Humble vs. Prideful

Business Leadership Attributes and Features in LiteratureThese two descriptive words are on opposite ends of the spectrum. They are often obvious, but sometimes hidden just beneath the surface. I was raised by parents of humble means and I was taught humility at an early age. I think that pride is the root of all sin. I believe that it raises its head when I least expect it. In fact, if I’m not careful, I can be “prideful” of my humility. How wacked out is that?

I have heard this story that Jesus told while teaching His disciples about humility. The story was very possibly one that was similar to a real-life situation. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were very proud of their education, their heritage and their position. They were devout followers of the law, at lease the part people could see. Jesus called them “white-washed tombs” at one point – “pretty on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones on the inside.” Check this out…

Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:8-14 NLT)

The Lord cares way more about what is happening inside my heart rather than the “show” that everyone else sees. I do try my best to navigate each day without becoming “full of myself” when I accomplish something good. I must give the credit where it’s due – the Lord can do amazing things through me. The minute that think “it’s about me”, then I’ve become prideful and useless in God’s economy. I am thankful that the Lord uses regular people like me to serve in His Kingdom. It’s not about a title or position. He cares more about my “serving heart” than He cares about my accomplishments, accolades or my bank account balance. I’m convinced that if He can use me, He can, and will use anyone.

When I reflect on the giants in the faith, whose shoulders I’m standing upon, a theme runs through it – they were all humble and gentle in spirit. They were simply followers of the Lord who wanted to know Him more. They were disciplined in their study of His Word and disciplined to pray about everything.  I want to pray more and worry less. I want to know Him more and worry less. I want to trust Him more and live less stressed. I want to be humble and kind – serving others because He calls me to do just that.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

No Worries

 

Yellow roadsign with WORRY FREE ZONE messageIt’s easier to say, “no worries” than it is to not worry. When I say, “no worries”, I usually mean I’m not worried so the other person shouldn’t worry either. I’ve heard the old adage: “Worry is a lot like a rocking chair – It will give you something to do, but won’t get you anywhere”. I try hard to not worry about much.

Paul’s challenge is Philippians to worry about nothing, instead, pray about everything. Check this out…

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

19 And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7,19 CSB)

I believe worry can crowd out my faith and trust in the Lord. Worry says that I must be in charge or in control of my circumstances. I’m not going to act like I never worry. I can say I’ve really grown in this area because I’ve grown in my faith and trust in the Lord. I’ve learned that I’m simply not responsible for all the things that happen to me or could happen to me.

Worry can paralyze me.

Worry can distract me.

Worry can depress me.

Worry can weaken me.

I’m learning to trust the Lord with everything and do my best to worry about nothing. My prayer life has grown tremendously since I’m learning to trust more. I don’t have to be sitting at home in a quiet place to pray. My prayers are simply conversations with the Lord all day long. When I’m facing a stressful phone call or meeting – I pray for peace and patience. The Lord is the Source of my “no worries” attitude.

I will do what I can do and I will sit back and watch Him do what ONLY He can do! No Worries!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Prosperous Prayer

 

MoreI need to say that I don’t subscribe to the so-called “prosperity gospel” or “name it; claim it”. I know that there are those who teach and believe that. I do believe that God can do anything He pleases. I just don’t find it consistent with the Word that says, once you put your faith in God everything will be good. In fact, I think the opposite is quite common. I do believe that the Lord wants me to be prosperous in love. He wants me to be prosperous in serving and giving. There are those who have become prosperous financially and it did not derail their faith. Of course, there are many stories of the contrary as well where financial prosperity ruined relationships and destroyed lives. Prosperity is a relative word. I’ve been to some incredibly poor countries and people were prosperous. I’ve been to some wealthy communities where people were starving for prosperity. I have prayed this prosperous prayer from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi many times. Check this out…

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:8-11 CSB)

I keep praying this prayer over my wife & children as well as my entire family.

I prayer this prayer over my company.

I love praying this prayer over my customers and clients.

I think it’s wise to pray for wisdom.

I think it’s wise to pray for discernment.

I think it’s wise to pray before acting on an issue.

I’m praying that I will walk in wisdom and discernment that is dripping with love. I want to be prosperous in profound love for God displayed in my genuine love and respect for others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Door Of My Mouth

 

LipsI have been known to talk. Over the years, I’ve listened to myself talk and I feel like that I’ve sometimes wasted words. I am in sales, but I can cut to the chase. When I was in student ministry, I was in a “sales position” of sorts. I was introducing and “selling” how a relationship with the Lord could be a life changer. Today, I sell myself as a trusted, real estate professional. I also sell houses, land and commercial. In all these roles, I do find that I need to talk. I am learning that there is great weight and value in words. I try hard for my spoken word to have the same weight as my written word. I did learn many years ago in the business world that if it’s not written down, it’s not enforceable. I want the words of my mouth to be enforceable by my character. I talk to the Lord a lot about my words. King David welcomed accountability and I should too. Check this out…

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
    so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
    do not let me eat their delicacies.

Let a righteous man strike me – that is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me – that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
    for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. (Psalm 141:3-5 NIV)

I remember back in my college days I was part of a musical group and we did a musical a musical based on the study of James. One of the songs, I remember was: “The Little Red Devil Behind the White Pearly Gates”. I’m sure I was 20 years old when I first heard that. My tongue can get me in trouble. My life group is studying the book of James and this past week’s lesson was in James 3. James points out how I can sing, pray & praise the Lord with my tongue and crush someone the next minute with the same tongue. I’m learning to speak slowly and be discerning with my words – unfortunately it feels like I’m on lesson #1 of this class!

I think the most important point when I think about my tongue, is that the words of my mouth represent the things going on inside my heart. When I speak in frustration and anger – my heart is frustrated & angry. I believe my biggest daily challenge is to surrender my heart to the Lord. With that surrender comes my thoughts, my words, my rights. I want my heart to be daily surrendered to the Lord so that He helps control my tongue and my thoughts and certainly all my actions. My surrender to Him is the most important choice I can make today and every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Quiver Full of Arrows

 

Indians bow and arrows color flat iconI try to daily look at my life through the eyes of eternity. The decisions I make every day seem rather mundane, small or even insignificant. When I look at my life through the “eternal lens”, life is full of small decisions and choices. These small decisions and choices soon make up my life and my destiny.

I grew up in a family of five kids. We didn’t know we were on the lower end of the economic scale. I felt like we were rich even though we didn’t have a lot of possessions or extra money. My parents worked hard to provide for own kids. I really didn’t imagine that I would one day become a Dad to five kids of my own. I love being a Dad. I love seeing my kids figure out some deep things about the Lord. I love seeing them grow up and build relationships that will last their whole life long.

I came across a Psalm that I often quote when I connect with people with large families. Check this out…

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court. (Psalm 127:3-5 NIV)

One of the overflows of being a parent is often when our children start having children. I love being Pop and my wife is Nana. We love soaking up the love from those sweet little children to whom we are Pop & Nana. They really melt my heart quickly and often. I like what Zig Ziglar said about grandchildren… “If I knew grandkids were this much fun, we would have had them first!”

I continue to pray over my children.

I continue to love my children deeply. (Love is spelled TIME!)

I continue to listen to my children.

I continue to invest in my kids with my time.

I will continue being a Dad until the Lord calls me home.

I have a quiver full of arrows that has blessed me beyond my ability to express in words. I am so humbled that the Lord trusted me with children. I’m so thankful that they are growing in their love for the Lord.  I hope that for generations to come, my children, their children and their children’s children seek the heart of God in their daily journey.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Daily Prayer

Man praying with the BibleI grew up learning to give thanks at meal time. I had a memorized prayer that we sometimes called “grace”. It went like this: “God is Good. God is Great. Let us thank Him for our food – Amen”.  I also remember my nighttime prayer that went something like this: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray Thee Lord my soul to keep. If is should die before I wake, I pray Thee Lord my soul to take. Amen”. I value these little prayers that I remember clearly to this day. My prayers are way different now than back then. My prayers are not memorized these days and they are much more personal and even desperate. The sons of Korah penned a pretty desperate daily prayer, but it starts off with a tone of declaration of Who God is. Check this out…

Lord, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry. (Psalm 88:1-2 NIV)

I don’t have any magic formula for my daily prayer. I’ve just learned to talk to the Lord about everything and everybody. He certainly has the capacity to hear the prayers of His kids. He listens to the prayers of His kids and I believe that prayer calls upon the resources of heaven to intervene or intercede on behalf of those in need.  I don’t believe in unanswered prayers, but I do believe in prayers that I don’t like the answer that I received. The Lord sees things that I can’t see when He answers my prayers. Much like my parents protected me from dumb choices or bad decisions; the Lord knows what is best even if I don’t like it right now. I’m still learning that when I don’t understand, I still trust His heart.  I try hard to pray about everything and worry about nothing.

Pressing On!

Dwayne