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

Nature Sings

Country road at sunriseI love the last line in Joy To The World that says: “Let heaven and nature sing…”. I love the sun rise in the morning and the sun set in the evening. It’s like the color’s and hues of color are different each time. The understand from science that the atmospheric gasses of the earth often dictate the colors of the sunset and sunrise.  I see God quite often in His creation. The intricate details of the human body system as well as the body systems of animals and all living creatures. I can’t wrap my head around those who believe there was no design – just a “big bang”.

King David captures my thoughts in one of his beautiful Psalms. Check this out…

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;

    night after night they reveal knowledge.

3 They have no speech, they use no words;

    no sound is heard from them.

4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

5     It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,

    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens

    and makes its circuit to the other;

    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart

    be pleasing in your sight,

    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:1-6, 14 NIV)

I would love to have such a grasp of language that I could describe the creation of God so eloquently. King David has such a profound perspective and he makes me look at the Lord from so many different angles and all of them point to His Power, His Presence and His Love.

I love the fact that God’s creation points me to Him. I see Him in the wind, the rain, the breeze and even the heat of the sun. When I understand my role in God’s world, I realize the great responsibility to care for His Creation and to respect His plan for creation. The earth and all that is in it declare the presence and purpose of the Creator.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Temporary & Eternal

 

john-3-16The older I get, the more I ponder how much longer do I have on this earth. I’m not trying to be negative or morbid, I just want to make my days count and not just count my days. I see people who are attacked with cancer or heart disease and the number of their days here on earth shrinks incredibly. I’m not trying to scare anyone including myself. I’m a bit of a realistic person and while I don’t feel bad, I realize that my life could end quickly in an accident as well. This life is a vapor according to the book of James…

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14 NIV)

As I read Job’s response to his “friends”, it dawned on me that Job is speaking in the here and now. He is not really looking forward to eternity. I guess if I didn’t have hope of eternal life after this life, it would be easy to get discouraged when suffering comes. Check this out…

3 Bear with me while I speak,

    and after I have spoken, mock on.

7 Why do the wicked live on,

    growing old and increasing in power?

8 They see their children established around them,

    their offspring before their eyes.

13 They spend their years in prosperity

    and go down to the grave in peace.[a]

14 Yet they say to God, “Leave us alone!

    We have no desire to know your ways.

15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?

    What would we gain by praying to him?” (Job 21:3,7-8,13-15 NIV)

I don’t think I ever realized before that Job didn’t have insight into the offer of eternal life. It appears that he understood this life on earth to be all that there is. I would have a totally different view of my life today, if I felt that this is all there is. I would hope that I would be somewhat health conscious. I would look at funerals way differently too. I have believed in heaven and hell my whole life. I didn’t discover until the past few years, the value of the abundant life here on earth and how it folds right into eternal life with the Lord.

When I know Him, my life here looks way different.

When I know Him, my future in eternity looks ways different.

When I know Him, my today has hope and a promise all it’s own.

I can’t imagine pushing through the suffering that I’ve been through or that is possibly yet to come without Him. His Presence in my life now gives me perspective and insight that I need to keep moving. Today is another investment into the abundant life that leads to eternal life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Proper Respect In Death

 

Child Holding a Parent's Folded American FlagI’ve seen death fairly close up. I’ve been to a lot of funerals over the years. The bodies I’ve seen have all been dressed nice and have make-up. I’ve been to funerals where the casket was closed for obvious reasons. I think I would have a hard time seeing a body that had been ravaged by war or even hurt in a car accident. I can hardly imagine the world of an EMT or Fireman who see death quite often and see bodies that were once alive and vibrant, now lifeless.

There will be a time coming when all bodies die. It sounds kind of depressing and it probably would be if I didn’t have hope of life after death. I was reading again this morning, the story of King Saul’s death. It is a story of defeat in battle. The Philistines wounded him and he had no hope of surviving in his mind, so he fell on his sword and died. Check this out…

8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news among their idols and their people. 10 They put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung up his head in the temple of Dagon.

11 When all the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men went and took the bodies of Saul and his sons and brought them to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones under the great tree in Jabesh, and they fasted seven days. (1 Chronicles 10:8-12 NIV)

These men were very brave to risk their lives to give Saul and his sons the proper respect. I think the reason I believe in respect for the dead is because I know I will be there someday and I’d like to think my body will be treated with respect. I also can’t help but think that there was a healthy respect for Saul and his sons for the position he had held as king. He was there in battle fighting for the rights of the people he was leading.

I was reminded of a true story of a man in North Georgia who ran a cremation service. Instead of properly cremating the bodies entrusted to him, he put them on his land and they were in all stages of decomposition. It was a horrible story, especially for those who had loved ones that they thought had been handled properly. There were 339 bodies discovered that were not cremated properly. The owner of the crematory pled guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was released just last month. The story is on Wikipedia found here.

Death is very much a part of life here on earth. I think we should show respect even in death. For the most part death is an unwelcomed visitor. Because of my faith in God, I believe that there is life beyond this life. I don’t believe that when I die, everything is over. I believe when I die, it’s a doorway to eternity. I have hope in God. I believe His promises are true. I believe that the Creator of Life has the power to provide eternal life. Until I die, I plan to show proper respect to the people who’ve gone on before and their bodies remain here. I have respect for people who properly handle the bodies after death. When I reflected on this story of Saul and his sons dying in battle together, I was thankful for the men who retrieved their bodies for proper respect and burial. It seems to me to be the right thing to do.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inheritance

 

Bag with inheritanceThis is a familiar word as I hear it all the time in my business. Some people inherit land, houses and money from their parents or grand parents. It is spelled out in a will or by transfer of title prior to the death of the person giving the inheritance. Inheritance is not usually something that is deserved because of behavior. It is usually a function of birthright. I read a great book a few months back called “The Ultimate Gift” by Jim Stovall. (I would highly recommend this book.) The Ultimate gift puts quite a twist on this whole inheritance discussion.

Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob. Remember the coat of many colors, being sold into slavery, then thrown into prison falsely accused, interpreter of dreams and promoted to ruler of Egypt by Pharaoh himself. Josephs two sons received an inheritance in the Promised Land that was significant. This traced back to the journey of their ancestors. Check this out….

5 This was the territory of Ephraim, according to its clans:

The boundary of their inheritance went from Ataroth Addar in the east to Upper Beth Horon 6 and continued to the Mediterranean Sea. From Mikmethath on the north it curved eastward to Taanath Shiloh, passing by it to Janoah on the east. 7 Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, touched Jericho and came out at the Jordan. 8 From Tappuah the border went west to the Kanah Ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the Ephraimites, according to its clans. 9 It also included all the towns and their villages that were set aside for the Ephraimites within the inheritance of the Manassites. (Joshua 16:5-9 NIV)

 

I am very thankful that through Jesus coming to earth, I now have an inheritance that is far more valuable than anything I could possibly own or attain here on earth. My eternal home is secure and waiting on my arrival at my appointed time. I would love to give my children a “temporary inheritance” (aka $$) as well as help direct them to follow the Lord fully to be given an unbelievable, eternal inheritance!

I can’t earn my inheritance from the Lord, but it is mine to accept.

His Presence in me & my eternal inheritance trumps anything I could own or earn while I’m here on this earth!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inheritance

 

Bag with inheritanceI grew up among the lower middle class as far as economics go. My parents raised five kids on a modest income. Now that I’m a father of five, I wonder how in the world they pulled that off on their income. While we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, we developed strong character. We were introduced to the Lord at a very young age and it wasn’t something that was drilled into us. My parents walked out their faith in front of us. We were involved in church and both my parents served in one capacity or another. My parents passed on a heritage of faith that is still a powerful influence on me today.

Often when I hear the word inheritance, the first thing that is thought of is possessions and money left to children or heirs after the death of another. There is a legal process to go through that consummates the inheritance. There have been other situations that occur where a person inherits burdens or troubles left behind by their predecessor.

The Lord is preparing the Israelites for when they inherit the land He’s promised. Aaron is the leader of the Levite family. He gives the Levites a different inheritance. Check this out…

20 The Lord said to Aaron, ‘You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. (Numbers 18:20 NIV)

There was a part of me that thought this arrangement seemed unfair. There is another part of me that realized what a gift the Lord had given the Levites. He had chosen them from among the 12 brothers to serve Him and represent Him among the entire family/nation. The task ahead of them bore great responsibility, but also came with great respect as well.

I realize that the wealthiest heir without God is still poor. I would rather inherit the heart of God than all the wealth in the world. I want the Lord to be my inheritance. I want Him to be more than enough for me. I don’t want to become so enamored with worldly possessions that I miss out my heavenly inheritance. I am an heir to God’s promise. He will keep me. He will protect me. I rather be economically poor and have a close relationship with the Lord than to be “economically set” without Him. He is my inheritance and He is all I need.

Pressing On!

Dwayne