If Only

 

ApathyI have used those two words together way too often. I used these two words mostly to “second guess” a decision or choice that I made. “If Only” often carries with it regret over something that was left undone or unfinished.  If only is related to “looking back” and how I can have 20/20 vision. If only comes along when I have new information and new options that either I didn’t have or didn’t see previously.

Jesus came to the earth as a baby born of Mary a virgin and He was raised in a Carpenter shop. He began His earthly ministry around the age of 30 and set about teaching and hanging out with a select few for the purpose of bringing glory to His Father. His actions were often misunderstood or misinterpreted then. We have the privilege of seeing His actions as well as the reasons behind them. This is nearly impossible when things are happening in “real time”.

Jesus’ friend Lazarus had recently died. He had gotten word that Lazarus was sick, but chose to stay where He and His team were ministering. Mary, Martha & Lazarus were dear friends and He often stayed with them when He was near Jerusalem. They lived in Bethany, a few miles outside Jerusalem. He then headed toward their place. When He was just outside the village, Mary & Martha got word He was coming their way, so Martha goes out to meet Him. Check this out…

20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”  (John 11:20-27 NLT)

The first thing Martha said to Jesus was “If Only”. She was grieving and hurting. She had been with Jesus and knew of His healing power because she had seen with her own eyes. She believed that Jesus could have healed her brother. Jesus had more than “healing” in mind. He was about to “blow their mind”.

This is the first time that Jesus calls Himself “the resurrection and the life”. This is a bold claim for sure, but Martha that she believed that He was Who He said He was. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He took His ministry to a whole new level. He also explained that He was hear for the Glory of God. I haven’t always understood how God can uses hard times, hardship and suffering for His glory. He can use the sudden death of a friend for His glory. I don’t always understand this, but this truth is woven throughout the pages of His Word. He is always pointing to eternal life as the “end goal”, not just life here on earth. We are here for His Glory, not our own. It’s hard to understand this concept when we haven’t “been there and done that”.  Eternal life is a mystery to us. It is not a mystery to the Lord. I can’t always explain the reasons things happen, but I do believe that I can find a way to give the Lord honor and praise in every situation. I don’t want to call on Him in regret (if only), I want to call on Him with respect and trust to help me walk through any circumstance that I face.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My One Aim

Worship to GodMy life here on this planet comes down to one significant goal. As I live and learn more about the Lord, I realize that my one aim is to bring glory to Him. I’m not supposed to drawing attention to myself, but to Him. His heart is so BIG. His LOVE is beyond measuring. His MERCY is new every day. His GRACE has given me hope in the most hopeless situations. I came across the smallest Psalm in the scripture this morning and I was reminded to “keep the main thing, the main thing”. Check this out…

Praise the Lord, all you nations.
    Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For his unfailing love for us is powerful;
    the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.

Praise the Lord! (Psalm 117:1-2 NIV)

I love music and songs that help me express my heart to the Lord. These are certainly in my Top Ten right now:

King of My Heart by Sarah McMillan & John McMillan

Worthy Of Your Name  by Brenton Brown, Brett Younker, Sean Curran

No Longer Slaves by Jonathan & Melissa Helser

Your Love Awakens Me by Phil Wickham

This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham

Today is a new day to bring honor to the Lord from deep within my heart, I want the activities of my day to day to reflect a heart that is laser focused on honoring the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Sunrise Sunset

Country road at sunriseI love daytime and I really like it when we change to daylight savings time. The days seem a bit longer (the daylight hours are longer), but in fact we have the same 24-hour day. I enjoy it most this time of year. I’m an early riser, so I love seeing the sunrise pretty much every day. I don’t always take advantage of this beautiful artistic spectacle that the Lord displays, but I really enjoy seeing the fresh dawn of a new day. I also enjoy the sunset in the west as the day ends. I like reflecting on my day and preparing for rest. No matter what I’m doing on any given day, I want my life to reflect the Lord Who lives in me. I was captivated by this passage of Psalms this morning. Check this out…

Praise the Lord.Sunset worship

Praise the Lord, you his servants;
    praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
    both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
    his glory above the heavens. (Psalm 113:1-4 NIV)

If you type the words “sunrise sunset” into google it will tell you what time the sun rises today and what time it sets. As I think about the sunrise and sunset, I realize that on rainy days, I can’t see the sun rise even though it does. The clouds settle in and block my view of the daily experience. The sun rising and setting is consistent and reliable.

I don’t think it’s accidental that the Psalmist reminded me that the Lord is to be praised from the rising of the sun to the setting of the son and all the moments in between and outside the day. The Lord loves the praise of His people all the time. He wired us to give Him honor and praise. I don’t always understand all that He’s doing, but I know He is constantly up to something good. He loves His kids (mankind) and He loves it when we praise Him and pray to Him. I am dependent upon Him and He’s totally good with that.  The wisest man who lived (King Solomon) wrote a beautiful passage about the Lord’s compassion and mercy. Check this out…

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steady Heart Faithful God

 

Man praying with the BibleWhen I read the writings of David, I feel like I can relate to Him. I’ve never been a king or a warrior, but David seems so human and hungry for God. I understand the human part as well as the hungry for God part.

The more I know about God, the more I want to know Him.

The more I know about God, the more I want to be the man He built me to be.

The more I know about God, the more my heart is moved to pursue His heart.

The more I know about God my love for Him gets deeper, broader and stronger.

Check this out…

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered. (Psalm 108:1-6 NIV)

My purpose here on this earth is to bring glory to God. I want others to see the Lord in me. I want others to see the Lord in how I live and work. I don’t want myself to be elevated and known, I want the Lord to be known in me. I want to do all I can to make the Lord famous and known everywhere. He lives in me and He wants to use me to build His kingdom. I want to be steady in my pursuit of God’s heart. He is so faithful to me and I want to be faithful to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Credit Is Due

 

Worship to GodI think it’s always a good practice to give credit to people who done the work and overcome the obstacles in their path. I’ve never been a fan of someone who takes the credit for something that they didn’t do. It takes humility to acknowledge the great work and accomplishment of someone else and give them the credit that is due them.

Michael Phelps did swim that fast. He is quick to give credit to those who coached him and trained him – but he put in the time training and did the hard work. His accomplishments are a result of the work he did and the coaching and training he received. I think it’s valuable to be quick to give credit where its due to others.

King David penned a Psalm that gives credit to The Lord for Who He is and all that He’s doing. Check this out…

1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,

    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name;

    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;

    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.

11 The Lord gives strength to his people;

    the Lord blesses his people with peace. (Psalm 29:1-2,10-11 NIV)

I gain great perspective by reading the Psalms. This passage reminded me of the proper perspective that I should have of God. My life is built to bring glory and honor to Him. He is the Creator of my life. He is the Conductor of my life. If I’ve done anything of value to others – it’s for His glory and not my own. I am nothing without Him.

I was reminded of a song that we sometimes sing at church called “Glory To God” by Steve Fee.

Before the world was made, before You spoke it to be

You were the King of kings, yeah You were, yeah You were

And now You’re reigning still, enthroned above all things

Angels and saints cry out, we join them as we sing

 

Glory to God, glory to God

Glory to God, forever

Glory to God, glory to God

Glory to God, forever

 

Creator God, You gave me breath so I could praise

Your great and matchless name, all my days, all my days

So let my whole life be a blazing offering

A life that shouts and sings the greatness of our King

 

Take my life and let it be

All for You and for Your glory

Take my life and let it be yours

 

Pressing On!

Dwayne