Maturity

happy and motivated old people 3dOne of these days I feel like I will grow up. I have officially been placed on the AARP mailing list and that makes me feel old. There are some days when I feel old, yet I’m a good 20 years younger than others who consider themselves old. Being old and mature is somewhat a state of mind. It is interesting to see how some people age more quickly than others. I used to subscribe to the theory of a friend of mine that says, “since I’m a bit overweight, my skin is stretched out and I look younger than I am”. I watched a television documentary on ESPN about the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and the players on those teams were 30 years older and some looked quite different. I realize that as I enter the AARP stage of life that I will look “mature” even if I’m not.

Paul gives some final words of encouragement to the church at Corinth in his last letter to them. Check this out…

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11 CSB)

I’ve certainly met people who are older, but are not mature. They are whiny and self-centered to the point that I don’t enjoy being around them. I’ve also met other older people who are kind and gracious, realizing that life doesn’t revolve around them. They have learned to love deeply and help others along the way.

Here are a few other characteristics of mature people:

Control their tongue

Show patience with others

Encourage others, especially younger people

Accepting their role in the lives of others

Self-less love

Peace makers

Trusted confidant

Consistently kind

Faithful

Honest

I could make a long list, but I’ll stop there. I want to grow old with grace and truth at the top of mind. I want to be an “old person” that younger people will enjoy being around. I won’t take myself so seriously. I want to finish this life strong with my walk with the Lord obvious to those who live, work and fellowship with me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Guardian God

happy family playing with dog on beachOne of my many roles as a parent, is to be guardian for the kids who call me Dad. As they have grown and moved out on their own, I am still there to help them and warn them of impending danger or threat. When they were small, I was watching every single move they made to guard them and protect them. As they got older, I had to learn to relax and give them space to grow and learn how important good choices are to their future. The biggest challenge to my guardianship of my kids were my own limitations. The more I grow in my understanding of many different topics and situations, the more I wish I could have taught my kids early on. For example, I’ve learned much from Dave Ramsey and his teaching about money makeover. The principles Dave teaches are common sense and biblical sense, yet I somehow, I didn’t get this growing up. I realize what a gap that my kids had watching me manage my money as they grew up.

This morning I have reason to relax a bit about this topic. I read one of my favorite Psalms and it always reminds me of the proper perspective of God. He is my Guardian. He watches over me. Check this out…

I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip –
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you –
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm –
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and for evermore. (Psalm 121:1-8 NIV)

I can stumble and bumble my way through many roles and responsibilities that I have, but the bottom line is that God is my Guardian. He watches me like I watched my kids when they were small. He gives me space and freedom, but He’s still available to give me direction and counsel in a microsecond or less. When I finally figured out how important His Presence is in my journey, my view of Him changed. I no longer see Him as a “party-crasher”, He is my Trusted Advisor and Confidant in EVERY AREA of my life. I can’t begin to describe what a difference this has made. I can relax and rest knowing that God is my Guardian, my Protector, my Provider for the rest of my life!

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

Confidence Restored

 

exam test pass or fail iconI’ve lost confidence in myself before. I’ve also lost confidence in others. A lack of confidence and absolutely paralyze me. I especially can loose confidence if I’ve failed at something that I must tackle again. I remember when I took some really tough exams when working on licensure as a Real Estate sales person. I studied and I took practice exams until I felt pretty confident. I also remember the fear and dread when I was working on my Brokers license. It was a whole different level of testing.

The people of Ai had just defeated Joshua and the people of Israel. This was because there was sin and disobedience in the camp. The Lord walked them through the cleansing process and now the Lord tells them to go back and take out Ai. I can imagine that Joshua was a bit nervous after that last battle. The Lord speaks confidence and encouragement into His leader. Check this out…

1 Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.’ (Joshua 8:1-2 NIV)

I need the confidence of the Lord every day. I really do feed off of Him speaking into my life. He lifts my spirit when I’m discouraged. He restores my joy when it gets stolen from me. It’s actually very easy to get discouraged, the Lord provides His Spirit and others with His Spirit to encourage and inspire me to press on. Walking in step with the Lord and trusting Him and His leadership every step of my day keeps my confidence up and my heart is renewed with His Presence.

I don’t have “self-confidence”; I have “God Confidence”. He leads. He directs. He dwells in me. He calms me. He disciplines me. He holds me. He loves me like I’ve never known before. He in my confidant and He gives me incredible depth of confidence.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Leader

Jesus writing with his fingerI’ve had the privilege of leading others pretty recent as well as for many years. In my first “career” I was a student pastor. I had the chance to lead a lot of students. I pointed them to The Lord Who is my Leader. I am humbled when I reflect on my journey and just how my Leader used me to lead. He did things through me that still blows my mind. He has said things through me that I can’t even recall, but spoke right to the heart of another and helped change the trajectory of their entire life. My Leader is the Lord Who made heaven and earth and created human beings in His likeness.

He spoke through the prophet Isaiah and really spoke into His people. He is always looking for people to follow Him. He does some of His best work through regular people who are willing to let Him lead. Check this out….

10 Make your battle plans! But you won’t succeed.
    Give your orders! But they won’t be carried out.
    That’s because God is with us.
11 The Lord put his powerful hand on me and spoke to me. He warned me not to live the way these people live.
17 I will wait for the Lord,
    who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him. (Isaiah 8:10-11;17 NIV)

 

I am under the authority of other leaders, but my Ultimate Leader is the Lord God. He decides if the other leaders are legitimate. He decides if the other leaders plans succeed or fail. He leads me as I lead my family. He leads me as I lead my company. He leads me as I live, breathe and anything else I do. My plans and ideas without Him are useless and worthless. He sees things I can’t see therefore I need His insight as I lead.

“I can do all thing through Christ Who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV) – I can do nothing without Him; I am nothing without Him.

He is my Leader.

He is my Friend.

He is my Confidant.

He is my Wise Counsel.

I will follow Him.

I will listen to Him.Jesus

I will walk in His Way.

My Leader will never let me down.

My Leader will never mis-lead me.

My Leader will never stop being my Leader.

Pressing On!
Dwayne