Hope – Now & Later

AnchorHope is a word that can be used as a verb or a noun. I’m not an English major, but we have other words in the English language that have different meanings for the same word. For example: I have little hope that she will make a full recovery. (Noun) I am hoping that she makes full recovery. (verb) This may not mean much to others, but I think it’s important to discern between the two. I use the word hope as it pertains to my faith all the time. I have hope for eternal life. I believe that the Lord’s promises are true. This life is not all that there is. On the other side I’m living out the hope I have in the Lord. He gives me hope now and later. Check this out…

10 For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints—and by continuing to serve them. 11 Now we desire each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the full assurance of your hope until the end, 12 so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.

19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. (Hebrews 6:10-12, 19 CSB)

I have hope today as it settles in my soul. I want my life to demonstrate the hope I have in the Lord. I love the picture of hope being an anchor for my soul. An anchor holds the boat steady even when the current is pulling. The size of the anchor should be in proportion to the size of the boat. My 19’ Pontoon boat doesn’t require an anchor the size of a ship. Likewise, my little pontoon boat anchor wouldn’t hold a big yacht steady for even a second.

Jesus is the anchor for my soul. He is strong enough to steady me no matter how crazy the storm around me gets. He is here and now. He is present in my day to day journey when I invite Him in. He is also my hope in the future. He promises life after this life. The hope He has provided me in the present has deepened my convictions about the future. When the Lord entered my heart, the outcome of my life took on different meaning and significance.  I will never be the same again. My hope in Him changed my present and my future.

My current favorite about hope:   All My Hope is in Jesus by Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Outcome

 

tug of warI am a bit different than those who live around me when it comes to sports. I live in the deep south where college football is the main topic of conversation pretty much year ‘round. I grew up in Kentucky and basketball was king. I grew up bleeding blue – Kentucky Wildcat blue. We talked basketball all year long. I’ve not lived in Kentucky for 37 years, but I still love college basketball – specifically UK Basketball. I used to go so upset if the Wildcats were losing, I could hardly enjoy the game. I ONLY enjoyed the game if they were winning!  If I know the outcome of the game prior to watching it, there is not nearly as much anxiety or thrill.

The Psalms of David often give perspective on God and His Power. He reminds us that while it may seem like the wicked win – the Lord will prevail in the end. Check this out…

16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;

    the nations will perish from his land.

17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;

    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

    so that mere earthly mortals

    will never again strike terror. (Psalm 10:16-18 NIV)

One of the reasons I follow the Lord is because of things that He’s already done in my life over the years. It validates His Word over and over because of His Presence and His Power shown in my life – even in some very dark times. He has never left me or forsaken me, even though I’ve not won all the battles that I’ve faced. I still have my eyes on winning the war. That is the outcome I’m most concerned about.

I’ve seen people who are suffering at the hands of others, but they know that this life is not all there is. They living for a life that we can’t yet see, but we’re promised eternal life in His Word. When I go through trials and struggles and I can’t see how this can turn out good, I must surrender all I have and all I am to the Lord so He can help me make sense of this and make it through the struggle.  The Lord knows the outcome of what I’m going through now and what I’ll go through in the future – He will lead me no matter what.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Position

Waiter with trayI have held different positions over the course of my life. I am a son, husband, dad, “Pop”, and a friend – these are many of family member positions. I have had two different careers if I don’t count growing up on a farm. I was a full-time pastor (youth, college) for 20 years. I enjoyed serving the Lord – I believe that is a high and holy calling. I have learned over the years that each follower of the Lord is called to serve. People in full time ministry are paid a salary so they are free to do ministry without being tied down to another position in a company to earn a salary.

I have seen and still see people jockey for position in different companies to be the “top dog” and there are times such manipulation works. I’ve also seen the lowest person in the company serve their way up to the top. I think it’s wise to know who I am and who I’m not. I need to be keenly aware of my weaknesses and my strengths. The cool thing is that with the Lord living inside of me – he makes up for my weaknesses.

The Psalms consistently remind me of my position and His Position and His Presence. When He gave me my position as a child of the King – it has changed everything. Check this out…

1 Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

    in the heavens.

2 Through the praise of children and infants

    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,

    to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,

    the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

    which you have set in place,

4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?

5 You have made them a little lower than the angels

    and crowned them with glory and honor.

6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;

    you put everything under their feet:

7 all flocks and herds,

    and the animals of the wild,

8 the birds in the sky,

    and the fish in the sea,

    all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1-9 NIV)

My position is contingent upon His Presence. He is the One Who saved me and filled me with His Spirit. I’m nothing without Him, but with Him I can do amazing things beyond my abilities and skills. He has given me a position as His kid and there is great honor, great hope and a great future in my new position.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Good Ole’ Days

 

happy and motivated old people 3dI’m old enough to remember the “good ole’ days” for sure. I remember when a loaf of bread was 25 cents and gasoline was 45 cents. I was really young, but I remember how different things were back in the 1960’s. I grew up without a lot of money or possessions (aka poor), but I didn’t really realize it because it was fairly normal for that part of rural Kentucky. My parents and grandparents talked about their childhood like it was the good ole’ days too. I think it’s pretty easy to remember to good times of days gone by. We tend to forget the struggles and hardships and hang on to the good things that came out of that time frame.

Job began thinking back to his “good ole’ days” before he lost his family, his possessions and his health. He was a very wealthy and wise man – well loved in his community. Check this out…

2 ‘How I long for the months gone by,

    for the days when God watched over me,

3 when his lamp shone on my head

    and by his light I walked through darkness!

4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,

    when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house,

5 when the Almighty was still with me

    and my children were around me,

6 when my path was drenched with cream

    and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.

7 ‘When I went to the gate of the city

    and took my seat in the public square,

8 the young men saw me and stepped aside

    and the old men rose to their feet; (Job 29:2-8 NIV)

This man Job was once an incredible influential man in his community. He was well respected. He was wealthy. He was a rescuer. He was a good neighbor. He was royalty to his community because of his character, his wealth and his gentle spirit. He was now in the midst of the darkest days of his life. His suffering was real and it was lengthy. He desperately wanted to go back to the days of his success and affluence – but here he was in the midst of struggle and suffering.

As I look back to many of my struggles and suffering – it was a short season, but it felt like a lifetime in the midst of it. Whoever first spoke the axiom “this too shall pass” was pretty wise. It’s true but I still wanted to smack the person who said it! The good ole’ days weren’t really all that good. The days we live in now will one day become the “good ole’ days”. I want to do my best to drink in the moments of today with my relationships with family and friends. My circumstances or situation could change drastically tomorrow or a few days after and make me long for this moment in time. I want to live in this moment today. I want to seek the Lord with my whole heart. I may one day need the courage and strength that He is building into me today.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

30 Days or 30 Years

Making a planSometimes when I reflect on my life, I wonder where in the world has the time gone. Some days it seems like forever since I was a 16-year-old boy at home just getting my freedom to drive. On other days, it seems like yesterday that my oldest son was born. Today I’m trying to remember what happed 30 days ago. I often think: “if I had known then what I know now, life would be much different”. The problem is, I didn’t know a lot back then. I’m so thankful the Lord was patient with me while I “played around” at following Him. The events in my past make much more sense now that I’m looking back on them. The Lord never let go of me and I’m so very grateful.

There was a time in Israel’s history when their kings didn’t last long. There was obviously much turmoil in the land. I was struck by the brevity of some of the kings’ rise to power. It almost always involved a coup accompanied by bloodshed. Check this out…

13 Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned in Samaria for one month. 14 Then Menahem son of Gadi went from Tirzah up to Samaria. He attacked Shallum son of Jabesh in Samaria, assassinated him and succeeded him as king. (2 Kings 15:13-14 NIV)

I’m learning that when I’m given a chance to lead, I’m going to let God lead me. If I’m following the lead of the Lord, my influence can expand drastically. I’m seen people who had 30 days of power, fame and possibly influence. I’ve also noticed people who’ve had over 30 years of strong leadership and influence. I want my life to count as I invest my time and energy into kingdom work. I can do this from any place I find myself.

There have been people who I have only know around 30 days in my past and there are friends I’ve had way more than 30 years. I want everyone who knows me to see Christ in me. I’ve known the Lord since I was a young kid, but I know more about Him now than I’ve ever know. I’ve got a lot more to learn about His heart and about His way. I want to make the years ahead count in my journey with Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Looking Back

Time For Reflection Message Means Ponder Or ReflectI’m not sure when I started looking back and reflecting so much. I think it happened somewhere around my 45th birthday. I realized that I was over halfway home. The years behind me were more than the years ahead. I believe it’s very valuable to reflect on my past to not only learn from it, but to be inspired by it. There are things in my past that are incredibly painful and tough. There are things in my past that I still can’t describe the joy with words. I can look back and see the hand of the Lord in my life. There are so many times when I’m in the midst of a struggle and it’s hard to see or feel the Lord’s Presence. I know from my past that He is always here though. He never abandons me.

Joshua was well advanced in years and about to pass from this life into eternity. He gets a bit reflective and draws upon the inspiration of the nation of Israel’s journey with the Lord. Check this out…

3 You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you.

6 ‘Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.

8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

9 ‘The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.

14 ‘Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. (Joshua 23:3,6,8-10,14 NIV)

I don’t want to spend too much time looking back and reflecting but I do see the value in learning from my past. I have made mistakes in my past that I don’t want to make ever again. I also don’t want to miss the celebration of the “wins” in my life. It’s often easier to dwell on the losses than the wins. My life’s journey today is shaped by the “losses” and the “wins”. I am more determined than ever to keep walking in step with the Lord because as I look back, my losses would have been way more painful and devastating without the Lord’s rescue. It is so easy to get stuck and beat down in the shadow of defeat rather than pushing through into the great lessons that can learned from journey.

I want to stay close to the Lord and trust in His Promises and His Presence as my future continues to be written into daily increments. I want to be very careful to love and honor God with my whole heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne