Unselfish

 

Unselfish rubber stampIt is not always easy to be unselfish. I’ve chosen the biggest piece of cake first. I’ve taken the cookie with the most icing. I think I learned to be selfish at a very early age. I’ve been fighting this urge to be selfish ever since I accepted Jesus into my heart. He is the most unselfish person to walk the earth. His agenda was not self-serving. By His own declaration, He came to this earth to seek and save those who were lost.

I’ve been reading in Luke and his account of the story of Jesus. He gives great detail to Jesus life and His crucifixion. I found it interesting how the people made fun of Jesus when they were carrying out the crucifixion. Check this out…

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. 33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.

35 The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”  (Luke 23:32-35 NLT)

While they were carrying out the execution of Jesus, they noted that He saved others.  He didn’t come to save Himself. His very birth, life, miracles, healings and His death was to save others. Jesus came from the Father to accomplish the heart of the Father for His Creation – us. His life, His ministry, His death – it was all for us. Jesus didn’t come to serve Himself. He came to serve us and to call us to a new life. He invites us into His Kingdom work which is very unselfish. He wants our heart to reflect His heart – unselfish.  He is still in the process of changing and shaping my heart to be like His. I really try to be unselfish and I feel like most of the time, I’m winning – but when I screw up, I screw it up quite well. I am so thankful for His patience with me as I work toward being unselfish at all times. Being unselfish shows great restraint and self-control, just like Jesus.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Patience, Kindness & Restraint

 

Patience concept.I have grown a lot in my patience over the years. I think as the years go by, I realize that I can’t control much of what makes me impatient. Traffic, for example is totally beyond my control – so I have learned to go with the flow or take another route to the destination. My wife would probably give some commentary here about how I’m still growing in this area. I’m not super patient with incompetence of others. I’m not patient with teenager who can’t seem to do their chores in a timely manner. I’m still learning patience. I’m learning that the patience of God is quite an example. I have thanked Him many times over for His patience with me and those I love. It is so easy for me to be impatient and unkind with someone else who doesn’t “get it” while I’m extremely patient and kind to myself when I’m slow to respond. Paul explains the strategy behind the kindness & patience of God. Check this out…

1Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:1-4 CSV)

The Lord is watching closely how I treat others.

The Lord is watching closely how I respond to His kindness & patience.

His love is demonstrated profoundly through His patience & kindness. I’m so thankful for His restraint, His kindness and His patience. This draws me to Him. I don’t deserve these expressions of love, but I’m so thankful.

I would be very wise to show others restraint, kindness & patience.  This passage reminded me of a song by Chris Tomlin that I heard years ago that blessed me then and it still speaks into my heart.  Kindness (written by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves & Louie Giglio)

Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down the cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
Hear our cries lord let ’em rise
Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down the cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
Hear our cries lord let ’em rise

It’s your kindness lord
That leads us to repentance
Your favor lord, is our desire
It’s your beauty lord
That makes us stand in silence
Your love
Your love
Is better than life

We can feel
Your mercy falling
You are turnin our hearts back again
Hear our praises rise to heaven
Draw us near lord
Meet us here
____________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Decision

I have seen people who are usually wise and discerning making some of the dumbest decisions when they were in different circumstances. The circumstances can range from incredibly angry to stupid drunk and everything in between. Decisions need to made with good information.

Decisions often need to be made in a timely manner.

Decisions need to be made when completely sober, alert and attentive.

King Xerxes, King of Persia threw a 6-month celebration showing off the wealth and the advancement of his kingdom. He closed out the celebration with a 7 day banquet/feast and had an open bar. Anyone could drink as much as they wanted, including the king. (He could drink like this anytime – after all he is the king!) The story picks up with the king being inebriated and making a decision. Check this out…

10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him – Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas – 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger. (Esther 1:10-12 NIV)

This simple explanation of Queen Vashti doesn’t give out a lot of information about her. I tend to make some assumptions at this point. Was the king asking her to come before him partially clothed or not clothed at all? Was she really shy? It’s hard to understand her position in this, but I suspect it has something to do with the king being in “high spirits from wine”. The king then seeks council (again while he’s still “under the influence”) from his advisors. We don’t know if they were also drinking, but they gave him counsel on how to remove the queen from her position and replace her. I end up feeling empathy for Queen Vashti even though I know nothing about her, it feels as if she was disrespected by the king and then when she “pushed back”, she was “pushed out”. I think that the presence of alcohol has a lot to do with this incident. Brad Paisley recorded a song called “Alcohol” and it carries some truth for sure when the substance is over used or even abused. The lyrics to the song are here.

I think I’d be wise to have a healthy respect for alcohol and it ability to alter perception. I could give case after case where peoples lives where changed by it’s presence – and not in a good way. I’m not advocating abstinence, but I am certainly advocating incredible restraint and caution. In the book of Esther, the Lord is about to do something amazing through this crazy story of a drunken king. The Lord makes beauty come from ashes all the time, I’m trying hard not to create my own “ashes”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne