Endurance & Faithfulness

EnduranceThese two words could be relatives in Gods economy. They both imply dogged determination. I really want my life to feature generous doses of both. I have had my moments in life when I took my eye off the big prize of eternal life and lived only for the moment or the day. I’m so grateful that the Lord is full of grace and mercy and He is so patient with me.

I came across another weird passage in John’s description of the Revelation that he’s experiencing. I am sometime perplexed and confused about the meaning of all that he’s seeing and writing about. At times, there is a simple verse tucked inside all the symbolism and sci-fi type scenes that speaks to me. Check this out…

10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
into captivity he goes.
If anyone is to be killed with a sword,
with a sword he will be killed.

This calls for endurance and faithfulness from the saints. (Revelation 13:10 CSB)

I don’t know how this world is going to end, but I’m trusting in the One Who created the earth. I’m hanging on to Him. I know that there are crazy things happening in our world at the moment that makes me wonder if we’re getting close. We’ve had two hurricanes, a tropical storm within 3 months. We are on the brink of war with North Korea. It is easy to get worried and distracted by all that is happening around me.  I’m leaning into Who I know and what I know about Him during these turbulent times.  If I see a beast with multiple heads and horns, I’m running to the Lord. I don’t know how this all ends, but I know Who is in charge and I’m going to endure and remain faithful to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steady Heart Faithful God

 

Man praying with the BibleWhen I read the writings of David, I feel like I can relate to Him. I’ve never been a king or a warrior, but David seems so human and hungry for God. I understand the human part as well as the hungry for God part.

The more I know about God, the more I want to know Him.

The more I know about God, the more I want to be the man He built me to be.

The more I know about God, the more my heart is moved to pursue His heart.

The more I know about God my love for Him gets deeper, broader and stronger.

Check this out…

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered. (Psalm 108:1-6 NIV)

My purpose here on this earth is to bring glory to God. I want others to see the Lord in me. I want others to see the Lord in how I live and work. I don’t want myself to be elevated and known, I want the Lord to be known in me. I want to do all I can to make the Lord famous and known everywhere. He lives in me and He wants to use me to build His kingdom. I want to be steady in my pursuit of God’s heart. He is so faithful to me and I want to be faithful to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Steady Pace

Person symbol run time race against clockMy son ran cross country and then track a few years back. He considers himself a distance runner. He learned that he needed to set a good pace each time he ran so that he could finish well.  I watched one race where a runner had a huge pace and got wait out in front of everyone on the 2-mile and then about half way through he faded to the back and didn’t even place in the top 10. I think it’s important for my life to have a steady pace. I’m still learning this, but I’m improving each week.

David was fleeing for his life and he was desperate for God’s help. He cries out to God for protection and help. He then breaks into a place of praise for God. Check this out…

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 57:7-11 NIV)

As I reflect on what a steady pace looks like for me, I need to start in the Word of God. I don’t want to start my day without some time alone with Him. He is the One who helps me have a steady (or steadfast) heart.  I looked up the definition of steadfast and it means: “fixed in direction; steadily directed; firm in purpose, resolution, unwavering”.  The word steady implies some of the same characteristics in its definition. Steady means: “firmly placed or fixed; stable in position or equilibrium; continuous, constant, regular or habitual, steadfast and unwavering”. (www.dictionary.com)

If I want my life to operate at a steady pace, then my pursuit of God’s heart must be steady first. I believe that everything I say or do comes from deep within my heart. I believe it’s a daily task, to get help from God cleaning out the corners of my heart where the enemy tries to hide. I want my heart pursuit of God’s heart to be first on my agenda for every day. I believe that the rest of the activities of my day will flow from there. My heart belongs to the Lord Who has saved me from my sin and positioned me for eternity. I want to keep a steady pace in pursuit of God. I love this song of worship called “My Heart Is Yours” by Kristian Stanfill.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Level Headed

 

IMG_0049I like being around people who are steady, balanced and sprinkle in some spontaneity. Level headed people are usually a bit older and wiser than most. I’ve met people who are old who are still immature and make stupid choices. I’ve met young people who were wise beyond their years. I believe that walking in the truth of God’s Word can make me wise and level-headed beyond my years.

David often writes Psalms that cry out to God during his fear or suffering. He writes in such a way that I often identify with him. I appreciate his perspective quite often. Check this out…

1 Vindicate me, Lord,

    for I have led a blameless life;

I have trusted in the Lord

    and have not faltered.

2 Test me, Lord, and try me,

    examine my heart and my mind;

3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love

    and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.

12 My feet stand on level ground;

    in the great congregation I will praise the Lord. (Psalm 26:1-3,12 NIV)

The Lord helps me stand on level ground.

The Lord helps me to be level headed.

The Lord gives me wisdom beyond my years.

I am no longer paralyzed by fear and worry. Whatever comes my way, I will walk through with the Lord to lead me. This allows me to live balanced and level-headed.

I’ve been singing in my head this morning a song that was introduced at church – No Longer Slaves.

I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God

You split the sea

So I could walk right through it

You drowned my fears in perfect love

You rescued me

And I will stand and sing

I am a child of God

(Jonathan the & Melissa Healer)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Live Steady

 

Man praying with the BibleSometimes life can be so unstable and unsteady. It seems that things come at me faster than I can respond to them. There are times I make decisions based on the information that I have at the time, later to regret them. Over the years as I walk out my faith, I’ve been learning to lean on the Lord for wisdom, discernment and guidance especially when the road ahead is unpredictable and unsteady.

David pens a beautiful Psalm about being steady – at least that is how it spoke to me. Check this out…

1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?

    Who may live on your holy mountain?

2 The one whose way of life is blameless,

    who does what is righteous,

    who speaks the truth from their heart;

3 whose tongue utters no slander,

    who does no wrong to a neighbor,

    and casts no slur on others;

4 who despises a vile person

    but honors those who fear the Lord;

who keeps an oath even when it hurts,

    and does not change their mind;

5 who lends money to the poor without interest;

    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things

    will never be shaken. (Psalm 15:1-5 NIV)

A steady life has many components. I’ve always heard that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. There are real ingredients to a steady life with God and the most basic is surrender. I learned a long time ago (and I’m still learning) to surrender my ideas, my thoughts and my actions to Him. He can direct my path and steady my steps. He even lights my path when it seems so dark.

I don’t believe a steady life happens by accident. I also don’t think a steady life is complicated or “rocket science” – it is simply faithful obedience to the Lord. He celebrates the victories of this life and He walks with me through the defeats and tragedies. The only way I can have a steady life is by holding the hand of the One Who is ALWAYS steady, faithful and strong.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Courageous

Courage Vs. Fear Bowling Ball Strike Pins BraveryThis word is a derivative of the word courage which is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” There are many examples in our world today of people who are very courageous. I believe to be a first responder; you have to have great courage. I also believe to serve in the military; courage is a fundamental “must have”. When fighting against cancer, great courage is really important. I feel like my courage has grown significantly over the years as I walk out my faith in the Lord. He has inspired me profoundly. He has spoken great truth into my life. He has walked with me through valleys that were very deep and dark. His Presence in me has made me courageous.

I love the story of Micaiah when he was asked to address King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah and give them counsel from the Lord before fighting against Ramoth Gilead. He was one of at least 400 other prophets who was asked to give the kings counsel. Check this out…

11 All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”

13 But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.” (2 Chronicles 18:11-13 NIV)

I would love to meet this guy Micaiah. He was courageous and stood strong on the truth that came from the Lord. He was unpopular but he was correct. It turned out that Ahab did die in the fight against Rahab Gilead just as Micaiah had predicted. It takes great courage to “go against the flow”, but when it’s the right thing to do there is no other option for a courageous Christian. I thought about the movie Courageous where four men protected the citizens from harm, but it was even more courageous of them to raise their families to know the Lord.

The title song has solid content about what it means to be courageous. There were some lines from this song that spoke to my heart. Casting Crowns is the artist performing the song here.

…….The only way we’ll ever stand

Is on our knees with lifted hands

Make us courageous

Lord, make us courageous

 

This is our resolution

Our answer to the call

We will love our wives and children

We refuse to let them fall

 

We will reignite the passion

That we buried deep inside

May the watchers become warriors

Let the men of God arise…

I want to be a courageous follower of God. I want to live by the truth and values found in the Word of God. I want to follow Him even when it’s unpopular or I’m in the minority. I want the courage inside my heart to continue to grow as I choose to follow Him again today.

Pressing On!

Dwayne