Drastic Difference

Be DifferentI’ve met people who are way different than I am. Years ago, I had the privilege to travel to Europe on my way to Zambia, Africa. I was just a young man from Kentucky who had never been on an airplane, much less traveled to other countries. I loved seeing so many different things and engaging with so many different people. I wish I knew then what I know now and I would have learned a lot more on the trip. The people is Brussels were very cool. The people in Zambia were also very sweet people. I have a few photos of me on the trip. My favorite one is with me surrounded by some of people who I had the privilege of teaching about the life of Jesus. I think different is a bit underrated.  Conforming to be like everyone else is way overrated, in my opinion.

Jesus took three of His closest disciples with Him up on a mountain and they were not expecting what they saw. They knew Jesus was different, but what they saw and heard changed them too. Check this out….

1Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.

Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. (Matthew 17:1-6 NLT)

I’m sure the disciples could not believe their eyes what was happening. Then the voice of God on top of all that. I think I would have been a bit frightened too.  I don’t think those three disciples ever forgot what they saw and heard. I believe that they were different for the rest of their lives. Jesus asked them not to talk about it until He had been raised from the dead.

I believe that I am changed when I’m with the Lord. I believe I’m changed when I spend time alone with Him. He has made a drastic difference in my life. He has changed my relationship with my wife, my children, my grandchildren, my friends, my clients who become my friends. I see everyone I meet differently because I’ve been with the Lord and He changed everything about me. I have become so thankful and grateful for His Presence in my life. I have become so thankful and aware of how He wants me to treat others. I am still growing to become more like Him. I want people to notice a drastic difference in me because I’ve been with the Lord. I’ve seen Him and I’ve heard from Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Different Drum Beat

portrait of a little boy playing bongos
Over the years, I’ve met people who are quite a bit different than I am. Some people are different than anyone I know. I have used the phrase that “they march to the beat of a different drum”.  I realize that is a kind way of saying they are weird compared to me and my friends. The thing is, I may have had people say that about me. We are all different than each other, yet we’re all the same. The people in other parts of the world speak different languages and have different customs, yet they still bleed and they need food and rest just like I do.

The Apostle Paul starts really clarifying the difference in a person who walks in the flesh versus a person who walks in the Spirit. This is a game changer in my spiritual journey for sure. Check this out…

16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-18, 24-26 CSB)

Walking by the Spirit is hard to describe. I can point to specific incidents in my life where I felt prompted and nudged to do something, say something or go somewhere that was not my normal choice. The Holy Spirit is very personal, but can be obvious. This battle between my flesh and the Spirit is very real. The battle rages inside me every day. My flesh gets frustrated easily, while the Spirit shows great patience and gives grace by the truck-loads. My flesh is very self-centered, while the Spirit is very self-less, giving and kind.

I want what I want is from my flesh.

I want what He wants is from The Spirit of Christ in me.

I can’t describe the peace and joy I feel in my heart when I live and move by the Spirit. I am here to serve others and their best interest. I really believe that my profession as a REALTOR is to serve others. When I write down all the tasks of my job, the word service is woven throughout those processes and tasks.

The old Dwayne served himself. The spirit-filled Dwayne lives to serve others.

The old Dwayne had a short fuse. The spirit-filled Dwayne is patient. (I still have trouble with this one – and it’s obvious when my flesh takes over.

I could make a very long list of the flesh-led Dwayne versus the spirit-led Dwayne.

As a Christ follower, I should look different than a person who lives by the flesh. I want to keep in step with the Spirit of God. I want to talk when He says talk. I want to walk where He leads. I want to give when He says give. In other words, I want to walk to the beat of a different drum – the Spirit of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Distinct

 

Reputation Words on Box Credible Reliable ProductThis word means “recognizably different in nature from something else of a similar type”. I think the definition could apply to people as well. I believe there is a difference in how people who came from humble beginnings behave as compared to most people who grew up wealthy. I think there is a distinct difference in people who grew up in a home where God was honored and worshipped. We are actually all different in many ways.

The people of Israel are God’s chosen people. My journey through the Word has them being captives and slave labor to the Egyptians. Moses & Aaron are their leaders and they are approaching Pharaoh about letting them go for a retreat in the desert, which is really an escape from the bondage of the Egyptians. The Lord has just started sending plagues upon the land showing that He is serious about getting His people out. He has turned all the water to blood, sent frogs and gnats all over the land of Egypt to show off His Power. He’s about to send another plague, but this one will be a bit different. Check this out…

20 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, “This is what the Lord says: let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them.

22 ‘“But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23 I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.”’

24 And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies. (Exodus 8:20-24 NIV)

I believe that the Lord notices my heart commitment to Him. I believe that the Lord gives honor to those who honor Him. I believe that the Lord watches over me. I don’t think He keeps me from all harm, pain and suffering. In fact, I’ve had my fair share of struggle. I do believe that He provides me help for the journey through pain and suffering. I believe that my life is distinctly different because of His Presence in me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Similar But Different

 

OO9A3249I grew up in a family of 5 kids with Mom & Dad. We all got along with one another for the most part. We were all very different individually then and now. I’m not sure how Mom & Dad did all that they did on such meager income. We farmed together. We worked together. We played together. We sang together. We went to church together. We were all similar but quite different. We all liked to do different things. We each saw things from a different perspective.

Isaac, the son of Abraham married Rebecca and they were childless for quite a while. He prayed earnestly for her to have a child and she became pregnant with twins. From the description of them, it sounds like they looked quite different from one another. Check this out…

24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. 26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Genesis 25:24-28 NIV)

 

I think it’s quite remarkable that two children can come from the same parents and be so very different. I am blessed with five amazing children and they are all quite the same but different. They have all have 4 fingers and a thumb on each hand and 5 toes on each foot. They are very much individuals who are getting to know the Lord in their own way. Some of my kids love music. Some of them love the outdoors. Some of them love candy. Some love chocolate. I love all my children deeply and would never want to play favorites. I’m excited to welcome grand children in to the mix this year. I really want to take the opportunity to thank the Lord for the amazing blessing of being a Dad and investing in my children. It is a great responsibility and one that I take very seriously. I think I know more about God’s heart as a Dad than by any other thing I’ve every done.

 

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Contrast

Basic CMYKI learned early on what this word meant. It means when two things are “strikingly different from one another”. Colors usually offer lots of contrast, especially the primary colors. However, when I’m trying to pick out different shades of green, the contrast is not so obvious as if I’m choosing red over green.

Paul speaks to the Galatia church about the contrast of those who walk in the Spirit versus those who walk in the flesh. Check this out…

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:16-26 NIV)

 

My life as a Christian should have some “contrast” with those who are not believers in God. My lifestyle should reflect the values of the Holy Spirit in me. If there is no contrast in my lifestyle, it might be wise for me to do a check up. The obvious acts of the flesh lead to self-destruction even though they are fun for a season. I wish I could say I’ve never been on that road – but I’m pretty sure everyone has been on the destructive path before. The path to life is quite a contrast to the path of destruction. The journey is way different. The end is way different. I want to finish well by living with the Holy Spirit in me all the days of my life here on earth.

Pressing On!
Dwayne