Amazing Law

legal gavel, scales and law bookI’ve never heard anyone say, “Amazing Law”. No one ever talks about the law the way we speak of grace. Every person on the planet has received grace from someone. The Person Who defines Grace is God. He has forgiven sins that are profoundly harmful to my heart and others. He’s forgiven murderers, liars, adulterers, thieves and the list could go on and on. His Grace is complete. His Grace is very thorough. His Grace is like a “hard reset” on my computer or my phone. God chooses that kind of memory with His Grace. When I really put my head to His Grace, it is ridiculous, lavish and “mind blowing”.  I deserve punishment, I deserve death, but instead I get promoted!

Romans 6 is packed with some amazing details about my new life in Christ. I came across one short verse yesterday and today while reading and it stopped me in my tracks. Check this out…

14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. (Romans 6:12 CSB)

I am no longer a slave to sin.

I am free to live for the Lord.

I am no longer guilty under the law, I am under grace.

As a recipient of grace, I’m also called to dispense grace. I see people every day who need grace. I see people who have never known grace. I see people who’ve received grace but then they are selfish with it – like it’s theirs to be selfish with. Grace is God’s gift NOT mine. I get the privilege of delivering God’s Grace to others. It’s better than delivering lavish gifts that someone else paid for, but the recipient of those gifts think I’m responsible

God’s Grace is hard to describe.

God’s Grace is hard to define.

God’s Grace is NOT hard to accept.

I’m so thankful to live under His Grace. I’ve failed miserably trying to be a rule keeper under the law. Now that I know Grace, I want to honor the One Who delivered me from the law. I’m a better follower of God because of Grace NOT the rule keeping.

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

That saved a sinner (aka wretch) like me.

______________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Search

 

search with magnifying glassI am not super afraid of the dark. I don’t like looking for things in the dark. The light eposes the search area. Even in the middle of the day there are dark areas (like closets) that need to be searched and light is needed for that search. I’m willing to search for answers. I’m willing to search for details. My internet search often begins with google. When I search for the Lord I go to His Word.

King David has written a very eloquent Psalm that speaks of searching AND finding. Check this out…

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.

11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,’
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139: 1-4,11-12,23-24 NIV)

I can lose the Lord.

The Lord can’t lose me.

He knows me like no one else and loves me profoundly. I don’t completely understand that kind of love. I’m learning a lot about grace which is the key to understanding His love. I learned more about grace when I needed it than when it was just a concept. When grace became my song, I embraced it and welcomed its arrival. Jesus came to bring forgiveness. Grace is repeat forgiveness plus mercy. When He poured out His grace upon me, I want to lift praise for Him. I deserve punishment not reward.

Your Grace Finds Me

(please note that it’s not “found” – He finds me – Present Tense!)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mercy – Hope – Respect

Man praying with the BibleIt’s a new day! Yesterday is now in the rear-view mirror – today is another chance to make good choices and wise decisions. I was reminded this morning how much I need mercy. Mercy is defined as: compassion, forbearance, kindness, blessing, pity, benevolence, the power to pardon and divine favor. I live in the shadow of this word every day and I’m profoundly thankful that the Lord shows me mercy daily.

As I read this Psalm of Assents this morning, I was reminded that along with mercy, I have found hope and I live in respect for the Lord out of that mercy & hope. Check this out…

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his Word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:1-5 NIV)

The more I study the Word of God, the more respect and reverence I have for the Lord. He has NOT kept a record of my sins. I am aware of my sin most days and I’m naïve toward the mercy He has poured out on me. I am profoundly thankful and humbled to think of how He not only forgives me and shows mercy, He calls me His kid. The moves my heart. In His Word, I find that mercy and forgiveness displayed often. In His Word, I find Provision, Protection, Direction, Instruction, Help, Hope, Profound Love. The Lord is in a category all by Himself. He is not just another god – He is the Only God and He forgives and forgets my stupidity. His heart melts when I say I’m sorry. His mercy and forgiveness is immediate. His Presence is constant. His Word teaches me more and more about His heart, Who He is and I’m invited to know Him more personally.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Forgiveness & Consequences

 

Time to Move On Clock Acceptance Concede to ChangeI believe forgiveness is a most powerful experience – whether you’re receiving forgiveness or giving forgiveness – It’s release; It’s remission; It’s pardon. Forgiveness is a gift to both the giver and receiver of it.  The Lord demonstrated this first throughout The Word. Giving and forgiveness are closely linked.  Giving is part of the root word. I have experienced first-hand the power of forgiveness. It releases anger, resentment, bitterness, hate and a ton of other emotions that we harbor. Forgiveness means freedom to both the giver and receiver of it.

There are consequences to sin even though there is forgiveness. I know of people who have made some disastrous choices and are forgiven, but still must pay huge consequences. I believe there are some godly and forgiven people in prison for crimes that were horrifying, but the consequences may possibly be a life sentence in prison. Check this out…

Lord our God,
    you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
    though you punished their misdeeds.
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his holy mountain,
    for the Lord our God is holy. (Psalm 99:8-9 NIV)

Both the offender and the offended need forgiveness. I’ve encouraged people to give forgiveness in their heart long before they ever have an opportunity to verbalize. It is so cool to see people who have held grudges and hurt for years’ release that and move on. In forgiveness, there is a new start even with the consequences looming. I’ve seen so many lives destroyed by bitterness and hate and the harm done to them was long gone. Holding on to hurt can lead to bitterness. Bitterness leads to literal death or certainly death of all sorts of relationships. I believe when I make a dumb choice or stupid decision, I should own it; make amends, accept the consequences and move on.

I’m no longer a slave to my dumb decisions and profound mistakes – I may have consequences to face because of them but I now know the amazing forgiveness of God. I’m not afraid of what is to come because I’m a child of the Most High God!

No Longer Slaves

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Complete Forgiveness

God's mercy at the CrossSometimes I just can’t get my head around the forgiveness of God. He knows me like no one else and He loves me deeply. He pursues a relationship with me – someone who is prone to sin. I am humbled in the Presence of that kind of love. His love is deeper than my mind can go or understand. His love reaches farther than my mind can fathom. The way He loves me and I know me, makes it easier me to forgive others who don’t deserve my forgiveness. He loves hardened criminals and He loves hard headed followers too. Throughout the Word, He is seen forgiving and restoring those who deserve severe punishment – even death. The sons of Korah pen a Psalm of forgiveness for the worship leader that is dripping with the grace of God on His people. Check this out…

You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
    you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people
    and covered all their sins. (Psalm 85:1-2 NIV)

This song is still on my heart this morning as I’ve been taking a closer look at my heart and my life:  No Longer Slaves by Jonathan & Melissa Helser.

You unravel me with a melody

You surround me with a song

Of deliverance from my enemies

‘Til all my fears are gone

 

I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

 

From my mother’s womb You have chosen me

Love has called my name

I’ve been born again Into your family

Your blood flows through my veins

 

I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

I’m no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

 

I am surrounded by the arms of the Father

I am surrounded by songs of deliverance

We’ve been liberated from our bondage

We’re the sons and the daughters

Let us sing our freedom!

 

You split the sea So I could walk right through it

My fears were drowned in perfect love

You rescued me And I could stand and sing

I am a child of God…

________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Ultimate Judge

legal gavel, scales and law bookI remember years ago when the Peoples Court came to television. It has some entertainment value as different case came before Judge Wapner for their cases to be decided in a “reality show format” with a “fake courtroom”.  He would hear their cases and then after a commercial break come back and render a decision. It’s very different from the real court cases. The cases were mostly small claims and the process was more like arbitration than an actual hearing before an official court judge. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten to know judges and how they mostly role. They use president and case law to help guide many of their decisions. As I’ve grown older and taken on more leadership responsibility over the years, good judgement requires good data and insight. I’ve made decisions that were based on bad information even though it was all the information I had at the time.  I think it important for someone making a judgement to not enter that decision with their minds made up. I think it’s important to weigh all the data and try to hear with an open mind what all the angles are.

Asaph penned a Psalm describing the Lord as Judge. I think it has been part of my journey to understand God as both Lawgiver and Judge. In our world, Judges interpret and apply the law but they don’t write the law. God does both. He also is incredibly forgiving. I have deserved punishment to the full extent of His law many times but instead I am released and my record erased or expunged. Check this out…

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.

He summons the heavens above,
    and the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me this consecrated people,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.’
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    for he is a God of justice.

23 those who sacrifice thank-offerings honor me,
    and to the blameless I will show my salvation.’ (Psalm 50:1-2, 4-6, 23 NIV)

The Law of God brings Judgement before the Salvation of God that came through His Son Jesus. When Jesus came, He introduced the Grace of God to the world. I still remember when I was lost. I’m trying to never become so smug as a Christ follower that I forget what it was like to be lost. I don’t deserve the forgiveness that I’ve been given, but I am so grateful. I’m thankful that when I stand before the Judgment of God, my attorney is His Son. The sacrifice of Jesus trumps my condemnation every time. I’m profoundly thankful for this gift that comes through the Son of God. I deserve punishment but instead I get a party of forgiveness. It’s crazy in so many ways, but I’m speechless to explain how it has changed my life and my perspective about everything!

Pressing On!

Dwayne