Life Differently

Be DifferentI realize every day as a Christ follower, my life should look different than those who don’t follow Him. I am not better than those who don’t know Him, I just know that I have peace that is often foreign to those who don’t know and trust the Lord. I should not be self-centered, but my gaze should be on Him. Asking “What would Jesus do (WWJD), is still a God-honoring question. It’s unfortunate that it became such a cliché. My future hopes and dreams should be focused on what He is calling me to do and be.

15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. (2 Corinthians 5:15 NLT)

My marriage should honor the Lord.

My family should honor the Lord.

My friendships should honor the Lord.

My church work should honor the Lord.

My work as a REALTOR should honor the Lord.

Every area of my life should be about bringing honor to the Lord. My choices, my thoughts, and my dreams should honor Him. After all, this life is temporary, but life with the Lord is eternal. My years here on earth are very short on the eternal scale. I need to make this life count for Him because He gave me abundant life here and had eternal life waiting for me at the end of this life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Let’s Get Together

I love connecting with my family and friends. I generally like people, for the most part. I have met some people that were difficult to get along with. I struggle with people who are rude and have a condescending attitude toward me or others. I struggle with people who are arrogant and “snooty”. I am drawn to people who are humble and full of kindness. I also like people who are unselfish and interested in others instead of only talking about themselves.

Jesus spoke to His disciples plainly about relationships inside the church. He gave them instructions about dealing with disputes and broken relationships. He had just advised them that the greatest in the kingdom is like a humble little child. He then gives one more additional thought that I really needed. Check this out…

19 “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:19-20 NLT)

I have a few friends that I like to connect with on a regular basis. We often gather over coffee and catch up with one another. I find it relaxing to enjoy some coffee and conversation. It’s crucial to be open and vulnerable with the truth. I’m not trying to protect my image, I’m really wanting to continue building a deeper relationship where The Lord is at the center.  Jesus takes it a step farther and says that when two or three gather together, He is among us. He also says that if we pray about something in agreement, our Father in heaven will do it for us. I want to make sure that I’m asking others to join me in prayer. It’s way more powerful when lots of us pray.

I think our gatherings on Sunday at church are really important for prayer, praise, & preaching and teaching. I want to know more about the Lord. Others perspective about a passage of the Bible that we read together can be very insightful. Life is much better if we make connections with others and join together in prayer and Bible study.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Home

 

protected homeI am sort of a “home body”. I don’t mind short trips for vacation or brief business trips, but I really love coming home. Home represents my family and the main location of my life. I eat at home. I play at home. I hang out at home. I sleep at home. I learned a long time that home is wherever my family resides. I grew up in Kentucky and in some ways, that will always be home. I’ve been in Georgia for 31 years now and it is home.  I love it when my kids come home for a visit. So much of my life was built at home in Kentucky. I am still building my life at home in Georgia.

I started reading the Gospel of John this morning in the New Living Translation (NLT) and I loved how this translation stated that Jesus (The Word of God) came to earth and made His home here. Check this out…

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:14 NLT)

Jesus called this earth home for a season. It wasn’t His permanent home, but He was born of a virgin and reared in a carpenter shop. He really understands the stories and the struggles of our lives. He became a human – one of us.

As I go through my day today, I want to remember that He came here and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. Having Him in my heart has changed everything about my life. I want to love like He loves. I want to live like He lives. I want to give like He gives. I want to serve like He serves. He now lives in me by way of His Spirit. I want the Lord to make His home inside my heart. I want people who know me or meet me for the first time to see The Lord at home inside my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Growing In Love – Still

2017 GGO
I am still learning the heights and depths of love. This is an incredibly complicated concept, yet it is simple. I was first married over 35 years ago and learned to love a spouse. I became a Dad over 31 years ago and I learned to love my children. I now have grandchildren and my heart has expanded again. Before I was married and on my own, I loved my parents and siblings. I deeply loved my grandparents and still miss them to this day. I remember friends that I had years back in high school, but time and geography has separated us.

This past week I had the privilege of hanging out with seven of my closest friends from college. We meet every year in late September for a few days of fellowship that we call the GGO (Greater Greek Open – yes it has inside meaning that’s a long story). I call it my goof off trip, because the way I play golf is really an insult to the game of golf and those who really play the sport. We catch up with each other and always pick up right where we left off from last year. These guys were there with me through divorce and cancer and many other times of struggle over the years. I can say for sure that our lives are not free from suffering and pain, but we figure out a way to help one another through it.

I love reading the Word of God each day and letting His Word settle in my heart. The first day of our GGO this year, I awoke in time to read my regular daily reading and I was in 1 John and it is refreshing to hear from the disciple that was very close to Jesus. He was an eye-witness to Jesus’ daily journey here on earth. He saw first-hand how He loved. Check this out….

12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God— God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. (1 John 4:12-16 CSB)

I’ve read this chapter in 1 John each morning this week and I’m deeply moved by this concept of love. In fact, the last morning of golf, we shared in this passage and we were reminded of what a difference love has made in all our lives. We probably would not know each other except for our paths crossing over 30 years ago at Bible College where the love of God lead us for one reason or another.

As I pack up in the quietness of the morning and prepare to head home to more people I love, my heart is full and so thankful for the blessing of God upon my life. I could die today and I could say I’m a happy man. I am blessed way beyond what I deserve. I’m working hard at cultivating a grateful heart each day that I live that is simply a response to the amazing, relentless love of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Who I Am

God's mercy at the CrossI learned many years ago that my family was very solid. I grew up in Kentucky with my family all nearby. My grandparents lived less than a ½ mile away and I was always popping in to see them. I grew up in a small town called Roley, but the mailing address was Casey Creek, Kentucky. Everybody new everyone and mostly everyone’s business (if you know what I mean). My family was very involved in the church. After graduating Adair County High School, I moved away to attend Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University) in Knoxville, TN. Upon graduation, I began serving in the field of youth minister (aka student pastor). I spent just over 20 years in ministry before becoming a REALTOR in 2003. I didn’t check my faith at the door of this new profession. I have enjoyed my REALTOR family and in fact, I’ve become very close friends with so many. As I trace my history, I realize that I wouldn’t know anyone where I live (except my parents and brother who live close by) if it weren’t for my journey with the Lord. I wouldn’t know my wife or her family.

David often reflected on who he was and who he wasn’t. He noted that the Lord was the sources of who he was. Check this out…

But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    Lord, do not delay. (Psalm 70:4-5 NIV)

When I think of who I am and who I’ve become, I realize that I am NOTHING without the Lord. He has directed my path. He gives me wisdom every day. He provides strength when I’m weak. As I reflect on the days and years that make up my life and the experiences and choices that have shaped me, I can’t help but realize that the LORD has been there with me since I was born. My parents trusted the Lord and trusted me to His care. I want each day going forward to be clearly surrendered to the Lord. I want Him to direct my daily decisions and choices that make up who I am. I feel safe being who I am in Christ. I want my life to be significant to my family and others that I meet – but it’s only because of Him and for Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Thankful For Grace

Gratitude Word CloudAs I wake up later on this day of thanksgiving here in the US, I’m reminded of the many blessings upon my life. I have a thankful heart. Sometime several months ago, I felt pressed by the Lord to ask Him for a thankful heart. I have been praying for a thankful heart every day. I woke up this morning and my heart is full with thankfulness – not just because it’s thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for.

Job was about finished talking. He was still struggling with the loss of his family, his possessions and his health. He was still not cursing God. He actually started reflecting on his journey with the Lord and his thankful heart began coming out. He became vulnerable and humble before the Lord. Check this out…

1 ‘I made a covenant with my eyes

    not to look lustfully at a young woman.

2 For what is our lot from God above,

    our heritage from the Almighty on high?

3 Is it not ruin for the wicked,

    disaster for those who do wrong?

4 Does he not see my ways

    and count my every step?

5 ‘If I have walked with falsehood

    or my foot has hurried after deceit –

6 let God weigh me in honest scales

    and he will know that I am blameless –

7 if my steps have turned from the path,

    if my heart has been led by my eyes,

    or if my hands have been defiled,

8 then may others eat what I have sown,

    and may my crops be uprooted. (Job 31:1-8 NIV)

I don’t deserve the blessings I have. I have sinned and stumbled many times, yet the Lord restores my soul. His grace is amazing and relentless. He loves me too much to leave me where He found me. He always helps me up when I stumble. I’m so thankful for His grace. I’m so thankful for His patience with me. I deserve punishment even to death, but instead He gives me a life beyond my wildest dreams. As I enjoy a day of Thanksgiving with my family today – I’m still stunned by the depth of His Grace and His Mercy. #thankfulbeyondwords

Pressing On!

Dwayne