Belong

Many hands together: group of people joining handsI belong to my parents as their son. I belong to my wife & family because I made a commitment years ago. I belong as a member of Southern Hills Christian Church where I’m committed to growing in my faith and helping others grow as well. I belong to the Board of REALTORS because I’m a member. The most important membership I have is in God’s family. I belong to Him. In each of these situations I bring honor or dishonor to the place I belong. I’m thankful that the Lord makes up for the many deficiencies that I have. Check this out…

 For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; Lord. Christ died and returned to life for this: that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9 CSB)

Sometimes I look at my hands and feet and realize that these are the same hands that did some stupid thing in 7th grade. These are the same feet that went places I shouldn’t have in High School. As my body ages, I’m coming to terms with the end of this life which is death. I am not afraid of death, I just want those who count on me to be prepared because it does happen. Hopefully I’ve got several more years of life left.  I need to be prepared today if eternity knocks. If I’m living for the Lord, my preparation is well on its way. If I’m living for me, then I’m missing the destination instructions.

I want to live today knowing that the Lord holds this day and He also holds tomorrow. It is not my role to worry, it is my role to trust Him and seek to honor Him. I want to live as someone who has already died to myself. If I’ve died to me, then I can’t change the stuff I worry about. I can’t protect my family – He does that. I really can’t do anything IF I’m already dead to myself. I trust in the Lord completely to direct my path and guide my heart. In dying to myself, I’m really living for Him. I belong to Him – all of me; all for Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

No Strings Attached

 

I am always suspicious of an unsolicited phone call announcing that I’ve received something for free. I realize that there is a “catch” to things like that. I have won 3 days and 3 nights at a nice resort only to find out that I had to go to a meeting where they try to sell you a time share in that resort. I’ve also been offered a free 6-month subscription only to find out that they will start billing me automatically after that first 6 months. There are many gimmicks that promise something Free that I am a bit jaded about it. I usually say that something that is free to me always cost someone else something. There is no such thing as a free lunch. After reading in the Word this morning, I realize that there is something that is free. Check this out…

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13 CSB)

I have not done anything to deserve the love from God that I’ve experienced. He doesn’t love me because I love Him. He loved me first. He loves me even when I don’t love Him. I can’t quite wrap my head around that level of love. I have accepted Him as my Lord. I do believe in Him. I don’t deserve His love. I don’t deserve to be saved, but I am profoundly grateful.

I used to think going to church made me a Christian.

I used to think that not cursing made me a Christian.

I used to think that obeying my parents made me a Christian.

That could be a long list of what I used to think. I understand now that I go to church; guard my tongue, honor my parents BECAUSE I’m a Christ follower NOT to become a Christ follower. I am a Christian because I have surrendered my heart to the Lord. I believe in God. I believe He is the ONLY ONE Who can save me.

Nothing I can do contributes to my being saved. He did it all. I honor Him BECAUSE He has saved me and promised me a future. My life has been different since I figured this out. I can’t do enough or not do enough to be saved. He has that handled. There are no strings attached to my salvation. I see life different since He’s saved my soul. I want to live for Him. I want to live in honor of Him. I want to trust Him in obedience. I want my surrender to Him to continue today not out of fear, but in faith that He will continue to walk with me through this life.

He saved me with no strings attached.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My One Aim

Worship to GodMy life here on this planet comes down to one significant goal. As I live and learn more about the Lord, I realize that my one aim is to bring glory to Him. I’m not supposed to drawing attention to myself, but to Him. His heart is so BIG. His LOVE is beyond measuring. His MERCY is new every day. His GRACE has given me hope in the most hopeless situations. I came across the smallest Psalm in the scripture this morning and I was reminded to “keep the main thing, the main thing”. Check this out…

Praise the Lord, all you nations.
    Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For his unfailing love for us is powerful;
    the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.

Praise the Lord! (Psalm 117:1-2 NIV)

I love music and songs that help me express my heart to the Lord. These are certainly in my Top Ten right now:

King of My Heart by Sarah McMillan & John McMillan

Worthy Of Your Name  by Brenton Brown, Brett Younker, Sean Curran

No Longer Slaves by Jonathan & Melissa Helser

Your Love Awakens Me by Phil Wickham

This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham

Today is a new day to bring honor to the Lord from deep within my heart, I want the activities of my day to day to reflect a heart that is laser focused on honoring the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Sunrise Sunset

Country road at sunriseI love daytime and I really like it when we change to daylight savings time. The days seem a bit longer (the daylight hours are longer), but in fact we have the same 24-hour day. I enjoy it most this time of year. I’m an early riser, so I love seeing the sunrise pretty much every day. I don’t always take advantage of this beautiful artistic spectacle that the Lord displays, but I really enjoy seeing the fresh dawn of a new day. I also enjoy the sunset in the west as the day ends. I like reflecting on my day and preparing for rest. No matter what I’m doing on any given day, I want my life to reflect the Lord Who lives in me. I was captivated by this passage of Psalms this morning. Check this out…

Praise the Lord.Sunset worship

Praise the Lord, you his servants;
    praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
    both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
    his glory above the heavens. (Psalm 113:1-4 NIV)

If you type the words “sunrise sunset” into google it will tell you what time the sun rises today and what time it sets. As I think about the sunrise and sunset, I realize that on rainy days, I can’t see the sun rise even though it does. The clouds settle in and block my view of the daily experience. The sun rising and setting is consistent and reliable.

I don’t think it’s accidental that the Psalmist reminded me that the Lord is to be praised from the rising of the sun to the setting of the son and all the moments in between and outside the day. The Lord loves the praise of His people all the time. He wired us to give Him honor and praise. I don’t always understand all that He’s doing, but I know He is constantly up to something good. He loves His kids (mankind) and He loves it when we praise Him and pray to Him. I am dependent upon Him and He’s totally good with that.  The wisest man who lived (King Solomon) wrote a beautiful passage about the Lord’s compassion and mercy. Check this out…

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Music Then & Now

 

169 Vk0gMDA1XzIwMTIgLSAwMTAuanBnI think music has been a part of my life since I was very young. I remember bringing my grandmother out to our house with her guitar. Our neighbor up the road played the fiddle. I was just learning to play and we sat in the living room and played Appalachian music until late in the evening. I believe music moves the heart and soul of a person like no other medium. It evokes passion, memory and all sorts of emotion. I can remember the season of my life when I hear a certain song from the 70’s or 80’s! Certain music used to reveal a person’s age, but it’s cool that young people today are rediscovering music from years ago.

Church music has changed a lot in the past 30 years for sure. I remember singing from an old red hymnal and my heart was moved. Fast forward today and I hear a song like “You Are Worthy” that was just recently written and performed and it moves my soul now more than singing that same hymn again today. There are exceptions though – I love the remakes of the old hymns. I remember moved to near tears as Karrie Underwood and Vince Gill played “How Great Thou Art”. I believe music can move my heart toward God or away from Him. I need to be very aware of the songs I sing.  Check this out…

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:4-9 NIV)

The creation of God makes beautiful music to His ears. He loves it when my life makes music to Him. I believe the Lord is fair and equitable in all His actions. He has made the brokenness of my life into a beautiful mosaic that brings honor to Him. He is beyond describing or possibly giving proper thanks too. I want the activity of my life to bring honor to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Music Messages

 

169 Vk0gMDA1XzIwMTIgLSAwMTAuanBnI believe you can say things with music that are nearly impossible to say any other way. Music captures emotion, energy, deep thoughts and somehow communicates these in a song accompanied by music. I’ve written some pretty funny songs when I look back on them. There are some songs that are classic and stand the test of time. I used to think that every country song ever written was about someone who cheated on their spouse and their dog died and the truck was a must have some mention in the song for it to be successful. I’ve now learned that often country songs tell a life story.

Praise and worship music has replaced some of the Hymns of old. These worship songs cry out to God acknowledging Who He is and all that He is doing. I must confess that I like doing “remakes” of old hymns. I really love using music of scripture to praise the Lord in a personal way even though there’s a bunch of people there. Check this out….

It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
    how profound your thoughts! (Psalm 92:1-5 NIV)

I want the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart to be pleasing to God. I want to speak words that He’s speaking into me. I want to be kind hearted but firm if needed. I want to be gentle, but strong. So much of my journey with the Lord got it’s fuel from worship music. I’m thankful to have been introduced to music. I’m thankful to the gentlemen who showed great patience as he taught me to play.  The song on my heart when I woke up this morning was by Phil Wickham. “Your Love Awakens Me”

There were walls between us
And by the cross you came
And broke them down You broke them down
And there were chains around us
And by Your grace we are
No longer bound  No longer bound
You called me out of the grave
You called me into the light
You called my name and then my heart came alive
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens Awakens me
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens Awakens me

Feel the darkness shaking
All the dead are coming
Back to life back to life
Hear the song awaken
All creation singing
We’re alive Cause You’re alive
You called me out of the grave
You called me into the light
You called my name and then my heart came alive
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens  Awakens me
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens  Awakens me

And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive
And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive
And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive

____________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne