Old & Faithful

happy and motivated old people 3dI really admire older people. They have such great life experiences to share. I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do from the stories of older people in my life. They can usually tell you what won’t work. Before I go too far speaking about older people, I must admit that I’m closing in fast on that description myself. AARP has already started sending me invitations to join. I’ve resisted for now.

Solomon had such a remarkable journey, but unfortunately he didn’t finish strong. He became unfaithful when he got old. He loved women – lots of women. He had hundreds of wives and concubines. He started following their gods and this became detestable to the Lord. While their culture evidently allowed for multiple wives, I don’t believe that was the Creators plan for marriage.

4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done. (1 Kings 11:4-6 NIV)

It’s a bit of a bummer that Solomon had followed the Lord so strongly and then when he got older, instead of getting stronger in his faith, he got weaker. I believe that at every age and stage of life, there will be “voices” trying to pull me away from my faith. I believe the enemy will use anyone or anything he can to erode or destroy my faith.   I believe that temptation will always be part of my journey, but the Lord can provide the strength I need to resist temptation.

Today is my 21st wedding anniversary. Tina and I have built a marriage and home centered on the Word of God. We want to follow Him all of our days. My life and my heart had been hurt deeply, but God made “beauty from the ashes”. I am so blessed and so thankful.

As I grow older, I want to be even more faithful in following the Lord. I want to hear from Him daily. I want His Wisdom to trump my experience and my knowledge. I know that every day I need Him to direct my path and speak into my heart. I’m thankful for my wife of 21 years, who also seeks after the Lord. I am blessed.

IMG_4570Pressing On!

Dwayne

God’s Dwelling

Human heart anatomy from a healthy bodyI really enjoy reading history and studying things that happened in the past regarding our country. I was recently in Washington D.C. and visited many significant historical sights. As I study history, it always sheds light on the present. The people who went before us were thinking of us as they were building and leading our country. There is a rich history here for sure, from when the first settlers came from England all the way to today. There are times of pain, embarrassment, suffering and hardship (that was quite an understatement), but the end result of such struggle and challenges is an amazing country to live in.

King Solomon was building upon the legacy of his father King David. It had been a goal of David to build a temple for the Lord instead of the temporary tent tabernacle. The Lord liked David’s idea but wanted his successor/son to build the tabernacle. Solomon became king after David and followed through with the building of the great temple. After the temple is complete Solomon calls all of the leaders together for the dedication service. The service he leads is very reflective as well as calling for personal commitment to the Lord. He asked some hard questions in his presentation as well. Check this out…

27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. (1 Kings 8:27-30 NIV)

I can look back on the history of Israel and see that God did indeed dwell here on earth. In fact, He still does. As I read these historical events through the lens of Jesus coming to earth, they look quite different. God no longer dwells in fancy buildings made by men, He makes His home inside my heart. Check this out…

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (1 Corinthians 4:7-10 NIV)

The Lord no longer dwells in a temple or a particular church house. He dwells in the hearts and lives of His people. He loves walking with me and talking with me. He loves it when I trust Him with the smallest details of my life and work. I was reminded this morning of the Power of His Presence in me. I need to hold my head up and face whatever comes my way today because He dwells in me and together we can walk through anything. He is my strength. He is my purpose. He drives and directs my life as I simply surrender it to His Will and His Way. The Lord God lives, dwells and works in and through my life. #thankful

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Strength In Struggle

 

depression teen girlThere have been way too many times in my life when I felt like all was lost. The pain that comes through suffering is almost devastating. There are times when I find it hard to lift my head because of what I’m facing. I’m still learning that there is ALWAYS Hope because of Creator God. He is NEVER too tired or too weak to help. He is NEVER too busy to listen. He comes to my rescue quite often.

David was in need of rescue. He and his men had gone out with the Philistines preparing for battle only to be sent home because the leadership didn’t trust him and his men to fight against his own countrymen. Upon arrival home the devastation was overwhelming. Check this out…

3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured – Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:3-6 NIV)

That last line of the passage jumped right in my lap as I read it. I needed to be reminded that my Source of strength can ALWAYS be found in the Lord God. I don’t always look to Him first – I often try my own way. I’m learning that He NEVER leaves and He’s ALWAYS the best Source of strength that exists. I’m so thankful for His rescue of me.

I immediately thought of this song by Hillsong called: Came To My Rescue.

1 Falling on my knees in worship

Giving all I am to seek your face

Lord all I am is yours

2 My whole life

I place in your hands

God of Mercy

Humbled I bow down

In your presence at your throne

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

3 My whole life

I place in your hands

God of Mercy

Humbled I bow down

In your presence at your throne

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

B In my life be lifted high

In our world be lifted high

In our love be lifted high

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Rescue Havoc

tired businessman rubbing his eyesEach morning when I read a passage from The Word and ponder what The Lord is saying, He speaks into my heart. This morning I read a passage in Judges that has really troubled me. The story starts out as a story of unfaithfulness and relentless pursuit. It just ends really badly without much explanation. The people of Israel have no king, and therefore no law. Check this out…

Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her parents’ home in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there for four months, 3 her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant and two donkeys. She took him into her parents’ home, and when her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. 4 His father-in-law, the woman’s father, prevailed on him to stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking, and sleeping there. (Judges 19:1-4 NIV)

If the story ended with them returning home and happily ever after, it would be great. The story takes a bad turn. The Levite, his servant and his concubine return home. They make it to a city maybe a little over halfway to his home and stop for the night. A man of the city takes them into his home. Some of the wicked men of the town come to house where they are staying because they want to party with the man sexually. He sends out his concubine and they rape and abuse her. I am very disgusted with the evil men who are so brazen and bold to act this way. I’m also disgusted with the behavior of the man who would send his concubine into such an evil and despicable situation. The next morning she is on the doorstep of the house dead. He takes her home and divides her body into twelve parts and sends it to the twelve tribes of Israel. I think Israel needs a wake-up call, but this story really hurts my heart. My heart hurts for the victim and her dad.

I’m so thankful that we have law and order in our land. I can’t imagine living in this kind of fear constantly. I can’t imagine living in a culture that devalues other like they devalued this young girl. On one hand the Levite man loved her and went to rescue her from being unfaithful to him, but on the other hand he discarded her.

This is a dark place in the history of God’s people. They need a serious rescue. They need to purge the evil from among them. This story really disturbs me as I try to understand all the people involved. I’m going to just have to lay my head in God’s lap as I continue to read through this part of Israel’s story and get to the real rescue that God provide for all of us in His Son.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Resolve to NOT Make New Resolutions

 

Happy New Year 2016 I’ve made my share of New Years Resolutions in the past with limited success. This time comes every year and it seems like a good time to start something new or “turn over a new leaf”, but this year I’m resisting the urge to do that.

This year I’m going to strengthen and build up who I already am. I already have a unique DNA in my physical body. I want to strengthen my Character DNA.

I want my faith to grow deeper and more mature.

I want my positive attitude to grow stronger.

I want my marriage to grow stronger.

I want my family to grow closer.

I want my work ethic to expand.

I want my keep listening to my body.

Watering and cultivating who I already am is where I’m at and where I’m headed in this new year! I don’t need to add a lot of new resolutions and self-induced pressure – I simple need to build on who I already am!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Impatience

 

Businessman runningMy wife would not call me a patient person. I can’t stand to drive behind people driving too slowly. I also don’t like to stand in line and wait. I can give many more examples. Over the years the Lord has been teaching me patience. I don’t always see His plan unfolding when I’m in the middle of it. I’m learning to be patient as He moves and shapes things around me.

The Israelites had gotten right up to the land they were to inherit and because of the fear delivered by the 10 bad spies, they turned the entire nation around and started going a different route. The Lord had been frustrated with His people, but He was still providing for them. Their patience was short though. Check this out…

4 They travelled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,[c] to go round Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!’

6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.

8 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (Numbers 21:4-9 NIV)

Jesus referenced this event several years later when He said, 14 “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” (John 3:14-15 NIV)

When I get impatient with the Lord, it’s on me. I must learn to trust His timing, His plan and certainly His power. I don’t always understand why certain things happen, but I understand Who He is. He is guiding my steps to get me home.

I heard a song the other day while attending the funeral of a sweet little 4 year old boy named Jake. The song was chosen by his parents and it moved my heart. The song is “Believe” recorded by Brooks and Dunn. The WORDS WRITTEN IN RED tells me that there’s more to life than just what I can see. I’m determined to be patient as His plan unfolds.

Pressing On!

Dwayne