Guardrails

Road along the lakeIn Kentucky where I grew up, some of the roads had these white posts that we placed every 3 or 4 feet along the road and they served as posts to keep you on the road. You can imagine that they didn’t do much to contain a car that was a bit out of control. Later, the steel guardrails that we have today came along. These guardrails are tough, they are meant to keep a car that loses control from going into the ravine or over a cliff.

I was reading Galatians this morning and Paul was describing the law that was given as a guardian and I thought about the guardrails as a guardian of sorts. Over the years, I’ve needed some guardrails placed on each side of the road I was traveling. I see them as boundaries for protection as well as direction. I think the law did this. Paul is trying to introduce the work of Jesus who came and freed us from the law and introduced us to faith & grace. The law required works to be saved, Jesus only requires faith. Check this out…

23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed.24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:23-26 CSB)

My faith serves as my “GPS” (Global Positioning Satellite or God Positioning Savior) and keeps me between the ditches and ravines. The Law instilled fear and faith introduces us to grace. I am a child of God, not because of what I did, but because of what Christ did. I am an heir to the promise of eternal life, not because of what I did, but because of what Christ did. I follow the Lord because He is my Lord. My life has been profoundly changed since surrendering to Him daily.

No Longer Slaves by Jonathan & Melissa Helser is really blessing me and reminds me not to fear the guardrails, but to walk daily with the Lord seeking His wisdom, guidance and direction for each step.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Discipline

 

Discipline is the bridge from WEAK to STRONG. Concept 3D illustration.I used to think of this word as punishment (aka – grounded or “the board of education applied to the ‘seat’ of understanding”). It wasn’t a positive word from my point of view. I now have an additional meaning to this word that speaks to regimen and behavior that develops skills and positive traits in my life. I still have a lot of room to grow in this area as I try to be more disciplined in the food choices I make and the volume of food I consume. It pains me to write about this because it’s a weakness that I’m working on. These two different meanings of the same word are very much related. The punishment that I received when I was “out of line” affected my behavior and taught me some boundaries. The daily disciplines I employ also reach a very similar destination.

Asaph was calling upon the Lord to punish (aka discipline) people who wanted to destroy Israel. He wanted the Lord to show up in power and show them Who they were dealing with. Check this out…

13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
    like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
    or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
    and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, Lord,
    so that they will seek your name.

17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
    may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord—
    that you alone are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalm 83:13-18 NIV)

I am reminded that the Lord has unmatched Power. He has unmatched Presence. His Patience with me is “over the top”. I deserve punishment, but I receive Grace. I’m thankful that He doesn’t give me what I deserve. I have been disciplined by the Lord, but I’m learning that self-discipline is much more proactive. (He helps me with that too!) I have done some stupid things in my life and the Lord has forgiven and restored me. I don’t ever want to forget His Love and His Grace. Because of His Love and Grace, I want His help with discipline in my life because the root word of discipline is disciple and that is exactly end goal – to be a life-long disciple of The Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Gatekeeper

 

security guardA gatekeeper is someone who has charge of who comes through the gate and who doesn’t. I am a gatekeeper of sorts for my home. My wife and I can decide whom we will let into our home. We have a security system to help with gatekeeping as well. I’ve seen my self as the gatekeeper for my children over the years as well. My family doesn’t watch “R Rated” movies, so we have to do some “gatekeeping” on that. There are certain TV shows that are very sexual and sensual so we don’t watch those. When the Internet came into our home, it made all the other mediums look week. We had to put some gatekeeping devices on that for sure. Gatekeeping is not popular or fun, but it can be necessary for protection of my family. As my kids get older some of the gatekeeping is not on them. While they were in my house, I felt responsible to protect them. I told one of my kids that I didn’t want to purchase something and have it in my home if it would damage their heart.

There were gatekeepers to the Temple of God. They were there to make sure the people who came and went showed the proper reverence and respect to The Lord. Check this out…

22 Altogether, those chosen to be gatekeepers at the thresholds numbered 212. They were registered by genealogy in their villages. The gatekeepers had been assigned to their positions of trust by David and Samuel the seer. 23 They and their descendants were in charge of guarding the gates of the house of the Lord—the house called the tent of meeting. 24 The gatekeepers were on the four sides: east, west, north and south.

26 But the four principal gatekeepers, who were Levites, were entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasuries in the house of God. 27 They would spend the night stationed around the house of God, because they had to guard it; and they had charge of the key for opening it each morning. (1 Chronicles 9:22-24;26-27 NIV)

Gatekeepers must be careful not to overstep their boundaries. There are some gatekeepers who actually think that they are now in charge. As the gatekeeper of my house, I had to learn to have conversations, as my kids got older. The gatekeeping was never intended to be forever. It was intended to help them learn to become their own gatekeeper of their heart. I believe that the Lord wants my heart to be in pursuit of Him. With His help, I must be the gatekeeper of my heart. The enemy wants to invade my heart and destroy it, but the Lord helps me protect it. I can change my behavior per other gatekeepers, but being the gatekeeper of my heart may very well be my most important job.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Justice

vector scales of justice and gavelIt’s hard to watch the local news in Atlanta without being disgusted with the choices of people who have no regard for human life or any life for that matter. They have no respect for the law of the land or the law of God. It is really hard to understand their thought process.

Our judicial system is somewhat slow and it’s certainly not perfect. The people in our society who commit violent crimes are brought to justice and punished under the law. I believe if the law didn’t handle justice, there is enough good people who would not let their crimes slip under the rug.

The Israelites set out to avenge the rape and murder of a woman. She was a concubine of a Levite. The people of the nation rose up to hold the men who committed this crime accountable. Check this out…

10 We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for this outrageous act done in Israel.’ 11 So all the Israelites got together and united as one against the city.

12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, ‘What about this awful crime that was committed among you? 13 Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.’ (Judges 20:10-13 NIV)

Justice is sometimes messy. It is sometimes a struggle. There has to be a code of conduct in our society or people who have no respect for others will steal, kill and destroy. It seems to me that even with our laws and judicial system there are a crazy number of people who still have no respect for others and certainly no respect for authority.

Justice enforces boundaries and the code of law. Laws were written for our protection and our safety. I don’t always like the law, but I’ve been taught to respect the law and the rule of law. I struggle with the traffic laws the most. When I break the law by driving too fast, I’m pretty full of myself. I think it would wise for me to slow down and operate with in the boundaries of the traffic law.

The above story made me sick to my stomach yesterday when I read it. Today I feel like the people of Israel answered the call to justice. This cowardly act could not stand and the people responsible had to be punished. To me it looks like justice was served.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Survey

SURVEYSurvey is one of our English words that have several meanings for the same word. (This can drive people who are learning English a bit crazy!) First, the word survey can mean, “taking a poll to get opinions or ideas”. It can also mean, “taking a closer look at the situation from all angles to determine the value, condition or maybe the next move”. In my line of work as a REALTOR, we use a survey “to determine the exact form, boundaries, position, extent, etc., of (a tract of land, section of a country, etc.) by linear and angular measurements and the application of the principles of geometry and trigonometry.”

The people of Israel were about to divide up the land that had been promised them by the Lord. Joshua gathers everyone at Shiloh and starts the process. I sometimes wonder how our American Forefathers determined where state lines and then county lines would be in this vast country. Joshua calls for a survey. Check this out…

4 Appoint three men from each tribe. I will send them out to make a survey of the land and to write a description of it, according to the inheritance of each. Then they will return to me. 5 You are to divide the land into seven parts. Judah is to remain in its territory on the south and the tribes of Joseph in their territory on the north. 6 After you have written descriptions of the seven parts of the land, bring them here to me and I will cast lots for you in the presence of the Lord our God. (Joshua 18:4-6 NIV)

Often when I’m showing a home that a family is interested in buying, will call for a plat. The plat shows the exact measurements from one boundary line to another. There is also a legal description of that property that must coincide with the survey so that the buyer knows exactly what he/she is buying and the seller knows what he/she is selling.

I think it’s wise to take a survey of my life. I should check out the boundaries of each area of my life. If I’m not careful, these areas can get out of bounds. I also like the idea of taking a survey of my heart. I believe all my behavior can be traced back to my heart. There are often areas of my heart that I won’t let the Lord have control yet. I sometimes don’t let the people I love the most in every area of my heart. I know what a broken and wounded heart feels like and it’s pretty easy and feels safe to close off part of my heart from outsiders. When the Lord surveys my heart, He certainly sees the parts that I’m keeping from Him. He wants all of my heart. He will help me navigate the wounds and the scars that are there from my past. I must totally trust Him as the Keeper of My Heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Rebellious

Teenage girl in trouble with parentsI grew up with my own set of issues like a lot of other people. I remember my teenage years were a bit troublesome at times. I often thought I knew more than my parents and my grandparents. I understood what an idiot I had been. The older I got, the smarter my parents became. I don’t recall being blatant with disrespect. I did try sneaking around the rules a few times and got busted.

The teen years are when a person is in-between being a child and becoming an adult. I remember trying on different personalities. I didn’t know who I was but I wanted whoever I was to be “cool” and accepted.

I’m glad my parents weren’t living under the Old Testament law. I’m pretty sure I was rebellious enough to deserve the extreme punishment that was handed down in the law. Check this out…

18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NIV)

It would be wise for me to reflect on and measure my obedience to the Lord at this point in my life. I sometimes rebel now to what He’s calling me or prompting me to do. I still have a “thick head” sometimes. The Lord is my Father and I’m His kid. I am under His authority. He sets boundaries for me to protect me. He wants me to learn and grow so that my heart reflects His heart. He wants me to welcome Him into my life at all times – not just when it’s convenient or at certain times.

I want to be an obedient son before my Lord. I want to honor Him with the activities of my life. I want to surrender every part of me under His direction. I want Him to be large and in charge of all of me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne