Continue

what is next words written by 3d manThis word carries with a lot of meaning. As I investigated how the dictionary defined this word, it is definitely a verb – meaning action. Continue means: to last or endure; remain, abide, stay, persist, maintain, and keep going. To continue means I’m not going to stop. There have been many instances in my life where I wanted to quit or stop and go a different direction, but I felt compelled to continue. There have been seasons in my life when it was time to stop one thing and actually start something new.

This morning, I was reading the story of Jesus resurrection from the Gospel of John. I love his perspective of Jesus. John was steady. He was present. He was consistent in his actions, yet not as “loud” and “flamboyant” as his buddy Peter. He tells the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples twice. He specifically mentions the encounter with Thomas, which is where Thomas acquired the nickname: “Doubting Thomas”. He then gives the reason he penned this story of Jesus in the first place. Check this out…

30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:30-31 NLT)

John gives perspective that connects with my heart. He reminds everyone that the central character in any story is Jesus. He reminds me that Jesus is the Messiah, the very Son of God. He reminds me of why Jesus came in the first place. I feel like these two short verses wrap up the story of Jesus, according to John, with a ribbon and bow.

I read the Word of God daily because I believe in God. I want to know more of Him. I want His character to settle inside my heart. I have also read the Word of God when I was struggling with my faith and what I believe.  As I walk out my faith, the word “continue” is critical. I’m building on my simple, child-like faith that is “all grown up”, but still growing. There are situations in my journey that can only be explained to me as the Lord’s hand being involved.

My life plan is to continue to believe for the rest of my life span! I plan to daily talk and walk with the Lord. I want my work and my words to continue to give honor and glory to God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Small & Great

Big black pawn surronnded by four little chess kings isolaged on white backgroundIn our culture, we don’t always connect great with small. I do like that computer storage that once took a warehouse is now the size of a pack of gum (almost)! Sometime great things come in small packages. I must confess that if given a choice of a large mystery package or a small mystery package, I usually choose the bigger one.

The scene is taking place in heaven. John is still blown away by what he is seeing and hearing. Nevertheless, he is writing it down and doing his best to describe all that is happening. Trumpets blowing, people worshipping God – he has quite a challenge. He quotes the 24 elders as they bow in worship. Check this out…

15 The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying,

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign forever and ever.

16 The twenty-four elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell facedown and worshiped God, 17 saying,

We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty,
who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
but your wrath has come.
The time has come
for the dead to be judged
and to give the reward
to your servants the prophets,
to the saints, and to those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and the time has come to destroy
those who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:15-18 CSB)

I love those three little words: small and great. I feel like I fit into that “small” category for sure. I’ve been a follower of the Lord since I was in 3rd grade. I needed lots of grace and mercy along the way – but the Lord is famous for that.  I’m still walking out my faith each day and I don’t need to be noticed by others. I don’t need accolades or “pats on the back”. I am striving for a reward that is unseen and way bigger than notoriety here on earth. I want to be known as someone who “fears the name of the Lord” – a profound respect for the Lord. I seek Him and worship Him daily. I walk with Him and talk with Him daily. I want to live today with my eye on eternity. The way I live my life for Him will outlast any other thing I can do. I want to be known as a man who sought the heart of God each day. It’s only because of the grace He has poured out on me during the journey that helped bring me to his place. #thankful

I believe that on that day there will be some great prophets, teachers & preachers bowing before the Lord in worship and I get to be part of that – Wow! I get to worship alongside some heroes of mine – Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, King David, Jeremiah, Peter, Martin Luther King, Jr., Zig Ziglar, Billy Graham and many more. They are great in my eyes and I’m small – but just to be there! #humbled

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Contend & Defend

Public DefenderI’m not sure I’d made a good litigation attorney. You must be “quick on your feet” to defend your position. I’ve learned that I need to lean into discernment and clear thinking before responding in certain situations. I have been a Christ follower for a long time and I’ve not been challenged about my faith. I’ve not had my faith questioned. I believe my faith is mostly subjective and personal. There is another side of my faith that is very objective and public. I believe in God. I believe in His Son Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus came and lived a life without sin among us and after 33 years, He was crucified for the sins of all mankind – including me and whoever reads these words.

I believe Jude to be a half-brother of Jesus. I’m confident that he didn’t believe in Jesus right away because he grew up with Him. He obviously changed his view on Jesus after seeing the miracles and listening to His teaching. I love this little one chapter book in the New Testament because He calls it like he sees it. Check this out…

20 But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life. 22 Have mercy on those who waver; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; have mercy on others but with fear, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

24 Now to him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory, without blemish and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:20-25 CSB)

I want my life to show that I contend for the faith.

I want my life to show that I defend my faith.

I believe in God The Father

I believe in Jesus Christ.

I believe in the Holy Spirit.

And He’s given us new life!

I believe in the crucifixion!

I believe that He conquered death!

I believe in the resurrection!

And He’s comin’ back again! (*”We Believe” by The Newsboys)

I will contend for my faith and defend my faith until the Lord calls me home.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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

Simple Blog History

 

Man praying with the Bible
This Picture captures how I want to approach God’s Word – humbly listening, seeking, reading.

I looked back on the history of this blog that I mostly call “my journey” that is housed here at www.dhicksonline.com. I began posting this blog/journal around 2009. I didn’t post things I had written right away. I started journaling about what I read in the Bible each morning. It really helped me to remember what He said throughout the day.  I don’t always understand the prompting of God’s Spirit, but I’ve learned to listen and tune in. I felt like He told me to share what He was saying to me with others.

This morning as I came across this chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinth church, he describes how I often feel in my blog.  Check this out…

1When I came to you, brothers and sisters, announcing the mystery of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 CSB)

I do not consider myself a theologian or a deep thinker – I’m just a grown man (55 and counting) seeking to know God more fully each day that I live.

I do not consider myself a prolific writer – I simply put down here in digital form what God is saying to me each chapter I read. (I’m super thankful for “spell check” and Microsoft Word!)

I know me. I know my thoughts. I know my words. I know my actions – I am profoundly grateful for grace. I am humbled that the Lord continues to forgive my stupidity and recklessness. I am so thankful that Jesus came to earth to become the Ultimate and Final sacrifice needed for all sin – including mine. I pray that any words I write from my journey introduces others to Jesus. I can’t imagine navigating the struggles and suffering that come along in this life if I didn’t have Him with me.

My daily journey begins with a quick shower, fresh (often freshly ground) Columbia coffee. I just started reading through a relatively new translation of the Bible called Christian Standard Bible (CSB) I began to really love the Word of God again many years ago by reading “The Message” by Eugene Peterson – it is the Bible in today’s language. I still love hearing how he states certain passages. After I’m awake, I ask the Lord to speak to my through His Word and I read one chapter and simple let Him speak – some would call it meditation. It’s not super complicated. I highlight/underline anything in that chapter that speaks to me. I then write a few words about how that spoke to me. There are a few themes that occur in my journey: Grace, Love, Mercy, Presence, Power, Prayer….I could go on and on, but some of these reoccur.

I’m thankful that my blog has encouraged and even inspired others when they read. I’m a bit concerned that some use this as their spiritual devotion with the Lord – I hope He’s tugging on your heart to know Him more. I promise that this is not super hard or complicated. The Lord longs to meet with me and all His children. He loves fellowship with His kids much like I love connecting with my kids daily.  I believe the thing that changed my perspective and has drawn my heart to the Lord’s heart, is making this a daily practice. I am determined to follow the Lord with my whole heart. I don’t check email or anything before I listen to Him speak. If you are still reading this installment of my blog – I wish for you to know the Lord and hear Him speak. He has given me great clarity for my life journey.

If you have no idea where to start, pick up a copy of The Message and ready the Gospel of John and notice Jesus. I also love reading the Psalms in The Message too. I’m so thankful that I’m loved by God and that He and I talk regularly. I try to listen way more than I talk to Him. Please discover Him for yourself – let Him say what He wishes into your heart. I wish everyone who ever reads or stumble across my little blog sees Jesus. I want them to know the joy of knowing Him and living for Him above all else.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

God Is Faithful

Man Hand writing Living a Thankful Life with black marker on visI have learned about this word faithful over the years. It is a good word that describes some good people. It’s also a strong word that describes The Lord Himself. This word carries with its definition the following words: true to one’s word, promises, vows, steady in allegiance or affection, loyal, constant, reliable, trusted and believing. I am thankful to have had some heroes of the faith who were very faithful in their journey with the Lord. These “spiritual mentors” displayed loyalty and trust in the Lord. They weren’t perfect, but they were consistent in getting up from failure and returning to their pursuit of His heart.

Ethan, the Ezrahite penned a great psalm chronicling the journey of the people of Israel. He speaks very clearly about the faithfulness of God. Check this out..

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
    through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
    that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,
    and by your favor you exalt our horn.
18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel. (Psalm 89:1-2; 14-18 NIV)

If there is one attribute that I know about the Lord – He is faithful. He has NEVER left me or ignored me. He is ALWAYS there for me. I wish I could find the words to describe the faithfulness of God – that really articulates and describes how consistent and faithful He is.  I have been on a journey with the Lord since I was in 3rd grade. I’ve been unfaithful to Him many times. I’ve ignored Him even when serving in ministry. I’ve lived through seasons of life serving from my own skills and abilities – ignoring the Power and Presence that God could bring. He was there. He never left me even in those times.  His Patience and His Pursuit of my heart blow me away. I’m so thankful for His faithfulness to me despite my rebellion and unfaithfulness to Him. This passage of scripture reminded me of all that the Lord brings to my relationship with Him – All I can bring is a humble and contrite heart. I am nothing without Him. He is the ONLY reason my relationship with Him works.

Pressing On!

Dwayne