Impaired & Imperfect

bifocal glasses

The longer I live the more I realize how imperfect I am. I also realize that others aren’t perfect either. We all have struggles at one level or another. I am also keenly aware of how blessed I am to be born into the United States. I don’t always agree with the politicians who lead our government, but I’m thankful to live here. I also realize that as great as our country is, we aren’t perfect for sure. I’ve never met anyone who is perfect. I remember as a young kid, I was strong and didn’t feel like I had imperfections, but I did. The older I get the more imperfections seem to rear their head. For example, I can’t see as well as I once did and my hearing has slipped a bit as well.

Jesus makes a statement that speaks to my impaired and imperfect condition. He is hanging out with obviously non-religious people when making this statement. Check this out…

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13 NLT)

I think it’s important for me to become aware of my failures and my imperfections. I’m thankful that I’m loved in spite of them. Our health systems across the country have opened these medical clinics for people to avoid the wait at the doctor’s office or Emergency Room. They are convenient and easy to get in and out. When I think of my spiritual health, I’m often in need of major surgery or time in the Intensive Care Unit. I am in need of Jesus speaking into my heart on a daily basis. My time in the Word is much like “out-patient care”. I go to church to get encouragement, motivation and inspiration to keep living out my faith. The church is full of people like me who need spiritual help and encouragement. Some people in our church need major surgery on their heart or head. I remember years ago when I had a spiritual “heart transplant”. As healthy as I appear now, I’m still impaired and imperfect, but the Lord uses people like me to encourage and lead others to Him because I’ve “been there and done that”. I’m so thankful for His patience and persistence in healing my impaired & imperfect heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Your Suffering Is Over

Child in medicine maskThere is a lot of suffering going on around me. There are those who are battling cancer or watching someone they love dearly, battle the disease. There are those whom a car accident took a loved one. There are those who are in chronic pain all day, every day. There are those who’ve been betrayed by someone they love and they are suffering from the loss of relationship. Suffering comes in all shapes and sizes and is no respecter of persons. Suffering comes to the wealthiest and to the poorest. To suffer is to feel pain or distress. That is a broad definition.

There is an event of suffering that happened in Jesus’ ministry. He was going along the road with his entourage (aka his disciple and other followers) as well as a large crowd that had gathered to hear Him teach. He learned of a synagogue leader who’s 12-year old daughter was sick. He was headed to the leader’s house to heal the little girl. Check this out…

25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”

31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” (Mark 5:25-34 NLT)

This woman’s life changed dramatically that day. She had tried everything and was desperate enough to believe that if she could just touch Jesus robe, she could be healed – and she was healed. I love this story because it again shows the heart of Jesus. He cared about the least noticed people and he cared about the leaders. He came to give a different perspective on suffering. The woman’s suffering had not been temporary. She had been suffering for years. I have been through seasons of suffering, buy nothing compared to this. After being healed by the touch of His robe, Jesus wanted to know “who touched him”. He was on His way to heal a little girl and this older woman was healed along the way. Jesus words to this lady about her faith was profound. The then left here with four words that were big: “Your suffering is over”. This is not a fluke or a temporary fix –  your suffering is over. Those four words gave her such hope and peace. When Jesus comes on the scene, He always bring hope along. This woman’s faith allowed her to realize that hope.

I want my faith to keep growing, especially in the face of suffering. I want to know the Lord is such a way, that He can be honored in the middle of my struggle. This life here is not “the endgame”, it’s a prerequisite to “the endgame” which is eternal life – the big prize! This is what He promises. He never promised that I wouldn’t suffer in this world, but He did promise His Presence in the midst of suffering. When Jesus comes on the scene, my suffering looks way different.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Disreputable

Reputation Words on Box Credible Reliable ProductI began my career as a REALTOR in February 2003. I remember hearing a slogan that my brother used in his real estate advertisement. His slogan went like this: “I’m building a reputation, not resting on one”.  I’m pretty sure that the phrase was offensive to some and challenging to others. I knew what he meant, because he had just started his own firm. I remember deciding that I will always be building my reputation every day of my life. I’ve seen people who destroy their entire reputation with one bad decision. Except for the grace of God, that could have been me. I think about dumb decisions all the time and I think about the destruction that would left behind if I were to make a really dumb decision. I decided that I can’t spend a lot of time in that place though. I must keep my focus on growing and learning and as I do this, the thoughts of dumb decisions fade away. I want to grow and improve who I am becoming in the Lord’s eyes. I believe any success that I have as a REALTOR comes because the Lord is leading and directing my life. He is the reason, I’m careful to be honest, live and serve with integrity and have a strong work ethic.

Jesus calls Matthew (aka Levi) from his tax collection booth and asked him to be his disciple. Jesus obviously saw something in Levi that would benefit the kingdom. Levi followed Jesus. Check this out…

15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17 NLT)

I am blown away by the arrogance of the Pharisees and the religious leaders. They really didn’t seem to care about anyone but themselves. They were concerned about their reputation more than they were concerned for lost people. When I put myself in this passage, I would have been considered one of these “disreputable sinners” or “scum”, according their definition.

When I gave my life to the Lord, He changed me.

He changed how I see others.

He changed how I see my work.

He changed my view of marriage.

He changed my view of being a Dad.

He changed my view of being a friend to others.

If I’m following the Lord fully, you can call me what you will. He is the reason I seek to serve others with honesty, integrity & hard work. These are my values, because they are His values too. I’d rather keep my reputation in tact with Him than to worry too much about what others are saying about me.

I need the Lord every day of my life. I haven’t walked with Him enough to “take a break”. He is woven into the fabric of who I am. I need His healing upon my heart daily. I need His wisdom daily. I need His Presence constantly.  I am definitely one of the “sick people who need a doctor”. I guess I’m saying that I’m a disreputable person who needs the Lord each day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Living Water

I wish I had been the guy many years ago who had the idea of bottling water. It’s convenient and fairly simple. I’ve picked up a bottle of water at a gathering to find that it’s bottled with water from a city municipal water supply – aka “the faucet”!  My friend, Chris Cook has a company called Superior Mountain Water. We have those water coolers at the office, with the blue bottle on top, and you can get a really fresh great tasting cup of cool water on demand. I have learned that I like some “brands” of bottled water better than others. My body must have water to live. In fact, most doctors recommend a generous amount of water consumption every day. The water can serve as a cleansing agent to my body.

Jesus, once again calls himself LIVING WATER. John qualifies it a bit more as the living water that He speaks of is the Holy Spirit. Check this out…

37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said, “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (John 7:37-39 NLT)

Jesus spoke of giving Living Water to the woman at the well earlier in His ministry. He is not proclaiming this to the crowds. I’m assuming that John is writing this after Jesus had ascended back to heaven.

When I first accepted Jesus and was baptized as a young kid, I had no real tangible ideas or thoughts about the Holy Spirit. I don’t think my young brain could handle the concept or either I wasn’t taught much about it. I’ve since experienced first-hand the Power and the Presence that the Holy Spirit brings to my life. I’ve tasted this Living Water that Jesus speaks of.

The Living Water brings peace.

The Living Water brings healing.

The Living Water brings comfort.

The Living Water bring hope.

The Living Water brings life.

The Living Water brings grace.

I could go on and on about this Living Water (aka The Holy Spirit).  His Presence in me has completely changed my perspective on EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in my life. The Holy Spirit is the FILTER (aka the glasses) through which I see. My vision is clear. My mission is clear. I’m seeking to honor Him every day in every way possible.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Health Care: Physical & Spiritual

 

Health Care Collage Words Medicine BackgroundIn the last few years much has been made of the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obama Care) that was instituted by President Barak Obama in 2010. The idea was to increase the quality and affordability of health care for all Americans. I will let someone else determine the actual impact of this legislation. Some felt it was more than time for the government to help with healthcare, while others were appalled that the government would have so much knowledge about something so personal as our health.

In the Old Testament, the Priest was in charge of the physical health as well as the spiritual health of the nation. The Lord has specific instructions regarding certain health issues and how they were to be examined. The priests were not only in charge different offerings for sin, but they were also responsible for examining physical wellbeing of the people. Check this out…

54 These are the regulations for any defiling skin disease, for a sore, 55 for defiling molds in fabric or in a house, 56 and for a swelling, a rash or a shiny spot, 57 to determine when something is clean or unclean.

These are the regulations for defiling skin diseases and defiling molds. (Leviticus 14:54-57 NIV)

The ceremony for helping someone become “clean” after being infected was pretty elaborate. The Lord cared deeply about a person’s health then and I believe He still cares today. I’ve heard that our inventions and ourselves have brought many of the debilitating sicknesses that we have today on. I talk to the Lord all the time about my health and the health of my family. I know that no one escapes death, but I would like the quantity and quality of life to be good up to the day of death. I also know that eternally our physical health will no longer be an issue. I also believe that this life is preparatory for eternal life. I think it’s totally appropriate to ask the Lord for help with physical issues here and now because it reveals my dependence on Him for everything.

Creator God created me in my mother’s womb. He built me, wired me and He has given me great health. I don’t understand Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease and many other debilitating diseases. I only know that I will cling to the Lord no matter how or when I get sick or my family gets sick. He is the Real One Who is in charge of my physical health AND spiritual health.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Infection

 

Child in medicine maskI am not a fan of infection. This can occur in many ways with the human body. A very common way is to eat or drink something that has a harmful organism. We can also get an infection from the air we breathe. Infections are part of our lives and fighting them is a daily experience. There are some infections that are deadly and some that are very mild. There are some common infections that most everyone is susceptible too and some that are pretty rare. Our body hates infections and does everything in its power to kill infection.

The Lord gave Moses some specific instructions about dealing with people with infectious diseases. They were not to come before the Lord having an infectious disease. Check this out…

9 ‘When anyone has a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to the priest. 10 The priest is to examine them, and if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white and if there is raw flesh in the swelling, 11 it is a chronic skin disease and the priest shall pronounce them unclean. He is not to isolate them, because they are already unclean. (Leviticus 13:9-11 NIV)

My youngest son recently had an accident and has a huge cut on his foot. The doctors stitched it up and gave specific instructions about keeping it clean to avoid infection. They also followed those instructions with antibiotics just in case infection was on the attack.

Sin is like an infection. It can enter our lives in many unique ways and it can be deadly or even mild. It can be inside us for years or it can be eradicated shortly after coming on the scene. I’m thankful for the forgiveness and the ultimate cure for sin that we have in Jesus. He became the Ultimate sacrifice for sin and we can be forever healed from any sin that makes its way into our lives. Because of my sin – sometimes-regular sin and sometimes-sporadic sin, I deserve punishment – instead God gives grace and mercy. I need to be on the lookout for entry points of sin. It can sneak in when I least expect it and wreak havoc on my soul. I need the protection and provision of the Spirit of God to detect the presence of sin. I need the Spirit to do “recon” on the enemy and help me to be prepared. Sin is one infection that has a cure. God made a way for me to be completely healed and forgiven of all my sin. There is no sin too big or too small for His forgiveness. I’m so thankful for this Amazing Grace.

I love this song by Phil Wickham called: “This Is Amazing Grace

Pressing On!

Dwayne