Death

 

death Grunge TextI am not a fan of death. I recently experienced the death of a dear aunt and then two weeks later, her son died. Death is so permanent relative to my life here and now. In relationship to eternity, it more like a new chapter. I see eternity as “the long game” or “the big picture”. While death is the end of this life, it moves us squarely into eternity. The way I understand scripture, this life determines the destination in eternity.

This morning I read about the death of Jesus from John’s perspective. John was probably the closest of the 12 disciples to Jesus. He was standing at the foot of the cross when Jesus breathed His last. The death of Jesus “felt like” the end, but it certainly wasn’t. Jesus came to earth to fulfill His mission to conquer sin and death. His death on the cross accomplished both. He died for the sins of the world. His death was made even more significant because of how He lived, His teaching and His ministry here on earth. He was the promised Messiah and many missed that. Check this out…

25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:25-30 NLT)

I’ve read the other accounts of Jesus’ death and they are a bit more dramatic. John’s version is pretty simple. I think John’s is feeling a lot of the weight of the earthly family of Jesus. His death was very public and at this point probably pretty humiliating. It’s hard to have the perspective that He is the Savior of the World during this dark afternoon.

I honestly dread death. I’ve been trying to prepare myself for that eventual “ending” to my life here on earth. I decided years ago that my best response to death was to connect with the Creator of Life and live inside His Plan for my life. He has given me opportunity to invest in others. I am blessed with 5 amazing kids who also desire to know the Lord deeply and understand His plan for their lives. I also know that my life here can “live on” through my relationships and my “investments” into eternal things rather than just temporary things. Not one human being on the planet can escape death, so I’m taking the route of planning for it and leaning into it. I want my life and influence to count for years to come through my investment into my children; their children and anyone who will listen. The Word of God is true and He gives a clear plan for “retirement” from this life – total trust in Jesus. I’m putting my hope in Him!

All My Hope Is In Jesus – Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inheritance

 

Bag with inheritanceI have 5 amazing kids and my family has expanded with two my sons marrying great ladies and now they have children of their own. I find myself reflecting on my journey as I look at the kids. I often see myself in something they do or the way they say something. It seems like a life-time ago since they were babies. I will sometimes have conversations with my parents or my wife’s parents and they reflect similarly – they remember us being small sometimes like it was yesterday.

I started reading the book of Hebrews this morning and this book starts out declaring the importance of Jesus, the Son of God. The Hebrew writer is a mystery, although he writes like Paul. The content is strong as he describes Jesus. Check this out…

In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So he became superior to the angels, just as the name he inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:2-4 CSB)

I love it when someone is blessed by something one of my kids has done. I love it when they say I favor. I tell everyone that my youngest son Luke looks the most like me! (In case you didn’t know, he’s my Nicaragua son!) I want my kids to grow up being honorable, honest adults who serve the Lord.

The older I get, the more I start thinking of what sort of inheritance I’m leaving for my children. First, I want to leave an inheritance of faith in Christ. The Lord changed my life when I surrendered my heart to Him many years ago. The Lord changed the way I love my wife, the way I parent my children and the kind of friend I am to others. I believe knowing the Lord has been the most pivotal choice of my entire life. I was young when I made that decision, but it’s been affirmed many times over as I get older. As I read the Word of God, my faith gets deeper and stronger. My inheritance with Him is His Presence forever in heaven. My family receives that incredible inheritance as well because they’ve given their heart to Him as well.

I try not to worry about how this life comes to a close because of the promise of my inheritance. I want to simply trust Him and walk with Him every day that I have ahead.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Trust The Lord

 

Trust with blue markerThere are people whom I trust without question. There are others whom I have trusted before, but they have broken my trust with their choices. I realize that we are all human beings with faults and failures. I have learned that there is not a person on this planet as faithful as The Lord. I can take what He says and live by it and absolutely count on it. He has never failed me or let me down and I don’t believe He ever will.

King David penned a beautiful Psalm that declares the faithfulness of God and I was reminded of why I trust the Lord. Check this out…

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them –
    he remains faithful forever. (Psalm 146:1-6 NIV)

This Psalm reminded me of a song that we used to sing in church over the years called “Those Who Trust”. It was simple song with a simple message. (I loved the blues type grove!)

Those who trust in the Lord
Are a strong mountain
They will not, not be moved

Those who trust in the Lord
Are as Mount Zion
They will not, not be moved

Christ the King, He sets my feet
On a firm foundation
They will not, not be moved

Though the world moves like mad
You alone are faithful
Jesus, You, You will not be changed

I want to follow the Lord today and every day. I want to put my trust completely in Him to direct my steps and help me navigate any challenge that comes my way. He is never late. He is never surprised by my circumstances. He can be trusted completely without exception.

I want to be known as a man who trusts the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Renown

Worship to GodThis is not a word that I use every day, but it carries with it some level of respect, accomplishment and fame. The dictionary uses word like “widespread & high refute as well as fame to define the word. I have grown up thinking that the Lord is renown and worthy of my worship, respect and obedience. It is important for me to give Him the honor and respect due Him. He is Creator and He also saved me from my self-destructive journey.  I want to make Him famous and renown on the earth.

This passage in Psalms was written by an afflicted man. His perspective is powerful. Check this out…

12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever;
    your renown endures through all generations. (Psalm 102:12 NIV)

When I think of God being “renown”, I think of His Presence and His Power. He doesn’t depend on me for His renown, yet I can certainly make Him known to others. I can talk all day about what He has done in my life over the years. His Presence and His Power has absolutely changed my perspective and my destination many times over. I’m sometime so “hell bent” on doing things my own way and He is so patient as I figure out that His Way is ALWAYS best. My life can be a wreck, but He is still renown. He never stops being renown. He is famous for being Creator, but I know Him best as Sustainer. He helps me navigate through difficult circumstances. He gives me wisdom and discernment that only He can give. His “renown is profound” to me for sure.

I’m thankful that the Creator of the Universe – the renown God, wants to know me and wants me to know Him more. This blesses me and humbles me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

The Famous One

Credit Is Due

 

Worship to GodI think it’s always a good practice to give credit to people who done the work and overcome the obstacles in their path. I’ve never been a fan of someone who takes the credit for something that they didn’t do. It takes humility to acknowledge the great work and accomplishment of someone else and give them the credit that is due them.

Michael Phelps did swim that fast. He is quick to give credit to those who coached him and trained him – but he put in the time training and did the hard work. His accomplishments are a result of the work he did and the coaching and training he received. I think it’s valuable to be quick to give credit where its due to others.

King David penned a Psalm that gives credit to The Lord for Who He is and all that He’s doing. Check this out…

1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,

    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name;

    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;

    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.

11 The Lord gives strength to his people;

    the Lord blesses his people with peace. (Psalm 29:1-2,10-11 NIV)

I gain great perspective by reading the Psalms. This passage reminded me of the proper perspective that I should have of God. My life is built to bring glory and honor to Him. He is the Creator of my life. He is the Conductor of my life. If I’ve done anything of value to others – it’s for His glory and not my own. I am nothing without Him.

I was reminded of a song that we sometimes sing at church called “Glory To God” by Steve Fee.

Before the world was made, before You spoke it to be

You were the King of kings, yeah You were, yeah You were

And now You’re reigning still, enthroned above all things

Angels and saints cry out, we join them as we sing

 

Glory to God, glory to God

Glory to God, forever

Glory to God, glory to God

Glory to God, forever

 

Creator God, You gave me breath so I could praise

Your great and matchless name, all my days, all my days

So let my whole life be a blazing offering

A life that shouts and sings the greatness of our King

 

Take my life and let it be

All for You and for Your glory

Take my life and let it be yours

 

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Founder

 

steve jobsI’ve met people who were the founder of their own company. They built the company from their living room or garage into a multi-million-dollar company. It is cool to hear their stories of the early days. I read the biography of Steve Jobs of Apple. The stories almost seemed surreal as they kept trying new ideas and then when they felt like they were on to something – it fueled their passion even more. People who start and build something like that are way different the CEO who was hired to change the direction or build the company differently. I’m not implying that the latter won’t work, but there is a different dynamic.

The Psalmist speaks about God as the founder of the earth and all that we have. It dawned on me this am why God is so passionate about His creation. Check this out…

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,

    the world, and all who live in it;

2 for he founded it on the seas

    and established it on the waters.

3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?

    Who may stand in his holy place?

4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,

    who does not trust in an idol

    or swear by a false god.

5 They will receive blessing from the Lord

    and vindication from God their Savior.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,

    who seek your face, God of Jacob. (Psalm 24:1-6 NIV)

The Lord wants His creation to trust Him. He wants us to honor Him with our lives. The Lord is very proud of His kids – I think He has my picture in His wallet!  When I understand just how much He loves me – I want to honor Him with my life. My life is made up of daily choices that honor Him. The Lord loves it when I sing to Him and pray to Him. He examines my heart and when my heart lines up with my life choices and worship then I’m living the way I was built to live. The Founder of the world, loves to walk with me and talk with me. I now look at others and God’s creation from a different perspective.

Pressing On!

Dwayne