Profound Blessing

 

The Power of Sharing Billboard Message Donate Give Help OthersThere have been times upon receipt of a blessing that I’ve been speechless. I have not always liked being the recipient of a gift as much as being the giver. Somewhere along the way I learned to be grateful upon receiving a blessing from someone. If I don’t learn to receive the blessing, it can rob the other person of the joy of giving.

Moses is pouring out blessing on the 12 family leaders of Israel. He speaks to them one family at a time and he names their family leader. Check this out…

13 About Joseph he said:

‘May the Lord bless his land

    with the precious dew from heaven above

    and with the deep waters that lie below;

14 with the best the sun brings forth

    and the finest the moon can yield;

15 with the choicest gifts of the ancient mountains

    and the fruitfulness of the everlasting hills;

16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness

    and the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush.

Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,

    on the brow of the prince among his brothers. (Deuteronomy 33:13-16 NIV)

I loved this blessing upon Joseph because the issues with Joseph’s suffering and hardship were well known. Joseph ended up saving his family after enduring the separation and suffering in slavery and prison. What a cool blessing on Joseph and his legacy.

My favorite part of this blessing was when Moses referenced “the favor of Him who dwelt in the burning bush.” That was a huge turning point in Moses’ legacy. After hearing the Lord speak from the burning bush that wasn’t consumed, Moses was never the same again.

I believe in praying for the favor of God. I believe in praying for the blessing of God. I also believe that the Lord can use me to be “His favor or His blessing” upon others. I’ve learned that it is very rewarding to be the hands and feet of the Lord pouring out His blessing and His favor upon another person. It’s humbling to receive the favor of God, and it’s also humbling to be used by God to pour out His favor on others. God profoundly blesses me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Not Afraid

Courage Vs. Fear Bowling Ball Strike Pins BraveryI remember when I was in college; my favorite job was working security detail. My job was a lot like a “night watchman” as I patrolled the campus looking out for the safety of my fellow students. I remember I had a two-way radio and some kind of clock. I had to go to different stations all over campus where a key was placed. The key would fit inside the clock box that I carried. It would show that I had “checked out” that particular area on campus. I learned to not be afraid of the dark at a pretty young age. I do remember a few instances where my friends would sneak out of the dorm and try to scare the crap out of me. It sometimes worked.

The Lord is giving His people some preparatory instructions about war as they go in to take possession of the Promised Land. Check this out…

1 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: ‘Hear, Israel: today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be faint-hearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’ (Deuteronomy 20:1-4 NIV)

I really want to keep growing in my trust in the Lord. I want to be brave and strong in the face of the scariest circumstances. I want to keep my head because He has totally got control of my life and my circumstances. His Presence in my heart pushes out fear. I will not fear my God will come through – ALWAYS. I am not one of these folks that believe that if they “name it” then they can “claim it”. I believe that the Lord can do anything He wants or wills. I also believe that He wired me with some common sense and spiritual sense. I should not and don’t ever intend to manipulate the Word of God to say what I want it to say. I want to be brave in the face of suffering and trust Him to show me the way through suffering. As I go through suffering, He builds character and strength in me. If I try to escape, I will still probably suffer and won’t learn and grow because He wants to teach me through trials.

I’m not afraid of what is ahead because God is with me. He will walk with me through whatever I face. I will face my fears with Him. I will walk in the dark with Him. I will go wherever He leads me and not fear what may happen along the way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Everywhere I Go

 

GPS And MapLast week I had the opportunity to go to San Diego California for the National Association of REALTORS Conference and Expo. There are things about the trip that were challenging and there were other things that simply blessed me. For example, the trip out was long, but I had the opportunity to eat dinner with some amazing friends and fellow believers. Then the fun began with classes and seminars non-stop. As I reflect on that trip, I can so see the hand of the Lord in so many ways. We heard the powerful story of Jessica Buchanan, an aid worker rescued by Seal Team 6 in Somali after being kidnapped by rebels for 93 days. Her story of mental toughness and hope was incredibly inspiring.

Moses was giving instructions by the Lord as to how the nation of Israel was to travel. They were given instructions about how what order to line up, but they were to wait upon the Lord before moving. The Lord uses something easy to notice to direct them. Check this out…

15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites set up camp. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they set up camp. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. (Numbers 9:15-18 NIV)

The Lord was the Leader of the Israelite nation. Moses was the leader and tasked with  speaking the instructions of the Lord. When He used the cloud during the day and the cloud or pillar of fire by night, it was pretty obvious when the Lord was ready for them to move.

I have learned over the years to seek the Lord before moving. I want Him to direct my path in life. I want His Wisdom and His Discernment to lead me. As I was reading this passage this morning I remembered a song that Rich Mullins had written and recorded many years ago and it’s simple message moved my heart then. The song “Everywhere I Go I see You” was later recorded by Michael W. Smith.

