Blogger YouTube Facebook

Meditations by John Dean

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Great Light

(Act 22:6 KJV)  And it came to pass, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.

This scripture has always inspired me because the thought of something like this actually happening is breathtaking. What is even more breathtaking is the thought of an experience like that happening today.

When I read this scripture I usually end up thinking the reason it happened was because of the great apostle Paul. However it never occurred to me that things like this could happen in our day as well.

This “great light” was not only bright, but our text said it appeared “suddenly.” When this “suddenly” took place the “great light” not only shown around Paul, but also around all of those who were with him. Could it be that when one is walking with a person of such spiritual favor and anointing that they also share in the same blessing? That would certainly appear to be the case.

After all, Elisha did share in Elijah’s blessing, Joshua shared in the blessing of Moses and David shared in the blessing of Samuel. The disciples shared in the blessings of Jesus and so do we.

This would indicate that by walking with those who are wiser or more anointed than we are…we benefit. That also means that those who look to us benefit as well because of our choice of who we walk with.

Speaking of this phenomenal light that Paul experienced…this same light is still appearing to folks today.

A few days ago I was in Nava, Mexico ministering and an old man who always comes to my services invited me out to his ranch. While there he took me to a place on his ranch where he said he was walking one day and suddenly a very bright light appeared on him just like it did on the apostle Paul. The place where this great light appeared was in a thick brushy area with lots of trees. The great light was not the sun because the sun was way over to the west.

He said it was so frightening that he fell on his knees and gave his heart to the Lord. He said the Lord then spoke to him and told him to clean this place up because He was going to start sending people there to pray and praise Him.

The old man followed the Lord’s instructions and sure enough people started coming and praying and holding services and giving their hearts to the Lord. What started out to be a thick brushy wooded area is now a beautiful park-like area with an obvious presence of the Lord.

I suppose the question is…did God do things in Bible times that He cannot do today? NO!!! The apostle Paul was no more precious or special to God than the old man in Mexico. The old man in Mexico is no more precious or special to God than you or I. Perhaps the “light of God” is ready to appear when we are ready. Think about it.

Thank You for these inspiring examples of Your desire to appear to each of us as the bright shining Light. Let your appearance be as suddenly to us as it was to Paul and the old man in Mexico.


Share |

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kindness and Truth

(Proverbs 3:3 ASV)  Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart.

Kindness is one of those things that is wonderful to experience, but hard to explain. The reason it is so hard to explain is because it seems to be contrary to human nature. Human nature is usually more interested in pleasing one’s self than in showing kindness to others.

Because of such selfishness, people find it easy to divide over many issues. However, when it comes to acts of kindness those same unpredictable people seem to change…at least for the moment. Is it possible that there is something inherently good in man in spite of the fact that he is lost and needs a redeemer? Apparently so, because our text says, “Let not kindness and truth forsake thee… Write them upon the tablet of thy heart .”

I do not think the Lord would have told us this if the potential for kindness was not there in the first place. This is significant because even though man needs a redeemer (Jesus), nothing is implied that there is not a measure of kindness and even decency in the lost.

Perhaps this is another one of those mysteries that only God knows the answer. The fact is, just because one is born again does not necessarily mean that they are always kind. But on the other hand neither does it mean that just because a person is not born again that they are always unkind.

The purpose of my writing about kindness was provoked by an experience I was a part of the other day.

My niece is an adaptive P.E. teacher and one of her jobs is working with severely handicapped children. She has assistants working with her in teaching and caring for these children.

Last week my niece was talking to one of her assistants and she asked him about his family and where he lived. During their conversation she found out that he was a homeless Vet living in a shelter with his daughter. This man had a college education but wanted to become a school teacher and therefore had to take more college courses in order to qualify for his teaching certification.

As my niece and this man talked, he was so excited to inform her that he had been on a waiting list with the VA to get his own apartment and had just been approved.  He would be moving into his new apartment in a couple of days.

My niece was so moved with compassion that she asked him if he minded if she helped him furnish the new apartment for he and his daughter. He excitedly said yes…because they had absolutely nothing.

We have a trading website in our area, so my niece immediately posted his story and his need. Within two hours his entire apartment was furnished beautifully, including pictures. The pantry was full of food, the linen closet was filled with new sheets and towels and loads of toiletries. Several women bought all the personal items that this man’s daughter would need. Not only that, but my wife and I drove around picking up gift cards for anything else they might need.

The life of this man and his daughter changed completely overnight from living in a shelter with nothing, to having this new beautiful apartment filled with items of love from our community.

I have never seen so many acts of kindness at one time in my life from so many people.

No one focused on the things that would usually separate us, but on the greater need instead. I wonder if that is the part of mankind that I questioned as being inherently good? Is this what our text was talking about when it said, “Let not kindness and truth forsake thee”…I just wonder…I just wonder? Otherwise, why would so many people rally around a stranger they have never met and will probably never meet?

I think I have discovered that I know less about mankind that I first thought. I think I am beginning to understand when You told us “Do not judge lest you be judged”…it was because You and You alone know the heart of man. Since You created man perhaps it was even You that caused this wonderful act of kindness in all of the people toward this homeless Vet. Help me to understand more.


Share |

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Mystery of Death

(Hebrews 9:27)  And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment;

Even though I have used this scripture many times over the years at funerals and in other messages, I still find the subject of death to be a mystery. One starts off in the eternal past as a spirit and ends up in the eternal future as a spirit. The short time in-between God gives man a physical body to live in and be responsible for. Because that body has no eternal value it is appointed to eventually die, but no one knows exactly when except the Father.

When God formed Adam out of the earth he remained only a pile of dirt until God breathed life into his nostrils. At that time, the formed dirt became a living being.

Doctors and nurses often say that when a patient dies they take a deep breath and then exhale…and that is death or the reversal of life. In other words that is when the eternal spirit is released from the temporal body.

All of this makes sense and seems simple enough to understand up to a point. Where it begins to fall apart is when it becomes personal and one’s heart and emotions are ripped apart by the loss of a child, a parent, a husband or a wife. This is often when the question why sets in and yet all explanations are rejected.

The only reason I am even writing about the issue of death is because of an experience I had the other day. By sharing my experience I do not mean to imply that it compares in any way to the loss of a loved one. It is only meant to show how real one’s emotions are.

Karen and I have a little dog named Baxter who is getting old and has a hard time getting around. We took Baxter to the vet the other day to have him examined and logically talk about his future as a healthy dog. None of us (including the vet), wants to do any heroics just to keep Baxter alive for our sakes…particularly when he is living in pain. Our conversation with the vet was very logical and made sense, but when I realized that Baxter’s life or death was based on my decision…things began to change.

It was then that I began to understand that the question why that often comes when a person loses a loved one is not a question at all…it is a statement because no answers are wanted or accepted.

The point is…it is easier to reason logically with the mind because it can be controlled, whereas one’s emotions often cannot be controlled.

Help me to grow in understanding the whole person more deeply, including the complicated emotions that often surface as a result of death. Thank You Lord for giving us emotions because without them we would be incapable of showing love to one another and especially to You.

Share |

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Cost of True Love

(2 Samuel 24:24 ISV)  "No!" the king replied to Araunah. "I will buy them from you at full price. I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

The reason this scripture impacts my heart so much is because it teaches me that true love comes with a price. As a matter of fact it reminds me of the most costly act of love ever known to man which is found in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Even though King David spoke these words hundreds of years before Christ, I think he knew that one day God would give us the most costly gift of all. He would send His son to die on a cross to show His love to each of us.

Our text seems to say (or at least imply), that true love is never free but always comes with a price. I remember saying in a previous Meditation that I was not sure I really understood love…particularly the way it is interpreted today. Perhaps my dilemma is understanding what most people call love. I have always believed that true love costs something based on our text and the scripture found in John 15:13,  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This seems to be the same type of love that is found in John 3:16.

Since the expression of love has always been of great interest to me, I have studied how different folks over the years have expressed their love. In each case the one showing their true love either went out of their way to serve another or they paid a financial price with no expectation of something in return. That must be what David meant in our text when he said, “I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

In the 1930s and 40s most folks were as poor as church mice and of course our family was no exception. Because no one really had any money, Christmas looked much different then, than it does today. As a matter of fact, the Christmas tree in most homes was either a small pine tree, a cedar tree or even a holly tree that had been cut down in the woods. There was no such thing as selling Christmas trees in those days.

Everyone’s decorations were pretty simple as well. The kids would make a paper chain glued together with homemade paste, popcorn strung on a string and maybe paper cutouts of angels. This may seem a little simple by today’s standards but we thought it was beautiful because everyone helped.

Because there was no money to buy presents, my Mother would spend the entire year making handmade presents for Christmas. To this day I am not sure where she found the time to do it because her days were long and busy taking care of her family. Perhaps she did it when everyone was asleep because I never remember seeing her sit down.

All I know is that on Christmas morning there would be a present for everyone wrapped in brown paper under our little Christmas tree. There would be things such as little dresses for the girls, a shirt for me and a rag doll for the baby and doilies for different friends who had helped us through the year.

These simple presents would be absolutely priceless today because my Mother painstakingly made each one of them with her tiny needle making hundreds of meticulously small stitches. Her sewing amazed everyone.

On Christmas morning no one really thought about Mother spending an entire year making presents for everyone…but then I suppose true love always finds time to express itself regardless of the cost.

Perhaps the real Christmas present that Mother gave to me was not my little shirt, but the value of knowing that no price is too great when it comes to giving true love.

Thank You for showing me through Your word and through my little Mother the cost of true love. I pray that I, like David, will never give the gift of love that costs me nothing.


Share |

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Old Swimming Hole

(Proverbs 12:25 Message)  Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks
us up.

The reason I have taken our text from the Message is because it uses words that clearly describe what worry actually does to us. In other words, worry is like carrying a fifty pound weight around all day.

I realize there are many things in life that cause one to be concerned but there is a big difference between being concerned and worrying. Being concerned is a gift from God whereas worry is not.

For example:
·       Worry is problem oriented whereas concern is solution oriented.
·       Worry distracts us…concern focuses us
·       Worry disables planning…concern helps us plan.
·       Worry blurs our vision…concern clarifies our purpose.
·       Worry tends to give up…concern perseveres.
·       Worry exaggerates…concern pinpoints problems.
·       Worry focuses on self…concern cares for other.

If Satan can distract one by changing a concern into worrying then he has done his job.

Worry is also dangerous to one’s health because it triggers the release of stress hormones that over a prolonged period of time can raise the levels of these chemicals in one’s body to a dangerous level. As a result of these stress hormones being released it can,

   1. Weakens one’s immune system
   2. Cause cancer
   3. Heart Disease
   4. Hypertension
   5. Alzheimer’s disease and other brain cell damage
   6. Loss of concentration
   7. Weight gain

Because worry is a choice then one could conclude that God holds on responsible for choosing to worry rather then exercising their faith. Hebrews 11:6 says that, “without faith it is impossible to please God”. Perhaps one of the reasons is because worry can ultimately destroy one’s body which is the temple of the Holy Ghost. That means we can either choose to live in faith or fear.

I have always been inspired by the fact that kids never seem to worry…only adults. I remember years ago in the piney words of East Texas that every creek seemed to have a swimming hole.

When school was out for the summer and the kids were not working on the farm then they could usually be found down at the creek cooling off at the swimming hole. There was always an ample supply of little naked boys to fill each and every swimming hole in every creek

I can still hear all of those playful sounds of laughter through the piney woods as the kids would run and jump into the water, or swing from a rope or jump off of tree limbs.

Little did those kids know that one day they would  have to make the choice to either live by faith or be destroyed by worry. Wow! How is it possible to go from the cool refreshing waters of one’s own swimming hole to the grim reality of growing up?

However, for those who made the choice to live by faith and be optimistic then life has provided for them a spiritual swimming hole that is a lot more refreshing than the best of East Texas creeks. I know because God has done that for me.

Help those who have chosen the path of worry with no solution to change to the path of concern that produces solutions. Father we thank You for Your love and for the Holy Spirit to guide us as we all face these decisions.

Share |

Monday, November 30, 2015

Wasting Time

(1Thessalonians 2:1 ISV)  For you yourselves know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a waste of time.

One advantage of being older is having the privilege of learning from one’s past. As a result I am proud to say that one of the most valuable lessons I learned (in my eighty plus years), is time management. However, in those same eighty plus years I also learned that wasting time has grown to epidemic proportions with seemingly no indication of slowing down anytime soon.

If everything good happens in the framework of time then why is it so easy for one to waste it? The seven biblical reasons for wasting time are:

1.     Dead works…your work and not God’s work.
2.     Worry…worry pulls you away from your fellowship with God. Matthew 6:25-26.   
3.     Reasoning…trying to figure out the plan of God.
4.     Guilt…Romans 8:1
5.     Anger… Life is not fair but God is…so give it to Him.
6.     Trying to fix someone who does not want to be fixed 
7.     Dread…It is time for one to take dominion…not dread it.
Our text actually had to do with the apostles wondering if they were wasting their time by going to the Thessalonians. Since wasting time is a learned behavior then getting the most out of one’s time must also be a learned behavior.

Time is a resource like money and that is why we use the term, “spending time.” It does not matter how busy one is…it only matters if one accomplishes something in their busyness. As a matter of fact busyness is actually an attack from Satan that causes one to waste the time that God has given to them.

The older I get the more I appreciate the simple lessons I learned while growing up on the farm. Most farmers (back in my days), had little to no money, therefore they considered their time to be their greatest asset.

On our farm we not only had a dairy but we also did truck farming. We started milking cows at four A.M and again at four P.M. Between those hours we grew all kinds of vegetables and melons to sell at the farmers market and at a few grocery stores. We also bailed hay and made silage for the milk cows. When the hay bailing and the truck farming season was over we would clear land, build new fences, repair broken farm implements and plow the land for spring planting.

Since we considered our time to be our greatest asset we learned to spend it wisely.  As a matter of fact, I do not recall any of us having the time to engage in any of the seven biblical reasons for wasting time that I mentioned in the above paragraph.
Since time is so important I wonder if we will have to give an account to the Lord on how we used it…I wonder.
Help us to be better stewards of the most precious thing that You have given to each of us…time. Help us to spend our time wisely in order to produce thirty, sixty and one hundred fold return back to You. Our desire is to be good stewards worthy of Your trust.


Share |

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


(Proverbs 5:11 MSG)  You don't want to end your life full of regrets, nothing but sin and bones,

The thought of leaving this world with regrets of not having fulfilled one’s destiny is very sad…yet that is exactly what this scripture is suggesting. What is even more sad is when one considers the reason for not doing it.

I have come to the conclusion that there are probably more old people who regret not having fulfilled their dreams in life than those who have. To make matters even worse, I am not sure that most people even know what their full potential in life is. All I know is that the reason why most fall short of their potential is because they do not want to  risk failing. If that is the case then you might even say that they are rejection-driven.

When a group of old folks were questioned about any regrets they had…or anything they would do differently if they could do it all over again…there seemed to be a common theme to their answers.

The most common regret was, “I wish I would have had the courage to live a life more true to myself and not the life that others expected of me.”

The second regret was, “I wish I had not worked so hard and had given more time to my family.” In other words, they missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.

The third answer was, “I wish I would have had the courage to express my feelings.” In other words, many people suppress their feelings in order to keep peace with others and as a result they settle for a mediocre existence.
The forth answer was, “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” In other words, many were so caught up in their own lives that they let once treasured friendships diminish. However, when they were dying, all of them seemed to miss their friends.

The fifth answer was, “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” This was a surprisingly common answer among all the old folks who were interviewed.
Many did not realize until the end that happiness was a choice.

While writing this Meditation an email came in announcing that my dear friend, Dennis Wrigley from Manchester, England had just passed away. I have never known anyone quite like Dennis because he was not only a  true English gentleman, but he was respected by government and leaders of nations around the world. Because of that respect and the fact that people valued his wisdom he was often invited to meet with government officials, as well as the high cardinals and even the Pope in Rome.

In Dennis’s mind there was no difference between the great and the small person, therefore he and I had an extremely special relationship. I talked to Dennis last week over skype and our conversation (as always) was about the kingdom of God and touching lives. As a matter of fact in all of the years I have known Dennis, and the few times we traveled together, we never talked small talk…both of us were too focused on the things of God.

His family said that up until his final hours he was praising God and ministering to hospital visitors, patients and staff.

Conclusion: Even though our text may apply to many, it did not apply to Dennis Wrigley…he may have left this world but he did not leave anything on the table.

We want to be a good steward of the time and talent that You have given to us so we will not leave this world with regrets. Help us to be so full of You (like Dennis was) that we will not fear taking risks in life.


Share |