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

Patience & Suffering

Woman suffering from stress grimacing in painI am not known for patience, but I’m learning more every day. I am not filled with road rage, but I do get frustrated when others can’t seem to figure out how to drive their truck or car like the rest of us! (LOL) Patience is a very important character trait. It’s included as a fruit of The Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) I like being around patient people, it’s not nearly as easy to be patient as it appears. Our culture leans hard toward instant gratification instead of delayed gratification. We like things now and we don’t like to wait. The older I get the more aware of this epidemic of impatience. I was reminded of patience this morning, especially when things are not going as planned and suffering comes on the scene. Check this out…

Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.

10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:7-8,10-11 CSB)

People who have endured suffering are more thankful than those who haven’t. Suffering is hard and painful. It’s a struggle to suffer and I need others with me in the struggle. Those who have suffered are humble in spirit.  I would not wish suffering upon anyone, but I pray that those during suffering learn that leaning into the Lord is the best path through it. I also know that when I’ve endured suffering, I’m stronger and closer to the Lord than ever before. If I don’t trust the Lord in my suffering, I’ll become bitter instead of better. Suffering, Patience & Endurance build rock solid character on multiple levels. I’ve learned more about myself during these struggles. The Lord has built some character qualities in me during suffering and hard time that I’m not sure could have been built any other way.

I don’t pray for patience, but I really try to practice it. I pray for strength for today. I pray for the Lord to give me strength to endure hardship and hard times. I approach Him with a thankful heart for all that He has brought me through because remember my history of struggle and suffering gives a healthy perspective on today’s struggle. Someone quipped that “life is hard by the yard and a cinch by the inch”. I want to live my life out walking with the Lord through everything – the good, easy or the hard & hectic. His Presence in my heart gives me great strength and confidence to face whatever life throws at me. Life is not always easy, but He is certainly ALWAYS with me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Confident Confession

confidence level conceptual meterI like the word confident. I try to be very cautious about being confident because it can lead to a condescending tone which flows right into arrogance. I have a lot of confidence in the Lord. I have seen Him move and work in my life and in the lives of others. I see confident as being bold and having a strong belief or conviction. Confession means to declare or acknowledge one’s faith. Confession also carries with it the agreement & acknowledgment of my sin before the Lord. I’m learning that becoming aware of my sin is critical to the Lord helping me to overcome my struggle with sin.

I have known the Lord for a long time, but that doesn’t make me superior to the person who just met Him. I believe that my journey with the Lord is a day by day walk. I have choices every day that should I choose them, could absolutely destroy the integrity of my walk with God. I believe that the Lord would forgive me, but I see it as “crucifying Him all over again”. I want my life and my choices to be pleasing to Him. I want my confidence to be place squarely upon His shoulders. I am thankful that Jesus came and became the Ultimate Sacrifice for sin. This changed mankind’s relationship with God once and for all. Check this out…

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus— 20 he has inaugurated for us a new and living way through the curtain (that is, through his flesh)— 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25 CSB)

I shouldn’t be arrogant about what God has done for me, because He will save anyone who will comes before Him with a humble heart seeking forgiveness. His grace is enough for the whole world. He loves His Creation – His kids. He wants everyone to be saved, but He will not force His will upon my heart or upon anyone else. I could make people tell me they love me by threatening their life, but that wouldn’t be love at all. I’m thankful to be loved because I’ve learned to love. God loved me first and His love has compelled my heart to surrender to His love. I now love Him and I daily surrender my will and my way to His Will & His Way. I am confident that He is in control of my life and I’m not. I want to walk with Him every day without worry or stress, because He is the Lord of my life and all the circumstances surrounding my life. I’m in charge of being obedient and trusting Him while walking out my faith with complete confidence in Him. I also want to encourage others to live out their faith in daily surrender to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Be Encouraged

 

ApplauseI have often been the recipient of encouragement. Encouragement inspires me. Encouragement motivates me. Encouragement gives me great confidence.  I believe encouragement has help build me into who I am today. Encouragement is a simple concept that has profound effects for years to come. When I reflect on the encouragement that has been given to me over the years and the effect it’s had on me, I can’t help but become an encourager to others.

The Hebrew writer speaks to this word as well. We must encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. There are times it’s obvious that a person is getting to a bad place, but other times, the deceitful heart is masked by good deeds and kind words. I must pay careful attention to my heart as I live out my faith. Check this out…

12 Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. 14 For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. (Hebrews 3:12-14 CSB)

I believe encouragement must be honest. It can’t be shallow and empty. Encouragement can call someone out of sin. Encouragement can help prevent someone from surrendering to sin. I also believe that I must encourage often. Giving away genuine encouragement also blesses my heart because my attention is taken off me. If I’m not very careful, I can make everything in my life revolve around me – that’s very dangerous and very self-centered. Encouragement is about the other person and it’s a huge gift that I can give with both words and action.

When I started journaling about my journey in the Word several years ago, it started coming alive to me. I would find myself recalling what I had read throughout the day. At some point, I felt called (nudged) by the Lord to share my thoughts publically. When He tells me to stop, I’ll do that too. I have been encouraged by being an encourager. I want my life to be about Him and not about me. I want the actions and activities of my life to point to Him and Who He is, instead of me. I want to make Him famous – not become famous myself.

If I could offer one word of encouragement to anyone who desires to know Him it would be – please find time in your busy life to read His Word and talk to Him about it. He longs for relationship with His kids. I remember hearing a phrase that I think came from Mother Teresa many years ago: “If you’re too busy to pray, you are simply too busy.” I’m adding to that, if I’m too busy to read, meditate and pray over His Word then I’m too busy. I believe studying the Word of God builds eternal thoughts and dreams. I’m taking out of my self-centered world and I start seeing the world as The Lord sees it. Encouragement from the Word of God has changed every part of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Recall – Remind – Rekindle

Memo with Paper Clip - rememberWhen I think back about my life and my journey of faith, it must include my grandmother, Gladys Greer (aka Mammie). She was a dear lady who loved the Lord and I can still remember her big Bible near her chair in the living room of her house. She studied it often. She had a Bible that was falling apart, but her life wasn’t’ because her deep faith gave purpose and helped her navigate any situation in life. She passed her faith on to my Mom and then to me. I have quite a heritage of faith. I find myself praying for my kids that they will know the Lord. I want them to see the Lord in my life.

The Apostle Paul was writing a second letter to his young protégé Timothy. I can feel the emotional connection between the two. He is connecting Timothy’s journey today with his journey of faith in the past. Check this out…

I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also.

Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. (2 Timothy 1:5-7 CSB)

I love the encouragement from Paul. I can take that into my heart and my life today. I need to recall my journey. I need to be reminded of all that the Lord has done in my life. I must daily rekindle the Holy Spirit that is in me. I can be strong and bold as I face challenges in life because I recall, I’m reminded and I’m rekindling the fire that is in me.

I also love the last line of this passage – it’s almost a “because” passage. I can recall, remind and rekindle BECAUSE the Lord has given me “a spirit of power, love and sound judgement”. I’m brimming with confidence because of His Power in me. This perspective shapes and remakes my perspective on everything in my life. I can face any challenge in my life, because the Creator lives in me and lives through me.

I think it’s healthy to revisit my journey often and realize that I’m standing on the shoulders of faith of my grandmother and my parents. I’m also standing on the shoulders of Paul, Timothy, Peter, James and John to name a few. I want to recall, be reminded and rekindle the Spirit of God in my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Fearless & Faithful

 

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidNo long ago I read a book called “Fearless” by Eric Blem about the courage and sacrifice of Navy Seal Team Six Operator Adam Brown. I could hardly put the book down as I went on the journey with Adam, his seal team and his family. It was courage on steroids. He epitomized fearless and faithful in a physical sense.

I believe that Christ followers are called to be fearless and faithful too. I should not live in a state of worry and fear wondering what will happen next. I should be faithful to seek the Lord’s heart and His will for me. I believe that I hear from Him through my journey in His Word. When I’m faithful to Him, He seems to remove my fears. I do often wonder as I get older how my life will end. I learned of the death of a friend in a car accident and death was instant. I’ve also watched as a friend suffered and battled for long tough road to death. I also wonder about how things are after you die. I know that scripture promises that God has that, but I don’t know of any eye witnesses who have come back and reported on that. Everyone who dies stays there. I have less of an anxious heart about that than in the past only because I’m learning daily to trust the Lord with the unknown as well as the known. Check this out…

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 CSB)

I’m not going to leap tall buildings in a single bound or become reckless with my life. I do want to live on purpose and balanced. I simply don’t want to allow fear to creep into my spirit and stress me out about what is coming. I trust the Lord that whatever happens, He will help me through. When I reflect on my journey – this has been the case every time. He has not left me alone at all. He was with me in the darkness of divorce, cancer fight with my son, harrowing near death experience of my youngest son – He is with me through storms of this life and He will be with me in the sunset years as well as my departure from this life. I’m fearless because I’m faithful.

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. (1 John 4:18 CSB)

Pressing On!

Dwayne