Monday, October 31, 2016

Showing Our True Colors to the World


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let them show it by their good life, by deeds
done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
—James 3:13

Looking back over the span of my life, I have come to understand that the qualities of the mind will rise and fall based on the qualities of the heart. What I mean by that statement is that a person’s ability to use the gifts of intellectual and spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding will prove useful only insofar as a person has apprehended those qualities that most affect the person’s heart.

I’ve been privileged to meet a number of individuals who many considered to possess a genius intellect. These very smart people often had interesting social quirks and didn’t really fit into the normal flow of life.

I remember hearing about one scientist who worked at a prominent national laboratory developing atomic weapons systems. His understanding of mathematics made him one of the very top talents in his field. But, he was so distracted by what was buzzing around in his mind that he never successfully learned how to drive a vehicle. So, every day, his loving wife would drop him off at the front gate of the national laboratory. He would then walk the very same pathway to his office building and begin his day of deep immersion in the science and mathematics of his field.

One day, some construction was underway at the main gate. His wife pulled the car around the corner, gave her husband a kiss on the cheek, and watched as he got out of the car. She promptly drove away, confident that her mate would soon be at his desk. When she completed her shopping, she happened to drive back past the laboratory. There, standing somewhat bewildered on the sidewalk was her husband. She stopped the car, got out, and approached him.

Tears were streaming down his cheeks, He was so very glad to see her. He had stood there for over 90 minutes. You see, even though he was just around the corner from the main gate through which he had entered the laboratory complex for many years, he was lost. His mind, grinding away processing complex mathematical formulae, could not find the main gate.

Neither you nor I will likely ever have that kind of experience. We simply do not possess that kind of intellect. But, we, too, can become so distracted by the things that occupy our time and attention, that we lose track of the really important things of life.

As Christians, we need to keep our minds and hearts fixed on Jesus. As His ambassadors to a troubled and needy world, we can apprehend all the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding we need to serve Him well, if we will just open our hearts to His mercy, grace, and love.

The Apostle James said it well when he wrote these words recorded in James 3:13:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

Our good deeds are not a ticket to heaven. Rather, that ticket has already been bought by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, our good deeds do come from a transformed heart that God gives us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thus, those deeds of His righteousness that we are privileged to perform in His Name stand as a testimony of our humble appreciation for what He has done in our lives. We extend His mercy, grace, and love to others because He has so marvelously extended His mercy, grace, and love to us.

Let us begin this day with a determination to show the world our understanding of who God is and what He has done for us by humbly serving those who may cross our pathway this day. With joy and gladness of heart, let us allow God’s love to flow through us in an unrestrained way. As we show our true colors to the world, God will surely smile down on us and receive the praise and honor that our good deeds send His way.


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


Friday, October 28, 2016

Truly Reciprocal Love


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
—1 John 4:16b

As I sit from my little rocky niche on the mountain of life and observe the flow of society around me, I find that more and more I observe relationships that are more take than give. It seems as if almost everyone has some unstated agenda and is at work to manipulate every relationship to his or her advantage.

I’m not suggesting that genuine relationships don’t exist. I know they do because I have had the great honor and privilege of living in one for the last 48 years. But, I also am very keenly aware that, as an only adopted child, I am so riddled with selfishness that my loving wife has far too often had to give a great deal more than she has ever received in return. At least that’s how it appears to me when I look at the span of time with a somewhat clearer head than I had in the past.

Out in the sin-filled and darkened world, I see lots of maneuvering for power and privilege in relationships. It’s almost as if a game of one-upmanship defines many, many relationships. But, when those same relationships go down in flames, I confess that I am not at all surprised.

Fortunately, for those whom God has called to Himself to be His dearly loved children, we have an infinitely more stable loving relationship on which we can truly rely. The Apostle John describes this loving partnership in 1 John 4:16:

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Not only do we know that God loves us with an everlasting, unfailing, and undying love. We can actually fully and unreservedly rely on that love. God is love. The Bible illustrates God’s love for His chosen ones over and over again. Even in our own lives, we can give testimony—if we have remained aware of His Presence—that God has extended His love to us in so many ways.

Just this past weekend, I observed a family enjoying a celebration. The joy on their faces was startling. The love they had for each other was very much in evidence. I could not help but think of that’s the kind of relationship with have with God. He brings joy into our lives through His love. He tenderly directs us and corrects us and molds us to conform to the image of His Son, Jesus.

And that, dear ones, is a wonderful contrast to what I observe happening around me in the world today. God’s truly reciprocal love is so amazingly powerful that it does, indeed, overcome the world.


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


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Being of One Mind


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“…make my joy complete by being like-minded…”
—Philippians 2:2

To what level of spiritual connection do we feel towards our fellow “Christ’s-ones”—the Christians we have in our lives? Of course, we feel a very kind and loving connection to some of them. But, unless we are unusual, there are some of our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we feel little natural connection. But, what about a “supernatural” connection?

No one said that living the “Christ Life” was going to necessarily be easy. We are, after all, still sinners—still stained by the sin curse of Adam that passed down to us through our parents for all the generations back to Adam. Nevertheless, we have been bonded by the blood of Jesus to all those who have sensed His call on their lives and awakened to the marvelous outpouring of God’s mercy, grace, and unfathomable love. Jesus not only died for us, He lives within us by the Holy Spirit. And, that, dear ones, bonds us inseparably to our fellow believers—even those with whom we find it difficult to connect on a natural human level.

The Apostle Paul tackled this very dilemma when he wrote these words recorded in Philippians 2:1-2:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

Paul knew that those in the church at Philippi had such a love bond with him that he used that very connection to encourage them to recognize and build on that same kind of love bond that existed, through Christ, with their fellow citizens of God’s Kingdom.

And, so it is with us today. We who belong to God through the shed blood of Jesus have a love bond that ties us together in a mysterious and amazing supernatural bond of love. That bond exists to bring us comfort and joy as we struggle to follow the will of God revealed to us by His Holy Spirit. We are not alone in our battle against the sin and darkness of this world. We have a gigantic crowd of like-minded fellow believers who stand with us in this battle.

Let us begin this day with profound gratitude for our fellow Christians. And, let us open our hearts to allow God to bond us together for His purposes, as we work as His ambassadors to this troubled and very needy world.


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


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Marked By Love


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic,
love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
—1 Peter 3:8

What characteristics mark our relationships with our fellow believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? When we cross the pathway of each other’s lives, how do we act toward each other?

The Apostle Peter offers these words of admonition, as recorded in 1 Peter 3:8:

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

When we think about how we should act toward each other, as we begin a new day, let’s remember Peter’s words. Let’s mark our relationships with our fellow believers this day with like-mindedness, sympathy, love, compassion, and humility.

By so doing, we will show a needy world a reflection of the God who loves us with His eternal love.


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


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Joyful Attitude


[Photo of a Scripture verse]

“Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!”
—Philippians 4:4

In a world filled with conflict and despair, it is very easy to fall into a depressed and disheartened state of mind. But those of us who belong to God through Christ should not allow the burdens of the world to get us down.

It is natural to feel discouraged, particularly when others impugn your motives and question the sincerity of your efforts. But this is neither healthy not helpful for us “Christ’s-ones.”

In writing to the newly formed church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul offered this admonition found in Philippians 4:4:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Our proper response to whatever life brings our way is to rejoice. We should rejoice that God still reigns over the universe and that we are His dearly loved children.

As we begin this new day, let us throw off the blanket of despair and disappointment that may cover us. Instead, let’s lift our voices in joyful praise to God. After all, through Jesus our sins are forgiven and our eternal home is in heaven. That reality should certainly be worth a shout for joy.


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


Monday, October 24, 2016

Thankful for Each Other


[Photo of silouette of man with words superimposed]

“I always thank my God for you
because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”
—1 Corinthians 1:4

Each day offers us a time of thanksgiving. We truly have much for which we are thankful. Among those things, as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, we are thankful for each other.

The Apostle Paul set an example for us in this regard when he wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 1:4:

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.

As we begin this day, let us express our thankfulness for each other. God has united us in Jesus. We are precious gifts to each other.

Let us encourage each other in our walk of faith. Let us enjoy the fellowship we have with each other.

And, let us be grateful to God who gives everything we need for each day—including the relationship we have with each other.


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


Friday, October 21, 2016

God Will Sustain Us


[Photo of a beach with a Scripture verse superimposed]

“Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.”
—Isaiah 46:4a

“Getting old is not for the faint of heart!” So said an older friend of mine more than two decades ago. As I have reached ever closer to the golden age of 70, I have found my friend’s words to be very true.

Even if you are reading this and you still feel the vitality of youth, let me assure you that your day is coming. In a blink of an eye, you will soon begin to feel the aches and limitations of aging. Health is so very important. Everyone takes health for granted until something happens that affects our well-being.

Fortunately, God has promised to care for us throughout the various seasons of our lives. His love doesn’t stop when we reach old age. In fact, the Prophet Isaiah recorded these words of promise in Isaiah 46:4:

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

No matter what our age, we can rest in the promise of God’s provision for our lives. His love endures forever. He continues to extend His grace and mercy in every time of storm or blessing.

Let’s begin this day with thankfulness that God has promised to love and care for us every moment of this day. We can step out into our workaday world knowing that the King of Kings has our back—and all the rest of us, too.


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


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Never Too Old To Learn


[Photo of a group of old men]

“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy
of respect, self-controlled, and sound
in faith, in love and in endurance.”
—Titus 2:2

At 69 years of age, I have reluctantly reached the point in my life where I must acknowledge that I am an old man. In fact, a dear friend from college calls those of us who have reached our dotage “geezers.” I rather like that term. It still means “old man.” But, it has a sort of irreverent elegance to it.

On thing about geezers is that they do not like to admit they don’t know something. This is particularly true about anything mechanical or electrical. They may not grasp all the technical details about the latest technology quite with the same sharpness as their grandchildren—or, in my case, grand-nephews and grand-nieces. Nevertheless, they still believe that they have learned quite a lot over the course of their lives.

It is interesting, then, that in teaching Titus—the minister that Paul had sent to the Island of Crete with the specific task of “amending what is defective—the Apostle Paul gives very specific instruction regarding the instructing of old me in Titus 2:2:

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

That’s quite a list of new things for old men to learn. Even geezers need to continue on a path of ever-increasing maturity in their walk with Jesus. Notice the particular items in this list:

  • Temperate—not only in the imbibing of alcoholic beverages, but this word in the Greek applies to all areas of life. It means taking a very balanced, middle-of-the-road position with regard to anything that might spark an overriding passion. It could mean everything from watching sports to voicing political opinions. Since balance is an important part of spiritual formation, it is not at all surprising that Paul would mention this item first.

  • Worthy of respect—most geezers want to be treated with respect. But, respect must be earned. So, Paul urges Titus to make certain the older men in his congregation learn how to earn the respect they so very much want others to give them.

  • Self-controlled—maintain control over one’s self. This might seem obvious, but I know many people, including myself, who sometimes become so agitated about something that it’s all-to-easy to relinquish control of one’s emotions.

  • Sound in faith—making certain these older men have anchored their faith to the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Instead of trusting in their own wisdom, knowledge, and understand, Paul wants to make certain that these men have developed a real faith based on a growing relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Sound in love—Since love is the basis of our relationship with God, Paul wants to make certain that the injunction of the Hebrew Scriptures to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” becomes true in the lives of these older saints. And, Paul wants to see an outward-working of that love in the way these older men treat all those who cross their pathway.

  • Sound in endurance—with age comes greater peril. These older men would increasingly find themselves weaker in body, perhaps even in their minds—so Paul wanted to make certain they were prepared to endure the trials that would surely come in the days ahead. By practicing the kinds of spiritual disciplines that build up and support endurance, Paul knew these men would reach toward always-greater maturity that would enable endurance.

We geezers have a definite need to continue to experience the fullness of God’s grace in our lives. It is good to know that God has arranged for us to have Titus-like ministers in our lives to help us in our quest to be God’s men, even as we move through our sunset years.


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


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lead Me On Level Ground


[Photo of a steep rural road]

“Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit lead
me on level ground.”
—Psalm 143:10

Whether you’re a walker or a bicyclist, you do not like going up hills. I well remember as a child those times when I had to hop off my bike and walk alongside it, pushing it up a hill. Even with a three-speed transmission—Yes! Only three speeds!—I still could not negotiate all the hills around my little city of Bradford, Pennsylvania.

Walking was no better. In fact, walking up hills and walking down hills offered equal peril. I could either fall down walking up a hill because I would lose my footing or fall down walking down a hill because the steepness robbed me of my balance. In either case, my efforts resulted in skinned knees and ripped pant legs.

In our spiritual lives we constantly face both hills and valleys. Oh, how we long for level ground. We wish every day would only offer a steady forward motion with no crisis too steep to navigate or a valley to deep to contemplate. Apparently, we are not alone.

The Psalmist also greatly desired level ground. In fact, the Psalmist breathes this prayer in Psalm 143:10:
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

In our world today, we can long for this same loving care from God. We can ask Him to teach us His ways through our study of His precious Word. We can ask the Holy Spirit to lead us on level ground. Surely the Spirit will help us navigate the hills and valleys of our daily lives.

In fact, on this new day, let us prayerfully ask God to reveal His perfect will for us and, by His Spirit, equip us for our walk with Him.


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


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Presented Fully Mature


[Photo of a cross with a Scripture verse superimposed]

“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and
teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that
we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”
—Colossians 1:28

The Apostle Paul felt a great responsibility for those whom God has placed under Paul’s care. We can see this clearly as we read the various letters that Paul wrote to the new churches that had sprung up throughout the then-known world.

Paul writes with concern, passion, humility, as well as with boldness and admonition when he feels a correction is needed to the people’s behavior. He had forged a relationship with most of these new Christians. He wanted to make certain they were on the right pathway and that they stayed true to the good news he had shared with them.

Even in writing to the church at Rome, at a time when Paul had not yet had the privilege of visiting with them, he uses the kind of pastoral language and sensibility that would have likely warmed their hearts upon reading his words.

In writing to the church at Colosse, Paul demonstrates a zeal for their maturity. He very much wants them to grow into the kind of men and women who will honor Christ the King through their daily walk along the pathway that the Holy Spirit had laid out for them. Notice these words recorded in Colossians 1:28:

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.

Paul has a central focus: the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no question that nothing else mattered to Paul. He only wanted to exalt the Lord Jesus. He wanted to nurture the Colossian Christians in such a way that their growing maturity would honor their role as ambassadors to a troubled and needy world.

So it is for us today. God has given us His Word and the blessed Presence of the Holy Spirit. They proclaim His truth to us in a startling way. Our only reasonable response is a response of obedience. Following the pathway the Holy Spirit lays out before us will lead us to more and more maturity in our walk with Jesus.

As we begin another day, let us hold fast to the truth God has given us in His Word. And, let us prepare ourselves for His service. He has planted us in particular places at this particular time. We are where we are for a reason. We are His Light-bearers and Salt-givers. Let us move forward into greater maturity in our walk with our Lord.


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


Monday, October 17, 2016

Love and Obey


[Photo of a sunrise with a Scripture verse superimposed]

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.”
—John 14:23a

Love exists as both a feeling and also as a deep, spiritual connection. We English-speakers have a deficit in trying to express “love” because we only have one English word. The ancient Greeks devised four separate and beautifully special words for our English word “love”: agape, phileo, storge, and eros.

Agape (ah-GAH-pay) love is God-breathed love. It comes to us as a spiritual gift from God and touches the very core of our being. Phileo (fill-EH-oh) is the feeling of affection that one has for a dear friend. Storge (STOR-gay) is familial love felt for brothers, sisters, parents, and their children. Eros (AIR-ahz) is intimate sexual love driven by passion.

In the Greek language—the principal language of the New Testament Scriptures—each of these four loves is closely tied to some responsive action. In other words, love does not exist in some type of ethereal vacuum. Rather, love demands an active outward response.

It is no wonder, then, that when we Christians tie love with obedience, we do so quite appropriately. Take notice of these words of our Lord, recorded in John 14:23:

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

In this case, the Greek word for “love” is agape—God-breathed love. For it is God who gives us the gift of His love and enables us to return our love to Him. This makes the transactional relationship between us believers and God quite one sided. He gives us His love and He enables us to love Him in return. It is all His doing.

What is our part, then? It is to obey His teachings as revealed in His written Word, the Bible. That is why we must read, study, and meditate upon God’s Word. And, that is why we should not foolishly pretend that His Word doesn’t matter, insofar as the way we choose to live our lives.

God’s love evokes a response of obedience to His Word and to His will. Truthfully, that is very good news for this new day.


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


Friday, October 14, 2016

Make Disciples


[Graphic of a sign]

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”
—Matthew 28:19a

Literally volumes have been written down through the ages concerning the passage of Scripture where Jesus instructs His followers to leave where they are and go out into the world in order to share the good news and make other disciples. And, just as it is today, this is one of the most difficult tasks God has given those He loves.

Our natural bent is to want to stay in the comfort of our normal habitat, rather than launch out in a new adventure on behalf of our Lord and King. We like where we are. We enjoy the comfort of surroundings where we can soak up what we are learning about God and Christ and the Holy Spirit. We would much rather keep learning and avoid sharing what we’ve learned.

But the call of God to His people remains clearly in focus. We are to make disciples.

Now, let me suggest that the best way to do that is to determine to live in such a way that the sweet aroma of Jesus permeates every aspect of our beings. By simply living the Christ Life wherever we go, we become beacons of God’s Holy Light to a troubled world.

Notice what Jesus said to his followers in Matthew 28:18-20:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let me suggest that as we begin this day, we ask God to enable us to live in such a way that we will truly be His ambassadors. With a very humble spirit and with a gentleness that can only come from the Holy Spirit, let us set our minds and hearts on living for Jesus in such a way that those who cross our pathway will be prompted to ask us why we seem different.

In kindness and love, let us share the wonderful joy that God has given us in Christ. With our sins forgiven and a new life before us, let us fulfill the “Great Commission” in the best way that we can, as the Holy Spirit enables us.


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


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Guard the Deposit


[Graphic of a Scripture verse]

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you…”
—2 Timothy 1:14a

When someone gives you a valuable treasure, you want to do everything in your power to guard it. You may purchase a safe and have it installed in a fashion that no burglar can remove it or open it.

Several years ago, my wife called my attention to our back yard. Across the way, a neighbor had a crew of men laying down very heavy planking topped with thick plywood. Soon this group of six men appeared wrestling a very large safe across the lawn on a special skid-type dolly. It took them a long time to get the safe mounted onto the wooden pathway they had created. Then, they used a come-along to winch the safe up onto the back deck of the home.

Once they got it inside, we lost track of their progress. But, when I went to McDonald’s for lunch, I noticed their truck was still there. On my way back, a concrete truck had extended its chute to one of the basement windows. Obviously, they were installing this safe in a fashion to secure it permanently.

It was interesting that within a few short months, this family moved. I imagine the new owners had a somewhat puzzling discovery when they found this very large safe in the basement of their newly purchased home.

The deposit that God has made in our behalf as “Christ’s-ones” surely requires us to guard that deposit with significant attention. At least that’s what the Apostle Paul wrote to his son-in-the-faith, Timothy, in 2 Timothy 1:13-14:

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

We all do well, at the beginning of another day, to guard the deposit of truth that God has given us, so that we can enthusiastically and graciously share this truth with all who may cross the pathway of our lives. We need not do so in an obnoxious way. But, we always need to be ready to humbly declare the wonderful news of the salvation that God offers through His precious Son, Jesus.


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


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Teaching What Is Best


[Photo of a forest road with a Scripture verse superimposed]

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best
for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
—Isaiah 48:17b

Depending on the person or persons we tend to follow and emulate, we will either learn good of bad habits. You may have had the experience growing up where your parents objected to one or more of your playmates. “I think Larry is a very bad influence,” your mother or father may have said.

It didn’t really matter to you. You thought Larry was very cool. You liked his irreverent approach to life and especially his disdain for older people, like parents and teachers. In fact, it seemed as if Larry’s approach to life had much more fun and zing to it. Of course you were going to follow Larry and do what he did. After all, you, too, wanted to be a “fun person.”

Perhaps somewhere along the line, Larry got into serious trouble. In fact, you got into trouble, too, because of your association with Larry. And, perhaps this made you re-think your relationship with Larry just a bit. Yes, Larry was a fun guy. But, sometimes Larry’s idea of fun spelled trouble for himself and anyone who followed closely after him.

Even in our adult lives, we need to take note of the kind of people that we choose to follow. As a life-long non-drinker, I have often sat at business dinners and watched my companions become plastered. As the time went on, they began to say things they shouldn’t have said, even revealing confidential information from their employers.

Now, I want to hasten to state that I am definitely not a better person than these folks are. I have my own long list of besetting sins. I’m just fortunate that early on in my life I decided to abstain from alcoholic beverages. It’s a habit that I’ve chosen to maintain throughout my life.

One time, after a particularly long dinner where everyone but me became quite inebriated, one of my colleagues said to me through a very slurred tongue, “You know, I don’t trust you. You don’t drink. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. It’s not natural.”

I started to chuckle. But, just as he finished his little speech, he tripped over a raised portion of the sidewalk, fell flat on his face, and simply couldn’t get up. Two of his drunken companions tried to help him up and soon joined him flat out on the sidewalk. Just then a police car came by. The police officers got out and helped get all three of my dinner companions on their feet and into the back of the police car. One officer got really close to me to try to smell my breath.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” I replied. “I don’t drink.”

“Good for you,” he said, as he got into the police car and drove the three drunks to the station house.

At the meeting the next day, the three dinner companions seemed very bleary-eyed and asked the rest of us to refrain from making any loud noises. I took note that two of these men normally did not seem to drink very much. However, on this one occasion, led on by the one true alcoholic in the group, they became entrapped in an incident that I imagine they regret. Or, maybe they don’t.

The Prophet Isaiah made the following declaration to the people of Israel, and, thus, to us who have been grafted in to the vine of God’s chosen people, as recorded in Isaiah 48:17:

This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”

Following God puts us in contact with the One who always wants the best for us. He will not lead us astray. Instead, He will teach us what is best for us.

As we start another day, let’s rejoice that we have the opportunity to follow this God who loves us enough to set an example for us. If we follow after Him, we will not stumble or fall and we will stay on the path that leads to true and everlasting life.


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


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Filled With Love


[Photo of some star fish with a Scripture verse superimposed]

“The earth is filled with your love,
Lord; teach me your decrees.”
—Psalm 119:64

The verse for today comes from Psalm 119:64 and reads as follows:

The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.

In some ways, this is a startling verse to me. I have never particularly felt that the earth was filled with God’s love. Please understand, I’m not saying that the earth is not filled with God’s love. Rather, I’m stating that I can’t say that I have every particularly felt that the earth was filled with God’s love. Obviously, my feelings are wrong—as they so often are.

Truth exists well outside the realm of feelings. I learned that many years ago in the somewhat muddled experience of seeking one-on-one counseling from a psychiatrist in an attempt to get at the root of my “weight problem.” I’ve told that story several times on this blog. After eighteen months of counseling once each week, the psychiatrist fell asleep during one of our sessions. That was the end for me. I realize that I often tell boring stories, but up to that point, I had never put anyone to sleep—at least as far as I know.

I did learn some very interesting things about myself during those sessions. They helped expand some of what I learned about myself during the mandatory group therapy sessions I had to attend in college as a part of my Psychology major. One of the things that I learned in both counseling experiences is that I have a “love deficit” left over from the circumstances surrounding my birth. I will spare you the long and tortuous explanation as to why this is. But, let me hasten to add that, in spite of the circumstances of my birth, I did grow up in a very loving and nurturing Christian home where my adoptive parents showered me with their love.

My particular psychological anomaly made me particularly unsuited to getting along with most people—a problem that plagues me to this day. So, when I think of most of the circumstances of my life, I do not immediately think of those experiences as being marked by love. But, that’s a feelings problem, not reality.

Reality is that God has showered me with His love, just as He has showered every person that He has chosen to belong to Himself. From God’s perspective—and that’s the only perspective that really matters—the earth is filled with His love. We are the recipients of that God-initiated loving environment.

The only appropriate response to an earth filled with God’s love is to seek to learn what He has decreed and to make those decrees a vital part of our lives—thus, the admonition from the Psalmist. So, as we begin this new day, let us bask in the glory of God’s unfailing, undying love. And, let us seek to learn His decrees and follow them all the days of our lives.


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


Monday, October 10, 2016

Start Them Off Right


[Photo of a small child praying]

“Start children off on the way they should go, and
even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
—Proverbs 22:6

God never chose to bless my wife and me with children. While we take extreme delight in our nieces and nephews and their children, we never had that first-hand experience of raising children of our own.

Nevertheless, we have observed many other families over the years. Some of the most memorable were those families where the parents maintained a relatively stress-free environment, but, at the same time, taught their children valuable lessons in self-discipline and good behavior. In all of these homes, God’s Word, the Bible, played a very important role.

Instilling true Christian values in their children became a priority for these parents. While the lives of their children have not always moved along a straight and problem-free pathway, there was always a solid foundation to which the children could return. A lot of learning took place in seeing how their faith worked itself out in a challenging and very needy world.

King Solomon knew both great blessing and great trouble. His own two sons plotted against him. No doubt some of the experiences he had led him to write these words in Proverbs 22:6:

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

I’m fairly certain that Solomon wrote this admonition as much as a lament as he did an imparting of wisdom. We can all learn from Solomon’s life. And, we can seek to employ his most excellent recommendations.

As we pray for the children that cross our pathway, let’s hold them up before the Lord and do all we can to share with them how our faith helps us deal with the challenges in our lives. We do well when we can set an example for children and youth. That is certainly what our Savior did. And, without meaning to come across in a trite manner, let me simply say that if it was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us, too.


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


Friday, October 7, 2016

We Are His People


[Photo of man kneeling at the altar of a church]

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us
kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he
is our God and we are the people of his
pasture, the flock under his care. Today,
if only you would hear his voice…”
—Psalm 95:6-7

In quoting Isaiah 40 at the opening of his indescribably fabulous The Messiah, George Frideric Handel uses a tenor soloist to capture the heart and voice of God when He instructs the Prophet Isaiah to “Comfort my people.” Herein, God acknowledges that He has people who need comforting.

One hundred years later, Felix Mendelssohn carries this same theme into his great oratorio Elijah. Quoting Joel 2:13, Mendelssohn has another tenor soloist declare: “Ye people rend your hearts, rend your hearts and not your garments.” Again, the people of God need the comfort of God. And, they need to repent of their sin and receive God’s gracious forgiveness through the Savior not yet born.

Both of these great musical works celebrate the people of God—those whom He has chosen to belong to Himself. What a wonderful, even glorious, experience to sit in an audience and hear such tremendous truth proclaimed with such enthusiasm and skill.

We who belong to God through Christ are, of all people, most blessed. To have access to our loving Father through His Son, Jesus; to have the indwelling guidance of the Holy Spirit to direct our pathway; to experience overwhelming joy at knowing we belong to the very God of the universe—it simply boggles the mind and fills the heart with both humility and great celebration.

The Psalmist declares in Psalm 95:6-7:

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice…

As we begin a new day, let us, indeed, celebrate the fact that we are the people of God. And, let us bow down and worship Him for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture.


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


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fellow Citizens


[Graphic of a sign]

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners
and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s
people and also members of his household…”
—Ephesians 2:19

Looking back over the last several blog posts, I detect a certain theme in the Scripture passages chosen by the folks at That, by the way, is my source for most of the Scriptures I use in the more recent blog posts. I simply look at what those kind people have chosen and write about that passage.

In any case, the recent Scriptures seem to have an underlying theme of “belonging.” There is no doubt that one of the most potent realities of faith in God through the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is that we now belong to God in a way that defies an accurate description.

We of the Reformed expression of the Protestant Christian theology believe that before the foundation of the earth God chose us to belong to Himself. In due season, God sent His blessed Holy Spirit to reveal our sinful condition, to reveal our need of a Savior, and to reveal that God has already provided a sacrifice in His Son on the cruel cross of Calvary. God then irresistibly draws us to Himself through Christ. With our growing comprehension and upon our acknowledgement of what God has done in our behalf, we humbly receive His gift of love. The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts and offers His enablement so we can walk the pathway of faith.

This process that may seem so dry and uninteresting when expressed in theological terms is actually filled with horror at the depth of our sin, relief at knowing God has already paid the penalty for that sin, and overwhelming joy that He loves us with His everlasting and unfailing love.

Our “belonging” becomes our present and future reality. We not only belong to God—which is, of course, the greatest thing—but we belong to every other person who has been chosen by God just as we have been chosen. We have a who new family of brothers and sisters in Christ. We belong to God and we belong to each other.

The Apostle Paul expressed this great truth to the people gathered in the church at Ephesus by writing these words preserved for us in Ephesians 2:19:

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household…

We are not foreigners and strangers in God’s Kingdom. No! We are citizens. We are a part of God’s people. We are members of His household. We are His dearly loved and tenderly cared for children.

And that, dear ones, is news so wonderful that, as the song writer, Frederick Martin Lehman, has so eloquently put it:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
    How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.

That is something to be genuinely joyful about at the beginning of this new day.


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


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

All Are One


[Photo of Scripture verse]

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither
slave nor free, nor is there male and female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
—Galatians 3:28

Over the past ten years, and even more particularly over the past seven years, here in the United States we have become a nation severely divided. At the same time, some individuals have fostered a strong push for the celebration of diversity. This is a startling change from the days in which I grew up more than 60 years ago.

In those long ago days, we celebrated the fact that the United States was a great melting pot where people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds had immigrated to this soil and, while retaining all of the best parts of their culture, had melted into the fabric of our great nation. We honored the past, but put far more emphasis on what the future might hold.

Part of that melting pot experience was an assimilation into the cultural fabric of the United States of America. Languages from the old country were dropped in favor of American English. People eagerly sought out the experience of tasting foods from the diversity of cultures represented here.

Yes, there was always a bow of honor given to the land from which they had come. But, they seemed very interested in becoming an American. So, we experienced a sort of ethnic recognition, but championed our new identities as belonging ot the greatest nation on earth.

My, how things have changed in the last few years.

As citizens of God’s eternal Kingdom, we “Christ’s-ones” sometimes forget that we have a new identity in Christ. While we will not forget from where we have come—a horrible pit of sin and death—we eagerly celebrate our new belonging. We are chosen of God to be His dearly loved children. We belong to His Kingdom.

The Apostle Paul reminds those gathered in the church at Galatia of this very fact when he writes the words recorded in Galatians 3:28:

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

Our new identify is fully in Christ. We belong to Him. He is our Sovereign and Lord. He is the King of All Creation and our King, too.

As we begin another new day, let us remember that we Christians are all one in Christ Jesus. We belong to Him and to each other. His shed blood has stamped us with His glory. He has forgiven our sins and made us new in Him. We belong! Yes, we belong! We belong to Jesus!


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


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Only Believe


[Graphic of a Scripture verse]

“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
—John 6:29

“I was raised a Roman Catholic and became a Protestant during my college years. The one thing I miss about the Mass is the activity of standing, kneeling, and sitting that kept us alive and active all through the celebration. In the church I now attend, we stand sometimes, but we also sit a lot, too. I miss having something to do during worship.”

When my friend made the above pronouncement, I suggested he visit one of the more contemporary services of our local mega church. I assured him that he would find ample opportunity for activity during that church’s rather high energy worship service.

I also confess that his statement made me smile a bit. I remember the first Mass I attended. As a Fundamentalist Protestant it was an almost frightening experience because I did not know what to do. Every other person was well-schooled in the Mass and I stood out because of my fumbling ways.

Now having experienced a much wider range of church services from an equally wide range of Christian traditions, I am no longer uncomfortable with the beauty of liturgy and the activity of a liturgical service. But, my friend’s statement also made me realize that for some, a major impediment of the Christian faith is that there just isn’t enough for them to do.

We believe that our salvation rests solely with our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. There really isn’t anything we can do except to confess our sins and receive the pardon that He has already given us on the cruel Roman Cross at Calvary. Our faith requires us to hold it in our hearts by believing that what God has said is true. We respond in obedience to God’s will, as expressed in His Word and through the nudging of the Holy Spirit who dwells within every person who believes. But, we cannot earn or salvation. The price was paid in full by Jesus.

The Apostle John quotes Jesus Himself on this very matter in John 6:29:

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

As we begin a new day, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to enable our faith in a new and fresh way. As we consider the price that was paid to cover our sins with Jesus’ precious blood, let’s be truly humble and truly grateful for this great gift of love that comes to us from the God who chose us to belong to Him before the foundation of the world.


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


Monday, October 3, 2016

Kept In Peace


[Graphic of a Scripture verse]

“You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.”
—Isaiah 26:3

When I was a small boy, it was common to refer to police officers as “peace officers.” The idea was that the presence of a municipal policing authority would, by its very presence, tend to keep the peace. In fact, late at night, or early in the morning, when the bars would close and the wee hour drinkers would spill out onto the sidewalks, the newspaper would often record incidents where this inebriated man or woman would be arrested for “breach of peace.”

Most of us would prefer to live in peace. Sometimes this drives us to resist those times when the United States must deploy its military forces to bring some portion of the world back into a state of equilibrium. “Why do we always have to be the peacekeepers?” some ask. I guess that’s a fair question. But, with great power comes great responsibility. I happen to be one who believes that God has given our nation great power and, thus, He has also given us great responsibility.

Nevertheless, we certainly prefer to live in peace. That’s why the subject of lasting peace is so prominent in Scripture. Why God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is declared to be the “Prince of Peace.” Jesus is the ultimate source of peace.

Continuing the theme that he spoke about earlier in his prophecy, Isaiah shares these thoughts about God in Isaiah 26:3:

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

Peace comes from a resolute and unshakeable faith in God. If we focus our minds and hearts on bending our selfish human will to God’s perfect will, He will grant us heavenly peace for our souls. We can rest at peace in His loving and caring arms.

As we go out into a needy world this day, let’s not forget that we are not only “Light-bearers,” we are also “Peace-bearers.” We who carry the very Presence of Christ, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, can bring peace into every situation. And that, dear ones, is a very good mission for us this day.


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