Meditations by John Dean

Monday, April 27, 2020

Camping in The Backyard

(Mark 10:13-14)  And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

I have read this scripture many times over the years and each time I read it I seem to discover another layer. As a result of that discovery, I started praying, “Lord, teach me how to deep-sea dive into this verse, rather than just spiritually skiing over it.  I want to find that hidden revelation that You put there for those who are hungry enough to diligently seek it out.”

As I began to meditate on one of the possible layers of this verse, I suddenly realized that the Lord was not only talking about the innocence of the child but also about their other attributes such as truthfulness and vivid imagination. Even though there are exceptions to this rule, a child typically sees the good and beauty in things rather than the bad and the ugly.

It is not without saying that the revelation that I discovered in this verse is as simple as the verse itself. A child not only sees the very best in things but he also lives a forgiving lifestyle. Perhaps one of the lessons that Jesus was trying to teach us … is that a child is as much of an example to an adult as an adult is an example to a child.

Looking at the issues of life through the eyes of an innocent child could even help adults change their focus from the impossible to the possible. A child’s answer to some things in life could even be as simple as going camping in the backyard. As innocent as that seems it could actually be their way of activating their faith-filled antidote for the problems of today.

My niece’s neighbor has two little girls who decided to go camping in their backyard last night. They gathered their blankets and pillows and a lantern and their sandwiches and above all, they turned up their vivid imagination to the highest possible decimal. In this camping expedition, the stars were never brighter, the problems were never fewer and they have never felt safer than they did last night as they were joined by their mom and dad on their imaginary dream trip … to who knows where.

Somehow the troubles of the world looked a bit different as this little family huddled together under the stars in the dreamland of two little girls’ imaginations. The backyard may not be the answer to all of our problems but looking through the innocent eyes of a child will certainly help.

Jesus said in Matthew 21:16  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

Is it possible that this is the revelation that the Lord wanted me to seek out? Praising the Lord in spite of the issues of life. I wonder.


Teach us how to trust more like a little child. Open our understanding to the deeper layers of revelation in this simple verse and help us to practice spiritually camping in the backyard so we can see things a little clearer.


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Monday, April 20, 2020

The New Normal

(Exodus 14:27)  Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the water returned to its normal depth at daybreak. The Egyptians tried to retreat in front of the advancing water, but the LORD destroyed the Egyptians in the middle of the sea.

There is a phrase that has become very popular today that I have grown to dislike very much … it’s called the new normal. Among other things that phrase seems to imply the loss of freedom and that possibility bothers me greatly. Our freedom is a treasured possession that has come with an enormous price tag. While we and our sons enjoy the benefits of freedom… others and their sons have paid for it with their lives.

There has always been a river, (whether spiritual or physical), that has separated those who are free from those who are in bondage. I have been to almost forty countries and I have discovered that freedom is interpreted differently in each one of these beautiful countries. The freedom that I have enjoyed all my life in America is certainly different than that of other countries because no matter what my circumstances were … I was free.

When I was broke, I was free, when I did not know where my next meal was coming from, I was free, when I was rejected by others, I was free, and when I thought the whole world was against me, I was still free.

As I look at our text, I seem to understand more of why God put the Red Sea between His family, (Israel), and Pharaoh and his people, (the Egyptians). I suddenly realized that there has always been a river between us and them, between my family’s inheritance and their family’s inheritance, between my God and their god. When they are in Egypt, they are free, but when I am in Egypt, I am in bondage.

I have always pushed the envelope, and have walked on the edge, and have been a forward thinker all my life … but I have always known where the banks of the river were and how far I could go.

The thing that bothers me most about the term, the new normal, is that it implies that the water in the river will either be lowered significantly or done away with completely. Should that happen, it seems to be in man’s nature to sink to the lowest possible denominator which means we would all be back in Egypt’s bondage.

Even though the term, a new normal, is very discouraging … our text is very encouraging. God has always been a protector and provider for His own. As King David once said, “He has prepared a table for me in the presence of my enemies”. The Bible also says that He sheltered Noah in an ark, He kept John safe in boiling oil, and He feed the multitudes with five loaves and two fish and now He is a pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night for the children of Israel. Their food and water never ran out and their clothes and shoes never wore out.

I refuse to bow to what is implied in the term, the new normal.

We are blessed because You do not have to come up with new phrases to explain our circumstances. “You are the same yesterday, today and forever”. Thank You for the rivers that You have established in our lives to remind us that there is always a difference between our inheritance and their bondage.

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Monday, April 13, 2020

Are You Still a Dreamer?

(Genesis 37:5)  And Joseph dreamed a dream and told it to his brothers. And they hated him still more.

The mind is an amazing thing because it never seems to stop working. Even when one is asleep the mind continues to work through dreams … or what I call night visions.

The science of dreams is a very broad subject and therefore I would never try to explain all the many types and categories of dreams. The only thing I will say is that dreams and visions, (even though there is a slight difference between the two), are very important to our success in life.  

Even though dreams usually happen when one is asleep, and visions usually happen when one is awake … they can both be prophetic.  You might say that dreams and visions are God’s way of speaking to us through pictures.

As a matter of fact, the Bible says in Proverbs 29:18 that, “where there is no vision the people perish”. In other words, the progression of a dream should lead to a strategy, and the result of a strategy should bring forth a tactical plan, and the result of a tactical plan should bring forth a reality, and the reality is the purpose of the dream in the first place.
What the Bible seems to be saying is that dreaming or having a vision should actually lead to sustaining one’s life. As a matter of fact, no book has ever been written and no battle has ever been won apart from having a vision first.

Joseph’s dreams were so prophetic that his brothers hated him because they could not understand them. When prophetic dreams are interpreted out of season (like Joseph), the results are usually anger and unbelief.  Sometimes prophetic dreams cannot be interpreted until they are fulfilled because it’s then that the revelation of the dream is revealed.

Even though Joseph got in trouble with his brothers for being a dreamer … his ability to interpret dreams is what got him out of trouble with Pharaoh.
My conclusion is that dreaming is a gift from God and should be treated as such. I am not suggesting that every dream is prophetic. What I am suggesting is that every dream should be thoroughly thought out to see if the Lord may be trying to say something to you, are lead you in a particular direction.

Many years ago while on my way to the office I had a vision. The vision was of my future wife who I had never met. In one instant I seemed to know all about her, the color of her hair, her age and that she was a schoolteacher. Upon seeing the vision my reaction was an immediate No!   I said Lord, You know that my mind is not divided and that my life is Yours and Yours alone. Upon saying that the vision left and did not return until I met and married my wife Karen. It was only then the Lord opened my eyes and showed me that the vision He had given me had been fulfilled. 

I was also reminded that the Jewish fathers of old would choose mates for their children. God choose my life mate before He showed me the vision.

Thank you for speaking to us through dreams and visions. We love to see things as You see them. Thank You for showing us paths that we should not go down or to be aware of. Thank You also Lord for showing us blessings that are ahead of us that we can look forward to and walk in.


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Monday, April 6, 2020


Geneses 30:27  And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. 

There is so much to be learned from this scripture. It is as though when one is under the favor of God that those who are around them can share in that favor.
This was certainly the case with Laban. As soon as Jacob showed up, so did favor and prosperity. Laban’s life changed to the extent that he never wanted Jacob to leave and go back home. The atmosphere around Jacob brought everyone to a higher level of thinking and creativity.  

In Laban’s case, he had enjoyed prosperity as a successful rancher for many years. However, when Jacob showed up, Laban learned the difference between being prosperous in the natural and being prosperous in the spiritual. Laban learned that Jacob’s type of prosperity was on a totally different level than his.
Jacob had an experience with the Lord at Bethel that would change his life forever. As a result, you might say that a man with a spiritual anointing like Jacob, is never at the mercy of a man with only natural experience like Laban.
I know I am a blessed man like Jacob, and therefore I expect those around me to share in that blessing. The blessing that I am talking about is not necessarily financial prosperity, (even though the Lord has blessed me over the years), but spiritual prosperity. The Lord has allowed me the privilege of moving in the prophetic and the ability to see things in the spirit when I pray for people. As a result, many who have ministered with me say they also begin to see things in the spirit and hear prophetic words.

The fact is everyone is gifted in some way and therefore their gift should be able to inspire and elevate others to a higher level. For example, there are those who always have a positive attitude, and their words are always uplifting. There are others who are just happy people and when I am around them, I seem to be happier than usual.
The influence that Jacob had on Laban’s life showed up in a new level of prosperity.  I suppose the question we all must ask ourselves is, how do we influence people … are they better off by being around us?

Help us to remember our own personal time at Bethel and how our lives were changed like Jacob’s. Our desire is to live in our Bethel joy, in order to elevate the hope in others.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Cloud and The Fire

Exodus 13:21-22 
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, …... He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
Reading about how God provided the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night for the children of Israel has always excited me. However, in my excitement I suppose I never thought of the cloud and the fire being more than just a spiritual compass and a protective shield for a scared and unsure people.
The fact is, God has always appeared in a cloud or in fire. Our text is a picture of Him cuddling the children of Israel in His arms as any loving Father.
I have come to the conclusion after eighty-five years of living that everything that God does, is from the platform of love … and not from being a harsh disciplinarian. As a matter of fact, He is just as reachable as a Father, as Jesus is reachable as our Lord.
Even though the children of Israel were sinful and immature in the things of God, He saw them as being innocent and in need of protection. That is the reason for the pillar of cloud by day and he pillar of fire by night. Protecting the innocent is a natural thing for any father to do. The children of Israel may have had a few sleepless nights in the process but nevertheless, they were protected.
Once while ministering in Africa I was invited to an orphanage that only had babies and younger kids. Each one of these children came from very different and sad situations. Some had even been abandoned in the woods. Others had been dropped off and left at the orphanage door.
One of the reasons we were invited to the orphanage was to hold the babies and not only play with them but to pray for them. As we all stood there looking over all the little babies sitting on the floor and choosing the one we wanted … I was particularly drawn to a little fat baby boy. I am not sure if I picked him are, he picked me. Never-the-less, I loved this little baby and hugged and kissed him while he was carefully examining and stretching my nose, my eyes, and my mouth.
They had found this little fellow sitting and crying in a big open field where he had been abandoned. The orphanage people were surprised that he had not become prey to one of the wild animals.
As I listened to this baby’s story, I hugged him tighter and kissed him more … in spite of the fact that he had AIDS.
When you don’t know what else to say or what to do … the silence of a hug will always help. Perhaps this is also what the children of Israel needed … a silent big hug by the cloud and fire of their Father.
You are never far away. In our times of trouble, You are there. In our slave mentality You are there. In our need You are there. In our sleepless nights You are there. In our abandonment in the fields of life You are there. You are always there to hold and cuddle us, just as You were for the children of Israel.

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