A Different Drum Beat

portrait of a little boy playing bongos
Over the years, I’ve met people who are quite a bit different than I am. Some people are different than anyone I know. I have used the phrase that “they march to the beat of a different drum”.  I realize that is a kind way of saying they are weird compared to me and my friends. The thing is, I may have had people say that about me. We are all different than each other, yet we’re all the same. The people in other parts of the world speak different languages and have different customs, yet they still bleed and they need food and rest just like I do.

The Apostle Paul starts really clarifying the difference in a person who walks in the flesh versus a person who walks in the Spirit. This is a game changer in my spiritual journey for sure. Check this out…

16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-18, 24-26 CSB)

Walking by the Spirit is hard to describe. I can point to specific incidents in my life where I felt prompted and nudged to do something, say something or go somewhere that was not my normal choice. The Holy Spirit is very personal, but can be obvious. This battle between my flesh and the Spirit is very real. The battle rages inside me every day. My flesh gets frustrated easily, while the Spirit shows great patience and gives grace by the truck-loads. My flesh is very self-centered, while the Spirit is very self-less, giving and kind.

I want what I want is from my flesh.

I want what He wants is from The Spirit of Christ in me.

I can’t describe the peace and joy I feel in my heart when I live and move by the Spirit. I am here to serve others and their best interest. I really believe that my profession as a REALTOR is to serve others. When I write down all the tasks of my job, the word service is woven throughout those processes and tasks.

The old Dwayne served himself. The spirit-filled Dwayne lives to serve others.

The old Dwayne had a short fuse. The spirit-filled Dwayne is patient. (I still have trouble with this one – and it’s obvious when my flesh takes over.

I could make a very long list of the flesh-led Dwayne versus the spirit-led Dwayne.

As a Christ follower, I should look different than a person who lives by the flesh. I want to keep in step with the Spirit of God. I want to talk when He says talk. I want to walk where He leads. I want to give when He says give. In other words, I want to walk to the beat of a different drum – the Spirit of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Adopted

Family PIcture 2016I am blessed with three grandchildren presently and I’ve talked to my two sons who have become parents in the last couple of years. First, I didn’t know I could love like that until I became a Dad. Second, I learned a lot more about my Heavenly Father. I began to understand His heart in the scripture. Becoming a Dad has been a blessing beyond my ability to describe. I am humbled and thankful for the privilege and responsibility.  It was just over 7 years ago that my wife and I started working on adoption of our youngest son. We were one of four families from our church who were adopting 5 siblings from Nicaragua. Their situation in Nicaragua was tough and we felt called to help. It was an incredibly hard journey, but here we are now and Luke has become my son by adoption. Again, I learned some deep truths about the Lord that I had not known before. The Lord adopted me as His son and He has given me all the rights and privileges of being part of His family. Check this out….

When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7 CSB)

I am God’s kid. I am adopted into His family. I am an heir to the promise. Creator God has put the Spirit of His Son in my heart. I’m wear His name. He has a picture of me in His phone! (LOL) I am loved by God. I am cherished by God. He is my Heavenly Dad. He cares for me. He loves to speak into my life each morning and I love hearing from Him. I feel loved. I feel accepted. I know what it’s like to feel lost and abandoned, but NEVER again – I am a child of God.

My family here on earth reflects my Jesus family. I am a child of the Most High God. I can walk in confidence bearing His Name and representing Him in how I talk, walk, live and love. I am profoundly thankful to be adopted by Him. I wear His Name with thankfulness and humility in my heart. He has changed me forever.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

(Not Pictured: Finneas Dylan Hicks arrived on May 20, 2017 – He’s such a handsome little guy! #thankful)

Guardrails

Road along the lakeIn Kentucky where I grew up, some of the roads had these white posts that we placed every 3 or 4 feet along the road and they served as posts to keep you on the road. You can imagine that they didn’t do much to contain a car that was a bit out of control. Later, the steel guardrails that we have today came along. These guardrails are tough, they are meant to keep a car that loses control from going into the ravine or over a cliff.

I was reading Galatians this morning and Paul was describing the law that was given as a guardian and I thought about the guardrails as a guardian of sorts. Over the years, I’ve needed some guardrails placed on each side of the road I was traveling. I see them as boundaries for protection as well as direction. I think the law did this. Paul is trying to introduce the work of Jesus who came and freed us from the law and introduced us to faith & grace. The law required works to be saved, Jesus only requires faith. Check this out…

23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed.24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:23-26 CSB)

My faith serves as my “GPS” (Global Positioning Satellite or God Positioning Savior) and keeps me between the ditches and ravines. The Law instilled fear and faith introduces us to grace. I am a child of God, not because of what I did, but because of what Christ did. I am an heir to the promise of eternal life, not because of what I did, but because of what Christ did. I follow the Lord because He is my Lord. My life has been profoundly changed since surrendering to Him daily.

No Longer Slaves by Jonathan & Melissa Helser is really blessing me and reminds me not to fear the guardrails, but to walk daily with the Lord seeking His wisdom, guidance and direction for each step.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Grace Rules

 

jesus graceI grew up living according to the rules of my parents. They learned to live through the rules of their parents and so it goes. The rules of the household are meant to shape the children into well-mannered, respectable adults. There is a place for boundaries and rules in our society as well. Freedom without responsibility isn’t freedom at all – it’s chaos.

The Apostle Paul was addressing the church in Galatia and the issue of Law & Grace came up. He was a preacher of grace and filled with grace to the non-Jewish people. He explained that while Jesus was a Jew, He came to save everyone. We could never follow Jewish customs and practices to be saved. Jesus delivered grace that took away the power of the law. The law never could save. The Law could affect my behavior, but it didn’t change my heart. Grace does both. Grace changes my heart which then affects how I live and love. Check this out…

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:19-21 CSB)

I used to say that different denominations had different parts of the gospel that they preached and taught with diligence while ignoring some of the other important components. For example, I used to think that the Christian Church majored on baptism and ignored grace. I thought that the Baptist church preached grace and ignored baptism. I felt like the Pentecostal church had the Holy Spirit while ignoring grace and baptism. The gospel is a complete package. It is the life-changing purpose of Jesus coming to earth. He lived and died that we might live a life surrendered to the Lord and experience eternal life with God.

I do follow some rules today because I love the Lord NOT so I can be loved by Him. He loved me first and He changed my perspective on life. Over the past few years I have realized my profound need of grace. The more I study grace, the more ridiculous it is. The Lord forgives me profoundly and removes my past and sets me up for a beautiful future. He’s done this for me too many times to count. He is not a “one and done” Savior. I have needed His Grace too many times to count and He’s NEVER withheld it once.

God is not about the law as much as He is about GRACE. I will say that Grace has changed my perspective about the law. I live differently because of Grace. I live differently not out of fear, but out of confidence and hope. Grace now rules my life.  I’m so thankful that I discovered this crazy love from God called Grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Gospel – Story of God

 

Grace AND TruthI remember hearing about Jesus when I was a very young kid. As I grew, my parents lived out their faith in God. I went to church every Sunday (we had morning and evening services). We also had Wednesday night Bible Study. I also observed my Grandmother (Mammie) read her Bible every day. She was faithful in seeking the Lord.
I remember hearing a lot of rules – some do’s and don’ts from the church teaching. My parents echoed the teaching and it helped keep me scared of going to hell, so I complied. I see things a bit different now that I’ve been studying the Word on my own and listening to what the Lord must say to me. Paul met Jesus face to face authenticating His preaching. Check this out…

11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. 12 For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12 CSB)

I didn’t hear a lot about Grace being part of the gospel when I was growing up. As I study the Word today – it’s not only part of the gospel – it’s the essence of the gospel. I’m reminded by grace that I could never do enough to be worth saving. I could never go to church enough. The Lord is about a personal journey rather than a church journey. I’m not sure just how strong someone is who never fellowships with others are sits under the teaching of the Word. I remember hearing the late Keith Green say that, “going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger.”

The Gospel is Jesus Christ living in me and through me to show others His Amazing Love and Grace. There is nothing I could do to save myself. He is Mighty to Save and the ONLY One Who can save me.  The Gospel has Power.

I’m simply going to live the rest of my life letting Christ be in charge. I’ve surrendered my life to His Will and His Way. With that surrender comes incredible FREEDOM to live for Him. I “get” to go to church – I don’t “have” to go. I enjoy the fellowship of other Christ followers who are simply trying to live for Him.  In a nutshell: The Gospel is GRACE & TRUTH!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Maturity

happy and motivated old people 3dOne of these days I feel like I will grow up. I have officially been placed on the AARP mailing list and that makes me feel old. There are some days when I feel old, yet I’m a good 20 years younger than others who consider themselves old. Being old and mature is somewhat a state of mind. It is interesting to see how some people age more quickly than others. I used to subscribe to the theory of a friend of mine that says, “since I’m a bit overweight, my skin is stretched out and I look younger than I am”. I watched a television documentary on ESPN about the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and the players on those teams were 30 years older and some looked quite different. I realize that as I enter the AARP stage of life that I will look “mature” even if I’m not.

Paul gives some final words of encouragement to the church at Corinth in his last letter to them. Check this out…

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11 CSB)

I’ve certainly met people who are older, but are not mature. They are whiny and self-centered to the point that I don’t enjoy being around them. I’ve also met other older people who are kind and gracious, realizing that life doesn’t revolve around them. They have learned to love deeply and help others along the way.

Here are a few other characteristics of mature people:

Control their tongue

Show patience with others

Encourage others, especially younger people

Accepting their role in the lives of others

Self-less love

Peace makers

Trusted confidant

Consistently kind

Faithful

Honest

I could make a long list, but I’ll stop there. I want to grow old with grace and truth at the top of mind. I want to be an “old person” that younger people will enjoy being around. I won’t take myself so seriously. I want to finish this life strong with my walk with the Lord obvious to those who live, work and fellowship with me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne