Appearances

 

I have seen people who appear to have it all together. They have a nice house, nice car, beautiful spouse, beautiful children – but once you get to know them, you learn just how broken and miserable they are. They are not who they appear to be. I’ve seen people at church who “appear” spiritual, but their actions speak otherwise. I’ve also seen people who appear to be poor as dirt, but are quite wealthy and good managers of what they’ve been blessed with. It’s dangerous to “judge a book by its cover” – especially when the axiom involves people. It seems that there are a lot people who try to impress others with how they live – the house they live in, the car they drive, the clothes they way – this stuff is way overrated, in my opinion. I want to live a life of influence and significance with my goal of impressing the Lord alone.

My wife and kids know me like no others. I have close friends who know me as well. I have weaknesses and I have strengths. I have never been perfect, but I’m sure trying to be like Jesus, Who was perfect. I don’t ever want to become full of pride where my friends can bring me down to earth. I want to be a humble follower of the Lord and I want the activities of my daily life to validate my faith. Check this out…

15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:15-17 CSB)

I must be humble and broken before the Lord. He can use me when I’m empty of me. If I’m empty of me, He can fill me up and spill into the lives of others.

Lord I Need You by Matt Maher

The good news for me is that the Lord can use me right where I am. I just should trust Him to prune the things off me that are “in the way” of Him. He can use me when I surrender all of me to Him and His plan. I DON’T want to be lukewarm.

If I give off the appearance that I have it all together – trust me, I don’t. I have The Lord in my life and He has it all together. He is the reason I appear to have it all together – He is leading my life. He’s leading me as a husband. He’s leading me as a Dad. He’s leading me as a friend/REALTOR. He’s leading me as a Broker.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Victory

Happy young latin womanI am reading a biography of Winston Churchill called, “The Last Lion – Keeper of The Realm” and Prime Minister Churchill is known for flashing the “V” with his hand for victory! He was a leader of leaders and he possessed a “never give up, never give in” spirit. He believed in his soul that the Allies must conquer the Nazi’s of Germany to have freedom and life.

I’m not a huge football fan, but I love it when the team I’m pulling for wins. I enjoy seeing them celebrate. If my team loses, then I change the channel to avoid watching the victory celebration. (I guess I’m a sore loser.)

As I finished John’s first epistle this am, he reminded me that victory comes through obedience. It’s very simple – follow the Lord’s commands. Check this out…

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. This is how we know that we love God’s children: when we love God and obey his commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. (1 John 5:1-4 CSB)

Obedience is not flashy but important. Obedience reveals trust. Obedience reveals faith. I don’t always understand what the Lord is speaking into my heart, but I’ve learned to trust Him. I’m learning that I reveal my faith through my obedience to His call upon my life. He calls me to love others. He calls me to serve others. He calls me to forgive. He calls me to be humble. Jesus’ life serves as an example of humble obedience to the Father. He doesn’t call me to go to the cross, but He does call me to follow Him with my whole heart. My life follows my heart. I must lay down some of the things I want, because they are not what is best. He provides for my needs. He instills deep hope in Him.

I can live a victorious life here on earth as a prelude to the big prize – eternal life.  My victorious life begins with simple obedience to His commands – the first is to love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Be Humble & Kind

Morning Pray At Beautiful LandscapeTim McGraw released a song by this title in late 2015 and the video in January 2016 that carries a simple but profound words. The song was written by Lori McKenna and carries a powerful chorus:

Hold the door say please say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Official Video “Humble & Kind” on Vimeo

This song jumped in my brain this morning as I read through Titus chapter 3. Paul instructs Titus to teach the leaders to be kind, respectful and humble. Check this out…

1Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 

to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared,he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:1-7 CSB)

The old me was full of myself, prideful and arrogant.

The new me must be humble, kind, gentle to everyone.

I don’t need to compromise my convictions to be humble, kind and gentle to others. I think Jesus modeled this behavior. He had all power and authority, but didn’t use it to force things. He taught a lot with His life as well as His words. I must never forget what it was like being lost. I must be patient, humble and kind – character traits of a Christ-follower.

What a simple challenge, but I must admit that it’s difficult when I’ve had a tough day or the people I’m working with are acting like jerks. I can’t let their behavior dictate mine. I need to let the actions of my life come from a heart that is molded and shaped by the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Did I Just Say That?

LipsI have caught myself asking that question because of something stupid I said. It may have been an ill-timed or insensitive comment. I must confess that I’ve been known to let my mouth get started before my brain and my “editing machine” get engaged. My words can be blunt and bold or they can be gracious and kind. I believe there is a nice way to deliver all sorts of news. If this news is devastating the delivery must be factual but gentle as possible. I’m not one who likes for people to “dance around the truth”. I would rather receive the truth is a tough way than to be lied too.  I am learning every day that my response to others says more about me than the “bombshell” that was just dropped on me in conversation. Check this out…

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. (Colossians 4:6 CSB) Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. (Colossians 4:2,5 CSB)

I am growing in this area for sure. I am trying to be more tactful in my speech. I want to think about how my words are being received, not just what I’m saying. I must be aware that what I say is often NOT what is heard by the other person.

I’m also learning the power and importance of praying intensely before speaking. Sometimes that is a quick prayer, but other times I have time to pray before a tough conversation. I do believe that as a Christ follower, I should be very conscious of my speech. I’m sure Paul was speaking figurative when he said to “season it with salt”!  I do think he was talking about how salt brings out the flavor in the food it is used on rather than draw attention to myself.

I’m going to pay closer attention to my speech today. I want it to be gracious and I want to draw attention to others with a kind and gracious heart. If I need to “call someone out”, I’m going to be kind and gracious and check at how my words are received.

If I have one of those, “Did I just say that?” moments, I’m going to take responsibility and learn to follow the counsel of James. Check this out…

19 My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. (James 1:19-20 CSB)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Best Self

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingA couple of years ago I was introduced to Darren Hardy who produces “Darren Daily” – a short motivational video that comes to my inbox every day of the week. He speaks about a daily habit or attitude that will help build me as a business leader and as a leader of my family. I enjoy these little video blogs and they help me grow. Yesterday’s challenge was about being my best self. This clip made me think and ponder my daily choices and ask the question: “Am I bringing my best self to work each day?”

I love starting my day listening to the Lord speak into my life through His Word. I feel like my heart gets rejuvenated and amped up for the day. This morning was no exception. I read in Colossians about more of what my “best self” could look like. Check this out…

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. 14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17 CSB)

I want to keep growing my “best self”. I want to continue to evaluate the direction of my daily life and my business. I want to keep growing as a follower of Jesus. I want to keep growing as a husband, Dad and Pop. I want to keep growing as REALTOR and Broker. I want to live my life in such a way that people are clearly aware that I’m a follower of Jesus because of the characteristics of my life.

My best self will always have Christ at the center of my life. I want to bring compassion, competence, consistency, skill, kindness, patience, service (this list could get long!) to every person I meet or work with. I want my best self to showcase my faith in the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Imitator

 

I grew up imitating others in tons of ways. I remember as a kid trying to figure out my laugh, probably because someone made fun of how I laughed. I adjusted a lot of things to be like others. I imitated my Dad when I was young until I “got smarter than Him” – around 13 years old. (Total sarcasm.) When I was in my early to late teens, I became a bit of a chameleon. I would act like whoever I was with. If I were with Christians, I could play the part. If I were with some of my wild and crazy friends, I could hang with them too. Chameleons are that little lizard that changes his color to blend in to whatever environment he’s in. I also imitated great singers and musicians. I look back at seasons of my life and I always wanted to be someone else or something that I wasn’t. I finally got comfortable in my own skin several years ago and I’m thankful for who I am and Whose I am. I don’t try to keep up with others and impress them with my possessions or knowledge. I simply want to be who God called me to be. I want to honor Him with my life and my daily choices.  I love how Paul urged the Ephesians to live out their faith. Check this out…

1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 testing what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-10 CSB)

I want to love like God.

I want to give like God.

I want to think like God.

I want to counsel like God.

I want to imitate God in my daily life.

I want to learn from others, but I want to imitate the Lord. I want to finish my journey here on earth walking, talking, loving & living like God, Who made me. He gives me life. He gives me purpose. He is patient. He is loving. He is kind. He is full of grace and mercy. I so want to imitate Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne