Compass Point: Accountability

Finances for Teens (and everyone)

by Timothy D. Terrell  »  Bio
The days of the piggy bank and the dollar-a-week allowance are past. You’ve got a job, and you’re making several thousand dollars a year, boosted by those Christmas gifts from your family. Maybe your first tax return is due this April 15. The financial side of your life is definitely different from what it was two or three years ago.

The Valley Called Decision

One day a man walked into his place of worship and to his surprise the devil was at the altar weeping bitterly. When the man asked him, “Hey, what’s wrong with you?” His reply was, “Everyone blames me for everything!”

This fictional story serves to remind us how easy it is to point fingers. We, like water, seek out the easiest course to follow. You see, it’s so much more convenient to blame everyone rather than to look deep into ourselves. Not until I began to honestly take inventory of my own personal life, was I able to admit to myself that I was in dire need of a total spiritual and emotional make-over.

It’s a humbling experience for anyone to look into the mirror and say, “I have met the enemy and the enemy is me!”

But, like a master sailor uses the contrary wind to get him to safe harbor, we too can use our imperfections as a driving force to relearn and refocus on our true self and mission on earth. Be comforted in knowing that because of Gods amazing grace, He is able to draw a straight line using a crooked stick.

If we will fearlessly open up the chapters of our past, I think we will be surprised to see that many of our hell-on-earth experiences have been caused by the inability to make right decisions. Never forget, we are the very ones who chose alcohol and/or drugs as a solution to life’s problems. (Some may say, “Alcohol, drugs? That’s not my problem!” That may be true, but take a good look into the cup from which you drink, is it filled with fear, pride, unforgiveness, greed or guilt?) If your answer is yes, then we welcome you to join us as we seek for the solution.

The 3rd step in the big book of A.A. reads “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

The word decision means: The act of making up one’s mind. When a person lacks this ability they are likened to a double minded (doubting, hesitating) man who is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8 paraphrased). One never builds a mansion on a unstable foundation, much less will a marriage built on sand (unstable people) survive the storms of life.

But wait! There is a better way. For He who has all POWER says to us,

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

But for us to enjoy the fruit of this better way we must pass through the Valley called DECISION.

Many of us have missed out on excellent opportunities in life, due to the inability to make up our own mind. You see, when we doubted and hesitated, another came and snatched up all that was dear to us. In the twinkling of an eye, family, friends, careers and even our own self respect was gone.

Know the Difference: Healthy or Unhealthy Support System?

“Know the difference between those who stay to feed the soil and those who come to grab the fruit.”


This sobering statement recently came to my attention. I don’t know who originally said it, but it resonates, all the same.

It has personally factored in heavily as I have learned, firsthand, who was a part of my healthy support system…and who was NOT.

Indeed, this concept plays a MAJOR role for each of us as we navigate our addiction/recovery journeys. It is usually not too long in life, before we encounter the all too common cliché dysfunction of co-dependency, narcissism and/or exploitation.

Procrastination > Addiction and Disorders

I have a friend who insists on never saying “goodbye.” Instead, she utters, “Later” at the end of our conversations.

This word started me thinking. And the first thing which popped up was another word, procrastination. Its definition being…

“… the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time. Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the “last minute” before a deadline.”

What Do You Want to do with Your Addiction?

I know that you can jump the hurdle of addiction and live a content filled peaceful life because I did, and I am. In my marriage and life I went through a lot of terrible emotions and marital issues during my bout with alcohol addiction. I have been sober for fourteen-years now, and I have never craved a drink, nor have I ever wanted to have a drink, socially or otherwise.

Addiction, like any adversity we face in life is just another hurdle we need to overcome. It’s not the end of your life because you have a problem with drinking today. It’s the beginning of a learning experience for tomorrow, and not just for the alcoholic, but for the loved one of the alcoholic as well. Adversity definitely makes people stronger. I cannot say that I am stronger because of my own doing but because of what God has done for me in my life. There is a difference. After spending years enveloped within an addiction, I came to realize that I was powerless to stop drinking and remain sober on my own. It is not our own strength but God’s strength within us.

What do you want to do with your addiction?

What You Say Matters

And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:66 King James Version

Two days ago when I was at the store, I saw a precious little baby who was probably one month old. When I looked at him, he immediately started smiling at me, clapped his hands, kicked his feet and started laughing. He got excited and happy because someone was paying attention to him. How sad and tragic it is that when children grow older, we stop paying as much attention to them as we did when they were little. Sometimes we turn on the television and let the television become our babysitters so that we can do the things we want to do and not be bothered all day with the children. The thought came to me “This little baby is already acting like a missionary because I see the kindness of Jesus in his face”.

What Transforms Tender Hearts to Hard Hearts?
What happens to make these precious tender hearted and sweet babies turn into people who end up with hard hearts, become criminals and possibly even end up on death row? There has to be a reason that they stop loving people and start hating people. I believe it is because as they grow older and people begin to criticize them for everything that they do and say harsh and sarcastic things to them that their confidence begins to fade. They become suspicious of everyone and they stop trying to do nice things for others. I believe that they think what is the use of trying anymore as I will just be criticized again.

WhenDiscouragement Sets In

Twelve Steps: Feline Resemblance

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.” Proverbs 19:8

As with most families this time of year, my husband and I commemorate the season with holiday decorations. That décor, however, is threatened by two factors: our cats, Gracie and Glory.

And, it is in this holiday decoration/feline context where I started thinking about the power of negative consequences.

The Book of Proverbs is especially loaded with helpful warnings for particular behaviors. It comes down to wisdom versus foolishness, pride versus humility, willingness to learn versus stubbornly and repeatedly making the same poor choices.

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Proverbs 19:20

Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools. Proverbs 19:29

Like it or not, we live in a cause and effect world. Many of us who battle with addiction, disorder and compulsion have already felt certain unpleasant consequences like lost jobs, wrecked relationships, health issues and excruciating moments of embarrassment.

Are You Drifing Away?

2 Peter 3:11-12
Hebrews 2:1, 3 NKJV
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. . . . how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.

There was a time in the American Church when we didn’t believe that salvation was simply a one-time experience that we could do, forget about, and still retain. There was a time (and in my lifetime) when those who attended church understood that their behavior was an important part of the salvation process, not that we earn our salvation, but that we appropriate it through our choices day by day.

  • “We must give the more earnest heed.” The NRSV translates it: “We must pay greater attention.” How do we measure how much attention we give something? For me, it means what I think about, what I focus on. Do we spend time focusing on the things we have heard (meaning the Bible and the things of God)? Or do we spend time on other pursuits? How much do we know about the Bible compared to other things we know about? What consumes our conversations?

Exposing the Adultery Pandemic

What is a pandemic? According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, a pandemic is an “outbreak” occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population. I would consider adultery to be of pandemic proportions considering the high rate of marital suffering, divorce, sickness and disease among a high proportion of the world. What do you think? Let’s take a closer look and examine this issue.

If you knew of a dangerous virus going around in the city where you lived that caused fever, chills, nausea, severe diarrhea, and vomiting, and death to those with a weak immune system, you would probably stay as far away from the city as possible? At the least, you would wear a hospital mask over your face to avoid the harmful germs, right?

Adultery is like a virus but much worse. It spreads from person to person like a virus and if a person is not spiritually well, it will entangle them within its insidious hold and cause much spiritual and mental anguish, not to mention, in many cases, physical illness, deterioration, and death.

As with any pandemic that we learn about we always go out of our way to avoid the offender, lest we too become sick. Viruses become a pandemic only because people do not take the needed precautions in the beginning of its destruction. Sometimes it is because of filthy conditions or lack of knowledge but once we figure out the cause we avoid it like the plague, no pun intended.

Do we avoid sex outside of marriage? Why not?

As Sick as Our Secrets

“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” Luke 12:2


“Fight Club” is a powerful film, cemented within pop culture. It’s notorious, in particular, for the famous line of its main character, Tyler Durden’s, often quoted within our society…

“Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!”

And it got me thinking about secrecy.