Quiet

 

girl gesturing silence saying shh using her hand - concept vectoI grew up listening to music and like most teenagers, I liked it loud. I wanted to hear the “ping” of the cymbal or the acoustic guitar amid the electric. I subscribed to the notion, “if the music was too loud, you were too old”!  Yes, it has affected my hearing a bit so that now the reason I like music loud is so that I can hear it! LOL!

The Psalmist whose words I read this morning, speaks of quiet. I have learned that I do like to get up early while my house and my world is quiet. I like to hear from the Lord.  I like to hear from Him before the noise of my life begins. It’s not that He can’t speak through the noise of my life (because He does), but I don’t often hear through the noise. I like to start my day with Him speaking into my heart. Check this out…

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quietened myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and for evermore. (Psalm 131:1-3 NIV)

I want to hear what the Lord says, because what I want to say is not nearly as important. He is God of Creation, King of Kings & Lord of Lords – I would be wise to trust Him. I would be wise to hear Him. I would be wise to follow His instructions. I would be wise to put my hope in Him. I am ok to sit quietly with Him. He speaks volumes to me heart in the quiet moments where I can listen intently. He handles my life. He will take charge of the smallest detail to the largest, monumental decision. He gives me wisdom and strength in the quiet moments. He prepares me for the noise of my day in the quiet moments of the morning. I’m thankful that I have Him and that I know Him.

Today is a different day for me. I’m attending a funeral later this morning of a dear family friend who was killed suddenly in an auto accident. Her family is hurting deeply.  Later this afternoon, I get to be part of a beautiful, outdoor country wedding with my nephew and his sweet bride to be. In the quietness of this morning, the Lord makes both these events somehow beautiful and meaningful. My life – this life is all about bringing glory to God with my life. He loves it when I point to Him. My quiet time in the morning helps me map out my day and how I can get that accomplished.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Dreams

 

House and money on scalesWhen the recession hit full force between 2007 & 2010, our little part of the US Economy was hit very hard. We experienced 5 different banks and all their branches being taken over by the FDIC and sold off to another institution. One bank was started from the premise that they would be a “foreclosure bank”. When these bank take-downs took place there were hundreds of people in our area who lost massive amounts of money invested into those institutions. Then after the foreclosure banks took over, they started calling notes and loans due. I knew one person whose family had 3 investment properties who were never late and the bank called the note due. These folks were strong enough to go to another bank and borrow the funds to move forward. Others whose notes were called due had not choice except foreclosure or bankruptcy. (I don’t have time to explain the lucrative “loss-share” arrangement that the FDIC had with these foreclosure banks, which explains in large part why so many notes were called due.) These were some very hard times and money was very tight in our part of the world. Fast forward to 2017 and the economic outlook is a bit better. We still have some challenges ahead for sure, and while economic recovery has been slow, we are recovering.

As I read the word this morning, I was reminded that the Lord was not surprised by the recession. He is never caught off guard by events of my world. When I call out to Him, He shows up and really changes the outlook and outcome of many events. Check this out…

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them. (Psalm 126:1-6 NIV)

I don’t know many people who weren’t downsized a bit by the economic recession that is not too far distant in the rear-view mirror. I know that many of them have discovered a lot about themselves and their ability to recover and rebound. My family and I battled through like so many good people and I’m thankful that The Lord provided the path to navigate through such turbulent times.

I feel like the Lord brings hope and peace to the most chaotic circumstances or issues. He brings clarity and calm. He brings wisdom and discernment. He is responsible for giving wisdom in large doses to anyone who asks. He became my CFO (Chief Financial Officer) when the recession hit and He will hold that position in my life to the end.  He restored my hopes and dreams, they will just be delayed a bit. He is worthy of my trust and my hope. At the end of it all, the Lord owns everything and I’m simply His manager of what He’s given me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Calamity & Chaos

Tornado aftermath in Henryville, IndianaThere are times in life when it seems like things are coming apart at the seams. Everything seems to be crashing down around me. I’ve been through times of major uncertainty financially. I’ve experienced the struggle of my kid fighting cancer and winning the fight in less than 6 months. In the middle of the calamity and chaos, it seems like it will last forever. Looking back it’s coming up on 5 years ago and the depth of the struggle is getting smaller in my rear view mirror. I don’t think the memories of that experience will go away anytime soon, but they do become a bit more manageable.

Job was definitely in the middle of calamity and chaos. His life was way different than just a few months before. He has lost his family, his possessions and his health. He is miserable and suffering from open sores all over his body. His friends are accusing him of sin and he knows that he hasn’t gone that route. He doesn’t understand how God could let this happen to him. His “friend” Bildad the Shuhite (I’ve been told that Bildad is the shortest man in the Bible! Wink-Wink!) jumps in with his own commentary. Check this out…

5 ‘The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out;

    the flame of his fire stops burning.

6 The light in his tent becomes dark;

    the lamp beside him goes out.

7 The vigour of his step is weakened;

    his own schemes throw him down.

12 Calamity is hungry for him;

    disaster is ready for him when he falls.

13 It eats away parts of his skin;

    death’s firstborn devours his limbs.

14 He is torn from the security of his tent

    and marched off to the king of terrors.

21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;

    such is the place of one who does not know God.’ (Job 18:5-7; 12-14; 21 NIV)

I think back over the back-story of my life and I experienced some chaos and calamity, but nowhere near the scale that Job is experiencing. He is really battling to keep his sanity in the midst of a crazy, painful journey. His friends do lecture a bit and accuse him, but he keeps on “plowing through the pain”. They call him “evil man” and yet he’s done nothing to deserve this.

I think there have been tragedies in our world that I can’t explain for sure – the death of a child, or the death of a young mom or dad. I don’t always understand why bad things happen to good people – but they do. I don’t always understand why God doesn’t jump in and save the day. I have learned to trust His heart even when I can’t see His hand at work.

Calamity and Chaos leave the room when The Lord enters. He comes in bringing hope. He brings peace in the middle of the storm. He brings calm in the middle of crisis. Job is leaning on the Lord and that’s exactly what I must do too.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Chaos to Calm

Business man relaxing having power nap outdoors with computer laptopThere have been way too many times that my life has chaos for a season. Life can be unpredictable and hard to manage due to circumstances beyond my control. I think that is a pretty good definition of chaos.

The Lord can bring calm to chaos. He can bring order in the midst of confusion. In fact there is always some level of chaos going on in my life at any moment. My heart is in pursuit of His heart therefore I can have calm in the middle of any level of chaos.

Jeremiah was in the middle of chaos as Jerusalem is falling captive to Babylonians and he’s in Jerusalem as it’s going down. The Lord had made provision for him. Check this out….

17 But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. 18 I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord.’” (Jeremiah 39:17-18 NIV)

The Lord has my life in the palm of His hand during any chaotic moments I face. Lately there has been more chaos than I can count. I keep seeking His heart with all of my heart that I may stay calm and connected to Him in the middle of it all. Even when things are calm, I need keep my heart connected to Him. I believe that my heart needs to be devoted to Him prior to chaos so that I can be calm in the middle of it. I do believe that the Lord can be trusted without question to navigate through any situation that I could possibly face.

Pressing On!

Dwayne