Taste & See

Coffee cup and beans on a white background.I enjoy eating food. I enjoy something that tastes great. My wife made some excellent home-made ice cream last week. I went to Jekyll Island for a REALTOR conference and tasted some great food as well. Just this morning, I borrowed a percolator pot to make some fresh ground coffee –going for the best taste. I’ve also eaten things that didn’t taste great, but they were for my nutrition. My body needs food and the nutrients found inside.

Peter writes some simple but important instructions regarding the Word of God. He uses the metaphor of it being food. He quotes from Isaiah the chapter before and then offers some great instruction. Check this out…

The grass withers, the flowers fade,
but the word of our God remains forever.” (Isaiah 40:8 CSB)

1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:1-3 CSB)

I remember the first time I looked a guacamole. It looked putrid and disgusting to me. My wife coached me to try it with a corn chip and I was hooked. I didn’t normally eat anything that looked like that. I believe that Peter is touching two of our senses – our sight and taste.

I believe in God because I’ve seen Him do incredible things. I’ve seen things where there is no explanation except Lord. I’ve also experienced His grace first hand. I deserved punishment and severe consequences, but instead I received grace. I understand that these were subjective experiences, but they are real and significant to my journey with the Lord.

I think tasting and seeing are intricately related. Seeing with my eyes helps the tasting part for me. I have watched others who know the Lord and walk with Him. I’m standing on the shoulders of some great people of faith who cut the path before me. They tasted and experienced His Presence in their lives. They saw the action of the Lord. I want to do good because I’ve tasted and seen up close and personal. I’m motivated to live for Him because I’ve experienced Him first hand. I long for others to know the Lord as I know Him. He has changed everything about my life – my hopes, my dreams, my goals. There is not one area of my life that He hasn’t touched.  I want to keep growing up into salvation by walking daily with Him in His Word.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Word Of God

Holy BibleI am convinced that my life’s journey became more focused and clear when I decided to start my day with the Word of God. I’m not a theologian. I’m not a bible scholar. I’m a husband, dad, teacher & REALTOR who wants to be a student of God’s Word. My perspective has changed a lot over the years. I believe my journey in God’s Word has reshaped my heart to be more like His. I have a lot of growing yet to do, but I believe this daily discipline, as simple as it is, has had a profound impact upon my life.

I came across one of those passages that I remember from years ago. It affirms the power and significance of the Word of God. Check this out…

12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 CSB)

I started writing a journal of sorts after reading a passage. There was nothing complex about it, I just wrote about what “jumped out” in the passage that I read. I underlined or highlighted in my Bible. I started this journal process for me. I wanted to remember at 3 PM what I had read at 6 AM to start my day. I wanted the Word of God to live in me throughout the day. I was a bit surprised at how it stuck for longer periods of time – all because I journaled about it. My blog became part of the process later. I felt like the Lord prompted me to share my journey in His Word. I’m not sure when I started this – (I guess I could look it up), but it’s blessed my life to share my journey. I feel called to be in His Word every day. I share my journaling because I believe He asked me too.

I wish I could adequately describe the profound impact my daily journey in His Word has had on my life. I wish everyone who read the words of my journey would try reading His Word daily for at least 30 days. My life has never been the same since. I’ve had hardship and suffering, but I keep coming back to the Word of my Creator – His inspired Word. His Word brings comfort. His Word brings clarity. His Word tells me how to be saved. His Word introduced grace and mercy. His Word tells me all about Jesus. God’s heart is revealed in His Word and I want to know His heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Let’s Go!

 

Action Word on Red Round Button Be ProactiveIf I can get started, I’m halfway toward completing my goal. Sometimes the hardest part of a daunting task is the start. I heard a great podcast featuring Mel Robbins where she talked about her book called: “The 5 Second Rule – Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage”. Mel’s point is that none of us “feel” like doing the hard things, she challenges us to count down from 5 and get to it. I’m sure that I’d love to stay in bed a bit longer each day, but I’d miss starting my day with the Lord in His Word in the quietness of the morning.  I am learning to decide and then get moving.

The Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica is wrapping up the letter and he turns into the biblical coach saying it’s “go time”! Check this out…

14 And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t stifle the Spirit. 20 Don’t despise prophecies, 21 but test all things. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 CSB)

There is a lot of challenge in these few verses. It’s easy to sit and watch rather than stand up and get moving toward the goal. I believe that my faith in God is not passive – sit around and do nothing. I believe that the Lord calls me to action and activity regarding my faith. I love the simple challenges from this passage:

Warn lazy people

Encourage the discouraged

Help weak people

Be patient

Don’t retaliate

Be Joyful always

Pray constantly

Be thankful always

Let the Spirit of God be free in me

Be prudent in who and what you listen too

Keep what is good

Avoid evil

I am blown away by these challenges in this small passage. I’m tired already! I believe my journey with the Lord is a marathon not a sprint. I’m trying to build in to my life habits and attitudes that build upon my faith in the Lord. I am not the fastest, the smartest or the deepest person of faith, but I want to know the Lord more today than yesterday. I want His Presence in me to shape my language, my activities and my influence upon my family, friends, co-workers and colleagues. I feel like this list is “action items” for my “Christian agenda” and I need to get moving. I’m doing these things BECAUSE I’m saved, NOT in order to be saved!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Good Work

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI haven’t always believed work is good. After the Great Recession, I now hear myself saying that I’m thankful to have work. I have also learned that no matter how much work I must do or how hard some parts of it are, I can put food on the table and provide shelter for my family because of my work. I’ve also watched the TV show “Dirty Jobs” and there are much tougher jobs than any I have ever had.

I’ve learned over the years in my journey with the Lord that I can’t work my way into heaven. I can’t do enough good work to earn my salvation. Paul is clear about this. Check this out…

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10 CSB)

I grew up hearing about all the things I needed to do and it felt like if I went to church, read my Bible and prayed often that I could be saved. I’m not sure that was the intended message, but it’s what I heard. When I discovered the grace of God a few years ago, my heart was full and so very open to this incredible concept that is the essence of Who God is. As I journey through His Word I see His heart that is full of love, compassion and grace. He is also a God of justice, but He doesn’t love to dispense justice – He loves to lavish His kids with Grace! He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on His love.

The first two words in this passage are: “But God”. Those two words have changed the trajectory of my life. He has built me and wired me to honor Him, to serve Him because He loved me. He now lives and works in me and through me. Anything I do, say or write that has value to anyone – it’s because He is in me. I’ve made wise decisions over the years that He was totally in charge of or responsible for.

I don’t work FOR my salvation, I do good work and serve Him BECAUSE of my salvation. I am more and more wowed by His Grace every day. There is no one beyond the reach of Grace. I can’t escape His reach of Grace. I am continually humbled and grateful when I think about the things I’ve done or said and He still loves me and chooses to use me for His Honor & Glory. I can’t begin to express my gratitude… words just don’t work here. I’m so thankful for grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Forgiven – Again

Beauty girl cryI’ve lost count how many times I’ve asked forgiveness for my sin. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve asked for some specific, reoccurring sin. I’m embarrassed to talk about my failures, which are many, before the Lord. I’m so thankful that He forgives & forgets. I’m so thankful that He forgives completely.

I was reminded last week that I didn’t deserve being forgiven the first time, let alone the many times after the first. The Lord has unbelievable patience with me as I try to figure this “walk in righteousness” thing out.

Paul gets really direct to the church at Corinth as they evidently needed to deal with some sin as a church and then he gets direct with personal sin. Check this out…

Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males,10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 CSB)

I’ve always read the “big sins” when I read this passage. I have missed the “greedy people” and the “verbally abusive people”. The Lord wants the entire population of this earth to know Him. He wants to save everyone, but He won’t. He’s extended His grace so many times over. He brought salvation to us – He didn’t just get us to measure up. He asked us to surrender to His way, His designed life for us.  It is pride that keeps me from Him. It’s pride that keeps me from surrender. If I could grasp just a little bit of His amazing love – I would find surrender a great option. He has way better plans for my future than I can even imagine.

I’m so thankful for the forgiveness of the Lord through His Son Jesus.

Forgiven

By Crowder

I’m the one who held the nail
It was cold between my fingertips
I’ve hidden in the garden
I’ve denied You with my very lips

God, I fall down to my knees
with a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t done
I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t seen
Just the thought of Your amazing grace
And I cry ”Jesus, forgive me!”

God, I fall down to my knees
with a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

I could’ve been six feet under
I could’ve been lost forever
Yeah I should be in that fire
But now there’s fire inside of me
Here I am a dead man walking
No grave gonna hold God’s people
All the weight of all our evil
Lifted away forever free
Who could believe, who could believe?

Forgiven! Forgiven!
You love me even when I don’t deserve it
Forgiven! I’m Forgiven!
Jesus Your blood makes me innocent
So I will say goodbye to every sin
I am forgiven!

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

#forgiven #sothankful

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Ultimate Judge

legal gavel, scales and law bookI remember years ago when the Peoples Court came to television. It has some entertainment value as different case came before Judge Wapner for their cases to be decided in a “reality show format” with a “fake courtroom”.  He would hear their cases and then after a commercial break come back and render a decision. It’s very different from the real court cases. The cases were mostly small claims and the process was more like arbitration than an actual hearing before an official court judge. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten to know judges and how they mostly role. They use president and case law to help guide many of their decisions. As I’ve grown older and taken on more leadership responsibility over the years, good judgement requires good data and insight. I’ve made decisions that were based on bad information even though it was all the information I had at the time.  I think it important for someone making a judgement to not enter that decision with their minds made up. I think it’s important to weigh all the data and try to hear with an open mind what all the angles are.

Asaph penned a Psalm describing the Lord as Judge. I think it has been part of my journey to understand God as both Lawgiver and Judge. In our world, Judges interpret and apply the law but they don’t write the law. God does both. He also is incredibly forgiving. I have deserved punishment to the full extent of His law many times but instead I am released and my record erased or expunged. Check this out…

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.

He summons the heavens above,
    and the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me this consecrated people,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.’
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    for he is a God of justice.

23 those who sacrifice thank-offerings honor me,
    and to the blameless I will show my salvation.’ (Psalm 50:1-2, 4-6, 23 NIV)

The Law of God brings Judgement before the Salvation of God that came through His Son Jesus. When Jesus came, He introduced the Grace of God to the world. I still remember when I was lost. I’m trying to never become so smug as a Christ follower that I forget what it was like to be lost. I don’t deserve the forgiveness that I’ve been given, but I am so grateful. I’m thankful that when I stand before the Judgment of God, my attorney is His Son. The sacrifice of Jesus trumps my condemnation every time. I’m profoundly thankful for this gift that comes through the Son of God. I deserve punishment but instead I get a party of forgiveness. It’s crazy in so many ways, but I’m speechless to explain how it has changed my life and my perspective about everything!

Pressing On!

Dwayne