Love Changes Everything!

Colorful typographic motivational poster to raise faith in yourself and your strength. The series of business concepts on a textured background of an old love. VectorI recently connected with a young couple whom I had the privilege of performing their wedding ceremony. They have been married about 4 years and have their first child. I hadn’t connected with them since the birth of their little one. They asked about my family and how everyone was doing. As the conversation moved back to their little child, the young mom said that being a parent changed everything in their lives. She quickly added “for the better”! I often ask young parents, “Did you know you could love like that?” The answer is almost always “no”. Becoming a parent changes how we love. I profoundly love being Dad & Pop. The love that overflows from my heart to my children and grandchildren is an unstoppable force. I love my sweet wife and it’s a love that keeps expanding as we grow old together. Love is an amazing, powerful concept. Love is way more than words. Love is shown in actions and activities.

On the 14th of February every year, we celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day (aka Valentine’s Day). This event started as a celebration of saints but evolved into a celebration of love. I was reminded of this a I came across the “Love Chapter” in my daily journey. Check this out…

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 NLT)

If I were the most popular man on earth but didn’t have love – worthless.

If I were the founder/owner of Amazon, Microsoft – (you name it) and didn’t have love – empty.

If I were the most amazing REALTOR, helping buyers and sellers but didn’t love people – I would be a failure.

If I were the greatest husband and Dad on the planet but didn’t have love – I would be lost. I really don’t think I can be successful at ANYTHING without love.  God changed the entire world when He displayed His love via His Son. His love is ridiculous and knows no limits. He is the One Who taught me how to love. He loved me first and He loves me best. His love is really impossible to get my head around. His love is unfathomable & indescribable! I’m so thankful that He loved me and still loves me. If you’re reading this – I love you too – even if I don’t know you well. It’s because He taught me to love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Foundational Truth

 

foundation brickI am not a building expert. I do consider myself a skilled professional in determining the value of buildings, houses and land. I am not an appraiser, but I can do some math regarding the cost of building materials and the cost per square foot.  Another thing I’ve learned to look for in determining the value of a building is the “bones” of the building. On a practical note, you can look in the crawl space at the structure as well as the attic and make some determinations about the overall structure.  When building anything from the ground up, it’s critical to have a good foundation. There are codes to follow as well as common sense. If the foundation is bad, the whole house will have problems in the future.

Jesus is being grilled by the Pharisees and the Sadducees and other teachers of the law. Since He is the Author of the Law, they had no chance to trip Him up. That didn’t stop them from trying. Check this out….

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)

The entire law really comes down to four words in the English language: Love God – Love Others. That is pretty simple. I didn’t say it was easy, but it is simple. The Lord wants to be first place in my heart. He doesn’t want to become second to anyone or anything. After I get that part right, I’m called to love like He loved. He loves everyone. He sees past the rough exterior right into a person’s heart. He loves those who are hard to love and He calls me to do the same. The foundation of my faith is based on these two simple yet complex commands. I find it easy to love God, but difficult to love others. It is easy to love people who love me and it’s easy to love my wife and children.

It’s hard to love weird people.

It’s hard to love hateful people.

It’s hard to love people who hate me.

It’s hard to love people who hate God.

God didn’t put exceptions on love. He commanded me to love. I am still trying to figure out how to love everyone. I will probably be working on that for a while. I’m learning the more of my heart that He has, the easier it is to love like He loves. I’m also learning that when I realize how much He loves me with all of my sin and stupid choices – my heart for others expands. I really want to put these two simple commands (aka foundational truth) into the very fabric of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Comprehensive

understandThis word has always intrigued me. I have not always considered myself to be super intuitive and smart. I do try to understand the multi-facets of issues and problems. I also try to “get my head around” the scope of issues that I or friends of mine are facing. That is really the essence of this word comprehensive – having a total grasp or understanding of certain subject matter.

I am still trying to learn and understand more of Who God is and what He’s doing in my life and the lives of others. Paul’s pray for comprehension and understanding really blessed me this morning. Check this out…

16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21 CSB)

I needed that prayer as I seek God’s heart.

I don’t understand everything God does.

I don’t understand everything God says.

I’m learning to trust Him more even when I don’t understand.

I want to comprehend and understand the height, depth, length and width of His love for me.

I’m joining Paul in his prayer. I want to know more about God’s heart and His love for me. I want His love to dwell in my heart consistently. I want to be deeply rooted and firmly established in love.

What I do know is that God loves me and I want to live for Him the rest of my days. I want to grow in my comprehension of His love and grace.

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

Love For People

Group of students talkingI must say that I really do love people. It’s even cool to go to the mall and watch people for a bit. I often try not to be a person people watch, but I really can’t control that much. I like young people and older people especially. In some circles, I’m old, but in other circles I’m a young guy. I’ve also heard from my older friends that “age is a relative term”. Young people can be so idealistic and enthusiastic. Older people are seasoned, a bit slower, but overflowing with wisdom and experience. I sometimes think I would enjoy being young again knowing what I know now.

King David was returning to Jerusalem after a failed coup by his son Absalom. He is emotional and full of grief at his son’s death. His return to Jerusalem is being celebrated and enthusiastically supported by people in all of Israel. I especially like the exchange by this older gentleman. Check this out…

31 Barzillai the Gileadite also came down from Rogelim to cross the Jordan with the king and to send him on his way from there. 32 Now Barzillai was very old, eighty years of age. He had provided for the king during his stay in Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33 The king said to Barzillai, ‘Cross over with me and stay with me in Jerusalem, and I will provide for you.’

36 Your servant will cross over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way? 37 Let your servant return, that I may die in my own town near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Kimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king. Do for him whatever you wish.’ (2 Samuel 19:31-33; 36-37 NIV)

Something about this older gentleman simple drew David in. While the man was a good bit older than David, he showed great respect. David obviously respected Barzillai. I loved a quote that I recently heard from Lou Holtz, the long-time football coach of Notre Dame. He was speaking to a bunch of graduates and challenged them to listen to what he was about to say. After all, he said: “I’ve been where you are in my early 20’s, but you haven’t been where I’m at now – age 78”. (Apologies for probably not getting that quote exact.)

I’m learning that even though I know a lot of things that won’t work because I’ve experienced some failure, it’s hard for younger people to hear some of that advice giving from older folks.

I’m thankful to have had some older folks in my life that I’ve trusted over the years. I’m blessed to have had a close relationship with my grandparents. I learned volumes from them, just by hanging around them. Recently, I’ve been super thankful for the opportunity to hang around some younger people to see them dream and think about a world outside themselves.

The Good Lord created all sorts of people on this earth. I’ll admit that some of them are a bit strange and even weird. We all have blood flowing through our veins. We all need love and to be loved. We all will die one day. I would be wise to chase after the Creator every day and enjoy the journey! I want to stay young at heart even though my body is “climbing the ladder of age”! I want to continue to love people and be loved by people. God wired me this way, and He is the Ultimate Example of Love….He loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Accidental or Intentional

 

Cause and effectI must confess that there are times I’ve done something intentional that had some results that were not intended. I’ve heard the term unintended consequences when a person does something that appears on the surface to be good, but something bad comes out of it.

God is giving His people the law and He starts being specific about personal injury or death. He is trying to put boundaries and show that He values life. Check this out…

12 ‘Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. 13 However, if it is not done intentionally, but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate. 14 But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death. (Exodus 21:12-14 NIV)

As I read this I realized that God is a God of LIFE. He is also a God of mercy. There are times when unintended consequences happen and the worse case scenario comes because of it. I used to deer hunt several years ago and I got a little funny feeling in the pit of my stomach when I took the life of a deer. I did actually eat the deer and provide for my family, but I wasn’t expecting the sick feeling after killing such a large animal. I can’t imagine taking the life of a person. I don’t believe I’d have a hard time taking someone out who was actually trying to hurt my family or me. I also have never had a problem killing a bug or spider. I believe that God values life because He created life from nothing.

I also believe in the mercy and grace of God. I believe that God can forgive a murderer on death row even though the consequences of his sin are the death penalty. I sometimes feel like God’s bar of forgiveness is a bit too high for me. He loves deeper and more thoroughly than I can comprehend or wrap my head around. This passage makes me stop and think about what my life is really about. I want to intentionally make it count for Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne