Refuge

 

protected homeThere has been so many times in my life that my home has become a refuge from a harsh and cruel world. I just feel like I can come home and leave the problems and struggles somewhere else.

I love the story of the man who had a “trouble tree” in his front yard. Everyday when he came home from work, he would touch the tree (he was leaving his troubles there). Each morning when he’d head out to work, he would touch the tree again (pick up his troubles) and head to work.

I think everyone needs a place of refuge – a place of escape or shelter. Over the years as my children were small, my place of refuge was not quiet, but I loved getting away with my family.

The Lord provided cities of refuge for people who committed manslaughter. The person who accidently killed a person could flee to one of these cities for protection. Check this out…

22 ‘“But if without enmity someone suddenly pushes another or throws something at them unintentionally 23 or, without seeing them, drops on them a stone heavy enough to kill them, and they die, then since that other person was not an enemy and no harm was intended, 24 the assembly must judge between the accused and the avenger of blood according to these regulations. 25 The assembly must protect the one accused of murder from the avenger of blood and send the accused back to the city of refuge to which they fled. The accused must stay there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with holy oil. (Numbers 35:22-25 NIV)

The city of refuge was to be a safe place.

The city of refuge had a job to do.

The city of refuge brought relief.

The city of refuge brought peace.

I’ve known people who were accused of really bad things and I could hardly imagine what life in public would be like for them. (They need a place of refuge.) I’ve also known people who had to make some really hard decisions regarding their company that caused people to loose jobs and their livelihood. (They need a place of refuge.) I simply need a quiet place to hear from the Lord – a place of refuge – where He can speak clearly into my heart directing my path.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Scripts

Reputation Words on Box Credible Reliable ProductI just returned from the National Association of REALTORS conference in beautiful San Diego, California. There are classes and seminars on nearly every possible topic related to real estate. It is somewhat like drinking water from a fire hydrant. Some of the presentations are really geared toward training the sales side of my world. They will teach responses to buyer and seller objections. In other words they give out scripts to sales people. I’ve never liked scripts even though I understand why they use them and teach them. I like to interact with people out of my personality and seek to connect with theirs.

This morning I ran across a “script” of what the Lord wants the priests – Aaron and his sons to speak over the people. Check this out…

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, “This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 ‘“‘The Lord bless you

    and keep you;

25 the Lord make his face shine on you

    and be gracious to you;

26 the Lord turn his face towards you

    and give you peace.’”

27 ‘So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.’ (Numbers 6:22-27 NIV)

I really like this blessing because it really settles my heart. If the Lord is blessing me and making His face shine upon me – I don’t have need of anything else. His blessing on my life is the most significant event in my life.

His Face shines upon my journey with Him.

His Face shines upon my family.

His Face shines upon my friends, coworkers, customers and clients.

His Face shines upon my company.

I want His Face to shine upon every facet of my life. I want His Peace and his Presence as His Face shines upon me. That is not a “scripted prayer” – it is from my heart.   I just want to be in the Presence of The Lord making “eye contact” with Him – I need His Peace!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Peace Offering

 

I am sorryI have heard of Peace Offerings before because I’ve been the recipient of one and the giver of one. Peace offerings imply that there has been a dispute or a battle between two people. I’ve given something as simple as an apology with a gift card and at other times more elaborate gifts. I feel like the peace offering can also mean I don’t want to be at odds with you anymore. It doesn’t necessarily mean that an apology is in order, but a “cease fire” of words. This sometimes needs to happen inside family disputes. Otherwise the dispute can escalate into years of broken relationship. The Lord instituted a peace (aka fellowship) offering for His people. Check this out…

1 ‘“If your offering is a fellowship offering, and you offer an animal from the herd, whether male or female, you are to present before the Lord an animal without defect. 2 You are to lay your hand on the head of your offering and slaughter it at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall splash the blood against the sides of the altar. 3 From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the Lord: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them, 4 both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver, which you will remove with the kidneys. 5 Then Aaron’s sons are to burn it on the altar on top of the burnt offering that is lying on the burning wood; it is a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. (Leviticus 3:1-5 NIV)

This is one offering that involves the individual who brings the offering is the one who does the killing. I believe that this would be in my face a bit. I think it would leave a mark on my heart having to take the life of a young animal to restore fellowship or peace with God.

I must confess that I don’t always understand the context of these sacrifices and offerings. It confuses me and I’m so glad that God made a way directly to Him through Jesus – the One and Only sacrifice needed for sin. The downside to these terms is that I take them for granted. I believe the involvement in the fellowship/peace offering would bring the issue that I was working at resolving front and center and in my face. The fact that an animal had to die to restore fellowship and peace would be a very sobering event.

As long as it depends upon me, I want to learn to work and cooperate with everyone. I don’t want to be difficult or impossible to deal with. I welcome feedback and input in all my relationships so that I can keep growing. I want to grow in my understanding of difficult people. I’m thankful that I can go directly to the Lord regarding all my relationships including my relationship with Him. I’m thankful that Jesus became the final and ultimate sacrifice to restore fellowship and peace with God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Shock & Awe

Happy surprised manThere have been times when I’ve received news that absolutely stunned me. I’ve also been speechless and weak in the knees after hearing or seeing certain events take place. Another symptom that usually gets to me is being sick to my stomach. When I first heard about the 9/11 attacks on New York, I was all of the above – stunned, speechless, weak in the knees and sick to my stomach. I could not have possibly put into words the helpless feeling I felt. I’m learning every day to “Trust in The Lord with ALL my heart and lean not on my own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 NIV)

When Ezekiel was called to be a prophet, I’m sure he had no idea what he would see or hear. The first chapter he was seeing all sorts of things he’d never seen before. I can’t imagine seeing a “wheel inside a wheel” and the four creatures with weird heads. Then he saw the Glory of the Lord. Check this out…

25 Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. 26 Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. 27 I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:25-28 NIV)

 

I have never seen anything like Ezekiel saw. I have seen the Power of God at work. I have seen what a difference the Presence of God makes. I have seen the effects of the Peace of God that settle in on my heart. There are times in my life that I need the Power of God, the Presence of God and the Peace of God all at the same time. I really can’t imagine my life with the Hope that He brings to every situation. I want to remain in “Shock and Awe” of His Presence. I don’t want to ever take His Presence, His Power and His Peace for granted.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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