When Does This End?

 

Retro typewriter text the endI’ve watched movies before where I’m checking my watch to see when this dreadful experience will be over. I’ve been to church before and had the same experience – we are on a schedule and we must choose wisely where we spend the most valuable currency we have…our time. I just returned from vacation – several days by the lake enjoying the sunsets over the water. I am back in my more normal routines today.

As I read this passage in 1 Corinthians this morning, Paul was talking about how this all ends. He explained that this life is not the only life we live for or we are pitiful. He speaks frankly on the importance of eternal life and the significance of what Jesus did by His death on the cross. This life will end – but we have hope that the end of this life is not the end of it all – there’s more! Check this out…

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith.

20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:12-14,20-22,56-58 CSB)

I still have work to do while I’m here on earth. I must be consistent and faithful in my pursuit of God’s heart not so that I can be saved, but because I am saved. I want to know Him more. I want to live in the hope that there’s so much more.

I heard a guy recently say that “none of us makes it out of this life alive (unless the Lord comes back)”, so we need to start living larger than just our plans and our simple existence. The end of this life comes for all of us at some point in time, but because of Jesus did come to earth, He did live a sinless life, He did die a sacrificial death on the cross, He did come back to life on the third day to conquer death once and for all. There is no need to fear. There is certainly ample reason for hope. I want to live my life for Him to the end of this life and the transition to my new life will be seamless!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Forgiven – Again

Beauty girl cryI’ve lost count how many times I’ve asked forgiveness for my sin. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve asked for some specific, reoccurring sin. I’m embarrassed to talk about my failures, which are many, before the Lord. I’m so thankful that He forgives & forgets. I’m so thankful that He forgives completely.

I was reminded last week that I didn’t deserve being forgiven the first time, let alone the many times after the first. The Lord has unbelievable patience with me as I try to figure this “walk in righteousness” thing out.

Paul gets really direct to the church at Corinth as they evidently needed to deal with some sin as a church and then he gets direct with personal sin. Check this out…

Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males,10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 CSB)

I’ve always read the “big sins” when I read this passage. I have missed the “greedy people” and the “verbally abusive people”. The Lord wants the entire population of this earth to know Him. He wants to save everyone, but He won’t. He’s extended His grace so many times over. He brought salvation to us – He didn’t just get us to measure up. He asked us to surrender to His way, His designed life for us.  It is pride that keeps me from Him. It’s pride that keeps me from surrender. If I could grasp just a little bit of His amazing love – I would find surrender a great option. He has way better plans for my future than I can even imagine.

I’m so thankful for the forgiveness of the Lord through His Son Jesus.

Forgiven

By Crowder

I’m the one who held the nail
It was cold between my fingertips
I’ve hidden in the garden
I’ve denied You with my very lips

God, I fall down to my knees
with a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t done
I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t seen
Just the thought of Your amazing grace
And I cry ”Jesus, forgive me!”

God, I fall down to my knees
with a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

I could’ve been six feet under
I could’ve been lost forever
Yeah I should be in that fire
But now there’s fire inside of me
Here I am a dead man walking
No grave gonna hold God’s people
All the weight of all our evil
Lifted away forever free
Who could believe, who could believe?

Forgiven! Forgiven!
You love me even when I don’t deserve it
Forgiven! I’m Forgiven!
Jesus Your blood makes me innocent
So I will say goodbye to every sin
I am forgiven!

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

#forgiven #sothankful

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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