Counsel & Guidance

 

Discussing the truthMany years ago, I earned a Master’s degree in Guidance & Counseling. That degree was probably the most practical degree I could have earned as a student pastor. I remember upon graduation realizing how little I knew about giving counsel. I became a source of counsel to a lot of the students and their families. I’ve been reminded recently how vital the Word of God is to any counsel. In fact, I try hard to NOT give counsel. I want the Word of God to speak into my life and give me the counsel I need for my life. I love this Psalm of Asaph and how he submits to the counsel of God. Check this out…

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:23-26 NIV)

I believe it’s wise to seek counsel from a wise and experienced person. I believe there are many people who can give me wise counsel. I read good books for wise counsel. I seek people who have gone ahead of me to help me know the possible traps ahead. My Ultimate Counselor is God. He can and does advise me on everything. He can give me counsel on what to wear and how much money to spend on a certain item. I am learning to complete trust Him in my decision making. I am growing in wisdom as I study and meditate upon His Word each day. There is no one who gives better counsel or has more wisdom that the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Finding Rest

Business man relaxing having power nap outdoors with computer laptopSome days are quite long and stressful. I know that some people commute an hour or more and then put in a 10-hour day before driving an hour back home. I know what it’s like to work hard as my parents set an excellent example for me. I am learning about finding rest. I believe that there is a healthy balance with rest and work. I believe people who work too much without rest are less productive and their work product suffers.

David spoke right into my heart this morning as I read Psalm 62. Check this out…

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8 NIV)

I’m still learning to depend upon the Lord. I’m learning that the things I do, the people I serve and the places I go are meant to bring honor to God. If I’m successful serving as a REALTOR, it’s because of Christ in me. He gives me rest daily. He relieves my stress daily. I can trust Him with the simplest or the most complex details.

I do wish that I would have learned this valuable lesson much earlier in my work life. I can do nothing without Him. The work I do matters when He’s leading me. He can give me insight into my work that no amount of education or experience can touch.

There have been times in my life when it seems like it’s coming apart at the seams. I feel pushed and pulled from every angle. I’m learning to trust Him no matter what the day brings. I’m determined to rest in Him in the middle of any storm that comes way. I must fight the noise of my busy life to find rest in Him.  This song came to mind this morning during my time of study and prayer. It’s called: “In The Eye of The Storm” by Ryan Stevenson. Here are the lyrics:

When the solid ground is falling out
From underneath my feet
Between the black skies and my red eyes
I can barely see
When I realize I’ve been let down by my friends and my family
I can hear the rain reminding me

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds, me in the eye of the storm

When my hopes and dreams are far from me 
And I’m running out of faith
I see the future I pictured slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

When they let me go and I just don’t know 
How I’m gonna make ends meet
I did my best
Now I’m scared to death
That we might lose everything

And when a sickness takes my child away
And there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You LORD

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

_________________________________

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Q & A Insights

 

Questions and AnswersI enjoy workshops and seminars where the content is interesting and fun. I especially like the Question & Answer (Q & A) that usually comes at the end. The Q & A time is often informal and relaxed, especially when there is mutual respect.

The Lord speaks to Job after an extended silence during Job’s suffering and loss. The Lord starts by asking a ton of questions that He already knows the answers to. He reveals things about Himself in the questions though. Check this out…

26 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom

    and spread its wings toward the south?

27 Does the eagle soar at your command

    and build its nest on high?

28 It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;

    a rocky crag is its stronghold.

29 From there it looks for food;

    its eyes detect it from afar. (Job 39:26-29 NIV)

I think this passage speaks to the day-to-day insight and control that the Lord has over His creation. He put processes in place so that the created things knew their role in creation. I’m thankful that he didn’t make me a duck. Ducks simply quack, while looking for food and they can’t get settled in any one place because they fly south for the winter. One day they are hanging out with their friends and maybe a human family they’ve adopted, the inside “duck wiring” tells them it’s time to go south and they can’t do anything else – they are a duck. As a human, I get to decide if I’m going south or any other direction. I’m thankful that the Lord wired me the way He did. I can have a different relationship with Him than a duck, a hawk or any other animal or mammal.

My relationship with the Lord involves a lot of Q & A. He has all the answers, but doesn’t always reveal them. One day I will understand all about how He works in my world. I totally respect any questions He may have of me as well.

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

Learning

Concept of learningI have learned a lot in my years here on earth. I’ve learned some really obvious lessons over the years. I’m pretty sure I’m learning something new every day. I would say that some new things I learn have a profound affect on me, while others are fairly mundane and simple, but new nonetheless.

As I make my journey through the Word of God, I learn or “re-learn” some new insight into God’s heart and His character. He teaches me in simple terms because I consider myself a simple man who loves the Lord and wants to follow Him.

Job was a follower of God. God has blessed him. He has followed the Lord with his life. Job was so devoted and devout that the Lord allowed Satan to test him extensively. He could not attack his soul, but every other part of Job’s life was available for the test. His family was taken; his livestock and his health were all taken from him. He did not curse God, but he has lots of commentary and discussion about God’s role in his struggles. Check this out…

11 Does not the ear test words

    as the tongue tastes food?

12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?

    Does not long life bring understanding?

13 ‘To God belong wisdom and power;

    counsel and understanding are his. (Job 12:11-13 NIV)

I was reminded that I must test the things I hear compared to the truth the Holy Spirit speaks into me. I believe that the truth of God is revealed in His Word. I also believe that He speaks into my heart through His Word. I also believe that the Holy Spirit prompts me to action and activity. I believe the Holy Spirit can explain and interpret deep and complicated truths for me.

Job’s suffering was intense and I’m not sure that his friends were helping encourage him much. He hasn’t lost his faith or his mind. He definitely feels the pressure from his profound losses, but he still doesn’t curse God. I think he clearly blames God for this, but he continues his respectful posture before the Lord. The Lord teaches me deep truths about himself in the middle of suffering. He has my attention when I’m suffering. I don’t like suffering, but I like the long-term effects upon my heart – it softens my heart and grows my ability to understand the suffering of others. I have so much to learn but not crazy about this “Academy of Experience” where I’ve been in school at since I was born.

I would love to be a life long learner of the things of God. I want Him to teach me, to lead me and to hold me close to His heart. I also want to remember and recall the lessons I’ve learned.

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