Critical Correspondence & Conversation

Life changesI am not a big fan of conflict, but there are times when conflict just can’t be avoided. I do believe there is a right way and wrong way to handle conflict. The person initiating the conflict doesn’t always surprise the other person. They could probably feel the pressure rising. There are other times that the person confronted is blown away that they’ve caused someone else harm by their actions or inactions. I read a great book recently called “Crucial Conversations” and was super informative about this topic.

The Apostle Paul is writing to the church in Corinth what seems to be a follow-up conversation to a recent letter that engaged in criticism of behavior that was ungodly. He is affirming the changes that he is hearing about. It’s not really a “conversation” as much as it is correspondence.  Check this out….

I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. (2 Corinthians 7:8-10 NLT)

There are times when correspondence can set up a “crucial conversation”. There are times when I advise one person to sit down and write to the person they are in conflict with. I want them to be forthright and honest. I don’t always want them to send the letter, but it gives great clarity to their main issues. I think writing things down sometimes reveals that there is pettiness and selfishness. When I write things down on paper, they seem very real and concrete.

The other thing I love about this passage is accountability. I need someone who will hold me accountable for my words and my actions. The church can provide accountability if I submit to it. My wife provides accountability. My business partners provide accountability.  The end goal of a critical correspondence or a crucial conversation is change. Change is always happening. Ironically, change is consistently changing. Change often equals growth. The Lord is after my heart to keep changing to become more like His. I have tremendous pressure to become self-centered and inward focused. The Lord is calling me to a life of love, compassion and generosity. I must meet the Lord with godly sorrow for my self-centered, self-serving ways. His Word calls me to repentance for sure. Repentance is critical to my spiritual journey with the Lord. I welcome critical correspondence and crucial conversations that are sent from the Lord to help me grow.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Veiled Sight

Insight Light Bulb ConceptI lived long enough to see just how stubborn and “hard-headed” I can be. I am also alert to others who are like me.  It doesn’t take much for me to “dig in” with my view or opinion of circumstances. The last few years, my heart has softened and changed. I realized that everyone who disagrees with me isn’t dumb or an idiot. There are times, they are simply misinformed. There are also times when either I or they don’t have all the information on a subject that we are very “opinionated” about.

Paul speaks to the church in Corinth about how the old law has been replaced by the new law. The “old school” people just can’t accept this new law of The Spirit of God dwelling inside regular people. They were stuck living under the law of Moses, but Jesus came to give us His Spirit and direct access to the Lord. Check this out….

16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NLT)

Jesus brought a new covenant with God. The old law wasn’t destroyed, it was built upon. He simply trumps the old law. The old law focused on behavior and activities. The new law is all about heart change, which directly affects behavior & activities. The people who were doing all the rituals and habits of their religion, just couldn’t stand the thoughts of that now becoming irrelevant or unnecessary. That’s exactly what Jesus did. He made access to God immediate without the need for a priest or prophet. People who don’t accept this still want the old way. Change is not easy to accept when it comes to my faith. I decided years ago that I was going to live my life by the Word of God instead of by what some teacher or preacher taught me. They are human just like me. God’s Word is inspired and given to me to direct my heart to the Lord. My behavior follows my heart and quite frankly reveals my heart to the world. If my view of God is veiled, my behavior will showcase that.

I’m thankful that the Word of God reveals more of God instead of restricting my view of Him. I’m so thankful for DIRECT ACCESS to Him at any time day or night.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Encourage, Inspire & Motivate

 

Diverse group of people learning and studing together.

I have been a follower of the Lord since 3rd grade, if I was 7 years old, then I’m coming up on 50 years of walking with the Lord at some level.  I grew up in a home where going to church wasn’t an option. I remember hearing the stories of Jesus and how He loved others. I also remember hearing about our enemy, the devil and how he wanted to get me to do bad things and follow him straight to hell. I must admit that I was more afraid of going to hell than really understanding God’s love for me. I followed the Lord out of fear of hell. That fear didn’t stop me from still doing stupid things. I am thankful that the Lord was patient with me as I tried things that were fun at the time, but the consequences could have ruined my life.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I truly came face to face with grace. I had heard that word, but not nearly as much as I heard about all the things I must do right. Grace doesn’t give me permission to do wrong, but grace does give me second chances for sure. Grace finds me and makes things right with the Lord. Just the fact that I now understand grace has been a huge win for me. I can’t remember the preacher, author or teacher who explained that to me, but I’m sure thankful I now understand. I don’t walk around guilty and hopeless. I now live my life with hope and confident in the Spirit of God.

I believe that prophesy, according to the Apostle Paul is simply to speak as the Spirit leads regarding my life with the Lord. I believe God’s Word is true and with His help, I’m living according to His Word. Out of my journey, I can share words of encouragement, inspiration and motivation. I don’t write this to promote me, I write this to promote the peace that I have in Him. I think that there are misunderstandings and misinterpretations regarding prophesy in our churches today. Prophesy is from the Word of God and the very Spirit of God, not from a human being. Prophesy is truth spoken through a human as directed by the Spirit of God. It should not be super mystical, in my view. It should be super clear and understandable. Check this out….

1Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy.

32 Remember that people who prophesy are in control of their spirit and can take turns. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people. (1 Corinthians 14:1,32-33 NLT)

I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not trying to get into a “church argument” or a “doctrinal dispute” with anyone. I’m not trying to mislead in any way. I think I and others have often made knowing the Lord appear that we are in a different class. I want to humbly live out my faith and encourage others to come along with me. I will “prophesy” about sin and call it out in my life and in others as the Spirit of God leads. If you’re reading these words and you haven’t surrendered your life to the Lord fully – I pray that you seriously consider this sort of change. Instead of me being in charge of my life, I’m giving that over to my Creator. He leads me to live for Him. He leads me to serve others on His behalf. He leads to me to speak on His behalf. It’s not some fancy, “hoity toity” calling. It’s simply speaking truth in love. He does the encouraging, inspiring & motivating through me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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