Inspiration

Grace AND Truth

I am inspired by the stories of people who have gone before me. I am reading a book called “The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965” It is about the long and storied history of Churchill’s leadership during the World War II era. The hardship that he and the people of England faced was very hard and very real, but they emerged in great strength through the hardships. Churchill was an inspirational leader. He was a motivator. He was a thinker. He had his weird moments. He inspired others by his speeches, writings, but most of all his leadership. Great leaders inspire others to follow their lead.

The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy is encouraging his young protégé by writing to remind Timothy of his journey thus far. It is often helpful to reflect on where we’ve been to truly appreciate where we are today. Paul closes out one of the chapters by reminding Timothy that tough times are ahead. He reminds him that there will be opposition and persecution. He gives some strong counsel to Timothy in the face of trouble. These words inspired me many years ago and I was reminded of the significance of The Word as I read these words. Check this out…

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 CSB)

I think I was around 14 years of age when I gave my first message to the little church I grew up attending in Casey Creek, KY. I remember being encouraged by this passage of scripture that talks about its value to my life. I can’t say that I had a daily discipline of reading scripture every day, but I am thankful that the Lord spoke into my heart and used His Word to build me and equip me for whatever was ahead for me. My journey has most definitely had struggles and hardship, but God’s Word kept speaking into my life. The Word teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains me. I am inspired to keep reading The Word as I live out my life, because I feel Him speak directly into my heart. Reading His Word daily doesn’t make me anyone special, but I’m reminded and inspired to keep surrendering my heart to Him and the peace that only He can give settles into my soul.

I want to live my life inspired by God’s Word. I want to lead my family inspired by God’s Word. I want my career to continually be inspired by God’s Word – His character, His Wisdom for my life. The journey of my life has been profoundly influenced and directed by my daily discovery of God’s heart found in scripture

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Special Training

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthSeveral years ago, I used to work out regularly.  I would take my lunch hour and go to Sportsplex and lift weights, working out the different muscle groups, mostly in my upper body. I participated in a Boot Camp that was a high energy, cardio work out. I told someone the other day, as I gestured toward my upper body, that this is what happens when you quit working out. Muscle will deteriorate and fat will take over when workouts cease. Unfortunately, I can be the poster child for this season of my life.

Recently, my wife and I downloaded FitnessPal onto our smart phone. This is a “calorie counter” & fitness tracker app. The first step in diet and exercise is to discover what I’m doing. I’m trying to keep track of everything I put into my mouth. I’m also tracking my physical activity. Who knew that table tennis and jet ski riding could burn calories! I remember a friend of mine used to say that he was never going to take up jogging, because he never saw a runner with a smile on their face! He also used to say that being in great physical shape is overrated because you can still get hit by a truck and die.

I came across a passage this morning where Paul was speaking to the significance of a different type of workout regimen. Check this out…

But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. 10 For this reason we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10 CSB)

I have been training in godliness for quite some time now. I’m not sure when I started this blogging/journaling of my journey in God’s Word, but it has made a HUGE difference in my life and in my perspective. I have felt the Lord speak into my life in powerful ways just by simply setting aside time each morning for my spiritual training/workout. I want to keep my eye on eternal life while I live out the abundant life here on earth. I don’t want to be so “heaven bound” that I’m no “earthly good” to anyone. I want to keep growing in my faith as I train in His Word daily and make application to my life.

I’m working at adding a physical element to my spiritual workout – a prayer walk. I walk a good bit throughout the day (thanks FitnessPal), but I want to be more intentional about walking with the Lord and seeking His Wisdom throughout the day.

All My Hope Is In Jesus  – Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Surround

Smiling manI have believed for many years that a wise leader will surround themselves with wise people. It could be argued that if a smart man surrounded himself with idiots, he would then become one. I do believe that our environment has influence upon us, maybe not to that extreme!

When I’m watching TV and the police surround the place where the perpetrator is, you know it’s just about over, unless he had an escape route planned via tunnel. At night when I set the alarm system of my home, I feel like I’m surrounded with some level of protection. I would probably feel a lot safer, if I had secret service level of protection. The Psalmist writes about the Lord’s protection. Check this out…

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and for evermore. (Psalm 125:1-2 NIV)

I feel safe surrounded by the Lord.

I feel protected surrounded by the Lord.

I feel loved surrounded by the Lord.

The Lord’s surround protection works in two ways. He protects me from enemies coming in to attack and He prompts me when I’m stepping outside His protection.

I’m also part of Southern Hills Christian Church and I feel a level of protection from my fellow followers of the Lord. I find encouragement in these surroundings. I find inspiration from my brothers and sister in the Lord. I was also reminded of a passage in Hebrews. Check this out…

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)

I’m surrounded by the Presence of God.

I’m surrounded by the People of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

What If?

Young pretty woman with question marksWhen I look back over some of the highlights of my life, I have a lot of “What if” moments. There are so many small and seemingly insignificant decisions that changed the entire course of my journey. If I look at my life through that lens, I must go back to my child hood. There are probably a lot of things that happened even to my parents and their parents that led to them being born in the first place. Throughout my childhood, I was molded and shaped by my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers and Sunday School teachers to name a few. They all poured a bit of knowledge, wisdom and experience into my life. What if some of them or even one of them had not been there. What if I had grown up without being around my grandparents? When I look back at my life, I realize that I often take my journey for granted. I’m so thankful for the people the Lord put in my path who invested a bit into me. It inspires me to pass that blessing on.

I can also look back at my journey and see times when I asked for help from the Lord and He delivered. He didn’t always “deliver” the way I thought He would, but He never left me alone. I never felt like He ignored my prayer.  The Psalmist challenged Israel to imagine what if the Lord had NOT been on their side. Check this out…

if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:2-3,8 NIV)

What if Jesus had never come to earth?

What if He had not completed His mission of being the Ultimate Sacrifice for sin?

What if He had not risen from the grave?

I honestly can’t imagine my life with those “what if’s”. I have walked with the Lord trusting Him since before I was in 3rd Grade. I was baptized at Columbia Christian Church in Columbia, KY on a Sunday afternoon. It was too cold to be baptized in the creek. I have meandered my way trying to follow the Lord. When I look back now, I cannot imagine doing life any other way. I now love the Lord. I love His Word. I want to follow Him the rest of my days. What if I had not been introduced to Him along the way? I don’t know how to answer that. I’m so glad He came. I’m so glad my parents introduced me to the Lord. I’m so glad they followed Him and lived it out by example.

The Lord is certainly alive and well and He is for me. He is also with me- always.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Charge

Work for a Cause Not For Applause Saying Quote Sticky NotesI enjoy listening to inspirational and encouraging speakers. I pay careful attention to the messenger as well as the message. I will give someone a closer listen if I believe they are genuine and real. If I feel like they are faking sincerity or faking honesty that simply destroys their message in my mind. I’ve learned over the years that I can usually find something good in every situation and in every person if I look hard enough.

King David called all of his leadership team to come to Jerusalem. It looks like he was having a leadership conference with all his key leaders. David is nearing the end of his life and he really wants to inspire and encourage his leadership team as well as his son Solomon. He gathers all his leadership team together and then lays out a charge to all of them. Check this out…

8 “So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever.

9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” (1 Chronicles 28:8-10 NIV)

I was blown away by David’s inspirational charge to the leadership team and his son. He spelled it out very simply – seek the Lord God and follow Him. His message had multiple parts:

-Follow the commands of the Lord

-Acknowledge God

-Serve God wholeheartedly

-The Lord searches and understands your heart

-The Lord understands every desire and thought

-You will find the Lord, IF you seek Him

David was making things abundantly clear to his whole leadership team as well as his son Solomon. I believe there are great truths and insight for me as a follower of Jesus and a leader of others. He gives me a leadership charge from His Word each day.

Following the Lord is not about my gifts and abilities, it’s about His gifts and abilities. Following the Lord is not about who I am; it’s about Who He is. Following the Lord is not about what I know; it’s about trusting His Truth. Following the Lord is really about simple, humble obedience to God through His Word and His Spirit speaking into me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Encourage

Helping HandsI love this word encourage. It is such a positive action word. If I’m going to encourage, I am being positive and often upbeat.  The opposite of “encourage” is “discourage” and that is pretty negative. Encourage means to inspire, motivate, influence, cultivate, strengthen, champion others or me. I believe encouragement is quite a gift that I can give others. If I encourage others, I end up receiving a blessing. Paul is encouraging the church in Corinth about parts of their worship and teaching. Check this out….

 1Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. (1 Corinthians 14:1-3 NIV)

 

I have never considered myself a prophet, but to use Paul’s definition, I may very well be. I love to encourage, motivate and inspire others to be the best they can be. I most often become encouraged and motivated during the process of speaking into the lives of others.  I don’t necessarily want to be a “motivational speaker” (made famous by Chris Farley), but I sure do want to become an encourager and an inspiration to people I meet every day.  I am inspired  and motivated to do this because of my journey with the Lord.

Pressing On!
Dwayne