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

Strength

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthI have seen people lift things with their arms and legs that seem impossible. I used to lift weights and work out very regularly, but it’s hard to tell now. I work out now by riding a bicycle or walking. I certainly would benefit to fitting more exercise into my schedule. We now have fitness apps on our watches and fitness trackers to help encourage exercise. I got a chuckle out of the “breathe” feature & the “stand” feature on the apple watch.

While physical strength is very important, inner strength is quite powerful too. I’ve seen people who face impossible odds have a great attitude and show great inner strength in the middle of adversity. I’ve noticed the tremendous inner strength of Job. This man had suffered tremendous loss and was suffering intensely, but he refused to curse God. Check this out…

8 The upright are appalled at this;

    the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.

9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,

    and those with clean hands will grow stronger. (Job 17:8-9 NIV)

I am profoundly concerned about the election process that I’ve witnessed here in the US the past year and a half. Our country is a sharply divided people. There were two very different ideologies to choose from in the Presidential race. I’m like most people in the country who weren’t sure we had the best candidates to choose from. I had decided that however the vote went, that God would still be in His rightful place as leader of my heart. This simple passage in Job reminded me to hold on for sure. I am praying for healing in our country as this will go down in history as one of the most vicious campaigns. I am praying for peace. I am praying for wisdom and discernment. I am praying that love settle over us once again.

Pressing On!

Dwayne