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

Be Encouraged

 

ApplauseI have often been the recipient of encouragement. Encouragement inspires me. Encouragement motivates me. Encouragement gives me great confidence.  I believe encouragement has help build me into who I am today. Encouragement is a simple concept that has profound effects for years to come. When I reflect on the encouragement that has been given to me over the years and the effect it’s had on me, I can’t help but become an encourager to others.

The Hebrew writer speaks to this word as well. We must encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. There are times it’s obvious that a person is getting to a bad place, but other times, the deceitful heart is masked by good deeds and kind words. I must pay careful attention to my heart as I live out my faith. Check this out…

12 Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. 14 For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. (Hebrews 3:12-14 CSB)

I believe encouragement must be honest. It can’t be shallow and empty. Encouragement can call someone out of sin. Encouragement can help prevent someone from surrendering to sin. I also believe that I must encourage often. Giving away genuine encouragement also blesses my heart because my attention is taken off me. If I’m not very careful, I can make everything in my life revolve around me – that’s very dangerous and very self-centered. Encouragement is about the other person and it’s a huge gift that I can give with both words and action.

When I started journaling about my journey in the Word several years ago, it started coming alive to me. I would find myself recalling what I had read throughout the day. At some point, I felt called (nudged) by the Lord to share my thoughts publically. When He tells me to stop, I’ll do that too. I have been encouraged by being an encourager. I want my life to be about Him and not about me. I want the actions and activities of my life to point to Him and Who He is, instead of me. I want to make Him famous – not become famous myself.

If I could offer one word of encouragement to anyone who desires to know Him it would be – please find time in your busy life to read His Word and talk to Him about it. He longs for relationship with His kids. I remember hearing a phrase that I think came from Mother Teresa many years ago: “If you’re too busy to pray, you are simply too busy.” I’m adding to that, if I’m too busy to read, meditate and pray over His Word then I’m too busy. I believe studying the Word of God builds eternal thoughts and dreams. I’m taking out of my self-centered world and I start seeing the world as The Lord sees it. Encouragement from the Word of God has changed every part of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Let’s Go!

 

Action Word on Red Round Button Be ProactiveIf I can get started, I’m halfway toward completing my goal. Sometimes the hardest part of a daunting task is the start. I heard a great podcast featuring Mel Robbins where she talked about her book called: “The 5 Second Rule – Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage”. Mel’s point is that none of us “feel” like doing the hard things, she challenges us to count down from 5 and get to it. I’m sure that I’d love to stay in bed a bit longer each day, but I’d miss starting my day with the Lord in His Word in the quietness of the morning.  I am learning to decide and then get moving.

The Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica is wrapping up the letter and he turns into the biblical coach saying it’s “go time”! Check this out…

14 And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t stifle the Spirit. 20 Don’t despise prophecies, 21 but test all things. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 CSB)

There is a lot of challenge in these few verses. It’s easy to sit and watch rather than stand up and get moving toward the goal. I believe that my faith in God is not passive – sit around and do nothing. I believe that the Lord calls me to action and activity regarding my faith. I love the simple challenges from this passage:

Warn lazy people

Encourage the discouraged

Help weak people

Be patient

Don’t retaliate

Be Joyful always

Pray constantly

Be thankful always

Let the Spirit of God be free in me

Be prudent in who and what you listen too

Keep what is good

Avoid evil

I am blown away by these challenges in this small passage. I’m tired already! I believe my journey with the Lord is a marathon not a sprint. I’m trying to build in to my life habits and attitudes that build upon my faith in the Lord. I am not the fastest, the smartest or the deepest person of faith, but I want to know the Lord more today than yesterday. I want His Presence in me to shape my language, my activities and my influence upon my family, friends, co-workers and colleagues. I feel like this list is “action items” for my “Christian agenda” and I need to get moving. I’m doing these things BECAUSE I’m saved, NOT in order to be saved!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Be Encouraged

 

Series of hand gesturesI like the word encouragement. It has that important word “courage” right in the center of it. The word “encourage” means to inspire a spirit of confidence and courage in another. I believe encourage carries hope with it a well. I love people who encourage me and inspire me. I find encouragement in friendship. I find encouragement in corporate worship at church as well as the messages from our Pastor. I find encouragement from my family and they continue to grow as adults. Encouragement can be found all over the place. I must be careful because the nemesis of encouragement is discouragement and he doesn’t give up easily. When I’m discouraged, I see everything differently. I can sink into despair. This can happen easily when being criticized and complained about. This negative force can take the wind out of my soul. I must guard against discouragement by digging deep inside my heart and knowing who I am and Whose I am.  I must return to the roots of my character and disciplines. Check this out…

I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery—Christ. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. (Colossians 2:2-3;6-7 CSB)

There are lots of “Negative Nellies & Nelsons” in life who put others down trying to make themselves seem big. Be clearly aware of their presence and their tactics. There are also “Positive Petes & Paulas” all around. I want to lean into the positives and learn from the negatives, but I want to be encouraged and live a life of encouragement. I want to grow in my positive outlook on life.

I think the key to encouragement for me is found in the last part of verse 7:

-rooted in Him

– built up in Him

– established in the faith

– return to what I was taught

– overflowing with gratitude

I have been praying that the Lord continue to help me grow in gratitude. A grateful heart pushes out the hateful heart. A grateful heart grows from gratitude while an ungrateful heart wallows in misery. A grateful heart also pushes out fear and worry and welcomes faith and trust inside.

I’m encouraged by the Word of God. I’m encouraged by the Lord as I walk with Him each day. I need to seek Him all day every day!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Speak Up – Speak Out

Child speaking out loudI think that these two actions are very similar. To “speak up” is to be heard on a particular subject or certainly give input to the idea. On the other hand, “speak out” implies taking on the cause and giving voice to an idea and letting the world know about it. “Speaking up” is a bit less aggressive than “speaking out”.

There are many people in our culture who need people to “speak up” and “speak out” on their behalf. Check this out….

8 “Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

    Speak up for the rights of all those who are poor.
9 Speak up and judge fairly.

    Speak up for the rights of those who are poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV)

 

I want to speak up & out for the unborn child.

I want to speak up & out for young child being abused.

I want to speak up & out for woman being abused by her husband.

I want to speak up & out for elderly person who is “put away” by their family.

I want to speak up & out for the poor.

I want to speak up & out for the homeless.

I want to speak up & out for hurting.

 

I want to be bold enough to speak up and speak out on subjects that are tough and need resolutions. I want to be bold enough to “speak into” another person who has lost direction.

I want the words that I “speak up”, “speak out” and “speak into” to be from a heart devoted to the Lord.

 

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Coaching

CoachingI remember when I really young I coached basketball for a rec league team. The first time I coached I was just helping kids in the community. The second time I coached I was coaching my oldest son.  I must say that I really enjoyed coaching. It was extremely fulfilling and rewarding. It could also be extremely frustrating and hard. As I was coaching these 7-year-old kids, I realized that there were some kids who had played a lot more than others. With some kids they could understand some infractions like walking, double dribble, fouls, etc.… Others had to learn the fundamentals. I learned that sometimes you have to start with the simple and basic functions of the game before they can be successful later as they grow. I remember one kid was amazing as a young player and 11 years later he was a basketball star in high school. I can’t take much credit for coaching him – he was really good early on. I think it’s important to realize that kids at this age are there to have fun and learn the game. They will not be featured on ESPN or have an article written about them in Sports Illustrated. I also had to come to terms that I would not be named Coach of the Year for my work and investment in these kids. My goals needed to be simple – coach them to work hard and improve their game. If I could be successful at that, the team would have fun and possibly win some games.

The Hebrew writer is giving some great life-coaching material that I needed to hear for me. As a leader in my Real Estate firm and a leader in my church – I need to be coached before I can coach. This passage really coached me this morning. Check this out……

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25 NIV)

 

Coaches never stop encouraging.

Coaches call out bad behavior or bad decisions.

Coaches keep the whole team in mind at all times.

Coaches can focus every now and then on one kid who needs extra help.

Coaches must practice the principals they teach.

Coaches must help with new perspective.

Coaches make more of a difference the longer they coach.

Coaches must have values like integrity, honesty and honor to be really successful.

Coaches who have Christ have the Best Coach ever coaching them!

Pressing On!
Dwayne