Goal #1: LOVE

Girl holding a heart-shaped boxI must admit that we throw this word love around a bit too much and we have, in some ways, cheapened it a bit. I can be heard saying that “I love” certain foods. “I love” playing on the water. I love God. I love my wife. I love my children. I love my family and friends. I love the people closest to me deeper than those that I barely know. Relationships are incredibly helpful to me and to every human. I believe that we were wired by our Creator to love and be loved.

The Apostle Paul is giving instruction to his young protégé, Timothy regarding teaching in the church. It is simple, yet foundational to the gospel. Check this out…

 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5 CSB)

Paul tells Timothy that love is the goal of instruction, but it is also the main goal of the church. Paul speaks plainly to the church at Rome about love. Check this out…

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up by this commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10 CSB)

Paul also writes a whole chapter on love to the church at Corinth. (1 Corinthians 13 – known as the Love Chapter)

I am still learning to love deeper and more profoundly. My wife and I have been married over 22 years and my love for her is deeper and stronger than way back then. Love grows stronger with commitment and practice.

The goal of my life is love. I want to love the Lord with all my heart. The more I know Him, the more I understand that He calls me to love like He loves. His love is reckless & lavish. His love is overflowing with forgiveness and grace. His love is all-consuming. I lose myself in His love and I start looking and acting like Him.  My goal today is to learn to love others like the Lord first loved me. I want my words and actions to be saturated with love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Best Self

Follow Lead Buttons Show Leading The Way Or FollowingA couple of years ago I was introduced to Darren Hardy who produces “Darren Daily” – a short motivational video that comes to my inbox every day of the week. He speaks about a daily habit or attitude that will help build me as a business leader and as a leader of my family. I enjoy these little video blogs and they help me grow. Yesterday’s challenge was about being my best self. This clip made me think and ponder my daily choices and ask the question: “Am I bringing my best self to work each day?”

I love starting my day listening to the Lord speak into my life through His Word. I feel like my heart gets rejuvenated and amped up for the day. This morning was no exception. I read in Colossians about more of what my “best self” could look like. Check this out…

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. 14 Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17 CSB)

I want to keep growing my “best self”. I want to continue to evaluate the direction of my daily life and my business. I want to keep growing as a follower of Jesus. I want to keep growing as a husband, Dad and Pop. I want to keep growing as REALTOR and Broker. I want to live my life in such a way that people are clearly aware that I’m a follower of Jesus because of the characteristics of my life.

My best self will always have Christ at the center of my life. I want to bring compassion, competence, consistency, skill, kindness, patience, service (this list could get long!) to every person I meet or work with. I want my best self to showcase my faith in the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

One-Sided Relationships

quarreled couple in their living roomI remember as a kid sending a note to this cute girl asking her if she would “go with me”. I also knew how to get other friends to “set me up” with the girl I was interested in. I’m not sure we went anywhere. I remember some childhood girlfriends and I’m sure I got hurt in that process as well as I inflicted hurt on others.  I believe that divorce is the result of a one-sided relationship. For a relationship to go sideways, it only takes one participate to start being selfish or self-absorbed.

Relationships are delicate and sometimes difficult. If a relationship is one-sided, someone is a doormat and getting used. Relationships are God’s idea and He built us for relationship. The Lord created us for relationship with Him and with others. He longs for fellowship with us – His kids. He also created us for fellowship with one another. Paul is trying to restore his relationship with the Corinthian church. Even relationship with our pastor and teachers need to be reciprocal to be healthy. Check this out…

 11 We have spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 I speak as to my children; as a proper response, open your heart to us. (2 Corinthians 6:11-13 CSB)

As my kids were growing up, we had lots of discussions about relationships. I talked to my sons about how to treat a young lady. I want there to be respect and honor “built-in” to those relationships. I believe that trust and respect are foundational to building a life-long relationship in any arena. If I can’t trust you, we will only be “casual friends”.  Some of my deepest relationships over the years have been with friends that also believe in God and want to walk with Him.  Relationships begin with something in common and builds from there. My faith is a huge part of my life and I have an immediate connection with others who are Christ followers too.

One-sided relationships are painful and expensive. They cost more than money. Their expenses are too numerous to mention, but I’ve almost lost myself in broken relationships. I also believe that there are ALWAYS two-sides to the story of a broken relationship. I’ve learned to enter new relationships with a lot of grace and truth. I am willing to work on building a relationship, but I’m not willing to do all the work.  My relationship with God don’t “require” a lot of work, because He did all the “heavy lifting”. If my relationship with God is going to work, I must invest myself into it. Someone spelled love TIME. I spend time investing in the relationships I love. It can be said that I love what I invest my time in.

I am a “people person”, but with loving deeply, I can be hurt deeply. I try to show patience and understanding. I have decided that I will only invest “lightly” in one-sided relationships. I will continue to love others, but I will pull back on my time-investment if things are simply one-sided. The Lord has been so patient with me over the years – He has my heart now, but I was reluctant at first. The more I know of Him, the more love and respect I have for Him. My relationship with the Lord is a more balanced than it ever has been and I think that’s how He meant for all healthy relationships to be.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Different Code of Conduct

Moving escalator stairs, love hate signI recently returned to work after a time of vacation. I must say that I did have a relaxing time with my family. My work can sometimes demand my immediate attention and at other times it rocks on smoothly. The biggest challenge in most of our lives are not necessarily with technology or certain products – our challenge is dealing with people and the different personality and perspective of others.

I must say that I was really ticked off the other day when another agent and I were really trying to work through a misunderstanding of our clients. I was really frustrated and my blood pressure was up. After getting off the phone, I remembered that I somehow must display genuine love and not speak the things that were going through my mind. That doesn’t mean I back down from my position on behalf of my client – it does mean that I stay in control of “output mechanism” (aka my mouth!) when engaging the other person.

This morning I came across a short two verses under the heading of “Final Exhortations” in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. Check this out…

13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

(1 Corinthians 16:13-14 CSB)

I can be alert.

I can stand firm in the faith – most of the time.

I can be courageous.

I can be strong.

That part about “do everything in love” really pushed on me. I don’t want to love people who are being total jerks toward me or my client. I don’t want to love people who try to harm me in business. I don’t want to love people who talk negatively about me and don’t have the courage to speak with me personally. My flesh wants to take over my heart on this topic. There are some people who are hard to love and there are others who are so sweet, genuine and kind that are easy to love. Paul used that word “everything” which left no exceptions. I can’t “do everything in love” only to the people who are easy – I must learn to “do everything in love” to those who are hard to love as well.

Today is a new day! I’m thankful to recall a passage from the prophet Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations. Check this out…

22 Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-23 CSB)

I will love even when it’s hard because Jesus loves me even when I’m an idiot or jerk. I don’t deserve the love and kindness of the Lord, but He gives it. I really want to learn to love like Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Standard or Upgrade

 

Web IconWhen buying a car, you can get the standard features or you can get the upgrade. The upgrade always cost more. When building a house or simple remodeling a kitchen, there are standard features you can buy, then there are upgrades. I guess standard is the starting point or the average. In our country, we don’t buy a TV when it wears out, we upgrade to the latest flat panel LCD. The other TV was working perfectly fine, but it was standard. There’s another category that I’ve seen since becoming a REALTOR; it’s called “sub-standard” which is below average or below the starting point.

In Romans 12 (possibly my favorite chapter of scripture), the Apostle Paul really lays out some standard Christian behaviors. These are meant to be the starting point, but they are often not even practiced by Christ-followers. Check this out…

Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. 

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:9-10; 16-18 CSB)

As a Christ follower, I should not do the minimum standards or starting points. I should grow from there. Sometimes Christians look the same as others who don’t follow the Lord. My behavior should be different. My language should be kinder. My compassion should be deeper. I should keep the spotlight on the Lord and not on me. My life needs to be governed by the Spirit of God living in me. He longs to be seen in me. I can’t “out give” or “out love” the Lord. I should keep growing in these areas and not settle for the starting point.

Today as I begin my day, I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience with me as I seek to build on the standards set forth and keep upgrading my faith by surrendering to His will and His way.

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