He Changed Everything

Grace AND TruthI was a young kid when I was baptized. I remember that it was winter time and the creek was too cold so we went to town (Columbia Christian Church) on a Sunday afternoon because our little country church didn’t have a baptistery. I look back on how little I knew about the Lord at that time. I knew He loved me and He wanted me to live for Him. I also felt love for Him and decided I would follow Him. I’ve learned over the years that deciding to follow Jesus is a minute by minute/hourly/daily decision. The Lord wants my heart committed to Him. There is no part of my life that doesn’t fall under His jurisdiction. Check this out…

22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus25 God presented him as an atoning sacrifice in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:22-26 CSB)

There is no one who doesn’t need Jesus. I’m so thankful that He made a way for me to be forgiven. I look at the law and realize that I could never measure up. I couldn’t even measure up to the rules of my parents or the speed limits imposed by our government. I would be lost without Jesus. He changes how I love my wife and children. He changes how I approach my work. He changes how I worship. He changes how I look at people with whom I disagree. He changes how I respond when someone tries to hurt me. I am nothing without Him, but with Him I have EVERYTHING! When He enters my heart, everything looks incredibly different. I see people differently through His eyes. I welcome to take over my heart every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Praise The Lord

 

Worship to GodI’ve been around people who can praise the Lord in any and every circumstance. I remember one person saying it all the time years ago and I thought they were a bit crazy. I have studied and researched in my journey what it means to Praise the Lord. My research and study was not exhaustive but it took a few years for me to get where I am in my understanding. I believe I must make a choice to Praise the Lord always and in all circumstances. I believe He oversees my life. I don’t believe He causes bad things to happen, but I believe He could prevent bad things from happening. I can’t always follow His thought processes when it comes to what He does or doesn’t do. The more I study His Word, the more I trust Him and the more I can praise Him always. Check this out…

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:1-6 NIV)

The Lord’s ways are higher than my ways.

The Lord has never been wrong.

The Lord has never been late.

The Lord has never been early.

The Lord has never been surprised.

I love this song by Crowder called Praise The Lord

I used to shake You like an 8-ball
I used to shoot You like a gun
I used to hold You like a hammer
Try to nail down everyone
I used to keep You in a steeple
Used to bind You in a Book
I used to take You like prescription
Without knowing what I took

(Chorus) But now I just don’t buy it anymore
No, I’ve tried and I’ve tried to know everything for sure
But I find I know less as I come to know You more
You’re not who I thought You were
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord

Your love’s an ocean, not a river
A symphony, not just a song
I don’t think everybody’s right
I think we often get it wrong
I think that when we get to Heaven
We’re gonna laugh when we can see
How hard we try to make it
And how easy it should be (Chorus)

Providence is endless
Mercy is a mystery
And fear is no good reason
To believe in anything (Chorus)

            (Written by Sean McConnell)
I can’t control all that happens to me today, but I can trust the Lord to use whatever happens for His praise and His glory.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Deep Strength

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthI used to work out lifting weights and doing some good cardio, but I’ve slipped tremendously over the last 20+ years. (Please try not to laugh at this confession.) I exchanged one discipline for another and the truth is I need both. I have grown deeper and stronger spiritually over the last several years, but physically I’m weaker (and older) than I’ve ever been.  I enjoy some forms of exercise like bike riding on the Carrollton Greenbelt. I must pay attention to my physical body and cultivate physical strength. The more important strength conditioning comes from my spiritual exercise. I started getting up early many years ago to carve out time that I could spend with the Lord focusing on His Word and His heart. That one decision changed everything about my perspective and game me insights into life that I never had before. The more I study and walk with the Lord, the deeper my love for Him grows. I look back and realize that I spent way too much time in the shallow end of His swimming pool. I want to go deeper every day with Him. The Psalmist was a human being who loved the Lord and walked deeper. Check this out…

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
‘The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done. (Psalm 118:13-17 NIV)

I would rather have deep inner strength than brut physical strength any day. The ideal would be both!  I have had times of suffering in my life where they physical exercise was a great distraction and helped me work out some stress, but it did very little for my spiritual journey. That takes time alone with the Lord in deep study, discernment and conversational prayer. He gives me strength I can’t describe. He gives me insight that is way beyond my education and comprehension. His Presence calms my soul. His Presence gives me strength to navigate the most challenging path.

I will say that there are times in my life, I’m not sure how I lived to talk about the struggle except that His is in me and He is for me. He flat out saved me and I want Him to use me now for His Glory and His Fame. I am nothing without Him, but with Him I have everything.

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

EVERYTHING

Businesswoman drawing plan of AuditThis word doesn’t leave options on the table and it doesn’t have exceptions. Everything is the total with nothing else left – ALL. It’s hard for me to grasp this concept, because I live in a world of options, exceptions and exemptions. There are not asterisks (*) by the word everything; it all encompassing and complete. I’m sure I’ve described that something or someone is “everything to me” that is simply not true. There are people who say this in relationships, business situations and quite frankly it is not true. Life does move on after a broken relationship and another job or business opportunity comes along after one fails. Everything is such an all-encompassing word, I think I need to be careful how and when I use it.

Solomon has written some of the Psalms and I came across one that he wrote, evidently shortly after he was king. He prayed some bold and audacious prayers for God to lead and provide for him. He then ended with an “everything” statement that I can take hold of. Check this out…

18 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
    who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
    may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen. (Psalm 72:18-19 NIV)

I don’t see the word “everything” in this passage, but it certainly settled in my heart after reading the whole passage. Solomon wants to be a strong king and a great leader. He prays boldly and asked God to bless him. He wants to live longer than the sun and do these noble accomplishments, but he ends this passage with profound perspective. God alone, does marvelous deeds. Solomon is nothing without the Lord. Solomon can do nothing without the Lord. God oversees everything. Nothing escapes His notice.

I started taking this passage personal because I want to be a strong and capable leader. I want to bring blessings to others. I want to serve the Lord by serving others. I really want the Lord to be my EVERYTHING. I want to notice that He blessed me with my wife and children. He blessed me with amazing co-workers and partners. He blessed me with EVERYTHING I have, know, experienced or have seen. With Him, I have EVERYTHING, but without Him, I am nothing.

Pressing On!

Dwayne