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

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

Grief & Sadness

Beauty girl cryThis is a word that covers many areas of my life. I have felt grief over the loss of a loved one. I’ve felt grief over the loss of a job. I’ve felt grief over the loss of a friend. I think grief touches everyone in some form or another. There are some losses that are less devastating and less permanent. If I lose a job, I can get another one. If I lose a friend I can be a friend to another and soon move forward. I’m not quite sure how you grieve the loss of a country. In Psalm 137, the writer is grieving the loss of their country being captured and their lives are forever different. Check this out…

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’

How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land? (Psalm 137:1-4 NIV)

It really is hard to think about songs of joy during pain. There are times that I can’t think because the grief hurts so deeply. I remember times when I cried until it felt like there were no more tears. I have made some decisions during times of grief that were not smart. A few years ago, after coming through a really hard time where grief was pushing on me hard, I determined that I would never go through grief alone – the Lord would always be there. I decided to claim His promises and lean into Him. His Presence did not disappoint. He gave great comfort but even greater clarity. I can sing songs of joy I the midst of great pain if His Presence is in me. He comforts me deeply and profoundly. He turns my sadness into singing. He turns my grief into joy. I can’t fully explain this to someone who amid struggle, but after the dust clears, this trust in the Lord is something to consider.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Praying For Peace

 

Pretty girl praying.Elderly man prayingI see peace as a “state mutual harmony, and a state of serenity and tranquility”. This is a word that means different things to a lot of different people. I love having peace in my life, buy sometimes peace is not quiet or boring. Sometimes “mutual harmony” is a bit loud and even a struggle. I used to connect peace with quiet and I still do sometimes. Peace is much deeper than silence. Peace is a matter of my spiritual heart condition. When my heart is at peace, I am trusting the Lord with whatever is getting me anxious.

David was evidently heading to the Temple when He wrote this Psalm. David is a warrior and has fought many bloody battles and has seen much bloodshed. In the midst of this assent to worship he is asking the people to join him in prayer. Check this out…

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    ‘May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
    and security within your citadels.’
For the sake of my family and friends,
    I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your prosperity. (Psalm 122:6-9 NIV)

I need to be a prayer warrior for peace. I can pray for peace for my family, my community, my state, my country & the world. Praying for peace and seeking to be peaceful are two different things. I believe that the Lord loves peace. I believe He restores my soul and nourishes my heart during peace. During times of struggle and angst, He does some of His best work building me. I feel like I’ve grown more in times of suffering and struggle for sure than in times of peace. During struggle and hardship, I found myself clinging to Him – holding on as tight as possible. I learned through struggle and suffering that He doesn’t leave me. He is always there. At times during the struggle, it felt as if He had left, but He had not. My feelings are fickle and I’ve learned that when the Lord says He is with me, then I can count on that. It may not “feel” like He is with me; but He sure is!

I love the greeting that Paul ends his second letter to the church as Thessalonica with. Check this out…

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (1 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

 

Desperate Place

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI’m a bit familiar with desperate places. These are places when it seems like the whole world is crashing down upon me. It can be something insignificant to others, but super important to me. Desperate places are where suffering often resides. When I hear that someone is going through a divorce, I’m confident that one or both of the parties involved are either in a desperate place now or they will be later for sure. Desperate places often call for desperate measures. When I’ve found myself in desperate places, I need a radical shift in my thinking to be able to navigate out of that place.

Job was definitely in a desperate place. His life was ruined from his desperate place perspective. He is crying out to God in desperation and despair. He lost his possessions. He lost his family. He lost his health. As he cries out to God, I can feel his emotions and they are raw for sure. Check this out…

15 You will call and I will answer you;

    you will long for the creature your hands have made.

16 Surely then you will count my steps

    but not keep track of my sin.

17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;

    you will cover over my sin. (Job 14:15-17 NIV)

Job is actually practicing some self-talk. I don’t see a dialogue between him and God. He appears to be more monologue – by he’s also pushing back on some of the counsel of his friends. I think he is also trying to come up with creative ways to survive this ordeal or for it to be over.

I was introduced a couple of days ago to a new song that we will be singing at church called: “Here With Me” by Tim Hughes. I’ve been learning the song and the words of the chorus are stuck in my head. Job needed to hear the words of this song.

When darkness deepens

The path unsure

The sun is hidden by the storms

I look to heaven

And cry to Thee

Oh God be here with me

 

In every breath

Every joy and tear

Every passing hour

Let me know You’re near

In life, in death

For eternity

Oh God be here with me

 

When faith is shaken

When fears surround

My feet will stand on solid ground

In every season

My song will be

Oh God be here with me

 

In every breath

Every joy and tear

Every passing hour

Let me know You’re near

In life, in death

For eternity

Oh God be here with me

 

And in that moment

We’re face to face

I will not need these eyes of faith

Forever after, God I will see

That You’ve always been with me

You’ve always been with me

That is a promise worth remembering when I’m in a desperate place.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Seeking

 

Jesus man of joyJesusI remember the simple little game of “Hide & Seek” when I was a kid. It was a really fun game that didn’t require any props or game pieces. In fact if there were only 2 people, you could still play this game. It was more fun hiding than seeking. I didn’t like being “it” much. I enjoyed hiding and actually became pretty good at it.

The prophet Zephaniah warned the people of the land that the Lord’s wrath and punishment is coming. He’s about to restore the land to Israel. The prophet gives some good counsel that applies even today. Check this out….

3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,

    you who do what he commands.

Seek righteousness, seek humility;

    perhaps you will be sheltered

    on the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3 NIV)

Hiding from the Lord is really stupid and futile. It can’t be accomplished. As hard as I might try, I can’t run and hide from Him. He knows me. He knows my struggles. He knows my stresses. He knows my joys. He knows my pain. I believe there is life in seeking the Lord. I believe that seeking the Lord is more than a one-time exercise. I believe seeking the Lord should happen daily, hourly —constantly. I believe that I can learn more about Who He is and how He is through seeking Him. I believe that I can seek Him through His Word as well as seek Him through the events of my day. He is there, willing to help me. He is willing to direct my path. He is willing to give me counsel. He is willing to pick me up when I’m down and discouraged.

I don’t ever intend to stop seeking the Lord. I believe in Him with my whole heart. I’ve experienced His Presence, His Comfort, His Wisdom, His Power and His Gentle Heart. I will keep seeking Him today.

Pressing On!

Dwayne