This past week on Sunday after hearing the story of Jessica, we had some downtime to see the sights of San Diego and after visiting Coronado, we also went to Mt. Soledad Veteran’s memorial. The view from there is amazing and it’s humbling to be reminded of the men and women of our armed forces who serve to protect the freedoms we enjoy as a nation. As we were driving around the city of San Diego and La Jolla, I was also reminded of the journey through cancer with my son Jeremy Hicks. I couldn’t help but reflect on the journey that was so tough about just less than four years ago.

I believe that the Hand of God and the Glory of God can be seen wherever I go in this life. He has been with me through suffering and pain. He has been with me through much joy and victory. I believe that where I am today and the story of my life was written, produced and directed by The Lord Himself. I just want to be obedient and move when He says move and stay when He says stay. I see His hand everywhere in so many ways through the story of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Disaster Is Looming

 

Tornado aftermath in Henryville, IndianaThere are occasions when the meteorologist can forecast hurricanes and tornados because of incredible technology available to us. I remember seeing the leaves blow and turn over and I was told that a storm was coming. There are times when we can see disaster on the horizon. Some economist can make predictions about an economic disaster that is looming. There are people predict impending doom out of predictors that are happening. Moses was not predicting disaster on Egypt – he was warning them straight up about what is about to happen. Check this out…

4 So Moses said, ‘This is what the Lord says: “About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt – worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.” Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, “Go, you and all the people who follow you!” After that I will leave.’ Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. (Exodus 11:4-8 NIV)

I can hardly put my head around what is about to happen. Moses is obviously frustrated and angry that this situation has reached this point. God has sent 8 other plagues to showcase His Power and His Presence. Pharaoh and his leadership team are ignoring what is going on, or they have super short-term memory. God is about to bring a massive disaster upon the land of Egypt. I am a Dad and I simply can’t imagine the pain that is about to be inflicted on Egypt. The loss of life in any disaster is painful, but in this case every single family will be dealing with the death of a family member. I have been convicted recently that I’ve been guilty of putting my family and my love for my family ahead of love for God. God doesn’t want me to love my family less, He just wants me to love Him more.

If I see or hear of disaster looming on the horizon, I should take precautions and make preparation. If there is a storm warning, I should take cover. If I feel in danger in my heart, I should make preparation. When disaster comes, I will keep holding on to the Hand that saved me in the first place and He will walk me through whatever I face. His Presence in the middle of a disaster or time of suffering is immeasurable. I will not let go of His hand even when everything is calm and I sure don’t intend to let go His hand in the middle of a disaster.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Moan & Groan

Young man suffering pain on his chest, isolated on whiteI think “moan and groan” might be related “whine and wail”. When I think of these words, the word anguish comes to mind. I’ve moaned and groaned in a state of desperation when my life was broken. I’ve whined and wailed in deep pain and struggle. These are not great places to be. I’ve since learned that to avoid being in these “places” requires a choice on my part. I must choose optimism and hope to see past my suffering and struggle. Besides all of that, the Lord can be honored in my struggle.

Ezekiel was prophesying what was about to come. His style was different than just speaking. Check this out…

6 “Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. 7 When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign Lord says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’” (Ezekiel 21:6-7 NLT)

 

It sometimes blows my mind how the Lord can take a mess and make something so beautiful out of it. He hates sin but loves the sinner. He does some of His best work in me when I suffering deeply. It’s not a fun process, but I’m learning to hold on tight to Him as I navigate through the hardship and suffering. He doesn’t let my pain and struggle go to waste – He makes something good come out of it. Romans 8:28 comes to mind here. Check this out…

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NIV)

 

Please don’t mistake moaning and groaning with griping and complaining. I am learning to lean on Him in the middle of every struggle, no matter how small or how large.

I can do everything through Christ Who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NLT)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Hope Has A Name

hope erase fearThere are some days that I just need hope. I mean I need a sliver of hope. I can get so discouraged and beat down that I can’t seem to get my head up. I really hate getting so down and so discouraged, but sometimes my circumstances scream louder at me than the hope deep inside. I’ve learned over the years to “go with what I know until my feelings catch up”. I believe that the Lord has me in the middle of my darkest night. I don’t always “feel” Him close, but I “know” He’s here. Jeremiah was speaking of this type of discouragement and despair in Lamentations. Check this out….

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,

    the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them,

    and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind

    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

    for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;

    therefore I will wait for him.’

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

    to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly

    for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:19-26 NIV)

 

In my life, I’ve been through some really dark valleys and it takes me a minute for my eyes to adjust to where I find myself. I find it hard to make decisions without knowing where I am. I have to lean on the professional guidance of others when I’m in such a fogged over place. I know the Lord is present – He promised He’d be here and He’s never left me or forsaken me. Sometimes my struggle is so consuming my thoughts that I can’t see Him at work, but He is working.

I know a few things about the Lord. I know that Jesus came to earth as a baby, grew up in a carpenter shop and then ministered to hundreds and thousands of people as He walked this earth. He died a sacrificial death that I might have forgiveness and hope. I know that to the logical/linear mind this may not make any sense. But I know that Hope has a Name – Jesus. He has seen me through some dark, dark times. He never leaves just because things are tough, in fact that’s when He does some of His most memorable work in me. My Hope is in Jesus. Through the struggles of this season – my hope is in Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne