Giving

 

Multi-Ethnic Group Of People's Arms Raised Holding Letters ThatI think that giving is one of the coolest things that the Lord ever created. He created giving when He first created the universe, the earth and mankind to live here. He also introduced the principle of giving in the Old Testament when He introduced the tithe. He reminded them again right before they entered into the Promised Land. Check this out…

22 Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. 23 Eat the tithe of your corn, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. (Deuteronomy 14:22-23 NIV)

This tithe was different than the money tithe. I don’t remember noticing this before that the tenth that the crops produced were to be eaten in the Presence of the Lord as a reminder of being blessed by Him.

I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan. I remember when Dave first said, “Live like no one else so that you can Live like no one else.” I started noticing that he added two words to that phrase. He now says: “Live like no one else so that you can Live and Give like now one else!” He obviously has lived that out to be given insight into the principle of giving. In my giving, I feel more blessed to give than maybe even the recipient of my gift.

My family tries to give thanks before every meal acknowledging the provision and blessing of the Lord. I’ve never thought of taking the food grown from the garden or any livestock and eating on the tenth before the Lord. I’ve never noticed that concept before. I do believe it is designed to create a grateful heart inside of me.

Giving to the Lord changes me.

Giving to the Lord reveals my dependence on Him.

Giving to the Lord acknowledges His Provision for me.

Giving to the Lord creates awareness of others needs.

Giving to the Lord blesses my heart in very unique ways.

Giving is so much a part of the DNA and Character of God….”For God so loved the world, that He gave His One and only Son…” (John 3:15 NIV)

I’m never more like my Heavenly Father than when I give.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Provision – Protection – Presence

Presence
I love to reflect as we enter the end of the year. I love to check on the lessons learned and the experiences learned from the “school of hard knocks”. There were some lessons that were painful and some that were expensive. I’m learning more and more to trust the Lord to lead me on through each day. If I will listen, He speaks. If I will notice, He shows me the way. I see His Provision in so many ways throughout the year. I also see His Protection as I had some close calls. I’m thankful that He shields me and shelters me from some pain and struggle.

The nation of Israel was close to going into the Promised Land that they were to inherit. Moses is reminding them of where they’ve been and how God has provided as they enter this next chapter of their lives. Check this out…

7 The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. (Deuteronomy 2:7 NIV)

I’m thankful each day for the Lord’s Provision. He provides in ways that are often expected, but He also “blows it out” from other sources. His Provision is immeasurable. He also protects me with a fierce passion. I’m amazed at the crazy close calls and the safety reminders He whispers to me. It is a good practice to take time to reflect on His Provision & His Protection.

I also don’t want to miss His Presence. His Presence is directly related to Provision and Protection. I need to spend time in His Presence so that He can work in my heart. He molds my thoughts and they become activities that honor Him. His Presence settles my heart when I face struggles. His Presence not only brings peace, but His Presence brings power and confidence. He is the Creator of all that I see and know and He dwells inside my heart.

Provision

Protection

Presence

Power

Perspective

I know that there are lot more words I would use to describe Him that begin with other letters of the alphabet. These will be easy to recall throughout today. I’m so very thankful and blessed.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Give Thanks

 

Pretty girl praying.I’ve grown up “saying Grace” before all my meals.

“God is good;

God is great;

Let us thank Him for our food, Amen.”

I learned later that I was doing more than just reciting some ritualistic saying. It is actually a time to pause and thank the Lord for His provision of food for me. I’ve recently decided to cultivate a grateful heart for all the blessings the Lord provides.

Moses was giving instructions from the Lord regarding offerings. To me these were tangible ways to say thanks to the Lord. Check this out…

1 “‘When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it 2 and take it to Aaron’s sons the priests. The priest shall take a handful of the flour and oil, together with all the incense, and burn this as a memorial portion on the altar, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 3 The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord. (Leviticus 2:1-3 NIV)

Giving thanks should be a part of the fabric of my being. I should be grateful for the simplest of provisions as well the blessing of abundance. Being thankful can change my entire perspective because the Lord provides all my needs. I was reminded recently that the word Gratitude has “attitude” in the middle of it. A grateful spirit will cultivate a great attitude in every area of my life. I think the Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He instructed Moses to have the people give offerings first from all their blessings. It was meant to shape their heart with gratitude.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Need Water!

A few weeks ago we were at home in the living room, watching a television show together as a family when a pretty significant storm came through. I went to the kitchen and realized that our water was off. I immediately made sure that I hadn’t forgotten to pay the bill and I hadn’t. I called into the water authority to make sure to report an outage. About an hour later, I was getting restless, so I called again and they had a crew out in our area and they discovered that lightening had went into the ground and took out the water line. I had never heard of that before. I asked how long would the repair take – I’m thinking showers are needed. I’m also thinking about bathroom stops too. We load up and go into town for showers. I was thankful for my water jug of Superior Mountain Water – we had great drinking water. We went to bed that night with the crew still working to repair the water main. We were not the only home without water. I realized just how much I take for granted that I can turn on the water at the faucet, wash dishes, wash clothes, flush the toilet without worry about ever running out of water. The water was fixed during the night and I had a hot shower the next morning and my world came back to normal. I sure did thank the Lord for water that morning.

PThe Israelites where in a place without water and panic was setting in. They grumbled to Moses. Moses passed their grumbling on to the Lord. Check this out…

5 The Lord answered Moses, ‘Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.’ So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’ (Exodus 16:5-7 NIV)

Water is a necessity to life. We humans can’t survive long without water. I don’t like to be thirsty for long. I wish I were the guy who thought of the idea to bottle water and sell it in the store. I’ve learned from my doctor over the years just how important water can be to my body. Instead of drinking carbonated drinks or sweet tea – I’m trying to drink good ole water.

I also believe that as water quenches my thirst and refuels my physical body– the Word of God can quench my spiritual thirst and refuel my soul. I believe that spending time in the Word of God is the simplest most powerful thing I can do today to enhance my heart and welcome the Presence of God into my life. Over the years I’ve become thirsty for more of Him in my life. The Word quenches my thirst like no other book or author can. When I’m thirsty – I can drink from Living Water!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Protection & Provision

 

ProtectedI am constantly thankful for the Lord’s protection and provision. I can see His hand at work in my life and in the life of my family and friends. These two character traits of the Lord go hand in hand.

The setting is that Pharaoh, the King of Egypt is feeling threatened by the size of the Israelite group living in his country. He decides to curb the population growth by killing all the male babies. He gives the order and carries it out. I can only imagine the desperation of the parents as their baby would be born and he’s male. I’m sure each family used desperate measures to protect and provide for their family. Check this out…

1 Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. ‘This is one of the Hebrew babies,’ she said.

7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?’

8 ‘Yes, go,’ she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.’ So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, ‘I drew him out of the water.’ (Exodus 2:1-10 NIV)

This is definitely a God-Story. The mother was desperate to protect her son and she hid him for 90 days. I can hardly imagine the desperation of hiding a baby for even a week knowing that if he’s found, he’ll be killed. I imagine that there were soldiers who came through the village every day or so looking for baby boys. As she’s preparing the basket boat, I imagine that she is desperately praying for God to protect her son. The mother was also providing an extra set of eyes, her older daughter, to watch over the basket as she put in among the reeds. The king’s daughter becomes a part of the protection and provision of God. It’s hard to grasp how all of this went down because the mom was able to nurse and nurture him until he was older, but then she gave him up to the king’s daughter. The king’s daughter even named the boy Moses. I wonder if the mom had called him by a different name. Her son was alive though and that really mattered.

God’s protection and provision is sometimes incredibly creative. He has resources beyond what we think about or know. I am learning to trust Him and constantly be grateful to Him for His protection and provision over me and my family.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Hard Test

 

exam test pass or fail iconI remember a few years ago when my son Jeremy was fighting cancer. It was grueling fight that really took its toll physically and emotionally. I clearly remember at one point during the chemo part that I really wasn’t confident that he could make it through the punishment and strain that the chemo was putting on his body. I remember having a very candid conversation with the Lord about my son. It was emotionally exhausting and still deeply painful to think and write about today. I finally told the Lord that if it was His will for my son to die, I would really be angry and frustrated, but in the end I would still hold on to the Him in the midst of it all. I felt like that cancer journey was a major test of my faith as well as the faith of Jeremy and many other family members.

Abraham was put to a very hard test. He has a kid at 100 years of age. He’s waited and waited on the promise of a son to be fulfilled and now he is instructed to go into the mountains and sacrifice his only son to the Lord. I simply can’t wrap my head around this. I would be a blubbering idiot on the journey and at the end. Abraham fully intends to obey. There are signs leading up to the finale of the story that indicate the depth of Abraham’s faith. He tells the servants to wait at one point because he and the boy are going into the mountains to worship and “WE will come back to you”. At another point the young boy notices that they have everything for their worship and sacrifice except the animal for the offering. He asked his Dad and Abraham replies that the Lord will provide.

The altar is built and the wood is placed on it. Then the boy is bound and place on the wood. I don’t know how Abraham can do this. He pulls out the knife to kill his son and then is stopped. Check this out….

1But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’

‘Here I am,’ he replied.

12 ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’ (Genesis 22:11-14 NIV)

This event stirs my heart deeply because I love my family deeply. I have lots of conversations with the Lord about my family. He knows how much I love them and I want to protect and provide for my family. I also hear Him telling me that nothing can come between Him and me. I do remind Him that my family is a very close second place. I’m so thankful that my son Jeremy is cancer free. I don’t have an answer for parents whose child was taken from them too early. I don’t believe that I’m more spiritual than them. I don’t know or understand how the loss of a child fits into God’s plan, but I do believe with all my heart that God takes trials and tests and turns them into incredible opportunity for growth. The bottom line is that I have to trust Him without conditional approval. This is a test that is incredibly hard and one that I don’t want to take.

Pressing On!

Dwayne