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

Shield

 

Blue security shieldThe Law Enforcement community serves as a shield to protect the public from bad actors and criminals. They often carry a shield in their pocket that is also known as a badge. The shield in their pocket doesn’t protect them as much as it signifies their protection of the public.

My son plays drums at our church and a few years ago the put a Plexiglas shield around the drum kit to shield the noise level of his instrument from overpowering the other instruments.

King David is the author of most the Psalms. He writes when he’s full of joy or even when he’s scared to death. I came across one of his psalms when he was fleeing from his son who had stolen the throne from him. He obviously feared for his life. Check this out…

1 Lord, how many are my foes!

    How many rise up against me!

2 Many are saying of me,

    “God will not deliver him.”

3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,

    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

4 I call out to the Lord,

    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

8 From the Lord comes deliverance.

    May your blessing be on your people. (Psalm 3:1-4,8 NIV)

I often need the shield of God around me and I’m not even aware of the dangers. I do ask often for His protection of me and my family. I do believe that the Lord can provide protection and provision like no one else. He has unlimited resources and unlimited power to protect and preserve me.

I’m still learning to call out to Him first when I’m afraid. I used to think I could take care of things, but I’ve learned that I am powerless without Him. He makes a way when there seems to be no way. He is my Kevlar vest. He is my bullet-proof glass. He is my security detail. I trust Him and His protection and His timing of when it’s my time to come home to Him. He is a shield around me today and every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Not Afraid

Courage Vs. Fear Bowling Ball Strike Pins BraveryI remember when I was in college; my favorite job was working security detail. My job was a lot like a “night watchman” as I patrolled the campus looking out for the safety of my fellow students. I remember I had a two-way radio and some kind of clock. I had to go to different stations all over campus where a key was placed. The key would fit inside the clock box that I carried. It would show that I had “checked out” that particular area on campus. I learned to not be afraid of the dark at a pretty young age. I do remember a few instances where my friends would sneak out of the dorm and try to scare the crap out of me. It sometimes worked.

The Lord is giving His people some preparatory instructions about war as they go in to take possession of the Promised Land. Check this out…

1 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: ‘Hear, Israel: today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be faint-hearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’ (Deuteronomy 20:1-4 NIV)

I really want to keep growing in my trust in the Lord. I want to be brave and strong in the face of the scariest circumstances. I want to keep my head because He has totally got control of my life and my circumstances. His Presence in my heart pushes out fear. I will not fear my God will come through – ALWAYS. I am not one of these folks that believe that if they “name it” then they can “claim it”. I believe that the Lord can do anything He wants or wills. I also believe that He wired me with some common sense and spiritual sense. I should not and don’t ever intend to manipulate the Word of God to say what I want it to say. I want to be brave in the face of suffering and trust Him to show me the way through suffering. As I go through suffering, He builds character and strength in me. If I try to escape, I will still probably suffer and won’t learn and grow because He wants to teach me through trials.

I’m not afraid of what is ahead because God is with me. He will walk with me through whatever I face. I will face my fears with Him. I will walk in the dark with Him. I will go wherever He leads me and not fear what may happen along the way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Confidence

Prepared Not UnpreparedThere are times that I can walk into a room with confidence because I have done the work and I’m prepared for this meeting that I’m about to have. I have researched. I have revised. I have discovered options. I have drilled down the info to the bottom line. Then there are other times when an impromptu meeting is called and I don’t feel prepared at all. I don’t have any answers – just a lot of questions. I really hate feeling “caught off guard” but it happens. I can make it through those times gathering information and then making preparations for another opportunity to connect and deliver the details.

Education and preparation can give confidence. The Presence of God in me trumps all the education and preparation that I have. His Spirit can give wisdom and insight that no amount of education can provide.

The people of Israel were about to face 7 nations that were stronger than they were – but the Lord was with them. The Lord’s Presence inspired and motivated them. Moses challenged them to reflect on where they’ve been as they move forward. Check this out…

17 You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?’ 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.

21 Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. (Deuteronomy 7:17-19,21 NIV)

Sometimes it helps to take a look back at where I’ve been and where I’ve come from to notice God’s hand orchestrating the story of my life. When I’m in the middle of struggle, hardship or deep pain it’s hard to see His Hand or feel His Presence. He is always there with me. As I take a look back and then look forward, I can face today with confidence that confuses people who don’t know Him. The world can be collapsing around me, but I’m holding tight to Him. I have confidence that He will walk me through the darkest valley and dance with me on the highest mountain. He is a GREAT & AWESOME God Whose Presence in me changes everything!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Respect & Obedience

Obedience Respect Responsibility Words Honor AuthorityI think that these two principles were instilled into me at a very young age. I respected my parents out of love and fear. They made the boundaries quite clear and if I stepped outside the boundaries I was punished. I believe respect is a fundamental human trait. I believe the Lord wired us with respect. God loves it when we show Him respect and honor. He loves it when we show one another respect and honor.

Moses recalls a time when the people were encamped at Mt. Horeb and God gathered the assembly close and they could hear His voice. It sort of freaked them out and they thought that they would die. They approached Moses in fear and asked him to speak to the Lord and to tell them what He said. They were willing to obey fully the commands of the Lord. God hears everything and heard this. Check this out…

28 The Lord heard you when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. 29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:28-29 NIV)

The Lord loves my reverence/fear/respect.

The Lord love my obedience.

It’s one thing to say I love and respect God – but it’s another thing all together to obey Him.

The Lord wants my commitment and obedience NOT just my flattering words.

What I do will always speak more loudly than what I say.

This simple passage reminded me of how important my respect and obedience are to The Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Do Not Be Afraid

 

Christmas Nativity SceneI remember what it’s like to be so full of fear that I’m paralyzed. I believe that fear is an enemy of faith. There is an upside to fear – it causes me to slow down and focus. I learned that the Lord’s Presence pushes out fear.

The people of Israel learned this the hard way. They are in Moab about to embark on their conquest of the Promised Land and Moses is giving them some final instructions as well as a history lesson. He reminds them of the time before when they were at or near the same place. They sent spies into the land to check it out and 10 of the spies were seized with fear and only 2 spies were brave and bold. Check this out….

29 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.’

32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. (Deuteronomy 1:29-32 NIV)

My wife & I had the opportunity to attend the John Berry Christmas concert at Mill Town Music Hall last evening. His encore song was a new release by JJ Weeks Band that really blessed me. The song is “Do Not Be Afraid” and it reminded me of the fear that Mary & Joseph must have faced as they gave birth to a baby that wasn’t their own. I was very encouraged to trust the Lord with my whole heart and not be afraid to walk in the way the Lord has called and directed. I’m so thankful that Mary & Joseph walked in faith and listened to the call of the Lord upon them.

I needed to be reminded to not be afraid or dismayed because Help is ALWAYS on the way. Check these lyrics out….

Do Not Be Afraid

by Jason Weeks & Scotty Wilbanks

Shepherds in the field

Cattle on the hill

Stars up in the sky

Like diamonds in the nights

Then an angel appears

With a voice so clear

Peace on the earth

There’s no need to fear

 

For unto you

A Child is born

 

Do Not Be Afraid

Cause I bring Good News

A Savior is born

God’s gift to you

Do not be dismayed

Help Is On The Way

A Savior is born today

Good news – Do not be afraid

 

A brilliant star shown bright

To wise men in the night

They traveled far to see

The long awaited king

In a manger full of hay

Born this Christmas day

The name above all names

Let the whole world proclaim

That Christ is born

 

Do Not Be Afraid

Cause I bring Good News

A Savior is born

God’s gift to you

Do not be dismayed

Help Is On The Way

A Savior is born today

Good news – Do not be afraid

 

Glory to God in the highest

Peace on earth

Glory to God in the highest

Peace on earth

 

Do Not Be Afraid

Cause I bring Good News

A Savior is born

God’s gift to you

Do not be dismayed

Help Is On The Way

A Savior is born today

Good news – Do not be afraid

 

Pressing On!

Dwayne