Witness Accountability

 

Victory parade dedicated to the Soviet victory over GermanyI have learned to become more aware of my surroundings and what is happening around me. I try to notice little things as well as big things. I witness way more things in life than I often realize. I witnessed signatures of a buyer purchasing a home for the first time and I witnessed the joy and anticipation of the buyer. I also witnessed the relief of the seller. The seller was moving to another town to begin another phase of life and be near her family in the later years of their lives. The relief was a bit bitter sweet as they were leaving behind some memories as well. Being a witness means paying attention. I witnessed an auto accident before and was so traumatized by the injuries that I couldn’t recall what I had just witnessed. I think witnessed should speak clearly about what they saw and heard.

The other word here is accountability. If someone witnessed me doing something on a certain day or time it’s my word against theirs. If there are more than one witness, it’s hard to refute that.

The writer of Hebrews challenges me to endurance because of so many witnesses. The witnesses can hold me accountability for my steady endurance and discipline. Check this out…

1Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 CSB)

The passage always makes me think about people who’ve gone before me. There are so many who poured into my journey of faith. I often wonder if they could see me now from where they are in heaven. If they can see the good, I would assume that they could see the bad choices too. I also recall the people of old who’ve gone on before me whom I’ve never met. I can hardly wait to meet some of them – like Moses, Abraham, David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Luke, John, Paul, Timothy – it could be a really long list. There are others I’m looking forward to meeting as well: Dwight Moody, C.S. Lewis, Warren Wiersbe, Norman Vincent Peal, Zig Ziglar, to name a few, who have a great journey with the Lord. There is also my family, some of who are still living today. I think about my grandmother (aka Mammie) and wonder if she knows what an impact she had on my life – is she part of the large cloud of witnesses.

When I become aware of people witnessing my behavior, I can usually pull it together and live right. I do have that following. There are people watching me – my wife, kids, friends, colleagues, co-workers, acquaintances. I am being watched by the most important and significant witness of all – Jesus. He is with me wherever I go. He hears how I talk. He sees what I do and how it matches up with what I say. I want to keep my focus on what He sees and what He thinks of me. I want to stand on His shoulders and love like He loved and live like He lives.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Stain Removal

Clothes with detergent and washing powder in orange plastic basket isolated on whiteI have been known to leave an ink pen in my pocket and then it goes through the washing machine cycle and then the clothes dryer where it spreads the ink to other clothes leaving ink stains all over the place. Recently, my youngest son did the same thing with Lip Balm and it left an oily stain on many of my clothes. My wife studies Pinterest and looks for remedies for stain removal. We have purchased many types of cleaners and chemicals that are designed to remove stains. There are some stains that simply can’t be removed. Some of my nice dress shirts became “work in the yard” shirts after being stained.

When I reflect on my life journey, I’m reminded that my life has some pretty significant “stains” on it. I’ve made stupid decisions in the past that left a scar on my soul. I’ve been forgiven, for sure, but the consequences or remnants of that sin often remain. I was reminded this morning of Jesus removes more than the stain of sin – He eradicates the sin itself. Check this out…

 But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26b-28 CSB)

I’m reminded of His purpose here on earth was to restore mankind to the Father. Jesus made a way to have direct access to God. There was no longer a need for a temple made with hands, the Lord now dwells in the hearts of those who’ve accepted Him as their Lord & Savior. He also removes the stain of sin from my soul. He doesn’t leave evidence of my sin, and He helps me navigate the consequences of my sin. I’m so thankful that my heart has been washed clean and that He scrubbed my soul with His righteous life.

As I check my shirts and pants for stains today, I’m thankful that my outer wear is not “covering up” a stained soul. I want to be “stain free” from the inside of my heart to outside of my whole body and being. I’m forgiven. I’m saved. I’m redeemed by the Stain Remover – Jesus!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Know The Lord

i want to know moreI live squarely in the “Bible Belt” in the United States. This is a informal region of the country that features a large number of “church goin’” “Bible believing” people. It’s located in South Eastern and South Central part of the US.  It seems to me that most people where I live know of the Lord. I was speaking to a pastor in Arizona about a week ago and he said that 95% of the people in his area don’t even know of the Lord. I’ve lived in the Bible Belt my whole life and it’s hard for me to comprehend things differently. I’ve known about the Lord my whole life, but I’ve really known Him for about 36 years. I was 20 years old when I decided that I really did believe in God – not just because my parents or grandparents believed – I felt His Presence in my heart and my convictions began to take shape.

The Hebrew writer gives a bit of history of the Story of God and His people. He explains the new covenant a bit. Check this out…

10 For this is the covenant
that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 And each person will not teach his fellow citizen,
and each his brother or sister, saying, “Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least to the greatest of them.
12 For I will forgive their wrongdoing,
and I will never again remember their sins.

13 By saying a new covenant, he has declared that the first is obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old is about to pass away. (Hebrews 8:10-13 CSB) (v 8-12 is a reference to Jeremiah 31)

The Lord’s new covenant involves my mind and my heart. He has put His Law in my mind and heart. He didn’t do that without my cooperation, although He could have. The Lord want to know all His Creation. He will not force His way into my heart or mind.  The more I know the Lord, the more I want to know. His ways are higher and way more complex than my mind can comprehend, but I still want to know Him more profoundly.

He reveals more of Himself to me in His Word than any other place. I believe that His Word connects the Creation to today. I can’t always explain the Lord, but I want to continue to walk with Him and He explains Himself.

I’m so thankful for this new covenant because it introduced Grace. The Old Covenant featured simple justice. The new covenant features a complicated, yet simple concept called Grace. Under the old covenant, I would have probably died 40 years ago. I’ve been forgiven too many times to count. I’ve been restored by Him. I can’t really explain grace properly, but I’m a recipient of it. I’m so thankful.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Word Of God

Holy BibleI am convinced that my life’s journey became more focused and clear when I decided to start my day with the Word of God. I’m not a theologian. I’m not a bible scholar. I’m a husband, dad, teacher & REALTOR who wants to be a student of God’s Word. My perspective has changed a lot over the years. I believe my journey in God’s Word has reshaped my heart to be more like His. I have a lot of growing yet to do, but I believe this daily discipline, as simple as it is, has had a profound impact upon my life.

I came across one of those passages that I remember from years ago. It affirms the power and significance of the Word of God. Check this out…

12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 CSB)

I started writing a journal of sorts after reading a passage. There was nothing complex about it, I just wrote about what “jumped out” in the passage that I read. I underlined or highlighted in my Bible. I started this journal process for me. I wanted to remember at 3 PM what I had read at 6 AM to start my day. I wanted the Word of God to live in me throughout the day. I was a bit surprised at how it stuck for longer periods of time – all because I journaled about it. My blog became part of the process later. I felt like the Lord prompted me to share my journey in His Word. I’m not sure when I started this – (I guess I could look it up), but it’s blessed my life to share my journey. I feel called to be in His Word every day. I share my journaling because I believe He asked me too.

I wish I could adequately describe the profound impact my daily journey in His Word has had on my life. I wish everyone who read the words of my journey would try reading His Word daily for at least 30 days. My life has never been the same since. I’ve had hardship and suffering, but I keep coming back to the Word of my Creator – His inspired Word. His Word brings comfort. His Word brings clarity. His Word tells me how to be saved. His Word introduced grace and mercy. His Word tells me all about Jesus. God’s heart is revealed in His Word and I want to know His heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

In Remembrance

 

Taking CommunionI remember my grandparents all the time because they invested in me a lot as I was growing up. Along with my parents, I learned how to work and interact with others. My grandparents have all gone to be with the Lord, but their time here on earth is still remembered because of the impact they had on my life. I learned to play guitar watching my grandmother play. I learned the importance of reading the word and being kind to others watching my Mammie read her Bible each day. I think among of the horrible diseases is Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The loss of memory is heart breaking to those with a loved one suffering. I want to have a good memory of my journey with the Lord.  I don’t ever want to forget what it was like to be lost.

Paul recalls how the Lord wanted to be remembered. He didn’t ask for a statue or a building – He asked us to remember Him with the bread and the juice of the Lord’s supper (aka the Last Supper). Check this out…

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 CSB)

I like to remember and recall the Lord’s love while He walked this earth. I like to think of the Grace that He delivered on the cross. I like to drink in His grace and speak out His praise. The bread and juice are taking to the inside of my body which I view as ingesting grace into my soul. I want to always remember how life was without Him. I want to remember how the law condemned and grace compels my heart.

I want to cultivate my memory of His love for me and give it away to others.

Remembrance by Matt Redman

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Rock

 

stone isolated white background natural rock granite solid bouldWhen I think of the word rock, I think of something solid. A rock is hard to break. A rock makes a great foundation – we manufacture a rock like substance called concrete. The Lord refers to the Rock often as our faith foundation. There is a song that says: “On Christ, the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand”. I have also been known to trip over a rock. If the rock is big enough I can stand on it or go around it.

Paul makes it clear that even those that are not of Jewish decent have access to the foundation of Jesus Christ which produces in us righteousness. Check this out…

30 What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. 32 Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written,

Look, I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over
and a rock to trip over,
and the one who believes on him
will not be put to shame. (Romans 9:30-33 CSB)

I am putting my faith in Creator God. I believe He created the earth, the universe in all its expanse and intricate detail. He is the One in Whom I trust to lead me through whatever I face in this life. My journey here for what feels like a short span prepares me for eternity which is unmeasurable time.

I love David’s prayer – seeking God as a refuge. Check this out…

Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and fortress. (Psalm 71:3 CSB)

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He gives me strength.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He picks me up when I stumble.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He saved me.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He loves me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne