Advocate

LawyerThere are occasions where I’ve needed an advocate. This is someone who speaks for me. My advocate needs to know everything about me so that they can defend me and direct me. An advocate provides a different perspective – they see different solutions for my situation. An advocate can be an attorney, a spokesperson, a friend, a counselor, parent, sibling or co-worker. I am thankful for my earthly advocates. I came across a small passage in the Gospel of John this morning where Jesus is promising an Advocate. Check this out…

15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. (John 14:15-17 NLT)

Jesus is talking to His disciples about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a foreign subject to them but they will soon learn first-hand about the Holy Spirit’s Power and Presence in them. Jesus is giving them a heads up. He is also trying to comfort them because He’s leaving them to return to the Father.  I believe that they were probably pretty emotional about His leaving them and the Holy Spirit is to be a Presence and an Advocate.  As I’m writing this, I’m also thinking about how as a Dad, I’m also and advocate for my kids. As a husband, I’m an advocate for my wife. I’m also an advocate for my friends, my clients, customers, agents & employees.

I’m thankful for my Advocate (aka The Holy Spirit), who gives me counsel, direction, comfort, peace by His Presence.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

(Note: As I was writing this yesterday, my youngest son woke up early and came into the living room and sat with me and talked. I realized again what a blessing to be his advocate – so I published this a day late. It was worth it. #advocate)

Opposition

 

Man withstands moving downThere are times when I’m in disagreement with someone else. I don’t always know what the next move should be – The Lord knows. I really want to live and walk out my life with Him leading and directing me. He can see things I can’t see. He can do things I can’t do. He knows things I don’t know. He sees and knows things about the opposition that I really need to know too.

Nehemiah was leading the exiles from Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. They were repairing the gates. They were making the city secure from their enemies all around them from the Ammonites and Arabs. Nehemiah prayed intently for the Lord to protect them and to reveal their enemies plans. Check this out…

12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, ‘Wherever you turn, they will attack us.’

13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.’

15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our work. (Nehemiah 4:12-15 NIV)

There will be times when opposition will happen and threaten the things I hold dear. I will be forced to step up to defend & push back those trying to beat me down and take me out. I think it takes great courage to push back especially when the opposition is strong. I believe that the Lord will provide wisdom and insight on how to prepare and provide a defense. When faced with opposition, my first priority should be to make sure I lay it out before the Lord. I need His wisdom; counsel & strategy to take down the opposition or at least put them in their place.

I’m not sure I understand all the resources that the Lord uses to help me when facing dangerous opposition. I just know that His resources are unlimited, while my resources are extremely limited.

When others oppose me – I don’t have to let them impose themselves upon me. I need to walk with the Lord in such a way that He reveals the motives and actions of those in opposition so that I can wisely push back and defend the values that I hold dear.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wise Counsel Needed

Senior Man - WisdomI have been blessed with wise council over the years from my parents and grand parents to people whom I’ve worked with over the years. The first minister I served on staff with taught me good discipline in my work ethic. There are some jobs where you can “look” incredibly busy and not really be doing anything of substance. My others wise counselors served as unofficial mentors for me. I can’t begin to put into words how grateful I am to each one.

Joash was 7 years old when he became king and he was led by a godly man named Jehoiada. When Jehoiada died, the “wheels came off” so to speak. Check this out….

15 Now Jehoiada was old and full of years, and he died at the age of a hundred and thirty. 16 He was buried with the kings in the City of David, because of the good he had done in Israel for God and his temple.

17 After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. 18 They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen. (2 Chronicles 24:15-19 NIV)

As I reflect on my mentors I learned so many things that are still a part of who I am today. Here are just a few ( no particular order):

  1. Discipline – get up on time and get to work early.
  2. Planning – make a list of things that need to be accomplished today.
  3. Appointments – plan for extra appointments throughout the day along with the ones already on the schedule.
  4. Dress Code – appropriate dress sets the tone for meeting new people I need the right tone set – dress for the occasion.
  5. Mistakes – own them and do your best to remedy them.
  6. Family – invest carefully and regularly in my children, they are my first priority in relationships a close second behind my relationship to God.
  7. Love – genuinely love others and put them in front of yourself.

I miss my mentors that have gone on before or moved away. I’m thankful for my partner/mentor Mitt Conerly, Sr. whom I serve with at Metro West Realty. He continually teaches me with great patience and wisdom. I told someone the other day that he has forgotten more than I know about Real Estate.

I want to always be teachable. I want to keep learning and growing from wise counsel until I die.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wise Counsel

 

counselI have always been fascinated with shows & movies about the presidency of the United States. As I kid I loved American history. I have enjoyed television shows like The West Wing and Madam Secretary to name a couple. One thing I’ve noticed about leaders at all levels from the President to the owner of a small business; they all need wise counsel.

There are times when I think I know the right decision and someone will advise me to consider another angle or to see the particular issue from another angle. There are also times when a leader surrounds himself or herself with counsel that will only agree with them. In those cases, they don’t want wise counsel; they just want the appearance of wise counsel.

David was fleeing from his son Absalom who was attempting a coup. David had prayed that one of Absalom’s key advisors would give bad counsel as he tried to take the kingdom. The Lord heard David’s prayer and Ahithophel gave bad ideas and counsel. Absalom turned for additional counsel and this guy actually ended up helping David as well. Check this out…

7 Hushai replied to Absalom, ‘The advice Ahithophel has given is not good this time. 8 You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of her cubs. Besides, your father is an experienced fighter; he will not spend the night with the troops. 9 Even now, he is hidden in a cave or some other place. If he should attack your troops first, whoever hears about it will say, “There has been a slaughter among the troops who follow Absalom.” 10 Then even the bravest soldier, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a fighter and that those with him are brave. (2 Samuel 17:7-10 NIV)

Hushai then sent word to David about the strategy of Absalom. Wise counsel is critical to having received all the information needed before action is taken. If a leader makes a decision before all the data is in, he or she could be headed down a road to disaster.

I thought about the person who represents himself before a court and the old saying that goes with that… “He who has himself for a client, has a fool for an attorney”.

I would be wise to ask lots of questions and try to understand all the different angles of an issue before a decision is made. I would also be wise to seek wise counsel from opposing sides before making a decision. I also believe that the Ultimate Counsel is the Holy Spirit of God. When I seek wisdom from God, He dispenses it liberally. He loves it when I ask for His counsel and His direction. His Word gives insight and wisdom beyond compare. I so want to grow in wisdom and understanding that comes directly from the Heart of God.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Justice & Wise Counsel

JusticeI don’t often think of the Lord as God of Justice. I was reminded this morning how He hates and despises sin. He wants to eradicate sin from this earth. He does give us options and choices regarding our lives, but He has what is best planned for us. He designed us with His Will in mind. Jeremiah is bringing some very sobering words of judgment from The Lord upon different cities, countries and people groups. The pronouncement against Edom stuck out to me. Check this out….

7 Concerning Edom:

This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Is there no longer wisdom in Teman?

    Has counsel perished from the prudent?

    Has their wisdom decayed?

8 Turn and flee, hide in deep caves,

    you who live in Dedan,

for I will bring disaster on Esau

    at the time when I punish him. (Jeremiah 49:7-8 NIV)

 

I think most of us who live on earth know something of God’s design and desire for lives. I think we know He values life. I think we know something of the design of our Creator because it’s hard-wired in us. I do think that the Lord gives us free will and choice to “mess with our wiring” and therefore we live and walk outside of His design and His will for us.

I believe that I was created to bring honor, praise and joy to The Lord. I often, in my selfish ignorance exchange that plan for my own plan. Wisdom and understanding go out the window in light of my pursuit of my own way. Because of the Holy Spirit in me, I have serious regret and remorse when I sin. I do repent of my sin. It’s a big scary when I catch myself justifying bad choices. The Lord HATES MY SIN, but He LOVES ME DEEPLY. I am thankful for His forgiveness and His grace. I’m going to live out today seeking to honor Him and keep my guard up against sin that easily trips me up.

I’m seeking wise counsel from the Lord Who is also God of Justice. Except for His Grace I would be facing His judgment and destruction.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

My Leader

Jesus writing with his fingerI’ve had the privilege of leading others pretty recent as well as for many years. In my first “career” I was a student pastor. I had the chance to lead a lot of students. I pointed them to The Lord Who is my Leader. I am humbled when I reflect on my journey and just how my Leader used me to lead. He did things through me that still blows my mind. He has said things through me that I can’t even recall, but spoke right to the heart of another and helped change the trajectory of their entire life. My Leader is the Lord Who made heaven and earth and created human beings in His likeness.

He spoke through the prophet Isaiah and really spoke into His people. He is always looking for people to follow Him. He does some of His best work through regular people who are willing to let Him lead. Check this out….

10 Make your battle plans! But you won’t succeed.
    Give your orders! But they won’t be carried out.
    That’s because God is with us.
11 The Lord put his powerful hand on me and spoke to me. He warned me not to live the way these people live.
17 I will wait for the Lord,
    who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him. (Isaiah 8:10-11;17 NIV)

 

I am under the authority of other leaders, but my Ultimate Leader is the Lord God. He decides if the other leaders are legitimate. He decides if the other leaders plans succeed or fail. He leads me as I lead my family. He leads me as I lead my company. He leads me as I live, breathe and anything else I do. My plans and ideas without Him are useless and worthless. He sees things I can’t see therefore I need His insight as I lead.

“I can do all thing through Christ Who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV) – I can do nothing without Him; I am nothing without Him.

He is my Leader.

He is my Friend.

He is my Confidant.

He is my Wise Counsel.

I will follow Him.

I will listen to Him.Jesus

I will walk in His Way.

My Leader will never let me down.

My Leader will never mis-lead me.

My Leader will never stop being my Leader.

Pressing On!
Dwayne