A Profound Compliment

gold apple on a white plate isolated on white backgroundI do love a genuine compliment. It can lift my spirits and bless my soul deep within. I especially enjoy the ones that have been well thought out and are specific.  I’m not desperate for a compliment, but I do enjoy them and they often embarrass me. I’m humbled by compliments that are genuine and very specific. I try to hand out genuine compliments to others as well. They can be so encouraging and deeply appreciated.

Paul passes out a compliment to church at Thessalonica and it sounded like maybe I’d read it somewhere before. Check this out…

We always thank God for all of you, making mention of you constantly in our prayers. We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work produced by faith, your labor motivated by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 CSB)

Faith produced work.

Love motivates labor.

Hope inspires endurance.

This passage reflects a very specific compliment. Paul noticed very specific traits. I thought about how he ended the “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians… 13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 CSB)

I want my life to reflect these three characteristics today. I want to work because of my faith in God. I want to be constantly motivated by love (for God, family, others) as I labor. I want to constantly keep focused on the hope I have and feel that inspiration to never give up.

Love and respect motivates genuine compliments. My mom used to remind me that if I can’t say something nice about someone then I shouldn’t say anything at all about them. I think that’s a pretty good rule. I do believe that every human being has some good in them. It’s harder to find in some people, but it’s there. Over used and shallow compliments mean little, but a well-placed, thought-out compliment can bless someone for years to come. I’m still basking in the glow of compliments I received years ago.

A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples in silver settings. (Proverbs 25:11 CSB)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Weak = Power

 

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthI feel like sometimes it’s taken me a very long time (like my whole life) to start to grasp how different God sees things versus how we see things. His Word reveals so many truths about Him and I’ve heard many of them, but it’s taken me several years to really understand.

It seems that Paul is a bit insecure about being an Apostle who was called to serve after all the others, yet he writes most of the New Testament and he is “a machine”, constantly preaching and teaching the good news of the gospel. He reveals some personal struggle or issue that opens my eyes a bit to his journey and the Lord’s heart. Check this out….

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 CSB)

This passage gives some more profound perspective on the struggles of my journey. I have made my life all about my happiness and my personal comfort. Paul was making his life about showing others the love of God and glorify the Lord with his life. I am blessed and oh so thankful to have avoided some hardships and suffering while hitting others spot on and navigating through. I am still learning that my hope and trust is in the Lord and not in my ability to accomplish or do anything.

When I’m weak – I’m strong.

When I’m tired – I’m useful to the Lord.

When I’m strong – I had better watch out.

He does His best work through my weaknesses and during my hardships and struggle. It’s not a fun ride, but a productive one.

I thought of this “old school sounding” song by Crowder…. All My Hope Is In Jesus.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

When Does This End?

 

Retro typewriter text the endI’ve watched movies before where I’m checking my watch to see when this dreadful experience will be over. I’ve been to church before and had the same experience – we are on a schedule and we must choose wisely where we spend the most valuable currency we have…our time. I just returned from vacation – several days by the lake enjoying the sunsets over the water. I am back in my more normal routines today.

As I read this passage in 1 Corinthians this morning, Paul was talking about how this all ends. He explained that this life is not the only life we live for or we are pitiful. He speaks frankly on the importance of eternal life and the significance of what Jesus did by His death on the cross. This life will end – but we have hope that the end of this life is not the end of it all – there’s more! Check this out…

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith.

20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:12-14,20-22,56-58 CSB)

I still have work to do while I’m here on earth. I must be consistent and faithful in my pursuit of God’s heart not so that I can be saved, but because I am saved. I want to know Him more. I want to live in the hope that there’s so much more.

I heard a guy recently say that “none of us makes it out of this life alive (unless the Lord comes back)”, so we need to start living larger than just our plans and our simple existence. The end of this life comes for all of us at some point in time, but because of Jesus did come to earth, He did live a sinless life, He did die a sacrificial death on the cross, He did come back to life on the third day to conquer death once and for all. There is no need to fear. There is certainly ample reason for hope. I want to live my life for Him to the end of this life and the transition to my new life will be seamless!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Love More!

 

White Box with the Word Love on the Sides Isolated on a White Background.My wife and I have a little contest to see who can love the other more. It is not just about words, but actions for sure. It’s a fun competition where we both win! I have also always wanted my kids to know that I love them deeply. I am never afraid to say, “I love you” to them. I can never hug them enough or provide for them enough. It is hard when they start becoming adults and they need to figure some of life’s lessons out. I simply can’t be the solution to their every struggle as they become grown-ups. I still can’t just stop loving and wanting to do for them.

Love is probably the most profound topic of our lives. Love is gentle. Love is tough. Love is warm. The Apostle Paul penned a beautiful passage that is used in weddings but really needs to be used in our everyday life. Check this out…

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant,is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CSB)

Love is the essence of the Character of God. He epitomizes love every day. He loved first. He loves the best. He is relentless in His pursuit of loving His people and having them love Him in return. His love made a way for us to have eternal life with Him.

I was listening to this song by Needtobreathe called: Let Us Love. Here’s the chorus.

Let us love
Like we were children
Make us feel
Like we’re still living
In a world I know that’s burning to the ground
Give us time
To beat the system
Make us find
What we’ve been missing
In a world I know that’s burning to the ground

I can be the best husband….

I can be the best Dad….

I can be the best friend….

I can be the best REALTOR….

I can be the best boss…

I can be the best singer….

I can be the best prayer warrior….

I can be the best at EVERYTHING – but without love I am a failure.

I want love deeply the ones closest to me for sure, but I also want to love others and care deeply for them. I want the love that God has shown me to be shown in every facet of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Holy Spirit Presence

 

PresenceI used to freak out when I was a kid hearing the adults in church speak about the Holy Ghost. I knew the definition of a ghost and I really wasn’t interested. When I grew older and was introduced to the Holy Spirit, I realized that this was a lot different than “Ghostbusters” or weird little translucent being.

The Holy Spirit is the very Presence of God. It’s hard to explain if we don’t embrace the fact that there is a spiritual realm. A realm beyond our ability to see or hear. I like to think of it like radio waves or cell phone waves. What if I could see all the radio waves traveling invisibly through the air? My mind would be blown. They are there even though I can’t see them. I believe that the Holy Spirit of God dwells in the spirit realm and He is close by to those who have make Jesus Lord of their lives. Check this out…

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIV)

The Holy Spirit is a game changer when I’m unsure or afraid. He is with me so I feel safe and confident that I can act on His behalf. He is the very essence and presence of Creator God but He dwells with me. Jesus said that He would leave the Comforter when He ascended to the Father.

The Holy Spirit reminds me of Grace.

The Holy Spirit pours out hope generously.

The Holy Spirit prompts me to give.

The Holy Spirit convicts me of sin.

The Holy Spirit empowers me with love.

The Holy Spirit breathes peace into my soul in times of trouble or struggle.

The Holy Spirit reveals deep facets of God to me as I walk with Him.

I can’t imagine walking with God without the Presence of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here (Kim Walker Smith from Bethel)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Hope Is Here

 

Hope word with shadow, backgroundI’ve been in plenty of situations where there seemed like only one way out and it felt quite hopeless. I know the struggle of a sleepless night. I know the paralysis that worry delivers. I also know that when the Lord enters the room of my life, HOPE flows from Him. He gives me strength and wisdom to navigate any and every situation I’m faced with. Paul speaks very clearly about the hope we have no matter the situation. Check this out….

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 CSB)

This passage has much depth to it. This is a snapshot of life:

  • Faith
  • Peace
  • Access
  • Grace
  • Rejoice
  • Afflictions
  • Endurance
  • Proven Character
  • Hope
  • Love

I’m trying to wrap my mind around these 10 profound pieces of the journey with God.  It starts with Faith and ends up in Love. The journey with the Lord always goes through the tunnel of affliction and suffering. It’s during those dark nights of the soul that the light of hope in Him is real. The Lord never wastes a dark night to show off His Heart for me. He brings such hope and clarity to most confusing circumstances. He builds my character from the inside out and not from the outside in. My salvation journey begins with faith in Him.

When He enters the room of my heart, there is NOTHING else like it! He brings HOPE and it is a Powerful Presence. #thankful

All My Hope

By Crowder

I’ve been held by the Savior
I’ve felt fire from above
I’ve been down to the river
I ain’t the same, a prodigal returned

(C)All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God that yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

I’m no stranger to prison
I’ve worn shackles and chains
But I’ve been freed and forgiven
And I’m not going back, I’ll never be the same (C)

There’s a kind of thing that just breaks a man
Break him down to his knees
God, I’ve been broken more than a time or two
Yes, Lord then He picked me up and showed me
What it means to be a man come on and sing (C)

_____________________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne