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

Gains & Losses

Balance SheetI’ve learned over the years how to carefully read a balance sheet and look for gains and losses. I have also learned that the bottom line is sometimes not the bottom line. I have done some stupid things financially in my life, but I’m working hard to have learned from those colossal mistakes and never go there again.

When it comes to my faith, I’ve done some stupid as well. Even after I’ve known the Lord for many years, I still struggle with sin. I often wish I could turn back time and change some decisions that were losses in terms of my faith. I have since learned that I could NEVER have enough gains in my faith to earn anything. It’s because of the grace of God that I’ve saved – it’s not something I’ve done or can begin to do. He saved me from sin. He saves me from myself. Check this out…

But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith. (Philippians 3:7-9 CSB)

In God’s economy gains and losses are measured a much different way. When I give up, He rescues. My faith is the premium currency. His Grace overcomes my stupidity. He desires fro me to abandon my desires and pursue His desires for me.

To You, my eyes are lifting
To You, my prayer is rising up
You captured my attention
Consume me
God give me a heart abandoned
Ever after You alone
Gold and silver, You can take it

(Heart Abandoned – by Passion 2017)
Pressing On!

Dwayne

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