the conversation changed. The heat of the moment dissipated. The discussion took on a more reasonable tone. In a while, our conversation ended on a more neutral, even pleasant, tone.

I certainly understand, with the passage of time, how offensive my remarks must have seemed to her, as a long time member of this community

That is a far better outcome than if I had met anger with anger. I only wish I had applied that tactic in many other, earlier situations with other individuals.

Today, if someone approaches us in anger, let’s determine to offer a gentle response and see if that will prove God’s Word correct. Okay?


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


Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Promise of the Holy City


[Drawing of person hugging Jesus in heaven]

“Those who are victorious will inherit all this…”
—Revelation 21:7a

When I was a very small boy, I would often ask my dad when I would be old enough to ride a roller coaster. “One day soon,” he would say to me with a chuckle, knowing that at five years old I was no more ready to ride a roller coaster than cross the street by myself. I would persist with my asking and he would always reply, “One day soon, Pal-ly. One day soon.”

In August, I will begin my 69th year of life. Many of my distant ancestors did not live as long as I have lived. Of course, I have no assurance that I will even live that long. The only thing I know for certain is that God has numbered my days. Every breath that I take and every beat of my heart is truly a precious gift from Him.

I no longer have any desire to ride a roller coaster. (I did have the privilege more than a dozen years ago of participating in the design of the fire protection for a major thrill-ride roller coaster at one of the central Florida theme parks. I never had a chance to ride the coaster. My disability intervened before the project was completed.)

The Apostle John had been exiled to the Isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea just west of Turkey and east of Greece. It was a lonely rock of an island. As the oldest living Apostle, John had reached his early 90s—an almost unheard of age for a man living at this time in world history. He had long outlived his fellow “truth-carriers.”

God had preserved John’s life for a special reason. As he sat imprisoned on this bleak terrain, John was about to receive the most glorious and terrible visions from God. John wrote down what he experienced in what we now call the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse.

Toward the end of the last Book in the Bible, John records these powerful words in Revelation 21:5-7:

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

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”

In the previous verses, God had shown John the Holy City—the New Jerusalem. And, in these few verses God gives John, and all who follow King Jesus, the promise of that great city.

Down through the ages, brothers and sisters in Christ have prayed asking God the question: “How long before You return, O God, to claim victory over all You have created and usher us into Your Presence for evermore. How long before we can sit at the feet of Jesus and glory in His magnificent Presence. How long before we can join with the choir of angels around Your throne and sing the song: ‘Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God, Almighty! Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory!’”

Increasingly, as I advance in age, I have a new desire welling up within me. I long for eternity to arise. I long for the New Jerusalem. If my dad were still on this earth—he graduated to heaven back in 1981—I might ask him how long it will be until I see Jesus. Just as he answered my question as a little boy, he could very well answer my new question with his quiet words, “One day soon, Pal-ly. One day soon.”

God has given us the promise of the Holy City. It’s a very good promise. It is a promise that will surely come to pass. In fact, it is just around the corner.

If you go into a very dark room during the darkest part of the night, and if you squeeze your eyes very tightly shut, in your mind’s eye, far away on the horizon, you will be able to see just the faintest bit of light peeking above the Judean hills. I know this is true. I have seen it myself once or twice lately. Not every night, you understand, but just often enough to long for its coming. For then—yes, then—I will see Jesus, my Savior, face to face.


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


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Heaven in View


[Drawing of what the New Heaven might look like]

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth…”
—Revelation 21:1a

As a member of a gospel quintet more than 50 years ago, I remember clearly a number of the songs we used to sing at banquets and other church social gatherings. One of the songs, a spiritual, was intended to be somewhat humorous—at least it seemed that way at the time:

Everybody talkin’ ’bout
heaven ain’t goin’ there.
Heaven! Heaven! Heaven!
Gonna walk all over
God’s heaven!

A far better view of what lies ahead was recorded in very specific detail by the Apostle John in Revelation 21:1-4:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Did you know that in founding the United States of America those brave leaders often referred to this passage of Scripture in their writings? They knew they weren’t in heaven. But, as much as humanly possible, they wanted to create something that had never existed before.

They often used the phrase “a new order for the ages.” If you look at the Great Seal of the United States printed on the back side of the one dollar bill, you will find the Latin phrase: Novus ordo seclorum—which of course translates: “New order of the ages.”

The founders intended to bring to pass something as startling and new as the new heaven and new earth described by the Apostle John. Contrary to what you may have been taught in school, many of the founders were not Deists, but were actually committed Christians. They knew the power of what John described in opening verses of Revelation 21.

Yes, they knew the United States would not be heaven or even heaven on earth. But, they sincerely believed that the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—had uniquely blessed this new land, even called it into being for His purpose of changing the world.

Satan tried to destroy this new endeavor from the outside through two wars in the first 36 years of its existence. And, the evil one has tried and nearly succeeded to destroy our nation from within ever since.

As believers in the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe that, in His mercy, grace, and love, God can send another great, sweeping revival across our nation and pull us back from the brink of destruction. That is why we must pray that God will do so.

If He chooses not to respond to our prayers, we have heaven in view. The Apostle John encourages us with what lies ahead.

Our time on this earth is but the blink of an eye compared to eternity. Let us comfort one another this day with the knowledge that heaven awaits.


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


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak,
and Slow to Become Angry


[Graphic of James 1:19-20]

“…because human anger does not produce
the righteousness that God desires.”
—James 1:20b

Are you someone who walks into a room and people mediately welcome you with open arms and, more importantly, open hearts?

I always particularly enjoyed the way his friends greeted Norm Peterson whenever he would enter the bar, “Cheers.” The rafters would fairly shake with the hearty shout, “Norm!”

Some people—and maybe you’re one—are blessed with a naturally suave gregariousness the engenders a warmly open welcome wherever they go. Almost everyone seems to like them. Almost everyone seems always glad to see them.

I am decidedly not such a person.

At a former church, many years ago, a dear, sweet lady looked me right in the eyes and said, “You are the coldest most aloof person I know.” Frankly, I was grateful that she shared her opinion of me to my face, rather than talking about me behind my back.

I’ve often admitted in various blog posts how painfully shy I am. And yet, I have no nervousness in speaking to crowds of people as large as 5,000, or in talking on the radio or in a Podcast. I am, frankly, socially inept. I am not very good at small talk. All these qualities create in me an “anti-Norm.”

In continually seeking for any help God might give me in blunting my sharp edges and helping me to become more winsome, I have often reminded myself of these words from James 1:19-20:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Now there’s a formula I can wrap my mental arms around: quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

If I could listen carefully to others in an engaging, respectful, and helpful way, hold my tongue and not be so quick to speak, and not become angry so quickly—why I might turn into a real, live human being.

Isn’t it amazing? God loves us so much that He always meets us at our point of greatness need.

I don’t know how you might feel about such things, but I’m sure glad God chose me to belong to Himself.

I celebrate with great joy the people I know who receive a well-deserved “Norm-like” welcome. And, I hope—I say with a chuckle—that at some point in my life I will earn the privilege of receiving such a welcome myself—if not here on earth, maybe in heaven.


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


Monday, June 6, 2016

Truly Safe


[Graphic of a butterfly with words superimposed]

“…in God I trust and am not afraid.”
—Psalm 56:4b

Most of us who live in the United States of America plod through our days with little concern that we will ever have to live in fear because of what we believe. This despite the fact that little warning signs are popping up around us that point to a day when we may well be persecuted for our beliefs.

We only have to look to our neighbor to the north to see how the government there has significantly curtailed free speech in the name of protecting certain classes of people.

In our own country, many college campuses have become places where speech is tightly controlled. Instead of serving as places where a free exchange of ideas is welcomed, even encouraged, college campuses have closed their doors to people who hold viewpoints a vocal few do not want to hear.

Since the Millennials represent the largest generation of people born here since our nation began, and since they have become used to having their free speech curtailed in the name of preventing anyone from being offended, a severe limit on what we can say looms on the horizon.

If this prediction comes true, how will we Christ’s-ones respond? The Psalmist offers these words in Psalm 56:4:

In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

No matter what our society will ultimately choose to do to us who belong to God through His Son, Jesus, we can face our future truly safe in His loving arms.

With that in mind, let us boldly declare the love of God to those whom God prompts us to address. In a gentle, tender, and thoughtful way, we can share what God has done in our own lives. And, we can pray that God will send a great sweeping revival to our land.


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


Friday, June 3, 2016

A Heritage of Obedience


[Photo of a flower with a Bible verse superimposed]

“…the Lord’s love is with those who fear him…”
—Psalm 103:17a

The Bible often uses the phrase “fear the Lord.” It doesn’t mean fear in the sense of being “terrified or profoundly afraid.” Rather, it means “a deep respect born out of a loving obedience.”

So, fear of the Lord means that in response to the acknowledgement of God’s great love, we feel a deep respect that prompts us to respond with obedience to God’s will and to His Word.

The Psalmist captures this thought in Psalm 103:17-18:

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

God’s unfailing love fills the hearts of His obedient children. Their obedience illustrates their respect (fear) for the God who loves them.

Let us rejoice this day in the love that God pours into our lives. Let’s respond in obedience to Him.

As we consciously and purposefully bend our selfish and foolish will to His divine will, our obedience will reap the reward of showing Him our love and respect.


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


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Just Being There


[Graphic of a Scripture verse]

“Rejoice with those who rejoice;
mourn with those who mourn.”
—Romans 12:15

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ our role in this world is to serve our Savior as His ambassadors. In fulfilling that calling, we reach out to people around us and represent God’s divine Presence.

In every situation we act as Christ would act were He to encounter those who cross the pathway of our lives.

The Apostle Paul described our role in very concrete and forthright terms when he wrote these words recorded in Romans 12:15:

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Sometimes the most important role we can play is just being there with those in need.

Sometimes, the people who cross the pathway of our lives need someone to rejoice with them and help them celebrate the significant events in their lives. Jesus did this very thing when He attended the wedding at Canaan and made everything much better by just being there.

Other times, the people who cross the pathway of our lives need someone to share in their sorrow. Jesus did that many times during His earthly ministry. He brought comfort by just being there.

As we begin a new day, let’s determine to stay alert for those God brings into our lives. Let’s stand ready to meet them at their point of need.

If they need someone to rejoice with them, let’s rejoice. If they need someone to mourn with them, let’s mourn.

By so doing we will fulfill our ambassadorial role and surely please Christ our King.


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


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Finishing the Race


[Photo of a dirt road with words superimposed]

“…my only aim is to finish the race…”
—Acts 20:24b

I recently saw an interview of a young woman who had trained for many months to be able to run in the Boston Marathon. The interviewer asked her how well she expected to do.

“I want to finish the race. If I accomplish that, I will be satisfied,” she explained.

Her attitude mirrors what Dr. Luke reports the Apostle Paul said in Acts 20:24:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

That sentiment describes how we followers of Christ should view our lives. We should want to complete the task the Lord Jesus has given us: to be those who testify to the good news of God’s grace.

As we begin a new day, let’s move out with the mind set of ambassadors of our Savior, tasked with sharing God’s mercy, grace and live with a very needy world.

What a privilege we have to represent our Lord in this way. What joy we can experience knowing that we have cheerfully completed the assignment God has given us.


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