Urgent

urgent priority stampThis word means carries with it the need for “immediate attention and action”. When I hear that something is urgent, I tend to sit up straight and respond rapidly if I’m called upon. There are things in my life that are urgent each day. There are times when others do something and reach out to me urgently. I remember a guy saying once, that a crisis on your part due to poor planning or lack of organization doesn’t create a crisis for me. There are times when a crisis comes and it may be small or large, but it requires my attention. I am still learning that things that are urgent are sometimes not as important as they seem. The urgency makes them seem very important.

David cries out to the Lord urgently in his writing at times. I know this that when I’m desperate and struggling with hope, my prayers and cries to God are urgent. Check this out…

All my longings lie open before you, Lord:
    my sighing is not hidden from you.

15 Lord, I wait for you;
    you will answer, Lord my God.
16 For I said, ‘Do not let them gloat
    or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.’

21 Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Savior. (Psalm 38:9,15-16,21-22 NIV)

The Lord knows the urgency of my situation even before I speak a word. The Lord knows things that I’m fearful of or nervous about even before I talk to Him about it. When my heart is desperate, my prayers are urgent. I am learning though that the noise of my life and the desperation of my heart doesn’t change Him. He is always full of compassion and mercy. He never gets rattled. He never gets desperate. The Lord is on time every time. He doesn’t make mistakes. I have seen Him take desperate situations in my life and bring beauty out of my struggle and desperation. I try to pray to Him about everything and worry about nothing. When the urgent situation is close by, it’s hard to not worry or entertain fear. His Word drives me to my needs to pour out my urgent and desperate struggles before Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Help

 

prompt helpI try hard to never be so proud that I can’t ask for help. I know that there are times I just want do things myself. As I walk with the Lord, I’ve realized that I need Him involved in every facet and area of my life. I talk to Him about nearly every decision. I most often regret the decisions that I don’t talk to Him about. He gives me clarity and help with my decisions. In fact, He gives me help in every area of my life. My role is to invite Him in and trust Him.

I love this Psalm of David as he prays a prayer of blessing. He puts such truth amid the blessing part. Check this out…

1 May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;

    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

2 May he send you help from the sanctuary

    and grant you support from Zion.

3 May he remember all your sacrifices

    and accept your burnt offerings.

4 May he give you the desire of your heart

    and make all your plans succeed.

5 May we shout for joy over your victory

    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests. (Psalm 20:1-5 NIV)

As we turn the corner into a New Year – I want the blessing of God all over my family, my life and my work. I want Him to direct my path. I want Him to bless my work. I want Him to bless the clients and customers I work with.

I know that He has plans to live and work through me – it’s my role to give Him the reins of my life and let Him go to work.  I know enough to know that I need Him every day as I walk through this complicated and crazy world. I trust Him to help me with each step of the way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cliché Counsel

Counseling Session or SalesmanThere are times when a cliché comes to my mind and there may very well be a nugget of truth inside it, but also seems a bit shallow. Cliché’s are often used in a quick retort or reply to someone when they are in the middle of a situation that is a big deal. For example, a young teenage girl gets dumped by a guy…as an adult, I know that “this too will pass”, or “there are other fish in the sea”. That does nothing to help this young girl whose heart is crushed. I think what she needs from a friend is maybe a hug and listening ear. She definitely doesn’t need cliché’s.

Job is in a royal mess. He has lost his family, all his possessions and his health is really bad with sores and deep pain. He has three “friends” who come to his side. He will be given a different perspective for sure, but Eliphaz also gives what I think is cliché counsel. Check this out…

8 ‘But if I were you, I would appeal to God;

    I would lay my cause before him.

9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,

    miracles that cannot be counted.

10 He provides rain for the earth;

    he sends water on the countryside.

11 The lowly he sets on high,

    and those who mourn are lifted to safety. (Job 5:8-11 NIV)

I suspect Job was thinking: “Duh” when Eliphaz was talking. However, I think sometimes I need to be reminded of truth that I already believe and live by. There are times that I’ve lost proper perspective on God, and while I’m not a fan of the cliché, it can reel me back in. In the middle of my pain and suffering I can’t always think clearly. In the middle of a crisis, my thinking can be a bit warped.

I remembered a great song just now by Third Day called: Cry Out To Jesus.

To everyone who’s lost someone they love

Long before it was their time

You feel like the days you had were not enough

When you said goodbye

 

And to all of the people with burdens and pains

Keeping you back from your life

You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one

Who can make it right

 

Chorus:

There is hope for the helpless

Rest for the weary

Love for the broken heart

There is grace and forgiveness

Mercy and healing

He’ll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

 

For the marriage that’s struggling just to hang on

They lost all of their faith in love

They’ve done all they can to make it right again

Still it’s not enough

 

For the ones who can’t break the addictions and chains

You try to give up but you come back again

Just remember that you’re not alone in your shame

And your suffering

 

When you’re lonely

And it feels like the whole world is falling on you

You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus

Cry to Jesus

 

To the widow who suffers from being alone

Wiping the tears from her eyes

For the children around the world without a home

Say a prayer tonight

 

There is hope for the helpless

Rest for the weary

Love for the broken heart

There is grace and forgiveness

Mercy and healing

He’ll meet you wherever you are

There is hope for the helpless

Rest for the weary

Love for the broken heart

There is grace and forgiveness

Mercy and healing

He’ll meet you wherever you are

Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

Songwriters: Brad Avery / David Carr / Mac Powell / Mark Lee / Tai Anderson

I don’t think this song is a cliché as much as it is simply laying your struggle down at the feet of the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Ask

 

Young pretty woman with question marksThis is a short verb that carries a lot with it. It almost involves a question. I’ve been told “Don’t Ask”, sarcastically when I really will not want to know the answer. Asking is implying that I don’t know. Asking can be a teachable moment. This three-letter word can change the entire direction of a journey.

Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king of Persia. He was responsible for making sure the wine that was given to the king and queen was not poisoned. He was thoroughly trusted by the king and this position was actually a pretty high-ranking position. He had heard about Jerusalem and the exiles that were sent there by King Darius with Ezra had gotten “bogged down” with the work. His concern evidently showed on his face. The King asked him about his sad countenance. Nehemiah shared with him what was going on (rather what was not going on) back in his homeland. He then asked the king for the opportunity to go do the work. He also asked for some resources and protection so the king sent him with letters that would provide for the rebuilding. Nehemiah heads to Jerusalem and starts surveying what all needs to be done. He then assembles the leaders and people who are living in the abandoned city. Check this out…

17 Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.’ 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.

They replied, ‘Let us start rebuilding.’ So they began this good work. (Nehemiah 2:17-18 NIV)

Nehemiah asked the Lord for help and courage. Nehemiah then had the courage to ask the king if he come back to his homeland to rebuild. He also had the courage to ask the king for resources (money and materials) to accomplish the work.

Asking can be hard work.

Asking can be humiliating.

Asking can be very helpful.

Asking can be very insightful.

I’ve asked for a lot of help over the years and I’m thankful that others responded enthusiastically to come to my aid. I’ve also been asked to help others over the years and I’m thankful to have been able to be part of helping them.

I want to grow in this area. I want to ask The Lord about everything. I want to be humble enough to ask for help from others when I need help. This little three-letter word can be the difference between success and failure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Help Is Here

 

battleI remember watching old western movies when I was kid. John Wayne was larger than life hero in many of the old movies. I can’t remember the names of all the movies, I remember the Calvary when they would show up and the battle would change. I remember them most in the “Cowboy and Indian” movies. The bugler would blow a certain sound and the armed soldiers on horses would attack! Having help on the way would be an encouragement to the people fighting to protect their fort or their homes.

Hezekiah, King of Judah (aka southern kingdom of Israel) was under the threat of invasion by the great king of Assyria, Sennacherib. The intelligence said that he was going to lay siege on Jerusalem, the capitol of Judah. King Hezekiah begins preparation for the fight. Check this out…

6 He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: 7 ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.’ And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

20 King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. 21 And the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace. (2 Chronicles 32:6-8; 20-21a NIV)

I am impressed with Hezekiah’s faith in the face of crisis. He remained faithful to God even though the king of Assyria was pounding him with jeers and sneers about his faith in God.

I face battles day in and day out that can really scare me to death. I see a person battling a war of health. I see a deep friendship in battle. I see a marriage war. There a battles all around me, but none are stronger that the battle for control of my heart. I believe that this is an epic war. I need the Lord to fight for me. I need to assist in this battle. I believe this battle is won or lost on my knees in prayer. I must remember that the One Who is with me is stronger than the one who is seeking to destroy me. I can’t give up and I can’t give in. I also believe that when I study the Word of God – it’s like I’m looking at the enemy’s battle plans.

There is ALWAYS greater power with me than against me, when I’m walking in step with the Lord and trusting His Power to save me. I don’t believe I should set on my hands and do nothing. I love the preparations that Hezekiah made. I believe I should be proactive and do the work in preparation for the battle that the Lord leads me to do. At the end of the day it’s the Lord’s battle not mine. I’m trusting in Him to fight for me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Delegate

Delegating Word Cloud Concept in red capsDuring my years as a student pastor, I learned that I couldn’t be every place at the same time. As my ministry and influence grew, I realized that I needed to be pouring into other leaders who could then multiply my efforts. The ministry grew and my ability to lead was broadened. The same principle is true in tons of areas of my life today. There are some things that I do differently than others, however many tasks that I do can and probably should be delegated to other skilled members of my staff.

I have a friend who would see me stressed in the past and he would say: “Two, Four, Six, Eight – we must learn to delegate”. Stress happens when I’m trying to more than one thing at a time (which is quite often). If I’m not careful, I’m trying to do too many things well and I end up doing none of them well.

King David had quite a large group of people around him to help manage so many areas of his leadership as King of Israel. I was impressed with how organized he was with assigning people over certain areas. He had people who were in charge of his donkeys and another person in charge of the camels. The list of people who were charged with specific tasks was pretty long. Here are some that were at the end of the list, but still very significant. Check this out…

32 Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor, a man of insight and a scribe. Jehiel son of Hakmoni took care of the king’s sons.

33 Ahithophel was the king’s counselor.

Hushai the Arkite was the king’s confidant. 34 Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada son of Benaiah and by Abiathar.

Joab was the commander of the royal army. (1 Chronicles 27:32-34 NIV)

David’s position was one of tremendous authority and raw power. He was a warrior, a songwriter, a family man, and a worshipper – just to name a few of his attributes.

I could learn quite a bit from his ability to lead on multiple fronts through the leaders he had delegated to specific tasks. I think it’s very hard for some leaders to delegate responsibilities to others. I would argue that a leader who can’t delegate will always be a leader over a small group.

There are some areas of my life that I simply can’t delegate out. I am a husband to my wife, a Dad to my kids and a son to my parents. I can’t “delegate” any of that to others – those are mine to live out and lead.

I’m still learning how to serve others more and lead others more. I can’t do it all. I can learn to delegate more efficiently which requires training and leadership on my part. If I’m serving well and delegating well, it should feel like my leadership is still strong. This is a tough balancing act for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne