Goal #1: LOVE

Girl holding a heart-shaped boxI must admit that we throw this word love around a bit too much and we have, in some ways, cheapened it a bit. I can be heard saying that “I love” certain foods. “I love” playing on the water. I love God. I love my wife. I love my children. I love my family and friends. I love the people closest to me deeper than those that I barely know. Relationships are incredibly helpful to me and to every human. I believe that we were wired by our Creator to love and be loved.

The Apostle Paul is giving instruction to his young protégé, Timothy regarding teaching in the church. It is simple, yet foundational to the gospel. Check this out…

 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5 CSB)

Paul tells Timothy that love is the goal of instruction, but it is also the main goal of the church. Paul speaks plainly to the church at Rome about love. Check this out…

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up by this commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10 CSB)

Paul also writes a whole chapter on love to the church at Corinth. (1 Corinthians 13 – known as the Love Chapter)

I am still learning to love deeper and more profoundly. My wife and I have been married over 22 years and my love for her is deeper and stronger than way back then. Love grows stronger with commitment and practice.

The goal of my life is love. I want to love the Lord with all my heart. The more I know Him, the more I understand that He calls me to love like He loves. His love is reckless & lavish. His love is overflowing with forgiveness and grace. His love is all-consuming. I lose myself in His love and I start looking and acting like Him.  My goal today is to learn to love others like the Lord first loved me. I want my words and actions to be saturated with love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Did I Just Say That?

LipsI have caught myself asking that question because of something stupid I said. It may have been an ill-timed or insensitive comment. I must confess that I’ve been known to let my mouth get started before my brain and my “editing machine” get engaged. My words can be blunt and bold or they can be gracious and kind. I believe there is a nice way to deliver all sorts of news. If this news is devastating the delivery must be factual but gentle as possible. I’m not one who likes for people to “dance around the truth”. I would rather receive the truth is a tough way than to be lied too.  I am learning every day that my response to others says more about me than the “bombshell” that was just dropped on me in conversation. Check this out…

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. (Colossians 4:6 CSB) Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. (Colossians 4:2,5 CSB)

I am growing in this area for sure. I am trying to be more tactful in my speech. I want to think about how my words are being received, not just what I’m saying. I must be aware that what I say is often NOT what is heard by the other person.

I’m also learning the power and importance of praying intensely before speaking. Sometimes that is a quick prayer, but other times I have time to pray before a tough conversation. I do believe that as a Christ follower, I should be very conscious of my speech. I’m sure Paul was speaking figurative when he said to “season it with salt”!  I do think he was talking about how salt brings out the flavor in the food it is used on rather than draw attention to myself.

I’m going to pay closer attention to my speech today. I want it to be gracious and I want to draw attention to others with a kind and gracious heart. If I need to “call someone out”, I’m going to be kind and gracious and check at how my words are received.

If I have one of those, “Did I just say that?” moments, I’m going to take responsibility and learn to follow the counsel of James. Check this out…

19 My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. (James 1:19-20 CSB)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Aroma

 

aromaI love being able to smell. There are times when my “smeller” isn’t functioning properly – allergy season, for example.

I love the smell of a new car.

I love the smell of a freshly painted room.

I love smell of wood at a new home being built.

I love the smell of a campfire.

There are so many aroma’s that I really enjoy. I also know the aroma’s that I don’t like. I’m not a fan of BO (aka body order) when a person needs a bath and a fresh coat of deodorant! I don’t like the smell of propane gas. I don’t like the smell of dirty feet. This list could get very long!

Paul, in his letter to the church at Corinth speaks of being an aroma for the Jesus movement. Check this out…

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. 15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. Who is adequate for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 CSB)

My life is to be a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord and certainly to others.

My words should have a pleasant aroma before the Lord and others.

My actions should exhibit a pleasing aroma to the Lord and those who know me.

I want my life to have the aroma of Jesus always. I want there to be an aroma of hope that comes from being around me. I want my life to have and aroma of love. I love the aroma from being in the Presence of God and I should carry that aroma throughout my day.

The Lord cares about aroma as I reflect on the old testament when He was giving instructions for sacrifices. He also had them to make anointing oil that was “pure, fragrant, and expertly blended incense”. (Exodus 37:29 CSB)

I want my attitude and actions to display a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord and everyone I meet.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Door Of My Mouth

 

LipsI have been known to talk. Over the years, I’ve listened to myself talk and I feel like that I’ve sometimes wasted words. I am in sales, but I can cut to the chase. When I was in student ministry, I was in a “sales position” of sorts. I was introducing and “selling” how a relationship with the Lord could be a life changer. Today, I sell myself as a trusted, real estate professional. I also sell houses, land and commercial. In all these roles, I do find that I need to talk. I am learning that there is great weight and value in words. I try hard for my spoken word to have the same weight as my written word. I did learn many years ago in the business world that if it’s not written down, it’s not enforceable. I want the words of my mouth to be enforceable by my character. I talk to the Lord a lot about my words. King David welcomed accountability and I should too. Check this out…

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
    so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
    do not let me eat their delicacies.

Let a righteous man strike me – that is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me – that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
    for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. (Psalm 141:3-5 NIV)

I remember back in my college days I was part of a musical group and we did a musical a musical based on the study of James. One of the songs, I remember was: “The Little Red Devil Behind the White Pearly Gates”. I’m sure I was 20 years old when I first heard that. My tongue can get me in trouble. My life group is studying the book of James and this past week’s lesson was in James 3. James points out how I can sing, pray & praise the Lord with my tongue and crush someone the next minute with the same tongue. I’m learning to speak slowly and be discerning with my words – unfortunately it feels like I’m on lesson #1 of this class!

I think the most important point when I think about my tongue, is that the words of my mouth represent the things going on inside my heart. When I speak in frustration and anger – my heart is frustrated & angry. I believe my biggest daily challenge is to surrender my heart to the Lord. With that surrender comes my thoughts, my words, my rights. I want my heart to be daily surrendered to the Lord so that He helps control my tongue and my thoughts and certainly all my actions. My surrender to Him is the most important choice I can make today and every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

I Want To Live Like That

Worship to GodEvery now and then the lifestyle of a wealthy person catches my attention. It may be something like the vehicles they drive, the location of their home or a very big yacht. Those are some of the finer things in life that money does provide. I’m generally a very content person when it comes to material things. I don’t need lots of money and possessions to find happiness and joy. The Lord brings much contentment because He manages my worry. He reminds me of what is the most important pursuit of my life.  I want my life to bring honor to God Who created me and is building me. Check this out…

My heart is stirred by a noble theme
    as I recite my verses for the king;
    my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most excellent of men
    and your lips have been anointed with grace,
    since God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
    clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
    in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
    let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. (Psalm 45:1-4 NIV)

I want to live like that guy! I want my words to measured well and understood well. I want my lips to be anointed with grace because I’ve experienced His Grace. I want the rest of my life here on earth to bring honor to God. I want my daily choices today to please Him.

This passage reminded me of a song that I’ve heard on the radio called: “I Wanna Live Like That” by Sidewalk Prophets.

Sometimes I think
What will people say of me
When I’m only just a memory
When I’m home where my soul belongs

Was I love
When no one else would show up
Was I Jesus to the least of us
Was my worship more than just a song
I wanna live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You
If love is who I am
Then this is where I’ll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back
I wanna live like that

Am I proof
That You are who You say you are
That grace can really change your heart
Do I live like Your love is true

People pass
And even if they don’t know my name
Is there evidence that I’ve been changed
When they me do they see You

I wanna show the world the love He gave for me
I’m longing for the world to know
The glory of the King

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Word

WordsI’ve heard that talk is cheap. If talk is not followed by action, then it is indeed quite cheap. There are people who “talk a good talk”, but then they don’t deliver. I’ve learned over the years to be suspicious of politicians – they seem to say whatever the people want to hear so that they can get elected. They make promises with their mouth that they have no intention of actually keeping. I believe that the Lord really hates lies and deceit.

In this litany of miscellaneous laws and/or regulation that Moses is speaking prior to the conquest of the Promised Land, some simple rules regarding vows or promises made are issued. Check this out…

21 If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. 22 But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. 23 Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth. (Deuteronomy 23:21-23 NIV)

My word should mean something.

I can say words from my head and they lack passion.

My words come from my heart where my passion lies.

For me to live a life of integrity, there needs to be unity between my words and the activities of my life.

I can say I respect you, but my actions often scream so loudly that you can’t hear what I’m saying. Talk that is not backed up by action really is cheap.

If I make a promise – I should keep it. I should not “just intend” to keep it. I need to let my words have weight, passion and power to them. My words should come from The Word!

Pressing On!

Dwayne