Empty Lies

 

The Truth Hidden Among Lies Pyramid of Stacked BallsThere are people who could be called “professional liars”. They will tell you whatever you want to hear or they will tell some tall tale that distracts and distorts the truth. I have often said that I can work with the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear. I get extremely frustrated when I’m lied too. I would rather be honest and poor than to be dishonest and rich. I am not a perfect person and it would be a “bold-faced” lie to say I’ve never lied. I will say that I see all of life not with eternity in view and any lies that I could tell would be pure foolishness considering my future hope.

I wonder what would happen if everyone told the truth – no matter how hard.

I wonder what it would be like if politicians always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if attorneys always told truth.

I wonder what it would be like if people in sales always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if husbands & wives always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if parents & children always told the truth.

Truth is not relative to the situation – it is absolute. I’ve heard it said: there is his version and her version and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. People who are lost in sin, often seek to convince others to join them by telling elaborate lies. They appear to be having a blast, but their soul’s are empty and corrupt. Peter speaks to this. Check this out…

19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them. 20 For if, having escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:19-21 CSB)

I confess that I’ve had my feet under the table of the Lord only to turn away to the lies of the enemy. The enemy makes sin make sense just long enough for me to go for it.  I would rather repent than live a life of regret and remorse. I would be wise to quickly repent than to justify my sin with more lies. If I tell one lie, it takes a lot more just to try to keep the lie somewhat believable. God’s Word is truth and He makes it clear that He wants no part of lies. I couldn’t trick or deceive Him with a lie if I tried. He’s always listening and watching if I lie to another person. I want to live my life in truth no matter how painful and hard. I believe the fallout from a lie is way more painful than dealing with the truth. The truth always seems to find its way out anyway.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Eye Witness

Jury Duty 3D cube Word Cloud ConceptI have seen stuff with my own eyes that I might had a hard time believing that it happened if I had not seen with my own eyes. I witnessed an accident a few years back that after I was questioned about the accident, I was confused about what happened. Eyewitness testimony is the account a bystander or victim gives in the courtroom, describing what that person observed that occurred during the specific incident under investigation. Ideally this recollection of events is detailed; however, this is not always the case. When an eyewitness is giving testimony, the confidence that they have is important.  I also think it’s important to have more than one eyewitness if possible.

I love the apostle Peter. He seems like my kind of guy when I read the story of Jesus. He’s imperfect. He’s impulsive. He’s emotional. He is committed. Jesus called him the Rock upon which He (Jesus) would build His church. Peter recalls something he witnessed with his own eyes. Check this out…

16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!” 18 We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18 CSB)

I can’t always articulate the things I know and believe, but I do know that He has spoken to me through His Word and through times of prayer. I have been an eyewitness to a changed life and it’s a beautiful thing for sure. I have experienced His Grace first hand and it radically changed my perspective on my walk with the Lord. I grew up trying to be enough and do enough to “earn” my way into His Kingdom. Through His Word, He tore down some of those false instructions and introduced me to the truth that is drenched in grace. I can now hear the truth of His Word with profound clarity. I now understand that it’s for me. I now understand that I could have NEVER been good enough or have done enough to “earn” my salvation. I now serve Him because of His grace to “work out” or live out my salvation. That is quite a contrast. I love Peter’s eyewitness account here because he’s speaking of something that happened many years ago, yet he has great clarity.

I want my life to bear stellar testimony to the fact that I walk with the Lord daily. I want others to see Him in me. I want them to see the confidence that I have in my journey with Him. His Word has lit up my path and I want to walk out my faith with Him every day!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

He Cares

 

3D Keep Calm God Loves You Button Click Here Block TextIt bothers me to be around people who just don’t care about anything or anyone but themselves. If you hang with others for any amount of time, I can usually figure it out. Don’t get me wrong, I can be as selfish as the next person. There is a fight that goes on inside of my heart, but if the Lord is in charge, others will come first. It takes great humility to put someone else before me, but the Lord loves this. He honors this humility, love and service. I have never more like God than when I give. When I show kindness and care to others, I’m representing Christ Himself.

Peter speaks about being humble and caring toward others. It’s simple to understand, but hard to implement. Check this out…

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

10 The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. 11 To him be dominion forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 CSB)

The things I care about – the Lord cares about.

The Lord notices when I’m scared and worried. He compels me to cast these worries and concerns onto His shoulders – He is strong and can carry it all.

The Lord will be with me when the enemy, the devil comes on the attack. The enemy never comes dressed up like a red devil with a pitch-fork tail. He is always very attractive and quite the attention getter. He uses beautiful people, beautiful things and beautiful moments to do his dirtiest work. I must pay close attention to his deceptive and destructive ways. He is the slickest and most crafty creature on the planet.  Every time I resist one of his sneaky schemes, I become stronger and more attentive to his next “sneak attack”. He is incredibly subtle. He is not beyond notice or finding out. The Presence of God in me can “heighten my radar” to his sneaky moves. I would be wise to continue seeking truth in the Word of God because the enemy can’t get through the defenses the Lord is helping me build.

I want to stand firm in my faith today, no matter what my circumstances. I want to walk consistently with the Lord each day that I live. I don’t ever want to think that my life or my accomplishments are about me – that’s pride. I want to be humble and give the Lord 100% credit for any good that I can do for anyone. He cares about everything that happens to me and can help me navigate my life with great wisdom and insight.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The End Game

timer with the words Time is Running OutI see the “end game” as the place where I want things to end up. For me it’s a big picture goal. I have an “end game” in mind when I work with a client to put an offer on a house or list a piece of property. There are a lot of moving parts to the process for it to end up in a closing. Stephen Covey in his book: “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, introduced Habit #2 as “Begin With the End In Mind”.  I believe that knowing or seeing the “end game” can really shape the activities of my day today.

Peter speaks of the “end game” in his first book and I think it’s worth taking a closer look. Check this out…

The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11 CSB)

I’ve heard that we are in the end times since I was little boy. I remember being scared of the world coming to an end. It could happen today or tomorrow for that matter. I decided a long time ago to be ready to meet the Lord whenever it happens.  I don’t know when the end of time will come or when my time on earth comes to an end, but I want to be ready to meet him. That is my ultimate “end game” – to live and love in such a way that I’m ready to meet the Lord however my life here ends. I want to love deeply and serve deliberately others whom the Lord puts in my path. I want the words that come out of my mouth to bring honor to Him – not embarrassment to Him. If the Lord receives glory for what I do today and what I’ve done, then my end game will be realized.

I’m not afraid of how this life ends or when it ends because He is the One Who gave me life in the first place. I am trusting Him with the life that doesn’t end – eternal life!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

#DeeplyRooted

Trapped Concept

Blog by Kristen Hicks

Last week, I finally decided to use a gift certificate, my friend Kourtney had given me for my birthday, to get a massage. I called and made the appointment the week before, and I strategically made it for the Tuesday after Labor Day, so that I would have something to look forward to upon coming back from the mountains.

As usual, when I called the woman on the phone gave me the name of the person that would be giving me the massage: Amanda.

All of a sudden, my heart was full of encouragement with this information. Why? You might ask. Because during one really hard, ugly, terrible season in my life this name kept coming up. Over and over again; Amanda, Amanda, Amanda, Amanda on a Coke bottle, “Hey, I’m Amanda”, “this is my friend Amanda”…just again and again. Finally, one day I decided to look up what the name Amanda actually meant.

I was stunned, and overwhelmingly in awe at the fact that the meaning of this name would speak so fiercely against everything that I was going through in this particular season of my life. Everything the enemy was throwing at me, and dragging me through. Every lie that was being spoken to me (in the spirit and in the natural), every really bad situation I found myself in, the Father instead was speaking this name to me: Amanda…“Worthy of Love”

It’s humbling to me that the Father goes to such great lengths to speak to us. He knows how we humans can be so unsettled in our back and forth thinking. So He reminds us. And at times He has to do something drastic to get our attention.

Last Tuesday, when I got my massage was nothing less than simply a reminder. Going in, I thought it would be this gentle, relaxing, no stress kind of massage. Instead, it ended up being this painful, deep-tissue, get all the knots out kind of massage.

About a forth of the way into it, I started praying. Not because, I was trying to over-analyze this situation, but because I was in pain and I was praying for the grace to endure. HA!

What ended up happening, however, was the Lord began to remind me of a vision He had given me a couple years ago. The vision was His hands. He was holding me in the left hand, then He switched me to His right hand, then He put both of His hands together and pulled me into His heart.

He began to speak to me about this vision and how it paralleled with this massage I was enduring at that moment. I already knew what both hands represented. They both represented two major seasons in my life. I can tell you down to the day when He switched me to the other hand. However, realizing that I was now in the season of Him putting both of His hands together… that one was a little harder to recognize. And once I did, I found myself smack dab in the middle of nowhere; at least that’s how it seemed.

The wilderness. And if you’ve read any of my blogs lately, you already know this. The thing I wasn’t prepared for with this season was the pain. Are you now starting to see the parallel?

The thing that the Lord has said over and over and over about this season, is that I am to wrestle with Him. And I am understanding that this wrestling is getting ALL the knots out. It’s the refining fire, that gets out all the impurities. Basically, in this process of Him putting both of His hands together— which is essentially, the fullness of who He is, the fullness of His Love—He has to get out all the mess, all the the things that I picked up in both seasons of my life that aren’t true. That aren’t pure. That are not a part of who He is.

As I continued grudging through this massage— telling myself that the pain was worth it, that it was doing something, and that it was gonna get me somewhere—the Lord spoke so sweetly to me. He said, “The key to all of it, is to KNOW that you are ‘Worthy of Love.’ You are worthy of MY LOVE.”

I found that when I resisted to Amanda, as she worked to get the knots out of my back, as I tensed up, it hurt way worse. But if I yielded to the process, it didn’t hurt as bad, and the knots seemed to come out quicker. 

I know that I’ve complained about this season, good grief, so much already. I know, I’ve felt lost and confused, and found myself extremely frustrated with people (myself included), circumstances, and just the season itself. But today, I realized, I don’t want to complain anymore. It’s not getting me anywhere. If anything it’s making the pain worse. I keep trying to talk to someone, anyone who will listen, hoping that they can give the right answer. But coming out of those conversations, I find that they are my way of resisting and tensing up in this process. They are stirring up the pain and confusion.

I was briefly talking to a friend of mine today about worship, and I told him how much I just love to be wrecked. He responded with this, not having a clue with any of this going on in my heart: “I like to be wrecked, but definitely like to be put back together.” I needed to hear that even more than he knew, and in a completely different context than what he knew we were talking about.

I think when I am in a season that is uncomfortable, and painful, and I feel lost. I think it’s super easy to forget that it’s only just a season. Like the Israelites wandering through the desert. The Word is clear, they prolonged it. I think it’s easier to just complain, to doubt, to wander off, hoping that there’s maybe something else out there that can ease the tension. I think it’s easy to forget the worth of God, and who He is. Likewise, I think it is also, very easy to forget my own worth to Him and how much He loves me. And I think He tends to like to remind me of all this in the very moments that the enemy is throwing everything he’s got at me.

I forget that He is in the process. And that while being wrecked by Him can remind me of who He is, He is more concerned with putting me back together, to remind me of who I am, and that I am worth something to Him. I am worthy of Love. 

So today, I am beginning a new season, or rather embracing the one I’m already in. I’m gonna call it #DeeplyRooted. This is based on Ephesians 3:17-19 (NASB):

“That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the Love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”

So, as I allow the “Invincible Summer” to live on within me, I hope to find myself, “Deeply Rooted” in life, in soul, in body, in mind, and in heart, to Jesus Christ, Himself. And I hope that I encourage you in the same way. So that we may know, and I do mean really, REALLY KNOW…LOVE.

Relax

relaxSometimes it is easier to talk about relaxing than doing it. I am still learning to lean upon the Lord for help on this one. When bad things happen, it’s hard to relax a bit and take a step back to “take in” what happened. It seems easier to jump in with options and start “swinging away” trying to fix everything. There are some things that are way beyond my control to fix or repair. I do have to accept the things I can’t change and look closer at the things that I may be able to change. For example, the weather is expected to get dicey here in Georgia later today and overnight into tomorrow from Hurricane Irma who will probably be Tropical Storm Irma or Tropical Depression Irma by the time it hits our area. I can do some storm preparations and “hunker down” or evacuate to another location, but I can’t change the fact that there is bad weather coming. I can’t always change my circumstances, but I can check my attitude toward my circumstances.

Peter gives some great instructions regarding suffering and struggle with things that I can do very little about. Check this out…

13 Who then will harm you if you are devoted to what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 16 Yet do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:13-16 CSB)

I don’t always know what to say, but I can be quiet and trust in the Lord with the outcome. I don’t think the Lord expects me to defy danger and get in its path and then expect a miracle. I do believe that the Lord is with me wherever I go and wherever I am. He doesn’t leave me to face struggle and suffering alone. He doesn’t leave me when I’m celebrating victory either. (That’s when I usually forget about Him.) I want to live every day of my life with Him at the center of my heart. I want Him to be noticed in my life and in my decisions. I want Him to be noticed in my relaxation. I trust the Lord wholeheartedly. I can’t control what is about to happen, but with His help, I can control my response to it.

I view the Lord as holy. I have surrendered my heart to Him – it is a daily exercise. I want to keep in mind, if I’m successful, He’s responsible. If I fail or make a mistake, He won’t leave me stranded and alone. He is my hope and He is the reason I can relax and trust. He is in charge of this world and He is with me no matter what life throws at me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne