NEVER!

This is a word I was told to “never” use. (Please accept my apologies for the obvious pun!) Seriously, I hardly ever use this word because it is so absolute and final. There is no negotiating with this word because it’s absolute. It brings boldness and finality to the conversation. There are times that I want to use this word in regard to things that I will never do. I’ve even softened the tone of this because I don’t plan to sin, but I sin. It would be foolish of me to say, “I will never sin again”. I can say that I don’t want to sin again, because I see the hurt it does to my Father.  God uses this word NEVER and it blessed my heart this morning. Check this out….

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
 17 He covered himself with goodness like armor.
 He put the helmet of salvation on his head.
He put on his clothes for punishing
 and wrapped himself in the coat of his strong love. 18 The Lord will pay back his enemies for what they have done.
He will show his anger to those who were against him; he will punish the people in faraway places as they deserve. 19 Then people from the west will fear the Lord, and people from the east will fear his glory.
The Lord will come quickly like a fast-flowing river, driven by the breath of the Lord. 20 “Then a Savior will come to Jerusalem
and to the people of Jacob who have turned from sin,”
says the Lord.
21 The Lord says, “This is my agreement with these people: My Spirit and my words that I give you will never leave you or your children or your grandchildren, now and forever.” (Isaiah 59:17-21 NCV)

The Lord uses the strongest word possible to convey to His people that both His Spirit and His Word will NEVER leave us for generations to come!! The absolutely blessed my heart – this is my constant prayer for my children that they would follow the Lord and honor Him with their life.  I honestly am not concerned with their “career path” as long as their career path includes following the Lord and honoring Him. This PROMISE of HIS PRESENCE is the real thing and “never leave” means NEVER!

I may have to print this out and keep it in front of me all day today!

 Pressing On!
Dwayne

A Special Day

I live and work in the West Georgia and we have a nice sized regional university here in town called The University of West Georgia.  I remember years ago and I think they still do a fundraising project called “A Day for West Georgia”.  On this day they “pull out all the stops” asking for various donations and promoting the university in our local area.  The old phrase, “what a difference a day makes” really stands out in the history of this institution.

What a difference a day makes in my life. There have been days that have changed my perspective about my life, my future or my family. I believe that every now and again, some event happens in the course of a day that becomes a real “game changer”.  In Isaiah this morning, the Lord describes a “game changing day” that He would love.  Check this out…

 6-9 “This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”

    to break the chains of injustice,

    get rid of exploitation in the workplace,

    free the oppressed,

    cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:

    sharing your food with the hungry,

    inviting the homeless poor into your homes,

    putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,

    being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,

    and your lives will turn around at once.

Your righteousness will pave your way.

    The God of glory will secure your passage.

Then when you pray, God will answer.

    You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ (Isaiah 58:6-9 The Message)

 I want today (this day) to be different. I want my today to be a game changer for the rest of my life. I don’t want today to be just another ordinary day. I want to honor God with my actions and my attitude. I want others to see Him in me!

 24 This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad today! (Psalm 118:24 NCV)
 
Pressing On!
Dwayne

The Way

God has come to earth to make the way for those of us on earth like me, to find our way back to Him.   He not only created me, He desires intimate fellowship with me. He loved me while I was still in my sin. He made the way through Jesus.  Check out Isaiah’s way of saying it…..

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
14 Someone will say, “Build a road! Build a road! Prepare the way!
    Make the way clear for my people.”
 15 And this is the reason: God lives forever and is holy.
  He is high and lifted up.
He says, “I live in a high and holy place,
 but I also live with people who are sad and humble.
 I give new life to those who are humble
 and to those whose hearts are broken.
16 I will not accuse forever,
 nor will I always be angry,
 because then human life would grow weak.
 Human beings, whom I created, would die.
17 I was angry because they were dishonest in order to make money.
    I punished them and turned away from them in anger,
 but they continued to do evil.
18 I have seen what they have done, but I will heal them.
 I will guide them and comfort them and those who felt sad for them.
 They will all praise me.
19 I will give peace, real peace, to those far and near,
 and I will heal them,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 57:14-19 NCV)

God took great care in creating me – his kid. I was designed, shaped and built to serve and honor Him. He gave me freedom to choose and often I really goof that choice up. He is so full of mercy and grace – they could be His “nicknames”. He is Holy and draws me to become Holy. He is full of strength and He supplies me with strength. I am living to honor Him. I’m living because He made THE WAY through Jesus. It was not what was expected…a baby born in Bethlehem, but it was God making the way.  I’m so grateful!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Everyone

God makes it clear in His Word that He wants everyone to know Him and be known as His kid. He created us to worship Him. He created us to bring honor to Him. He is not selectively choosing one people group over another – He wants everyone to come to His table.  Check this out….

 6 Foreigners will join the Lord to worship him and love him,
to serve him,
to obey the law about the Sabbath,
and to keep my agreement.
 7 I will bring these people to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
The offerings and sacrifices
they place on my altar will please me,
because my Temple will be called a house for prayer for people from all nations.” (Isaiah 56:6-7 NCV)

1 This is what the Lord says: “Give justice to all people,
  and do what is right,
because my salvation will come to you soon.
  Soon everyone will know that I do what is right. (Isaiah 56:1 NCV)

I really want to live my life in a way that honors the Lord. He wants me to know Him and walk with Him. He wants me to put my faith in Him and His ability to lead and direct my life. I want every day to honor Him. I will never outsmart Him. He knows more than the most brilliant human being, because He created them. He can make me appear brilliant and smart, when really it’s Him leading me to do brilliant and smart things.  I’m thankful, so very thankful that I belong to Him and that He will lead me every day. I’m so thankful that He wants EVERYONE to know Him in the same way!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Near

This word means that something or someone is close by.  For example, my retirement is near, or I’m near my house.  One of my favorite books is “God Came Near” by Max Lucado. God came near to us when He was born a baby!  That word sort of jumped up in my lap this morning as I journeyed through Isaiah. Check this out…

 6 So you should look for the Lord before it is too late; you should call to him
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
while he is near.
8 The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts.
 Your ways are not like my ways.
9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
 so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:6,8-9 NCV)

 There are times when I love being near people and there are times when I want to be alone. With the Lord, I’m never alone. He is always near because my heart belongs to Him. He doesn’t just up and leave – He’s faithful. He is consistent and constant. After reading in Isaiah, my journey through the New Testament brought me to Hebrews.  Check this out….

 22 let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, because we have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold firmly to the hope that we have confessed, because we can trust God to do what he promised. (Hebrews 10:22-23 NCV)

 God calls us to come near to Him. It is this time of year that I like to reflect on how God came near to us. He came as a baby born in Bethlehem. If He had not come, we would not know the Lord – we would not be free from our sin.  God came to earth and He drew near to us, so that we could draw near to Him. He will walk with me through anything I face. He will celebrate the joy of life with me. He is ALWAYS NEAR!

 Pressing On!
Dwayne

His Promises

I’ve made promises many times before. I promised years ago to be a good husband to Tina – that promise is a vow.  I’ve promised my kids stuff and I’ve tried to keep all my promises. Looking back, I see some that I didn’t do so well at keeping.  God doesn’t miss a single promise of His.  Check this out….

 9 The Lord says, “This day is like the time of Noah to me.  I promised then that I would never flood the world again.
In the same way, I promise I will not be angry with you
or punish you again.
 10 The mountains may disappear,
 and the hills may come to an end,
but my love will never disappear;
 my promise of peace will not come to an end,”
 says the Lord who shows mercy to you. (Isaiah 54:9-10 NCV)

 The Lord’s promises can be counted upon to be true. He never breaks His promises. I need His promise of peace…His promise of Grace….His promise of Salvation.

 I’m so thankful that God keeps His promises. I’m standing on that today!

Pressing On!
Dwayne