No Limits

 

square grunge red no limits stampThere are boundaries and limits all around me. I can’t imagine a life without some limits. I remember when I was young and living under the rules of my parents. During those times, I had to let them know when I’d be home and where I was going when I went out with friends on the weekend. I grew up respecting their rules but I was also ready to be out from under them. I went to college, only to find more rules and boundaries. The college I went to was a Christian College and it had a lot more rules. The purpose of those rules was obvious – trying to help me make good choices and not hurt others or myself. Fast forward a few years and I get married. There are boundaries inside of marriage. The boundaries are there to protect the relationship and the family unit. I guess the idea of having no limits or boundaries sound good, but it’s not real applicable to my world.

The Psalmist reminds me that the Lord has no limits. He can do anything He wants. He can go anywhere He wants at any time He wants. Check this out….

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground. (Psalm 147:1-6 NIV)

God can do anything EXCEPT fail. I’ve learned to lean upon Him for everything. I’ve learned to trust Him without exception or question. I’m still discovering insights to the Lord that I had not seen previously to this extent. His Presence in my life has and still does – blow me away. I find great peace in His Presence. I love singing songs to the Lord because I know Him and I want to know Him more.

My God created the heavens and the earth and He loves to hear from me. I’m just a peon here on the planet that He created but He wants to hear from me. He loves it when I sing to Him and about Him. He loves it when I talk to Him and about Him. He loves when my heart is devoted to His heart.  When I trust Him with my whole heart and my whole life – there is no limits to the depths of my love and devotion. There are no limits on the Power of God. There are no limits on the Grace of God. There are no limits on Mercy of God. There are no limits on the Presence of God. I can’t comprehend all of this, but I will simply trust and obey His call upon my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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

Bold & Confident

 

I am bolder in some situations more so than in other situations. I think boldness comes from confidence. If I have confidence in my understanding of the situation, I will often feel bolder. I am growing in my understanding of how confident and bold I can be when I have the Presence of God in me. He listens to me when I call upon Him. He doesn’t always do things the way I would do them, but He ALWAYS listens when I pray. He ALWAYS comes when I call. I was reminded of how much the Lord gives me strength, poise and boldness when He comes. His Wisdom, His Strength, His Power is not matched by any education of workout regimen. King David was who he was because of his relationship with the Lord. Check this out…

When I called, you answered me;
    you greatly emboldened me.

Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures for ever –
    do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:3,6-8 NIV)

I don’t always understand God’s timing, but I’m learning to trust Heart without exception. He has a bigger plan than I can see or understand. I feel like I’m a “big picture” thinker, but when it comes to His ways, they blow past my finite ability to comprehend or grasp. I will simply trust Him. My trust in Him gives me confidence that He has got whatever comes. There is no need to stress on my part, I simply trust. I don’t need to wrestle the situation away from Him or try to take over for Him, He has more than enough expertise to handle ANYTHING that He is faced with. The stuff that surprises me NEVER surprises The Lord. He is not shocked by cancer, death or stupidity. I think they all hurt His heart because those things were not in His original design for humanity. In giving us freedom to accept or reject His way, we chose differently and that rebellion has changed everything.

I want to live for Him. I want to live my life committed to following Him. I want to choose Him the first thing every day. When He lives, and moves in me, I have a boldness and confidence that should not make sense to others. I would be comfortable dining with the president’s and princes, the wealthiest to the poorest because the Lord lives in me and He will help me through any situation or circumstance I’m faced with.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Renown

fameThis is not a word that I use in everyday conversation, but it is a word that I have used in speaking about The Lord.  I looked it up and there is not a lot of detail in it’s definition. It simply means: “widespread high repute; fame”. (On a side note, “high repute” means high reputation, high estimation in the view of other, a good name, respect.) I want to be a man known for making The Lord famous and not seek the spotlight in the process. His fame and His renown is significant because He changes lives. He builds beautiful people out of broken situations. He restores people who have been discarded. He forgives and lifts the fallen. His Power and His Presence leave me in awe.

The Psalmist asks that we praise the Lord and lift His name. Check this out…

I know that the Lord is great,
    that our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
    in the heavens and on the earth,
    in the seas and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
    he sends lightning with the rain
    and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

13 Your name, Lord, endures forever,
    your renown, Lord, through all generations. (Psalm 135:5-7,13 NIV)

The Lord is famous without me saying so. I do believe that He is Who He says He is. I do believe that those who refuse to believe in Him today will one day bow before Him – possibly too late. I have been on a journey with the Lord for the past few years that has been at a different level than when I was young. I think I understand Him and know Him more personally because of suffering and struggle. I have been through some hard situations and when suffering comes, some of the distractions and shallow thinking exits. The Lord leans into me during suffering. He has not once left me alone in suffering and struggle even though I’ve left Him. I feel like the Psalmist is praising the Lord profoundly because he was humbled through suffering and struggle, yet restored through forgiveness and kindness of the Lord.

I want others to know the Peace that comes with the Presence of God. It is not magical, but it is practical. The Lord is Who He claims to be in scripture. He did create the heavens and the earth. He does save all who believe on Him. I just wish everyone could know what I know and feel what I feel and experience Him first hand. The crazy part is He just needs to be invited into one’s heart. I’m trying hard to give Him total control of my life, my thoughts – all that is me.  I really don’t care about becoming famous, but I want my life to make Him famous. He has done all the work saving me and shaping my heart, my words, my life. He gets all the credit for any good that I have possibly done or said. His renown is the goal of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Home In My Heart

 

Young man suffering pain on his chest, isolated on whiteI’ve heard it said that “home is where the heart is”. This speaks to where I live. Wherever my family and I live is now home. I grew up calling Kentucky home as that is where I lived nearly 18 years of my early life. I’ve since lived in Tennessee and Georgia. In fact, I’ve lived in Georgia over 30 years of my life. I still call Kentucky home when I’m asking about family “back home”. Georgia is now my home and has been for a long time.

As I read in Psalm this morning about God making His home in Zion, I was reminded that He now makes my heart and the hearts of His people His home. Check this out…

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion,
    he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
14 ‘This is my resting place for ever and ever;
    here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
    her poor I will satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
    and her faithful people shall ever sing for joy.

17 ‘Here I will make a horn grow for David
    and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
    but his head shall be adorned with a radiant crown.’ (Psalm 132:13-18 NIV)

When Jesus came and conquered sin and death, He left us with the very Spirit of God to dwell in our hearts. There are churches being built where people gather to worship, but the Lord no longer dwells in temples made with hands, He dwells in our heart. I like how Paul describes it. Check this out…

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22 NIV)

I can live out my life in confidence that the Lord has made His home inside my heart. He directs me. He leads me. He settles my heart. His Presence in me gives me Power to combat temptation and sin that creeps in. He gives me strength that seems impossible and peace that is hard for others to understand. My heart is not His home – His dwelling place.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Praying For Peace

 

Pretty girl praying.Elderly man prayingI see peace as a “state mutual harmony, and a state of serenity and tranquility”. This is a word that means different things to a lot of different people. I love having peace in my life, buy sometimes peace is not quiet or boring. Sometimes “mutual harmony” is a bit loud and even a struggle. I used to connect peace with quiet and I still do sometimes. Peace is much deeper than silence. Peace is a matter of my spiritual heart condition. When my heart is at peace, I am trusting the Lord with whatever is getting me anxious.

David was evidently heading to the Temple when He wrote this Psalm. David is a warrior and has fought many bloody battles and has seen much bloodshed. In the midst of this assent to worship he is asking the people to join him in prayer. Check this out…

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    ‘May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
    and security within your citadels.’
For the sake of my family and friends,
    I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your prosperity. (Psalm 122:6-9 NIV)

I need to be a prayer warrior for peace. I can pray for peace for my family, my community, my state, my country & the world. Praying for peace and seeking to be peaceful are two different things. I believe that the Lord loves peace. I believe He restores my soul and nourishes my heart during peace. During times of struggle and angst, He does some of His best work building me. I feel like I’ve grown more in times of suffering and struggle for sure than in times of peace. During struggle and hardship, I found myself clinging to Him – holding on as tight as possible. I learned through struggle and suffering that He doesn’t leave me. He is always there. At times during the struggle, it felt as if He had left, but He had not. My feelings are fickle and I’ve learned that when the Lord says He is with me, then I can count on that. It may not “feel” like He is with me; but He sure is!

I love the greeting that Paul ends his second letter to the church as Thessalonica with. Check this out…

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (1 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne