Solitude

Man praying with the BibleI love people. I love some people a bit more than others. I love my big family profoundly. In fact, I love my family at the expense of any other relationship. I grew up in a family with two brothers & two sisters – considered a big family. I also have five children of my own and now three grandchildren. I am so grateful to the Lord for my beautiful big family. I know that the Lord has big plans for them.

I love my work. I became a REALTOR 15 years ago. I had been a student pastor for 20 years prior to that. I loved being with students, teaching them during the most formative time of their lives. In the past 15 years, I’ve learned to build on the principles I learned in ministry. Jesus came to serve not to be served. I have used that as a theme in my real estate business. I get to honor the Lord by serving others. I will say that there have been times in my life where the noise level of my work reached fever pitch.  Several years ago, I started getting up 30 minutes early to have some morning solitude. It really changed how I managed my day. I used to try to sneak some solitude in the middle of my day and I still do on occasion, but my morning solitude is the best. I get to hear from the Lord each day in His Word. Recently, I started my morning with gratitude. I’ve started hitting the snooze button on purpose to lie in bed and give the Lord thanks for my wife, my family, my friends, my work, my country and everything I can think of. My time of solitude features gratitude, reading, journaling, prayer and then some work.

Jesus needed solitude too. The day He got the news of His cousin John the Baptist death, He sought solitude. Check this out.

13 As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Jesus then teaches & feeds 5,000 men plus the women and children)

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. (Matthew 14:13-14; 22-23 NLT)

Solitude gives me perspective.

Solitude can renew my spirit.

Solitude can renew my strength.

Solitude can settle my anxious heart.

Solitude can enhance my listening to God.

Solitude can influence every hour of my life.

Solitude gives me clarity of life purpose.

Solitude deepens my faith in God.

___________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Favor

 

relaxI don’t mind doing favors for others most of the time. I also enjoy it when others do favors for me.  I do realize that doing a favor for someone almost always costs me something. If the cost is minimal it’s an easy call. If someone asked me for a favor like driving them to California and back – well that wouldn’t be easy to pull off and I feel I could say “pass” on that one. It’s one thing for a favor to cost me a lot, it’s another thing when the favor costs those closest to me.

David wrote from such a healthy perspective many of the Psalms. He seemed to understand his place in God’s world. He understood that He needed the Lord always. Check this out…

4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;

    praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

    but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may stay for the night,

    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,

    ‘I shall never be shaken.’

7 Lord, when you favored me,

    you made my royal mountain stand firm;

but when you hid your face,

    I was dismayed.

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;

    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

    Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30:4-7,11-12 NIV)

As I read this short psalm this morning I relaxed a bit. I read it a couple of more times because it calmed my heart. My heart is often anxious because of worry and fear. When I take a moment to think of God’s favor over me, I can relax.

As I think back on my life, I can vividly see times of wailing when my heart was smashed into pieces from pain. I had never experienced pain and heartbreak of that level.  I was at what felt like the bottom with no place to look but up. The Lord was gracious to me during those times of struggle and pain. As I look back on those experiences, I can now see the hand of God and how He was holding on to me and walking with me through those dark valleys. I learned that He is NEVER ABSENT and He NEVER abandons me.  I am so thankful that He turned my sorrow and struggles into laughter and joy. He has restored my soul many times and on many occasions.

I’m humbled and thankful for the favor of God upon my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne