Love Like That

Colorful typographic motivational poster to raise faith in yourself and your strength. The series of business concepts on a textured background of an old love. VectorIt blesses my soul to see an elderly couple who are still in love with one another after years of life together. I see something in them that I want. I think what I see is genuine love and respect for the other.  I must confess that I’ve got some ways to go in cultivating love that lasts a lifetime. I believe that love is a choice. I can choose to love whomever I want. I can also choose to hate. I believe that hate does way more harm to the one hating than the object of their scorn. I believe that as a follower of Jesus, the only hatred that should be in me is hatred for sin. Jesus teaches me to love others.  John reiterates this in his first epistle. Check this out…

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 CSB)

When my children were young, I read a quote that said: “Love is spelled T-I-M-E”. The message was clear that my time was spent investing in my children – just being with them is very important. As I read this simple passage this morning, I realize that Love is spelled G-I-V-E. The Lord calls me to put my money and resources where my mouth is.  One of my life goals is to live a life of significance. I want to invest in the lives of others to pay if forward on behalf of the people who have invested in me.

I love the parallel here with John 3:16:

 16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (Spoken by Jesus)

16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (Spoken by John)

If Jesus did anything while He was here on earth, He loved and taught us to love. If I’m called by His name, love must be obvious in me. I want to love like He loves. He loves me profoundly despite my sin and His love compels me to leave sin behind and pursue love with all that I have.

How He Loves by Jesus Culture

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Time Table

 

Organize Agenda Planner Reminder Calendar To Do ConceptI still learning the value of time. This is a precious commodity of our existence. We all have the same number of minutes and hours in a day, but we have no idea how long we have on this earth before our “time” is up. I work from a calendar every day of my life. If I’m going to connect with a friend for coffee or lunch, I must first check my calendar (aka schedule) to make sure I’m not scheduled to be somewhere else. It is simply my attempt to manage my time while showing proper respect to others for their time. If someone gives me their time, they are giving me a special gift and I should be wise in managing that.

I sometimes wonder how my life will end. I have another birthday celebration on the horizon and I do think about aging, sickness and even death. I can’t really control much of my time table. I can work at eating healthy and exercising, but in the end, I still have little control over the length of my life. Peter reminds us that the Lord’s timetable exercises great patience over His return. Check this out…

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 CSB)

I don’t know if I’ll be alive when it happens, but I believe that Jesus will return to take His people out of this world prior to its destruction. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience in punishment. I’ve deserved punishment many times, but the Lord’s Grace is exhibited in patience. He gave me the time I needed to “come to my senses” and repent of my stupidity and rebelliousness. I do believe the Lord’s Grace is immeasurable, unrealistic and ridiculous. Since I’m a recipient of His Grace, I’m profoundly grateful that it is all those things.

As I get older, I find that I can be more patient with myself and with others. I don’t have to have everything exactly on my time table. I’m learning that not everyone works at the same speed or is even cable of working the same pace. I’m thankful that the Lord’s timetable comes out of His Grace and Mercy instead of His justice & punishment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Be Encouraged

 

ApplauseI have often been the recipient of encouragement. Encouragement inspires me. Encouragement motivates me. Encouragement gives me great confidence.  I believe encouragement has help build me into who I am today. Encouragement is a simple concept that has profound effects for years to come. When I reflect on the encouragement that has been given to me over the years and the effect it’s had on me, I can’t help but become an encourager to others.

The Hebrew writer speaks to this word as well. We must encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. There are times it’s obvious that a person is getting to a bad place, but other times, the deceitful heart is masked by good deeds and kind words. I must pay careful attention to my heart as I live out my faith. Check this out…

12 Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. 14 For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. (Hebrews 3:12-14 CSB)

I believe encouragement must be honest. It can’t be shallow and empty. Encouragement can call someone out of sin. Encouragement can help prevent someone from surrendering to sin. I also believe that I must encourage often. Giving away genuine encouragement also blesses my heart because my attention is taken off me. If I’m not very careful, I can make everything in my life revolve around me – that’s very dangerous and very self-centered. Encouragement is about the other person and it’s a huge gift that I can give with both words and action.

When I started journaling about my journey in the Word several years ago, it started coming alive to me. I would find myself recalling what I had read throughout the day. At some point, I felt called (nudged) by the Lord to share my thoughts publically. When He tells me to stop, I’ll do that too. I have been encouraged by being an encourager. I want my life to be about Him and not about me. I want the actions and activities of my life to point to Him and Who He is, instead of me. I want to make Him famous – not become famous myself.

If I could offer one word of encouragement to anyone who desires to know Him it would be – please find time in your busy life to read His Word and talk to Him about it. He longs for relationship with His kids. I remember hearing a phrase that I think came from Mother Teresa many years ago: “If you’re too busy to pray, you are simply too busy.” I’m adding to that, if I’m too busy to read, meditate and pray over His Word then I’m too busy. I believe studying the Word of God builds eternal thoughts and dreams. I’m taking out of my self-centered world and I start seeing the world as The Lord sees it. Encouragement from the Word of God has changed every part of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Friendship

??????????????????Some of my closest friends I’ve known for years. We seem to pick up right where we left off when we get together. I can share anything and everything with them and they listen and give counsel where needed. They also give comfort where needed. They’ve also given financial support when needed. Friends are a huge blessing to my life for sure. I am blessed beyond my ability to repay the friends in my life. I remember my Mom telling me when I was a young boy: “if you want to find a good friend, be one.” I’m so thankful for friends near and far over the years. Some of our technology like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Facetime have made the world seem much smaller than it is. I’ve connected with people who were dear friends at different seasons in my life. I don’t have many “fair weather” friends. I’ve been in Carroll County, Georgia since early 1986 and I’m thankful for so many friends and neighbors near my home.

Paul speaks of his relationship with the people in Thessalonica and I can feel the joy that comes from his friendships there. Check this out…

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

11 As you know, like a father with his own children, 12 we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to live worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:8,11-12 CSB)

Friendships are a “two-way street”. I can’t do all the taking nor can I do all the giving in a friendship. Some relationships develop into friendship, while others simply don’t go deeper. My journey with the Lord has gone deeper the longer I walk with Him and dig into His Word. My friendship with God can’t just be me taking all the time from Him and not investing as well. I used to use God anytime I got into trouble or life got hard. I didn’t realize the joy that comes from investing my life into Him as well as have His help growing as I grow older. I’m fully aware that He brings the “lions share” to our friendship, but He loves my contribution as well. I’m giving Him my heart each day and that’s really all He wants as He’s given me His heart as well. He is a FRIEND above all friends.  I simply can’t imagine my life without my friendship with the Lord and His Presence in me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Motivated Giving

 

Give 3d Words Background Generosity and ContributionA few years back in the rear view mirror my giving to the church had “fallen off”. I realize that it was a direct result of my income shrinking during the recession. As my income increased, my giving increase. I was taught as a kid to give 10% of my income. It’s easier to give when the income is small. I look at it as a principal that I’ve grown into. I now see giving as an act of worship. Thanks to technology, I can give from my phone after the deposit in my account has been made.

Giving is about way more than money. I believe giving is also about my time and resources. I can serve others with my time and energy by investing in them. Paul’s teaching to the church in Corinth was very strong and I the principle he’s speaking of is the truth. Check this out…

The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 CSB)

My giving has become a huge blessing to me. This is not intended to be a boast, because I’m not sharing amounts of giving, but I do want it to be an inspirational testimony – giving has blessed me deep within my heart. The physician, Luke, who penned the gospel Luke and the book of Acts gives a quote from Jesus that is very strong. Check this out…

In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 CSB)

I been getting lots of counsel about growing my income and building a financial fortress. The same people who are counseling me have also shown me by example that they are givers. They are wise and discerning in their giving, but they believe in the principle of the harvest. I remember hearing a pastor say, if you can’t give on a margin of 10%, then start with 5% or 3% – start somewhere. I believe that giving should be the first thing I do with my money when I receive it. If I give the Lord the “left-overs”, I don’t feel the blessing. I like giving to Him first and then watch what He does with the balance that I have.

I work to provide for my family first and foremost.  I also work so that I can give of my time, talent and resources. I’m still growing in my giving and the Lord is still directing my generosity. I could never “out-give” God. He gave first. He loved me first. He saved me. He is the reason I give and He is the reason I live. I’m a highly motivated giver because God gave first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

No Limits

 

square grunge red no limits stampThere are boundaries and limits all around me. I can’t imagine a life without some limits. I remember when I was young and living under the rules of my parents. During those times, I had to let them know when I’d be home and where I was going when I went out with friends on the weekend. I grew up respecting their rules but I was also ready to be out from under them. I went to college, only to find more rules and boundaries. The college I went to was a Christian College and it had a lot more rules. The purpose of those rules was obvious – trying to help me make good choices and not hurt others or myself. Fast forward a few years and I get married. There are boundaries inside of marriage. The boundaries are there to protect the relationship and the family unit. I guess the idea of having no limits or boundaries sound good, but it’s not real applicable to my world.

The Psalmist reminds me that the Lord has no limits. He can do anything He wants. He can go anywhere He wants at any time He wants. Check this out….

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground. (Psalm 147:1-6 NIV)

God can do anything EXCEPT fail. I’ve learned to lean upon Him for everything. I’ve learned to trust Him without exception or question. I’m still discovering insights to the Lord that I had not seen previously to this extent. His Presence in my life has and still does – blow me away. I find great peace in His Presence. I love singing songs to the Lord because I know Him and I want to know Him more.

My God created the heavens and the earth and He loves to hear from me. I’m just a peon here on the planet that He created but He wants to hear from me. He loves it when I sing to Him and about Him. He loves it when I talk to Him and about Him. He loves when my heart is devoted to His heart.  When I trust Him with my whole heart and my whole life – there is no limits to the depths of my love and devotion. There are no limits on the Power of God. There are no limits on the Grace of God. There are no limits on Mercy of God. There are no limits on the Presence of God. I can’t comprehend all of this, but I will simply trust and obey His call upon my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne