Helpless & Needy

 

Child in medicine maskI’ve been around people who are needy or clingy. There are those who are always in a bad place – I think if they won the lottery, they’d still be clingy and needy. There are also those who’ve been dealt a tough “hand” in life. They have needs and they need someone to help them desperately. My heart goes out to the person who’s lost their spouse or their child – their world just got flipped on its end.  They are certainly people in our culture who abuse others and the system by always appearing helpless & needy. It’s difficult to know if someone is using people by claiming to be helpless and needy.

As I describe a helpless and needy person in my world, I realize that I’m helpless and needy before the Lord every day.  David penned the words well about just how hard life is and how much we need the Lord. Check this out…

5 ‘Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,

    I will now arise,’ says the Lord.

    ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’

6 And the words of the Lord are flawless,

    like silver purified in a crucible,

    like gold refined seven times.

7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe

    and will protect us forever from the wicked,

8 who freely strut about

    when what is vile is honored by the human race. (Psalm 12:5-8 NIV)

I will put my simple trust and hope in the Lord to direct my path. I don’t always know what to do when someone speaks untruths about me and tries to harm me. I need wisdom and discernment from the Lord to be my protection. I seek Him and His way for my every move. The Lord does His best work in me and through me when I’m helpless and needy. I recognize His Power and His Presence and He shows up strong.

This morning is no different than any other morning – I need the Lord to direct my path today as I navigate different challenges in my day. I standing strong upon His Word that He will protect me, direct me and provide for my every step. I can’t imagine trying to do life without Him – I am that helpless and needy for Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Desperate Place

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI’m a bit familiar with desperate places. These are places when it seems like the whole world is crashing down upon me. It can be something insignificant to others, but super important to me. Desperate places are where suffering often resides. When I hear that someone is going through a divorce, I’m confident that one or both of the parties involved are either in a desperate place now or they will be later for sure. Desperate places often call for desperate measures. When I’ve found myself in desperate places, I need a radical shift in my thinking to be able to navigate out of that place.

Job was definitely in a desperate place. His life was ruined from his desperate place perspective. He is crying out to God in desperation and despair. He lost his possessions. He lost his family. He lost his health. As he cries out to God, I can feel his emotions and they are raw for sure. Check this out…

15 You will call and I will answer you;

    you will long for the creature your hands have made.

16 Surely then you will count my steps

    but not keep track of my sin.

17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;

    you will cover over my sin. (Job 14:15-17 NIV)

Job is actually practicing some self-talk. I don’t see a dialogue between him and God. He appears to be more monologue – by he’s also pushing back on some of the counsel of his friends. I think he is also trying to come up with creative ways to survive this ordeal or for it to be over.

I was introduced a couple of days ago to a new song that we will be singing at church called: “Here With Me” by Tim Hughes. I’ve been learning the song and the words of the chorus are stuck in my head. Job needed to hear the words of this song.

When darkness deepens

The path unsure

The sun is hidden by the storms

I look to heaven

And cry to Thee

Oh God be here with me

 

In every breath

Every joy and tear

Every passing hour

Let me know You’re near

In life, in death

For eternity

Oh God be here with me

 

When faith is shaken

When fears surround

My feet will stand on solid ground

In every season

My song will be

Oh God be here with me

 

In every breath

Every joy and tear

Every passing hour

Let me know You’re near

In life, in death

For eternity

Oh God be here with me

 

And in that moment

We’re face to face

I will not need these eyes of faith

Forever after, God I will see

That You’ve always been with me

You’ve always been with me

That is a promise worth remembering when I’m in a desperate place.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Bad News

 

Businessman sinking in heap of documentsI am certainly not a fan of bad news. I don’t like giving bad news or receiving bad news. I know for sure that I’m not exempt from getting bad news. I remember what I was doing and where I was at when I received bad news. Sometimes it seems surreal and unbelievable. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach and the weakness of my knees.

The province where young queen Esther lived was bewildered by the edit from the king that their people would be legally killed and plundered on an upcoming date. There was a pretty big variable to this news though: the king was not aware of Esther’s ethnicity. Check this out…

13 Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews – young and old, women and children – on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. 14 A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that they would be ready for that day.

15 The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered. (Esther 3:13-15 NIV)

As the king and Haman celebrated, the news started reaching the people of the Jewish community. I can only imagine the fear and dread that they felt. I have a hard time understanding the king and Haman’s mindset. How could a person get to a place where they want to destroy an entire people group, men, women & children? This is catastrophic bad news. The edit comes out in late January or early February that the day of death will be December 12. I think it would be safe to say that the wealthy would figure out how to leave and escape, but the poor and middle class were probably stuck.

I’m learning to deal differently with bad news… I take it straight to the Lord. I try hard not to panic in the face of bad news. I immediately seek the Lord for direction as to what I should do next. If I freak out at the bad news, I can’t make good decisions dealing with the situation. The Lord gives me guidance and calms my spirit when I seek Him out. While I may be in “uncharted” territory, there is not such place for Him. He always knows the way to navigate through bad news and difficult situations. I totally trust Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Patience & Discipline

Patience concept.These two words don’t always seem to go together, but they might just be related to one another. I have personally struggled with patience in many areas of my life. I want what I want and I want it now. I’ve learned that what is a crisis in my view does not constitute a crisis for the other person. There are times when I’m waiting on the services of others I have to simply be patient.

I also struggle with discipline in many areas too. One area of discipline that is obvious to just about everyone who knows me is eating. I love good food – I really just love food in general. I can eat all sorts of varieties and the problem comes with the quantities. If I find something I really like, I enjoy lots of it instead of just enough. I’m also learning to eat healthy and wise and not so much “fried food”. (This is really hard because fried food is a staple of southern food!)

Saul was 30 years old when he became king of Israel. I’m not sure how old he was when this certain incident happened. The tensions between the Philistines and Israel were at an all time high. Jonathan, Saul’s son had already had a skirmish with them. Evidently Saul was told to wait 7 days for Samuel to come and lead them in the time of sacrifice and offering. I’m assuming this was a time of worship and heart preparation for battle. Saul waited for the 7 days and decided to take matters into his own hands. I think his impatience was directly related to the fear of his men and maybe his own fear. He starts acting in the role of priest in Samuel’s absence. As he is finishing up, Samuel shows up. Check this out…

13 ‘You have done a foolish thing,’ Samuel said. ‘You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.’ (1 Samuel 13:13-14 NIV)

Because of Saul’s impatience and lack of discipline, his future was not as bright as it once was. He was chosen by the Lord to lead His people. He struggled with patience and discipline and it cost Saul his legacy of leadership.

I needed to be “smacked around” a bit by this. I am learning patience and discipline as I walk through life. I’m learning that waiting is sometimes a process of refinement. There are times that waiting can offer such clarity and purpose to a situation. These two are connected in my view, because it takes great discipline to be patient and not get in a hurry and make a foolish mistake or error in judgment. I am really working on letting the Lord speak into my life and give me wisdom to lead and serve. I don’t want to step outside His plan or get ahead of Him trying to serve my own agenda. I want to be in the middle of His timing and feel His nudge in the right direction at the just the right time. This is considerably easier said than done. Situations arise and great pressure is applied, but patience and discipline require me to try to stay cool in every situation and let His plan unfold.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Which Road Do I Take?

 

GPS And MapI am quite a fan of the Maps feature on my iPhone. I use it all the time to get where I’m going if I’m not sure of the best route to take. I have become way to dependent upon this. I can remember a time when I had a map of the area and I was able to understand where I was and where I wanted to go. That reminded me of a funny story that happened to me in Mexico on a mission trip. I was a lot younger then and for some reason I thought if you added “o” to about any word in English, the Spanish speaking people would understand. I wanted a map to understand the proximity of where I was in the city. I went into a story and asked for a “Mappo”. The older Mexican gentleman looked at me like I was speaking Russian. So I did what most people do, I slowed down and raised my voice and said the same thing again. The guys who were with me were on the floor laughing. I’m not sure who rescued me from this fiasco, but I did end up purchasing a map of the city. I do like knowing where I am and where I’m going next. By the way, the correct spelling is “Mappa”! (It makes a big difference how your pronounce the ending of the word!)

There was a young man from the tribe of Benjamin and he had lost his donkeys so he and his servant set out to find them. They searched all over the place for a few days. They could not find the donkeys and they were about to turn back and go home because the young man, named Saul was afraid his Dad would now be worried about his well-being more than the donkeys missing. Check this out…

5 When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.”

6 And he said to him, “Look now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.” (1 Samuel 9:5-6 NIV)

Saul had no idea what Samuel, the prophet and judge of Israel was about to tell him. This young man’s life was about to change in a big way. He was chosen by the Lord to become the first King of Israel and he has no idea.

As I read this passage, I realized that IF I will ask the Lord which road to take, He will lead me and direct my path. I think it was Yogi Berra who said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Even though Saul and his servant were looking for donkeys, Samuel was looking for Saul to lead. There have been many times when a decision was facing me and I wasn’t sure of the right decision. I have felt the Lord’s hand on me nudging me in a certain direction, especially if I take the time to lay it before Him. I trust Him with the direction of my life and whatever road it takes me to get there.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Presence of Holy God

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI have felt the Presence of God so close I could nearly touch Him with my hand. I have also felt so distant from Him that I almost lost my way. I believe that as I read the Word of God, the Presence of God is cultivated in my heart. I can find connection to Him and my courage is built up.

The people of Israel had with them the Ark of the Covenant. The represented a lot of things to them, but certainly it represented the Presence of God among them. When the Philistines captured it, they were speechless. The high priests sons where killed in the capture and the high priest died when he heard about it. The Lord had a plan and He was making a way. Check this out…

1 After the Philistines had captured the ark of God, they took it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. (1 Samuel 5:1-4 NIV)

The Lord didn’t like the Ark of the Covenant being used as a god. He was making it clear to the Philistines that He is not like any other god. He is the One True God. They sent the Ark to two more cities and devastation struck. The Lord inflicted more pain upon the Philistines than the battles with Israel for sure.

One thing is clear in this passage of scripture. The Lord “Expects Respect” and He will get it – voluntarily or involuntarily.

His Presence commands respect.

His Presence changes every moment that He’s in.

His Presence changes my perspective on everything.

I want to totally respect the Presence of God in my life. He gives insight. He gives Peace that others can’t understand. He gives calm. He gives clarity. He gives wisdom. He gives direction. He gives Hope. He gives grace. I can’t imagine life without Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne