Love Changes Everything!

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. VectorI recently connected with a young couple whom I had the privilege of performing their wedding ceremony. They have been married about 4 years and have their first child. I hadn’t connected with them since the birth of their little one. They asked about my family and how everyone was doing. As the conversation moved back to their little child, the young mom said that being a parent changed everything in their lives. She quickly added “for the better”! I often ask young parents, “Did you know you could love like that?” The answer is almost always “no”. Becoming a parent changes how we love. I profoundly love being Dad & Pop. The love that overflows from my heart to my children and grandchildren is an unstoppable force. I love my sweet wife and it’s a love that keeps expanding as we grow old together. Love is an amazing, powerful concept. Love is way more than words. Love is shown in actions and activities.

On the 14th of February every year, we celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day (aka Valentine’s Day). This event started as a celebration of saints but evolved into a celebration of love. I was reminded of this a I came across the “Love Chapter” in my daily journey. Check this out…

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13: 1-7 NLT)

If I were the most popular man on earth but didn’t have love – worthless.

If I were the founder/owner of Amazon, Microsoft – (you name it) and didn’t have love – empty.

If I were the most amazing REALTOR, helping buyers and sellers but didn’t love people – I would be a failure.

If I were the greatest husband and Dad on the planet but didn’t have love – I would be lost. I really don’t think I can be successful at ANYTHING without love.  God changed the entire world when He displayed His love via His Son. His love is ridiculous and knows no limits. He is the One Who taught me how to love. He loved me first and He loves me best. His love is really impossible to get my head around. His love is unfathomable & indescribable! I’m so thankful that He loved me and still loves me. If you’re reading this – I love you too – even if I don’t know you well. It’s because He taught me to love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Adopted

Adoption Word Cloud Concept in red capsI’ve learned more about adoption in the last 6 years than I’ve known my whole life. When my wife and I decided to be open to adoption of a young kid in Nicaragua over 6 years ago, we had no idea what the journey would look like. The adoption process is very detailed and every area of our lives was investigated before approval was given. Since our adoption was an international adoption, there was another whole layer to it. When all was said and done, we were successful in completing the process and we added to our family our son Lucas. He is such a smart kid, funny, fully of life and fun to be around. He is now a senior in High School and the Lord only knows the plans He has for this young man.

Adoption is not always easy. There have been hard moments on Luke and us as his parents, adjusting to one another. I believe that at times like that we have to show grace to one another, keep our eye on the big picture and move on. I also think it’s important to “lean into” the call of God.

Mordecai was the uncle of Esther, but he had taken her as his own daughter. She was entered into the contest to possibly become the next queen. Check this out…

7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.

17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality. (Esther 2:7-8; 17-18 NIV)

This young adopted niece of Mordecai was chosen to be queen of Persia. She did not reveal her family Jewish heritage. She had overcome the death of her parents and adjusted to being adopted by her uncle.

I believe adoption is a real physical picture of being saved. I am “adopted” into God’s family and Jesus becomes my brother. When my wife became an instant Mom (stepmom) to my three oldest children 21 years ago, she loved them unselfishly and constantly. We had to learn some new ideas about parenting. Then when Luke came along 15 years later, we had more new things to learn about parenting. I love my family and the journey we’ve been on. The Lord is clearly orchestrating some special places for my kids to serve. I love the fact that Mordecai never made the success of his “daughter” about him. He encouraged her, advised her to help her become successful. As I read this incredible story, I can see the hand of God throughout. I want the favor of God and the hand of God upon my family as He continues to write our story. We set out to save one kid through adoption, but the process saved us and is still teaching us about the heart of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

An Innocent Child Leader

 

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthI love seeing the innocence of a young child. They really only know what they’ve been taught. Many children learn volumes from their environment. They learn from their parents or caregivers. Their values are caught from observation more than what is being taught. For example, if a parent teaches them to tell the truth but then lies, the child will be more likely to become a liar. I’m not trying to be harsh or critical of parents but how I live speaks much longer and has much more substance than anything I could say. Words are cheap and easy – living out my faith is way more challenging.

After Ahaziah was killed, his wicked mother seized power and proceeded to kill anyone who would be an heir to the throne. That means she was killing her other sons and her grandsons because she wanted to rule the kingdom. One of her daughters took the one-year-old son of the late king and hid him with his nurse in the Temple. He remained hidden there for six years.

4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the commanders of units of a hundred, the Carites and the guards and had them brought to him at the temple of the Lord. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath at the temple of the Lord. Then he showed them the king’s son.

12 Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’ (2 Kings 11:4, 12 NIV)

I find it hard to imagine a 7-year-old king having much wisdom and discernment. He was obviously the product of his nurse and his mother investing into his life. I do know some 7-year-old boys that trust the Lord. I don’t think they would be elected president, but I do think that they would have some good ideas about cleaning up the elaborate political mess that our country finds itself in.

The Lord is really in charge of Joash becoming king. The Lord can use anyone He chooses at any time He chooses to lead on His behalf. One of the first things that was done when Joash became king was to clean up and clean out the Baal worship.

I was reminded about Jesus encounter with little children. His disciples didn’t think He had time for the children. He took them in His lap and blessed them. Check this out….

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16 NIV)

Parents have a huge responsibility in the teaching and training of their children. As a parent, I have to start with me and it needs to be so much more than “lip service” to God. I need to trust Him with my heart. I need my behavior to flow from a heart that is committed to His Way and His Will for me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne