Blessing & Prosperity

Gratitude Word CloudThese two words fit together like a hand and a glove.  I like both words. Blessing on one hand, is a gift or favor from God. Prosperity is a successful, thriving condition – especially regarding finances (dictionary.com). I have never been one who promotes a “prosperity gospel” – meaning if you follow the Lord, you will be wealthy and all will be well with you. I believe that if I follow the Lord fully that troubles and trials will still come. They will often come with a vengeance because the enemy doesn’t like my allegiance to the Lord.

The Psalmist speaks a bit about the prosperity and blessing from God. Check this out…

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
    who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
    blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    round your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
    for the man who fears the Lord. (Psalm 128:1-4 NIV)

I do believe that God honors those who fear Him. I believe He will make our paths straight when we trust in Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6) I don’t believe that the Lord will remove the hardships and times of struggle just because I follow Him. He has walked with me through hardship and struggle and because of His Presence, my perspective is changed significantly.

I am blessed because of The Lord’s Presence in me. I am thankful and I’m praying daily for a grateful heart to Him for His blessing. I’m not naïve that there will not be tough times. I believe that I have help from Him and that changes everything. I know where my hope lies. I know that this life is not the end game. I know that He loves me. I am blessed with an amazing family and I walk in respect and reverence before the Lord. I am blessed with a job that serves others and compensates me well for my service. I am blessed and I certainly want to be a blessing to others. I want others to know the “peace that passes all understanding” that I’ve found in my walk with Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Praying For Peace

 

Pretty girl praying.Elderly man prayingI see peace as a “state mutual harmony, and a state of serenity and tranquility”. This is a word that means different things to a lot of different people. I love having peace in my life, buy sometimes peace is not quiet or boring. Sometimes “mutual harmony” is a bit loud and even a struggle. I used to connect peace with quiet and I still do sometimes. Peace is much deeper than silence. Peace is a matter of my spiritual heart condition. When my heart is at peace, I am trusting the Lord with whatever is getting me anxious.

David was evidently heading to the Temple when He wrote this Psalm. David is a warrior and has fought many bloody battles and has seen much bloodshed. In the midst of this assent to worship he is asking the people to join him in prayer. Check this out…

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    ‘May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
    and security within your citadels.’
For the sake of my family and friends,
    I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your prosperity. (Psalm 122:6-9 NIV)

I need to be a prayer warrior for peace. I can pray for peace for my family, my community, my state, my country & the world. Praying for peace and seeking to be peaceful are two different things. I believe that the Lord loves peace. I believe He restores my soul and nourishes my heart during peace. During times of struggle and angst, He does some of His best work building me. I feel like I’ve grown more in times of suffering and struggle for sure than in times of peace. During struggle and hardship, I found myself clinging to Him – holding on as tight as possible. I learned through struggle and suffering that He doesn’t leave me. He is always there. At times during the struggle, it felt as if He had left, but He had not. My feelings are fickle and I’ve learned that when the Lord says He is with me, then I can count on that. It may not “feel” like He is with me; but He sure is!

I love the greeting that Paul ends his second letter to the church as Thessalonica with. Check this out…

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (1 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

 

Desperate Need

 

Beauty girl cryI have been afraid before. I do know what it is like to feel desperate. I also know what it’s like to be in desperate need. I must say that I’ve never missed a meal or had to go any length of time at all without food. I’ve never been without a home. I have truly been blessed many times over for many years. I still know what desperation feels like. There have been events happen in my life that I had very little or no control over. I know what it’s like to be desperate for the Lord to intervene and help.

Asaph, was the worship leader for David, I think. He is a musician so we know he’s probably certainly somewhat emotional. He writes with passion and purpose. I can feel in his writing a close and deep relationship with God. He approaches the Lord at a time of desperation. Check this out…

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
    may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
    for we are in desperate need.
Help us, God our Savior,
    for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
    for your name’s sake. (Psalm 79:8-9 NIV)

Desperate needs can give us intense focus.

Desperate needs can give us incredibly humble hearts.

Desperate needs can drive us to fall at the feet of the Lord asking for His help.

I don’t like feeling desperate need. I’ve grown in my journey to know that the Lord is not desperate. He is not surprised by my situation or circumstances. He will help me. He will use my desperate need to reveal more of His heart and His purpose for my life. My desperate need is often a deep teachable moment for me and those close to me. He doesn’t waste moments of struggle, hardship or desperation – I learn much about God’s heart in the depths of desperate need. I was reminded of this promise that Paul writes to the Philippian church:

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 NIV)

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

Desperate & Downcast

 

depression teen girlI have been on the mountain top and I’ve wandered through the valley too. I like the mountain top a lot better. The mountain top doesn’t mean that all is well with me. The mountain top also doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “all downhill from here”. There are highs and lows to my life journey. When I’m low I’m looking for the Father. When I’m up high I’m looking for Him there too!  I want to walk with the Lord daily no matter what life throws at me – no matter what circumstances I face.

The sons of Korah penned a song that has ministered to me many times. I do have to stop and talk to myself sometimes when I get down or a bit deflated. The person I shave with is a bit hard headed at times! Sometimes a quick reminder of Who He is, who I am and where I’ve been is worth the trip down memory lane. Check this out…

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    ‘Where is your God?’
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me –
    a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:1-8 NIV)

I’m not going to allow the enemy a foothold. When I stumble, I will get back up and get my feet moving forward. I will lean on the Lord for strength. He has always been faithful to me as I often ignore Him. I want the Power of His love to wash over me like the waves of the sea. I want Him to remind me often of His Presence. When I praise Him and focus my gaze upon Him in worship, my issues get smaller and smaller in significance.

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