Truth or Lie

 

Lies Have Speed Truth Has Endurance SpeedometerI have always had a tough time with people who blatantly lie. Truth is a fundamental fabric to character. Lies and deceit are direct assaults upon this fundamental fabric. People who lie are impossible to trust because they don’t have a standard that they cling to or depend upon. They will move people and situations to improve their life at the expense of whoever or whatever is in their way. It is my goal to build relationships upon truth. I don’t want to mislead or mistreat anyone. I also can’t be “best friends” with everyone I meet, but I can treat them with respect and honor as a child of God – human being. This is not to say that there aren’t consequences for lying. There are people in prison mainly because they lied. There are people who have been fired from very good and gainful employment because they lied. I’m thankful that the Lord continues to build into me. I have lied in the past and I’ve been forgiven. Lies cause me stress and inner struggle. I have confessed when I’ve lied and I’ve asked for forgiveness. I don’t lie frequently. The older I get the more futile I realize lying or deceit can be. Truth makes it way out of lies and deceit. Check this out…

I call on the Lord in my distress,
    and he answers me.
Save me, Lord,
    from lying lips
    and from deceitful tongues. (Psalm 120:1-2 NIV)

I am a man of truth. I have seen the counterfeit nature of a lie and I despise lying. Sometimes it’s hard to speak truth, but it’s better to be honest every single time than to lie. I do believe that the truth needs to be accompanied by grace and love. If the truth is all by itself, it can be excruciatingly painful. It doesn’t have to always be harsh or hateful. Truth needs to be soaked and dripping in love where applicable. Sometimes, truth is abstract and simple. Sometimes, truth involves relationships that are life-long and really challenging.  I would rather have someone tell me the truth 100% of the time than to lie at any level. I’m a grown up and I can handle the truth as hard as it may seem. If I’m given a lie, I will work with it like it’s true until proven otherwise. I so wish that there was a “truth serum” that we could all drink with our breakfast that would cause us to speak truth. I thought about the movie starring Jim Carrey called “Liar Liar” that was released in 1997.

I want to continue to walk in truth. I want to continually speak the truth. I want the words of my mouth to always be honest, honorable and truthful. I don’t want to mislead, mistreat or misuse the truth in any way.  I want my word to mean something every day. I want the Lord’s help in guarding my tongue and my choices today.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Music Messages

 

169 Vk0gMDA1XzIwMTIgLSAwMTAuanBnI believe you can say things with music that are nearly impossible to say any other way. Music captures emotion, energy, deep thoughts and somehow communicates these in a song accompanied by music. I’ve written some pretty funny songs when I look back on them. There are some songs that are classic and stand the test of time. I used to think that every country song ever written was about someone who cheated on their spouse and their dog died and the truck was a must have some mention in the song for it to be successful. I’ve now learned that often country songs tell a life story.

Praise and worship music has replaced some of the Hymns of old. These worship songs cry out to God acknowledging Who He is and all that He is doing. I must confess that I like doing “remakes” of old hymns. I really love using music of scripture to praise the Lord in a personal way even though there’s a bunch of people there. Check this out….

It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
    how profound your thoughts! (Psalm 92:1-5 NIV)

I want the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart to be pleasing to God. I want to speak words that He’s speaking into me. I want to be kind hearted but firm if needed. I want to be gentle, but strong. So much of my journey with the Lord got it’s fuel from worship music. I’m thankful to have been introduced to music. I’m thankful to the gentlemen who showed great patience as he taught me to play.  The song on my heart when I woke up this morning was by Phil Wickham. “Your Love Awakens Me”

There were walls between us
And by the cross you came
And broke them down You broke them down
And there were chains around us
And by Your grace we are
No longer bound  No longer bound
You called me out of the grave
You called me into the light
You called my name and then my heart came alive
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens Awakens me
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens Awakens me

Feel the darkness shaking
All the dead are coming
Back to life back to life
Hear the song awaken
All creation singing
We’re alive Cause You’re alive
You called me out of the grave
You called me into the light
You called my name and then my heart came alive
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens  Awakens me
Your love is greater Your love is stronger
Your love awakens Awakens  Awakens me

And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive
And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive
And what a love we found
Death can’t hold us down
We shout it out
We’re alive Cause you’re alive

____________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Live Steady

 

Man praying with the BibleSometimes life can be so unstable and unsteady. It seems that things come at me faster than I can respond to them. There are times I make decisions based on the information that I have at the time, later to regret them. Over the years as I walk out my faith, I’ve been learning to lean on the Lord for wisdom, discernment and guidance especially when the road ahead is unpredictable and unsteady.

David pens a beautiful Psalm about being steady – at least that is how it spoke to me. Check this out…

1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?

    Who may live on your holy mountain?

2 The one whose way of life is blameless,

    who does what is righteous,

    who speaks the truth from their heart;

3 whose tongue utters no slander,

    who does no wrong to a neighbor,

    and casts no slur on others;

4 who despises a vile person

    but honors those who fear the Lord;

who keeps an oath even when it hurts,

    and does not change their mind;

5 who lends money to the poor without interest;

    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things

    will never be shaken. (Psalm 15:1-5 NIV)

A steady life has many components. I’ve always heard that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. There are real ingredients to a steady life with God and the most basic is surrender. I learned a long time ago (and I’m still learning) to surrender my ideas, my thoughts and my actions to Him. He can direct my path and steady my steps. He even lights my path when it seems so dark.

I don’t believe a steady life happens by accident. I also don’t think a steady life is complicated or “rocket science” – it is simply faithful obedience to the Lord. He celebrates the victories of this life and He walks with me through the defeats and tragedies. The only way I can have a steady life is by holding the hand of the One Who is ALWAYS steady, faithful and strong.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Questions Bring Clarity

Young pretty woman with question marksI was recently reminded that wise people know how to ask good questions. If I ask dumb questions, I usually receive dumb answers. I’ve always been intrigued with “lawyer shows” on TV and the big screen. One of the main roles of an excellent attorney is the asking of good questions.

As I was reading through the book of Job, the Lord finally speaks. Job has lost his family, his possessions and his health, but he still did not curse God. Throughout the previous chapters I could feel the pain he was in and the intensity of the suffering. Three “friends lecture him” and then this young man named Elihu poured it on too. He has got to be at the breaking point when God finally speaks. Check this out…

1 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

2 “Who is this that obscures my plans

    with words without knowledge?

3 Brace yourself like a man;

    I will question you,

    and you shall answer me.

36 Who gives the ibis wisdom

    or gives the rooster understanding?

37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

38 when the dust becomes hard

    and the clods of earth stick together?

39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness

    and satisfy the hunger of the lions

40 when they crouch in their dens

    or lie in wait in a thicket?

41 Who provides food for the raven

    when its young cry out to God

    and wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:1-3, 36-41 NIV)

As I began reading through the questions that God was presenting to Job, I realized again how questions can teach and reveal great truth. God was asking Job questions that only He knew the answers too. The Lord’s questions gave Job great insight to His role in all creation and also the everyday and even what often appears mundane. God’s questions had to start bringing great clarity to Job as God had been silent through Job’s suffering, but He had not been absent.

I want to ponder the questions of God today. I want to have great clarity regarding His Power and His Presence in my every day life today. I sometimes need Him to ask questions in order to retrieve clarity that has been muddled and distraction has set in.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Tough Truth

Grace AND TruthThere are times that the truth really hurts. It’s hard to be a messenger of tough truth. There are times that I have to tell a customer or client that the dream home that they wanted is already sold to someone else. There are times when they hear from a lender that their credit is not sufficient to allow them to purchase a home right now. Sometimes truth can be hard to hear and hard to process. I still prefer the whole truth to a partial truth. Is something is partially true then it’s part lie as well.

Elihu was the fourth person to speak to Job. He pretty much lectures for a couple of hours and Job hasn’t responded. He does speak truth, but it’s very harsh, accusatory and abrasive. I can think of a bunch of ways Elihu could have said these things in a kinder way. He is young and probably impetuous. Check this out…

10 ‘So listen to me, you men of understanding.

    Far be it from God to do evil,

    from the Almighty to do wrong.

11 He repays everyone for what they have done;

    he brings on them what their conduct deserves.

12 It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,

    that the Almighty would pervert justice.

13 Who appointed him over the earth?

    Who put him in charge of the whole world?

14 If it were his intention

    and he withdrew his spirit and breath,

15 all humanity would perish together

    and mankind would return to the dust.

21 ‘His eyes are on the ways of mortals;

    he sees their every step.

22 There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness,

    where evildoers can hide. (Job 34:10-15, 21-22 NIV)

In addition to speaking tough truth, Elihu is also accusing Job of doing evil. He is speaking truth without understanding the back-story of Job’s journey.

I think it’s important to communicate truth in the context of love and respect. I’m not sure that this young man understood that truth without love is very hard and harsh. I don’t agree with “sugar-coating” the truth so that it doesn’t feel like truth. I’m simply saying there needs to be care and compassion communicated when speaking tough truth. I believe that truth communicated in love is much more likely to result in change than when it’s presented harshly and hatefully. I thought about that line by Jack Nicholson in “A Few Good Men”… “You can’t handle the truth!” I can handle the truth, but I do appreciate it when it’s wrapped in genuine respect and kindness.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

This I Know

 

i want to know moreI actually believe that I know lots of stuff. I know my family. I know what day it is. I know right from wrong. I know good versus bad. I’m not being braggadocios, but as an older man with lots of different kinds of experiences; I’ve learned a good bit. There is still a bunch that I don’t know. I don’t know how to work on airplanes. I don’t know a lot about medicine. I don’t know a lot about how cell phones work. I don’t know a lot about satellite technology. I actually have a lot to learn even though I know a lot.

Job was once again pushing back on his friends who were lecturing him that he had obviously sinned against God and he was being punished. Job was not convinced that he had sinned at all. I think he was struggling to be respectful to the Lord as he cried out to Him. I do believe Job had a deep and strong relationship with the Lord even in spite of losing his family, his possessions and his health. Job responds with what he knows in the midst of this unhealthy debate with his friends. Check this out…

25 I know that my redeemer lives,

    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.

26 And after my skin has been destroyed,

    yet in my flesh I will see God;

27 I myself will see him

    with my own eyes – I, and not another.

    How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27 NIV)

This short passage reminded me about what I know about the Lord. I realized that not everyone will understand my relationship with Him as they maybe haven’t walked through what I’ve walked through with the Lord. I can’t imagine having gone through some of the suffering in my life without Him walking with me through it. He has never forsaken me and left me on my own. I started repeating a phrase years ago in the middle of one of the storms of my life that goes like this: “Go with what you know until your feelings catch up.” I’m not sure where it came from, but it reminds me that my feelings and emotions can be fickle and temperamental for sure. If I want to walk steady with the Lord, I have to trust Him even when I can’t see Him or feel Him. These are the times that I have to lean into and stand upon His promises in His Word. He promises that He will not leave me and He hasn’t.

I’m going with what I know about Him versus how I feel about Him today and every day.

I love this simple song by Crowder called – This I Know

Pressing On!

Dwayne