Judgement

JusticeI used to be pretty freaked out by court rooms. I enjoyed television shows that involved the court system. I watched Perry Mason when I was young and again when I was older. I moved to Matlock and then finally to Law & Order. Our justice system has its problems for sure, but for the most part, it takes care of the offender and brings justice to the victims. The checks and balances in our justice system are designed to make sure the right person pays for the crime they committed.

As I was reading in Revelation this morning, the whole chapter I was in was the personification of Babylon as a woman who was destructive. John was excellent in his writing because after a few verses I was visualizing a vile woman versus the city of Babylon. Her judgement is complete and she will be completely destroyed. Check this out…

21 Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,

In this way, Babylon the great city
will be thrown down violently
and never be found again.
22 The sound of harpists, musicians,
flutists, and trumpeters
will never be heard in you again;
no craftsman of any trade
will ever be found in you again;
the sound of a mill
will never be heard in you again;
23 the light of a lamp
will never shine in you again;
and the voice of a groom and bride
will never be heard in you again.
All this will happen
because your merchants
were the nobility of the earth,
because all the nations were deceived
by your sorcery.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets and saints,
and of all those slaughtered on the earth. (Revelation 18:21-24 CSB)

It appears that Babylon was given many chances to change and “she” refused. The city was destructive and decadent. There was no respect for the Lord or the rule of law.

I believe that the Lord is a God of Grace, but also a God of Justice. We can’t continue to live sinful and destructive lives and expect eternal life. When the Lord won my heart, I became committed to obedience and honoring His call upon my life. I want my life to bring honor and glory to Him. If I’m serving myself, I’m not serving Him. I must repent often of seeking my own way and ignoring His gentle instruction, counsel and directives. I have no worries about judgement if I seek that course of action daily.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Instructions

 

Following the Lord is not complicated at all – it’s really simple. Please note that I didn’t say it’s easy. It really comes down to trust and simple obedience. He calls me to do things that I wouldn’t normally do if my heart is selfish and hard. He has changed my heart over the years and I think differently and act differently.

I was reading in Revelation and it sometimes feels like I’m reading a sequel of The Avengers! My brother John is seeing and hearing some crazy stuff – stuff he’s never seen or heard anything like before. If I were to see and hear what he’s experiencing, I would probably make reference to the Avengers or some other sci-fi movie. It sure sounds surreal in his descriptions. I was reading about the proclamation of the first angel of three and the instructions to the people on earth are amazingly simple. Check this out…

Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He spoke with a loud voice: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7 CSB)

Fear the Lord and give Him glory. That’s simple as can be. He made everything we see. Nothing that I can put my hands on is completely man made – it all comes from some resource that the Lord made. Man can’t make something out of nothing. I believe that when John writes that we are to fear the Lord, he’s speaking of a healthy reverence & respect. After walking with the Lord over the years, I’m not afraid of Him, but I profoundly respect and revere Him – there is a difference.

As I walk through today and seek to live out my faith, I want the joy of knowing the Lord to give me strength, direction and purpose. I want to live out the gospel from the inside out. I want to give Him glory with my life – which includes my thoughts, words and actions. This is worship – the activities of my life give honor to the One Who created me. That’s about as simple as I know how to say it.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mercy – Hope – Respect

Man praying with the BibleIt’s a new day! Yesterday is now in the rear-view mirror – today is another chance to make good choices and wise decisions. I was reminded this morning how much I need mercy. Mercy is defined as: compassion, forbearance, kindness, blessing, pity, benevolence, the power to pardon and divine favor. I live in the shadow of this word every day and I’m profoundly thankful that the Lord shows me mercy daily.

As I read this Psalm of Assents this morning, I was reminded that along with mercy, I have found hope and I live in respect for the Lord out of that mercy & hope. Check this out…

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his Word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:1-5 NIV)

The more I study the Word of God, the more respect and reverence I have for the Lord. He has NOT kept a record of my sins. I am aware of my sin most days and I’m naïve toward the mercy He has poured out on me. I am profoundly thankful and humbled to think of how He not only forgives me and shows mercy, He calls me His kid. The moves my heart. In His Word, I find that mercy and forgiveness displayed often. In His Word, I find Provision, Protection, Direction, Instruction, Help, Hope, Profound Love. The Lord is in a category all by Himself. He is not just another god – He is the Only God and He forgives and forgets my stupidity. His heart melts when I say I’m sorry. His mercy and forgiveness is immediate. His Presence is constant. His Word teaches me more and more about His heart, Who He is and I’m invited to know Him more personally.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Teachable

Teaching ConceptThere are people who simply know it all. I mean they know just about everything – at least they think they do. I’ve never met a “know it all” that I thought was also a wise person. People who “know it all” are usually quite ignorant or several levels. I didn’t say they were stupid, but they are sure flirting with stupidity. For now, I will characterize them as ignorant.

I believe that we should be teachable and open to instruction about how to do nearly everything. I believe that the Lord builds me by using others who are willing to serve. I think it would pretty arrogant on my part to act as if I know everything. Check this out….

 rebuke the wise and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;

    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For through wisdom your days will be many,

    and years will be added to your life. (Proverbs 9:8b-11 NIV)

 

I can’t always get my head to comprehend things. I sometime feel like I’m a bit too simple. I believe that the Lord is the Source of any wisdom I may have. I consult with Him about EVERYTHING. He gives me insight and wisdom that blows my mind sometimes.  He speaks to me through His Word. He speaks to me through the Holy Spirit. The way the Holy Spirit works is hard to explain. He simply prompts me and “nudges” me in the direction He wants. I have to listen up and note nudging. It is sometimes quite hard to understand the journey, but I trust the Leader of the journey.  I want to be teachable by the Lord for the rest of my days on earth.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Teachable Moment

Young pretty woman with question marksThere is a moment when we learn faster than at any other time. I believe that when I ask a question and receive an answer – that was a teachable moment. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a “dumb question”. When a student asked the teacher a true question, then a teachable moment has arrived.  I’ve been a student and I had been known to ask a question just to get the teacher off subject and distracted. That was misbehavior on my part. It’s important for the teacher figure the difference between a teachable moment and a “distraction question”.

One of men appointed by the apostles named Phillip brought the gospel to Samaria first. He was a man of deep faith and Holy Spirit led.  He was directed to a specific road south from Jerusalem to Gaza – so Phillip went. One his way he meets an important government official from Ethiopia.  The official was reading in the book of Isaiah. The Spirit of God told Phillip to go near the official. Check this out….

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,

    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,

    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.

    Who can speak of his descendants?

    For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. (Acts 8:30-38 NIV)

I love the details of this event for several reasons. First, Phillip listened and obeyed the Spirit of the Lord when directed to go to a specific road and then to a specific person.  (I believe the Holy Spirit still gives specific instructions like to believers today.) Second, I love the fact that Phillip started where the Ethiopian was reading and taught him about Jesus. (I believe the Lord starts where are, but is not content to leave us there – He draws us to Himself. Phillip used the mans questions as a HUGE TEACHABLE MOMENT to take the conversation from Isaiah to what just happened a few months back with Jesus.) Third, I love the obedience of the Ethiopian official. He heard the message of Jesus and He believed and wanted to be obedient in baptism. (I believe that God honors obedience over big ideas and big dreams. Obedience is me surrendering to God’s big ideas and big dreams.)

This teachable moment probably changed the direction of a country. This man was strategically placed in a position of influence. Teachable moments should not be missed. When a child asked questions of their parents – a teachable moment has arrived. I get excited about teachable moments even with the agents in our company. I think teachable moments can be big for both the instructor and the student – a growing moment too!

 

Pressing On!

Dwayne