Rear View Perspective

 

rear view mirrorI recently purchased towing mirrors for my truck because I use it to tow my camper and I need to be able to see the traffic around me as well as the sides of the road, etc… They are so big that they are somewhat distracting. In fact it has taken me a few weeks to get used to them. Sometimes the rear view mirror is really helpful to going forward. I can sometimes see who or what is racing up behind me. I can also learn from what has happened in my life’s rear view mirror. In fact that’s the mirror I look into a lot.

Joseph’s rear view mirror is full of a bunch of crazy experiences. His brothers, because of the jealousy and envy, sold Joseph as a slave into Egypt. He was sold again to Potiphar’s household where Potiphar’s wife (aka “Hotiphar”) seduced him, but he refused to sleep with her. He was then falsely accused by her and thrown into prison for a few years before interpreting Pharaoh’s dream that landed him a “dream job”! After preparing for the 7 years of famine, he is the manager of the food-dispensing project and his brothers who had sold him into slavery come to buy food. He doesn’t reveal who he is, but he sure knows who they are. On the second trip to Egypt, he can’t hold his identity back any longer. Check this out….

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me.’ When they had done so, he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no ploughing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8 ‘So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. (Genesis 45:4-8 NIV)

I can only imagine the feeling that his brothers had upon learning who this ruler of Egypt really was. He could so have “paid them back” for what they did to him. He had forgiveness in his voice. It was obvious that he had forgiven them many years ago and the fruit of this forgiveness was fellowship, friendship and family restoration. The stellar character of Joseph blows me away. His belief in God and God’s provision for him, made it possible for perspective and forgiveness. Check this out…

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

I believe God used the bad things that happened to Joseph for good.

I believe God could have taken care of the famine another way if He chose; or not even allowed a famine.

I believe God really reveals something of Himself in this historical account. He is committed to the family of Jacob and He can work through any circumstance to accomplish His will.

As I reflect on my journey – the ups and the downs; the pain and struggles – otherwise known as transitions, I can so see how God made good come out of my struggles. He doesn’t always avert trouble; He just guides me through it. I do like for life to be easy, but I learn more about Him when life is hard. I do trust Him and so I’ll face today with no worries about what I’ll face because when tomorrow comes, today will be in the rear view mirror!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mountains

 

Mountain landscapeOne of my favorite places to go is to the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee. I spent four years there getting my under graduate education and then lived in Maryville (aka Murraville) another two and a half years. I loved being out driving to a store or going somewhere and looking up and seeing the mountains in the distance. There is something so majestic about the mountains. They are beautiful. They are big. They don’t move. I have climbed a mountain. I have driven up the mountain. I’ve ridden a tram up the mountain. I enjoy visiting Stone Mountain here in Georgia. This morning Micah reminded of a most important mountain. Check this out….

1 In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established

    as the highest of the mountains;

it will be exalted above the hills,

    and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say,

‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

    to the temple of the God of Jacob.

He will teach us his ways,

    so that we may walk in his paths.’ (Micah 4:1-2a NIV)

I love the picture of the Lord teaching me on His Mountain. Being on the mountain with the Lord gives me incredible perspective to the valley below. I’d love to live on the mountain, but most of life is lived out in the valley. The mountain is visible from the valley, but sometimes the valley gets dark and the mountain is hard to see even if it’s there. There are times the fog comes in and covers the mountain, but it’s still there. I don’t ever want to get stuck in the valley and miss out on going up to the mountain with the Lord. I need His teaching. I need His instruction. I need His direction for life in the valley.

I remember Abraham worshipping God on the mountain and being willing to surrender his own son but God provided a sacrifice. I remember that Moses met God on the mountain and there received the Ten Commandments. I remember that Jesus often went to the mountain to pray. I want to make frequent visits to the “mountain of the Lord” and hear Him speak into my heart about the direction of my life. I want to continue to learn the ways of the Lord and have the courage to walk in His paths.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Plumb Line

 

I’m not a professional builder by any means, but I have seen this used in framing a building. A plumb line is simply a line with a plumb attached to it used to determine depth of water and the vertical on an upright surface. It’s like telling if a building is “level” vertically. The prophet Amos was simply conveying to the king what the Lord was telling him to say. Check this out….

7 This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. 8 And the Lord asked me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’

‘A plumb-line,’ I replied.

Then the Lord said, ‘Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

9 ‘The high places of Isaac will be destroyed

    and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined;

    with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.’ (Amos 7:7-9 NIV)

I want my heart to be “plumb” before the Lord. The Lord knows if my heart is “plumb”. He can measure my heart any time. He understands that if my heart is “plumb” before Him, the rest of my life will honor Him. By studying and digging deep into His Word, helps keep my heart vertically level. This is crucial to my daily perspective and my eternal perspective.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Complete Destruction

Tornado aftermath in Henryville, IndianaThere is destruction where some things are salvageable. There are times when destruction occurs that things can be repurposed. There is also times when almost nothing is salvageable. The destruction is complete. This type of destruction is so permanent and painful.

The Lord was full of wrath and completely destroyed the people defiling His temple. Ezekiel falls on his face and asked if He’s going to completely destroy the remnant of Israel. The Lord answered him. Check this out….

9 He answered me, ‘The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, “The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.” 10 So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.’ (Ezekiel 9:9-10 NIV)

 

There are times when complete destruction is completely devastating. There are other times when it’s a cleansing and a new perspective comes out of the rubble. These people were completely disobedient to the Lord and rubbing His nose in it. They had been warned multiple times and still they refused to repent.

I want to have a humble, contrite and repentant heart when in comes to my sin. I don’t want to arrogantly defend myself. I want to take responsibility for my stupidity and attempt to make amends and move forward once again. I’m thankful for the patient persistence of the Lord. I don’t want to be so hard headed and stubborn that I can’t see when He’s warning me and calling me out.

I want my heart to be completely devoted to Him and avoid complete destruction of all that is around me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Attitude & Perspective

Grace AND TruthA positive attitude often leads to a positive perspective. Usually people with a positive attitude reflect a positive outlook on life. There are times when people with positive attitudes have their “head in the sand” to what is happening around them. I do think that there is a nice way to say everything, but sometimes the news is bad and there’s not a good way to spin it into something positive. Sometimes when bad things happen to us something good flows out of it. That is one of The Lord’s strengths. He makes good out of bad. There are also times when the consequences of our sin and bad choices are deep and long term. The Lord’s people faced such long-term consequences for their choices. The Lord pronounces a strong punishment. Check this out….

22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord.
    “Should you not tremble in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,
    an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
    they may roar, but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts;
    they have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
    ‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains in season,
    who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
    your sins have deprived you of good. (Jeremiah 5:22-25 NIV)

 

I really want to have a shapeable heart.

I want to have a heart quick to repent.

I want to have a heart that is quick to return to the Lord when I stray.

I want my heart to be like His.

I want Him to consume my heart.

When my heart is in pursuit of His heart, my attitude and perspective reflect His attitude and His perspective. That really sums up what He wants from me and what I need from Him.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Battle Perspective

iwo jima memorialIn a battle there are those in the midst of the battle – hand-to-hand combat. There are also those in command who are at a distance with perspective on the battle at hand. Then there are those who are the top leaders of the country who are looking from a perspective of not only this battle but all of the threats that the country faces. Check this out…

so the Lord Almighty will come down
    to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
5 Like birds hovering overhead,
    the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
    he will “pass over” it and will rescue it.’
6 Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. 7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made. (Isaiah 31:4b-6 NIV)

 

The Lord has every possible perspective and angle on any battle I face. He is Present. He is my Protection. He is my Provider. I will not fear because He is present. I will not give up or give in. He provides strength for the battle. He provides weapons for the war. I am really grateful for His leadership in my life. Each battle I face fits into the perspective of my life here on earth and the eternal life that is next.

Pressing On!
Dwayne