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

Top Two Commands

love heart riffle targetI grew up learning all the rules of the Christian faith. There we lots of them. The church I grew up in was small and everyone knew everyone else’s business and short comings. I couldn’t “get away” with much. I remember the preacher once telling me that my Dad knew what I had done the weekend before. (I won’t confess it here.) I realized that my parents were a bit smarter than I realized. I learned to live within those rules that were taught as scripture. I learned later that some of those rules were “man-made” based on someone’s interpretation of scripture. As I grew older, I learned to search the scripture for myself. I learned that a lot of the man-made rules were more opinion and cultural than truth.  I learned that the Lord wants my devoted heart, because my behavior will follow. Jesus was teaching (mostly debating) the teachers of the law, the Pharisees and Saducee’s, when one of them made an observation. Check this out…

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:28-34 NLT)

I had been trying to keep a ton of rules, where there are really two more important than all the others:  1. Love God. 2 Love Others.  These two “rules” are NOT optional. In fact, these are more important than attending church each time the doors are open. These are more important that “not cursing”. These are more important than giving. I believe that if I get the number 1 right, all others will fall in line, because of my heart change. External obedience can lead to heart change, but it’s the “long way around”. If I work on my heart first, then my obedience is with the right motive and insight. If I simply “go through the motions” of loving God, it will show in my actions and activities of my life. I am grateful that the Lord was patient with me when I went through the transition from being a “rule follower” to becoming a changed man from the inside out. I do love the Lord with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength. I love others too, because He showed me how.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Aroma

 

aromaI love being able to smell. There are times when my “smeller” isn’t functioning properly – allergy season, for example.

I love the smell of a new car.

I love the smell of a freshly painted room.

I love smell of wood at a new home being built.

I love the smell of a campfire.

There are so many aroma’s that I really enjoy. I also know the aroma’s that I don’t like. I’m not a fan of BO (aka body order) when a person needs a bath and a fresh coat of deodorant! I don’t like the smell of propane gas. I don’t like the smell of dirty feet. This list could get very long!

Paul, in his letter to the church at Corinth speaks of being an aroma for the Jesus movement. Check this out…

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. 15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. Who is adequate for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 CSB)

My life is to be a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord and certainly to others.

My words should have a pleasant aroma before the Lord and others.

My actions should exhibit a pleasing aroma to the Lord and those who know me.

I want my life to have the aroma of Jesus always. I want there to be an aroma of hope that comes from being around me. I want my life to have and aroma of love. I love the aroma from being in the Presence of God and I should carry that aroma throughout my day.

The Lord cares about aroma as I reflect on the old testament when He was giving instructions for sacrifices. He also had them to make anointing oil that was “pure, fragrant, and expertly blended incense”. (Exodus 37:29 CSB)

I want my attitude and actions to display a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord and everyone I meet.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Reputation

 

reputation conceptual meterI’ve learned over the years that my reputation is based on many factors, but honesty and integrity stand near the top if they are not the top. I believe that others look at my behavior and make a judgement. If I made a decision they didn’t like, they might try to use that to tarnish my reputation. I care much about my reputation, but if I stay there too long, I’m worried too much about what someone else thinks of me versus what the Lord thinks of me. If the Lord knows me like no one else, He is the judge of my very heart. I believe my reputation is determined by where my heart is.

King David speaks of the Lord’s reputation and it’s clear that He knows the Lord and is trying to follow Him. David’s reputation as a man after God’s heart is based on his walk with God. His writings reveal his walk. Check this out…

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations. (Psalm 145:9-13 NIV)

I make bunches of decisions and choices each day and I don’t always have a ton of time to prepare. I must make decisions based on the information that I have in front of me at the point the decision needs to be made. The cycle of reputation begins in my heart, then moves to my behavior and the perception of that behavior. The Lord has inside information to my reputation because He knows every thought and every motive. I’m not concealing anything from Him. I’m confessing everything to Him. Confession is agreement. I care more about my reputation before the Lord than what others think of me. I can’t control what others think or do regarding me. I can only have influence and control over my behavior or response to them. My behavior and response to others comes directly from my heart and the work that the Lord is doing there.

I want others to know of the Lord’s reputation and not be super concerned or worried about my own. He is Creator God. He loves like no other. His mercy and grace is beyond description. I really want to live for Him and honor Him. I want to be known as a follower of the Lord – a man after God’s heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Nickname

 

Name tag blank stickers.I have had several nicknames over the years – some I liked and others I didn’t like. Nicknames are names given informally that are sometimes humorous and often given by a friend or co-worker. One of my favorite nicknames was given to me by a group of college students while we were on a mission trip to Mexico. I was notorious for adding an “o” to most all of my words and then adding volume when trying to communicate with the Mexican people. It was quite funny and I received the nickname: “Dwayne’o”.

The Lord gave a nickname to a guy named Joshua because of the work he was about to do. Check this out…

12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.” (Zechariah 6:12-13 NIV)

I wonder what nickname the Lord would give me today based on my life and the condition of my heart devoted to Him. He knows me like no one else. I want to walk with Him closer every day and He can name me whatever he wishes. For now, I want to be faithful, obedient & honorable. I want wear His Name – CHRISTian. I want the fruit of my life to exhibit that my heart is devoted to Him. Nicknames don’t really bother me one way or the other.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

That Day

Making a planThere are certain days that come along and alter the trajectory of my life. There are days that the entire course of history is changed. I do want to make every day count rather than count my days. I do believe that any day could be a very special day or it could be a regular ole routine type of day. There are some days when I have a certain level of control over what is happening and there are other days when the events of the day have a life of their own. The prophet Isaiah is speaking of one of those days where everything changes. Check this out…

7 In that day people will look to their Maker
    and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
8 They will not look to the altars,
    the work of their hands,
and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles
    and the incense altars their fingers have made.
9 In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.
10 You have forgotten God your Savior;
    you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. (Isaiah 17:7-10a NIV)

 

I don’t want to have days of regret. I want my days to be filled with life and hope for the future. I want my days to be filled with obedience to the Lord’s call and honor to Him. I want to put together several days in a row of love, honor and respect for the Lord. If I do something for several days in a row it becomes a habit and a part of my daily routine. My daily activities that are anchored in Him can become a life that honors Him and never forgets what the Lord has done. That’s how I want to live today. I want to walk through whatever challenges that come my way with purpose that the Lord has instilled in me. Today may seem like any other day, but it’s totally different and can be the start of a focused journey.

Pressing On!
Dwayne