Direct Connect

 

Miniature engineer team try to connect ethernet cables to portI remember some of the computer technology that was “pre-internet”. I remember having a “floppy disk” that had a program on it that would run locally on my laptop and then it created some sort of code that would transfer over the modem to another computer in Atlanta. I took my first real estate course online in this format. Today, with the internet, it’s more of a direct and “live” connection. I can take the class in real time and connect with an instructor. I think the world has so much more direct access to so many. It seems to me though, that as our world is so connected, there is less direct connection. I have a myriad of ways to communicate, however, it seems there is less connection happening. I think it was Seth Godin that pointed out how we go to dinner with a friend or loved one and spend more time on our phone connecting with our “fake friends” (on social media) rather than connecting with the friend across the table.

Jesus started giving His disciples a heads up that He was about to leave them and go back to the Father. This started a lot of discussion and concern among the disciples. I love how He took the time to further explain what was about to happen. Check this out…

20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.  23 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. 24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:20,23-24,33 NLT)

Jesus is explaining the “Direct Connect” that I now have with the Father. The disciples grew up in Jewish culture where you went to the priest and he then went to God. Jesus came to earth to open up this “Direct Connect” with the Father. I no longer have to go through a priest to speak to the Lord – I can talk directly to Him. I will often ask others to talk to Him on my behalf as well. I try to talk to God about everything and everyone. I’m certainly growing in my understanding of His Power and His Presence. This “Direct Connect” that I have with the Lord has given me wisdom and depth of understanding that I would have otherwise missed. I believe that the Lord can give me insight through this “Direct Connect” with Him. He knows everything and everyone. This “Direct Connect” has another more common term: PRAYER. Through prayer, I can talk directly to God because Jesus made the way or “built the Connection”! I’m so thankful for prayer through times of struggle, suffering and even times of joy. I’m learning to talk to the Lord in great detail about everything and everyone.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wisdom Brings Peace

 

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI have been known to talk when I should be listening. I have also been known to be quiet when I should have spoken. This can be tricky – knowing when to speak or not to speak. I also try to edit carefully what comes out of my mouth. When I relax a bit among friends, or around my family, I might say too much. There is much to be said about thinking before speaking. It is way too often that my mouth starts speaking before my brain catches up with what I’m saying – this can be disastrous and hurtful. I’m so thankful that the Lord sees my heart. I think the people who know be best also know my heart. I’m not generally a hateful or insensitive person, but I confess that I have been before. When I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I began dismantling some of these harmful habits. Guarding my speech takes wisdom and tremendous restraint. I think as I get older, I’m learning the value of restraint and timing.

The book of James devotes the bulk of chapter 3 to control of the tongue and then he finishes up speaking of wisdom. I believe control of my tongue is directly connected to seeking and cultivating wisdom deep inside my soul. Check this out…

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. (James 3:17-18 CSB)

The wisdom that is described here is profoundly simple, deep, thorough, and heaven-sent. I can’t find this wisdom apart from the Lord Himself. He is the Source of Godly Wisdom. There is a wisdom of this world that is self-centered, self-promoting, arrogant and prideful. It is destructive instead of constructive. I want the Lord’s wisdom so that my “radar” can detect worldly wisdom. James says in chapter 1 that the Lord gives wisdom freely. Check this out…

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 CSB)

This peace-loving, gentle, compliant (reasonable), full of mercies – it is real not fake. I love that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who are wise enough to cultivate peace. Wisdom speaks with purity and peace. Wisdom is open to inspection and a thorough “vetting process”. The more you drill down into wisdom, the more insightful it becomes.  The Lord has given me incredible insight and wisdom in my marriage relationship, my parenting role, my friendship, my colleagues, my customers, clients and even strangers. God’s wisdom is timeless and beyond description, but He gives it in parcels that I can manage and handle. I believe He disperses it in my journey in His Word, in worship and in prayer – among other ways. I would love to be known as wise and understanding and a cultivator of peace – If I’m known for that, then I’ll know that He broke through this earthly vessel known as Dwayne.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Special Training

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthSeveral years ago, I used to work out regularly.  I would take my lunch hour and go to Sportsplex and lift weights, working out the different muscle groups, mostly in my upper body. I participated in a Boot Camp that was a high energy, cardio work out. I told someone the other day, as I gestured toward my upper body, that this is what happens when you quit working out. Muscle will deteriorate and fat will take over when workouts cease. Unfortunately, I can be the poster child for this season of my life.

