Praying For Peace

 

Pretty girl praying.Elderly man prayingI see peace as a “state mutual harmony, and a state of serenity and tranquility”. This is a word that means different things to a lot of different people. I love having peace in my life, buy sometimes peace is not quiet or boring. Sometimes “mutual harmony” is a bit loud and even a struggle. I used to connect peace with quiet and I still do sometimes. Peace is much deeper than silence. Peace is a matter of my spiritual heart condition. When my heart is at peace, I am trusting the Lord with whatever is getting me anxious.

David was evidently heading to the Temple when He wrote this Psalm. David is a warrior and has fought many bloody battles and has seen much bloodshed. In the midst of this assent to worship he is asking the people to join him in prayer. Check this out…

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    ‘May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
    and security within your citadels.’
For the sake of my family and friends,
    I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your prosperity. (Psalm 122:6-9 NIV)

I need to be a prayer warrior for peace. I can pray for peace for my family, my community, my state, my country & the world. Praying for peace and seeking to be peaceful are two different things. I believe that the Lord loves peace. I believe He restores my soul and nourishes my heart during peace. During times of struggle and angst, He does some of His best work building me. I feel like I’ve grown more in times of suffering and struggle for sure than in times of peace. During struggle and hardship, I found myself clinging to Him – holding on as tight as possible. I learned through struggle and suffering that He doesn’t leave me. He is always there. At times during the struggle, it felt as if He had left, but He had not. My feelings are fickle and I’ve learned that when the Lord says He is with me, then I can count on that. It may not “feel” like He is with me; but He sure is!

I love the greeting that Paul ends his second letter to the church as Thessalonica with. Check this out…

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (1 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

 

Hope Filled Heart

 

Girl holding a heart-shaped boxI know what it is like to be hopeless and feeling helpless. I must say though, that as I study the Word of God and pursue His heart, I find that those times are a lot fewer than ever before in my life. As I journey through His Word, I find that I ALWAYS have hope. He never leaves me alone. Recently, upon hearing of my brother-in-law’s diagnosis with multiple myeloma cancer I was stunned and I allowed hopelessness to enter. I’m thankful that the Lord keeps pursuing my heart as I pursue His heart.

David pens a hope-filled Psalm that reminded me of His Presence. Check this out…

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
    you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
    declaring your splendor all day long. (Psalm 71:5-8 NIV)

I have followed the Lord at some level since I was a young boy. My parents and grandparents invested in building my faith consistently for many years. I am so thankful for their teaching and example over the years. As I read this passage this morning I was reminded of a tag line that Kari Jobe used in one of her live performances at the end of a special song. The song was “When You Walk In The Room” as a tag line. She then goes into a song called Majesty written by Delirious. Check out this simple worship chorus.

Majesty, Majesty.
Your grace has found me just as I am,
Empty handed but alive in Your hands.
Singing Majesty, Majesty.
Forever I am changed by Your love,
In the presence of Your Majesty.
Majesty.

I’m so thankful for God’s Presence in my life. There is no place I can go that He is not there. There is nothing I face without Him. He has filled my heart with hope and forever changed my heart. I will put my hope in Him because He’s filled me with hope.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cling

 

baby under blanketI love watching children when they are small and starting to walk. Some children will carry a blanket around and hold it close. In Charlie Brown, Linus had his blanket and it was a security blanket of sorts.  As I was reading in Psalms this morning I came across the word cling that reminded me of security blankets. Check this out…

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:1-8 NIV)

That word “cling” jumped out to me. I want to know the Lord deeper each day. I want to love how He loves. I want to think like He thinks. I want to know His heart. I love how David reflects on the Power and Glory of God. I am so grateful that God has been with me just about my whole life long. I feel like I know Him better today than ever before. I like that word cling because I feel like I cling to Him all the time. Over the years I’ve had to cling to Him during a job loss, a divorce, a church divorce, a company merger, a kid who survived cancer, a kid who survived a 40-foot fall to name a few. Less than 45 days ago, I learned my brother in law has cancer – I’m clinging to the Lord. I don’t know what else I can do. I believe the Lord wants to be the One I cling to. He wants to be my “security blanket” – He’s more than capable to keep me close when I’m scared and unsure what is next. I will cling to Him all the time. I will sing to Him all the time. I will trust in Him. I will find peace in His Presence.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Sustain

golden piano pedals of a concert grand pianoMany years ago, I took piano lessons. I was very young, like 12 or 13 I think. I remember wanting to learn to use the sustain pedal, but I had to learn the basics first. I don’t play a lot on the piano today, but when I do play I use the sustain pedal. The piano sounds bad if the sustain pedal isn’t working properly. The purpose of the sustain pedal on a piano is to let the corresponding strings from the notes played resonate their sound and blend into the next notes to be played. The sustain pedal gives the music a continual smooth sound. It is the pedal to the far right.

The word sustain has many meanings, but the most common one is to keep something or someone from giving way under a load of pressure. The pillars of a building sustain that structure. A person with tremendous inner strength is sustained through tough times.

King David was fleeing for his life from King Saul who was intensely jealous of him. David didn’t always know who he could trust. David was hiding among the Ziphites and they reported him to Saul. David was just trying to stay alive and he penned the words to Psalm 54. Check this out…

Save me, O God, by your name;
    vindicate me by Your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
    listen to the words of my mouth.

Arrogant foes are attacking me;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me –
    people without regard for God.

Surely God is my help;
    the Lord is the one who sustains me. (Psalm 54:1-4 NIV)

I believe that the Lord still sustains me in times of struggle. He reminds me of the journey. He reminds me who I am and Who I belong too.  He gives me strength that sustains me. He gives me wisdom and insight that also sustains me. I’m not sure I could put one foot in front of the other if He didn’t sustain me.

As I face a new day today, I’m relying on Him Who sustains me. He speaks truth into my life. He leads me to places of peace. He reminds me that He is always present through whatever life throws at me. He sustains me in the face of suffering and struggle because of Who He is not who I am.

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

I Want To Live Like That

Worship to GodEvery now and then the lifestyle of a wealthy person catches my attention. It may be something like the vehicles they drive, the location of their home or a very big yacht. Those are some of the finer things in life that money does provide. I’m generally a very content person when it comes to material things. I don’t need lots of money and possessions to find happiness and joy. The Lord brings much contentment because He manages my worry. He reminds me of what is the most important pursuit of my life.  I want my life to bring honor to God Who created me and is building me. Check this out…

My heart is stirred by a noble theme
    as I recite my verses for the king;
    my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most excellent of men
    and your lips have been anointed with grace,
    since God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
    clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
    in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
    let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. (Psalm 45:1-4 NIV)

I want to live like that guy! I want my words to measured well and understood well. I want my lips to be anointed with grace because I’ve experienced His Grace. I want the rest of my life here on earth to bring honor to God. I want my daily choices today to please Him.

This passage reminded me of a song that I’ve heard on the radio called: “I Wanna Live Like That” by Sidewalk Prophets.

Sometimes I think
What will people say of me
When I’m only just a memory
When I’m home where my soul belongs

Was I love
When no one else would show up
Was I Jesus to the least of us
Was my worship more than just a song
I wanna live like that
And give it all I have
So that everything I say and do
Points to You
If love is who I am
Then this is where I’ll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back
I wanna live like that

Am I proof
That You are who You say you are
That grace can really change your heart
Do I live like Your love is true

People pass
And even if they don’t know my name
Is there evidence that I’ve been changed
When they me do they see You

I wanna show the world the love He gave for me
I’m longing for the world to know
The glory of the King

Pressing On!

Dwayne