Perspective & Perception

 

Man praying with the BibleI believe that perspective shapes perception. To take it a step further, perception for most people is their reality. There have been times, I confess, that I have formed an opinion based on my perception rather than the facts of the matter. King David seems a bit stressed, but he manages to give me a solid perspective about God from his personal journey. Check this out…

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds;
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.

19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
    who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
    from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

28 Summon your power, God;
    show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
    sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
    who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
    whose majesty is over Israel,
    whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
    the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God! (Psalm 68:4-5,19-20,28,32-35 NIV)

God brings Presence to those who are lonely and afraid.

God bears our burdens so that our load is much lighter.

God brings the Ultimate Power to a situation that it totally beyond my ability or my power.

God’s strength and power are beyond my understanding, but I’ve experienced both and I often need both.

My perception and perspective of God comes through my journey in His Word.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cry For Help

Beauty girl cryI have learned that I have a lot of limitations and I need help quite often. I know a lot about what I don’t know. I know when to ask for help. When it comes to asking for help from God, it’s very often. I ask for His help about things that I think I know about. I’m learning that He’s ALWAYS there and never too busy for me.  I was reminded today about how He hears my cry and He rescues me. Check this out…

Save us and help us with your right hand,
    that those you love may be delivered.

11 Give us aid against the enemy,
    for human help is worthless.
12 With God we will gain the victory,
    and he will trample down our enemies. (Psalm 60:5,11-12 NIV)

I have let the Lord down plenty of times. He is always there for me. I deserve punishment, but I receive grace. I deserve defeat, but instead He gives me victory. I go to Him first now for everything I need. He will give me wisdom to navigate the hardest issues. He will give me a gentle spirt when I’m under attack. He is my Rock, my Fortress, the Director of my life.

I heard a song on the radio last evening and it’s running through my mind first thing this morning. I think it fits well here. It’s a song by Big Daddy Weave and written by Leeland Mooring, Brenton Brown & Brian Johnson. Check this out…

He’s coming on the clouds
Kings and kingdoms will bow down
Every chain will break
As broken hearts declare His praise
For who can stop the Lord Almighty

Our God is a lion
The Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power
And fighting our battles
Every knee will bow before Him
Our God is a lamb
The lamb that was slain
For the sins of the world
His blood breaks the chains
Every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb
Every knee will bow before him

Open up the gates
Make way before the King of Kings
The God who comes to save
Is here to set the captives free
For who can stop the Lord Almighty

For who can stop the Lord Almighty

_________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Sustain

golden piano pedals of a concert grand pianoMany years ago, I took piano lessons. I was very young, like 12 or 13 I think. I remember wanting to learn to use the sustain pedal, but I had to learn the basics first. I don’t play a lot on the piano today, but when I do play I use the sustain pedal. The piano sounds bad if the sustain pedal isn’t working properly. The purpose of the sustain pedal on a piano is to let the corresponding strings from the notes played resonate their sound and blend into the next notes to be played. The sustain pedal gives the music a continual smooth sound. It is the pedal to the far right.

The word sustain has many meanings, but the most common one is to keep something or someone from giving way under a load of pressure. The pillars of a building sustain that structure. A person with tremendous inner strength is sustained through tough times.

King David was fleeing for his life from King Saul who was intensely jealous of him. David didn’t always know who he could trust. David was hiding among the Ziphites and they reported him to Saul. David was just trying to stay alive and he penned the words to Psalm 54. Check this out…

Save me, O God, by your name;
    vindicate me by Your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
    listen to the words of my mouth.

Arrogant foes are attacking me;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me –
    people without regard for God.

Surely God is my help;
    the Lord is the one who sustains me. (Psalm 54:1-4 NIV)

I believe that the Lord still sustains me in times of struggle. He reminds me of the journey. He reminds me who I am and Who I belong too.  He gives me strength that sustains me. He gives me wisdom and insight that also sustains me. I’m not sure I could put one foot in front of the other if He didn’t sustain me.

