My Best Self

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingA couple of years ago I was introduced to Darren Hardy who produces “Darren Daily” – a short motivational video that comes to my inbox every day of the week. He speaks about a daily habit or attitude that will help build me as a business leader and as a leader of my family. I enjoy these little video blogs and they help me grow. Yesterday’s challenge was about being my best self. This clip made me think and ponder my daily choices and ask the question: “Am I bringing my best self to work each day?”

I love starting my day listening to the Lord speak into my life through His Word. I feel like my heart gets rejuvenated and amped up for the day. This morning was no exception. I read in Colossians about more of what my “best self” could look like. Check this out…

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. 14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17 CSB)

I want to keep growing my “best self”. I want to continue to evaluate the direction of my daily life and my business. I want to keep growing as a follower of Jesus. I want to keep growing as a husband, Dad and Pop. I want to keep growing as REALTOR and Broker. I want to live my life in such a way that people are clearly aware that I’m a follower of Jesus because of the characteristics of my life.

My best self will always have Christ at the center of my life. I want to bring compassion, competence, consistency, skill, kindness, patience, service (this list could get long!) to every person I meet or work with. I want my best self to showcase my faith in the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Good Work

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI haven’t always believed work is good. After the Great Recession, I now hear myself saying that I’m thankful to have work. I have also learned that no matter how much work I must do or how hard some parts of it are, I can put food on the table and provide shelter for my family because of my work. I’ve also watched the TV show “Dirty Jobs” and there are much tougher jobs than any I have ever had.

I’ve learned over the years in my journey with the Lord that I can’t work my way into heaven. I can’t do enough good work to earn my salvation. Paul is clear about this. Check this out…

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10 CSB)

I grew up hearing about all the things I needed to do and it felt like if I went to church, read my Bible and prayed often that I could be saved. I’m not sure that was the intended message, but it’s what I heard. When I discovered the grace of God a few years ago, my heart was full and so very open to this incredible concept that is the essence of Who God is. As I journey through His Word I see His heart that is full of love, compassion and grace. He is also a God of justice, but He doesn’t love to dispense justice – He loves to lavish His kids with Grace! He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on His love.

The first two words in this passage are: “But God”. Those two words have changed the trajectory of my life. He has built me and wired me to honor Him, to serve Him because He loved me. He now lives and works in me and through me. Anything I do, say or write that has value to anyone – it’s because He is in me. I’ve made wise decisions over the years that He was totally in charge of or responsible for.

I don’t work FOR my salvation, I do good work and serve Him BECAUSE of my salvation. I am more and more wowed by His Grace every day. There is no one beyond the reach of Grace. I can’t escape His reach of Grace. I am continually humbled and grateful when I think about the things I’ve done or said and He still loves me and chooses to use me for His Honor & Glory. I can’t begin to express my gratitude… words just don’t work here. I’m so thankful for grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Standard or Upgrade

 

Web IconWhen buying a car, you can get the standard features or you can get the upgrade. The upgrade always cost more. When building a house or simple remodeling a kitchen, there are standard features you can buy, then there are upgrades. I guess standard is the starting point or the average. In our country, we don’t buy a TV when it wears out, we upgrade to the latest flat panel LCD. The other TV was working perfectly fine, but it was standard. There’s another category that I’ve seen since becoming a REALTOR; it’s called “sub-standard” which is below average or below the starting point.

In Romans 12 (possibly my favorite chapter of scripture), the Apostle Paul really lays out some standard Christian behaviors. These are meant to be the starting point, but they are often not even practiced by Christ-followers. Check this out…

Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. 

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:9-10; 16-18 CSB)

As a Christ follower, I should not do the minimum standards or starting points. I should grow from there. Sometimes Christians look the same as others who don’t follow the Lord. My behavior should be different. My language should be kinder. My compassion should be deeper. I should keep the spotlight on the Lord and not on me. My life needs to be governed by the Spirit of God living in me. He longs to be seen in me. I can’t “out give” or “out love” the Lord. I should keep growing in these areas and not settle for the starting point.

