Salt & Light

salt shakerflashlightI do like things that are a bit salty. For example, I love Sunflower seeds, mixed nuts and chips only if they have salt. Food without salt can be very bland. Oh, and I love vinegar & salt potato chips too. The salt that I have on the table is made up mostly of sodium chloride. It is a natural compound made up from other salts. (Source: Wikipedia) I discovered “Sea Salt” a few years ago and I like it too! It is a bit more course, but it still works like salt.

I also appreciate light. A few weeks ago, when our power went out, one of the first things on my mind was how to get lighting so that I could find the heat, food and other necessities. Light is important in just about everything I do. My computer screen is back lit, my reading lamp is critical. I see small blue lights on my coffee maker, TV, phone charger, etc.… Light is an amazing part of my life.

Jesus called His followers salt & light. These are two things that He was called as well. Check this out…

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:13-16 NLT)

Salt & Light generally draw attention to whatever they are enhancing. They are hardly noticeable until they are absent.

Salt brings out the flavor in the food it touches.

Salt also serves as a preservative.

Light reveals things hidden in darkness.

Light is silent, but powerful nonetheless.

I can see how the Lord wanted His followers to live and make a difference in our world. He wanted us to bring out the “flavor” of God’s Creation. He wanted us to preserve the fact that we were created to serve our Creator.  He wanted us to be light to push out and eradicate the darkness that seeks to envelop every area of our life. He didn’t call us to be loud with words, but strong with action. I’ve always heard that “talk is cheap”, but it’s hard to argue with a changed life. I should be different since surrendering to the Lord those many years ago in 3rd grade. I also surrender again today and every day, because it’s a journey. I’m honored to be called salt & light to bring attention to Jesus, the Salt of the Earth & the Light of the World!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Light Leads To Life

Hand drawing light bulbI am not generally afraid of the dark. I will say that I’m not a fan of the dark. When I say dark, I don’t usually think of “pitch black darkness”. There are usually lights on the refrigerator, microwave, modem, etc.… that add a little light to the room. A week or so ago, the power went off in the middle of the night and that is dark – no light from appliances or the security light in the back yard. I’m thankful that iPhone has a flashlight feature! True darkness is the absence of any light. I’ve not experienced that a bunch in my life for sure.

I came across a passage that Jesus spoke to the people and He clearly says He is the LIGHT of the world. Check this out…

12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12 NLT)

Light is a unique force. I decided to look up “characteristics of light” and it speaks of how critical light can be to the photographer. I don’t know a lot of details about that. Some characteristics about light that I thought about:

Light is silent

Light gets attention

Light chases darkness out

Light gives direction

Light reveals

Jesus calls His followers the Light of the World too. He wants us to illuminate the world we live in with truth, honor, goodness, and importantly, LOVE. I feel like His Word has illuminated my way and I’m responsible for illuminating the way for others. I want to follow The LIGHT OF THE WORLD – Jesus and let Him shine inside of me. I want Him to show me the way. I want to follow Him and show others the way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

All Things New

 

Word in Stars Announcing Brand New Product or ImprovementI love the smell of a new car. I used to love owning a new car, but I hated the payments and I also hated the depreciation that descended the minute I drove off the lot. I do like new stuff. I especially like new technology toys. Right now, I’m enjoying the new iPhone operating system (aka IOS) because “my phone feels new, yet somehow familiar”.  New & Improved are marketing tools for a whole host of products. There are times that “new & improved” are simply marketing slogans and nothing much has changed.

John is nearing the close of his revelation. He is seeing more things that are hard to describe and explain. He writes what he hears and does his best to describe the scenes before him. This scene is one of my favorite. Check this out…

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give free from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:3-7 NLT)

I am thankful to serve the Lord as He dwells with me. He has been with me through some dark valleys for sure. He has been with me through some deep pain and suffering. His Presence is most definitely a game changer. He brings hope with Him. He brings healing – spiritual and often physical, when He enters. I look forward to a world without death, sorrow, crying or pain. I look forward to being in His Presence without a worry or care in the world.

Just yesterday, the daughter of a REALTOR friend was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. It immediately brought some memories back when my son was diagnosed with cancer. I remember the helpless and hopeless feelings that came with that. As a Dad, I would have exchanged places with my son through that battle. My heart is heavy for my friend and the journey that she is on with her daughter. I’m envisioning a place with no cancer, no sickness of any kind. I’m longing for that place.

A song that ministered to me during our journey is still speaking to me today.

Let Me Feel You Shine by David Crowder.

This place is trying to break my belief 
But my faith is bigger than all I can see 
And what I need is redemption 
And what I need is for You for to put me back on my feet 

I swear I’m trying to give everything 
But I feel I’m falling, make me believe 
What I need is resurrection 
What I need is for You to put me back on my feet 

If I could feel You shine Your perpetual light 
Then maybe I could crawl out of this tonight 
If I could feel You feel You shine 
Oh let me feel You shine 
So beautiful and warm 
So beautiful and bright 
Like a sun comin’ out of a rainy sky 
Let me feel You shine Oh
Let me feel You shine

I lift the knife to the thing I love most 
Praying You’ll come so I can have both 
What I need is You to touch me 
What I need is for You to be the thing that I need 

God I need a Savior 
O come generous King 
O God I need a Savior 
To come rescue me 

Oh let me feel You shine Your magnificent light 
Then maybe I could crawl out of this tonight 
If You let me feel You feel You shine 
Oh let me feel You shine 
So beautiful and warm 
So beautiful and bright 
Like a sun comin’ out of a rainy sky 
Oh let me feel You shine 

______________________________

I want to feel the Presence of God all over my life every day of my life. I want to feel Him shine upon my life with His life-giving LIGHT!  He is the LIGHT of The World! He has the power to make all things new – in fact it’s a promise!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Heart Versus Flesh

Behind the maskSome people believe the end is near. I remember in 1988 there was some guy who believed that the world was coming to an end. He had made some calculations based on data he has acquired. He was wrong. Here we are nearly 30 years later. No one knows when this world will end. I believe we should be alert and ready at a moment’s notice. I could be taken in an accident while driving. I’m not trying to be morbid, but I am trying to alert and ready no matter what happens to me – I want to be ready when my time on earth ends.

My heart and flesh are the practical battle that fights inside of me. It’s the same spiritual battle that features God’s Spirit versus the enemy. Paul gives some practical counsel about preparing for this internal battle. Check this out..

11 Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t make plans to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:11-14 CSB)

I want to cloth myself with the armor of light. This armor can cover me completely. Light exposes and reveals the darkness and chases it from the room.  When I sin, I like it to be quietly covered so that I’m not called out. I can’t hide my sin from the Lord. I am accountable to the Lord for everything I do, everything I say and everything I think. My wife holds me accountable for the first two, but God’s Spirit can assist with my thoughts.

I want to glorify the Lord NOT gratify the desires of my flesh.

I want be transparent before the Lord as well as others, NOT secretive and suspicious.

I want to live and work from a heart that is fully committed to the work of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Search

 

search with magnifying glassI am not super afraid of the dark. I don’t like looking for things in the dark. The light eposes the search area. Even in the middle of the day there are dark areas (like closets) that need to be searched and light is needed for that search. I’m willing to search for answers. I’m willing to search for details. My internet search often begins with google. When I search for the Lord I go to His Word.

King David has written a very eloquent Psalm that speaks of searching AND finding. Check this out…

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.

11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,’
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139: 1-4,11-12,23-24 NIV)

I can lose the Lord.

The Lord can’t lose me.

He knows me like no one else and loves me profoundly. I don’t completely understand that kind of love. I’m learning a lot about grace which is the key to understanding His love. I learned more about grace when I needed it than when it was just a concept. When grace became my song, I embraced it and welcomed its arrival. Jesus came to bring forgiveness. Grace is repeat forgiveness plus mercy. When He poured out His grace upon me, I want to lift praise for Him. I deserve punishment not reward.

Your Grace Finds Me

(please note that it’s not “found” – He finds me – Present Tense!)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bad Looks Good

 

Blue woman eye macro shotI have been attracted to bad things many times over the years. Bad things come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Bad things can come from bad people or good people. It is often hard to discern if something is bad or good early on. I need to keep my boundaries clearly in site and in place. The Lord provides me with excellent discernment if I will listen to His Spirit in me.

David penned an excellent passage about boundaries and choosing good over bad. Check this out…

I will sing of your love and justice;
    to you, Lord, I will sing praise.
I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
    when will you come to me?

I will conduct the affairs of my house
    with a blameless heart.
I will not look with approval
    on anything that is vile.

I hate what faithless people do;
    I will have no part in it.
The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
    I will have nothing to do with what is evil. (Psalm 101:1-4 NIV)

I was taught growing up that you are known by the people you hang out with. I’ve even said that to my kids because in the eyes of authorities, if you’re hanging out with kids who are breaking the law, then you must be participating in that too. It is not easy taking the road less traveled when others are on the superspeedway of self-destruction. I must keep my hearts eyes focused on following the Lord and listening to His direction for my life. He makes me wise beyond my years. He makes me effective beyond my experience. He gives me insight that often only years of experience could compete with.

I want to walk in the Light of His Word and His calling upon my life. I want to choose good over bad; light over darkness every day that I live. Bad looks good, but then looks can be deceiving. I must look beyond good looks or appearances to what really matters. I remember my Mom telling me that “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone!”

Pressing On!

Dwayne