As I face a new day today, I’m relying on Him Who sustains me. He speaks truth into my life. He leads me to places of peace. He reminds me that He is always present through whatever life throws at me. He sustains me in the face of suffering and struggle because of Who He is not who I am.

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

Contend Close By

Hope Words in Sky Faith Belief Inspire AspirationsI have never considered myself much of a fighter. I have learned that I will fight when pushed into a place where that is my only option. There are some people who choosing to fight is their first option. Some people even pick a fight with people who were on their side or in nearly the same position.  I like it best when others fight alongside of me on my behalf. Their presence on my behalf is strong and powerful.

This past week I witnessed a group of people who are walking through the valley of the shadow of death with their pastor. A local pastor’s wife died of cancer a few months ago and the city did a special plaque in remembrance of her service and impact on our community, our schools and our churches. It was a beautiful declaration and tribute. What struck me as I witnessed this event was the number of families who came just because they are contending on behalf of their pastor – they have his back as he grieves. I found myself giving thanks for those families who were there because they feel the loss and they want to be someone their dear pastor can lean upon.

King David was very transparent in the Psalms. If he was struggling, he penned it. If he was celebrating, he shared that too. He asked the Lord to contend on his behalf. Check this out…

22 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.

    Do not be far from me, Lord.

23 Awake, and rise to my defense!

    Contend for me, my God and Lord.

24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;

    do not let them gloat over me.

26 May all who gloat over my distress

    be put to shame and confusion;

may all who exalt themselves over me

    be clothed with shame and disgrace.

27 May those who delight in my vindication

    shout for joy and gladness;

may they always say, ‘The Lord be exalted,

    who delights in the well-being of his servant.’

28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,

    your praises all day long. (Psalm 35:22-24,26-28 NIV)

I need the Lord to contend for me daily. I need Him to contend for me against me – sometimes. I need Him to contend for me against those who want to harm me. I need Him to contend for me again the enemy – satan. I am not afraid when the Lord contends close by on my behalf. His Presence is a “game changer” for sure. I can lift my head and face anything or anyone knowing the Lord is contending close by on my behalf.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Solid Trust

Trust with blue markerThere are so many things that distract me from following the Lord fully. Over the years, my finances have been big – until something even bigger comes along like a threat to my family or the health of one of my kids. I find that those times require even more trust as fear has entered the equation. Fear is a formidable foe to trust. Fear can paralyze. Fear can suck all my joy away. Fear seems to penetrate the strongest wall of trust. When fear grips me, I’m learning that I must hit my knees before the Lord and give it to Him.

King David had a deep walk with God and he learned to trust deeply even in the midst of fear. Check this out…

1 The king rejoices in your strength, Lord.

    How great is his joy in the victories you give!

2 You have granted him his heart’s desire

    and have not withheld the request of his lips.

3 You came to greet him with rich blessings

    and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.

4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him –

    length of days, for ever and ever.

5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;

    you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.

6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings

    and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

7 For the king trusts in the Lord;

    through the unfailing love of the Most High

    he will not be shaken. (Psalm 21:1-7 NIV)

I want to keep growing my trust in the Lord. Spending time in His Word each day certainly helps build my trust in Him. As I look at King David’s journey it wasn’t without failure and struggle, but trust in God pulled him through some scary times.

I think there are different degrees of fear. When I’m fearful of something that can take my life or the life of one of my family – that is a painful fear. When the fear is of something that is temporary or brief – it’s not nearly as bad. I don’t like fear at all, but sometimes fear makes me sharper and stronger because it drives me to trust the Lord. I’m learning that I can lean into Him and on Him for the simple things as well as the complex situations. He is my Rock, my foundation upon which my trust is built. He has never let me go and He has never let me down. I will trust Him in the face of any fear.

Pressing On!

Dwayne