Because You Said So

Teenage girl in trouble with parentsI remember asking WHY my parents were telling me to do something when I was a kid and I got the answer: “Because I said so”.  As I grew older, that was no longer good enough. I needed to understand the why. As a kid, I was ok with their answer. As a parent, I have worked really hard to NOT use that phrase.  I have tried to explain my rationale as a parent so that my children could understand why I was telling them to not hang around that person or not to go to a certain place.  The words: “Because I said so” seemed a bit like I was talking down to my children or putting them down. There are occasions when all that logic is out the window and as a parent we use words like “STOP”, “GO”, or “GET AWAY” and there’s not time for the explanation. I don’t mean to sound disrespectful to my children but there comes a time when they must trust that I’m thinking of what is best for them – period.

Jesus was teaching near the lake and the crowds were pressing in so he gets to the shore and hops in one of two boats that were there. He sits down and begins to teach from the boat in the lake.  The boat belongs to Simon who will later be known as Peter. Check this out….

4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:4-11 NIV)

Peter wanted to debate the “fishing situation”, but it’s a good thing he didn’t. He had no idea exactly WHO Jesus was. I don’t always want to do the things I’m asked to do, but I most often consider whom it is asking. I love the fact that Peter did what Jesus asked because of Who was asking.

There’s a good lesson in here for me – when Jesus compels me to say something, do something or go somewhere – I would be wise to act because He said so. No debate – No questions…Just do what He asked!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Obedience

Listen Vs. Ignore - Toggle SwitchAs a Dad, I’ve had to give direction and guidance to my kids along the way of life. They are amazing and I can’t begin to describe my love for them. Sometimes I think about the journey that brought us here, I forget the really bad times and focus my memory on the good times. I try to forget the rebellious nature of slamming doors and heated arguments. Obedience is not always easy, but when it comes to following the Lord, He expects obedience.  Check this out….

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him. (Matthew 21:28-32 NIV)

I’ve been a follower of Jesus since I was a young kid. I’ve done more than my fair share of disobedience. I’ve pretended to be a follower many times. I’ve also ignored His call to do a particular task or to go to a particular place. My Heavenly Father wants my obedience. He ALWAYS wants the best for me. He is showing me the way to live my life and wants me to walk in that way.  My role is not to argue and debate, but to obey. His way is the ONLY way. “It’s His way or the highway.”

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Logistics

Logistics ConceptThis word is defined as a “the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, locations and supplies”.  I now get why UPS started pounding this word into their brand. That is definitely who they are and their mission as a company.

I often think of Logistics as the details of planning. Certain things must happen in a certain order for things to turn out well. In planning a big event, the bigger the event, the more logistics are needed.  Jesus was grieving the death of His cousin and the crowds followed Him. He had compassion on them and began to heal their sick and to teach them. His disciples began worrying about logistics. Check this out…

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21 NIV)

In my past experience as a student pastor, I often had to deal with logistics. The thing that dawned on me this morning is that the Lord has His own logistics. I do logistics in my human realm of life here on earth. The Lord’s logistics are super-natural. They are often outside the realm of human thought or understanding. I can’t always get my head around His logistics.  The cool thing is, I don’t have too. He has plans that are higher and more complicated than I’m capable of planning or understanding. He also has plans that are simple that a child gets it. I want to totally trust Him with the logistics of my life, my family, my work – my influence on others. He is my Logistics. He’s got the big picture – the big event completely under control. My role is obedience and trust in the Leader of Logistics!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Humble

Man praying with the BibleHumility is a skill to be learned not necessarily a gift or talent that I’ve been born with. It’s important for me to learn humility. I’ve always remembered the scripture that says “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) I like how it’s worded in the New Century Version: “Humble yourself in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you.”

Being humble is important to the Lord. There is room for only One as the King of my heart. I must step down from that role and surrender it to Him. He is the Heart-Shaper and King-Maker. When I come before Him in humility, my life is like a blank canvas for Him to paint a beautiful life portrait upon.

He speaks through the prophet Zephaniah destruction and punishment on the people groups who have spurned Him and His people. He calls them and His people to humility before He disciplines. Check this out…

1 Gather together, gather,

    you unwanted people.
2 Do it before it’s too late,

    before you are blown away like chaff,

before the Lord’s terrible anger reaches you,

    before the day of the Lord’s anger comes to you.
Come to the Lord, all you who are not proud,

    who obey his laws.

Do what is right. Learn to be humble.

    Maybe you will escape

    on the day the Lord shows his anger. (Zephaniah 2:1-3 NCV)

Humility is a posture of my heart and my head. I must come to terms with any success that I have comes from the Lord. He directs my path so that I can be successful when I listen to Him. He defines success way different than the world defines success. I’m a success if I follow Him – period.  The amount of money I earn and the material possessions I have are meaningless to my eternity. It’s the condition of my heart before Him. I should always seek humility and show incredible respect to Creator God for Who He is and all that He’s doing in my life. I want to humble myself in His Presence so that He will honor me when it really counts!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Punishment

HandcuffsI’m not a fan of the word punishment. It definitely sounds more negative than positive. It means, “The penalty inflicted as retribution for an offense”. I’ve been punished over the years and it’s not a glamorous or fun experience. In fact, most of the time, punishment is painful. I try everyday to avoid behavior that leads to punishment. The neighboring countries were being punished for their behavior and their negative dealings with the people of Israel. Check this out….

1 These are the words of Amos, one of the shepherds from the town of Tekoa. He saw this vision about Israel two years before the earthquake. It was at the time Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
2 Amos said, “The Lord will roar from Jerusalem; he will send his voice from Jerusalem. The pastures of the shepherds will become dry, and even the top of Mount Carmel will dry up.” (Amos 1:1-2 NCV)

After this the Lord announced punishment on 6 of the neighboring countries to Israel & Judah. A phrase that jumped off the page at me was “The Lord will roar…” He expects to be heard. I believe that the Lord speaks daily. He doesn’t always roar, but He always speaks. Sometimes I have to turn the noise of my life down significantly to hear Him speak. If I don’t listen to Him speak, how can I know what He wants me to do or where He wants me to go.  If I’m not listening, then I’m sure to make an incorrect choice and then be punished. I want to listen intently and follow Him on purpose not only to avoid punishment, but simply to honor Him!

 Pressing On!
Dwayne