Attention

 

Woman talking through a megaphone and a man plugging his earsIf I’m in a big room and it’s loud and a bit chaotic and I want to get everyone’s attention, I can yell or whistle and people will often get quiet. It doesn’t do much good to make an announcement to a room full of people who aren’t paying attention.

The trumpet is a pretty loud horn instrument. If I’m anywhere a trumpet that is being played, it’s hard to ignore. It is like the bugle which was used by the US Calvary years ago to signal the troops to charge or retreat.

John is watching and trying to keep all of this written down as to what is happening in this beautiful, unique place he’s in. He is watching as the Lamb opens the seventh seal. Check this out…

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. (Revelation 8:1-2 CSB)

I can see something big coming. Trumpets are not quiet. I also enjoy silence sometimes. The contrast between silence and a trumpet is several decibels.

The Lord wants the attention of His people. He will do whatever it takes to get our attention. I’m committed to giving the Lord my attention in the quietness of the morning. I love hearing from Him. He doesn’t always whisper, but I feel like His Spirit speaks to me about my day coming up. He directs my steps and gives me insight to make sound decisions. I don’t want Him to ever need to shout for my attention – although He is capable of that for sure.

Come & Listen – David Crowder

Come and listen, come to the water’s edge, all you who know and fear the Lord.
Come and listen, come to the water’s edge all you who are thirsty, come.

Let me tell you what He has done for me.
He has done for you,
He has done for us.

Come and listen,
Come and listen to what He’s done.

Praise our God for He is good.

He has done for me,
He has done for you,
He has done for us.

Come and listen,
Come and listen to what He’s done.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Silence

 

Woman talking through a megaphone and a man plugging his earsThere are times that I love the peace and serenity I feel in silence. Recently my family celebrated my Dad’s 80th birthday. It was a lot of fun with a lot of my family gathered as well as friends and neighbors. I must say that silence was not really part of the celebrating, but afterward I was looking forward to silence. I’ve been both the giver and receiver of the “silent treatment” when someone is angry or frustrated with me. There are times when silence is a blessing and at other times it’s very painful and hard.

The Lord had gone silent on Saul for his disobedience when the Lord told him to carry out His furious judgment on the Amalakites. Saul is on his own and the silence of the Lord is deafening. Check this out….

4 The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. 6 He enquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. (1 Samuel 28:4-6 NIV)

Samuel was gripped by fear and this was magnified when he realized that the Lord had turned away from Him. He actually sought out a witch or medium. This is extremely dangerous territory where the Lord is involved. He wanted to hear from the prophet Samuel who was dead. It is the beginning of the end of Saul’s leadership and I think he knows it.

I don’t want to experience the silence of the Lord. I want my hearing from the Lord to improve as my body ages and my physical hearing slips a bit. I would rather hear from the Lord than anyone else. I’m so thankful that the Lord speaks to me through His Word and through my daily journey of prayer. He gives wisdom and understanding that blows my mind. He prompts and He directs. He speaks and He whispers. He stirs my heart to hear Him more clearly. I’m grateful to be called His kid. I’m grateful that He listens to my heart. I’m grateful that He speaks to me. When I sit before Him in silence, I’m so grateful that He isn’t silent.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Prompted

 

prompt helpThe word prompted carries with it the words assisted or encouraged. I remember being prompted in school by the teachers. I was prompted with my homework. I was prompted with my behavior. Much of the prompting that I received in school was not optional – it was mandatory. I’m pretty confident that there will be all sorts of “prompting” until the day I die. I’m “prompted” to pay taxes and utility bills. I’m “prompted” to pay back any debts that I owe. I’m “prompted” to have the proper license to drive and I’m “prompted” to drive a certain speed. There are prompts that are optional and prompts that are NOT an option.s

The people of Israel – God’s People – had options as well. He wanted to be their God and He commanded that they do certain things and live a certain way. They always had the option to do it differently. The consequences of those options were not always positive. In many cases throughout the Old Testament, the Law seems to present a very harsh and condescending God. I believe God is and ALWAYS has been a God of Love and Grace. In the Old Testament the law restricted behavior and therefore some facets of relationship. Under the Law my relationship with God was actually through the leader (Moses) or the high priest. When Jesus came He changed the very nature of my relationship with God by granting me “direct access” to God.

The Israelites have just been given the Law from God. He also gave them very specific instructions about building a Tabernacle complete with the furnishings. This would be a place that God would dwell among the people as they moved toward the land that was promised them. Moses was to get special skilled craftsmen to build the pieces, but the resources came from the people. Check this out…

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. (Exodus 25:1-2 NIV)

I know a bit about this type of prompting. I believe that the Holy Spirit of God is the “Ultimate Prompter”.

I’m prompted me to give on many occasions.

I have been prompted to speak to a specific person.

I’m prompted to go to a certain place.

I’m prompted to keep quiet.

I’m prompted to love.

I’m prompted to serve.

This list could get really long. I believe that the very Spirit of God lives in me and uses me because my life is surrendered to the Lord. I want to be a sensitive and keen listener to hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit in me. I welcome the prompting of God because it helps me know that I’m in step with Him and I’m walking with His Will for me. I believe that the Lord prompted me to write these thoughts this morning.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Say What You Want

 

Child speaking out loudWhen I was growing up, I remember going to church and the preacher yelling and shouting a lot. I remember seeing the preacher preach like he was angry. As I grew up I realized that sometimes the preacher was angry, but for the wrong reason. He might be angry that giving is off or that the people are as committed to his ministry as he’d like. I really don’t care for that style of preaching and teaching. I often think that when those type speakers have nothing to say, they simply shout and get more animated. There are a lot of people who like to be rebuked in that way. They feel like they’ve been to church when they get their “toes stepped on”. I love hearing the truth and I’m convinced that the truth doesn’t always need fake emotion. The Holy Spirit can do the shouting deep inside the hearer’s heart.

There are other preachers and church leaders today that don’t ever speak against sin. They just love everybody and anything goes. They really water down the truth to the point it doesn’t even sound like truth. They really want the people who give to their church to like them, so they don’t call out sin in order to not offend. I believe that the Lord is not happy about this type of preaching and leading.

Micah was a prophet who called out prophets who were simply saying what people wanted to hear. He is God’s spokesperson and he doesn’t mince words. Check this out…

5-7 Here is God’s Message to the prophets,

    the preachers who lie to my people:

“For as long as they’re well paid and well fed,

    the prophets preach, ‘Isn’t life wonderful! Peace to all!’

But if you don’t pay up and jump on their bandwagon,

    their ‘God bless you’ turns into ‘God damn you.’

Therefore, you’re going blind. You’ll see nothing.

    You’ll live in deep shadows and know nothing.

The sun has set on the prophets.

    They’ve had their day; from now on it’s night.

Visionaries will be confused,

    experts will be all mixed up.

They’ll hide behind their reputations and make lame excuses

    to cover up their God-ignorance.”

8 But me—I’m filled with God’s power,

    filled with God’s Spirit of justice and strength,

Ready to confront Jacob’s crime

    and Israel’s sin. (Micah 3:5-8 The Message)

I believe that preachers should preach the truth.

I believe that Christ followers should speak the truth.

I believe that Christ followers should follow the truth of God’s Word.

I don’t always like what the Word says to me, but the truth is the truth.

I want to speak the truth with love in my heart. I want to honor the Lord with my life and my words. I want my life and my words to be in concert on His behalf. I want my opinions and ideas to be grounded in the truth of the Word, but I want to make sure that Truth prevails over any feelings or opinions I have. I want to say what the Lord wants me to say and nothing else.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Speak To Me

Man praying with the BibleI awoke this morning pretty much like any other morning with my alarm clock “screaming” (it feels like that some days!) that it’s time to get up. I realize that I may be just a little sleep deprived because of the whole “spring forward” time change thing this weekend. I do love this time of year because Spring is getting close. My journey through the Word has me in Ezekiel these days and I must say that there are times when it gets tough to hear the Lord speak to me in the midst of the prophesies of this brother against all these other people. The Lord appears to be really pretty ticked off as a general theme in this book. I’m over half-way through this book and before I even opened the Word this morning I felt the Lord speaking to me. I usually try to wake my brain up before reading, but this morning I felt Him speaking into me even before that.

“I will walk with the Lord until I walk this earth no more”

This little word came to me before I even had sat down after making coffee. I can get so anxious about all I have to remember and all the responsibility that sits on my shoulders as a Christ follower, husband, dad, REALTOR/Broker, business owner…the list can go on and on. I know that the Lord knew I needed to be reminded of this today. As I opened Ezekiel 25 there it was again. Check this out…

  1. The word of the Lord came to me… (Ezekiel 25:1 NIV)

I knew I had been seeing that phrase at the beginning of each chapter. In fact I went back through the previous chapter and this phrase or a variation of it appears in 19 or the first 25 chapters of Ezekiel. Before reading the rest of chapter 25, which is prophesy against Edom, Ammon, Edom & Philistia, I just let this 8-word phrase settle into me. What a privilege and honor to hear the Lord speak into me. I believe He does this all the time if my ear will tune to His Frequency. I want to hear Him and be faithful and courageous to speak what He says if He wants me to say it.

This simple little sentence settled my anxious heart as I begin a new week. The Lord will speak to me and walk with me – who or what should I fear or worry about? NOTHING!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Deceit & Dishonor

Trust with blue markerI’ve seen deceit up close and first hand. I will confess that I’ve deceitful in my past. I have long since realized what a dead end road that is. Honesty is always best even though it can be painful. The closer to the Lord I become, the more I realize how much He hates deceit. He is a Champion of Truth. Deceit brings dishonor to all who practice it. The truth finds it’s way through the web of deceit.

Ezekiel was asked by the Lord to speak against people who were deceivers among his people. They were speaking as if the Lord was speaking to them and through them. It was really just a scam. Check this out…

17 ‘Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them 18 and say, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own? 19 You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live.

20 ‘“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds. 21 I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 13:17-21 NIV)

 

I believe that the Lord finds dishonesty detestable. I also believe that it is dangerous to quote the Lord as having “said something to you” that He didn’t really say at all. I believe that His Word speaks clearly for Him. I also believe that if anyone says “this is what the Lord says” and it contradicts His Word, then it is false.

I do feel led by the Lord to do certain things and say certain things because of His Presence in me. I can’t always explain why I felt led to do what I did. I’m learning to listen as He directs. I try to never get my own way and call it His Way. I believe that to be dishonest and deceitful. I don’t want to be afraid to speak when He prompts me, but I want to be sure it’s His Spirit doing the prompting and not my own agenda or the enemy trying to do something through me. I must keep in close fellowship with The Spirit of God or order to only speak when He speaks.

Pressing On!

Dwayne