From Fear To Faith

Frightened and stressed young business womanI’m not generally a fearful person. I know what it’s like to be afraid. I’ve never had my life threatened by another individual. I have almost been in some bad automobile accidents. I have been in storms where I was somewhat afraid. As the leader of my household, I always try to appear confident and unafraid. I remember one particular evening a couple of years ago when we were camping by the lake and a fierce storm came across the lake. There was high winds, rain, hail and lightening. Our camper is a 5th wheel so it’s strong and heavy. We had a tree limb fall on the top of the camper and another fall through the awning. I wasn’t paralyzed by fear, but I was sure nervous. The storm seemed to come out of nowhere.

Jesus taught His disciples in depth after the crowds had gone. He would further explain His teachings and the parables that He used. One particular evening, He and His disciples were going by boat to the other side of the lake when a strong storm came upon them. The waves were huge and the winds were loud. Check this out…

38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!” (Mark 4:38-41 NLT)

I love this passage in the life of Jesus and His disciples. I can relate to being afraid of a storm. The storms are a part of our climate and the world we live in – that was created by God. I’ve never rebuked a storm. I have prayed for safety in the storm. I have prayed for the Lord to calm the storm.  Today we have the technology via radar to see the storm coming. Meteorologists can measure the storm. They can predict with amazing accuracy, the timing of a storm and the different characteristics of the storm. Meteorologist don’t make the storm and can’t stop the storm. When I’m talking to the Lord about the storm, I’m talking to the One Who is over the storm.

In my life, I’ve had plenty of storms. I don’t always navigate them with great faith. I’ve learned that the storms of my life are a lot like the storm that scared the disciples. I need to talk to the One Who can calm the storm with His word. I need His help calming my spirit in the midst of the storm. My faith has grown through my fears over the years, because He has used my fear as a teachable moment. My fear can result in faith when I give it to the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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