Solitude

Man praying with the BibleI love people. I love some people a bit more than others. I love my big family profoundly. In fact, I love my family at the expense of any other relationship. I grew up in a family with two brothers & two sisters – considered a big family. I also have five children of my own and now three grandchildren. I am so grateful to the Lord for my beautiful big family. I know that the Lord has big plans for them.

I love my work. I became a REALTOR 15 years ago. I had been a student pastor for 20 years prior to that. I loved being with students, teaching them during the most formative time of their lives. In the past 15 years, I’ve learned to build on the principles I learned in ministry. Jesus came to serve not to be served. I have used that as a theme in my real estate business. I get to honor the Lord by serving others. I will say that there have been times in my life where the noise level of my work reached fever pitch.  Several years ago, I started getting up 30 minutes early to have some morning solitude. It really changed how I managed my day. I used to try to sneak some solitude in the middle of my day and I still do on occasion, but my morning solitude is the best. I get to hear from the Lord each day in His Word. Recently, I started my morning with gratitude. I’ve started hitting the snooze button on purpose to lie in bed and give the Lord thanks for my wife, my family, my friends, my work, my country and everything I can think of. My time of solitude features gratitude, reading, journaling, prayer and then some work.

Jesus needed solitude too. The day He got the news of His cousin John the Baptist death, He sought solitude. Check this out.

13 As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Jesus then teaches & feeds 5,000 men plus the women and children)

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. (Matthew 14:13-14; 22-23 NLT)

Solitude gives me perspective.

Solitude can renew my spirit.

Solitude can renew my strength.

Solitude can settle my anxious heart.

Solitude can enhance my listening to God.

Solitude can influence every hour of my life.

Solitude gives me clarity of life purpose.

Solitude deepens my faith in God.

___________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Significance of Solitude

Man praying with the BibleI love the solitude and quietness of the morning. I can hear the noises of a quiet home in the morning. I hear the furnace come on occasionally. I can hear the fridge come on some as well. There is something special about my time of solitude in the morning. I like to start my time of solitude after I’ve shaved, showered and made a pot of coffee. I start each day with reading some from the Word of God. I believe the scriptures speak truth into my life every day.  I do not consider myself a theologian at all. I’m just a regular guy who loves God and loves His Word. I find such deep pockets of my faith and incredible clarity for my life when I spend time alone with the Lord in His Word.

I love the fact that Jesus modeled this. He would occasionally slip away from the “noise” of His ministry for times of solitude and prayer.  This well-known event in Jesus’ life occurred after a time of solitude and prayer. Check this out…

45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. (Mark 6:45-51a NLT)

Solitude and prayer work together to help prepare my heart and mind for the day ahead. I must admit that some days are tougher than others. I can often look back on my morning time of solitude in the middle of a busy and hectic day. I believe that solitude and prayer anchor my soul to The Word of God. I believe that the Words of Scripture contain wisdom and insight that is timeless and powerful. I find words of healing here. I find words of hope. I find depth of insight. I believe solitude combined with scripture and prayer are two very valuable ingredients to a peace-filled life. In the midst of a noisy and chaotic world, I can find peace because of my time of solitude and prayer each morning.

I’ve not tried walking on water or “leaping tall buildings in a single bound”.  I just know that I’m a stronger Christian because of my time of solitude and prayer in the morning. It’s not because I’m special, I simply seeking the Lord to lead me as I live out my life. Solitude gives focus and clarity to my life and helps keep thing in proper perspective. I also think the simple discipline of starting my day with the Lord has been a huge game changer for many years. I only wish I had started this daily discipline many years ago. I’m thankful for the Lord’s Powerful Presence in my life as I sit with Him to begin each day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Living Water

I wish I had been the guy many years ago who had the idea of bottling water. It’s convenient and fairly simple. I’ve picked up a bottle of water at a gathering to find that it’s bottled with water from a city municipal water supply – aka “the faucet”!  My friend, Chris Cook has a company called Superior Mountain Water. We have those water coolers at the office, with the blue bottle on top, and you can get a really fresh great tasting cup of cool water on demand. I have learned that I like some “brands” of bottled water better than others. My body must have water to live. In fact, most doctors recommend a generous amount of water consumption every day. The water can serve as a cleansing agent to my body.

Jesus, once again calls himself LIVING WATER. John qualifies it a bit more as the living water that He speaks of is the Holy Spirit. Check this out…

37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said, “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (John 7:37-39 NLT)

Jesus spoke of giving Living Water to the woman at the well earlier in His ministry. He is not proclaiming this to the crowds. I’m assuming that John is writing this after Jesus had ascended back to heaven.

When I first accepted Jesus and was baptized as a young kid, I had no real tangible ideas or thoughts about the Holy Spirit. I don’t think my young brain could handle the concept or either I wasn’t taught much about it. I’ve since experienced first-hand the Power and the Presence that the Holy Spirit brings to my life. I’ve tasted this Living Water that Jesus speaks of.

The Living Water brings peace.

The Living Water brings healing.

The Living Water brings comfort.

The Living Water bring hope.

The Living Water brings life.

The Living Water brings grace.

I could go on and on about this Living Water (aka The Holy Spirit).  His Presence in me has completely changed my perspective on EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in my life. The Holy Spirit is the FILTER (aka the glasses) through which I see. My vision is clear. My mission is clear. I’m seeking to honor Him every day in every way possible.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Eye Witness

Jury Duty 3D cube Word Cloud ConceptI have seen stuff with my own eyes that I might had a hard time believing that it happened if I had not seen with my own eyes. I witnessed an accident a few years back that after I was questioned about the accident, I was confused about what happened. Eyewitness testimony is the account a bystander or victim gives in the courtroom, describing what that person observed that occurred during the specific incident under investigation. Ideally this recollection of events is detailed; however, this is not always the case. When an eyewitness is giving testimony, the confidence that they have is important.  I also think it’s important to have more than one eyewitness if possible.

I love the apostle Peter. He seems like my kind of guy when I read the story of Jesus. He’s imperfect. He’s impulsive. He’s emotional. He is committed. Jesus called him the Rock upon which He (Jesus) would build His church. Peter recalls something he witnessed with his own eyes. Check this out…

16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!” 18 We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18 CSB)

I can’t always articulate the things I know and believe, but I do know that He has spoken to me through His Word and through times of prayer. I have been an eyewitness to a changed life and it’s a beautiful thing for sure. I have experienced His Grace first hand and it radically changed my perspective on my walk with the Lord. I grew up trying to be enough and do enough to “earn” my way into His Kingdom. Through His Word, He tore down some of those false instructions and introduced me to the truth that is drenched in grace. I can now hear the truth of His Word with profound clarity. I now understand that it’s for me. I now understand that I could have NEVER been good enough or have done enough to “earn” my salvation. I now serve Him because of His grace to “work out” or live out my salvation. That is quite a contrast. I love Peter’s eyewitness account here because he’s speaking of something that happened many years ago, yet he has great clarity.

I want my life to bear stellar testimony to the fact that I walk with the Lord daily. I want others to see Him in me. I want them to see the confidence that I have in my journey with Him. His Word has lit up my path and I want to walk out my faith with Him every day!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Word Of God

Holy BibleI am convinced that my life’s journey became more focused and clear when I decided to start my day with the Word of God. I’m not a theologian. I’m not a bible scholar. I’m a husband, dad, teacher & REALTOR who wants to be a student of God’s Word. My perspective has changed a lot over the years. I believe my journey in God’s Word has reshaped my heart to be more like His. I have a lot of growing yet to do, but I believe this daily discipline, as simple as it is, has had a profound impact upon my life.

I came across one of those passages that I remember from years ago. It affirms the power and significance of the Word of God. Check this out…

12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 CSB)

I started writing a journal of sorts after reading a passage. There was nothing complex about it, I just wrote about what “jumped out” in the passage that I read. I underlined or highlighted in my Bible. I started this journal process for me. I wanted to remember at 3 PM what I had read at 6 AM to start my day. I wanted the Word of God to live in me throughout the day. I was a bit surprised at how it stuck for longer periods of time – all because I journaled about it. My blog became part of the process later. I felt like the Lord prompted me to share my journey in His Word. I’m not sure when I started this – (I guess I could look it up), but it’s blessed my life to share my journey. I feel called to be in His Word every day. I share my journaling because I believe He asked me too.

I wish I could adequately describe the profound impact my daily journey in His Word has had on my life. I wish everyone who read the words of my journey would try reading His Word daily for at least 30 days. My life has never been the same since. I’ve had hardship and suffering, but I keep coming back to the Word of my Creator – His inspired Word. His Word brings comfort. His Word brings clarity. His Word tells me how to be saved. His Word introduced grace and mercy. His Word tells me all about Jesus. God’s heart is revealed in His Word and I want to know His heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Morning Prayer

Country road at sunriseI love the morning – it seems like everything is new and fresh. Yesterday is now history and time to look forward. I love starting my day in God’s Word and listen to Him speak into my heart as I begin a new day. I decided a few years back that I would not do anything in my day prior to listening to Him.  I believe my time with Him is the most important meeting on my schedule. The morning I was blessed with a morning prayer from King David. Check this out…

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:8-10 NIV)

Trust – I affirm my love, respect & honor for the Lord.

Rescue – He helps me deal with those who want to harm me.

Teach – He speaks directly into my heart & then I live out my heart.

Lead – He prompts, shows & levels me out – He makes my path clear.

I just want to rest and abide this day under the Word of God. I need Him more than I need anything. His Presence in my heart brings great clarity to my schedule. This morning prayer clarifies my need for Him first thing.

Pressing On!

Dwayne