Compasses or Covenants?

The road to God is clearly marked; the directions are charted in His covenants. I have been misdirected and rejected more times than I can count, and I continue to veer off the path. Daddy scolded me for taking a round about path to a neighbor’s house. I was very little and told him, in a serious tone, “I went way wound.” He laughed out loud and shook his head. I’m sure God can relate to daddy’s frustration because He’s been watching me take the long way around for a very long time!

God knows I prefer a circuitous path have a penchant for dead ends, but He never fails to correct my misdirection. He’s there with His loving hand held out when I find myself lost or at a dead end. His love has never failed to point me in the right direction, but I have failed, on many occasions, to follow His directions.

“God is fair and just;
He corrects the misdirected,
Sends them in the right direction.

He gives the rejects his hand,
And leads them step-by-step.

From now on every road you travel
Will take you to God.
Follow the Covenant signs;
Read the charted directions.” (Psalm 25:8-10 NLT)

Lent is a time to check my direction to make sure the road I’m on is a road that will take me to God. Even though He will always be there to lead and correct, there comes a time when I need to follow the Covenant signs and read the charted directions. I can’t do that as long as I continue to go my own way.

Covenant signs chart the course for life. If I use anything else for direction, I will be lost. I’m very good at finding my way, but my way isn’t where I want to go anymore. Realizing my way isn’t the way is the first step in finding His way. It’s scary to let go of my compass, but I will never get on the road that takes me to God until I do. Only God’s Covenants are able to do that. I plan to look at each one more carefully in the coming weeks and see where they point my heart.

Photo Credit: psta Travel Directions
Photo Credit: psta Travel Directions

God’s Ways Lead to Peace

Psalm 25:4-5 is my prayer this morning. The psalm is a sweet source of comfort when I am confused or troubled. Like The Lord’s Prayer, it takes the focus from my worries to His ways. That brings the peace I seek.

Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

My sleep has been fitful this week, and I know many others share my restlessness. I’ve come to see the time I awake in the wee hours of the morning as a time of prayer. This morning was especially powerful as I felt God’s presence and peace fill my heart as I acknowledged my weakness and His strength.

I try to fix things, and I feel better when I know specifically what to do. As I’m getting closer to God, I’m finding I must let go of my old habits and embrace a new way of living, loving, and praying. It isn’t easy, but Psalm 25 helps me see myself as a student and not a teacher. God is a master teacher, but I’m not an ideal student much of the time. My goal in the coming year is to become a better student. It is what being a disciple is all about. If I am to be Christ’s disciple, I must be willing, open, and obedient.  I must also be willing to trust Him and change my way of doing things.

Trust is at the heart of learning, but I often lean on my own understanding rather than trusting God. I know I am making progress when I see how silly my ways are. That is a great indication that learning is taking place.  Learning changes my mind and my heart, and my life is different as a result. When I live and love in God’s way, I realize the futility of my way. It’s like getting a dishwasher or washing machine after doing dishes and laundry by hand. Can you imagine going back to hand washing dishes and laundry?

I don’t long for the days when clothing was washed in a creek and hung on a line. God used that image to show me the difference between His ways and mine. I waste a lot of time running around in circles when I simply need to be still. To become the disciple He needs for me to be, I must believe His ways are higher than mine. Isaiah 55:9 says it simply and beautifully.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” 

The Holy Spirit helps me with perspective. If I find myself tossing, turning, or running in circles, I look to God’s Word and find balance and peace. It’s much easier to give up my ways when I remember His ways lead to peace, and that’s my desired destination:)

His Ways:)

Jeremiah 33:16 says, “In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the Lord is our righteousness.”

Christ”s righteousness is at the heart of God’s ways. I cannot live the life God has for me until I acknowledge that it is Christ’s and not my righteousness that identifies who God is and who I am. I am His, and my vain efforts to get good enough to enter His kingdom keep me from His ways.

Works flow naturally and beautifully from my obedient heart if I love as God desires. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to make others happy. The futility of my ways left me depleted and those I helped bitter. Embracing kingdom love causes obedience that leads to joy. I’ve mentioned before that I believe the key Saint Peter holds to the gates of heaven is his amazing love of Christ. Peter loved the Lord and saw His righteousness first-hand.

Psalm 25:4-5 says,

Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

I’ve loved these verses for a long time, but I’ve seen them in a new light this week. My walk cannot be separated from His righteousness. As I draw nearer to Him, I am humbled and blessed in seeing who He. Seeing who I am in the light of His righteousness changes me and my path. His paths and ways are about His kingdom, and that is where my journey must take me if I am to continue to draw near to Him and love as He desires.

I wish I could express God’s message for me this morning, but I am having trouble finding the right words. God is bidding my heart to go from its self-help freeways to His simple paths. Coming out of the hectic and nerve-wrecking traffic of a busy freeway and walking on a beautiful country road is as close as I can come to the image God gave this morning. I can breathe and see clearly what was whizzing past me before.

There is comfort in knowing I am completely surrounded and never alone on those freeways. The intimacy of a country road can be intimidating, but I am able to connect and love His way. I was forced to slow down this month and found myself fretting and frustrated. God reminded me that I’ve been praying for His ways, His paths, and His kingdom to come, and He was simply answering my prayers:)

As Mylah and Lillyann fell asleep on me last night, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving for the pace of His path and the beauty I held in my arms and my heart. Understanding that Christ’s righteousness forged the path He and I are on together caused my heart to relax and take in the moment and the view. I looked down at the two sleeping angels in my arms, out at the beautiful Christmas tree filled with decorations from the past and present, and up at the full moon shining in the window. I was surrounded in a new and beautiful way, His way:)