Monday, November 18, 2019

I See Your Sins!

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s
eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
—Matthew 7:3

We seem to have a quick trigger when it comes to recognizing other people’s sins. Why we jump right up onto our soapbox and begin to decry all manner of evil in others. But, we seem all too slow to recognize our own sins.

Notice the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matthew 7:3-5:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

In this statement, Jesus is not minimizing the sins of others. In fact, His whole point is that we have enough sin in our own lives that we should focus first on dealing with our own sins before we start attacking the sins of others.

Yes, we do have a responsibility to the world to offer commentary based on the righteousness of God. We know what He has required by reading His written Word. We also know that Jesus most often approached sinners with patience, kindness, and love. We would do well to follow His example.

As this new day begins, let’s start our day by examining our own lives and confessing our sins. We need to pay particular attention to those sins that we repeat over and over again. If we have difficulty trusting God for this new day, let’s confess our lack of faith and ask for His help in believing He will guide and protect us. If we have some other sins that trip us up continuously, let’s confess those sins and ask the Holy Spirit to help us steer clear of them.

By focusing on cleaning up our own lives first, we will do much better at following in the footsteps of Jesus than if we spent all of our time calling out the sins of others. And, after all, we need clean minds and hearts if we are to properly represent our Lord in this troubled and needy world.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Our Security Blanket: God's Protective Hand

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”
—Isaiah 43:2

Most of us like to know that somewhere, somehow, we have a “security blanket” we can grab onto when things get rough.

Two years ago, over a period of seven days, my brand new wheel-chair-accessible van failed to start, twice! It only had a little more than 400 miles on it. It cost an enormous amount of money. I bought it specifically because I felt my eight-year old van was no longer reliable. Surely a new van would be a good investment.

Everything on this van depended on a computer. You can’t even manually shift the transmission. It’s all done by computer. So, when the tow truck came to tow my van to the dealership, the driver couldn’t shift the transmission into neutral because the problem was related to the computer. Did I mention that the computer runs everything on this van?

Both times I became stranded, I reached out to my very own “security blanket” in the form of lifelong friends who were eager to help me. On the first occasion, they came and helped us get the van to the dealership. On the second occasion, I had put my friends on stand-by pending the arrival of the tow truck. And, before the tow truck arrived, another lovely couple from our church showed up, stayed with us until the tow truck came, drove us to the dealership so we could fill out paperwork, and then very graciously took us home. They became our “security blanket.” As you might imagine, our gratitude towards these two couples knows no bounds.

As Christians, our real “security blanket” is God Himself. I have no doubt that He placed these dear folks in a place to give us aid when we needed it. I also know that in countless ways each day, God looks out for those He loves.

Notice the words of God that the Prophet Isaiah wrote down, as recorded in Isaiah 43:2-3:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

No matter what trials may come into our lives, God waits for the opportunity to show His love for us by His abiding Presence. He rallies to our aid whenever we need His help. He brings people into our lives to extend His love and care to us when we have times of need.

Let’s go out into this new day with a spirit of willingness to be used by God in people’s lives. Perhaps we can become someone’s “security blanket” in their time of need this day.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Entertaining Angels

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Do not forget to entertain strangers,
for by so doing some people have
entertained angels without knowing it.”
—Hebrews 13:2

Hospitality, that is to say Christian hospitality, is both a spiritual gift that God bestows on certain individuals and also a duty that all Christians are called to provide. Followers of Christ should be the most welcoming individuals, always ready to lend a helping hand to make others feel valued and appreciated.

That’s why the writer of the Book of Hebrews writes this statement, found in Hebrews 13:2:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

We practice hospitality, not only by opening our homes to others for a meal or a time of refreshment, but we practice hospitality in the attitude with which we greet others along the pathway of life. A ready smile, a kind word of encouragement, a helping hand, a generous heart are all ways we extend the hospitality of Jesus to others.

This new day should be one wherein we extend Christ-like hospitality wherever we may go along the road of life. Let’s make certain we take every opportunity to live in this world the way Jesus would live. After all, we are, indeed, his representatives.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Essence of Faith

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for
and assurance about what we do not see.”
—Hebrews 11:1

The word “faith” gets tossed around quite a bit in our current culture.

“I have faith that every time I turn the key in my vehicle it will start—particularly because I always take good care of it.”

“I have faith in taking this test because I have studied very diligently.”

“I have faith that when I reach into my wallet I will have enough money to pay for lunch.”

“I have faith that next time my political party will win the election.”

“Or, I have faith that in the next election my political party will retain control of the government.”

But, for followers of Jesus, the word “faith” has a very special significance. The writer of the Book of Hebrews well understood the importance of this key word. Notice what he writes in Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

As we begin a new day, let’s remember that our faith is based on the reality of Christ’s presence within us by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. That same Spirit gives testimony that we are the children of God, just as the Apostle Paul stated in Romans 8:16. God has chosen us to belong to Him. Our faith has that solid foundation.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Much More Than Simply Listening

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Do not merely listen to the word, and
so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
—James 1:22

I once worked with a man who would often ask for help in completing a task. He seemed to have particular difficulty when the task involved the use of a personal computer. Many of you may relate to his dilemma.

He was a relatively smart man. He had served as a career sailor in the U. S. Navy. In fact, he worked on submarines. He had good mechanical ability, was articulate, and contributed significantly to the success of his department. But, when it came to using a personal computer, he seemed lost.

Whenever he would come to me with a question, I would suggest that he take some notes while I carefully explained what he should do. As his supervisor, I felt it was important that I take the time to help him develop the skills he needed in order to progress in his job responsibilities. Dutifully, he would take notes, thank me, and proceed to return to his workstation. Sadly, quite often he would return fairly soon and still not be able to complete the task.

One day, I asked to see his notes, hoping that I could tweak them a little and set him on the right pathway. To my amazement, I found that his notes were nearly incomprehensible. He was writing words down on paper. But, those words appeared to have no relationship to what I had tried to explain. You see, he was listening to me without really doing what I said.

The Apostle James expresses this same advice to his fellow Christians, as recorded in James 1:22:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

As we begin another new day, it’s important that we not only listen to what God’s written Word says to us as we read it, we must do what it says. God has given us a great gift by inspiring authors to write down exactly what He wants us to know and do. If we merely read God’s written Word without putting what it says into practice, what good does it do for us and others?

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, November 11, 2019

True Faithfulness

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been
faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge
of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness”
—Matthew 25:21

When I was a teenager and was working at Radio Station WESB in my hometown, I had the great privilege of engineering an early Sunday morning radio broadcast created by a local pastor, Rev. John F. Olexa. He billed himself on his program as “a prophet of doom with a message of hope.” He was one of the finest men in ministry that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

His tag line may sound a bit corny. But, John Olexa was anything but corny. He was a loving, caring, devoted servant of God who overcame a debilitating illness, polio, that had left him with a very awkward gait. He was quite short in stature. However, God had given him a booming voice and a very articulate way of opening God’s written Word and unpacking the truth of Scripture.

I greatly enjoyed working with “Pastor Johnny,” as many people called him. He taught me a great deal about preaching effective sermons. And, he taught me even more about humility in service to Christ and His Kingdom.

In addition to pastoring two of the local Evangelical United Brethren Churches, John served as the head of the Bradford District Youth Fellowship, as well as overseeing the Youth Fellowship for the entire Erie Conference of the EUB Church. He asked me to serve as treasurer of the District Youth Fellowship—partly, I’m fairly certain, because he knew that my dad served as treasurer of our local church, which was the largest EUB Church in the District. No doubt Pastor Johnny felt that my dad would help me keep the books straight, and he was right.

“Use the talent God has given you to the best of your ability,” Pastor Johnny would often say. “Then, rely on the Holy Spirit to multiply the effectiveness of your God-given talent.” I have felt those words set a definite course for my life. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Rev. John F. Olexa. And, I look forward to seeing him again in heaven.

Jesus would certainly agree with Pastor Johnny’s statement regarding the use of one’s talents and abilities. Notice these words of Jesus, as He tells His followers the “Parable of the Talents (or Bags of Gold),” as found in Matthew 25:20-21:

“The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

In the “sweet by and by,” we all long to hear Jesus say those precious words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Our devotion to serving our Great King begins today, at the start of this new day. We can, and should, determine to use whatever gifts God has given us to the best of our ability and then rely on the Holy Spirit to multiply the effectiveness of those God-given talents.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, November 8, 2019

You Are Mine

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


But now, this is what the Lord says—he who
created you, O Jacob, he who formed you,
O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”
—Isaiah 43:1

God’s dealing with His chosen people, the children of Israel, is a foretaste of His dealings with those of us Gentiles who have been grafted in to the line of David. As the Apostle Paul explains in Romans 11:17:

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root…

So, we can learn great lessons from observing God’s relationship with and His actions towards His chosen people. For just as God chose Abraham’s offspring to belong to Himself, so He has chosen us, as well.

That makes the words of God recorded by the Prophet Isaiah particularly important to us. Notice these words of God, as found in Isaiah 43:1:

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

God says to those of us He has called to Himself that we belong to Him. “You are mine,” He says. And, based on this declaration, we have confidence to use this day, and every day, to honor and serve Him.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

No Paybacks

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
—Proverbs 20:22

An old adage insists: “Don’t get mad, get even!” It’s actually a horrible piece of advice. In dealing with others, we should neither get mad, nor get even. That’s the way of the cross, that is, the pathway in the footsteps of Jesus.

It’s interesting that the word “mad” can mean both angry and mentally ill. In some sense, when we lose control of our emotions and become angry we do, at least momentarily, act as if mental illness had overcome us. That fact alone should help us steer clear from allowing ourselves to become angry with another person.

King Solomon offered these words of advice, found in Proverbs 20:22:

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.

In every situation that we face, especially when we are mistreated by someone else, we should allow God room to deal with the situation in our behalf. God’s protection is worth more than any momentary satisfaction we may receive by getting angry about something. And certainly, getting even with someone who has harmed us is a sin that we should definitely avoid committing.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Lord Upholds the Righteous

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Better the little that the righteous have than the
wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked
will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.”
—Psalm 37:16-17

“By what measure do you determine your worth?” A social studies teacher in my ninth grade school year, way back in 1961, asked my class that question. Amazingly, or perhaps not so amazingly, no one wanted to volunteer an answer. Even so, I overheard several students talking about the question during the time between classes.

No one wanted to talk about himself or herself. But, everyone seemed to have an opinion about how other students might measure their worth.

“Cheryl measures her worth by her good looks,” offered one student.

“Bill thinks he’s important because he’s the star of the football team.”

“Linda always dates older guys, so she thinks she’s better than the other girls.”

“John’s family is so rich. That’s what makes him valuable.”

As usual, I was lurking on the very edges of the outside the group. I found it most interesting what my fellow students thought measured the worth of their peers. I knew that I secretly harbored a sense that I was smarter than most other people. (What a foolish notion!) But, I also knew that virtually no one liked me because I was too quick to voice my opinions and, generally speaking, lacked the social skills that seemed so natural to others.

The truth is that such measures of our value and worth are truly meaningless in terms of the biggest picture—the picture that includes not only our current time, but eternity. For our true value and worth comes from our relationship with God.

King David understood this fact from his own experience. Notice these words David wrote, as recorded in Psalm 37:16-17:

Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.

Temporal means of judging value and worth pale when faced with eternal measures. No matter what the circumstances in which we may find ourselves this new day, it is our relationship with God that truly gives us meaning and worth.

Our value comes from God, not from what we look like, or how much money we have, or how smart we think we are, or any other quality that we may have previously relied upon. That’s something we need to keep in mind all through this day and every day.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

God's Love in Us

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Father, I want those you have given me to
be with me where I am, and to see my glory,
the glory you have given me because you
loved me before the creation of the world.”
—John 17:24

In the moments before Jesus was arrested by the armed emissaries of the high priest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed a magnificent prayer. Bible teachers often refer to this as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” Certainly, this prayer shows Jesus in the role of priest to His followers. It also expresses the highest of spiritual ideals.

Today, concludes my series of blog posts that have focused on this prayer of Jesus. It is my hope that by sharing verses from this prayer with you, you will find, as I have found, great comfort and great blessing from the words of our Savior.

Jesus concludes this magnificent prayer with these words, found in John 17:24-26:

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Considering the words of Jesus, as He prayed for His disciples and for us as well, should give us courage and strength to face another new day. Let’s determine to make this day count for Him.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, November 4, 2019

"I In Them And You In Me"

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“I have given them the glory that you gave
me, that they may be one as we are
one—I in them and you in me—so that
they may be brought to complete unity.”
—John 17:22-23a

Several blog posts ago, I stated that, in the moments before Jesus was arrested by the armed emissaries of the high priest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed a magnificent prayer. Bible teachers often refer to this as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” Certainly, this prayer shows Jesus in the role of priest to His followers. It also expresses the highest of spiritual ideals.

Today, and for the next few blog posts, I intend to focus on this prayer of Jesus. It is my hope that by sharing verses from this prayer with you, you will find, as I have found, great comfort and great blessing from the words of our Savior.

