Secrets Revealed

Top secret stampI have learned over the years to keep my mouth closed on lots of topics. I know things about some people that should not be shared. I have been in the position to learn secrets that would destroy relationships and really harm lots of people if shared. I have also learned the value of having a confidant that I can share my struggles, confess my sin or share my deepest joys with. I can only imagine what it might be like to be in the CIA, FBI, NSA or Secret Service and know some of the stuff that they must keep secret. In fact, my using these acronyms might flag this post to make sure I’m not a terrorist.  The best kept secret is one that is never repeated or shared with anyone.  Jesus is speaking to His disciples and He reminds them that what they do in secret will one day come to light. Check this out…

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!

“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear. (Luke 12:2-5 NLT)

When I read this passage, I was reminded that when you run for political office in our country, your life is searched for any little nugget of a secret unrevealed so that the opponent can have the “upper hand”.  We’ve had good candidates brought down by secrets revealed that happened when they were in college that very few knew about. We had some candidates own their secrets, while others deny that the event in question ever happened. I remember telling one of my kids, that if you are where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you don’t have to worry about being in trouble with me. It’s when you deceive and lie that you get in trouble with me. My Mom used to remind me that there was always someone watching me.

I want the activities of my life to be known by the Lord. There may be some secrets kept in order to prevent others from stumbling because of the freedoms that I have. I want to always be ready to explain what I’m doing and where I’m at to anyone who asks. I’m accountable for every action before the Lord. I’m also accountable for my activities before my wife and my family.

Most secrets will eventually come to light – it’s important that I live in such a way that the Lord is honored by the activities of my life. I am who I am and you are free to examine my somewhat simple life as I seek to honor God with my daily choices and decisions that ultimately make up my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Temptations Defeated

devil angelI definitely know what it is like to be tempted. I also know too well how it feels to fall into the grips of temptation. I believe that the more I come to know the Lord, the more the enemy steps up his game against me. It’s not about me, it’s about the Spirit of God in me – the enemy wants the Spirit of God in me to be rendered weak and helpless. Following the Lord is made up of daily decisions and choices. Temptations come in to distract me and discourage me from following the Lord. These daily decisions and choices are often made quickly without much time to think. In other situations, the enemy is working on for years to erode my convictions about sin.

Jesus spent the first few days after His baptism in the wilderness alone. I can imagine that as a human, He would be hungry, anxious to get His ministry started and eager to turn the hearts of the people toward His Father. The enemy attacks at each of these areas of weakness, but Jesus quotes scripture to combat the temptations. He puts the enemy at bay and then heads home to Nazareth to begin His ministry. Check this out…

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19     and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:14-19 NLT)

I’m not sure that I will ever be released from temptation until I breathe my last breath. I believe that the enemy wants to steal my joy, kill my convictions and destroy my walk with God. The enemy will not rest until I’m gone into eternity – his destination is damnation to hell and he has no part of heaven with God.

Today as I face temptation, I’m going to use the strategy of Jesus. I’m going to quote scripture so that the enemy will be defeated by the Word of God. I will find strength and power with the Word. I will remain focused on walk with the Lord and with the Holy Spirit’s help, the enemy will not take me down.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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

Caught!

 

Always Time to Do What's Right Saying Clock QuoteI remember getting away with things when I was a kid. The times I was caught are really etched in my mind. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I was trying something new and, BAM! –Busted. Looking back, I think getting busted was a good thing because I became keenly aware of boundaries as well as consequences. These two words have accountability built right inside them. I often wish I could go back and do some things differently, because I know that my bad choices hurt my grandparents and my parents. They really had confidence in me and I let them down. I’m thankful that I didn’t stay there. I’m sure that they kept praying for me that I would get back on track with the Lord.

Paul is giving Timothy some very practical counsel from a seasoned apostle to a young preacher. He gives Timothy a few tips in dealing with people and their behavior. Check this out…

24 Some people’s sins are obvious, preceding them to judgment, but the sins of others surface later. 25 Likewise, good works are obvious, and those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden. (1 Timothy 5:24-25 CSB)

I remember my mom telling me that “remember your sins will find you out”. I hated that phrase because I knew what it meant. I also knew that she was suspicious of something that I had done or hadn’t done.

When I became a parent many years ago, I read a great book called “Raising Positive Kids In A Negative World” by Zig Ziglar. This book had a huge impact on my life. I think it was in this book that he challenges parents to “catch their kid doing good things” and reward them appropriately. I loved the idea because it affirmed the positive behavior instead of watching for the child to make a mistake.

I love people who do good works secretly. I believe the Lord loves this too. When a person does good works secretly, it’s not about them, but the person or persons being served. I also think that this speaks to the motive of the giving. I’ve given to be seen and I’ve given secretly and the secret giving is way more fun and profoundly rewarding.

I want to honor the Lord by doing good to others today and every day. I know that the Lord sees what I do secretly whether good or bad, so I’m going to choose the good way!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Called

Phone vector  iconsI sometimes have a hard time explaining to someone how God called me. I can’t say that He spoke to me in an audible voice like I would do to call one of my kids. He didn’t have someone else call me. He does use others to speak into my life for sure, but I felt like He called me to be right where I am. I believe the call of God is the direction He wants to give me. He wants to lead me in my daily decisions. He wants to lead me in my life changing decisions. I believe the call of God comes directly from my relationship with Him. He’s probably called me a lot more often than I realize, because I wasn’t listening due to the “noise” in my life. Check this out…

17 Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. 

22 For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called. (1 Corinthians 7:17, 22-24 CSB)

I believe that the Lord calls me daily through His Word.

I believe the Lord calls me daily through His people.

I believe the Lord calls me daily through places I go.

I believe the Lord calls me daily as I listen to Him speak.

God’s calling on my life, no matter what He calls me too, is Holy because He is Holy. I believe sometimes just resting can be a Holy Moment. I believe that the Lord calls me throughout the day to listen sharper and more intentional to Him speaking into my heart. I believe God calls us all the time, but we’re often to busy listening to ourselves that we miss His call.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Reputation

 

reputation conceptual meterI’ve learned over the years that my reputation is based on many factors, but honesty and integrity stand near the top if they are not the top. I believe that others look at my behavior and make a judgement. If I made a decision they didn’t like, they might try to use that to tarnish my reputation. I care much about my reputation, but if I stay there too long, I’m worried too much about what someone else thinks of me versus what the Lord thinks of me. If the Lord knows me like no one else, He is the judge of my very heart. I believe my reputation is determined by where my heart is.

King David speaks of the Lord’s reputation and it’s clear that He knows the Lord and is trying to follow Him. David’s reputation as a man after God’s heart is based on his walk with God. His writings reveal his walk. Check this out…

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations. (Psalm 145:9-13 NIV)

I make bunches of decisions and choices each day and I don’t always have a ton of time to prepare. I must make decisions based on the information that I have in front of me at the point the decision needs to be made. The cycle of reputation begins in my heart, then moves to my behavior and the perception of that behavior. The Lord has inside information to my reputation because He knows every thought and every motive. I’m not concealing anything from Him. I’m confessing everything to Him. Confession is agreement. I care more about my reputation before the Lord than what others think of me. I can’t control what others think or do regarding me. I can only have influence and control over my behavior or response to them. My behavior and response to others comes directly from my heart and the work that the Lord is doing there.

I want others to know of the Lord’s reputation and not be super concerned or worried about my own. He is Creator God. He loves like no other. His mercy and grace is beyond description. I really want to live for Him and honor Him. I want to be known as a follower of the Lord – a man after God’s heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne