Stronghold

 

security guardThe title here represents two words put together they have even greater significance. I need the Lord to be strong for sure – He is the Creator for sure so He’s above all creation – stronger that all the strongest creatures of His creation combined. The “hold” part of that word means He has a strong grip. He will not let go of me even when the fighting is fierce and hard. That is a comforting thought for sure.

As I read this Psalm of David I was reminded to trust the Lord completely. He has my care as His concern. My part is to trust Him even when I can’t see what is next.  Check this out…

1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;

    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;

    I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.

7 The Lord reigns for ever;

    he has established his throne for judgment.

8 He rules the world in righteousness

    and judges the peoples with equity.

9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,

    a stronghold in times of trouble.

10 Those who know your name trust in you,

    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:1-2; 7-10 NIV)

I feel safe under the Leadership of the Lord. I’m not sure what crazy thing or things will happen next, but I’m trusting the God Who Created all of this to keep His stronghold open for business.  Our country is more polarized than ever before it seems and our new President-elect has a tall task on his hand to lead such diversity and polarity. I do believe in praying for our leaders and staying in touch with them.

I think the most value thing I can do others is to pray for them. To pray for them is to offer hope and encouragement. To the young man who just lost his wife to cancer – I can pray. To the young man who just lost his dad – I can pray. To the parents who just lost a child – I can pray. In my prayer, I’m calling upon the Lord to put these people in His Stronghold. They desperately need someone bigger and stronger than they are.  I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than in the stronghold of God’s amazing love and grace.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Shield

 

Blue security shieldThe Law Enforcement community serves as a shield to protect the public from bad actors and criminals. They often carry a shield in their pocket that is also known as a badge. The shield in their pocket doesn’t protect them as much as it signifies their protection of the public.

My son plays drums at our church and a few years ago the put a Plexiglas shield around the drum kit to shield the noise level of his instrument from overpowering the other instruments.

King David is the author of most the Psalms. He writes when he’s full of joy or even when he’s scared to death. I came across one of his psalms when he was fleeing from his son who had stolen the throne from him. He obviously feared for his life. Check this out…

1 Lord, how many are my foes!

    How many rise up against me!

2 Many are saying of me,

    “God will not deliver him.”

3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,

    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

4 I call out to the Lord,

    and he answers me from his holy mountain.

8 From the Lord comes deliverance.

    May your blessing be on your people. (Psalm 3:1-4,8 NIV)

I often need the shield of God around me and I’m not even aware of the dangers. I do ask often for His protection of me and my family. I do believe that the Lord can provide protection and provision like no one else. He has unlimited resources and unlimited power to protect and preserve me.

I’m still learning to call out to Him first when I’m afraid. I used to think I could take care of things, but I’ve learned that I am powerless without Him. He makes a way when there seems to be no way. He is my Kevlar vest. He is my bullet-proof glass. He is my security detail. I trust Him and His protection and His timing of when it’s my time to come home to Him. He is a shield around me today and every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Eye Of God

 

Blue woman eye macro shotI always described God as having regular human attributes. I thought that God has a head complete with eyes, ears, nose and mouth like me. I often think of being able to put my head on His chest while He comforts me. I definitely think of God as my Dad, in the most respectful and reverent way.

The people of Judah had been given permission from one king to rebuild the temple and the city, but the next king told them to stand down. The people who were their neighbors tried to scare the king describing them as rebellious and troublemakers. He told them to stop. The prophets realized that they actually had permission to be there and rebuild. The current king would be changing a ruling by the previous king and that was pretty big deal. The leaders and the prophets went back to building. Check this out…

3 At that time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, ‘Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?’ 4 They also asked, ‘What are the names of those who are constructing this building?’ 5 But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received. (Ezra 5:3-5 NIV)

The one line encouraged me: “the eye of their God was upon them.” I want the eye of God all over me today.

I want Him to protect me.

I want Him to provide for me.

I want Him to lead me.

I want Him to help me make good choices.

I want the eye of God upon my family.

I want the eye of God upon my church family.

I want the eye of God upon my business.

I want the eye of God upon my friends.

I may be up against impossible odds, but if the Lord is leading me then I want to have the courage to go where He leads – wherever that place is. Even if I’m in a comfortable place, not stirring things up, I want to be right where He leads me to be. I want to be doing what He leads me to do.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Gatekeeper

 

security guardA gatekeeper is someone who has charge of who comes through the gate and who doesn’t. I am a gatekeeper of sorts for my home. My wife and I can decide whom we will let into our home. We have a security system to help with gatekeeping as well. I’ve seen my self as the gatekeeper for my children over the years as well. My family doesn’t watch “R Rated” movies, so we have to do some “gatekeeping” on that. There are certain TV shows that are very sexual and sensual so we don’t watch those. When the Internet came into our home, it made all the other mediums look week. We had to put some gatekeeping devices on that for sure. Gatekeeping is not popular or fun, but it can be necessary for protection of my family. As my kids get older some of the gatekeeping is not on them. While they were in my house, I felt responsible to protect them. I told one of my kids that I didn’t want to purchase something and have it in my home if it would damage their heart.

There were gatekeepers to the Temple of God. They were there to make sure the people who came and went showed the proper reverence and respect to The Lord. Check this out…

22 Altogether, those chosen to be gatekeepers at the thresholds numbered 212. They were registered by genealogy in their villages. The gatekeepers had been assigned to their positions of trust by David and Samuel the seer. 23 They and their descendants were in charge of guarding the gates of the house of the Lord—the house called the tent of meeting. 24 The gatekeepers were on the four sides: east, west, north and south.

26 But the four principal gatekeepers, who were Levites, were entrusted with the responsibility for the rooms and treasuries in the house of God. 27 They would spend the night stationed around the house of God, because they had to guard it; and they had charge of the key for opening it each morning. (1 Chronicles 9:22-24;26-27 NIV)

Gatekeepers must be careful not to overstep their boundaries. There are some gatekeepers who actually think that they are now in charge. As the gatekeeper of my house, I had to learn to have conversations, as my kids got older. The gatekeeping was never intended to be forever. It was intended to help them learn to become their own gatekeeper of their heart. I believe that the Lord wants my heart to be in pursuit of Him. With His help, I must be the gatekeeper of my heart. The enemy wants to invade my heart and destroy it, but the Lord helps me protect it. I can change my behavior per other gatekeepers, but being the gatekeeper of my heart may very well be my most important job.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Protection

For God so loved the world... God holding world with crossThere are protections all around me. There are also forces that I can’t control that can always threaten my safety. I have always felt very safe in the places where I’ve lived. I’ve heard stories of people being robbed inside their home or they felt threatened by bad people. I also take precautions to protect myself in my home. I feel safe in my vehicle, but if I were to get hit by a large vehicle, my safety is relative to a lot of other forces.

There have been things in my life that have happened that are simply beyond my control. I could not control one of my kids getting cancer. I could not control one of my kids having an automobile accident or another falling from a tree. I’ve learned that since I can’t control all the circumstances of my life, I should lean on Someone Who can do anything He wants. I was reminded of His protection this morning when I read this passage in Scripture of when Elisha was telling the king of Israel the next moves of the king of Aram. The king of Aram was frustrated and sent a large number of soldiers to capture Elisha. Check this out…

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked.

16 ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’

17 And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17 NIV)

I needed to be reminded that when it seems there is not a way out of some tough situations that the Lord can show up and show out. The Lord’s resources are not tapped out. The Lord’s resources are impossible to count. While I can’t always see the resources of God, I can walk and move in confidence that He is there. I love the phrase: “When I can’t trace His hand, I can trust His heart”.

I needed to be reminded this morning that God is more powerful than any army that can come against me. The Lord is more powerful than ANY force that seeks to harm or destroy me. The Lord is stronger than the forces of nature – He created them. With the Lord on my side, I don’t need to fear what others can do. I simply need to walk with Him in faith. I can’t see all that He’s doing to protect and provide for me, but I know He’s there. If my eyes could see beyond the physical realm into the spiritual realm, His Power and His Strength would blow me away even more.

I’m asking the Lord to open my eyes of faith that I might see His Power and His Presence. I’m asking Him this morning to give me insight and understanding to His Presence and His Protection of me. I’m so thankful to know Him and to feel safe and protected in His Presence.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Protection

 

I believe that I have friends and family that will support me and really stand up and defend me. If I go off and do something stupid or unlawful, there may be some who would still be with me, but others would desert me.

Shortly after David had squelched the coup of Absalom, this “troublemaker” named Sheba comes on to the scene. He starts denouncing David as king. He travels throughout Israel trying to get a following of men. David gets his army together and they pursue Sheba. He comes to city of Abel Beth Maakah and that’s where Joab and the army of David find him. They begin a siege work against the city wall. They are destroying a city wall to gain access. While they are battering the city wall, a wise woman asked to speak to Joab. She asked, “Why are you tearing down this beautiful city?” Joab tells her who they are after and why. Her involvement brought an end to the destruction.

20 ‘Far be it from me!’ Joab replied, ‘Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! 21 That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I’ll withdraw from the city.’

The woman said to Joab, ‘His head will be thrown to you from the wall.’

22 Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bikri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 20:20-22 NIV)

The inevitable was about to happen. The army was obviously big enough and strong enough to take down the city wall. The diplomacy of this woman saved the city from more destruction. At the end of the day, Joab would have gotten Sheba. She and the people of Able Beth Maakah handed over the troublemaker – they didn’t just turn him over, they killed him and through his head over the city wall and ended the madness.

I want to be a peacemaker NOT a troublemaker.

I want to be a resource to others NOT a burden.

I want to be known for kindness and willingness to serve others.

Pressing On!

Dwayne