Heart Versus Flesh

Behind the maskSome people believe the end is near. I remember in 1988 there was some guy who believed that the world was coming to an end. He had made some calculations based on data he has acquired. He was wrong. Here we are nearly 30 years later. No one knows when this world will end. I believe we should be alert and ready at a moment’s notice. I could be taken in an accident while driving. I’m not trying to be morbid, but I am trying to alert and ready no matter what happens to me – I want to be ready when my time on earth ends.

My heart and flesh are the practical battle that fights inside of me. It’s the same spiritual battle that features God’s Spirit versus the enemy. Paul gives some practical counsel about preparing for this internal battle. Check this out..

11 Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t make plans to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:11-14 CSB)

I want to cloth myself with the armor of light. This armor can cover me completely. Light exposes and reveals the darkness and chases it from the room.  When I sin, I like it to be quietly covered so that I’m not called out. I can’t hide my sin from the Lord. I am accountable to the Lord for everything I do, everything I say and everything I think. My wife holds me accountable for the first two, but God’s Spirit can assist with my thoughts.

I want to glorify the Lord NOT gratify the desires of my flesh.

I want be transparent before the Lord as well as others, NOT secretive and suspicious.

I want to live and work from a heart that is fully committed to the work of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Power

Lead By ExampleIt is sometimes interesting to see what happens when normal people get power. There are some who rise slowly through the promotion ranks to positions of powers. There are those who are elected to powerful positions. I believe that people are needed in positions of power to lead. Everyone can’t be “the” leader, but everyone can be “a” leader. There is a great temptation to those in powerful positions to lead with a clinched fist instead of an open hand. It’s easy to become a “know-it-all” when in a powerful position. I’m not advocating that all powerful leaders are bad, I’m just pointing out that I believe a powerful leader can become even more powerful when he or she realizes that leaders serve the people they are charged with leading. Asking good questions of the people I’m leading doesn’t make me weak, I believe it makes me wise.  Power can corrupt good people. Power can lie. Power can cheat. Power can steal. Power can kill.  Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

I believe that the Lord has all Power. I can’t begin to comprehend His Power. I can’t put my head around the Glory of God. He is not bound to our dimension of sight, sound, touch or taste. He came to earth in the person of Jesus and gave His life as a sacrifice for sin once and for all. He delivered to us the Power of God in surrender. Check this out…

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith. (Romans 1:16-17 CSB)

I believe in God. I have faith in Him. The gospel has changed my life and it’s still changing my life. The gospel goes directly to work on my heart. My choices and my behavior come directly from my heart. If the Lord has my heart, He has all of me. The gospel is powerful to transform a surrendered heart. I see Him at work in me through eyes of faith. His Word magnifies my ability to see Him and know Him.  I want to live by faith with the power of the gospel overflowing out of my life into others. There is great power in living out a surrendered life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

One NAME Alone

JesusJesus man of joyHe is RisenI remember accepting the Lord when I was in third grade. I wanted to follow Him. My parents and grandparents followed the Lord and I decided to do the same. I worked on my behavior and attitude and most days I performed well. When I went off to Bible college, it was to enter ministry. It was there I had a personal encounter with God. My faith became my own. I had been living off the faith of my family, but now I believed for me. I decided that even if my family ditched their faith, I believed in God. Even since that night of deep commitment, I’ve had to remember the simple call of the Lord.  He is not asking for my money, possessions or even my behavior – He’s after my heart. When my heart is committed to Him EVERYTHING else follows. Now, many years removed from my third-grade commitment to my profound belief in college –my heart is still after His heart.  I was so reminded this morning of my journey but just how significant it is to praise the NAME of the Lord. His NAME is above all creation and above every name in the heavens and the earth. The Psalmist pens a cool verse after naming the elements of heaven and earth (including animals and humans) and how the NAME of the Lord stands above them all. Check this out…

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. (Psalm 148:13 NIV)

The Old Testament and the New Testament all point to Jesus. I heard a profound truth last Friday that is still speaking to me. “The Cross on which Jesus died is the hinge on which the doorway of worship swings.” (Louie Giglio) My worship of God is born of my understanding of what I’d be like without Him. I am humbled by the fact the Lord has saved me. I’m not better than anyone else, but He is better than anyone. I want to pursue His heart all my days. A new song that is in my heart is called: Worthy of Your Name by Passion Band.

Rumors of the Son of Man
Stories of a Savior
Holiness with human hands
Treasure for the traitor

No ear had heard, no eye had seen
The Image of the Father
Until heaven came to live with me
A rescue like no other

Yes, You are worthy
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Yes You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Jesus

You did not speak, You made no sound
You died for Your accusers
As Your blood fell to the ground
You redefined my future
 

On the day when You arose
The darkness ran for cover
For the King of kings has claimed His throne
Now until forever

Yes, You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
You are worthy
You are worthy of Your Name
Jesus

You’re my author, my maker
My ransom, my Savior
My refuge, my hiding place

You’re my helper, my healer
My blessed redeemer
My answer, my saving grace

You’re my hope, in the shadows
My strength, in the battle
My anchor, for all my days

And You stand, by my side
And You stood, in my place
Jesus, no other name
No, only Jesus, no other name

______________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Reputation

 

reputation conceptual meterI’ve learned over the years that my reputation is based on many factors, but honesty and integrity stand near the top if they are not the top. I believe that others look at my behavior and make a judgement. If I made a decision they didn’t like, they might try to use that to tarnish my reputation. I care much about my reputation, but if I stay there too long, I’m worried too much about what someone else thinks of me versus what the Lord thinks of me. If the Lord knows me like no one else, He is the judge of my very heart. I believe my reputation is determined by where my heart is.

King David speaks of the Lord’s reputation and it’s clear that He knows the Lord and is trying to follow Him. David’s reputation as a man after God’s heart is based on his walk with God. His writings reveal his walk. Check this out…

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations. (Psalm 145:9-13 NIV)

I make bunches of decisions and choices each day and I don’t always have a ton of time to prepare. I must make decisions based on the information that I have in front of me at the point the decision needs to be made. The cycle of reputation begins in my heart, then moves to my behavior and the perception of that behavior. The Lord has inside information to my reputation because He knows every thought and every motive. I’m not concealing anything from Him. I’m confessing everything to Him. Confession is agreement. I care more about my reputation before the Lord than what others think of me. I can’t control what others think or do regarding me. I can only have influence and control over my behavior or response to them. My behavior and response to others comes directly from my heart and the work that the Lord is doing there.

I want others to know of the Lord’s reputation and not be super concerned or worried about my own. He is Creator God. He loves like no other. His mercy and grace is beyond description. I really want to live for Him and honor Him. I want to be known as a follower of the Lord – a man after God’s heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Rescued & Blessed

Man praying with the BibleThere are times that I’ve felt trapped in conversation (almost all “one-way conversation”) with a person who “knows it all” and a friend will come up and interrupt and engage – I’m rescued. I have learned over the years how to disengage a person like that because the conversation isn’t meaningful for them or me – they know it all and insist on telling me they know it all, so my input and opinion don’t matter. I must admit that this type of person does get on my nerves a bit. Believe it or not, I do love people in general.

The Lord sees my every move. He knows where I am and where I’m headed. I believe it would blow my mind to know how many times over the course of my life that the Lord has rescued me from danger. I know some of those times because I’ve felt trapped and scared. He never just leaves me stuck or stranded – He rescues. King David was feeling blessed and grateful for the rescue of The Lord. Check this out….

I will sing a new song to you, my God;
    on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
    who delivers his servant David.

From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;
    rescue me from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
    whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth
    will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
    carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
    with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
    by tens of thousands in our fields;
14     our oxen will draw heavy loads.
There will be no breaching of walls,
    no going into captivity,
    no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true;
    blessed is the people whose God is the Lord. (Psalm 144:9-15 NIV)

I reflect often on where I might be if I didn’t know the Lord. I think I’d be a miserable mess. I’d be self-centered and prideful. The Lord has rescued me from other people and other situations AND He’s rescued me from me. He has changed me from the inside out. He loves changing hearts because it leads to a changed life. He rescued my heart (I see my heart as my intellect & emotion so I guess it’s more like my soul.) from my control and He is still shaping and molding my life. My heart is the control center for my behavior.  Everything I do and say comes from my heart – and I’m continually surrendering that to Him. I am so blessed to know the Lord. I want others to know the peace that is hard to explain – that He has brought to my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Renown

fameThis is not a word that I use in everyday conversation, but it is a word that I have used in speaking about The Lord.  I looked it up and there is not a lot of detail in it’s definition. It simply means: “widespread high repute; fame”. (On a side note, “high repute” means high reputation, high estimation in the view of other, a good name, respect.) I want to be a man known for making The Lord famous and not seek the spotlight in the process. His fame and His renown is significant because He changes lives. He builds beautiful people out of broken situations. He restores people who have been discarded. He forgives and lifts the fallen. His Power and His Presence leave me in awe.

The Psalmist asks that we praise the Lord and lift His name. Check this out…

I know that the Lord is great,
    that our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
    in the heavens and on the earth,
    in the seas and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
    he sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

13 Your name, Lord, endures forever,
    your renown, Lord, through all generations. (Psalm 135:5-7,13 NIV)

The Lord is famous without me saying so. I do believe that He is Who He says He is. I do believe that those who refuse to believe in Him today will one day bow before Him – possibly too late. I have been on a journey with the Lord for the past few years that has been at a different level than when I was young. I think I understand Him and know Him more personally because of suffering and struggle. I have been through some hard situations and when suffering comes, some of the distractions and shallow thinking exits. The Lord leans into me during suffering. He has not once left me alone in suffering and struggle even though I’ve left Him. I feel like the Psalmist is praising the Lord profoundly because he was humbled through suffering and struggle, yet restored through forgiveness and kindness of the Lord.

I want others to know the Peace that comes with the Presence of God. It is not magical, but it is practical. The Lord is Who He claims to be in scripture. He did create the heavens and the earth. He does save all who believe on Him. I just wish everyone could know what I know and feel what I feel and experience Him first hand. The crazy part is He just needs to be invited into one’s heart. I’m trying hard to give Him total control of my life, my thoughts – all that is me.  I really don’t care about becoming famous, but I want my life to make Him famous. He has done all the work saving me and shaping my heart, my words, my life. He gets all the credit for any good that I have possibly done or said. His renown is the goal of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne