Behavior

 

john-3-16I learned many years ago the difference between good behavior and bad behavior. I was taught as a child the difference between right & wrong. I’m sure I “pushed the envelope” many times with my parents and others in authority over me. I know I that my behavior was bad at times because I was there. I’m thankful that for a gentle loss of memory in this case so that all of those times I behaved badly don’t’ come rushing back in to haunt me. There are people I know who have big time regrets with their behavior. I believe what Paul says in Romans that “all have sinned and fallen short of glory of God”. Everyone I know (including me) has misbehaved. I’m profoundly grateful for grace. My behavior should reflect what I believe in my heart, but that is certainly not always the case.

Paul takes behavior a step farther – He says you should remove the people who are boasting and flaunting their evil while calling themselves Christ followers. His analogy makes perfect sense. Check this out….

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 CSB)

I was taught years ago that I could be “guilty by association” if I hang out with friends who are misbehaving. My reputation could be tarnished. Paul is speaking of “hanging out” with bad people who are calling themselves Christians, but they are known for all sorts of sin and unrepentant behavior. The Lord forgives sin. His Grace covers sin. If I repent of a sin and continue in that sin – I’m not repentant at all. Paul is calling out people who are openly sinful and still being part of the church. He is instructing the church to remove such a person from the fellowship. If every person who sins is removed from the church, there would be no church. Paul is targeting the people who are arrogant and boastful about their sin and not repentant at all. The church is a hospital of broken and sinful people who are seeking restoration and forgiveness from the Savior of our souls. It is about accountability and grace. The church is to be protected of malice and evil. We are to cultivate relationships of honesty & truth seasoned with a lot of grace!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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