Today as I begin my day, I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience with me as I seek to build on the standards set forth and keep upgrading my faith by surrendering to His will and His way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mercy – Hope – Respect

Man praying with the BibleIt’s a new day! Yesterday is now in the rear-view mirror – today is another chance to make good choices and wise decisions. I was reminded this morning how much I need mercy. Mercy is defined as: compassion, forbearance, kindness, blessing, pity, benevolence, the power to pardon and divine favor. I live in the shadow of this word every day and I’m profoundly thankful that the Lord shows me mercy daily.

As I read this Psalm of Assents this morning, I was reminded that along with mercy, I have found hope and I live in respect for the Lord out of that mercy & hope. Check this out…

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his Word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:1-5 NIV)

The more I study the Word of God, the more respect and reverence I have for the Lord. He has NOT kept a record of my sins. I am aware of my sin most days and I’m naïve toward the mercy He has poured out on me. I am profoundly thankful and humbled to think of how He not only forgives me and shows mercy, He calls me His kid. The moves my heart. In His Word, I find that mercy and forgiveness displayed often. In His Word, I find Provision, Protection, Direction, Instruction, Help, Hope, Profound Love. The Lord is in a category all by Himself. He is not just another god – He is the Only God and He forgives and forgets my stupidity. His heart melts when I say I’m sorry. His mercy and forgiveness is immediate. His Presence is constant. His Word teaches me more and more about His heart, Who He is and I’m invited to know Him more personally.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simplehearted

 

Man praying with the BibleI came across this word this morning in my journey through the Word and I thought it sounded like me. It sounds to me like someone who is not super complex or complicated. To be simple-hearted, one must be free of deceit and sincere. That is noble and attainable. I am serious about simply seeking the heart of God in my daily life. I don’t need any fanfare or a spotlight, I just believe that seeking the heart of Creator God is at the center of the reason I’m alive on this planet. The Psalmist must have felt similar. Check this out…

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:1-2; 5-9 NIV)

I look back on my journey through suffering and I learned to lean upon the Lord and lean into Him to navigate some very dark places. I felt like life dealt me a pretty hard hand during those times, but I learned some eternal lessons in the middle of the struggle.  You may try to make a case that the Lord doesn’t exist or isn’t involved in the life of His kids, but you won’t convince me. I’m simplehearted for God because I’ve experienced first-hand His Presence and His Power to walk with through the valley of pain and suffering. I’ve also learned that He doesn’t miss any opportunity of struggle and suffering to teach me more about His heart.

I simply want to follow the Lord all my days – whether hard or easy. I want to follow Him in sunshine and in the storm.  I am a simple man with a simple plan to follow the Lord the rest of my days on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Intercede

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI looked up this word to make sure I totally understood the meaning. According to dictionary.com it is “to act in behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble as by pleading or petition”. As a parent I’m pretty sure I’ve interceded on behalf of my kids before. I remember once being bullied by a guy who was 3 or 4 years older than me on the school bus and my Dad paid him a visit on my behalf and the guy never bullied me again. I appreciate people interceding on my behalf.

King Hezekiah was striving to restore the people and their relationship to the Lord. He decided to celebrate the Passover with all the people. He couldn’t do the event at the regularly scheduled time, but decided he needed to do it anyway as part of their return to God. He sent out invitations to the surrounding areas and invited people to Jerusalem to the temple for this big gathering for worship. This was a festival that commemorated the exodus from Egypt through the Lord’s leadership. Check this out…

18 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets their heart on seeking God – the Lord, the God of their ancestors – even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.’ 20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. (2 Chronicles 30:18-20 NIV)

This small passage really blessed me this morning as I see the heart of God. He is so kind and compassionate full of mercy and grace. Often in the Old Testament, He wants the ritual and worship to be just so. He shows great compassion and grace because of Hezekiah’s intercessory prayer. I believe that the Lord loves it when His kids return to Him with their heart.

I believe that this is a good message to many people who are “legalistic” in their faith. I believe God is way more concerned about my heart condition that my rule following capabilities. I do believe if my heart is set on Him, then my behavior will follow. I grew up in a rule following faith and now I’ve experienced the grace-giving faith. I’ve learned that the Heart of God for me is NOT condemnation; it’s forgiveness. He wants to save my soul by capturing my heart. He doesn’t force Himself on me but He longs for relationship with me. I personally can’t ignore such an invitation. I can’t quite put into words how grateful I am for Jesus’ intercession on my behalf. I deserve punishment but instead I receive eternal life!

Pressing On!

Dwayne