Not Ashamed

Man praying with the BibleThere have been many embarrassing moments in my life. I don’t hide my embarrassment very well either. When I get embarrassed, my face turns very red and flushed. I have never been able to control that either. I don’t set out to be embarrassed either. It’s just something that happens.  Jesus speaks clearly to His disciples as he was on the subject of how this was all going to end. He told them that some would be embarrassed and ashamed of Him.  Check this out….

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38 NIV)

Following Jesus is not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s the most important thing in the world.  He alone holds the keys to eternal life. He calls us to surrender our lives for His way and His will, then we will receive in exchange eternal life! I think that sometimes when I loose sight of that goal, eternal life, I get caught up in trying to be something big here on earth. I want my life here on earth to reflect my relationship with God. I am not ashamed to follow Jesus and surrender to His way and His will for my life.  I have no intentions of shoving my faith down others throat, but I don’t intend to exchange my eternity for anything here on earth. I’m not ashamed of Jesus. I’m thankful that the Lord saved me and has my eternal home ready and waiting.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Holy To The Lord

Full Moving TruckThere are days that I feel like I’ve been closer to the Lord than others. There are multiple distractions in my life that take my eyes off Him. I sometimes get so caught up in the moments of my little life that I neglect the big picture that He’s called me too.  The Lord loves it when I look at my life through the lens of His Spirit. That view changes my perspective from the ground up.

Zechariah speaks of a day of punishment when everyone will see that the Lord is in charge.

9 Then the Lord will be king over the whole world. At that time there will be only one Lord, and his name will be the only name.
20 At that time the horses’ bells will have written on them: holy to the lord. The cooking pots in the Temple of the Lord will be like the holy altar bowls. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord All-Powerful, and everyone who offers sacrifices will be able to take food from them and cook in them. At that time there will not be any buyers or sellers in the Temple of the Lord All-Powerful. (Zechariah 14:9, 20-21 NCV)

I love the picture here – everything I have should be Holy To The Lord. Even my coffee pot, my computer, my home, my TV – EVERYTHING is His! If I understand this concept then the “surrender step” is a lot easier. It’s when I think of it as mine, that I get into a conflict. The Lord doesn’t take my stuff and make it Holy – it’s when I surrender my stuff that it becomes Holy To The Lord!

This is a tough concept to grasp because I have a lot of stuff to surrender. It will be like preparing for a huge yard sale. I must inventory all my stuff and surrender it – one piece at a time.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Strength

Strength Level Measured on Thermometer Ultimate StrongI used to work out pretty regular and as a result, my strength and stamina was drastically improved. As I’ve gotten older and less motivated to find the time for a strong work out, I’ve seen my strength and stamina fall off a bit. Our muscles are unique in that they develop with use and develop more when they face resistance on a regular basis.

The people of Jerusalem were strong not because of their strength, but because the Lord was with them. Zechariah explained it clearly. Check this out….

 1 This message is the word of the Lord to Israel. This is what the Lord says, who stretched out the skies, and laid the foundations of the earth, and put the human spirit within: 2 “I will make Jerusalem like a cup of poison to the nations around her. They will come and attack Jerusalem and Judah. 3 One day all the nations on earth will come together to attack Jerusalem, but I will make it like a heavy rock; anyone who tries to move it will get hurt. 4 At that time I will confuse every horse and cause its rider to go crazy,” says the Lord. “I will watch over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the enemies. 5 Then the leaders of Judah will say to themselves, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord All-Powerful is their God.’ (Zechariah 12:1-5 NCV)

My physical strength comes from the body that the Lord gave me. I have some responsibilities in taking care of my body. I still believe that the Lord gives me strength at times when I thought I was empty.

The Lord is the only Source of my spiritual strength. He alone holds me and shapes me. He does His best work when I trust Him completely. My strength is built up when I spend time in the Word with Him. My strength grows when I converse with Him in prayer and I see His Hand in my life and in the life of others.  His Presence is amazing to both my spiritual and physical being.  I must learn to hold tight to Him in any and every circumstance that I face. He gives me strength when I’m all out. He gives me just the right amount. I trust Him. I love Him. I honor Him. By surrendering all that I am to Him, I’m made really strong.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

The Temple – My Heart

Elderly man prayingI am sometimes amazed to read of the Temple of the Old Testament and how the Lord loved certain details. He gave very specific instructions about how it was to be constructed and decorated. He even accessorized each part of the structure. This was His earthly dwelling place among His people. That was before Jesus.

When Jesus came, the Lord’s dwelling place was now inside our hearts. The Lord no longer dwells in temples made with hands but He dwells in our hearts and souls – a product of His Creative Hands.  There was a verse in Haggai about the new temple that the people were building and I couldn’t help but think of how this could describe my heart. Check this out….

6 “This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: ‘In a short time I will once again shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations, and they will bring their wealth. Then I will fill this Temple with glory,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. 8 ‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. 9 ‘The new Temple will be greater than the one before,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord All-Powerful.” (Haggai 2:6-9 NCV)

The Lord can shape the Temple of My Heart into something stunning and beautiful! He created me to bring honor to Himself. He gives me peace when I’m surrendered to Him. This passage in Haggai reminded me of a passage in 2 Corinthians where Paul was speaking about our body being vessels used by God for His glory. Check this out…

7 We have this treasure from God, but we are like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that the great power is from God, not from us. 8 We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. 9 We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed.

16 So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. 17 We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. 18 We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9; 16-18 NCV)

The Lord wants to make my heart His home. It is up to me to surrender my heart to Him, He will even help me clean up my heart and make room for Him.  If I will surrender and start the process, He can make something incredible out of me because He dwells in me. It will take me a minute to wrap my head around all of this!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Humble

Man praying with the BibleHumility is a skill to be learned not necessarily a gift or talent that I’ve been born with. It’s important for me to learn humility. I’ve always remembered the scripture that says “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) I like how it’s worded in the New Century Version: “Humble yourself in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you.”

Being humble is important to the Lord. There is room for only One as the King of my heart. I must step down from that role and surrender it to Him. He is the Heart-Shaper and King-Maker. When I come before Him in humility, my life is like a blank canvas for Him to paint a beautiful life portrait upon.

He speaks through the prophet Zephaniah destruction and punishment on the people groups who have spurned Him and His people. He calls them and His people to humility before He disciplines. Check this out…

1 Gather together, gather,

    you unwanted people.
2 Do it before it’s too late,

    before you are blown away like chaff,

before the Lord’s terrible anger reaches you,

    before the day of the Lord’s anger comes to you.
Come to the Lord, all you who are not proud,

    who obey his laws.

Do what is right. Learn to be humble.

    Maybe you will escape

    on the day the Lord shows his anger. (Zephaniah 2:1-3 NCV)

Humility is a posture of my heart and my head. I must come to terms with any success that I have comes from the Lord. He directs my path so that I can be successful when I listen to Him. He defines success way different than the world defines success. I’m a success if I follow Him – period.  The amount of money I earn and the material possessions I have are meaningless to my eternity. It’s the condition of my heart before Him. I should always seek humility and show incredible respect to Creator God for Who He is and all that He’s doing in my life. I want to humble myself in His Presence so that He will honor me when it really counts!

Pressing On!
Dwayne