Instant Conviction

 

Action Word on Red Round Button Be ProactiveConviction is a very personal word to me. I have some deep convictions about lots of things. I don’t always share the same convictions as others. I do believe that the majority of the people of the world believe that murder is wrong. The scriptures speak against murder for sure. There are other convictions based on opinion and interpretation of scripture. I may have convictions that others don’t have. Some of my convictions of “thou shalt not” that I was taught as a kid, I can’t find support of in scripture. “Convictions are my beliefs set in concrete.”

The Pharisees and teachers of the law had some deep convictions. They had taken the Law of Moses and added their opinion and interpretation to it. Jesus spent much of His ministry dismantling some of their convictions and teachings.  Jesus changed people who came into His Presence. One man he met was a known sinner and he started changing before it appears that Jesus even said a word. Check this out…

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:1-10 NLT)

Being in the Presence of Jesus changed this man and years of behavior was changed. Zacchaeus was convicted of his previous actions/business model. Tax Collectors worked for the Roman government and they got paid to collect taxes that were due. Any taxes over that amount, they would keep. They got rich pretty quick in that role. Zacchaeus was changed quickly and gave away ½ of his wealth and offered restitution to all he had cheated. I imagine when people saw this man’s changed life, they couldn’t argue about the Power of Jesus Presence.

I want to make sure that I live my life in His Presence. I want my convictions to be based on His Word and His call upon my life. I don’t necessarily want to follow rules that add to scripture like the Pharisees did. I want my heart to be profoundly devoted to Him and live out my faith daily. I want people to notice that my life is different and how I work is different. I want my life to display what I believe about the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Changed Life – Wisdom

Life changesThis world we live in is constantly changing. People are changing. Jobs are changing. Relationships are changing. Change is an everyday event in our world. Heraclitis said: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”. I have learned that I must embrace change that happens. I’ve learned new and amazing technology that has made my life easier, but in some ways, the pace of life became faster. Not all change is good and healthy. There are some things that have not changed for example, the laughter of a child still melts me. The innocence of a child, the beauty of a bride on her wedding day or the beauty of a baby born. I want to be keenly aware of the things in my life that have changed for good and things that have changed oh so slowly that I hardly noticed.

I came across a verse that is a quote from Jesus this morning that I didn’t remember ever hearing because it was from the New Living Translation and it spoke right to my heart. Check this out…

35 But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” (Luke 7:35 NLT) –Jesus

I want to be a seeker or wisdom. I love the Word of God and I believe that my life has grown in wisdom and discernment because of the daily discipline of seeking the Lord’s heart through His Word. I’m definitely NOT the smartest guy, but I am hungry to know the Lord more today than I knew yesterday. It’s hard to argue about a changed life. I want to follow the wisdom that comes from the Lord. Check this out…

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. (1 Corinthians 1:30 NLT)

13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18 NLT)

“There is a wisdom of the Head, … there is a wisdom of the Heart” – Charles Dickens

I want to continue to grow in wisdom and understanding of the Author of Wisdom. I can find hundreds of quotes on wisdom, but none more significant that what Jesus is saying. I want the choices that I make today and every day to display wisdom that comes directly from the Lord. I am forever changed because I know the Author of Wisdom and THE Creator of the World.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

He Changed Everything

Grace AND TruthI was a young kid when I was baptized. I remember that it was winter time and the creek was too cold so we went to town (Columbia Christian Church) on a Sunday afternoon because our little country church didn’t have a baptistery. I look back on how little I knew about the Lord at that time. I knew He loved me and He wanted me to live for Him. I also felt love for Him and decided I would follow Him. I’ve learned over the years that deciding to follow Jesus is a minute by minute/hourly/daily decision. The Lord wants my heart committed to Him. There is no part of my life that doesn’t fall under His jurisdiction. Check this out…

22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus25 God presented him as an atoning sacrifice in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:22-26 CSB)

There is no one who doesn’t need Jesus. I’m so thankful that He made a way for me to be forgiven. I look at the law and realize that I could never measure up. I couldn’t even measure up to the rules of my parents or the speed limits imposed by our government. I would be lost without Jesus. He changes how I love my wife and children. He changes how I approach my work. He changes how I worship. He changes how I look at people with whom I disagree. He changes how I respond when someone tries to hurt me. I am nothing without Him, but with Him I have EVERYTHING! When He enters my heart, everything looks incredibly different. I see people differently through His eyes. I welcome to take over my heart every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Reforms Needed

 

Reforms - White Word on Red Puzzles.The word “Reform” certainly implies change. According to Dictionary.com, it can be a noun or a verb. As a noun: the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. As a verb: to change to a better state, form, etc.; improve by alteration, substitution, abolition, etc. I think it’s healthy to review my need for reform pretty often. If I’m not careful, I can slip into unhealthy habits and attitudes that can be harmful to me as well as people I know.

Nehemiah had returned to the service of King Artaxerxes. When he returned to Jerusalem he saw that a lot of the work he had previously done was being neglected. He was the type of leader that would call anyone out who needed it. Check this out…

10 I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. 11 So I rebuked the officials and asked them, ‘Why is the house of God neglected?’ Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.

12 All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. 13 I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites.

14 Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services. (Nehemiah 13:10-14 NIV)

It’s pretty easy for me to tell others where they need reform in daily habits and attitudes. It’s a bit harder for me to look inside my own life and find where reform is needed. There are certain benchmarks in my life that allow me to look back and measure the progress I’ve made, or not made. I think everyone could use some measure of reform now and then.

I need spiritual reform to keep the pursuit of God’s heart my main priority.

I need to reform some areas of my responsibility as a husband.

I need to reform some areas of my responsibility as a Dad.

I need to reform some areas of my life to my close friends.

I need to reform some areas of my work as a REALTOR.

I think reform is a necessary part of growing and maturing just like change is a natural part of life. I’m not staying the same as I was yesterday, last month or last year; I’m aging for one thing. I want to seek the Lord in such a way that He gently reforms my life however He sees fit. He knows me like no one else. He knows when my motives are bad. He knows my heart and the desires of my heart. I think reform is closely connected with repentance; today and everyday – I need both.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Repentance Can Be Messy

 

I can remember some of the times when I’ve sinned and failed miserably before the Lord. Some of the times it was private and others were against others publicly. I’ve witness “fake repentance” and I’ve experienced the real thing. I believe that repentance should carry with it “profound regret”.

Ezra was a prophet with the people of Judah and Benjamin who had been exiled to Babylon. King Darius of Persia later took over and allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God as well as their city. They had been in captivity over 70 years. Not long after they returned and started the clean up and building of the Temple, they sinned against God. They began to intermingle with people who worshipped other gods and defied the One True God. This really angered God and Ezra was stunned when he heard about it. He began the process of repentance immediately on behalf of the small nation of returned exiles. Check this out…

1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites – men, women and children – gathered round him. They too wept bitterly. (Ezra 10:1 NIV)

Messy repentance is genuine and involves making it right. Messy repentance requires heart-change. I can change my behavior on a moment’s notice, but heart change requires more investment and “buy in”.

I was thinking of the repentance of Zacchaeus, the tax collector who was changed because of his encounter with Jesus. He repented profoundly too. Check this out…

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ (Luke 19:8 NIV)

Repentance can also be expensive as well as messy. It often involves restitution of some sort. As Ezra lead the people in repentance, their hearts began to hurt with the things that hurt the heart of God. I believe involves me reconnecting my heart to his heart and leaving behind my past sinful behavior.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Trouble In Transition

 

Time to Move On Clock Acceptance Concede to ChangeA transition is a process of changing from one situation to another. Transitions include change and that’s not always easy. I can look back at some of the transitions in my life and to say they were difficult would be quite and understatement. There is the transition of going from being single to being married. There is a transition between the old job and the new job. There is the transition of becoming a parent for the first time. There are transitions along the way as the children grow up. Transitions are really part of my everyday life.

The children of Israel were facing a big transition from being slaves to Egypt to being free and on their own in the desert. (They were not on their own, because God was definitely with them.) As their new situation gets a bit hard, the people think what it’d be like to be back in Egypt with plenty of food with no freedom. They grumble to Moses and Aaron about the transition situation. Check this out…

1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat round pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’

4 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. (Exodus 16:1-4 NIV)

I am learning in my journey with the Lord to trust in transition. I can’t always control the change/transition, so I must trust the Lord as I walk through it. I do know that some transitions are much bigger than others and some transitions are really scary. No matter how big or small the transition, I can trust the Lord through it. He will walk with me through the smallest transition to the largest transition. My faith has grown in leaps and bounds through transition, because I’ve simply had to trust the Lord with situations and conditions that I can’t control. If I’ve learned anything through the many transitions of my life, it’s to trust Him with the smallest of changes to the biggest of changes. He can handle anything. He can help me through anything. He is never too tired to work through a transition with me. He is never surprised with a transition. I’m going to keep trusting the Lord in the middle of the smallest to the largest transitions of life that I face.

Pressing On!

Dwayne