Evidence

 

Magnifying Glass - FactsI used to be a big fan of Perry Mason, Law & Order, Matlock and shows that featured the court of law. The television shows were much more dramatic that most courtrooms. I was recently in court with a friend and couldn’t help by notice the procedural drama and what appeared to me as a lot of time wasted. It seemed to me, that by the time the facts were presented, the court was tired of all the other drama. I learned that the “wheels of justice” turn very slowly and very deliberately. If I were in trouble with the law, I’m sure I would appreciate this.

In a court of law a critical piece to the case is the evidence. This is “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid”. (Google) Evidence is also defined as “data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects”. (dictionary.com)

Jesus heals a man born blind by making mud for the man to put on his eyes and wash off in the pool of Siloam. When the man did as he was told, he was healed of his blindness. He was “blown away” and very thankful for sure. He told everyone! The religious leaders immediately got engaged because the day that this all went down happened to be the Sabbath. The religious leaders questioned the man who was healed and they didn’t believe the facts as he presented them. They even went so far as to question whether or not he was really blind since birth. Check this out…

18 The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”

20 His parents replied, “We know this is our son and that he was born blind, 21 but we don’t know how he can see or who healed him. Ask him. He is old enough to speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.”

24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “God should get the glory for this, because we know this man Jesus is a sinner.”

25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” (John 9:18-25 NLT)

If evidence is ignored, it doesn’t change the evidence. I can choose to ignore the facts presented to me because my mind is “made up”.  I have been following the Lord for a long time. I have entertained doubts about God. I have had some very “frank” conversations with Him over the years. The evidence for God to me is overwhelming and conclusive. I can’t refute the evidence. I heard a great quote last week that says: “A man with experience is NOT at the mercy of a man with an opinion.” I have had my faith affirmed too many times to count. I believe in God. I believe that His Son Jesus came to earth, lived and died for the sins of the world. I believe that the Holy Spirit is present in me and with me as I walk out my faith each day. I can’t give multiple exhibits in a court of law, but the evidence in my journey is irrefutable and solid. I wish I could be more clear and precise – I know what I know and I believe His Word is true!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Perspective

 

Mountain ViewThis is an interesting word to define. As I look up this word in the dictionary, the definition has little to do with how I use the word. I’m thinking of perspective as the position of my view on something. My angle or my point of view is my perspective. My perspective of life has been changed as I live my life over the years. My view of life looked a lot different at age 25 than it does at age 55. My perspective of The Lord has changed as I’ve walked a lot closer to Him in the last several years. The writings of Psalms often give me perspective with the Lord. I want to follow Him and walk with Him all the days of my life.

Praise the Lord.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.

Their children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
    and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
    for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:1-7 NIV)

Proper perspective can lead to being righteous.

Proper perspective can lead to the light.

Proper perspective can lead me to generosity.

Proper perspective can lead me to confidence in the Lord.

Proper perspective gives me great strength.

Proper perspective gives me calm during bad news.

Proper perspective keeps my heart steady – trusting the Lord.

I want the perspective of God that comes from His Word, not just my personal experience and personal perspective. His Word speaks from the proper perspective of God of Creation. He is faithful, loving, grace-filled and strong. His Word speaks truth and from that truth I can have the proper perspective of Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wise Beyond Years

Group of students talkingI have seen young people who at age 15 or 17 think like they are 25 or 30 years old. They seem to have an understanding of life a lot earlier than others their age for sure. I have also learned that it is unwise to dismiss others ideas and opinions just because they are young. I do believe that age gives a person a myriad of experiences. I also believe that age and experience often lead to wisdom – but not always.

This fourth guys who shows up to speak into Job’s life regarding his suffering and loss is a younger guy. These other three guys had not been able to convince Job of his sin before the Lord. This young man actually speaks very respectfully starting out acknowledging that he is younger and therefore he waited until last to speak. Check this out…

6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:

‘I am young in years,

    and you are old;

that is why I was fearful,

    not daring to tell you what I know.

7 I thought, “Age should speak;

    advanced years should teach wisdom.”

8 But it is the spirit in a person,

    the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

9 It is not only the old who are wise,

    not only the aged who understand what is right.(Job 32:6-9 NIV)

This young man comes out of the gate speaking pretty strongly and profoundly. He shows proper respect to the older men, but then he starts speaking from his conviction. At this point I agree with the things he is saying. I’ve seen young people full of the Spirit of God teaching older people great truth. I believe the Holy Spirit can level the playing field so to speak. If a person comes to know the Lord and starts seeking God’s heart, the Lord can reveal things to Him that someone who has known the Lord for years hasn’t seen yet. I don’t believe following the Lord is magical or mystical, but it does require discipline and faith. I can’t see the Lord, but I know He is near. I can’t be convinced that He’s not real because I’ve felt His hand upon my life. I’ve followed His lead. He has made me wise beyond my years on many occasions.

I want the Lord to continue to give me insight into things that are beyond me. I want Him to make plain the sayings of wise people. I want Him to use me to lead and influence others for His sake. I don’t want to be smart just for the sake of being smart. I want to grow smarter so that I can bring honor to Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

This I Know

 

i want to know moreI actually believe that I know lots of stuff. I know my family. I know what day it is. I know right from wrong. I know good versus bad. I’m not being braggadocios, but as an older man with lots of different kinds of experiences; I’ve learned a good bit. There is still a bunch that I don’t know. I don’t know how to work on airplanes. I don’t know a lot about medicine. I don’t know a lot about how cell phones work. I don’t know a lot about satellite technology. I actually have a lot to learn even though I know a lot.

Job was once again pushing back on his friends who were lecturing him that he had obviously sinned against God and he was being punished. Job was not convinced that he had sinned at all. I think he was struggling to be respectful to the Lord as he cried out to Him. I do believe Job had a deep and strong relationship with the Lord even in spite of losing his family, his possessions and his health. Job responds with what he knows in the midst of this unhealthy debate with his friends. Check this out…

25 I know that my redeemer lives,

    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.

26 And after my skin has been destroyed,

    yet in my flesh I will see God;

27 I myself will see him

    with my own eyes – I, and not another.

    How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27 NIV)

This short passage reminded me about what I know about the Lord. I realized that not everyone will understand my relationship with Him as they maybe haven’t walked through what I’ve walked through with the Lord. I can’t imagine having gone through some of the suffering in my life without Him walking with me through it. He has never forsaken me and left me on my own. I started repeating a phrase years ago in the middle of one of the storms of my life that goes like this: “Go with what you know until your feelings catch up.” I’m not sure where it came from, but it reminds me that my feelings and emotions can be fickle and temperamental for sure. If I want to walk steady with the Lord, I have to trust Him even when I can’t see Him or feel Him. These are the times that I have to lean into and stand upon His promises in His Word. He promises that He will not leave me and He hasn’t.

I’m going with what I know about Him versus how I feel about Him today and every day.

I love this simple song by Crowder called – This I Know

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Résumé

ResumeI’ve prepared a Résumé when looking for a job. The résumé was credited to Lenardo de Vinci. The word résumé comes from the French word meaning “summarized” or “summary”. It is used in job searches and designed to summarize a person’s work skills and history.

When Goliath who is over 9’ tall first appears on the scene near the battle lines between the Philistines and the army of Israel, the Israelites are fearful of him. None of them could imagine fighting the giant hand-to-hand combat. David had been keeping his Dad’s sheep and was tasked with taking a CARE Package to his brothers with food from home. As he was there, Goliath came out to jeer at the army of Israel. He was mocking them and challenging them to fight him. He had been doing this for days and every day the men of Israel were fearful. David who is still a young boy offers to fight him. King Saul is deeply concerned and offers David his armor. He evidently also tries to talk him out of it. David gives Saul a glimpse of his résumé. Check this out…

34 But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.’

Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you.’

45 David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.’

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly towards the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. (1 Samuel 17:34-37; 45-50 NIV)

I believe David had no fear because of his daily routines. He walked with God through fear each day. I believe he was discipline in his practice with the sling and the stones. Goliath was no different than the lion or the bear. I believe that while David was watching the sheep each day, he was setting up targets to hone and practice his skill with the sling. The US Navy SEALS practice consistently and hone their skills in order to be prepared for any type of enemy. After they are trained, much of how they respond is almost instinctive and automatic.

There are times when the discipline takes over in a situation that is a bit out of bounds. I’m still learning every day to discipline myself to depend upon the Lord for everything. He walks with me through the hardest of circumstances and He can celebrate with me the joys of victory.

I want to walk and live a life that is in step with the Lord. I want my responses to bad things and bad people to be consistent with who the Lord has called me to be. I want champion the Presence of God in my life. I want my résumé to speak of my journey with the Lord and His Presence more than any skill I’ve developed in my work life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leadership 101

 

3D Leadership CrosswordI’ve grown up under some incredible leaders. I enjoy learning from most leaders because they have much to teach with their lives. There are some leaders who are more like dictators or drill sergeants. Some leaders lead by example and instructions. Some leaders lead by orders and positional power. I have never been impressed with people who are obviously impressed with themselves.

Moses was giving the people of Israel some preliminary instructions about the time that they might choose a king to lead them. He first tells them to make sure that the Lord is very involved in the process of selection. He also speaks to what the king should know in order to lead well. Check this out…

18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20 NIV)

Leadership certainly involves a strong level of confidence without arrogance. I have said it many times before that a good leader is first a good follower. I must learn to respect those I’m leading if I want their respect in return.

I think a good leader is a learner – always looking for new ways to improve themselves and those they lead.

A good leader is also a listener. He can’t make solid decisions without all of the details and facts of the matter at hand. A leader who acts hastily before gathering all of the facts will stumble and fall unnecessarily.

I want to grow as a leader by following the Lord’s lead. He is full of truth, grace and wisdom beyond words.

Pressing On!

Dwayne