Hold Firmly

 

HandshakeI remember at a very young age swinging from “the monkey bars” on the playground.  Part of the key to navigating “the monkey bars” was a strong grip. It also took some upper body strength to accomplish that.

As I get older, my grip may not be as strong as it once was. My physical body has changed a good bit in the last 40 years. My spiritual grip has improved greatly over the years. I’ve learned to hold on to the Word of God. I’ve learned that His promises are true. I’ve learned that His Presence is real. I don’t want to lose my grip on my faith.

As John was experiencing some additional mind-blowing scenes happening in heaven. He was approached by an angel who spoke to him. It was an encounter of teaching. Check this out…

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.” (Revelation 19:9-10 NLT)

Don’t worship the messenger unless He’s Jesus.  I have tremendous respect for great pastors and teachers. I have read multiple books from some of my favorite, beloved pastors. It’s important for me to remember that they are not worthy of my worship. I have to be careful of the status that I give them. They are human. Yes – they are devoted followers of the Lord, but the Lord is ONLY ONE worthy of my worship. I want to hear from Him. I want to worship Him. I want to hold firmly to His hand as I navigate this life. I want to hold firmly to His hand no matter what I face in the future. He is the ONLY ONE Who can lead me from this earthly life to eternal life. He has a firm grip and I’m wise to hold on to Him and worship Him only.

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

The Word Of God

Holy BibleI am convinced that my life’s journey became more focused and clear when I decided to start my day with the Word of God. I’m not a theologian. I’m not a bible scholar. I’m a husband, dad, teacher & REALTOR who wants to be a student of God’s Word. My perspective has changed a lot over the years. I believe my journey in God’s Word has reshaped my heart to be more like His. I have a lot of growing yet to do, but I believe this daily discipline, as simple as it is, has had a profound impact upon my life.

I came across one of those passages that I remember from years ago. It affirms the power and significance of the Word of God. Check this out…

12 For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. (Hebrews 4:12-13 CSB)

I started writing a journal of sorts after reading a passage. There was nothing complex about it, I just wrote about what “jumped out” in the passage that I read. I underlined or highlighted in my Bible. I started this journal process for me. I wanted to remember at 3 PM what I had read at 6 AM to start my day. I wanted the Word of God to live in me throughout the day. I was a bit surprised at how it stuck for longer periods of time – all because I journaled about it. My blog became part of the process later. I felt like the Lord prompted me to share my journey in His Word. I’m not sure when I started this – (I guess I could look it up), but it’s blessed my life to share my journey. I feel called to be in His Word every day. I share my journaling because I believe He asked me too.

I wish I could adequately describe the profound impact my daily journey in His Word has had on my life. I wish everyone who read the words of my journey would try reading His Word daily for at least 30 days. My life has never been the same since. I’ve had hardship and suffering, but I keep coming back to the Word of my Creator – His inspired Word. His Word brings comfort. His Word brings clarity. His Word tells me how to be saved. His Word introduced grace and mercy. His Word tells me all about Jesus. God’s heart is revealed in His Word and I want to know His heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inheritance

 

Bag with inheritanceI have 5 amazing kids and my family has expanded with two my sons marrying great ladies and now they have children of their own. I find myself reflecting on my journey as I look at the kids. I often see myself in something they do or the way they say something. It seems like a life-time ago since they were babies. I will sometimes have conversations with my parents or my wife’s parents and they reflect similarly – they remember us being small sometimes like it was yesterday.

I started reading the book of Hebrews this morning and this book starts out declaring the importance of Jesus, the Son of God. The Hebrew writer is a mystery, although he writes like Paul. The content is strong as he describes Jesus. Check this out…

In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So he became superior to the angels, just as the name he inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:2-4 CSB)

I love it when someone is blessed by something one of my kids has done. I love it when they say I favor. I tell everyone that my youngest son Luke looks the most like me! (In case you didn’t know, he’s my Nicaragua son!) I want my kids to grow up being honorable, honest adults who serve the Lord.

The older I get, the more I start thinking of what sort of inheritance I’m leaving for my children. First, I want to leave an inheritance of faith in Christ. The Lord changed my life when I surrendered my heart to Him many years ago. The Lord changed the way I love my wife, the way I parent my children and the kind of friend I am to others. I believe knowing the Lord has been the most pivotal choice of my entire life. I was young when I made that decision, but it’s been affirmed many times over as I get older. As I read the Word of God, my faith gets deeper and stronger. My inheritance with Him is His Presence forever in heaven. My family receives that incredible inheritance as well because they’ve given their heart to Him as well.

I try not to worry about how this life comes to a close because of the promise of my inheritance. I want to simply trust Him and walk with Him every day that I have ahead.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Inspiration

Grace AND Truth

I am inspired by the stories of people who have gone before me. I am reading a book called “The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965” It is about the long and storied history of Churchill’s leadership during the World War II era. The hardship that he and the people of England faced was very hard and very real, but they emerged in great strength through the hardships. Churchill was an inspirational leader. He was a motivator. He was a thinker. He had his weird moments. He inspired others by his speeches, writings, but most of all his leadership. Great leaders inspire others to follow their lead.

The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy is encouraging his young protégé by writing to remind Timothy of his journey thus far. It is often helpful to reflect on where we’ve been to truly appreciate where we are today. Paul closes out one of the chapters by reminding Timothy that tough times are ahead. He reminds him that there will be opposition and persecution. He gives some strong counsel to Timothy in the face of trouble. These words inspired me many years ago and I was reminded of the significance of The Word as I read these words. Check this out…

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17 CSB)

I think I was around 14 years of age when I gave my first message to the little church I grew up attending in Casey Creek, KY. I remember being encouraged by this passage of scripture that talks about its value to my life. I can’t say that I had a daily discipline of reading scripture every day, but I am thankful that the Lord spoke into my heart and used His Word to build me and equip me for whatever was ahead for me. My journey has most definitely had struggles and hardship, but God’s Word kept speaking into my life. The Word teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains me. I am inspired to keep reading The Word as I live out my life, because I feel Him speak directly into my heart. Reading His Word daily doesn’t make me anyone special, but I’m reminded and inspired to keep surrendering my heart to Him and the peace that only He can give settles into my soul.

I want to live my life inspired by God’s Word. I want to lead my family inspired by God’s Word. I want my career to continually be inspired by God’s Word – His character, His Wisdom for my life. The journey of my life has been profoundly influenced and directed by my daily discovery of God’s heart found in scripture

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Good Work & Word

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI believe that work is honorable. Those who work produce something and often the work product serves others and not just themselves. I think of serving professions: Law Enforcement, Firefighters, EMT’s, Physicians, Pastors, Teachers, REALTORS, etc.… This list could get very long. There is a joy that comes from serving others that is hard to explain. There is often a call to a certain profession or type of work. I used to watch a show called, “Dirty Jobs” where the host Mike Rowe interviewed and work alongside people who had dirty jobs. As I said earlier, I believe work is honorable because of the earnings as well as the service. I can take care of my family and serve them because I’m compensated for the service I provide for others. I love this blessing nugget that Paul shares with the church at Thessalonica in his second letter to them. Check this out…

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 CSB)

The second part of that last sentence is “word”. I love hearing a well-spoken word. I can grow when I hear a word of encouragement, teaching or blessing. Almost a year ago, I discovered Podcasts on my phone. I know that they’ve been around for a few years, but I had mainly used my phone to talk on when in the vehicle. Lately, I’ve used my truck as a training center and I’ve tuned into Podcasts that are teaching me and helping me grow.

I enjoy DarrenDaily in my text messages each day.

I am a big fan of the Brian Buffini Show through iTunes.

Dave Ramsey’s team does a podcast called Entreleadership that has blessed me and built me.

Andy Andrew’s “In The Loop” is an excellent podcast as well.

Nothing I could ever find on this planet will replace the Word of God. I find wisdom and truth dripping from the pages of scripture. I believe that the Words of Scripture are divinely inspired by God and put in written form so that I can know Him and grow in His likeness. The podcasts and “self-help” stuff I listen to could never replace the truths and teachings from the Word of God.

I want to be a life-long learner. I want to take the principles found in the Word of God and weave them tightly into my life and my being. I want my life to produce both good work and good words.

Pressing On!

Dwayne