Wisdom Brings Peace

 

Man Sitting On Bench During A Beautiful SunsetI have been known to talk when I should be listening. I have also been known to be quiet when I should have spoken. This can be tricky – knowing when to speak or not to speak. I also try to edit carefully what comes out of my mouth. When I relax a bit among friends, or around my family, I might say too much. There is much to be said about thinking before speaking. It is way too often that my mouth starts speaking before my brain catches up with what I’m saying – this can be disastrous and hurtful. I’m so thankful that the Lord sees my heart. I think the people who know be best also know my heart. I’m not generally a hateful or insensitive person, but I confess that I have been before. When I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I began dismantling some of these harmful habits. Guarding my speech takes wisdom and tremendous restraint. I think as I get older, I’m learning the value of restraint and timing.

The book of James devotes the bulk of chapter 3 to control of the tongue and then he finishes up speaking of wisdom. I believe control of my tongue is directly connected to seeking and cultivating wisdom deep inside my soul. Check this out…

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. (James 3:17-18 CSB)

The wisdom that is described here is profoundly simple, deep, thorough, and heaven-sent. I can’t find this wisdom apart from the Lord Himself. He is the Source of Godly Wisdom. There is a wisdom of this world that is self-centered, self-promoting, arrogant and prideful. It is destructive instead of constructive. I want the Lord’s wisdom so that my “radar” can detect worldly wisdom. James says in chapter 1 that the Lord gives wisdom freely. Check this out…

Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 CSB)

This peace-loving, gentle, compliant (reasonable), full of mercies – it is real not fake. I love that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who are wise enough to cultivate peace. Wisdom speaks with purity and peace. Wisdom is open to inspection and a thorough “vetting process”. The more you drill down into wisdom, the more insightful it becomes.  The Lord has given me incredible insight and wisdom in my marriage relationship, my parenting role, my friendship, my colleagues, my customers, clients and even strangers. God’s wisdom is timeless and beyond description, but He gives it in parcels that I can manage and handle. I believe He disperses it in my journey in His Word, in worship and in prayer – among other ways. I would love to be known as wise and understanding and a cultivator of peace – If I’m known for that, then I’ll know that He broke through this earthly vessel known as Dwayne.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Priesthood Trumped

Jesus man of joyJesusI am not making a “play on words” referencing the last name of our current President. I’m using the word trumped to mean to “excel, surpass or outdo”. As I read the Old Testament and see the priesthood as it pertains to the Hebrew religious people, I’m reminded that priests are people in a position of “spiritual” power or significance. When Jesus came on the scene, many things changed. He challenged the high priests, the leaders of the Hebrew religious structure. His position as the Son of God trumped their position. God’s plan to change the structure and introduce a church became clear but wasn’t readily accepted by the religious leaders. The writer or Hebrews gives a quick history lesson regarding this change. Check this out…

26 For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do—first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all time when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son, who has been perfected forever. (Hebrews 7:26-28 CSB)

Jesus came to earth and lived like a man. He faced the temptations and struggles of this life, EXCEPT He didn’t sin. Jesus’ presence here on earth really changed everything. The prophets and the priests before Him pointed to Him and all believers since are still pointing to Him. He didn’t just live here for 33 years and disappear. He is still living today in the hearts of those who’ve accepted Him into their hearts. I can’t adequately describe the Power and the Presence that He brought into my life many years ago. I believe Jesus to be the One & only Son of God, Who created everything. He made a way for me to get to God. I can talk directly to God through Jesus, the One Who intercedes on my behalf. Jesus filled the role of priests once and for all. I do agree that will all still need “Jesus with skin on” and so it’s helpful to counsel with a Pastor, Teacher or a follower of Jesus who is stronger in the faith.

I am committed to being a follower of Jesus the rest of my life here on earth. I can seek Him through His Word and by the Power of His Holy Spirit living in me. His Word and His Presence directs my path and gives me wisdom and discernment daily.  Jesus trumps any priests or human being who lives or has ever lived.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Maturity

 

happy and motivated old people 3dWhen I hear the word mature, I think of an older person – usually older than me! This word means fully developed, ripe & complete in growth. I also think of wisdom, discernment and insight as I ponder the word maturity. I learned a long time ago that maturity is not always connected with age. I’ve met lots of very young people who were mature in many areas of their lives. I’ve also met lots of older people (mature in age) who were very immature and reckless in many areas of their lives. Maturity is somewhat subjective, objective and relative. I can “appear” mature, and in some areas of my life, I might display immaturity.

The Hebrew writer speaks about spiritual immaturity. I want to keep growing spiritually. I want to know the Lord more intimately. I want to grow in my trust of Him. Check this out…

11 We have a great deal to say about this, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. 12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14 CSB)

In the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of being around my grandchildren. These little ones just melt my heart for sure. I was reminded of my own kids when they were small and started out with a milk only diet. They moved to cereal, then vegetables and then later added meat to their diet. It was a process of preparing the digestive system for the different levels of food. The spiritual analogy of the Hebrew writer is simple; I ought to be on a mature spiritual diet, but I’m often back to the basics of baby food.

My journey through the Word of God has built me in so many areas of my spiritual journey. The Word provides wisdom and discernment by the truckloads. The Word of God reminds me to guard the words that come from my mouth. The Word of God calls out my weaknesses and turns them into strengths. I want to become mature before I get old. I want to be full of wisdom and discernment that comes from The Lord. I don’t want to be mature to draw attention to me, but to point to Him. I’m simply a follower of the Lord who wants to finish well.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Prayers

 

Praying ManSomeone once said that if there are tests in our schools, there will be prayer in our schools. Prayer, in my opinion is way more powerful in private, but can be an effective communication tool in public. I have always felt that the most effective public prayer warrior is one who privately prays regularly and often.

I believe that prayer is a powerful tool that the Lord has given us. Prayer calls upon the Lord to come help, come heal, come direct my journey. Sometimes I’m not sure what the next step in my journey looks like, the Lord can speak to that. At other times, I feel helpless to know what to say or do – the Lord can direct my words and my activities. Paul challenges Timothy regarding prayer – we should lift our leaders in prayer constantly. Check this out…

1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-3 CSB)

I must confess that there are some elected officials that I didn’t vote for, but they were chosen as our leaders. I can pray for them, even if I disagree with some of their policy decisions or core beliefs. I figured out a long time ago that I simply don’t know everything, nor does anyone else. I need to give those in leadership some room to navigate through the challenges and decisions before them. Now this doesn’t mean that I should stand by and watch them make bad decisions without me speaking up or speaking into a decision that’s before them. If I’m praying for them, it becomes harder for me to attack them on a personal basis. I can disagree with passion, but I should still show respect to those in leadership over me. (This is often easier said than done.) When leaders act immature or they misbehave, it is hard to respect them and the position they hold.

I will continue to pray for the leadership of our nation, state & local government. I will pray for wisdom and discernment to saturate their thinking. I will encourage them and be available to help them anyway I can. The Lord calls me to serve like this. There are benefits for me as well – “to lead a tranquil & quiets life in all godliness and dignity”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Life Verse

My StoryI have learned to love many passages in scripture that really speak to my heart and encourage me in my life journey. When I was a junior in college at Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University Tennessee), I began a student ministry in Crab Orchard Tennessee. It was a small church and my wife and I started meeting with the young people on Sunday afternoons. I really enjoyed this part of my weekend ministry and I was given the opportunity to start full time upon graduation at First Christian Church in Maryville, TN as their youth minister. I loved students and enjoyed hanging out with them and helping them grow in their faith. Somewhere along the way in my youth ministry I came across what became my life verse for my student ministry – I still am moved by this verse today. Check this out…

27 God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me. (Colossians 1:27-29 CSB)

I felt like my calling was to teach and counsel students to know who Jesus was and why He came to earth in the first place. Paul articulates that very well. I wanted students in my ministry to mature in Christ. I look back at my journey and realize just how immature I was back then. I sometimes wish I knew then what I know now about life and my journey with the Lord. He has been faithful with me even when I was unfaithful to Him. He has never given up on me even where there were times I had given up on Him.

I’m a bet more mature that I was back in 1982 – my first year in ministry. I was in ministry for 20 years before becoming a REALTOR in 2003. In this profession, I feel like my life verse hasn’t changed all that much. I want my faith to be obvious without even having to speak of it. I’m always happy to talk about my faith, but I would rather others notice my faith before I ever speak a word. I’m still praying for maturity. I’m still growing in my faith. I still enjoy teaching about Him and sharing from my journey with Him. I want to live my life for His call and His purpose for me. I feel like I’m right where He wants me to be. I still lean into Colossians 1:28 to keep me on purpose and on track!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Prosperous Prayer

 

MoreI need to say that I don’t subscribe to the so-called “prosperity gospel” or “name it; claim it”. I know that there are those who teach and believe that. I do believe that God can do anything He pleases. I just don’t find it consistent with the Word that says, once you put your faith in God everything will be good. In fact, I think the opposite is quite common. I do believe that the Lord wants me to be prosperous in love. He wants me to be prosperous in serving and giving. There are those who have become prosperous financially and it did not derail their faith. Of course, there are many stories of the contrary as well where financial prosperity ruined relationships and destroyed lives. Prosperity is a relative word. I’ve been to some incredibly poor countries and people were prosperous. I’ve been to some wealthy communities where people were starving for prosperity. I have prayed this prosperous prayer from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi many times. Check this out…

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:8-11 CSB)

I keep praying this prayer over my wife & children as well as my entire family.

I prayer this prayer over my company.

I love praying this prayer over my customers and clients.

I think it’s wise to pray for wisdom.

I think it’s wise to pray for discernment.

I think it’s wise to pray before acting on an issue.

I’m praying that I will walk in wisdom and discernment that is dripping with love. I want to be prosperous in profound love for God displayed in my genuine love and respect for others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne