Soul Rest

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI try to get to bed at a certain time range each evening. I believe that my morning begins the night before. I learned a long time ago that these two were intricately connected. There are some nights that rest comes so peacefully. There are other nights when for whatever reason, I don’t rest well. Sleep usually means rest, but rest doesn’t always mean sleep. I like my life to have a bit of rhythm. I don’t mean musically, although I love music. I like to have some routines and systems in place for my life. When I change up my routine, it takes a minute for the rhythm to return.

Jesus is teaching the people and He has just complimented John The Baptist for his work in preparing the way for Him. He also complimented people who simply follow Him completely. He then makes a statement that really settles my heart. He speaks of soul rest. Check this out….

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

I love the fact that Jesus has strong shoulders. He gives an open invitation for me to come.

He can carry any of my burdens.

He gives me strength when I’m weary.

He gives me calm in the midst of chaos.

He gives physical rest.

He teaches me from His humble & gentle heart.

He gives soul rest.

He replaces my struggles and burdens with a different calling. Instead of seeking success, He invites me to serve. Success comes after serving. Success comes after sitting at the feet of Jesus. Success comes after rest. I understand that is sounds backward, but the Lord want me to trust and lean on Him. This does not mean I’m lazy and sitting around “resting” all the time. If I never work, rest becomes boring.  I intend to keep trusting the Lord to lead and direct the activities of my life. I trust Him to help bring balance and rhythm to my journey. He gives me soul rest which also connects with physical rest. I’m thankful for His gift of soul rest.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Impaired & Imperfect

bifocal glasses

The longer I live the more I realize how imperfect I am. I also realize that others aren’t perfect either. We all have struggles at one level or another. I am also keenly aware of how blessed I am to be born into the United States. I don’t always agree with the politicians who lead our government, but I’m thankful to live here. I also realize that as great as our country is, we aren’t perfect for sure. I’ve never met anyone who is perfect. I remember as a young kid, I was strong and didn’t feel like I had imperfections, but I did. The older I get the more imperfections seem to rear their head. For example, I can’t see as well as I once did and my hearing has slipped a bit as well.

Jesus makes a statement that speaks to my impaired and imperfect condition. He is hanging out with obviously non-religious people when making this statement. Check this out…

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13 NLT)

I think it’s important for me to become aware of my failures and my imperfections. I’m thankful that I’m loved in spite of them. Our health systems across the country have opened these medical clinics for people to avoid the wait at the doctor’s office or Emergency Room. They are convenient and easy to get in and out. When I think of my spiritual health, I’m often in need of major surgery or time in the Intensive Care Unit. I am in need of Jesus speaking into my heart on a daily basis. My time in the Word is much like “out-patient care”. I go to church to get encouragement, motivation and inspiration to keep living out my faith. The church is full of people like me who need spiritual help and encouragement. Some people in our church need major surgery on their heart or head. I remember years ago when I had a spiritual “heart transplant”. As healthy as I appear now, I’m still impaired and imperfect, but the Lord uses people like me to encourage and lead others to Him because I’ve “been there and done that”. I’m so thankful for His patience and persistence in healing my impaired & imperfect heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Hard To Explain

 

Young teacher near chalkboard in school classroomThere are things in life that are very hard to explain in proper words and perspective. I love watching planes fly and I understand the science behind aviation, but it still blows mind that an commercial jet, weighing nearly 1 million pounds can take off and fly through the air.

I’m also fascinated with the weather. Recently we “battened down the hatches” where I live because we were in the path of Hurricane Irma who left a path of destruction for hundreds of miles. When the hurricane arrived in GA, a cold front came in and totally diffused the storm. The meteorologist’s predictions were a bit overkill on that storm.

Jesus meets with a knowledgeable man and explains the Kingdom of God to a man who was well versed in the law and teachings of the law. The Lord gives a good explanation, but also challenges the current system. Check this out…

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8 NLT)

I have followed the Lord since I was a young kid. I remember being baptized when I was in 3rd Grade. I didn’t understand all the deep things of God, but I believed that He made the world and that He loved me. Since that time, I’ve had some profound experiences that have affirmed my faith in God many times over. I have structured my life around my belief and convictions about God. I believe that He created the heavens and the earth. I believe that His One and Only Son is Jesus, Who came to earth and lived a sinless life and gave Himself to be the final sacrifice for all sin. When Jesus left the earth and ascended into heaven, He promised us a Comforter, a Presence called the Holy Spirit of God. Upon accepting Jesus as Lord, the Holy Spirit shows up and gives guidance, direction, protection, wisdom and peace in every situation that comes my way. I can’t explain the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit, but I know He is here and He is with me. I’ve seen Him in others as well.

I wish I could explain clearly how the Lord has changed my life. It is really simple faith, but a complete life-changing, life altering perspective. I love deeper and live on purpose because of the Presence of God in my life. I wish everyone would get to know Him. I wish I could introduce the Lord more clearly and explain my faith journey more clearly. In the simplest terms, I trust in Jesus with my very life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

What Have I Done?

 

Why MeThis insightful question is one that I often know the answer to. I sometimes do things without thinking. (That is not necessarily a good idea.) Some of my bad habits seem to run on auto pilot. I could make some life improvements when my good habits and disciplines run almost automatically. My life is made up of the sum total of thousands and thousands of simple choices made daily. I can choose to be kind. I can choose to be mean. I can choose to be generous. I can choose to be selfish. What if there was a record of every single thing I had done since I was born. That would take up a lot of storage space, if it were written down. I can’t quite put my brain around that.

As I was reading another chapter of Johns revelation, I was struck by the thought that there is a book with all the works of my life and I am judged accordingly. Check this out…

11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:11-12 NLT)

After reading this, I began to immediately think about where does GRACE come into the picture. I just know that I know Jesus. If I reflect on just yesterday, there was sinful thoughts going through my brain and I’m sure there were sinful actions as well. My heart is still in pursuit of the Lord even when my brain goes down a side road.

I don’t know exactly what happens when a person dies. I don’t know if they are immediately in the Presence of God. I just know that the One Who created the universe and everything in it has this under control and in His Power. I’m not sure if He keeps a literal book or if He keeps the highlights of my life. It sure is a sobering thought to think of a diary of my life written by someone Who knows everything about me.

As I think about the judgement, I’m reminded that I have a personal relationship with the Judges Son. Scripture also teaches that to know the Son is to know the Father. I’m going to keep walking out my faith here on earth. I want the works of my life to reflect my hearts commitment to the Lord. I want to live a Christ-centered life NOT a “me-centered” life. I want to display my love for God, by loving and serving others. Write it down. One simple choice at a time ends up being a lifetime in no time at all.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Faith

 

faith messageI have grown in my faith over the years. I remember trusting the Lord when I was a kid. I was baptized when I was in third grade. I grew up in a family full of faith. My parents and grandparents followed the Lord. Going to church was not optional for our family. We were very involved. I remember “pushing the envelope” and trying some things that were against our family rules. I learned later that my parents knew more about this than they acknowledged. When I went away to college and had freedom from my parent’s rules and regulations, I had some decisions to make. I can still remember where I was sitting on the evening when my faith became my own. I was watching a passion play at Johnson Bible College and I saw Jesus being punished for the sins of the world. I remember renewing my faith in God at that moment. I believed in God on my own. I had lived off my parent’s & grandparent’s faith up to that point.

Hebrews 11 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible as the writer pulls the old testament characters into the context of the new covenant. These men and women brought much inspiration to millions over the years and their faith was simple and thorough. The writer speaks about this simple faith and its significance to my journey with the Lord. Check this out…

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.For by it our ancestors won God’s approval.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:1-3,6 CSB)

I believe faith is simple, but not necessarily easy. Faith is easy to talk about and even write about, but harder to live out. I believe that my faith is much like a muscle, the more I use it, the stronger it gets. Over the years of my life, I’ve leaned into my faith because I didn’t see any other options. I’m not in charge of the weather, the economy or even others. I do know the One Who is charge of EVERYTHING and I trust Him. He has walked with me through some dark valleys. He has protected me in some major storms of life. My faith grew profoundly during some of the darkest days of my life.

My simple faith reminded me of “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I want my simple faith to impress the Lord. I want to grow in my faith today as I live out what I say I believe. James reminded me that my faith without works is dead. (James 2:26) I want to work and live because I’m saved, not so that I can be saved by my works. I trust that the Lord created the earth and is preparing a place for those who trust in Him. I want to spend the rest of my days discovering more of Who God is and walking in simple faith before Him.

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