Speak Up

There have been many times when I wanted to say something but didn’t or felt like I couldn’t. There have also been times when I said something that would have been better left unsaid.  Knowing when to speak and when to keep quiet is a function of wisdom and discernment. These two characteristics sometimes fail me and I say something that I regret because of the pain it inflicts on others. Proverbs speaks a lot to this. Check this out….

 4 Spoken words can be like deep water,
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
       but wisdom is like a flowing stream.
6 The words of fools start quarrels.
       They make people want to beat them.
 7 The words of fools will ruin them;
       their own words will trap them.
 8 The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food.
       People like to gobble them up.
 20 People will be rewarded for what they say;
       they will be rewarded by how they speak.
 21 What you say can mean life or death.
       Those who speak with care will be rewarded.  (Proverbs 18:4,6-8;20-21 NCV)

 Words have so much power, I would be wise to choose them carefully. James said that life and death are in the power of the tongue. I need to choose my words carefully and make sure they are the right words for the right time. I can encourage and speak life giving words when they come from a  heart shaped by God.

 Pressing On!
Dwayne

Love – Joy – Peace

Usually when I’m reading the proverbs, one of them jumps up in my lap and stirs my heart.  This morning that happened three times while reading three different “proverbs” from the same chapter.  The first topic is Love. Check this out…

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
 A friend loves you all the time,
       and a brother helps in time of trouble. (Proverbs 17:17 NCV)

 Love is an over-used and an abused word in our language.  It can be shallow and meaningless, or it can be very deep and abiding…touching the deepest part of our soul. I have friends whom I love deeply and who love me deeply. This is one of the richest of spiritual attributes. Our God defines love.

 A happy heart is like good medicine,
       but a broken spirit drains your strength. (Proverbs 17:22 NCV)

 I once heard of a man who was very sick, who bought a bunch of funny books and movies and locked himself in a hotel room and laughed himself well.  I don’t know the guy personally, but I’d like to think that I have a happy heart. I’ve been around people with broken spirits and it is hard to stay “up” and encourage them. I know that I would  do well to show my inner joy that comes from Jesus way more often than I do. His presence in me is the secret to the third attribute that I found in this chapter of Proverbs. Check this out…

 The wise say very little,
       and those with understanding stay calm.
Even fools seem to be wise if they keep quiet;
       if they don’t speak, they appear to understand. (Proverbs 17:27-28 NCV)

 There are so many times when I should say nothing instead of something. I should concentrate on staying calm so that the words the come out of my mouth bring peace instead of provoking a fight.  I want to listen 4 times as much as I speak because I have 4 listening devices – 2 ears & 2 eyes, to gain understanding.

 I want to grow in my understanding of Love, Joy & Peace. I believe these to be basic attributes of Creator God. I would do well to implement them more into my daily walk.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

The Best Made Plans….

I’ve made plans before and then things just didn’t go the way I had planned. I’ve made big, big plans – like career plans and I’ve made small plans – like a weekend away and still the plans did not work out.  I’m learning through the years of my journey with the Lord to consult Him on everything. King Solomon had some wise council in this area as well. Check this out…

People may make plans in their minds.
     but only the Lord can make them come true.
You may believe you are doing right,
    but the Lord will judge your reasons.
Depend on the Lord in whatever you do,
    and your plans will succeed.  (Proverbs 16:1-3 NCV)

 I’ve learned to talk to the Lord about anything I plan to do. I’ve learned to pray about what some might think as “the silliest of things” that I plan to do. I believe the Lord cares about the “silliest of things” as well as the big important things. If I’m talking to Him about the smallest and silliest of things, I will certainly stay consistent and ask for His leading on the big, monumental, serious stuff.

James covers this topic as well. Check this out….

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
13 Some of you say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to some city. We will stay there a year, do business, and make money.”14 But you do not know what will happen tomorrow! Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away.15 So you should say, “If the Lord wants, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NCV)

 I simply don’t want to live my life any other way. I want to constantly seek what the Lord wants for me. I will be a better leader when I learn to be a good follower of Him!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Greedy

I think just about everyone battles being greedy at one time or another. Greed is not always about money. It can be greedy for attention. Greedy in business (which is mostly about money) is pretty common.  In the business environment, it is tough to not be greedy when you’re competing.  I do my very best to be honest, work hard and let the integrity of my heart shine through. I do not want to be driven by greed or sales volume or any other external sources.I want to be driven and motivated by the very Spirit of God.  Solomon speaks to these values. Check this out…

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
27 Greedy people bring trouble to their families,
       but the person who can’t be paid to do wrong will live.
 28 Good people think before they answer,
       but the wicked simply pour out evil.
 29 The Lord does not listen to the wicked,
       but he hears the prayers of those who do right.
 30 Good news makes you feel better.
       Your happiness will show in your eyes.
 31 If you listen to correction to improve your life,
       you will live among the wise.
 32 Those who refuse correction hate themselves,
       but those who accept correction gain understanding.
 33 Respect for the Lord will teach you wisdom.
       If you want to be honored, you must be humble. (Proverbs 15:27-33 NCV)

 I remember a movie with Robert Redford and Demi Moore where she is asked to sleep with the man who is not her husband for $1M! The movie was called “Indecent Proposal” and it showed the struggle between contentment and greed.  Moore’s character and her husband, played by Woody Harellson really showed the struggle between riches and the right thing.  The movie would have been really short if Moore’s character had made the right choice.

I don’t think for a minute that I’ve got this all figured out. God’s Word is very clear about how He loves honest, humble people.  That’s what I want to drive me. I want to be wise in His eyes.  I want happiness and joy for my family. I want wealth, but not have to step on others to gain it.  I want to be teachable and wise.  I’ve got such a ways to go but I will PRESS ON!

Dwayne

Foolish Temperament

I grew up with a “short fuse” when it comes to temperament. I could get mad in a microsecond and go off on somebody or about something that I didn’t like or didn’t go the way I wanted it to.  Over the years, with the Lords help, I’ve been able to bring that under His control. People who know me now can’t imagine my quick temper. (I do need to offer a disclaimer because my kids have seen those weak moments.) In other words, I still do battle with self-control in this area as well as others.   Solomon has some wise council in this area.  Check this out….

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
 15 Fools will believe anything,
       but the wise think about what they do.
 16 Wise people are careful and stay out of trouble,
       but fools are careless and quick to act.
 17 Someone with a quick temper does foolish things,
       but someone with understanding remains calm.
 18 Fools are rewarded with nothing but more foolishness,
       but the wise are rewarded with knowledge. (Proverbs 14:15-18 NCV)

I think it was somewhere around my freshman year of college at Johnson University (known then as Johnson Bible College) that something started happening inside of me. The Lord started mellowing my personality to help me see just how trivial some of the things that set me off really were.  I had a friend who was the most easy going person in the world until he got on the basketball court, then his temperament changed and he had a “short fuse” about everything it seemed.  The Lord did work in his heart and changed him too. He’s being used in ministry for the past 30 years!

God can take my foolish characteristics and shape them into something good and useful for His kingdom.  When I make room in my heart, the Holy Spirit does things that I can’t explain in person or on paper.  With the Holy Spirit in me, I feel like I’m wiser and much more calm in general.  I still have my moments but they are fewer and farther apart.  I’m thankful that the Lord can use people like me and shape me and mold me to His liking.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Loose Lips

During World War II, there was a mantra put on posters that said: “Loose Lips Sink Ships”.  It was challenging Americans to keep quiet about our battle strategy and our weaponry so that the enemy will not find out what we have and where we have it.

Sometimes I talk too much.  I should just be quiet and let there be silence. Instead I open my mouth to speak when I should probably be listening.  The Proverb writer speaks to this. Check this out….

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
3 Those who are careful about what they say protect their lives,
       but whoever speaks without thinking will be ruined.
 4 The lazy will not get what they want,
       but those who work hard will.
 5 Good people hate what is false,
       but the wicked do shameful and disgraceful things.
 6 Doing what is right protects the honest person,
       but doing evil ruins the sinner. (Proverbs 13:3-6 NCV)

I want to learn to be a person who guards my tongue carefully. I want to be wise and careful about what comes out of my mouth.  I want to stand up for what is right no matter what. I want to do the right thing and to be known as an honest person.

With the Lord’s help, I can be both honest and careful with my speech.

Pressing On!
Dwayne