Thankful Heart

 

Girl holding a heart-shaped boxI want to have a thankful heart no matter what my circumstances.

I want to have a thankful heart in the middle of crisis.

I want to have a thankful heart in the joy of victory.

I want to have a thankful heart in the depths of grief.

 

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with a hateful heart.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with anger.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with selfishness.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with greed.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with envy.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with jealousy.

 

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with giving!

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with love!

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with joy!

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with peace!

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with patience!

I think you get the picture – a thankful heart stands on its own and needs to be the foundation of everything good inside my heart.

I’m trying to commit this to memory this week. Check this out… 

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
    and desperately wicked.
    Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
    and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
    according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT)

I want to have a whole thankful heart every day for the rest of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Time Table

 

Organize Agenda Planner Reminder Calendar To Do ConceptI still learning the value of time. This is a precious commodity of our existence. We all have the same number of minutes and hours in a day, but we have no idea how long we have on this earth before our “time” is up. I work from a calendar every day of my life. If I’m going to connect with a friend for coffee or lunch, I must first check my calendar (aka schedule) to make sure I’m not scheduled to be somewhere else. It is simply my attempt to manage my time while showing proper respect to others for their time. If someone gives me their time, they are giving me a special gift and I should be wise in managing that.

I sometimes wonder how my life will end. I have another birthday celebration on the horizon and I do think about aging, sickness and even death. I can’t really control much of my time table. I can work at eating healthy and exercising, but in the end, I still have little control over the length of my life. Peter reminds us that the Lord’s timetable exercises great patience over His return. Check this out…

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 CSB)

I don’t know if I’ll be alive when it happens, but I believe that Jesus will return to take His people out of this world prior to its destruction. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience in punishment. I’ve deserved punishment many times, but the Lord’s Grace is exhibited in patience. He gave me the time I needed to “come to my senses” and repent of my stupidity and rebelliousness. I do believe the Lord’s Grace is immeasurable, unrealistic and ridiculous. Since I’m a recipient of His Grace, I’m profoundly grateful that it is all those things.

As I get older, I find that I can be more patient with myself and with others. I don’t have to have everything exactly on my time table. I’m learning that not everyone works at the same speed or is even cable of working the same pace. I’m thankful that the Lord’s timetable comes out of His Grace and Mercy instead of His justice & punishment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Be Encouraged

 

Series of hand gesturesI like the word encouragement. It has that important word “courage” right in the center of it. The word “encourage” means to inspire a spirit of confidence and courage in another. I believe encourage carries hope with it a well. I love people who encourage me and inspire me. I find encouragement in friendship. I find encouragement in corporate worship at church as well as the messages from our Pastor. I find encouragement from my family and they continue to grow as adults. Encouragement can be found all over the place. I must be careful because the nemesis of encouragement is discouragement and he doesn’t give up easily. When I’m discouraged, I see everything differently. I can sink into despair. This can happen easily when being criticized and complained about. This negative force can take the wind out of my soul. I must guard against discouragement by digging deep inside my heart and knowing who I am and Whose I am.  I must return to the roots of my character and disciplines. Check this out…

I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. (Colossians 2:2-3;6-7 CSB)

There are lots of “Negative Nellies & Nelsons” in life who put others down trying to make themselves seem big. Be clearly aware of their presence and their tactics. There are also “Positive Petes & Paulas” all around. I want to lean into the positives and learn from the negatives, but I want to be encouraged and live a life of encouragement. I want to grow in my positive outlook on life.

I think the key to encouragement for me is found in the last part of verse 7:

-rooted in Him

– built up in Him

– established in the faith

– return to what I was taught

– overflowing with gratitude

I have been praying that the Lord continue to help me grow in gratitude. A grateful heart pushes out the hateful heart. A grateful heart grows from gratitude while an ungrateful heart wallows in misery. A grateful heart also pushes out fear and worry and welcomes faith and trust inside.

I’m encouraged by the Word of God. I’m encouraged by the Lord as I walk with Him each day. I need to seek Him all day every day!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Musical Instrument

 

Trumpet musical instrument isolatedMy heart goes out to people who can’t talk. I also hurt for those who can’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears. They must compensate some other way for that deficiency. I know that I often take these things for granted. I love to hear people with other accents talk. I was on vacation last week and heard a person who was more “country” or “southern” than myself talk – I could hardly understand him!  I know that people from other parts of the country/world get a chuckle out of hearing people from the south talk. Our tongues can be trained to talk or they can also “fall into” a dialect of sorts.

What if we all sounded the same?

What if our languages were all the same?

What if everyone sang just alike?

I’m thankful that the Lord made us different in so many ways but the same. A huge percentage of humans can talk, hear and see. Our tongues are a musical instrument of sorts. I like to sing and play guitar and I learned a long time ago that I should take care of my voice as well as take care of my guitar.  The Apostle Paul speaks to the church in Corinth about speaking in different tongues/languages. He uses the analogy of a musical instrument. Check this out…

So now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in other tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you with a revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? Even lifeless instruments that produce sounds—whether flute or harp—if they don’t make a distinction in the notes, how will what is played on the flute or harp be recognized? In fact, if the bugle makes an unclear sound, who will prepare for battle? In the same way, unless you use your tongue for intelligible speech, how will what is spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different kinds of languages in the world, none is without meaning. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker will be a foreigner to me. 12 So also you—since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek to excel in building up the church. (1 Corinthians 14:6-12 CSB)

I want to use my voice to praise God, encourage, inspire and instruct.

I can use my voice to criticize or counsel.

I can use my voice to build up or tear down.

I want to speak to the Lord and to others with the language of love, grace, mercy and kindness that He has poured out all over me. I’m grateful, humbled and often speechless to articulate the amazing love of God. I think that God understands my heart no matter what language or tongue I use. He loves for me to talk to Him. He loves for me to praise Him. He loves for me to encourage and love others too!

My voice can be a powerful musical instrument and never sing a note – I just need to keep talking about my journey with the Lord!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Worship

God's mercy at the CrossI believe that worship is all around me. People worship fame. People worship fortune. People worship success. People worship other gods besides the Lord God. I also believe that this grieves His heart. He has made a way for us to get to him, yet we ignore his overtures and His pursuit of our hearts. “Worship is the activity of the human soul.” (Louie Giglio) I believe that everyone worships someone or something. I believe if you spent the day with me, you could figure out if I really worship God or not.

I believe worship is defined more by my walk than my words. I can talk a lot – “talk is cheap”, but to live out what I believe looks like worship.  Worship is much more than a song or Psalm, it is deep desire of my soul that is hidden from view of everyone but the Lord. Check this out…

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;

let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care. (Psalm 95:1-7a NIV)

Our worship of self gets us into a big huge mess. Our worship of self leads us far away from the God Who made us. The Lord loves it when I put Him first. My Pastor said last week, “we worship our way into sin and we worship our way out of sin”.  We worship self which leads into sin and we worship the King of Kings to get out of sin. I believe if I come before the Lord with a grateful heart that He draws me close to Himself. This position doesn’t keep me from sin, but it certainly keeps me further away than normal. I want to worship the Lord God, Creator of the world and the One Who saved my soul. I want to keep everything else and everyone else in their proper place and that include myself.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Here I Am To Worship by Tim Hughes

Simply Thankful

Gratitude Word CloudI grew up as a kid pausing to give thanks prior to every meal. It was a ritual that my parents taught us at a very early age. It was a simple short gesture of thankful hearts. As I’ve gotten older and a lot of life has been lived, I find myself thanking the Lord a lot more often than just at meal time.

I heard a great quote recently that said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” (By Marcus Tullius Cicero) I first heard this quote on a podcast called The Brian Buffini show. It has really stirred my heart. When I start to count my blessing from the Lord, it humbles me.

Asaph penned several of the Psalms. He started Psalm 75 out with gratitude. Check this out…

We praise you, God,
    we praise you, for your Name is near;
    people tell of your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 75:1 NIV)

Almost a year ago, my youngest son fell 45 feet from a tree he had been climbing just for fun. He was at a friend’s house hanging out. He was airlifted to Atlanta Medical because they couldn’t keep him conscious and they had no idea what all was going on inside his body. He walked out of the hospital on his own less than 24 hours later. He had lost some teeth, had a busted lip and hurt his back but he was alive and he wasn’t paralyzed. After getting back into town, we dropped of his prescriptions at the pharmacy. We had some time to kill while waiting for the prescriptions, so we went to find the tree. It was a sobering moment to look up at the place where he fell from and see where he landed. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. My heart was full of gratitude and I was changed that day. I’m not sure how some kids get a second chance while others don’t. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m learning to trust even more deeply the One Who had all the answers.

I want to have a grateful heart today and every day for all the Lord has done and is doing for me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne