Instant Conviction

 

Action Word on Red Round Button Be ProactiveConviction is a very personal word to me. I have some deep convictions about lots of things. I don’t always share the same convictions as others. I do believe that the majority of the people of the world believe that murder is wrong. The scriptures speak against murder for sure. There are other convictions based on opinion and interpretation of scripture. I may have convictions that others don’t have. Some of my convictions of “thou shalt not” that I was taught as a kid, I can’t find support of in scripture. “Convictions are my beliefs set in concrete.”

The Pharisees and teachers of the law had some deep convictions. They had taken the Law of Moses and added their opinion and interpretation to it. Jesus spent much of His ministry dismantling some of their convictions and teachings.  Jesus changed people who came into His Presence. One man he met was a known sinner and he started changing before it appears that Jesus even said a word. Check this out…

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:1-10 NLT)

Being in the Presence of Jesus changed this man and years of behavior was changed. Zacchaeus was convicted of his previous actions/business model. Tax Collectors worked for the Roman government and they got paid to collect taxes that were due. Any taxes over that amount, they would keep. They got rich pretty quick in that role. Zacchaeus was changed quickly and gave away ½ of his wealth and offered restitution to all he had cheated. I imagine when people saw this man’s changed life, they couldn’t argue about the Power of Jesus Presence.

I want to make sure that I live my life in His Presence. I want my convictions to be based on His Word and His call upon my life. I don’t necessarily want to follow rules that add to scripture like the Pharisees did. I want my heart to be profoundly devoted to Him and live out my faith daily. I want people to notice that my life is different and how I work is different. I want my life to display what I believe about the Lord.

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

Convinced

Discussing the truthThere are times when I simply don’t believe what I just saw. When I see a magic trick and I don’t know how the person pulled it off – I’m still convinced that he/she simply tricked me. I think this word convinced is a “1st cousin” to the word conviction. When I’m convinced about a truth it is usually related to a conviction.

Paul writes a second letter to the church at Corinth and he realized that he probably ticked some of them off or hurt their feelings with his first letter. His second letter, he doesn’t really “sugar coat” things but he does own the fact that he might have hurt them with his previous letter. Check this out…

For even if I grieved you with my letter, I don’t regret it. And if I regretted it—since I saw that the letter grieved you, yet only for a while— I now rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:8-10 CSB)

I’m not really “preachy” with my conversations. I have found that discussion and dialogue produce more long-term results than one-sided rants from the Word. That is just not my style. I am convinced that the Lord will do what He needs to do to get my attention. He will allow some crazy stuff to come my way. He will allow suffering in my life because it drives me to my knees before Him.  I don’t believe that the Lord causes the suffering but I do believe He could protect me from it (and often does), but He never wastes a moment of my suffering. He uses that to build and develop my God-honoring character that produces a repentant and moldable heart for Him.

I’m convinced that the Lord loves me more than I know how to love my kids. He showers me with grace and mercy that I don’t deserve. He is so patient with me as I keep working on my walk with Him. He is relentless in His pursuit of my heart. I have suffered and grieved in this life, and I always ended up crying out before Him seeking His help and His direction through the suffering and struggle.

I’m convinced that suffering, grief and struggle are tools meant to destroy me but end of building me and making me stronger.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Prosperity

Hand giving moneyWhen I think of this word, I often think of wealth along with it. I imagine financial success for sure. I enjoy learning from people who are prosperous and successful. I think I learned a lot of lessons about prosperity during the “great recession”. It’s a bit comical when I hear economist say the time frame of 2007-2009 and for me it felt like 2007-2011! :-) In my line of work and in my local economic area, it took a while to pull out of that tailspin that we were in.

I came across this word prosperity in the book of Job this morning. One of his “friends”, Eliphaz is chastising him and has some advice to give Job in the midst of his suffering. Eliphaz is a speaking directly into Job and calling him out on some situations of his past. I don’t know if he is embellishing them, or if they are factual. He gets to this one spot in his lecture and it made me think a bit more. Check this out…

21 ‘Submit to God and be at peace with him;

    in this way prosperity will come to you.

22 Accept instruction from his mouth

    and lay up his words in your heart. (Job 22:21-22 NIV)

I’ve heard pastors teach a “prosperity gospel” and I have strong convictions about that. I don’t believe if I follow the Lord fully, I’ll become wealthy in financial terms. I do believe that the Lord has blessed my business because I’ve asked Him to. I also want to honor Him and His call upon my business. I also think prosperity can be more than financial. I think prosperity can mean blessing and contentment. I’ve seen people who are prosperous who are completely miserable. I’ve seen prosperous people try to buy their health. I’ve seen prosperous people whose family is estranged because their values were more about prosperity than peace. Prosperity is not a bad word, but I think it’s a misunderstood word. I believe prosperity means balance in blessing as well as giving. I feel prosperous when I give. I also think giving can bring much peace.

This passage in Job is really wise counsel for me today.

I want to be at peace with God – personal terms with Him.

I want to accept instruction from Him – simple obedience.

I want to lay up His words inside my heart – build my convictions.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Hard Head – Hard Heart

Human heart anatomy from a healthy bodyI’ve been called “hard headed” before by my parents, my wife and others who know me. I do feel like I’m a reasonable person for the most part. If I feel strongly that my position on a certain subject is correct, I have been known to “dig in” and defend my position. I think the word stubborn is related to hard headed. This word means, “dogged determination not to change ones attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments to do so”. I’ve met people who thrive on being hard headed. I don’t think I fit that definition of “hard headed”, but I do have strong convictions and I’m not afraid to stand for something I believe in. I don’t want to be hard headed for the sake of being hard headed.

The Lord was speaking through the prophet Ezekiel to His people. He gave Ezekiel a heads up that they were being hard headed. Check this out…

4 He then said to me: ‘Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel – 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8 But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9 I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.’ (Ezekiel 3:4-9 NIV)

 

I’ve always been told to use my head to guard my heart. There are times when I a hard head will make my heart hard. To me that is an all-together different issue. I want my heart to shapeable and moldable by the Lord. If my heart gets hard then He can’t do His work in me. I really believe that I should be in pursuit of God’s heart with my heart. I also believe that as I pursue the Lord with my whole heart that my head will not be obstinate and stubborn, but obedient and strong. I want to let my heart direct my head. I want to live my life out of a heart devoted to the Lord completely. I believe His Word cultivates my heart and helps growth to take place. I want to have a soft heart and teachable spirit that the Lord can use daily.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Know What I Know

"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”

I’ve often said that I want to be a life-long learner. I want to be learning each day of my life. I want to keep growing, stretching and learning. There are lots of things that I know that are my convictions. I believe that God is the Creator and Source of everything I see and know. He also provided a way for me to be saved through Jesus Christ, His One and Only Son.  He listens to my prayers. He speaks through His Word. He is patient and loving with me and teaches me the way to walk and live. I know what I know about Him but I keep discovering more of Him. Check out what David said about Him…..

Now this I know:

    the Lord gives victory to his anointed.

He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary

    with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,

    but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!

    Answer us when we call! (Psalm 20:6-9 NIV)

 

It is easy to get distracted by the amazing tools that I have at my disposal. I can easily put my trust in temporary things when I loose perspective. I can also worship and honor created things rather than the One Who created all things.  I want to grow in my trust of Him and my understanding of His Will and His Way for me.

Pressing On!
Dwayne