A Troubling Thought

Praying ManI’ve been to some tough places in my life.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be lost.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to feel hopeless.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to feel helpless.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to feel empty inside.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be “beat down by others”.

 

I remember when I surrendered my life to the Lord.

I remember the hope I felt the first time I trusted Him.

I remember my baptism.

I remember lots of markers along my journey with the Lord.

I remember lots of times of repentance for stupid choices.

I remember lots of grace.

I remember lots of mercy.

What I don’t understand is how others can so easily dismiss a loving God who longs for relationship with His creation. I don’t understand how others can look at this world and think it happened by accident or with a big explosion and suddenly order appeared.

I read a troubling passage in Revelation where John, the writer/Apostle saw a scene of destruction and rebellion. Check this out…

In those days people will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them.

20 The rest of the people, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see, hear, or walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts. (Revelation 9:6, 20-21 CSB)

I don’t always understand the hand of God – but I trust His heart.

I can’t always understand why God does or doesn’t intervene – but I trust He knows what is best.

I don’t ever want to forget what it was like to be lost. I’m so thankful that the Lord was patient with me as I meandered through life ignoring Him, until the day I stopped and took a long, hard look at Him. It’s been a journey, with lots of stumbling’s and mistakes – but I don’t ever want to let go of His hand – no matter what life sends my way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

In Remembrance

 

Taking CommunionI remember my grandparents all the time because they invested in me a lot as I was growing up. Along with my parents, I learned how to work and interact with others. My grandparents have all gone to be with the Lord, but their time here on earth is still remembered because of the impact they had on my life. I learned to play guitar watching my grandmother play. I learned the importance of reading the word and being kind to others watching my Mammie read her Bible each day. I think among of the horrible diseases is Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The loss of memory is heart breaking to those with a loved one suffering. I want to have a good memory of my journey with the Lord.  I don’t ever want to forget what it was like to be lost.

Paul recalls how the Lord wanted to be remembered. He didn’t ask for a statue or a building – He asked us to remember Him with the bread and the juice of the Lord’s supper (aka the Last Supper). Check this out…

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 CSB)

I like to remember and recall the Lord’s love while He walked this earth. I like to think of the Grace that He delivered on the cross. I like to drink in His grace and speak out His praise. The bread and juice are taking to the inside of my body which I view as ingesting grace into my soul. I want to always remember how life was without Him. I want to remember how the law condemned and grace compels my heart.

I want to cultivate my memory of His love for me and give it away to others.

Remembrance by Matt Redman

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Remember

 

Memo with Paper Clip - rememberMy heart goes out to people who’ve lost memory. There are diseases that rob us of longevity of life here on earth. There are other diseases that rob us of quality of life here on earth. I have seen first-hand the hardship that those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia have on the person and their families. Our minds and our memories are valuable assets to our quality of life. I’ve found the older I get; I do forget little things. I forget some big things occasionally. I’m learning to write down things to keep from forgetting.

The Lord has good memory. His memory never fades and “falls off”. He is faithful to remember His forgiveness, His mercy and His grace. I am thankful that He has a “selective memory” because He doesn’t remember my past and hold it against me. I remember the foolishness of my past, but He’s forgiven me and removed that from me. Check this out…

4 Show me your ways, Lord,

    teach me your paths.

5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,

    for you are God my Savior,

    and my hope is in you all day long.

6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,

    for they are from of old.

7 Do not remember the sins of my youth

    and my rebellious ways;

according to your love remember me,

    for you, Lord, are good.

8 Good and upright is the Lord;

    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

9 He guides the humble in what is right

    and teaches them his way. (Psalm 25:4-9 NIV)

Today is the start of a new year – yesterday is part of history now. The whole year has come to a close and a new one has begun. I think reflecting and remembering is a good thing. I know some things that don’t work and I’ve learned some things that work well. I’m so thankful that even though I forget that I wear His name – He forgives my forgetfulness. He restores my soul even after I’ve “checked out” or left Him out of the equation of my life.  He has excellent memory even when my memory suffers or is lacking.

As I look forward, it’s very wise to keep the past in my rear-view memory and remember to avoid some of the decisions of my past as I face the future. The Lord will direct my steps, if I will trust Him.  I need His memory to keep feeding my memory and moving me forward.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Family Traditions

 

Feet familyThere have been some many family traditions over the years that I probably can’t count. I remember special days and holidays and how we celebrated as a family. When I began a family of my own, we started some family traditions. We had special meals on certain days of the week. We celebrated birthdays together. The holidays started getting special with my children through our special traditions on Christmas. It also is a bit sad that since my grandparents have died, some family traditions passed with them. Traditions contribute to rich memories of my past for sure.

The Jews in captivity to Persia really “dodged a bullet” by this guy Haman. He had the king’s ear and was given great authority. Because Mordecai had frustrated him by not bowing down and showing him the respect he thought he deserved, he decided to wipe out all the Jews in Persia and it’s provinces. Once his plot was exposed, the tables were turned. Haman was punished by death. The king issued the decree that the Jews could defend themselves. The other people in the province also joined in helping the Jews defend themselves. They were successful in wiping out many of the participants in Haman’s plot. They decided that because of what they had been through, they should remember this for generations to come. Check this out…

20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (Esther 9:20-22 NIV)

Some of our most keen memories are connected to suffering, struggle and fear. I remember vividly the funeral of my grandparents, as well as some of the tragedies and struggles of our nation. Some of the personal struggles of my life, I certainly don’t want to celebrate, however the victory over these struggles is certainly worth celebrating each year. I remember vividly the day I married my sweet wife and my life felt whole again. I remember when my kid was declared cancer-free! I think tradition and celebration that comes from victories are fun to celebrate. I’ve also have traditions of hurt and hardship that are etched in my memories. I do like to visit the burial site of those who’ve gone before me to once again honor their lives. I don’t do this often, because it hurts my heart a bit – but it’s healthy.

I am learning to celebrate daily the Lord’s blessing upon my life. I want gratitude to be a daily tradition or custom component of my life. I love the tender moments when the Lord speaks to my heart from His Word. I want to keep a tradition of reading His Word and spending time with Him. I want to trust Him without worry because He is so faithful.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Short Term Memory

 

Don't Forget NoteThe older I get, the more forgetful I become – or so it seems. I do try to exercise my brain daily to try to stay sharp. I do think that my brain can only hold so much information before I starting forgetting some things.

I tend to remember significant events that happen to me and affect me personally. I don’t always remember vividly, but I can have my memory “jump started”. I think the Lord wired us to forget some things. For example, a woman giving birth to a beautiful baby doesn’t usually remember the amount of pain involved in childbirth. It could be because the reward of the beautiful baby. There are a lot of things that I want to remember, no matter how old I am.

Asa was King of Judah for nearly 40 years. He started out really seeking the Lord and following Him. I’m not sure what happened along the way, but he ended up with a memory problem. Check this out…

7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8 Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” (2 Chronicles 16:7-9 NIV)

I don’t ever want to forget the good things that the Lord has done for me.

I want to keep a vivid memory of Him rescuing me.

I want to keep my heart fully devoted to Him all the rest of my days.

I simply can’t imagine doing life with the Lord. My thought processes are now wired to think of Him first. I have confidence in Him. I have faith in Him. He has never let me down. He can be anywhere. He can do anything. I’d be a fool not to trust Him. He holds my life in His hand. I don’t ever want to forget that.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Music Matters

169 Vk0gMDA1XzIwMTIgLSAwMTAuanBnI have loved music since I was a very young kid. I think it’s in my blood. My grandmother was Essie Hayes Hicks from Boone, North Carolina. Her family was very musical. She played guitar and her musical style was Appalachian. I loved watching her play as a kid. When I was about 12 my parents provided me a guitar. I took lessons from a friend of a friend. I remember learning to play “On Top of Old Smokey” as my first song. One of the hardest parts of playing the guitar is pushing through the pain of getting callouses on the tips of my fingers. I’ve been playing guitar ever since. My grandmother played the guitar right up close to her death. I remember going to the nursing home to visit her and we’d wheel her out in her wheelchair and she would play for her fellow residents. She was one of my musical hero’s for sure.

King David loved music for sure. He grew up playing in the field while shepherding the sheep charged to his care. As the King of Israel, you can tell he still loved music. He’s a prolific writer of many of the Psalms. I believe that most all of them were put in music form. It shouldn’t be a surprise that David had three men who ministered to him personally and they were musical. There are several of the Psalms attributed to Asaph, one of the three. The three men also had kids who loved music. David put them to work serving in the Tabernacle and then the Temple that would be built by Solomon. Check this out…

6 All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God.

Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. 7 Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord—they numbered 288. (1 Chronicles 25:6-7 NIV)

I believe that I can say things about my faith through music that I might not have said any other way. Music is a medium of communication that connects to my brain differently than any other way. I can hear a song one time and be so moved that I can recall it’s message for years to come. My tastes in music had evolved many times over the years and I feel like I’m very eclectic when it comes to music. I grew up listening to Appalachian music from family, but church music was a huge part of my childhood. I believe that any style of music can communicate great truth and a great memorable message. Music can be somewhat of a universal language.

I believe that the Lord loves music. I think music helps my heart sing to the Lord. I believe that I have stored some great biblical truths in my heart because of a song put to music. I was just thinking yesterday about how the music of Rich Mullins really moved me at a specific time in my life. He wrote and recorded “Awesome God”, “Hold Me Jesus”, “Elijah”, “Sometimes By Step” and many more. I was reminded this morning of the chorus in “If I Stand”. Check this out…

So if I stand let me stand on the promise

That you will pull me through

And if I can’t, let me fall on the grace

That first brought me to You

And if I sing let me sing for the joy

That has born in me these songs

And if I weep let it be as a man

Who is longing for his home (Rich Mullins)

I enjoy music here on earth so much, I can hardly wait to see what the music of heaven will be like!

Pressing On!

Dwayne