The Rock

 

stone isolated white background natural rock granite solid bouldWhen I think of the word rock, I think of something solid. A rock is hard to break. A rock makes a great foundation – we manufacture a rock like substance called concrete. The Lord refers to the Rock often as our faith foundation. There is a song that says: “On Christ, the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand”. I have also been known to trip over a rock. If the rock is big enough I can stand on it or go around it.

Paul makes it clear that even those that are not of Jewish decent have access to the foundation of Jesus Christ which produces in us righteousness. Check this out…

30 What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. 32 Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written,

Look, I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over
and a rock to trip over,
and the one who believes on him
will not be put to shame. (Romans 9:30-33 CSB)

I am putting my faith in Creator God. I believe He created the earth, the universe in all its expanse and intricate detail. He is the One in Whom I trust to lead me through whatever I face in this life. My journey here for what feels like a short span prepares me for eternity which is unmeasurable time.

I love David’s prayer – seeking God as a refuge. Check this out…

Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and fortress. (Psalm 71:3 CSB)

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He gives me strength.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He picks me up when I stumble.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He saved me.

I stand on the Rock Eternal because He loves me.

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

Hide

 

hideWhen I think about the word hide – I think of a closet or a place where I can’t be found by those I’m hiding from. I live from a calendar day by day and there are times that I try to put too much in my schedule. I love helping people whether it’s real estate or relationships. I enjoy being busy serving and helping. I’m learning to plan differently. I have learned to plan for some interruptions to my schedule. I feel a bit of stress when I plan things too close together. I haven’t figured out how to be two places at one time.

There are times I’ve wanted to hide from the craziness of my daily schedule. I know what it feels like to want to run away and hide. Some people can rationalize in their mind just disappearing and ignoring all their responsibility and commitments. I can’t do that. I want to keep my appointments and commitments to others. It is my mission to provide the best service that I can to others with the highest skill and the highest ethical and moral standards.  I do think it’s ok to take a break occasionally and regain perspective. I often talk to the Lord about my crazy schedule because He knows who is responsible for my schedule – it’s me. He always listens and always understands my struggle. He is so patient and wise. He protects me and provides for me. I’m thankful that He will hide me and let me take refuge occasionally. Check this out…

Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
    protect my life from the threat of the enemy.

Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
    from the plots of evildoers.

All people will fear;
    they will proclaim the works of God
    and ponder what he has done.

10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
    and take refuge in him;
    all the upright in heart will glory in him! (Psalm 64:1-2, 9-10 NIV)

I’m so thankful for this time of perspective. As I was writing (aka complaining) about my schedule, I realized that others might think I don’t like what I do. I do love my job and I’m so thankful that the Lord. I just want to show respect to everyone I make a commitment to serve. I want to be present with each person I spend time with. My time with the Lord each morning prepares me for the busy day ahead. My time with the Lord gives me great perspective. I can pray for those I will work with or meet today. I ask the Lord to prepare me for challenges that I can’t see now. I ask Him to give me wisdom and discernment beyond my years.

I want the Lord to direct every area of my life, including the busy times and slower times. I want Him to keep me close to Him as I navigate challenges. I want to constantly remember His Presence and His Power in my daily journey.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Protection

 

ProtectedI don’t often think of all the steps I take in protecting myself. I wear proper clothing to protect myself from the weather. I have protections inside my home. I have protection systems on my computer equipment.  I have also sorts of physical protection in place and I was reminded this morning of the spiritual protection I need to go along with the physical protection. Check this out…

1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;

    let me never be put to shame;

    deliver me in your righteousness.

3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,

    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,

    for you are my refuge.

5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;

    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,

    for you saw my affliction

    and knew the anguish of my soul.

23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!

    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,

    but the proud he pays back in full.

24 Be strong and take heart,

    all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:1,3-5,7,23-24 NIV)

I feel safe in the Presence of God. When I’m threatened – I can feel safe with the Lord as my Fortress and my Rock. The Lord is with me always. He & I can face anything that comes my way. He knows my fears. He knows my doubts. He knows my heart completely and He loves me anyway. I find strength in knowing He can handle whatever comes my way.

My Rock, my Fortress, my Refuge, my Protection, my Counselor, My Deliverer – He is the Lord of all.

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

Protection

ProtectedI am so grateful for the men and women who serve in the US Military to protect and defend the freedoms that I enjoy every day. I get to lie down at night and rest because of what they do. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to live in a country where I didn’t feel protected. I’m also grateful for the men and women who serve in law enforcement. They protect and defend the law of the land. They also provide protection of private property and defend our rights on a daily basis.

As I sit in my home, I feel a sense of protection around me even though I can’t actually see them. I have one more layer of protection with a security system that if it is tripped or set off, the police are automatically called to come protect me.

The Lord instructed the people of Israel to set up “cities of refuge” in the land. These cities were to be easily accessible from all areas of the land. Check this out…

1 When the Lord your God has destroyed the nations whose land he is giving you, and when you have driven them out and settled in their towns and houses, 2 then set aside for yourselves three cities in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess. 3 Determine the distances involved and divide into three parts the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, so that a person who kills someone may flee for refuge to one of these cities.

4 This is the rule concerning anyone who kills a person and flees there for safety – anyone who kills a neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought. (Deuteronomy 19:1-4 NIV)

The city of refuge was a protective measure for someone involved in an accidental death. The city was not to protect a malice murderer. In our culture we would call that manslaughter. There will still be punishment involved, but not nearly at the level of malice murder.

I wonder what the people of these cities were like. Did they have extra law enforcement? Did they have extra buildings with secret hiding places? I imagine that the family member who was named the “avenger of blood” would come there looking for the person responsible for the death of his family member or friend – even if it was an accident.

There are times when I need a “city of refuge” – places to retreat. I’ve not accidentally killed anyone literally, but I don’t want to kill or harm others with my words or grumpy attitude either. I need to step back from my normal routines to a safe place to rest and recover. Sometimes the routines at our place of work offers little time for retreat and reflection. I have actually tried scheduling a time of rest and renewal in my daily schedule. I must confess that it gets squeezed out some. I believe everyone needs to know the rhythms of their life, their mind and their heart. The Lord has become my Refuge – the One Who renews my heart every day as I walk with Him. I am ready to take on the day after I’ve had some quiet time with Him to prepare.

Pressing On!

Dwayne