Advocate

LawyerThere are occasions where I’ve needed an advocate. This is someone who speaks for me. My advocate needs to know everything about me so that they can defend me and direct me. An advocate provides a different perspective – they see different solutions for my situation. An advocate can be an attorney, a spokesperson, a friend, a counselor, parent, sibling or co-worker. I am thankful for my earthly advocates. I came across a small passage in the Gospel of John this morning where Jesus is promising an Advocate. Check this out…

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. (John 14:15-17 NLT)

Jesus is talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a foreign subject to them but they will soon learn first-hand about the Holy Spirit’s Power and Presence in them. Jesus is giving them a heads up. He is also trying to comfort them because He’s leaving them to return to the Father.  I believe that they were probably pretty emotional about His leaving them and the Holy Spirit is to be a Presence and an Advocate.  As I’m writing this, I’m also thinking about how as a Dad, I’m also and advocate for my kids. As a husband, I’m an advocate for my wife. I’m also an advocate for my friends, my clients, customers, agents & employees.

I’m thankful for my Advocate (aka The Holy Spirit), who gives me counsel, direction, comfort, peace by His Presence.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

(Note: As I was writing this yesterday, my youngest son woke up early and came into the living room and sat with me and talked. I realized again what a blessing to be his advocate – so I published this a day late. It was worth it. #advocate)

Shield & Protect

Blue security shieldI have an alarm system for my home and office that offers a level of protection. I just recently changed to a local company as I upgraded some of my equipment for my home. I’ve noticed a lot of the alarm systems have a “shield” as part of their logo. My brother-in-law is in law enforcement and they badge carried by police officers is sometimes referred to as a shield. It is often shaped like a shield. A shield was originally a piece of armor that was held by one arm for protection (defense) so that the other arm could hold a sword (offence). It is still used today by riot police to protect against objects being hurled at them when trying to manage an angry mob.

King David was a warrior and he had enemies all around. He leaned heavily upon the Lord for wisdom and discernment. He sought the Lord’s help with battle plans. He sought the Lord for protection and provision. Check this out…

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my God.’
    Hear, Lord, my cry for mercy.
Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer,
    you shield my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant the wicked their desires, Lord;
    do not let their plans succeed.

13 Surely the righteous will praise your name,
    and the upright will live in your presence. (Psalm 140:6-8,13 NIV)

I’m just a regular guy living a normal life here in Georgia. I would be wise to seek the Lord for wisdom and discernment. James tells me that God’s wisdom is: “pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17 NIV) The Lord will supply unlimited amounts of wisdom when I ask for it. The Lord will also protect me. I believe the Lord protects me from things I’m not even aware are threats. I can look back sometimes and see the Lord’s hand in my daily schedule and how He protected me. The Lord is my Defender and Protector. He also provides the offense – the Sword of Truth. The Word of God has infused me with confidence in Him. I see the Scriptures totally different than I did a few years back – I wish I had discovered the richness of the Word of God years before. I’m thankful for how the Lord speaks into my life through His Word. I’m thankful how He uses others to speak into my life through His Word. If I have any wisdom and discernment as a husband, Dad, teacher, friend, REALTOR – it’s because the Lord is providing insight and wisdom through His Word.

I can feel Him shielding & protecting me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Make My Case

 

Man praying with the BibleI have always been a fan of TV shows and movies that feature a great attorney. I have probably watched every episode of Perry Mason (the black & white versions) and Matlock and most recently Law & Order (the original). I’m intrigued with how our justice system works or in some cases fails to work. As I was reading through Job this morning, I felt a bit like I was seeing a microcosm of Law & Order. His friends were pushing on him and now he (Job) is pushing back. I can feel his frustration but also his resolve. He believes he is innocent and doesn’t deserve this but he refuses to curse God. He does confront God, but with reverence and respect. I believe that God is ok with out questions and “push back” when it’s covered in reverence and respect.

11 Would not his splendour terrify you?

    Would not the dread of him fall on you?

12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes;

    your defences are defences of clay.

13 ‘Keep silent and let me speak;

    then let come to me what may.

14 Why do I put myself in jeopardy

    and take my life in my hands?

15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;

    I will surely defend my ways to his face.

16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,

    for no godless person would dare come before him!

17 Listen carefully to what I say;

    let my words ring in your ears.

18 Now that I have prepared my case,

    I know I will be vindicated.

19 Can anyone bring charges against me?

    If so, I will be silent and die. (Job 13:11-19 NIV)

I can feel the agony and pain of Job’s suffering as I read these words. While I’ve experienced pain and suffering, mine doesn’t measure up (or I should say down) to the level of struggle he’s in the middle of. This passage reminds me that my relationship with Almighty God is critical to making it through suffering. I want to know Him more. I want to understand the Lord’s heart. I want to surrender to His will for my life. I want to lay down my pride before Him and let Him have all of me. I can’t imagine plowing through suffering and struggle without Him. I would agree with Job that God could prevent it, but even “though He slay me; yet will I hope in Him”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Vengeance

 

Businesswoman writing a black listThe word carries with it “punishment or retribution exacted for an injury or a wrong”. Unfortunately I see this a lot in our culture where someone wants vengeance or revenge upon another. This can be quite ugly and sometimes out of control.

The Lord has not forgotten what the people of Midian had done to His people. They camped near them and that where Balaam and his talking donkey got involved. They seduced some of the people to their ways and the Lord punished a large group of them on the spot. The people of Israel are about to move into the Promised Land and Moses will not be allowed to go. Check this out…

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.’ (Numbers 31:1-2 NIV)

Moses ended up sending about 12,000 fighting men to Midian and the people of Israel completely defeated them. The Lord then gave Moses instructions as to how the spoils of war were to be divided.

Vengeance can be an ugly fit for people to wear. It is most causes blind rage and illogical thinking. The Lord has taught me some hard lessons on this subject. I always want to get even or get back on someone who’s harmed me. The Lord promises that He will handle that. Revenge is often synonymous with vengeance. They can be destructive upon my heart and the Lord promises to help if I will trust Him. Check this out….

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. (Romans 12:19 NIV)

The Lord takes responsibility for revenge or vengeance so that I don’t have to.

He will protect and defend my honor.

He will protect and defend my heart.

I can get into a bad place when I try to handle this on my own. I would be wise to trust the One Who holds the world in His hand to protect and defend my honor and my life. Revenge can destroy me from the inside out. It often comes out of bitterness and hatred and can find a home in my heart if allowed.

I must trust the Lord with this even though it’s much easier said than done.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Defense

Negatives Positives Computer Keys Showing Plus And Minus Alternatives Analysis And DecisionsI’ve heard coaches that say: “The best offense is a good defense.” There are times when I need defended. There are circumstances beyond my control and I feel pushed on, put down and attacked. I must put up a defense. Some defense requires offense. I have learned in my journey of faith that the Lord can and will defend me. I am still learning to trust Him with my defense. Check this out….

1 Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;

    fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take up shield and armor;

    arise and come to my aid.
3 Brandish spear and javelin

    against those who pursue me.
Say to me,

    ‘I am your salvation.’
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord

    and delight in his salvation.
10 My whole being will exclaim,

    ‘Who is like you, Lord?

You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,

    the poor and needy from those who rob them.’ (Psalm 35:1-3; 9-10 NIV)

 

I’m learning that walking in faith is a daily experience. I can’t get enough ahead for tomorrow, but I can rest in Him today. I need not worry about tomorrow – He’s got that. I am so grateful for the defense and protection of the Lord. He protects me from others and sometimes from myself. I need His protection and I need Him to be my defense. I love that not only is He my Protector, but He’s also my Provider. I’m living in under Him today and everyday!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Defense & Offense

FSU vs Duke FootballI do enjoy this time of year when High School Football is in full swing. On the weekends, I can find a multitude of College Football games and then there are the Professional Football games as well on Sunday and Monday. I remember hearing a phrase many years ago and I think it was said in the context of football. The phrase is this: “The best offense is a good defense”.

I know that if you play good defense, your offense has to score less points. I do like leaning to the offense side of the ball because they can make plays happen based on their play calling and their decisions.

I think as a believer, I should play offense more than defense. Sometimes there are situations when I’m put on the defensive, which my offense side can take over and lead out. Check this out…

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. (Acts 4:8-14 NIV)

I love this story because the “Game Changer” here is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowered Peter & John in the first place and gave them the Power and courage to heal the crippled man and to speak before the big council of “religious leaders”. These men were simply following their calling from Jesus. They were boldly speaking about what they had seen and heard. The Holy Spirit of God in them was obvious to those who saw them.

Peter and John were teaching and preaching out of their relationship with Jesus. They were not pointing to their own abilities – they were pointing to Jesus. They were not talking about themselves – they were talking about Jesus. They were willing servants filled with the Holy Spirit of God and they became smarter and bolder with the Presence of the Holy Spirit in them.  Peter & John could not keep quiet about what they had seen and heard.  The church was built on leaders who had the Holy Spirit in them and they pointed everyone to Jesus.  That is still a good plan for church leadership today!

Pressing On!
Dwayne