Where You Are

Man Hand writing Living a Thankful Life with black marker on visThere are times when I find myself in a place (not a physical place) and I wonder how I arrived here. If I allow myself to be moved around by the circumstances in my life and on this journey of life, I can drift just about anywhere. I have recently been encouraged and inspired to “sit up straight” and take notice to things around me. I am noticing my response to things that are negative. I am noticing my response to things that are positive. I’m am noticing my response to negative people as well as positive people. I am becoming aware of where I am currently, but more importantly where I want to go.

I don’t have grandiose dreams of being President, representative or hold any elected office. I don’t mind serving and helping the people who hold positions of leadership, but I don’t aspire to those positions. I’ve seen first-hand the games that must be played to hold those positions and it’s quite distasteful to me. I’m in a place of servant leadership in my church and I feel called to be here. I serve at the pleasure of the King of Kings. His credentials are stellar and complete. Check this out…

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8 CSB)

I don’t need a title to serve. I don’t need a position to hold. I don’t need lots of equipment or wardrobe to serve. The training is “on the job” serving.

John, the disciple/apostle was an eye-witness to the Son of God. He saw Jesus heal. He saw Jesus forgive. He saw Jesus teach. He saw Jesus love on people. He saw Jesus serve.  John finds himself on the island of Patmos – tradition says he was banished there away from people and society. He embraces where he is and serves from there. Check this out…

I, John, your brother and partner in the affliction, kingdom, and endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.  (Revelation 1:9 CSB)

“Wherever you go, there you are” is credited to Confucius. I need to become aware of where I am. I need to be aware of my attitude. I need to be aware of my heart condition. I need to be aware of outlook. My circumstances change quickly and I must adjust. I can’t control what others say or do. I can’t control the weather. I can control my attitude and response to the things that happen to me.

I made a commitment to follow Jesus many years ago and I’m determined that where every I go, He’s going too. When I get to wherever it is I’m going – I won’t ever be alone. He has never left me alone. His Presence make my “present” make sense. He knows right where I am, even if I’m not sure. I am here largely because of choices that I’ve made and He’s right here too because I wouldn’t be here without Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Stain Removal

Clothes with detergent and washing powder in orange plastic basket isolated on whiteI have been known to leave an ink pen in my pocket and then it goes through the washing machine cycle and then the clothes dryer where it spreads the ink to other clothes leaving ink stains all over the place. Recently, my youngest son did the same thing with Lip Balm and it left an oily stain on many of my clothes. My wife studies Pinterest and looks for remedies for stain removal. We have purchased many types of cleaners and chemicals that are designed to remove stains. There are some stains that simply can’t be removed. Some of my nice dress shirts became “work in the yard” shirts after being stained.

When I reflect on my life journey, I’m reminded that my life has some pretty significant “stains” on it. I’ve made stupid decisions in the past that left a scar on my soul. I’ve been forgiven, for sure, but the consequences or remnants of that sin often remain. I was reminded this morning of Jesus removes more than the stain of sin – He eradicates the sin itself. Check this out…

 But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26b-28 CSB)

I’m reminded of His purpose here on earth was to restore mankind to the Father. Jesus made a way to have direct access to God. There was no longer a need for a temple made with hands, the Lord now dwells in the hearts of those who’ve accepted Him as their Lord & Savior. He also removes the stain of sin from my soul. He doesn’t leave evidence of my sin, and He helps me navigate the consequences of my sin. I’m so thankful that my heart has been washed clean and that He scrubbed my soul with His righteous life.

As I check my shirts and pants for stains today, I’m thankful that my outer wear is not “covering up” a stained soul. I want to be “stain free” from the inside of my heart to outside of my whole body and being. I’m forgiven. I’m saved. I’m redeemed by the Stain Remover – Jesus!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Hope – Now & Later

AnchorHope is a word that can be used as a verb or a noun. I’m not an English major, but we have other words in the English language that have different meanings for the same word. For example: I have little hope that she will make a full recovery. (Noun) I am hoping that she makes full recovery. (verb) This may not mean much to others, but I think it’s important to discern between the two. I use the word hope as it pertains to my faith all the time. I have hope for eternal life. I believe that the Lord’s promises are true. This life is not all that there is. On the other side I’m living out the hope I have in the Lord. He gives me hope now and later. Check this out…

10 For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints—and by continuing to serve them. 11 Now we desire each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the full assurance of your hope until the end, 12 so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.

19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. (Hebrews 6:10-12, 19 CSB)

I have hope today as it settles in my soul. I want my life to demonstrate the hope I have in the Lord. I love the picture of hope being an anchor for my soul. An anchor holds the boat steady even when the current is pulling. The size of the anchor should be in proportion to the size of the boat. My 19’ Pontoon boat doesn’t require an anchor the size of a ship. Likewise, my little pontoon boat anchor wouldn’t hold a big yacht steady for even a second.

Jesus is the anchor for my soul. He is strong enough to steady me no matter how crazy the storm around me gets. He is here and now. He is present in my day to day journey when I invite Him in. He is also my hope in the future. He promises life after this life. The hope He has provided me in the present has deepened my convictions about the future. When the Lord entered my heart, the outcome of my life took on different meaning and significance.  I will never be the same again. My hope in Him changed my present and my future.

My current favorite about hope:   All My Hope is in Jesus by Crowder

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Love More!

 

White Box with the Word Love on the Sides Isolated on a White Background.My wife and I have a little contest to see who can love the other more. It is not just about words, but actions for sure. It’s a fun competition where we both win! I have also always wanted my kids to know that I love them deeply. I am never afraid to say, “I love you” to them. I can never hug them enough or provide for them enough. It is hard when they start becoming adults and they need to figure some of life’s lessons out. I simply can’t be the solution to their every struggle as they become grown-ups. I still can’t just stop loving and wanting to do for them.

Love is probably the most profound topic of our lives. Love is gentle. Love is tough. Love is warm. The Apostle Paul penned a beautiful passage that is used in weddings but really needs to be used in our everyday life. Check this out…

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant,is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CSB)

Love is the essence of the Character of God. He epitomizes love every day. He loved first. He loves the best. He is relentless in His pursuit of loving His people and having them love Him in return. His love made a way for us to have eternal life with Him.

I was listening to this song by Needtobreathe called: Let Us Love. Here’s the chorus.

Let us love
Like we were children
Make us feel
Like we’re still living
In a world I know that’s burning to the ground
Give us time
To beat the system
Make us find
What we’ve been missing
In a world I know that’s burning to the ground

I can be the best husband….

I can be the best Dad….

I can be the best friend….

I can be the best REALTOR….

I can be the best boss…

I can be the best singer….

I can be the best prayer warrior….

I can be the best at EVERYTHING – but without love I am a failure.

I want love deeply the ones closest to me for sure, but I also want to love others and care deeply for them. I want the love that God has shown me to be shown in every facet of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Escape

 

Running Man from blocksI have used this word escape many times. I like to watch movies for entertainment, but also a brief “escape” from reality. I had fun with our family at an “Escape Room” in Atlanta about a year ago. I have escaped car accidents. I’ve escaped bad relationships. I have escaped some pretty bad situations and I give the Lord credit for helping me escape. I am learning to let Him lead because always has an escape plan – a way out.

Paul talks about how the Lord will give us a way out of temptation. I have lived this out for sure. Check this out…

12 So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. 13 No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 CSB)

The Lord is powerful and insightful enough to make a way where there seems to be no way. I should never be full of pride for my behavior. I am who I am and what I am because of Jesus living inside of me. It’s not what I’ve done but what He’s done. I want to make Him known and let me fade into oblivion.

He has made an escape route for me too many times to count. I am so thankful. My life could have been destroyed. He is strong – I am weak. He is completely aware – I am often naïve. He is always present – I’m often absent minded and forgetful. I’m going to stick with Him as He helps me navigate the mine fields of this life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

ALWAYS!

 

Always Time to Do What's Right Saying Clock QuoteThis word carries with it some absolute meaning. It means “every time; on every occasion; without exception, all the time”. There are no escape clauses. Our Real Estate company has as its slogan: “Excellence. Always!” – a message we want to send to all our buyers, sellers and customers who work with us. Always is a profound statement that is a high mark for any situation. It screams out consistency and dependability.

As I read a passage of scripture in the Psalms this morning, I was reminded that the Lord is ALWAYS faithful, ALWAYS available, ALWAYS full of love and grace. Check this out…

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always. (Psalm 105:1-4 NIV)

The Lord never misses His mark.

The Lord never makes a mistake.

The Lord is ALWAYS present – He never leaves me.

The Lord is ALWAYS forgiving.

The Lord is ALWAYS making good come from bad situations.

The Lord is ALWAYS teaching me profound truth in the middle of suffering.

I know that we humans make mistakes many times over and are willing to own our missteps. The Lord doesn’t miss His mark or “drop the ball”. He is Perfect, Powerful and ALWAYS available to me when I call on Him.

He’s the “King of My Heart”!

I was reminded this morning to look to Him; lean on Him and seek His face ALWAYS!

Pressing On!

Dwayne