Spoiler Alert!

 

spoiler alert text bufferedI enjoy watching a good movie. I remember watching movies in the past with someone who had seen the movie before. I was getting uptight that the hero or heroine was about to die. They knew the ending and were not worried. I remember a few years ago recording a Kentucky basketball game and somehow, I found out they lost, so I didn’t watch the game. If I knew they had won, I would have watched it just to revel in the victory.

This past Sunday I heard this phrase “Spoiler Alert” used in reference to how this life ends. I love the connection because we know Who wins in the end. I came across one of these spoiler alerts this morning in my journey through Revelation. The imagery is again pretty wild and crazy as John tries to describe these wild creatures he’s seeing for the first time. Check this out…

12 The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those with him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14 CSB)

If I’m indifferent to the outcome of a sporting event, I will usually choose sides. In fact, I often choose the underdog. In this case, I already know Who wins. He is also an incredibly Honorable Winner. He’s given the opposition multiple chances to repent and join Him. He has forgiven me multiple times. He’s extended grace to me when I deserved punishment. He is so patient with me as I stumble over the stupid and simple choices.  I don’t deserve to be welcomed to the Lord’s army, but He welcomes me aboard. He gives me the equipment and the courage to battle the enemy.

My life here on earth is preparatory for eternal life with the Lord. He wins in the end. He has already won.  He has already conquered death. He is flexing His muscle as Creator. I’m going to walk out my faith here on earth with my faith and trust firmly rooted in Him. I’ve known about this “spoiler alert” since I first read His Word.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Repent & Be Alert

 

Prepared Not UnpreparedThis book of Revelation is a challenge to understand. It is choked full of symbolism, tied together with truth. John didn’t have the luxury of having seen things like he’s seeing in these visons and in the revelation. I suspect that he had trouble sleeping at night after seeing these beasts and wild creatures.  I read to day about the 7 bowls of wrath – I’m wondering if these are huge mixing bowls. I’m wondering what they looked like. The Lord’s judgment is a part of Who He is. I’m thankful that His Grace comes before judgement. It’s hard to believe, but there are people who are stubborn and will not repent before the Lord. He is a God of Grace, but He is also a God of Justice. Check this out…

15 “Look, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame.” (Revelation 16:15 CSB)

I talk to the Lord throughout the day every day. I want to make a routine out of repentance. In repentance, I’m humble and grateful for Who He is and the fact that He doesn’t punish me as my sins deserve. I have been forgiven much and He wants me to be alert to what He’s doing in my world as well as the fact that He is coming again. I won’t get off this earth alive unless He returns. My soul lives on either way. I want to lay down my pride and live in repentance and humility before Him. I want to notice what He’s doing and be ready when He returns.

I’m going to clothe my spiritual body with the Presence of God – His Spirit.

I’m going to prepare my physical body and be ready – Serving Him by serving others.

I’m going to live like I’ll die tomorrow;

Die knowing I’ll live forever. (Rich Mullins)

I want to be alert and filled with repentance before Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Way I Used To Be

 

Life changesThere are lots of things about my life that are way different than they used to be. When I think back to the courtship of my wife 23 years ago things are different now. Our love for one another is much deeper and mature. It is fun to think back to how we once were early on in our dating relationship and early marriage. Relationships grow deeper and expand at a deeper level.

If I think back to my early relationship with the Lord, it was very vibrant and full of energy. I was young and excited to follow the Lord. When the “new” wore off, I found myself doing stupid things that hurt His heart. I wandered away from Him and went my own way for a season. He never left me. He showed great patience with me as I tried to figure some things out. I guess I had to learn on my own that when the sign says, “dead end” – it really is. I was warned about many dead-end decisions, but I tried them out anyway. He still was waiting patiently.

In the letter to church at Ephesus, He calls them out for forgetting their first love. Check this out…

I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of my name, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:2-5 CSB)

I have returned to my journey with Him over the past several years. He has spoken volumes into my life through the steady study of His Word. I’m still steady and growing in my love for Him. I’m still trying to walk in obedience of Him daily. I want to live like He lived. I want to love like He loves. I want to push through the times of hardship and suffering. I want my life to reflect a faithful, consistent follower of Jesus.  I want to love Him more today than yesterday. I want to love Him deeper that yesterday. I want my relationship with the Lord to grow and grow with the roots of my relationship planted deeply in His Word.

I want to keep returning to the love I had for Him early on before being “tainted” by what the world offers. I want to be faithful to Him, He has been so faithful to me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Empty Lies

 

The Truth Hidden Among Lies Pyramid of Stacked BallsThere are people who could be called “professional liars”. They will tell you whatever you want to hear or they will tell some tall tale that distracts and distorts the truth. I have often said that I can work with the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear. I get extremely frustrated when I’m lied too. I would rather be honest and poor than to be dishonest and rich. I am not a perfect person and it would be a “bold-faced” lie to say I’ve never lied. I will say that I see all of life not with eternity in view and any lies that I could tell would be pure foolishness considering my future hope.

I wonder what would happen if everyone told the truth – no matter how hard.

I wonder what it would be like if politicians always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if attorneys always told truth.

I wonder what it would be like if people in sales always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if husbands & wives always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if parents & children always told the truth.

Truth is not relative to the situation – it is absolute. I’ve heard it said: there is his version and her version and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. People who are lost in sin, often seek to convince others to join them by telling elaborate lies. They appear to be having a blast, but their soul’s are empty and corrupt. Peter speaks to this. Check this out…

19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them. 20 For if, having escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:19-21 CSB)

I confess that I’ve had my feet under the table of the Lord only to turn away to the lies of the enemy. The enemy makes sin make sense just long enough for me to go for it.  I would rather repent than live a life of regret and remorse. I would be wise to quickly repent than to justify my sin with more lies. If I tell one lie, it takes a lot more just to try to keep the lie somewhat believable. God’s Word is truth and He makes it clear that He wants no part of lies. I couldn’t trick or deceive Him with a lie if I tried. He’s always listening and watching if I lie to another person. I want to live my life in truth no matter how painful and hard. I believe the fallout from a lie is way more painful than dealing with the truth. The truth always seems to find its way out anyway.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Create – Renew – Restore – Grant

Man praying with the BibleI like new technology and new ideas that enhance my ability to work smarter and serve my customers and clients more efficiently. I sometimes think that all these time-saving ideas should generate way more margin for a deeper relationship with the Lord, my family and my friends. I think the time-saving devices have simply made me busier and I’m able to accomplish way more in less time.  I’ve been working hard recently at creating more margin or space in my calendar to connect with Lord, my family and with others.

I read David’s repentant Psalm this am and it always stirs my heart. I can relate to David in that I’ve sinned and need to repent. I notice some things I had not seen before in the requests that David was making of the Lord. Check this out…

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:10-12 NIV)

Create – David was asking God to build something that had not existed yet – a pure heart. I sometimes think my heart is pure, but unless the Lord creates it – I’m not sure it’s anywhere near pure.

Renew – I think David remembered what a steadfast spirit felt like. I like to use the word stead as a synonym for steadfast. I so want a steady spirit every single day.

Restore – The joy of my salvation is not automatic. I think the joy of my salvation comes because of a pure heart and steady spirit.  I want to relax knowing that the Lord has saved me and I have no worries about my destination after death.

Grant – The willing spirit comes when I can push the temptations and traps of the enemy to the side. My willing spirit is an obedient spirit. I love the word “sustain” that David uses – this is a long-term benefit of a willing spirit. I can continue to operate at a strong sustainable level with a willing and obedient spirit.

This Psalm has moved me over the years because of my sin and stupidity. David is profoundly repentant from his sin with Bathsheba that shook his faith and harmed a lot of people. There have been times that I have pushed my faith to the side to get what I want even when the Lord is advising against it. I have sinned without counting the cost or even caring about the costs to my relationship with Him.

God is so faithful. He is so forgiving. He is so patient. He is so full of grace. He is so full of mercy. I’m not sure how to love like He loves. This repentant heart is a strong example of what a convicted sinner looks like. I can’t help but believe this was a huge turning point in David’s life – because he became known as a “man after God’s own heart”.  I don’t ever want to quit pursuing a pure, steady, restored heart with an obedient spirit before God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Repentant Leadership

 

work hard stay humbleI have come to the conclusion that those who never repent must never attempt to do anything. I know what failure feels like. I’ve learned that failure isn’t fatal unless I let it be. I learned a long time ago that there are at least three actions to take when I fail:

  1. Take ownership of my actions.
  2. Make amends (do my very best to make things right).
  3. Move on.

Failure can teach me volumes about others and myself. I have learned more from my failures and mistakes than my successes.

Ezra served the exiles that were given permission from King Darius of Persia to return to their homeland after 70 years in exile away from their homeland. They were in the process of rebuilding the temple when Ezra learned of the blatant sin of some of his fellow exiles. He was absolutely broken and stunned. He leads the exiles in profound repentance. Check this out…

‘I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.’ (Ezra 9:6b-7; 15 NIV)

I believe that leaders should lead us through success. I also believe that leaders should lead us through repentance. It takes a lot longer to get through a hurtful situation when no one is willing to own his or her actions. I think it takes a bigger person to own their mistakes than to act like they are perfect and without fault. I believe that everyone makes mistakes – some have way bigger consequences than others. I believe that marriages can be saved from the brink of divorce if both spouses own their own failures and mistakes.

I remember hearing from a wise and trusted friend years ago in response to public sin and failure. The conversation was about helping restore the person from the public failure. He said to this man: “When your repentance cries out louder than your sin, you are on your way to restoration”.

I have to check my pride at the door if I’m ever going to own my mistakes and failures. I can’t act as if I’m perfect and without fault. The Lord knows me like no one else – how can I pretend that my sin didn’t happen?

I’m thinking that I should begin every day with a repentant heart and continue that theme throughout my day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne