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

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

Remember

 

Memo with Paper Clip - rememberMy heart goes out to people who’ve lost memory. There are diseases that rob us of longevity of life here on earth. There are other diseases that rob us of quality of life here on earth. I have seen first-hand the hardship that those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia have on the person and their families. Our minds and our memories are valuable assets to our quality of life. I’ve found the older I get; I do forget little things. I forget some big things occasionally. I’m learning to write down things to keep from forgetting.

The Lord has good memory. His memory never fades and “falls off”. He is faithful to remember His forgiveness, His mercy and His grace. I am thankful that He has a “selective memory” because He doesn’t remember my past and hold it against me. I remember the foolishness of my past, but He’s forgiven me and removed that from me. Check this out…

4 Show me your ways, Lord,

    teach me your paths.

5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,

    for you are God my Savior,

    and my hope is in you all day long.

6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,

    for they are from of old.

7 Do not remember the sins of my youth

    and my rebellious ways;

according to your love remember me,

    for you, Lord, are good.

8 Good and upright is the Lord;

    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

9 He guides the humble in what is right

    and teaches them his way. (Psalm 25:4-9 NIV)

Today is the start of a new year – yesterday is part of history now. The whole year has come to a close and a new one has begun. I think reflecting and remembering is a good thing. I know some things that don’t work and I’ve learned some things that work well. I’m so thankful that even though I forget that I wear His name – He forgives my forgetfulness. He restores my soul even after I’ve “checked out” or left Him out of the equation of my life.  He has excellent memory even when my memory suffers or is lacking.

As I look forward, it’s very wise to keep the past in my rear-view memory and remember to avoid some of the decisions of my past as I face the future. The Lord will direct my steps, if I will trust Him.  I need His memory to keep feeding my memory and moving me forward.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Unfailing Love

 

3D Keep Calm God Loves You Button Click Here Block TextI’ve seen love plant roots down deep and I’ve seen love ripped up by the roots. I’ve seen first-hand the pain that comes from broken hearts. I’ve also lived it. A broken heart often happens because love failed – more accurately, someone failed to follow through with their commitment to love.

I can rest in the fact that the Creator/Author of Love will never fail to love me and He will not take His love away. Check this out…

4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;

    save me because of your unfailing love.

5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.

    Who praises you from his grave?

6 I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping

    and drench my couch with tears. (Psalm 6:4-6 NIV)

No matter how deeply I’m hurt – He can heal my pain.

No matter how broken I am – He can put the broken pieces back together again.

No matter how far away I wander – He can lead me back home.

No matter how intense my suffering – He can heal my deepest wounds.

His love never gives up.

His love never runs out.

His love never fails.

Those truths settle my soul and comfort me for sure.

This reminded me of a song by Jesus Culture called: Your Love Never Fails.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Truth Timing

Lies Have Speed Truth Has Endurance SpeedometerI believe that truth is always truth. It can be sugarcoated or it can be raw but truth is real and concrete. I’m aware that there are those who think truth is relative to whatever situation. I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and it is truth – non-negotiable truth.

I do think that there are times when people are suffering; they need love and acceptance before truth. If a person has made a bad choice and really wrecked their life, the last thing they need is a lecture. They need love and they need forgiveness and grace. The truth hasn’t moved or changed and it still applies, but when their spirit is crushed they need grace and love first.

Job is suffering from the loss of his family & everything he owned. He’s even lost his good health. He’s suffering from some major skin disorder or disease. He has three friends around him and they seem to be interested in conveying the truth rather than to let him “vent” his feelings. They are interested in conveying the truth that I believe Job is already committed to. Check this out…

5 But if you will seek God earnestly

    and plead with the Almighty,

6 if you are pure and upright,

    even now he will rouse himself on your behalf

    and restore you to your prosperous state.

7 Your beginnings will seem humble,

    so prosperous will your future be.

20 ‘Surely God does not reject one who is blameless

    or strengthen the hands of evildoers.

21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter

    and your lips with shouts of joy.

22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame,

    and the tents of the wicked will be no more.’ (Job 8:5-7; 20-22 NIV)

I don’t believe that I should ever ignore the truth or even dance around it. I believe that there are times that before truth can be handed down large doses of grace must be dispensed. If I’m in a desperate situation, I need hope, love and grace before truth pounds me in the ground. Just because I receive hope, love and grace first that doesn’t change the outcome of my choices – it does give me hope for getting back on the right path. I think Jesus modeled this when he cared for people’s physical hunger prior to teaching them truth. He also healed people physically before healing them spiritually.

There are times people just need love and grace in large amounts so that they can handle the truth. The truth is reality and love and grace don’t change that. Love and grace can change how I receive the truth and implement it into my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Repentance Can Be Messy

 

I can remember some of the times when I’ve sinned and failed miserably before the Lord. Some of the times it was private and others were against others publicly. I’ve witness “fake repentance” and I’ve experienced the real thing. I believe that repentance should carry with it “profound regret”.

Ezra was a prophet with the people of Judah and Benjamin who had been exiled to Babylon. King Darius of Persia later took over and allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God as well as their city. They had been in captivity over 70 years. Not long after they returned and started the clean up and building of the Temple, they sinned against God. They began to intermingle with people who worshipped other gods and defied the One True God. This really angered God and Ezra was stunned when he heard about it. He began the process of repentance immediately on behalf of the small nation of returned exiles. Check this out…

1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites – men, women and children – gathered round him. They too wept bitterly. (Ezra 10:1 NIV)

Messy repentance is genuine and involves making it right. Messy repentance requires heart-change. I can change my behavior on a moment’s notice, but heart change requires more investment and “buy in”.

I was thinking of the repentance of Zacchaeus, the tax collector who was changed because of his encounter with Jesus. He repented profoundly too. Check this out…

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ (Luke 19:8 NIV)

Repentance can also be expensive as well as messy. It often involves restitution of some sort. As Ezra lead the people in repentance, their hearts began to hurt with the things that hurt the heart of God. I believe involves me reconnecting my heart to his heart and leaving behind my past sinful behavior.

Pressing On!

Dwayne