When

timer with the words Time is Running OutThis is one of those words in the English language that is often used as an adverb, conjunction, pronoun and noun. I use the word a lot with a question mark to determine time or estimated time of arrival (ETA) with my kids. When they are coming for a visit, I like to know when they will arrive. I’m always anticipating seeing them and giving them a hug. I also have as many of my activities as possible on my calendar so that I won’t forget to meet someone, do something or be somewhere as promised.  I still enjoy spontaneous, unplanned events. I enjoy them a lot on a day off or a time of vacation. This word, WHEN, is part of the family of inquisitive words: Who, What, When, & How. These all mostly have a question mark behind them.

Jesus started telling His disciples about how things were going to end before He comes back. He gave them some detail about “how” things would go down. He did not give them the “when”. Check this out….

40 “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left.41 Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

42 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. (Matthew 24:40-44 NLT)

It’s not for me to know “WHEN” – the message for me is to be ready. I must keep my heart prepared and my gaze set on heaven. While I’m here on earth, I have much to do. I must keep one eye on today and the other on eternity. I believe that this life is a stepping stone into eternity. I should live fully and abundantly while I’m here because I have the Presence of God in my heart. I must keep in mind that this life here is NOT all there is. I was at the funeral home last evening as a Mom stood beside the casket of her thirty-eight-year-old daughter who had died of cancer. She didn’t know when. None of us know when. I am living and breathing at the moment, but I could die before today’s end. I realize that this is somewhat morbid, but I am quite comfortable talking about. I’m ready when He’s ready. I have made eternal preparations because I believe God’s Word is true. I don’t know “When”, but there are no “ifs” about it. I must be ready at all times – in any season of life. This world is not my home – heaven is.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Net Worth

Whats Your Net Worth Question Total Wealth Value AccountingI remember a time several years ago when I was planning to borrow money for a business venture. I sat down with the lender and he gave me an extensive loan application. The application was used to determine my net worth including any assets and liabilities that I had financially. The lender was a personal friend, but he also needed to assess the financial facts from me to determine whether or not the bank would back me financially. I was pretty new to the business world at the time and really learned lots about my financial picture by going through this process.  I watched a lot of good people suffer profound financial loss through the recession that started around 2007.  I remember lots of conversations with the Lord about how to navigate such a financially difficult time.

I learned during financial duress, just how blessed I am as a husband, dad, son and friend to others. No matter how much a struggle or how much suffering I encountered, I could find someone who was suffering deeper and harder than me. I believe so much of my life is about maintaining perspective. I’m living for someone and something way more valuable than the wealthiest person on earth. Check this out….

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 NLT)

When the Lord looks at my net worth, He doesn’t look at the financial picture. He looks at my heart. He looks at the fruit of my life. He looks at my actions because they reveal my heart. I can fake people out about my faith, but I can’t fake the Lord out. He knows the deepest crevasses of my heart. He wants me to surrender all of me to Him. He wants my life to be subject to Him leading me. God’s economy is quite different than the US economy. When I give and give up – I have huge gains. When I surrender and give up my life, my value increases exponentially in eternal net worth.  I do watch my financial picture and I look at things a lot differently since struggling through the recession. I am a huge fan of Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I see my financial resources as belonging to the Lord – I am a manager of all that I have. It’s all His. I want to be wise with the all that I have been blessed with. I want to be a wise manager of His resources. At the end of my life, I will not be worried about taking anything gained here on the earth with me, but I want my family and friends to know about investing in eternity. I want others to know that this life is not all there is. This life is preparation for eternity and I’m building an eternal net worth that is way more valuable than anything I could do or attain here on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

God’s Perspective

For God so loved the world... God holding world with crossI have a perspective that is somewhat unique to others. My perspective is based on a lot of factors. For example, my perspective about where I live is different from someone who has never lived anywhere else. I was “born and raised” in Kentucky. I lived in Tennessee for 6 years after graduation from High School. I moved to Carroll County, Georgia in February 1986. I’ve been here ever since. I love where I live, but I see it differently than people who have never lived anywhere but here. I also think it’s cool to talk to people who moved here from the US west coast or up in the north-eastern US. They have a totally different perspective on living in Georgia.  I can’t help but look at things through my view, because it is from my experience. My experiences are the window to my world view.

As I journey through the Word of God, I’m constantly reminded of God’s perspective on my little life. I often think that my life is really about me, but the longer I live, I realize that He has much bigger plans for my life than I have.  I don’t always understand why things happen in my life, but I believe that the Lord is the Creator of my life and my world. He will give me direction and He imparts wisdom to me.  If I stop and review things from His perspective, they look a lot different. Jesus had just had a conversation with His disciples asking them who do people say He is. They said that He was the Messiah. Then He told them what was coming next.  Check this out…

31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead.32 As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.

33 Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s. (Mark 8:31-33 NLT)

It takes work to see things from God’s perspective. When I look back at the victories and the struggles of my life from His perspective, I can now see how He was building me. In the middle of the struggles or success, I don’t always see that. Recently, I’ve been convicted that I should see everything that I do as bringing glory to God. Even if something bad happens – all glory to God. Even when my kid has to fight cancer, God can be glorified. Even if my kid falls from a tree and is flown to a Trauma 1 center – God can be glorified. Even if my brother-in-law is diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and has to fight that horrible cancer of the bone marrow – God can be glorified. There is more to this life than my comfort and happiness when I rise above my life and see things from God’s perspective. His goal for my life is preparation for eternity. I believe He wants my life here to be full and abundant, but not all encompassing.

I want God’s perspective on the little things that happen in my life along the way as well as the big events. I want every facet of my life to bring glory to Him. He owns it all, I’m simply managing on His behalf.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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

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

Faith & Love

Colorful typographic motivational poster to raise faith in yourself and your strength. The series of business concepts on a textured background of an old love. VectorOn the outside the situation is often much different than it appears. I’ve seen people smile during great pain and struggle. I’ve seen others love in the face of hatred. I’m learning that things are not always as they seem. Some of the nicest people can turn on a dime and be extremely hateful and rude. Love cuts a wide swath through life. Love can disarm anger and soften hatred. Love is a decision not just a feeling. I must choose to respond to hatred and rudeness in love. I will tell you that this is much easier said than done. Love is much more than emotion, although it is intertwined with my emotions.

Paul in his second letter to the church at Thessalonica starts off with praise for the growth of their faith and love. Faith and love are a powerful tandem force for growth. Check this out…

We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing. (2 Thessalonians 1:3 CSB)

I take my faith and love seriously. I believe that these are two character traits are a direct reflection to my relationship with the Lord. Faith and Love are like muscles – they develop with use. Without exercising faith and love they will atrophy.  Because of my faith in God is growing, my love for others is expanding. I’m learning to love as He loves and this is challenging. He loves people who are hard to love. He loves people who hate. He loves people who are self-centered. He loves all people and He can separate their sinful behavior from their soul. It takes great faith for me to see beyond the interaction and behavior that I experience to see under the surface. The Lord sees all of that

Faith and love are powerful tools in helping me become more like the Lord. I’m learning to trust Him without exception and to love without boundaries because of His love for me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne