Mercy, Refuge & Rescue

 

God's mercy at the CrossI can remember in my life in the not-so-distant past when I felt like I could not stand under the strain of suffering. I remember having a job one day and the next it was gone. I remember clearly the devastation of divorce nearly 25 years ago. I remember the news of my son having cancer. I remember the call from the ENT telling me that they are air-lifting my son to Atlanta because of injuries he incurred when he fell from a tree.  I could go on and on about suffering and struggle in my life, but those are in my top 5. I have learned that my strength to stand comes from kneeling down before the Lord in surrender and worship. I believe that King David felt the same way. He was hiding in a cave and penned a great psalm/prayer of mercy, refuge & rescue. Check this out…

I cry aloud to the Lord;
    I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
    before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
    no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, ‘You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.’

Listen to my cry,
    for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
    for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
    that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
    because of your goodness to me. (Psalm 142:1-7 NIV)

I can do nothing without the Lord. I can’t possibly navigate through the ups and downs of life without Him. The longer I walk with Him daily, the more convinced of this I am. His Presence and His Strength are beyond measuring. He helps me understand the struggle. He helps me through. I believe in His mercy. I believe He is my refuge – I can ALWAYS lean into Him. I can always count on Him for rescue. The way He supplies mercy, refuge and rescue does not always come when I command or ask – His timing and His plan is always spot on – even when I don’t understand.  I look back at the big struggles in my life and see how the Lord made good out of bad situations. His plan is way bigger than my plan. He’s used my struggles to teach me and build me for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Help

 

prompt helpI try hard to never be so proud that I can’t ask for help. I know that there are times I just want do things myself. As I walk with the Lord, I’ve realized that I need Him involved in every facet and area of my life. I talk to Him about nearly every decision. I most often regret the decisions that I don’t talk to Him about. He gives me clarity and help with my decisions. In fact, He gives me help in every area of my life. My role is to invite Him in and trust Him.

I love this Psalm of David as he prays a prayer of blessing. He puts such truth amid the blessing part. Check this out…

1 May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;

    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary

    and grant you support from Zion.

3 May he remember all your sacrifices

    and accept your burnt offerings.

4 May he give you the desire of your heart

    and make all your plans succeed.

5 May we shout for joy over your victory

    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests. (Psalm 20:1-5 NIV)

As we turn the corner into a New Year – I want the blessing of God all over my family, my life and my work. I want Him to direct my path. I want Him to bless my work. I want Him to bless the clients and customers I work with.

I know that He has plans to live and work through me – it’s my role to give Him the reins of my life and let Him go to work.  I know enough to know that I need Him every day as I walk through this complicated and crazy world. I trust Him to help me with each step of the way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Plans

Time to PlanI’ve heard of game plans for the football or basketball team to win the game. I’ve also heard of floor plans and house plans. I’ve been part of strategic planning. There is a one year plan, a three-year plan and the five-year plan.  I try very hard to plan my day in my calendar before it begins. Sometimes though, the best laid plans still go sideways or get pushed aside. I like to plan and dream, but I’ve learned that the Lord needs to be in the middle and in the front of all my hopes and dreams.

The Psalmist makes a statement that makes sense to those who know the Lord. Check this out…

1 Why do the nations conspire

    and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth rise up

    and the rulers band together

    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,

3 “Let us break their chains

    and throw off their shackles.”

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;

    the Lord scoffs at them. (Psalm 2: 1-4 NIV)

This passage reminded me of a phrase in a song that says: “If you want to see God laugh tell Him your plans.” (Van Zant “Get Right With The Man”) I do believe it’s wise to plan. I think it’s wise to seek the Lord’s heart first before any plans. I like to ask Him what He wants me to do today. Oh I know I’ve got appointments and things already written down, but I’ve given Him “veto power” over my plans and my schedule. If I plan too much, I begin to think that I’m in charge of something; without Him – I am nothing.  I want to filter my life through the call and plan of God for me. I know He wants me to follow Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. I want the plans that I make to be directly from Him and honoring to Him. If I’m walking in the plan God has for me, I’ll be on time and arrive at the proper place every time.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

PS – as soon as I finished this page, an important scripture came to mind. Check this out…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Important Appointment

Making a planI do my best to schedule my appointments into my calendar every day. I have some standing appointments that happen every week. For example, I attend church every Sunday at the same time (except when I’m out of town) and I have Sales Meeting every Tuesday at 9 AM with my Metro West REALTOR family. I think it’s important to keep appointments. I also think it’s important to be prepared for impromptu appointments.

Esther was about to have an impromptu appointment with the king, which was pretty dangerous. The king’s right-hand-man had gotten the king to sign an edict to destroy all Jews from the entire Persian kingdom. It was going to happen on December 12. Only a very few people knew that Queen Esther was a Jew. Her uncle Mordecai, (who was like her Dad) asked her to go to the king and beg for their lives. He had to make his case because it had been over a month since the king had summoned her into his presence. Mordecai made it clear that this could be the very reason that God orchestrated her becoming queen. Check this out…

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’

17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. (Esther 4:14-17 NIV)

I can hardly imagine the pressure that Esther must have felt. She could possibly survive this terrible event, but then again she might not. What if the king no longer loved her as his queen? She was fearful for sure, but she asked for help. I think it’s interesting that she asked all the Jews to fast for 3 days and 3 nights. Nothing is mentioned here about prayer, but I’m very confident that fervent prayer accompanied the fasting. I believe that some appointments are important enough to fast and pray over them. Fasting and praying provides incredible clarity and focus upon the Lord and pursuit of His Will and His Way. I certainly think it’s an excellent idea to pray over every appointment that I have throughout the day. I want the Lord to be well represented in all my appointments.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Prepared Provision

Making a planMy family and I love to go camping. We have to plan the dates when we will be off work and then my wife plans the menu. We also plan for s’mores (one of my favorite parts) and then finally the trip arrives. When we plan and prepare we can have a more relaxing trip. There are times when my best plans still don’t work the way I envisioned them.

Elijah had told King Ahab that the Lord had said there would be no rain or dew for the next several years. Then the Lord hid Elijah in a ravine and had the ravens bring him food. When the brook he was drinking from dried because of the lack of rain, he instructed Elijah to go somewhere else that He had prepared. Check this out…

9 ‘Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have instructed a widow there to supply you with food.’

13 Elijah said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.”’

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. (1 Kings 17:9; 13-16 NIV)

I love Elijah’s relationship with God. The Lord told him to go to the ravine beside the brook and he would have food from the ravens and water from the brook. He then told Elijah to go to this widow because the Lord had instructed her to supply him with food. It was scary for the woman, because she was down to her last portion of food. She made a cake for Elijah first and the promise of provision came true.

I am so thankful for the Lord’s provision for me and my family. I remember times when I was scared about not having enough money for food. I have been amazed at how the Lord provides WHEN I trust Him to provide. My best-laid plans are sometimes laughable against His plans. I believe provision is a daily experience. I also believe that He prepares me to receive His provision. He often works way ahead of me. I’ve learned the value of trusting in His plan and His provision. My part is to trust Him. I trust Him through giving and living. His provision and His favor are invaluable to me. I love when He blows me away with both.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Intentions

 

3D Vision Intentions CrosswordI really intend to start that exercise program very soon. I intend to come for a visit real soon. I intend start my diet next week. Intentions really mean well but without the “follow-through”, they are just thoughts or words with little meaning. I remember someone telling me years ago that “the road to hell was paved with good intentions.”

As I read the story of Solomon building the temple this morning, I realized that he started his reign as king in a really strong way. The Lord offered him anything he wanted and Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment. The Lord poured out not only wisdom and discernment, but also riches beyond his wildest dreams as well. Solomon became the builder of The Lord’s Temple. David had dreams and intentions, but the Lord wanted David’s successor to build the temple. As I was reading this morning, there were a couple of verses among all the descriptive items of construction that jumped out. Check this out…

11 The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.”

14 So Solomon built the temple and completed it. (1 Kings 6:11-14 NIV)

I do believe that he had really good intentions as he was building the temple. He was walking with the Lord. He becomes known as the wisest man to ever live. The fact that I know how his life goes further down the road sort of skews my thinking right now. I realize that Solomon fully intends to walk with the Lord and follow Him fully until the day he dies. This is not how the story ends. Solomon does stray from following the Lord. He marries women of other cultures whose religious beliefs are in direct conflict with him following Jehovah God.

This passage created a sobering thought to me. I don’t want to just follow the Lord for a season of my life. I want to follow Him the entire rest of my life. I don’t want to just trust Him when things are good; I want to trust Him when everything is a wreck as well. I want to keep seeking His heart. As I typed these words, I realized that this is my intention. I intend to follow the Lord fully all the rest of my days. I don’t want to be enticed away by hollow promises or “fake feelings” – I intend to keep seeking and keep pursuing God’s heart.

He inspires my intention to follow Him.

He empowers my intention to follow Him.

He doesn’t operate in the world of intentions – He keeps every promise. My actions reveal what my intentions were in the first place.

Pressing On!

Dwayne