Belong

Many hands together: group of people joining handsI belong to my parents as their son. I belong to my wife & family because I made a commitment years ago. I belong as a member of Southern Hills Christian Church where I’m committed to growing in my faith and helping others grow as well. I belong to the Board of REALTORS because I’m a member. The most important membership I have is in God’s family. I belong to Him. In each of these situations I bring honor or dishonor to the place I belong. I’m thankful that the Lord makes up for the many deficiencies that I have. Check this out…

 For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; Lord. Christ died and returned to life for this: that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9 CSB)

Sometimes I look at my hands and feet and realize that these are the same hands that did some stupid thing in 7th grade. These are the same feet that went places I shouldn’t have in High School. As my body ages, I’m coming to terms with the end of this life which is death. I am not afraid of death, I just want those who count on me to be prepared because it does happen. Hopefully I’ve got several more years of life left.  I need to be prepared today if eternity knocks. If I’m living for the Lord, my preparation is well on its way. If I’m living for me, then I’m missing the destination instructions.

I want to live today knowing that the Lord holds this day and He also holds tomorrow. It is not my role to worry, it is my role to trust Him and seek to honor Him. I want to live as someone who has already died to myself. If I’ve died to me, then I can’t change the stuff I worry about. I can’t protect my family – He does that. I really can’t do anything IF I’m already dead to myself. I trust in the Lord completely to direct my path and guide my heart. In dying to myself, I’m really living for Him. I belong to Him – all of me; all for Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Heart Versus Flesh

Behind the maskSome people believe the end is near. I remember in 1988 there was some guy who believed that the world was coming to an end. He had made some calculations based on data he has acquired. He was wrong. Here we are nearly 30 years later. No one knows when this world will end. I believe we should be alert and ready at a moment’s notice. I could be taken in an accident while driving. I’m not trying to be morbid, but I am trying to alert and ready no matter what happens to me – I want to be ready when my time on earth ends.

My heart and flesh are the practical battle that fights inside of me. It’s the same spiritual battle that features God’s Spirit versus the enemy. Paul gives some practical counsel about preparing for this internal battle. Check this out..

11 Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t make plans to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:11-14 CSB)

I want to cloth myself with the armor of light. This armor can cover me completely. Light exposes and reveals the darkness and chases it from the room.  When I sin, I like it to be quietly covered so that I’m not called out. I can’t hide my sin from the Lord. I am accountable to the Lord for everything I do, everything I say and everything I think. My wife holds me accountable for the first two, but God’s Spirit can assist with my thoughts.

I want to glorify the Lord NOT gratify the desires of my flesh.

I want be transparent before the Lord as well as others, NOT secretive and suspicious.

I want to live and work from a heart that is fully committed to the work of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Standard or Upgrade

 

Web IconWhen buying a car, you can get the standard features or you can get the upgrade. The upgrade always cost more. When building a house or simple remodeling a kitchen, there are standard features you can buy, then there are upgrades. I guess standard is the starting point or the average. In our country, we don’t buy a TV when it wears out, we upgrade to the latest flat panel LCD. The other TV was working perfectly fine, but it was standard. There’s another category that I’ve seen since becoming a REALTOR; it’s called “sub-standard” which is below average or below the starting point.

In Romans 12 (possibly my favorite chapter of scripture), the Apostle Paul really lays out some standard Christian behaviors. These are meant to be the starting point, but they are often not even practiced by Christ-followers. Check this out…

Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. 

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:9-10; 16-18 CSB)

As a Christ follower, I should not do the minimum standards or starting points. I should grow from there. Sometimes Christians look the same as others who don’t follow the Lord. My behavior should be different. My language should be kinder. My compassion should be deeper. I should keep the spotlight on the Lord and not on me. My life needs to be governed by the Spirit of God living in me. He longs to be seen in me. I can’t “out give” or “out love” the Lord. I should keep growing in these areas and not settle for the starting point.

Today as I begin my day, I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience with me as I seek to build on the standards set forth and keep upgrading my faith by surrendering to His will and His way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Deep

 

Two Scuba Divers With CopySpaceI’ve been mesmerized by scuba diving in the ocean depths. I think that experiencing that in more shallow waters might make it to my bucket list.  I have a healthy respect for deep water because I’m aware that I don’t have gills and can’t breathe under water. I am fascinated by the ocean and the way it never stops. The waves come crashing into shore and the sound of that crashing calms my heart. I know that I sound a bit weird. I’ve never ventured way out into the ocean because I feel a lot more secure anchored to land. The oceans has a lot of unknowns and that interests me and scares me a bit at the same time.

I love how the Apostle Paul speaks of the depths of knowing the Lord. If the ocean is deep (and it is), the depth of God’s wisdom and knowledge are deeper still. Check this out..

33 Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments
and untraceable his ways!
34 For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?
35 And who has ever given to God,
that he should be repaid?
36 For from him and through him
and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 CSB)

The Lord is difficult to describe. I’m a pretty simple minded person. I can’t begin to make the Lord simple. His love is simple. His mercy and grace is both simple and complex. The more I study the mercy and grace of God, the more I want to follow Him fully and experience both. I am a recipient of both His grace and mercy many times over even though I don’t fully grasp that depth of love.

I want to go deeper in my relationship with the Lord. I want to talk to Him differently. I want to hear the deep whispers in my journey with Him. I want to see His face. I want to put my head on His chest. I want to know Him fully. I want Him to speak to me through His Word. I want His Spirit to direct my spirit. I want His heart to invade my heart. I want to die to myself and live fully for Him. He is so deep and vast, but I want to keep seeking knowledge and understanding of His heart. I to live for Him so I can live forever with Him. I realize that I’m simply trying to follow Him fully, but that’s all He asks.

This passage reminded me of a song by one of my favorite bands of years gone by: Deeper by Delirious.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

No Strings Attached

 

I am always suspicious of an unsolicited phone call announcing that I’ve received something for free. I realize that there is a “catch” to things like that. I have won 3 days and 3 nights at a nice resort only to find out that I had to go to a meeting where they try to sell you a time share in that resort. I’ve also been offered a free 6-month subscription only to find out that they will start billing me automatically after that first 6 months. There are many gimmicks that promise something Free that I am a bit jaded about it. I usually say that something that is free to me always cost someone else something. There is no such thing as a free lunch. After reading in the Word this morning, I realize that there is something that is free. Check this out…

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13 CSB)

I have not done anything to deserve the love from God that I’ve experienced. He doesn’t love me because I love Him. He loved me first. He loves me even when I don’t love Him. I can’t quite wrap my head around that level of love. I have accepted Him as my Lord. I do believe in Him. I don’t deserve His love. I don’t deserve to be saved, but I am profoundly grateful.

I used to think going to church made me a Christian.

I used to think that not cursing made me a Christian.

I used to think that obeying my parents made me a Christian.

That could be a long list of what I used to think. I understand now that I go to church; guard my tongue, honor my parents BECAUSE I’m a Christ follower NOT to become a Christ follower. I am a Christian because I have surrendered my heart to the Lord. I believe in God. I believe He is the ONLY ONE Who can save me.

Nothing I can do contributes to my being saved. He did it all. I honor Him BECAUSE He has saved me and promised me a future. My life has been different since I figured this out. I can’t do enough or not do enough to be saved. He has that handled. There are no strings attached to my salvation. I see life different since He’s saved my soul. I want to live for Him. I want to live in honor of Him. I want to trust Him in obedience. I want my surrender to Him to continue today not out of fear, but in faith that He will continue to walk with me through this life.

He saved me with no strings attached.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Rock

 

stone isolated white background natural rock granite solid bouldWhen I think of the word rock, I think of something solid. A rock is hard to break. A rock makes a great foundation – we manufacture a rock like substance called concrete. The Lord refers to the Rock often as our faith foundation. There is a song that says: “On Christ, the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand”. I have also been known to trip over a rock. If the rock is big enough I can stand on it or go around it.

Paul makes it clear that even those that are not of Jewish decent have access to the foundation of Jesus Christ which produces in us righteousness. Check this out…

30 What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. 32 Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written,

Look, I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over
and a rock to trip over,
and the one who believes on him
will not be put to shame. (Romans 9:30-33 CSB)

I am putting my faith in Creator God. I believe He created the earth, the universe in all its expanse and intricate detail. He is the One in Whom I trust to lead me through whatever I face in this life. My journey here for what feels like a short span prepares me for eternity which is unmeasurable time.

I love David’s prayer – seeking God as a refuge. Check this out…

Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and fortress. (Psalm 71:3 CSB)

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He gives me strength.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He picks me up when I stumble.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He saved me.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He loves me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne