A Prosperous Prayer

 

MoreI need to say that I don’t subscribe to the so-called “prosperity gospel” or “name it; claim it”. I know that there are those who teach and believe that. I do believe that God can do anything He pleases. I just don’t find it consistent with the Word that says, once you put your faith in God everything will be good. In fact, I think the opposite is quite common. I do believe that the Lord wants me to be prosperous in love. He wants me to be prosperous in serving and giving. There are those who have become prosperous financially and it did not derail their faith. Of course, there are many stories of the contrary as well where financial prosperity ruined relationships and destroyed lives. Prosperity is a relative word. I’ve been to some incredibly poor countries and people were prosperous. I’ve been to some wealthy communities where people were starving for prosperity. I have prayed this prosperous prayer from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi many times. Check this out…

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:8-11 CSB)

I keep praying this prayer over my wife & children as well as my entire family.

I prayer this prayer over my company.

I love praying this prayer over my customers and clients.

I think it’s wise to pray for wisdom.

I think it’s wise to pray for discernment.

I think it’s wise to pray before acting on an issue.

I’m praying that I will walk in wisdom and discernment that is dripping with love. I want to be prosperous in profound love for God displayed in my genuine love and respect for others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Imitator

 

I grew up imitating others in tons of ways. I remember as a kid trying to figure out my laugh, probably because someone made fun of how I laughed. I adjusted a lot of things to be like others. I imitated my Dad when I was young until I “got smarter than Him” – around 13 years old. (Total sarcasm.) When I was in my early to late teens, I became a bit of a chameleon. I would act like whoever I was with. If I were with Christians, I could play the part. If I were with some of my wild and crazy friends, I could hang with them too. Chameleons are that little lizard that changes his color to blend in to whatever environment he’s in. I also imitated great singers and musicians. I look back at seasons of my life and I always wanted to be someone else or something that I wasn’t. I finally got comfortable in my own skin several years ago and I’m thankful for who I am and Whose I am. I don’t try to keep up with others and impress them with my possessions or knowledge. I simply want to be who God called me to be. I want to honor Him with my life and my daily choices.  I love how Paul urged the Ephesians to live out their faith. Check this out…

1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 testing what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-10 CSB)

I want to love like God.

I want to give like God.

I want to think like God.

I want to counsel like God.

I want to imitate God in my daily life.

I want to learn from others, but I want to imitate the Lord. I want to finish my journey here on earth walking, talking, loving & living like God, Who made me. He gives me life. He gives me purpose. He is patient. He is loving. He is kind. He is full of grace and mercy. I so want to imitate Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Comprehensive

understandThis word has always intrigued me. I have not always considered myself to be super intuitive and smart. I do try to understand the multi-facets of issues and problems. I also try to “get my head around” the scope of issues that I or friends of mine are facing. That is really the essence of this word comprehensive – having a total grasp or understanding of certain subject matter.

I am still trying to learn and understand more of Who God is and what He’s doing in my life and the lives of others. Paul’s pray for comprehension and understanding really blessed me this morning. Check this out…

16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21 CSB)

I needed that prayer as I seek God’s heart.

I don’t understand everything God does.

I don’t understand everything God says.

I’m learning to trust Him more even when I don’t understand.

I want to comprehend and understand the height, depth, length and width of His love for me.

I’m joining Paul in his prayer. I want to know more about God’s heart and His love for me. I want His love to dwell in my heart consistently. I want to be deeply rooted and firmly established in love.

What I do know is that God loves me and I want to live for Him the rest of my days. I want to grow in my comprehension of His love and grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Good Work

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI haven’t always believed work is good. After the Great Recession, I now hear myself saying that I’m thankful to have work. I have also learned that no matter how much work I must do or how hard some parts of it are, I can put food on the table and provide shelter for my family because of my work. I’ve also watched the TV show “Dirty Jobs” and there are much tougher jobs than any I have ever had.

I’ve learned over the years in my journey with the Lord that I can’t work my way into heaven. I can’t do enough good work to earn my salvation. Paul is clear about this. Check this out…

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10 CSB)

I grew up hearing about all the things I needed to do and it felt like if I went to church, read my Bible and prayed often that I could be saved. I’m not sure that was the intended message, but it’s what I heard. When I discovered the grace of God a few years ago, my heart was full and so very open to this incredible concept that is the essence of Who God is. As I journey through His Word I see His heart that is full of love, compassion and grace. He is also a God of justice, but He doesn’t love to dispense justice – He loves to lavish His kids with Grace! He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on His love.

The first two words in this passage are: “But God”. Those two words have changed the trajectory of my life. He has built me and wired me to honor Him, to serve Him because He loved me. He now lives and works in me and through me. Anything I do, say or write that has value to anyone – it’s because He is in me. I’ve made wise decisions over the years that He was totally in charge of or responsible for.

I don’t work FOR my salvation, I do good work and serve Him BECAUSE of my salvation. I am more and more wowed by His Grace every day. There is no one beyond the reach of Grace. I can’t escape His reach of Grace. I am continually humbled and grateful when I think about the things I’ve done or said and He still loves me and chooses to use me for His Honor & Glory. I can’t begin to express my gratitude… words just don’t work here. I’m so thankful for grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Harvest Principle

 

garden harvestI really like this time of year because I love fresh vegetables from the garden. My wife’s parents have a nice-sized garden each year. They plant corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans; to name a few. I don’t usually help as much on the planting side because of work conflicts. I usually help with harvesting as we help freeze and can the vegetables for later use. It is crazy how some years, the garden produces more than others. It takes a lot of time and effort to work a garden, but it seems to me that the food taste much better than what I can purchase at the grocery store.

Paul talks about the law of the harvest in his last chapter to the church at Galatia. He declares that it’s a principle or a law of sorts. Check this out…

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the SpiritLet us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10 CSB)

There have been springs and early summers where we didn’t get much rain, but we still almost always harvest more than is planted. This law is universal in all sorts of applications.

Paul is speaking clearly about my relationship with God. If I want to grow, I must invest some time and energy. He is challenging the church at Galatia to sow in the Spirit instead of the flesh. Sowing in the Spirit reaps eternal rewards as well as blessing while here on the earth. I can’t quit sowing seeds of kindness just because I’m tired. I’m paying it forward and it’s always wise to do good things even when I can’t see how it could possibly benefit me or anyone else. Doing good to others is “paying it forward” – a harvest will come from our genuine, loving, good deeds.

If I sow love and care in my relationships, they flourish.

If I ignore my relationships, they die.

If I use my money to carefully invest and give; the return or what comes back to me is a blessing.

The Lord gives me counsel often on more ways to creatively invest in others and that ends of blessing others and me. I am wealthy in relationship because I love people and do my very best to show proper respect and love. That is the harvest principle at work.

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)