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

Looking Back

Beautiful young woman smiling and looking behindI am a huge proponent of looking forward. I blogged a while back about how important it is to notice the size of the windshield versus the rear-view mirror. That blog is called The Rear View Perspective. I can learn a lot about where I am today by reflecting a bit on where I’ve been. I get into trouble if I live in the past rather than simply glance back at my journey. I have some good times with the Lord in my past and I’ve also had some very rocky times when I was ignoring Him and resisting His love.  I’ve since learned the stupidity of running from the Lord or ignoring Him. I really identified with Asaph’s writing as he reflecting on some of his past and how he was going to move forward. Check this out…

11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

13 Your ways, God, are holy.
    What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. (Psalm 77:11-15 NIV)

I heard the phrase “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. I read it connected to Winston Churchill, but it is attributed to George Santayana. This is a catchy phrase, but not always true. I have learned from my past sins and mistakes and I still repeat them. I get so frustrated with myself when I stumble at the same spot. I will also say that it really inspires me when I look back at my life and see the hand of God all over me. He was with me when I was a kid in High School. He was with me through my college years. He was with me in my early days of youth ministry. He was with me through a hard divorce. He was with me through being fired. He was with me through the transition to real estate sales and service. He was with me when my kind fought and beat cancer. He was with me when my youngest kid fell from a tree and survived. He has never left me – not once. He is not a “fair weather friend”. He is a loyal friend that knows me like no one else. He is faithful, consistent, constant and kind. I need to be reminded of my past journey with the Lord as these memories can illuminate my path today and going forward.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Level Headed

 

IMG_0049I like being around people who are steady, balanced and sprinkle in some spontaneity. Level headed people are usually a bit older and wiser than most. I’ve met people who are old who are still immature and make stupid choices. I’ve met young people who were wise beyond their years. I believe that walking in the truth of God’s Word can make me wise and level-headed beyond my years.

David often writes Psalms that cry out to God during his fear or suffering. He writes in such a way that I often identify with him. I appreciate his perspective quite often. Check this out…

1 Vindicate me, Lord,

    for I have led a blameless life;

I have trusted in the Lord

    and have not faltered.

2 Test me, Lord, and try me,

    examine my heart and my mind;

3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love

    and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

12 My feet stand on level ground;

    in the great congregation I will praise the Lord. (Psalm 26:1-3,12 NIV)

The Lord helps me stand on level ground.

The Lord helps me to be level headed.

The Lord gives me wisdom beyond my years.

I am no longer paralyzed by fear and worry. Whatever comes my way, I will walk through with the Lord to lead me. This allows me to live balanced and level-headed.

I’ve been singing in my head this morning a song that was introduced at church – No Longer Slaves.

I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God

You split the sea

So I could walk right through it

You drowned my fears in perfect love

You rescued me

And I will stand and sing

I am a child of God

(Jonathan the & Melissa Healer)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Integrity Test

Always Time to Do What's Right Saying Clock QuoteThere is a line that seems to get crossed often when it suits certain people’s whims or wishes. There is always a line that separates right and wrong; good and bad. I’ve seen people do some really crazy things to protect themselves and their possessions. They seem to be willing to make a deal with just about anyone for any reason to protect themselves at all costs – even it flies in the face of honest and honorable behavior.

Integrity by definition is: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Another way of saying this is a quote credited to the late Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the US Senate who said: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I will confess to failure many times when it comes to standing upon my faith in the Lord. His Word has integrity. His actions have integrity. His love has never given up on me.

This meeting that the Lord had with some of His angels and Satan was there was pretty interesting. Job had evidently passed the first test when all he had was taken from him. The second test is going to be way different a fight for his own life. Check this out…

3 Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.’

4 ‘Skin for skin!’ Satan replied. ‘A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.’

6 The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

9 His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’

10 He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’

In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:3-10 NIV)

Integrity is a must for all great leaders. Their word needs to mean something. They can’t let their belief system simply blow whichever way the wind is blowing. I believe integrity to be an important part of the moral code of a person. Integrity says that what I say and what I do are in complete harmony. There are times that what I say and what I believe are in conflict because my mouth starts moving before my heart and mind are engaged. Jesus clearly says that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks and there are times my heart needs a good cleaning. I think integrity starts with my heart. I want my heart to be completely devoted to the Lord and His call upon my life. I want the words of my mouth and all my actions to come from deep within my heart that is sold out to Him. I want to live honorably from that place of deep integrity. I can already see why Job is held in high esteem – his patient endurance of suffering has set a really high benchmark for sure. He is the epitome of integrity in the midst of great suffering and pain. He passed the integrity test with “flying colors”!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Consistent Respect

RespectI grew up being taught good manners. My parents taught me to say “Please” & “Thank You”. They also taught me say Ma’am & Sir when replying to someone with respect. I remember being taught to bow my head and close my eyes when praying. (I must confess that I checked to see if they were actually doing this as well J – they were.) I can probably make quite a long list of “respect responses” that I was taught growing up. I almost forgot to mention that my Dad also taught me how to be a gentleman – to open the door for ladies.

I remember being taught further in Sunday School and youth group functions about respecting God. I learned to respect His Word and the people who taught His Word. I actually put them on a “pedestal” and really shouldn’t have. I do remember standing up when reading the Word of God publically.

When the people of Judah were finally finished with the rebuilding of the wall and the Temple, they assembled on the first day of the 7th Month. They asked Ezra, the scribe to read from the Law of Moses. He obliged and I can feel the respect and reverence that these people were feeling. Check this out…

5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!’ Then they bowed down and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. (Nehemiah 8:5-6; 8 NIV)

I believe that my respect for the Lord should be consistent. I don’t think it should matter where I am or what I’m doing – my respect for Him, His Word, His Word and His call upon my life should be steady and consistent.

I want to be keenly aware of Him speaking to me through His Word.

I want to be keenly aware of Him speaking to me through another person.

I want my respect toward others to come from a profound respect for God Who created all of us. I want to worship God from a place of profound gratitude and respect. I want this to happen without giving much thought – in other words, I want to be consistent in respecting Him and others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steadfast

FOCUSEvery now and then I come across a word while reading The Word that we don’t use much today, but we probably should. I looked up this word “Steadfast” on dictionary.com and really liked all the definitions.

Steadfast:

  1. fixed in direction; steadily directed: a steadfast gaze.
  2. firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment, etc., as a person: a steadfast friend.
  3. unwavering, as resolution, faith, adherence, etc.

4. firmly established, as an institution or a state of affairs.

5. firmly fixed in place or position.

(www.dictionary.com)

This is one of those old words that we should start using again. This one little verse jumped out at me as I read a brief description of Jotham. He was 25 when he became king and he reined for 16 years. Check this out…

6 Jotham grew powerful because he walked steadfastly before the Lord his God. (2 Chronicles 27:6 NIV)

The most common synonym that I think of when I think of steadfast is “faithful”. The word steadfast has a really sense of focus that is really strong. There are areas of my life where I want to be extremely focused, faithful and steadfast. My walk with the Lord is woven throughout each of these areas/categories.

Personal Focus – my family take priority over everything else and everyone else. I am always available and accessible to my family.

Ministry Focus – my church family is very important part of my accountability structure and my faith journey. I enjoy serving the Lord by serving others.

Work Focus – my real estate family are very dear to my heart. We are there for each other to help serve our customers/clients real estate needs at the highest professional level.

Whatever is on my agenda today, it can never trump my priorities. I want to be steadfast and faithful in these three areas of my life. I’m a pretty simple man who wants to follow the Lord steadfast and focused and honor Him by serving others.

My personal mission statement: “It is my mission to serve others with the highest professional care and skill while upholding the highest of ethical and moral standards. My highest goal is to honor God in all I do and that includes serving you.”

Pressing On!

Dwayne