Mercy – Hope – Respect

Man praying with the BibleIt’s a new day! Yesterday is now in the rear-view mirror – today is another chance to make good choices and wise decisions. I was reminded this morning how much I need mercy. Mercy is defined as: compassion, forbearance, kindness, blessing, pity, benevolence, the power to pardon and divine favor. I live in the shadow of this word every day and I’m profoundly thankful that the Lord shows me mercy daily.

As I read this Psalm of Assents this morning, I was reminded that along with mercy, I have found hope and I live in respect for the Lord out of that mercy & hope. Check this out…

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his Word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:1-5 NIV)

The more I study the Word of God, the more respect and reverence I have for the Lord. He has NOT kept a record of my sins. I am aware of my sin most days and I’m naïve toward the mercy He has poured out on me. I am profoundly thankful and humbled to think of how He not only forgives me and shows mercy, He calls me His kid. The moves my heart. In His Word, I find that mercy and forgiveness displayed often. In His Word, I find Provision, Protection, Direction, Instruction, Help, Hope, Profound Love. The Lord is in a category all by Himself. He is not just another god – He is the Only God and He forgives and forgets my stupidity. His heart melts when I say I’m sorry. His mercy and forgiveness is immediate. His Presence is constant. His Word teaches me more and more about His heart, Who He is and I’m invited to know Him more personally.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Code Is Clear

 

Clicking a redeem button, 3d renderI have walked with the Lord for a long time. I was introduced to the Lord at a very young age and I grew up living off the faith of my parents and grandparents. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in college that I owned my faith. I remember the night that I believed in God for myself. I didn’t make a public display, but the Lord moved in my heart and I still remember it like it was yesterday or last week. I pray that my kids own their faith. I pray that God speaks to them.

I read one of the “Psalms of Accents” this morning that was a bit confusing. It was obvious the writer was feeling frustrated from the oppression that had been upon Israel. I did find a nugget that spoke into my heart. Check this out…

But the Lord is righteous;
    he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.’ (Psalm 129:4 NIV)

I have been picked on and put down by some strong personalities. I confess that I’ve struggled to care about those who hate me. It feels like the wicked and hateful people are dictating how I feel and where I go from here. The Lord directs my path. He will help me experience freedom from the people who wish to harm me. He will protect me from them. He will expose them. The Lord rescues and restores my heart all the time – often daily. He knows me like no one else. He knows when I hurt and when I’m down. He takes my fear and worry off my shoulders and carries it on His shoulders.

When I’m in the middle of struggle and frustration, I must remember that The Lord is ALWAYS strong and righteous. He is mighty to save. He never forgets about me. He releases me from the clutches of the careless and He restores my heart and soul.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Surround

Smiling manI have believed for many years that a wise leader will surround themselves with wise people. It could be argued that if a smart man surrounded himself with idiots, he would then become one. I do believe that our environment has influence upon us, maybe not to that extreme!

When I’m watching TV and the police surround the place where the perpetrator is, you know it’s just about over, unless he had an escape route planned via tunnel. At night when I set the alarm system of my home, I feel like I’m surrounded with some level of protection. I would probably feel a lot safer, if I had secret service level of protection. The Psalmist writes about the Lord’s protection. Check this out…

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and for evermore. (Psalm 125:1-2 NIV)

I feel safe surrounded by the Lord.

I feel protected surrounded by the Lord.

I feel loved surrounded by the Lord.

The Lord’s surround protection works in two ways. He protects me from enemies coming in to attack and He prompts me when I’m stepping outside His protection.

I’m also part of Southern Hills Christian Church and I feel a level of protection from my fellow followers of the Lord. I find encouragement in these surroundings. I find inspiration from my brothers and sister in the Lord. I was also reminded of a passage in Hebrews. Check this out…

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)

I’m surrounded by the Presence of God.

I’m surrounded by the People of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Help Is On The Way!

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidI remember a time when I was in college (before cell phones) and I was making a 4-hour drive home across Jellico Mountain on I-75 in Tennessee. The car overheated and I had to pull over on the side of the interstate. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next.  I remember praying for the Lord to send some help. He did! It came through another student from the same college traveling the same highway – he saw us and stopped to help. We bought some antifreeze and put in back in the radiator and we took the car to a mechanic to patch things up to get me home. I was very thankful for the help. I have never forgotten that moment because I was not sure what I would do or could do to get out of that situation. I need help often and I’ve learned to ask for help and try to be prepared for lots of variables in many situations. The Lord will show up and help. He sends me help and He’s never far away. Check this out…

21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
    help me for your name’s sake;
    out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 Many knees give way from fasting;
    my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.

30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
    in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
    to save their lives from those who would condemn them. (Psalm 109:21-25, 30-31 NIV)

The Lord is always available and willing to help. He doesn’t always provide the help I think I need. He goes with what He sees as my need. I am continually learning to be obedient and humble before Him. I do not have it all together. I am a broken person whom He has put back together and I trust Him and I want to live for Him.  As I study the Word and I see just how the Lord gave help to David and protected him from his accusers, I find hope in that. I want His help dealing with people who want to harm me or threaten me. I want to be strong and consistent in my decisions and choices to live my life in a way that brings honor to Him. His help for the struggles I face is always nearby and on the way!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Shadow

ShadowI’m remember fearing shadows when I was small. In fact, I was probably scared of my very own shadow. A shadow is an image cast of someone or something intercepting light.  This word also means to follow a person closely to see how he’s doing things. I grew up in the shadow of my Dad and my Grandpa (aka Pappy). Now that I’ve become a Grandpa (aka Pop), I love being shadowed by my granddaughter or grandson. I came across a Psalm that spoke into me about this topic. Check this out…

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty*.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2 NIV)

The shadow of the Lord is a great place to be. If I’m in His shadow, then I’m close to Him. He is my protection and my provision. I like it when my children or grandchildren shadow me. I want to do everything in my power to protect them. The * beside the word “Almighty” is because the Hebrew name for God here is “Shaddai” which means: “Almighty God” I was reminded of a song called, “El Shaddai” that Amy Grant recorded years ago that still speaks to my heart. This song was written by Michael Card.

Through your love and through the ram,
You saved the son of Abraham;
Through the power of your hand,
Turned the sea into dry land.
To the outcast on her knees,
You were the God who really sees,
And by your might,
You set your children free.

El Shaddai, el Shaddai,
El-Elyona Adonia,
Age to age you’re still the same,
By the power of the name.
El Shaddai, el Shaddai,
Erkamka Na Adonai,
We will praise and lift you high,
El Shaddai.

Through the years you’ve made it clear,
That the time of Christ was near,
Though the people couldn’t see
What messiah ought to be.
Though your word contained the plan,
They just could not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of your son.

______________________

I want to live in the shadow of El Shaddai for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Great Love Of God

Worship to GodI remember singing a hymn in church as a young kid called “The Love Of God”. I remember that the words of that song attempted to describe something that was indescribable. I remember the second verse the best. Check this out…

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Chorus: Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song. (author Frederick Lehman)

I can only write about what I know about God’s love for me. I’ve seen His love for others. I’m experienced His love first hand in my life. God’s love is a conviction of mine that is not up for negotiation. He has been faithful even when I’m unfaithful. I can’t wrap my head around His Grace or His Love. They are both inner connected and inseparable.

David writes about the rescue of God many times in the Psalms. David realizes that he’s never along –God is always there to rescue and save. Check this out…

You, God, know my folly;
    my guilt is not hidden from you.

Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    may those who hope in you
    not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
    may those who seek you
    not be put to shame because of me.

13 But I pray to you, Lord,
    in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
    answer me with your sure salvation.
14 Rescue me from the mire,
    do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
    from the deep waters. (Psalm 69:5-6,13-14 NIV)

I’m so thankful for the Love of God that rescues me.

I’m so thankful for the Love of God that restores me.

I’m so thankful for the Love of God that shapes my life.

I’m so thankful that the Love of God is displayed through His Power & His Presence in my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

PS: I’m also a fan of the song: “O Great Love of God” by David Crowder.