Co-Worker With Truth

four hands isolated on whiteOver the years, I’ve been part of teams, staffs, ministries, partnerships & missions. I remember collecting old pairs of glasses for people in Africa who didn’t have access to glasses. The missionary there was trying to help them with something as simple as seeing and being able to read. I’ve partnered with mission teams to build wells so that a community could have something as basic as fresh water available. When I participate in those types of “fund raisers”, I realize just how blessed I am to have opportunity and access to so many resources that make my life easier.

John was writing to one of his good friends in the church. He was commending him for his hospitality and generosity. Check this out…

Dear friend, you are acting faithfully in whatever you do for the brothers and sisters, especially when they are strangers. They have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God, since they set out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such people so that we can be coworkers with the truth. (3 John 1:5-8 CSB)

It dawned on me this morning that when I help a missionary with resources for his or her ministry, I became a co-worker with the truth. I was in fact a partner with their hands-on ministry taking place half-way around the world. This can be significant. I can be generous and affect change in people’s lives that I will never meet. I can be the hands and feet of Jesus from right here where I live.

I am thankful that my path crossed paths with Michael & Lisa Perkins over 8 years ago. They are missionaries in Nicaragua. They sold their restaurant and walked away from their “normal” American life in Oregon around 12 years ago to accept God’s call upon their live to serve Him and share the Gospel in Nicaragua. I got to know them well as they began serving us as we pursued adoption process spearheaded by our Pastor Shannon Lovelady and his wife Natasha. The journey had so many obstacles, twists and turns and Michael and Lisa prayed with us and connected us to the right people in Nicaragua. In just over 1 year from when the first conversation happened about adopting 5 kids from Nicaragua, four families from our church came home with the five kids. We are forever connected and co-workers with The Mustard Seed Mission in Managua, Nicaragua! This passage reminded me that I’m a co-worker with them in the truth!

I’m so thankful that the Lord is writing a new chapter for the restaurant that they sold in Oregon many years ago, it was called The Mustard Seed Café. That is the name of the new restaurant here in Carrollton, GA that will be at City Station. Their mission in Nicaragua will continue as we broaden our relationship with Mustard Seed Missions and Mustard Seed Café. The Lord has really expanded the whole concept of “Co-Workers with the Truth”!

I want to encourage every believer who reads these words to become a Co-Worker with Truth. Get involved with a bible teaching church. Get involved with bible teaching missionaries. It is very fulfilling to think about serving and giving to people you will possibly never meet in the name of Jesus. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet them in heaven one day – How cool would that be?

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Love Is Not Optional

Moving escalator stairs, love hate signI grew up seeing love in action with my family. For the most part, my siblings all loved one another. We were good at defending our “turf”, but we loved one another and still do. My parents displayed love for one another as well as others. We don’t usually get to choose our family, but we are blessed when our family becomes close friends. I did learn that there are people who were harder to love. It’s hard to love people who are mean and hateful. It’s hard to love people who take advantage of my kindness. It’s hard to love people whom I perceive to be foolish. The commands of The Word are to love everyone. I’m confident that there are no exceptions. This is a hard command and one that I will keep working on.

John, the Apostle is writing to a prominent lady in the church and his words jumped into my heart this morning. Check this out…

I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father. So now I ask you, dear lady—not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. This is love: that we walk according to his commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: that you walk in love. (2 John 1:4-6 CSB)

The way I read this, if I don’t love, then I’m not walking in the truth. Ouch! I do need His help to love people who are difficult to love. My Mom used to say that “you can find something good in everyone, if you just look hard enough”. The Lord has given new lenses to my eyes. If I can look through eyes of love that comes from Him, I can see the value of other people – even the difficult people.

If I remember what it’s like to be rejected and unloved, then I can find it easier to show love to others. I also think it’s important for Christians to remember what it was like to be lost. One of the strongest commands of The Word is to humble myself. If I’m humbled, I can love anyone. If I’m proud of my accomplishments and my status, then I will find it harder to love the unlovely or hard to love people.  Love is a broad and big word that brings healing and hope to so many. God so loved that He gave His Son for the world. In loving us, He gave. Love is not optional for me as a follower of Jesus. I love because He loved me. I know what it feels like to be loved and accepted. I know what it feels like to be scorned and rejected. I love being loved. I decided many years ago that I want to love like He loves.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Empty Lies

 

The Truth Hidden Among Lies Pyramid of Stacked BallsThere are people who could be called “professional liars”. They will tell you whatever you want to hear or they will tell some tall tale that distracts and distorts the truth. I have often said that I can work with the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear. I get extremely frustrated when I’m lied too. I would rather be honest and poor than to be dishonest and rich. I am not a perfect person and it would be a “bold-faced” lie to say I’ve never lied. I will say that I see all of life not with eternity in view and any lies that I could tell would be pure foolishness considering my future hope.

I wonder what would happen if everyone told the truth – no matter how hard.

I wonder what it would be like if politicians always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if attorneys always told truth.

I wonder what it would be like if people in sales always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if husbands & wives always told the truth.

I wonder what it would be like if parents & children always told the truth.

Truth is not relative to the situation – it is absolute. I’ve heard it said: there is his version and her version and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. People who are lost in sin, often seek to convince others to join them by telling elaborate lies. They appear to be having a blast, but their soul’s are empty and corrupt. Peter speaks to this. Check this out…

19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them. 20 For if, having escaped the world’s impurity through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:19-21 CSB)

I confess that I’ve had my feet under the table of the Lord only to turn away to the lies of the enemy. The enemy makes sin make sense just long enough for me to go for it.  I would rather repent than live a life of regret and remorse. I would be wise to quickly repent than to justify my sin with more lies. If I tell one lie, it takes a lot more just to try to keep the lie somewhat believable. God’s Word is truth and He makes it clear that He wants no part of lies. I couldn’t trick or deceive Him with a lie if I tried. He’s always listening and watching if I lie to another person. I want to live my life in truth no matter how painful and hard. I believe the fallout from a lie is way more painful than dealing with the truth. The truth always seems to find its way out anyway.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Eye Witness

Jury Duty 3D cube Word Cloud ConceptI have seen stuff with my own eyes that I might had a hard time believing that it happened if I had not seen with my own eyes. I witnessed an accident a few years back that after I was questioned about the accident, I was confused about what happened. Eyewitness testimony is the account a bystander or victim gives in the courtroom, describing what that person observed that occurred during the specific incident under investigation. Ideally this recollection of events is detailed; however, this is not always the case. When an eyewitness is giving testimony, the confidence that they have is important.  I also think it’s important to have more than one eyewitness if possible.

I love the apostle Peter. He seems like my kind of guy when I read the story of Jesus. He’s imperfect. He’s impulsive. He’s emotional. He is committed. Jesus called him the Rock upon which He (Jesus) would build His church. Peter recalls something he witnessed with his own eyes. Check this out…

16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!” 18 We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18 CSB)

I can’t always articulate the things I know and believe, but I do know that He has spoken to me through His Word and through times of prayer. I have been an eyewitness to a changed life and it’s a beautiful thing for sure. I have experienced His Grace first hand and it radically changed my perspective on my walk with the Lord. I grew up trying to be enough and do enough to “earn” my way into His Kingdom. Through His Word, He tore down some of those false instructions and introduced me to the truth that is drenched in grace. I can now hear the truth of His Word with profound clarity. I now understand that it’s for me. I now understand that I could have NEVER been good enough or have done enough to “earn” my salvation. I now serve Him because of His grace to “work out” or live out my salvation. That is quite a contrast. I love Peter’s eyewitness account here because he’s speaking of something that happened many years ago, yet he has great clarity.

I want my life to bear stellar testimony to the fact that I walk with the Lord daily. I want others to see Him in me. I want them to see the confidence that I have in my journey with Him. His Word has lit up my path and I want to walk out my faith with Him every day!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Caught!

 

Always Time to Do What's Right Saying Clock QuoteI remember getting away with things when I was a kid. The times I was caught are really etched in my mind. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I was trying something new and, BAM! –Busted. Looking back, I think getting busted was a good thing because I became keenly aware of boundaries as well as consequences. These two words have accountability built right inside them. I often wish I could go back and do some things differently, because I know that my bad choices hurt my grandparents and my parents. They really had confidence in me and I let them down. I’m thankful that I didn’t stay there. I’m sure that they kept praying for me that I would get back on track with the Lord.

Paul is giving Timothy some very practical counsel from a seasoned apostle to a young preacher. He gives Timothy a few tips in dealing with people and their behavior. Check this out…

24 Some people’s sins are obvious, preceding them to judgment, but the sins of others surface later. 25 Likewise, good works are obvious, and those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden. (1 Timothy 5:24-25 CSB)

I remember my mom telling me that “remember your sins will find you out”. I hated that phrase because I knew what it meant. I also knew that she was suspicious of something that I had done or hadn’t done.

When I became a parent many years ago, I read a great book called “Raising Positive Kids In A Negative World” by Zig Ziglar. This book had a huge impact on my life. I think it was in this book that he challenges parents to “catch their kid doing good things” and reward them appropriately. I loved the idea because it affirmed the positive behavior instead of watching for the child to make a mistake.

I love people who do good works secretly. I believe the Lord loves this too. When a person does good works secretly, it’s not about them, but the person or persons being served. I also think that this speaks to the motive of the giving. I’ve given to be seen and I’ve given secretly and the secret giving is way more fun and profoundly rewarding.

I want to honor the Lord by doing good to others today and every day. I know that the Lord sees what I do secretly whether good or bad, so I’m going to choose the good way!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Gospel – Story of God

 

Grace AND TruthI remember hearing about Jesus when I was a very young kid. As I grew, my parents lived out their faith in God. I went to church every Sunday (we had morning and evening services). We also had Wednesday night Bible Study. I also observed my Grandmother (Mammie) read her Bible every day. She was faithful in seeking the Lord.
I remember hearing a lot of rules – some do’s and don’ts from the church teaching. My parents echoed the teaching and it helped keep me scared of going to hell, so I complied. I see things a bit different now that I’ve been studying the Word on my own and listening to what the Lord must say to me. Paul met Jesus face to face authenticating His preaching. Check this out…

11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. 12 For I did not receive it from a human source and I was not taught it, but it came by a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12 CSB)

I didn’t hear a lot about Grace being part of the gospel when I was growing up. As I study the Word today – it’s not only part of the gospel – it’s the essence of the gospel. I’m reminded by grace that I could never do enough to be worth saving. I could never go to church enough. The Lord is about a personal journey rather than a church journey. I’m not sure just how strong someone is who never fellowships with others are sits under the teaching of the Word. I remember hearing the late Keith Green say that, “going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger.”

The Gospel is Jesus Christ living in me and through me to show others His Amazing Love and Grace. There is nothing I could do to save myself. He is Mighty to Save and the ONLY One Who can save me.  The Gospel has Power.

I’m simply going to live the rest of my life letting Christ be in charge. I’ve surrendered my life to His Will and His Way. With that surrender comes incredible FREEDOM to live for Him. I “get” to go to church – I don’t “have” to go. I enjoy the fellowship of other Christ followers who are simply trying to live for Him.  In a nutshell: The Gospel is GRACE & TRUTH!

Pressing On!

Dwayne