One-Sided Relationships

quarreled couple in their living roomI remember as a kid sending a note to this cute girl asking her if she would “go with me”. I also knew how to get other friends to “set me up” with the girl I was interested in. I’m not sure we went anywhere. I remember some childhood girlfriends and I’m sure I got hurt in that process as well as I inflicted hurt on others.  I believe that divorce is the result of a one-sided relationship. For a relationship to go sideways, it only takes one participate to start being selfish or self-absorbed.

Relationships are delicate and sometimes difficult. If a relationship is one-sided, someone is a doormat and getting used. Relationships are God’s idea and He built us for relationship. The Lord created us for relationship with Him and with others. He longs for fellowship with us – His kids. He also created us for fellowship with one another. Paul is trying to restore his relationship with the Corinthian church. Even relationship with our pastor and teachers need to be reciprocal to be healthy. Check this out…

 11 We have spoken openly to you, Corinthians; our heart has been opened wide. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 I speak as to my children; as a proper response, open your heart to us. (2 Corinthians 6:11-13 CSB)

As my kids were growing up, we had lots of discussions about relationships. I talked to my sons about how to treat a young lady. I want there to be respect and honor “built-in” to those relationships. I believe that trust and respect are foundational to building a life-long relationship in any arena. If I can’t trust you, we will only be “casual friends”.  Some of my deepest relationships over the years have been with friends that also believe in God and want to walk with Him.  Relationships begin with something in common and builds from there. My faith is a huge part of my life and I have an immediate connection with others who are Christ followers too.

One-sided relationships are painful and expensive. They cost more than money. Their expenses are too numerous to mention, but I’ve almost lost myself in broken relationships. I also believe that there are ALWAYS two-sides to the story of a broken relationship. I’ve learned to enter new relationships with a lot of grace and truth. I am willing to work on building a relationship, but I’m not willing to do all the work.  My relationship with God don’t “require” a lot of work, because He did all the “heavy lifting”. If my relationship with God is going to work, I must invest myself into it. Someone spelled love TIME. I spend time investing in the relationships I love. It can be said that I love what I invest my time in.

I am a “people person”, but with loving deeply, I can be hurt deeply. I try to show patience and understanding. I have decided that I will only invest “lightly” in one-sided relationships. I will continue to love others, but I will pull back on my time-investment if things are simply one-sided. The Lord has been so patient with me over the years – He has my heart now, but I was reluctant at first. The more I know of Him, the more love and respect I have for Him. My relationship with the Lord is a more balanced than it ever has been and I think that’s how He meant for all healthy relationships to be.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Suffering Struggles

quarreled couple in their living roomWhen I think back through my life at the struggles, I get a bit tired, yet inspired. I can now see the hand of God through the struggle. At the time of struggle, I couldn’t think straight and couldn’t see His perspective. I could only muddle through the suffering. I think suffering is one of the hardest realities that everyone battles – both the Christian follower and non-believer. Suffering is not a respecter of my faith. I believe that suffering is a result of a fallen world. I do not subscribe to the angle that God causes my suffering – for me that just doesn’t fit with what I know about Him. I do believe that could prevent or stop my suffering, but He doesn’t always choose to do that. This is a hard topic because when I revisit my struggles – even though they are in the rear-view mirror – it brings up a lot of painful memories.

Paul speaks about suffering in the opening chapter of his second letter to the church at Corinth. His writing has helped shape my view of suffering. Check this out…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will also share in the comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 CSB)

I know people who have suffered more than I have. I know people who are in the middle of suffering right now. I don’t have all the answers for people in the middle of suffering, but I do know that the Lord never wastes times of suffering. I’ve learned more about His heart in the middle of my past experiences with suffering. When I’m on this side of suffering, it looks so different.

I know that one of the big wins in my personal sufferings is my ability to help others who are suffering. I have learned some life lessons in my suffering that I’m not sure I would have learned any other way. I started spending time in the Word of God many years ago and the Lord built into me some perspective and inner strength that I didn’t even know I had. My beliefs in Him are more solid today because of my sufferings in the past. I choose to trust Him with today and every day. During suffering and struggle, I choose to trust him. When I can’t see a good outcome, or ending to my suffering – I will still choose to trust Him.

This is not all that easy because suffering and struggle take its toll, but I will still trust Him with whatever comes my way. My faith is stronger because of struggle and suffering in my life. I hate to admit that, but it’s true. He never leaves me or forsakes me in the middle of struggle and suffering.

Pressing On

Dwayne

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