Soul Rest

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI try to get to bed at a certain time range each evening. I believe that my morning begins the night before. I learned a long time ago that these two were intricately connected. There are some nights that rest comes so peacefully. There are other nights when for whatever reason, I don’t rest well. Sleep usually means rest, but rest doesn’t always mean sleep. I like my life to have a bit of rhythm. I don’t mean musically, although I love music. I like to have some routines and systems in place for my life. When I change up my routine, it takes a minute for the rhythm to return.

Jesus is teaching the people and He has just complimented John The Baptist for his work in preparing the way for Him. He also complimented people who simply follow Him completely. He then makes a statement that really settles my heart. He speaks of soul rest. Check this out….

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

I love the fact that Jesus has strong shoulders. He gives an open invitation for me to come.

He can carry any of my burdens.

He gives me strength when I’m weary.

He gives me calm in the midst of chaos.

He gives physical rest.

He teaches me from His humble & gentle heart.

He gives soul rest.

He replaces my struggles and burdens with a different calling. Instead of seeking success, He invites me to serve. Success comes after serving. Success comes after sitting at the feet of Jesus. Success comes after rest. I understand that is sounds backward, but the Lord want me to trust and lean on Him. This does not mean I’m lazy and sitting around “resting” all the time. If I never work, rest becomes boring.  I intend to keep trusting the Lord to lead and direct the activities of my life. I trust Him to help bring balance and rhythm to my journey. He gives me soul rest which also connects with physical rest. I’m thankful for His gift of soul rest.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Success = Obedience

What's the Combination Secret Code Unlock PotentialI remember as a kid growing up how important obedience it. I remember that at times I received the punishment for disobedience. As a parent, I’ve learned just how significant it is for my kiddos. I know that even though “I turned out all right” that I broke my parents heart some growing up. They remained faithful and vigilant in following the Lord and I finally figured it out.

There is not some huge formula for success in the Lord’s economy. I don’t have to try to dress to impress. I don’t have to have a minimum financial level. I don’t have to be known by anyone other than the Lord. In the Lord’s economy He equates success with obedience. One of the young kings of Judah was like no other king and his obedience was the secret to his success. Check this out…

2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)

5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. (2 Kings 18:2-7 NIV)

The world defines success with money, fame, friends and possessions. The Lord defines success with simple obedience and trust. The Lord wants a relationship with me that will change all other relationships. If my relationship with God is strong, then my relationship with my wife, children, colleagues and everyone who knows me is affected.

The Lord brings order to my life.

The Lord brings purpose to my life.

The Lord brings significance to my life.

The Lord brings peace to my life.

The Lord so wants to live in me and live through me to showcase Him to others. The benefits of obedience are limitless in God’s economy.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Success In Surrender

Hand waving white flag from pile of shredded paperI like war movies especially the ones that turn out with us (US) winning. I love the fighting spirit that compels us to fight for the freedoms we enjoy here in the USA. I wish those freedoms for the world, but wishing doesn’t make it happen. My youngest son has been studying American History and I we quickly reminded of the cost of the freedoms that we enjoy today.

King David was a warrior before he became King of Israel. He was evidently really good at leading and inspiring the men who fought with him. David understood the secret of success in surrender. He surrendered first to the Lord and trusted Him with the outcome of each battle and therefore David was successful because the Lord would go before him. Check this out…

11 King David dedicated these articles to the Lord, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued: 12 Edom and Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, and Amalek. He also dedicated the plunder taken from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.

13 And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

14 He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went. (2 Samuel 8:11-14 NIV)

I am still learning the success in surrender. I’m learning that the Lord can direct my path through the most difficult of situations when I surrender to Him and His plan for me. I can’t always see how it will work out, but that’s where my trust of Him comes into play.

I do believe that there are times to fight and fight valiantly, but that is after I’ve surrendered to the Lord. He will go before me and He will stand behind. He never leaves me in the heat of the battle without His Presence. Who, what or why should I be afraid? I’m confident that He is with me always.

“Whom Shall I Fear?” by Chris Tomlin

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Jealousy

 

jealousyThis can be a troubling feeling. It is often viewed as a negative feeling. There are three possible meanings:

1   feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.

2   feeling or showing suspicion of someone’s unfaithfulness in a relationship.

3.  fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions.

I must confess that I have had some jealousy inside of me at times. I do believe that jealousy can be very destructive if left unchecked. I am jealous for time with my kids even as I see them grow older and choose to spend their time elsewhere. I’ve learned to not be jealous of others success, but to celebrate with them. If I become jealous or envious of others, my life will be most miserable. I try to stay busy becoming who the Lord is calling me to be and worry less about what others are doing.

I read a passage in 1 Samuel and King Saul is now in a bad place. David has just taken down the “big blow hard”, Goliath and it didn’t go unnoticed by the people. Saul gives David a position in the army and his success keeps growing. Check this out…

12 Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul.

28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, 29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy for the rest of his days.

30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known. (1 Samuel 18:12, 28-30 NIV)

I really want to stay in the place where the Lord dwells. I don’t want jealousy to creep in and steal my joy. I want to walk with the Lord in a way that His Presence is with me and all over my life. I don’t want to act outside of His will and His plan for my life. I’ve come across other people who seem to think they know God’s plan for my life, but He as affirmed and directed me clearly to where I am today.

It’s a bit unsettling to see and notice when others are jealous of my success or something good happening in my life. (I have been there and done that for sure.) It’s also super encouraging when others notice my success and celebrate with me! (I am learning to celebrate the success of others too!) I want to keep studying the Word of God to grow in wisdom and insight. I want to keep seeking God’s Will for me in my life. I don’t want to be derailed or disturbed by what others are saying about me, I want to keep cultivating the Lord’s Presence in my heart and my life. The Lord is the Source of Successes or the Teacher during my failures.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Confidence

Prepared Not UnpreparedThere are times that I can walk into a room with confidence because I have done the work and I’m prepared for this meeting that I’m about to have. I have researched. I have revised. I have discovered options. I have drilled down the info to the bottom line. Then there are other times when an impromptu meeting is called and I don’t feel prepared at all. I don’t have any answers – just a lot of questions. I really hate feeling “caught off guard” but it happens. I can make it through those times gathering information and then making preparations for another opportunity to connect and deliver the details.

Education and preparation can give confidence. The Presence of God in me trumps all the education and preparation that I have. His Spirit can give wisdom and insight that no amount of education can provide.

The people of Israel were about to face 7 nations that were stronger than they were – but the Lord was with them. The Lord’s Presence inspired and motivated them. Moses challenged them to reflect on where they’ve been as they move forward. Check this out…

17 You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?’ 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.

21 Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. (Deuteronomy 7:17-19,21 NIV)

Sometimes it helps to take a look back at where I’ve been and where I’ve come from to notice God’s hand orchestrating the story of my life. When I’m in the middle of struggle, hardship or deep pain it’s hard to see His Hand or feel His Presence. He is always there with me. As I take a look back and then look forward, I can face today with confidence that confuses people who don’t know Him. The world can be collapsing around me, but I’m holding tight to Him. I have confidence that He will walk me through the darkest valley and dance with me on the highest mountain. He is a GREAT & AWESOME God Whose Presence in me changes everything!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Success

Success Collage - good businessThis term can be a moving target. It has multiple meanings. For example, success can be simply an achieved goal or it can mean achievement that brings tremendous financial gain. I believe different perspectives define success differently. I think a person who has made a lot of money would define himself or herself as successful, however, if they earned the money with despicable behavior and dishonesty, I would not call them a success. I would describe them as a rich, arrogant thief. Some of the most successful people I know were not wealthy in money, but were filthy rich in love.

Jeremiah was prophesying judgment on the kings of Israel and Judah for their ruthless leadership that has brought the demise of their kingdom. He describes what success could be. Check this out….

13 “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,

    his upper rooms by injustice,

making his own people work for nothing,

    not paying them for their labor.

14 He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace

    with spacious upper rooms.’

So he makes large windows in it,

    panels it with cedar

    and decorates it in red.

15 “Does it make you a king

    to have more and more cedar?

Did not your father have food and drink?

    He did what was right and just,

    so all went well with him.

16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,

    and so all went well.

Is that not what it means to know me?”

    declares the Lord.

17 “But your eyes and your heart

    are set only on dishonest gain,

on shedding innocent blood

    and on oppression and extortion.” (Jeremiah 22:13-17 NIV)

 

I want to know the Lord.

I want to follow His leading on my life.

I want the blessings He gives me to bless others.

I want to help those who are helpless.

I want to defend the cause of the poor and needy.

I want my life plan to come straight from the heart of God so that in everything I do, I bring honor and respect to Him. That will be what makes me successful.

Pressing On!

Dwayne