Called Out

 

Why MeI’ve been “called out” because I’ve done something wrong or stupid. It’s another example of accountability. It’s not pleasant being called out, but it is sometimes necessary. I can’t always see my actions from the proper perspective. I’ve given several people in my life permission to “call me out” if I do something stupid or wrong. My wife has called me out on many occasions for sure. I have close friends who do the same. I seek counsel in areas that my knowledge and experience are lacking so that I won’t be “called out” later. I see law enforcement as “calling me out” if I’m speeding or pushing the limits of the law.

I am a follower of the Lord and I have made a commitment to follow Him. I want my life to honor Him. I am trying to live by the call of the Lord on my life. I want him to prompt the little decisions in my life as well as monumental decisions that I face.

I started reading 1st Peter this morning and I love his perspective because He walked with Jesus and saw His life and ministry up close and personal. Check this out…

Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. (1 Peter 1:8-9,13-16 CSB)

I’m facing everyday decisions with Him directing me and prompting me. I have ignored Him at times and regretted it. I have pushed back or ignored being called out and held accountable. I have been humbled and convicted of my sin. I want to walk humbly before the Lord every day asking for His counsel on the smallest daily decisions. I want His help as a Christian. I want His help as a husband. I want His help as a Dad. I want His help as friend. I want His help as a REALTOR.  I am open to be called out by people who know me and love me deeply. If you feel like you need to ask me about decisions that I make I want to always be willing to explain why I do what I do or say what I say. The Word of God often calls me out- I’m open to others close to me calling me out as well.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Witness Accountability

 

Victory parade dedicated to the Soviet victory over GermanyI have learned to become more aware of my surroundings and what is happening around me. I try to notice little things as well as big things. I witness way more things in life than I often realize. I witnessed signatures of a buyer purchasing a home for the first time and I witnessed the joy and anticipation of the buyer. I also witnessed the relief of the seller. The seller was moving to another town to begin another phase of life and be near her family in the later years of their lives. The relief was a bit bitter sweet as they were leaving behind some memories as well. Being a witness means paying attention. I witnessed an auto accident before and was so traumatized by the injuries that I couldn’t recall what I had just witnessed. I think witnessed should speak clearly about what they saw and heard.

The other word here is accountability. If someone witnessed me doing something on a certain day or time it’s my word against theirs. If there are more than one witness, it’s hard to refute that.

The writer of Hebrews challenges me to endurance because of so many witnesses. The witnesses can hold me accountability for my steady endurance and discipline. Check this out…

1Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 CSB)

The passage always makes me think about people who’ve gone before me. There are so many who poured into my journey of faith. I often wonder if they could see me now from where they are in heaven. If they can see the good, I would assume that they could see the bad choices too. I also recall the people of old who’ve gone on before me whom I’ve never met. I can hardly wait to meet some of them – like Moses, Abraham, David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Luke, John, Paul, Timothy – it could be a really long list. There are others I’m looking forward to meeting as well: Dwight Moody, C.S. Lewis, Warren Wiersbe, Norman Vincent Peal, Zig Ziglar, to name a few, who have a great journey with the Lord. There is also my family, some of who are still living today. I think about my grandmother (aka Mammie) and wonder if she knows what an impact she had on my life – is she part of the large cloud of witnesses.

When I become aware of people witnessing my behavior, I can usually pull it together and live right. I do have that following. There are people watching me – my wife, kids, friends, colleagues, co-workers, acquaintances. I am being watched by the most important and significant witness of all – Jesus. He is with me wherever I go. He hears how I talk. He sees what I do and how it matches up with what I say. I want to keep my focus on what He sees and what He thinks of me. I want to stand on His shoulders and love like He loved and live like He lives.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Behavior

 

john-3-16I learned many years ago the difference between good behavior and bad behavior. I was taught as a child the difference between right & wrong. I’m sure I “pushed the envelope” many times with my parents and others in authority over me. I know I that my behavior was bad at times because I was there. I’m thankful that for a gentle loss of memory in this case so that all of those times I behaved badly don’t’ come rushing back in to haunt me. There are people I know who have big time regrets with their behavior. I believe what Paul says in Romans that “all have sinned and fallen short of glory of God”. Everyone I know (including me) has misbehaved. I’m profoundly grateful for grace. My behavior should reflect what I believe in my heart, but that is certainly not always the case.

Paul takes behavior a step farther – He says you should remove the people who are boasting and flaunting their evil while calling themselves Christ followers. His analogy makes perfect sense. Check this out….

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 CSB)

I was taught years ago that I could be “guilty by association” if I hang out with friends who are misbehaving. My reputation could be tarnished. Paul is speaking of “hanging out” with bad people who are calling themselves Christians, but they are known for all sorts of sin and unrepentant behavior. The Lord forgives sin. His Grace covers sin. If I repent of a sin and continue in that sin – I’m not repentant at all. Paul is calling out people who are openly sinful and still being part of the church. He is instructing the church to remove such a person from the fellowship. If every person who sins is removed from the church, there would be no church. Paul is targeting the people who are arrogant and boastful about their sin and not repentant at all. The church is a hospital of broken and sinful people who are seeking restoration and forgiveness from the Savior of our souls. It is about accountability and grace. The church is to be protected of malice and evil. We are to cultivate relationships of honesty & truth seasoned with a lot of grace!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Go First

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingThere are times when leaders have to break new ground and be the first to step into uncharted territory. The people following often trust the leader enough to go with them into the unknown. When I come upon a scary situation and my family is with me – I always go first. I can also do that as a leader in the church where I serve or the industry that I work in. Leadership can sometimes be fearful and even lonely, but leaders lead with courage and boldness.

Nehemiah and the leaders of Jerusalem were deciding who was going to stay in Jerusalem now that the walls were rebuilt and the temple rebuilt. There were plenty of enemies on all sides who wanted to undo what they had just completed. Check this out…

1 Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem. The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten of them to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. 2 The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 11:1-2 NIV)

I commend our leaders who aren’t afraid to lead. I’m not always in agreement with where they lead, but they are our leaders. I’m thankful to live in a government by the people and for the people. The people who are our leaders are not without imperfections like the rest of us. I do think that leaders have a lot of pressure to gather information and make decisions according to the info gathered. I also see leaders who form laws and regulations that change our lives on a daily basis. These are often good laws that protect us. There are occasions though when “it seemed like a good idea at the time” and mistakes are made. I think a good sign of a leader is to own it and move on. I do believe all leaders are to be held accountable for choices that they make. This accountability makes for better leaders.

I like to see myself as a leader who first follows the Lord. I’m not afraid of breaking new ground as long as the Lord is leading me and directing my steps. If I’m walking in step with the Lord, then I’m never alone in leading.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Trust With Treasure

Trust with blue markerOver the years, I’ve become a bit less trusting of people in certain areas. I think that some people live by deep convictions and would never lie, cheat or steal. Then there are others who appear trustworthy, but somehow justify taking a little for themselves here or there. I’m thinking specifically of people who serve in the area of managing other people’s money. I think it’s important to take extra precautions to assure that there are no misunderstandings or mistakes made.

King David had appointed people as singers, gatekeepers, and also treasurers. He had some of the Levite descendants who took care specifically of his treasury. When they defeated another king in battle, they would seize the plunder and put it in the king’s treasury. Check this out…

26 Shelomith and his relatives were in charge of all the treasuries for the things dedicated by King David, by the heads of families who were the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and by the other army commanders. 27 Some of the plunder taken in battle they dedicated for the repair of the temple of the Lord. 28 And everything dedicated by Samuel the seer and by Saul son of Kish, Abner son of Ner and Joab son of Zeruiah, and all the other dedicated things were in the care of Shelomith and his relatives. (1 Chronicles 26:26-28 NIV)

I can only imagine what a job it was to keep inventory of the Kings treasury. David was very successful as king, and he seemed to have lots of treasure. I also think that David was a good leader and he knew he had to have wise and trusted people around him to help manage his success.

As I read this passage this am, I was reminded of the word accountability. I believe that when someone is managing other peoples money, there should be layers of accountability to protect the people managing the money as well as the person whose money it is.

Accountability says that I’m vulnerable.

Accountability says that I’m trustworthy.

Accountability says that I’m honest and open.

Accountability is protection.

Accountability is promise.

I think it’s wise to always recognize who I’m accountable too. As a follower of Jesus, I am accountable to Him in everything. I think it’s also wise to have an accountability partner with the same values and who represents the Lord in my life. A person with values like mine will not hesitate to speak truth into me. I do believe that trust is a two-way street until it’s violated. It’s takes time to restore trust as well as humility and forgiveness. Trust is a strong but delicate attribute in all relationships.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Revenge & Retaliation

 

Businesswoman writing a black listThese two words must be “cousins”. Revenge & Retaliation are very similar because they both involve striking back and hurting the person or persons who have hurt me. I think it is natural to want to hurt someone back who has hurt me. I believe that revenge and retaliation can end up backfiring on me. As a Christ-follower, I can get deeply hurt again by inflicting revenge or by retaliating. Check this out…

 1 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. 4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, ‘Get me this girl as my wife.’

5 When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.

6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 7 Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in[a] Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter – a thing that should not be done. (Genesis 34:1-7 NIV)

The incident that happened with Jacob’s daughter is absolutely despicable. I really do understand the anger that Jacob and his sons were experiencing. They acted deceitfully because this guy Shechem was the son of the most powerful man in the area. I’m pretty confident that when they said that they would allow Dinah to be his wife IF all the males were circumcised, they were clearly planning what would happen next. They waited until after 3 days after the males were circumcised and in lots of pain before attacking the city and killing all the males.

I know what it feels like to want revenge on someone who has wounded me or hurt me, but I believe that revenge and retaliation are born from bitterness that comes from a dark part of me. I want the Lord’s light to expose the darkness of my soul. I still remember hearing Billy Graham’s definition of Forgiveness many years ago. He said: “Forgiveness is giving up my right to retaliate”. I’ve learned in personal relationship that I can express my feelings from being hurt, but revenge and retaliation are more damaging to me than the person I’m trying to strike back at. It is certainly easier to say than do. It takes incredible restraint, but I believe the Holy Spirit is up to the task. I believe there are other ways to hold a person accountable beside enacting revenge or retaliation upon them.

Pressing On!

Dwayne