Fearless & Faithful

 

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidNo long ago I read a book called “Fearless” by Eric Blem about the courage and sacrifice of Navy Seal Team Six Operator Adam Brown. I could hardly put the book down as I went on the journey with Adam, his seal team and his family. It was courage on steroids. He epitomized fearless and faithful in a physical sense.

I believe that Christ followers are called to be fearless and faithful too. I should not live in a state of worry and fear wondering what will happen next. I should be faithful to seek the Lord’s heart and His will for me. I believe that I hear from Him through my journey in His Word. When I’m faithful to Him, He seems to remove my fears. I do often wonder as I get older how my life will end. I learned of the death of a friend in a car accident and death was instant. I’ve also watched as a friend suffered and battled for long tough road to death. I also wonder about how things are after you die. I know that scripture promises that God has that, but I don’t know of any eye witnesses who have come back and reported on that. Everyone who dies stays there. I have less of an anxious heart about that than in the past only because I’m learning daily to trust the Lord with the unknown as well as the known. Check this out…

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 CSB)

I’m not going to leap tall buildings in a single bound or become reckless with my life. I do want to live on purpose and balanced. I simply don’t want to allow fear to creep into my spirit and stress me out about what is coming. I trust the Lord that whatever happens, He will help me through. When I reflect on my journey – this has been the case every time. He has not left me alone at all. He was with me in the darkness of divorce, cancer fight with my son, harrowing near death experience of my youngest son – He is with me through storms of this life and He will be with me in the sunset years as well as my departure from this life. I’m fearless because I’m faithful.

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. (1 John 4:18 CSB)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Tremble

Frightened and stressed young business womanI do remember what it’s like to be scared. When I was a kid, I had quite an imagination about things in the dark or in the closet. As I grew older I realized that most all my fear was self-inflicted.  I had to overcome my fear of the dark and situations in the dark. I still like daytime much better than night. I can see clearer in the day time.  Fast forward several years and one of my work/study jobs was night-time security at my college. I had to go in the dark, out-of-the-way places to get a key to punch a clock to show that I’d been there. I had to face my fear of the dark again. It’s been a good long time since I was so afraid that I trembled. I’ve learned to trust the Lord with things I can’t explain or understand.

The Psalmist pens a cool verse speaking of the Lord’s power as the people of Israel left Egypt and traveled through the Red Sea and then crossed the Jordan River on dry land. Check this out…

Why was it, sea, that you fled?
    Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
    you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
    the hard rock into springs of water. (Psalm 114:5-8 NIV)

The Presence of God changes my circumstances.

The Presence of God changes my view of my circumstances.

The Presence of God brings calm to chaos and clarity to confusion.

The Presence of God erases my past, helps navigate my present and builds my future.

I’m amazed by life-changing power of God’s Presence in my life. I’d be wise to tremble in His Presence out of pure respect for His Power. He doesn’t want me to fear Him, but I think it’s wise to revere Him. He has all Power over all of creation, past, present & future.

I’m no longer super afraid of the dark, but I’ve learned to have a genuine reverence and respect to be in the Presence of Almighty God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

In God I Trust

 

In God We Trust from the dollar billI heard a story about a guy who always stopped to pick up a penny, not because of its value, but because it has the words inscribed: “In God We Trust”.  I saw a penny on the ground a day or so after that and picked it up. It reminds me that I trust in God too. I’ve been through some hard and scary times in my life where trusting God didn’t seem like an option. I was desperate for His help and for Him to settle my heart.

David was running from Saul and desperate for God to protect him and lead him. He often writes from his personal perspective, but it speaks volumes to me about his relationship with God. I can relate to his fear as well as his faith. Sometimes the distance between fear and faith is very close. Check this out…

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

Record my misery;
    list my tears on your scroll—
    are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will turn back
    when I call for help.
    By this I will know that God is for me.

10 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise—
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can man do to me?

12 I am under vows to you, my God;
    I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
    and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life. (Psalm 56:3-4, 8-13 NIV)

My fear is often a result of the present circumstances. When I have a moment to take a breath and get some perspective, it can change everything. My faith has grown deeper and stronger over the years because I was fearful and struggling when the Lord spoke into my heart. He came to comfort me. He brought peace to my very soul. I now have a track record with the Lord. I can’t lean on that because that’s in the past too – just like my stupid choices. I lean on Him today because He’s here with me. He speaks through His word today. My journey with the Lord is more real today than ever before because of my journey in His Word. My trust in God is stronger because I feel like I know His heart even better. I’m thankful beyond words for His patience with me – such grace. I’m thankful for His presence with me – so faithful. He has changed my entire perspective on life. In God I trust today and always.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Urgent

urgent priority stampThis word means carries with it the need for “immediate attention and action”. When I hear that something is urgent, I tend to sit up straight and respond rapidly if I’m called upon. There are things in my life that are urgent each day. There are times when others do something and reach out to me urgently. I remember a guy saying once, that a crisis on your part due to poor planning or lack of organization doesn’t create a crisis for me. There are times when a crisis comes and it may be small or large, but it requires my attention. I am still learning that things that are urgent are sometimes not as important as they seem. The urgency makes them seem very important.

David cries out to the Lord urgently in his writing at times. I know this that when I’m desperate and struggling with hope, my prayers and cries to God are urgent. Check this out…

All my longings lie open before you, Lord:
    my sighing is not hidden from you.

15 Lord, I wait for you;
    you will answer, Lord my God.
16 For I said, ‘Do not let them gloat
    or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.’

21 Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Savior. (Psalm 38:9,15-16,21-22 NIV)

The Lord knows the urgency of my situation even before I speak a word. The Lord knows things that I’m fearful of or nervous about even before I talk to Him about it. When my heart is desperate, my prayers are urgent. I am learning though that the noise of my life and the desperation of my heart doesn’t change Him. He is always full of compassion and mercy. He never gets rattled. He never gets desperate. The Lord is on time every time. He doesn’t make mistakes. I have seen Him take desperate situations in my life and bring beauty out of my struggle and desperation. I try to pray to Him about everything and worry about nothing. When the urgent situation is close by, it’s hard to not worry or entertain fear. His Word drives me to my needs to pour out my urgent and desperate struggles before Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Favor

 

relaxI don’t mind doing favors for others most of the time. I also enjoy it when others do favors for me.  I do realize that doing a favor for someone almost always costs me something. If the cost is minimal it’s an easy call. If someone asked me for a favor like driving them to California and back – well that wouldn’t be easy to pull off and I feel I could say “pass” on that one. It’s one thing for a favor to cost me a lot, it’s another thing when the favor costs those closest to me.

David wrote from such a healthy perspective many of the Psalms. He seemed to understand his place in God’s world. He understood that He needed the Lord always. Check this out…

4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;

    praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

    but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may stay for the night,

    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,

    ‘I shall never be shaken.’

7 Lord, when you favored me,

    you made my royal mountain stand firm;

but when you hid your face,

    I was dismayed.

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;

    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

    Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30:4-7,11-12 NIV)

As I read this short psalm this morning I relaxed a bit. I read it a couple of more times because it calmed my heart. My heart is often anxious because of worry and fear. When I take a moment to think of God’s favor over me, I can relax.

As I think back on my life, I can vividly see times of wailing when my heart was smashed into pieces from pain. I had never experienced pain and heartbreak of that level.  I was at what felt like the bottom with no place to look but up. The Lord was gracious to me during those times of struggle and pain. As I look back on those experiences, I can now see the hand of God and how He was holding on to me and walking with me through those dark valleys. I learned that He is NEVER ABSENT and He NEVER abandons me.  I am so thankful that He turned my sorrow and struggles into laughter and joy. He has restored my soul many times and on many occasions.

I’m humbled and thankful for the favor of God upon my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Solid Trust

Trust with blue markerThere are so many things that distract me from following the Lord fully. Over the years, my finances have been big – until something even bigger comes along like a threat to my family or the health of one of my kids. I find that those times require even more trust as fear has entered the equation. Fear is a formidable foe to trust. Fear can paralyze. Fear can suck all my joy away. Fear seems to penetrate the strongest wall of trust. When fear grips me, I’m learning that I must hit my knees before the Lord and give it to Him.

King David had a deep walk with God and he learned to trust deeply even in the midst of fear. Check this out…

1 The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.

    How great is his joy in the victories you give!

2 You have granted him his heart’s desire

    and have not withheld the request of his lips.

3 You came to greet him with rich blessings

    and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.

4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him –

    length of days, for ever and ever.

5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;

    you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.

6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings

    and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

7 For the king trusts in the Lord;

    through the unfailing love of the Most High

    he will not be shaken. (Psalm 21:1-7 NIV)

I want to keep growing my trust in the Lord. Spending time in His Word each day certainly helps build my trust in Him. As I look at King David’s journey it wasn’t without failure and struggle, but trust in God pulled him through some scary times.

I think there are different degrees of fear. When I’m fearful of something that can take my life or the life of one of my family – that is a painful fear. When the fear is of something that is temporary or brief – it’s not nearly as bad. I don’t like fear at all, but sometimes fear makes me sharper and stronger because it drives me to trust the Lord. I’m learning that I can lean into Him and on Him for the simple things as well as the complex situations. He is my Rock, my foundation upon which my trust is built. He has never let me go and He has never let me down. I will trust Him in the face of any fear.

Pressing On!

Dwayne