Simple Faith

 

faith messageI have grown in my faith over the years. I remember trusting the Lord when I was a kid. I was baptized when I was in third grade. I grew up in a family full of faith. My parents and grandparents followed the Lord. Going to church was not optional for our family. We were very involved. I remember “pushing the envelope” and trying some things that were against our family rules. I learned later that my parents knew more about this than they acknowledged. When I went away to college and had freedom from my parent’s rules and regulations, I had some decisions to make. I can still remember where I was sitting on the evening when my faith became my own. I was watching a passion play at Johnson Bible College and I saw Jesus being punished for the sins of the world. I remember renewing my faith in God at that moment. I believed in God on my own. I had lived off my parent’s & grandparent’s faith up to that point.

Hebrews 11 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible as the writer pulls the old testament characters into the context of the new covenant. These men and women brought much inspiration to millions over the years and their faith was simple and thorough. The writer speaks about this simple faith and its significance to my journey with the Lord. Check this out…

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.For by it our ancestors won God’s approval.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:1-3,6 CSB)

I believe faith is simple, but not necessarily easy. Faith is easy to talk about and even write about, but harder to live out. I believe that my faith is much like a muscle, the more I use it, the stronger it gets. Over the years of my life, I’ve leaned into my faith because I didn’t see any other options. I’m not in charge of the weather, the economy or even others. I do know the One Who is charge of EVERYTHING and I trust Him. He has walked with me through some dark valleys. He has protected me in some major storms of life. My faith grew profoundly during some of the darkest days of my life.

My simple faith reminded me of “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I want my simple faith to impress the Lord. I want to grow in my faith today as I live out what I say I believe. James reminded me that my faith without works is dead. (James 2:26) I want to work and live because I’m saved, not so that I can be saved by my works. I trust that the Lord created the earth and is preparing a place for those who trust in Him. I want to spend the rest of my days discovering more of Who God is and walking in simple faith before Him.

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

Big Family

IMG_4701It’s interesting to research the family tree. Here in the Deep South we have despairing jokes about how some peoples family tree don’t fork. It’s interesting to trace my roots back for several generations. I grew up in Kentucky with deep roots there on my mother’s side. My Dad’s family was from North Carolina. I remember as a kid visiting our relatives in Boone, NC. It was memorable to see where my Dad’s family grew up and did life. At family reunions in Kentucky, we used to get together and all the aunts, uncles and cousins would show up to my grand parents. They were the patriarchs of our family. My mom and dad both came from big families.

As I read this morning in 1 Chronicles, I came across the family tree of David, who later became King of Israel. He was from the tribe of Judah and his dad was 7 generations down from Judah. Check this out….

13 Jesse was the father of

Eliab his firstborn; the second son was Abinadab, the third Shimea, 14 the fourth Nethanel, the fifth Raddai, 15 the sixth Ozem and the seventh David. 16 Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah’s three sons were Abishai, Joab and Asahel. 17 Abigail was the mother of Amasa, whose father was Jether the Ishmaelite. (1 Chronicles 2:13-17 NIV)

David was the seventh (youngest) son of Jesse, yet he became the greatest because of his walk with God. He figured out just how uncomplicated following the Lord is. He sang songs to God while watching the sheep. He trusted in the Lord when he faced an animal that threatened the sheep under his care. David evidently learned at a young age the importance of trusting God. He grew from obscurity to significance because the Lord was with him.

I’m good with being the son of a Kentucky man with North Carolina roots who follows the Lord. I learned about the Lord at a young age, but it took a minute for me to trust Him completely. I want my life to be significant and have a positive impact on others. I don’t have to become a king or president. I simply need to live a life of significance from where I am and the Lord will work through me to accomplish His significant plans.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Legacy of Obedience

 

legacy word in vintage wood typeI feel like I’m well over halfway of my life lived. In fact it’s a bit sobering to have known so many people that I grew up with and went to school & church with who have already passed on from this life. I can’t help but reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’ve had seasons of rebellion. I have had seasons of hard-hearted and “going through the motions” kind of faith. I have had incredible and powerful spiritual revival in my soul. I have disobeyed God, I’ve embarrassed Him by wearing His name and doing some of the stupid things I’ve done. At the end of my life, I want the majority of my existence to have been a life of humble obedience to His and His call upon my life.

I’m impressed with Noah and his deep faith – it saved his life and the life of his family. Without Noah and his sons, God would have indeed started the human race over from scratch. Noah and his sons were told to “be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” (Genesis 9:7 NIV) Check this out…

1 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood. (Genesis 10:1,32 NIV)

I pray often for my children to grow into humble obedience to the Lord. I want them to seek the Lords heart with passionate perseverance. I want them to have children who continue the pursuit.

I would love to look back one day on my life and see mostly obedience. I would love to see my children and their children humbly following after the Lord. That would be the strongest legacy I could hope for.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Example

Helping OthersI remember seeing the example of others for years. In my childhood years I watched my parents. I saw how they handled adversity or struggle. I saw their faith in the Lord. As I grew older I saw the example of my grandmother – “Mammie”. She was a strong woman but very humble. He had deep faith in the Lord and I learned a lot from her example. I also watched people over the years who set a bad example of faith lived out. The Lord is asking Ezekiel to be an example to the people. He’s hopeful that they will ask questions and learn. Check this out…

1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 ‘Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.

3 ‘Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious people. (Ezekiel 12:1-3 NIV)

 

I remember when I first believed in the Lord apart from anyone else’s faith or example. I remember that evening like it was yesterday. I was deeply moved in my heart and at that moment my faith became my own. I am supposed to now be an example to others. The Lord has called me to Himself. He wants me to be a light to expel the darkness in others. He wants my life to be an example of my faith to others. I’m so thankful for His Patience as I figured all of that out. I believe the Lord wants all of His kids to live out their faith and be an example of how to live in the midst of struggle, adversity or times of plenty.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Deep Waters

Scuba divers, coral and fish in the Red Sea.I’ve enjoyed being around water whether it’s the ocean, a lake or a pool. There is something about water that pulls the stress right out of me. I think it’s the waves and the ripples. In the shallow waters, I can touch the bottom and feel a bit anchored. Out in the deep water, there is a lot more going on and I can’t touch, so I have to work a bit to keep my head out of the water. That part can become stressful.

Following the Lord is a lot like being in the water. I can be in the shallow end where I feel in control and safe because I can touch. However, He often calls me out to the deep waters where I’m dependent on Him. He has much to teach me in the deep waters. Check this out…

5 The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,

    but one who has insight draws them out.
6 Many claim to have unfailing love,

    but a faithful person who can find?
7 The righteous lead blameless lives;

    blessed are their children after them. (Proverbs 20:5-7 NIV)

 

The depths of my heart are like deep waters. They may look calm on the surface, but there are problems underneath. The deep waters tell the truth about what is going on in my heart and the Lord knows all about it.

I want the Lord to take on the deep waters of my heart and do some great work there. I want to uninhibited by His Presence in the deep waters of my heart. I want to go to the deep waters where He does some great work in me. The shallow end is safe, but almost silly after having been in deep waters. There’s way more freedom and fun in the deep end. There’s more space to explore and room to move.  I want the Lord to search the depths of my heart and clean my heart up and make it presentable before Him.

Pressing On!
Dwayne