Small & Great

Big black pawn surronnded by four little chess kings isolaged on white backgroundIn our culture, we don’t always connect great with small. I do like that computer storage that once took a warehouse is now the size of a pack of gum (almost)! Sometime great things come in small packages. I must confess that if given a choice of a large mystery package or a small mystery package, I usually choose the bigger one.

The scene is taking place in heaven. John is still blown away by what he is seeing and hearing. Nevertheless, he is writing it down and doing his best to describe all that is happening. Trumpets blowing, people worshipping God – he has quite a challenge. He quotes the 24 elders as they bow in worship. Check this out…

15 The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying,

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign forever and ever.

16 The twenty-four elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell facedown and worshiped God, 17 saying,

We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty,
who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
but your wrath has come.
The time has come
for the dead to be judged
and to give the reward
to your servants the prophets,
to the saints, and to those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and the time has come to destroy
those who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:15-18 CSB)

I love those three little words: small and great. I feel like I fit into that “small” category for sure. I’ve been a follower of the Lord since I was in 3rd grade. I needed lots of grace and mercy along the way – but the Lord is famous for that.  I’m still walking out my faith each day and I don’t need to be noticed by others. I don’t need accolades or “pats on the back”. I am striving for a reward that is unseen and way bigger than notoriety here on earth. I want to be known as someone who “fears the name of the Lord” – a profound respect for the Lord. I seek Him and worship Him daily. I walk with Him and talk with Him daily. I want to live today with my eye on eternity. The way I live my life for Him will outlast any other thing I can do. I want to be known as a man who sought the heart of God each day. It’s only because of the grace He has poured out on me during the journey that helped bring me to his place. #thankful

I believe that on that day there will be some great prophets, teachers & preachers bowing before the Lord in worship and I get to be part of that – Wow! I get to worship alongside some heroes of mine – Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, King David, Jeremiah, Peter, Martin Luther King, Jr., Zig Ziglar, Billy Graham and many more. They are great in my eyes and I’m small – but just to be there! #humbled

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Tremble

Frightened and stressed young business womanI do remember what it’s like to be scared. When I was a kid, I had quite an imagination about things in the dark or in the closet. As I grew older I realized that most all my fear was self-inflicted.  I had to overcome my fear of the dark and situations in the dark. I still like daytime much better than night. I can see clearer in the day time.  Fast forward several years and one of my work/study jobs was night-time security at my college. I had to go in the dark, out-of-the-way places to get a key to punch a clock to show that I’d been there. I had to face my fear of the dark again. It’s been a good long time since I was so afraid that I trembled. I’ve learned to trust the Lord with things I can’t explain or understand.

The Psalmist pens a cool verse speaking of the Lord’s power as the people of Israel left Egypt and traveled through the Red Sea and then crossed the Jordan River on dry land. Check this out…

Why was it, sea, that you fled?
    Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
    you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
    the hard rock into springs of water. (Psalm 114:5-8 NIV)

The Presence of God changes my circumstances.

The Presence of God changes my view of my circumstances.

The Presence of God brings calm to chaos and clarity to confusion.

The Presence of God erases my past, helps navigate my present and builds my future.

I’m amazed by life-changing power of God’s Presence in my life. I’d be wise to tremble in His Presence out of pure respect for His Power. He doesn’t want me to fear Him, but I think it’s wise to revere Him. He has all Power over all of creation, past, present & future.

I’m no longer super afraid of the dark, but I’ve learned to have a genuine reverence and respect to be in the Presence of Almighty God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Consistent Respect

RespectI grew up being taught good manners. My parents taught me to say “Please” & “Thank You”. They also taught me say Ma’am & Sir when replying to someone with respect. I remember being taught to bow my head and close my eyes when praying. (I must confess that I checked to see if they were actually doing this as well J – they were.) I can probably make quite a long list of “respect responses” that I was taught growing up. I almost forgot to mention that my Dad also taught me how to be a gentleman – to open the door for ladies.

I remember being taught further in Sunday School and youth group functions about respecting God. I learned to respect His Word and the people who taught His Word. I actually put them on a “pedestal” and really shouldn’t have. I do remember standing up when reading the Word of God publically.

When the people of Judah were finally finished with the rebuilding of the wall and the Temple, they assembled on the first day of the 7th Month. They asked Ezra, the scribe to read from the Law of Moses. He obliged and I can feel the respect and reverence that these people were feeling. Check this out…

5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!’ Then they bowed down and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. (Nehemiah 8:5-6; 8 NIV)

I believe that my respect for the Lord should be consistent. I don’t think it should matter where I am or what I’m doing – my respect for Him, His Word, His Word and His call upon my life should be steady and consistent.

I want to be keenly aware of Him speaking to me through His Word.

I want to be keenly aware of Him speaking to me through another person.

I want my respect toward others to come from a profound respect for God Who created all of us. I want to worship God from a place of profound gratitude and respect. I want this to happen without giving much thought – in other words, I want to be consistent in respecting Him and others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Reverence & Respect

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingThere are some people that I will always show respect for because of the office they hold. There are still people who serve in high levels of government that are worthy of respect for sure. I respect people who have gone on before me and been willing to share the mistakes they’ve made as well as the secrets to their success. I’ve also seen people who are very worthy of respect treated with tremendous disrespect. Respect is a delicate but important character trait. People who don’t respect others as a general rule, probably don’t even respect themselves. I’m pretty sure that I learned a lot about respect when I went to kindergarten. I learned a lot about respect in my first job opportunities. Respect for others can build lasting relationships for sure.

Nehemiah learns that some of his fellow, wealthy, countrymen are taking advantage of the poorer people among them. They are leveraging their land and abusing them financially instead of helping. He gathers together a huge meeting and calls them out. They accept his challenge of dropping the mortgage liens on their fellow countrymen and return all that they’ve taken from back to them. He is then appointed governor and chooses to lead by example. Check this out…

14 Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year – twelve years – neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. 15 But the earlier governors – those preceding me – placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. 16 Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land. (Nehemiah 5:14-16 NIV)

I do believe respect and reference are related terms. I do believe however that reverence is reserved for God. I don’t think that I should have more reverence to any human on the planet over reverence for God. I also don’t believe I can show reverence for God without respect first. I do believe it’s honorable to show respect and reverence before God in everything I do. I also believe that I should live my life out of respect and reverence for God. Check this out…

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

I can look at my task list or things to do much differently when I’m living and working out of respect and reverence for God than when I’m just trying to “check everything off”. I want to live and work out of respect and reverence for God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Respect With Reverence

 

God's mercy at the CrossI believe that these two terms should probably go hand in hand with one another when approaching the Lord. If I only approach Him with respect, I’m leaving out a valuable part of Who He is. If I approach Him with reverence without respect I’m making much more of me than I ought.

Reverence is defined at dictionary.com as “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe”. Respect is defined as “to hold in high esteem or honor”. King David loved the Lord and he had a great relationship with God. An event happened when David and some of his men where moving the Ark of The Covenant to Jerusalem. There is this pretty big procession of singing, dancing and celebration as the Ark is on the move. Check this out…

6 When they came to the threshing-floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.

8 Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah.

9 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, ‘How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?’ 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. 11 The ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months, and the Lord blessed him and his entire household. (2 Samuel 6:6-11 NIV)

There is nothing that stops a celebration in it’s tracks like death. This event went from celebration to stunned disbelief in a flash. I think David’s response was very human and I can so see myself responding the same way. I remember clearly being pretty ticked at God when my son was diagnosed with cancer. It takes time to process sometime just Who God is and what His calling upon my life is really about. I sometimes think my life should be rosy and good all the time. I want to be safe. I want to be healthy. I want to be wealthy. I want to be happy. I want – I want – I want. Most of the time I spend time telling the Lord what I want from Him instead of asking Him what He wants from me. If I’m not careful I think that the Lord is all about me when He really wants me to be all about Him.

My life should be all about respect with reverence before God. I need to change the goals of my life and make them about Him instead of all about me. When I figure this out, my life takes on deep reverence and deep respect for Creator God. If I think that it’s all about what I want – when I want it, then this is a colossal case of missing the point of my existence here on earth. As I read the rest of the passage, I think David had time to process what happened and he realized that maybe they had been a bit flippant with the Ark. He ended up going back after it after three months.

As I approach today, I want to make sure the activities of my day are deeply respectful and reverent before the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Confession & Respect

This is an image of a man being spiritual encouraged, symbolised by the "thumbs up".These two words are not often used together. They are the kind of words that can stand on their own. I’m using them together for a specific reason that I’ll explain later. In reading the book of Proverbs, King Solomon writes the statements that often stand by themselves and are not related to one another. It’s like he is speaking to his son, so I read them like my Dad might speak them to me.

The word confession is a formal statement admitting ones guilt. Respect is a deep admiration for someone because of his or her position or ability. I believe that they are related. Check this out….

13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,

    but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,

    but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. (Proverbs 28:13-14 NIV)

 

I am constantly speaking to the Lord about my sins and my “short-comings”. I know full well many of the stupid things I think, do or say. I have invited the Lord to be in charge of my life, yet I take it back and do things my own way. My sin is sometimes secret from everyone but Him. He knows me like no one else. That is where the word respect comes into play. Who do I think I am that I can get away with anything? He knows my deepest secret thoughts. I need to have the deepest respect for the Presence of God in me. I need to revere Him. I need to honor Him. I should bow in His Presence. Because of Jesus in me, He invites me into His Presence, clean and forgiven. I can’t do this on my own and should never pretend that I could be good on my own. I need to constantly confess my sin to Him and receive mercy and grace. I also should live in a state of deep respect and honor before the One Who saves me and restores my soul.

Pressing On!
Dwayne