When Does This End?

 

Retro typewriter text the endI’ve watched movies before where I’m checking my watch to see when this dreadful experience will be over. I’ve been to church before and had the same experience – we are on a schedule and we must choose wisely where we spend the most valuable currency we have…our time. I just returned from vacation – several days by the lake enjoying the sunsets over the water. I am back in my more normal routines today.

As I read this passage in 1 Corinthians this morning, Paul was talking about how this all ends. He explained that this life is not the only life we live for or we are pitiful. He speaks frankly on the importance of eternal life and the significance of what Jesus did by His death on the cross. This life will end – but we have hope that the end of this life is not the end of it all – there’s more! Check this out…

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith.

20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:12-14,20-22,56-58 CSB)

I still have work to do while I’m here on earth. I must be consistent and faithful in my pursuit of God’s heart not so that I can be saved, but because I am saved. I want to know Him more. I want to live in the hope that there’s so much more.

I heard a guy recently say that “none of us makes it out of this life alive (unless the Lord comes back)”, so we need to start living larger than just our plans and our simple existence. The end of this life comes for all of us at some point in time, but because of Jesus did come to earth, He did live a sinless life, He did die a sacrificial death on the cross, He did come back to life on the third day to conquer death once and for all. There is no need to fear. There is certainly ample reason for hope. I want to live my life for Him to the end of this life and the transition to my new life will be seamless!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Defend & Rescue

 

baby under blanketI remember when I was a kid, I wanted to be in law enforcement. I wanted to protect and defend others. I also went through a period of wanting to be in the military. I wanted to be part of the world class armed forces of the USA. I wanted to defend our country against all enemies and I wanted to be part of a group who rescued people from danger. To save people who will die otherwise, must be very fulfilling for sure.  I am past those days of thinking I could physically defend and rescue. I do know Someone Who always defends and rescues.

My wife Tina and I kept our little grandson yesterday and as all parents and grandparents do, we “child-proofed” our house some. We also kept a watchful eye on the little guy all the time he was with us.  We were protecting Him and determined to keep him from harm. We were ready in milliseconds to defend and rescue that little guy.  Asaph was calling upon God, the Father to come help his people much like a parent wants to help their kid.  Check this out…

Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4 NIV)

The Lord is never far away. He knows my predicament.  He knows every situation I face. He is never surprised or “caught off guard” by my circumstances. He has come to my defense before and He will come again. He has rescued me before and He will rescue me again. There are times He rescues me from my own ignorance and stupidity. I get myself in a bad situation and He will still come to defend and rescue.

The more I read in His Word, the more I understand that He never leaves or abandons His kids. He is always near to defend and rescue. I’m thankful for His Presence and Power to always defend & rescue.

No Longer Slaves by Jonathan & Melissa Helser

“You split the sea so I could walk through it

My fears are drowned in perfect love

You rescued me and I can stand and sing

I am a child of God.”

___________

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

Covering Package

 

baby under blanketI love it when I purchase something that comes with extra accessories added in at no extra charge. This usually happens during peak selling seasons and feels like a benefit for sure. For example, if I buy a certain kind of cologne at a certain time, I might get a small lotion or a toiletry bag in the package.

As I read Psalm 23 this morning, I realized that the Presence of the Lord is a package deal. His Presence covers ever area of my life – not just my spiritual, “church-going” side of life. He is present with me all the time and everywhere I go. This very famous passage spoke volumes to me again about His Presence in my life. Check this out…

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3     he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

    for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk

    through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

    for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

    they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

    in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

    my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me

    all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

    forever. (Psalm 23:1-6 NIV)

I will not stress. I will not worry. I will not fear. The Lord is leading my life and directing my path. I’m the hard-headed person that needs to listen when He speaks and notice the direction He’s pointing me too. This passage feels like a soft, warm blanket on a cool morning – He has me covered for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bravery

 

Courage Vs. Fear Bowling Ball Strike Pins BraveryI would consider myself brave for the most part. I’m not super scared of the dark, although I can be startled by something I didn’t expect to see or hear in the dark. When I think of bravery, I think of much more than simply not being scared. I think of our military men and women who are fighting an enemy that they often can’t see or haven’t met to protect our freedom. I also think of our firefighters and law enforcement who stand up to incredible odds to protect the citizens of our great country. Bravery is also the person facing death from cancer or some other debilitating disease and keeping their head up as they try to finish well. I would like to consider myself brave, but I also know that there’s a part of me that gets scared to death. I’m still learning to trust the Lord with my fears and failures.

The army of Jerusalem took on the Ammonites and the Philistines quite often. Evidently, Goliath came from a family of giants. Check this out…

5 In another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.

6 In still another battle, which took place at Gath, there was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha. 7 When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him.

8 These were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men. (1 Chronicles 20:5-8 NIV)

 

I’ve figured out that if I’m brave, it’s because of the Power of God living in me. I can honestly face anything that comes my way. Please note that I didn’t say I want bad stuff to come my way. I didn’t say I wouldn’t be afraid if something big and bad threatened me, or someone I love. I’m learning that Lord can calm my fear with His Presence.

I love this song by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music called: You Make Me Brave.

I’m taking on today with His Presence in me as I face any giants that come my way. I have no intentions of being paralyzed by fear because His Presence in me changes everything about my perspective.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Brave

The word Courage riding an arrow over and overcoming Fear, representing the bravery and confidence needed to succeed and win in the face of your fears

I remember studying the American Indian culture when I was a young boy and discovering what a young brave was all about. The way I remember it was when a young Indian boy was about to become a man, he went into the countryside on his own for several days and survived by living off the land. He would come back and a ceremony took place to welcome him into manhood. My apologies to the Native Americans (aka American Indians) if I misspoke about this life changing process.

To be brave is to be courageous in the face of fear. I think the longer I walk with The Lord, the less fearful I become as to what anyone can do to me. His Presence gives me great courage and confidence to trust Him.

Jonathan, King Saul’s son, was at the camp with the Israelite army. They were across the way from an enemy outpost. Jonathan gives some thought to going over to them to mix it up a bit. Evidently he had to climb down a cliff on one side and go up a cliff on the other side.

6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, ‘Come; let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’

7 ‘Do all that you have in mind,’ his armor-bearer said. ‘Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.’

8 Jonathan said, ‘Come on, then; we will cross over towards them and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, “Wait there until we come to you,” we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, “Come up to us,” we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.’ (1 Samuel 14:6-10 NIV)

This story reminds me of the simple act of trust in the Lord. Jonathan and his armor bearer actually start a series of events where the Israelites actually turn the tide and push back their enemies.

I need to be brave as I follow the Lord. His Presence in me makes me brave. I was reminded of this great song by Amanda Cook called: You Make Me Brave.

I stand before You now

The greatness of your renown

I have heard of the majesty and wonder of you

King of Heaven, in humility, I bow

As Your love, in wave after wave

Crashes over me, crashes over me

For You are for us

You are not against us

Champion of Heaven

You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name

I have heard the song of love that You sing

So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore

Into Your grace

Your grace

You make me brave

You make me brave

You call me out beyond the shore into the waves

You make me brave

You make me brave

No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

© 2014 Bethel Music

Pressing On!

Dwayne