Morning Song

Performance at Creation NW 2006I love mornings. I guess you could call me a morning person. It’s because I choose to be. I have found that if I’m going to be a morning person, I must go to bed in time to allow for enough rest. This morning fell on a weekend, so I could sleep in a bit. I awoke just in time to see a gorgeous sunrise and enjoy a good cup of freshly ground coffee with the Word of God.

I came across a passage that King David had penned when he was early on the run from Saul. Saul had just sent men to his house to kill him and he was confused as to why. I feel like I relate to David, because I move from faith to fear and back to faith in a very short time frame. Check this out….

16But I will sing of your strength,

in the morning, I will sing of your love;

for you are my fortress,

my refuge in times of trouble.

17You are my strength, I sing praise to you;

you, God, are my fortress,

my God on whom I can rely. (Psalm 59:16-17 NIV)

I love singing to the Lord. It refreshes my soul. I find strength when I sing to the Lord. Some of the songs I like to sing affirm my faith and trust in the Lord. When I sing of my love and trust in God, my struggles fade into the background.

One of current favorite songs to declare before the Lord is: “Here’s My Heart” recorded by Crowder & written by Jason Ingram, Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio. Here are the lyrics that also make a great morning prayer…

Here’s my heart Lord
Here’s my heart Lord
Here’s my heart Lord
Speak what is true

‘Cause I am found, I am Yours
I am loved, I’m made pure
I have life, I can breathe

‘Cause You are strong, You are sure
You are life, You endure
You are good, always true
You are light breaking through

You are more than enough
You are here, You are love
You are hope, You are grace
You’re all I have, You’re everything

________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Self-Pity

 

Word cloud illustration in shape of hand print showing protest.Self-pity is not an attractive trait and sometimes it’s really hard to push away from such a strong emotion or sentiment. When it seems like the whole world is crashing in around me it’s tough to keep my head up. In my journey with the Lord I’ve learned that no one else can “pity” me quite like I can. I am embarrassed to think of how many “pity parties” I’ve thrown for myself over the years. It is so easy to get the guest list together for a pity party because I’m the most important guest.

Job is having a pretty big pity party in his own right. He has more reason to have one than I every have. He’s lost all his material possessions, his family and his health. He is barely hanging on to life itself. He’s lost hope and he’s crying out to the Lord because he doesn’t understand what he has to endure. Check this out…

4 Do you have eyes of flesh?

    Do you see as a mortal sees?

5 Are your days like those of a mortal

    or your years like those of a strong man,

6 that you must search out my faults

    and probe after my sin –

7 though you know that I am not guilty

    and that no one can rescue me from your hand?

12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,

    and in your providence watched over my spirit. (Job 10:4-7, 12 NIV)

I can hardly imagine what Job is feeling and experiencing. I’ve certainly had struggles and sufferings in my life, but nothing on the scale that Job is facing. I love how Job deals with his frustrations and struggles. He asked God lots of questions. Inside these questions are definitely strong hints of hopelessness. He asks lots of questions and begs the Lord to take his life, but he doesn’t curse God. I love seeing this personal relationship with God. I believe as I read the rest of God’s Word, that this personal relationship is exactly what the Lord wants with me. He wants me to walk and talk with Him daily. He wants me to let my life revolve around His Plans for me. He wants to direct my daily activities. He wants to be the desire of my heart every day. He wants me to trust Him without worry or question – even though He will welcome my questions.

I want to stop having pity parties – they are always themed the same – with my whining. Come to think of it; I don’t usually invite the Lord to my pity parties because He will shut the party down.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Therapeutic Prayer

Abstract Silhouette PrayingThere have been times in my prayer life that as I heard my prayer out loud, I saw and felt it quite differently. I pray mostly with unspoken words. I do believe that prayer feels different when spoken aloud. I will often pray aloud when I’m alone with the Lord.

In Job’s first response to one of his friends he speaks about his situation and I think he’s addressing the Lord directly. Woven throughout this story is the depth of the Lord’s relationship with Job. Check this out…

7 Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath;

    my eyes will never see happiness again.

8 The eye that now sees me will see me no longer;

    you will look for me, but I will be no more.

9 As a cloud vanishes and is gone,

    so one who goes down to the grave does not return.

10 He will never come to his house again;

    his place will know him no more.

11 ‘Therefore I will not keep silent;

    I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,

    I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

17 ‘What is mankind that you make so much of them,

    that you give them so much attention,

18 that you examine them every morning

    and test them every moment? (Job 7:7-11; 17-19 NIV)

I can feel the angst in Job’s spirit as these words flow off the page. I can feel his sense of loss and trying to understand why he’s in this situation. In the midst of crisis, I found great peace and comfort in prayer. I can be clueless as to what the next move should be, but I’m determined to be led by the Lord whatever that move may be.

I also find great comfort from the Word of God. As I journey through Job, I realize that my sufferings and struggles feel quite small. This man Job was really “put through the ringer”. His question about mankind was also very revealing of his relationship with the Lord. It was a daily examination of his heart and he walked with the Lord each moment. Job is an example of tight fellowship with the Lord.

I would be wise to view today as an integral part of my journey with the Lord. If there are not big events, I will simply walk with Him and be thankful for this day. I will welcome Him to examine my heart as I walk through this day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Opposition

 

Man withstands moving downThere are times when I’m in disagreement with someone else. I don’t always know what the next move should be – The Lord knows. I really want to live and walk out my life with Him leading and directing me. He can see things I can’t see. He can do things I can’t do. He knows things I don’t know. He sees and knows things about the opposition that I really need to know too.

Nehemiah was leading the exiles from Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. They were repairing the gates. They were making the city secure from their enemies all around them from the Ammonites and Arabs. Nehemiah prayed intently for the Lord to protect them and to reveal their enemies plans. Check this out…

12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, ‘Wherever you turn, they will attack us.’

13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.’

15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our work. (Nehemiah 4:12-15 NIV)

There will be times when opposition will happen and threaten the things I hold dear. I will be forced to step up to defend & push back those trying to beat me down and take me out. I think it takes great courage to push back especially when the opposition is strong. I believe that the Lord will provide wisdom and insight on how to prepare and provide a defense. When faced with opposition, my first priority should be to make sure I lay it out before the Lord. I need His wisdom; counsel & strategy to take down the opposition or at least put them in their place.

I’m not sure I understand all the resources that the Lord uses to help me when facing dangerous opposition. I just know that His resources are unlimited, while my resources are extremely limited.

When others oppose me – I don’t have to let them impose themselves upon me. I need to walk with the Lord in such a way that He reveals the motives and actions of those in opposition so that I can wisely push back and defend the values that I hold dear.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership Intercession

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI’m thankful for leaders over the years that I could learn from as they walked out their faith. I can bring up pictures of leaders who have influenced me tremendously and some of them may not even be aware of it. Other leaders that I’ve followed, I’ve had the opportunity to tell them personally about how they influenced me. Some leaders who have influenced me have been family; some have been ministers and some have been hardworking business owners. One of the things that all the influential leaders in my life have in common is that they are prayer warriors. They prayed for others and me as I grew up. I’m so thankful for their “leadership intercession” on my behalf.

Nehemiah comes on the scene some 100 years later than the first exiles return to Jerusalem. The first wave of exiles was rebuilding the temple as well as the walls of Jerusalem. They were meeting some resistance and word got back to Jeremiah, who was still in captivity, but serving in the king’s presence. When news of this hardship reached Nehemiah, he began to grieve and intercede. Check this out…

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:

‘Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.

10 ‘They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.’

I was cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:4-6; 10-11 NIV)

There are times the most important leadership activity that I can do involves intercessory prayer. I can talk things out until I’m blue in the face. When I talk to the Lord I’m bringing Heaven’s Resources into play. I’m still learning the value and the power of prayer in any given situation.

I think leaders should pray more intensely than others because of the weight of the responsibility of the leadership position. I also think that prayer really changes the heart of the one praying. Prayer opens the way for humility to enter and pride to exit. I believe a humble leader is way more effective than a prideful leader. It’s hard to be full of pride when you’re praying for the people you’re tasked with leading. Nehemiah is such a strong example of servant leader in his position as cupbearer. He also was a strong intercessory leader before the Lord through his humility and intense prayer on behalf of his people. I want to lead like that. I want to intercede for the people I’m blessed to lead.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Entreaty

worship in prayerI’m not sure I’ve ever noticed this word before although it’s meaning is fairly simple. It simply means: “earnest request, or petition; supplication.” It sounds a lot like prayer to me. I like the word treaty, which is inside this word. Treaty is about an agreement or pact of some sort.

For all the good King Hezekiah had done, his son Manassah took it all down. This young man seemed bent on doing evil. He ignored the messages and warnings of the Lord. The Lord sent the commanders of Assyria and they took him captive. I think it took something of this magnitude to get his attention. Check this out…

12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. (2 Chronicles 33:12-13 NIV)

There are some important components of His prayer. I think the first part is seeking the Lord. The Lord is not hard to find. I’ve felt that He left before, but it was actually me that left Him. The second part of his prayer was that he humbled himself. I’ve said it many times before that pride is one of most destructive characteristics that I could have. The fact that Manasseh humbled himself was significant. His prayer moved the Lord. I believe that his prayer would have been nothing if had not humbled himself before the Lord.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures and responses. This young man was desperate and his humility and his plea moved the heart of God. If I could simply learn to seek the Lords heart and stay humble before Him, my journey with Him would have a depth that is hard to measure and comprehend. I have to keep my pride in check in order for my prayer life to have meaning. My entreaty is dependent upon the position of my heart. I can pray to the Lord to learn more about how to pray.

Pressing On!

Dwayne