Growing In Love – Still

2017 GGO
I am still learning the heights and depths of love. This is an incredibly complicated concept, yet it is simple. I was first married over 35 years ago and learned to love a spouse. I became a Dad over 31 years ago and I learned to love my children. I now have grandchildren and my heart has expanded again. Before I was married and on my own, I loved my parents and siblings. I deeply loved my grandparents and still miss them to this day. I remember friends that I had years back in high school, but time and geography has separated us.

This past week I had the privilege of hanging out with seven of my closest friends from college. We meet every year in late September for a few days of fellowship that we call the GGO (Greater Greek Open – yes it has inside meaning that’s a long story). I call it my goof off trip, because the way I play golf is really an insult to the game of golf and those who really play the sport. We catch up with each other and always pick up right where we left off from last year. These guys were there with me through divorce and cancer and many other times of struggle over the years. I can say for sure that our lives are not free from suffering and pain, but we figure out a way to help one another through it.

I love reading the Word of God each day and letting His Word settle in my heart. The first day of our GGO this year, I awoke in time to read my regular daily reading and I was in 1 John and it is refreshing to hear from the disciple that was very close to Jesus. He was an eye-witness to Jesus’ daily journey here on earth. He saw first-hand how He loved. Check this out….

12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God— God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. (1 John 4:12-16 CSB)

I’ve read this chapter in 1 John each morning this week and I’m deeply moved by this concept of love. In fact, the last morning of golf, we shared in this passage and we were reminded of what a difference love has made in all our lives. We probably would not know each other except for our paths crossing over 30 years ago at Bible College where the love of God lead us for one reason or another.

As I pack up in the quietness of the morning and prepare to head home to more people I love, my heart is full and so thankful for the blessing of God upon my life. I could die today and I could say I’m a happy man. I am blessed way beyond what I deserve. I’m working hard at cultivating a grateful heart each day that I live that is simply a response to the amazing, relentless love of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Love Like That

Colorful typographic motivational poster to raise faith in yourself and your strength. The series of business concepts on a textured background of an old love. VectorIt blesses my soul to see an elderly couple who are still in love with one another after years of life together. I see something in them that I want. I think what I see is genuine love and respect for the other.  I must confess that I’ve got some ways to go in cultivating love that lasts a lifetime. I believe that love is a choice. I can choose to love whomever I want. I can also choose to hate. I believe that hate does way more harm to the one hating than the object of their scorn. I believe that as a follower of Jesus, the only hatred that should be in me is hatred for sin. Jesus teaches me to love others.  John reiterates this in his first epistle. Check this out…

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 CSB)

When my children were young, I read a quote that said: “Love is spelled T-I-M-E”. The message was clear that my time was spent investing in my children – just being with them is very important. As I read this simple passage this morning, I realize that Love is spelled G-I-V-E. The Lord calls me to put my money and resources where my mouth is.  One of my life goals is to live a life of significance. I want to invest in the lives of others to pay if forward on behalf of the people who have invested in me.

I love the parallel here with John 3:16:

 16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (Spoken by Jesus)

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (Spoken by John)

If Jesus did anything while He was here on earth, He loved and taught us to love. If I’m called by His name, love must be obvious in me. I want to love like He loves. He loves me profoundly despite my sin and His love compels me to leave sin behind and pursue love with all that I have.

How He Loves by Jesus Culture

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Know What I Know

 

i want to know moreI find it hard sometimes to articulate my faith in God. My journey is personal and subjective. I have experienced things with the Lord that is hard to explain. This faith that I have in the Lord is not meant for me to just keep it to myself. It is good news for the whole world. Jesus came to seek and save all mankind. His mission was to make a way to restore our relationship with God. He did that and more. He gave us an amazing gift to help us in this journey. The Holy Spirit gives great wisdom and insight.  The Holy Spirit provides great strength to manage suffering and hardship. The Holy Spirit is a Presence that is hard to explain. I feel incredible peace in my soul with the very Spirit of God dwelling in me. It is His Promised Comforter to me and I know He’s here. These are things that I know and I’ve experienced. I have a hard time explaining, describing or teaching these things I know. John speaks to how I know Him by following His instructions – living out my faith. Check this out…

This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands. The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked. (1 John 2:3-6 CSB)

“This I Know” – Crowder

I try to start every day acknowledging the blessings from the Lord and thanking Him. I want to hear from Him in His Word each day. I’m certainly not trying to “earn” my salvation. I do want to walk out my salvation with Him each day. I want to walk just as He walked. I want to love as He loved. I want to serve as He served.

I wish I could explain more clearly how I know what I know. It is not super complicated – it’s simple, but sometimes hard. It’s not always easy to walk in His way when it seems like very few people are walking this path. I know that this is where He called me to walk. He has changed my life forever. I’m honored to walk in His way. I’m honored to serve Him. I’m honored to be called a Christian or Christ follower.  I am still very much a “work in progress”, but I know things that are simply not negotiable with my journey in Him.  I want the activities of my day to day to be “in step” with His call upon my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Own It

 

Praying ManOne of my pet peeves is when someone is responsible for something and it goes badly and they look for others to blame instead of “owning it”. Taking responsibility is sometimes hard, but it’s a sign of maturity. The blame game is easy and the rules are very relaxed – just find someone else to place blame for the issue instead of the person who should own it. For example, if I get pulled over for speeding and I was speeding, it’s not my truck’s fault or the officer’s fault for doing his/her job – it’s on me for driving over the posted speed limit.

I believe that taking responsibility or “owning it” is a sign of humility. It is me admitting that I messed up and I will take responsibility for my behavior. Confession is good for my soul. Check this out…

 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10 CSB)

The Lord knows me fully. He knows everything I think. He knows everything I say. He knows everything I do. He knows when I lay down and He knows when I get up. He knows what I’m doing next. He knows what I did in October of 1969 even though I might not remember. He knows all there is to know about me, yet He forgives me and chooses not to remember my sin. I am profoundly grateful for His grace that compels Him to forgive and forget. I have much more to gain by confessing my sin than by denying my sin. I think it’s good to own it as soon as I’m aware of it. His grace is enough to forgive the biggest sin and He removes it from me. I may still have some consequences to pay, but the debt to the Lord has already been paid. When I own my sin, His death covers it in the present tense.

I’m grateful for this arrangement, because without His grace, I’d be doomed to hell many times over.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Time Table

 

Organize Agenda Planner Reminder Calendar To Do ConceptI still learning the value of time. This is a precious commodity of our existence. We all have the same number of minutes and hours in a day, but we have no idea how long we have on this earth before our “time” is up. I work from a calendar every day of my life. If I’m going to connect with a friend for coffee or lunch, I must first check my calendar (aka schedule) to make sure I’m not scheduled to be somewhere else. It is simply my attempt to manage my time while showing proper respect to others for their time. If someone gives me their time, they are giving me a special gift and I should be wise in managing that.

I sometimes wonder how my life will end. I have another birthday celebration on the horizon and I do think about aging, sickness and even death. I can’t really control much of my time table. I can work at eating healthy and exercising, but in the end, I still have little control over the length of my life. Peter reminds us that the Lord’s timetable exercises great patience over His return. Check this out…

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 CSB)

I don’t know if I’ll be alive when it happens, but I believe that Jesus will return to take His people out of this world prior to its destruction. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience in punishment. I’ve deserved punishment many times, but the Lord’s Grace is exhibited in patience. He gave me the time I needed to “come to my senses” and repent of my stupidity and rebelliousness. I do believe the Lord’s Grace is immeasurable, unrealistic and ridiculous. Since I’m a recipient of His Grace, I’m profoundly grateful that it is all those things.

As I get older, I find that I can be more patient with myself and with others. I don’t have to have everything exactly on my time table. I’m learning that not everyone works at the same speed or is even cable of working the same pace. I’m thankful that the Lord’s timetable comes out of His Grace and Mercy instead of His justice & punishment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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