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

Decision Makers

Decision Making Process Word Circle ConceptThere are people who make big decisions constantly throughout the day. The leaders of our country make decisions every day and they often affect a large number of people. I love our country even though I’m not always in agreement with some who lead; they are still my fellow citizens. There are other people who make decisions for our state, our county and our city. At these levels we the people often have an audience with the leaders. There are decision makers in business who study spreadsheets and data. Sometimes making decisions is really easy and sometimes it’s really difficult. There are times when the funding is short for a project and there are financial cuts that have to made – it is not a fun situation for the decision makers.

King Jehoshaphat appointed judges throughout the land and gave them a strong charge about decision-making. Check this out…

5 He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 6 He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. 7 Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.” (2 Chronicles 19:5-7 NIV)

I was impressed with this charge. He was basically reminding the people he appointed judge over others that it really wasn’t about them. It was really about them serving the Lord. He was also reminding them to not be coerced into a particular decision.

While some decisions are based on fact, some decisions are based in intuition and experience. I’ve made good decisions based on bad data and I’ve made bad decisions based on good data. The odds are certainly in my favor if I have good data and good insight to the ramifications surrounding a decision.

I made a decision many years ago to follow the Lord. I don’t think for a second that it was a one-time decision. I believe that following the Lord is a daily decision. There are certainly many options available to NOT follow Him. The longer I follow Him, the easier it is to know His heart and His will for a particular decision. I can talk to Him about the most trivial decision and the most profound decision and He gives wisdom and direction. His Spirit in me settles my soul and gives great clarity to any decision I face.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Follow Directions/Instructions

 

I recently purchased a new gas grill for my back deck as well as camping trips. I recalled the first gas grill I purchased and it came with very tedious and detailed instructions about assembly. I remember thinking that I would not do that again. This new grill was mostly assembled when it came out of the box. I think I had to put in 4 screws and two nuts and I was finished. The instructions were simple as well as the assembly, because it was mostly assembled for me.

I sometimes struggle with directions and instructions. I hear the first step pretty clear, but after the third step, I can’t seem to retain all of that. For example, when someone gives me directions and there is more than two turns, I may not get to where I’m supposed to be going. It’s helps me tremendously to write the directions down.

King David had prepared a place to put the Ark of the Covenant. He recalled the first time they tried to bring it to Jerusalem and he did it differently this time. Check this out…

11 Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. 12 He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. 13 It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 14 So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord. (1 Chronicles 15:11-15 NIV)

This was a hard lesson learned for David. I could hear the frustration with himself over the mistakes he made the first time he moved the ark. I think there are at least a couple of reasons that I don’t follow instructions/directions very well. First, I get excited to go for it and the details escape me. Second, I’m too proud to admit I don’t know something.

I’m learning to slow down and gather data before taking action. I’m learning to follow instructions that came with the project. I’m learning that there is great wisdom in laying down my pride and asking for insight from others who’ve been down this road before. The most important person that I seek direction and insight from is the Lord. He speaks volumes of wisdom through His Word and He often prompts me on the spot through the Presence of His Spirit in me. I know that probably seems weird to others, but I’ve learned to trust His prompting. I’m resolved to follow His direction and His instruction for my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne