Drastic Difference

Be DifferentI’ve met people who are way different than I am. Years ago, I had the privilege to travel to Europe on my way to Zambia, Africa. I was just a young man from Kentucky who had never been on an airplane, much less traveled to other countries. I loved seeing so many different things and engaging with so many different people. I wish I knew then what I know now and I would have learned a lot more on the trip. The people is Brussels were very cool. The people in Zambia were also very sweet people. I have a few photos of me on the trip. My favorite one is with me surrounded by some of people who I had the privilege of teaching about the life of Jesus. I think different is a bit underrated.  Conforming to be like everyone else is way overrated, in my opinion.

Jesus took three of His closest disciples with Him up on a mountain and they were not expecting what they saw. They knew Jesus was different, but what they saw and heard changed them too. Check this out….

1Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.

Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. (Matthew 17:1-6 NLT)

I’m sure the disciples could not believe their eyes what was happening. Then the voice of God on top of all that. I think I would have been a bit frightened too.  I don’t think those three disciples ever forgot what they saw and heard. I believe that they were different for the rest of their lives. Jesus asked them not to talk about it until He had been raised from the dead.

I believe that I am changed when I’m with the Lord. I believe I’m changed when I spend time alone with Him. He has made a drastic difference in my life. He has changed my relationship with my wife, my children, my grandchildren, my friends, my clients who become my friends. I see everyone I meet differently because I’ve been with the Lord and He changed everything about me. I have become so thankful and grateful for His Presence in my life. I have become so thankful and aware of how He wants me to treat others. I am still growing to become more like Him. I want people to notice a drastic difference in me because I’ve been with the Lord. I’ve seen Him and I’ve heard from Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The New Me

 

Behind the maskMy family has enjoyed the movies “Despicable Me”. Despicable Me 3 is in theatres now. The word DESPICABLE means: deserving to be despised, or regarded with distaste, disgust, or disdain; contemptible. That is how I used to be. When I look at who I used to be and how I used to act – I was despicable – especially in the Lord’s eyes. He loved me when I was despicable. I love the book of Ephesians. Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus and he speaks clearly about how things should be. Check this out….

20 But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. (Ephesians 4:20-24 CSB)

My problem is that I revert to my despicable life rather than stay and live in this abundant, joy-filled life that He provides. He has changed me and the old Dwayne no longer lives – the new Dwayne is grace filled because I’ve received grace. The new Dwayne is forgiving because I’ve been forgiven. The new Dwayne loves deeply because I was loved first. I want to live and walk with the very Spirit of God over-flowing out of me. I want to not be quick to anger like the old despicable me.

I am confident that there are lots of despicable people in this world who need a new start – a new life. Jesus has changed every area of my life and I’ve forever different in a good way. I’m not longer living a despicable life (even though I stumble backwards some days) – I’m living with hope and a future that is incredible!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Adopted

Family PIcture 2016I am blessed with three grandchildren presently and I’ve talked to my two sons who have become parents in the last couple of years. First, I didn’t know I could love like that until I became a Dad. Second, I learned a lot more about my Heavenly Father. I began to understand His heart in the scripture. Becoming a Dad has been a blessing beyond my ability to describe. I am humbled and thankful for the privilege and responsibility.  It was just over 7 years ago that my wife and I started working on adoption of our youngest son. We were one of four families from our church who were adopting 5 siblings from Nicaragua. Their situation in Nicaragua was tough and we felt called to help. It was an incredibly hard journey, but here we are now and Luke has become my son by adoption. Again, I learned some deep truths about the Lord that I had not known before. The Lord adopted me as His son and He has given me all the rights and privileges of being part of His family. Check this out….

When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7 CSB)

I am God’s kid. I am adopted into His family. I am an heir to the promise. Creator God has put the Spirit of His Son in my heart. I’m wear His name. He has a picture of me in His phone! (LOL) I am loved by God. I am cherished by God. He is my Heavenly Dad. He cares for me. He loves to speak into my life each morning and I love hearing from Him. I feel loved. I feel accepted. I know what it’s like to feel lost and abandoned, but NEVER again – I am a child of God.

My family here on earth reflects my Jesus family. I am a child of the Most High God. I can walk in confidence bearing His Name and representing Him in how I talk, walk, live and love. I am profoundly thankful to be adopted by Him. I wear His Name with thankfulness and humility in my heart. He has changed me forever.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

(Not Pictured: Finneas Dylan Hicks arrived on May 20, 2017 – He’s such a handsome little guy! #thankful)

Change

hope ave and change wayI have changed a lot of things in my life over the years. I’m probably a bit more laid back than I once was. I realize that for some people change comes slow and painful. For others, change can we super quick and seemingly painless. I like to think that I can adapt to change pretty quickly.  Someone said, “The only sure thing in life is change”.  I know one thing for sure…The Presence of Jesus in my life changes everything in my life from the ground up.  This type of radical change happened in the life of a prominent tax collector. Check this out…

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
8 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.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-9 NIV)

Jesus’ presence compelled change in the world of this man Zacchaeus. He changed radically. He changed quickly. Because of this rapid change, Jesus declared that salvation had come to Zacchaeus.

There are constantly new ideas that come in and new ways to do things. I can’t always be afraid of change. I need to embrace change. The change that the Lord wants to make it me will be pressed on my heart.  This thought of change reminded me of a song by Rascal Flatts called changed. YouTube: http://youtu.be/lk1bstD4nY8

Pressing On!
Dwayne

 

Changed

Word on yellow wallI realized that change is inevitable. Nothing really stays the same. When I stop to reflect on where I’ve been, I realize how different I am than I was back then.  I also realize that because of the things I learn today, my tomorrow will be different.  I hope I never forget the day that I changed for good. I still remember the day I realized that the Lord was real. I was at Johnson University formerly Johnson Bible College and near the end of my freshman year I watched a passion play put on by upper class men where I saw Jesus crucified. Something changed in me at that moment. I believed in Him with all my heart. I had accepted Him as my Savior and had been baptized years before.  I realized that my faith was now my own. I had been living off the faith of my parents and others.  My life and my faith were forever changed at that moment.   I think for Peter, Andrew & John the trip of the mountain was a tipping point for their faith. Check this out….

1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. (Matthew 17:1-6 NIV)

I imagine that the faith of Peter, James and John was forever changed at this moment. They saw something that they had never seen before. They saw Jesus in a different light. (No pun intended.)  I think He was validated by the presence of the prophets as well as the voice and presence of God. They could never look at Him the same again. Their perspective was forever changed.

As I journey with the Lord through His Word, I realize that I see things that I had not seen before. I also realize that I have change work to do every day. When I hold my life up against the life of Jesus, there is ALWAYS change that needs to happen in me. I want to be different today because I’ve been with Him this morning.

Pressing On!
Dwayne