Meditations by John Dean

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.


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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.


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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why Is He So Mean To Me?

(James 3:8 KJV)  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

 I have thought a lot about this verse over the years and have tried to make my tongue the exception to the rule…but only to fail. This is frustrating because how can one live a holy life as the Lord said, “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1Peter 1:16 KJV), when evil resides in their mouth? I either do not understand the word holy or I have a long way to go in taming something that according to our text is impossible to tame.

If the tongue is evil and cannot be tamed and yet I am told to be holy, then I must have the wrong understanding of holy. I wonder…is the tongue connected in some way to being holy? After all, the Lord would never ask us to do something that was impossible for us to do.

On the other hand, perhaps that unruly instrument in our mouth is used to keep us humble and on our knees asking forgiveness for our spoken transgression. Is that some of what the Lord meant when He said, “Be ye holy because I am holy?”

In the past when I have written on the subject of perception it had to do with how one looks at things. However, today my writing on the subject of perception  has to do with what one hears…and that involves the tongue.

The fact is, what one hears goes through a significant screening process. If one has been wounded, rejected or mentally abused in the past their perception of a strong spoken word is different than one who has not suffered these things. In other words, to one a strong spoken word is a positive challenge while to another it is an arrow to the heart. Perhaps another part of being holy has to do with knowing the difference.

A few days ago I had an experience with an air conditioning service man who happens to be a very nice fellow and truly loves the Lord. Even though his personal service for me has always been great, I was not pleased with the service of one of the other employees of his company. I strongly stated my position in how displeased I was…not thinking of how it might affect him.

That night before I went to bed my wife told me that I had wounded this service man’s heart. As a matter of fact he had asked her, “Why is Mr. Dean so mean to me? One minute he is nice to me and the next minute he is mean to me.”

I could not sleep that night for thinking of how I had wounded this nice young  service man even though I was not talking about his personal work. To get some measure of peace I finally came to the conclusion that it was not what I said, but his perception of what I said that wounded his heart. Even though I was not pleased with the service of his other employee I would never want to wound anyone’s heart.

Perhaps this is why Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” In other words, the evil in one’s tongue can be used by choice to destroy a person while the same tongue can hurt another’s heart just as much with no harm intended…but  by being unwise and undiscerning.

Help us to be more discerning and wise when we speak. Help us to take into consideration the  possibility of filters in another’s life. Help us to also take full responsibility for any wounds we have caused regardless of intent. I desire to be a light of hope and not a arrow of death.


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