The New Me

 

Behind the maskMy family has enjoyed the movies “Despicable Me”. Despicable Me 3 is in theatres now. The word DESPICABLE means: deserving to be despised, or regarded with distaste, disgust, or disdain; contemptible. That is how I used to be. When I look at who I used to be and how I used to act – I was despicable – especially in the Lord’s eyes. He loved me when I was despicable. I love the book of Ephesians. Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus and he speaks clearly about how things should be. Check this out….

20 But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. (Ephesians 4:20-24 CSB)

My problem is that I revert to my despicable life rather than stay and live in this abundant, joy-filled life that He provides. He has changed me and the old Dwayne no longer lives – the new Dwayne is grace filled because I’ve received grace. The new Dwayne is forgiving because I’ve been forgiven. The new Dwayne loves deeply because I was loved first. I want to live and walk with the very Spirit of God over-flowing out of me. I want to not be quick to anger like the old despicable me.

I am confident that there are lots of despicable people in this world who need a new start – a new life. Jesus has changed every area of my life and I’ve forever different in a good way. I’m not longer living a despicable life (even though I stumble backwards some days) – I’m living with hope and a future that is incredible!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

In Remembrance

 

Taking CommunionI remember my grandparents all the time because they invested in me a lot as I was growing up. Along with my parents, I learned how to work and interact with others. My grandparents have all gone to be with the Lord, but their time here on earth is still remembered because of the impact they had on my life. I learned to play guitar watching my grandmother play. I learned the importance of reading the word and being kind to others watching my Mammie read her Bible each day. I think among of the horrible diseases is Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The loss of memory is heart breaking to those with a loved one suffering. I want to have a good memory of my journey with the Lord.  I don’t ever want to forget what it was like to be lost.

Paul recalls how the Lord wanted to be remembered. He didn’t ask for a statue or a building – He asked us to remember Him with the bread and the juice of the Lord’s supper (aka the Last Supper). Check this out…

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 CSB)

I like to remember and recall the Lord’s love while He walked this earth. I like to think of the Grace that He delivered on the cross. I like to drink in His grace and speak out His praise. The bread and juice are taking to the inside of my body which I view as ingesting grace into my soul. I want to always remember how life was without Him. I want to remember how the law condemned and grace compels my heart.

I want to cultivate my memory of His love for me and give it away to others.

Remembrance by Matt Redman

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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