What Have I Done?

 

Why MeThis insightful question is one that I often know the answer to. I sometimes do things without thinking. (That is not necessarily a good idea.) Some of my bad habits seem to run on auto pilot. I could make some life improvements when my good habits and disciplines run almost automatically. My life is made up of the sum total of thousands and thousands of simple choices made daily. I can choose to be kind. I can choose to be mean. I can choose to be generous. I can choose to be selfish. What if there was a record of every single thing I had done since I was born. That would take up a lot of storage space, if it were written down. I can’t quite put my brain around that.

As I was reading another chapter of Johns revelation, I was struck by the thought that there is a book with all the works of my life and I am judged accordingly. Check this out…

11 And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. 12 I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:11-12 NLT)

After reading this, I began to immediately think about where does GRACE come into the picture. I just know that I know Jesus. If I reflect on just yesterday, there was sinful thoughts going through my brain and I’m sure there were sinful actions as well. My heart is still in pursuit of the Lord even when my brain goes down a side road.

I don’t know exactly what happens when a person dies. I don’t know if they are immediately in the Presence of God. I just know that the One Who created the universe and everything in it has this under control and in His Power. I’m not sure if He keeps a literal book or if He keeps the highlights of my life. It sure is a sobering thought to think of a diary of my life written by someone Who knows everything about me.

As I think about the judgement, I’m reminded that I have a personal relationship with the Judges Son. Scripture also teaches that to know the Son is to know the Father. I’m going to keep walking out my faith here on earth. I want the works of my life to reflect my hearts commitment to the Lord. I want to live a Christ-centered life NOT a “me-centered” life. I want to display my love for God, by loving and serving others. Write it down. One simple choice at a time ends up being a lifetime in no time at all.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Love More!

 

White Box with the Word Love on the Sides Isolated on a White Background.My wife and I have a little contest to see who can love the other more. It is not just about words, but actions for sure. It’s a fun competition where we both win! I have also always wanted my kids to know that I love them deeply. I am never afraid to say, “I love you” to them. I can never hug them enough or provide for them enough. It is hard when they start becoming adults and they need to figure some of life’s lessons out. I simply can’t be the solution to their every struggle as they become grown-ups. I still can’t just stop loving and wanting to do for them.

Love is probably the most profound topic of our lives. Love is gentle. Love is tough. Love is warm. The Apostle Paul penned a beautiful passage that is used in weddings but really needs to be used in our everyday life. Check this out…

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant,is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CSB)

Love is the essence of the Character of God. He epitomizes love every day. He loved first. He loves the best. He is relentless in His pursuit of loving His people and having them love Him in return. His love made a way for us to have eternal life with Him.

I was listening to this song by Needtobreathe called: Let Us Love. Here’s the chorus.

Let us love
Like we were children
Make us feel
Like we’re still living
In a world I know that’s burning to the ground
Give us time
To beat the system
Make us find
What we’ve been missing
In a world I know that’s burning to the ground

I can be the best husband….

I can be the best Dad….

I can be the best friend….

I can be the best REALTOR….

I can be the best boss…

I can be the best singer….

I can be the best prayer warrior….

I can be the best at EVERYTHING – but without love I am a failure.

I want love deeply the ones closest to me for sure, but I also want to love others and care deeply for them. I want the love that God has shown me to be shown in every facet of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Giving Expense

Give 3d Words Background Generosity and ContributionThe Lord loves a giver. I believe that I’m most like God when I give. I also believe that giving does something deep inside my heart. I have learned that giving is expensive, but oh so worth it.

I was taught growing up that I should give. I remember my Dad writing a check from his checkbook each week to give at church. I learned by taking money that my parents gave me to Sunday School and putting it in the offering bucket. As I grew older, I learned the value of earning money by working for others. One of my first jobs was in the hayfield loading hay to take it to the barn. I don’t remember how much I got paid, but I remember my parents teaching me to give a tithe (10%) on the money I earned.

King David had just done something pretty stupid and offensive to God. I’m not sure why this was so wrong, but evidently everyone knew it was wrong. It appears that David wanted to count the number of people in Israel and the number of fighting men. There is a part of me that thinks this was actually logical. The Lord called him out regarding this and David repented. The Lord gave David three options for punishment: 3 years of famine in the lane, 3 months of being swept away by your enemies or 3 days of plague upon the land. David surrendered himself to God because he knew of God’s mercy. The Lord punished Israel for David’s sin, but the Lord did relent. Check this out…

18 Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.

20 While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.

22 David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”

23 Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”

24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21:18-24 NIV)

A couple of important principles jumped out at me as I read this passage. First David went in obedience to build an altar before God. I don’t think David questioned the command one bit. The other thing that jumped out at me when the owner of the threshing floor offer to give David the property, the wood, the sacrifices – everything for the offering free of charge. David made a very insightful statement that sticks with me. I should give to the Lord something that cost me nothing – that’s not really my gift.

I want to learn more and more about giving. The giving I’m already involved in is really fun. I want to become more like God – He is such a GIVER. Giving is expensive, but for sure worth it. I think it’s way more expensive to be selfish than to be a giver.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

More

 

MoreThere are times when I have enough, but I want more. I struggle with this when it comes to eating. I enjoy food and I’m not always willing to quit at enough. I struggle with this when it comes to money. I seem to always want more. I think there are times when more is a real improvement. For example, I can always find time to give more to others. I can give more money to the Lord and others. I can always love more than I do right now.

The kids of Joseph- Ephraim and Manasseh wanted more land. They were given quite a bit, but they didn’t think it was enough. Check this out…

14 The people of Joseph said to Joshua, ‘Why have you allotted us only one portion of land and one share for an inheritance? We are a numerous people, and the Lord has blessed us abundantly.’

17 But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph – to Ephraim and Manasseh – ‘You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one portion of land allotted to you 18 but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its farthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out. (Joshua 17:14,17-18 NIV)

I think it’s a part of our human nature to want more. I’m not sure how this develops inside us, but I think all of us have a “selfish tendency” inside. I have to figure out how to keep that in check. I’m actually not sure I’m capable on my own.

I need the Lords help to become unselfish.

I need the Lords help to not want more all the time.

I need the Lords help to become more generous.

I need the Lords help to love more.

I need the Lords help to open up new opportunities of service even though it looks difficult.

I need to be thankful for what I’ve received. I need to stop whining about what I don’t have. I need to press on to expand my horizons and use my gifts to reach more people with influence on behalf of the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Unselfish

 

Man holding microphoneIt’s really hard to be unselfish. I want what I want when I want it. I do want the biggest piece of cake or the best looking donut. If given the first choice, I will sometimes choose what is best for me without thinking of the other person. I will probably battle selfishness until I die. The Lord has been trying to “rewire” my selfish brain for years and there are actually times that I do honor Him, but putting others first. I do think I’m getting a lot better at it as life rolls on and He keeps shaping and molding my heart.

Abram and Lot were growing wealthy in cattle, silver, gold and servants. They each had quite an empire and the land wouldn’t support both huge family clans. Some issues arose among their respective herdsmen. Abram came up with a plan to separate. He let Lot choose first. Check this out….

8 So Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.’

10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan towards Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out towards the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. (Genesis 13:8-13 NIV)

I heard a great quote once and I’m not sure where the origin is, but it went like this: “Yes the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but it’s because there’s a septic tank underneath”. I think Lot chose what looked to be the nicest pasture for himself and it actually ends up backfiring on him. Abram’s spirit impresses me. He’s not only raising his nephew, he gives him first dibs on the land. I see Abram as a very unselfish person. The Lord then gives Abram a promise – that as far as he can see in all directions, the Lord will one day give this land to Abram’s offspring. I love Abram’s relationship with the Lord because He’s always worshipping God. I believe the source of Abram’s unselfish spirit comes from his close walk with the Lord. The Lord can take a selfish heart like mine and convert it to a selfless heart like His.

Pressing On!

Dwayne