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

Grief & Sadness

Beauty girl cryThis is a word that covers many areas of my life. I have felt grief over the loss of a loved one. I’ve felt grief over the loss of a job. I’ve felt grief over the loss of a friend. I think grief touches everyone in some form or another. There are some losses that are less devastating and less permanent. If I lose a job, I can get another one. If I lose a friend I can be a friend to another and soon move forward. I’m not quite sure how you grieve the loss of a country. In Psalm 137, the writer is grieving the loss of their country being captured and their lives are forever different. Check this out…

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’

How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land? (Psalm 137:1-4 NIV)

It really is hard to think about songs of joy during pain. There are times that I can’t think because the grief hurts so deeply. I remember times when I cried until it felt like there were no more tears. I have made some decisions during times of grief that were not smart. A few years ago, after coming through a really hard time where grief was pushing on me hard, I determined that I would never go through grief alone – the Lord would always be there. I decided to claim His promises and lean into Him. His Presence did not disappoint. He gave great comfort but even greater clarity. I can sing songs of joy I the midst of great pain if His Presence is in me. He comforts me deeply and profoundly. He turns my sadness into singing. He turns my grief into joy. I can’t fully explain this to someone who amid struggle, but after the dust clears, this trust in the Lord is something to consider.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Help Is On The Way!

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidI remember a time when I was in college (before cell phones) and I was making a 4-hour drive home across Jellico Mountain on I-75 in Tennessee. The car overheated and I had to pull over on the side of the interstate. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next.  I remember praying for the Lord to send some help. He did! It came through another student from the same college traveling the same highway – he saw us and stopped to help. We bought some antifreeze and put in back in the radiator and we took the car to a mechanic to patch things up to get me home. I was very thankful for the help. I have never forgotten that moment because I was not sure what I would do or could do to get out of that situation. I need help often and I’ve learned to ask for help and try to be prepared for lots of variables in many situations. The Lord will show up and help. He sends me help and He’s never far away. Check this out…

21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
    help me for your name’s sake;
    out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 Many knees give way from fasting;
    my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.

30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
    in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
    to save their lives from those who would condemn them. (Psalm 109:21-25, 30-31 NIV)

The Lord is always available and willing to help. He doesn’t always provide the help I think I need. He goes with what He sees as my need. I am continually learning to be obedient and humble before Him. I do not have it all together. I am a broken person whom He has put back together and I trust Him and I want to live for Him.  As I study the Word and I see just how the Lord gave help to David and protected him from his accusers, I find hope in that. I want His help dealing with people who want to harm me or threaten me. I want to be strong and consistent in my decisions and choices to live my life in a way that brings honor to Him. His help for the struggles I face is always nearby and on the way!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cry For Help

Beauty girl cryI have learned that I have a lot of limitations and I need help quite often. I know a lot about what I don’t know. I know when to ask for help. When it comes to asking for help from God, it’s very often. I ask for His help about things that I think I know about. I’m learning that He’s ALWAYS there and never too busy for me.  I was reminded today about how He hears my cry and He rescues me. Check this out…

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered.

11 Give us aid against the enemy,
    for human help is worthless.
12 With God we will gain the victory,
    and he will trample down our enemies. (Psalm 60:5,11-12 NIV)

I have let the Lord down plenty of times. He is always there for me. I deserve punishment, but I receive grace. I deserve defeat, but instead He gives me victory. I go to Him first now for everything I need. He will give me wisdom to navigate the hardest issues. He will give me a gentle spirt when I’m under attack. He is my Rock, my Fortress, the Director of my life.

I heard a song on the radio last evening and it’s running through my mind first thing this morning. I think it fits well here. It’s a song by Big Daddy Weave and written by Leeland Mooring, Brenton Brown & Brian Johnson. Check this out…

He’s coming on the clouds
Kings and kingdoms will bow down
Every chain will break
As broken hearts declare His praise
For who can stop the Lord Almighty

Our God is a lion
The Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power
And fighting our battles
Every knee will bow before Him
Our God is a lamb
The lamb that was slain
For the sins of the world
His blood breaks the chains
Every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb
Every knee will bow before him

Open up the gates
Make way before the King of Kings
The God who comes to save
Is here to set the captives free
For who can stop the Lord Almighty

For who can stop the Lord Almighty

_________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Know Fear – No Fear

 

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidI certainly know what it’s like to bear fearful. I’m not always brave and fearless. I’m learning every day though that when I know the Lord, fear is pushed out. I recently had a conversation with a fellow Christ follower who said that fear and faith can’t dwell in the same heart. I think at times it’s a fast exchange between fear and faith in my heart. I don’t like being fearful at all. In fact, I hate being fearful. I want to feel confident and strong in the face of fear and that describes me often.

The sons of Korah penned some great Psalms about Who He is and who I’m not. Check this out…

 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

10 He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.’

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11 NIV)

When I take a moment to let it settle into my heart, just how strong and powerful God is, fear is out the door. The enemy reminds me of my weakness and the Lord provides me with great strength. The enemy uses fear to make me feel weak. The Lord reminds me that He is strong in my weakness. With Him in my heart, I have nothing and no one to fear. His Presence changes the game of life completely. I look at life totally different now because of Him. He helps me see adversity before it comes. He prepares me to be strong even when my enemies seem to be bringing a “beat down”. He protects me. He provides for me. He settles my soul. He pushes my fears aside and helps my faith in Him to grow and expand.

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