Disreputable

Reputation Words on Box Credible Reliable ProductI began my career as a REALTOR in February 2003. I remember hearing a slogan that my brother used in his real estate advertisement. His slogan went like this: “I’m building a reputation, not resting on one”.  I’m pretty sure that the phrase was offensive to some and challenging to others. I knew what he meant, because he had just started his own firm. I remember deciding that I will always be building my reputation every day of my life. I’ve seen people who destroy their entire reputation with one bad decision. Except for the grace of God, that could have been me. I think about dumb decisions all the time and I think about the destruction that would left behind if I were to make a really dumb decision. I decided that I can’t spend a lot of time in that place though. I must keep my focus on growing and learning and as I do this, the thoughts of dumb decisions fade away. I want to grow and improve who I am becoming in the Lord’s eyes. I believe any success that I have as a REALTOR comes because the Lord is leading and directing my life. He is the reason, I’m careful to be honest, live and serve with integrity and have a strong work ethic.

Jesus calls Matthew (aka Levi) from his tax collection booth and asked him to be his disciple. Jesus obviously saw something in Levi that would benefit the kingdom. Levi followed Jesus. Check this out…

15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17 NLT)

I am blown away by the arrogance of the Pharisees and the religious leaders. They really didn’t seem to care about anyone but themselves. They were concerned about their reputation more than they were concerned for lost people. When I put myself in this passage, I would have been considered one of these “disreputable sinners” or “scum”, according their definition.

When I gave my life to the Lord, He changed me.

He changed how I see others.

He changed how I see my work.

He changed my view of marriage.

He changed my view of being a Dad.

He changed my view of being a friend to others.

If I’m following the Lord fully, you can call me what you will. He is the reason I seek to serve others with honesty, integrity & hard work. These are my values, because they are His values too. I’d rather keep my reputation in tact with Him than to worry too much about what others are saying about me.

I need the Lord every day of my life. I haven’t walked with Him enough to “take a break”. He is woven into the fabric of who I am. I need His healing upon my heart daily. I need His wisdom daily. I need His Presence constantly.  I am definitely one of the “sick people who need a doctor”. I guess I’m saying that I’m a disreputable person who needs the Lord each day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Ultimate Reward

 

reward stamp. sign. sealI’ve been to award shows and certainly watched my share on television. They are some good people who win and there are some people who are really “out there” and lost but they win. I’ve also seen good people make it big and become incredibly successful and wealthy, but I’ve also seen some bad people who are successful and rich as well. There are those whom it seems that everything they touch turns to gold.  I’ve decided that I’m not going to participate in any sort of “rat race” or “gold rush”. I am, however, going to show up to work each day with the Lord leading my life. I’m going to serve as many people as I can in the real estate world or simply in life. I have a busy schedule, but the Lord leads as I navigate my day. I have the same number of hours in my day as anyone else. I want to use my time as wisely as possible. I can’t spend a lot of time worrying about what others are doing or not doing, I need to stay focused on my work.

King David had a lot of drama in his life over the years. I feel confident that he relied on the Lord to help him keep his priorities in the right place. He was pursued by the wicked often because he was the King. He made some statements in this psalm that are very bold, but also somewhat comforting to recall. The imagery is a bit much for me in the middle of this passage. Check this out…

Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns—
    whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away,c
10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
    when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then people will say,
    “Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
    surely there is a God who judges the earth.” (Psalm 58:9-11 NIV)

I believe that the righteous win in the end. I believe the righteous win because of Who we serve. I don’t believe the righteous are successful because of what they are doing or have done. I believe they are righteous because of what God is doing or has done. I can’t work like I work without Him. I can’t serve like I serve without Him. I believe the number one character trait of the righteous is humility. The righteous are nothing without Him, but with Him their confidence can soar and rightly so.

I heard recently that “the days go by slow and the years go by fast” – I’m starting to grasp or understand that. My daily choices end up defining my life’s journey. I think the battles are often won or lost in the small daily choices that I’m faced with.

I’m encouraged to know that the Lord never leaves me or lets me go. He is faithful and present even when I’m successful or I fail miserably. He is the Ultimate Pursuit of my life and He holds the Ultimate Reward. I want to follow Him all the days of my life as I pursue a life of significance.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Live Steady

 

Man praying with the BibleSometimes life can be so unstable and unsteady. It seems that things come at me faster than I can respond to them. There are times I make decisions based on the information that I have at the time, later to regret them. Over the years as I walk out my faith, I’ve been learning to lean on the Lord for wisdom, discernment and guidance especially when the road ahead is unpredictable and unsteady.

David pens a beautiful Psalm about being steady – at least that is how it spoke to me. Check this out…

1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?

    Who may live on your holy mountain?

2 The one whose way of life is blameless,

    who does what is righteous,

    who speaks the truth from their heart;

3 whose tongue utters no slander,

    who does no wrong to a neighbor,

    and casts no slur on others;

4 who despises a vile person

    but honors those who fear the Lord;

who keeps an oath even when it hurts,

    and does not change their mind;

5 who lends money to the poor without interest;

    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things

    will never be shaken. (Psalm 15:1-5 NIV)

A steady life has many components. I’ve always heard that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. There are real ingredients to a steady life with God and the most basic is surrender. I learned a long time ago (and I’m still learning) to surrender my ideas, my thoughts and my actions to Him. He can direct my path and steady my steps. He even lights my path when it seems so dark.

I don’t believe a steady life happens by accident. I also don’t think a steady life is complicated or “rocket science” – it is simply faithful obedience to the Lord. He celebrates the victories of this life and He walks with me through the defeats and tragedies. The only way I can have a steady life is by holding the hand of the One Who is ALWAYS steady, faithful and strong.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Righteous Rescue

 

RescurerI enjoy watching movies when the hero rescues someone from danger. It’s even more dramatic when the hero is putting his or her life on the line to perform the rescue.

Abraham had pleaded with God for the life of his nephew, Lot who was like a son to him. He and Lot has split up years ago because their families and wealth has expanded so that the land couldn’t support both of them. Lot had chosen the rich plains and Abraham was left with the desert. Lot’s choice of places to live turned out to be very bad. The evil in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had reached a fever pitch and the Lord was about to destroy them. Abraham pleaded with the Lord regarding getting Lot and his family out before the destruction. God honored that request by sending some angels to get Lot out. Check this out….

15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.’

16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!’

24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah – from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities – and also the vegetation in the land.

29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. (Genesis 19:15-17; 24-25; 29 NIV)

I remember hearing Billy Graham say many years ago that “if the Lord doesn’t punish the USA for our wickedness, He should apologize to Sodom & Gomorrah”. I am sometimes deeply troubled at the great lengths our culture will go to disobey the Lord. He is the Creator of all things, yet He is shown so little respect. I am not sure how to pray for our country sometimes. I’m not a “dooms day” prophet or preacher, but I do get heart broken over the crazy behavior that is accepted as normal in our culture. I often disregard what I designed to do and be because of my own selfish wants and wishes. I was created to bring honor to my Creator.

I find myself in need of a “righteous rescue” from me. I find disobedience way too easy to justify. I want to walk with the Lord but I get very distracted by things of this world that can destroy me. I want to stand strong on the Word of God and the Power of His Spirit in me to resist the evil one.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Righteous

Core ValuesThis term carries with it being morally right and even virtuous. I’ve known some people I believed to be righteous. It sure seems impossible to me because I know that I’m human. As hard as I may try, I’m not righteous. The people I believe to be righteous still have to do battle with their flesh (aka human nature), which is really tough.   I’m impressed with Noah because first of all, because he impressed God. I’m also impressed with his obedience to God. He had just built this gigantic boat on dry land. He was explaining to the neighbors what he would be doing with the boat. Not only was he saving his family, but also the animals. Check this out….

1 The Lord then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.’

5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. (Genesis 7:1-5 NIV)

I think the thing that caught God’s attention with Noah is his obedience. He was living among people who were very wicked and decadent. He could have fallen in with them, but he remained obedient to the Lord. He obviously had given his faith to his sons because they went with him on this crazy journey.

I am reminded that when the Lord calls me to go on a journey with Him, I should always agree to go. He knows where He’s calling me. He knows how this story ends. He knows all about me and loves me relentlessly. He wants me to follow Him all the days of my life and while the journey might not include building a boat, it will include my complete obedience and trust in Him. I’m going for it!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Holy & The Common

Christmas NativityI am really wrestling with this concept this morning. I believe the word “Holy” is a special word. Holy means dedicated or consecrated to God for His purpose. The word “common” on the other hand is something that is “ordinary, without special rank; familiar”. As I was ready Ezekiel this am, I was reminded that in the Old Testament there was a distinct difference between the Holy & the common.   Ezekiel is sharing the measurements for the rooms for the priests who serve in the temple. There were some special provisions just for them. Check this out….

14 Once the priests enter the holy precincts, they are not to go into the outer court until they leave behind the garments in which they minister, for these are holy. They are to put on other clothes before they go near the places that are for the people.’

20 So he measured the area on all four sides. It had a wall round it, five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide, to separate the holy from the common. (Ezekiel 42:14, 20 NIV)

Holy is special – Common is normal.

Holy is set apart – Common is every day.

Holy is The Lord – Common is me.

I do believe that the Lord takes “common” and makes it Holy. These priests were regular human beings, but their lives were “set apart” for serving the Lord. I believe Jesus coming to earth brought the Holy and “the common” together in a sense. He came, not with fanfare, pomp and circumstance – he was born of a virgin, a “common” person. His birth was announced to shepherds, not the “movers and shakers” of the town. Shepherds were common. As Jesus started His ministry here on earth, He chose fishermen & tax collectors to mentor and disciple. He didn’t choose “holy religious leaders”. He chose the common.

When Jesus came, the Holy and the Common collide. Maybe it should be normal and common to be Holy as I give The Lord the ability to take over my heart and life. Christ in me makes me Holy and Common!

Pressing On!

Dwayne