Human Effort

 

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI believe in hard work. I may not be the most “connected guy” in the room, but I will work harder and longer to get the job done. I was raised on a farm in Kentucky. Recently, I was asked what my first job was. I put down that I was a “farm hand” for my Grandpa. I remember loading hay bales onto the wagon and then taking them to barn. I remember lots of hard labor getting the crops in as well. I was taught at an early age the value of hard work.

In God’s economy, physical labor doesn’t count the same. The Lord is more concerned with my heart than my “work ethic”. He does call me to action, but the action is NOT what saves me. I wish I had learned this growing up. The only action required on my part is surrender of my heart. My will is surrendered to His Will. This felt weird the first time I really wrestled with the concept. Check this out…

63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) 66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. 67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” 68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:63-64; 66-69 NLT)

These are the words of Jesus himself. Human effort accomplishes nothing. He has done the work for salvation when He surrendered to the cross for the ultimate and final sacrifice needed for sin. I do not work FOR my salvation, but I do work OUT my salvation. He doesn’t save me so that I can sit. He saved me so that I can serve. Serving is giving to others. Serving is loving God by giving to others. My human effort doesn’t save me, but it can serve Him by loving and serving others.

I serve at the pleasure of the Lord. He has called me. He has saved me. He compels me to love and served just like He loves and serves. Serving the in the Kingdom of God still starts with the Spirit of God in me before any human effort comes into play.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Know It All

I really try to not come across as a “Know It All” on any subject. I believe that I can learn from just about everyone. I learn from some people to not hang around them after one conversation. But I’ve also learned that I can learn a lot from others who are much younger and less experienced that me. I’ve said before that I want to be a life-long learner. I don’t ever want my pride to keep me from learning.

I do want to keep learning the Word of God as it builds my confidence in the Lord. The Word of God gives perspective to my life and my daily decisions. I want to keep learning about the Lord’s heart and His plans for me.

Paul writes to the church at Corinth about eating food that has been sacrificed to idols. I remember when a man in the church I was tithed off his gambling winnings to give to the student ministry that I was leading. I first thought that this was not money I should use. The minister I worked with said: “The devil has had that money long enough!” I think some of these type subjects will land on the side of opinion. There is some great truth tucked inside this discussion. Check this out…

1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds upIf anyone thinks he knows anything, he does not yet know it as he ought to know it. But if anyone loves God, he is known by him.

About eating food sacrificed to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from him, and we exist for him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things are through him, and we exist through him. (1 Corinthians 8:1-6 CSB)

I really want to increase my capacity to love and serve others. I’m learning in my day job to serve people’s needs and my needs get taken care of. I’ve learned to have humility always because the Lord loves a humble heart. After all I’m nothing without Him in my heart.

Today I will keep learning from others.

Today I will keep growing with others.

Today I will keep serving others.

Today I will keep loving others.

It’s all because of Jesus that I can learn, grow, serve or love. I’m continuing to let Him direct my path and my decisions every day. I don’t know everything, but I know the Lord and anything else I know pales in comparison to knowing Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Trying To Understand

 

understandI have tried to understand complicated positions before – if I don’t understand, I usually try to approach the position again from a different angle. I have tried to understand people who sharply disagree with me and then emotions pile into the situation and it’s gets really hard to understand and sort through the differentiating positions because our emotions often steals the spotlight.

Sometimes in the midst of pain, struggle and suffering, our viewpoint is skewed because we’re blinded by the struggle. We can’t think clearly or see clearly. Job was definitely struggling with perspective. He had seemingly lost all that mattered to him and he was pushing back on God for his losses. Another of his friends rebukes him very strong and firm with some strong truth about God. Check this out…

7 ‘Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

8 They are higher than the heavens above – what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below – what can you know?

9 Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.

13 ‘Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him,

14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,

15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear.

16 You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.

17 Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.

18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. (Job 11:7-9; 13-18 NIV)

I don’t claim to understand all that God does or all that He is. I have given my life to follow Him. I believe He is Who He says He is in His Word. I trust Him. I don’t always understand why He doesn’t stop some bad things from happening. I don’t understand why babies get sick and die when I know God could change the outcome. I don’t always understand why bad things happen to good people – but I still trust in Him. As I sort through my emotions and my perspective – I realize that it’s difficult to defend this broken and decadent world that I live in. God is not bound by physics or science. He is the Creator of both. His ways are higher than I can wrap my head around, so I will continue to trust Him even when I don’t understand Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Riches, Wealth & Generosity

 

Hand giving moneyI actually enjoy being around people with money. It’s not that I’m jealous or envious (at times I must confess I struggle with that), but because they act different. When people have money they are treated like they are more special than people without money. While I enjoy being around people of wealth, I’ve learned that they have some of the same feelings and fears that I have. I have also learned that when I travel around the world even at my income level, I’m quite wealthy compared to some. There will always be a lot of people way wealthier than me and there will also always be people who have less than I have.

I see wealth and riches as way to glorify the Lord. I love being generous. I enjoy giving even more when it’s secretive and quiet. Those are times when the Lord is most pleased with me.

King Solomon was “filthy rich” – he was known for his wealth and his wisdom -that’s a pretty good combination. The Lord had richly blessed him. He built the temple, which took 7 years, and then he built his castle, which took 13 years. He was in construction for 20 years! He continued to amass great wealth even as he spent great wealth. He also finished what he started with the temple. Check this out…

51 When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the Lord was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple. (1 Kings 7:51 NIV)

I’m actually waking up this morning in the lake home of a wealthy individual who is incredibly generous with what the Lord has blessed him and his family. I do believe that it is difficult for wealthy people to trust in the Lord instead of their money. The recession that we all lived through taught us that wealth could be fleeting. I want to earn more and more money, but I want to be careful that I follow the Lord fully and have a generous spirit as I continue to grow my wealth.

Another major thought about people who manage well and accumulate wealth is that they can live a life of significance and influence. They can dig a well in a community in Africa or Nicaragua and give clean water to a whole community of people. They can provide for a homeless family to get a fresh start. We are never more like God than when we give. He gave His Son. He came to us. God is proactively generous, loving and kind. Wealthy people who can immolate that are blessed beyond compare.

Pressing On!

Dwayne