No Strings Attached

 

I am always suspicious of an unsolicited phone call announcing that I’ve received something for free. I realize that there is a “catch” to things like that. I have won 3 days and 3 nights at a nice resort only to find out that I had to go to a meeting where they try to sell you a time share in that resort. I’ve also been offered a free 6-month subscription only to find out that they will start billing me automatically after that first 6 months. There are many gimmicks that promise something Free that I am a bit jaded about it. I usually say that something that is free to me always cost someone else something. There is no such thing as a free lunch. After reading in the Word this morning, I realize that there is something that is free. Check this out…

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13 CSB)

I have not done anything to deserve the love from God that I’ve experienced. He doesn’t love me because I love Him. He loved me first. He loves me even when I don’t love Him. I can’t quite wrap my head around that level of love. I have accepted Him as my Lord. I do believe in Him. I don’t deserve His love. I don’t deserve to be saved, but I am profoundly grateful.

I used to think going to church made me a Christian.

I used to think that not cursing made me a Christian.

I used to think that obeying my parents made me a Christian.

That could be a long list of what I used to think. I understand now that I go to church; guard my tongue, honor my parents BECAUSE I’m a Christ follower NOT to become a Christ follower. I am a Christian because I have surrendered my heart to the Lord. I believe in God. I believe He is the ONLY ONE Who can save me.

Nothing I can do contributes to my being saved. He did it all. I honor Him BECAUSE He has saved me and promised me a future. My life has been different since I figured this out. I can’t do enough or not do enough to be saved. He has that handled. There are no strings attached to my salvation. I see life different since He’s saved my soul. I want to live for Him. I want to live in honor of Him. I want to trust Him in obedience. I want my surrender to Him to continue today not out of fear, but in faith that He will continue to walk with me through this life.

He saved me with no strings attached.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Amazing Law

legal gavel, scales and law bookI’ve never heard anyone say, “Amazing Law”. No one ever talks about the law the way we speak of grace. Every person on the planet has received grace from someone. The Person Who defines Grace is God. He has forgiven sins that are profoundly harmful to my heart and others. He’s forgiven murderers, liars, adulterers, thieves and the list could go on and on. His Grace is complete. His Grace is very thorough. His Grace is like a “hard reset” on my computer or my phone. God chooses that kind of memory with His Grace. When I really put my head to His Grace, it is ridiculous, lavish and “mind blowing”.  I deserve punishment, I deserve death, but instead I get promoted!

Romans 6 is packed with some amazing details about my new life in Christ. I came across one short verse yesterday and today while reading and it stopped me in my tracks. Check this out…

14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace. (Romans 6:12 CSB)

I am no longer a slave to sin.

I am free to live for the Lord.

I am no longer guilty under the law, I am under grace.

As a recipient of grace, I’m also called to dispense grace. I see people every day who need grace. I see people who have never known grace. I see people who’ve received grace but then they are selfish with it – like it’s theirs to be selfish with. Grace is God’s gift NOT mine. I get the privilege of delivering God’s Grace to others. It’s better than delivering lavish gifts that someone else paid for, but the recipient of those gifts think I’m responsible

God’s Grace is hard to describe.

God’s Grace is hard to define.

God’s Grace is NOT hard to accept.

I’m so thankful to live under His Grace. I’ve failed miserably trying to be a rule keeper under the law. Now that I know Grace, I want to honor the One Who delivered me from the law. I’m a better follower of God because of Grace NOT the rule keeping.

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

That saved a sinner (aka wretch) like me.

______________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steady Pace

Person symbol run time race against clockMy son ran cross country and then track a few years back. He considers himself a distance runner. He learned that he needed to set a good pace each time he ran so that he could finish well.  I watched one race where a runner had a huge pace and got wait out in front of everyone on the 2-mile and then about half way through he faded to the back and didn’t even place in the top 10. I think it’s important for my life to have a steady pace. I’m still learning this, but I’m improving each week.

David was fleeing for his life and he was desperate for God’s help. He cries out to God for protection and help. He then breaks into a place of praise for God. Check this out…

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 57:7-11 NIV)

As I reflect on what a steady pace looks like for me, I need to start in the Word of God. I don’t want to start my day without some time alone with Him. He is the One who helps me have a steady (or steadfast) heart.  I looked up the definition of steadfast and it means: “fixed in direction; steadily directed; firm in purpose, resolution, unwavering”.  The word steady implies some of the same characteristics in its definition. Steady means: “firmly placed or fixed; stable in position or equilibrium; continuous, constant, regular or habitual, steadfast and unwavering”. (www.dictionary.com)

If I want my life to operate at a steady pace, then my pursuit of God’s heart must be steady first. I believe that everything I say or do comes from deep within my heart. I believe it’s a daily task, to get help from God cleaning out the corners of my heart where the enemy tries to hide. I want my heart pursuit of God’s heart to be first on my agenda for every day. I believe that the rest of the activities of my day will flow from there. My heart belongs to the Lord Who has saved me from my sin and positioned me for eternity. I want to keep a steady pace in pursuit of God. I love this song of worship called “My Heart Is Yours” by Kristian Stanfill.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Delivered

delivery guy knockingI love getting packages from my online orders. I am an Amazon Prime member and it’s made Christmas shopping fun, easy and even economical. There is even cool technology that lets me track the shipments while they are on their way. I usually have my orders delivered to my office because our office staff is there during the day to receive deliveries. If I’m out showing houses and away from the office, I get a text when the packages are delivered. It’s fun to even open the packages and get them ready to wrap for a Christmas gift for someone else.

Job is still suffering from the loss of his family, his possessions and his health. He has been debating three of his “friends” and now a young man named Elihu speaks to Job. I have to commend this young man because he has such a respectful tone as he begins to speak. Check this out…

2 I am about to open my mouth;

    my words are on the tip of my tongue.

3 My words come from an upright heart;

    my lips sincerely speak what I know.

4 The Spirit of God has made me;

    the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:2-4 NIV)

He then tells Job that the Lord may very well send a mediator to console and comfort him. He may send an angel or messenger to speak on His behalf. I actually like the tone of this young man’s words. He seems humble and kind. Check this out…

26 then that person can pray to God and find favor with him,

    they will see God’s face and shout for joy;

    he will restore them to full well-being.

27 And they will go to others and say,

    “I have sinned, and I have perverted what is right,

    but I did not get what I deserved.

28 God has delivered me from going down to the pit,

    and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.”

29 ‘God does all these things to a person –

    twice, even three times –

30 to turn them back from the pit,

    that the light of life may shine on them. (Job 33:26-30 NIV)

While this young man was speaking to Job, he really didn’t understand Job’s relationship with God. I do think what he’s describing though is much how I relate to the Lord. I do have a Mediator Who speaks to God on my behalf. He is Jesus. He intercedes on my behalf and he provided freedom from my sin because of His sacrifice. I can’t quite comprehend that kind of love – but I’m so thankful. Through Jesus, I’m delivered from sin forever. I’m thankful to have the Light of the Lord shining upon my life. It’s as if I’ve received a text saying that I’ve been delivered from death to life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Strength In Struggle

 

depression teen girlThere have been way too many times in my life when I felt like all was lost. The pain that comes through suffering is almost devastating. There are times when I find it hard to lift my head because of what I’m facing. I’m still learning that there is ALWAYS Hope because of Creator God. He is NEVER too tired or too weak to help. He is NEVER too busy to listen. He comes to my rescue quite often.

David was in need of rescue. He and his men had gone out with the Philistines preparing for battle only to be sent home because the leadership didn’t trust him and his men to fight against his own countrymen. Upon arrival home the devastation was overwhelming. Check this out…

3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured – Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. (1 Samuel 30:3-6 NIV)

That last line of the passage jumped right in my lap as I read it. I needed to be reminded that my Source of strength can ALWAYS be found in the Lord God. I don’t always look to Him first – I often try my own way. I’m learning that He NEVER leaves and He’s ALWAYS the best Source of strength that exists. I’m so thankful for His rescue of me.

I immediately thought of this song by Hillsong called: Came To My Rescue.

1 Falling on my knees in worship

Giving all I am to seek your face

Lord all I am is yours

2 My whole life

I place in your hands

God of Mercy

Humbled I bow down

In your presence at your throne

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

3 My whole life

I place in your hands

God of Mercy

Humbled I bow down

In your presence at your throne

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

B In my life be lifted high

In our world be lifted high

In our love be lifted high

C I called you answered

And you came to my rescue and I

I wanna be where you are

________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Refuge & Rescue

 

RescurerI love coming home after a trip. My home just seems to welcome me. I’m not into majestic and massive space to live. I really try to live fairly simple and plain. My wife and I have raised our children there. We have faced struggles and experienced great joy at home. I’ve had a few small surgeries (they are only minor when they’re happening to someone else) over the years and I could hardly wait to get home.

The cities of refuge in scripture were an excellent idea. These cities were safe places to come while guilt or innocence was being figured out. Check this out…

1 Then the Lord said to Joshua: 2 ‘Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, 3 so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood. 4 When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state their case before the elders of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them. (Joshua 20:1-4 NIV)

Refuge implies hiding out while rescue implies being saved from harms way. These two are closely relatable to me. I can find refuge when I run to the Lord. He keeps me safe. He sometimes hides me. He protects me. I find rescue when I’m in a mess and I need help to navigate out. As I walk through this journey, I realize that I need both refuge and rescue at different times, but sometimes for the same reason. The enemy is crouching and ready to pounce at any given moment it seems.

My refuge Provider and my Rescuer are always close at hand. As long as He is with me, I’m in a place of REFUGE and available for RESCUE.

Pressing On!

Dwayne