Net Worth

Whats Your Net Worth Question Total Wealth Value AccountingI remember a time several years ago when I was planning to borrow money for a business venture. I sat down with the lender and he gave me an extensive loan application. The application was used to determine my net worth including any assets and liabilities that I had financially. The lender was a personal friend, but he also needed to assess the financial facts from me to determine whether or not the bank would back me financially. I was pretty new to the business world at the time and really learned lots about my financial picture by going through this process.  I watched a lot of good people suffer profound financial loss through the recession that started around 2007.  I remember lots of conversations with the Lord about how to navigate such a financially difficult time.

I learned during financial duress, just how blessed I am as a husband, dad, son and friend to others. No matter how much a struggle or how much suffering I encountered, I could find someone who was suffering deeper and harder than me. I believe so much of my life is about maintaining perspective. I’m living for someone and something way more valuable than the wealthiest person on earth. Check this out….

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 NLT)

When the Lord looks at my net worth, He doesn’t look at the financial picture. He looks at my heart. He looks at the fruit of my life. He looks at my actions because they reveal my heart. I can fake people out about my faith, but I can’t fake the Lord out. He knows the deepest crevasses of my heart. He wants me to surrender all of me to Him. He wants my life to be subject to Him leading me. God’s economy is quite different than the US economy. When I give and give up – I have huge gains. When I surrender and give up my life, my value increases exponentially in eternal net worth.  I do watch my financial picture and I look at things a lot differently since struggling through the recession. I am a huge fan of Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I see my financial resources as belonging to the Lord – I am a manager of all that I have. It’s all His. I want to be wise with the all that I have been blessed with. I want to be a wise manager of His resources. At the end of my life, I will not be worried about taking anything gained here on the earth with me, but I want my family and friends to know about investing in eternity. I want others to know that this life is not all there is. This life is preparation for eternity and I’m building an eternal net worth that is way more valuable than anything I could do or attain here on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Encouragement

 

Series of hand gesturesI love being encouraged. This word means “to inspire, spirit or confidence”. It also means “to promote, advance or foster” action.  I am encouraged by people, books, places and events. These are all areas of the “physical realm” that I live in. I’m also encouraged by the Presence of God in the “spiritual realm” that I also live in. The encouragement I receive in the spiritual realm is a lot harder to explain if you’ve never experienced anything like it. I remember being promised the Presence of The Holy Spirit when I accepted Jesus into my heart and was baptized. It was a bit before I understood and felt His Presence in my life. As I continued to study His Word and walk with Him in obedience and trust – His Presence became more and more obvious to me.

My journey in the Word took me through the last chapter of Luke where Jesus had just risen from the dead. His followers were a bit freaked out. They didn’t remember that He had told them these things. The women who had prepared spices for His body were the first to get to the tomb and found He wasn’t there. Then a couple of His disciples went as well. He wasn’t there. Check this out…

13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16 NLT)

I believe that the Lord is Present even when I don’t recognize Him.

I believe that His Presence changes any situation I face.

His Presence certainly changes my perspective of any situation I face.

I am encouraged to know that I don’t have to face suffering and trials all by myself. My family is not alone in the midst of struggles and pain – He is with me.

This encouragement is hard to explain, but very real. It is called faith. I have faith in God, Who created all that I see and know. He is the reason I live. He is the reason I love. He is the reason I sing. He is the reason that I serve.

I really want others to know this encouragement that I have inside my heart that is ONLY because of His Presence in me. He calms my unsettled heart. He directs my undecided path. He rescues me from stupidity quite often. I’m so thankful and encouraged by His Presence and the Power He brings with Him to help me along the way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Home

 

protected homeI am sort of a “home body”. I don’t mind short trips for vacation or brief business trips, but I really love coming home. Home represents my family and the main location of my life. I eat at home. I play at home. I hang out at home. I sleep at home. I learned a long time that home is wherever my family resides. I grew up in Kentucky and in some ways, that will always be home. I’ve been in Georgia for 31 years now and it is home.  I love it when my kids come home for a visit. So much of my life was built at home in Kentucky. I am still building my life at home in Georgia.

I started reading the Gospel of John this morning in the New Living Translation (NLT) and I loved how this translation stated that Jesus (The Word of God) came to earth and made His home here. Check this out…

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:14 NLT)

Jesus called this earth home for a season. It wasn’t His permanent home, but He was born of a virgin and reared in a carpenter shop. He really understands the stories and the struggles of our lives. He became a human – one of us.

As I go through my day today, I want to remember that He came here and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. Having Him in my heart has changed everything about my life. I want to love like He loves. I want to live like He lives. I want to give like He gives. I want to serve like He serves. He now lives in me by way of His Spirit. I want the Lord to make His home inside my heart. I want people who know me or meet me for the first time to see The Lord at home inside my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The End Game

timer with the words Time is Running OutI see the “end game” as the place where I want things to end up. For me it’s a big picture goal. I have an “end game” in mind when I work with a client to put an offer on a house or list a piece of property. There are a lot of moving parts to the process for it to end up in a closing. Stephen Covey in his book: “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, introduced Habit #2 as “Begin With the End In Mind”.  I believe that knowing or seeing the “end game” can really shape the activities of my day today.

Peter speaks of the “end game” in his first book and I think it’s worth taking a closer look. Check this out…

The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11 CSB)

I’ve heard that we are in the end times since I was little boy. I remember being scared of the world coming to an end. It could happen today or tomorrow for that matter. I decided a long time ago to be ready to meet the Lord whenever it happens.  I don’t know when the end of time will come or when my time on earth comes to an end, but I want to be ready to meet him. That is my ultimate “end game” – to live and love in such a way that I’m ready to meet the Lord however my life here ends. I want to love deeply and serve deliberately others whom the Lord puts in my path. I want the words that come out of my mouth to bring honor to Him – not embarrassment to Him. If the Lord receives glory for what I do today and what I’ve done, then my end game will be realized.

I’m not afraid of how this life ends or when it ends because He is the One Who gave me life in the first place. I am trusting Him with the life that doesn’t end – eternal life!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Rich VS Poor

 

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I believe that these two terms are relative terms. I know people who are wealthy (aka rich), but who are poor in spirit. They are miserable. Their wealth did not lift their spirits at all. I also know people who are on the poverty line who are full of joy and peace. They would probably like to have more money, but they find joy in the little things of life. For some reason, it seems that our culture gravitates to the wealthy instead of the poor. I believe it’s because we think the rich will share their wealth, while the poor have very little excess to share with anyone. I came across a passage in James and it hit me that I really do show favoritism to the rich. Check this out…

1My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor person dressed in filthy clothes also comes in, if you look with favor on the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:1-5 CSB)

People who are wealthy know lots of others who are wealthy. They also know others who have more money than they have. Poor people know others who are poor and especially the ones who have less money than them. I see money as a medium. It doesn’t do anything except what it’s told to do. It’s like planting seed in the soil – whatever seed is planted is what comes up. The soil was a medium. It can grow kudzu or it can grow grass.

I felt deep conviction after reading this today, because I find myself passing judgement on others based on how they carry themselves, how they dress, the type of car they have or how nice of a house they live in. This is a dangerous behavior. James goes on to say that this is “straight up” sin. I am passing judgement on someone’s worth based on their bank account rather than their heart.

The Lord is way more concerned with my heart and my obedience than the size of my bank accounts. In fact, I believe the Lord is drawn to the poor – Jesus was born to a Carpenter (blue collar) and visited by shepherds (blue collar) and wise men (white collar). Look at the disciples that Jesus called to serve alongside Him…. They were fishermen, tax collectors – very ordinary people who I would contend didn’t have a lot of material possessions or money.

I want to be wealthy in spiritual values. When I’m blessed with material wealth, I want to invest it in His Kingdom and people made in the image of God. I’m seeing forgiveness when I’ve made my life about me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Adopted

Family PIcture 2016I am blessed with three grandchildren presently and I’ve talked to my two sons who have become parents in the last couple of years. First, I didn’t know I could love like that until I became a Dad. Second, I learned a lot more about my Heavenly Father. I began to understand His heart in the scripture. Becoming a Dad has been a blessing beyond my ability to describe. I am humbled and thankful for the privilege and responsibility.  It was just over 7 years ago that my wife and I started working on adoption of our youngest son. We were one of four families from our church who were adopting 5 siblings from Nicaragua. Their situation in Nicaragua was tough and we felt called to help. It was an incredibly hard journey, but here we are now and Luke has become my son by adoption. Again, I learned some deep truths about the Lord that I had not known before. The Lord adopted me as His son and He has given me all the rights and privileges of being part of His family. Check this out….

When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7 CSB)

I am God’s kid. I am adopted into His family. I am an heir to the promise. Creator God has put the Spirit of His Son in my heart. I’m wear His name. He has a picture of me in His phone! (LOL) I am loved by God. I am cherished by God. He is my Heavenly Dad. He cares for me. He loves to speak into my life each morning and I love hearing from Him. I feel loved. I feel accepted. I know what it’s like to feel lost and abandoned, but NEVER again – I am a child of God.

My family here on earth reflects my Jesus family. I am a child of the Most High God. I can walk in confidence bearing His Name and representing Him in how I talk, walk, live and love. I am profoundly thankful to be adopted by Him. I wear His Name with thankfulness and humility in my heart. He has changed me forever.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

(Not Pictured: Finneas Dylan Hicks arrived on May 20, 2017 – He’s such a handsome little guy! #thankful)