Own It

 

Praying ManOne of my pet peeves is when someone is responsible for something and it goes badly and they look for others to blame instead of “owning it”. Taking responsibility is sometimes hard, but it’s a sign of maturity. The blame game is easy and the rules are very relaxed – just find someone else to place blame for the issue instead of the person who should own it. For example, if I get pulled over for speeding and I was speeding, it’s not my truck’s fault or the officer’s fault for doing his/her job – it’s on me for driving over the posted speed limit.

I believe that taking responsibility or “owning it” is a sign of humility. It is me admitting that I messed up and I will take responsibility for my behavior. Confession is good for my soul. Check this out…

 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10 CSB)

The Lord knows me fully. He knows everything I think. He knows everything I say. He knows everything I do. He knows when I lay down and He knows when I get up. He knows what I’m doing next. He knows what I did in October of 1969 even though I might not remember. He knows all there is to know about me, yet He forgives me and chooses not to remember my sin. I am profoundly grateful for His grace that compels Him to forgive and forget. I have much more to gain by confessing my sin than by denying my sin. I think it’s good to own it as soon as I’m aware of it. His grace is enough to forgive the biggest sin and He removes it from me. I may still have some consequences to pay, but the debt to the Lord has already been paid. When I own my sin, His death covers it in the present tense.

I’m grateful for this arrangement, because without His grace, I’d be doomed to hell many times over.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

But The Lord

 

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI realize that this title is not really a “stand-alone” title. These three words jumped off the page of scripture as I ready this morning. I was tracking along with some of my favorite passages that Paul had written to Timothy, the young pastor. For example…

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2 CSB)

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8 CSB)

I love how Paul is finishing strong. He is encouraging this young pastor to keep the faith no matter what comes his way. He is writing this from prison as Paul has a deep heart for the churches that he’s been part of planting. He’s making the “hand-off” to others as his time on earth ends.

He gives some final “house-keeping” info to Timothy and it was here that the three words stopped me in my tracks. Paul is describing a court hearing in Rome, I believe and he had no one present to stand with him or speak on his behalf. Check this out…

16 At my first defense, no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that I might fully preach the word and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen. (2 Timothy 4:16-18 CSB)

But the Lord – those three words changed the scene entirely. I can be at the end of my rope and the Lord’s Presence is near. He doesn’t leave me at the crucial time. He doesn’t forget me. I would suggest that even if everyone else leaves, He won’t. He is faithful and true. He is patient beyond description. His Presence changes the ambiance of the room. His Presence ushers in hope with a profound entrance. His Presence calms my soul and directs my thoughts and actions. His Presence drowns out the noise of fear and chaos. But the Lord…. This is going from worst to first. But the Lord is Powerful and Present. But the Lord is all knowing. I would rather being in the scariest places with the Presence of the Lord in me, then to be on the beach or relaxing anywhere without Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wise Mentoring

 

Mentoring Concept.Mentoring is a word that I’ve noticed a lot in business. Mentors are considered wise and trusted counselors or teachers. Mentors have gone ahead of others and are happy to share the path to their success or accomplishment. Mentors do not have to know the people they mentor. For example, Zig Ziglar mentored me through his writings and his speeches. He spoke truth with such passion that I couldn’t help but take it in. Most recently, I’m being mentored by Jim Rohn, a philosopher/teacher and “self-help” guru. We have access to many mentors in our world today thanks to the internet and books. I also seek to be mentored by the Apostle Paul who wrote most the New Testament scripture. The scripture has another name for mentoring – discipleship. Paul’s letters to Timothy are great examples of discipleship/mentoring. Check this out….

22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels. 24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:22-26 CSB)

I think discipleship and mentoring are similar but different. Mentoring seems a bit more philosophical while discipleship seems to be practical. Discipleship is a concept from scripture that is displayed in the life of Jesus himself. He invests three years in a discipleship/mentor role with 12 men that He chose. His impact on the world was lived out in those relationships. I would suggest that all the events surrounding Judas departure and subsequent death were used in teaching and mentoring the remaining 11.

I think the discipleship/mentoring relationship can be narrowed down to three important characteristics:

  1. Generosity – the leader who chooses to disciple/mentor must be generous with their time to those they are investing in. They need to be accessible.
  2. Honesty – this is a not necessarily a “feel good” relationship. I’m not a fan of “participation trophy’s”. A mentor must be honest and speak the truth – not with a hateful spirit, but of genuine concern to see growth.
  3. Discretion – there must be a level of confidentiality and trust to be completely real, vulnerable and honest in the mentor/discipleship relationship. There is not one perfect and without out struggle, we often just manage those things differently.

I’m reading some great books that are mentoring me in life and business. I’m also ready the Word of God daily to become a more devoted disciple of Jesus. I want to help others to know the things I’ve tried that didn’t work. I want to keep growing deeper in my faith with wisdom and discernment as I get older and even more experienced in life. I love Paul’s counsel to Timothy about fleeing youthful passions and run from disputes and quarrels. I want to be a steady, faithful disciple of The Lord who teaches with my life and not just my words.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Endurance

 

EnduranceI sometimes have “endurance issues”. I get to the place that I feel like I can’t go on. I recently heard a great podcast from Ramsey Solutions EntreLeadership by Mel Robbins called: “5 Seconds to a Better Life & Business”. Mel talks about denying my feelings the leadership in my life. I have a to make decisions with my brain and keep my feelings in check.  When I’m riding my bike on the Carrollton Greenbelt and I reach a formidable hill, I must push through the burn to make it up the hill. The think is, each time I push through and endure, I’m getting stronger.

The Apostle Paul gives some final instructions to the church at Thessalonica about staying strong and enduring. Check this out…

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen and guard you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

13 But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5,13 CSB)

I often need encouragement to endure. I love having someone spur me on the push through the “quitting points” aka, the pain and endure to the end. If endurance were easy, everyone would endure, but as it is, there are fewer and fewer who stay strong and tough when things get hard. Quitting is easy, endurance is hard.

I am learning that quitting comes often when I listen to my feelings. My feelings are so fickle and selfish. I must use the power of my will and my mind to decide what I’m going to do and how I’m going to face struggles and keep my feelings on the sidelines. I don’t ever “feel” like getting out of bed early in the morning. I don’t “feel” like doing hard work, but I must. I haven’t met many people who “feel” like dieting, but we must control our appetites.

The Lord is faithful and present when I’m pushing hard to endure. He uses tough times and hard experiences to build me. Making good choices is hard work but He is a lot of help. I choose endurance over laziness. I choose to veto my feelings and endure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Fearless & Faithful

 

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidNo long ago I read a book called “Fearless” by Eric Blem about the courage and sacrifice of Navy Seal Team Six Operator Adam Brown. I could hardly put the book down as I went on the journey with Adam, his seal team and his family. It was courage on steroids. He epitomized fearless and faithful in a physical sense.

I believe that Christ followers are called to be fearless and faithful too. I should not live in a state of worry and fear wondering what will happen next. I should be faithful to seek the Lord’s heart and His will for me. I believe that I hear from Him through my journey in His Word. When I’m faithful to Him, He seems to remove my fears. I do often wonder as I get older how my life will end. I learned of the death of a friend in a car accident and death was instant. I’ve also watched as a friend suffered and battled for long tough road to death. I also wonder about how things are after you die. I know that scripture promises that God has that, but I don’t know of any eye witnesses who have come back and reported on that. Everyone who dies stays there. I have less of an anxious heart about that than in the past only because I’m learning daily to trust the Lord with the unknown as well as the known. Check this out…

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 CSB)

I’m not going to leap tall buildings in a single bound or become reckless with my life. I do want to live on purpose and balanced. I simply don’t want to allow fear to creep into my spirit and stress me out about what is coming. I trust the Lord that whatever happens, He will help me through. When I reflect on my journey – this has been the case every time. He has not left me alone at all. He was with me in the darkness of divorce, cancer fight with my son, harrowing near death experience of my youngest son – He is with me through storms of this life and He will be with me in the sunset years as well as my departure from this life. I’m fearless because I’m faithful.

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. (1 John 4:18 CSB)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Maturity

happy and motivated old people 3dOne of these days I feel like I will grow up. I have officially been placed on the AARP mailing list and that makes me feel old. There are some days when I feel old, yet I’m a good 20 years younger than others who consider themselves old. Being old and mature is somewhat a state of mind. It is interesting to see how some people age more quickly than others. I used to subscribe to the theory of a friend of mine that says, “since I’m a bit overweight, my skin is stretched out and I look younger than I am”. I watched a television documentary on ESPN about the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and the players on those teams were 30 years older and some looked quite different. I realize that as I enter the AARP stage of life that I will look “mature” even if I’m not.

Paul gives some final words of encouragement to the church at Corinth in his last letter to them. Check this out…

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11 CSB)

I’ve certainly met people who are older, but are not mature. They are whiny and self-centered to the point that I don’t enjoy being around them. I’ve also met other older people who are kind and gracious, realizing that life doesn’t revolve around them. They have learned to love deeply and help others along the way.

Here are a few other characteristics of mature people:

Control their tongue

Show patience with others

Encourage others, especially younger people

Accepting their role in the lives of others

Self-less love

Peace makers

Trusted confidant

Consistently kind

Faithful

Honest

I could make a long list, but I’ll stop there. I want to grow old with grace and truth at the top of mind. I want to be an “old person” that younger people will enjoy being around. I won’t take myself so seriously. I want to finish this life strong with my walk with the Lord obvious to those who live, work and fellowship with me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne