Moral Compass

I have a moral compass as I walk with my best friend Jesus. The path with Jesus is narrow and the doorway is narrow. When we keep our eyes on the compass we don’t venture off the path.  However, there are pitfalls that the world tries to call us into that can detour us off the righteous and moral path with Jesus. Yet Jesus is always close by with his hand extended just waiting for you to reach out to him.

Yet my life was not always on the narrow path of walking with Jesus.  I spent over 40 years walking a path of just living life, with no real compass guiding me.  I did have one advantage over many of the younger generations today, even though I was not brought up in a Christian household.  Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s my parents had a good sense of right and wrong, of moral issues raising a daughter in a college town that was flooded with hippies and free love.

My parents tried to be good guides for my sister and I, trying to guide us to a good and moral life.  But as the bible tells us we don’t reach heaven and righteousness by our good works, but instead by faith.  Even though they taught me well, it was very easy in the early 80’s as a young adult to follow things going on in the world.  Not being raised around people to really teach me of the bible I made many wrong choices and at times I would have an internal struggle as I was doing things that I knew were not right but I would still do them, but with a deep fear I did not understand.

I struggled with a fear of man, so I found myself doing things trying to be accepted by others.  I had sex outside of marriage, lived with men that I was not married to, lived out of a car in a homeless situation because I could not afford rent, even while working a job.  I even used drugs trying to fit in.  But looking back I can see where God was trying to gently direct me back to where I was supposed to be.  When I was the most lost I heard a voice say this is not you, and this is not the life you are to be living.  I instantly walked away from the life of drugs and the bad situation I was in.

That was one turning point early in my life.  It was a partial start at directing me to a better life and one that would eventually be with Jesus.  I wish I could say I was instantly transformed, but I had many influences that were not from God.  But I was walking in a belief that we have a God and that Jesus died for me, just not understanding of that.

Jump forward to 2008 when I found out I had Hepatitis C and that it was because of bad choices I made when I was 18 and 19.  A life changer as I researched and find out how this would forever change my life.  However, in the darkest part of my life Jesus showed up.  I discovered what relationship with Jesus really is.  I would cry and pour out my fears and concerns as I was facing expensive treatments, fear of not having a job and the fact that I was single and did not know how I would survive.

As I dug in I started to watch my life change.  I stopped living in fear of the unknown as God gave me strength.  God healed me in the first, 6 weeks of my treatment but I still had to continue the full treatment for 6 months.  But I was blessed for I was able to work a regular 8 hour day, but would come home drained from the drugs I was taking.

Then in 2009 God brought a wonderful man in my life and we continued a journey of growing with the Lord.  We had both had failed marriages and so there was a fear of getting married again.  He had been raised a Christian, but was living in the world and I was not raised a Christian, but I was seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord.  We actually helped each other to grow as I got him to church and we would discuss things I was reading in the bible.

We made the decision to live together and I struggled with conviction as my relationship with the Lord continued.  My moral compass was changing.  I was no longer content wearing low cut shirts and clothing that was clingy and provocative.  I became aware of looking at things I put on and thinking about how it could make others view me.  Finally my husband and I got married to make that part right in our lives.  We watched God change the desires that we had as we prayed and read the bible.

Now 11 years later and I am a different person then I was in 2008.  I have watched walking in relationship with Jesus transform me from the inside out.  My desires changed without even thinking about them.   I can truly testify that relationship with Jesus is what has changed my life and Jesus is my moral compass.  Even now I continue to be transformed as the rotten dead vine is removed and replaced with a living and healthy vine.

I know that just as Jesus has been the moral compass that has transformed and changed my life, he is the moral compass for the world.  The only way to find hope in the middle of struggles, or just even hopelessness of things happening in the world, is Jesus.  Jesus did not just come to give us only salvation when he died on the cross.  No he came to transform the world into a world that does not walk encumbered by the trap of comparison to others, or by feelings of insignificance, jealousy, envy, vanity or pride.  Jesus came to teach us and gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit that lives in us, to transform our lives.  We have a spiritual compass that keeps us on the path of righteousness all we have to do is surrender our will and walk  under the direction and guiding of the Holy Spirit.

It does not happen by us trying, it just gradually happens and then you look back and see where you came from.  The pull of drugs, pornography, alcohol addiction, fears, etc. start to disappear.  As we realize our identity in Christ we walk in a new place.  Walking in and listening to the moral compass of Jesus is part of the walk of obedience to the Lord.

As John 3:36 says when we don’t walk in obedience with the son we don’t experience eternal life but remain under God’s judgment.  I prefer to listen to my moral compass and to walk in a different life, one that is not only of salvation but also eternal life with my loving God and Jesus.

John 3:36  And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life.  Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”  NLT

Chosen

I was reading my bible and I have read Psalm 139:13-14 many times but today these words caused me to stop and think about them deeply.   You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.

After reading those words and really just thinking on that I began to realize how much Yahweh loves me and knows me.  I even suddenly looked at myself through eyes other than my own.  We all know how truly complex the human body is.  There are so many complex functions and things that the human body does, that I am in awe again of the works of our Heavenly Father and Creator.

As I thought of how a master craftsman works I suddenly visualized Abba creating us in our mother’s womb.  I could see Papa detailing the way our brain works, so that things we take for granted just work perfectly.  How Father God thought about how my eyes should look, how to make them work without me having to think about making them move or to see color.  Our Creator, our Heavenly Father took time and thought so well about all kinds of details to make me and you.

I could see our Heavenly Father singing and thoughtfully knitting us together to make each of us a perfect creation.  I realized that thought is put into what our personalities are going to be and we know he even thinks about how many hairs are on our heads.  Yes God’s word tells us that he knows how many hairs are on our heads.  Father God our creator loves us and adores us, for you don’t put thought into something if you don’t care about it.

In this I realized that I need to start looking deeply at myself through different lenses.  For I am a beautiful creation made in the Fathers image, just as each and every one of you are.  Take a few minutes and really think about how perfect you are.  For God loved you and sang over you as you were created.  You were wanted and you were chosen.

Transformation from darkness to light

Today we had a powerful message at church about how God’s Grace transforms us from darkness to light.  As I have thought about this and what the light is I am just that much more in awe of our mighty Heavenly Father, Yahweh.  There was a time when I was not walking in the light, I was following a path guided by things of this world and the darkness around.  I was ignoring the light that was there to light my path and lead me on a safe journey through life.  Instead I stumbled along for many years banging into walls, and falling off cliffs with the challenges of life on my own without God.

But then I encountered glorious God and all his grace that covers us in a love that is beyone anything we can imagine.  I have been changed transformed into something that is beautiful, made into a new creation when I truly found my wonderful Jesus.  The light of Jesus will pierce through the darkness, pain, and protective walls of our hearts.  It begins to show grace as the lies are revealed to us and we find freedom as condemnation is removed from our lives.  The light will continue to grow brighter and brighter on our hearts to chase all darkness from us as we grow into something so beautiful that reflects all of Gods glory.

Without light nothing on this earth would survive.  Yes all life on this planet requires the light that is produced by the sun.  But the true light that is sustaining life and causing new birth is God.  We can see so easily that without light things will whither and die away like an old rotten piece of wood.  But when light shines upon anything you start to see new life as tender grass, and flowers will begin to spring to life.

The same thing happens to us, when we are shrouded in darkness we begin to shrivel up and die from the inside out.  However, the light of God can break through that darkness and can slowly and methodically peel away the layers of hurt, insecurities, even self hate.  As those layers are peeled away we are restored with confidence in who we are, boldness to share the truth with the world, we learn to walk in peace and calmness in the midst of the storms.

When the light is shining on us it reveals the danger ahead, you start to hear that voice danger, danger.  Yet it still requires you to yield to the warnings of the Holy Spirit that was sent to comfort us, and teach us.  When we yield we pass by the danger without falling off the cliff of despair.  The more we yield to the Holy Spirit the more our lives will be transformed from darkness to the light.  We will grow spiritually so that we are prepared when the battles come.

We see everyday how light overcomes the darkness from the sun rising in the East to turning on a light bulb or lighting a candle.  The darkness is chased back into the shadows.  Good things do not happen in the darkness, no in the darkness is when crimes happen because criminals feel safer because they are hidden.   But in the light you can see clearly everything around you, you can make wise decisions because you have clarity that only the light can reveal.

My prayer for you is that the light of God will transform your life, that you will be renewed in your spirit.  I pray that the Lord will reveal the beautiful person that each of you are in his eyes.  I pray that you feel the full love of the Father as you go through your day.  Amen.

 

Staying Focused on Jesus

As we go through our day-to-day business we can many times take our eyes off of Jesus.  We get so focused on work, family, social issues, health issues, the list is long.  It is nothing to feel ashamed of, or frustrated about.  What I have learned as I grow stronger in my walk with Christ, is the discovery of  new ways to bring my focus back to where it belongs.

We can all face struggles and hardships that can seem so overwhelming, but in the middle of what seems the darkest place in your life there is hope, love and joy.  I have learned this so well over the years and I am still learning.  But as I take each day I have learned that they are always better when I take time to look up instead of focusing completely on the things that are coming at me.

When we focus on the things we hear on the news, social media, personal struggles, illness, etc. we can begin to lose focus on Jesus.  Take time in the middle of your day, to just stop and thank God that you are alive, that you have a place to live, a job or anything else.  Breathe deep and just look up at the beauty in the sky, ponder on how God makes clouds so that they float and don’t drop to the earth.  Look at how the mountains and the trees stand tall to worship our Lord Jesus.  We should be doing that as well.  You will feel and see a difference as it takes you off of the things around you.  It breaks through the lies that you may be believing.

 

Letting God Fight Our Battles

I have been on a life changing journey over the last several weeks.  My Mother has dementia, and I am now responsible for her.  In that there have been trials and false accusations made against me from her boyfriend.  If it were not for my faith in God, and leaning into that immense love that God covers us in I would not be walking in peace during this time.   In fact my walk with Christ has grown even stronger and I have learned so much as I read in Samuel about the journey that David endured.

I have come to realize that anyone can face the same issues that David had to deal with thousands of years ago, but there is so much that can be learned.  I have come to realize how someone can have strong faith in God, yet that they can still be crying out because of what is happening around them trying to destroy their faith.  I can tell you that when you lean into Father God rather than trying to do everything on your own, God’s glory will shine even in the darkest moments that you are facing.  When you are going to Gods word and calling out to God in your struggles, you will find a strength that can only come from Christ in you.

David had false accusations made about him when King Saul was pursuing him.  Think of the pain and agony that David felt when someone he held great respect for was accusing him of wanting to kill him.  Yet David showed great control when twice King Saul was in his grasp and David could have killed him, but no he just let him know that his life had been sparred, and he showed a great love for King Saul in those moments.  Many of us can at times in our lives become falsely accused of things.  We know the truth, but the accuser does not and will not listen to reason.  Just as David did you may have to stop trying to confront your accuser and instead pray for your accuser, show love and respect to the person, even though you may be having a struggle deep inside.

I have learned so much from reading about what David did as well as Jesus.  When they faced trials and false accusations they did not confront the accuser.  No they turned to God and they poured out everything that they were feeling and the truth of what they knew of Father God.  As I have applied this to my own life, I have seen a deeper spiritual growth and I have learned so much more about the love of Father God.

Many times I have found myself deep in my bible.  God has shown me and reminded me of the things that I already knew but in my moments of weakness I was drawn into the Psalms, Samuel and even Proverbs.  I have seen an inner strength that I never realized I had, and I account this to Christ in me.  Just as Philippians says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Before the last 6 weeks I thought I understood this, but I have come to realize it is something beyond anything I ever thought.  As I felt I would break emotionally, I continually found myself seeking God.  Over and over I have seen God make a way for things that were seeming impossible because of what was being said or done by others.

When I felt completely defeated and ready to thrown in the towel, I have been refreshed by the living water that Jesus provides.  I can attribute it to nothing else, for there is no human explanation for how I was transformed.  We have a wonderful and powerful God, and he covers us in a shield of love that protects us from the fiery darts that can come flying at us.  It empowers us to not take offense at things that are said or done against us.

I have been reminded time and again what it says in Ephesians 6, For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  That is right even when it seems our battle is the person or persons in front of us, it is really not.  We are to love our enemies, and that can be hard, but when I have shown love to my enemy and I prayed blessings over them, I have seen God do amazing things that go against what the person was saying they would do.

So my fellow Christians you need to put on your armor everyday, seek the Lord in all things great or small, easy or difficult.  Then take your battle to the heavenlies and call on the Great I AM to come and fight with you.  We do not win battles we face with words, no we win the battles by taking it to God, calling on God to fight for you because of his great love for you.  In Ephesians 4:2-4 we are reminded to always be humble and gentle.  To be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

This is how I have learned to walk out each day and I have seen a change in the environment.  When I turned away from confronting my accuser, and praying for him to be released from any evil spirits there was a shift in the atmosphere.  I can only give the credit to God the Father.  Father God loves me and he loves you.  Papa wants to bless us with what we want.  Remember God knows what we are feeling and our heart, just as well as he knows the heart of the others you know.  Seek God first and trust God with the outcome even if it seems different from what you wanted or imagined.

For I can say that God’s way is so much better than my way.  It may seem strange and confusing at times, but God will never abandon you, not even in your darkest moments.  No instead God will cover you in love, you will find the peace that only Jesus can bring in the middle of a storm.  For the storm may be all around you, but where the boat is sitting the storm is calmed.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, he leads me beside still waters and lays me down in green pastures.  This is a Father that protects you, brings calmness to you, and covers you in abundant love.

In Ephesians 3 Paul talks of the unlimited resources that we will be empowered with.  That is inner strength through his spirit.  Christ will make a home in your heart and your roots will grow down deep into God’s love and this is what keeps you strong.  You gain insight , understanding and knowledge as you grow closer to Father God and you discover a love that is greater than you can imagine.

 

Fear is a Liar

There is a song out that I heard for the first time about a week ago.  Ever since I heard it I keep thinking just how true the words are to the song.  The song is titled “Fear is a Liar” and I have to agree.  Fear tries to come at us like a big bully, it tries to frighten us, it can immobilize you, make you inactive.  But the things that fear tells us are all lies.  Fear is really just a big smoke screen of deception.  That is right deception!

Fear can tell you that you are not good enough.  But God says that you are good enough, you have been chosen.  You have been made special and unique for you are Gods creation.  God has adopted you as his own children (Romans 8:15).  When you became a Christ follower God’s spirit joined with your spirit, and now you are children of God.  When you know that you are good enough, you walk with your head high and you have confidence.

But fear wants to beat you down into nothingness so that you want to just give up.  There are so many different lies that are driven by FEAR, and every one of them is not true.  Girls all the time think they are not pretty enough, because they are comparing themselves to others.  God made you beautiful, and special.  You were given those eyes, that nose, hair that is straight or super curly.  You get the idea each of us was created to be special.  But fear knows that if we walk in that confidence than God wins and fear is defeated.

I think that fear is always looking for a new way to try to immobilize us.  When we realize that what we have been hearing and agreeing with is a lie, then fear uses a new tactic.  Sometimes fear will even try to lure you back into submission by reminding you that, you are used to feeling defeated so why not just come back and partner with it.  Well God did give us a spirit of fear, NO!  God gave us his spirit when we became Christ followers.  Now you have authority over the spirit of fear.  Fear only has power in your life when you allow it.  Take back control over your life.

Fear wants you to be a slave that cowers under its rule.  Fear wants to make you think that it is mightier and stronger than God.  I say no for God is bigger and mightier than fear.  God is the creator of all things.  God knows you so well that he actually knows how many hairs are on your head.  God wants you to walk in the authority that you were given.  You were created to shine.  To walk in confidence that you were chosen.

God chose you, it is never you that chooses God.  “For this is how God loved the world:  He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”  (John 3:16-17)  Is fear trying to tell you that no ones loves you, or that you don’t belong?  Can’t you see, that is all just a lie.  For you are always loved by God, and you do belong to God.  Even the unbelievers and the broken are loved by God, for Jesus is always with you ready to meet you where ever you are.

For some fear takes control of their lives through anxiety, depression, shyness, or panic attacks.  All of these things can cause you to avoid people.  It causes you to isolate yourself from others.  Some people have such a tremendous fear that they will not even leave their homes.  My heart hurts for everyone that is struggling with fear in any of the many ways that it manifests itself.

But today I am partnering with God.  I want to help others to be empowered to overcome the lies that fear has placed in their lives.  For the majority of my life I was so shy that I would avoid people, I would avoid going to places that were crowded, and I really just isolated myself from having friends or much contact with others.  I did not have any friends for they could not be trusted, or they would judge you.  This affected me in relationships of all kinds.

But what I discovered a few years ago was completely different.  God empowered me to step through the fear and all of a sudden I found freedom.  You to can have that freedom.  It is time to stop allowing fear to be the Warden of your prison.  There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Jesus.  Jesus has the keys to your prison cell and he wants to bring you into freedom that only comes through him.

When you allow Jesus to release you from the strangle hold of fear, you find that you have more confidence in yourself.  You open up and discover that you have friends, that truly want to be around you and that love you.  That is when you realize the smoke screen that fear was using to keep you a prisoner.  Stand tall today and say no more.  Call fear out for what it really is.  Surrender your prison sentence to anxiety, depression, etc. to Jesus.  Then stand and walk in the boldness of Christ Jesus.  Allow Jesus to give you strength to overcome.

 

 

Promises or Lies

I was reading my bible last night in the book of Joshua and a couple of verses just stuck out to me, they kept me engaged in conversation with God and I am still pondering them this morning.  When the promised land was being divided and the tribe of Manasseh was receiving their allotment it says that they were unable to occupy some towns because the Canaanites were determined to stay in that region.   It also says that they asked Joshua to give them a couple of other cities because the Canaanites were to powerful and they had iron chariots.  Joshua gave them two other cities as well but also told them that they were strong enough to crush the Canaanites.

I remember the promise that God made to the Israelites before they crossed the Jordan river.  God promised them that no one would be able to stand against them for God was with them.  God said I will not fail you or abandon you.  Then again Joshua reminds them that they are strong enough to battle the Canaanites.  Yet they failed to ever remove them from the land.  I wonder what caused them to have a lack of courage and to doubt that they could take the land that they were given.  So different from the way Caleb responded at 80 years old as he took the hill country where the descendants of Anak lived.

God gave them a promise of rich and abundant lands.  Then they went to battle and destroyed 37 kings and conquered the land.  They saw first hand that God was with them as long as they worshiped only the true God.  Yet even after that promise from their provider and Father above, they failed to follow through.  After everything that they witnessed in the wilderness, the crossing of the Jordan and then the battles that entailed. It made me wonder what caused them to lack faith and confidence or the courage to do what God had promised them.  As I thought about this and talked to God about this I began to think about the promises that God has given all of us.  That we are children of God, that he is our provider and protector.  Yet many of us fall short in grasping and reaching for those promises.  I even began to think about the promises that God has given me.

I began to realize that  it really always comes down to who are you going to believe.  The promises that God has made to you or the lies that cause fear and doubt.   Are you going to cower in fear because you think that there is no way things can work out.  It is alright to admit that we let fear control us at times it happens to the best of us.  I have spent a good part of my life believing things that were not what God was saying.  But I was weak and I was not weighing it against what God says.  Even now as I am stronger in my walk and relationship with God fear can try to come in.  But now I recognize it and stop it in its tracks.  It is easier to stop the fear when it is small.  For fear can morph and make it look like something is bigger than God, and we can begin to believe God is powerless.  That is when anxiety and panic can set in.

GOD IS NOT POWERLESS AND NEVER WILL BE POWERLESS

When you are facing that giant in your life, stand tall and strong like David did against Goliath.  Cast your stone at the giant and watch the giant fall when you declare who God is and how powerful God Almighty is.  This is easier when you are in relationship with the Lord.  Just like David even in his darkest moments he would tell the Lord how he felt and how overwhelmed he was but then he always finished declaring the goodness of God and what God would do.  This is what happens when you are in relationship versus just having religion.  You automatically go to the Father to see what he says about what you are facing.  You look at the pit of despair and you say no my God is greater than that, God did not give me a spirit of fear.

When you are in relationship with Father God, then you listen to what he has to say.  You ponder and apply his promises to your heart where he resides in you.  The word is where you weigh the things that are on your heart to see if they align with God or with the enemy.  But if you just listen to the lies of the enemy then you start to react like the Israelites and you think I can’t.  We have a God that says you can in the face of the biggest or darkest struggles of your life.

I encourage you to take some time and get to know Father God and Lord Jesus.  Ask them what the truth and promise is for today and for tomorrow.  Remember when God is for you, who can be against you.  There is no problem in this world that is too great for God.  The things that each of us face in life are nothing to Father God.  God is the great creator and he cares about every one of you.  God cares about the things you are struggling with.  We have a big, big God and he is more powerful than anything that we face.  Call on the name above all names Jesus.  Spend time in the word so you know who God really is and you know the truth of what God says about you.