Young & Old

handThere are things I learned a long time ago and things I learned just yesterday. I really enjoy learning new ideas and concepts. I’m still growing and learning as a believer and a student of God’s Word. I’m also still growing as a husband and Dad. I’m growing as a REALTOR as well. I really want to be a life-long learner. My recent certification as a Biblical Counselor requires continuing education to keep my certification. My profession as a REALTOR requires continuing education to keep my license active. I do wish I had enjoyed learning when I was a young man as much as I do now.

Jesus added a statement to one of His parable explanation. I have somehow missed this in my study over the years. It really intrigued me. He compares heaven to a homeowner – whom I work with every day. Check this out….

52 Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.” (Matthew 13:52 NLT)

This was a new category of disciple. A religious teacher who became a disciple of Jesus. Most of the religious teachers where combative of Jesus’ teaching. There were a few and they were special. I consider myself somewhat old and I still want to discover new truth from the Word of God. I don’t want to rest on what I’ve learned at this point. I view home as my hideaway. I love going home and relaxing with my family. I love hanging out with my wife. I don’t have to be busy at home, even though sometimes I am. Tina & I cleaned out our pantry, which is a good-sized room with tons of shelving and where we keep our food. We did find a few things we didn’t’ remember having because they were hidden behind the pasta or one of our cooking vessels. I bring stuff home all the time and promptly misplace it. Home is where I spend time with the Lord each morning. Home would not be home without my family. A house is a structure that can be made into a home.

I loved this statement of Jesus about a homeowner bringing from his storehouse new gems of truth as well as old. I want to keep learning new gems of truth from His Word as well as solidifying the old gems learned years ago.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Authority – Influence

Authority Team Indicates Manager Unity And ControlI have become a bit of a “podcast nerd”. I have loved learning for a long time. It is so easy to go to the podcast app and find some amazing podcasts. I have three different podcasts that I follow regularly – Entreleadership, In the Loop with Andy Andrews & The Brian Buffini Show. These podcasts speak into my life to encourage, inspire & motivate me. Yesterday, I was listening to the Entreleadership podcast with Clay Scroggins, lead pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA.  His topic was “How to Build Your Influence”. He spoke about the contrast of a leader who leads with influence and a leader who leads with power. I loved the content and even listened to it twice. I spend a good bit of time traveling, so I listen to these podcasts almost exclusively in my vehicle. Zig Ziglar used to refer to it as “automobile university”.  This morning I read in Matthew 8 of two instances where Jesus’ authority is noted. He healed people without them being present and He calmed a storm with His spoken words. He definitely had authority. He taught with authority. He healed with authority. He ministered on earth for three years with authority. The story that jumped out to me today was when He calmed the storm. Check this out…

23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27 NLT)

I want to live my life with influence.

If given authority, I want to lead with influence.

If given power, I want to lead with influence.

People with power, often abuse their position. They can make others who work around them or under them miserable. I believe that what Jesus’ authority obviously came from God. He could have done ministry way different than He did. He chose to use His authority wisely. He could have called 10,000 angels to rescue Him from the mockery of a trial and ultimate crucifixion – but He didn’t exercise His Power. He followed the plan of His Father and the crucifixion, while painful and deadly, was necessary.

Jesus talk with authority and lived to influence His disciples and the people who were around Him and came to Him for whatever reason.

I want my life to influence others so that they can notice Jesus, Who is the Ultimate Influence upon me.

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

Broken

broken potteryI do remember what it feels like to be beat down and broken because of events that happen that are completely beyond my control. I have felt absolutely helpless to fix or repair the damage done. I have come to accept that there are accidents and events that happen that I have absolutely zero control over. I sometimes wish that I could see those events on the horizon but that’s not exactly how it works. I’ve had my heart broken into millions of pieces, or so it seems. The Lord is able to restore my broken heart for sure.

I started reading the book of Job this morning and in the background, he was a proud and grateful man for his family and all that the Lord had blessed him with. The Lord had complete confidence in Job that He allowed Satan to test him with suffering. He had four messengers come him, one right after the other with waves of bad news. The first three messengers told of the loss of his livestock and possessions. The fourth messengers told of the loss of his children. That was the point when Job was broken down. I wasn’t really expecting Job’s response though. Check this out…

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

    and naked I shall depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;

    may the name of the Lord be praised.’

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20-22 NIV)

There are times when my brokenness feels like I’m totally destroyed. In the midst of my pain and suffering, I can’t see what life could look like getting beyond this pain. I think it’s like being in the fog, when it’s so thick and dense that I can’t see through it. When the fog clears, I can then see clearly. I see brokenness and suffering like this fog – the Lord provides the directions through the fog if I will just trust Him.

Job’s response of worship is powerful and shows incredible discipline and trust in the Lord. I suspect that worship was a part of his everyday life as it should be in my life. Job is about to “go to school” and learn more about God through this suffering and loss. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I believe God teaches us things about Himself through suffering that I’m not sure we could learn any other way. I want my daily journey with the Lord to build worship and trust into the structure of my life – into my DNA. I want my life to be totally dependent upon the Lord. I know that my faith needs to grow and the Lord helps me with that too. Brokenness is beautiful when the Lord is in charge of rebuilding.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Adopted

Adoption Word Cloud Concept in red capsI’ve learned more about adoption in the last 6 years than I’ve known my whole life. When my wife and I decided to be open to adoption of a young kid in Nicaragua over 6 years ago, we had no idea what the journey would look like. The adoption process is very detailed and every area of our lives was investigated before approval was given. Since our adoption was an international adoption, there was another whole layer to it. When all was said and done, we were successful in completing the process and we added to our family our son Lucas. He is such a smart kid, funny, fully of life and fun to be around. He is now a senior in High School and the Lord only knows the plans He has for this young man.

Adoption is not always easy. There have been hard moments on Luke and us as his parents, adjusting to one another. I believe that at times like that we have to show grace to one another, keep our eye on the big picture and move on. I also think it’s important to “lean into” the call of God.

Mordecai was the uncle of Esther, but he had taken her as his own daughter. She was entered into the contest to possibly become the next queen. Check this out…

7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.

17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality. (Esther 2:7-8; 17-18 NIV)

This young adopted niece of Mordecai was chosen to be queen of Persia. She did not reveal her family Jewish heritage. She had overcome the death of her parents and adjusted to being adopted by her uncle.

I believe adoption is a real physical picture of being saved. I am “adopted” into God’s family and Jesus becomes my brother. When my wife became an instant Mom (stepmom) to my three oldest children 21 years ago, she loved them unselfishly and constantly. We had to learn some new ideas about parenting. Then when Luke came along 15 years later, we had more new things to learn about parenting. I love my family and the journey we’ve been on. The Lord is clearly orchestrating some special places for my kids to serve. I love the fact that Mordecai never made the success of his “daughter” about him. He encouraged her, advised her to help her become successful. As I read this incredible story, I can see the hand of God throughout. I want the favor of God and the hand of God upon my family as He continues to write our story. We set out to save one kid through adoption, but the process saved us and is still teaching us about the heart of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Education is Power

 

Knowledge Triumphs Over Ignorance - Learn to Grow and WinWe have more educational opportunities at our fingertips than ever before in the history of our existence. I remember as a kid, my parents purchasing the Encyclopedia Britannica for us to have educational tools in our home for research and background information. There we like 30 volumes and I can still remember where they were on the bookshelf. Today we have Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia. We also have Google & YouTube do search for information.

There have been many incidents where the most educated person at the table brings a lot of power with his/her education. I believe there is great value in studying and continuing to learn. I’ve said many times that I want to be a life-long learner.

I was reading this morning about a young king who believed in education. Check this out…

7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah to teach in the towns of Judah. 8 With them were certain Levites—Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah and Tob-Adonijah—and the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9 They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.

10 The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not go to war against Jehoshaphat. (2 Chronicles 17:7-10 NIV)

I believe that there is great value in education and learning. I love learning new things and growing in knowledge and understanding. I hate being in a situation where I’m uninformed and uneducated. I think much of our education today is “self-taught” and that is not necessarily a bad thing. If we want to know something we can push a button on our phone and ask Siri or Google just about anything.

I want to keep studying the Word of God so that I can continue to learn the Heart of God. I want to know more of His Wisdom. I want to know more of His ways and thoughts. I want to know more about what breaks His heart or what makes Him smile. I’m in a class at church called “How People Change” taught by our pastor Shannon Lovelady and it’s really making me take a look at what I know about God and what is going on inside my heart.

I can become the most amazing brilliant scholar and if my heart is corrupt –I’m lost. I need daily heart change to become more like God. I need to take my pursuit of God very seriously. I could have deep knowledge of God, but without His love in my heart –my pursuit of Him didn’t change me. I want His Word planted deep in my heart – that doesn’t create power – it calls for surrender.

Pressing On!

Dwayne