Judgement

JusticeI used to be pretty freaked out by court rooms. I enjoyed television shows that involved the court system. I watched Perry Mason when I was young and again when I was older. I moved to Matlock and then finally to Law & Order. Our justice system has its problems for sure, but for the most part, it takes care of the offender and brings justice to the victims. The checks and balances in our justice system are designed to make sure the right person pays for the crime they committed.

As I was reading in Revelation this morning, the whole chapter I was in was the personification of Babylon as a woman who was destructive. John was excellent in his writing because after a few verses I was visualizing a vile woman versus the city of Babylon. Her judgement is complete and she will be completely destroyed. Check this out…

21 Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,

In this way, Babylon the great city
will be thrown down violently
and never be found again.
22 The sound of harpists, musicians,
flutists, and trumpeters
will never be heard in you again;
no craftsman of any trade
will ever be found in you again;
the sound of a mill
will never be heard in you again;
23 the light of a lamp
will never shine in you again;
and the voice of a groom and bride
will never be heard in you again.
All this will happen
because your merchants
were the nobility of the earth,
because all the nations were deceived
by your sorcery.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets and saints,
and of all those slaughtered on the earth. (Revelation 18:21-24 CSB)

It appears that Babylon was given many chances to change and “she” refused. The city was destructive and decadent. There was no respect for the Lord or the rule of law.

I believe that the Lord is a God of Grace, but also a God of Justice. We can’t continue to live sinful and destructive lives and expect eternal life. When the Lord won my heart, I became committed to obedience and honoring His call upon my life. I want my life to bring honor and glory to Him. If I’m serving myself, I’m not serving Him. I must repent often of seeking my own way and ignoring His gentle instruction, counsel and directives. I have no worries about judgement if I seek that course of action daily.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Enemy

 

devil angelI have tried hard over the years to avoid making enemies. I’m not a doormat that others can walk upon. I also don’t intentionally harm others. I have opened my mouth and stuck my foot in more times than I can count and hurt myself and others. I’ve always thought it was a mistake to make enemies versus friends. I may have significant disagreements with you, but there doesn’t have to be hatred involved. I do have an enemy and I try hard to avoid any association with him because he seeks my destruction. He employs whomever he can in his schemes and plans. The enemy has no power over me except what I give him. The Lord is the King of my heart and He squashes the enemy like a bug.

John, in writing about what he sees and hears, sees war break out in heaven. The angels throw satan down to earth. He longs to destroy the people of God. He wants to bring destruction to the church. He can bring temptations that are incredibly beautiful and appealing, but full of poison and death. Even though he has some power, I am full of God’s Spirit and the Power in me is much greater than the enemy. After the enemy was thrown from heaven, John heard a a loud voice. Check this out…

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say,

The salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Christ
have now come,
because the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them
before our God day and night,
has been thrown down.
11 They conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
for they did not love their lives
to the point of death. (Revelation 12:10-11CSB)

The enemy makes lots of promises that he can’t keep. His promises are full of lies and deceit. He promises life when he’s full of death. He knows what his end looks like, so he longs to take as many as he can from the Kingdom of God. He will say and do whatever he can to accomplish that.  I must keep seeking the truth in God’s Word so that I can recognize the schemes of the enemy. He will be defeated in the end. I just don’t want to be among those he’s caught.

I want to follow the Lord closely each day and discover deep truth from His Word to insulate me against the enemy and his attempts to take me out. I look forward to eternal life more than this brief vapor of life here on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Time Table

 

Organize Agenda Planner Reminder Calendar To Do ConceptI still learning the value of time. This is a precious commodity of our existence. We all have the same number of minutes and hours in a day, but we have no idea how long we have on this earth before our “time” is up. I work from a calendar every day of my life. If I’m going to connect with a friend for coffee or lunch, I must first check my calendar (aka schedule) to make sure I’m not scheduled to be somewhere else. It is simply my attempt to manage my time while showing proper respect to others for their time. If someone gives me their time, they are giving me a special gift and I should be wise in managing that.

I sometimes wonder how my life will end. I have another birthday celebration on the horizon and I do think about aging, sickness and even death. I can’t really control much of my time table. I can work at eating healthy and exercising, but in the end, I still have little control over the length of my life. Peter reminds us that the Lord’s timetable exercises great patience over His return. Check this out…

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 CSB)

I don’t know if I’ll be alive when it happens, but I believe that Jesus will return to take His people out of this world prior to its destruction. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience in punishment. I’ve deserved punishment many times, but the Lord’s Grace is exhibited in patience. He gave me the time I needed to “come to my senses” and repent of my stupidity and rebelliousness. I do believe the Lord’s Grace is immeasurable, unrealistic and ridiculous. Since I’m a recipient of His Grace, I’m profoundly grateful that it is all those things.

As I get older, I find that I can be more patient with myself and with others. I don’t have to have everything exactly on my time table. I’m learning that not everyone works at the same speed or is even cable of working the same pace. I’m thankful that the Lord’s timetable comes out of His Grace and Mercy instead of His justice & punishment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Beginning Of The End

 

senior cool man proud conceptThere are people who are so full of themselves that they can’t seem to notice anything but themselves. They see all of the world in light of what can be done for them rather than noticing how they can help others. I do believe that there is a self-centered “nature” in all of us. I think the enemy installed that “nature” and our culture reinforces it daily. I will naturally choose the best cupcake on a tray of cupcakes instead of thinking someone else might like that one. I often think that I deserve something that is a bit better than everyone else. This is pride in a very simple and pure form. The proverb writer noted that: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV)

The closest advisor to King Xerxes was a man named Haman. He was most definitely full of himself. He couldn’t stand Mordecai, the uncle of the queen (but he didn’t know about that relationship) because Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to him and show him “proper respect”. Some people are given some power and it goes straight to their head. Haman is about to go to the king to ask about killing Mordecai when the tables were turned quickly and Haman ended up humiliated. I don’t think the king knew the first thing about it either. Check this out…

When Haman entered, the king asked him, ‘What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?’

Now Haman thought to himself, ‘Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?’ So he answered the king, ‘For the man the king delights to honor, let them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”’

10 ‘Go at once,’ the king commanded Haman. ‘Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.’ (Esther 6:6-10 NIV)

The king couldn’t sleep during the night and was reading some from the daily journals of the happenings in his world. I believe that the reason he couldn’t sleep is the work of the Holy Spirit. The king had forgotten to honor Mordecai for exposing the assassination plot from months before.  God was orchestrating some things behind the scenes because of the fasting (and prayers) of his people who had received a death sentence from Haman’s prideful leadership.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again. I believe that pride is the most basic sin that all other sin is built upon. I want what I want WHEN I want it. This sinful nature is really hard to move out. I’m convinced that without the help of the Lord, I can’t destroy this pride. I need His help dismantling the strong hold that pride has on my heart. I need to consistently humble myself before the Lord so that His Power can be noticed in me and not my own strength. Haman’s pride is the beginning of the end for him. If I’m not careful, it will also be the end of me. Pride is self-promoting but also self-destructive. It must be destroyed before it destroys me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Humble Or Humbled

work hard stay humbleI’m not sure when I first learned humility. I’m pretty sure I learned it as a kid, but then I’ve had to keep re-learning this concept. Humility is a theme throughout the Word of God. I must constantly remember my role in my relationship with God but also in my relationship with others. Humility is not a gift, it’s a skill to be learned and consistently practiced. I think it was Solomon who said: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV) Later in the book of James who wrote: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10 NIV)

The king of Judah was now Ahaz who become king at age 25. He didn’t follow in the footsteps of King David. He was not humble. He was full of pride and arrogance. He really ended up with a big mess on his hands as a result of his poor choices. Check this out…

19 The Lord had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord. 20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but gave him trouble instead of help.

22 In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, ‘Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so that they will help me.’ But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel. (2 Chronicles 27:19-20; 22-23 NIV)

I’ve met lots of people who don’t appear to be humble. I’ve also had the privilege to know a ton of people who were genuinely humble. Humility doesn’t mean a person is a doormat. Humility doesn’t mean a person doesn’t speak up or speak out against an injustice. Humility doesn’t mean that a person can’t compete to win.

Humility means it’s not all about me.

Humility means that I’m NOTHING without the Lord.

If I am anything or anyone, it’s because of what the Lord has done inside me heart. He gets all the credit and glory for who I am and all that I stand for.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Destruction & Devastation

quarreled couple in their living roomI have seen the destruction that a storm can bring to trees, homes and buildings of all shapes and sizes. I’ve also seen the destruction of relationships from the storms of life. I’ve seen decisions made between two people that leave a path of destruction where the ramifications are felt for several generations to follow. Marriage relationships are very complex and often very challenging, but marriage can bring such joy and beauty into our lives. The Lord wired us for relationship!

David stepped way outside the boundaries of his relationships. Even though he more than one wife, he saw another man’s wife and wanted her too. David was probably innocently walking around on the roof of his palace when he saw Bathsheba bathing. As the king, he could get what he wanted, when he wanted it. He had her brought to the palace and he slept with her. He sends her home and she discovers she’s pregnant. He sends for Uriah, her husband, and brings him home from the war hoping he’ll go home and sleep with his wife and help David cover-up his sin. Uriah had such integrity & devotion to his king, his commander and his country that he would not go home. David goes even further to try to cover up his sin. Check this out…

14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, ‘Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so that he will be struck down and die.’

16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord. (2 Samuel 11:14-17; 26-27 NIV)

Adultery – Conspiracy – Murder. This sounds a lot like some TV show drama. Unfortunately it was Kind David. He is in a really dark place of sin. He seems captive to his own wants and wishes no matter the expense to himself or anyone else. Sin can blind us to reality of our responsibility. As I think about David’s behavior, I can’t imagine how people who knew of this drama felt about the situation. I’m very confident that the rest of David’s family knew. His staff knew and yet he thinks know one knows.

I think it’s pretty common practice to underestimate the devastation of my sinful choices. I am thankful for the Lord’s protection over me for some stupid situations that I’ve been in that could have been devastating. I want to have a healthy fear and respect for the enemy who is constantly seeking to destroy me. Sin separates me from the Lord. I really need the help of His Spirit to keep my guard way up at all times.

Pressing On!

Dwayne