Friday, December 13, 2013


Proverbs 29:5 (esv): “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.” Matthew 23:24 (esv): “Woe to you . . . you tithe . . . and have neglected . . . weightier matters . . . justice and mercy and faithfulness . . . straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”

I am so grateful for Otto Koning, a missionary to (Dutch) New Guinea. Many years ago he shared the story of how he was finally able to grow pineapples in extremely difficult soil, only to have the natives on the compound steal them while claiming innocence, and calling him an angry missionary. All of this while trying to preach the Gospel and win them to Christ! 1

It was his victory in Christ, through acknowledgement of the ridiculous nature of situations he got himself into that prepared me for the following events.

I was getting ready to go and get repair quotes on our car. (This was after someone had pulled out of a filling station and run into our car while trying to retrieve a recently purchased soft drink that had fallen from its perch!)

I was glad that no one was hurt. However, I wasn’t that happy with the insurance “red tape”. Since basic insurance is required by law, I knew I had to agree with the Lord that it really was possible for me to have a balanced spirit!

Before leaving, I shaved and used the toilet. I grabbed my glasses, while flushing the toilet, only to lose my grip on them, and drop them in the toilet as it flushed!

The sheer ridiculousness of the incident had made me laugh! I grabbed an older pair of glasses and headed out of the door to get the quotes. The first collision repair facility had just lost their body repairman. The second one was very thorough in every detail, while charging a high price for the repair. He did offer to do extra touch up on the vehicle without charge if he got the job. The third one was quite innovative, and said he could fix it for almost half the price.

Now”, I thought, “I still have to figure out what to do about the glasses.” However, the Lord wanted me to trust Him for wisdom. (James 1:5) Since He had already given victory in my spirit when I was able to laugh, I now had the practical problem in my hand. With most things I can face who I am, because I am a Christian, bought with the price of Calvary. But when it comes to true wisdom, I hate to admit that sometimes I make decisions that are not really that wise. I had to confess my problem to my best friend, my wife! The advice quickly came that the glasses needed to be fished out.

I am not a toilet repairman by experience or trade, so I did not have an arsenal of tools for the occasion. A coat hanger is really too stiff, and a regular “snake” has no hook. But as I prayed for wisdom, the idea came to me that I should use one of the coat hangers that have a cardboard tube at the bottom. I knew the wire was softer, and that there were hooks on each end. I took it apart, inserted one end and kept turning it around, pulling as I did so. Presto, there were my glasses!

The only damage was the death route for my pride, and a scratch outside of the line of vision on my glasses!

I hate to admit that I still fall for flattery! This is why the verse I quoted at the start is so applicable to this scene. The worst mistakes in life are those that we felt we had already learned! The worst kind of flattery is self-flattery! 2 Corinthians 10:12 warns us not to compare ourselves with ourselves. The net for my feet was right there to catch me in my failure!

Unfortunately a partner of this problem is personal disciplines without overall wisdom. This is why this is such a funny story. It ended right for a change! The victory of Romans 8 is not possible until we recognize this law of the spirit.

Jesus told a story in Luke 16 of how true kindness to those who have to live with the kind of person we really are, is still the best in the end!

Monday, August 26, 2013

"If Money could Talk"

You’ve heard them before – but maybe you’ve never heard these:

“Money talks, but all mine ever says is ‘good-bye.” (Unknown Quotes)
“Money talks - everything else walks.” (African-American Proverb Quotes)
“When money talks – no one notices what grammar it uses.” (Unknown Quotes)
“Put not your trust in money – but put your money in trust.” (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table.”)
“If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.”(Benjamin Franklin, “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”)
“A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.” Yogi Berra
“A man can no more make money suddenly and largely, and be unharmed by it, than one could suddenly grow from a child's stature to a man's without harm.” (Henry Ward Beecher, “Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit”)
“Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.” (says wise man Will Smith.)

Let’s think about the subject a little. If “Money Talks”, what does it say.”

Several months ago, on a morning walk, I saw a gutter full of pennies – there were at least 150 of them! That money said, “I would like to go in the Penny Offering at Church!”

Several mornings ago, I spotted a nickel on a sidewalk – then another – then another. That money seemed to say, “You had better watch more closely! Don’t you remember that the news spoke of someone recently dropping $1 bills on the sidewalks?”

Two weeks later, I spotted a shiny copper penny on the street at a pedestrian crossing. I was riding a bicycle, and felt like picking it up – until I remembered how easy it is for a motorist to be preoccupied with sending a text message.

The money that Proverbs 13:11 describes, says, “If I come easily, I disappear quickly.”

The money that Ecclesiastes 5:11 describes, says, “When I increase, watch out for those that demand or need it more than you!”

If the money that Emanuel Ninger, (1887), hand painted, could speak, it would say, “Why would you, a master artist, deceptively paint counterfeit $50 dollar bills in your attic, when you have portraits in your attic worth more than $16,000 at public auction! You are robbing yourself! Don’t forget that someone else might pick up on a careless oversight – by handling your money with wet hands!” His arrest and notoriety earned him the nick name “Jim the Penman” in the press.

Ultimately, money is God’s idea in order to facilitate the exchange or trade of goods and/or services that God had entrusted people with. It is meant to “come alongside”. Another way of saying it is that it purports to assign material value to intangible substance.

No wonder Jesus was so disappointed in the response of the young ruler who came to him seeking to inherit eternal life, (apparently as an extension of, or addition to) his earthly wealth. He knew that ultimately both parties would lose.

In the ruler’s earthly mind, the shiny, surface expression of wealth was true wealth. But, his soul disagreed! Jesus loved him, and gave his honest appraisal of the need. Jesus offered him a quick way to get started on it all by selling his goods, and helping to alleviate the needs of the poor, thus investing in the true wealth of the eternal world – true “substance”. But, he would not. (Luke 18:18-27)

In this case, the true wealth that Jesus knows deep within, cries out to the ruler about his foolishness!

Or, another way of saying it is, “Do not be too hasty in picking up a beautiful copper penny in front of a car, when the apparent wealth of the driver is blind to its power to demonstrate poverty and/or wealth. Rather commit the keeping of your wealth to the One who sees all needs!”

How many pennies would it take to meet your eternal need

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 (esv)

It was my chance! I was going to be the guest speaker for a church in Indiana. It didn’t take long to realize that I didn’t have that much to say! Frantically, I paged through my Bible and landed on Jesus words on prayer in Matthew 7:7 and Luke 11:5-13.

My whole sermon could not have lasted more than ten minutes.

What amazed me is that the scripture was there for me! Someone also told me later that they never forgot that message, and promptly repeated my outline to me, verbatim!

Recently I was asked to critique and publish a manuscript about a person’s journey to wholeness and healing through the message of the Lord Jesus Christ. That initial format appeared on Run Johnny Run to Jesus.

Next, I knew that I had set up a precedent. What I said with my mouth required me to walk in faith as well! (Proverbs 16:26) Since my friend knew nothing about publishing, and I knew a little, I had to practice the truth of my first sermon. I had to ask Him as I asked questions; do research as I explored what they had to offer; and I had to work through logistics and pricing. But that was all!

It was then that the truth of what Jesus had said impacted me. If God could use my own father, (who is now 96 years of age), why wouldn’t God, himself, back him up? He had done it before countless times, and he could do it again as I looked for a publisher.

It was then that I found Instant Publisher, and after acquainting myself with self-publishing, ended up with the book. I believe God placed them in my path! Every aspect of the experience has been rewarding!

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

Thank you, “Instant Publisher” and all of your employees, for being a blessing to me, in meeting the needs of a friend! I don’t think you will lose your reward!

Paul Wilson

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


“Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.” (Proverbs 19:21 (HCSB)

It was one of those moments!

Having heard about the man called Jesus, he thought it might be worth a try to see if He just might be able to do something about the desperate problem he had been having with his son.

It is likely that he had to do some research to find where Jesus would be that day, but after checking around, he was soon on his way. He was tired of dealing with the boy’s problem.

What he may not have known, however, was that Jesus, Himself, had slipped away for a while. He had gone up a high mountain along with his closest confidants in the group of disciples, leaving the others behind. It was a special moment for the foursome as God showed them His heart!

As for the rest of them, an old king reflects, “Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 6:9)

“What made them so special to go with him up the high mountain?”

When God looks for faith, presumption and unrealistic expectations quickly surface. I remember what happened while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments. It wasn’t a pretty picture!

The other disciples had been with Jesus. They had seen Jesus do it many times. Why not show who they really were? As luck would have it, the problem might disappear as well! However, the man, himself, may have been wondering why they were attempting what Jesus, himself had been doing. Needless to say, neither the group, nor the man, were satisfied with the outcome.

As the foursome came down from the high mountain, they approached the comrades that they had left behind, and saw a crowd gathered. The religious people were involved in a dispute.

Suddenly, when the whole crowd saw Him, they were amazed and ran to greet Him. Then Jesus wanted to know what they were arguing about.

A man out of the crowd answered Jesus, saying, “Teacher, I brought my son to You. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I asked Your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.”

Jesus gives a stinging rebuke to the entire age group! I even bite my own upper lip as I remember similar rebukes in my own walk with the Lord! “Better an open reprimand than concealed love.” (Proverbs 27:5)

“You unbelieving generation! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to Me.” So they brought him to Him. When the spirit saw Him, it immediately convulsed the boy. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus looks the father in the eye, and asks for some history about the problem. “How long has this been happening to him?”

“From childhood,” he said. “And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

Jesus then addresses the issue of faith, “‘If You can’? Everything is possible to the one who believes.”

The father of the boy immediately cries out in recognition of what Jesus is saying, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

The scripture record continues with the story. When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly coming together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!”

Then it came out, shrieking and convulsing him violently. The boy became like a corpse, so that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.

After He went into a house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

Jesus explained that faith prays, and faith also sees God’s heart for the need.

The disciples that had been left behind that day did not realize that the man really did not trust them. They needed to pray before undertaking such an exercise, and they needed to understand God’s heart and the heart of the boy.

And He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer [and fasting]a.”

An authentic faith matched with a verified authentication of the action of a supernatural God, is what brings Him into action!

An old song comes to mind, “Do you know my Jesus? Do you know my Friend? Have you heard He loves you, and that He will abide till the end?”

a From Mark 9:14-29 [Other mss omit bracketed text] (Italicized remarks are quotes from the Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” (2 Corinthians 13:5a)

Obedience always goes hand in hand with faith. Faith has to do with what captures our heart. Obedience adds integrity and gives faith its stability. (2 Peter 1:5). But, obedience must have faith to undergird it before it is valid. Otherwise it could be very dangerous.

In other words, obedience is no better than its ultimate object.

God also knows! Faith is born when one senses that its object is exactly what it was made for!

I sensed amazement for the first time this year at the response of Zacharias to the angel when he announced the birth of John the Baptist! It is so different from Mary’s response. The responses are similar, but close scrutiny shows that Zacharias did not have faith, while Mary did. To Zacharias, the angel Gabriel had messed up his pre-planned order of worship, just to tell him they were going to have a child! He was upset, and demanded an explanation!

“. . . Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” (Luke 1:18-20 esv)

In direct contrast, Mary gets a visit from the same angel, Gabriel, with an even more astounding announcement, that she would bear a son without knowing a man in an intimate relationship. Listen to her response, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34 kjv) The angel then explained what would happen, giving sufficient information to quiet her heart with peaceful rest.

It is a lesson in faith! Zacharias did not believe, so demanded proof. To give Zacharias a little room, we need to remember he didn’t do this “priest thing” that often, so was ill-equipped, when facing the angel. Did he think that angels were figurines on top of temple furniture? It looks like he had not done his homework in matters of faith prior to showing up for his appointed time as high priest.

By direct contrast, Mary did believe, and simply asks “how”? There is immense safety in her question, since that demanded an answer worthy of royalty!

When faced with unusual situations in life, I am finding the need to learn to be more consistent in asking myself if I am always addressing the question of faith. We would save ourselves a lot of trouble if we would do just that! Zacharias could not speak until they brought the young child to the temple for the rite of circumcision, and the naming of the child. It was then that he obeyed the angel’s instruction and named him, “John”. Faith had won its day!

We would do well to bring our struggles, questions, insights and ideas before the Lord, and ask Him about our faith. When we have difficulties, and situations that will not go away, we can ask what God wants to accomplish through the scene, and ask Him to train us in matters of faith.

Many years prior to this, God was preparing Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. He was struggling with faith issues, (Exodus 6:30). He acknowledges that he has uncircumcised (kjv), or faltering (niv) lips. This meant that there was trouble in his heart concerning faith. Isn’t it amazing that he knew that God was at work everywhere around him, but he still couldn’t trust him? It shouldn’t really surprise us. Moses had bought into Egyptian ways so much, that when he murdered the Egyptian, he subconsciously communicated that this was how he would free the Israelites. That was not faith, that was compensation. God’s chosen people knew that it would be God who set them free – not another tyrant, no matter how deserving of death! Proverbs 30:10 warns that we dare not accuse a slave to a master, lest we be found to be the guilty party.

We would save ourselves so much trouble if we addressed the issue of faith first, rather than try to solve problems in our own way!

Many years later, as they entered Canaan, when Joshua was by Jericho, an angel appeared to him with a sword in his hand. He asks where he comes from, and finds out the source of this confrontation. It was then that he was instructed to treat the place as holy ground. (Joshua 6:15)

Many years later, a farming family, Nabal and his wife Abigail, along with their hired hands, were having a feast at sheep shearing time. It was soon after God had instructed Samuel to anoint David to replace King Saul. However, while Saul was still king, David and his men were protecting the borders of the land. Consequently, David and his men thought they had the right to enjoy this farmer’s feast since he and his men were protecting them, a great service! David sent his men over to the plantation, and they ran into an angry Nabal who would not let them anywhere near! When David heard of it, he did not inquire whether this was a faith issue or emotional. Even though in the right, he decided to proceed on his own and fight! Abigail steps in just in time, provides for them, and sends them on their way. Later, the next morning, when Nabal had sobered up, Abigail told him what she had done. Now Nabal was both frightened of David and his men, as well as angry about the situation, and died! (From 1 Samuel 25)

In spite of this earlier experience, David still made the same mistake as Nabal did, when he tried to patch up his affair with Bathsheba. He hid the affair, murdered her husband, Uriah, then took her as his wife. When learning of her pregnancy, he murdered her husband, Uriah. God wasn’t to be outdone, however, since God’s enemies now had great cause to blaspheme God, He took the child!

This Christmas and New Year’s, may every battle we face, be a faith battle, remembering that the victory ultimately belongs to Him!

Every “sea” in 2013 begs to have someone bring it down to size! In Peter’s heart on stormy Galilee one night, he knew that if the Lord Jesus would give him permission to walk on it, he would be invincible. He was right! But, he had to have more than permission – which is external in nature. He had to have persevering faith, which placed the boat, the sea, and the situations at hand, under his control, as delegated by Christ. That is persevering faith! It is a faith intertwined with God’s vision for lives in the present and the future!

I pray that you will join me in praying that God will give us such a year in 2013!