Solitude

Man praying with the BibleI love people. I love some people a bit more than others. I love my big family profoundly. In fact, I love my family at the expense of any other relationship. I grew up in a family with two brothers & two sisters – considered a big family. I also have five children of my own and now three grandchildren. I am so grateful to the Lord for my beautiful big family. I know that the Lord has big plans for them.

I love my work. I became a REALTOR 15 years ago. I had been a student pastor for 20 years prior to that. I loved being with students, teaching them during the most formative time of their lives. In the past 15 years, I’ve learned to build on the principles I learned in ministry. Jesus came to serve not to be served. I have used that as a theme in my real estate business. I get to honor the Lord by serving others. I will say that there have been times in my life where the noise level of my work reached fever pitch.  Several years ago, I started getting up 30 minutes early to have some morning solitude. It really changed how I managed my day. I used to try to sneak some solitude in the middle of my day and I still do on occasion, but my morning solitude is the best. I get to hear from the Lord each day in His Word. Recently, I started my morning with gratitude. I’ve started hitting the snooze button on purpose to lie in bed and give the Lord thanks for my wife, my family, my friends, my work, my country and everything I can think of. My time of solitude features gratitude, reading, journaling, prayer and then some work.

Jesus needed solitude too. The day He got the news of His cousin John the Baptist death, He sought solitude. Check this out.

13 As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. (Jesus then teaches & feeds 5,000 men plus the women and children)

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. (Matthew 14:13-14; 22-23 NLT)

Solitude gives me perspective.

Solitude can renew my spirit.

Solitude can renew my strength.

Solitude can settle my anxious heart.

Solitude can enhance my listening to God.

Solitude can influence every hour of my life.

Solitude gives me clarity of life purpose.

Solitude deepens my faith in God.

___________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Called

Phone vector  iconsI sometimes have a hard time explaining to someone how God called me. I can’t say that He spoke to me in an audible voice like I would do to call one of my kids. He didn’t have someone else call me. He does use others to speak into my life for sure, but I felt like He called me to be right where I am. I believe the call of God is the direction He wants to give me. He wants to lead me in my daily decisions. He wants to lead me in my life changing decisions. I believe the call of God comes directly from my relationship with Him. He’s probably called me a lot more often than I realize, because I wasn’t listening due to the “noise” in my life. Check this out…

17 Let each one live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. 

22 For he who is called by the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called as a free man is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of people. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person is to remain with God in the situation in which he was called. (1 Corinthians 7:17, 22-24 CSB)

I believe that the Lord calls me daily through His Word.

I believe the Lord calls me daily through His people.

I believe the Lord calls me daily through places I go.

I believe the Lord calls me daily as I listen to Him speak.

God’s calling on my life, no matter what He calls me too, is Holy because He is Holy. I believe sometimes just resting can be a Holy Moment. I believe that the Lord calls me throughout the day to listen sharper and more intentional to Him speaking into my heart. I believe God calls us all the time, but we’re often to busy listening to ourselves that we miss His call.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Hard Obedience

Man praying with the BibleI grew up learning the value of obedience. I learned that my parents were the first rule of law in my life and then I also learned about the laws of the land. I was tempted on more than one occasion to break the “laws” of my parents as well as the laws of the land. I don’t have the time or don’t want to take the time to confess all the times that I broke the guidelines of my parents and the law of the land. I think that there is curiosity in all of us when we are young to see where the boundaries are and put our “big toe” over the line of obedience to see what will happen to us. One think I learned about myself after becoming a parent is that because of my own experience with disobedience, I can usually pick up quickly on the disobedience of my children.

Jeremiah faces a situation where the people have been willfully disobedient. The Lord punished their country and them severely by orchestrating the takeover and capture of the city of Jerusalem and rest of their territory. There were a few people – a remnant left behind – mostly poor folks. They reached out to Jeremiah and asked him to approach the Lord for instructions. Check this out….

5 Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the Lord your God sends you to tell us. 6 Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 42:5-6 NIV)

 

This sounds like such a genuine prayer, but it’s also dangerous. The Lord will give instructions regarding my life and behavior, but it takes commitment and courage to follow what He asks of me. Sometimes the Lord asks me to do fairly radical stuff. Sometimes he asks me to give time or money to someone else. I’m working harder on listening carefully as He speaks into me. I’m also getting more and more confident regarding obedience to His directions and His instructions. The consequences of obedience are stronger faith. The consequences of disobedience are a dismantling of my faith. I want to obey Him even when it’s hard.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Keep Quiet

girl gesturing silence saying shh using her hand - concept vectoThere are times when I don’t know what to say or I don’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. I realize just how much I can learn if I just keep quiet. If I keep quiet when it’s just me and one other person then that will be a bit frustrating. A couple of guys and I were working on some props for our High School Band half-time show the other day. These guys know how to build. They were talking about the plans and at times I thought they were talking a different language. Once we started building, I understood part of the previous conversation. I have been known to talk a lot because I’m in Real Estate SALES! I do need to know what I’m talking about before I start talking. Check this out…

27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,

    and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,

    and discerning if they hold their tongues. (Proverbs 17:27-28 NIV)

 

I have learned to admit when I don’t know something and then do the research for the answer. I think learning is a part of growing wiser. I don’t ever want to stop learning.  I have a senior partner in Real Estate who has over 40 years of experience and I’ve learned so much by simply asking questions of him. He gives wisdom and insight into the most complex situation as well as simple issues. Some of the best education I’ve received didn’t happen in a classroom – it happened when I was listening to someone more experienced and wiser than me. I’m going to hush now and listen.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Dreams

Thoughtful little girlI often dream when I’ll become financially independent. I dream about this or that and in that sense a dream is a cherished thought or an aspiration.  I’ve also had dreams at night about something that would be cool if it happened. I’ve also had dreams that scared me to death. Dreams in that case are a series of thoughts, images and sensations that occur in a person’s mind during sleep. When dreams are bad, I call them “nightmares”.

God spoke often through dreams. He communicated with Joseph telling him not to divorce Mary because the child inside her was of the Holy Spirit. The Lord used His angel to communicate other directions as well. Check this out…

12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” (Matthew 2:12-13; 19-20 NIV)

The Holy Spirit of God will speak IF I will listen. He’s not bound by dreams only. He speaks through The Word. He presses things on my spirit.  I also believe that the Lord is completely capable of speaking through my dreams as well.  I think the important position for me is to be listening to Him. I want Him to direct my path – my decisions so I must listen for instructions as to the next step. 

In another sense, my hopes and dreams should revolve around Him and totally involve Him. He wants to be involved in every facet of my life. If I will listen to Him, He may instruct me to get up in the middle of the night and do something drastic or really significant. I should listen to Him above anyone or anything. I should check my hopes and dreams and make sure they align with His plans and His dreams for me.

Pressing On!
Dwayne