Debate

 

Mother scolding her sonI think “debate” is another form of argument. I don’t remember winning any “debates” with my parents when I was growing up. I knew that “yes” meant Yes and “no” meant No! I do remember thinking I knew way more than my parents from a fairly young age. I remember getting my Grandpa (aka Pappy) a card once that said: “The older I get the smarter you get” (paraphrased I’m sure). My Pappy loved the card and beamed. He knew that I was finally getting wise to some insights that I needed to become an adult.

I came across a passage this morning that made me chuckle a bit, because of the truth taught in the passage. Check this out…

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
    Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
    ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
    ‘How clumsy can you be?’ (Isaiah 45:9 NLT)

I must confess that this made me smile to think about an inanimate object arguing back about how I make the handle on the cup that I’m molding out of clay. I also chuckled as I thought about a child calling out their parents about why they were made this way or that way. I must confess that on more than one occasion, I’ve instructed God on what I thought He should do. I’ve learned that if I come to Him in humility and respect that He actually cares what I think and how I feel. I can’t always understand His decisions or His way of doing things, but at the end of the day, I trust Him. I’ve always wanted and tried to do what is best for my children, but they sometimes couldn’t see it that way.

I’ve walked with the Lord through enough suffering and struggle to know that He never leaves me alone – He is ALWAYS near. He gives me strength needed to push through the struggle and suffering so that He is honored. I must look at my suffering and struggle through His perspective and not my own. He may be building something into my life that is needed in the years to come. He sees the whole picture and I just see one little snippet of the big picture.

I’ve stopped debating the Lord about anything. I do still share with Him my opinions and feelings on a diverse set of topics. I also do so with respect and reverence. I’ve learned that He is a Great Listener. Sometimes in my conversations with Him, the light bulb comes on and I get it. My conversations with Him are more for me than for Him – He grows me through my questions and conversations with Him. At the end of everything, I trust Him. Even when I don’t understand, I trust Him. I trust the Heart of God in everything.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Simple Questions

 

Young pretty woman with question marksI do like to ask questions. My kids over the years have often become weary with my questions, so I’ve tried to back off a bit and become more selective in my questions. I don’t necessarily ask questions like: “What are you doing tonight?” or “When will you be home?” I usually ask: “What sort of plans do you have tonight?” – a bit broader question that calls for more thought. I try hard to never ask questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”.

The Psalmist asked some obvious questions, but nevertheless required some thought. Check this out…

Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
    Does he who formed the eye not see?
10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
    Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
11 The Lord knows all human plans;
    he knows that they are futile. (Psalm 94:9-11 NIV)

The older I get the more important I think it is to craft the correct questions in every circumstance rather that make polished statements of truth. I think the most successful attorneys are the ones who’ve learned to ask the best questions.

I believe that the Lord loves it when I ask Him questions. That is a sign that I don’t have all the answers, but I’m coming to Him because He does have all the answers. Asking questions bring clarity. Asking questions sometimes reveals humility. I try hard to not perceive any question as dumb – but there are times when the questions are simply tricky. Check this out…

What goes up & down yet never moves?

How can a man go eight days without sleeping?

If there are 6 apples and you take away 4, how many apples do you have?

I found these tricking questions here.

I need to remember that the Lord loves my questions. I need to remember to ask Him everything about everything. I’ve asked him to help me find something that I’ve lost. I’ve asked Him to help me know what to say to my child who deserves punishment. I will keep asking questions of the One Who has every answer because He made me – wired me and built me from the ground up.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

_______________________

Answers…
a-Stairs
b-He sleeps during the night
c-The four you took

Speechless

 

Man holding microphoneIf you know me personally, you probably know that I can talk. I’m not super shy, but I’m a little introverted at times. If I’m put on the spot at a moments notice to speak, I can pull it off. I have learned to trust in the Lord to give me the words to speak and the confidence to speak. I can’t remember a time that I’ve been absolutely speechless. When I’m in the presence of someone who is powerful or famous, I might be more careful with what I say. Because of my confidence with the Lord, I usually contribute to most any conversation.

Job had not been speechless until now. The Lord speaks to him, but Job’s response is one of profound respect and honor. Check this out…

1 The Lord said to Job:

2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?

    Let him who accuses God answer him!”

3 Then Job answered the Lord:

4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?

    I put my hand over my mouth.

5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—

    twice, but I will say no more.” (Job 40:1-5 NIV)

I was taught as a youngster to respect those in authority. There may have been times when I’ve been pulled over and presented with a “safe driving award” (aka speeding ticket) and I’ve learned that the best response to the officer in charge is “yes sir or yes ma’am – total respect. I’m being reminded that what I’ve been doing is unsafe to other people on the road. He has the power to make my life very hard. People in authority over me are worthy of my respect. There are some protocols in place if a person in authority abuses that authority.

The Lord created me and wired me for friendship and fellowship with Him as well as my fellow man. He wants me to trust Him without fear. He wants to have a relationship with me and He even made a way. I can talk with Him. I can ask questions. I can petition Him for help and He shows up. There are times though when I’m in His Presence and there are words to adequately describe Him or with which to thank Him. He is certainly worthy of my feeble attempts to thank Him and praise Him for Who He is to me – my Savior, my Redeemer, my Friend.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

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

Questions Bring Clarity

Young pretty woman with question marksI was recently reminded that wise people know how to ask good questions. If I ask dumb questions, I usually receive dumb answers. I’ve always been intrigued with “lawyer shows” on TV and the big screen. One of the main roles of an excellent attorney is the asking of good questions.

As I was reading through the book of Job, the Lord finally speaks. Job has lost his family, his possessions and his health, but he still did not curse God. Throughout the previous chapters I could feel the pain he was in and the intensity of the suffering. Three “friends lecture him” and then this young man named Elihu poured it on too. He has got to be at the breaking point when God finally speaks. Check this out…

1 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

2 “Who is this that obscures my plans

    with words without knowledge?

3 Brace yourself like a man;

    I will question you,

    and you shall answer me.

36 Who gives the ibis wisdom

    or gives the rooster understanding?

37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

38 when the dust becomes hard

    and the clods of earth stick together?

39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness

    and satisfy the hunger of the lions

40 when they crouch in their dens

    or lie in wait in a thicket?

41 Who provides food for the raven

    when its young cry out to God

    and wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:1-3, 36-41 NIV)

As I began reading through the questions that God was presenting to Job, I realized again how questions can teach and reveal great truth. God was asking Job questions that only He knew the answers too. The Lord’s questions gave Job great insight to His role in all creation and also the everyday and even what often appears mundane. God’s questions had to start bringing great clarity to Job as God had been silent through Job’s suffering, but He had not been absent.

I want to ponder the questions of God today. I want to have great clarity regarding His Power and His Presence in my every day life today. I sometimes need Him to ask questions in order to retrieve clarity that has been muddled and distraction has set in.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Strained & Struggling

 

Businessman sinking in heap of documentsYesterday I was connecting with a new friend and I was telling the story of my son’s battle with cancer that is now almost 5 years old. There are many stories of my life that are easily remembered. I think the ones that featured deep suffering and struggle are at the front of the line. As I was sharing the story, I realized how intense the emotions still are as I recalled the strain and the struggle of that journey. I’m convinced that strain and struggle come along every now and then as part of our life story. There are almost never welcome and I’m glad when they leave. I hate to admit that I’m stronger and wiser after their visit. I still would rather avoid them if possible.

Job really struggled and strained under the suffering that God allowed him to go through at the hands of the enemy. His struggle was intense. His loss was real. He was hanging on by a thread. His friends lectured him and accused him of sin. He was a good man to whom bad things had happened. He didn’t curse God. He did question God about what is happening to him. Check this out…

6 The realm of the dead is naked before God;

    Destruction lies uncovered.

7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;

    he suspends the earth over nothing.

8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds,

    yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.

9 He covers the face of the full moon,

    spreading his clouds over it.

10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters

    for a boundary between light and darkness.

14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;

    how faint the whisper we hear of him!

    Who then can understand the thunder of his power?’ (Job 26:6-10,14 NIV)

I can feel the angst of this spiritually and mentally strong man. His body is weak and worn down from the skin disorder (aka boils) and the pain – yet he stays strong. I am inspired and impressed by Job even as he questions God. I believe that God is ok with the questions. I believe that God is ok with my frustration. The reason I believe God is ok with all of this is He knows my heart like no one else. He wired me with the questions. He wired me with emotions. He built my heart and He has compelled me over the years to keep surrendering my heart to Him. I don’t always get answers to my questions and my emotions eventually settle down – but my heart is hungry for more of Him. I am constantly re-arranging my heart to increase my capacity of God’s Spirit.

I don’t always understand and can’t explain the action or inaction of God – but I trust Him.

I’m not afraid to ask questions or be raw and real with Him – but I respect and revere Him.

In the midst of the strain and struggle – He’s all I really have and He’s all I really need. I love this song sung by Kari Jobe called: Healer.

Pressing On!

Dwayne