Safe & Protected

 

LKR032459I have a security alarm in my home so that if someone comes into my home during the night, I will be alerted. If it is one my family members, they know the code to bypass the alarm. I have to admit that I rest better at night knowing the home is secured. I do have “other means” of security as well, those will remain private.

A few nights ago, the security system mal-functioned just after midnight and I wasn’t home. At that point, it became an irritating and obnoxious system. It needed a “reboot”. It is now working fine.

Jesus explains His position as the Son of God and the keeper of His sheep (followers, disciples, believers). He is like a farmer who knows his livestock and gives them each a name. He feeds them and provides for them. He watches out for the sick or weak. Check this out…

24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. 26 But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.” (John 10:24-30 NLT)

As I walk out my faith daily with the Lord – He and I talk a lot. We talk about everything. We talk about the little things and the big things. We talk about whether I should eat that piece of candy (sometimes I don’t listen) or not. I want Him involved in every facet of my life. He gives the best counsel. He gives the best directions. He leads me where He wants me to go. I’m also listening to Him so that I can say what He wants me to say.

I feel safe and protected wherever I am and whatever I’m doing because I know that the Lord is with me. I don’t worry because I’ve surrendered to His Will and His Way for me. I want my life to bring glory to Him and not to me. I want Him to be noticed in how I live. He keeps me safe and protected for Himself. If I were to get sick, hurt or killed – I want those events to draw attention to my total trust in the Lord. I will die one of these days and He alone knows how or when that will happen. I want my life and my death to bring glory and honor to Him. Having my total trust in Him is the ONLY way I feel safe and protected.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Called Out

 

Why MeI’ve been “called out” because I’ve done something wrong or stupid. It’s another example of accountability. It’s not pleasant being called out, but it is sometimes necessary. I can’t always see my actions from the proper perspective. I’ve given several people in my life permission to “call me out” if I do something stupid or wrong. My wife has called me out on many occasions for sure. I have close friends who do the same. I seek counsel in areas that my knowledge and experience are lacking so that I won’t be “called out” later. I see law enforcement as “calling me out” if I’m speeding or pushing the limits of the law.

I am a follower of the Lord and I have made a commitment to follow Him. I want my life to honor Him. I am trying to live by the call of the Lord on my life. I want him to prompt the little decisions in my life as well as monumental decisions that I face.

I started reading 1st Peter this morning and I love his perspective because He walked with Jesus and saw His life and ministry up close and personal. Check this out…

Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. (1 Peter 1:8-9,13-16 CSB)

I’m facing everyday decisions with Him directing me and prompting me. I have ignored Him at times and regretted it. I have pushed back or ignored being called out and held accountable. I have been humbled and convicted of my sin. I want to walk humbly before the Lord every day asking for His counsel on the smallest daily decisions. I want His help as a Christian. I want His help as a husband. I want His help as a Dad. I want His help as friend. I want His help as a REALTOR.  I am open to be called out by people who know me and love me deeply. If you feel like you need to ask me about decisions that I make I want to always be willing to explain why I do what I do or say what I say. The Word of God often calls me out- I’m open to others close to me calling me out as well.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Imitator

 

I grew up imitating others in tons of ways. I remember as a kid trying to figure out my laugh, probably because someone made fun of how I laughed. I adjusted a lot of things to be like others. I imitated my Dad when I was young until I “got smarter than Him” – around 13 years old. (Total sarcasm.) When I was in my early to late teens, I became a bit of a chameleon. I would act like whoever I was with. If I were with Christians, I could play the part. If I were with some of my wild and crazy friends, I could hang with them too. Chameleons are that little lizard that changes his color to blend in to whatever environment he’s in. I also imitated great singers and musicians. I look back at seasons of my life and I always wanted to be someone else or something that I wasn’t. I finally got comfortable in my own skin several years ago and I’m thankful for who I am and Whose I am. I don’t try to keep up with others and impress them with my possessions or knowledge. I simply want to be who God called me to be. I want to honor Him with my life and my daily choices.  I love how Paul urged the Ephesians to live out their faith. Check this out…

1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 testing what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-10 CSB)

I want to love like God.

I want to give like God.

I want to think like God.

I want to counsel like God.

I want to imitate God in my daily life.

I want to learn from others, but I want to imitate the Lord. I want to finish my journey here on earth walking, talking, loving & living like God, Who made me. He gives me life. He gives me purpose. He is patient. He is loving. He is kind. He is full of grace and mercy. I so want to imitate Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Counsel & Guidance

 

Discussing the truthMany years ago, I earned a Master’s degree in Guidance & Counseling. That degree was probably the most practical degree I could have earned as a student pastor. I remember upon graduation realizing how little I knew about giving counsel. I became a source of counsel to a lot of the students and their families. I’ve been reminded recently how vital the Word of God is to any counsel. In fact, I try hard to NOT give counsel. I want the Word of God to speak into my life and give me the counsel I need for my life. I love this Psalm of Asaph and how he submits to the counsel of God. Check this out…

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:23-26 NIV)

I believe it’s wise to seek counsel from a wise and experienced person. I believe there are many people who can give me wise counsel. I read good books for wise counsel. I seek people who have gone ahead of me to help me know the possible traps ahead. My Ultimate Counselor is God. He can and does advise me on everything. He can give me counsel on what to wear and how much money to spend on a certain item. I am learning to complete trust Him in my decision making. I am growing in wisdom as I study and meditate upon His Word each day. There is no one who gives better counsel or has more wisdom that the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Darkest Night

 

0 OTcgc2tldGNoIG9mIGEgYm95IHJhaXNlZCBoaXMgaGFuZHMgYW5kIHNob3V0aW5nIGluIHRoZSBkYXJrbmVzcy5qcGc=I am not a fan of darkness, but I do sleep better when there is less light in the room. I prefer the daytime. I love the long summer time days because in winter, it seems like the nights are extra-long. There are some nights that seem very long, the ones where I can’t sleep because of worry or stress. I seem to look at the clock every thirty minutes and then must start my day without a restful night.

There are movies about the dark night – they are often scary. There was also a poem called: The Dark Night of The Soul credited to Saint John of the Cross. I would think that a lot of people have had a few nights that were dark, dreary, lonely and scary. As I read Psalm 13 this morning, it felt like David was struggling with a dark night, but he didn’t give up. Check this out…

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

    How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

4 and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’

    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;

    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,

    for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13:1-6 NIV)

The Lord is with me in the darkest night. I can learn a lot about myself in the dark night. My perspective during a dark night needs to recognize the Presence of God with me – even in the dark night. I was reminded of a song by Matt Redman “Your Grace Finds Me”. There’s a line in the song that says: “There in the darkest night of the soul, there in the sweetest song of victory, Your grace finds me.”

I’m so thankful that the Lord is with me even in the darkest night or the hardest day. He has been with me through life-threatening scares, life changing circumstances and I believe He will ALWAYS be with me.  I trust Him to walk with me through the most difficult circumstances. I can walk confidently in Him – knowing that I have the Presence and the Counsel of Creator God with me through whatever I face. I trust Him. I’m so thankful for this level of love.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Helpless & Needy

 

Child in medicine maskI’ve been around people who are needy or clingy. There are those who are always in a bad place – I think if they won the lottery, they’d still be clingy and needy. There are also those who’ve been dealt a tough “hand” in life. They have needs and they need someone to help them desperately. My heart goes out to the person who’s lost their spouse or their child – their world just got flipped on its end.  They are certainly people in our culture who abuse others and the system by always appearing helpless & needy. It’s difficult to know if someone is using people by claiming to be helpless and needy.

As I describe a helpless and needy person in my world, I realize that I’m helpless and needy before the Lord every day.  David penned the words well about just how hard life is and how much we need the Lord. Check this out…

5 ‘Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,

    I will now arise,’ says the Lord.

    ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’

6 And the words of the Lord are flawless,

    like silver purified in a crucible,

    like gold refined seven times.

7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe

    and will protect us forever from the wicked,

8 who freely strut about

    when what is vile is honored by the human race. (Psalm 12:5-8 NIV)

I will put my simple trust and hope in the Lord to direct my path. I don’t always know what to do when someone speaks untruths about me and tries to harm me. I need wisdom and discernment from the Lord to be my protection. I seek Him and His way for my every move. The Lord does His best work in me and through me when I’m helpless and needy. I recognize His Power and His Presence and He shows up strong.

This morning is no different than any other morning – I need the Lord to direct my path today as I navigate different challenges in my day. I standing strong upon His Word that He will protect me, direct me and provide for my every step. I can’t imagine trying to do life without Him – I am that helpless and needy for Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne