Guardian God

happy family playing with dog on beachOne of my many roles as a parent, is to be guardian for the kids who call me Dad. As they have grown and moved out on their own, I am still there to help them and warn them of impending danger or threat. When they were small, I was watching every single move they made to guard them and protect them. As they got older, I had to learn to relax and give them space to grow and learn how important good choices are to their future. The biggest challenge to my guardianship of my kids were my own limitations. The more I grow in my understanding of many different topics and situations, the more I wish I could have taught my kids early on. For example, I’ve learned much from Dave Ramsey and his teaching about money makeover. The principles Dave teaches are common sense and biblical sense, yet I somehow, I didn’t get this growing up. I realize what a gap that my kids had watching me manage my money as they grew up.

This morning I have reason to relax a bit about this topic. I read one of my favorite Psalms and it always reminds me of the proper perspective of God. He is my Guardian. He watches over me. Check this out…

I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip –
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you –
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm –
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and for evermore. (Psalm 121:1-8 NIV)

I can stumble and bumble my way through many roles and responsibilities that I have, but the bottom line is that God is my Guardian. He watches me like I watched my kids when they were small. He gives me space and freedom, but He’s still available to give me direction and counsel in a microsecond or less. When I finally figured out how important His Presence is in my journey, my view of Him changed. I no longer see Him as a “party-crasher”, He is my Trusted Advisor and Confidant in EVERY AREA of my life. I can’t begin to describe what a difference this has made. I can relax and rest knowing that God is my Guardian, my Protector, my Provider for the rest of my life!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Know Fear – No Fear

 

Brave Courage Overcoming Fear Bravery Vs AfraidI certainly know what it’s like to bear fearful. I’m not always brave and fearless. I’m learning every day though that when I know the Lord, fear is pushed out. I recently had a conversation with a fellow Christ follower who said that fear and faith can’t dwell in the same heart. I think at times it’s a fast exchange between fear and faith in my heart. I don’t like being fearful at all. In fact, I hate being fearful. I want to feel confident and strong in the face of fear and that describes me often.

The sons of Korah penned some great Psalms about Who He is and who I’m not. Check this out…

 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

10 He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.’

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11 NIV)

When I take a moment to let it settle into my heart, just how strong and powerful God is, fear is out the door. The enemy reminds me of my weakness and the Lord provides me with great strength. The enemy uses fear to make me feel weak. The Lord reminds me that He is strong in my weakness. With Him in my heart, I have nothing and no one to fear. His Presence changes the game of life completely. I look at life totally different now because of Him. He helps me see adversity before it comes. He prepares me to be strong even when my enemies seem to be bringing a “beat down”. He protects me. He provides for me. He settles my soul. He pushes my fears aside and helps my faith in Him to grow and expand.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Self-Defense

 

self defenseI remember years ago taking some judo classes and then later some karate classes. I was learning to defend myself if I were to be attacked.  It makes me smile to remember getting into the little white, loose fitting outfit and doing my routines. I don’t remember “wipe on – wipe off” like The Karate Kid, but the routines were similar. I haven’t ever had to use any of my “ninja skills” in self-defense, and I’m not sure I could. A good bit of life has gone by since those classes.

Just about everyone I know would defend themselves in some way if they were threatened. I know people who are “packing heat” aka carrying a gun wherever they go. I know others who think nothing bad will ever happen. I try to assess situations and choose safety, I try hard not to be an easy target for someone who would want to harm me or my family. At the end of the day, I can’t control all of this. I was reminded this morning that God is my protector and my deliverer. Check this out…

I put no trust in my bow,
    my sword does not bring me victory;
but you give us victory over our enemies,
    you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long,
    and we will praise your name for ever. (Psalm 44:6-8 NIV)

The Lord is my source of victory. I can’t possibly defend myself like He can. He is my Protector. He is my Provider. He is my Defender. If I trust in my weapons or my training, I will likely be beaten. When I trust in Him, I feel safe and protected.  I’m learning to trust the Lord to lead me away from danger and threats. I’m trusting Him to protect when I am threatened. He is God of Angel Armies – He goes before me and He comes in behind me. I love that song by Chris Tomlin.

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light

Whom shall I fear

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though troubles linger still

Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

My strength is in your name
For you alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory

Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in your hands
I’m holding on to your promises

You are faithful

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

On My Behalf

Public DefenderI can send messages through another person and it’s often received as if I’m there. I can send a person to represent me, and they are received much the same as if I’m there. If I go personally the message is received a bit differently. When I send messages through another person there are important components that can get lost or inadvertently left out of the message.

The Lord uses messengers and he really makes sure the message is delivered accurately and completely. His messengers have a good bit of responsibility.

King Ahab and the army of Israel were being threatened by Ben-Hadad, king of Aram was threatening Ahab and Israel. The Lord delivers them once but Ben-Hadad comes again in the spring to attack. The Lord sends a messenger to Ahab once again. Check this out…

28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.” (1 Kings 20:28 NIV)

The Lord again delivered the king of Aram into the hands of Ahab. The Lord really shows His strength and points out to Ahab “you will know that I am the Lord”. This is twice in a relative short period of time that the Lord delivers Israel from a threatening situation.

The Lord often does His best work when I can’t see a way out.

The Lord often does His best work when I’m struggling with something or someone.

The Lord often shows up in the nick of time to save the day. He’s done it many times over in my life and I’ve learned that His timing is perfect. I still have to show up and fight through the struggle. He fights with me and He fights for me. I’ve grown in my trust in the Lord through the battles He’s helped me fight and win. I’ve learned to trust Him more and worry a lot less about the situations that I have no control over. He doesn’t leave me or forsake me. He knows where I’m at and what I’m doing at all times. He fights and works on my behalf regularly.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Refuge & Rescue

 

RescurerI love coming home after a trip. My home just seems to welcome me. I’m not into majestic and massive space to live. I really try to live fairly simple and plain. My wife and I have raised our children there. We have faced struggles and experienced great joy at home. I’ve had a few small surgeries (they are only minor when they’re happening to someone else) over the years and I could hardly wait to get home.

The cities of refuge in scripture were an excellent idea. These cities were safe places to come while guilt or innocence was being figured out. Check this out…

1 Then the Lord said to Joshua: 2 ‘Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, 3 so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood. 4 When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state their case before the elders of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them. (Joshua 20:1-4 NIV)

Refuge implies hiding out while rescue implies being saved from harms way. These two are closely relatable to me. I can find refuge when I run to the Lord. He keeps me safe. He sometimes hides me. He protects me. I find rescue when I’m in a mess and I need help to navigate out. As I walk through this journey, I realize that I need both refuge and rescue at different times, but sometimes for the same reason. The enemy is crouching and ready to pounce at any given moment it seems.

My refuge Provider and my Rescuer are always close at hand. As long as He is with me, I’m in a place of REFUGE and available for RESCUE.

Pressing On!

Dwayne