Where You Are

Man Hand writing Living a Thankful Life with black marker on visThere are times when I find myself in a place (not a physical place) and I wonder how I arrived here. If I allow myself to be moved around by the circumstances in my life and on this journey of life, I can drift just about anywhere. I have recently been encouraged and inspired to “sit up straight” and take notice to things around me. I am noticing my response to things that are negative. I am noticing my response to things that are positive. I’m am noticing my response to negative people as well as positive people. I am becoming aware of where I am currently, but more importantly where I want to go.

I don’t have grandiose dreams of being President, representative or hold any elected office. I don’t mind serving and helping the people who hold positions of leadership, but I don’t aspire to those positions. I’ve seen first-hand the games that must be played to hold those positions and it’s quite distasteful to me. I’m in a place of servant leadership in my church and I feel called to be here. I serve at the pleasure of the King of Kings. His credentials are stellar and complete. Check this out…

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8 CSB)

I don’t need a title to serve. I don’t need a position to hold. I don’t need lots of equipment or wardrobe to serve. The training is “on the job” serving.

John, the disciple/apostle was an eye-witness to the Son of God. He saw Jesus heal. He saw Jesus forgive. He saw Jesus teach. He saw Jesus love on people. He saw Jesus serve.  John finds himself on the island of Patmos – tradition says he was banished there away from people and society. He embraces where he is and serves from there. Check this out…

I, John, your brother and partner in the affliction, kingdom, and endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  (Revelation 1:9 CSB)

“Wherever you go, there you are” is credited to Confucius. I need to become aware of where I am. I need to be aware of my attitude. I need to be aware of my heart condition. I need to be aware of outlook. My circumstances change quickly and I must adjust. I can’t control what others say or do. I can’t control the weather. I can control my attitude and response to the things that happen to me.

I made a commitment to follow Jesus many years ago and I’m determined that where every I go, He’s going too. When I get to wherever it is I’m going – I won’t ever be alone. He has never left me alone. His Presence make my “present” make sense. He knows right where I am, even if I’m not sure. I am here largely because of choices that I’ve made and He’s right here too because I wouldn’t be here without Him.

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

Affirmation & Gratitude

Gratitude Word CloudI have to say that I enjoy blessing others. I enjoy hearing them say that they are grateful for something I’ve done or something I said. I think just about everyone I know enjoys affirmation. I know for a fact that the Lord also loves affirmation. He says so in His Word.

David was at the end of his life and he was helping make final plans for the transition from the tabernacle to the temple that wasn’t built yet. David charged the Levites to be in charge of helping build the Temple and to also manage the day-to-day operations there. Check this out…

28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. 30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening 31 and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them. (1 Chronicles 23:28-31 NIV)

I think it would have been so cool to have one of those jobs where each morning and evening I could stand and thank the Lord as well as praise Him. I can actually do that anyway even though it’s not my job. The Lord loves a heart of gratitude toward Him.

I believe that something happens when I show my gratitude to the Lord for what He’s doing, that doesn’t happen any other time.

Gratitude in my heart dispels pride.

Gratitude in my heart speaks from humility.

Gratitude in my heart affirms and acknowledges the Lord.

Gratitude changes my entire attitude.

If I start counting the ways the Lord has blessed me – my list can be really long. Even in times of suffering and heartache, it’s important to notice what He is doing even in the midst of struggle. He is relentless in His pursuit of my heart. I believe surrendering my heart to Him is a daily – hourly – minute-by-minute experience. I need to affirm the Lord for Who He Is and notice all that He’s doing in my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Reputation

 

reputation conceptual meterThis word speaks to what others believe about me. To a certain extent, I can’t control what others think of me. Perception is not always correct, but to those who have a certain perception it’s reality for them. I’m aware that there can be huge misunderstanding and communication issues in nearly every circumstance, but I can often correct this when I’m aware of it.

I love the story of Ruth meeting Boaz for the first time. I love how the passage of scripture says that as Ruth went out to glean the fields for leftover grain, “she happened to glean in the field of Boaz”. I don’t see this as accidental. I love it when God is behind the scenes orchestrating and organizing – He’s always doing this. After Boaz finds out who Ruth is, he instructs his workers to give her water to drink and not to bother her. He made the work as easy as he could for her. She is stunned by his kindness. Check this out…

10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, ‘Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me – a foreigner?’

11 Boaz replied, ‘I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband – how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.’ (Ruth 2:10-12 NIV)

I love how the day-to-day love and respect that Ruth shows her mother-in-law was noticed. She didn’t love Naomi and stay with her to get noticed – she did what she did out of love, respect and honor for her. I believe that my choices today continue to build (or tear down) my reputation among people where I live and work. I received a phone call this past Friday and a guy had been given my name as a good REALTOR. The person who gave my name is a friend and acquaintance. This friend spoke of my reputation and the guy he gave my name to wanted me to list his house. I really try to serve each client or customer with the utmost care and professionalism, but this guy was a referral based on my reputation and I’m busting it hard to serve him.

I believe that reputation can be a fragile concept. I can spend years building my reputation only to destroy by stupid choices or behavior. I believe that I should live today totally aware of how the things I do affect my reputation in the future. I have a lot of control of my reputation when it’s drilled down to my daily actions and my attitude.

I want to be known as a follower of Jesus.

I want to be known as an honest and honorable man.

I want to be known as a good husband and Dad.

I want to be known as an excellent REALTOR.

I want to be known as a leader in the community.

I want to have a stellar reputation as I’m consistently following the Lord. I want Him to give me favor with strangers, acquaintances, friends and referrals.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Give Thanks

 

Pretty girl praying.I’ve grown up “saying Grace” before all my meals.

“God is good;

God is great;

Let us thank Him for our food, Amen.”

I learned later that I was doing more than just reciting some ritualistic saying. It is actually a time to pause and thank the Lord for His provision of food for me. I’ve recently decided to cultivate a grateful heart for all the blessings the Lord provides.

Moses was giving instructions from the Lord regarding offerings. To me these were tangible ways to say thanks to the Lord. Check this out…

1 “‘When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it 2 and take it to Aaron’s sons the priests. The priest shall take a handful of the flour and oil, together with all the incense, and burn this as a memorial portion on the altar, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 3 The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord. (Leviticus 2:1-3 NIV)

Giving thanks should be a part of the fabric of my being. I should be grateful for the simplest of provisions as well the blessing of abundance. Being thankful can change my entire perspective because the Lord provides all my needs. I was reminded recently that the word Gratitude has “attitude” in the middle of it. A grateful spirit will cultivate a great attitude in every area of my life. I think the Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He instructed Moses to have the people give offerings first from all their blessings. It was meant to shape their heart with gratitude.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Attitude & Perspective

Grace AND TruthA positive attitude often leads to a positive perspective. Usually people with a positive attitude reflect a positive outlook on life. There are times when people with positive attitudes have their “head in the sand” to what is happening around them. I do think that there is a nice way to say everything, but sometimes the news is bad and there’s not a good way to spin it into something positive. Sometimes when bad things happen to us something good flows out of it. That is one of The Lord’s strengths. He makes good out of bad. There are also times when the consequences of our sin and bad choices are deep and long term. The Lord’s people faced such long-term consequences for their choices. The Lord pronounces a strong punishment. Check this out….

22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord.
    “Should you not tremble in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,
    an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
    they may roar, but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts;
    they have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
    ‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains in season,
    who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
    your sins have deprived you of good. (Jeremiah 5:22-25 NIV)

 

I really want to have a shapeable heart.

I want to have a heart quick to repent.

I want to have a heart that is quick to return to the Lord when I stray.

I want my heart to be like His.

I want Him to consume my heart.

When my heart is in pursuit of His heart, my attitude and perspective reflect His attitude and His perspective. That really sums up what He wants from me and what I need from Him.

Pressing On!
Dwayne