Belong

Many hands together: group of people joining handsI belong to my parents as their son. I belong to my wife & family because I made a commitment years ago. I belong as a member of Southern Hills Christian Church where I’m committed to growing in my faith and helping others grow as well. I belong to the Board of REALTORS because I’m a member. The most important membership I have is in God’s family. I belong to Him. In each of these situations I bring honor or dishonor to the place I belong. I’m thankful that the Lord makes up for the many deficiencies that I have. Check this out…

 For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; Lord. Christ died and returned to life for this: that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9 CSB)

Sometimes I look at my hands and feet and realize that these are the same hands that did some stupid thing in 7th grade. These are the same feet that went places I shouldn’t have in High School. As my body ages, I’m coming to terms with the end of this life which is death. I am not afraid of death, I just want those who count on me to be prepared because it does happen. Hopefully I’ve got several more years of life left.  I need to be prepared today if eternity knocks. If I’m living for the Lord, my preparation is well on its way. If I’m living for me, then I’m missing the destination instructions.

I want to live today knowing that the Lord holds this day and He also holds tomorrow. It is not my role to worry, it is my role to trust Him and seek to honor Him. I want to live as someone who has already died to myself. If I’ve died to me, then I can’t change the stuff I worry about. I can’t protect my family – He does that. I really can’t do anything IF I’m already dead to myself. I trust in the Lord completely to direct my path and guide my heart. In dying to myself, I’m really living for Him. I belong to Him – all of me; all for Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Entreaty

worship in prayerI’m not sure I’ve ever noticed this word before although it’s meaning is fairly simple. It simply means: “earnest request, or petition; supplication.” It sounds a lot like prayer to me. I like the word treaty, which is inside this word. Treaty is about an agreement or pact of some sort.

For all the good King Hezekiah had done, his son Manassah took it all down. This young man seemed bent on doing evil. He ignored the messages and warnings of the Lord. The Lord sent the commanders of Assyria and they took him captive. I think it took something of this magnitude to get his attention. Check this out…

12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. (2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NIV)

There are some important components of His prayer. I think the first part is seeking the Lord. The Lord is not hard to find. I’ve felt that He left before, but it was actually me that left Him. The second part of his prayer was that he humbled himself. I’ve said it many times before that pride is one of most destructive characteristics that I could have. The fact that Manasseh humbled himself was significant. His prayer moved the Lord. I believe that his prayer would have been nothing if had not humbled himself before the Lord.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures and responses. This young man was desperate and his humility and his plea moved the heart of God. If I could simply learn to seek the Lords heart and stay humble before Him, my journey with Him would have a depth that is hard to measure and comprehend. I have to keep my pride in check in order for my prayer life to have meaning. My entreaty is dependent upon the position of my heart. I can pray to the Lord to learn more about how to pray.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Seek & Surrender

 

Businessman seek the solutionI grew up following the rules. I was taught the difference between right and wrong. I definitely “pushed the envelope” and made bad choices at times. I look back now and I have regrets with some of my choices. I heard a great truth last week – “Disobedience is simply unbelief”. (Thanks Shannon Lovelady.)  I was warned and instructed as a kid about touching the hot stove, but I guess I didn’t “believe” my parents and touched in anyway. I was warned and instructed about a lot of things, that I ended up disobeying and trying anyway, only to find out that I was told the truth to begin with. When I look back on this behavior in my past, and even today in my present, it reinforces that my pride leads me to disobedience and erodes my faith.

The people of Judah & Benjamin (aka The Southern Kingdom) started to do things a bit differently under the leadership of King Asa. They went all in. Check this out…

1 The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. 4 But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. (2 Chronicles 15:1-4 NIV)

I also read that people from the other tribes were coming to Judah because they saw what God was doing and they wanted to be in on it.

I think that there is a really simple truth in this passage. God is not far away and elusive. He is nearby and accessible. There have been times in my life when the Lord has seemed miles away, but it was times I was “hell bent” on doing things my way instead of His way.

When Jesus came, He ushered in grace. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He gives us immediate access to God. During the time of Asa, they could seek God, but it was through the high priest and through sacrifices of animals. Jesus was the final sacrifice needed for sin. He took my sin to the cross and I can now seek the Lord as a cleaned up person. I can go directly to the Lord with anything and everything. I don’t have to wait until I can get to the temple, because the Lord dwells inside me – my heart is a temple of God.

I don’t ever want to get so busy that I don’t take time to surrender my plans and my activities to the Lord. I want to make sure that my actions and my plans are connected with His call upon my life. I don’t want to get so caught up in work that I don’t seek Him first. I don’t want to get so busy and successful that I don’t have time to sit at His feet and seek His heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Seeking

 

Jesus man of joyJesusI remember the simple little game of “Hide & Seek” when I was a kid. It was a really fun game that didn’t require any props or game pieces. In fact if there were only 2 people, you could still play this game. It was more fun hiding than seeking. I didn’t like being “it” much. I enjoyed hiding and actually became pretty good at it.

The prophet Zephaniah warned the people of the land that the Lord’s wrath and punishment is coming. He’s about to restore the land to Israel. The prophet gives some good counsel that applies even today. Check this out….

3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,

    you who do what he commands.

Seek righteousness, seek humility;

    perhaps you will be sheltered

    on the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3 NIV)

Hiding from the Lord is really stupid and futile. It can’t be accomplished. As hard as I might try, I can’t run and hide from Him. He knows me. He knows my struggles. He knows my stresses. He knows my joys. He knows my pain. I believe there is life in seeking the Lord. I believe that seeking the Lord is more than a one-time exercise. I believe seeking the Lord should happen daily, hourly —constantly. I believe that I can learn more about Who He is and how He is through seeking Him. I believe that I can seek Him through His Word as well as seek Him through the events of my day. He is there, willing to help me. He is willing to direct my path. He is willing to give me counsel. He is willing to pick me up when I’m down and discouraged.

I don’t ever intend to stop seeking the Lord. I believe in Him with my whole heart. I’ve experienced His Presence, His Comfort, His Wisdom, His Power and His Gentle Heart. I will keep seeking Him today.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Seek

Businessman seek the solutionI loved the game “Hide and Seek” as a kid. I kind of like it as an adult doing the high tech treasure hunt called Geocaching. It’s where a cache is hidden somewhere and the coordinates are loaded into the website so that others can find the location of the cache and find the hidden “treasure” inside. Most of the caches hidden have a log inside for you to sign. The seeking and finding is really the point –not the prize in the cache.

Seeking the Lord is similar. There are hidden “caches of truth” through out scripture that are only found by those who are seeking. I was reminded of this again this morning in the words of King David. Check this out…..

The fool says in his heart,

    “There is no God.”

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;

    there is no one who does good.
The Lord looks down from heaven

    on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,

    any who seek God.
3 All have turned away,
 all have become corrupt;

    there is no one who does good,

    not even one. (Psalm 14:1-3 NIV)

 

To find the Lord, I don’t have to look far. His Presence and His Influence in my world is all over the place. He is the Designer and Creator and I see His hands in every area of my life.  Seeking the Lord is a daily journey for me. I believe in seeking Him, I learn lots about me in the process. When I seek His Heart, I pick up characteristics of Him that I need in my heart.  As I seek the Lord daily, I’m reminded that that even though I’ve found Him, I want to stay in pursuit of His Heart.

I want to be a seeker of God the rest of my days here on earth.

Pressing On!
Dwayne