Advocate

LawyerThere are occasions where I’ve needed an advocate. This is someone who speaks for me. My advocate needs to know everything about me so that they can defend me and direct me. An advocate provides a different perspective – they see different solutions for my situation. An advocate can be an attorney, a spokesperson, a friend, a counselor, parent, sibling or co-worker. I am thankful for my earthly advocates. I came across a small passage in the Gospel of John this morning where Jesus is promising an Advocate. Check this out…

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. (John 14:15-17 NLT)

Jesus is talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a foreign subject to them but they will soon learn first-hand about the Holy Spirit’s Power and Presence in them. Jesus is giving them a heads up. He is also trying to comfort them because He’s leaving them to return to the Father.  I believe that they were probably pretty emotional about His leaving them and the Holy Spirit is to be a Presence and an Advocate.  As I’m writing this, I’m also thinking about how as a Dad, I’m also and advocate for my kids. As a husband, I’m an advocate for my wife. I’m also an advocate for my friends, my clients, customers, agents & employees.

I’m thankful for my Advocate (aka The Holy Spirit), who gives me counsel, direction, comfort, peace by His Presence.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

(Note: As I was writing this yesterday, my youngest son woke up early and came into the living room and sat with me and talked. I realized again what a blessing to be his advocate – so I published this a day late. It was worth it. #advocate)

Make My Case

 

Man praying with the BibleI have always been a fan of TV shows and movies that feature a great attorney. I have probably watched every episode of Perry Mason (the black & white versions) and Matlock and most recently Law & Order (the original). I’m intrigued with how our justice system works or in some cases fails to work. As I was reading through Job this morning, I felt a bit like I was seeing a microcosm of Law & Order. His friends were pushing on him and now he (Job) is pushing back. I can feel his frustration but also his resolve. He believes he is innocent and doesn’t deserve this but he refuses to curse God. He does confront God, but with reverence and respect. I believe that God is ok with out questions and “push back” when it’s covered in reverence and respect.

11 Would not his splendour terrify you?

    Would not the dread of him fall on you?

12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes;

    your defences are defences of clay.

13 ‘Keep silent and let me speak;

    then let come to me what may.

14 Why do I put myself in jeopardy

    and take my life in my hands?

15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;

    I will surely defend my ways to his face.

16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,

    for no godless person would dare come before him!

17 Listen carefully to what I say;

    let my words ring in your ears.

18 Now that I have prepared my case,

    I know I will be vindicated.

19 Can anyone bring charges against me?

    If so, I will be silent and die. (Job 13:11-19 NIV)

I can feel the agony and pain of Job’s suffering as I read these words. While I’ve experienced pain and suffering, mine doesn’t measure up (or I should say down) to the level of struggle he’s in the middle of. This passage reminds me that my relationship with Almighty God is critical to making it through suffering. I want to know Him more. I want to understand the Lord’s heart. I want to surrender to His will for my life. I want to lay down my pride before Him and let Him have all of me. I can’t imagine plowing through suffering and struggle without Him. I would agree with Job that God could prevent it, but even “though He slay me; yet will I hope in Him”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Pushing Back

Man withstands moving downThere are times when someone tells me how things are or how they are going to be and I have to raise my hand and “push back” or speak up. Sometimes people who are being led must push back on the leader to understand how he or she works. I’m not sure I have always had the confidence to do that. I do think the way we push back is important too – I think we should respect the positions of leaders who are over us. That doesn’t mean we follow blindly or constantly show disrespect for them or the office they hold.

As I was reading Job this morning, it sounded to me like he wants to “push back” a bit on the Lord. Here he is at a loss – he is beat down to the point that death would be a welcomed friend. He doesn’t disrespect the Lord, but he wants a conversation with God. Check this out…

32 ‘He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,

    that we might confront each other in court.

33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,

    someone to bring us together,

34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,

    so that his terror would frighten me no more.

35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,

    but as it now stands with me, I cannot. (Job 9:32-35 NIV)

As I read this passage, it sounded to me like Job was describing the role of Jesus, the Son of God. The book of Job is one of the oldest manuscripts found, if not the oldest and there was not a mention of Jesus coming to earth. It sure sounds like Job is asking for the role that Jesus later would complete. I was reminded of the description of Jesus in Hebrews. Check this out…

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV)

I have had some very honest and raw conversations with the Lord over the years because I have Jesus as my attorney. He speaks on my behalf. He defends me. He has paid my penalty. He took my sin upon His shoulders. I have direct access to God through Jesus. This is exactly what Job was wanting. In Job’s suffering he wanted a direct conversation with God, but didn’t feel like he could. I’m thankful that I have a confidant that I can tell everything to. I can push back on God without disrespect or being irreverent. I can be honest because Jesus understands my hurt, my frustration and my suffering. He lived here on earth. I believe God wired me to push back because it is then that I often understand His Presence and His heart most profoundly.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Advocate

JusticeThis is someone who pleads on someone else’s behalf. An attorney is an example of an advocate. As a parent, I’m an advocate of my kids. As a leader of my company, I’m an advocate of my agents. I love the fact that I have the Ultimate Advocate. The Lord is my Council, my Advocate – my Attorney. He not only pleads my case, He gives me great daily council on how to live out my faith. Check this out….

1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:1-6 NIV)

 

I believe that He speaks through His Word IF I will listen. He gives me instructions in His Word how to live my life. He also prompts me in my spirit as to daily choices. He is ALWAYS present and NEVER forgets or leaves me alone.  He does require obedience. It’s one thing to “say” I love Him, it’s another thing to “show” Him I love Him by my obedience.  He wants to be Lord over every area of my life, not just a few. I’m learning that things flow much better when I surrender every single area to Him – especially the areas I think I know something about! I surrender all and then He does some amazing things with what I brought to Him.

He defends me.

He represents me.

He directs me.

He blesses me.

He loves me!

 Pressing On!
Dwayne

My Defense Council

I have never been to court where I’m called as a witness or defendant. I was on the jury once a long, long time ago. I’m also a huge Law & Order fan. I’ve watched probably every Perry Mason show and I did watch a little Matlock. In most all of these shows, the defense attorney really plays a huge role in helping innocent people get vindication.

I was given some bad news of a friend who recently pled guilty to something I don’t believe he did to avoid a stiffer punishment. He received years of prison time for something he says he didn’t do. My initial thought was that it sounds like he didn’t have good council. He really needed a good attorney to present his case. I woke up this morning troubled on behalf of my friend and read this passage of scripture in Psalms. Check this out…

1 I find rest in God;
only he can save me.
2 He is my rock and my salvation.
He is my defender;
I will not be defeated.
5 I find rest in God;
only he gives me hope.
6 He is my rock and my salvation.
He is my defender;
I will not be defeated.
7 My honor and salvation come from God.
He is my mighty rock and my protection.
8 People, trust God all the time.
Tell him all your problems,
because God is our protection. (Psalm 62:1-2; 5-8 NCV)

This passage of scripture blessed me because I’ve since needed legal council. I’ve been praying about the next move and God has supplied with me with wise council every time. I should not worry – I should just trust in God. He is my defender. He will direct my path, my words, my steps, my preparation – all of it. He has everything under his control. I can find complete rest when I completely trust God.

Pressing On!
Dwayne