Understand

Discussing the truthI know a person who has hearing aids in both ears, but he doesn’t hear well. Let me rephrase that, he doesn’t understand very well. I’ve had people with hearing aids tell me that the volume of the room in amplified, but it can make it harder to understand a single conversation. They may be hearing a conversation across the room. There are other times when I’m in a conversation and there is much more than words being said. The body language is saying something much different than the words coming from a person’s mouth. To understand another person is a bit tricky.  To understand another person means that I totally grasp and perceive what they trying to communicate with me.  I’m learning to ask clarifying questions to make absolutely sure I understand what is going on.

Paul writes letter to the churches that he helped start and get going. After some of these churches got going, they had some problems creep in and disrupt the fellowship. He lays some groundwork to explain his position of leadership. Paul is a humble leader. He is not a “pushover”. He is confident in his calling from the Lord. He is also confident that the Lord is speaking in him and through him. He explains God’s wisdom to the church in the early chapter and it’s important to understand his position throughout the entire letter to the church at Corinth. Check this out…

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13 NLT)

I’m thankful that all my thoughts are not public knowledge. I don’t always manage my thought life as well as I want. In fact, I don’t always manage my words like I should either and they are both well connected. This passage reminded me that the words I speak the understanding of my heart come from God’s Spirit inside of me. I need to continually welcome Him to take over my heart and my being so that I can have His discernment skills, His wisdom and His words. The Holy Spirit has given me wisdom many times as I say things out loud and then realize that I’m simply not that smart. I want to understand God’s Word and hear His voice so clearly that my thoughts and words are clearly from Him. I want to speak words from Him. I want to love like He loves. I want to live for Him. This is only possible when I let His Spirit take charge of my heart and my soul. I must empty me of me and let Him take over. My thoughts and my words will change when He’s in charge. My understanding of others will expand and my understanding of the things of God will expand as well.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Significance of Solitude

Man praying with the BibleI love the solitude and quietness of the morning. I can hear the noises of a quiet home in the morning. I hear the furnace come on occasionally. I can hear the fridge come on some as well. There is something special about my time of solitude in the morning. I like to start my time of solitude after I’ve shaved, showered and made a pot of coffee. I start each day with reading some from the Word of God. I believe the scriptures speak truth into my life every day.  I do not consider myself a theologian at all. I’m just a regular guy who loves God and loves His Word. I find such deep pockets of my faith and incredible clarity for my life when I spend time alone with the Lord in His Word.

I love the fact that Jesus modeled this. He would occasionally slip away from the “noise” of His ministry for times of solitude and prayer.  This well-known event in Jesus’ life occurred after a time of solitude and prayer. Check this out…

45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. (Mark 6:45-51a NLT)

Solitude and prayer work together to help prepare my heart and mind for the day ahead. I must admit that some days are tougher than others. I can often look back on my morning time of solitude in the middle of a busy and hectic day. I believe that solitude and prayer anchor my soul to The Word of God. I believe that the Words of Scripture contain wisdom and insight that is timeless and powerful. I find words of healing here. I find words of hope. I find depth of insight. I believe solitude combined with scripture and prayer are two very valuable ingredients to a peace-filled life. In the midst of a noisy and chaotic world, I can find peace because of my time of solitude and prayer each morning.

I’ve not tried walking on water or “leaping tall buildings in a single bound”.  I just know that I’m a stronger Christian because of my time of solitude and prayer in the morning. It’s not because I’m special, I simply seeking the Lord to lead me as I live out my life. Solitude gives focus and clarity to my life and helps keep thing in proper perspective. I also think the simple discipline of starting my day with the Lord has been a huge game changer for many years. I only wish I had started this daily discipline many years ago. I’m thankful for the Lord’s Powerful Presence in my life as I sit with Him to begin each day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Good Morning!

Grace AND TruthI am definitely a “morning person”. I enjoy the quiet and solitude of morning. I enjoy the fresh new day in the morning. It’s like I have a blank canvas upon which to paint my day. I don’t know when I became a morning person. I remember when I was in 8th grade, I would help milk the cows by hand each morning. We kept three or four cows on our small farm and milked them by hand each morning and evening. I helped my Dad in the morning before he went to work and I went to school. Yes, we drank fresh cow milk and I’m not a “milk fan” to this day. Several years ago, I felt like the Lord was calling me to spend some time with Him each morning before starting my day. I started setting my alarm a bit earlier so that I could do that. I started reading His Word each morning along with a fresh cup of coffee. Over the years He has spoken such profound truth into my heart. He comforts my soul when I’m worried or stressed. He gives me wisdom and insight beyond what I could ever manage. His Word is alive and active in my life each day and I believe it’s because I begin with Him each morning. Check this out…

The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
    so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
    and opens my understanding to his will.
The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me,
    and I have listened.
    I have not rebelled or turned away. (Isaiah 50:4-5 NLT)

This passage reminded me of another passage in the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Check this out…

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT)

I continue to grow in my love for the Lord because of my morning time with Him. I continue to find peace and comfort while listening to Him speak. He gives me wisdom and insight into any situation I face. His Spirit is definitely present in the morning as I spend time with Him.

A few years ago, I started opening up Microsoft Word and journaling what The Word was speaking to me in the morning. I then felt like I should share that with others. I’m not sure when I started blogging from my spiritual journey. I’ve been wondering how long the Lord wants me to keep doing this. I have no idea how many people read this. I actually don’t write for any one in particular – I write for me to remember what He is speaking into my heart through His Word. I am not some sort of spiritual guru – I’m just Dwayne, a man who desires to know the heart of God more fully today than yesterday. I love my morning time with Him and if He uses my journey to bless your journey, then I’m thankful. I wish anyone who reads this would trade their time here for time with Him. If you’re not sure where to begin, I love the gospel of John and his perspective on Jesus. I also love the Psalms where real life intersects with our spiritual journey. If you’re reading these words, please consider some morning time with the Lord and His Word. This simple change in my schedule many years ago has changed the entire trajectory of my life. I’m so blessed and thankful.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Direct Connect

 

Miniature engineer team try to connect ethernet cables to portI remember some of the computer technology that was “pre-internet”. I remember having a “floppy disk” that had a program on it that would run locally on my laptop and then it created some sort of code that would transfer over the modem to another computer in Atlanta. I took my first real estate course online in this format. Today, with the internet, it’s more of a direct and “live” connection. I can take the class in real time and connect with an instructor. I think the world has so much more direct access to so many. It seems to me though, that as our world is so connected, there is less direct connection. I have a myriad of ways to communicate, however, it seems there is less connection happening. I think it was Seth Godin that pointed out how we go to dinner with a friend or loved one and spend more time on our phone connecting with our “fake friends” (on social media) rather than connecting with the friend across the table.

Jesus started giving His disciples a heads up that He was about to leave them and go back to the Father. This started a lot of discussion and concern among the disciples. I love how He took the time to further explain what was about to happen. Check this out…

20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.  23 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. 24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:20,23-24,33 NLT)

Jesus is explaining the “Direct Connect” that I now have with the Father. The disciples grew up in Jewish culture where you went to the priest and he then went to God. Jesus came to earth to open up this “Direct Connect” with the Father. I no longer have to go through a priest to speak to the Lord – I can talk directly to Him. I will often ask others to talk to Him on my behalf as well. I try to talk to God about everything and everyone. I’m certainly growing in my understanding of His Power and His Presence. This “Direct Connect” that I have with the Lord has given me wisdom and depth of understanding that I would have otherwise missed. I believe that the Lord can give me insight through this “Direct Connect” with Him. He knows everything and everyone. This “Direct Connect” has another more common term: PRAYER. Through prayer, I can talk directly to God because Jesus made the way or “built the Connection”! I’m so thankful for prayer through times of struggle, suffering and even times of joy. I’m learning to talk to the Lord in great detail about everything and everyone.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Attention

 

Woman talking through a megaphone and a man plugging his earsIf I’m in a big room and it’s loud and a bit chaotic and I want to get everyone’s attention, I can yell or whistle and people will often get quiet. It doesn’t do much good to make an announcement to a room full of people who aren’t paying attention.

The trumpet is a pretty loud horn instrument. If I’m anywhere a trumpet that is being played, it’s hard to ignore. It is like the bugle which was used by the US Calvary years ago to signal the troops to charge or retreat.

John is watching and trying to keep all of this written down as to what is happening in this beautiful, unique place he’s in. He is watching as the Lamb opens the seventh seal. Check this out…

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. (Revelation 8:1-2 CSB)

I can see something big coming. Trumpets are not quiet. I also enjoy silence sometimes. The contrast between silence and a trumpet is several decibels.

The Lord wants the attention of His people. He will do whatever it takes to get our attention. I’m committed to giving the Lord my attention in the quietness of the morning. I love hearing from Him. He doesn’t always whisper, but I feel like His Spirit speaks to me about my day coming up. He directs my steps and gives me insight to make sound decisions. I don’t want Him to ever need to shout for my attention – although He is capable of that for sure.

Come & Listen – David Crowder

Come and listen, come to the water’s edge, all you who know and fear the Lord.
Come and listen, come to the water’s edge all you who are thirsty, come.

Let me tell you what He has done for me.
He has done for you,
He has done for us.

Come and listen,
Come and listen to what He’s done.

Praise our God for He is good.

He has done for me,
He has done for you,
He has done for us.

Come and listen,
Come and listen to what He’s done.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

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