Price of Peace

iwo jima memorialThere are country level conflicts going on in different parts of the world. There are nations that are “war torn” because they are fighting for a cause that they believe in. There are many men, women and children willing to die for their cause. Their cause often costs them everything. I feel really blessed to live in a place of peace – relatively speaking. The battles that our nation faces from a military perspective are in another country. There are cultural battles that we are facing here at home on many fronts. Peace is sometimes illusive.

I just read yesterday about how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news across the mountain. I realized that when there are mountains, then there are valleys that lead to the mountaintop. The Lord paid the price of peace that is the good news. Check this out…

1 Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:1-6 NIV)

 

There are many men and women who have defended the freedoms we enjoy and they have fought many battles to protect our country and way of life from those who want to destroy us. The price of peace is really expensive. The Prince of Peace gave His life for peace. I really should not take it for granted. I should live each day with a grateful heart. All my sin was place on Him and He took it to the cross. Without His birth we wouldn’t have had the peace He brings.

“Peace on earth – good will to men” cost God His One and Only Son. I’m so thankful for the “peace that passes all understanding”.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Place of Peace

iwo jima memorialThere are places that I can go that are very peaceful and serene settings. There are other places that I can that are extremely noisy and distracting. I’m learning that with the Presence of God in my heart, I can have peace and even serenity in the midst of the noisy situations. The Presence of God in me makes everything about me different. The Presence of God in me might not change my situation, but it definitely changes my response to every situation. Check this out…

5 The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
    the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.
20 Look on Zion, the city of our festivals;
    your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved;
its stakes will never be pulled up,
    nor any of its ropes broken.
21 There the Lord will be our Mighty One.
    It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams.
No galley with oars will ride them,
    no mighty ship will sail them.
22 For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
the Lord is our king;
    it is he who will save us. (Isaiah 33:5-6;20-22 NIV)

 

I had the opportunity recently to go to the World War II museum in New Orleans, LA. I watched a short film/documentary of what happened leading up to the war as well as the bravery and tenacity of the American spirit in the midst of great turmoil. My heart was moved by the willing sacrifice of so many to fight for the life of our country and the freedoms that we hold dear. War is the opposite of peace. There are times when the unfettered aggression of another brings conflict. When the conflict subsides then peace can move in and find a home.

There are occasional times of war inside my heart. The Spirit of God is fighting against my flesh that wants what it wants when it wants. My flesh can be wild and out of control – the Holy Spirit can help bring my flesh under control. When my flesh is under the control of the Holy Spirit then the peace of God can rule and reign in my heart.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

No Fear

hope erase fearThere is a brand of American clothing introduced in the late 80’s called “No Fear” It came out of the motor cross scene but became quite iconic with a youthful culture here in the USA. I was never into the slogan much, but as a believer I do like it in some ways. I was reminded why I like this slogan this morning as I read this Psalm from the sons of Korah. Check this out….

1 God is our refuge and strength,

    an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam

    and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3 NIV)

 

The reason I can be brave is because of the Presence of God. He is my Source of Strength, but He is also here with me – present and accounted for. I will hold onto Him in the most troubling of times as well as the most fulfilling victorious times. I don’t ever want to forget what a difference His Presence in me makes. His Presence is me is the biggest game-changer of my entire life and my existence here on earth. He desires to fill my life with peace and joy for the journey – no matter what circumstances I face or find myself in the middle of. I don’t want my situation to every change my perspective of God. With Him I have NO FEAR!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Relax…

Thoughtful little girlWhen I think of the word “relax” – I’m thinking of jumping off the stress bandwagon and “chillin out”. I’m thinking of floating on the lake in a boat or sitting by the lake with an evening campfire. There are all sorts of ways to relax, but they often seem so very far away. I can get something on my mind or “up in my grill” and no matter where I am, relaxing might just take extra effort.

As a follower of Jesus, I’m learning to trust Him more with the stress of my life. I simply can’t do everything or be everything that others want me to be. My goal is to honor Him above all in my relationships. If I learn to love and live out of my relationship with Him, then I become better in every relationship I have.  I love this simple passage in Psalms that sort of screamed out to me to relax. Check this out…

Many, Lord, are asking,
 “Who will bring us prosperity?”

    Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy

    when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,

    for you alone, Lord,

    make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:6-8 NIV)

 

It’s hard to relax if I’m worried about keeping up with others. It’s hard to relax if I’ve set unrealistic expectations for my, my family, my friends or co-workers. I really want to be balanced in every area of my life. I want the balance of my life to come out of my journey with the Lord. I want to listen when He tells me to relax. I want to be wise about work when He’s speaking into my heart and my life. I want to grow today to trust Him more and more. As I walk out my faith journey, my work journey gets clearer and clearer as I hang out in His Presence and seek His wisdom for the journey.  I’m really pretty relaxed now and the subject matter that was on my mind first thing this morning can wait a minute because the Lord and I are going to talk extensively about it.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Access Code

LKR032459I had a loud wake up call this morning as I’m stumbling into the kitchen my normal sleepy stupor.  One of my boys had set the security system and accidentally (I hope!) set the motion sensor. That ear-piercing alarm scared the crap out of me and freaked me out a good bit. At times like that, I’m so out of it, I can barely remember the code to shut the darn thing off. Then I try to find my phone to report the false alarm. I can’t remember the code to open my phone (which is not the same code to shut off the alarm!) and all of this before my first cup of coffee. My hands were shaking not because of fear, but my heart was racing because I couldn’t get my mind awake. You’d think after that 150db alarm, I’d be awake! The alarm company calls me first and I tell them all is well – even though my heart is racing after that madness! After getting my coffee started, I opened the Word to Romans 5 and Paul talks about our access to God. This passage blessed my heart and directed my thoughts to gratitude for such grace. Check this out….

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:1-8 NIV)

I have to say that this never gets old to me! I love being showered with the amazing Grace of God.  I can have peace with God every minute, every hour of every day through Jesus. He became the sacrifice/payment for my sin. I have the ticket to Eternal Life with God through Jesus. I also have the secret code to the abundant life before eternal life!  Through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, I can walk in faith through my everyday normal life as a Husband, Dad and Friend/Realtor. The components of this life are no longer a mystery because I have the access code. The bad things that happen build me and the good things that happen bless me. I am wide awake – eyes wide open – basking in the glow of grace this morning! BTW, I think my heart rate is getting back to normal too!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Overcome

Strength Level Measured on Thermometer Ultimate StrongThere are events and experiences that really rock my world – sometimes to the point of really shaking my faith.  There are things that happen that are hard to understand and process. I still believe the Lord helps me to overcome them all. His Presence directs my path as I meander through uncharted territory of struggle and pain. I sometimes feel like the struggle is going to take me out. But then…. But then, I remember His Promises, His Power and His Presence! It makes all the difference in the world. Check this out….

29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:29-33 NIV)

I can overcome any obstacle that I face when I have the Presence and Power of God in my life. I know for sure that it will not be a “cakewalk”, but I can overcome with Him. He positions me to not only survive tremendous difficulties, He actually helps me thrive and grow in the middle of trouble. His economy revolves around my trust in Him. His economy involves lots of mercy and grace for stupid choices and ignorant decisions. I am thankful for His Promise, His Presence, His Power and His Peace! It makes all the difference in my worldview!

Pressing On!
Dwayne