Growing In Love – Still

2017 GGO
I am still learning the heights and depths of love. This is an incredibly complicated concept, yet it is simple. I was first married over 35 years ago and learned to love a spouse. I became a Dad over 31 years ago and I learned to love my children. I now have grandchildren and my heart has expanded again. Before I was married and on my own, I loved my parents and siblings. I deeply loved my grandparents and still miss them to this day. I remember friends that I had years back in high school, but time and geography has separated us.

This past week I had the privilege of hanging out with seven of my closest friends from college. We meet every year in late September for a few days of fellowship that we call the GGO (Greater Greek Open – yes it has inside meaning that’s a long story). I call it my goof off trip, because the way I play golf is really an insult to the game of golf and those who really play the sport. We catch up with each other and always pick up right where we left off from last year. These guys were there with me through divorce and cancer and many other times of struggle over the years. I can say for sure that our lives are not free from suffering and pain, but we figure out a way to help one another through it.

I love reading the Word of God each day and letting His Word settle in my heart. The first day of our GGO this year, I awoke in time to read my regular daily reading and I was in 1 John and it is refreshing to hear from the disciple that was very close to Jesus. He was an eye-witness to Jesus’ daily journey here on earth. He saw first-hand how He loved. Check this out….

12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God— God remains in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. (1 John 4:12-16 CSB)

I’ve read this chapter in 1 John each morning this week and I’m deeply moved by this concept of love. In fact, the last morning of golf, we shared in this passage and we were reminded of what a difference love has made in all our lives. We probably would not know each other except for our paths crossing over 30 years ago at Bible College where the love of God lead us for one reason or another.

As I pack up in the quietness of the morning and prepare to head home to more people I love, my heart is full and so thankful for the blessing of God upon my life. I could die today and I could say I’m a happy man. I am blessed way beyond what I deserve. I’m working hard at cultivating a grateful heart each day that I live that is simply a response to the amazing, relentless love of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Love Like That

Colorful typographic motivational poster to raise faith in yourself and your strength. The series of business concepts on a textured background of an old love. VectorIt blesses my soul to see an elderly couple who are still in love with one another after years of life together. I see something in them that I want. I think what I see is genuine love and respect for the other.  I must confess that I’ve got some ways to go in cultivating love that lasts a lifetime. I believe that love is a choice. I can choose to love whomever I want. I can also choose to hate. I believe that hate does way more harm to the one hating than the object of their scorn. I believe that as a follower of Jesus, the only hatred that should be in me is hatred for sin. Jesus teaches me to love others.  John reiterates this in his first epistle. Check this out…

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 CSB)

When my children were young, I read a quote that said: “Love is spelled T-I-M-E”. The message was clear that my time was spent investing in my children – just being with them is very important. As I read this simple passage this morning, I realize that Love is spelled G-I-V-E. The Lord calls me to put my money and resources where my mouth is.  One of my life goals is to live a life of significance. I want to invest in the lives of others to pay if forward on behalf of the people who have invested in me.

I love the parallel here with John 3:16:

 16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (Spoken by Jesus)

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (Spoken by John)

If Jesus did anything while He was here on earth, He loved and taught us to love. If I’m called by His name, love must be obvious in me. I want to love like He loves. He loves me profoundly despite my sin and His love compels me to leave sin behind and pursue love with all that I have.

How He Loves by Jesus Culture

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Know What I Know

 

i want to know moreI find it hard sometimes to articulate my faith in God. My journey is personal and subjective. I have experienced things with the Lord that is hard to explain. This faith that I have in the Lord is not meant for me to just keep it to myself. It is good news for the whole world. Jesus came to seek and save all mankind. His mission was to make a way to restore our relationship with God. He did that and more. He gave us an amazing gift to help us in this journey. The Holy Spirit gives great wisdom and insight.  The Holy Spirit provides great strength to manage suffering and hardship. The Holy Spirit is a Presence that is hard to explain. I feel incredible peace in my soul with the very Spirit of God dwelling in me. It is His Promised Comforter to me and I know He’s here. These are things that I know and I’ve experienced. I have a hard time explaining, describing or teaching these things I know. John speaks to how I know Him by following His instructions – living out my faith. Check this out…

This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands. The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked. (1 John 2:3-6 CSB)

“This I Know” – Crowder

I try to start every day acknowledging the blessings from the Lord and thanking Him. I want to hear from Him in His Word each day. I’m certainly not trying to “earn” my salvation. I do want to walk out my salvation with Him each day. I want to walk just as He walked. I want to love as He loved. I want to serve as He served.

I wish I could explain more clearly how I know what I know. It is not super complicated – it’s simple, but sometimes hard. It’s not always easy to walk in His way when it seems like very few people are walking this path. I know that this is where He called me to walk. He has changed my life forever. I’m honored to walk in His way. I’m honored to serve Him. I’m honored to be called a Christian or Christ follower.  I am still very much a “work in progress”, but I know things that are simply not negotiable with my journey in Him.  I want the activities of my day to day to be “in step” with His call upon my life.

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

While We Wait

Patience concept.I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not patient when it comes to waiting. I have a lot of work to do in this area. I was telling someone the other day that I’d rather take the long way around then to sit in a traffic jam that would let me arrive in a shorter time. I obviously don’t have to commute into Atlanta every day. I don’t like to way very long for my food when I go to restaurant either. I really need to be more patient, but quite frankly, I’m afraid to pray for patience!

Paul in his letter to Titus gets right to the point in several areas. He gives straight talk in several areas of growth. I came across the three little words tucked in the middle of a sentence. These three words spoke into my heart about what I can while being patient. Check this out…

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people for his own possession, eager to do good works. (Titus 2:11-14 CSB)

While I wait, I can pursue God’s heart.

While I wait, I can live a sensible way.

While I wait, I can live in a godly way.

While I wait, I can love others like Jesus loves.

While I wait, I can serve others.

While I wait, I can teach with my life.

Waiting is really a part of my life. I often must wait for people to connect for an appointment. I must wait on the lender to get the buyer ready to close on the loan. I must wait on the closing attorney to get the title work complete so that the seller can sell and the buyer can buy. I must wait on the appraiser, surveyor…. the list could go on and on. I’m learning that waiting is simply part of living.

I smiled when I thought of Brad Paisley’s song from a few years back called: Waiting On A Woman.

I’m waiting on the Lord today. I’ve got plenty to do while I wait.

Pressing On!

Dwayne