Count The Costs

 

calculatorThis is something that is part of my job very often. If an inspection comes back with needed repairs, the buyers are trying to count the costs of repair. They will often ask the seller to contribute to the costs of repair because they didn’t see these issues when first looking at the home.  An inspector discovers rotten wood, issues in the crawl space or attic and these are often important issues to be fixed.

I made a decision at a very young age to follow Jesus and I’m still deciding to follow Him even today. I don’t believe that you make a decision to follow Him and then never revisit that decision. As I’ve grown in my faith, I discover more areas of my heart that have not been surrendered to Him. Jesus taught about counting the cost to a large crowd. I’m pretty sure the crowd got a bit smaller after His words about the cost of following Him. Check this out…..

25 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. 30 They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’ (Luke 14:25-30 NLT)

At first glance, this seems like an impossible teaching. Other places in scripture, we are taught NOT to hate one another, but to love one another. Jesus uses very strong language to speak about commitment to Him. I believe, He’s NOT asking me to hate my wife, children, mom, dad or anyone. He’s telling me that I must love Him first and I must love Him more than any other human on the planet. My goal for many years has been to expand my love for the Lord and expand my love for my family. I have learned that there is a lot of room to grow in this area. I believe that my love for my family and other is deeper and more expansive BECAUSE of my profound love for the Lord. I’ve learned to love from following the Lord.  He didn’t teach me to hate. He did teach me about commitment and responsibility.

I have counted the costs of following Jesus and it’s a no-brainer. The rewards for following Him far outweigh the costs. He also promises eternal life which is a promise in a league of its own.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Commitment

Scheduling A Meeting In A DiaryI make lots of commitments each day. I put appointments down on my calendar several days or weeks in advance. I need to write my commitments down to keep track of them. If I put a meeting with someone on my schedule, then I have a commitment with them at that time. I have made many commitments over the years, but none more significant as the time when I committed my life to the Lord. I have renewed that commitment to Him many times over the years because quite frankly, I’ve broken that commitment a few times as well. As I read Psalm 37 this morning, I was reminded of how important my commitment to the Lord is. Check this out….

Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
he will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun. (Psalm 37:1-6 NIV)

I also made a commitment to my wife and family. They are a close second to God in the priority scale of my life. I love my family dearly and I’m so thankful that they know the Lord too. My commitment to my family comes before any other human beings on the planet. I love and respect the people I work with profoundly, but they know of my commitment to family and I totally respect their commitment to family. I’ve learned that everything I have and everything I am is committed to the Lord. Everything I know comes from Him. Everything I’ve learned, and everything I’ve earned is because of my commitment to the Lord. He motivates me and inspires me in so many ways through so many people.  My understanding of commitment grows in breadth and depth each day. I’m thankful for all that the Lord is teaching me and has taught me about commitment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Resolve

I have made many decisions in my life. I have made some of those decisions without complete confidence that my decision was the best. There are other decisions that I’ve made that are not up for negotiation – they are final. I believe convictions are my “beliefs set in concrete”. My convictions come from past experiences as well as from valuable people who have poured truth into my life over the years. I can’t begin to name them all. My experience with God over the past several years have put several parts of my faith journey in concrete terms for sure. I have been through tough times and He has walked with me through it. He never leaves and never gives up on me – I have no intentions whatsoever of giving up on Him.

Job makes some concrete statements to his friends. They are basically accusing him of sin in his life because of his trials and suffering. He has lost just about everything that matters to him, but he still won’t curse God or admit to being sinful. He speaks with deep resolve to his friends to make his position clear. Check this out….

2 ‘As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,

    the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,

3 as long as I have life within me,

    the breath of God in my nostrils,

4 my lips will not say anything wicked,

    and my tongue will not utter lies.

5 I will never admit you are in the right;

    till I die, I will not deny my integrity.

6 I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;

    my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live. (Job 27:2-6 NIV)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I want to follow the Lord all the rest of my days without turning back. I want to walk with Him daily through whatever storm that comes or whatever sickness that lands in my path. I have no intentions of giving up or giving in to the enemy. When I sin, I will own it and seek His help to flee from sin. I want my life to show integrity and character from top to bottom. I want to always be honest and dependable. I want to also be kind and compassionate. I have resolved that I will follow the Lord the rest of my days even if I’m standing alone – and I know I’m not!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Celebrate!

I love celebrations for the most part. I don’t really like when my opponent gets to celebrate a victory over me. I do like to celebrate wins and victories. I don’t like to celebrate in such a way that it rubs someone else’s face in it. I really like celebration where there’s lots of “winners” and we celebrate together. Celebrations are much more fun when there is lots of others to share it with.

The people of Judah who had returned after 70 years of exile were about to celebrate. They had repaired and rebuilt the broken down wall of Jerusalem. They had repaired and restored the temple. They did all of this in record time and with opposition on all sides. The time had finally come to celebrate and dedicate the wall. Check this out…

27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. 28 The musicians also were brought together from the region around Jerusalem – from the villages of the Netophathites, 29 from Beth Gilgal, and from the area of Geba and Azmaveth, for the musicians had built villages for themselves around Jerusalem. 30 When the priests and Levites had purified themselves ceremonially, they purified the people, the gates and the wall. (Nehemiah 12:27-30 NIV)

I love the atmosphere of celebration. The people recognized God’s role in their life and the life of their city. They made the celebration meaningful by inviting others to participate from the region. They had music and singing which are two important elements for celebration. When I think of celebration music, I can’t help but think of Kool & The Gang and their song: “Celebration”.

The Lord loves celebrations. I think He relishes my wins over the enemy. I believe there’s a serious celebration in heaven when someone surrenders his or her heart to the Lord for the first time. I also believe there’s a celebration when a person who once believed repents & returns home to the Lord.

I think celebration is a chocked full of encouragement and fun. I think when we celebrate the little moments it brings even greater joy to the big moments.

I’ve celebrated friendship.

I’ve celebrated marriages.

I’ve celebrated first homes.

I’ve celebrated the arrival of babies.

I’ve celebrated baptisms.

I’ve celebrated the sale of a house.
I’ve celebrated the recovery of something lost.

I want to celebrate today the blessing of God all over me. He is so patient with me and all my foolishness and disobedience. He restores my soul and washes me clean. I believe the hope I have in Him is worth celebrating!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Binding Agreement

 

AgreementThis is a term that I use quite often in my real estate business. I learned a long time ago that if it’s not in writing then it’s not worth the paper it’s written upon. When two people or groups of people come to a “meeting of the minds” or an agreement and then it’s written down and signed – in my mind that is a binding agreement. I wish that we lived in a world where a man or woman’s word felt binding. Unfortunately, for something to be binding, it must be written down and signed by all parties.

The people of Judah have just rebuilt the Temple and repaired the walls of the city of Jerusalem. They have been called out about their commitment to the Lord. Nehemiah gathers the priest, the leaders and all the people together. Check this out…

38 ‘In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.’

39 The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and olive oil to the storerooms, where the articles for the sanctuary and for the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the musicians are also kept.

‘We will not neglect the house of our God.’ (Nehemiah 9:38; 10:39 NIV)

I think sometime when I write my intentions down or type them out in a document, they start looking and feeling more concrete. Writing for me gives clarification to my thoughts and feelings.

I want clarity in my commitment to the Lord.

I want clarity in my commitment to my family.

I want clarity in my commitment to clients and customers.

I want my time on this earth to count. I want to live out my faith daily even when it’s difficult or I’m dealing with difficult people. I want my family to know the Lord and live for Him and pass that faith on to their children and their children’s children. I want my clients and customers to know that I genuinely care about them and their goals for their individual families.

At the end of the day or the end of my life, I want others to see The Lord in me. I want them to see what a difference He has made and still makes in my life. I’m want to make my commitment to the Lord in writing and binding on my heart and my life.

I won’t quit. I won’t stop following Him. I want the actions of my life to speak of Him. I know I will need grace and mercy, and I want to know Him more through the easy times and the hard times.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Value Variable

value wordI have learned to like nice things. In some cases I have expensive tastes. In others cases I’m pretty simple and “down to earth”. I know people who will only wear a certain brand of clothing or shoes. I also know some really wealthy people who really dress plain and simple. Don’t get me wrong, I like to look nice and dress nice, but often I’m paying a lot extra for a certain brand or logo on the clothes.

Solomon spared no expense when he started building the temple. He had quite an extensive supply list already put together by his Dad, King David. He certainly took the extras in the temple to a whole new level. Check this out…

7 He overlaid the ceiling beams, doorframes, walls and doors of the temple with gold, and he carved cherubim on the walls.

8 He built the Most Holy Place, its length corresponding to the width of the temple—twenty cubits long and twenty cubits wide. He overlaid the inside with six hundred talents of fine gold. 9 The gold nails weighed fifty shekels. He also overlaid the upper parts with gold. (2 Chronicles 3:7-9 NIV)

This place was crazy fancy. I love that he wanted to give God the very best of everything. He used gold nails, and covered the wood with gold. The building featured the best materials on planet earth that Solomon could get his hands on. When describing the temple, the word “extravagant” just doesn’t measure up.

As I was reading this chapter with all the descriptive details, I was reminded that while God loved the honor and respect that was coming His way in this lavish temple build – He loves a surrendered heart more than anything else. I’m looking at Solomon building them temple through the eyes of history. I can see what is going to happen to Solomon’s commitment to the Lord.

I know that we have nice things here on the planet, but the Lord has all of that at His disposal already. When I read about heaven, it has all of the “bling” that we can possibly imagine. Gold is equivalent to asphalt here. As I read throughout scripture, I realize how unimpressed God is with material possessions. We are simple managers of that – He is the Owner. The Lord really wants me to love Him, honor Him and respect Him. He really wants my heart commitment and my minds attention on Him. I need to care a lot less about possessions that I have and notice the Giver of all good things. I want to value the things that the Lord values. His values don’t have a monetary value to them, but they certainly have an eternal value. That is a valuable variable that I need to pay close attention too.

Pressing On!

Dwayne