Straight Obedience

Teenage girl in trouble with parentsI will obey, but I might not like it. I remember letting my parents know if I didn’t like it. I have learned in my journey with the Lord that He really likes obedience. He wants me to obey without question. I can hardly imagine the obedience that Joseph was called too. His fiancé turns up pregnant prior to their marriage. She swears that she has remained pure. He has a dream. Check this out…

19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:19-21,24-25 NLT)

I believe that the Lord had rather have my obedience than any offerings or gifts I give. He would rather have my obedience than my worship. My worship is empty and meaningless, if I’m not walking in obedience. (I have been guilty of this for sure.) The Lord wants my obedience above anything I could offer or do.

I love Joseph’s obedience to the angel’s command. The world is different because of Joseph’s obedience. I’m sure that God would have found another way, but He didn’t have to. Joseph obeyed and honored the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Instructions

 

Following the Lord is not complicated at all – it’s really simple. Please note that I didn’t say it’s easy. It really comes down to trust and simple obedience. He calls me to do things that I wouldn’t normally do if my heart is selfish and hard. He has changed my heart over the years and I think differently and act differently.

I was reading in Revelation and it sometimes feels like I’m reading a sequel of The Avengers! My brother John is seeing and hearing some crazy stuff – stuff he’s never seen or heard anything like before. If I were to see and hear what he’s experiencing, I would probably make reference to the Avengers or some other sci-fi movie. It sure sounds surreal in his descriptions. I was reading about the proclamation of the first angel of three and the instructions to the people on earth are amazingly simple. Check this out…

Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He spoke with a loud voice: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7 CSB)

Fear the Lord and give Him glory. That’s simple as can be. He made everything we see. Nothing that I can put my hands on is completely man made – it all comes from some resource that the Lord made. Man can’t make something out of nothing. I believe that when John writes that we are to fear the Lord, he’s speaking of a healthy reverence & respect. After walking with the Lord over the years, I’m not afraid of Him, but I profoundly respect and revere Him – there is a difference.

As I walk through today and seek to live out my faith, I want the joy of knowing the Lord to give me strength, direction and purpose. I want to live out the gospel from the inside out. I want to give Him glory with my life – which includes my thoughts, words and actions. This is worship – the activities of my life give honor to the One Who created me. That’s about as simple as I know how to say it.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Heed & Ponder

Discussing the truthI want to be known for wise and sound decisions. I want to be cautious and careful of my words & actions as they will reveal whether I’m wise. I’ve had moments when I’ve made great decisions over the years and I’ve also had moments when I wish I could go back a make a different choice. I’ve learned to gather facts and seek wise counsel in all areas of my life. I may think I know a lot about a topic or subject only to find out that I still have lots to learn. It’s the people that act like they know all about everything that get into real trouble. I don’t want to be like that at all.

As I journey through the word of God, I discover that He speaks clearly into my heart. I must tune my heart to hear. As I read the passage below I was reminded that I want to keep seeking Him and learning from Him. Check this out…

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
    those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
    from east and west, from north and south.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.

41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
    and increased their families like flocks.
42 The upright see and rejoice,
    but all the wicked shut their mouths.

43 Let the one who is wise heed these things
    and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 107:1-3,8-9,41-43 NIV)

I am reminded that the Lord is the giver of all good things. He will counsel me and lead me through the darkest days of my soul. He will forgive my stupid choices and shower me with love and grace. The Lord is known for His grace and His mercy. He is known for His wisdom and profound insight. I would be an idiot to ignore Him as He speaks into my life and my situation every day. I want to hear Him. I want to ponder His wisdom and discernment. I want to walk in the way He points out for me to walk.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Faithful First

 

faith messageThere are many distractions and temptations in our culture that can take my eyes off the Lord. I sometimes think I can do things in my own strength and with my own talent, but the Lord can always do much more with what “little” I have. I’m learning every day to be faithful to Him first and foremost above everyone and everything. He is the Creator of my life and He is also the Sustainer of my life. He has never let me down. He has done things different than I would have done them, but at the end of the day – I trust Him – period.

Solomon’s grandson Abijah was current King of Judah (the southern kingdom) and there was civil war between the nation of Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah. The northern kingdom had 800,000 troops and the southern kingdom had 400,000 troops. There was also a HUGE Variable – the southern kingdom followed the Lord. Abijah gave a speech to the northern kingdom and tried to avoid the conflict. Check this out…

10 “As for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the Lord are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them. 11 Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the Lord. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the Lord our God. But you have forsaken him. 12 God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed.”

At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands. (2 Chronicles 13:10-12,15b-16 NIV)

The scripture goes on to say that the number of losses to the northern kingdom was around 500,000! The odds were now in favor of the southern kingdom. I don’t always understand the ways of God, but I trust Him. I don’t always like the position I find myself in, but I’m still learning to be faithful to Him no matter what.

I believe that the Lord honors faithful and consistent obedience over my words and my service to Him. He longs for a personal relationship with me. I’m just an ordinary person and He wants me to know Him more. I believe that the Lord wants my obedience over sacrifice. I don’t know what I will face in my life today, but I know He will be with me to walk through it. I’m not going to worry or fret about what today brings, because I know that He holds today in His hand and He goes before me and He stands beside me. My role is the life is to be faithful and to follow Him completely.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The One True God

God's mercy at the CrossI grew up hearing stories from the Bible in Sunday School and church. I remember my family following the Lord. I had multiple conversations with my Mammie, who had a strong impact on the formation of my faith. My parents lived out their faith daily as well. I remember some of the Sunday School teachers along the way. I remember our preachers and church leaders. I also remember that as a young man in college that my faith became my own. I was probably 18 or 19 years old when my faith became my own. I was living off my parent’s faith, my Mammies faith and the faith of our church. I’m now many years removed from that time and my faith is stronger and deeper than ever. I sometimes wish I could go back and live my life with the depth of faith that I have now.

The Israelites were down to their last king – the Lord God has had enough of their rebellion. They turned from Him and did not turn back. Check this out….

35 When the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, he commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow down to them, serve them or sacrifice to them. 36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. 37 You must always be careful to keep the decrees and regulations, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. 39 Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” (2 Kings 17:35-39 NIV)

I grew up studying the events and activities of God’s chosen people – the Israelites. I noticed how hurt and heartbroken the Lord was when they rejected Him. He did some extraordinary when He sent His One and Only Son to earth. All other gods that people speak of and worship today are not like Him. The other gods have it as a goal to get to them but Jehovah God came to us through Jesus.

I still though have this struggle with other gods. I am a selfish person. I want what I want when I want it. I sometimes forget the covenant of faith that I have with the Lord. I sometimes give in to my own self-centered desires and wants. The Lord wants my complete allegiance. He wants my whole heart devoted to Him. He wants me to trust Him with my wants and needs. I don’t think that I can make a commitment to the Lord today that will last a year. I believe that I need to make Him Lord of my heart today. When tomorrow comes, I start all over again, trusting Him with that day. I want to be a life-long follower of God. I want to honor Him with my thoughts, my attitudes, my behavior, my giving – all of me.

He is the ONLY One worthy of that devotion and honor. He is Creator God. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the God of Dwayne Hicks. I want to surrender every facet of my heart to Him!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Obedience

Obedience Respect Responsibility Words Honor AuthorityI still remember some of my teen years when I thought I was smarter than everyone else. Looking back now I can see how foolish I was to think that. I remember once while in college I got my Grandpa (aka Pappy) a card that said: “the older I get Grandpa, the smarter you get”! He loved the card because I think he realized that I had finally come through the fog of a “know it all” teenager.

As I reflect on my journey the Lord, I realize that I have so much to learn from the heart of God. He could teach me volumes of insight each day for the rest of my life and I still would not exhaust His Wisdom or His Knowledge.

I love the story of Naaman, the military leader for Aram “but” he had leprosy. A young servant girl who had been captured from Israel and made a slave to Naaman’s wife, told her of the prophet in Samaria. So Naaman and his entourage head out for Israel with a letter from the King of Aram in hand. He is sent to Elisha. Check this out….

9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage.

13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, “Wash and be cleansed”!’ 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. (2 Kings 5:9-14 NIV)

This guy had high expectations for what the prophet would do and was so disillusioned at such simple instructions as dip in the Jordan river for 7 times. There is a strong lesson for me to learn in this story. Sometimes the Lord doesn’t need me to do something big and complicated to honor Him. He really wants simple obedience to His call or His command. He calls me to be faithful, honorable, honest, teachable, kind and generous among other things. None of these are complicated or expensive financially – they are quite simple and can be accomplished by “simply” doing them.

I was reminded this morning that my walk with the Lord is not super complicated – it’s a daily walk….hour by hour; minute by minute walk with Him. I want to tune my hearing so that I hear His reminders to simply obey and walk in His way. I want my heart to be clean and restored daily as I walk in simple obedience before the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne