Thankful Heart

 

Girl holding a heart-shaped boxI want to have a thankful heart no matter what my circumstances.

I want to have a thankful heart in the middle of crisis.

I want to have a thankful heart in the joy of victory.

I want to have a thankful heart in the depths of grief.

 

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with a hateful heart.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with anger.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with selfishness.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with greed.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with envy.

A thankful heart can’t co-exist with jealousy.

 

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with giving!

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with love!

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with joy!

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with peace!

A thankful heart CAN co-exist with patience!

I think you get the picture – a thankful heart stands on its own and needs to be the foundation of everything good inside my heart.

I’m trying to commit this to memory this week. Check this out… 

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
    and desperately wicked.
    Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
    and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
    according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT)

I want to have a whole thankful heart every day for the rest of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Connected

Technology in the handsI am a huge fan of wireless technology. Whenever possible I use Wi-Fi, which is simply a name that tells me if there are wireless capabilities to a network. I think it’s pretty crazy to think of all the “wireless connections” in the air around us. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to see them all like tiny laser beams in the air. I know it would blow my mind. I have to be close to a Wi-Fi connection in order for it to work.

As I journeyed through John 15, I see that Jesus gives a connection analogy that reminded me that I need to be wired to Him. Check this out…

1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. (John 15:1-8 NLT)

In a crazy sort of way, I’m directly connected to the Lord. I realize that I’m not “physically connected”, but I need to be “spiritually connected” to Him. I need to be in close proximity to Him at all times. He is the ONLY Connection that promises me both abundant life here and eternal life after this life. He is the ONLY connection that brings peace, joy, comfort, direction and hope. I don’t ever want to lose my connection to Him. Without my connection to Him, I am nothing. He has built me and made me who I am. He built me for connectivity to Him. He is the reason I’m alive. He bears fruit in my life and through my life because I’m connected to Him. It’s certainly NOT because I’m great – It’s all Him!

I intend to remain “wired” to Him for the rest of my life. He is the Source of strength, direction, hope, grace, mercy, patience & love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Spoiler Alert!

 

spoiler alert text bufferedI enjoy watching a good movie. I remember watching movies in the past with someone who had seen the movie before. I was getting uptight that the hero or heroine was about to die. They knew the ending and were not worried. I remember a few years ago recording a Kentucky basketball game and somehow, I found out they lost, so I didn’t watch the game. If I knew they had won, I would have watched it just to revel in the victory.

This past Sunday I heard this phrase “Spoiler Alert” used in reference to how this life ends. I love the connection because we know Who wins in the end. I came across one of these spoiler alerts this morning in my journey through Revelation. The imagery is again pretty wild and crazy as John tries to describe these wild creatures he’s seeing for the first time. Check this out…

12 The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14 CSB)

If I’m indifferent to the outcome of a sporting event, I will usually choose sides. In fact, I often choose the underdog. In this case, I already know Who wins. He is also an incredibly Honorable Winner. He’s given the opposition multiple chances to repent and join Him. He has forgiven me multiple times. He’s extended grace to me when I deserved punishment. He is so patient with me as I stumble over the stupid and simple choices.  I don’t deserve to be welcomed to the Lord’s army, but He welcomes me aboard. He gives me the equipment and the courage to battle the enemy.

My life here on earth is preparatory for eternal life with the Lord. He wins in the end. He has already won.  He has already conquered death. He is flexing His muscle as Creator. I’m going to walk out my faith here on earth with my faith and trust firmly rooted in Him. I’ve known about this “spoiler alert” since I first read His Word.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Time Table

 

Organize Agenda Planner Reminder Calendar To Do ConceptI still learning the value of time. This is a precious commodity of our existence. We all have the same number of minutes and hours in a day, but we have no idea how long we have on this earth before our “time” is up. I work from a calendar every day of my life. If I’m going to connect with a friend for coffee or lunch, I must first check my calendar (aka schedule) to make sure I’m not scheduled to be somewhere else. It is simply my attempt to manage my time while showing proper respect to others for their time. If someone gives me their time, they are giving me a special gift and I should be wise in managing that.

I sometimes wonder how my life will end. I have another birthday celebration on the horizon and I do think about aging, sickness and even death. I can’t really control much of my time table. I can work at eating healthy and exercising, but in the end, I still have little control over the length of my life. Peter reminds us that the Lord’s timetable exercises great patience over His return. Check this out…

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 CSB)

I don’t know if I’ll be alive when it happens, but I believe that Jesus will return to take His people out of this world prior to its destruction. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience in punishment. I’ve deserved punishment many times, but the Lord’s Grace is exhibited in patience. He gave me the time I needed to “come to my senses” and repent of my stupidity and rebelliousness. I do believe the Lord’s Grace is immeasurable, unrealistic and ridiculous. Since I’m a recipient of His Grace, I’m profoundly grateful that it is all those things.

As I get older, I find that I can be more patient with myself and with others. I don’t have to have everything exactly on my time table. I’m learning that not everyone works at the same speed or is even cable of working the same pace. I’m thankful that the Lord’s timetable comes out of His Grace and Mercy instead of His justice & punishment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Patience & Suffering

Woman suffering from stress grimacing in painI am not known for patience, but I’m learning more every day. I am not filled with road rage, but I do get frustrated when others can’t seem to figure out how to drive their truck or car like the rest of us! (LOL) Patience is a very important character trait. It’s included as a fruit of The Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) I like being around patient people, it’s not nearly as easy to be patient as it appears. Our culture leans hard toward instant gratification instead of delayed gratification. We like things now and we don’t like to wait. The older I get the more aware of this epidemic of impatience. I was reminded of patience this morning, especially when things are not going as planned and suffering comes on the scene. Check this out…

Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.

10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:7-8,10-11 CSB)

People who have endured suffering are more thankful than those who haven’t. Suffering is hard and painful. It’s a struggle to suffer and I need others with me in the struggle. Those who have suffered are humble in spirit.  I would not wish suffering upon anyone, but I pray that those during suffering learn that leaning into the Lord is the best path through it. I also know that when I’ve endured suffering, I’m stronger and closer to the Lord than ever before. If I don’t trust the Lord in my suffering, I’ll become bitter instead of better. Suffering, Patience & Endurance build rock solid character on multiple levels. I’ve learned more about myself during these struggles. The Lord has built some character qualities in me during suffering and hard time that I’m not sure could have been built any other way.

I don’t pray for patience, but I really try to practice it. I pray for strength for today. I pray for the Lord to give me strength to endure hardship and hard times. I approach Him with a thankful heart for all that He has brought me through because remember my history of struggle and suffering gives a healthy perspective on today’s struggle. Someone quipped that “life is hard by the yard and a cinch by the inch”. I want to live my life out walking with the Lord through everything – the good, easy or the hard & hectic. His Presence in my heart gives me great strength and confidence to face whatever life throws at me. Life is not always easy, but He is certainly ALWAYS with me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

While We Wait

Patience concept.I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not patient when it comes to waiting. I have a lot of work to do in this area. I was telling someone the other day that I’d rather take the long way around then to sit in a traffic jam that would let me arrive in a shorter time. I obviously don’t have to commute into Atlanta every day. I don’t like to way very long for my food when I go to restaurant either. I really need to be more patient, but quite frankly, I’m afraid to pray for patience!

Paul in his letter to Titus gets right to the point in several areas. He gives straight talk in several areas of growth. I came across the three little words tucked in the middle of a sentence. These three words spoke into my heart about what I can while being patient. Check this out…

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people for his own possession, eager to do good works. (Titus 2:11-14 CSB)

While I wait, I can pursue God’s heart.

While I wait, I can live a sensible way.

While I wait, I can live in a godly way.

While I wait, I can love others like Jesus loves.

While I wait, I can serve others.

While I wait, I can teach with my life.

Waiting is really a part of my life. I often must wait for people to connect for an appointment. I must wait on the lender to get the buyer ready to close on the loan. I must wait on the closing attorney to get the title work complete so that the seller can sell and the buyer can buy. I must wait on the appraiser, surveyor…. the list could go on and on. I’m learning that waiting is simply part of living.

I smiled when I thought of Brad Paisley’s song from a few years back called: Waiting On A Woman.

I’m waiting on the Lord today. I’ve got plenty to do while I wait.

Pressing On!

Dwayne