Pursuit

follow your heart words holding by businessman's handI sometimes think of this word in negative terms. For example, when a car with blue lights is in pursuit of my car, I know I’m about to get a “safe driving award” for exceeding the speed limit. I’ve not been pursued like this in a good while and I’m thankful. I also try to think of this word in a positive way – pursuing hopes and dreams. I still have those for my life. I want to be in daily pursuit of my goals and ambitions.

I came across a story in the book of John that reminded me of the word “pursuit” even though it’s not in the scripture. Check this out…

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. (John 21:4-9 NLT)

I was immediately reminded of the event found in Matthew 14 when the disciples were in the boat in the middle of the night and a storm came up and they were struggling to keep moving. Jesus came up walking on the water and it freaked them out. When Peter realized it was Jesus, he said, “Lord if its really you, tell me to come walking on the water.” Jesus said, “Come”. Peter did just that, he got out of the safety of the boat and headed toward Jesus. In this story, Peter gets out of the boat and leaves his responsibility with the net and the huge catch of fish behind in pursuit of Jesus.

Peter is portrayed as a passionate follower of Jesus. He was used by the Lord to be a great leader in the early church. He seems impulsive and unpredictable. He was predictable when it came to Jesus – He wanted to be with Jesus wherever He was.

This simple passage stirred my heart to stay in a passionate pursuit of God with my life. I must make my pursuit the highest priority of my life. My pursuit of God begins in my heart and then is shown in my behavior. If I reverse this, it doesn’t work well. I grew up trying to “show” my faith with my behavior, while my heart wasn’t in it. I’m still learning that behavior follows the heart. The heart doesn’t follow behavior – it simply tolerates it. If I want to be in genuine pursuit of God, it begins with heart change.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steady Heart Faithful God

 

Man praying with the BibleWhen I read the writings of David, I feel like I can relate to Him. I’ve never been a king or a warrior, but David seems so human and hungry for God. I understand the human part as well as the hungry for God part.

The more I know about God, the more I want to know Him.

The more I know about God, the more I want to be the man He built me to be.

The more I know about God, the more my heart is moved to pursue His heart.

The more I know about God my love for Him gets deeper, broader and stronger.

Check this out…

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered. (Psalm 108:1-6 NIV)

My purpose here on this earth is to bring glory to God. I want others to see the Lord in me. I want others to see the Lord in how I live and work. I don’t want myself to be elevated and known, I want the Lord to be known in me. I want to do all I can to make the Lord famous and known everywhere. He lives in me and He wants to use me to build His kingdom. I want to be steady in my pursuit of God’s heart. He is so faithful to me and I want to be faithful to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My History

 

My StoryI remember wanting to follow the Lord since I was in 3rd Grade. I became a Christ follower that year – I was baptized on a Sunday afternoon at a church in town because it was winter time and the creek would have been quite cold. I didn’t know a lot about following the Lord – I knew that I would be able to take communion (that little wafer and small little gulp of grape juice) to remember Jesus dying on the cross.  Since that time, I’ve been to multiple church services (too many to try to count), and I’ve sang songs and written songs about my journey with the Lord. I must say that every time I look back on my life, I have several incidents/choices that I’m simply not proud of. I wish I could have a “do over” on some of those choices. I’ve embarrassed myself and dishonored the Lord. I have never deliberately been disrespectful to Him, but I’ve clearly felt Him leading me and then I simply ignore His tug on my heart. The Lord was trying to lead me in His way and it was very much the best choice for me, but I kept insisting on my instant gratification or wanting my way “come hell or high water”!

Fast forward to today. I’m reminded in His Word that His people have a history of wandering away from following Him. He kept His promise to Abraham, but the people didn’t make it easy. They rebelled at nearly every turn. He would rescue them, they would repent and then they would run toward sin. It was a vicious cycle. There are times this cycle still repeats itself in my journey. I want to do the right thing every time and if I would wait upon the Lord before speaking or doing my “right thing ratio” would go up considerably.  I was reminded of my history with the Lord as I read Psalm 106. Check this out….

Praise the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
    or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly,
    who always do what is right. (Psalm 106:1-3 NIV)

The rest of this Psalm is like a “highlight reel” of Israel’s history of trusting God, then ignoring Him.  I have been there and done that. I’m so thankful for my journey with His Word that my stupid decisions are a lot less frequent and my pursuit of Him is much more promising and purposeful.  I’m thankful that He never gave up on me as I was so quick to give up on Him. I’m simply trying to walk out my faith in Him every day by doing what is right – saying what is right and cultivating a heart that is pursuing Him “all in”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Ultimate Reward

 

reward stamp. sign. sealI’ve been to award shows and certainly watched my share on television. They are some good people who win and there are some people who are really “out there” and lost but they win. I’ve also seen good people make it big and become incredibly successful and wealthy, but I’ve also seen some bad people who are successful and rich as well. There are those whom it seems that everything they touch turns to gold.  I’ve decided that I’m not going to participate in any sort of “rat race” or “gold rush”. I am, however, going to show up to work each day with the Lord leading my life. I’m going to serve as many people as I can in the real estate world or simply in life. I have a busy schedule, but the Lord leads as I navigate my day. I have the same number of hours in my day as anyone else. I want to use my time as wisely as possible. I can’t spend a lot of time worrying about what others are doing or not doing, I need to stay focused on my work.

King David had a lot of drama in his life over the years. I feel confident that he relied on the Lord to help him keep his priorities in the right place. He was pursued by the wicked often because he was the King. He made some statements in this psalm that are very bold, but also somewhat comforting to recall. The imagery is a bit much for me in the middle of this passage. Check this out…

Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns—
    whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away,c
10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
    when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then people will say,
    “Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
    surely there is a God who judges the earth.” (Psalm 58:9-11 NIV)

I believe that the righteous win in the end. I believe the righteous win because of Who we serve. I don’t believe the righteous are successful because of what they are doing or have done. I believe they are righteous because of what God is doing or has done. I can’t work like I work without Him. I can’t serve like I serve without Him. I believe the number one character trait of the righteous is humility. The righteous are nothing without Him, but with Him their confidence can soar and rightly so.

I heard recently that “the days go by slow and the years go by fast” – I’m starting to grasp or understand that. My daily choices end up defining my life’s journey. I think the battles are often won or lost in the small daily choices that I’m faced with.

I’m encouraged to know that the Lord never leaves me or lets me go. He is faithful and present even when I’m successful or I fail miserably. He is the Ultimate Pursuit of my life and He holds the Ultimate Reward. I want to follow Him all the days of my life as I pursue a life of significance.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steady Pace

Person symbol run time race against clockMy son ran cross country and then track a few years back. He considers himself a distance runner. He learned that he needed to set a good pace each time he ran so that he could finish well.  I watched one race where a runner had a huge pace and got wait out in front of everyone on the 2-mile and then about half way through he faded to the back and didn’t even place in the top 10. I think it’s important for my life to have a steady pace. I’m still learning this, but I’m improving each week.

David was fleeing for his life and he was desperate for God’s help. He cries out to God for protection and help. He then breaks into a place of praise for God. Check this out…

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 57:7-11 NIV)

As I reflect on what a steady pace looks like for me, I need to start in the Word of God. I don’t want to start my day without some time alone with Him. He is the One who helps me have a steady (or steadfast) heart.  I looked up the definition of steadfast and it means: “fixed in direction; steadily directed; firm in purpose, resolution, unwavering”.  The word steady implies some of the same characteristics in its definition. Steady means: “firmly placed or fixed; stable in position or equilibrium; continuous, constant, regular or habitual, steadfast and unwavering”. (www.dictionary.com)

If I want my life to operate at a steady pace, then my pursuit of God’s heart must be steady first. I believe that everything I say or do comes from deep within my heart. I believe it’s a daily task, to get help from God cleaning out the corners of my heart where the enemy tries to hide. I want my heart pursuit of God’s heart to be first on my agenda for every day. I believe that the rest of the activities of my day will flow from there. My heart belongs to the Lord Who has saved me from my sin and positioned me for eternity. I want to keep a steady pace in pursuit of God. I love this song of worship called “My Heart Is Yours” by Kristian Stanfill.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Contentment & Rest

 

Business man relaxing having power nap outdoors with computer laptopI am not often content. I enjoy new technology and “tech toys” for sure. I try to always be aware of new technology that makes my job more efficient as well as cost effective going forward. Technology seems to move at a “break neck” speed for sure. I do think it has helped take some of the clutter out of my life, but it also certainly introduced some clutter too.

I believe contentment and rest are very necessary to everyone. I believe God wired us this way. He created for 6 days and rested on the 7th day. I think a day off every week is a great start. I also believe contentment and rest are not just physical – they are mental as well. I can be sitting in my recliner and my mind can be going ninety miles per hour.

David pens a lot of snapshots from his life journey in the Psalms. He articulates some ideas of contentment and rest. Check this out…

6 Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”

    Let the light of your face shine on us.

7 Fill my heart with joy

    when their grain and new wine abound.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,

    for you alone, Lord,

    make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:6-8 NIV)

I get up every morning and go to work in pursuit of prosperity – it’s a never-ending pursuit. Once I attain it, I will pursue something else. Prosperity is not always related to contentment. I’ve used words like “if only…” very often in my past. Contentment is not found is prosperity. Contentment is found in peace with God. When I surrender my heart to the Lord, there is a contentment that is difficult to articulate. When I surrender my heart to the Lord, I’m in harmony with my Creator and contentment comes on the scene.

I want to start and end today with contentment and rest. The Lord supplies me with both.

Pressing On!

Dwayne