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

Seek Counsel

counselI believe that great leaders surround themselves with great people. I know that the buck stops with the leader, but it’s critical that they have good counsel to have a good understanding to what the decision is about and the effects or “fall out” from their decision.

King David grew into a tremendous leader. The Lord had used his time as a shepherd boy to shape his heart and teach him to rely on God for wisdom and discernment.

When David was king, he had an idea about moving the ark, but sought counsel first. Check this out…

1 David conferred with each of his officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 He then said to the whole assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send word far and wide to the rest of our people throughout the territories of Israel, and also to the priests and Levites who are with them in their towns and pasturelands, to come and join us. 3 Let us bring the ark of our God back to us, for we did not inquire of it during the reign of Saul.” 4 The whole assembly agreed to do this, because it seemed right to all the people. (1 Chronicles 13:1-4 NIV)

I’ve learned to lead by seeking counsel of many of the people I’m responsible for leading. I also believe that the first place I should seek counsel is on my knees before the Lord. He provides me with wisdom and insight well beyond my abilities or my years of experience. By seeking counsel of people I’m responsible for leading, they are given real ownership to be part of the big picture.

I’ve also learned that seeking counsel does not mean I’m weak, but on the contrary, it shows great strength. Seeking counsel requires humility. Seeking counsel requires listening. Seeking counsel requires respect. I think seeking counsel is one of the wisest things any of us could do, especially if my first place to seek counsel is from the Lord.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Young & Stupid

happy and motivated old people 3dI’m not going to name names other than myself but I do agree with the fact that when we are young, we do stupid things. We certainly say stupid things as well. I remember a stupid thing I did while in High School and I’m embarrassed to think I could get away with it. I remember one incident where I concocted this huge story to cover myself only to later find out my Dad really didn’t believe my story. I’ve got plenty of stories about being young and stupid. In my house, stupid is an “s” word that I don’t use to describe others. I feel freedom to call my-myself out for sure. I also feel freedom to describe certain behavior as stupid. It is not my intent to label someone who exhibits stupid behavior as “stupid”. It’s mostly ignorance – that’s a safer call – LOL!

I wouldn’t mind being 20 years old again, but only if I could know what I know now about life and about the Lord.

Israel & Judah’s history is full of very young (and stupid acting at times) kings. The one I read about this morning was 20 years old when he became king. Check this out….

1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree. (2 Kings 16:1-4 NIV)

I did a little history study to find some young kings throughout more recent history. King Henry VI was one of the youngest at 8 Months old. It’s obvious that he couldn’t do much as king at that age, but his mother and those around him could certainly help. I can only imagine as he became a teenager and adolescent thinking set it – what kind of king was he then.

This young man Ahaz really disobeyed profoundly where the Lord wanted to take this nation of Judah. He didn’t follow any instructions from his Dad who was king. He obviously was “smarter than everyone else”. I can imagine that older people were afraid of a king so young and impulsive.

As if reflected on what it would be like to be 20 again, I realize that this is foolishness – I’m getting older not younger. If I can get any 20 year olds to listen, I would remind them to seek counsel from older and wiser people. One older gentlemen told me one time, “I don’t know all the things that will work, but I know a lot of things that won’t work because I’ve tried them!”

I was also reminded that even though I’m over 50, I still desperately need wise counsel even today. I’m learning to talk to the Lord about everything. There are situations that I face in life all along the way that I’ve needed help with. When I was young and stupid, I thought I knew how to handle all of that. I’m finally wising up and learning to listen and ask great questions. There’s more wisdom in asking great questions – it will keep me from being a “know-it-all”. It could also prevent me from being “old and stupid”!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Listen To Whom

Young woman with big funny earsIt really does matter whom you are listening to. I realize that my hearing has slipped a bit in the last few years. I credit some of that to getting older and some of it to the loud music that I enjoy. I do believe that I can listen carefully even without my ears. My eyes can be very useful instruments of hearing. I enjoy reading God’s Word and listening to Him. He speaks to me through His Word. He speaks to me through Creation. He speaks to me through others. I would be wise to listen closely when the Lord speaks to me.

I came across a passage where a prophet was told by God to go home a different way and don’t stop to eat or drink with anyone. An older prophet convinced him otherwise. Check this out…

16 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’”

18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.) 19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house. (1 Kings 13:16-19 NIV)

This story really troubled me because one prophet lied to another. Another prophet, who was lying, convinced the prophet who was told by God to go straight home to disobey. This can be very confusing. I can change the channel on my television and find men of God saying different things from a different perspective and even things that I don’t get from the Word of God. A few years ago, I decided that I would let the Lord speak to me through His Word first. He can use other avenues to speak to me, but these other avenues will not contradict what He has already said or is saying to me.

I think it’s dangerous to let others speak into me without checking their message with the Word of God. I’m convinced that there are some people who really mean well when they interpret scripture a certain way, but I’m going to lean into my relationship with the Lord. I will seek answers from the One Who wrote the test. I will put my anchor inside the Word of God. I don’t believe that God acts against Himself. I believe His Word to be reliable, credible, instructional and inspirational. I found the Lord through His Word and I fully intend to listen closely and obey His Word. If what you say to me is contrary to the Word of God, I will respectfully disagree and go with what I know – The Word of God is truth!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Plans & Intentions

Project preparationThe best of intentions can sometimes create problems. In the case of our lawmakers who make laws that intend to help, but in realty cause problems and unintended consequences. Planning and thorough study at the planning stage is critical to big projects and complicated ideas.

King David longed to build the temple, but the Lord said not now. Instead the Lord planned for David’s son/successor to build the temple. That didn’t stop David from planning and preparing. He bought the land, (formerly a threshing floor) and he started getting the materials list together. Solomon, his son, just had to follow through from there. King Hiram from Tyre, a neighboring country became a huge ally in the building of the temple. He and David were communicating back and forth after King Hiram reached out to Solomon. Check this out….

3 “You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. 4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. 5 I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’ (2 Kings 5:3-5 NIV)

I really believe that the Lord put it in Solomon’s heart to build the temple. The Lord gave Solomon ideas and creativity in the process. I believe that the Lord built the temple through Solomon. Solomon amassed a huge labor force to get the materials together. He hired thousands of skilled craftsmen and tradesmen. This was a big project, but the Lord gave Him wisdom throughout the process.

I can look back on some of the accomplishments in my life and I realize just how the Lord led through so much of the process. I would simply be showing up every day to work and He would plant some great idea in me and I would go down that road. I believe that a person fully following the Lord can be wise beyond their years. I want to live like that. I want the Lord to direct my every step whether I’m at home with my family; showing a house to a buyer; helping a seller get ready to sell; leading in my business or whatever. I want the Lord to direct my path and clear my head so that I can truly listen to His wise instructions.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Silence

 

Woman talking through a megaphone and a man plugging his earsThere are times that I love the peace and serenity I feel in silence. Recently my family celebrated my Dad’s 80th birthday. It was a lot of fun with a lot of my family gathered as well as friends and neighbors. I must say that silence was not really part of the celebrating, but afterward I was looking forward to silence. I’ve been both the giver and receiver of the “silent treatment” when someone is angry or frustrated with me. There are times when silence is a blessing and at other times it’s very painful and hard.

The Lord had gone silent on Saul for his disobedience when the Lord told him to carry out His furious judgment on the Amalakites. Saul is on his own and the silence of the Lord is deafening. Check this out….

4 The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. 6 He enquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. (1 Samuel 28:4-6 NIV)

Samuel was gripped by fear and this was magnified when he realized that the Lord had turned away from Him. He actually sought out a witch or medium. This is extremely dangerous territory where the Lord is involved. He wanted to hear from the prophet Samuel who was dead. It is the beginning of the end of Saul’s leadership and I think he knows it.

I don’t want to experience the silence of the Lord. I want my hearing from the Lord to improve as my body ages and my physical hearing slips a bit. I would rather hear from the Lord than anyone else. I’m so thankful that the Lord speaks to me through His Word and through my daily journey of prayer. He gives wisdom and understanding that blows my mind. He prompts and He directs. He speaks and He whispers. He stirs my heart to hear Him more clearly. I’m grateful to be called His kid. I’m grateful that He listens to my heart. I’m grateful that He speaks to me. When I sit before Him in silence, I’m so grateful that He isn’t silent.

Pressing On!

Dwayne