Gospel – Story of God

 

Grace AND TruthI remember hearing about Jesus when I was a very young kid. As I grew, my parents lived out their faith in God. I went to church every Sunday (we had morning and evening services). We also had Wednesday night Bible Study. I also observed my Grandmother (Mammie) read her Bible every day. She was faithful in seeking the Lord.
I remember hearing a lot of rules – some do’s and don’ts from the church teaching. My parents echoed the teaching and it helped keep me scared of going to hell, so I complied. I see things a bit different now that I’ve been studying the Word on my own and listening to what the Lord must say to me. Paul met Jesus face to face authenticating His preaching. Check this out…

11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. 12 For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12 CSB)

I didn’t hear a lot about Grace being part of the gospel when I was growing up. As I study the Word today – it’s not only part of the gospel – it’s the essence of the gospel. I’m reminded by grace that I could never do enough to be worth saving. I could never go to church enough. The Lord is about a personal journey rather than a church journey. I’m not sure just how strong someone is who never fellowships with others are sits under the teaching of the Word. I remember hearing the late Keith Green say that, “going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger.”

The Gospel is Jesus Christ living in me and through me to show others His Amazing Love and Grace. There is nothing I could do to save myself. He is Mighty to Save and the ONLY One Who can save me.  The Gospel has Power.

I’m simply going to live the rest of my life letting Christ be in charge. I’ve surrendered my life to His Will and His Way. With that surrender comes incredible FREEDOM to live for Him. I “get” to go to church – I don’t “have” to go. I enjoy the fellowship of other Christ followers who are simply trying to live for Him.  In a nutshell: The Gospel is GRACE & TRUTH!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mirror Mirror

 

Young man dressing up and looking at mirrorI look at myself in the mirror in the morning and I must admit it’s scary. My hair is usually disheveled and I look old – wait I am relatively old. I’ve noticed a grayer goatee and my grayer sideburns. I’m not one to whine and moan about getting old, but it’s weird how sometimes when I look in the mirror, I feel like I look younger than others. The mirror is simply a reflection of what I look like, but it’s the perception of the reflection that dictates my behavior. I realize that is a mouthful.

I really want to see myself as the Lord sees me. I want to see myself as others see me. Paul began reflecting on the confidence we have because of Jesus who surpassed the law with the new covenant. If the law brought forth the glory of God in its time, how much more glory the grace that Jesus delivered. Check this out…

12 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness. 

 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:12,17-18 CSB)

I want to look in the mirror and see the Spirit of God in me. I want others to see Jesus in my actions and activities. I want my life to reflect the Word of God living in me. I want people to see my heart which is not physically visible, but is visible through my actions and activities.

As I spend time in the Word of God, He is shaping me and molding me to look more like Him than I currently look. I’m so thankful that He has saved me and is making me more like Him. All I must do is surrender to Him and then He gives me incredible freedom in return. I like the Lord’s mirror better than the ones I look at each day!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Forgiven – Again

Beauty girl cryI’ve lost count how many times I’ve asked forgiveness for my sin. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve asked for some specific, reoccurring sin. I’m embarrassed to talk about my failures, which are many, before the Lord. I’m so thankful that He forgives & forgets. I’m so thankful that He forgives completely.

I was reminded last week that I didn’t deserve being forgiven the first time, let alone the many times after the first. The Lord has unbelievable patience with me as I try to figure this “walk in righteousness” thing out.

Paul gets really direct to the church at Corinth as they evidently needed to deal with some sin as a church and then he gets direct with personal sin. Check this out…

Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males,10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 CSB)

I’ve always read the “big sins” when I read this passage. I have missed the “greedy people” and the “verbally abusive people”. The Lord wants the entire population of this earth to know Him. He wants to save everyone, but He won’t. He’s extended His grace so many times over. He brought salvation to us – He didn’t just get us to measure up. He asked us to surrender to His way, His designed life for us.  It is pride that keeps me from Him. It’s pride that keeps me from surrender. If I could grasp just a little bit of His amazing love – I would find surrender a great option. He has way better plans for my future than I can even imagine.

I’m so thankful for the forgiveness of the Lord through His Son Jesus.

Forgiven

By Crowder

I’m the one who held the nail
It was cold between my fingertips
I’ve hidden in the garden
I’ve denied You with my very lips

God, I fall down to my knees
with a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

I’ve done things I wish I hadn’t done
I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t seen
Just the thought of Your amazing grace
And I cry ”Jesus, forgive me!”

God, I fall down to my knees
with a hammer in my hand
You look at me, arms open

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

I could’ve been six feet under
I could’ve been lost forever
Yeah I should be in that fire
But now there’s fire inside of me
Here I am a dead man walking
No grave gonna hold God’s people
All the weight of all our evil
Lifted away forever free
Who could believe, who could believe?

Forgiven! Forgiven!
You love me even when I don’t deserve it
Forgiven! I’m Forgiven!
Jesus Your blood makes me innocent
So I will say goodbye to every sin
I am forgiven!

Forgiven! Forgiven!
Child there is freedom from all of it
Say goodbye to every sin
You are forgiven!

#forgiven #sothankful

Pressing On!

Dwayne

He Changed Everything

Grace AND TruthI was a young kid when I was baptized. I remember that it was winter time and the creek was too cold so we went to town (Columbia Christian Church) on a Sunday afternoon because our little country church didn’t have a baptistery. I look back on how little I knew about the Lord at that time. I knew He loved me and He wanted me to live for Him. I also felt love for Him and decided I would follow Him. I’ve learned over the years that deciding to follow Jesus is a minute by minute/hourly/daily decision. The Lord wants my heart committed to Him. There is no part of my life that doesn’t fall under His jurisdiction. Check this out…

22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus25 God presented him as an atoning sacrifice in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:22-26 CSB)

There is no one who doesn’t need Jesus. I’m so thankful that He made a way for me to be forgiven. I look at the law and realize that I could never measure up. I couldn’t even measure up to the rules of my parents or the speed limits imposed by our government. I would be lost without Jesus. He changes how I love my wife and children. He changes how I approach my work. He changes how I worship. He changes how I look at people with whom I disagree. He changes how I respond when someone tries to hurt me. I am nothing without Him, but with Him I have EVERYTHING! When He enters my heart, everything looks incredibly different. I see people differently through His eyes. I welcome to take over my heart every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Power

Lead By ExampleIt is sometimes interesting to see what happens when normal people get power. There are some who rise slowly through the promotion ranks to positions of powers. There are those who are elected to powerful positions. I believe that people are needed in positions of power to lead. Everyone can’t be “the” leader, but everyone can be “a” leader. There is a great temptation to those in powerful positions to lead with a clinched fist instead of an open hand. It’s easy to become a “know-it-all” when in a powerful position. I’m not advocating that all powerful leaders are bad, I’m just pointing out that I believe a powerful leader can become even more powerful when he or she realizes that leaders serve the people they are charged with leading. Asking good questions of the people I’m leading doesn’t make me weak, I believe it makes me wise.  Power can corrupt good people. Power can lie. Power can cheat. Power can steal. Power can kill.  Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

I believe that the Lord has all Power. I can’t begin to comprehend His Power. I can’t put my head around the Glory of God. He is not bound to our dimension of sight, sound, touch or taste. He came to earth in the person of Jesus and gave His life as a sacrifice for sin once and for all. He delivered to us the Power of God in surrender. Check this out…

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith. (Romans 1:16-17 CSB)

I believe in God. I have faith in Him. The gospel has changed my life and it’s still changing my life. The gospel goes directly to work on my heart. My choices and my behavior come directly from my heart. If the Lord has my heart, He has all of me. The gospel is powerful to transform a surrendered heart. I see Him at work in me through eyes of faith. His Word magnifies my ability to see Him and know Him.  I want to live by faith with the power of the gospel overflowing out of my life into others. There is great power in living out a surrendered life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mercy, Refuge & Rescue

 

God's mercy at the CrossI can remember in my life in the not-so-distant past when I felt like I could not stand under the strain of suffering. I remember having a job one day and the next it was gone. I remember clearly the devastation of divorce nearly 25 years ago. I remember the news of my son having cancer. I remember the call from the ENT telling me that they are air-lifting my son to Atlanta because of injuries he incurred when he fell from a tree.  I could go on and on about suffering and struggle in my life, but those are in my top 5. I have learned that my strength to stand comes from kneeling down before the Lord in surrender and worship. I believe that King David felt the same way. He was hiding in a cave and penned a great psalm/prayer of mercy, refuge & rescue. Check this out…

I cry aloud to the Lord;
    I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
    before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
    no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, ‘You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.’

Listen to my cry,
    for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
    for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
    that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
    because of your goodness to me. (Psalm 142:1-7 NIV)

I can do nothing without the Lord. I can’t possibly navigate through the ups and downs of life without Him. The longer I walk with Him daily, the more convinced of this I am. His Presence and His Strength are beyond measuring. He helps me understand the struggle. He helps me through. I believe in His mercy. I believe He is my refuge – I can ALWAYS lean into Him. I can always count on Him for rescue. The way He supplies mercy, refuge and rescue does not always come when I command or ask – His timing and His plan is always spot on – even when I don’t understand.  I look back at the big struggles in my life and see how the Lord made good out of bad situations. His plan is way bigger than my plan. He’s used my struggles to teach me and build me for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne