Deep

 

Two Scuba Divers With CopySpaceI’ve been mesmerized by scuba diving in the ocean depths. I think that experiencing that in more shallow waters might make it to my bucket list.  I have a healthy respect for deep water because I’m aware that I don’t have gills and can’t breathe under water. I am fascinated by the ocean and the way it never stops. The waves come crashing into shore and the sound of that crashing calms my heart. I know that I sound a bit weird. I’ve never ventured way out into the ocean because I feel a lot more secure anchored to land. The oceans has a lot of unknowns and that interests me and scares me a bit at the same time.

I love how the Apostle Paul speaks of the depths of knowing the Lord. If the ocean is deep (and it is), the depth of God’s wisdom and knowledge are deeper still. Check this out..

33 Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments
and untraceable his ways!
34 For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?
35 And who has ever given to God,
that he should be repaid?
36 For from him and through him
and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 CSB)

The Lord is difficult to describe. I’m a pretty simple minded person. I can’t begin to make the Lord simple. His love is simple. His mercy and grace is both simple and complex. The more I study the mercy and grace of God, the more I want to follow Him fully and experience both. I am a recipient of both His grace and mercy many times over even though I don’t fully grasp that depth of love.

I want to go deeper in my relationship with the Lord. I want to talk to Him differently. I want to hear the deep whispers in my journey with Him. I want to see His face. I want to put my head on His chest. I want to know Him fully. I want Him to speak to me through His Word. I want His Spirit to direct my spirit. I want His heart to invade my heart. I want to die to myself and live fully for Him. He is so deep and vast, but I want to keep seeking knowledge and understanding of His heart. I to live for Him so I can live forever with Him. I realize that I’m simply trying to follow Him fully, but that’s all He asks.

This passage reminded me of a song by one of my favorite bands of years gone by: Deeper by Delirious.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Patience, Kindness & Restraint

 

Patience concept.I have grown a lot in my patience over the years. I think as the years go by, I realize that I can’t control much of what makes me impatient. Traffic, for example is totally beyond my control – so I have learned to go with the flow or take another route to the destination. My wife would probably give some commentary here about how I’m still growing in this area. I’m not super patient with incompetence of others. I’m not patient with teenager who can’t seem to do their chores in a timely manner. I’m still learning patience. I’m learning that the patience of God is quite an example. I have thanked Him many times over for His patience with me and those I love. It is so easy for me to be impatient and unkind with someone else who doesn’t “get it” while I’m extremely patient and kind to myself when I’m slow to respond. Paul explains the strategy behind the kindness & patience of God. Check this out…

1Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:1-4 CSV)

The Lord is watching closely how I treat others.

The Lord is watching closely how I respond to His kindness & patience.

His love is demonstrated profoundly through His patience & kindness. I’m so thankful for His restraint, His kindness and His patience. This draws me to Him. I don’t deserve these expressions of love, but I’m so thankful.

I would be very wise to show others restraint, kindness & patience.  This passage reminded me of a song by Chris Tomlin that I heard years ago that blessed me then and it still speaks into my heart.  Kindness (written by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves & Louie Giglio)

Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down the cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
Hear our cries lord let ’em rise
Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down the cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
Hear our cries lord let ’em rise

It’s your kindness lord
That leads us to repentance
Your favor lord, is our desire
It’s your beauty lord
That makes us stand in silence
Your love
Your love
Is better than life

We can feel
Your mercy falling
You are turnin our hearts back again
Hear our praises rise to heaven
Draw us near lord
Meet us here
____________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

No Limits

 

square grunge red no limits stampThere are boundaries and limits all around me. I can’t imagine a life without some limits. I remember when I was young and living under the rules of my parents. During those times, I had to let them know when I’d be home and where I was going when I went out with friends on the weekend. I grew up respecting their rules but I was also ready to be out from under them. I went to college, only to find more rules and boundaries. The college I went to was a Christian College and it had a lot more rules. The purpose of those rules was obvious – trying to help me make good choices and not hurt others or myself. Fast forward a few years and I get married. There are boundaries inside of marriage. The boundaries are there to protect the relationship and the family unit. I guess the idea of having no limits or boundaries sound good, but it’s not real applicable to my world.

The Psalmist reminds me that the Lord has no limits. He can do anything He wants. He can go anywhere He wants at any time He wants. Check this out….

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground. (Psalm 147:1-6 NIV)

God can do anything EXCEPT fail. I’ve learned to lean upon Him for everything. I’ve learned to trust Him without exception or question. I’m still discovering insights to the Lord that I had not seen previously to this extent. His Presence in my life has and still does – blow me away. I find great peace in His Presence. I love singing songs to the Lord because I know Him and I want to know Him more.

My God created the heavens and the earth and He loves to hear from me. I’m just a peon here on the planet that He created but He wants to hear from me. He loves it when I sing to Him and about Him. He loves it when I talk to Him and about Him. He loves when my heart is devoted to His heart.  When I trust Him with my whole heart and my whole life – there is no limits to the depths of my love and devotion. There are no limits on the Power of God. There are no limits on the Grace of God. There are no limits on Mercy of God. There are no limits on the Presence of God. I can’t comprehend all of this, but I will simply trust and obey His call upon my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mercy, Refuge & Rescue

 

God's mercy at the CrossI can remember in my life in the not-so-distant past when I felt like I could not stand under the strain of suffering. I remember having a job one day and the next it was gone. I remember clearly the devastation of divorce nearly 25 years ago. I remember the news of my son having cancer. I remember the call from the ENT telling me that they are air-lifting my son to Atlanta because of injuries he incurred when he fell from a tree.  I could go on and on about suffering and struggle in my life, but those are in my top 5. I have learned that my strength to stand comes from kneeling down before the Lord in surrender and worship. I believe that King David felt the same way. He was hiding in a cave and penned a great psalm/prayer of mercy, refuge & rescue. Check this out…

I cry aloud to the Lord;
    I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
    before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
    no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, ‘You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.’

Listen to my cry,
    for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
    for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
    that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
    because of your goodness to me. (Psalm 142:1-7 NIV)

I can do nothing without the Lord. I can’t possibly navigate through the ups and downs of life without Him. The longer I walk with Him daily, the more convinced of this I am. His Presence and His Strength are beyond measuring. He helps me understand the struggle. He helps me through. I believe in His mercy. I believe He is my refuge – I can ALWAYS lean into Him. I can always count on Him for rescue. The way He supplies mercy, refuge and rescue does not always come when I command or ask – His timing and His plan is always spot on – even when I don’t understand.  I look back at the big struggles in my life and see how the Lord made good out of bad situations. His plan is way bigger than my plan. He’s used my struggles to teach me and build me for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Search

 

search with magnifying glassI am not super afraid of the dark. I don’t like looking for things in the dark. The light eposes the search area. Even in the middle of the day there are dark areas (like closets) that need to be searched and light is needed for that search. I’m willing to search for answers. I’m willing to search for details. My internet search often begins with google. When I search for the Lord I go to His Word.

King David has written a very eloquent Psalm that speaks of searching AND finding. Check this out…

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.

11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,’
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139: 1-4,11-12,23-24 NIV)

I can lose the Lord.

The Lord can’t lose me.

He knows me like no one else and loves me profoundly. I don’t completely understand that kind of love. I’m learning a lot about grace which is the key to understanding His love. I learned more about grace when I needed it than when it was just a concept. When grace became my song, I embraced it and welcomed its arrival. Jesus came to bring forgiveness. Grace is repeat forgiveness plus mercy. When He poured out His grace upon me, I want to lift praise for Him. I deserve punishment not reward.

Your Grace Finds Me

(please note that it’s not “found” – He finds me – Present Tense!)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Renown

fameThis is not a word that I use in everyday conversation, but it is a word that I have used in speaking about The Lord.  I looked it up and there is not a lot of detail in it’s definition. It simply means: “widespread high repute; fame”. (On a side note, “high repute” means high reputation, high estimation in the view of other, a good name, respect.) I want to be a man known for making The Lord famous and not seek the spotlight in the process. His fame and His renown is significant because He changes lives. He builds beautiful people out of broken situations. He restores people who have been discarded. He forgives and lifts the fallen. His Power and His Presence leave me in awe.

The Psalmist asks that we praise the Lord and lift His name. Check this out…

I know that the Lord is great,
    that our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
    in the heavens and on the earth,
    in the seas and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
    he sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

13 Your name, Lord, endures forever,
    your renown, Lord, through all generations. (Psalm 135:5-7,13 NIV)

The Lord is famous without me saying so. I do believe that He is Who He says He is. I do believe that those who refuse to believe in Him today will one day bow before Him – possibly too late. I have been on a journey with the Lord for the past few years that has been at a different level than when I was young. I think I understand Him and know Him more personally because of suffering and struggle. I have been through some hard situations and when suffering comes, some of the distractions and shallow thinking exits. The Lord leans into me during suffering. He has not once left me alone in suffering and struggle even though I’ve left Him. I feel like the Psalmist is praising the Lord profoundly because he was humbled through suffering and struggle, yet restored through forgiveness and kindness of the Lord.

I want others to know the Peace that comes with the Presence of God. It is not magical, but it is practical. The Lord is Who He claims to be in scripture. He did create the heavens and the earth. He does save all who believe on Him. I just wish everyone could know what I know and feel what I feel and experience Him first hand. The crazy part is He just needs to be invited into one’s heart. I’m trying hard to give Him total control of my life, my thoughts – all that is me.  I really don’t care about becoming famous, but I want my life to make Him famous. He has done all the work saving me and shaping my heart, my words, my life. He gets all the credit for any good that I have possibly done or said. His renown is the goal of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne