Blessing & Prosperity

Gratitude Word CloudThese two words fit together like a hand and a glove.  I like both words. Blessing on one hand, is a gift or favor from God. Prosperity is a successful, thriving condition – especially regarding finances (dictionary.com). I have never been one who promotes a “prosperity gospel” – meaning if you follow the Lord, you will be wealthy and all will be well with you. I believe that if I follow the Lord fully that troubles and trials will still come. They will often come with a vengeance because the enemy doesn’t like my allegiance to the Lord.

The Psalmist speaks a bit about the prosperity and blessing from God. Check this out…

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
    who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
    blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    round your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
    for the man who fears the Lord. (Psalm 128:1-4 NIV)

I do believe that God honors those who fear Him. I believe He will make our paths straight when we trust in Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6) I don’t believe that the Lord will remove the hardships and times of struggle just because I follow Him. He has walked with me through hardship and struggle and because of His Presence, my perspective is changed significantly.

I am blessed because of The Lord’s Presence in me. I am thankful and I’m praying daily for a grateful heart to Him for His blessing. I’m not naïve that there will not be tough times. I believe that I have help from Him and that changes everything. I know where my hope lies. I know that this life is not the end game. I know that He loves me. I am blessed with an amazing family and I walk in respect and reverence before the Lord. I am blessed with a job that serves others and compensates me well for my service. I am blessed and I certainly want to be a blessing to others. I want others to know the “peace that passes all understanding” that I’ve found in my walk with Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

It’s Not About Me

 

Life changesI must admit that I like it when people compliment me and talk about what a great person I am. I do get embarrassed and I’m not sure how to reply, but a part of me does like that. I’ve learned over the last several years that if I am anything of value, it comes from the Lord. If I am kind, it’s the Lord. Any gift or talent that I possess comes from the Lord. If I do receive compliments, they should be directed to the Lord. He’s the Source of everything that makes me good at anything. I’m now operating with eternal currency and that money is always spent on others and never on myself.

Not to us, Lord, not to us
    but to your name be the glory,
    because of your love and faithfulness.

Our God is in heaven;
    he does whatever pleases him.

11 You who fear him, trust in the Lord—
    he is their help and shield.

13 he will bless those who fear the Lord—
    small and great alike.

14 May the Lord cause you to flourish,
    both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 115:1,3,11,13-15 NIV)

I serve at the call of the King of Kings.

My life is all about His Kingdom and not my own.

The activities of my life should reflect my commitment to Him and my trust in Him.

Without Him, I am nothing. With Him, I have everything! This is not any kind of secret – He’s been calling me to this for years – It’s simply clearer now than ever before. My life- my work- all that makes up “me” belong to Him!

My Heart Is Yours

I give You my life I give You my trust Jesus

You are my God You are enough Jesus

I give You my life I give You my trust Jesus

You are my God You are enough Jesus  

 

My heart is Yours My heart is Yours

Take it all Take it all My life in Your hands

 

I lay down my life I take up my cross Jesus

For You are my God Whatever the cost Jesus

My heart is Yours My heart is Yours

Take it all Take it all My life in Your hands

 

All to Jesus I surrender All to You I freely give

I will ever love and trust You

In Your presence I will live

Lord All to Jesus I surrender All to You I freely give

Oh I will ever love and trust You In Your presence I will live

 

My heart is Yours My heart is Yours

Take it all Take it all My life in Your hands (by Kristian Stanfill)

_____________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Priceless

 

Hand giving moneyThere are things that have immeasurable value to me. I can’t put a monetary value on everything I have. I know that most of the things I own have some level of value. I can determine the value of my automobiles or my house. Most of my material possessions if not all can have a monetary value. When I look at relationships, I see that most if not all are priceless. I have some relationship that pull negatively on me but most my relationships by far are investing in me. I can’t begin to calculate the value of deep relationships to me.

David often reflects on his relationship with God. He seems to understand what God brings to the relationship versus what he brings. Check this out…

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast in the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light. (Psalm 36:5-9 NIV)

I can’t begin to put a monetary value on the love of God. His love changes not only my life after this life – His love changes my life now to the end here on earth. As I reflect on the Presence of God in my life, I can’t quite wrap my head around what that means to me. I find myself worshipping God from a heart of deep gratitude when I take a moment to reflect on the value of His love to me.  One of my favorite Third Day songs was based on this Psalm – Your Love Oh Lord.

Your love, oh Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice flows like the ocean’s tide

I will life my voice
To worship You, my King
I will find my strength
In the shadow on Your wings

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Outcome

 

tug of warI am a bit different than those who live around me when it comes to sports. I live in the deep south where college football is the main topic of conversation pretty much year ‘round. I grew up in Kentucky and basketball was king. I grew up bleeding blue – Kentucky Wildcat blue. We talked basketball all year long. I’ve not lived in Kentucky for 37 years, but I still love college basketball – specifically UK Basketball. I used to go so upset if the Wildcats were losing, I could hardly enjoy the game. I ONLY enjoyed the game if they were winning!  If I know the outcome of the game prior to watching it, there is not nearly as much anxiety or thrill.

The Psalms of David often give perspective on God and His Power. He reminds us that while it may seem like the wicked win – the Lord will prevail in the end. Check this out…

16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;

    the nations will perish from his land.

17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;

    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

    so that mere earthly mortals

    will never again strike terror. (Psalm 10:16-18 NIV)

One of the reasons I follow the Lord is because of things that He’s already done in my life over the years. It validates His Word over and over because of His Presence and His Power shown in my life – even in some very dark times. He has never left me or forsaken me, even though I’ve not won all the battles that I’ve faced. I still have my eyes on winning the war. That is the outcome I’m most concerned about.

I’ve seen people who are suffering at the hands of others, but they know that this life is not all there is. They living for a life that we can’t yet see, but we’re promised eternal life in His Word. When I go through trials and struggles and I can’t see how this can turn out good, I must surrender all I have and all I am to the Lord so He can help me make sense of this and make it through the struggle.  The Lord knows the outcome of what I’m going through now and what I’ll go through in the future – He will lead me no matter what.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Finish Strong

happy and motivated old people 3dI think it happened sometime when I was around 42 or 43 years of age. I began to realize that I was probably around “halfway home” – that’s if I lived to be 85 years of age. My Dad turned 80 this year and if that’s any indication of how long I could live, I consider myself a blessed man – I plan to be ready to cross that finish line whenever the Lord plans for me to cross.  I feel like my role for now is to be committed to His Will and His Way. I want my life here and now to bring honor and glory to God until He calls me home.

Today I finished the last chapter of the book of Job. The entire book included significantly more lamenting and scolding than anything. After reading the beginning conversation between God and Satan – this book finished strong. Job realized that his perspective of God had been skewed by his suffering and pain. He repented of this before God. God asked Job to pray for his three friends. He did. Check this out…

10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 

16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years. (Job 42:10,16-17 NIV

I’m not sure how long Job suffered but his suffering didn’t last a lifetime for sure. I believe that much of my life here on earth is about perspective. Creator God didn’t create me only for this life. He created me for eternity. I believe that God created me to live here abundantly with His Spirit inside me so that as I move into eternity I will be in His Presence forever. He wired me for both life here and life there.

If I was half-way home at 43, then at 55 I’m getting close to being two thirds finished. I do realize that I could “go home” with the help of earthly tragedy or a debilitating disease. Any way it is sliced, I don’t leave earth alive unless the Lord returns to take all His children home. I don’t know when He’s coming or when I’m going – but I can be faithful and finish strong. I can love deeply like He does. I can be forgiving like He is. I can use the rest of my time here on earth to honor Him and build His Kingdom here to serve generations behind me. I must confess that I’d like to live a good long life as my children bring much joy to my heart and those grand babies are just grand! Whatever His plan for me – I want to finish strong.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Temporary & Eternal

 

john-3-16The older I get, the more I ponder how much longer do I have on this earth. I’m not trying to be negative or morbid, I just want to make my days count and not just count my days. I see people who are attacked with cancer or heart disease and the number of their days here on earth shrinks incredibly. I’m not trying to scare anyone including myself. I’m a bit of a realistic person and while I don’t feel bad, I realize that my life could end quickly in an accident as well. This life is a vapor according to the book of James…

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14 NIV)

As I read Job’s response to his “friends”, it dawned on me that Job is speaking in the here and now. He is not really looking forward to eternity. I guess if I didn’t have hope of eternal life after this life, it would be easy to get discouraged when suffering comes. Check this out…

3 Bear with me while I speak,

    and after I have spoken, mock on.

7 Why do the wicked live on,

    growing old and increasing in power?

8 They see their children established around them,

    their offspring before their eyes.

13 They spend their years in prosperity

    and go down to the grave in peace.[a]

14 Yet they say to God, “Leave us alone!

    We have no desire to know your ways.

15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?

    What would we gain by praying to him?” (Job 21:3,7-8,13-15 NIV)

I don’t think I ever realized before that Job didn’t have insight into the offer of eternal life. It appears that he understood this life on earth to be all that there is. I would have a totally different view of my life today, if I felt that this is all there is. I would hope that I would be somewhat health conscious. I would look at funerals way differently too. I have believed in heaven and hell my whole life. I didn’t discover until the past few years, the value of the abundant life here on earth and how it folds right into eternal life with the Lord.

When I know Him, my life here looks way different.

When I know Him, my future in eternity looks ways different.

When I know Him, my today has hope and a promise all it’s own.

I can’t imagine pushing through the suffering that I’ve been through or that is possibly yet to come without Him. His Presence in my life now gives me perspective and insight that I need to keep moving. Today is another investment into the abundant life that leads to eternal life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne