On Guard

security guardI’ve entered into situations that I wasn’t sure was safe. I’ve been to homes trying to show where there was a dog, that was “friendly” and wouldn’t bite – I was on guard. I’ve been with people who appear harmless, but something just “felt weird” so I was on guard. I see being “on guard” as a preparatory phase prior to “fight or flight”. On guard means my awareness is the highest alert stage.

Paul was reminding the church at Corinth in his first letter to be on guard regarding attacks on their faith. Check this out….

13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT)

This is a simple couple of verses that packs a powerful punch. I think he is reminding the church to be on guard against assaults on their faith. I think he is reminding them that they will battle fear. He is also reminding them to lean into the strength and Presence of the very Spirit of God. He wraps a bow on it as he says, “do everything with love”.

When I read this I felt encouraged, inspired and motivated. My faith must be proactive. I can’t be passive. I have to be aware that I have an enemy and he wants to steal, kill and destroy my faith. He wants me to cower in fear. He wants me to “wimp out” instead of lead on. He wants to fill me with hatred, jealousy and envy. I have to be keenly aware and on guard as the enemy uses many approaches to come at me. It’s like I need an alarm system that trips when the enemy makes a move on me.

I believe that the Word of God prepares me to be on guard. I’m reminded in His Word that the enemy is real. I’m reminded of his schemes and his tricks. I’m equipped with the powerful Word of God that equips me daily.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Different Code of Conduct

Moving escalator stairs, love hate signI recently returned to work after a time of vacation. I must say that I did have a relaxing time with my family. My work can sometimes demand my immediate attention and at other times it rocks on smoothly. The biggest challenge in most of our lives are not necessarily with technology or certain products – our challenge is dealing with people and the different personality and perspective of others.

I must say that I was really ticked off the other day when another agent and I were really trying to work through a misunderstanding of our clients. I was really frustrated and my blood pressure was up. After getting off the phone, I remembered that I somehow must display genuine love and not speak the things that were going through my mind. That doesn’t mean I back down from my position on behalf of my client – it does mean that I stay in control of “output mechanism” (aka my mouth!) when engaging the other person.

This morning I came across a short two verses under the heading of “Final Exhortations” in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. Check this out…

13 Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

(1 Corinthians 16:13-14 CSB)

I can be alert.

I can stand firm in the faith – most of the time.

I can be courageous.

I can be strong.

That part about “do everything in love” really pushed on me. I don’t want to love people who are being total jerks toward me or my client. I don’t want to love people who try to harm me in business. I don’t want to love people who talk negatively about me and don’t have the courage to speak with me personally. My flesh wants to take over my heart on this topic. There are some people who are hard to love and there are others who are so sweet, genuine and kind that are easy to love. Paul used that word “everything” which left no exceptions. I can’t “do everything in love” only to the people who are easy – I must learn to “do everything in love” to those who are hard to love as well.

Today is a new day! I’m thankful to recall a passage from the prophet Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations. Check this out…

22 Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-23 CSB)

I will love even when it’s hard because Jesus loves me even when I’m an idiot or jerk. I don’t deserve the love and kindness of the Lord, but He gives it. I really want to learn to love like Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Firm Footing

tug of warIn the game of tug of war, it’s important to have a strong team. It’s also important to have a strong footing to stand upon as you pull and tug. If the footing is slippery, then a fall is about to happen. I think my life is often like that; I need a firm foundation on which to stand. Check this out…

23 The Lord makes firm the steps

    of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,

    for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24 NIV)

 

I need the Lord to give me “firm footing” each day. I believe that as I read and study His Word, He will help me to be steady and strong in the face of “high winds” and tough times.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,

    and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;

    their feet do not slip. (Psalm 37:30-31 NIV)

 

As I read and study the Word of God, I believe He writes His Word on my heart in order for my feet to be steady and not slip. I will be the first to admit that I still stumble and I do slip, but I believe that my “footing” has been more consistent since I’m grounded in His Word and He’s writing His Will upon my heart.

I believe that the behaviors of my daily life come from deep within my heart. I believe that true life-change comes from my heart. There are quadrants of my heart that still have “issues”. I do want to surrender all of my heart to Him. I want the foundation of my life (my feet) to be steady and strong – built upon Him and His Word.

 

My daughter has written a song called Battle Cry. This is the chorus….

So I will stand my ground
Even when the walls fall down
I will let my allegiance be known
And I will lift my eyes
And with a battle cry
I will lay down my life at Your throne     (©2013Kristen Hicks & Cindy Lowery)
 
Pressing On!
Dwayne

Stand Firm

faith messageThere are times when standing firm is really hard. If the ground beneath me is wet and soggy it’s tough to get a firm footing. If the ground is solid, then it’s easier to stand firm. I see the ground as the foundation on which I stand. Paul tells the church in Corinth to stand strong with a different Foundation. Check this out….

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
23 I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. 24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; 21-24 NIV)

 

I can stand firm with my faith in Christ as the foundation of my life. I have put my hope and my trust in Him as the Author of my faith. He perfects and completes my faith.  He was there at Creation. He is in the Presence of God and He sustains me and anchors me.  Standing firm with Christ is very plausible. As the Anchor of my life, I can stand strong even when the enemy attacks and when bad things happen to me. I will not quit. I will not surrender to anyone or anything EXCEPT my will to His Will. I will stand firm because of His Presence in me!

Pressing On!
Dwayne