From Fear To Faith

Frightened and stressed young business womanI’m not generally a fearful person. I know what it’s like to be afraid. I’ve never had my life threatened by another individual. I have almost been in some bad automobile accidents. I have been in storms where I was somewhat afraid. As the leader of my household, I always try to appear confident and unafraid. I remember one particular evening a couple of years ago when we were camping by the lake and a fierce storm came across the lake. There was high winds, rain, hail and lightening. Our camper is a 5th wheel so it’s strong and heavy. We had a tree limb fall on the top of the camper and another fall through the awning. I wasn’t paralyzed by fear, but I was sure nervous. The storm seemed to come out of nowhere.

Jesus taught His disciples in depth after the crowds had gone. He would further explain His teachings and the parables that He used. One particular evening, He and His disciples were going by boat to the other side of the lake when a strong storm came upon them. The waves were huge and the winds were loud. Check this out…

38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!” (Mark 4:38-41 NLT)

I love this passage in the life of Jesus and His disciples. I can relate to being afraid of a storm. The storms are a part of our climate and the world we live in – that was created by God. I’ve never rebuked a storm. I have prayed for safety in the storm. I have prayed for the Lord to calm the storm.  Today we have the technology via radar to see the storm coming. Meteorologists can measure the storm. They can predict with amazing accuracy, the timing of a storm and the different characteristics of the storm. Meteorologist don’t make the storm and can’t stop the storm. When I’m talking to the Lord about the storm, I’m talking to the One Who is over the storm.

In my life, I’ve had plenty of storms. I don’t always navigate them with great faith. I’ve learned that the storms of my life are a lot like the storm that scared the disciples. I need to talk to the One Who can calm the storm with His word. I need His help calming my spirit in the midst of the storm. My faith has grown through my fears over the years, because He has used my fear as a teachable moment. My fear can result in faith when I give it to the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Awestruck

 

Happy surprised manThis to me is a speechless, incredible and overwhelming moment of admiration or inspiration. I do remember occasionally as a kid being amazed at certain people and their talents or gifts. As I got older, I’m harder to impress. Occasionally, I am blown away by something or someone. The more I study the life of Jesus, I think I would have been awestruck quite often to see His healing power and to hear His teaching first-hand.

Luke’s gospel is written very precise as Luke is a physician. I love how he tells the different events that happened in Jesus’ life and ministry. On one occasion, the crowd was so big by the Sea of Galilee, that Jesus got in a boat and pushed out a bit to teach. It was Simon Peter’s boat, so I’m guessing that Peter was in the boat with him. Check this out…

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.

Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus. (Luke 5:4-11 NLT)

This was the beginning of a long and storied journey of Peter following Jesus. I often give Peter a hard time about being so impulsive and quick when studying the disciples, but it’s hard to argue with his passion for following Jesus.

Peter was awestruck by what Jesus did for him. His partners, James, John and brother Andrew were amazed as well. They left everything and followed Jesus.

I still have a good memory of times when I’ve been amazed and awestruck by something the Lord did in my life. I’ve seen His work first-hand. I’ve never visually laid eyes on Him, but His Presence is a powerful moment and impossible to go unnoticed. I want to walk with the Lord daily and notice His Presence and His Power in my every day, regular life. I am empowered by His Presence. I feel confident and courageous with His Spirit in me. I don’t want to miss what He’s doing in my world.  I want His help being a husband, Dad, friend & REALTOR. He can help me encourage and inspire others. He is awe-inspiring to me and I want others to notice that He is with me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bold & Confident

 

I am bolder in some situations more so than in other situations. I think boldness comes from confidence. If I have confidence in my understanding of the situation, I will often feel bolder. I am growing in my understanding of how confident and bold I can be when I have the Presence of God in me. He listens to me when I call upon Him. He doesn’t always do things the way I would do them, but He ALWAYS listens when I pray. He ALWAYS comes when I call. I was reminded of how much the Lord gives me strength, poise and boldness when He comes. His Wisdom, His Strength, His Power is not matched by any education of workout regimen. King David was who he was because of his relationship with the Lord. Check this out…

When I called, you answered me;
    you greatly emboldened me.

Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures for ever –
    do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:3,6-8 NIV)

I don’t always understand God’s timing, but I’m learning to trust Heart without exception. He has a bigger plan than I can see or understand. I feel like I’m a “big picture” thinker, but when it comes to His ways, they blow past my finite ability to comprehend or grasp. I will simply trust Him. My trust in Him gives me confidence that He has got whatever comes. There is no need to stress on my part, I simply trust. I don’t need to wrestle the situation away from Him or try to take over for Him, He has more than enough expertise to handle ANYTHING that He is faced with. The stuff that surprises me NEVER surprises The Lord. He is not shocked by cancer, death or stupidity. I think they all hurt His heart because those things were not in His original design for humanity. In giving us freedom to accept or reject His way, we chose differently and that rebellion has changed everything.

I want to live for Him. I want to live my life committed to following Him. I want to choose Him the first thing every day. When He lives, and moves in me, I have a boldness and confidence that should not make sense to others. I would be comfortable dining with the president’s and princes, the wealthiest to the poorest because the Lord lives in me and He will help me through any situation or circumstance I’m faced with.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Confidence Restored

 

exam test pass or fail iconI’ve lost confidence in myself before. I’ve also lost confidence in others. A lack of confidence and absolutely paralyze me. I especially can loose confidence if I’ve failed at something that I must tackle again. I remember when I took some really tough exams when working on licensure as a Real Estate sales person. I studied and I took practice exams until I felt pretty confident. I also remember the fear and dread when I was working on my Brokers license. It was a whole different level of testing.

The people of Ai had just defeated Joshua and the people of Israel. This was because there was sin and disobedience in the camp. The Lord walked them through the cleansing process and now the Lord tells them to go back and take out Ai. I can imagine that Joshua was a bit nervous after that last battle. The Lord speaks confidence and encouragement into His leader. Check this out…

1 Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.’ (Joshua 8:1-2 NIV)

I need the confidence of the Lord every day. I really do feed off of Him speaking into my life. He lifts my spirit when I’m discouraged. He restores my joy when it gets stolen from me. It’s actually very easy to get discouraged, the Lord provides His Spirit and others with His Spirit to encourage and inspire me to press on. Walking in step with the Lord and trusting Him and His leadership every step of my day keeps my confidence up and my heart is renewed with His Presence.

I don’t have “self-confidence”; I have “God Confidence”. He leads. He directs. He dwells in me. He calms me. He disciplines me. He holds me. He loves me like I’ve never known before. He in my confidant and He gives me incredible depth of confidence.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Desperate

Abstract Silhouette PrayingThere are times when I’m extremely confident in what the Lord can and will do in my life. There are times when I’m on the other end of the spectrum – I’m desperate for Him to move and act in my life – big time!  I think King David experienced these highs and lows as well in his journey. One Psalm exudes great confidence and then another, I can feel the desperation in his words. Check this out…

“But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever!” (Psalm 22:19-21, 25, 26 NIV)

 

I think I’ve often been more desperate than confident. There are things that happen in my world that I can’t understand or explain.  I do feel that I have a close connection the Lord and can talk to Him about anything and everything. There are times when I don’t understand why He doesn’t intervene and save someone or prevent bad things from happening. Those are times of desperate prayer for me.

I heard a phrase several years ago in a song that has spoken to me many times since. The phrase is: “When you can’t trace His hand; trust His heart”. I do trust the heart of God even when I can’t see His hand at work. When I’m desperate and needing Him to move quickly, I’m learning that His Ways are not necessarily my ways – His ways are higher than my ways. He sees things that I can’t see. He knows things that I can’t know. I will trust His heart when I’m confident. I will trust His heart when I’m scared and desperate. I will trust His heart – period.

Pressing On!
Dwayne