Pursuit

follow your heart words holding by businessman's handI sometimes think of this word in negative terms. For example, when a car with blue lights is in pursuit of my car, I know I’m about to get a “safe driving award” for exceeding the speed limit. I’ve not been pursued like this in a good while and I’m thankful. I also try to think of this word in a positive way – pursuing hopes and dreams. I still have those for my life. I want to be in daily pursuit of my goals and ambitions.

I came across a story in the book of John that reminded me of the word “pursuit” even though it’s not in the scripture. Check this out…

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. (John 21:4-9 NLT)

I was immediately reminded of the event found in Matthew 14 when the disciples were in the boat in the middle of the night and a storm came up and they were struggling to keep moving. Jesus came up walking on the water and it freaked them out. When Peter realized it was Jesus, he said, “Lord if its really you, tell me to come walking on the water.” Jesus said, “Come”. Peter did just that, he got out of the safety of the boat and headed toward Jesus. In this story, Peter gets out of the boat and leaves his responsibility with the net and the huge catch of fish behind in pursuit of Jesus.

Peter is portrayed as a passionate follower of Jesus. He was used by the Lord to be a great leader in the early church. He seems impulsive and unpredictable. He was predictable when it came to Jesus – He wanted to be with Jesus wherever He was.

This simple passage stirred my heart to stay in a passionate pursuit of God with my life. I must make my pursuit the highest priority of my life. My pursuit of God begins in my heart and then is shown in my behavior. If I reverse this, it doesn’t work well. I grew up trying to “show” my faith with my behavior, while my heart wasn’t in it. I’m still learning that behavior follows the heart. The heart doesn’t follow behavior – it simply tolerates it. If I want to be in genuine pursuit of God, it begins with heart change.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Continue

what is next words written by 3d manThis word carries with a lot of meaning. As I investigated how the dictionary defined this word, it is definitely a verb – meaning action. Continue means: to last or endure; remain, abide, stay, persist, maintain, and keep going. To continue means I’m not going to stop. There have been many instances in my life where I wanted to quit or stop and go a different direction, but I felt compelled to continue. There have been seasons in my life when it was time to stop one thing and actually start something new.

This morning, I was reading the story of Jesus resurrection from the Gospel of John. I love his perspective of Jesus. John was steady. He was present. He was consistent in his actions, yet not as “loud” and “flamboyant” as his buddy Peter. He tells the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples twice. He specifically mentions the encounter with Thomas, which is where Thomas acquired the nickname: “Doubting Thomas”. He then gives the reason he penned this story of Jesus in the first place. Check this out…

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:30-31 NLT)

John gives perspective that connects with my heart. He reminds everyone that the central character in any story is Jesus. He reminds me that Jesus is the Messiah, the very Son of God. He reminds me of why Jesus came in the first place. I feel like these two short verses wrap up the story of Jesus, according to John, with a ribbon and bow.

I read the Word of God daily because I believe in God. I want to know more of Him. I want His character to settle inside my heart. I have also read the Word of God when I was struggling with my faith and what I believe.  As I walk out my faith, the word “continue” is critical. I’m building on my simple, child-like faith that is “all grown up”, but still growing. There are situations in my journey that can only be explained to me as the Lord’s hand being involved.

My life plan is to continue to believe for the rest of my life span! I plan to daily talk and walk with the Lord. I want my work and my words to continue to give honor and glory to God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Death

 

death Grunge TextI am not a fan of death. I recently experienced the death of a dear aunt and then two weeks later, her son died. Death is so permanent relative to my life here and now. In relationship to eternity, it more like a new chapter. I see eternity as “the long game” or “the big picture”. While death is the end of this life, it moves us squarely into eternity. The way I understand scripture, this life determines the destination in eternity.

This morning I read about the death of Jesus from John’s perspective. John was probably the closest of the 12 disciples to Jesus. He was standing at the foot of the cross when Jesus breathed His last. The death of Jesus “felt like” the end, but it certainly wasn’t. Jesus came to earth to fulfill His mission to conquer sin and death. His death on the cross accomplished both. He died for the sins of the world. His death was made even more significant because of how He lived, His teaching and His ministry here on earth. He was the promised Messiah and many missed that. Check this out…

25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:25-30 NLT)

I’ve read the other accounts of Jesus’ death and they are a bit more dramatic. John’s version is pretty simple. I think John’s is feeling a lot of the weight of the earthly family of Jesus. His death was very public and at this point probably pretty humiliating. It’s hard to have the perspective that He is the Savior of the World during this dark afternoon.

I honestly dread death. I’ve been trying to prepare myself for that eventual “ending” to my life here on earth. I decided years ago that my best response to death was to connect with the Creator of Life and live inside His Plan for my life. He has given me opportunity to invest in others. I am blessed with 5 amazing kids who also desire to know the Lord deeply and understand His plan for their lives. I also know that my life here can “live on” through my relationships and my “investments” into eternal things rather than just temporary things. Not one human being on the planet can escape death, so I’m taking the route of planning for it and leaning into it. I want my life and influence to count for years to come through my investment into my children; their children and anyone who will listen. The Word of God is true and He gives a clear plan for “retirement” from this life – total trust in Jesus. I’m putting my hope in Him!

All My Hope Is In Jesus – Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

King

 

PrinceI don’t always understand royalty. I could probably get used to it, if I were made a king. In most cultures and countries, the king comes from a whole lineage of kings or royalty. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around what it might be like to be a king. I think in some ways it would be cool, but it other ways it would be annoying. I could never simply go to my favorite restaurant without an entourage. I think I would love the “high-end” living that came with it, but not the inconvenience of fame and fortune.

I was reading this morning about Jesus’ arrest and “mock trial” before the Jews. He is then taken to Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus if He’s a king. Check this out…

36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” (John 18:36-37 NLT)

Jesus is definitely a King. He is a different type of King. He doesn’t want the castle, the royalty, the wealth, the fame that comes from being a King. He is of the royal lineage of King David. The fact that He’s the Son of God, trumps any other characteristic of any type of king. He walked the streets teaching about God’s love and mercy. He had no house to call His castle. He didn’t wear fancy clothing. It is really obvious that He was different than what we know kings to be.

Jesus calmly explains to Pilate, the Roman governor, that His Kingdom is not in competition with the Roman government or any other government. He came to bring salvation to the world. He came to introduce access to Creator God. He came to introduce the Truth about God and His Kingdom. God’s Kingdom had been so distorted from what it looked like years before. We humans tend to amend things and “tweak” things to the way we like and it often changes something that is pivotal to the Word of God.

Jesus is King of my heart.

Jesus taught humility.

Jesus taught serving.

Jesus taught giving.

Jesus taught forgiving.

Jesus taught truth.

Jesus became King of my heart because of Who He is and the message that He brought to the world. He is the One & Only Son of God. He willingly went to the cross and became the Ultimate sacrifice for sin. He became King differently than any other king. He is the King who I’ve committed to following all the rest of my days. I want to live, serve, give and forgive like the King of all Kings.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Truth

 

Lies Have Speed Truth Has Endurance SpeedometerI have been lied too before. I have been cheated. I have been misled. It is frustrating to take someone at their word, only to find out it’s not true. Trust is destroyed by lies and deceit. I believe truth to be absolute. It is not simply relative to whatever situation I find myself in. I’m not going to say that I’ve never told a lie. I find comfort in telling the truth, even if it’s painful.

In “REALTOR world”, I work with people every day. I work with lenders, appraisers, roofers, pest control experts, plumbers, electricians, other agents and members of the public. There are many opportunities to leave out important facts that are part of the truth. I recently had a buyer that was “on the bubble” with getting a loan. The lender told me that is was going to be really close, whether or not they would get approved, because it was a complicated file. I told the lender that I appreciated his honesty. I often think back to the line in the movie: “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson’s character proclaims from the witness stand “You can’t handle the truth!”

Jesus, at the end of His time on earth spent some time explaining His ministry to His disciples. He explains His purpose for coming and investing in their lives. There was obvious confusion on their part. He goes before the Father with an intense prayer for His followers. Check this out…

13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do.17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. (John 17:13-19 NLT)

In my journey with the Lord through His Word, I find truth revealed. I find the hope I have in eternal life. I find insight into suffering and struggle. I find peace that is beyond understanding and comprehension. I find that the purpose of my life is to bring glory to God. I’m thankful for this prayer of Jesus that reveals His love for His followers. I want to follow Him all my days, walking in truth and love that He has installed in my heart.  I believe that He is continually cleaning me up and making me whole in Him. I am certainly standing on the truth of His Word and His Promise.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Direct Connect

 

Miniature engineer team try to connect ethernet cables to portI remember some of the computer technology that was “pre-internet”. I remember having a “floppy disk” that had a program on it that would run locally on my laptop and then it created some sort of code that would transfer over the modem to another computer in Atlanta. I took my first real estate course online in this format. Today, with the internet, it’s more of a direct and “live” connection. I can take the class in real time and connect with an instructor. I think the world has so much more direct access to so many. It seems to me though, that as our world is so connected, there is less direct connection. I have a myriad of ways to communicate, however, it seems there is less connection happening. I think it was Seth Godin that pointed out how we go to dinner with a friend or loved one and spend more time on our phone connecting with our “fake friends” (on social media) rather than connecting with the friend across the table.

Jesus started giving His disciples a heads up that He was about to leave them and go back to the Father. This started a lot of discussion and concern among the disciples. I love how He took the time to further explain what was about to happen. Check this out…

20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.  23 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. 24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:20,23-24,33 NLT)

Jesus is explaining the “Direct Connect” that I now have with the Father. The disciples grew up in Jewish culture where you went to the priest and he then went to God. Jesus came to earth to open up this “Direct Connect” with the Father. I no longer have to go through a priest to speak to the Lord – I can talk directly to Him. I will often ask others to talk to Him on my behalf as well. I try to talk to God about everything and everyone. I’m certainly growing in my understanding of His Power and His Presence. This “Direct Connect” that I have with the Lord has given me wisdom and depth of understanding that I would have otherwise missed. I believe that the Lord can give me insight through this “Direct Connect” with Him. He knows everything and everyone. This “Direct Connect” has another more common term: PRAYER. Through prayer, I can talk directly to God because Jesus made the way or “built the Connection”! I’m so thankful for prayer through times of struggle, suffering and even times of joy. I’m learning to talk to the Lord in great detail about everything and everyone.

Pressing On!

Dwayne