Mercy – Hope – Respect

Man praying with the BibleIt’s a new day! Yesterday is now in the rear-view mirror – today is another chance to make good choices and wise decisions. I was reminded this morning how much I need mercy. Mercy is defined as: compassion, forbearance, kindness, blessing, pity, benevolence, the power to pardon and divine favor. I live in the shadow of this word every day and I’m profoundly thankful that the Lord shows me mercy daily.

As I read this Psalm of Assents this morning, I was reminded that along with mercy, I have found hope and I live in respect for the Lord out of that mercy & hope. Check this out…

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his Word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:1-5 NIV)

The more I study the Word of God, the more respect and reverence I have for the Lord. He has NOT kept a record of my sins. I am aware of my sin most days and I’m naïve toward the mercy He has poured out on me. I am profoundly thankful and humbled to think of how He not only forgives me and shows mercy, He calls me His kid. The moves my heart. In His Word, I find that mercy and forgiveness displayed often. In His Word, I find Provision, Protection, Direction, Instruction, Help, Hope, Profound Love. The Lord is in a category all by Himself. He is not just another god – He is the Only God and He forgives and forgets my stupidity. His heart melts when I say I’m sorry. His mercy and forgiveness is immediate. His Presence is constant. His Word teaches me more and more about His heart, Who He is and I’m invited to know Him more personally.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Enemy

 

best friends or worst enemyThis is a strong word. I started really wrestling with this word during my reading of the Word this morning. I started trying to figure out who my enemies are. I looked up the definition first on dictionary.com. An enemy is “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.” I probably have enemies that I don’t even know about. I really do try not to make enemies. I try to get along with others as far as it depends on me.  I’ve found myself over the years biting my tongue rather than speaking into the lives of others who I feel are doing something wrong or harmful to others. I’ve tried to amend that part of my life. I must be willing to hurt feelings and lose friendships over speaking the truth and defending the truth.  I don’t want enemies. I don’t seek out enemies.

Enemies can be subtle or overt. They can be public or private. Thinking about enemies has brought a bit of stress to my heart this morning. I can’t control who sees me as an enemy but I can control who I see as an enemy. Check this out…

The Lord says to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.” (Psalm 110:1 NIV)

I can disagree without hatred.

I can debate without hatred.

I think what makes an enemy is hatred.

After observing one of the hardest and most hateful presidential elections in the history of our nation, we seem to have a lot of hatred in our country. The sharp divide in ideology is profound. I contend that we don’t have to hate just because we disagree. We must learn to debate and stay on the issues instead of allowing our emotions to dictate our behavior. Hatred is a devastating emotion that leaves destruction in its path. I don’t want enemies, but I probably have some. If a person comes to my door to try to harm my family, they will be perceived as an enemy and I am not afraid to use force to stop them no matter what. So, at that point they will certainly be an enemy.  It still hurts my heart to think of having enemies. I want to do my best to love others with the same love that the Lord has shown me. This life is not the end game – eternity is.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

P.S. If any person reading this sees me as their enemy, PLEASE, let’s have a conversation and remove hatred from the equation.

Renown

Worship to GodThis is not a word that I use every day, but it carries with it some level of respect, accomplishment and fame. The dictionary uses word like “widespread & high refute as well as fame to define the word. I have grown up thinking that the Lord is renown and worthy of my worship, respect and obedience. It is important for me to give Him the honor and respect due Him. He is Creator and He also saved me from my self-destructive journey.  I want to make Him famous and renown on the earth.

This passage in Psalms was written by an afflicted man. His perspective is powerful. Check this out…

12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever;
    your renown endures through all generations. (Psalm 102:12 NIV)

When I think of God being “renown”, I think of His Presence and His Power. He doesn’t depend on me for His renown, yet I can certainly make Him known to others. I can talk all day about what He has done in my life over the years. His Presence and His Power has absolutely changed my perspective and my destination many times over. I’m sometime so “hell bent” on doing things my own way and He is so patient as I figure out that His Way is ALWAYS best. My life can be a wreck, but He is still renown. He never stops being renown. He is famous for being Creator, but I know Him best as Sustainer. He helps me navigate through difficult circumstances. He gives me wisdom and discernment that only He can give. His “renown is profound” to me for sure.

I’m thankful that the Creator of the Universe – the renown God, wants to know me and wants me to know Him more. This blesses me and humbles me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

The Famous One

Speechless

 

Man holding microphoneIf you know me personally, you probably know that I can talk. I’m not super shy, but I’m a little introverted at times. If I’m put on the spot at a moments notice to speak, I can pull it off. I have learned to trust in the Lord to give me the words to speak and the confidence to speak. I can’t remember a time that I’ve been absolutely speechless. When I’m in the presence of someone who is powerful or famous, I might be more careful with what I say. Because of my confidence with the Lord, I usually contribute to most any conversation.

Job had not been speechless until now. The Lord speaks to him, but Job’s response is one of profound respect and honor. Check this out…

1 The Lord said to Job:

2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?

    Let him who accuses God answer him!”

3 Then Job answered the Lord:

4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?

    I put my hand over my mouth.

5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—

    twice, but I will say no more.” (Job 40:1-5 NIV)

I was taught as a youngster to respect those in authority. There may have been times when I’ve been pulled over and presented with a “safe driving award” (aka speeding ticket) and I’ve learned that the best response to the officer in charge is “yes sir or yes ma’am – total respect. I’m being reminded that what I’ve been doing is unsafe to other people on the road. He has the power to make my life very hard. People in authority over me are worthy of my respect. There are some protocols in place if a person in authority abuses that authority.

The Lord created me and wired me for friendship and fellowship with Him as well as my fellow man. He wants me to trust Him without fear. He wants to have a relationship with me and He even made a way. I can talk with Him. I can ask questions. I can petition Him for help and He shows up. There are times though when I’m in His Presence and there are words to adequately describe Him or with which to thank Him. He is certainly worthy of my feeble attempts to thank Him and praise Him for Who He is to me – my Savior, my Redeemer, my Friend.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wise Beyond Years

Group of students talkingI have seen young people who at age 15 or 17 think like they are 25 or 30 years old. They seem to have an understanding of life a lot earlier than others their age for sure. I have also learned that it is unwise to dismiss others ideas and opinions just because they are young. I do believe that age gives a person a myriad of experiences. I also believe that age and experience often lead to wisdom – but not always.

This fourth guys who shows up to speak into Job’s life regarding his suffering and loss is a younger guy. These other three guys had not been able to convince Job of his sin before the Lord. This young man actually speaks very respectfully starting out acknowledging that he is younger and therefore he waited until last to speak. Check this out…

6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:

‘I am young in years,

    and you are old;

that is why I was fearful,

    not daring to tell you what I know.

7 I thought, “Age should speak;

    advanced years should teach wisdom.”

8 But it is the spirit in a person,

    the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

9 It is not only the old who are wise,

    not only the aged who understand what is right.(Job 32:6-9 NIV)

This young man comes out of the gate speaking pretty strongly and profoundly. He shows proper respect to the older men, but then he starts speaking from his conviction. At this point I agree with the things he is saying. I’ve seen young people full of the Spirit of God teaching older people great truth. I believe the Holy Spirit can level the playing field so to speak. If a person comes to know the Lord and starts seeking God’s heart, the Lord can reveal things to Him that someone who has known the Lord for years hasn’t seen yet. I don’t believe following the Lord is magical or mystical, but it does require discipline and faith. I can’t see the Lord, but I know He is near. I can’t be convinced that He’s not real because I’ve felt His hand upon my life. I’ve followed His lead. He has made me wise beyond my years on many occasions.

I want the Lord to continue to give me insight into things that are beyond me. I want Him to make plain the sayings of wise people. I want Him to use me to lead and influence others for His sake. I don’t want to be smart just for the sake of being smart. I want to grow smarter so that I can bring honor to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Learning

Concept of learningI have learned a lot in my years here on earth. I’ve learned some really obvious lessons over the years. I’m pretty sure I’m learning something new every day. I would say that some new things I learn have a profound affect on me, while others are fairly mundane and simple, but new nonetheless.

As I make my journey through the Word of God, I learn or “re-learn” some new insight into God’s heart and His character. He teaches me in simple terms because I consider myself a simple man who loves the Lord and wants to follow Him.

Job was a follower of God. God has blessed him. He has followed the Lord with his life. Job was so devoted and devout that the Lord allowed Satan to test him extensively. He could not attack his soul, but every other part of Job’s life was available for the test. His family was taken; his livestock and his health were all taken from him. He did not curse God, but he has lots of commentary and discussion about God’s role in his struggles. Check this out…

11 Does not the ear test words

    as the tongue tastes food?

12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?

    Does not long life bring understanding?

13 ‘To God belong wisdom and power;

    counsel and understanding are his. (Job 12:11-13 NIV)

I was reminded that I must test the things I hear compared to the truth the Holy Spirit speaks into me. I believe that the truth of God is revealed in His Word. I also believe that He speaks into my heart through His Word. I also believe that the Holy Spirit prompts me to action and activity. I believe the Holy Spirit can explain and interpret deep and complicated truths for me.

Job’s suffering was intense and I’m not sure that his friends were helping encourage him much. He hasn’t lost his faith or his mind. He definitely feels the pressure from his profound losses, but he still doesn’t curse God. I think he clearly blames God for this, but he continues his respectful posture before the Lord. The Lord teaches me deep truths about himself in the middle of suffering. He has my attention when I’m suffering. I don’t like suffering, but I like the long-term effects upon my heart – it softens my heart and grows my ability to understand the suffering of others. I have so much to learn but not crazy about this “Academy of Experience” where I’ve been in school at since I was born.

I would love to be a life long learner of the things of God. I want Him to teach me, to lead me and to hold me close to His heart. I also want to remember and recall the lessons I’ve learned.

Pressing On!

Dwayne