The Significance of Solitude

Man praying with the BibleI love the solitude and quietness of the morning. I can hear the noises of a quiet home in the morning. I hear the furnace come on occasionally. I can hear the fridge come on some as well. There is something special about my time of solitude in the morning. I like to start my time of solitude after I’ve shaved, showered and made a pot of coffee. I start each day with reading some from the Word of God. I believe the scriptures speak truth into my life every day.  I do not consider myself a theologian at all. I’m just a regular guy who loves God and loves His Word. I find such deep pockets of my faith and incredible clarity for my life when I spend time alone with the Lord in His Word.

I love the fact that Jesus modeled this. He would occasionally slip away from the “noise” of His ministry for times of solitude and prayer.  This well-known event in Jesus’ life occurred after a time of solitude and prayer. Check this out…

45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. (Mark 6:45-51a NLT)

Solitude and prayer work together to help prepare my heart and mind for the day ahead. I must admit that some days are tougher than others. I can often look back on my morning time of solitude in the middle of a busy and hectic day. I believe that solitude and prayer anchor my soul to The Word of God. I believe that the Words of Scripture contain wisdom and insight that is timeless and powerful. I find words of healing here. I find words of hope. I find depth of insight. I believe solitude combined with scripture and prayer are two very valuable ingredients to a peace-filled life. In the midst of a noisy and chaotic world, I can find peace because of my time of solitude and prayer each morning.

I’ve not tried walking on water or “leaping tall buildings in a single bound”.  I just know that I’m a stronger Christian because of my time of solitude and prayer in the morning. It’s not because I’m special, I simply seeking the Lord to lead me as I live out my life. Solitude gives focus and clarity to my life and helps keep thing in proper perspective. I also think the simple discipline of starting my day with the Lord has been a huge game changer for many years. I only wish I had started this daily discipline many years ago. I’m thankful for the Lord’s Powerful Presence in my life as I sit with Him to begin each day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Attention

 

Woman talking through a megaphone and a man plugging his earsIf I’m in a big room and it’s loud and a bit chaotic and I want to get everyone’s attention, I can yell or whistle and people will often get quiet. It doesn’t do much good to make an announcement to a room full of people who aren’t paying attention.

The trumpet is a pretty loud horn instrument. If I’m anywhere a trumpet that is being played, it’s hard to ignore. It is like the bugle which was used by the US Calvary years ago to signal the troops to charge or retreat.

John is watching and trying to keep all of this written down as to what is happening in this beautiful, unique place he’s in. He is watching as the Lamb opens the seventh seal. Check this out…

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. (Revelation 8:1-2 CSB)

I can see something big coming. Trumpets are not quiet. I also enjoy silence sometimes. The contrast between silence and a trumpet is several decibels.

The Lord wants the attention of His people. He will do whatever it takes to get our attention. I’m committed to giving the Lord my attention in the quietness of the morning. I love hearing from Him. He doesn’t always whisper, but I feel like His Spirit speaks to me about my day coming up. He directs my steps and gives me insight to make sound decisions. I don’t want Him to ever need to shout for my attention – although He is capable of that for sure.

Come & Listen – David Crowder

Come and listen, come to the water’s edge, all you who know and fear the Lord.
Come and listen, come to the water’s edge all you who are thirsty, come.

Let me tell you what He has done for me.
He has done for you,
He has done for us.

Come and listen,
Come and listen to what He’s done.

Praise our God for He is good.

He has done for me,
He has done for you,
He has done for us.

Come and listen,
Come and listen to what He’s done.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Watch Out!

Stop HandI enjoy being outdoors and walking around in the woods. I am not a fan of snakes at all. I usually kill the snake and then see what kind it is. I apologize to any “snake lovers” who make take offense but they simply freak me out. I remember being in Zambia, Africa when I was a sophomore in college and two deadly snakes where killed near the church where we spent a lot of time. One of the snakes was killed on near the path leading to the bathroom, which you can imagine didn’t involve running water or electricity. I have learned to be very careful and attentive when walking in the woods or simply walking outside in the yard.

Paul was warning about people who were a bit less obvious than a snake. There are people who appear helpful, genuine and kind, but they may be looking for an opportunity to pounce and bring harm. I think it’s important to watch carefully where we walk, who we walk with and where we go. Check this out…

17 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create divisions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them,18 because such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

19 The report of your obedience has reached everyone. Therefore, I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise about what is good, and yet innocent about what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:17-20 CSB)

I simply want to walk with the Lord. I want Him to help me watch every step I take and every move I make. I don’t always see the obstacles or the dangers in the path ahead, but He does. He will crush the enemy on my behalf. He will make me aware of people who are self-centered and deceptive.  I want the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart to be pleasing, good, and honorable to the Lord. I want to be well-spoken but not deceptive or manipulative in any way. I want be persuasive and passionate but not naïve to the enemies schemes. I should also stay aware and alert to every situation. I want to listen to the prompting of the Lord when He gives me a signal. I need my spiritual eyesight to be enhanced by His Presence.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Morning Prayer

Country road at sunriseI love the morning – it seems like everything is new and fresh. Yesterday is now history and time to look forward. I love starting my day in God’s Word and listen to Him speak into my heart as I begin a new day. I decided a few years back that I would not do anything in my day prior to listening to Him.  I believe my time with Him is the most important meeting on my schedule. The morning I was blessed with a morning prayer from King David. Check this out…

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:8-10 NIV)

Trust – I affirm my love, respect & honor for the Lord.

Rescue – He helps me deal with those who want to harm me.

Teach – He speaks directly into my heart & then I live out my heart.

Lead – He prompts, shows & levels me out – He makes my path clear.

I just want to rest and abide this day under the Word of God. I need Him more than I need anything. His Presence in my heart brings great clarity to my schedule. This morning prayer clarifies my need for Him first thing.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Door Of My Mouth

 

LipsI have been known to talk. Over the years, I’ve listened to myself talk and I feel like that I’ve sometimes wasted words. I am in sales, but I can cut to the chase. When I was in student ministry, I was in a “sales position” of sorts. I was introducing and “selling” how a relationship with the Lord could be a life changer. Today, I sell myself as a trusted, real estate professional. I also sell houses, land and commercial. In all these roles, I do find that I need to talk. I am learning that there is great weight and value in words. I try hard for my spoken word to have the same weight as my written word. I did learn many years ago in the business world that if it’s not written down, it’s not enforceable. I want the words of my mouth to be enforceable by my character. I talk to the Lord a lot about my words. King David welcomed accountability and I should too. Check this out…

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
    so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
    do not let me eat their delicacies.

Let a righteous man strike me – that is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me – that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
    for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. (Psalm 141:3-5 NIV)

I remember back in my college days I was part of a musical group and we did a musical a musical based on the study of James. One of the songs, I remember was: “The Little Red Devil Behind the White Pearly Gates”. I’m sure I was 20 years old when I first heard that. My tongue can get me in trouble. My life group is studying the book of James and this past week’s lesson was in James 3. James points out how I can sing, pray & praise the Lord with my tongue and crush someone the next minute with the same tongue. I’m learning to speak slowly and be discerning with my words – unfortunately it feels like I’m on lesson #1 of this class!

I think the most important point when I think about my tongue, is that the words of my mouth represent the things going on inside my heart. When I speak in frustration and anger – my heart is frustrated & angry. I believe my biggest daily challenge is to surrender my heart to the Lord. With that surrender comes my thoughts, my words, my rights. I want my heart to be daily surrendered to the Lord so that He helps control my tongue and my thoughts and certainly all my actions. My surrender to Him is the most important choice I can make today and every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Quiet

 

girl gesturing silence saying shh using her hand - concept vectoI grew up listening to music and like most teenagers, I liked it loud. I wanted to hear the “ping” of the cymbal or the acoustic guitar amid the electric. I subscribed to the notion, “if the music was too loud, you were too old”!  Yes, it has affected my hearing a bit so that now the reason I like music loud is so that I can hear it! LOL!

The Psalmist whose words I read this morning, speaks of quiet. I have learned that I do like to get up early while my house and my world is quiet. I like to hear from the Lord.  I like to hear from Him before the noise of my life begins. It’s not that He can’t speak through the noise of my life (because He does), but I don’t often hear through the noise. I like to start my day with Him speaking into my heart. Check this out…

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quietened myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and for evermore. (Psalm 131:1-3 NIV)

I want to hear what the Lord says, because what I want to say is not nearly as important. He is God of Creation, King of Kings & Lord of Lords – I would be wise to trust Him. I would be wise to hear Him. I would be wise to follow His instructions. I would be wise to put my hope in Him. I am ok to sit quietly with Him. He speaks volumes to me heart in the quiet moments where I can listen intently. He handles my life. He will take charge of the smallest detail to the largest, monumental decision. He gives me wisdom and strength in the quiet moments. He prepares me for the noise of my day in the quiet moments of the morning. I’m thankful that I have Him and that I know Him.

Today is a different day for me. I’m attending a funeral later this morning of a dear family friend who was killed suddenly in an auto accident. Her family is hurting deeply.  Later this afternoon, I get to be part of a beautiful, outdoor country wedding with my nephew and his sweet bride to be. In the quietness of this morning, the Lord makes both these events somehow beautiful and meaningful. My life – this life is all about bringing glory to God with my life. He loves it when I point to Him. My quiet time in the morning helps me map out my day and how I can get that accomplished.

Pressing On!

Dwayne