Simplehearted

 

Man praying with the BibleI came across this word this morning in my journey through the Word and I thought it sounded like me. It sounds to me like someone who is not super complex or complicated. To be simple-hearted, one must be free of deceit and sincere. That is noble and attainable. I am serious about simply seeking the heart of God in my daily life. I don’t need any fanfare or a spotlight, I just believe that seeking the heart of Creator God is at the center of the reason I’m alive on this planet. The Psalmist must have felt similar. Check this out…

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:1-2; 5-9 NIV)

I look back on my journey through suffering and I learned to lean upon the Lord and lean into Him to navigate some very dark places. I felt like life dealt me a pretty hard hand during those times, but I learned some eternal lessons in the middle of the struggle.  You may try to make a case that the Lord doesn’t exist or isn’t involved in the life of His kids, but you won’t convince me. I’m simplehearted for God because I’ve experienced first-hand His Presence and His Power to walk with through the valley of pain and suffering. I’ve also learned that He doesn’t miss any opportunity of struggle and suffering to teach me more about His heart.

I simply want to follow the Lord all my days – whether hard or easy. I want to follow Him in sunshine and in the storm.  I am a simple man with a simple plan to follow the Lord the rest of my days on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steady Heart Faithful God

 

Man praying with the BibleWhen I read the writings of David, I feel like I can relate to Him. I’ve never been a king or a warrior, but David seems so human and hungry for God. I understand the human part as well as the hungry for God part.

The more I know about God, the more I want to know Him.

The more I know about God, the more I want to be the man He built me to be.

The more I know about God, the more my heart is moved to pursue His heart.

The more I know about God my love for Him gets deeper, broader and stronger.

Check this out…

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered. (Psalm 108:1-6 NIV)

My purpose here on this earth is to bring glory to God. I want others to see the Lord in me. I want others to see the Lord in how I live and work. I don’t want myself to be elevated and known, I want the Lord to be known in me. I want to do all I can to make the Lord famous and known everywhere. He lives in me and He wants to use me to build His kingdom. I want to be steady in my pursuit of God’s heart. He is so faithful to me and I want to be faithful to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My History

 

My StoryI remember wanting to follow the Lord since I was in 3rd Grade. I became a Christ follower that year – I was baptized on a Sunday afternoon at a church in town because it was winter time and the creek would have been quite cold. I didn’t know a lot about following the Lord – I knew that I would be able to take communion (that little wafer and small little gulp of grape juice) to remember Jesus dying on the cross.  Since that time, I’ve been to multiple church services (too many to try to count), and I’ve sang songs and written songs about my journey with the Lord. I must say that every time I look back on my life, I have several incidents/choices that I’m simply not proud of. I wish I could have a “do over” on some of those choices. I’ve embarrassed myself and dishonored the Lord. I have never deliberately been disrespectful to Him, but I’ve clearly felt Him leading me and then I simply ignore His tug on my heart. The Lord was trying to lead me in His way and it was very much the best choice for me, but I kept insisting on my instant gratification or wanting my way “come hell or high water”!

Fast forward to today. I’m reminded in His Word that His people have a history of wandering away from following Him. He kept His promise to Abraham, but the people didn’t make it easy. They rebelled at nearly every turn. He would rescue them, they would repent and then they would run toward sin. It was a vicious cycle. There are times this cycle still repeats itself in my journey. I want to do the right thing every time and if I would wait upon the Lord before speaking or doing my “right thing ratio” would go up considerably.  I was reminded of my history with the Lord as I read Psalm 106. Check this out….

Praise the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
    or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly,
    who always do what is right. (Psalm 106:1-3 NIV)

The rest of this Psalm is like a “highlight reel” of Israel’s history of trusting God, then ignoring Him.  I have been there and done that. I’m so thankful for my journey with His Word that my stupid decisions are a lot less frequent and my pursuit of Him is much more promising and purposeful.  I’m thankful that He never gave up on me as I was so quick to give up on Him. I’m simply trying to walk out my faith in Him every day by doing what is right – saying what is right and cultivating a heart that is pursuing Him “all in”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

ALWAYS!

 

Always Time to Do What's Right Saying Clock QuoteThis word carries with it some absolute meaning. It means “every time; on every occasion; without exception, all the time”. There are no escape clauses. Our Real Estate company has as its slogan: “Excellence. Always!” – a message we want to send to all our buyers, sellers and customers who work with us. Always is a profound statement that is a high mark for any situation. It screams out consistency and dependability.

As I read a passage of scripture in the Psalms this morning, I was reminded that the Lord is ALWAYS faithful, ALWAYS available, ALWAYS full of love and grace. Check this out…

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always. (Psalm 105:1-4 NIV)

The Lord never misses His mark.

The Lord never makes a mistake.

The Lord is ALWAYS present – He never leaves me.

The Lord is ALWAYS forgiving.

The Lord is ALWAYS making good come from bad situations.

The Lord is ALWAYS teaching me profound truth in the middle of suffering.

I know that we humans make mistakes many times over and are willing to own our missteps. The Lord doesn’t miss His mark or “drop the ball”. He is Perfect, Powerful and ALWAYS available to me when I call on Him.

He’s the “King of My Heart”!

I was reminded this morning to look to Him; lean on Him and seek His face ALWAYS!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bad Looks Good

 

Blue woman eye macro shotI have been attracted to bad things many times over the years. Bad things come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Bad things can come from bad people or good people. It is often hard to discern if something is bad or good early on. I need to keep my boundaries clearly in site and in place. The Lord provides me with excellent discernment if I will listen to His Spirit in me.

David penned an excellent passage about boundaries and choosing good over bad. Check this out…

I will sing of your love and justice;
    to you, Lord, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
    when will you come to me?

I will conduct the affairs of my house
    with a blameless heart.
I will not look with approval
    on anything that is vile.

I hate what faithless people do;
    I will have no part in it.
The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
    I will have nothing to do with what is evil. (Psalm 101:1-4 NIV)

I was taught growing up that you are known by the people you hang out with. I’ve even said that to my kids because in the eyes of authorities, if you’re hanging out with kids who are breaking the law, then you must be participating in that too. It is not easy taking the road less traveled when others are on the superspeedway of self-destruction. I must keep my hearts eyes focused on following the Lord and listening to His direction for my life. He makes me wise beyond my years. He makes me effective beyond my experience. He gives me insight that often only years of experience could compete with.

I want to walk in the Light of His Word and His calling upon my life. I want to choose good over bad; light over darkness every day that I live. Bad looks good, but then looks can be deceiving. I must look beyond good looks or appearances to what really matters. I remember my Mom telling me that “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone!”

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Looking Back

Beautiful young woman smiling and looking behindI am a huge proponent of looking forward. I blogged a while back about how important it is to notice the size of the windshield versus the rear-view mirror. That blog is called The Rear View Perspective. I can learn a lot about where I am today by reflecting a bit on where I’ve been. I get into trouble if I live in the past rather than simply glance back at my journey. I have some good times with the Lord in my past and I’ve also had some very rocky times when I was ignoring Him and resisting His love.  I’ve since learned the stupidity of running from the Lord or ignoring Him. I really identified with Asaph’s writing as he reflecting on some of his past and how he was going to move forward. Check this out…

11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

13 Your ways, God, are holy.
    What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. (Psalm 77:11-15 NIV)

I heard the phrase “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. I read it connected to Winston Churchill, but it is attributed to George Santayana. This is a catchy phrase, but not always true. I have learned from my past sins and mistakes and I still repeat them. I get so frustrated with myself when I stumble at the same spot. I will also say that it really inspires me when I look back at my life and see the hand of God all over me. He was with me when I was a kid in High School. He was with me through my college years. He was with me in my early days of youth ministry. He was with me through a hard divorce. He was with me through being fired. He was with me through the transition to real estate sales and service. He was with me when my kind fought and beat cancer. He was with me when my youngest kid fell from a tree and survived. He has never left me – not once. He is not a “fair weather friend”. He is a loyal friend that knows me like no one else. He is faithful, consistent, constant and kind. I need to be reminded of my past journey with the Lord as these memories can illuminate my path today and going forward.

Pressing On!

Dwayne