Pursuit

follow your heart words holding by businessman's handI sometimes think of this word in negative terms. For example, when a car with blue lights is in pursuit of my car, I know I’m about to get a “safe driving award” for exceeding the speed limit. I’ve not been pursued like this in a good while and I’m thankful. I also try to think of this word in a positive way – pursuing hopes and dreams. I still have those for my life. I want to be in daily pursuit of my goals and ambitions.

I came across a story in the book of John that reminded me of the word “pursuit” even though it’s not in the scripture. Check this out…

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. (John 21:4-9 NLT)

I was immediately reminded of the event found in Matthew 14 when the disciples were in the boat in the middle of the night and a storm came up and they were struggling to keep moving. Jesus came up walking on the water and it freaked them out. When Peter realized it was Jesus, he said, “Lord if its really you, tell me to come walking on the water.” Jesus said, “Come”. Peter did just that, he got out of the safety of the boat and headed toward Jesus. In this story, Peter gets out of the boat and leaves his responsibility with the net and the huge catch of fish behind in pursuit of Jesus.

Peter is portrayed as a passionate follower of Jesus. He was used by the Lord to be a great leader in the early church. He seems impulsive and unpredictable. He was predictable when it came to Jesus – He wanted to be with Jesus wherever He was.

This simple passage stirred my heart to stay in a passionate pursuit of God with my life. I must make my pursuit the highest priority of my life. My pursuit of God begins in my heart and then is shown in my behavior. If I reverse this, it doesn’t work well. I grew up trying to “show” my faith with my behavior, while my heart wasn’t in it. I’m still learning that behavior follows the heart. The heart doesn’t follow behavior – it simply tolerates it. If I want to be in genuine pursuit of God, it begins with heart change.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Victory

Happy young latin womanI am reading a biography of Winston Churchill called, “The Last Lion – Keeper of The Realm” and Prime Minister Churchill is known for flashing the “V” with his hand for victory! He was a leader of leaders and he possessed a “never give up, never give in” spirit. He believed in his soul that the Allies must conquer the Nazi’s of Germany to have freedom and life.

I’m not a huge football fan, but I love it when the team I’m pulling for wins. I enjoy seeing them celebrate. If my team loses, then I change the channel to avoid watching the victory celebration. (I guess I’m a sore loser.)

As I finished John’s first epistle this am, he reminded me that victory comes through obedience. It’s very simple – follow the Lord’s commands. Check this out…

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. (1 John 5:1-4 CSB)

Obedience is not flashy but important. Obedience reveals trust. Obedience reveals faith. I don’t always understand what the Lord is speaking into my heart, but I’ve learned to trust Him. I’m learning that I reveal my faith through my obedience to His call upon my life. He calls me to love others. He calls me to serve others. He calls me to forgive. He calls me to be humble. Jesus’ life serves as an example of humble obedience to the Father. He doesn’t call me to go to the cross, but He does call me to follow Him with my whole heart. My life follows my heart. I must lay down some of the things I want, because they are not what is best. He provides for my needs. He instills deep hope in Him.

I can live a victorious life here on earth as a prelude to the big prize – eternal life.  My victorious life begins with simple obedience to His commands – the first is to love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Outside Inside

Female athleteThe people I know and work with every day are like me – they care about how they look on the outside. I think most people care about their outer appearance – it’s been proven on YouTube that some people really don’t care about their outer appearance. I’m learning to look past the outward person trying to discover their heart. The inside of a person is hidden. They may look healthy, but they could be sick and not know it. They can look beautiful outside, but inside they are miserable and hate filled. I believe if I’m around a person long enough I can see their heart. I know people who are not Christ followers who are nice and have good hearts. I’ve also seen people who would call themselves Christ followers but after being around them, I might wonder about their heart. I am not the “Lawgiver or Judge”, and I believe it’s very dangerous to pass judgement on a person’s heart – that is God’s territory. I can notice the actions of a person.  The inside of a person is more important than the outside.

 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

16 Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:6,16-18 CSB)

As my body gets older and my life gets longer, I need to keep renewing my heart. I want my heart to be refreshed and renewed each day. I believe as I invest in my heart that my “outside activities” will be a reflection of what is going on inside.

I’m not a “push over” or a “wimp”, but I want to remain calm in the midst of chaos. I want to think clearly in the face of conflict. I want to live my life from my heart where Jesus is Lord. I’m learning to be less concerned with what age is doing to my hair or my skin and focus on building and growing my heart. (Side Note: I do need to carve out time for cardio/exercise to keep my physical body going stronger and a bit longer.) My physical exercise can never replace my spiritual exercise.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steady Heart Faithful God

 

Man praying with the BibleWhen I read the writings of David, I feel like I can relate to Him. I’ve never been a king or a warrior, but David seems so human and hungry for God. I understand the human part as well as the hungry for God part.

The more I know about God, the more I want to know Him.

The more I know about God, the more I want to be the man He built me to be.

The more I know about God, the more my heart is moved to pursue His heart.

The more I know about God my love for Him gets deeper, broader and stronger.

Check this out…

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered. (Psalm 108:1-6 NIV)

My purpose here on this earth is to bring glory to God. I want others to see the Lord in me. I want others to see the Lord in how I live and work. I don’t want myself to be elevated and known, I want the Lord to be known in me. I want to do all I can to make the Lord famous and known everywhere. He lives in me and He wants to use me to build His kingdom. I want to be steady in my pursuit of God’s heart. He is so faithful to me and I want to be faithful to Him.

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

Integrity of Heart

senior cool man proud conceptI begin nearly every day of my life with a shower first thing in the morning and then choose what I’ll wear that day. I try to dress for the occasion. If it’s a normal work day – a branded shirt and casual slacks.  I decided a long time ago before I get dressed physically that it’s important to dress up my heart first thing. I love hearing from the Lord as He builds out my heart. The more time I spend with Him, the more I know Him and I start acting more like Him in the different circumstances I will face each day.

Asaph pens a long and detailed psalm that contained quite a history lesson for the people of Israel. He concludes the psalm by telling his readers that God chose David for a reason. Check this out…

70 He chose David his servant
    and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
    to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
    of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
    with skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:70-72 NIV)

I was moved by that last verse describing David’s leadership -” his integrity of heart”. The heart can be hidden most days from most people. I believe that the Lord looks to my heart way more intensely and consistently that He looks at any action I take. The Lord is way more concerned with my heart that my behavior. I believe that ALL BEHAVIOR comes from the heart. My good choices and bad choices all come from my heart. I believe that there is a constant battle going on inside my heart for control. When I made Jesus Lord of my life, the battle for my heart started and is continuing even today. I want to equip my heart with the Word of God so that my heart capacity for God can expand and grow. I want to be known as a leader with integrity. I give permission for any Christ follower to challenge me or to check my heart if they see some behavior that lacks integrity. I believe integrity begins in my heart and displays itself in my everyday life. It’s not a one-time action – it is a lifestyle.

Today and every day, I surrender my heart to the Lord. He alone can build my heart to reflect His.

Pressing On!

Dwayne