Jesus continues this magnificent prayer with these words, found in John 17:20-23:

“My prayer is not for them [my current disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

As we begin a new day, the very fact that Jesus prayed for us in the moments before He would be led off to the cross of Calvary should give us a strong sense of how very much He loves us and cares for us. The fact that since His ascension into heaven Jesus continues to make intercession in our behalf should bring us such a sense of peace that we can go forth in His name and do all that He longs for us to do. Let’s allow these wonderful truths to permeate to the very core of our beings.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Sent By God

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“As you sent me into the world,
I have sent them into the world.”
—John 17:18

As I stated at the beginning of each one of the last few blog posts, in the moments before Jesus was arrested by the armed emissaries of the high priest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed a magnificent prayer. Bible teachers often refer to this as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” Certainly, this prayer shows Jesus in the role of priest to His followers. It also expresses the highest of spiritual ideals.

For the next few blog posts, I intend to focus on this prayer of Jesus. It is my hope that by sharing verses from this prayer with you, you will find, as I have found, great comfort and great blessing from the words of our Savior.

Jesus continues this magnificent prayer with these words, found in John 17:13-19:

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

When we apprehend the fact that we are, indeed, Christ’s ambassadors to a needy and troubled world, we must also understand that Jesus has sent us into the world even as God the Father sent Him into the world. As we begin a new day, we should be able to take comfort in that fact.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Not One Has Been Lost

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are
still in the world, and I am coming to you.
Holy Father, protect them by the power of your
name, the name you gave me, so that they may be
one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected
them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.
None has been lost except the one doomed to
destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.”
—John 17:11-12

As I stated at the beginning of the last several blog posts, in the moments before Jesus was arrested by the armed emissaries of the high priest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed a magnificent prayer. Bible teachers often refer to this as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” Certainly, this prayer shows Jesus in the role of priest to His followers. It also expresses the highest of spiritual ideals.

For the next few blog posts, it is my hope that by sharing verses from this prayer with you, you will find, as I have found, great comfort and great blessing from the words of our Savior.

Jesus continues this magnificent prayer with these words, found in John 17:11-12:

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.”

As followers of Jesus, we can take great comfort from the fact that He protects us by the power of God’s name. He keeps us safe from attack. And, He lovingly holds us safely in His loving arms. We can move forward in His behalf, knowing that He is always with us and that He enables us to serve Him in the best way we possibly can do so.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

We Know God

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“I have revealed you to those whom you gave
me out of the world. They were yours; you gave
them to me and they have obeyed your word.
Now they know that everything you have given
me comes from you. For I gave them the words
you gave me and they accepted them. They knew
with certainty that I came from you, and they
believed that you sent me. I pray for them.
I am not praying for the world, but for
those you have given me, for they are yours.
All I have is yours, and all you have is
mine. And glory has come to me through them.”
—John 17:6-10

As I stated at the beginning of the last blog post, in the moments before Jesus was arrested by the armed emissaries of the high priest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed a magnificent prayer. Bible teachers often refer to this as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” Certainly, this prayer shows Jesus in the role of priest to His followers. It also expresses the highest of spiritual ideals. For the next few blog posts, it is my hope that by sharing verses from this prayer with you, you will find, as I have found, great comfort and great blessing from the words of our Savior.

Jesus continues this magnificent prayer with these words, found in John 17:6-10:

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.”

How fortunate we are, those of us who follow Jesus. As He said in this portion of His prayer, He has revealed the very essence of God the Father to us. We know so much more about God than we normally would know because we have seen Jesus through God’s written Word and through the testimony of countless saints down through the centuries.

As we begin another new day, let’s grasp onto this knowledge of God and draw strength and comfort from knowing that He loves us with His everlasting love and has our very best interests in the forefront of His mind.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Glorify the Son

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that
your Son may glorify you. For you granted him
authority over all people that he might give
eternal life to all those you have given him.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you
have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by
finishing the work you gave me to do. And now,
Father, glorify me in your presence with the
glory I had with you before the world began.”
—John 17:1-5

In the moments before Jesus was arrested by the armed emissaries of the high priest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed a magnificent prayer. Bible teachers often refer to this as “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” Certainly, this prayer shows Jesus in the role of priest to His followers. It also expresses the highest of spiritual ideals. For the next few blog posts, it is my hope that by sharing verses from this prayer with you, you will find, as I have found, great comfort and great blessing from the words of our Savior.

Jesus begins this magnificent prayer with these words, found in John 17:1-5:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

As a follower of Jesus, I wonder if we ever think about the fact that as God glorifies His Son, that glory also comes to us, as well. Since we belong to Jesus, His glory becomes our glory—not in some kind of foolish or arrogant way, but in a humbling, even overwhelming, way.

His glory, expressed to us through the Holy Spirit, energizes us in every way that we strive to honor Him. As we begin a new day, let’s allow the glory of Jesus to so fill us that we will have an even greater determination to serve Him with all of our might.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Choose the Correct Pathway

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“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.”
—Matthew 7:13-14

I’ve said many times in blog posts that life is a series of choices. We move from decision to decision, all the while hoping that we’ve made the right choices.

There is a way we can discern whether the choice we’ve made is the correct one. Jesus offers these words of advice, found 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.

At the beginning of this new day, let’s strive to be one of the individuals who finds the small gate and the narrow road that leads to life. God has already opened up the pathway before us. Let’s not hesitate to start down the road He has given us. The destination will be well worth making this choice.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Always Give a Wise Answer

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the
Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall
not live on bread alone, but on every word
that comes from the mouth of God.’”
—Matthew 4:3-4

When someone asks you a serious question, or tries to persuade you to do something out of character, it’s best if you give a wise and thoughtful answer.

Case in point, found in Matthew 4:3-4:

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

At the beginning of this new day, we do well if we pattern our answers like Jesus did. He answered by quoting Scripture. If we base our answers on God’s written Word, how can we possibly go wrong?

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Heed Instruction

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.”
—Proverbs 16:20

Do you follow instructions? Or, do you launch off on your own and do what seems to make sense without even opening the instructions, let alone reading and following them?

Once I began my career as a fire protection engineer inspecting large industrial facilities, I learned that God had given me a somewhat unusual gift. I can look at a piece of machinery and instantly know how it works. Now, I could not design that machine, nor build it, nor repair it. But, I can tell you exactly how it does what it’s supposed to do.

However, this gift does not translate into putting things together without reading the instructions. I’ve tried to do that and failed miserably. There is something very important about carefully and clearly written instructions. Someone has taken the time to write down the very best way to do something. It’s a good idea to follow those instructions to the letter.

In life, God has given us His instructions in His written Word, the Bible. We would do very well to heed His instructions and recognize that, as Creator and Sustainer of all, He knows the very best way to live our lives.

King Solomon wrote this testimony in Proverbs 16:20:

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

Let’s begin this new day with a determination to follow God’s instructions. Let’s take time to read His written Word and follow whatever pathway God opens up before us. He has given us His Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. We do very well when we follow God’s instructions—all of them.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Balanced Life

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
—Philippians 4:11b

“Walking along the road of a Christian Life is very much like walking across a high span on a tightly stretched wire. The key to a successful crossing is balance.”

That quote exists on one of the originally blank pages at the front of my Bible. Presumably, it came from some sermon that I heard many years ago. Unfortunately, I did not write down the name of the pastor who preached that sermon. But, that thought has remained in the forefront of my mind for lo these many years.

I believe the statement is very true. We cannot successfully walk the pathway God lays out before us, unless we maintain our balance. We dare not lean too far to the left, or too far to the right, or we will fall off the “high wire.”

I have friends on both sides of the political, cultural, societal, and even spiritual spectrum who have more than once in their lives leaned too far in one direction and lost their footing. In fact, I have a very dear friend who has gone from one extreme to the other throughout most of the course of his life.

But, my point is that we dare not fling ourselves from one extreme to another, back and forth across the spectrum of faith. If we do so, we will find that the one quality missing from our lives is balance.

The Apostle Paul summarized this well in Philippians 4:10-13:

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

As we begin a new day, let’s embrace “balance” as a key element in our walk with God. Let’s not be blown this way or that by every new wind of doctrine that might arise (see Ephesians 4:11-16). Instead, let’s hold firmly to the truth of God’s written Word. And, let’s recognize the fact that consistency, represented by balance, can chart the smoothest and most productive pathway for the sake of the Kingdom.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

More Valuable Than Rubies

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.”
—Proverbs 31:10

What is more valuable than fine jewels? King Solomon offers this suggestion from Proverbs 31:10:

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

You may remember that, in his sin, Solomon had many wives and many concubines. You would think that he would regale the value of multiple wives and lovers. Yet, the construction of the Hebrew makes it clear that he is writing here about a singular woman—one wife, as it were.

A woman of noble character is truly a gift from God to a man. He should cherish her in the same way he might cherish the finest rubies. As a helpmeet and partner in life, such a woman has value beyond description.

Let’s remember, at the beginning of this new day, the value that God gives us in the relationships with have with others, particularly those yoked with us in marriage. Our service to our Great King is heightened when we recognize the partner He has given us for the sake of His Kingdom.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Confess and Pray

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Therefore confess your sins to each
other and pray for each other so that
you may be healed. The prayer of a
righteous person is powerful and effective.”
—James 5:16b

The Apostle James offers this advice for believers, as recorded in James 5:16b:

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

That seems like very good advice to me. Of course, the person to whom we choose to confess must be someone trustworthy who will keep our confession in confidence.

Even so, as we begin this new day, let’s decide to follow this advice and do what the Apostle suggests. If we do, we will gain a significant benefit. Okay?

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Friday, October 18, 2019

We Will Know

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“And so I will show my greatness and my holiness,
and I will make myself known in the sight of many
nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
—Ezekiel 38:23

God has a way of making Himself known at the most appropriate times. In fact, it’s a really good idea for those of us who follow His Son, Jesus, to keep our eyes peeled for those times when God reveals Himself in our daily lives.

I’ve written many times before about a little exercise first brought to my attention by my long-time spiritual mentor, Dr. David R. Mains, and his wife, Karen, more than 35 years ago. That exercise is called the “God Hunt.” In fact, David and Karen have written at least two books on this subject—one for adults and one for children. The key elements of this daily conscious awareness of God at work in our lives includes the following:

  • Any obvious answer to prayer, or…

  • Any special evidence of God’s care, or…

  • Any help to do God’s work in the world, or…

  • Any unusual linkage or timing

If we keep our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts on alert, we will see God’s hand. After all, God has promised He will make Himself known. Notice what God said through the Prophet Ezekiel, as recorded in Ezekiel 38:23:

“And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

As we start another new day, let’s be aware that God is always at work in our lives. It’s high time we acknowledged His presence by purposefully looking for the way He interacts to bless us all through each day.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Resist! Resist! Resist!

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist
the devil, and he will flee from you.”
—James 4:7

The term “Resist!” has currently inflamed our culture. One political ideology in our nation has decided that it’s better to resist than to find common ground. This stance frankly disappoints me greatly. A hallmark of our form of government has routinely been built on wise individuals working together to find points where they can agree. When one side determines that they will resist without any hope of compromise, we all suffer in the end.

But, resistance is not always a bad thing. Take note of what the Apostle James wrote, as recorded in James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Now, here’s a time when resistance pays great benefit. Resisting the enemy of our soul, Satan, and fleeing from his devious and destructive ways is a very good thing. Submission to God is also an excellent choice to make.

Therefore, at the start of this new day we can take these two marching orders to heart. As we begin to walk into our world this day, we can determine to resist Satan and all his clever wiles. And, we can determine to submit our faulty and selfish human wills to God’s perfect and divine will. What better ways can we possibly choose to act as children of the Great King?

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

That We May Know Him

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“Now this is eternal life: that they
may know you, the only true God, and
Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
—John 17:3

God’s desire is that we will know Him. That’s why He has revealed Himself to us in His written Word, the Bible. That’s why He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to become a human and die on a cruel Roman cross of torture, bearing our sins, and fulfilling God’s justice that was destined for us. That’s why God has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within the hearts of all those who believe in Jesus.

Even in His moments of great agony, as the terror of the cross loomed large before Him, Jesus prayed these words, as recorded in John 17:3:

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

God wants us to know Him. That’s a thought that should give us courage to face another new day. To be known by God, to be loved by Him, and to know Him in return is the greatest, most wonderful gift God could have given to us. Let’s go forth into this new day with strength and with great joy because we belong to the One who both knows us the best and loves us the most.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

True Freedom

 

[Photo of a Scripture verse]


“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves
be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
—Galatians 5:1

Freedom is something we take for granted here in the United States. Most of us have been born into a freedom that people in other parts of the world can only dream about. And yet, instead of truly appreciating all the benefits that accrue to us because of our freedom, we take advantage of it and, in some cases, we misuse it.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. Christ has paid the price for our freedom from sin. Yet, we so often act as if we are still in bondage to that evil power. We need to take note of these words from the Apostle Paul, found in Galatians 5:1:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Not only has the death and resurrection of Jesus freed us from the penalty for our sins, Christ has freed us from the power of sin over us. We need to start living in a way that reflects the freedom we have in Christ: true freedom. Therefore, as we begin another new day, let’s determine to live as people free from the bondage of sin and alive to the victory that we have through Jesus our Savior and Lord.

 

Copyright © 2019 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.