Rely Upon The Lord

Praise at sunsetThere are all sorts of activities seeking my attention every day. I can’t possibly avoid them all. I do think I can keep a proper perspective on all these shiny new objects clamoring for me to take a look. My attention is an important part of who I am. Who or What do I give attention too? I have 24 hours in the day and part of that I’m sleeping. I have to choose what to do with the hours of my day. I have the kind of job that can require a lot of intensity in short bursts and then it seems to slow down. I’ve learned the value of a steady investment into my business each day, even with the bursts of busyness.

I was reminded this morning that who I am and all that I do is really dependent upon the Lord. He is the Giver. He is the Comforter. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the Savior to the world. I must revisit my perspective of relying on Him very often. Check this out…

We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. (2 Corinthians 1:8b-11 NLT)

I’ve tried things my own way and failed miserably. I have ignored His prompting and His direction for my life and had loads of regret. I believe that I need reminded often that relying upon Him is the most profound act of obedience for me. I can do nothing without Him. I used to think I could do nothing of “significance” without Him. I came to the conclusion after several attempts, on my own, that I can really do NOTHING without Him. I want my life to be in harmony with His Spirit inside me. I want the choices I face and the decisions I make to be wholly dependent upon Him. I depend confidently upon Him for each detail of my life. I rely on Him to help me be the best husband I can be. I rely on Him to help me be the best Dad I can be. I rely on Him to help me be the best friend I can be. I rely on Him to help me be the best REALTOR I can be. It’s not super complicated, in fact, it’s simple. I didn’t say it was easy, just simple. I’m leaning today into the two simple verses from Proverbs that speak to relying and trust upon the Lord. Check this out…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Walk Instead of Worry

Yellow roadsign with WORRY FREE ZONE messageI remember reading a quote years ago that said: “Worry is like a rocking chair; it will give you something to do, but it will get you nowhere”. I have my own secret way of worrying. I actually use a different word. Instead of saying I’m worried about something, I use the word “concerned”. The concept is still the same. I find myself worrying about things that I have zero control over. I can do nothing about the weather. I can do nothing about what people in other parts of the world choose to do. I can do nothing about my past. I can really only control my response to the past while living in the present and planning for a future – which I have little control over as well. When the dust clears, worry does NOTHING to help me, instead it actually harms my heart deep within.

Jesus spoke clearly in His teaching about worry and what a waste of time and energy. He goes a bit deeper inside it and calls out the source of our worry – money. Check this out…

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:24-27,31-34 NLT)

I came away after reading that this morning thinking that I simply need to keep walking with the Lord and not worrying about anything. I think about money every day – how much I have; or how much this will cost; I don’t think I could ever have too much. I need to care less about what others think of me and care more about how I’m walking with the Lord. I need to care less about my past and how things used to be and embrace what my future looks like with the Lord in charge. I need to quit worrying and start walking in step with the Lord. He created me. He created this world. He owns everything and I’m simply His manager. I will get a lot more done for Him and His work, if I stop being so self-absorbed in worry.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Straight Obedience

Teenage girl in trouble with parentsI will obey, but I might not like it. I remember letting my parents know if I didn’t like it. I have learned in my journey with the Lord that He really likes obedience. He wants me to obey without question. I can hardly imagine the obedience that Joseph was called too. His fiancé turns up pregnant prior to their marriage. She swears that she has remained pure. He has a dream. Check this out…

19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:19-21,24-25 NLT)

I believe that the Lord had rather have my obedience than any offerings or gifts I give. He would rather have my obedience than my worship. My worship is empty and meaningless, if I’m not walking in obedience. (I have been guilty of this for sure.) The Lord wants my obedience above anything I could offer or do.

I love Joseph’s obedience to the angel’s command. The world is different because of Joseph’s obedience. I’m sure that God would have found another way, but He didn’t have to. Joseph obeyed and honored the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

A Hard Prayer

Praying ManI don’t really consider myself a “prayer warrior”, but I really want to be. I do pray often, but I feel like I’ve got much to learn regarding prayer. I’m still learning to pray about everything and worry about nothing. I want to have a consistent prayer journey with the Lord where I talk with Him throughout the day about every facet of my day and my life. I want to talk with Him during the menial, mundane tasks, like brushing my teeth, going to the bathroom, answering email, texts, etc.…

A healthy prayer life involves a lot of listening as well as talking. I’ve become a better listener with the Lord over the years. I’ve learned to pray with more depth of purpose, since learning to listen to Him. He speaks through silence. He speaks through loud people. He speaks through quiet people. He speaks in the nature. He speaks in the sunrise and sunset. He speaks in the smile of a child. He speaks more ways and in more situations than I could possibly count.

I do recall some prayers that are hard to pray. Jesus prayed a “hard prayer”, the night of His betrayal. He was troubled in spirit, because He knew what was coming. Check this out…

32 They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Mark 14:32-36 NLT)

I don’t always “want” the Lord’s will. I usually want what I want. I can be selfish at the expense of others. I will sometimes complain if I don’t get what I want. I have learned that complaining really means I feel “entitled” to something. I think entitlement is a big issue in our culture today. I feel entitled to things that I really should earn. I often act like; others life should revolve around mine.  It is really hard to pray: “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” I’ve sat beside the bed of a friend as their loved ones prayed this prayer, only to have them die within in hours. I will passionately pray for what I want for hours on end, because I feel like to pray for “His will to be done” might end badly. I can’t always see what He sees. I can just see the here and now. The Lord see there and then – the future. I’m learning that He always know what is best. He always knows exactly what I need. In order for me to grow and mature in my faith, I need to have a child-like trust in Him. I need to pray for His will above mine, every time I pray. That is easier said than done, but I’m trying.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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

Encouragement

 

Series of hand gesturesI love being encouraged. This word means “to inspire, spirit or confidence”. It also means “to promote, advance or foster” action.  I am encouraged by people, books, places and events. These are all areas of the “physical realm” that I live in. I’m also encouraged by the Presence of God in the “spiritual realm” that I also live in. The encouragement I receive in the spiritual realm is a lot harder to explain if you’ve never experienced anything like it. I remember being promised the Presence of The Holy Spirit when I accepted Jesus into my heart and was baptized. It was a bit before I understood and felt His Presence in my life. As I continued to study His Word and walk with Him in obedience and trust – His Presence became more and more obvious to me.

My journey in the Word took me through the last chapter of Luke where Jesus had just risen from the dead. His followers were a bit freaked out. They didn’t remember that He had told them these things. The women who had prepared spices for His body were the first to get to the tomb and found He wasn’t there. Then a couple of His disciples went as well. He wasn’t there. Check this out…

13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16 NLT)

I believe that the Lord is Present even when I don’t recognize Him.

I believe that His Presence changes any situation I face.

His Presence certainly changes my perspective of any situation I face.

I am encouraged to know that I don’t have to face suffering and trials all by myself. My family is not alone in the midst of struggles and pain – He is with me.

This encouragement is hard to explain, but very real. It is called faith. I have faith in God, Who created all that I see and know. He is the reason I live. He is the reason I love. He is the reason I sing. He is the reason that I serve.

I really want others to know this encouragement that I have inside my heart that is ONLY because of His Presence in me. He calms my unsettled heart. He directs my undecided path. He rescues me from stupidity quite often. I’m so thankful and encouraged by His Presence and the Power He brings with Him to help me along the way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne