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

Quiver Full of Arrows

 

Indians bow and arrows color flat iconI try to daily look at my life through the eyes of eternity. The decisions I make every day seem rather mundane, small or even insignificant. When I look at my life through the “eternal lens”, life is full of small decisions and choices. These small decisions and choices soon make up my life and my destiny.

I grew up in a family of five kids. We didn’t know we were on the lower end of the economic scale. I felt like we were rich even though we didn’t have a lot of possessions or extra money. My parents worked hard to provide for own kids. I really didn’t imagine that I would one day become a Dad to five kids of my own. I love being a Dad. I love seeing my kids figure out some deep things about the Lord. I love seeing them grow up and build relationships that will last their whole life long.

I came across a Psalm that I often quote when I connect with people with large families. Check this out…

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court. (Psalm 127:3-5 NIV)

One of the overflows of being a parent is often when our children start having children. I love being Pop and my wife is Nana. We love soaking up the love from those sweet little children to whom we are Pop & Nana. They really melt my heart quickly and often. I like what Zig Ziglar said about grandchildren… “If I knew grandkids were this much fun, we would have had them first!”

I continue to pray over my children.

I continue to love my children deeply. (Love is spelled TIME!)

I continue to listen to my children.

I continue to invest in my kids with my time.

I will continue being a Dad until the Lord calls me home.

I have a quiver full of arrows that has blessed me beyond my ability to express in words. I am so humbled that the Lord trusted me with children. I’m so thankful that they are growing in their love for the Lord.  I hope that for generations to come, my children, their children and their children’s children seek the heart of God in their daily journey.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Heed & Ponder

Discussing the truthI want to be known for wise and sound decisions. I want to be cautious and careful of my words & actions as they will reveal whether I’m wise. I’ve had moments when I’ve made great decisions over the years and I’ve also had moments when I wish I could go back a make a different choice. I’ve learned to gather facts and seek wise counsel in all areas of my life. I may think I know a lot about a topic or subject only to find out that I still have lots to learn. It’s the people that act like they know all about everything that get into real trouble. I don’t want to be like that at all.

As I journey through the word of God, I discover that He speaks clearly into my heart. I must tune my heart to hear. As I read the passage below I was reminded that I want to keep seeking Him and learning from Him. Check this out…

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
    those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
    from east and west, from north and south.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.

41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
    and increased their families like flocks.
42 The upright see and rejoice,
    but all the wicked shut their mouths.

43 Let the one who is wise heed these things
    and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 107:1-3,8-9,41-43 NIV)

I am reminded that the Lord is the giver of all good things. He will counsel me and lead me through the darkest days of my soul. He will forgive my stupid choices and shower me with love and grace. The Lord is known for His grace and His mercy. He is known for His wisdom and profound insight. I would be an idiot to ignore Him as He speaks into my life and my situation every day. I want to hear Him. I want to ponder His wisdom and discernment. I want to walk in the way He points out for me to walk.

Pressing On!

Dwayne