Time Table

 

Organize Agenda Planner Reminder Calendar To Do ConceptI still learning the value of time. This is a precious commodity of our existence. We all have the same number of minutes and hours in a day, but we have no idea how long we have on this earth before our “time” is up. I work from a calendar every day of my life. If I’m going to connect with a friend for coffee or lunch, I must first check my calendar (aka schedule) to make sure I’m not scheduled to be somewhere else. It is simply my attempt to manage my time while showing proper respect to others for their time. If someone gives me their time, they are giving me a special gift and I should be wise in managing that.

I sometimes wonder how my life will end. I have another birthday celebration on the horizon and I do think about aging, sickness and even death. I can’t really control much of my time table. I can work at eating healthy and exercising, but in the end, I still have little control over the length of my life. Peter reminds us that the Lord’s timetable exercises great patience over His return. Check this out…

Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 CSB)

I don’t know if I’ll be alive when it happens, but I believe that Jesus will return to take His people out of this world prior to its destruction. I’m so thankful for the Lord’s patience in punishment. I’ve deserved punishment many times, but the Lord’s Grace is exhibited in patience. He gave me the time I needed to “come to my senses” and repent of my stupidity and rebelliousness. I do believe the Lord’s Grace is immeasurable, unrealistic and ridiculous. Since I’m a recipient of His Grace, I’m profoundly grateful that it is all those things.

As I get older, I find that I can be more patient with myself and with others. I don’t have to have everything exactly on my time table. I’m learning that not everyone works at the same speed or is even cable of working the same pace. I’m thankful that the Lord’s timetable comes out of His Grace and Mercy instead of His justice & punishment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mercy, Refuge & Rescue

 

God's mercy at the CrossI can remember in my life in the not-so-distant past when I felt like I could not stand under the strain of suffering. I remember having a job one day and the next it was gone. I remember clearly the devastation of divorce nearly 25 years ago. I remember the news of my son having cancer. I remember the call from the ENT telling me that they are air-lifting my son to Atlanta because of injuries he incurred when he fell from a tree.  I could go on and on about suffering and struggle in my life, but those are in my top 5. I have learned that my strength to stand comes from kneeling down before the Lord in surrender and worship. I believe that King David felt the same way. He was hiding in a cave and penned a great psalm/prayer of mercy, refuge & rescue. Check this out…

I cry aloud to the Lord;
    I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
    before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
    no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
    no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord;
    I say, ‘You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.’

Listen to my cry,
    for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
    for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison,
    that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
    because of your goodness to me. (Psalm 142:1-7 NIV)

I can do nothing without the Lord. I can’t possibly navigate through the ups and downs of life without Him. The longer I walk with Him daily, the more convinced of this I am. His Presence and His Strength are beyond measuring. He helps me understand the struggle. He helps me through. I believe in His mercy. I believe He is my refuge – I can ALWAYS lean into Him. I can always count on Him for rescue. The way He supplies mercy, refuge and rescue does not always come when I command or ask – His timing and His plan is always spot on – even when I don’t understand.  I look back at the big struggles in my life and see how the Lord made good out of bad situations. His plan is way bigger than my plan. He’s used my struggles to teach me and build me for sure.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Running Late

Businessman runningI hate running late. I often try to put too many things in my calendar and then when one goes long, it starts pushing the whole day behind schedule. I like to show respect to other people’s time and I like being on time right where I’m scheduled to be. I learned of an app recently that tells others right where I am and gives an estimate of what time I will arrive. It’s called Glympse and it’s available in the App Store and Google Play. I will give you a heads up that it also shows your speed – my wife called me out for speeding on my way home the first time I tried it out.

David was getting impatient with God’s schedule. I do like the Lord to show up right when I need Him or when I call Him. I don’t consider myself a patient person. I don’t like to wait on the Lord in the middle of a crisis or immediate need. The more I know Him when there is no crisis – the more patient and understanding I am of His perfect timing in the middle of a crisis. Feelings are fickle and even when God doesn’t “feel” closes – He is still present. Check this out…

10 From birth I was cast on you;

    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,

    for trouble is near

    and there is no one to help.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.

    You are my strength; come quickly to help me. (Psalm 22:10-11, 19 NIV)

I want to walk with the Lord at the pace He sets. I don’t’ want to get ahead of Him or behind Him. I want to be “in step” with Him. It sometimes seems the harder I try to rush Him up or slow Him down – it just frustrates me. I can’t control His pace or His timing- I have to trust Him with both.

I have also learned that He’s the very Person I should share my worries about timing with. He likes to hear what is on my heart. When I tell Him what I’m thinking, He often clarifies Himself to me. I will still pray earnest and fervently when I need Him. He will show up right on time. I will keep praying even when I don’t hear from Him because I know He’s with me. I’ve known Him a long time and I want to finish this life knowing Him and His Presence in my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Truth Timing

Lies Have Speed Truth Has Endurance SpeedometerI believe that truth is always truth. It can be sugarcoated or it can be raw but truth is real and concrete. I’m aware that there are those who think truth is relative to whatever situation. I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and it is truth – non-negotiable truth.

I do think that there are times when people are suffering; they need love and acceptance before truth. If a person has made a bad choice and really wrecked their life, the last thing they need is a lecture. They need love and they need forgiveness and grace. The truth hasn’t moved or changed and it still applies, but when their spirit is crushed they need grace and love first.

Job is suffering from the loss of his family & everything he owned. He’s even lost his good health. He’s suffering from some major skin disorder or disease. He has three friends around him and they seem to be interested in conveying the truth rather than to let him “vent” his feelings. They are interested in conveying the truth that I believe Job is already committed to. Check this out…

5 But if you will seek God earnestly

    and plead with the Almighty,

6 if you are pure and upright,

    even now he will rouse himself on your behalf

    and restore you to your prosperous state.

7 Your beginnings will seem humble,

    so prosperous will your future be.

20 ‘Surely God does not reject one who is blameless

    or strengthen the hands of evildoers.

21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter

    and your lips with shouts of joy.

22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame,

    and the tents of the wicked will be no more.’ (Job 8:5-7; 20-22 NIV)

I don’t believe that I should ever ignore the truth or even dance around it. I believe that there are times that before truth can be handed down large doses of grace must be dispensed. If I’m in a desperate situation, I need hope, love and grace before truth pounds me in the ground. Just because I receive hope, love and grace first that doesn’t change the outcome of my choices – it does give me hope for getting back on the right path. I think Jesus modeled this when he cared for people’s physical hunger prior to teaching them truth. He also healed people physically before healing them spiritually.

There are times people just need love and grace in large amounts so that they can handle the truth. The truth is reality and love and grace don’t change that. Love and grace can change how I receive the truth and implement it into my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Timing Is Important

Pocket watch with timing signI’ve done things that were the right thing at the wrong time. Timing is an important piece to any puzzle or procedure. There are steps that need to be completed at the right time. Sometimes timing can be sequential. If I complete step 7 without completing steps 1-6 the project could be a disaster.

The Jews who lived in captivity in Persia were scheduled to be destroyed and wiped out – men, women and children on the 13th day of December led by Haman, the kings right hand man. Queen Esther had asked her people to fast (and pray) for three days. She got the courage up to go before the king without an invitation. The king welcomed her in and asked what she wanted. Check this out…

4 ‘If it pleases the king,’ replied Esther, ‘let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.’

5 ‘Bring Haman at once,’ the king said, ‘so that we may do what Esther asks.’

So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. 6 As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, ‘Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.’

7 Esther replied, ‘My petition and my request is this: 8 If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.’ (Esther 5:4-8 NIV)

I think Esther was reconnecting with the king. She had previously told her uncle that it had been 30 days since the king had summoned her. She was insecure for sure. She did wait until after the three days of fasting to have the courage to go see the king without an invitation.

I also like her strategy to connect with the king on a quick invite to lunch today. I think everyone has to eat and sometimes sitting down to a meal takes pressure off of the conversational topic. I’m sure Esther was anything but relaxed as she had lunch with the King and Haman. Esther was strategic with her timing. She needed to renew the connection she had made with the king when she was selected as king. This part of her plan was critical to a good outcome.

I think I could learn some principles from Esther.

  1. Relationships are very important.
  2. Connecting relationships are vital to discernment.
  3. Keep the conversation going.
  4. Don’t jump into the hardest topic first – lay some groundwork.

I see wise timing along with great discernment on the part of Queen Esther who is fairly young. She is showing great wisdom beyond her years. I think she also shows great patience and poise. She will be heard for her request – in the right time.

Relationships and timing are very important to the success of any mission.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Patience & Discipline

Patience concept.These two words don’t always seem to go together, but they might just be related to one another. I have personally struggled with patience in many areas of my life. I want what I want and I want it now. I’ve learned that what is a crisis in my view does not constitute a crisis for the other person. There are times when I’m waiting on the services of others I have to simply be patient.

I also struggle with discipline in many areas too. One area of discipline that is obvious to just about everyone who knows me is eating. I love good food – I really just love food in general. I can eat all sorts of varieties and the problem comes with the quantities. If I find something I really like, I enjoy lots of it instead of just enough. I’m also learning to eat healthy and wise and not so much “fried food”. (This is really hard because fried food is a staple of southern food!)

Saul was 30 years old when he became king of Israel. I’m not sure how old he was when this certain incident happened. The tensions between the Philistines and Israel were at an all time high. Jonathan, Saul’s son had already had a skirmish with them. Evidently Saul was told to wait 7 days for Samuel to come and lead them in the time of sacrifice and offering. I’m assuming this was a time of worship and heart preparation for battle. Saul waited for the 7 days and decided to take matters into his own hands. I think his impatience was directly related to the fear of his men and maybe his own fear. He starts acting in the role of priest in Samuel’s absence. As he is finishing up, Samuel shows up. Check this out…

13 ‘You have done a foolish thing,’ Samuel said. ‘You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.’ (1 Samuel 13:13-14 NIV)

Because of Saul’s impatience and lack of discipline, his future was not as bright as it once was. He was chosen by the Lord to lead His people. He struggled with patience and discipline and it cost Saul his legacy of leadership.

I needed to be “smacked around” a bit by this. I am learning patience and discipline as I walk through life. I’m learning that waiting is sometimes a process of refinement. There are times that waiting can offer such clarity and purpose to a situation. These two are connected in my view, because it takes great discipline to be patient and not get in a hurry and make a foolish mistake or error in judgment. I am really working on letting the Lord speak into my life and give me wisdom to lead and serve. I don’t want to step outside His plan or get ahead of Him trying to serve my own agenda. I want to be in the middle of His timing and feel His nudge in the right direction at the just the right time. This is considerably easier said than done. Situations arise and great pressure is applied, but patience and discipline require me to try to stay cool in every situation and let His plan unfold.

Pressing On!

Dwayne