Safe & Protected

 

LKR032459I have a security alarm in my home so that if someone comes into my home during the night, I will be alerted. If it is one my family members, they know the code to bypass the alarm. I have to admit that I rest better at night knowing the home is secured. I do have “other means” of security as well, those will remain private.

A few nights ago, the security system mal-functioned just after midnight and I wasn’t home. At that point, it became an irritating and obnoxious system. It needed a “reboot”. It is now working fine.

Jesus explains His position as the Son of God and the keeper of His sheep (followers, disciples, believers). He is like a farmer who knows his livestock and gives them each a name. He feeds them and provides for them. He watches out for the sick or weak. Check this out…

24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.” (John 10:24-30 NLT)

As I walk out my faith daily with the Lord – He and I talk a lot. We talk about everything. We talk about the little things and the big things. We talk about whether I should eat that piece of candy (sometimes I don’t listen) or not. I want Him involved in every facet of my life. He gives the best counsel. He gives the best directions. He leads me where He wants me to go. I’m also listening to Him so that I can say what He wants me to say.

I feel safe and protected wherever I am and whatever I’m doing because I know that the Lord is with me. I don’t worry because I’ve surrendered to His Will and His Way for me. I want my life to bring glory to Him and not to me. I want Him to be noticed in how I live. He keeps me safe and protected for Himself. If I were to get sick, hurt or killed – I want those events to draw attention to my total trust in the Lord. I will die one of these days and He alone knows how or when that will happen. I want my life and my death to bring glory and honor to Him. Having my total trust in Him is the ONLY way I feel safe and protected.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Ultimate Invitation

 

InvitationI enjoy a good invite. A few weeks ago, I received a formal invitation to my oldest grandson’s birthday party. The theme was Mickey Mouse! Of course, I made plans to be there. The party was yesterday and we most definitely had fun with him, family and friends. Invitations are most always optional. If it was mandatory the language would be different. There are some invitations that I’ve received that I “felt” were mandatory or I “needed” to be there. The Lord has given the ULTIMATE INVITATION – He invites me to eternal life. He also invites me to enjoy the abundant life while I’m here on earth.

John is wrapping up his revelation and he hears from Jesus, himself. The Lord gives a profound declaration and invitation. Check this out…

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. (Revelation 22:16-17 NLT)

I am responding to the invitation of the Lord each day. I have surrendered my life to Him. I have been baptized and I’m walking out my faith in Him daily. I stumble often, but through confession and repentance, He restores my soul. His forgiveness is complete. When He introduced me to His grace, I was blown away. I look for Him to invite me into closer fellowship with Him as I daily seek His face. I seek His heart through His Word and my heart is molded and changed.

The invitation from the Lord has changed everything about my life. I’ve RSVP’d to Him and I’m committed to His call upon my life. He offers life-giving water. He offers the life-sustaining Presence of God. He Lights my path because He’s the Light of The World! I’m blown away that He welcomes me into His family. This is one invitation that doesn’t just stay on the refrigerator but I carry it with me everywhere.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Heads Up

woman creating a frame from fingersI like it when I get a “heads up” that something is about to happen. I do realize that the element of surprise is gone with a heads up, but I can mentally prepare when something is going down that affects me and my family. Most recently we’ve had two storms come our way and the weather predictions have missed the mark significantly. My family was preparing for the worst with the wind, rain and possibly tornados that never came. I was thankful for the heads up from the meteorologist. I must say that it feels like they were a bit over dramatic with some of the predictions, but “better safe than sorry”.

The Apostle John is seeing things he can barely describe. These things are happening in a context that he can barely get his head around. He is hearing voices from heaven. He is seeing these massive angelic creatures. One particular angel had one foot on land and another foot on the sea. This angel made some declarations that were giving a “heads up” of sorts. Check this out…

Then the angel that I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. He swore by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it: “There will no longer be a delay, but in the days when the seventh angel will blow his trumpet, then the mystery of God will be completed, as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:5-7 CSB)

When I look back at the Old Testament and how the prophets tell about the coming of Jesus – He comes. There is consistency with the Lord that comes through His Word and the words of the Apostles, prophets and servants of the Lord. I’ve heard of people predicting when the Lord will come again and they’ve been wrong. I’m not sure when He’s coming again, but the Word says that He’s coming. I think the theme of Revelation could be summed up in a couple of words: “Be Ready”. We don’t know when, but He promised to come. I look at the overall view of Revelation as a “heads up” of sorts. I need to be attentive and alert to the things of God. I need to be aware of His call upon my life. I need to make my life here count for eternity. I should live today like I’ll die tomorrow. I should live in complete surrender to His Will and His Way – I’ll be ready when He comes. I’m going to use this “heads up” wisely.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Money Perspective

Dollar bank note money backgroundI do enjoy money. I’ve not met a lot of people who don’t enjoy having money. Money is a medium. There are some people who use it to help their family buy food and others who use it to buy drugs. Money is never the problem, it’s the people who manage it. Money does what we tell it to do. I see money as good because I use it to accomplish good for me and my family. The Word of God is clear about the LOVE of money. Check this out…

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10 CSB)

 Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. Therefore, we may boldly say,

The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me? (Hebrews 11:5-6 CSB)

There are those who think if you make a lot of money, you’ll be successful. I believe it to be the opposite. I believe if I’m successful in serving others and helping them move, then I can earn a good living. Money follows successful work.  I also know that the Lord doesn’t measure success by money. He measures success by service, surrender and obedience. The more I learn about the Lord’s heart, he cared deeply about others.

I need the Lord’s wisdom in managing everything in my life – including my money. I want to use money to honor and glorify Him. I want to use the things money has provided to honor Him as well. If I’m not careful, money starts to manage me if I don’t manage it. Several years ago, I was “broke as a joke” and didn’t have “enough money in each month”. I discovered the teaching of Dave Ramsey (www.daveramsey.com) and I wanted to be free from the bondage of debt. My wife and I started dumping debt and “acting our wage” and we dumped all our consumer debt. We are very near complete freedom from debt. This journey out of debt has given me a whole new perspective on money. I’m in charge of it, but when I’m in debt to others, the amount I owe them has charge over me. I even became an Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) in Real Estate for Dave Ramsey.

I want to keep earning money to serve my family and invest in the Kingdom of God. I do want to become successful in managing money and serving with it. I want to keep a kingdom perspective on every facet of my life – including money.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Confident Confession

confidence level conceptual meterI like the word confident. I try to be very cautious about being confident because it can lead to a condescending tone which flows right into arrogance. I have a lot of confidence in the Lord. I have seen Him move and work in my life and in the lives of others. I see confident as being bold and having a strong belief or conviction. Confession means to declare or acknowledge one’s faith. Confession also carries with it the agreement & acknowledgment of my sin before the Lord. I’m learning that becoming aware of my sin is critical to the Lord helping me to overcome my struggle with sin.

I have known the Lord for a long time, but that doesn’t make me superior to the person who just met Him. I believe that my journey with the Lord is a day by day walk. I have choices every day that should I choose them, could absolutely destroy the integrity of my walk with God. I believe that the Lord would forgive me, but I see it as “crucifying Him all over again”. I want my life and my choices to be pleasing to Him. I want my confidence to be place squarely upon His shoulders. I am thankful that Jesus came and became the Ultimate Sacrifice for sin. This changed mankind’s relationship with God once and for all. Check this out…

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus— 20 he has inaugurated for us a new and living way through the curtain (that is, through his flesh)— 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25 CSB)

I shouldn’t be arrogant about what God has done for me, because He will save anyone who will comes before Him with a humble heart seeking forgiveness. His grace is enough for the whole world. He loves His Creation – His kids. He wants everyone to be saved, but He will not force His will upon my heart or upon anyone else. I could make people tell me they love me by threatening their life, but that wouldn’t be love at all. I’m thankful to be loved because I’ve learned to love. God loved me first and His love has compelled my heart to surrender to His love. I now love Him and I daily surrender my will and my way to His Will & His Way. I am confident that He is in control of my life and I’m not. I want to walk with Him every day without worry or stress, because He is the Lord of my life and all the circumstances surrounding my life. I’m in charge of being obedient and trusting Him while walking out my faith with complete confidence in Him. I also want to encourage others to live out their faith in daily surrender to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inspiration

Grace AND Truth

I am inspired by the stories of people who have gone before me. I am reading a book called “The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965” It is about the long and storied history of Churchill’s leadership during the World War II era. The hardship that he and the people of England faced was very hard and very real, but they emerged in great strength through the hardships. Churchill was an inspirational leader. He was a motivator. He was a thinker. He had his weird moments. He inspired others by his speeches, writings, but most of all his leadership. Great leaders inspire others to follow their lead.

The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy is encouraging his young protégé by writing to remind Timothy of his journey thus far. It is often helpful to reflect on where we’ve been to truly appreciate where we are today. Paul closes out one of the chapters by reminding Timothy that tough times are ahead. He reminds him that there will be opposition and persecution. He gives some strong counsel to Timothy in the face of trouble. These words inspired me many years ago and I was reminded of the significance of The Word as I read these words. Check this out…

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 CSB)

I think I was around 14 years of age when I gave my first message to the little church I grew up attending in Casey Creek, KY. I remember being encouraged by this passage of scripture that talks about its value to my life. I can’t say that I had a daily discipline of reading scripture every day, but I am thankful that the Lord spoke into my heart and used His Word to build me and equip me for whatever was ahead for me. My journey has most definitely had struggles and hardship, but God’s Word kept speaking into my life. The Word teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains me. I am inspired to keep reading The Word as I live out my life, because I feel Him speak directly into my heart. Reading His Word daily doesn’t make me anyone special, but I’m reminded and inspired to keep surrendering my heart to Him and the peace that only He can give settles into my soul.

I want to live my life inspired by God’s Word. I want to lead my family inspired by God’s Word. I want my career to continually be inspired by God’s Word – His character, His Wisdom for my life. The journey of my life has been profoundly influenced and directed by my daily discovery of God’s heart found in scripture

Pressing On!

Dwayne