Impress

 

Wow Surprised Word Astonished SurprisingJust about everyone I meet makes some sort of impression upon me. Some impressions are positive and some are negative. I must also realize that I’m actually making some sort of impression upon them – either positive or negative. Some folks are always trying to impress others by how much they know or how important they are. Others seek to impress by what they wear or how they carry themselves.

A friend of mine used to describe some of the prideful, arrogant as “impressed by themselves”. He also said, “if you could buy them for what they are worth and sell them for what they “think” their worth, you could retire tomorrow.”

I know that I should be trying to impress the Lord with a heart that seeks His heart. I believe if my heart is right, my actions follow from there.

Jesus was speaking to many people about Who He was and what He was trying to do while He was here on earth. And there was a sad statement in the narrative that I think is still happening today. Check this out….

42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43 NLT)

I must admit that I do like human praise. I like it when people compliment me on something I’ve accomplished. It is very dangerous to lean into those accolades and compliments. I must stay grounded in Who I belong to. I must remember that without the Lord, I’m nothing. I can’t get pride-filled and arrogant. I must remember where my hope is.

Some people even today desire human status rather than eternal hope. I’ve seen young people “chunk their faith” to be liked and accepted by college friends or co-workers. I think that I’m often so “short sighted” when I try to make an impression on one person at the expense of another. I should be simply trying to impress the Lord with a humble and hope-filled heart. I should seek to love like He loves. I should care way more about what He thinks of me, how I look and how I carry myself, rather than what others think.

I heard a great line yesterday that said: “I’m not trying to impress you with my story, I’m trying to impress upon you the joy in the journey”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Home

 

protected homeI am sort of a “home body”. I don’t mind short trips for vacation or brief business trips, but I really love coming home. Home represents my family and the main location of my life. I eat at home. I play at home. I hang out at home. I sleep at home. I learned a long time that home is wherever my family resides. I grew up in Kentucky and in some ways, that will always be home. I’ve been in Georgia for 31 years now and it is home.  I love it when my kids come home for a visit. So much of my life was built at home in Kentucky. I am still building my life at home in Georgia.

I started reading the Gospel of John this morning in the New Living Translation (NLT) and I loved how this translation stated that Jesus (The Word of God) came to earth and made His home here. Check this out…

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:14 NLT)

Jesus called this earth home for a season. It wasn’t His permanent home, but He was born of a virgin and reared in a carpenter shop. He really understands the stories and the struggles of our lives. He became a human – one of us.

As I go through my day today, I want to remember that He came here and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. Having Him in my heart has changed everything about my life. I want to love like He loves. I want to live like He lives. I want to give like He gives. I want to serve like He serves. He now lives in me by way of His Spirit. I want the Lord to make His home inside my heart. I want people who know me or meet me for the first time to see The Lord at home inside my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Insight

Insight Light Bulb ConceptI’ve had experiences that are hard to describe and explain to others. The fact that I can’t explain or describe doesn’t diminish the impact that these experiences had on me. I’ve had personal experiences with the Lord that are still making an impact upon me today. I’ve prayed some bold prayers and watched Him work. I’ve seen Him change lives that were at the brink of ending. I’ve seen Him heal people.

As I journey through Revelation, I’m struck by so much symbolism. I can sometimes feel the struggle of John to properly describe what he is seeing. His descriptions of the creatures, angels and even the Son of God are captivating and hard to take in.

This morning I read a passage about a worship scene that was happening and John’s description of this event gave me a bit of insight as to what heaven could be like. Check this out…

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!

11 All the angels stood around the throne, and along with the elders and the four living creatures they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength
be to our God forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 7:9-12 CSB)

Was this a special service at the throne?

Was this a daily experience in heaven?

Will I recognize people who’ve gone before me?

Will there be a worship band in heaven?

I don’t have to wonder Who is the center of attention in heaven – the Son of God who brought salvation to us. This insight to a worship experience in heaven really moves my heart. I’m so thankful for the call He put upon my heart. I’m so thankful that He rewired my heart for Him. I want to live my life here on earth in proper preparation for eternal life with Him!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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