Victory

Happy young latin womanI am reading a biography of Winston Churchill called, “The Last Lion – Keeper of The Realm” and Prime Minister Churchill is known for flashing the “V” with his hand for victory! He was a leader of leaders and he possessed a “never give up, never give in” spirit. He believed in his soul that the Allies must conquer the Nazi’s of Germany to have freedom and life.

I’m not a huge football fan, but I love it when the team I’m pulling for wins. I enjoy seeing them celebrate. If my team loses, then I change the channel to avoid watching the victory celebration. (I guess I’m a sore loser.)

As I finished John’s first epistle this am, he reminded me that victory comes through obedience. It’s very simple – follow the Lord’s commands. Check this out…

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. (1 John 5:1-4 CSB)

Obedience is not flashy but important. Obedience reveals trust. Obedience reveals faith. I don’t always understand what the Lord is speaking into my heart, but I’ve learned to trust Him. I’m learning that I reveal my faith through my obedience to His call upon my life. He calls me to love others. He calls me to serve others. He calls me to forgive. He calls me to be humble. Jesus’ life serves as an example of humble obedience to the Father. He doesn’t call me to go to the cross, but He does call me to follow Him with my whole heart. My life follows my heart. I must lay down some of the things I want, because they are not what is best. He provides for my needs. He instills deep hope in Him.

I can live a victorious life here on earth as a prelude to the big prize – eternal life.  My victorious life begins with simple obedience to His commands – the first is to love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

He Cares

 

3D Keep Calm God Loves You Button Click Here Block TextIt bothers me to be around people who just don’t care about anything or anyone but themselves. If you hang with others for any amount of time, I can usually figure it out. Don’t get me wrong, I can be as selfish as the next person. There is a fight that goes on inside of my heart, but if the Lord is in charge, others will come first. It takes great humility to put someone else before me, but the Lord loves this. He honors this humility, love and service. I have never more like God than when I give. When I show kindness and care to others, I’m representing Christ Himself.

Peter speaks about being humble and caring toward others. It’s simple to understand, but hard to implement. Check this out…

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

10 The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. 11 To him be dominion forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 CSB)

The things I care about – the Lord cares about.

The Lord notices when I’m scared and worried. He compels me to cast these worries and concerns onto His shoulders – He is strong and can carry it all.

The Lord will be with me when the enemy, the devil comes on the attack. The enemy never comes dressed up like a red devil with a pitch-fork tail. He is always very attractive and quite the attention getter. He uses beautiful people, beautiful things and beautiful moments to do his dirtiest work. I must pay close attention to his deceptive and destructive ways. He is the slickest and most crafty creature on the planet.  Every time I resist one of his sneaky schemes, I become stronger and more attentive to his next “sneak attack”. He is incredibly subtle. He is not beyond notice or finding out. The Presence of God in me can “heighten my radar” to his sneaky moves. I would be wise to continue seeking truth in the Word of God because the enemy can’t get through the defenses the Lord is helping me build.

I want to stand firm in my faith today, no matter what my circumstances. I want to walk consistently with the Lord each day that I live. I don’t ever want to think that my life or my accomplishments are about me – that’s pride. I want to be humble and give the Lord 100% credit for any good that I can do for anyone. He cares about everything that happens to me and can help me navigate my life with great wisdom and insight.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Called Out

 

Why MeI’ve been “called out” because I’ve done something wrong or stupid. It’s another example of accountability. It’s not pleasant being called out, but it is sometimes necessary. I can’t always see my actions from the proper perspective. I’ve given several people in my life permission to “call me out” if I do something stupid or wrong. My wife has called me out on many occasions for sure. I have close friends who do the same. I seek counsel in areas that my knowledge and experience are lacking so that I won’t be “called out” later. I see law enforcement as “calling me out” if I’m speeding or pushing the limits of the law.

I am a follower of the Lord and I have made a commitment to follow Him. I want my life to honor Him. I am trying to live by the call of the Lord on my life. I want him to prompt the little decisions in my life as well as monumental decisions that I face.

I started reading 1st Peter this morning and I love his perspective because He walked with Jesus and saw His life and ministry up close and personal. Check this out…

Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. (1 Peter 1:8-9,13-16 CSB)

I’m facing everyday decisions with Him directing me and prompting me. I have ignored Him at times and regretted it. I have pushed back or ignored being called out and held accountable. I have been humbled and convicted of my sin. I want to walk humbly before the Lord every day asking for His counsel on the smallest daily decisions. I want His help as a Christian. I want His help as a husband. I want His help as a Dad. I want His help as friend. I want His help as a REALTOR.  I am open to be called out by people who know me and love me deeply. If you feel like you need to ask me about decisions that I make I want to always be willing to explain why I do what I do or say what I say. The Word of God often calls me out- I’m open to others close to me calling me out as well.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Humble Pie

pieI heard a guy say a couple of years back that “Humble pie is the pastry that’s never tasty!” It was said in a humorous situation, but there is something to it. Humility is a powerful trait for me to acquire. I think it’s a wise decision to taste the humble pie on my own instead of waiting until it’s forced upon me by outside circumstances or things beyond my ability to control.

I have a sign in my office that says: “It’s hard to be humble when you’re from Kentucky!” (Of course, it’s because I’m a UK basketball fan.)

James speaks of how God loves the humble. Check this out…

But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says:

God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:6-8,10 CSB)

If I think too highly of myself – I will be humbled.

If I think I deserve something – I will be humbled.

If I think I’m God’s gift to the earth – I will be humbled.

It is much wiser to approach every situation I face with humility and kindness toward others. I see this as a strength not a weakness. I know who I am and I know Whose I am. I believe by taking the bite of “humble pie” first, I can learn how to lead, influence and inspire others. I’m really turned off by arrogance, but humility really inspires and motivates me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Rich VS Poor

 

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I believe that these two terms are relative terms. I know people who are wealthy (aka rich), but who are poor in spirit. They are miserable. Their wealth did not lift their spirits at all. I also know people who are on the poverty line who are full of joy and peace. They would probably like to have more money, but they find joy in the little things of life. For some reason, it seems that our culture gravitates to the wealthy instead of the poor. I believe it’s because we think the rich will share their wealth, while the poor have very little excess to share with anyone. I came across a passage in James and it hit me that I really do show favoritism to the rich. Check this out…

1My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor person dressed in filthy clothes also comes in, if you look with favor on the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:1-5 CSB)

People who are wealthy know lots of others who are wealthy. They also know others who have more money than they have. Poor people know others who are poor and especially the ones who have less money than them. I see money as a medium. It doesn’t do anything except what it’s told to do. It’s like planting seed in the soil – whatever seed is planted is what comes up. The soil was a medium. It can grow kudzu or it can grow grass.

I felt deep conviction after reading this today, because I find myself passing judgement on others based on how they carry themselves, how they dress, the type of car they have or how nice of a house they live in. This is a dangerous behavior. James goes on to say that this is “straight up” sin. I am passing judgement on someone’s worth based on their bank account rather than their heart.

The Lord is way more concerned with my heart and my obedience than the size of my bank accounts. In fact, I believe the Lord is drawn to the poor – Jesus was born to a Carpenter (blue collar) and visited by shepherds (blue collar) and wise men (white collar). Look at the disciples that Jesus called to serve alongside Him…. They were fishermen, tax collectors – very ordinary people who I would contend didn’t have a lot of material possessions or money.

I want to be wealthy in spiritual values. When I’m blessed with material wealth, I want to invest it in His Kingdom and people made in the image of God. I’m seeing forgiveness when I’ve made my life about me.

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