He Cares

 

3D Keep Calm God Loves You Button Click Here Block TextIt bothers me to be around people who just don’t care about anything or anyone but themselves. If you hang with others for any amount of time, I can usually figure it out. Don’t get me wrong, I can be as selfish as the next person. There is a fight that goes on inside of my heart, but if the Lord is in charge, others will come first. It takes great humility to put someone else before me, but the Lord loves this. He honors this humility, love and service. I have never more like God than when I give. When I show kindness and care to others, I’m representing Christ Himself.

Peter speaks about being humble and caring toward others. It’s simple to understand, but hard to implement. Check this out…

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

10 The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. 11 To him be dominion forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 CSB)

The things I care about – the Lord cares about.

The Lord notices when I’m scared and worried. He compels me to cast these worries and concerns onto His shoulders – He is strong and can carry it all.

The Lord will be with me when the enemy, the devil comes on the attack. The enemy never comes dressed up like a red devil with a pitch-fork tail. He is always very attractive and quite the attention getter. He uses beautiful people, beautiful things and beautiful moments to do his dirtiest work. I must pay close attention to his deceptive and destructive ways. He is the slickest and most crafty creature on the planet.  Every time I resist one of his sneaky schemes, I become stronger and more attentive to his next “sneak attack”. He is incredibly subtle. He is not beyond notice or finding out. The Presence of God in me can “heighten my radar” to his sneaky moves. I would be wise to continue seeking truth in the Word of God because the enemy can’t get through the defenses the Lord is helping me build.

I want to stand firm in my faith today, no matter what my circumstances. I want to walk consistently with the Lord each day that I live. I don’t ever want to think that my life or my accomplishments are about me – that’s pride. I want to be humble and give the Lord 100% credit for any good that I can do for anyone. He cares about everything that happens to me and can help me navigate my life with great wisdom and insight.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The End Game

timer with the words Time is Running OutI see the “end game” as the place where I want things to end up. For me it’s a big picture goal. I have an “end game” in mind when I work with a client to put an offer on a house or list a piece of property. There are a lot of moving parts to the process for it to end up in a closing. Stephen Covey in his book: “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, introduced Habit #2 as “Begin With the End In Mind”.  I believe that knowing or seeing the “end game” can really shape the activities of my day today.

Peter speaks of the “end game” in his first book and I think it’s worth taking a closer look. Check this out…

The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11 CSB)

I’ve heard that we are in the end times since I was little boy. I remember being scared of the world coming to an end. It could happen today or tomorrow for that matter. I decided a long time ago to be ready to meet the Lord whenever it happens.  I don’t know when the end of time will come or when my time on earth comes to an end, but I want to be ready to meet him. That is my ultimate “end game” – to live and love in such a way that I’m ready to meet the Lord however my life here ends. I want to love deeply and serve deliberately others whom the Lord puts in my path. I want the words that come out of my mouth to bring honor to Him – not embarrassment to Him. If the Lord receives glory for what I do today and what I’ve done, then my end game will be realized.

I’m not afraid of how this life ends or when it ends because He is the One Who gave me life in the first place. I am trusting Him with the life that doesn’t end – eternal life!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Faith

 

faith messageI have grown in my faith over the years. I remember trusting the Lord when I was a kid. I was baptized when I was in third grade. I grew up in a family full of faith. My parents and grandparents followed the Lord. Going to church was not optional for our family. We were very involved. I remember “pushing the envelope” and trying some things that were against our family rules. I learned later that my parents knew more about this than they acknowledged. When I went away to college and had freedom from my parent’s rules and regulations, I had some decisions to make. I can still remember where I was sitting on the evening when my faith became my own. I was watching a passion play at Johnson Bible College and I saw Jesus being punished for the sins of the world. I remember renewing my faith in God at that moment. I believed in God on my own. I had lived off my parent’s & grandparent’s faith up to that point.

Hebrews 11 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible as the writer pulls the old testament characters into the context of the new covenant. These men and women brought much inspiration to millions over the years and their faith was simple and thorough. The writer speaks about this simple faith and its significance to my journey with the Lord. Check this out…

1 Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.For by it our ancestors won God’s approval.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:1-3,6 CSB)

I believe faith is simple, but not necessarily easy. Faith is easy to talk about and even write about, but harder to live out. I believe that my faith is much like a muscle, the more I use it, the stronger it gets. Over the years of my life, I’ve leaned into my faith because I didn’t see any other options. I’m not in charge of the weather, the economy or even others. I do know the One Who is charge of EVERYTHING and I trust Him. He has walked with me through some dark valleys. He has protected me in some major storms of life. My faith grew profoundly during some of the darkest days of my life.

My simple faith reminded me of “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I want my simple faith to impress the Lord. I want to grow in my faith today as I live out what I say I believe. James reminded me that my faith without works is dead. (James 2:26) I want to work and live because I’m saved, not so that I can be saved by my works. I trust that the Lord created the earth and is preparing a place for those who trust in Him. I want to spend the rest of my days discovering more of Who God is and walking in simple faith before Him.

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

Inheritance

 

Bag with inheritanceI have 5 amazing kids and my family has expanded with two my sons marrying great ladies and now they have children of their own. I find myself reflecting on my journey as I look at the kids. I often see myself in something they do or the way they say something. It seems like a life-time ago since they were babies. I will sometimes have conversations with my parents or my wife’s parents and they reflect similarly – they remember us being small sometimes like it was yesterday.

I started reading the book of Hebrews this morning and this book starts out declaring the importance of Jesus, the Son of God. The Hebrew writer is a mystery, although he writes like Paul. The content is strong as he describes Jesus. Check this out…

In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So he became superior to the angels, just as the name he inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:2-4 CSB)

I love it when someone is blessed by something one of my kids has done. I love it when they say I favor. I tell everyone that my youngest son Luke looks the most like me! (In case you didn’t know, he’s my Nicaragua son!) I want my kids to grow up being honorable, honest adults who serve the Lord.

The older I get, the more I start thinking of what sort of inheritance I’m leaving for my children. First, I want to leave an inheritance of faith in Christ. The Lord changed my life when I surrendered my heart to Him many years ago. The Lord changed the way I love my wife, the way I parent my children and the kind of friend I am to others. I believe knowing the Lord has been the most pivotal choice of my entire life. I was young when I made that decision, but it’s been affirmed many times over as I get older. As I read the Word of God, my faith gets deeper and stronger. My inheritance with Him is His Presence forever in heaven. My family receives that incredible inheritance as well because they’ve given their heart to Him as well.

I try not to worry about how this life comes to a close because of the promise of my inheritance. I want to simply trust Him and walk with Him every day that I have ahead.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Actions Speak

 

Core ValuesI remember as a young boy I was told that “actions speak louder than words”. I have learned that axiom to be true over the years. There are some folks who “talk a good game”, but their actions don’t back up their talk. Others don’t talk much, but they give and serve “behind the scenes”.  That is precisely where I want to be. I’m not shy when it comes to speaking about my faith, but I want my words to always be back-up by action.

Paul is writing a short letter to another of his young protégé’s in the faith. He is giving him some encouragement and back story about leading the church in Crete. Check this out…

 15 To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They claim to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work. (Titus 1:15-16 CSB)

Our church is moving through a series of messages called: “Intentional Acts of Kindness”. I believe it’s very biblical to intentionally be kind to others. My faith directs me to love like the Lord loves. My faith directs me to serve others. My faith directs me to show my faith by the activities of my life. I want my life to display my faith before I ever say anything about my faith. My actions should be directed by my faith and should never contradict my faith. My actions are making my faith real – it’s not philosophical or theoretical – my faith is practical and lived out. If I say that I have faith, but my actions don’t support that, then I’m a liar or a hypocrite and I’m fooling myself. The life God calls His kids to lead is not complex, but simple. It’s not always easy, but it is simple obedience and trust.

Pressing On!

Dwayne