Continue

what is next words written by 3d manThis word carries with a lot of meaning. As I investigated how the dictionary defined this word, it is definitely a verb – meaning action. Continue means: to last or endure; remain, abide, stay, persist, maintain, and keep going. To continue means I’m not going to stop. There have been many instances in my life where I wanted to quit or stop and go a different direction, but I felt compelled to continue. There have been seasons in my life when it was time to stop one thing and actually start something new.

This morning, I was reading the story of Jesus resurrection from the Gospel of John. I love his perspective of Jesus. John was steady. He was present. He was consistent in his actions, yet not as “loud” and “flamboyant” as his buddy Peter. He tells the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples twice. He specifically mentions the encounter with Thomas, which is where Thomas acquired the nickname: “Doubting Thomas”. He then gives the reason he penned this story of Jesus in the first place. Check this out…

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:30-31 NLT)

John gives perspective that connects with my heart. He reminds everyone that the central character in any story is Jesus. He reminds me that Jesus is the Messiah, the very Son of God. He reminds me of why Jesus came in the first place. I feel like these two short verses wrap up the story of Jesus, according to John, with a ribbon and bow.

I read the Word of God daily because I believe in God. I want to know more of Him. I want His character to settle inside my heart. I have also read the Word of God when I was struggling with my faith and what I believe.  As I walk out my faith, the word “continue” is critical. I’m building on my simple, child-like faith that is “all grown up”, but still growing. There are situations in my journey that can only be explained to me as the Lord’s hand being involved.

My life plan is to continue to believe for the rest of my life span! I plan to daily talk and walk with the Lord. I want my work and my words to continue to give honor and glory to God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Evidence

 

Magnifying Glass - FactsI used to be a big fan of Perry Mason, Law & Order, Matlock and shows that featured the court of law. The television shows were much more dramatic that most courtrooms. I was recently in court with a friend and couldn’t help by notice the procedural drama and what appeared to me as a lot of time wasted. It seemed to me, that by the time the facts were presented, the court was tired of all the other drama. I learned that the “wheels of justice” turn very slowly and very deliberately. If I were in trouble with the law, I’m sure I would appreciate this.

In a court of law a critical piece to the case is the evidence. This is “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid”. (Google) Evidence is also defined as “data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects”. (dictionary.com)

Jesus heals a man born blind by making mud for the man to put on his eyes and wash off in the pool of Siloam. When the man did as he was told, he was healed of his blindness. He was “blown away” and very thankful for sure. He told everyone! The religious leaders immediately got engaged because the day that this all went down happened to be the Sabbath. The religious leaders questioned the man who was healed and they didn’t believe the facts as he presented them. They even went so far as to question whether or not he was really blind since birth. Check this out…

18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”

20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”

25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” (John 9:18-25 NLT)

If evidence is ignored, it doesn’t change the evidence. I can choose to ignore the facts presented to me because my mind is “made up”.  I have been following the Lord for a long time. I have entertained doubts about God. I have had some very “frank” conversations with Him over the years. The evidence for God to me is overwhelming and conclusive. I can’t refute the evidence. I heard a great quote last week that says: “A man with experience is NOT at the mercy of a man with an opinion.” I have had my faith affirmed too many times to count. I believe in God. I believe that His Son Jesus came to earth, lived and died for the sins of the world. I believe that the Holy Spirit is present in me and with me as I walk out my faith each day. I can’t give multiple exhibits in a court of law, but the evidence in my journey is irrefutable and solid. I wish I could be more clear and precise – I know what I know and I believe His Word is true!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Believe Me

john-3-16I grew up at a very young age believing in God. I did rebel and I was unsure for a short season about what I believed. I remember the time and place when my faith became my own. I have since given away my faith to others. In 1982 when I first became a minister, I started sharing my faith. As a student pastor, I gave away my faith to others and hopefully encouraged them to look carefully at the Gospel. I have no idea how many people heard me speak about my faith in God. I have no idea how many people read this little blog and have learned about my faith. I’m so thankful for the grace and mercy extended to me and the peace that comes from knowing God, I can’t help but share my faith with others.

Jesus has just spoken to the Samaritan woman at the well. He blew her mind talking about living water and He told her that He was the Messiah. She went back and told her friends and they came to hear Him. It was cool to see what her friends said. Check this out…

39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world. (John 4:39-42 NLT)

I enjoy reading the Word of God as He continually reveals Truth in the pages of Scripture.

I also believe that the Spirit of God is speaking through Scripture and through prompting in my life. I believe that this life is preparatory for eternal life. I wish everyone I shared my faith with believed, but I’m confident that they don’t. I’m going to start asking people to at least explore getting to know God. I want others to believe because they now have experienced God up close and personal.

I believe God is so patient and kind. He is the Ultimate GRACE GIVER. He has watched me do stupid things and wander away, but He has welcomed me home again and again. I’ve been the prodigal son. I’ve been the son who stayed home. I’ve been blessed to live a good life sharing my faith. I’m so thankful that the more I know Him the deeper my love for Him grows. He could have punished me, but instead, He gives me grace. If you won’t believe Him because of me, please start reading the gospel of John and get to know Jesus for yourself.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Contend & Defend

Public DefenderI’m not sure I’d made a good litigation attorney. You must be “quick on your feet” to defend your position. I’ve learned that I need to lean into discernment and clear thinking before responding in certain situations. I have been a Christ follower for a long time and I’ve not been challenged about my faith. I’ve not had my faith questioned. I believe my faith is mostly subjective and personal. There is another side of my faith that is very objective and public. I believe in God. I believe in His Son Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus came and lived a life without sin among us and after 33 years, He was crucified for the sins of all mankind – including me and whoever reads these words.

I believe Jude to be a half-brother of Jesus. I’m confident that he didn’t believe in Jesus right away because he grew up with Him. He obviously changed his view on Jesus after seeing the miracles and listening to His teaching. I love this little one chapter book in the New Testament because He calls it like he sees it. Check this out…

20 But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. 22 Have mercy on those who waver; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

24 Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:20-25 CSB)

I want my life to show that I contend for the faith.

I want my life to show that I defend my faith.

I believe in God The Father

I believe in Jesus Christ.

I believe in the Holy Spirit.

And He’s given us new life!

I believe in the crucifixion!

I believe that He conquered death!

I believe in the resurrection!

And He’s comin’ back again! (*”We Believe” by The Newsboys)

I will contend for my faith and defend my faith until the Lord calls me home.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Love Like That

Colorful typographic motivational poster to raise faith in yourself and your strength. The series of business concepts on a textured background of an old love. VectorIt blesses my soul to see an elderly couple who are still in love with one another after years of life together. I see something in them that I want. I think what I see is genuine love and respect for the other.  I must confess that I’ve got some ways to go in cultivating love that lasts a lifetime. I believe that love is a choice. I can choose to love whomever I want. I can also choose to hate. I believe that hate does way more harm to the one hating than the object of their scorn. I believe that as a follower of Jesus, the only hatred that should be in me is hatred for sin. Jesus teaches me to love others.  John reiterates this in his first epistle. Check this out…

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 CSB)

When my children were young, I read a quote that said: “Love is spelled T-I-M-E”. The message was clear that my time was spent investing in my children – just being with them is very important. As I read this simple passage this morning, I realize that Love is spelled G-I-V-E. The Lord calls me to put my money and resources where my mouth is.  One of my life goals is to live a life of significance. I want to invest in the lives of others to pay if forward on behalf of the people who have invested in me.

I love the parallel here with John 3:16:

 16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (Spoken by Jesus)

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (Spoken by John)

If Jesus did anything while He was here on earth, He loved and taught us to love. If I’m called by His name, love must be obvious in me. I want to love like He loves. He loves me profoundly despite my sin and His love compels me to leave sin behind and pursue love with all that I have.

How He Loves by Jesus Culture

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Follower or Faker

What can I do? picture about regretI will confess that I’ve been through periods in my life when my faith was shaken. I struggled to believe everything I said I believed. Thankfully those times are way back in my rear view mirror. They were still pretty intense and scary for me. I am so thankful that the Lord was patient as I worked through that time of struggle. I’ve said many times before that I believe that my behavior comes directly from my heart. My heart can be diseased and deceived by sin. Sin is smooth and sometimes subtle as it sneaks into my heart. As I follow the Lord daily, it’s way easier to see the sin that seeks to entangle me and tear me down. I am in such a different place today and I really want to stay faithful digging into His Word for direction and guidance for my life. I find the Lord’s heart in His Word.

As I’m journeying through 1 Kings, there were three different kings of Israel and 2 different kings of Judah. I found it interesting how they were introduced in scripture. After telling their name, they told of their parent or ancestral heritage, and then they told the length of their reign. The next descriptive line told the real story of their life. Check this out….

33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king of all Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned for twenty-four years. 34 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit. (1 Kings 15:33-34 NIV)

11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. (1 Kings 15:11 NIV)

When my life comes to an end, I will have answered the questions as to whether I’m a follower or a fake. I do think that there are lots of people who fake their faith and when it’s tested, they fold or fall on their face. I have learned to lean hard into my faith when my struggles with sin are the strongest. I need the Lord’s help to resist and flee from temptation. I need His Wisdom to run from stupid choices that seek to destroy me. I want to be known as a man who followed the Lord fully and was faithful throughout my days.

If you know me and are a friend, I hereby give you permission to challenge my faith journey. You can ask me the hard questions. You can challenge anything and everything I do. I would rather you ask those questions and challenge my behavior to my face than to whisper that behind my back. I really want to keep growing in my faith and my obedience to the Lord. I really do make every effort to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord in everything I do. I want to be a trusted, devoted follower of God not a fake follower.

Pressing On!

Dwayne