Position

Waiter with trayI have held different positions over the course of my life. I am a son, husband, dad, “Pop”, and a friend – these are many of family member positions. I have had two different careers if I don’t count growing up on a farm. I was a full-time pastor (youth, college) for 20 years. I enjoyed serving the Lord – I believe that is a high and holy calling. I have learned over the years that each follower of the Lord is called to serve. People in full time ministry are paid a salary so they are free to do ministry without being tied down to another position in a company to earn a salary.

I have seen and still see people jockey for position in different companies to be the “top dog” and there are times such manipulation works. I’ve also seen the lowest person in the company serve their way up to the top. I think it’s wise to know who I am and who I’m not. I need to be keenly aware of my weaknesses and my strengths. The cool thing is that with the Lord living inside of me – he makes up for my weaknesses.

The Psalms consistently remind me of my position and His Position and His Presence. When He gave me my position as a child of the King – it has changed everything. Check this out…

1 Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

    in the heavens.

2 Through the praise of children and infants

    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,

    to silence the foe and the avenger.

3 When I consider your heavens,

    the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

    which you have set in place,

4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?

5 You have made them a little lower than the angels

    and crowned them with glory and honor.

6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;

    you put everything under their feet:

7 all flocks and herds,

    and the animals of the wild,

8 the birds in the sky,

    and the fish in the sea,

    all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1-9 NIV)

My position is contingent upon His Presence. He is the One Who saved me and filled me with His Spirit. I’m nothing without Him, but with Him I can do amazing things beyond my abilities and skills. He has given me a position as His kid and there is great honor, great hope and a great future in my new position.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Humble Or Humbled

work hard stay humbleI’m not sure when I first learned humility. I’m pretty sure I learned it as a kid, but then I’ve had to keep re-learning this concept. Humility is a theme throughout the Word of God. I must constantly remember my role in my relationship with God but also in my relationship with others. Humility is not a gift, it’s a skill to be learned and consistently practiced. I think it was Solomon who said: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV) Later in the book of James who wrote: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10 NIV)

The king of Judah was now Ahaz who become king at age 25. He didn’t follow in the footsteps of King David. He was not humble. He was full of pride and arrogance. He really ended up with a big mess on his hands as a result of his poor choices. Check this out…

19 The Lord had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord. 20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but gave him trouble instead of help.

22 In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, ‘Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so that they will help me.’ But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel. (2 Chronicles 27:19-20; 22-23 NIV)

I’ve met lots of people who don’t appear to be humble. I’ve also had the privilege to know a ton of people who were genuinely humble. Humility doesn’t mean a person is a doormat. Humility doesn’t mean a person doesn’t speak up or speak out against an injustice. Humility doesn’t mean that a person can’t compete to win.

Humility means it’s not all about me.

Humility means that I’m NOTHING without the Lord.

If I am anything or anyone, it’s because of what the Lord has done inside me heart. He gets all the credit and glory for who I am and all that I stand for.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Leader of All Leaders

 

Lead By ExampleThere are times when a leader steps up and has many strong characteristics such as deep wisdom and clarity of insight to lead others. Sometimes these types of leaders are not famous or known by many – they just lead from where they are. I do notice leaders like this when my path crosses theirs. Sometimes people don’t set out to be leaders, but it’s in them and it comes out. Some celebrities are leaders, but it’s mostly because of their success. I do remember sir Charles Barkley in his younger days as a NBA star saying that he didn’t want to be a leader, but he really didn’t have a choice. The spotlight on leaders is sometimes blinding to them, especially if they were not prepared for it. I believe good leaders are built and it takes some time.

Solomon was a leader who was built over time. He watched his Dad, King David lead Israel. Solomon probably learned the history of his Mom and David’s connection and the pain, struggle and fall out from David’s sin. He also saw how his Dad recovered from that failure. I see Solomon was a leader of leaders. The Queen of Sheba visited him at the height of his success. She had heard of him, but wanted to see for herself. Check this out…

5 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 6 But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard. 7 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 8 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.”

22 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 23 All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. (2 Chronicles 9:5-8; 22-23 NIV)

I really love studying the success of Solomon because all the glory goes to God. His wisdom and wealth came from the Lord. I really hated that his leadership turned to self-centered serving. He chose women of other cultures over following the Lord. He was led away from God by his own choice.

It’s another case, where even the greatest leaders must be followers. Great leaders can’t make their leadership about themselves. Great leaders must be aware of who they are leading and where they are leading too. I think it’s tragic when leaders loose sign of their call and the position that they’ve been entrusted with. This happens quite often in the world of politics. Great leaders with the best of intentions become corrupted & deceived by the perceived power that they hold. Leadership is a delicate skill that can’t be traded and bought like a commodity. I believe great leaders are followers of God first. If they are a leader, they were a follower first and they must not forget that.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Deep Humility

 

work hard stay humbleI remember my grandmother (aka “Mammie”) speak about people being humble. She pronounced the word without the “h” on the front – “umble”. One big characteristic of her life was that she was very humble. I can’t ever recall her being prideful and arrogant. She noticed others who were humble and kind. She always put others ahead of herself. She was incredibly generous and patient. She made a profound impression upon my life and the lives of many others.

I read more this morning about King David. He was also a humble man serving as King. He never seemed to forget his humble beginnings as a shepherd boy. He also never seemed to forget the God Who was with him way back then when he faced a lion and a bear that was threatening his flock.

David decides that he wants to build a house for God. He doesn’t like it that the Ark of the Covenant is in a tent. He wants to build a permanent temple for God to dwell. The Lord sends Nathan, the prophet to bless David but to also let him know that his son who succeeds him as king will be the one to build the temple. I was impressed with David’s humility after being told “no”. David ended up feeling blessed about what God was going to do through his family. He humbly accepts the directive of God through the prophet. Check this out…

25 “You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to you. 26 You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant. 27 Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Lord, have blessed it, and it will be blessed forever.” (1 Chronicles 17:25-27 NIV)

David’s humility is what made him such a great leader. He let God lead him. He trusted God to help him lead as King. I believe that humility is one of the greatest characteristics a leader can have. I believe humility can coexist with confidence but not arrogance. Confidence says, “We can do this”. Arrogance says, “I can do this”. David knew that with the Lord’s help that there was nothing that couldn’t be done.

I believe that battling pride is a daily struggle. My pride can chase humility out of my life. Pride is confidence in me alone. Pride is destructive while trying to lead. Pride has been the downfall of many great leaders. In fact, I believe that pride is the culprit in David’s sin scandal with Bathsheba.

As I journey through the word of God, I don’t want my confidence in Him to produce arrogance in me. He is the leader and I’m the follower. I may lead others, but I’m a follower of Jesus first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Work & Wages

Work Characters Shows Working Workers And Manual LaborI remember as a kid working on the farm doing various jobs. My Dad had a small farm, as did my Grandpa (aka Pappy). I learned to work in the tobacco fields, the garden and the hay field. I remember at one point my Pappy raised a few acres of bell peppers as a cash crop. There seemed to always be work to do on the farm. I was also hired by other local farmers to work the hayfields or tobacco fields. I remember getting paid for my labor and feeling good about what I had done. I also remember the fact that I was a teenager working as a laborer to earn extra money and there were others who were working for their livelihood. Work is how I earn wages to provide for my family and myself.

In the long litany of miscellaneous laws that Moses was sharing with the people of Israel, he addressed daily workers too. Check this out…

14 Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. 15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin. (Deuteronomy 24:14-15 NIV)

“He who loves his work never labors”

I’ve hired day laborers to work before and it’s a blessing to provide work for them. It’s also a blessing to find someone skilled and strong to provide extra help when and where it’s needed. Hiring others to help can provide a service to me and can be a blessing to them.

I was on the phone while riding home with one of my sons the other day. After I got off the phone, I realized that a lot of my work is mentally straining. I don’t dig ditches or haul hay as my labor, but I market property on behalf of sellers. I also help buyers through the process of purchasing a home or leasing a property where they will live or work. There are many days that I’m mentally exhausted and tired, but there are other days where it’s very fulfilling to serve and help others achieve their goals and dreams. In the process of helping and serving others my goals and dreams come true too.

I believe that the Lord has never been a fan of lazy people. I believe that God wired us to live and prosper in this life by the work of our hands and the sweat of our brows. I believe that a person’s work ethic tells volumes about that person’s life. I also think it’s wise to learn to work smarter instead of harder.

It’s about time for me to get to work, so I need to wrap this note up and get to it!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Additional Offerings

 

MoreAs I’ve read through the books of the law in the Old Testament, I’ve gotten a bit weary trying to understand all the offering requirements of God’s people. They were moving a million plus people around the desert for 40 years and they had some very detailed rituals that they were to be part of each day. It’s been hard for me to wrap my head around all of this. Most of the requirements were upon the priests and the Levite family. This morning I came across a passage that described the daily offerings, the Sabbath offerings as well as a few annual gatherings. The Lord was very specific in what He expected during the daily offerings as well as special events. The Passover was a big event commemorating the departure from Egypt as the Lord issued the final plague onto the Egyptians. The Israelites were “passed over” and the feast of the Passover was a reminder of God rescuing them from the Egyptians. Check this out…

23 Offer these in addition to the regular morning burnt offering. 24 In this way present the food offering every day for seven days as an aroma pleasing to the Lord; it is to be offered in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 25 On the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do not do any ordinary work. (Numbers 28:23-25 NIV)

Although I read this account and get weary thinking about all the work they participated in for these special events, I do realize that the people had to have a heart a deep gratitude as the Lord saved them. He also dwelled among them. As I reflect on the Lord’s Presence in me, I don’t get tired of thanking Him or worshipping Him. My gratitude is deep and profound to the Lord for saving me from sin that can destroy me.

These special offerings like the Passover were always in addition to their regular offerings. I think it’s worth noting that the Lord instituted daily rituals as well as special occasion rituals for His people. This tells me that my daily journey is great, but sometimes I need to do things or be part of things “in addition” to my daily commitments.

At the end of the day, I could never give God too much. I could never out give Him. I could never do enough for Him to compare with what He’s done for me. It’s a true privilege to give to Him and serve Him. I should never get comfortable and complacent with my offerings. I owe Him all of me – my whole life belongs to Him. The Lord is living vicariously through me because I’ve given Him total access to my life. That’s not just an additional offering – it’s all I have and all I’ve got. It’s all His – I’m just the manager of His resources.

Pressing On!

Dwayne