A Troubling Thought

Praying ManI’ve been to some tough places in my life.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be lost.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to feel hopeless.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to feel helpless.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to feel empty inside.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be “beat down by others”.

 

I remember when I surrendered my life to the Lord.

I remember the hope I felt the first time I trusted Him.

I remember my baptism.

I remember lots of markers along my journey with the Lord.

I remember lots of times of repentance for stupid choices.

I remember lots of grace.

I remember lots of mercy.

What I don’t understand is how others can so easily dismiss a loving God who longs for relationship with His creation. I don’t understand how others can look at this world and think it happened by accident or with a big explosion and suddenly order appeared.

I read a troubling passage in Revelation where John, the writer/Apostle saw a scene of destruction and rebellion. Check this out…

In those days people will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them.

20 The rest of the people, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see, hear, or walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts. (Revelation 9:6, 20-21 CSB)

I don’t always understand the hand of God – but I trust His heart.

I can’t always understand why God does or doesn’t intervene – but I trust He knows what is best.

I don’t ever want to forget what it was like to be lost. I’m so thankful that the Lord was patient with me as I meandered through life ignoring Him, until the day I stopped and took a long, hard look at Him. It’s been a journey, with lots of stumbling’s and mistakes – but I don’t ever want to let go of His hand – no matter what life sends my way.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Repentant Leadership

 

work hard stay humbleI have come to the conclusion that those who never repent must never attempt to do anything. I know what failure feels like. I’ve learned that failure isn’t fatal unless I let it be. I learned a long time ago that there are at least three actions to take when I fail:

  1. Take ownership of my actions.
  2. Make amends (do my very best to make things right).
  3. Move on.

Failure can teach me volumes about others and myself. I have learned more from my failures and mistakes than my successes.

Ezra served the exiles that were given permission from King Darius of Persia to return to their homeland after 70 years in exile away from their homeland. They were in the process of rebuilding the temple when Ezra learned of the blatant sin of some of his fellow exiles. He was absolutely broken and stunned. He leads the exiles in profound repentance. Check this out…

‘I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7 From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today.

15 Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.’ (Ezra 9:6b-7; 15 NIV)

I believe that leaders should lead us through success. I also believe that leaders should lead us through repentance. It takes a lot longer to get through a hurtful situation when no one is willing to own his or her actions. I think it takes a bigger person to own their mistakes than to act like they are perfect and without fault. I believe that everyone makes mistakes – some have way bigger consequences than others. I believe that marriages can be saved from the brink of divorce if both spouses own their own failures and mistakes.

I remember hearing from a wise and trusted friend years ago in response to public sin and failure. The conversation was about helping restore the person from the public failure. He said to this man: “When your repentance cries out louder than your sin, you are on your way to restoration”.

I have to check my pride at the door if I’m ever going to own my mistakes and failures. I can’t act as if I’m perfect and without fault. The Lord knows me like no one else – how can I pretend that my sin didn’t happen?

I’m thinking that I should begin every day with a repentant heart and continue that theme throughout my day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Cut Your Losses

 

Basic RGBThere have been times when I bought something that I thought would really be helpful and work well for me only to find out that I had made a mistake. I really hate to loose money. I like to be wise and prudent prior to spending it, but there are times when a mistake is made. This not really a super example, but I once purchased a table top gas grill off of a TV infomercial. I purchased it to take camping because it was compact yet folded out and it even had a light! I now laugh at all infomercials. This was the biggest rip off. The marketing crews made this grill look amazing. When it arrived, it was small and very cheaply made. I think I may have used it once or twice – it was a piece of junk. I threw it away and chalked that up to a lesson learned.

King Amaziah was gathering his troops up to prepare for war against Seir and Edom. He decided to rent/hire a 100,000 troops from Israel to help fight. He paid the king of Israel 3 ¾ tons of silver for these troops. This was a huge mistake. Check this out…

7 But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the Lord is not with Israel—not with any of the people of Ephraim. 8 Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow.”

9 Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?”

The man of God replied, “The Lord can give you much more than that.” (2 Chronicles 25:7-9 NIV)

I think I would have asked the same question that the king asked. I think his first mistake was not asking the Lord before doing the deal. Every day in my business, I see people cut their losses. I remember when banks in our area were struggling and the bank stock value plummeted. There were still people who believed it would come back and were still buying. Some of the people who should have sold their stock at a reduced rate wishes they would have cut their losses and got at least something out of it. Instead many rode it all the way to zero.

I’ve determined that my pride will fight me when I’m ready to cut my losses. It is often humiliating to loose. It is humiliating to make a bad decision and have to admit it. I think there are times it is completely necessary. It takes a lot of courage to admit a mistake and own it.

I’m learning to pray about everything and worry about nothing. I certainly don’t listen all the time to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, but my hearing is improving! I believe that talking to the Lord prior to a decision will give me insight that I didn’t have. He will lead me when I listen to Him. I haven’t had to “cut my losses” nearly as much since I’ve been seeking His council.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Looking Back

Time For Reflection Message Means Ponder Or ReflectI’m not sure when I started looking back and reflecting so much. I think it happened somewhere around my 45th birthday. I realized that I was over halfway home. The years behind me were more than the years ahead. I believe it’s very valuable to reflect on my past to not only learn from it, but to be inspired by it. There are things in my past that are incredibly painful and tough. There are things in my past that I still can’t describe the joy with words. I can look back and see the hand of the Lord in my life. There are so many times when I’m in the midst of a struggle and it’s hard to see or feel the Lord’s Presence. I know from my past that He is always here though. He never abandons me.

Joshua was well advanced in years and about to pass from this life into eternity. He gets a bit reflective and draws upon the inspiration of the nation of Israel’s journey with the Lord. Check this out…

3 You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you.

6 ‘Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.

8 But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

9 ‘The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. 10 One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. 11 So be very careful to love the Lord your God.

14 ‘Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. (Joshua 23:3,6,8-10,14 NIV)

I don’t want to spend too much time looking back and reflecting but I do see the value in learning from my past. I have made mistakes in my past that I don’t want to make ever again. I also don’t want to miss the celebration of the “wins” in my life. It’s often easier to dwell on the losses than the wins. My life’s journey today is shaped by the “losses” and the “wins”. I am more determined than ever to keep walking in step with the Lord because as I look back, my losses would have been way more painful and devastating without the Lord’s rescue. It is so easy to get stuck and beat down in the shadow of defeat rather than pushing through into the great lessons that can learned from journey.

I want to stay close to the Lord and trust in His Promises and His Presence as my future continues to be written into daily increments. I want to be very careful to love and honor God with my whole heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne