I Know What I Know

 

i want to know moreI find it hard sometimes to articulate my faith in God. My journey is personal and subjective. I have experienced things with the Lord that is hard to explain. This faith that I have in the Lord is not meant for me to just keep it to myself. It is good news for the whole world. Jesus came to seek and save all mankind. His mission was to make a way to restore our relationship with God. He did that and more. He gave us an amazing gift to help us in this journey. The Holy Spirit gives great wisdom and insight.  The Holy Spirit provides great strength to manage suffering and hardship. The Holy Spirit is a Presence that is hard to explain. I feel incredible peace in my soul with the very Spirit of God dwelling in me. It is His Promised Comforter to me and I know He’s here. These are things that I know and I’ve experienced. I have a hard time explaining, describing or teaching these things I know. John speaks to how I know Him by following His instructions – living out my faith. Check this out…

This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands. The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked. (1 John 2:3-6 CSB)

“This I Know” – Crowder

I try to start every day acknowledging the blessings from the Lord and thanking Him. I want to hear from Him in His Word each day. I’m certainly not trying to “earn” my salvation. I do want to walk out my salvation with Him each day. I want to walk just as He walked. I want to love as He loved. I want to serve as He served.

I wish I could explain more clearly how I know what I know. It is not super complicated – it’s simple, but sometimes hard. It’s not always easy to walk in His way when it seems like very few people are walking this path. I know that this is where He called me to walk. He has changed my life forever. I’m honored to walk in His way. I’m honored to serve Him. I’m honored to be called a Christian or Christ follower.  I am still very much a “work in progress”, but I know things that are simply not negotiable with my journey in Him.  I want the activities of my day to day to be “in step” with His call upon my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Different Kind Of Debt

Hand giving moneyI have confessed to many that during the recession that started in 2007 and caused financial hurt to many for at least 3 or 4 years, I also had debt. I almost lost most of my material possessions because I was way too leveraged financially. In other words, I was in debt up to my eyeballs and my income stream had shrunk significantly. I look back now with gratitude that the Lord guided me through that season of life. I have since sought counsel and wisdom on managing my finances so that hopefully, I never get that close to the brink ever again.

I am learning that I now carry a different type of debt. I am profoundly grateful to so many people who have invested in me over the years to educate and build me into the man I am today. I could make a list and it would not be short. I have been challenged to be more grateful as I reflect on my life journey.

Paul writes to Philemon, the owner of Onesimus (a slave) who had found Paul and is now a Christ follower. Paul sends Onesimus back to his owner with this 25-verse letter appealing to Philemon as a Christ follower and he wants the situation to reflect the fact that both, Philemon & Onesimus are Christ followers.

17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would me. 18 And if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—not to mention to you that you owe me even your very self. 20 Yes, brother, may I benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Since I am confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. (Philemon 17-21 CSB)

Paul’s appeal to Philemon was from the basis of their personal relationship but also as a Christ follower. Philemon is in debt to Paul. Onesimus is in debt to Philemon & Paul.  Paul made it clear that he’s in debt to Christ. These are debts that really can’t be paid off. I will carry my debts to the people who invested in me until the day I met Jesus. I am also investing into people who will “owe” me – not really me – Christ in me.

I want to continue to push back on financial debt. I want to keep paying back the people that invested in me through the years.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Different Drum Beat

portrait of a little boy playing bongos
Over the years, I’ve met people who are quite a bit different than I am. Some people are different than anyone I know. I have used the phrase that “they march to the beat of a different drum”.  I realize that is a kind way of saying they are weird compared to me and my friends. The thing is, I may have had people say that about me. We are all different than each other, yet we’re all the same. The people in other parts of the world speak different languages and have different customs, yet they still bleed and they need food and rest just like I do.

The Apostle Paul starts really clarifying the difference in a person who walks in the flesh versus a person who walks in the Spirit. This is a game changer in my spiritual journey for sure. Check this out…

16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-18, 24-26 CSB)

Walking by the Spirit is hard to describe. I can point to specific incidents in my life where I felt prompted and nudged to do something, say something or go somewhere that was not my normal choice. The Holy Spirit is very personal, but can be obvious. This battle between my flesh and the Spirit is very real. The battle rages inside me every day. My flesh gets frustrated easily, while the Spirit shows great patience and gives grace by the truck-loads. My flesh is very self-centered, while the Spirit is very self-less, giving and kind.

I want what I want is from my flesh.

I want what He wants is from The Spirit of Christ in me.

I can’t describe the peace and joy I feel in my heart when I live and move by the Spirit. I am here to serve others and their best interest. I really believe that my profession as a REALTOR is to serve others. When I write down all the tasks of my job, the word service is woven throughout those processes and tasks.

The old Dwayne served himself. The spirit-filled Dwayne lives to serve others.

The old Dwayne had a short fuse. The spirit-filled Dwayne is patient. (I still have trouble with this one – and it’s obvious when my flesh takes over.

I could make a very long list of the flesh-led Dwayne versus the spirit-led Dwayne.

As a Christ follower, I should look different than a person who lives by the flesh. I want to keep in step with the Spirit of God. I want to talk when He says talk. I want to walk where He leads. I want to give when He says give. In other words, I want to walk to the beat of a different drum – the Spirit of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Gospel – Story of God

 

Grace AND TruthI remember hearing about Jesus when I was a very young kid. As I grew, my parents lived out their faith in God. I went to church every Sunday (we had morning and evening services). We also had Wednesday night Bible Study. I also observed my Grandmother (Mammie) read her Bible every day. She was faithful in seeking the Lord.
I remember hearing a lot of rules – some do’s and don’ts from the church teaching. My parents echoed the teaching and it helped keep me scared of going to hell, so I complied. I see things a bit different now that I’ve been studying the Word on my own and listening to what the Lord must say to me. Paul met Jesus face to face authenticating His preaching. Check this out…

11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. 12 For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12 CSB)

I didn’t hear a lot about Grace being part of the gospel when I was growing up. As I study the Word today – it’s not only part of the gospel – it’s the essence of the gospel. I’m reminded by grace that I could never do enough to be worth saving. I could never go to church enough. The Lord is about a personal journey rather than a church journey. I’m not sure just how strong someone is who never fellowships with others are sits under the teaching of the Word. I remember hearing the late Keith Green say that, “going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger.”

The Gospel is Jesus Christ living in me and through me to show others His Amazing Love and Grace. There is nothing I could do to save myself. He is Mighty to Save and the ONLY One Who can save me.  The Gospel has Power.

I’m simply going to live the rest of my life letting Christ be in charge. I’ve surrendered my life to His Will and His Way. With that surrender comes incredible FREEDOM to live for Him. I “get” to go to church – I don’t “have” to go. I enjoy the fellowship of other Christ followers who are simply trying to live for Him.  In a nutshell: The Gospel is GRACE & TRUTH!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

No Strings Attached

 

I am always suspicious of an unsolicited phone call announcing that I’ve received something for free. I realize that there is a “catch” to things like that. I have won 3 days and 3 nights at a nice resort only to find out that I had to go to a meeting where they try to sell you a time share in that resort. I’ve also been offered a free 6-month subscription only to find out that they will start billing me automatically after that first 6 months. There are many gimmicks that promise something Free that I am a bit jaded about it. I usually say that something that is free to me always cost someone else something. There is no such thing as a free lunch. After reading in the Word this morning, I realize that there is something that is free. Check this out…

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13 CSB)

I have not done anything to deserve the love from God that I’ve experienced. He doesn’t love me because I love Him. He loved me first. He loves me even when I don’t love Him. I can’t quite wrap my head around that level of love. I have accepted Him as my Lord. I do believe in Him. I don’t deserve His love. I don’t deserve to be saved, but I am profoundly grateful.

I used to think going to church made me a Christian.

I used to think that not cursing made me a Christian.

I used to think that obeying my parents made me a Christian.

That could be a long list of what I used to think. I understand now that I go to church; guard my tongue, honor my parents BECAUSE I’m a Christ follower NOT to become a Christ follower. I am a Christian because I have surrendered my heart to the Lord. I believe in God. I believe He is the ONLY ONE Who can save me.

Nothing I can do contributes to my being saved. He did it all. I honor Him BECAUSE He has saved me and promised me a future. My life has been different since I figured this out. I can’t do enough or not do enough to be saved. He has that handled. There are no strings attached to my salvation. I see life different since He’s saved my soul. I want to live for Him. I want to live in honor of Him. I want to trust Him in obedience. I want my surrender to Him to continue today not out of fear, but in faith that He will continue to walk with me through this life.

He saved me with no strings attached.

Pressing On!

Dwayne