Young & Old

handThere are things I learned a long time ago and things I learned just yesterday. I really enjoy learning new ideas and concepts. I’m still growing and learning as a believer and a student of God’s Word. I’m also still growing as a husband and Dad. I’m growing as a REALTOR as well. I really want to be a life-long learner. My recent certification as a Biblical Counselor requires continuing education to keep my certification. My profession as a REALTOR requires continuing education to keep my license active. I do wish I had enjoyed learning when I was a young man as much as I do now.

Jesus added a statement to one of His parable explanation. I have somehow missed this in my study over the years. It really intrigued me. He compares heaven to a homeowner – whom I work with every day. Check this out….

52 Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.” (Matthew 13:52 NLT)

This was a new category of disciple. A religious teacher who became a disciple of Jesus. Most of the religious teachers where combative of Jesus’ teaching. There were a few and they were special. I consider myself somewhat old and I still want to discover new truth from the Word of God. I don’t want to rest on what I’ve learned at this point. I view home as my hideaway. I love going home and relaxing with my family. I love hanging out with my wife. I don’t have to be busy at home, even though sometimes I am. Tina & I cleaned out our pantry, which is a good-sized room with tons of shelving and where we keep our food. We did find a few things we didn’t’ remember having because they were hidden behind the pasta or one of our cooking vessels. I bring stuff home all the time and promptly misplace it. Home is where I spend time with the Lord each morning. Home would not be home without my family. A house is a structure that can be made into a home.

I loved this statement of Jesus about a homeowner bringing from his storehouse new gems of truth as well as old. I want to keep learning new gems of truth from His Word as well as solidifying the old gems learned years ago.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Pretend Worship

Worship to GodI’ve used the phrase: “Fake it till you make it”. I confess that I’ve pretended to worship before, because I was supposed to worship. I’ve pretended because others were watching. It’s been several years, but I have since learned the value of being genuine before the Lord. I have learned that He knows my heart and “pretend worship” doesn’t really help things. I have also learned that the Lord really hates hypocrisy. Pretend worship is really hypocrisy. I’m at a place in my journey that the more I learn about the Lord the more I’m drawn to genuine worship, wonder and awe of Who He is and I’m humbled that He would love someone like me.

One of the more disturbing passages in scripture is when Jesus is taken before the Jewish leaders in the wee hours of the morning for a “pretend trial”. He is then taken to Pilate, who was governor, but also a “push over”. Pilate releases a murderer and turns Jesus over to the Roman soldiers for execution via crucifixion. This scene disturbed me. Check this out…

16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head.18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. (Mark 5:15-20 NLT)

This mock worship really nailed my heart. These soldiers didn’t know that the One and Only Son of God was the object of their mockery. They went the extra distance to put on a good show. They were clearly sarcastic and playful, but this scene really disturbed me. I felt convicted of my pretend worship. I remember times of being angry and hurt at God. I felt like He could have protected my loved ones from sickness and suffering. I now realize that I was looking at my circumstances in light of honoring me instead of trying to honor God regardless of my circumstances. My genuine worship should happen because of Who He is NOT BECAUSE of what He does for me. Pretend worship is really self-worship. Pretend worship reveals a diseased & corrupt heart.

I want to come before the Lord in Awe & Wonder for all that He is and all that He is doing in me and in others. I can’t make my worship about music or anything to do with me. It is ALL ABOUT HIM! I believe genuine, true worship is about surrendering my heart before Him to be used by Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Prove It

Mature Judge Pounding In The CourtroomIt is not always the easiest thing to do to prove something you say is true. I do believe that there are facts that reveal lots of truth or expose lies. For example, I can’t say I was one place and the GPS on my phone reveals that I was somewhere else. There are video cameras everywhere it seems and the time stamp shows that I was downtown on the square, then it would be foolish to claim that I was at home. I’ve never had to prove my whereabouts, but there are ways to make that happen through investigation.

I came across this word from the teaching of John the Baptist. It got me thinking, was there enough evidence that I’m a committed follower of Jesus. Check this out…

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.  (Luke 3:8 NLT)

I talk lots about my faith. I write about my faith. Living out my faith in my everyday life is the real test of my faith. Talk is cheap and I can fill a room with cheap talk. The truth of my life is revealed by my behavior, which comes from my heart. I grew up learning to behave. I’ve recently been learning just how critical my heart is to my behavior. I can fake my faith with my behavior – going to church, singing songs, giving gifts. The Lord knows the desires of my heart. He knows the truth about me. He’s the One, I need to prove my repentance too.

The truth always seems to work its way out. I really do want to be a devoted follower of Jesus, but I have my moments of failure. I do want my heart to be pure and committed to Him, no matter what my circumstances. I admit that I fail miserably at times. I’m so grateful for His Grace and Mercy during my times of absolute failure. I’m determined to repent and run after Him no matter how many times I fail. I want the desires of my heart to be for His honor and His glory and not my own. I want my actions that come from my heart to prove that I love the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

King

 

PrinceI don’t always understand royalty. I could probably get used to it, if I were made a king. In most cultures and countries, the king comes from a whole lineage of kings or royalty. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around what it might be like to be a king. I think in some ways it would be cool, but it other ways it would be annoying. I could never simply go to my favorite restaurant without an entourage. I think I would love the “high-end” living that came with it, but not the inconvenience of fame and fortune.

I was reading this morning about Jesus’ arrest and “mock trial” before the Jews. He is then taken to Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus if He’s a king. Check this out…

36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”

37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”

Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” (John 18:36-37 NLT)

Jesus is definitely a King. He is a different type of King. He doesn’t want the castle, the royalty, the wealth, the fame that comes from being a King. He is of the royal lineage of King David. The fact that He’s the Son of God, trumps any other characteristic of any type of king. He walked the streets teaching about God’s love and mercy. He had no house to call His castle. He didn’t wear fancy clothing. It is really obvious that He was different than what we know kings to be.

Jesus calmly explains to Pilate, the Roman governor, that His Kingdom is not in competition with the Roman government or any other government. He came to bring salvation to the world. He came to introduce access to Creator God. He came to introduce the Truth about God and His Kingdom. God’s Kingdom had been so distorted from what it looked like years before. We humans tend to amend things and “tweak” things to the way we like and it often changes something that is pivotal to the Word of God.

Jesus is King of my heart.

Jesus taught humility.

Jesus taught serving.

Jesus taught giving.

Jesus taught forgiving.

Jesus taught truth.

Jesus became King of my heart because of Who He is and the message that He brought to the world. He is the One & Only Son of God. He willingly went to the cross and became the Ultimate sacrifice for sin. He became King differently than any other king. He is the King who I’ve committed to following all the rest of my days. I want to live, serve, give and forgive like the King of all Kings.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Truth

 

Lies Have Speed Truth Has Endurance SpeedometerI have been lied too before. I have been cheated. I have been misled. It is frustrating to take someone at their word, only to find out it’s not true. Trust is destroyed by lies and deceit. I believe truth to be absolute. It is not simply relative to whatever situation I find myself in. I’m not going to say that I’ve never told a lie. I find comfort in telling the truth, even if it’s painful.

In “REALTOR world”, I work with people every day. I work with lenders, appraisers, roofers, pest control experts, plumbers, electricians, other agents and members of the public. There are many opportunities to leave out important facts that are part of the truth. I recently had a buyer that was “on the bubble” with getting a loan. The lender told me that is was going to be really close, whether or not they would get approved, because it was a complicated file. I told the lender that I appreciated his honesty. I often think back to the line in the movie: “A Few Good Men” when Jack Nicholson’s character proclaims from the witness stand “You can’t handle the truth!”

Jesus, at the end of His time on earth spent some time explaining His ministry to His disciples. He explains His purpose for coming and investing in their lives. There was obvious confusion on their part. He goes before the Father with an intense prayer for His followers. Check this out…

13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do.17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. (John 17:13-19 NLT)

In my journey with the Lord through His Word, I find truth revealed. I find the hope I have in eternal life. I find insight into suffering and struggle. I find peace that is beyond understanding and comprehension. I find that the purpose of my life is to bring glory to God. I’m thankful for this prayer of Jesus that reveals His love for His followers. I want to follow Him all my days, walking in truth and love that He has installed in my heart.  I believe that He is continually cleaning me up and making me whole in Him. I am certainly standing on the truth of His Word and His Promise.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Enemy

 

devil angelI have tried hard over the years to avoid making enemies. I’m not a doormat that others can walk upon. I also don’t intentionally harm others. I have opened my mouth and stuck my foot in more times than I can count and hurt myself and others. I’ve always thought it was a mistake to make enemies versus friends. I may have significant disagreements with you, but there doesn’t have to be hatred involved. I do have an enemy and I try hard to avoid any association with him because he seeks my destruction. He employs whomever he can in his schemes and plans. The enemy has no power over me except what I give him. The Lord is the King of my heart and He squashes the enemy like a bug.

John, in writing about what he sees and hears, sees war break out in heaven. The angels throw satan down to earth. He longs to destroy the people of God. He wants to bring destruction to the church. He can bring temptations that are incredibly beautiful and appealing, but full of poison and death. Even though he has some power, I am full of God’s Spirit and the Power in me is much greater than the enemy. After the enemy was thrown from heaven, John heard a a loud voice. Check this out…

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say,

The salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Christ
have now come,
because the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them
before our God day and night,
has been thrown down.
11 They conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
for they did not love their lives
to the point of death. (Revelation 12:10-11CSB)

The enemy makes lots of promises that he can’t keep. His promises are full of lies and deceit. He promises life when he’s full of death. He knows what his end looks like, so he longs to take as many as he can from the Kingdom of God. He will say and do whatever he can to accomplish that.  I must keep seeking the truth in God’s Word so that I can recognize the schemes of the enemy. He will be defeated in the end. I just don’t want to be among those he’s caught.

I want to follow the Lord closely each day and discover deep truth from His Word to insulate me against the enemy and his attempts to take me out. I look forward to eternal life more than this brief vapor of life here on earth.

Pressing On!

Dwayne