Called To Serve

Waiter with trayI still remember the pivotal night in my life when I believed that God was real and that He was calling me to serve in His Kingdom. I was 18 years old and I was watching a part of a passion play when Jesus was crucified. I had been living off the faith of my parents and grandparents up to that point. I remember telling the Lord that I would go where He wanted me to go and do what He wanted me to do. It was a life-changing event for me and my faith became very real. Fast forward to today and I believe that the Lord is calling me daily to serve in His Kingdom. Some circumstances beyond my control happened and I felt called to serve my children and in order to do that, I would need a different career path. I landed as a sales person in Real Estate nearly 15 years ago and I’m still being called to serve others even today. I believe that Real Estate is a serving profession. My calling from the Lord is still in place today, even though my “day job” has changed.

Jesus had just been baptized before going into the wilderness to fast and pray. He comes out of that experience ready to begin His ministry. He first goes home to Nazareth. I think He was connecting with His mom before His ministry began in full force.  He then starts building His team of disciples. Check this out…

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind. (Matthew 4:18-22 NLT)

I believe that the Lord still calls people today to serve in His Kingdom. I believe He calls people to serve others every day. I believe He opens up opportunities every day. A call from the Lord is deeply personal. A call from the Lord can also be public as in being part of His church called to serve in our community.

I believe that the Lord also equips people He calls to serve. He told Peter & Andrew that He was going to “show you how to fish for people”. He calls us and equips us to serve.  I’m part of something that is way larger than I can see or imagine. I need to be faithful to keep serving where He leads and calls me to serve.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Foolish or Wise

wisdom, stupidity road signI’ve been around some incredibly wise people. I enjoy hearing the story of their journey through life and the lessons learned. Wise people aren’t through learning.  I’ve also been around some foolish people. They only live for today and they’ve learned little from their journey. They keep making the same mistakes repeatedly. Foolish people aren’t teachable.

I came across this Psalm of David this morning that made me stop and think about which category I fit in to.  I do think of myself as wise for the most part- but I certainly have my share of foolish moments. Check this out…

The fool says in his heart,
    ‘There is no God.’
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
    there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven
    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God. (Psalm 53:1-2 NIV)

I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of saying: “There is no God”. My choices have sometimes screamed that out as I wandered from God. I have made bad decisions that haunt me to this day as stupid. I can say I love God all I want, buy my daily choices either back that up or make me out to be a liar.

I want to walk with the Lord daily.

I want to seek His counsel daily.

I want to make choices that speak to my faith in Him.

I want the activities of my day to point to Him as the Life Changer that He is.

I want the Lord to find me faithful when He looks upon my heart and my life. It’s not “rocket science” or some mathematical equation – It is simple obedience.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Create – Renew – Restore – Grant

Man praying with the BibleI like new technology and new ideas that enhance my ability to work smarter and serve my customers and clients more efficiently. I sometimes think that all these time-saving ideas should generate way more margin for a deeper relationship with the Lord, my family and my friends. I think the time-saving devices have simply made me busier and I’m able to accomplish way more in less time.  I’ve been working hard recently at creating more margin or space in my calendar to connect with Lord, my family and with others.

I read David’s repentant Psalm this am and it always stirs my heart. I can relate to David in that I’ve sinned and need to repent. I notice some things I had not seen before in the requests that David was making of the Lord. Check this out…

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:10-12 NIV)

Create – David was asking God to build something that had not existed yet – a pure heart. I sometimes think my heart is pure, but unless the Lord creates it – I’m not sure it’s anywhere near pure.

Renew – I think David remembered what a steadfast spirit felt like. I like to use the word stead as a synonym for steadfast. I so want a steady spirit every single day.

Restore – The joy of my salvation is not automatic. I think the joy of my salvation comes because of a pure heart and steady spirit.  I want to relax knowing that the Lord has saved me and I have no worries about my destination after death.

Grant – The willing spirit comes when I can push the temptations and traps of the enemy to the side. My willing spirit is an obedient spirit. I love the word “sustain” that David uses – this is a long-term benefit of a willing spirit. I can continue to operate at a strong sustainable level with a willing and obedient spirit.

This Psalm has moved me over the years because of my sin and stupidity. David is profoundly repentant from his sin with Bathsheba that shook his faith and harmed a lot of people. There have been times that I have pushed my faith to the side to get what I want even when the Lord is advising against it. I have sinned without counting the cost or even caring about the costs to my relationship with Him.

God is so faithful. He is so forgiving. He is so patient. He is so full of grace. He is so full of mercy. I’m not sure how to love like He loves. This repentant heart is a strong example of what a convicted sinner looks like. I can’t help but believe this was a huge turning point in David’s life – because he became known as a “man after God’s own heart”.  I don’t ever want to quit pursuing a pure, steady, restored heart with an obedient spirit before God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bold Following

 

Follow The LeaderI haven’t played “Follow The Leader” in quite some time. I used to play it with the children in kids church many years ago. There is a great lesson in that simple little game. We often played it under the guise of “Simon Says”. The idea was to only do what the leader says after he says, “Simon says….” It’s a fun game and if the leader is really barking orders quickly, it can be stressful and hard to follow.

The Lord had given Nehemiah a pretty big project to complete. The Lord provided resources through the King of Persia and the Lord provided protection and counsel to Nehemiah as he was leading. The enemies of Nehemiah were threatening him telling him that they heard that he was going to be king of Judah and that they were reporting this to the King of Persia. Nehemiah rebutted them multiple times. Check this out…

8 I sent him this reply: ‘Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.’

9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’

But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’

15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. (Nehemiah 6:8-9; 15-16 NIV)

I loved Nehemiah’s confidence in the Lord. He prayed that the Lord would “strengthen his hands”. That is a confident and bold prayer. He wasn’t backing up or backing down. Nehemiah kept his eyes on the “big ball” – getting the wall completed and the gates installed so that the city would be secured from many outside threats. The Lord was with Nehemiah because he was faithful to the work the Lord had called him too.

I want to be bold in following the Lord. I know it might not appear popular, but I do believe it always the right thing for me to do. If I will spend time with the Lord, He will speak into my heart the next moves I need to make. I’d rather be unpopular, picked on and put down but still be following the Lord’s lead than to be popular and well known. I want my confidence to be in the “unseen Presence” of God. I want to be an obedient, faithful & bold follower God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Courageous

Courage Vs. Fear Bowling Ball Strike Pins BraveryThis word is a derivative of the word courage which is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” There are many examples in our world today of people who are very courageous. I believe to be a first responder; you have to have great courage. I also believe to serve in the military; courage is a fundamental “must have”. When fighting against cancer, great courage is really important. I feel like my courage has grown significantly over the years as I walk out my faith in the Lord. He has inspired me profoundly. He has spoken great truth into my life. He has walked with me through valleys that were very deep and dark. His Presence in me has made me courageous.

I love the story of Micaiah when he was asked to address King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah and give them counsel from the Lord before fighting against Ramoth Gilead. He was one of at least 400 other prophets who was asked to give the kings counsel. Check this out…

11 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”

13 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.” (2 Chronicles 18:11-13 NIV)

I would love to meet this guy Micaiah. He was courageous and stood strong on the truth that came from the Lord. He was unpopular but he was correct. It turned out that Ahab did die in the fight against Rahab Gilead just as Micaiah had predicted. It takes great courage to “go against the flow”, but when it’s the right thing to do there is no other option for a courageous Christian. I thought about the movie Courageous where four men protected the citizens from harm, but it was even more courageous of them to raise their families to know the Lord.

The title song has solid content about what it means to be courageous. There were some lines from this song that spoke to my heart. Casting Crowns is the artist performing the song here.

…….The only way we’ll ever stand

Is on our knees with lifted hands

Make us courageous

Lord, make us courageous

 

This is our resolution

Our answer to the call

We will love our wives and children

We refuse to let them fall

 

We will reignite the passion

That we buried deep inside

May the watchers become warriors

Let the men of God arise…

I want to be a courageous follower of God. I want to live by the truth and values found in the Word of God. I want to follow Him even when it’s unpopular or I’m in the minority. I want the courage inside my heart to continue to grow as I choose to follow Him again today.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Motive

businessman making decisionThere is a reason behind everything I do. Sometimes it’s simple and/or stupid. Sometimes the things I do are well thought out.  I can keep my motives from others, but I can’t keep them from the Lord. He knows my thoughts. He knows my motivation for everything.  In the political arena, there are many opportunities to serve the people represented. There are also multiple opportunities to serve ones self. The Lord knows which is which, while I’m not always so sure. Check this out….

2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them,

    but motives are weighed by the Lord.
3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

    and he will establish your plans.
4 The Lord works out everything to its proper end – (Proverbs 16:2-4a NIV)

 

I think it’s important to go to the Lord with every idea or activity so that He can keep check on my motive. His Spirit can help me be clearly discerning with every single decision –whether big or small. I want His Wisdom to direct my paths. Check this out…

 9 In their hearts humans plan their course,

    but the Lord establishes their steps.
20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
   and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.
21 The wise in heart are called discerning,

    and gracious words promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:9,20-21 NIV)

 

I want to walk with the Lord in all my ways today. I want Him to speak into my choices and decisions. I want to tune my heart to listen to His voice and I want to have the courage to be obedient to His directions and His instructions. Being consistently obedient to His calling will keep my motives pure and clean.

Pressing On!
Dwayne