Recently, my wife and I downloaded FitnessPal onto our smart phone. This is a “calorie counter” & fitness tracker app. The first step in diet and exercise is to discover what I’m doing. I’m trying to keep track of everything I put into my mouth. I’m also tracking my physical activity. Who knew that table tennis and jet ski riding could burn calories! I remember a friend of mine used to say that he was never going to take up jogging, because he never saw a runner with a smile on their face! He also used to say that being in great physical shape is overrated because you can still get hit by a truck and die.

I came across a passage this morning where Paul was speaking to the significance of a different type of workout regimen. Check this out…

But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. 10 For this reason we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10 CSB)

I have been training in godliness for quite some time now. I’m not sure when I started this blogging/journaling of my journey in God’s Word, but it has made a HUGE difference in my life and in my perspective. I have felt the Lord speak into my life in powerful ways just by simply setting aside time each morning for my spiritual training/workout. I want to keep my eye on eternal life while I live out the abundant life here on earth. I don’t want to be so “heaven bound” that I’m no “earthly good” to anyone. I want to keep growing in my faith as I train in His Word daily and make application to my life.

I’m working at adding a physical element to my spiritual workout – a prayer walk. I walk a good bit throughout the day (thanks FitnessPal), but I want to be more intentional about walking with the Lord and seeking His Wisdom throughout the day.

All My Hope Is In Jesus  – Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Prayers

 

Praying ManSomeone once said that if there are tests in our schools, there will be prayer in our schools. Prayer, in my opinion is way more powerful in private, but can be an effective communication tool in public. I have always felt that the most effective public prayer warrior is one who privately prays regularly and often.

I believe that prayer is a powerful tool that the Lord has given us. Prayer calls upon the Lord to come help, come heal, come direct my journey. Sometimes I’m not sure what the next step in my journey looks like, the Lord can speak to that. At other times, I feel helpless to know what to say or do – the Lord can direct my words and my activities. Paul challenges Timothy regarding prayer – we should lift our leaders in prayer constantly. Check this out…

1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-3 CSB)

I must confess that there are some elected officials that I didn’t vote for, but they were chosen as our leaders. I can pray for them, even if I disagree with some of their policy decisions or core beliefs. I figured out a long time ago that I simply don’t know everything, nor does anyone else. I need to give those in leadership some room to navigate through the challenges and decisions before them. Now this doesn’t mean that I should stand by and watch them make bad decisions without me speaking up or speaking into a decision that’s before them. If I’m praying for them, it becomes harder for me to attack them on a personal basis. I can disagree with passion, but I should still show respect to those in leadership over me. (This is often easier said than done.) When leaders act immature or they misbehave, it is hard to respect them and the position they hold.

I will continue to pray for the leadership of our nation, state & local government. I will pray for wisdom and discernment to saturate their thinking. I will encourage them and be available to help them anyway I can. The Lord calls me to serve like this. There are benefits for me as well – “to lead a tranquil & quiets life in all godliness and dignity”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Blog History

 

Man praying with the Bible
This Picture captures how I want to approach God’s Word – humbly listening, seeking, reading.

I looked back on the history of this blog that I mostly call “my journey” that is housed here at www.dhicksonline.com. I began posting this blog/journal around 2009. I didn’t post things I had written right away. I started journaling about what I read in the Bible each morning. It really helped me to remember what He said throughout the day.  I don’t always understand the prompting of God’s Spirit, but I’ve learned to listen and tune in. I felt like He told me to share what He was saying to me with others.

This morning as I came across this chapter of Paul’s letter to the Corinth church, he describes how I often feel in my blog.  Check this out…

1When I came to you, brothers and sisters, announcing the mystery of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not be based on human wisdom but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 CSB)

I do not consider myself a theologian or a deep thinker – I’m just a grown man (55 and counting) seeking to know God more fully each day that I live.

I do not consider myself a prolific writer – I simply put down here in digital form what God is saying to me each chapter I read. (I’m super thankful for “spell check” and Microsoft Word!)

I know me. I know my thoughts. I know my words. I know my actions – I am profoundly grateful for grace. I am humbled that the Lord continues to forgive my stupidity and recklessness. I am so thankful that Jesus came to earth to become the Ultimate and Final sacrifice needed for all sin – including mine. I pray that any words I write from my journey introduces others to Jesus. I can’t imagine navigating the struggles and suffering that come along in this life if I didn’t have Him with me.

My daily journey begins with a quick shower, fresh (often freshly ground) Columbia coffee. I just started reading through a relatively new translation of the Bible called Christian Standard Bible (CSB) I began to really love the Word of God again many years ago by reading “The Message” by Eugene Peterson – it is the Bible in today’s language. I still love hearing how he states certain passages. After I’m awake, I ask the Lord to speak to my through His Word and I read one chapter and simple let Him speak – some would call it meditation. It’s not super complicated. I highlight/underline anything in that chapter that speaks to me. I then write a few words about how that spoke to me. There are a few themes that occur in my journey: Grace, Love, Mercy, Presence, Power, Prayer….I could go on and on, but some of these reoccur.

I’m thankful that my blog has encouraged and even inspired others when they read. I’m a bit concerned that some use this as their spiritual devotion with the Lord – I hope He’s tugging on your heart to know Him more. I promise that this is not super hard or complicated. The Lord longs to meet with me and all His children. He loves fellowship with His kids much like I love connecting with my kids daily.  I believe the thing that changed my perspective and has drawn my heart to the Lord’s heart, is making this a daily practice. I am determined to follow the Lord with my whole heart. I don’t check email or anything before I listen to Him speak. If you are still reading this installment of my blog – I wish for you to know the Lord and hear Him speak. He has given me great clarity for my life journey.

If you have no idea where to start, pick up a copy of The Message and ready the Gospel of John and notice Jesus. I also love reading the Psalms in The Message too. I’m so thankful that I’m loved by God and that He and I talk regularly. I try to listen way more than I talk to Him. Please discover Him for yourself – let Him say what He wishes into your heart. I wish everyone who ever reads or stumble across my little blog sees Jesus. I want them to know the joy of knowing Him and living for Him above all else.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Deep Strength

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthI used to work out lifting weights and doing some good cardio, but I’ve slipped tremendously over the last 20+ years. (Please try not to laugh at this confession.) I exchanged one discipline for another and the truth is I need both. I have grown deeper and stronger spiritually over the last several years, but physically I’m weaker (and older) than I’ve ever been.  I enjoy some forms of exercise like bike riding on the Carrollton Greenbelt. I must pay attention to my physical body and cultivate physical strength. The more important strength conditioning comes from my spiritual exercise. I started getting up early many years ago to carve out time that I could spend with the Lord focusing on His Word and His heart. That one decision changed everything about my perspective and game me insights into life that I never had before. The more I study and walk with the Lord, the deeper my love for Him grows. I look back and realize that I spent way too much time in the shallow end of His swimming pool. I want to go deeper every day with Him. The Psalmist was a human being who loved the Lord and walked deeper. Check this out…

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
‘The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done. (Psalm 118:13-17 NIV)

I would rather have deep inner strength than brut physical strength any day. The ideal would be both!  I have had times of suffering in my life where they physical exercise was a great distraction and helped me work out some stress, but it did very little for my spiritual journey. That takes time alone with the Lord in deep study, discernment and conversational prayer. He gives me strength I can’t describe. He gives me insight that is way beyond my education and comprehension. His Presence calms my soul. His Presence gives me strength to navigate the most challenging path.

I will say that there are times in my life, I’m not sure how I lived to talk about the struggle except that His is in me and He is for me. He flat out saved me and I want Him to use me now for His Glory and His Fame. I am nothing without Him, but with Him I have everything.

Pressing On!

Dwayne