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

Victory Song

Hands Raise in WorshipI’ve danced a victory dance and I love winning! The flip side to winning is losing. I do not like losing at all. I’ve learned to care about winning things that are important. I used to get way too “worked up” about certain sports teams. I can randomly pick a team to “pull for” and I can get really excited when they win & really frustrated when they lose.  I began to notice my blood pressure rising when I would try to watch a game. I still struggle with this when I’m watching Kentucky basketball! I began to realize that the outcome of the game really doesn’t change my life. I don’t gamble or place bets on games – I just watch.

I came across a scene from the apostle John’s “play by play” in his vision. It was cool scene of victory for the ones who were victorious over the beast. Check this out…

They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb:

Great and awe-inspiring are your works,
Lord God, the Almighty;
just and true are your ways,
King of the nations.
Lord, who will not fear
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All the nations will come
and worship before you
because your righteous acts
have been revealed. (Revelation 15:3-4 CSB)

I love songs that express my heart to the Lord here and now. I can look back on songs that really spoke to my heart and it will be a long list. The ones that are speaking to me the most at this season of my life are from the Passion “Worthy Of Your Name” Album.

Here is a song that moved my soul for many years. (This takes me back!)

Lord, I Lift Your Name on High (by Mercy Me)

About 6 years ago in December this song was blessing me in a season of struggle as my kid battled cancer.

Let Me Feel You Shine (by David Crowder)

I am singing songs of victory all day – every day! The Lord has saved my soul. He directs my path. His Presence in my life is real and He is so Powerful. He gives perspective to my struggles and stumbles. I’m so thankful that the big victory is already won when Jesus gave His life on the cross.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Instructions

 

Following the Lord is not complicated at all – it’s really simple. Please note that I didn’t say it’s easy. It really comes down to trust and simple obedience. He calls me to do things that I wouldn’t normally do if my heart is selfish and hard. He has changed my heart over the years and I think differently and act differently.

I was reading in Revelation and it sometimes feels like I’m reading a sequel of The Avengers! My brother John is seeing and hearing some crazy stuff – stuff he’s never seen or heard anything like before. If I were to see and hear what he’s experiencing, I would probably make reference to the Avengers or some other sci-fi movie. It sure sounds surreal in his descriptions. I was reading about the proclamation of the first angel of three and the instructions to the people on earth are amazingly simple. Check this out…

Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He spoke with a loud voice: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7 CSB)

Fear the Lord and give Him glory. That’s simple as can be. He made everything we see. Nothing that I can put my hands on is completely man made – it all comes from some resource that the Lord made. Man can’t make something out of nothing. I believe that when John writes that we are to fear the Lord, he’s speaking of a healthy reverence & respect. After walking with the Lord over the years, I’m not afraid of Him, but I profoundly respect and revere Him – there is a difference.

As I walk through today and seek to live out my faith, I want the joy of knowing the Lord to give me strength, direction and purpose. I want to live out the gospel from the inside out. I want to give Him glory with my life – which includes my thoughts, words and actions. This is worship – the activities of my life give honor to the One Who created me. That’s about as simple as I know how to say it.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Small & Great

Big black pawn surronnded by four little chess kings isolaged on white backgroundIn our culture, we don’t always connect great with small. I do like that computer storage that once took a warehouse is now the size of a pack of gum (almost)! Sometime great things come in small packages. I must confess that if given a choice of a large mystery package or a small mystery package, I usually choose the bigger one.

The scene is taking place in heaven. John is still blown away by what he is seeing and hearing. Nevertheless, he is writing it down and doing his best to describe all that is happening. Trumpets blowing, people worshipping God – he has quite a challenge. He quotes the 24 elders as they bow in worship. Check this out…

15 The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying,

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom
of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign forever and ever.

16 The twenty-four elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell facedown and worshiped God, 17 saying,

We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty,
who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
but your wrath has come.
The time has come
for the dead to be judged
and to give the reward
to your servants the prophets,
to the saints, and to those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and the time has come to destroy
those who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:15-18 CSB)

I love those three little words: small and great. I feel like I fit into that “small” category for sure. I’ve been a follower of the Lord since I was in 3rd grade. I needed lots of grace and mercy along the way – but the Lord is famous for that.  I’m still walking out my faith each day and I don’t need to be noticed by others. I don’t need accolades or “pats on the back”. I am striving for a reward that is unseen and way bigger than notoriety here on earth. I want to be known as someone who “fears the name of the Lord” – a profound respect for the Lord. I seek Him and worship Him daily. I walk with Him and talk with Him daily. I want to live today with my eye on eternity. The way I live my life for Him will outlast any other thing I can do. I want to be known as a man who sought the heart of God each day. It’s only because of the grace He has poured out on me during the journey that helped bring me to his place. #thankful

I believe that on that day there will be some great prophets, teachers & preachers bowing before the Lord in worship and I get to be part of that – Wow! I get to worship alongside some heroes of mine – Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, King David, Jeremiah, Peter, Martin Luther King, Jr., Zig Ziglar, Billy Graham and many more. They are great in my eyes and I’m small – but just to be there! #humbled

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Insight

Insight Light Bulb ConceptI’ve had experiences that are hard to describe and explain to others. The fact that I can’t explain or describe doesn’t diminish the impact that these experiences had on me. I’ve had personal experiences with the Lord that are still making an impact upon me today. I’ve prayed some bold prayers and watched Him work. I’ve seen Him change lives that were at the brink of ending. I’ve seen Him heal people.

As I journey through Revelation, I’m struck by so much symbolism. I can sometimes feel the struggle of John to properly describe what he is seeing. His descriptions of the creatures, angels and even the Son of God are captivating and hard to take in.

This morning I read a passage about a worship scene that was happening and John’s description of this event gave me a bit of insight as to what heaven could be like. Check this out…

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!

11 All the angels stood around the throne, and along with the elders and the four living creatures they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength
be to our God forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 7:9-12 CSB)

Was this a special service at the throne?

Was this a daily experience in heaven?

Will I recognize people who’ve gone before me?

Will there be a worship band in heaven?

I don’t have to wonder Who is the center of attention in heaven – the Son of God who brought salvation to us. This insight to a worship experience in heaven really moves my heart. I’m so thankful for the call He put upon my heart. I’m so thankful that He rewired my heart for Him. I want to live my life here on earth in proper preparation for eternal life with Him!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Sweet Smelling Prayers

 

Little boy prayingI have be a person who prays for a long time. I remember as a boy praying the child’s prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”. I had no idea what all that meant as a kid, but I trusted the Lord because my parents trusted the Lord. When I was 19 years old, I had a spiritual experience with the Lord and I no longer needed the faith of my parents, I believed Him for me. I now “owned” my faith.

I’ve prayed prayers of surrender.

I’ve prayed prayers of confession.

I’ve prayed prayers of forgiveness.

I’ve prayed prayers for financial help.

I’ve prayed prayers of desperation.

I’ve prayed prayers for physical healing.

There have been seasons of my life when my prayers didn’t seem to make it past the ceiling in my house. There have been other times when I felt like my head was resting on the shoulder of Jesus. I do believe that prayer changes things. Prayer changes my perspective. Prayer calls upon the Lord to become involved in my world. Prayer reaffirms my dependence upon the Lord.

I came across a passage in revelation that referenced he “prayers of the saints” and it struck a chord with me. It made me ponder prayer and how it “smells” to the Lord. Check this out…

When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and golden bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8 CSB)

I was reminded of a simple worship song recorded a few years ago by Matt Redman.

The Prayers of The Saints by Matt Redman

Are the prayers of the saints like sweet smelling incense,
Are the prayers of the saints like sweet smelling incense
To Your heart, to Your heart?

Let these prayers of the saints be sweet smelling incense,
Let these prayers of the saints be sweet smelling incense
To Your heart

Are the songs of the saints like sweet smelling incense,
Are the songs of the saints like sweet smelling incense
To Your heart, to Your heart?

Let these songs of the saints be sweet smelling incense,
Let these songs of the saints be sweet smelling incense
To Your heart.

I want the prayers from my heart and mouth to be sweet smelling incense to the Lord. I want His Agenda to become my agenda rather than have my agenda become His. I want my life to be a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne