Talk Is Cheap – Actions Speak!

megaphoneI know people who can talk a good game. They know something about everything. They are very important people – if you don’t believe me, ask them. I have been around people who are “know it all’s” and I’ve been around people who are brilliant and scholarly. The later don’t usually talk as much. I’m learning to listen more and talk less because I can learn a lot during my time of silence. I do believe that talk without action to back it up is simply hot air and wasted words. Jesus dealt with this with the religious leaders and Pharisees. They talked a good game with their faith, but when you “peeled back” the layers of their lives, they were rotten inside. I want my faith to be real from the depths of my heart to the smallest detail of my life. I want my trust in the Lord to be obvious and noticeable without ever having to say a word.

15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. (Matthew 7:15-20 NLT) (These are the teachings of Jesus Himself.)

“Actions are louder than words could ever be.”

“What I do speaks so loudly, you can’t hear what I’m saying.”

I came away from this passage realizing the need for humility. I am nothing without the Lord in my life. Just because I know Him and spend time with Him does not make me better than anyone else. I still have sin in my life that must be dealt with. I am simply another human being, created by God who is trying to life a good life because that is who God called me to be. I’ve given my life to Him because I believe He first gave me life. He gave me a future, so I’m trusting Him with mine.

I want my life to drip with humility and gratitude for the blessings that flow from the Lord to me. I am a nobody, who is somebody, because the Lord loved me first. I’m not sure that a day goes by that I don’t get to talk about my faith. I want people to see my faith before I ever speak a word about it. I want my actions to speak loudly about the One I trust in and live for.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wisdom

 

wisdom, stupidity road signI do want wisdom. I’ve become a veracious reader recently. I feel like I’m growing and learning. I love learning and growing. One of these days, I will become wise! I think wisdom is acquired by learning AND experience. I believe older people are often wise because of their experience. I have seen older, experienced people who make unwise decisions. I’ve also seek young people who are “wise beyond their years”. They are learning, growing and gathering data to avoid many of the pitfalls their peers are experiencing. Many wise young people have wise parents and other adults pouring into them.

I love the story of the wise men coming to seek out Jesus. They felt called or compelled to come see this baby king. They were not secretive about seeking Him. In fact, King Herod became interested too – obviously for different reasons than them. Check this out…

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. (Matthew 2:7-12 NLT)

I think it would have been so cool to witness this visit from the wise men. These wise men were worshippers. They were gift givers too. Their posture reflected their heart. I would be wise to be a worshipper of the King. I would be wise for my posture before Him to reflect my heart. I would also be wise to be a gift giver too! He wants my heart before any of my gifts. He wants my obedience before any of my gifts. He wants to change my life from deep within. Worship is personal. Worship is intimate. Worship is genuine. There is great wisdom to be found in worshippers of God. People with a long-term relationship with the Lord have profound respect for all that He has done and is doing in their lives. They can’t keep from worshipping. They have such gratitude in their heart, they are compelled to worship. I can worship through giving. I can worship through a surrendered heart. I can worship through a song. I can worship through obedience. I can worship through work. I’m wise to worship the God Who gave me life!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

To Be A Child Again

ChildrenI sometimes think about what it might be like to return to my childhood and experience some of those events that are simply memories. I remember Christmas as a child, the anticipation and excitement. I remember birthdays. I remember toys. I remember building a tree house. I remember working in the garden. (Some memories are not as positive!) I remember going to my grandparents’ house to hang out and play. I didn’t have much to worry about as a child. I didn’t have responsibilities like I have now. I didn’t have other people counting on me. I could just enjoy my life within the guidelines of my parents. There is still a big place in my heart for children. I spent 20 years of my life in student ministry and I enjoyed pouring into students. Now that I’m old, I want to be young again!

Jesus was always teaching and speaking with purpose with His disciples. They were all celebrities because they were part of Jesus entourage. They felt important – they were important. Sometimes, they got a little “out of bounds”.  Check this out…

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them. (Mark 10:14-16 NLT)

Children are all in.

Children are filled with wonder.

Children are light-hearted.

Children are pure-hearted.

Children are innocent.

Children love to be loved.

Children are humble.

Jesus made it crystal clear that I must receive His Kingdom as a child. I need to let Him love me. I need to love Him with an “all in” spirit of gratitude. I need to trust Him. I need to live within the guidelines of His Protection. I need to love like He loves. I need to be humble before Him and everyone else as well. I need to be pure hearted. I need to be filled with wonder.

As I celebrate Christmas with my family, it’s a joy to see how my children have grown into adults. It’s still a joy to see their faces when giving and receiving gifts. It’s a joy to see the innocence of my grandchildren. I want to be a child again today before the Lord. I want to see His Kingdom through child-like wonder.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Reverse Order

Multi-ethnic group of people standing in lineI will admit that I don’t like to stand in line. I’m not super patient about lines. When I’m at the grocery store and there are long lines, I will consider coming back later, even though it’s really only a few extra minutes to wait. I don’t like to go to Six Flags on a busy day for lots of reasons, but one of the reasons is, I don’t like standing in long lines for an hour for a 2-minute ride. What if when I got in the back of the line, I was all of a sudden put in front of everyone. First of all, that would tick a lot people off.  That’s just not how it’s done. I have just learned to look for the shortest line and I do enjoy the “self-check” places because there’s hardly ever a line.

Jesus over heard His disciples talking about who was the greatest among Jesus’ followers. I’m sure they were thinking only of themselves and the accolades that they would get one day because of their celebrity status being one of Jesus disciples. He shook up their structure of what defined greatness in His view. Check this out…

33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” 34 But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

36 Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” (Mark 9:33-37 NLT)

This teaching is still a bit of a struggle even today. People who lead don’t always lead from a serving position. It’s hard to imagine a humble, servant politician. There are people who serve in their church that relish in their positions of power rather than see their position as one of great service. I’m blown away when I see a strong leader seek to serve others in the room. I love seeing a strong and powerful leader treat their team with genuine respect and honor. I believe good leaders remember where they came from and how they got their start. Good leaders remember the people who helped them along the way. Good leaders are ALWAYS standing on the shoulders of others. This teaching of Jesus reveals how the Lord’s economy operates. I shouldn’t choose the best for me, I should think of what’s best for others. I should be a door holder for others. This servant leadership starts in my home, my workplace and especially my church family. Greatness in God’s economic system is defined by humility, gratitude, meekness, serving, patience, kindness, love, grace, mercy. Greatness in not always loud, sometimes it’s really quiet and almost unnoticed, but it’s profoundly powerful. Greatness is not about a person – it’s about a position of serving in God’s economy. This is a bit of reverse order compared to what I’m used to.  I want to serve the Lord by serving others and putting them first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Amazement!

Happy surprised manI am amazed at what great lengths people will go to for a free gift or money. In the past, I have endured a sales pitch in order to win a free TV or an overnight stay somewhere that always looks much nicer than it is. I do like to get something for nothing. I know better, but I will still try, much like the next person.

I’m also amazed at how people follow other people and give them celebrity status. If a guy or girl can play a sport really well, we give them special status. If someone is really wealthy we treat them quite differently than another person who doesn’t have as much wealth.

Jesus amazed people with His teaching – His Presence. He didn’t play a sport that I know of and He didn’t have a lot of wealth. His teaching was powerful and moved people. He did heal people from what was often a terminal disease – leprosy. He also healed other diseases and casts out evil spirits from people possessed. People were moved His teaching and His power to heal. Check this out…

27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee. (Mark 1:27-28 NLT)

I sometimes take the Lord’s Presence for granted. I read His Word almost every day. I talk with Him throughout the day. I participate in corporate worship each week with the church. I realize that not everyone in the world does this each week. I’m still following Him so closely that I’m not as amazed as I should be. When I stop for a minute and look carefully at Who He is and what He has done – I’m truly amazed.

I want to continue to be amazed at Him.

I want to continue to notice what He is doing in my life.

I want to continue to express my gratitude to Him for my life and loved one.

I love this old hymn: I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous) by Chris Tomlin

I want my life to bring glory to Him because I live in amazement at all that He has done and all that He is doing in me and around me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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