Know The Lord

i want to know moreI live squarely in the “Bible Belt” in the United States. This is a informal region of the country that features a large number of “church goin’” “Bible believing” people. It’s located in South Eastern and South Central part of the US.  It seems to me that most people where I live know of the Lord. I was speaking to a pastor in Arizona about a week ago and he said that 95% of the people in his area don’t even know of the Lord. I’ve lived in the Bible Belt my whole life and it’s hard for me to comprehend things differently. I’ve known about the Lord my whole life, but I’ve really known Him for about 36 years. I was 20 years old when I decided that I really did believe in God – not just because my parents or grandparents believed – I felt His Presence in my heart and my convictions began to take shape.

The Hebrew writer gives a bit of history of the Story of God and His people. He explains the new covenant a bit. Check this out…

10 For this is the covenant
that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 And each person will not teach his fellow citizen,
and each his brother or sister, saying, “Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least to the greatest of them.
12 For I will forgive their wrongdoing,
and I will never again remember their sins.

13 By saying a new covenant, he has declared that the first is obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old is about to pass away. (Hebrews 8:10-13 CSB) (v 8-12 is a reference to Jeremiah 31)

The Lord’s new covenant involves my mind and my heart. He has put His Law in my mind and heart. He didn’t do that without my cooperation, although He could have. The Lord want to know all His Creation. He will not force His way into my heart or mind.  The more I know the Lord, the more I want to know. His ways are higher and way more complex than my mind can comprehend, but I still want to know Him more profoundly.

He reveals more of Himself to me in His Word than any other place. I believe that His Word connects the Creation to today. I can’t always explain the Lord, but I want to continue to walk with Him and He explains Himself.

I’m so thankful for this new covenant because it introduced Grace. The Old Covenant featured simple justice. The new covenant features a complicated, yet simple concept called Grace. Under the old covenant, I would have probably died 40 years ago. I’ve been forgiven too many times to count. I’ve been restored by Him. I can’t really explain grace properly, but I’m a recipient of it. I’m so thankful.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Be Humble & Kind

Morning Pray At Beautiful LandscapeTim McGraw released a song by this title in late 2015 and the video in January 2016 that carries a simple but profound words. The song was written by Lori McKenna and carries a powerful chorus:

Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Official Video “Humble & Kind” on Vimeo

This song jumped in my brain this morning as I read through Titus chapter 3. Paul instructs Titus to teach the leaders to be kind, respectful and humble. Check this out…

1Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 

to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared,he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:1-7 CSB)

The old me was full of myself, prideful and arrogant.

The new me must be humble, kind, gentle to everyone.

I don’t need to compromise my convictions to be humble, kind and gentle to others. I think Jesus modeled this behavior. He had all power and authority, but didn’t use it to force things. He taught a lot with His life as well as His words. I must never forget what it was like being lost. I must be patient, humble and kind – character traits of a Christ-follower.

What a simple challenge, but I must admit that it’s difficult when I’ve had a tough day or the people I’m working with are acting like jerks. I can’t let their behavior dictate mine. I need to let the actions of my life come from a heart that is molded and shaped by the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Friendship

??????????????????Some of my closest friends I’ve known for years. We seem to pick up right where we left off when we get together. I can share anything and everything with them and they listen and give counsel where needed. They also give comfort where needed. They’ve also given financial support when needed. Friends are a huge blessing to my life for sure. I am blessed beyond my ability to repay the friends in my life. I remember my Mom telling me when I was a young boy: “if you want to find a good friend, be one.” I’m so thankful for friends near and far over the years. Some of our technology like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Facetime have made the world seem much smaller than it is. I’ve connected with people who were dear friends at different seasons in my life. I don’t have many “fair weather” friends. I’ve been in Carroll County, Georgia since early 1986 and I’m thankful for so many friends and neighbors near my home.

Paul speaks of his relationship with the people in Thessalonica and I can feel the joy that comes from his friendships there. Check this out…

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

11 As you know, like a father with his own children, 12 we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to live worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:8,11-12 CSB)

Friendships are a “two-way street”. I can’t do all the taking nor can I do all the giving in a friendship. Some relationships develop into friendship, while others simply don’t go deeper. My journey with the Lord has gone deeper the longer I walk with Him and dig into His Word. My friendship with God can’t just be me taking all the time from Him and not investing as well. I used to use God anytime I got into trouble or life got hard. I didn’t realize the joy that comes from investing my life into Him as well as have His help growing as I grow older. I’m fully aware that He brings the “lions share” to our friendship, but He loves my contribution as well. I’m giving Him my heart each day and that’s really all He wants as He’s given me His heart as well. He is a FRIEND above all friends.  I simply can’t imagine my life without my friendship with the Lord and His Presence in me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Gains & Losses

Balance SheetI’ve learned over the years how to carefully read a balance sheet and look for gains and losses. I have also learned that the bottom line is sometimes not the bottom line. I have done some stupid things financially in my life, but I’m working hard to have learned from those colossal mistakes and never go there again.

When it comes to my faith, I’ve done some stupid as well. Even after I’ve known the Lord for many years, I still struggle with sin. I often wish I could turn back time and change some decisions that were losses in terms of my faith. I have since learned that I could NEVER have enough gains in my faith to earn anything. It’s because of the grace of God that I’ve saved – it’s not something I’ve done or can begin to do. He saved me from sin. He saves me from myself. Check this out…

But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith. (Philippians 3:7-9 CSB)

In God’s economy gains and losses are measured a much different way. When I give up, He rescues. My faith is the premium currency. His Grace overcomes my stupidity. He desires fro me to abandon my desires and pursue His desires for me.

To You, my eyes are lifting
To You, my prayer is rising up
You captured my attention
Consume me
God give me a heart abandoned
Ever after You alone
Gold and silver, You can take it

(Heart Abandoned – by Passion 2017)
Pressing On!

Dwayne

Comprehensive

understandThis word has always intrigued me. I have not always considered myself to be super intuitive and smart. I do try to understand the multi-facets of issues and problems. I also try to “get my head around” the scope of issues that I or friends of mine are facing. That is really the essence of this word comprehensive – having a total grasp or understanding of certain subject matter.

I am still trying to learn and understand more of Who God is and what He’s doing in my life and the lives of others. Paul’s pray for comprehension and understanding really blessed me this morning. Check this out…

16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21 CSB)

I needed that prayer as I seek God’s heart.

I don’t understand everything God does.

I don’t understand everything God says.

I’m learning to trust Him more even when I don’t understand.

I want to comprehend and understand the height, depth, length and width of His love for me.

I’m joining Paul in his prayer. I want to know more about God’s heart and His love for me. I want His love to dwell in my heart consistently. I want to be deeply rooted and firmly established in love.

What I do know is that God loves me and I want to live for Him the rest of my days. I want to grow in my comprehension of His love and grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Adopted

Family PIcture 2016I am blessed with three grandchildren presently and I’ve talked to my two sons who have become parents in the last couple of years. First, I didn’t know I could love like that until I became a Dad. Second, I learned a lot more about my Heavenly Father. I began to understand His heart in the scripture. Becoming a Dad has been a blessing beyond my ability to describe. I am humbled and thankful for the privilege and responsibility.  It was just over 7 years ago that my wife and I started working on adoption of our youngest son. We were one of four families from our church who were adopting 5 siblings from Nicaragua. Their situation in Nicaragua was tough and we felt called to help. It was an incredibly hard journey, but here we are now and Luke has become my son by adoption. Again, I learned some deep truths about the Lord that I had not known before. The Lord adopted me as His son and He has given me all the rights and privileges of being part of His family. Check this out….

When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7 CSB)

I am God’s kid. I am adopted into His family. I am an heir to the promise. Creator God has put the Spirit of His Son in my heart. I’m wear His name. He has a picture of me in His phone! (LOL) I am loved by God. I am cherished by God. He is my Heavenly Dad. He cares for me. He loves to speak into my life each morning and I love hearing from Him. I feel loved. I feel accepted. I know what it’s like to feel lost and abandoned, but NEVER again – I am a child of God.

My family here on earth reflects my Jesus family. I am a child of the Most High God. I can walk in confidence bearing His Name and representing Him in how I talk, walk, live and love. I am profoundly thankful to be adopted by Him. I wear His Name with thankfulness and humility in my heart. He has changed me forever.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

(Not Pictured: Finneas Dylan Hicks arrived on May 20, 2017 – He’s such a handsome little guy! #thankful)