Perspective on Power

 

For God so loved the world... God holding world with crossI’ve witnessed the power of high winds and tornados. I’ve talked with those who’ve experienced earth quakes. I’ve seen powerful explosives that take down a stadium to rubble. I’ve seen mighty cranes, trucks, bulldozers.  I’ve seen the destructive power of weapons used to steal, kill and destroy.  Power put in the wrong hands brings about disruption and destruction.

The Lord is ALL POWERFUL. No one else measures up to His Power. I’m in small group of men who are reading in Isaiah this week and immediately, I saw a powerful perspective of the Lord.  He has no equal. Check this out…

12 Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
    Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth
    or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
13 Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord?
    Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
14 Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?
    Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right
    or show him the path of justice? (Isaiah 40:12-14 NLT)

The prophet Isaiah is crystal clear on how powerful the Lord is. He explains that nothing or no one else can compare or measure up to Him. He is beyond my ability to fathom this power perspective. He made the heavens and the earth. He knows what the earth weighs? He never needs advice or wise counsel.

After this perspective, I came across one of my favorite passages in all of scripture. Check this out…

28 Have you never heard?
    Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
    No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT)

He never gets tired or weak and He’s the Supplier of my strength, therefore, I can remain strong. He renews my strength. He rebuilds me when I’m broken. He restores me when I’m devastated. He specializes in renewing and rebuilding broken, hurting people. He makes a way where there seems to be no way.  He most definitely worthy of my trust and confidence. There is no One more powerful, yet gentle, patient, merciful and full of Grace. I’m so thankful to know Him and to be known by Him!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bible

 

Man praying with the BibleI have started reading a different translation lately. I am reading the New Living Translation (NLT) and I was told it’s on a 6th grade reading level. I really like it so I guess that says a lot about my mental capacity! One of the things that ignited my passion for God’s Word is when I read a different version and started hearing the truth differently that I had heard since I was a kid. I still love The Message (paraphrase) by Eugene Peterson as it paraphrases the Word of God in everyday, contemporary language.

I came across a passage of scripture this morning where Jesus is addressing the “religious leaders” who were calling Him out for healing on the Sabbath. He had instructed a man who had been lame for 38 years to get up and walk and take his mat with him. The religious leaders majored on the minors quite frequently. They were upset that the man was carrying his mat. They were also upset that the man was healed on the Sabbath. They seem to miss the point for sure. Jesus starts explaining Who He is and that frustrates the religious leaders even more. He then speaks clearly where the issue really is. Check this out…

39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. (John 5:39 NLT)

If I read the Bible and miss seeing Jesus; I’ve missed the point of The Word completely. From the beginning of the Bible to the end, this Word of God is about The Word of God – Jesus. The Old Testament sets up His coming to earth and the New Testament introduces Him to the world and shows us how to live and follow Him.

I don’t want to become so dogmatic about studying the Bible that I miss The Point of the Bible – Jesus. I would not know Him without the Bible. He changed my life starting many years ago. He is still changing my life today. The way He lived – The way He loved – It’s all in the Bible. He is God Who came to the world as a human and lived and worked among us. He not only saved me from hell; He inspires me to live in a way that honors my Creator. The Presence of Jesus in my life via His Spirit has changed my perspective and my response to everything. I enjoy reading the Bible to hear more from Him and more about Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Sweet Smelling Prayers

 

Little boy prayingI have be a person who prays for a long time. I remember as a boy praying the child’s prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”. I had no idea what all that meant as a kid, but I trusted the Lord because my parents trusted the Lord. When I was 19 years old, I had a spiritual experience with the Lord and I no longer needed the faith of my parents, I believed Him for me. I now “owned” my faith.

I’ve prayed prayers of surrender.

I’ve prayed prayers of confession.

I’ve prayed prayers of forgiveness.

I’ve prayed prayers for financial help.

I’ve prayed prayers of desperation.

I’ve prayed prayers for physical healing.

There have been seasons of my life when my prayers didn’t seem to make it past the ceiling in my house. There have been other times when I felt like my head was resting on the shoulder of Jesus. I do believe that prayer changes things. Prayer changes my perspective. Prayer calls upon the Lord to become involved in my world. Prayer reaffirms my dependence upon the Lord.

I came across a passage in revelation that referenced he “prayers of the saints” and it struck a chord with me. It made me ponder prayer and how it “smells” to the Lord. Check this out…

When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and golden bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8 CSB)

I was reminded of a simple worship song recorded a few years ago by Matt Redman.

The Prayers of The Saints by Matt Redman

Are the prayers of the saints like sweet smelling incense,
Are the prayers of the saints like sweet smelling incense
To Your heart, to Your heart?

Let these prayers of the saints be sweet smelling incense,
Let these prayers of the saints be sweet smelling incense
To Your heart

Are the songs of the saints like sweet smelling incense,
Are the songs of the saints like sweet smelling incense
To Your heart, to Your heart?

Let these songs of the saints be sweet smelling incense,
Let these songs of the saints be sweet smelling incense
To Your heart.

I want the prayers from my heart and mouth to be sweet smelling incense to the Lord. I want His Agenda to become my agenda rather than have my agenda become His. I want my life to be a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Patience & Suffering

Woman suffering from stress grimacing in painI am not known for patience, but I’m learning more every day. I am not filled with road rage, but I do get frustrated when others can’t seem to figure out how to drive their truck or car like the rest of us! (LOL) Patience is a very important character trait. It’s included as a fruit of The Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) I like being around patient people, it’s not nearly as easy to be patient as it appears. Our culture leans hard toward instant gratification instead of delayed gratification. We like things now and we don’t like to wait. The older I get the more aware of this epidemic of impatience. I was reminded of patience this morning, especially when things are not going as planned and suffering comes on the scene. Check this out…

Therefore, brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.

10 Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome that the Lord brought about—the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:7-8,10-11 CSB)

People who have endured suffering are more thankful than those who haven’t. Suffering is hard and painful. It’s a struggle to suffer and I need others with me in the struggle. Those who have suffered are humble in spirit.  I would not wish suffering upon anyone, but I pray that those during suffering learn that leaning into the Lord is the best path through it. I also know that when I’ve endured suffering, I’m stronger and closer to the Lord than ever before. If I don’t trust the Lord in my suffering, I’ll become bitter instead of better. Suffering, Patience & Endurance build rock solid character on multiple levels. I’ve learned more about myself during these struggles. The Lord has built some character qualities in me during suffering and hard time that I’m not sure could have been built any other way.

I don’t pray for patience, but I really try to practice it. I pray for strength for today. I pray for the Lord to give me strength to endure hardship and hard times. I approach Him with a thankful heart for all that He has brought me through because remember my history of struggle and suffering gives a healthy perspective on today’s struggle. Someone quipped that “life is hard by the yard and a cinch by the inch”. I want to live my life out walking with the Lord through everything – the good, easy or the hard & hectic. His Presence in my heart gives me great strength and confidence to face whatever life throws at me. Life is not always easy, but He is certainly ALWAYS with me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Test Trials

 

Child in medicine maskTest trials are also known as “Clinical Trials” and these are implemented when trying to find a specific drug or medical protocol that will attack a certain disease or illness. These are tests of sorts and often, they are “last ditch efforts” to help fight certain types of disease.

The book of James comes out of the gate with some crazy ideas regarding trials of life and suffering. This is a different kind of test. Check this out…

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

12 Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2-4,12 CSB)

I’ve been through a few trials and suffering in my life and I did not think they were great joy. I will submit that the trials and sufferings built somethings inside of me that weren’t there before. I admit that I was pretty “ticked off” at God because of the trials and suffering, but then when I settled down, I realized that He would not leave. He would walk with me through the trial and He always has a different perspective on my trials from where He “sits”. It is very easy to lose perspective during a trial.

I believe that God has taught me things during trials and suffering that I couldn’t have learned any other way. I learned a lot about me and what I was “made of”. I also learned a lot about the faithfulness of The Lord. He is so patient and understanding while I’m reeling and frustrated. He holds me when I’m hurt and angry. He sits with me when I can’t even talk. I have a different perspective completely on all of life. I want Him with me as I celebrate the joy of life and I know He will be with me when I’m in a trial time or suffering time. He helps me make lemonade out of lemons. He helps me navigate through the dark ally of trial and struggle.

In the middle of one particular trial this song blessed me. “Let Me Feel You Shine” by David Crowder Band.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Recall – Remind – Rekindle

Memo with Paper Clip - rememberWhen I think back about my life and my journey of faith, it must include my grandmother, Gladys Greer (aka Mammie). She was a dear lady who loved the Lord and I can still remember her big Bible near her chair in the living room of her house. She studied it often. She had a Bible that was falling apart, but her life wasn’t’ because her deep faith gave purpose and helped her navigate any situation in life. She passed her faith on to my Mom and then to me. I have quite a heritage of faith. I find myself praying for my kids that they will know the Lord. I want them to see the Lord in my life.

The Apostle Paul was writing a second letter to his young protégé Timothy. I can feel the emotional connection between the two. He is connecting Timothy’s journey today with his journey of faith in the past. Check this out…

I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also.

Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. (2 Timothy 1:5-7 CSB)

I love the encouragement from Paul. I can take that into my heart and my life today. I need to recall my journey. I need to be reminded of all that the Lord has done in my life. I must daily rekindle the Holy Spirit that is in me. I can be strong and bold as I face challenges in life because I recall, I’m reminded and I’m rekindling the fire that is in me.

I also love the last line of this passage – it’s almost a “because” passage. I can recall, remind and rekindle BECAUSE the Lord has given me “a spirit of power, love and sound judgement”. I’m brimming with confidence because of His Power in me. This perspective shapes and remakes my perspective on everything in my life. I can face any challenge in my life, because the Creator lives in me and lives through me.

I think it’s healthy to revisit my journey often and realize that I’m standing on the shoulders of faith of my grandmother and my parents. I’m also standing on the shoulders of Paul, Timothy, Peter, James and John to name a few. I want to recall, be reminded and rekindle the Spirit of God in my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne