Talk Is Cheap – Actions Speak!

megaphoneI know people who can talk a good game. They know something about everything. They are very important people – if you don’t believe me, ask them. I have been around people who are “know it all’s” and I’ve been around people who are brilliant and scholarly. The later don’t usually talk as much. I’m learning to listen more and talk less because I can learn a lot during my time of silence. I do believe that talk without action to back it up is simply hot air and wasted words. Jesus dealt with this with the religious leaders and Pharisees. They talked a good game with their faith, but when you “peeled back” the layers of their lives, they were rotten inside. I want my faith to be real from the depths of my heart to the smallest detail of my life. I want my trust in the Lord to be obvious and noticeable without ever having to say a word.

15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (Matthew 7:15-20 NLT) (These are the teachings of Jesus Himself.)

“Actions are louder than words could ever be.”

“What I do speaks so loudly, you can’t hear what I’m saying.”

I came away from this passage realizing the need for humility. I am nothing without the Lord in my life. Just because I know Him and spend time with Him does not make me better than anyone else. I still have sin in my life that must be dealt with. I am simply another human being, created by God who is trying to life a good life because that is who God called me to be. I’ve given my life to Him because I believe He first gave me life. He gave me a future, so I’m trusting Him with mine.

I want my life to drip with humility and gratitude for the blessings that flow from the Lord to me. I am a nobody, who is somebody, because the Lord loved me first. I’m not sure that a day goes by that I don’t get to talk about my faith. I want people to see my faith before I ever speak a word about it. I want my actions to speak loudly about the One I trust in and live for.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Strategic

 

Time to PlanI admire others who analyze and plan strategically. I am learning more and more about how important planning is in every area of my life. Planning is important to my family as I put together a blueprint for my “empty nest years” and sunset years. I applaud young people who start planning their retirement during their first year or so of working. It’s great that there are many businesses who can contribute to employee retirement & profit sharing. I’ve been self-employed my whole career and it takes a bit more discipline and management to put together a wise retirement. I am so grateful for the investment that so many others have made in my life over the years to get me to this point. I’m learning that I must listen, learn and take action.

Jesus is teaching the crowds and His recently chosen disciple at what is known as “The Sermon On The Mount”.  He introduces some teaching that is still today “counter cultural” and “bizarre concepts” to the world. Check this out…

37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:37-38 NLT)

Don’t criticize others.

Don’t condemn others.

Forgive others and receive forgiveness.

Give and you will receive.

Jesus is alluding to the “Law Of The Harvest” – we reap what we sow. He is saying that when we are patient, we receive patience. When we are generous, we are recipients of generosity. When we forgive, we receive forgiveness. I have lived long enough to know that these concepts are actually true when tested in real life. I have learned to sow seeds of kindness and then watch as kindness to me is multiplied. I have sown seeds of forgiveness and it come to me many times over. Jesus’ teaching is weird to those hearing it for the first time, but my life is a real-life testimony that these concepts are true.

Jesus is teaching strategies that will not only serve me in this life but also make it more abundant for sure. These strategies also serve to show others the genuine love that the Lord has for them. By living these concepts out, my actions are speaking louder than my words. I have a lot of growing to do in these areas, but my life as profoundly been changed by The Lord. I want to live this out in my every day, “regular routine” sort of life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Actions Speak

 

Core ValuesI remember as a young boy I was told that “actions speak louder than words”. I have learned that axiom to be true over the years. There are some folks who “talk a good game”, but their actions don’t back up their talk. Others don’t talk much, but they give and serve “behind the scenes”.  That is precisely where I want to be. I’m not shy when it comes to speaking about my faith, but I want my words to always be back-up by action.

Paul is writing a short letter to another of his young protégé’s in the faith. He is giving him some encouragement and back story about leading the church in Crete. Check this out…

 15 To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They claim to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work. (Titus 1:15-16 CSB)

Our church is moving through a series of messages called: “Intentional Acts of Kindness”. I believe it’s very biblical to intentionally be kind to others. My faith directs me to love like the Lord loves. My faith directs me to serve others. My faith directs me to show my faith by the activities of my life. I want my life to display my faith before I ever say anything about my faith. My actions should be directed by my faith and should never contradict my faith. My actions are making my faith real – it’s not philosophical or theoretical – my faith is practical and lived out. If I say that I have faith, but my actions don’t support that, then I’m a liar or a hypocrite and I’m fooling myself. The life God calls His kids to lead is not complex, but simple. It’s not always easy, but it is simple obedience and trust.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Word

WordsI’ve heard that talk is cheap. If talk is not followed by action, then it is indeed quite cheap. There are people who “talk a good talk”, but then they don’t deliver. I’ve learned over the years to be suspicious of politicians – they seem to say whatever the people want to hear so that they can get elected. They make promises with their mouth that they have no intention of actually keeping. I believe that the Lord really hates lies and deceit.

In this litany of miscellaneous laws and/or regulation that Moses is speaking prior to the conquest of the Promised Land, some simple rules regarding vows or promises made are issued. Check this out…

21 If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth. (Deuteronomy 23:21-23 NIV)

My word should mean something.

I can say words from my head and they lack passion.

My words come from my heart where my passion lies.

For me to live a life of integrity, there needs to be unity between my words and the activities of my life.

I can say I respect you, but my actions often scream so loudly that you can’t hear what I’m saying. Talk that is not backed up by action really is cheap.

If I make a promise – I should keep it. I should not “just intend” to keep it. I need to let my words have weight, passion and power to them. My words should come from The Word!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Behavior Doesn’t Lie

short noteI heard this particular quote not long ago in from Richard Flint (http://richardflint.com) in reference to work ethic. I think that the statement is true on many levels. I’ve been learning recently that behavior is not necessarily the problem. Behavior is a symptom of the real problem – my heart. The things going on in my heart are revealed by my behavior. There’s a proverb that says: “As a man thinks in his heart – so is he” (Proverbs 23:7)

The king of Jerusalem was a young man when he became king yet he chose to not follow the Lord. Check this out…

1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.

Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. (Jeremiah 52:1-3 NIV)

I want my heart to be reflected in the things I do and say. (It really happens already.) I want to be intentional in what I pour into my heart and soul. I want to consistently renew my heart and fill my heart with nutritious nuggets from the Word of God. I believe that when I spend time in the Word of God, He uses the Word to shape my heart to reflect Him more.

I still struggle with sin, but the struggle is not as significant because the Lord gives me strength for the struggle after spending time with Him in His Word. My behavior reflects my heart and reveals my heart. I want to have a heart like His every day – a loving heart and a forgiving heart – like the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

On Display

Man praying with the BibleIn our culture there is a big game that happens every year between the two top teams in the NFL.  Super Bowl Sunday is a pretty big event and hard to miss if you live in the USA. The media hype is non-stop for days and weeks before. The players are interviewed and then interviewed again. I can tell you a lot of details about them. Some of the NFL players appear to be “thugs”, while others seem to be grounded and godly men of deep faith. Displaying my faith is risky at times because people might expect me to be a doormat. I believe really tough and strong people can also be people of faith. Check this out…

 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” (James 2:14-18 NIV)

 

I believe that my faith in the Lord is to be made visible. I believe the activity of my life displays my belief system. I must also be careful not to “judge a book by its cover”. Sometimes people are not at all what they seem to be. There are Christ followers who make mistakes and sometimes the consequences are pretty big. I do believe that I should take responsibility for my behavior and keep it in check. I need to daily check my life and make sure I’m honoring God with my choices. It’s a bit too easy to get caught up in our culture and miss the big picture of eternity.

I want to be an open, honest follower of Jesus who displays my faith through loving and serving others. I believe that faith without activity to display it may not be faith after all.

Pressing On!
Dwayne