Grace

Man holding rock with bible verse John 8:7I absolutely love this word. I have come face to face with its meaning in my life. I am a recipient of huge amounts of grace over the years. I love receiving grace and I also try to give grace to others. I could make a list of the stupid things I’ve done that have been unkind and unchristian. I’m embarrassed when I think of some of the things I’ve done or said in my past. The Lord knows all of it and loves me anyway. He has washed my heart clean many times. My journey through the Psalms brought me to one of most eloquent passages of the Word. David is on a whole new level in his writing. As I read this Psalm, I realized that it is “dripping with Grace”. Check this out…

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:8-14 NIV)

I can’t be more grateful for grace. I deserve punishment and even death, but I get abundant life and eternal life instead. I am humbled and thankful for the mercy of God. I’m thankful for the love of God. When I’m stupid, He is so patient. When I’m hard headed, He is soft-hearted. His love is beyond understanding and description. I’ve experienced His Grace first hand. I know of His love first hand. I have a healthy fear and reverence to the Lord God. He created me, yet He loves me and pursues a relationship with me. I have surrendered my life to this amazing love and amazing grace.  I want my life and lifestyle to speak of His Presence in me. I want to continue to be filled with His Grace and be a dispenser of His Grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Amazing Grace My Chains Are Gone

Discipline

 

Discipline is the bridge from WEAK to STRONG. Concept 3D illustration.I used to think of this word as punishment (aka – grounded or “the board of education applied to the ‘seat’ of understanding”). It wasn’t a positive word from my point of view. I now have an additional meaning to this word that speaks to regimen and behavior that develops skills and positive traits in my life. I still have a lot of room to grow in this area as I try to be more disciplined in the food choices I make and the volume of food I consume. It pains me to write about this because it’s a weakness that I’m working on. These two different meanings of the same word are very much related. The punishment that I received when I was “out of line” affected my behavior and taught me some boundaries. The daily disciplines I employ also reach a very similar destination.

Asaph was calling upon the Lord to punish (aka discipline) people who wanted to destroy Israel. He wanted the Lord to show up in power and show them Who they were dealing with. Check this out…

13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
    like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
    or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
    and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, Lord,
    so that they will seek your name.

17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
    may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—
    that you alone are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83:13-18 NIV)

I am reminded that the Lord has unmatched Power. He has unmatched Presence. His Patience with me is “over the top”. I deserve punishment, but I receive Grace. I’m thankful that He doesn’t give me what I deserve. I have been disciplined by the Lord, but I’m learning that self-discipline is much more proactive. (He helps me with that too!) I have done some stupid things in my life and the Lord has forgiven and restored me. I don’t ever want to forget His Love and His Grace. Because of His Love and Grace, I want His help with discipline in my life because the root word of discipline is disciple and that is exactly end goal – to be a life-long disciple of The Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Redeem

 

Clicking a redeem button, 3d renderI like this word, but it’s not a word that I use a lot every day. I occasionally have coupons to redeem that save me money on things I’m planning to purchase. Sometimes I might by something new and try it because I have a coupon to redeem that reduces the price. That word redeem means that something is exchanged or purchased by payoff as well. It is a significant word relative to my faith in God. I believe that The Lord has redeemed my life for condemnation and He has forgiven my past and made my future hopeful. He didn’t just redeem a coupon, He redeemed my life through His Son.

The sons of Korah penned some great psalms with a healthy perspective. They speak of redemption long before Jesus came. Check this out…

No one can redeem the life of another
    or give to God a ransom for them –
the ransom for a life is costly,
    no payment is ever enough –
so that they should live on forever
    and not see decay.

15 But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
    he will surely take me to himself. (Psalm 49:7-9, 15 NIV)

I don’t live or die as one without hope. I believe that God has redeemed my life from the lost place I was and He has put my feet on a new path that is eternal. This life on earth has an ending for all of us – but redeemed people have a new beginning that is life forever. That calms my soul when a good friend dies. That calms my soul as I think about my age and how many years I possibly have left on this earth. Redemption of my life is already in place because of what God has done, not because of who I am. All my hope is in Jesus – the Son of God.

I love this song by Crowder on his project called: American Prodigal.

All My Hope

I’ve been held by the Savior
I’ve felt fire from above 
I’ve been down to the river
I ain’t the same, a prodigal returned

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God that yesterday’s gone 
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

I’m no stranger to prison
I’ve worn shackles and chains 
But I’ve been freed and forgiven 
And I’m not going back, I’ll never be the same 
That’s why I sing

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God that yesterday’s gone 
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood 

There’s a kind of thing that just breaks a man
Break him down to his knees 
God, I’ve been broken more than a time or two
Yes, Lord then He picked me up and showed me 
What it means to be a man come on and sing

____________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Blessed

 

Count Your BlessingsThere are so many times that I reflect on this word and how I’m showered with blessing. I have so much to be thankful for. Many of the people and things I’m thankful for are straight-up a blessing from the Lord. I am blessed beyond what I deserve. I keep asking the Lord to cultivate a grateful heart in me. I don’t want to miss the blessings He is showering on me.  Even during struggle, suffering and pain – I want to see Him at work in my life.  David pens blessing quite well. Check this out….

1 Blessed is the one

    whose transgressions are forgiven,

    whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the one

    whose sin the Lord does not count against them

    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you

    and did not cover up my iniquity.

I said, ‘I will confess

    my transgressions to the Lord.’

And you forgave

    the guilt of my sin.

7 You are my hiding-place;

    you will protect me from trouble

    and surround me with songs of deliverance.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked,

    but the Lord’s unfailing love

    surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;

    sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 10-11 NIV)

I am so not perfect. I need the forgiveness and grace of God daily. I’m so thankful for His patience and His grace which go hand in hand. He is so patient with me when I stumble. He gives me grace when I deserve punishment. I am so blessed to know the Lord and to call Him my Friend. He loves like no one else. He protects like now one else. He provides like no one else. His blessings are beyond measuring. I’m a fool when I disregard His direction and His leading upon my heart. I want to hide in Him to keep me from temptation. I want my heart to be upright before Him. I am blessed beyond the ability of my words to express.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Delivered

delivery guy knockingI love getting packages from my online orders. I am an Amazon Prime member and it’s made Christmas shopping fun, easy and even economical. There is even cool technology that lets me track the shipments while they are on their way. I usually have my orders delivered to my office because our office staff is there during the day to receive deliveries. If I’m out showing houses and away from the office, I get a text when the packages are delivered. It’s fun to even open the packages and get them ready to wrap for a Christmas gift for someone else.

Job is still suffering from the loss of his family, his possessions and his health. He has been debating three of his “friends” and now a young man named Elihu speaks to Job. I have to commend this young man because he has such a respectful tone as he begins to speak. Check this out…

2 I am about to open my mouth;

    my words are on the tip of my tongue.

3 My words come from an upright heart;

    my lips sincerely speak what I know.

4 The Spirit of God has made me;

    the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:2-4 NIV)

He then tells Job that the Lord may very well send a mediator to console and comfort him. He may send an angel or messenger to speak on His behalf. I actually like the tone of this young man’s words. He seems humble and kind. Check this out…

26 then that person can pray to God and find favor with him,

    they will see God’s face and shout for joy;

    he will restore them to full well-being.

27 And they will go to others and say,

    “I have sinned, and I have perverted what is right,

    but I did not get what I deserved.

28 God has delivered me from going down to the pit,

    and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.”

29 ‘God does all these things to a person –

    twice, even three times –

30 to turn them back from the pit,

    that the light of life may shine on them. (Job 33:26-30 NIV)

While this young man was speaking to Job, he really didn’t understand Job’s relationship with God. I do think what he’s describing though is much how I relate to the Lord. I do have a Mediator Who speaks to God on my behalf. He is Jesus. He intercedes on my behalf and he provided freedom from my sin because of His sacrifice. I can’t quite comprehend that kind of love – but I’m so thankful. Through Jesus, I’m delivered from sin forever. I’m thankful to have the Light of the Lord shining upon my life. It’s as if I’ve received a text saying that I’ve been delivered from death to life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Sin Cycle

Business Arrows Cycle Chart DiagramI’m pretty sure someone in the 70’s was on something when they created some of the “clothing styles” that we wore back then. I really didn’t think I would see “bell bottoms” again, but they showed back up a few years ago. There are many things in our culture that are cyclical and Fashion is definitely one of them. There are also times when I enter “uncharted territory” and it’s way different than before. I have a detector in my heart that should go off when I get into a new place and face things that I’ve never faced before. The Lord will go with me. The Lord will go before me. The Lord will protect me. The Lord will lead me. It is imperative that I not get in front of Him.

Nehemiah writes an incredible snapshot of the history of God’s people and their sin cycle. They are faithful, then they are not; they cry out to God for help and He forgives. That cycle repeats itself several times. The hero in the story is God because of His compassion and limitless grace. Check this out…

28 ‘But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time. (Nehemiah 9:28 NIV)

I think this short verse reveals the Lord’s part in this cycle. He is so compassionate and patient. He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. I have been a recipient of His compassion on many occasions.

I have ignored Him, but He never ignores me.

I have hurt Him, but He never hurts me.

I have been a part of a vicious sin cycle and He completely forgives.

I don’t fully understand or comprehend His amazing love for me, I’m profoundly thankful for it. I would be nothing today without Him. His great compassion and love rescued me from my self and my self-centered sin. I’m at a loss for words to thank Him enough. This passage of scripture (the whole chapter) reminded me of my sin cycle after seeing the Israelite sin cycle.

I’m forgiven.

I’m thankful.

I feel His Presence inside my heart.

He and I together are breaking this stupid sin cycle.

Pressing On!

Dwayne