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

He Cares

 

3D Keep Calm God Loves You Button Click Here Block TextIt bothers me to be around people who just don’t care about anything or anyone but themselves. If you hang with others for any amount of time, I can usually figure it out. Don’t get me wrong, I can be as selfish as the next person. There is a fight that goes on inside of my heart, but if the Lord is in charge, others will come first. It takes great humility to put someone else before me, but the Lord loves this. He honors this humility, love and service. I have never more like God than when I give. When I show kindness and care to others, I’m representing Christ Himself.

Peter speaks about being humble and caring toward others. It’s simple to understand, but hard to implement. Check this out…

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you. Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

10 The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. 11 To him be dominion forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 CSB)

The things I care about – the Lord cares about.

The Lord notices when I’m scared and worried. He compels me to cast these worries and concerns onto His shoulders – He is strong and can carry it all.

The Lord will be with me when the enemy, the devil comes on the attack. The enemy never comes dressed up like a red devil with a pitch-fork tail. He is always very attractive and quite the attention getter. He uses beautiful people, beautiful things and beautiful moments to do his dirtiest work. I must pay close attention to his deceptive and destructive ways. He is the slickest and most crafty creature on the planet.  Every time I resist one of his sneaky schemes, I become stronger and more attentive to his next “sneak attack”. He is incredibly subtle. He is not beyond notice or finding out. The Presence of God in me can “heighten my radar” to his sneaky moves. I would be wise to continue seeking truth in the Word of God because the enemy can’t get through the defenses the Lord is helping me build.

I want to stand firm in my faith today, no matter what my circumstances. I want to walk consistently with the Lord each day that I live. I don’t ever want to think that my life or my accomplishments are about me – that’s pride. I want to be humble and give the Lord 100% credit for any good that I can do for anyone. He cares about everything that happens to me and can help me navigate my life with great wisdom and insight.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Weak = Power

 

Smiling sport child boy showing hand biceps muscles strengthI feel like sometimes it’s taken me a very long time (like my whole life) to start to grasp how different God sees things versus how we see things. His Word reveals so many truths about Him and I’ve heard many of them, but it’s taken me several years to really understand.

It seems that Paul is a bit insecure about being an Apostle who was called to serve after all the others, yet he writes most of the New Testament and he is “a machine”, constantly preaching and teaching the good news of the gospel. He reveals some personal struggle or issue that opens my eyes a bit to his journey and the Lord’s heart. Check this out….

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 CSB)

This passage gives some more profound perspective on the struggles of my journey. I have made my life all about my happiness and my personal comfort. Paul was making his life about showing others the love of God and glorify the Lord with his life. I am blessed and oh so thankful to have avoided some hardships and suffering while hitting others spot on and navigating through. I am still learning that my hope and trust is in the Lord and not in my ability to accomplish or do anything.

When I’m weak – I’m strong.

When I’m tired – I’m useful to the Lord.

When I’m strong – I had better watch out.

He does His best work through my weaknesses and during my hardships and struggle. It’s not a fun ride, but a productive one.

I thought of this “old school sounding” song by Crowder…. All My Hope Is In Jesus.

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

Escape

 

Running Man from blocksI have used this word escape many times. I like to watch movies for entertainment, but also a brief “escape” from reality. I had fun with our family at an “Escape Room” in Atlanta about a year ago. I have escaped car accidents. I’ve escaped bad relationships. I have escaped some pretty bad situations and I give the Lord credit for helping me escape. I am learning to let Him lead because always has an escape plan – a way out.

Paul talks about how the Lord will give us a way out of temptation. I have lived this out for sure. Check this out…

12 So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. 13 No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 CSB)

The Lord is powerful and insightful enough to make a way where there seems to be no way. I should never be full of pride for my behavior. I am who I am and what I am because of Jesus living inside of me. It’s not what I’ve done but what He’s done. I want to make Him known and let me fade into oblivion.

He has made an escape route for me too many times to count. I am so thankful. My life could have been destroyed. He is strong – I am weak. He is completely aware – I am often naïve. He is always present – I’m often absent minded and forgetful. I’m going to stick with Him as He helps me navigate the mine fields of this life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

In Charge & In Control

 

Follow The LeaderWhen I go places, and do things, I usually like to know who is in charge. I have been taught to respect authority. I may not like the person in charge, but they are in charge. When I’m put in charge of a project or situation, I also try to respect the people I’m charged with leading. If I am a leader at all it’s because I’m following The Leader – God of All Creation! Check this out…

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;

    the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
    indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago;
    you are from all eternity.

Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
    holiness adorns your house
    for endless days. (Psalm 93:1-2;5 NIV)

The Lord is ALWAYS in charge. The Lord lets me lead on His behalf. The Lord will never give up pursuing me– His love is like that. I am still blown away by that level of love and pursuit. I want to be holy like the Lord is holy. I want to strong like the Lord is strong.  I want to the Holy Spirit to clothe me, build me, protect me and shape me. I want the Lord to always be In Charge & In Control of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne