If Only

 

ApathyI have used those two words together way too often. I used these two words mostly to “second guess” a decision or choice that I made. “If Only” often carries with it regret over something that was left undone or unfinished.  If only is related to “looking back” and how I can have 20/20 vision. If only comes along when I have new information and new options that either I didn’t have or didn’t see previously.

Jesus came to the earth as a baby born of Mary a virgin and He was raised in a Carpenter shop. He began His earthly ministry around the age of 30 and set about teaching and hanging out with a select few for the purpose of bringing glory to His Father. His actions were often misunderstood or misinterpreted then. We have the privilege of seeing His actions as well as the reasons behind them. This is nearly impossible when things are happening in “real time”.

Jesus’ friend Lazarus had recently died. He had gotten word that Lazarus was sick, but chose to stay where He and His team were ministering. Mary, Martha & Lazarus were dear friends and He often stayed with them when He was near Jerusalem. They lived in Bethany, a few miles outside Jerusalem. He then headed toward their place. When He was just outside the village, Mary & Martha got word He was coming their way, so Martha goes out to meet Him. Check this out…

20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”  (John 11:20-27 NLT)

The first thing Martha said to Jesus was “If Only”. She was grieving and hurting. She had been with Jesus and knew of His healing power because she had seen with her own eyes. She believed that Jesus could have healed her brother. Jesus had more than “healing” in mind. He was about to “blow their mind”.

This is the first time that Jesus calls Himself “the resurrection and the life”. This is a bold claim for sure, but Martha that she believed that He was Who He said He was. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He took His ministry to a whole new level. He also explained that He was hear for the Glory of God. I haven’t always understood how God can uses hard times, hardship and suffering for His glory. He can use the sudden death of a friend for His glory. I don’t always understand this, but this truth is woven throughout the pages of His Word. He is always pointing to eternal life as the “end goal”, not just life here on earth. We are here for His Glory, not our own. It’s hard to understand this concept when we haven’t “been there and done that”.  Eternal life is a mystery to us. It is not a mystery to the Lord. I can’t always explain the reasons things happen, but I do believe that I can find a way to give the Lord honor and praise in every situation. I don’t want to call on Him in regret (if only), I want to call on Him with respect and trust to help me walk through any circumstance that I face.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Comprehensive

understandThis word has always intrigued me. I have not always considered myself to be super intuitive and smart. I do try to understand the multi-facets of issues and problems. I also try to “get my head around” the scope of issues that I or friends of mine are facing. That is really the essence of this word comprehensive – having a total grasp or understanding of certain subject matter.

I am still trying to learn and understand more of Who God is and what He’s doing in my life and the lives of others. Paul’s pray for comprehension and understanding really blessed me this morning. Check this out…

16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21 CSB)

I needed that prayer as I seek God’s heart.

I don’t understand everything God does.

I don’t understand everything God says.

I’m learning to trust Him more even when I don’t understand.

I want to comprehend and understand the height, depth, length and width of His love for me.

I’m joining Paul in his prayer. I want to know more about God’s heart and His love for me. I want His love to dwell in my heart consistently. I want to be deeply rooted and firmly established in love.

What I do know is that God loves me and I want to live for Him the rest of my days. I want to grow in my comprehension of His love and grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Insight

Insight Light Bulb ConceptI have had many “Aha” moments in my life. I enjoy reading and learning new things. I’ve said many times before that I want to be a life-long learner. I also enjoy seeing others have that “Aha” moment and grasp a thought or insight that really opens the horizons up for them. I enjoy teaching and helping others have insight to a topic or subject.

I also enjoy teaching from my spiritual journey. I feel like that every day I open His Word, He teaches me something new or gives me a clearer and deeper understanding of a truth that I was already aware of.  I enjoy reading His Word in different versions and translations to give further insight of the context of certain passages that speak into my heart.

Paul, in writing to the church at Ephesus, pens some of the greatest truths simply tucked away in this letter. I came across this passage and I’m praying that this over my heart and the hearts of anyone who reads this little blog. Check this out…

15 This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength. (Ephesians 1:15-19 CSB)

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the Spirit of Wisdom.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the revelation of Him.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the knowledge of Him.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the hope of His calling.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the glorious inheritance.

I want an “Aha” moment regarding the immeasurable greatness of His Power.

I want the eyes of my heart to be open to see Him like I’ve never seen Him before. I want to see Him more clearly than I do now. I want more wisdom, insight and understanding of Who He is and what He’s calling me to do and be. The insight that the Lord gives is like none other. I’ve learned more from my time in His Word than the volumes of books I’ve read or seminars I’ve ever attended. The Word overflows with insight to God’s heart. I’m profoundly grateful for His heart that is saturated with Grace for His kids – like me!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Deep

 

Two Scuba Divers With CopySpaceI’ve been mesmerized by scuba diving in the ocean depths. I think that experiencing that in more shallow waters might make it to my bucket list.  I have a healthy respect for deep water because I’m aware that I don’t have gills and can’t breathe under water. I am fascinated by the ocean and the way it never stops. The waves come crashing into shore and the sound of that crashing calms my heart. I know that I sound a bit weird. I’ve never ventured way out into the ocean because I feel a lot more secure anchored to land. The oceans has a lot of unknowns and that interests me and scares me a bit at the same time.

I love how the Apostle Paul speaks of the depths of knowing the Lord. If the ocean is deep (and it is), the depth of God’s wisdom and knowledge are deeper still. Check this out..

33 Oh, the depth of the riches
both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments
and untraceable his ways!
34 For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?
35 And who has ever given to God,
that he should be repaid?
36 For from him and through him
and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 CSB)

The Lord is difficult to describe. I’m a pretty simple minded person. I can’t begin to make the Lord simple. His love is simple. His mercy and grace is both simple and complex. The more I study the mercy and grace of God, the more I want to follow Him fully and experience both. I am a recipient of both His grace and mercy many times over even though I don’t fully grasp that depth of love.

I want to go deeper in my relationship with the Lord. I want to talk to Him differently. I want to hear the deep whispers in my journey with Him. I want to see His face. I want to put my head on His chest. I want to know Him fully. I want Him to speak to me through His Word. I want His Spirit to direct my spirit. I want His heart to invade my heart. I want to die to myself and live fully for Him. He is so deep and vast, but I want to keep seeking knowledge and understanding of His heart. I to live for Him so I can live forever with Him. I realize that I’m simply trying to follow Him fully, but that’s all He asks.

This passage reminded me of a song by one of my favorite bands of years gone by: Deeper by Delirious.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

No Limits

 

square grunge red no limits stampThere are boundaries and limits all around me. I can’t imagine a life without some limits. I remember when I was young and living under the rules of my parents. During those times, I had to let them know when I’d be home and where I was going when I went out with friends on the weekend. I grew up respecting their rules but I was also ready to be out from under them. I went to college, only to find more rules and boundaries. The college I went to was a Christian College and it had a lot more rules. The purpose of those rules was obvious – trying to help me make good choices and not hurt others or myself. Fast forward a few years and I get married. There are boundaries inside of marriage. The boundaries are there to protect the relationship and the family unit. I guess the idea of having no limits or boundaries sound good, but it’s not real applicable to my world.

The Psalmist reminds me that the Lord has no limits. He can do anything He wants. He can go anywhere He wants at any time He wants. Check this out….

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground. (Psalm 147:1-6 NIV)

God can do anything EXCEPT fail. I’ve learned to lean upon Him for everything. I’ve learned to trust Him without exception or question. I’m still discovering insights to the Lord that I had not seen previously to this extent. His Presence in my life has and still does – blow me away. I find great peace in His Presence. I love singing songs to the Lord because I know Him and I want to know Him more.

My God created the heavens and the earth and He loves to hear from me. I’m just a peon here on the planet that He created but He wants to hear from me. He loves it when I sing to Him and about Him. He loves it when I talk to Him and about Him. He loves when my heart is devoted to His heart.  When I trust Him with my whole heart and my whole life – there is no limits to the depths of my love and devotion. There are no limits on the Power of God. There are no limits on the Grace of God. There are no limits on Mercy of God. There are no limits on the Presence of God. I can’t comprehend all of this, but I will simply trust and obey His call upon my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Too Much!

God's mercy at the CrossI have limits as to what I can handle. I can only carry so many bags of groceries in from the car. I can only handle so many people complaining. I can only maintain a limited amount of deep quality friendships. There are finite limitations all around me and through my life. My limitations sometimes frustrate me, but I really can only do so much. I even get frustrated with other peoples limitations too. As far as I can tell, even the most intelligent genius among us has limitations. To be human is to have limitations. When I think about God NOT having limitations, my mind can quite manage that thought. Check this out…

5 ‘God is mighty, but despises no one;

    he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.

22 ‘God is exalted in his power.

    Who is a teacher like him?

23 Who has prescribed his ways for him,

    or said to him, “You have done wrong”?

24 Remember to extol his work,

    which people have praised in song.

25 All humanity has seen it;

    mortals gaze on it from afar.

26 How great is God – beyond our understanding!

    The number of his years is past finding out. (Job 36:5,22-26 NIV)

Sometimes when I think of the greatness of God, I am humbled beyond words. In all His Power and Creativity, He still loves me and cares for me. His gentle grace is beyond my capability to comprehend or understand, but I’m thankful to be a recipient of it.

When I read this passage is made me think of the song: How Great Is Our God. My situation looks way different when I look at how great He is. He is not only great, He is full of grace and mercy. He is full of patience with me.

How Great Is Our God by Chris Tomlin.

Pressing On!

Dwayne