Faithful Follower

Man praying with the BibleI grew up knowing about the Lord from my parents and grandparents. I was introduced to the scriptures at a young age. My family went to church twice on Sunday and also on Wednesday for mid-week Bible Study. I lived off the faith of my parents and grandparents for several years. I remember when I realized that some of the church traditions that I held were challenged. I went to a Bible College in East Tennessee and there were people there from all over the world. Some of the traditions that I held on to were not found in scripture. The traditions were from people who were following Jesus. After a while, the traditions were taught as truth from God’s Word. I have a lot of opinions about all sorts of things that are being taught as truth, but the Word of God is enough to raise of the people of God. The traditions were never intended to be impediments to the truth, but that is what they have become.  Many religions have multiple traditions as well as churches today. I want to have a strong relationship with God – if that makes me “religious”, I don’t mind. I don’t want to be religious just for the sake of being good. I want to faithfully follow Creator God and learn more and more of His heart through the study of His Word and being committed to a church filled with fellow followers.

On more than one occasion, Jesus challenged the “religion leaders” and “teachers of the law”. They believed that the Messiah was coming, but this is a colossal case of missing the point. They not only didn’t believe Him, they killed Him.  Check out this encounter with them…

28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.

31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?”

They replied, “The first.”

Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins. (Matthew 21:28-32 NLT)

While I grew up in church, I’m thankful that the Lord has been patient with me as I discovered Him and heard His call upon my heart. I’ve learned more about His heart simply by reading the Word every day and asking Him to speak into my heart. If I can have time to eat, I have time for His Word. If I have time to watch a television show, I have time for His Word. Over the years of spending time in His Word, I really miss my time with Him, if I miss even one day. I believe He’s drawn me nearer His heart as I’ve searched the Word for His heart. I want to be a faithful follower of God all the days of my life. I want to be obedient to His call upon my life and upon my heart even today. I don’t want to ever get so bogged down with doing things for Him that I skip my time just being with Him in His Word listening to Him speak into my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Word Of God

Holy BibleI am convinced that my life’s journey became more focused and clear when I decided to start my day with the Word of God. I’m not a theologian. I’m not a bible scholar. I’m a husband, dad, teacher & REALTOR who wants to be a student of God’s Word. My perspective has changed a lot over the years. I believe my journey in God’s Word has reshaped my heart to be more like His. I have a lot of growing yet to do, but I believe this daily discipline, as simple as it is, has had a profound impact upon my life.

I came across one of those passages that I remember from years ago. It affirms the power and significance of the Word of God. Check this out…

12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 CSB)

I started writing a journal of sorts after reading a passage. There was nothing complex about it, I just wrote about what “jumped out” in the passage that I read. I underlined or highlighted in my Bible. I started this journal process for me. I wanted to remember at 3 PM what I had read at 6 AM to start my day. I wanted the Word of God to live in me throughout the day. I was a bit surprised at how it stuck for longer periods of time – all because I journaled about it. My blog became part of the process later. I felt like the Lord prompted me to share my journey in His Word. I’m not sure when I started this – (I guess I could look it up), but it’s blessed my life to share my journey. I feel called to be in His Word every day. I share my journaling because I believe He asked me too.

I wish I could adequately describe the profound impact my daily journey in His Word has had on my life. I wish everyone who read the words of my journey would try reading His Word daily for at least 30 days. My life has never been the same since. I’ve had hardship and suffering, but I keep coming back to the Word of my Creator – His inspired Word. His Word brings comfort. His Word brings clarity. His Word tells me how to be saved. His Word introduced grace and mercy. His Word tells me all about Jesus. God’s heart is revealed in His Word and I want to know His heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Ask & Answered

 

Elderly man prayingI have prayed fervently and desperately for the Lord to intervene on my behalf of my family or loved one. I believe that the Lord hears my prayers. I also believe He answers my prayers according to His Will and His Way. I know what I want when I pray, but I’ve grown in my faith to the point that I want but I want, but I will surrender to what the Lord wants. The Lord just knows things that I don’t know. He sees things that I can’t possibly see.

I do believe that I can ask the Lord anything. I believe that the Lord has honored some of my desperate prayers as well as some prayers that later seem trivial. I don’t always understand His answer but I trust His heart. The story of Hezekiah reveals a desperate prayer that was asked and answered. Check this out…

1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’” (2 Kings 20:1-6 NIV)

I want to walk with the Lord like Hezekiah. I want to be bold in my prayers. I want the Lord to direct my path and pour wisdom into me. I am still learning and trying to understand deeply the heart of God. I want to trust that His timing is perfect. His will is perfect. He provides for my family and me. He gives me wisdom beyond explanation. I want to walk faithfully before the Lord just to know Him more, NOT to bargain with Him. As I get to know the Lord more, I can trust Him more fully.

I will continue to pray desperate prayers because the Lord knows when my heart is hurt and desperate anyway. I want to keep growing in my understanding of God’s heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Conspire

 

Conspiracy word cloudThis word implies secrecy and illegal activity and agreement between two or more people. I’m not sure that what I choose to do myself would be considered a conspiracy.

Samson had been wreaking havoc on the Philistines. He was supernaturally strong and they couldn’t stop him. When he falls in love with a Philistine woman named Delilah, they knew that had to try. Each leader offered her 13 Kilograms of silver in exchange for her delivering Samson to her. She starts right away to ask him the secret of his strength, so he tells her some tall tale about tying him up with seven fresh bowstrings. She actually tried it (with soldiers waiting secretly) and it didn’t work. She tries twice more and has two more false alarms. After pestering Samson day in and day out, he finally comes clean. Check this out…

17 So he told her everything. ‘No razor has ever been used on my head,’ he said, ‘because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.’

18 When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, ‘Come back once more; he has told me everything.’ So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. 19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.

20 Then she called, ‘Samson, the Philistines are upon you!’

He awoke from his sleep and thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him. (Judges 16:17-20 NIV)

I do believe that if Samson had been walking with the Lord, he’d had a heads up about this conspiracy. I see him living in his flesh instead of living out of a heart deeply devoted to the Lord. These people showed up with the money in hand. It’s obvious that Delilah never loved him or cared for him – it was about the money. I’m not even sure she was patriotic to the Philistine cause or country.

Conspiracies are so deceitful. I believe the Lord can expose conspiracies through the prompting of His Spirit. I believe that the Lord can open my eyes to things that I wouldn’t notice any other way. This usually money or power involved in a conspiracy. Both of these ingredients can be destructive on their own. When couched in conspiracy, they can be incredibly destructive.

I want all my cards on the table. I want to deal honestly and openly with others. I don’t want there to be even a tiny hint of conspiracy. I want to always live and work with integrity as the bedrock of each relationship that I have. What you see is what you get. I believe that living out of a heart devoted to the Lord will direct my path the way He would have me live every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Flattered

Cheerful man showing thumbs up, over whiteThis is not necessarily positive term. By definition it means: “lavish insincere praise and compliments upon (someone), especially to further one’s own interests”. I’ve had someone pour on the flattery and quite honestly in makes me suspicious of their own agenda. There is a big difference in having someone who knows me to pay me a compliment or say genuinely nice things about me. I’m humbled and honored to have friends and colleagues who know my heart and love me sincerely. They are not simply going to “puff me up” with fake praise. Daniel noted in one of his visions that the king really poured on the flattery for his people. Check this out…

32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. (Daniel 11:32 NIV)

 

Please don’t misunderstand; I think we all benefit from genuine compliments and genuine praise. It’s the “fake praise” that can be detrimental. There are some people who will always “tickle your ear” with what you want them to say. Then there are others who will call you out if you’re out of line and praise you when you’re right on track. I desire honesty and truth over inflated, and puffed up praise. I believe that knowing the Lord will help keep me grounded even in circumstances where I’m known for love or kindness. If I’m a good man at all, it’s because the Lord has shaped my heart to be like His. I’m blessed to know Him and I really want to impress Him with my life and my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Enough Said

Man opens shirt to reveal gearsThere are times when someone says something and it is enough. There is no more commentary needed. After reading this passage in Proverbs this morning – I have nothing more to say. It was enough said. Check this out…

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
 
   turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,

    keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them

    and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,

    for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
 
   keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;

    fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet

    and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;

    keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:20-27 NIV)
 
Pressing On!
Dwayne