Saturday, August 26, 2017


From Isaiah 30, CEB

Though the Lord gives you the bread of distress and the water of oppression, your teacher will no longer hide, but you will see your teacher. If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: “This is the way; walk in it.”

Fear is a terrible thing! It is especially fearful to be new at school as a child, and then have no parent to comfort. In war torn countries, sometimes children are given a crust of bread to hold for the night, so they would know there would be something to eat in the morning.

Imagine the experiences of the Israelites over the years when they were headed for the Promised Land. They often felt they had been abandoned. If this was true about the entire nation of several hundred thousand, how about the family, or individual?

What beautiful words to such a person or group, ". . . your teacher will no longer hide, but you will see your teacher." Jesus encounters the same when he tells the disciples, "It is I, be not afraid!"

I remember being left alone to care for my younger brother in Brakpan, Gauteng, South Africa, with a kerosene stove for warmth. My parents were working on official records of district churches. (We had no central heat.)

During the night, the wick began to smoke, and my baby brother's cough awakened me. I scrambled for light, and found the room and adjacent rooms filled with smoke. I was frightened. Thank God, by that time we had a reasonable telephone service, since we were near Johannesburg, and I was able to get in touch with my parents, who came immediately to help. "Your teacher will no longer hide, but you will see your teacher."

This is an amazing promise that came many years after the wandering of Israel in the desert. Things were beginning to make better sense to those who prophesied, as well as to those to whom they prophesied. But as is often the case - the darkest hour is just before the dawn.

This is a promise for every Christian that can be seen many places in scripture, especially the Psalms.

In distress - you will see your teacher! What a deal! What a promise!

Many that read this will recall seeing the emblem of a "serpent on a pole" on medical facilities, perhaps even their own doctor's office. That ancient emblem comes from the experience of ancient Israelites in the desert on their way to Canaan, when, after a victory in Hormah, (Numbers 21:6), they grumbled against God about the food they were eating. Grumbling like this was a constant problem with the Israelites. Finally God felt it was time for them to be taught in a way they could "see".

Repeatedly, Moses had complained about this grumbling, so God sent "fiery serpents" in discipline. Many died as a result. It did not take long for the Israelites to malign the character of God, as well as Moses, due to the discipline of snakes.

God's remedy was for Moses to make a pole, cast a bronze serpent for it, so that the Israelites could look at it.

When they started to do this, they were not only healed of snake bite, but it was no longer a problem to them . . . except when they began to worship this bronze serpent as an idol in Hezekiah's time.

Why is this significant? Throughout scripture God was training people for the time that Jesus Christ, God's Son would be sent for the sin and sin of the human race.

Once He came, all of the training "props" were taken away, and the principles began to shine through.

The idea that needed to be taught and re-taught was simply that the key to any discipline of the Lord, is to understand why He sent it, and then fix one's eyes on Him, and the things He tells us to keep our eyes upon. As Israel they looked at the bronze serpent on the pole, they would no longer fear the bite of the snakes.

Perhaps there is a parent reading this who told a child, "If you don't quit crying, I'll give you something to cry about!"

What about these emblems in the medical profession? Why are they placed in prominent places? As God taught Israel, very often diseases come because we look everywhere but to God for basic provision. When we look at the serpent on the pole - the serpent is dead, and made of brass. If God is the Provider, and discipline comes - there must be an offense. Looking at the pole reminds us of who Jesus Christ is, and what He came to do.

Looking at Christ, studying Him, studying His life, getting to know Him better, getting to know God his Father better, helps us to realize how much bigger He is than simply saying "yes" to a few questions, and going to church. Why? We are a dying human race, but this is our opportunity to see our lives as "seeds", to plant in fertile soil for time and eternity. (Matthew 13:37-38)

Is this fertile soil the brokenness that Christ was hinting about in Matthew 9:12-13?

Thus, it is the "reverse" of grumbling that must be practiced. We are sheep. We are broken as well as lost, due to sin. The basic design of a sheep is much like a cow - a ruminant animal. A pig doesn't do that. Farmers know this principle very well - especially those who have sheep.

As far as attending church doesn't "fix" a person any more than a hospital, clinic, or local doctor's office does. It is understanding another's definition of what could be wrong, and seeing that doctor or medical practitioner's perspective. It is then an agreed-upon remedy is brought alongside to facilitate healing. This also is the true function of the church. An old friend of mine once said, "Churches aren't for people that are healthy, they are hospitals for sick folk." Psalm 141:5. Hebrews 10:24.

Snakes are generally not aggressive, unless cornered. Thus, looking to Christ is the answer! It solves the problem.

This now becomes the basis of Christian meditation. In your private time with the Lord in prayer and faithful study of the Word, you see a verse or two that hit sore areas of your life. You look intensely for Christ in that passage, and in others like it that you can read, study, memorize, and study. Perhaps the problem has become more than you can bear. Search His Word prayerfully, looking for scriptures that draw you in, and attract you. Treat them like Moses' burning bush in the desert. (Exodus 3:5)

Write down these thoughts, "look at them often"! Look at them and "chew on them". Meditate on them. Study word meanings. Apply the truths directly, and write out insights. Speak about them among those you trust.

It is Christ who keeps His people from snake-bite! Now you can truly "see" your teacher, as illustrated above.

An old song says, "I've a message from the Lord, Hallelujah, it is only that you Look and Live!" The song was based on Christ's explanation of this story. John 3:14-16. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


By Paul Wilson, July 4, 2017

Is it not interesting that the “Jesus around us today, the body of the living Jesus Christ” treats things differently than we often do, when encountering someone who has lost their way. And, looking around, it appears that everything but God is the “thing to do”, to get us back on track

A certain man asked Jesus about these kinds of things one day, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good--except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” Luke 18:13-30 (NIV)

I am sure you, too, have an assessment of some kind. I know I do. God has led me to a lot of wonderful writers over the years. You will hear of one of them at the end of this article.

I find it interesting that Jesus does not accept the compliment that was offered the wealthy man. This means he is still searching eternal life after he had become wealthy enough to turn down a personal invitation by the Christ Himself to follow Him! Do we want eternal life? Do we realize that we have temporal life as an opportunity to do something about the nature of this priceless Gift.

Here is one small example that a businessman taught me: When you borrow something, always return it better than you found it! (This dear friend had borrowed a car to loan me, and it gave him 20x20 vision as to how I treated borrowed goods! I also learned that if I did not practice that I would find it would be required anyway!) (Luke 17:10) (Matthew 25:25)

The knowledge that you are living your life well, and doing what you know you should be doing – the true contentment and/or peace that comes from God by the sacrifice of Christ, (Romans 8), confirms your spirit as nothing else c.

Why would this rich young ruler feel short-changed?

Is not the answer found in these words, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

What is this One Thing?

    1. Recognizing the ownership factor – everyone has something to sell;
    2. Recognizing the profit factor – selling all of what you truly have, actually profits you as well as another;
    3. Recognizing what hinders truly following Christ, and what actually lays up treasure in Heaven

I have been in ministry of various types for more than a half of a century. I have been a musician; missionary in South Africa; and pastor of four churches in the US. I have also worked in the Funeral Business part time, as well as a Coordinator in an Automotive company mailroom.

The temporal reward of these pictures of my life’s calling fade as my tenure on earth comes to a close – but this scripture says to me as well as to everyone else:

  1. We all have something to sell to someone. It is probably not what you think it is right off hand;
  2. We all have something that will profit someone. You may not want what I have that will really profit you;
  3. What I have to sell; what profits you; and what must be recognized as such, helps us all to comprehend what it means to follow Christ.

James said it well, “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” James 5:17-20 (NIV)

Recently I wanted to encourage someone to care for the property they had just acquired. So, one day when he was polishing his automobile, I complimented him, telling him that I loved keeping my cars spotless as a young person. I recommended that he learn more about character, and look up an old recorded series by Earl Nightingale, online, “Lead the Field”, and do just that with his care of things like automobiles and property.

Since it was good, but without adequate mention of the Christian Faith, I felt a twinge of condemnation in my heart that told me I had not thought of surrounding his life with prayer, asking the Lord to sell my experience with this His profit, when I felt I had not treated the truth that well. After all, every good and perfect gift comes from above – the Father of all Lights.” (James 1:17)

As I prayed for him, I sensed that the Lord wanted me clean the alley side of that same property while praying for him forgivingly, since I felt it was a problem to me and others. 

I was amazed at what happened. First, a friend helped him put up brand new fencing without a word from me, and Detroit Energy decided to do a massive clean-up of the trees that had overgrown power lines in that entire area . . . which also included another neighbor’s tree that had overgrown our property! Was this an accident? No, it was profit on my investment of what was already mine, because of Christ, but what Christ wanted to belong to all, which also encompasses a lot of what Earl Nightingale had to say with the series, “Lead the Field”. There is an mp3 recording of the original records available on Amazon! Find it for yourself if you wish, and you may like it enough to buy it.

I was blessed by having it in my possession for a few years, and eventually gave it away, because Christ is the Greatest Treasure of all!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


     A twelve year old turned trustingly to his dad, "Dad, I need a new pair of shoes! See, the heels are not wearing evenly." 

     (This reflection comes from a time when leather shoes with rubber heels were far more common than the "discard" sports shoes of today's culture.)

     Fully expecting the problem to be solved with a new pair of shoes, the child accompanied his dad to the store, and looked at new shoes longingly. His dad's conversation took an unexpected turn. "Either you did not sell my son a good pair of shoes, or you misfitted him, and I want you to make it right!"

     The store owner was certainly not expecting this approach, for he was enjoying his prosperity in the small town in central United States. His was the only shoe store for miles around.

     He had an answer, however, "We sell the best shoes in this part of the state! Furthermore, we always fit them right! Sir, I can sell you a new pair of shoes, or repair your son's shoes at a fee, but I owe you  nothing!"

     The dad was firm, and he repeated the statement, "No sir, either the shoes are flawed, or you misfitted him." There was no arrogance or annoyance in the dad's voice, only firmness. But the son thought his dad was angry at the storekeeper. He fully expected the two men to get into at least a verbal assault of one another. He was amazed, however, when the store owner agreed to repair the shoes. They agreed on a time.

     Either the dad had sensed a lack of service integrity in the store owner, or was training his young son in a life of faith. Time would tell. A story that will take reflection teaches this principle. Read Isaiah 7:1-9.

     I have often wondered how the boy got home. Did he walk barefooted to the car, or did his dad feel sorry for both concerned and buy a second pair of shoes, to make sure that this conversation was about business, and not personal issues? I don't know.

     Dad was on a trip somewhere when the son had to face the store keeper in order to pick up his shoes. He had no money to pay, so was not in a position to agree with the store keeper's assessment of his dad, but had to listen to the disgruntled statement about his dad.

     Many years later, dad reminded his son . . . "Ownership and Management are not about control, but about service! Son, store ownership is a trust given to serve the need that is prevalent - whether to sell, provide access to a special design for tired, injured feet, or simply to help them find out where that need can be met!"

     This is not just a business principle to gather wealth, but reflects the nature of Christ, Himself. When it appears that all in life has gone wrong for a season, and the "store front" of your life is in shambles, remember that it could be that your service quotient is in need of repair. This is where the wise virgins of Matthew 25:8-10 did the only thing that could work for the foolish virgins. They were hopeful that they would be able learn the lesson in time. But, it was too late to change their viewpoint of opportunity. The bridegroom came while they were away.

     While King David was hiding from his enemy Saul, (who was attempting to save his own kingdom from inevitable take-over), David expresses an amazing prayer in Psalm 54:1-7, that demonstrates how to get help from God, Himself, during such a crisis!

     Jonah did not like being put in a crisis he couldn't handle on his own, but found out that he was God's choice, like it or not. Apparently he did not realize that the choice of apparent safety was not nearly as secure as bearing the right message for the right reasons. Proverbs 23:1-3.

Monday, August 22, 2016

We’ve Been Robbed!

       The bedroom door opened, and my wife said, “We have been robbed!” She continued, “Our neighbor said our garage door is wide open, and has been for two hours! They first thought that we may been in the garage ourselves, but finally suspected the worst, and rang the doorbell repeatedly to attract attention. I knew I had heard something strange outside, but had not investigated!”

       I rubbed my eyes, trying to make sense out of things. It was 1:00 a.m. I was not very happy about being short-changed in my sleep. I knew I had to investigate.

       I discovered that the side door had been forced open. Three pieces of equipment had been stolen, one of them quite expensive.

        Knowing a little of the nature of forgiveness, I forgivingly asked the question, “What do you do when someone throws the equilibrium of life off like that? Explode with anger? Call the Police? See if you can follow footprints, etcetera? Fix the damage enough so you can attempt to go back to sleep again?”

       Is there not a better way to balance the scale? Whether right or not, I responded by doing my best to repair the door sufficiently so it would at least close and lock. I then attempted to go back to sleep, but sleep eluded me.

       The next morning in the police report, I realized that it would have been helpful to call the police. This way they could have inspected for fingerprints, and look for other things out of order. It was too late.

       In the process I also discovered that our small car had also been dented in the process of theft. Also, two of the stolen items were not complete. That is, they now had one part and I the other. Neither of us could enjoy that particular piece of equipment.

       Why would someone do that? Honesty allows a person to enjoy what they purchase, receive or own. Dishonesty and theft will not allow a person to enjoy it. It often does not occur to someone to think things through. This means it hurts both parties concerned. If you do something good in secret, someone often surprises you in doing something special for you. Why don’t people remember that the same principle, applied in reverse, will eventually even the score in stolen goods?

Monday, April 4, 2016


Genesis 1:6-8 (NET Bible) “God said, “Let there be an expanse[1] in the midst of the waters and let it separate water from water.”  So God made the expanse[2] and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. It was so.  8 God called[3] the expanse “sky.”

The sky as we know it in our human experience, (firmament, expanse, dome, open space), is considered by most as a tangible thing, yet by experience it is hardly that. It cannot be touched, and yet we know and experience its presence.

Yet, considering what it does for the human race, there are a lot of beautiful lessons to be considered.

Some have indicated that it has been used to speak of the gold that has been hammered into the features of an idol. If considered that way, it takes on the meaning of the atmosphere that is especially designed to protect, nourish, and demonstrate the handiwork of God.

This became precious to me when I considered the larger sense of God’s work. The children of Israel experienced a special protection in Goshen, while in Egypt; The children of Israel experienced the cloud and the pillar of fire in the desert; After the flood upon the earth, God placed a rainbow there to assure God’s people that the earth would never experience this particular kind of threat any more. (Genesis 9:13)

From the sky, or from such a place as the Niagara Falls observation tower, it can be observed that the rainbow is a perfect circle. The rainbow is also proof of a prism effect on the sun’s harsh rays. I find it fascinating that it can picture a covenantal relationship of a man and wife in a wedding ring, if they desire to do so.

We see a cloud re-appear in the Holy Place in the Temple, speaking the same truth. It was alluded to in Nehemiah 9:19, when the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt. It was re-experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration when Jesus appeared Peter, James and John. Matthew 17:5.

All of these can illustrate the marvelous truth that God cares about who and what He considers to be His property.

There is a remarkable reminder of this in outdoor weddings, when an arch is placed over the couple, referring to the “cloud” of a covenantal relationship.

Do you and I really understand firmament, canopy, expanse, cloud of God’s presence in our lives? Do we experience it in the areas that we consider important in our lives? Hosea 6:3 seems to suggest that we can know these answers as we follow closely to Him, and get to know Him better. Luke 11:52 implies that the religious leaders, who had not been living close to God, had robbed the “key” to this knowledge from the people.

Jesus also shows how a study of the clouds can be used to predict weather patterns. If the protection or provision is there – there is safety. Jesus then said, “How is it that you do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:56)

1 “EXPANSE – FIRMAMENT”:  Canopy - Original meaning. Expanse. The original word is sometimes used for the gold or silver covering on an idol. See Psalm 19:1
3 “CALLED”:  God gave this “expanse”, “firmament” or “canopy” - a name, and that was “sky” “Heaven”.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Jesus was amazed!

He was amazed at disciple Nathanael’s surprise at what Jesus knew, “‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’” . . . “Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.’” (John 1:48-50)

He was amazed at the faith of the Gentile centurion, who reminded Jesus that all it took was a word to get obedience from soldiers, therefore he trusted Him to declare his servant well. “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’” (Luke 7:9) 

He was amazed at the response of a Greek woman to comparing her to a scavenging dog, “ . . . a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. ‘First let the children eat all they want,’ he told her, ‘for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.’ Then he told her, ‘For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.’” (Mark 7:25-29) 

He was amazed to find the disciples sleeping when he was personally in need, and when he was about to experience the most critical time of his career – his crucifixion – demonstrating God’s Redemptive plan of History! (Luke 22:46)

All of these things point to the fact that it took a while for Jesus in his perfect humanity to catch on to His father’s heart in his calling, and perfectly human state – but when he did – He died for it, which was God’s will for you and I! He learned obedience by the things He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

Is this not any true parent’s love for a child?

“But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls (your normal securities) are ever before me.’” (Isaiah 49:14-16) 

The heart of Jesus relates to the best parent there has ever been! A grandparent loves to watch the development of a grandchild, particularly if there are interests that are somewhat similar. Therefore, quite often they are the most qualified to help in situations that are bigger than the parents have been given the grace to handle!

For example, I knew my grandparents prayed, but I was amazed when my paternal grandfather prayed for us while missionaries in South Africa, and sent a letter that he had done so. “I have prayed clear through for you”. It was very important to me, for it came at a very difficult time in our experience as missionaries.

This is written all over the pages of scripture!

The disciples had observed Christ at prayer – and were amazed at the fruit of the disciplines of his prayer life. Lepers healed; Blind people seeing; Difficult encounters resolved. On it goes.

Since Jesus had understood their needs at the Father’s hand, they soon found their own hearts desperately longing, crying out to know the secret/s of prayer demonstrated in Jesus. Eventually they put a handle on it, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)

Jesus then spoke the words most of us have memorized, “Lord’s Prayer”, thus teaching them the essence of prayer.

Thus an outline is all we need, to go along with the vision of Christ we have experienced. He knows us much more than we know! This is what the apostle Paul wanted to happen most in his life. (Philippians 3:10)

  1. Prayer is directed to the Father of All – who is in Heaven;
  2. Prayer is directed to call attention to God’s Name, Reputation or Fame;
  3. Prayer is directed to the need for His Kingdom to increase;
  4. Prayer is directed to wanting His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven;
  5. Prayer is directed to asking Him for basic needs such as daily provision;
  6. Prayer, to the outworking of our salvation, and is now directed to asking Him to do what we need to be doing anyway – with what is obvious around us; When we forgive, we are then qualified to worthily receive His forgiveness in situations, as we “flesh out” His will on earth; (1 Corinthians 8:3) with (Genesis 6:8) God “chose Noah”! Amazing, indeed! He saw that he did more than “put up” with the evil around him prior to the flood, he was willing to learn at the hand of God, and saved his family and animals from the flood!
  7. Prayer, is directed to the danger of this journey to the heart of God, which will allow testing for authenticity of the intimate experience with God;
  8. Prayer, is directed to the most important of all deliverances – from the evil one;
  9. Prayer, is experiencing His Kingdom, Power, and Glory in our lives.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven; Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy Kingdom Come; Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever. Amen. (Quotations from New International Version)a Blog this'

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Have you ever had darkness argue with the light when it was turned on? It seems incredulous!

Why is it then, when it comes to experiencing insight, or an “aha” moment, (which is related to light), we don’t seem to have a problem with casting it aside. Of course, not every thought that comes our way qualifies as an “insight”. To make my point, when a blind man walks across a busy intersection with a white cane, but dutifully stops at a red light, we are amazed, but that is not really insightful. We know that that once the light of his eyes had been taken away, he still had the power of insight, which came from reflection on other sources of reflection on the movement of traffic and the voices of people.

I think this fascinating.

Yes, an insight can also cause problems – but most of us would agree that sometimes that is the very thing that works!

I asked a friend in the electrical business to explain how light impacts darkness, and he had a very simple reply: “View darkness as the absence of light, as you would cold, which is basically the absence of heat.”

My mind clicked – if that is true, and we choose to stay in the dark, we cannot help but receive light, even if we are choosing to reject it. Why? The very decision to reject it proves light of some kind or another – and this time that light is in us. But someone also said, if the light that we have within becomes darkness there is a major problem! It is like salt without savor, as Jesus points out.

I heard someone say it this way – “It really is ok to talk, and even to talk with yourself – even answer yourself, but something is wrong if you have to ask, ‘huh’ in reply!”

Have you ever shopped in an area of the store where lights were burned out? Why would that irritate you and I? We like to have light on something that we perceive will cost us in a way that we will perceive (there it is again) in some way. (Less money in our pocket, or less value for amount spent.)

To expand the horizons of my thinking, I am beginning to read the Book of Genesis in the Bible out loud. There I read that “darkness was on the face of the deep”, until God said, “Let there be light.” I also know that God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. I have also read John with new interest.

All He has to do is show up – and light has impacted darkness.

Ultimately, then, if darkness is powerless, anything that happens can be traced to light in some way . . . even if it is misperceived, and we get more darkness to deal with.

I find it intriguing that Jesus, Himself, said He was the Light of the World. Why does the Bible say this about both God and Jesus? Are they related in some way?

When Jesus came to our world, the world did not comprehend him. At least this is what the Bible says in the beginning of St. John.

We are drawn to light by nature . . . whether it is natural light, the light of insight, or the effect of light – enlightenment.

Light is still the ultimate Cause. Just for fun, why not read Genesis 1 and John 1, and reflect on the word “light” as you find it there. Draw your own conclusions, giving proper place to light and its effect.

Did you happen to think of anything else in the process? Why? Is that also related to the impact of light?

Why not assess a problem in this manner – considering that light is behind the problem in some way?
Just thinking . . .