Impress

 

Wow Surprised Word Astonished SurprisingJust about everyone I meet makes some sort of impression upon me. Some impressions are positive and some are negative. I must also realize that I’m actually making some sort of impression upon them – either positive or negative. Some folks are always trying to impress others by how much they know or how important they are. Others seek to impress by what they wear or how they carry themselves.

A friend of mine used to describe some of the prideful, arrogant as “impressed by themselves”. He also said, “if you could buy them for what they are worth and sell them for what they “think” their worth, you could retire tomorrow.”

I know that I should be trying to impress the Lord with a heart that seeks His heart. I believe if my heart is right, my actions follow from there.

Jesus was speaking to many people about Who He was and what He was trying to do while He was here on earth. And there was a sad statement in the narrative that I think is still happening today. Check this out….

42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43 NLT)

I must admit that I do like human praise. I like it when people compliment me on something I’ve accomplished. It is very dangerous to lean into those accolades and compliments. I must stay grounded in Who I belong to. I must remember that without the Lord, I’m nothing. I can’t get pride-filled and arrogant. I must remember where my hope is.

Some people even today desire human status rather than eternal hope. I’ve seen young people “chunk their faith” to be liked and accepted by college friends or co-workers. I think that I’m often so “short sighted” when I try to make an impression on one person at the expense of another. I should be simply trying to impress the Lord with a humble and hope-filled heart. I should seek to love like He loves. I should care way more about what He thinks of me, how I look and how I carry myself, rather than what others think.

I heard a great line yesterday that said: “I’m not trying to impress you with my story, I’m trying to impress upon you the joy in the journey”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Be Encouraged

 

ApplauseI have often been the recipient of encouragement. Encouragement inspires me. Encouragement motivates me. Encouragement gives me great confidence.  I believe encouragement has help build me into who I am today. Encouragement is a simple concept that has profound effects for years to come. When I reflect on the encouragement that has been given to me over the years and the effect it’s had on me, I can’t help but become an encourager to others.

The Hebrew writer speaks to this word as well. We must encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. There are times it’s obvious that a person is getting to a bad place, but other times, the deceitful heart is masked by good deeds and kind words. I must pay careful attention to my heart as I live out my faith. Check this out…

12 Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. 14 For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. (Hebrews 3:12-14 CSB)

I believe encouragement must be honest. It can’t be shallow and empty. Encouragement can call someone out of sin. Encouragement can help prevent someone from surrendering to sin. I also believe that I must encourage often. Giving away genuine encouragement also blesses my heart because my attention is taken off me. If I’m not very careful, I can make everything in my life revolve around me – that’s very dangerous and very self-centered. Encouragement is about the other person and it’s a huge gift that I can give with both words and action.

When I started journaling about my journey in the Word several years ago, it started coming alive to me. I would find myself recalling what I had read throughout the day. At some point, I felt called (nudged) by the Lord to share my thoughts publically. When He tells me to stop, I’ll do that too. I have been encouraged by being an encourager. I want my life to be about Him and not about me. I want the actions and activities of my life to point to Him and Who He is, instead of me. I want to make Him famous – not become famous myself.

If I could offer one word of encouragement to anyone who desires to know Him it would be – please find time in your busy life to read His Word and talk to Him about it. He longs for relationship with His kids. I remember hearing a phrase that I think came from Mother Teresa many years ago: “If you’re too busy to pray, you are simply too busy.” I’m adding to that, if I’m too busy to read, meditate and pray over His Word then I’m too busy. I believe studying the Word of God builds eternal thoughts and dreams. I’m taking out of my self-centered world and I start seeing the world as The Lord sees it. Encouragement from the Word of God has changed every part of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Let’s Go!

 

Action Word on Red Round Button Be ProactiveIf I can get started, I’m halfway toward completing my goal. Sometimes the hardest part of a daunting task is the start. I heard a great podcast featuring Mel Robbins where she talked about her book called: “The 5 Second Rule – Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage”. Mel’s point is that none of us “feel” like doing the hard things, she challenges us to count down from 5 and get to it. I’m sure that I’d love to stay in bed a bit longer each day, but I’d miss starting my day with the Lord in His Word in the quietness of the morning.  I am learning to decide and then get moving.

The Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica is wrapping up the letter and he turns into the biblical coach saying it’s “go time”! Check this out…

14 And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t stifle the Spirit. 20 Don’t despise prophecies, 21 but test all things. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 CSB)

There is a lot of challenge in these few verses. It’s easy to sit and watch rather than stand up and get moving toward the goal. I believe that my faith in God is not passive – sit around and do nothing. I believe that the Lord calls me to action and activity regarding my faith. I love the simple challenges from this passage:

Warn lazy people

Encourage the discouraged

Help weak people

Be patient

Don’t retaliate

Be Joyful always

Pray constantly

Be thankful always

Let the Spirit of God be free in me

Be prudent in who and what you listen too

Keep what is good

Avoid evil

I am blown away by these challenges in this small passage. I’m tired already! I believe my journey with the Lord is a marathon not a sprint. I’m trying to build in to my life habits and attitudes that build upon my faith in the Lord. I am not the fastest, the smartest or the deepest person of faith, but I want to know the Lord more today than yesterday. I want His Presence in me to shape my language, my activities and my influence upon my family, friends, co-workers and colleagues. I feel like this list is “action items” for my “Christian agenda” and I need to get moving. I’m doing these things BECAUSE I’m saved, NOT in order to be saved!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Be Encouraged

 

Series of hand gesturesI like the word encouragement. It has that important word “courage” right in the center of it. The word “encourage” means to inspire a spirit of confidence and courage in another. I believe encourage carries hope with it a well. I love people who encourage me and inspire me. I find encouragement in friendship. I find encouragement in corporate worship at church as well as the messages from our Pastor. I find encouragement from my family and they continue to grow as adults. Encouragement can be found all over the place. I must be careful because the nemesis of encouragement is discouragement and he doesn’t give up easily. When I’m discouraged, I see everything differently. I can sink into despair. This can happen easily when being criticized and complained about. This negative force can take the wind out of my soul. I must guard against discouragement by digging deep inside my heart and knowing who I am and Whose I am.  I must return to the roots of my character and disciplines. Check this out…

I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. (Colossians 2:2-3;6-7 CSB)

There are lots of “Negative Nellies & Nelsons” in life who put others down trying to make themselves seem big. Be clearly aware of their presence and their tactics. There are also “Positive Petes & Paulas” all around. I want to lean into the positives and learn from the negatives, but I want to be encouraged and live a life of encouragement. I want to grow in my positive outlook on life.

I think the key to encouragement for me is found in the last part of verse 7:

-rooted in Him

– built up in Him

– established in the faith

– return to what I was taught

– overflowing with gratitude

I have been praying that the Lord continue to help me grow in gratitude. A grateful heart pushes out the hateful heart. A grateful heart grows from gratitude while an ungrateful heart wallows in misery. A grateful heart also pushes out fear and worry and welcomes faith and trust inside.

I’m encouraged by the Word of God. I’m encouraged by the Lord as I walk with Him each day. I need to seek Him all day every day!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Rebuke

Teenage girl in trouble with parentsThis word carries with it “stern disapproval or reprimand”. I know what it’s like to be rebuked. I grew up getting rebuked occasionally as my parents helped shape my character. I have also rebuked my children at times growing up. It is not fun when I’m the recipient of rebuke, nor is it fun to be the giver of rebuke. When I stop, and think about it, I only rebuke because I care about the person or subject I’m speaking about. I don’t use rebuke to tear down another, but to build something inside them.

I have been rebuked by The Lord. He has “set me straight” more than once in my life and I’m very open to Him keeping me in line with Him and His Word.  Asaph penned a song that included this very subject. Check this out…

At your rebuke, God of Jacob,
    both horse and chariot lie still.

It is you alone who are to be feared.
    Who can stand before you when you are angry?
From heaven you pronounced judgment,
    and the land feared and was quiet—
when you, God, rose up to judge,
    to save all the afflicted of the land. (Psalm 76:6-9 NIV)

I think it’s extremely important to have a healthy respect and reverence for the Lord. He is Creator of all the earth. He is in charge of His Creation and everything I can see or know. He is even patient with some His hard-headed kids like me.  I’m so thankful for His patience and His grace. I don’t deserve to be His kid but because of His Son Jesus, I get to be a child of His. I can’t stop speaking about all that the Lord has done for me. He has forgiven me and He has restored my soul many times. He has given me opportunity to speak on His behalf and to lead others to Him.  As I read this passage in Psalms this morning, I was reminded of a passage that a young preacher was challenged with from the apostle Paul. Check this out…

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2 NIV)

I love this challenge that Paul gives the young man Timothy. He is to lift up the Word. The Word of God most definitely corrects, rebukes and encourages. The Word is also a great resource of careful instruction. I want the Word to speak into my life today and everyday as I pursue the Heart of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Speak Up – Speak Out

Child speaking out loudI think that these two actions are very similar. To “speak up” is to be heard on a particular subject or certainly give input to the idea. On the other hand, “speak out” implies taking on the cause and giving voice to an idea and letting the world know about it. “Speaking up” is a bit less aggressive than “speaking out”.

There are many people in our culture who need people to “speak up” and “speak out” on their behalf. Check this out….

8 “Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

    Speak up for the rights of all those who are poor.
9 Speak up and judge fairly.

    Speak up for the rights of those who are poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV)

 

I want to speak up & out for the unborn child.

I want to speak up & out for young child being abused.

I want to speak up & out for woman being abused by her husband.

I want to speak up & out for elderly person who is “put away” by their family.

I want to speak up & out for the poor.

I want to speak up & out for the homeless.

I want to speak up & out for hurting.

 

I want to be bold enough to speak up and speak out on subjects that are tough and need resolutions. I want to be bold enough to “speak into” another person who has lost direction.

I want the words that I “speak up”, “speak out” and “speak into” to be from a heart devoted to the Lord.

 

Pressing On!
Dwayne