A Prosperous Prayer

 

MoreI need to say that I don’t subscribe to the so-called “prosperity gospel” or “name it; claim it”. I know that there are those who teach and believe that. I do believe that God can do anything He pleases. I just don’t find it consistent with the Word that says, once you put your faith in God everything will be good. In fact, I think the opposite is quite common. I do believe that the Lord wants me to be prosperous in love. He wants me to be prosperous in serving and giving. There are those who have become prosperous financially and it did not derail their faith. Of course, there are many stories of the contrary as well where financial prosperity ruined relationships and destroyed lives. Prosperity is a relative word. I’ve been to some incredibly poor countries and people were prosperous. I’ve been to some wealthy communities where people were starving for prosperity. I have prayed this prosperous prayer from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi many times. Check this out…

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:8-11 CSB)

I keep praying this prayer over my wife & children as well as my entire family.

I prayer this prayer over my company.

I love praying this prayer over my customers and clients.

I think it’s wise to pray for wisdom.

I think it’s wise to pray for discernment.

I think it’s wise to pray before acting on an issue.

I’m praying that I will walk in wisdom and discernment that is dripping with love. I want to be prosperous in profound love for God displayed in my genuine love and respect for others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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

Deep Strength

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthI used to work out lifting weights and doing some good cardio, but I’ve slipped tremendously over the last 20+ years. (Please try not to laugh at this confession.) I exchanged one discipline for another and the truth is I need both. I have grown deeper and stronger spiritually over the last several years, but physically I’m weaker (and older) than I’ve ever been.  I enjoy some forms of exercise like bike riding on the Carrollton Greenbelt. I must pay attention to my physical body and cultivate physical strength. The more important strength conditioning comes from my spiritual exercise. I started getting up early many years ago to carve out time that I could spend with the Lord focusing on His Word and His heart. That one decision changed everything about my perspective and game me insights into life that I never had before. The more I study and walk with the Lord, the deeper my love for Him grows. I look back and realize that I spent way too much time in the shallow end of His swimming pool. I want to go deeper every day with Him. The Psalmist was a human being who loved the Lord and walked deeper. Check this out…

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
‘The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done. (Psalm 118:13-17 NIV)

I would rather have deep inner strength than brut physical strength any day. The ideal would be both!  I have had times of suffering in my life where they physical exercise was a great distraction and helped me work out some stress, but it did very little for my spiritual journey. That takes time alone with the Lord in deep study, discernment and conversational prayer. He gives me strength I can’t describe. He gives me insight that is way beyond my education and comprehension. His Presence calms my soul. His Presence gives me strength to navigate the most challenging path.

I will say that there are times in my life, I’m not sure how I lived to talk about the struggle except that His is in me and He is for me. He flat out saved me and I want Him to use me now for His Glory and His Fame. I am nothing without Him, but with Him I have everything.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Renown

Worship to GodThis is not a word that I use every day, but it carries with it some level of respect, accomplishment and fame. The dictionary uses word like “widespread & high refute as well as fame to define the word. I have grown up thinking that the Lord is renown and worthy of my worship, respect and obedience. It is important for me to give Him the honor and respect due Him. He is Creator and He also saved me from my self-destructive journey.  I want to make Him famous and renown on the earth.

This passage in Psalms was written by an afflicted man. His perspective is powerful. Check this out…

12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever;
    your renown endures through all generations. (Psalm 102:12 NIV)

When I think of God being “renown”, I think of His Presence and His Power. He doesn’t depend on me for His renown, yet I can certainly make Him known to others. I can talk all day about what He has done in my life over the years. His Presence and His Power has absolutely changed my perspective and my destination many times over. I’m sometime so “hell bent” on doing things my own way and He is so patient as I figure out that His Way is ALWAYS best. My life can be a wreck, but He is still renown. He never stops being renown. He is famous for being Creator, but I know Him best as Sustainer. He helps me navigate through difficult circumstances. He gives me wisdom and discernment that only He can give. His “renown is profound” to me for sure.

I’m thankful that the Creator of the Universe – the renown God, wants to know me and wants me to know Him more. This blesses me and humbles me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

The Famous One

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

Delivered & Protected

 

delivery guy knockingI will admit that I love Amazon.com and Prime membership. It is so easy to shop with a little research and a few clicks and the item(s) I ordered are on their way. It makes Christmas shopping easier as I can avoid long lines and large crowds. One of the important components of online shopping is the delivery and protection. I’ve had to return very small items ordered and I’ve had to return large items and Amazon makes it simple. With my Prime membership, I often get my items with free 2-day shipping and there is protection for me if the product shows up damaged or broken.

As I was reading Psalm 34 this morning, I realized that David was writing this passage at a tough time in his life. He had pretended to be insane before the priest to save his life. Check this out…

7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,

    and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;

    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

18 The Lord is close to the broken-hearted

    and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:7-8,18 NIV)

I need protected and delivered. I am walking through life, often unaware of the dangers that try to harm me. I’m often unaware of people who want to take me down. I am learning to trust the Lord with the simplest details to the most complex. He protects and delivers. He even protects me from myself. I am often my own worst enemy and I can get in “self-destruct” mode. I need Him to pick me back up and put me on my feet again.

When I am low, He lifts me up.

When I am high, He keeps me grounded.

When I am sideways, He sets me upright.

I need His Wisdom and Discernment quite often. The wisdom He gives has protection and deliverance built right in. I will trust Him with all that I have and all that I know. He leads, He protects and He delivers.

Pressing On!

Dwayne