Taste & See

Coffee cup and beans on a white background.I enjoy eating food. I enjoy something that tastes great. My wife made some excellent home-made ice cream last week. I went to Jekyll Island for a REALTOR conference and tasted some great food as well. Just this morning, I borrowed a percolator pot to make some fresh ground coffee –going for the best taste. I’ve also eaten things that didn’t taste great, but they were for my nutrition. My body needs food and the nutrients found inside.

Peter writes some simple but important instructions regarding the Word of God. He uses the metaphor of it being food. He quotes from Isaiah the chapter before and then offers some great instruction. Check this out…

The grass withers, the flowers fade,
but the word of our God remains forever.” (Isaiah 40:8 CSB)

1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:1-3 CSB)

I remember the first time I looked a guacamole. It looked putrid and disgusting to me. My wife coached me to try it with a corn chip and I was hooked. I didn’t normally eat anything that looked like that. I believe that Peter is touching two of our senses – our sight and taste.

I believe in God because I’ve seen Him do incredible things. I’ve seen things where there is no explanation except Lord. I’ve also experienced His grace first hand. I deserved punishment and severe consequences, but instead I received grace. I understand that these were subjective experiences, but they are real and significant to my journey with the Lord.

I think tasting and seeing are intricately related. Seeing with my eyes helps the tasting part for me. I have watched others who know the Lord and walk with Him. I’m standing on the shoulders of some great people of faith who cut the path before me. They tasted and experienced His Presence in their lives. They saw the action of the Lord. I want to do good because I’ve tasted and seen up close and personal. I’m motivated to live for Him because I’ve experienced Him first hand. I long for others to know the Lord as I know Him. He has changed everything about my life – my hopes, my dreams, my goals. There is not one area of my life that He hasn’t touched.  I want to keep growing up into salvation by walking daily with Him in His Word.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Called Out

 

Why MeI’ve been “called out” because I’ve done something wrong or stupid. It’s another example of accountability. It’s not pleasant being called out, but it is sometimes necessary. I can’t always see my actions from the proper perspective. I’ve given several people in my life permission to “call me out” if I do something stupid or wrong. My wife has called me out on many occasions for sure. I have close friends who do the same. I seek counsel in areas that my knowledge and experience are lacking so that I won’t be “called out” later. I see law enforcement as “calling me out” if I’m speeding or pushing the limits of the law.

I am a follower of the Lord and I have made a commitment to follow Him. I want my life to honor Him. I am trying to live by the call of the Lord on my life. I want him to prompt the little decisions in my life as well as monumental decisions that I face.

I started reading 1st Peter this morning and I love his perspective because He walked with Jesus and saw His life and ministry up close and personal. Check this out…

Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. (1 Peter 1:8-9,13-16 CSB)

I’m facing everyday decisions with Him directing me and prompting me. I have ignored Him at times and regretted it. I have pushed back or ignored being called out and held accountable. I have been humbled and convicted of my sin. I want to walk humbly before the Lord every day asking for His counsel on the smallest daily decisions. I want His help as a Christian. I want His help as a husband. I want His help as a Dad. I want His help as friend. I want His help as a REALTOR.  I am open to be called out by people who know me and love me deeply. If you feel like you need to ask me about decisions that I make I want to always be willing to explain why I do what I do or say what I say. The Word of God often calls me out- I’m open to others close to me calling me out as well.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Patience & Suffering

Woman suffering from stress grimacing in painI am not known for patience, but I’m learning more every day. I am not filled with road rage, but I do get frustrated when others can’t seem to figure out how to drive their truck or car like the rest of us! (LOL) Patience is a very important character trait. It’s included as a fruit of The Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) I like being around patient people, it’s not nearly as easy to be patient as it appears. Our culture leans hard toward instant gratification instead of delayed gratification. We like things now and we don’t like to wait. The older I get the more aware of this epidemic of impatience. I was reminded of patience this morning, especially when things are not going as planned and suffering comes on the scene. Check this out…

Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.

10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:7-8,10-11 CSB)

People who have endured suffering are more thankful than those who haven’t. Suffering is hard and painful. It’s a struggle to suffer and I need others with me in the struggle. Those who have suffered are humble in spirit.  I would not wish suffering upon anyone, but I pray that those during suffering learn that leaning into the Lord is the best path through it. I also know that when I’ve endured suffering, I’m stronger and closer to the Lord than ever before. If I don’t trust the Lord in my suffering, I’ll become bitter instead of better. Suffering, Patience & Endurance build rock solid character on multiple levels. I’ve learned more about myself during these struggles. The Lord has built some character qualities in me during suffering and hard time that I’m not sure could have been built any other way.

I don’t pray for patience, but I really try to practice it. I pray for strength for today. I pray for the Lord to give me strength to endure hardship and hard times. I approach Him with a thankful heart for all that He has brought me through because remember my history of struggle and suffering gives a healthy perspective on today’s struggle. Someone quipped that “life is hard by the yard and a cinch by the inch”. I want to live my life out walking with the Lord through everything – the good, easy or the hard & hectic. His Presence in my heart gives me great strength and confidence to face whatever life throws at me. Life is not always easy, but He is certainly ALWAYS with me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Humble Pie

pieI heard a guy say a couple of years back that “Humble pie is the pastry that’s never tasty!” It was said in a humorous situation, but there is something to it. Humility is a powerful trait for me to acquire. I think it’s a wise decision to taste the humble pie on my own instead of waiting until it’s forced upon me by outside circumstances or things beyond my ability to control.

I have a sign in my office that says: “It’s hard to be humble when you’re from Kentucky!” (Of course, it’s because I’m a UK basketball fan.)

James speaks of how God loves the humble. Check this out…

But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says:

God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:6-8,10 CSB)

If I think too highly of myself – I will be humbled.

If I think I deserve something – I will be humbled.

If I think I’m God’s gift to the earth – I will be humbled.

It is much wiser to approach every situation I face with humility and kindness toward others. I see this as a strength not a weakness. I know who I am and I know Whose I am. I believe by taking the bite of “humble pie” first, I can learn how to lead, influence and inspire others. I’m really turned off by arrogance, but humility really inspires and motivates me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wisdom Brings Peace

 

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI have been known to talk when I should be listening. I have also been known to be quiet when I should have spoken. This can be tricky – knowing when to speak or not to speak. I also try to edit carefully what comes out of my mouth. When I relax a bit among friends, or around my family, I might say too much. There is much to be said about thinking before speaking. It is way too often that my mouth starts speaking before my brain catches up with what I’m saying – this can be disastrous and hurtful. I’m so thankful that the Lord sees my heart. I think the people who know be best also know my heart. I’m not generally a hateful or insensitive person, but I confess that I have been before. When I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I began dismantling some of these harmful habits. Guarding my speech takes wisdom and tremendous restraint. I think as I get older, I’m learning the value of restraint and timing.

The book of James devotes the bulk of chapter 3 to control of the tongue and then he finishes up speaking of wisdom. I believe control of my tongue is directly connected to seeking and cultivating wisdom deep inside my soul. Check this out…

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. (James 3:17-18 CSB)

The wisdom that is described here is profoundly simple, deep, thorough, and heaven-sent. I can’t find this wisdom apart from the Lord Himself. He is the Source of Godly Wisdom. There is a wisdom of this world that is self-centered, self-promoting, arrogant and prideful. It is destructive instead of constructive. I want the Lord’s wisdom so that my “radar” can detect worldly wisdom. James says in chapter 1 that the Lord gives wisdom freely. Check this out…

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 CSB)

This peace-loving, gentle, compliant (reasonable), full of mercies – it is real not fake. I love that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who are wise enough to cultivate peace. Wisdom speaks with purity and peace. Wisdom is open to inspection and a thorough “vetting process”. The more you drill down into wisdom, the more insightful it becomes.  The Lord has given me incredible insight and wisdom in my marriage relationship, my parenting role, my friendship, my colleagues, my customers, clients and even strangers. God’s wisdom is timeless and beyond description, but He gives it in parcels that I can manage and handle. I believe He disperses it in my journey in His Word, in worship and in prayer – among other ways. I would love to be known as wise and understanding and a cultivator of peace – If I’m known for that, then I’ll know that He broke through this earthly vessel known as Dwayne.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Rich VS Poor

 

r
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I believe that these two terms are relative terms. I know people who are wealthy (aka rich), but who are poor in spirit. They are miserable. Their wealth did not lift their spirits at all. I also know people who are on the poverty line who are full of joy and peace. They would probably like to have more money, but they find joy in the little things of life. For some reason, it seems that our culture gravitates to the wealthy instead of the poor. I believe it’s because we think the rich will share their wealth, while the poor have very little excess to share with anyone. I came across a passage in James and it hit me that I really do show favoritism to the rich. Check this out…

1My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor person dressed in filthy clothes also comes in, if you look with favor on the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:1-5 CSB)

People who are wealthy know lots of others who are wealthy. They also know others who have more money than they have. Poor people know others who are poor and especially the ones who have less money than them. I see money as a medium. It doesn’t do anything except what it’s told to do. It’s like planting seed in the soil – whatever seed is planted is what comes up. The soil was a medium. It can grow kudzu or it can grow grass.

I felt deep conviction after reading this today, because I find myself passing judgement on others based on how they carry themselves, how they dress, the type of car they have or how nice of a house they live in. This is a dangerous behavior. James goes on to say that this is “straight up” sin. I am passing judgement on someone’s worth based on their bank account rather than their heart.

The Lord is way more concerned with my heart and my obedience than the size of my bank accounts. In fact, I believe the Lord is drawn to the poor – Jesus was born to a Carpenter (blue collar) and visited by shepherds (blue collar) and wise men (white collar). Look at the disciples that Jesus called to serve alongside Him…. They were fishermen, tax collectors – very ordinary people who I would contend didn’t have a lot of material possessions or money.

I want to be wealthy in spiritual values. When I’m blessed with material wealth, I want to invest it in His Kingdom and people made in the image of God. I’m seeing forgiveness when I’ve made my life about me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne