A Musical Instrument

 

Trumpet musical instrument isolatedMy heart goes out to people who can’t talk. I also hurt for those who can’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears. They must compensate some other way for that deficiency. I know that I often take these things for granted. I love to hear people with other accents talk. I was on vacation last week and heard a person who was more “country” or “southern” than myself talk – I could hardly understand him!  I know that people from other parts of the country/world get a chuckle out of hearing people from the south talk. Our tongues can be trained to talk or they can also “fall into” a dialect of sorts.

What if we all sounded the same?

What if our languages were all the same?

What if everyone sang just alike?

I’m thankful that the Lord made us different in so many ways but the same. A huge percentage of humans can talk, hear and see. Our tongues are a musical instrument of sorts. I like to sing and play guitar and I learned a long time ago that I should take care of my voice as well as take care of my guitar.  The Apostle Paul speaks to the church in Corinth about speaking in different tongues/languages. He uses the analogy of a musical instrument. Check this out…

So now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in other tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you with a revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? Even lifeless instruments that produce sounds—whether flute or harp—if they don’t make a distinction in the notes, how will what is played on the flute or harp be recognized? In fact, if the bugle makes an unclear sound, who will prepare for battle? In the same way, unless you use your tongue for intelligible speech, how will what is spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different kinds of languages in the world, none is without meaning. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker will be a foreigner to me. 12 So also you—since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, seek to excel in building up the church. (1 Corinthians 14:6-12 CSB)

I want to use my voice to praise God, encourage, inspire and instruct.

I can use my voice to criticize or counsel.

I can use my voice to build up or tear down.

I want to speak to the Lord and to others with the language of love, grace, mercy and kindness that He has poured out all over me. I’m grateful, humbled and often speechless to articulate the amazing love of God. I think that God understands my heart no matter what language or tongue I use. He loves for me to talk to Him. He loves for me to praise Him. He loves for me to encourage and love others too!

My voice can be a powerful musical instrument and never sing a note – I just need to keep talking about my journey with the Lord!

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

Humble Rewarded

 

This is an image of a man being spiritual encouraged, symbolised by the "thumbs up".I enjoy working with humble people because their ego isn’t so big that it must be puffed up or propped up when I’m around them. The Lord speaks again and again to the value of humility. Prideful people often can’t see past themselves.

Prideful people often don’t think they need anything.

Prideful people see themselves as needing nothing or no one.

The Proverb writer says:

18 Pride comes before destruction,
and an arrogant spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 CSB)

When I look back on my journey with the Lord – it is His story being woven together with my story. I don’t want to see the two stories separated. He walks with me and directs my path through the hardest day or darkest night. He is with me through the hard seasons.  This passage blessed my soul this morning because the Lord does reward humility. Check this out…

For the Lord takes delight in his people;
    he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
    and sing for joy on their beds. (Psalms 149:4-5 NIV)

Without the Lord my story doesn’t have a good ending. With the Lord my story has an amazing ending. Without the Lord I am a nobody. With the Lord I am a child of the King with an inheritance beyond describing. I have learned the hard way that the Lord oversees the events of life. He doesn’t directly orchestrate them, but nothing surprises Him or happens without Him knowing. I trust Him – period.

I can either humble myself or be humbled. The Lord loves a humble heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Beginning Of The End

 

senior cool man proud conceptThere are people who are so full of themselves that they can’t seem to notice anything but themselves. They see all of the world in light of what can be done for them rather than noticing how they can help others. I do believe that there is a self-centered “nature” in all of us. I think the enemy installed that “nature” and our culture reinforces it daily. I will naturally choose the best cupcake on a tray of cupcakes instead of thinking someone else might like that one. I often think that I deserve something that is a bit better than everyone else. This is pride in a very simple and pure form. The proverb writer noted that: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV)

The closest advisor to King Xerxes was a man named Haman. He was most definitely full of himself. He couldn’t stand Mordecai, the uncle of the queen (but he didn’t know about that relationship) because Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to him and show him “proper respect”. Some people are given some power and it goes straight to their head. Haman is about to go to the king to ask about killing Mordecai when the tables were turned quickly and Haman ended up humiliated. I don’t think the king knew the first thing about it either. Check this out…

When Haman entered, the king asked him, ‘What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?’

Now Haman thought to himself, ‘Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?’ So he answered the king, ‘For the man the king delights to honor, let them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”’

10 ‘Go at once,’ the king commanded Haman. ‘Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.’ (Esther 6:6-10 NIV)

The king couldn’t sleep during the night and was reading some from the daily journals of the happenings in his world. I believe that the reason he couldn’t sleep is the work of the Holy Spirit. The king had forgotten to honor Mordecai for exposing the assassination plot from months before.  God was orchestrating some things behind the scenes because of the fasting (and prayers) of his people who had received a death sentence from Haman’s prideful leadership.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again. I believe that pride is the most basic sin that all other sin is built upon. I want what I want WHEN I want it. This sinful nature is really hard to move out. I’m convinced that without the help of the Lord, I can’t destroy this pride. I need His help dismantling the strong hold that pride has on my heart. I need to consistently humble myself before the Lord so that His Power can be noticed in me and not my own strength. Haman’s pride is the beginning of the end for him. If I’m not careful, it will also be the end of me. Pride is self-promoting but also self-destructive. It must be destroyed before it destroys me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Repentant Leadership

 

work hard stay humbleI have come to the conclusion that those who never repent must never attempt to do anything. I know what failure feels like. I’ve learned that failure isn’t fatal unless I let it be. I learned a long time ago that there are at least three actions to take when I fail:

  1. Take ownership of my actions.
  2. Make amends (do my very best to make things right).
  3. Move on.

Failure can teach me volumes about others and myself. I have learned more from my failures and mistakes than my successes.

Ezra served the exiles that were given permission from King Darius of Persia to return to their homeland after 70 years in exile away from their homeland. They were in the process of rebuilding the temple when Ezra learned of the blatant sin of some of his fellow exiles. He was absolutely broken and stunned. He leads the exiles in profound repentance. Check this out…

‘I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.’ (Ezra 9:6b-7; 15 NIV)

I believe that leaders should lead us through success. I also believe that leaders should lead us through repentance. It takes a lot longer to get through a hurtful situation when no one is willing to own his or her actions. I think it takes a bigger person to own their mistakes than to act like they are perfect and without fault. I believe that everyone makes mistakes – some have way bigger consequences than others. I believe that marriages can be saved from the brink of divorce if both spouses own their own failures and mistakes.

I remember hearing from a wise and trusted friend years ago in response to public sin and failure. The conversation was about helping restore the person from the public failure. He said to this man: “When your repentance cries out louder than your sin, you are on your way to restoration”.

I have to check my pride at the door if I’m ever going to own my mistakes and failures. I can’t act as if I’m perfect and without fault. The Lord knows me like no one else – how can I pretend that my sin didn’t happen?

I’m thinking that I should begin every day with a repentant heart and continue that theme throughout my day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Fast & Pray

 

Female hand refusing the fast food mealA friend of mine when on a fast for several days only drinking water and fruit juices. At the end of the fast, he had to slowly starting putting regular food into his body. I remember a conversation that we had during the fast and he spoke about clarity and how focused he was during that time. When fasting is talked about in The Word, it’s often referring to a discipline of abstaining from food for a period of time. The fast is often for a specific purpose like a big decision or a time of intense intercession.

As I was reading Ezra this morning I came across another purpose of fasting. Check this out…

21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’ 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. (Ezra 8:21-23 NIV)

Ezra used fasting and prayer to humble themselves before God and pray intensely for a safe journey to Jerusalem. A great way to humble myself is to fast and pray. My body will cry out for food, but I can abstain for a short while and really humble myself before God. I’ve noticed in The Word that prayer almost always accompanies fasting. I’ve often thought that one of the big reasons for fasting from food is so that I might use that time to pray and seek the Lord. I’ve not done this a lot over the years. I’m always blessed when I take time to use this discipline in my journey with the Lord.

I believe that fasting should be private for the most part. I don’t think it should be announced to everyone.

I believe that fasting can powerful when a group chooses to fast and pray together.

I believe fasting shows my body and my appetite who is in charge.

I believe that fasting is a humbly activity that is healthy for nearly everyone.

I think it’s healthy to fast from more than just food. I can take a break from just about any regular activity and spend the time normally allotted for that activity in prayer and study.

Fasting and prayer reminds me that my life is for His honor and glory and not my own. I want to know Him more and follow Him faithfully. I want to humbly obey Him and honor Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne