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

Repent & Be Alert

 

Prepared Not UnpreparedThis book of Revelation is a challenge to understand. It is choked full of symbolism, tied together with truth. John didn’t have the luxury of having seen things like he’s seeing in these visons and in the revelation. I suspect that he had trouble sleeping at night after seeing these beasts and wild creatures.  I read to day about the 7 bowls of wrath – I’m wondering if these are huge mixing bowls. I’m wondering what they looked like. The Lord’s judgment is a part of Who He is. I’m thankful that His Grace comes before judgement. It’s hard to believe, but there are people who are stubborn and will not repent before the Lord. He is a God of Grace, but He is also a God of Justice. Check this out…

15 “Look, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame.” (Revelation 16:15 CSB)

I talk to the Lord throughout the day every day. I want to make a routine out of repentance. In repentance, I’m humble and grateful for Who He is and the fact that He doesn’t punish me as my sins deserve. I have been forgiven much and He wants me to be alert to what He’s doing in my world as well as the fact that He is coming again. I won’t get off this earth alive unless He returns. My soul lives on either way. I want to lay down my pride and live in repentance and humility before Him. I want to notice what He’s doing and be ready when He returns.

I’m going to clothe my spiritual body with the Presence of God – His Spirit.

I’m going to prepare my physical body and be ready – Serving Him by serving others.

I’m going to live like I’ll die tomorrow;

Die knowing I’ll live forever. (Rich Mullins)

I want to be alert and filled with repentance before Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Time Table

 

Organize Agenda Planner Reminder Calendar To Do ConceptI still learning the value of time. This is a precious commodity of our existence. We all have the same number of minutes and hours in a day, but we have no idea how long we have on this earth before our “time” is up. I work from a calendar every day of my life. If I’m going to connect with a friend for coffee or lunch, I must first check my calendar (aka schedule) to make sure I’m not scheduled to be somewhere else. It is simply my attempt to manage my time while showing proper respect to others for their time. If someone gives me their time, they are giving me a special gift and I should be wise in managing that.

I sometimes wonder how my life will end. I have another birthday celebration on the horizon and I do think about aging, sickness and even death. I can’t really control much of my time table. I can work at eating healthy and exercising, but in the end, I still have little control over the length of my life. Peter reminds us that the Lord’s timetable exercises great patience over His return. Check this out…

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 CSB)

I don’t know if I’ll be alive when it happens, but I believe that Jesus will return to take His people out of this world prior to its destruction. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience in punishment. I’ve deserved punishment many times, but the Lord’s Grace is exhibited in patience. He gave me the time I needed to “come to my senses” and repent of my stupidity and rebelliousness. I do believe the Lord’s Grace is immeasurable, unrealistic and ridiculous. Since I’m a recipient of His Grace, I’m profoundly grateful that it is all those things.

As I get older, I find that I can be more patient with myself and with others. I don’t have to have everything exactly on my time table. I’m learning that not everyone works at the same speed or is even cable of working the same pace. I’m thankful that the Lord’s timetable comes out of His Grace and Mercy instead of His justice & punishment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Good Work

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI haven’t always believed work is good. After the Great Recession, I now hear myself saying that I’m thankful to have work. I have also learned that no matter how much work I must do or how hard some parts of it are, I can put food on the table and provide shelter for my family because of my work. I’ve also watched the TV show “Dirty Jobs” and there are much tougher jobs than any I have ever had.

I’ve learned over the years in my journey with the Lord that I can’t work my way into heaven. I can’t do enough good work to earn my salvation. Paul is clear about this. Check this out…

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10 CSB)

I grew up hearing about all the things I needed to do and it felt like if I went to church, read my Bible and prayed often that I could be saved. I’m not sure that was the intended message, but it’s what I heard. When I discovered the grace of God a few years ago, my heart was full and so very open to this incredible concept that is the essence of Who God is. As I journey through His Word I see His heart that is full of love, compassion and grace. He is also a God of justice, but He doesn’t love to dispense justice – He loves to lavish His kids with Grace! He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on His love.

The first two words in this passage are: “But God”. Those two words have changed the trajectory of my life. He has built me and wired me to honor Him, to serve Him because He loved me. He now lives and works in me and through me. Anything I do, say or write that has value to anyone – it’s because He is in me. I’ve made wise decisions over the years that He was totally in charge of or responsible for.

I don’t work FOR my salvation, I do good work and serve Him BECAUSE of my salvation. I am more and more wowed by His Grace every day. There is no one beyond the reach of Grace. I can’t escape His reach of Grace. I am continually humbled and grateful when I think about the things I’ve done or said and He still loves me and chooses to use me for His Honor & Glory. I can’t begin to express my gratitude… words just don’t work here. I’m so thankful for grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Dark Day

Storm Brewing Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.There are days that I remember that were dark days in the history of our country. I wasn’t here when Pearl Harbor was bombed and we were drawn into war. I was too young to remember when JFK was assassinated. I do remember the challenger bursting into flames upon take off. And more recently, I remember September 11, 2001. I remember where I was on the dark days in our history. There have been other dark days when the values of our country continued to erode and really disappointed God. It’s a bit of a challenge to be a follower of God and stand on that truth no matter what.

The Lord had had enough of the dark disobedience of His people. Nebuchadnezzar appears on the scene. Check this out…

God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. (2 Chronicles 36:17b-19 NIV)

I believe it’s important that I learn lessons from biblical history. Our God is a God of Grace, but He is also a God of Justice. I sometimes wonder how long He will tolerate the erosion of Biblical values in our culture. I also realize how little control I have over any of this. I am the one person that I can control. I am responsible for all the decisions and choices I make every day. I can lead my family and any others that I might have influenced to follow The Lord’s way. I sometimes wonder about another dark day in our country when we are punished much like Judah was for our despicable behavior.

I will lift my head to the heavens to seek direction from God all day every day. I want to grow in my trust of Him. I want to live for Him. I want to honor Him with all I have and all that is in me. Following the Lord makes me a much better husband, Dad, friend and REALTOR. The Lord’s Presence brings light to any dark day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Scary & Comforting

LipsI have had some things that scared me to death and I’ve had things that really comfort me. When I see the power of the US Military, it is really scary to think of all that they are capable of when it comes to fighting. It is also very comforting to know that the military is also protecting our citizens, and our borders. Over the years in my relationship with the Lord, there have been times when I’ve been scared of God. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to have a healthy balance of fear and respect for Creator God. The more I know Him, the less I fear Him. The more I know Him, the more I respect and love Him. I think I was fearful of the judgment of God upon me. I feel like the longer I walk with Him, the deeper I know His heart. His heart is full of mercy and grace. He defines love.

There is also a justice component to the Lord. I was amazed at Solomon’s celebration for the dedication of the temple. This party was epic for sure. Check this out…

1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying,

“He is good;

    his love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3 NIV)

This scene reminded me of the time when Elijah squared off with the prophets of Baal in a sacrifice contest. When Elijah called upon the Lord to show His power to the people, fire came from heaven and consumed the sacrifice. God is Powerful beyond description. His Love is deep and wide for sure, but He hates disobedience and deception.

There is something really powerful about the Presence of God and His Truth. When I witness His Power, I’m a bit fearful. When I experience His Love, I’m comforted.

There is more to this story. After the big celebration that lasted several days, the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and reinforced His Promise to Solomon. Check this out…

12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said:

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.

13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:12-14 NIV)

19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. (2 Chronicles 7:19-20 NIV)

The Lord is full of Grace & Mercy, however, He wants more than my words of commitment. He wants my actions to reveal my commitment to Him. He wants my heart to be devoted to Him and His call upon my life.

I think a healthy respect for the Lord is certainly in order. I don’t need to become so comfortable walking with Him that I forget just how powerful He is. I want to walk in obedience and surrender to His way – then I don’t fear Him but I’m definitely comforted by Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne