Thanks be to God for lifting my family and me up and bringing us to a most AWESOME church, church family and INCREDIBLE Pastor! February 17th will mark one year...one year ago I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins, to show me His will in my life and take over my heart. One year ago, a different sort of Savior invited me to church and I never stopped going...
My family has seen Real. Life. Change. The spiritual growth that we have experienced together over the past year is a testament to our Lord and our Savior. He has come into our lives and our hearts and made us whole...and with it He brings peace, happiness and a love like we have never known before.
Thanks be to God...God IS good!
This morning's sermon couldn't have come at a better time...titled, "Keeping a Focused Heart," Pastor Mark reminded us that we all get off course at different times in our lives, but we must remember to regain focus and get back on the right track...the track of following Jesus and living by His will.
Setting my pride aside, I admit that I have steered off the course. I have allowed Satan to tell me lies....for 35 years I have listened to Satan tell me that I am not good enough, I am not pretty enough, I am not smart enough...my sins are too great, I've hurt too many people, I've broken too many rules....the list goes on and on.
And then I heard Jesus tell me the truth...I felt him scoop me up in his arms when I asked for his forgiveness. I cried out to Him that I want to hear His voice, I want to do His will, I want to follow in His footsteps.
And my life changed.
But there are times when Satan snakes his way into the deepest part of me, the places where I have suppressed the pain and the ugliness and he scrapes it from it's deception and he shoves it in my face. And I am thrown off the course of Jesus.
But the beauty in all of this is that Jesus never. lets. go. He holds strong, growing His roots deeper into my heart and my soul. He reminds me that Satan is a liar...He shines the Light into my path and He guides me back to His way, His will. He uses His hands to ladle the pain and the ugliness and release me from the lies...He assumes all my suffering...because I believe in Him, and only Him.
And so, this morning, Pastor Mark offered the Four "R's"...for when we are thrown off course...
A "remedy" (that's not one of the four "R's") to set us back on track.
Number 1. Reflect: Remember our original vision and goals.
*I remember very clearly what my vision and my goals were and are. I remember seeing myself as someone who can relate to those who may be lost and feel as if they will never be found, or can't be found. Someone who knows what it is to go through life without a relationship with Jesus...living selfishly, choosing to hear Satan. Someone that can speak the truth to these people...someone who can say, "Look at me...gaze upon who I was and see who I am now." My goal is to find my way to the Kingdom. My goal is to raise my family to believe in Jesus, to develop a personal relationship with Him and to live by His will. I see myself as using the love of Jesus Christ when I am in pain or when I begin to steer off the path...to reflect on my past and the suffering I endured and to realize that where I am now is a beautiful place and it only gets better.
Number 2. Repent: Return to the course, make constant corrections!
*Friday evening I asked for my Savior. I needed to repent, asking for forgiveness for stumbling, for veering off the path. I've made a list in my prayer journal....between my Savior and me.
Number 3. Restore: Create one top priority each week.
*My priorities will consist of creating more prayer time, more one on one with Jesus, letting go of what is holding me back (this is HUGE for me), learning to trust in Jesus fully and without hesitation.
Number 4. Recognize: God rewards fruit, not activity!
*We are to faithfully serve, to minister for God. If we are doing our best to faithfully serve Him then He is thrilled with us. God does not evaluate us by the results we produce, but by the faithfulness of our service. Anyone can serve God when things are going great, but to faithfully serve when we don’t see the results brings greater pleasure to God and reward to us.
I am confident that God has created a good work in me...I am a work in progress, I often stumble, but I will keep my eyes on the Lord and the path he has chosen for me. I will continue to Reflect, Repent, Restore and to Recognize.
Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
I have visions of what is possible...and that, my friends, is a beautiful sight!