Special Training

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthSeveral years ago, I used to work out regularly.  I would take my lunch hour and go to Sportsplex and lift weights, working out the different muscle groups, mostly in my upper body. I participated in a Boot Camp that was a high energy, cardio work out. I told someone the other day, as I gestured toward my upper body, that this is what happens when you quit working out. Muscle will deteriorate and fat will take over when workouts cease. Unfortunately, I can be the poster child for this season of my life.

Recently, my wife and I downloaded FitnessPal onto our smart phone. This is a “calorie counter” & fitness tracker app. The first step in diet and exercise is to discover what I’m doing. I’m trying to keep track of everything I put into my mouth. I’m also tracking my physical activity. Who knew that table tennis and jet ski riding could burn calories! I remember a friend of mine used to say that he was never going to take up jogging, because he never saw a runner with a smile on their face! He also used to say that being in great physical shape is overrated because you can still get hit by a truck and die.

I came across a passage this morning where Paul was speaking to the significance of a different type of workout regimen. Check this out…

But have nothing to do with pointless and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness. For the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. 10 For this reason we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10 CSB)

I have been training in godliness for quite some time now. I’m not sure when I started this blogging/journaling of my journey in God’s Word, but it has made a HUGE difference in my life and in my perspective. I have felt the Lord speak into my life in powerful ways just by simply setting aside time each morning for my spiritual training/workout. I want to keep my eye on eternal life while I live out the abundant life here on earth. I don’t want to be so “heaven bound” that I’m no “earthly good” to anyone. I want to keep growing in my faith as I train in His Word daily and make application to my life.

I’m working at adding a physical element to my spiritual workout – a prayer walk. I walk a good bit throughout the day (thanks FitnessPal), but I want to be more intentional about walking with the Lord and seeking His Wisdom throughout the day.

All My Hope Is In Jesus  – Crowder

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

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

Written Directions

 

GPS And MapI used to read a map decent and I think I still can. It’s easier to put the address or coordinates into a smart phone and take off. Some parts of technology have “dumbed me down” a bit. J I do love all the tools that technology has brought to my fingertips that can make me a better husband, Dad, friend and REALTOR professional.  At times, it helps to reflect on the “old school” ways of doing things or going places.

This past week I had a few days to unplug a bit and hang out with my family for a few days called “Spring Break”. I sat by the campfire down by the lake and relaxed. It was enjoyable. My reading for the first day was Psalm 119 – the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses. I read through this passage three different times and it became clear that the writer loved and respected the Word of God. Several passages out of this chapter really spoke to my heart. Check this out…

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,book
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart –
they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

89 Your word, Lord, is eternal;
    it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
    you established the earth, and it endures.

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.

114 You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.

147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
    I have put my hope in your word. (Psalm 119:1-3,9-11,89-90,105,114,147 NIV)

I don’t think I’ve ever read a passage so many time. The Power and Presence of the Word of God just kept jumping off those pages into my heart. I was recently reflecting on when my journey with daily study of the Word began and it was right before the recession began in 2006 think. I just started getting up about 15 minutes earlier than everyone else to spend time reading and studying the Word of God. That 15 minutes has expanded into about an hour now as I just want to hear from the Lord each morning some truth directly from His Word. His Word has shaped my heart in ways I never saw coming. I am not smarter because I read His Word, but I do believe I know Him more. I am not more of a Christ Follower because of reading His Word, but my spiritual root system is way healthier.

My passion for His Word is stronger than ever. The Lord says things to me in His Word that I’ve never heard from anyone else or any other source. I want to know His heart more intimately as I get older and I want Him to continue to speak into my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wisdom & Understanding

Senior Man - WisdomI’m not certain that I would consider myself a wise man. I have become wise in certain areas, but in other areas I’m confident that I would not be described as wise. Wisdom and understanding have always fascinated me. It seems that if I have a decent understanding of a certain situation then I might just make a wise decision when it’s called for. I remember the epistle of James speaking of two kinds of wisdom. Check this out….17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17 NIV)

Wisdom is not necessarily elusive. I do think I have to seek it out. I don’t think wisdom comes naturally to any of us on earth. I’m convinced if I follow the Lord my depth of wisdom will grow immeasurably. Job speaks to finding wisdom and understanding in one of his discourses to his friends. Check this out…

12 But where can wisdom be found?

    Where does understanding dwell?

13 No mortal comprehends its worth;

    it cannot be found in the land of the living.

23 God understands the way to it

    and he alone knows where it dwells,

24 for he views the ends of the earth

    and sees everything under the heavens.

25 When he established the force of the wind

    and measured out the waters,

26 when he made a decree for the rain

    and a path for the thunderstorm,

27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;

    he confirmed it and tested it.

28 And he said to the human race,

    ‘The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom,

    and to shun evil is understanding.’ (Job 28:12-13; 23-28 NIV)

When I open the Word of God, I can discover the very heart beat of God. He is loaded with wisdom and understanding. He is generous with wisdom when He’s asked for it. He also speaks of wisdom and understanding from my journey through the Word. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the audible voice of God, but I’ve sure felt Him leading me and prompting me. I look wise when I listen to God’s Spirit leading me and prompting my every activity. On the flip side, I can look really foolish when I ignore His Counsel.

Today I welcome wisdom and understanding into my heart. I don’t ever want to leave home without both.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Promise Made -Promise Kept

Word on black buttonI grew up learning that my word meant something. I didn’t have to swear, but if I said I was going to do something, it was expected to happen just as I said it would. My parents taught me the value of letting my “yes” be yes and my “no” be no. I’ve also learned not to make vows flippantly.

There were two men in all of the Israelites who saw the Promised Land the first time. These guys were among the spies sent in to check out the land. It was now time to make good on the Lord’s promise to them 45 years later. Check this out…

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people sink. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, “The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children for ever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.

10 ‘Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.’

13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. (Joshua 14:7-13 NIV)

What a cool story of faithfulness….

Caleb & Joshua were two of twelve spies sent to spy out the land and they believed that the Lord was strong enough to help Israel take the land. The majority ruled them out. Here they are some forty five years later and they are the only survivors who made it through the 40 years of desert journey to go into to the land.

The Lord kept His promise to Caleb & Joshua (He ALWAYS keeps His promises!) and they are about to move their families into the Promised Land because of the faithfulness of the patriarchs Joshua & Caleb.

One of my favorite parts of this story is how it was noted that these men “followed the Lord wholeheartedly”. That inspires me to continue to be faithful in seeking the heart of God. I want Him to pour out blessing on my life as I follow Him. I’m not as concerned about others noticing that I follow the Lord wholeheartedly, but I want the Lord to see my heart every day that I live. I want to live the rest of my life in wholehearted devotion to Him. I know that He will give me an inheritance that only He can give me.

I want to keep my promise to follow Him.

He will keep His promise to give me eternal life!

Pressing On!

Dwayne