Enemy

 

devil angelI have tried hard over the years to avoid making enemies. I’m not a doormat that others can walk upon. I also don’t intentionally harm others. I have opened my mouth and stuck my foot in more times than I can count and hurt myself and others. I’ve always thought it was a mistake to make enemies versus friends. I may have significant disagreements with you, but there doesn’t have to be hatred involved. I do have an enemy and I try hard to avoid any association with him because he seeks my destruction. He employs whomever he can in his schemes and plans. The enemy has no power over me except what I give him. The Lord is the King of my heart and He squashes the enemy like a bug.

John, in writing about what he sees and hears, sees war break out in heaven. The angels throw satan down to earth. He longs to destroy the people of God. He wants to bring destruction to the church. He can bring temptations that are incredibly beautiful and appealing, but full of poison and death. Even though he has some power, I am full of God’s Spirit and the Power in me is much greater than the enemy. After the enemy was thrown from heaven, John heard a a loud voice. Check this out…

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say,

The salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Christ
have now come,
because the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them
before our God day and night,
has been thrown down.
11 They conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
for they did not love their lives
to the point of death. (Revelation 12:10-11CSB)

The enemy makes lots of promises that he can’t keep. His promises are full of lies and deceit. He promises life when he’s full of death. He knows what his end looks like, so he longs to take as many as he can from the Kingdom of God. He will say and do whatever he can to accomplish that.  I must keep seeking the truth in God’s Word so that I can recognize the schemes of the enemy. He will be defeated in the end. I just don’t want to be among those he’s caught.

I want to follow the Lord closely each day and discover deep truth from His Word to insulate me against the enemy and his attempts to take me out. I look forward to eternal life more than this brief vapor of life here on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wisdom Brings Peace

 

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI have been known to talk when I should be listening. I have also been known to be quiet when I should have spoken. This can be tricky – knowing when to speak or not to speak. I also try to edit carefully what comes out of my mouth. When I relax a bit among friends, or around my family, I might say too much. There is much to be said about thinking before speaking. It is way too often that my mouth starts speaking before my brain catches up with what I’m saying – this can be disastrous and hurtful. I’m so thankful that the Lord sees my heart. I think the people who know be best also know my heart. I’m not generally a hateful or insensitive person, but I confess that I have been before. When I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I began dismantling some of these harmful habits. Guarding my speech takes wisdom and tremendous restraint. I think as I get older, I’m learning the value of restraint and timing.

The book of James devotes the bulk of chapter 3 to control of the tongue and then he finishes up speaking of wisdom. I believe control of my tongue is directly connected to seeking and cultivating wisdom deep inside my soul. Check this out…

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. (James 3:17-18 CSB)

The wisdom that is described here is profoundly simple, deep, thorough, and heaven-sent. I can’t find this wisdom apart from the Lord Himself. He is the Source of Godly Wisdom. There is a wisdom of this world that is self-centered, self-promoting, arrogant and prideful. It is destructive instead of constructive. I want the Lord’s wisdom so that my “radar” can detect worldly wisdom. James says in chapter 1 that the Lord gives wisdom freely. Check this out…

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 CSB)

This peace-loving, gentle, compliant (reasonable), full of mercies – it is real not fake. I love that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who are wise enough to cultivate peace. Wisdom speaks with purity and peace. Wisdom is open to inspection and a thorough “vetting process”. The more you drill down into wisdom, the more insightful it becomes.  The Lord has given me incredible insight and wisdom in my marriage relationship, my parenting role, my friendship, my colleagues, my customers, clients and even strangers. God’s wisdom is timeless and beyond description, but He gives it in parcels that I can manage and handle. I believe He disperses it in my journey in His Word, in worship and in prayer – among other ways. I would love to be known as wise and understanding and a cultivator of peace – If I’m known for that, then I’ll know that He broke through this earthly vessel known as Dwayne.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Say What You Want

 

Child speaking out loudWhen I was growing up, I remember going to church and the preacher yelling and shouting a lot. I remember seeing the preacher preach like he was angry. As I grew up I realized that sometimes the preacher was angry, but for the wrong reason. He might be angry that giving is off or that the people are as committed to his ministry as he’d like. I really don’t care for that style of preaching and teaching. I often think that when those type speakers have nothing to say, they simply shout and get more animated. There are a lot of people who like to be rebuked in that way. They feel like they’ve been to church when they get their “toes stepped on”. I love hearing the truth and I’m convinced that the truth doesn’t always need fake emotion. The Holy Spirit can do the shouting deep inside the hearer’s heart.

There are other preachers and church leaders today that don’t ever speak against sin. They just love everybody and anything goes. They really water down the truth to the point it doesn’t even sound like truth. They really want the people who give to their church to like them, so they don’t call out sin in order to not offend. I believe that the Lord is not happy about this type of preaching and leading.

Micah was a prophet who called out prophets who were simply saying what people wanted to hear. He is God’s spokesperson and he doesn’t mince words. Check this out…

5-7 Here is God’s Message to the prophets,

    the preachers who lie to my people:

“For as long as they’re well paid and well fed,

    the prophets preach, ‘Isn’t life wonderful! Peace to all!’

But if you don’t pay up and jump on their bandwagon,

    their ‘God bless you’ turns into ‘God damn you.’

Therefore, you’re going blind. You’ll see nothing.

    You’ll live in deep shadows and know nothing.

The sun has set on the prophets.

    They’ve had their day; from now on it’s night.

Visionaries will be confused,

    experts will be all mixed up.

They’ll hide behind their reputations and make lame excuses

    to cover up their God-ignorance.”

8 But me—I’m filled with God’s power,

    filled with God’s Spirit of justice and strength,

Ready to confront Jacob’s crime

    and Israel’s sin. (Micah 3:5-8 The Message)

I believe that preachers should preach the truth.

I believe that Christ followers should speak the truth.

I believe that Christ followers should follow the truth of God’s Word.

I don’t always like what the Word says to me, but the truth is the truth.

I want to speak the truth with love in my heart. I want to honor the Lord with my life and my words. I want my life and my words to be in concert on His behalf. I want my opinions and ideas to be grounded in the truth of the Word, but I want to make sure that Truth prevails over any feelings or opinions I have. I want to say what the Lord wants me to say and nothing else.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Accountability via The Word

 

"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”

I enjoy walking through the Word of God each day. I try hard not to miss a day hearing from Him. I believe as I journey through the Word of God that He reveals Himself and shows me the way I should live. Sometimes it crazy to think about how it works. I can read a passage this morning from Hebrews and a brother, friend or someone else can read the exact same passage and hear something or catch something totally different. The Hebrew writer gives a pretty good description of how The Word of God works.  Check this out….

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

The Word is alive!

The Word is active!

The Word penetrates my heart!

The Word judges my thoughts and attitudes!

The Word uncovers my sin and my thoughts!

The Word holds me accountable!

The Word of God is much more than Words. The Word of God reveals the Heart of God and His incredible love, mercy and grace. His Word is my go-to source for wisdom, strength and direction. I see the Word of God as a Roadmap to Life!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Words Count

Child speaking out loudWords are things we use every day in our language without thinking much about it. By putting words together I can make a phrase or sentence. Words that are put together is a consistent form make up a language. My son, Luke speaks words in two languages. I don’t always understand the Spanish version of a word and he doesn’t always understand a particular word in English.  Every now and then I speak a word or phrase that I learned growing up in Kentucky. The people here in Georgia might not understand the meaning of what I said. It took me a minute after moving to Georgia to understand certain phrases or words used here.

Our words have power to communicate valuable content to one another or to a large group of people. Our words carry weight in how they are used as well as the content of the words themselves. Sometimes the tone of voice in which I speak a word has more significance than the actual words used.

Jesus knew the value of words as he spoke to the religious leaders. Check this out…

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34b-37 NIV)

Our words reveal the stuff our our heart. When I’m frustrated and I spew out some ugly words, that reveals the condition of my heart.  When I’m speaking gently to my children or to my wife, my words also reveal my heart. I think that words are the most powerful tool at our disposal. I do agree with Jesus that our words should reflect our heart. I should make my words count. I should season them with love, mercy and grace before speaking them. If I start talking without seasoning, they can cause pain and frustration. If I will put some thought into each word, they are refreshing to others who hear me speak.

I want the words that come from my mouth to be a blessing to others. I want to speak life into others instead of negative, death words.  The Word of God contains the words to live by and that Word can shape the words I speak today and every day.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Prophet Compass

48 MjAxMF8wOF8xMF9Db21wYXNzXzAxLmpwZw==When the people who lead get off track it can really cause a train wreck. The people who are given our trust, our loyalty and our support must lead with integrity and honor. If they don’t follow the Lord, they will do whatever they feel is right. The problem comes when they don’t listen to the Lord.

Micah was a good prophet. He was listening to God. He was staying true to what he was called to do and be. He was in the minority among prophets. The Lord was shutting the “prophet program” down. Check this out…

5 The Lord says this about the prophets who teach his people the wrong way of living: “If these prophets are given food to eat,

    they shout, ‘Peace!’

But if someone doesn’t give them what they ask for,

    they call for a holy war against that person.
6 So it will become like night for them, without visions.

    It will become dark for them, without any way to tell the future.

The sun is about to set for the prophets;

    their day will become dark.
7 The seers will be ashamed;

    the people who see the future will be embarrassed.

Yes, all of them will cover their mouths,

    because there will be no answer from God.” (Micah 3:5-7 NCV)

Micah is the prophet recording this from the Lord. He is still tracking with God. He has resisted the temptation to simply “tickle their ears” with what the people want to hear. Check this out…

8 But I am filled with power,

    with the Spirit of the Lord,

    and with justice and strength,

to tell the people of Jacob how they have turned against God,

    and the people of Israel how they have sinned. (Micah 3:8 NCV)

Micah is calling the prophets out. He isn’t shy or timid – He’s bold in his faith.

There needs to always be someone who will not “sell out” to society or culture.

There needs to be someone who will always speak the truth – even when it’s painful.

There needs to be someone who will be honest in spite of the dishonest culture.

There needs to be someone who will ALWAYS follow the Lord’s Way.

There needs to be someone who will call me out when I’m not following the Lord’s way.

The compass shows which way North is – The Word of God always points to God. A good prophet is always pointing the way to the Lord – NOT pointing or drawing attention to himself or herself.

Pressing On!
Dwayne