Belong

Many hands together: group of people joining handsI belong to my parents as their son. I belong to my wife & family because I made a commitment years ago. I belong as a member of Southern Hills Christian Church where I’m committed to growing in my faith and helping others grow as well. I belong to the Board of REALTORS because I’m a member. The most important membership I have is in God’s family. I belong to Him. In each of these situations I bring honor or dishonor to the place I belong. I’m thankful that the Lord makes up for the many deficiencies that I have. Check this out…

 For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; Lord. Christ died and returned to life for this: that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living. (Romans 14:7-9 CSB)

Sometimes I look at my hands and feet and realize that these are the same hands that did some stupid thing in 7th grade. These are the same feet that went places I shouldn’t have in High School. As my body ages, I’m coming to terms with the end of this life which is death. I am not afraid of death, I just want those who count on me to be prepared because it does happen. Hopefully I’ve got several more years of life left.  I need to be prepared today if eternity knocks. If I’m living for the Lord, my preparation is well on its way. If I’m living for me, then I’m missing the destination instructions.

I want to live today knowing that the Lord holds this day and He also holds tomorrow. It is not my role to worry, it is my role to trust Him and seek to honor Him. I want to live as someone who has already died to myself. If I’ve died to me, then I can’t change the stuff I worry about. I can’t protect my family – He does that. I really can’t do anything IF I’m already dead to myself. I trust in the Lord completely to direct my path and guide my heart. In dying to myself, I’m really living for Him. I belong to Him – all of me; all for Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

No Strings Attached

 

I am always suspicious of an unsolicited phone call announcing that I’ve received something for free. I realize that there is a “catch” to things like that. I have won 3 days and 3 nights at a nice resort only to find out that I had to go to a meeting where they try to sell you a time share in that resort. I’ve also been offered a free 6-month subscription only to find out that they will start billing me automatically after that first 6 months. There are many gimmicks that promise something Free that I am a bit jaded about it. I usually say that something that is free to me always cost someone else something. There is no such thing as a free lunch. After reading in the Word this morning, I realize that there is something that is free. Check this out…

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, 12 since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-13 CSB)

I have not done anything to deserve the love from God that I’ve experienced. He doesn’t love me because I love Him. He loved me first. He loves me even when I don’t love Him. I can’t quite wrap my head around that level of love. I have accepted Him as my Lord. I do believe in Him. I don’t deserve His love. I don’t deserve to be saved, but I am profoundly grateful.

I used to think going to church made me a Christian.

I used to think that not cursing made me a Christian.

I used to think that obeying my parents made me a Christian.

That could be a long list of what I used to think. I understand now that I go to church; guard my tongue, honor my parents BECAUSE I’m a Christ follower NOT to become a Christ follower. I am a Christian because I have surrendered my heart to the Lord. I believe in God. I believe He is the ONLY ONE Who can save me.

Nothing I can do contributes to my being saved. He did it all. I honor Him BECAUSE He has saved me and promised me a future. My life has been different since I figured this out. I can’t do enough or not do enough to be saved. He has that handled. There are no strings attached to my salvation. I see life different since He’s saved my soul. I want to live for Him. I want to live in honor of Him. I want to trust Him in obedience. I want my surrender to Him to continue today not out of fear, but in faith that He will continue to walk with me through this life.

He saved me with no strings attached.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Faith Is Big

 

faith messageI remember digging into this word faith many years ago. I have faith in many areas of my life. It takes faith to ride an elevator. It takes faith to ride an airplane. It takes faith to drive across a bridge that was built in half the time originally projected – or any bridge for that matter. Faith is a part of the fabric of my life. I choose to cultivate my faith in God. I see Him in my everyday life. I’m looking for His activity in my every day, regular life. My faith in the Lord has grown over the years because I seek Him daily in His Word. I don’t dig in His Word to earn my way to Him, I get to see Him more clearly through His Word. I don’t believe that I earn “points” because I study His Word – I’m just hungry and thirsty to know Him deeper. My faith in Him grows as I seek Him. I could NEVER earn my way to Him. Check this out…

13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made empty and the promise nullified, 15 because the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression.

16 This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:13-16 CSB)

I am stunned by His Grace.

He made a way to save me without me.

He made a way to the Lord that only requires my faith in Him.

I believe in God the Father. I believe in His Son Jesus. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in eternal life. I believe I am saved NOT because of what I’ve done, but because of what He has done. Jesus made a way for me. My faith in Him grows deeper the more I investigate His heart. My faith seems small at times, but it’s getting bigger the more I know Him.

I recently heard this song by Elevation Worship out of Charlotte, NC.

O Come To The Altar

Are you hurting and broken within,
Overwhelmed by the weight of the sin,
Jesus is calling.
Have you come to the end of yourself,
do you thirst for a drink from the well,
Jesus is calling.

O come to,
the altar,
the fathers arms are open wide,
forgiveness,
was bought with,
the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes,
come today there’s no reason to wait,
Jesus is calling.
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy,
from the ashes a new life is born,
Jesus is calling.

Oh what a savior,
isn’t he wonderful,
sing hallelujah Christ is risen,
bow down before him,
for he is lord of all,
sing hallelujah Christ is risen.
__________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Trust The Lord

 

Trust with blue markerThere are people whom I trust without question. There are others whom I have trusted before, but they have broken my trust with their choices. I realize that we are all human beings with faults and failures. I have learned that there is not a person on this planet as faithful as The Lord. I can take what He says and live by it and absolutely count on it. He has never failed me or let me down and I don’t believe He ever will.

King David penned a beautiful Psalm that declares the faithfulness of God and I was reminded of why I trust the Lord. Check this out…

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them –
    he remains faithful forever. (Psalm 146:1-6 NIV)

This Psalm reminded me of a song that we used to sing in church over the years called “Those Who Trust”. It was simple song with a simple message. (I loved the blues type grove!)

Those who trust in the Lord
Are a strong mountain
They will not, not be moved

Those who trust in the Lord
Are as Mount Zion
They will not, not be moved

Christ the King, He sets my feet
On a firm foundation
They will not, not be moved

Though the world moves like mad
You alone are faithful
Jesus, You, You will not be changed

I want to follow the Lord today and every day. I want to put my trust completely in Him to direct my steps and help me navigate any challenge that comes my way. He is never late. He is never surprised by my circumstances. He can be trusted completely without exception.

I want to be known as a man who trusts the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Morning Prayer

Country road at sunriseI love the morning – it seems like everything is new and fresh. Yesterday is now history and time to look forward. I love starting my day in God’s Word and listen to Him speak into my heart as I begin a new day. I decided a few years back that I would not do anything in my day prior to listening to Him.  I believe my time with Him is the most important meeting on my schedule. The morning I was blessed with a morning prayer from King David. Check this out…

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:8-10 NIV)

Trust – I affirm my love, respect & honor for the Lord.

Rescue – He helps me deal with those who want to harm me.

Teach – He speaks directly into my heart & then I live out my heart.

Lead – He prompts, shows & levels me out – He makes my path clear.

I just want to rest and abide this day under the Word of God. I need Him more than I need anything. His Presence in my heart brings great clarity to my schedule. This morning prayer clarifies my need for Him first thing.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bold & Confident

 

I am bolder in some situations more so than in other situations. I think boldness comes from confidence. If I have confidence in my understanding of the situation, I will often feel bolder. I am growing in my understanding of how confident and bold I can be when I have the Presence of God in me. He listens to me when I call upon Him. He doesn’t always do things the way I would do them, but He ALWAYS listens when I pray. He ALWAYS comes when I call. I was reminded of how much the Lord gives me strength, poise and boldness when He comes. His Wisdom, His Strength, His Power is not matched by any education of workout regimen. King David was who he was because of his relationship with the Lord. Check this out…

When I called, you answered me;
    you greatly emboldened me.

Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures for ever –
    do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:3,6-8 NIV)

I don’t always understand God’s timing, but I’m learning to trust Heart without exception. He has a bigger plan than I can see or understand. I feel like I’m a “big picture” thinker, but when it comes to His ways, they blow past my finite ability to comprehend or grasp. I will simply trust Him. My trust in Him gives me confidence that He has got whatever comes. There is no need to stress on my part, I simply trust. I don’t need to wrestle the situation away from Him or try to take over for Him, He has more than enough expertise to handle ANYTHING that He is faced with. The stuff that surprises me NEVER surprises The Lord. He is not shocked by cancer, death or stupidity. I think they all hurt His heart because those things were not in His original design for humanity. In giving us freedom to accept or reject His way, we chose differently and that rebellion has changed everything.

I want to live for Him. I want to live my life committed to following Him. I want to choose Him the first thing every day. When He lives, and moves in me, I have a boldness and confidence that should not make sense to others. I would be comfortable dining with the president’s and princes, the wealthiest to the poorest because the Lord lives in me and He will help me through any situation or circumstance I’m faced with.

Pressing On!

Dwayne