Friday, January 30, 2015

Spread the Love!

This week a dear friend and spiritual mentor, Bro. John Pangle, went home to be with the Lord.  Many people will miss him here on earth, including Chad and I!  John loved God, but he also loved people.  Everything he did reflected that.  He spent most of his time each day encouraging people, praying with or for them, and just taking the time to listen.  He never made you feel he was too busy for you.  To put it simply: Bro. John knew how to spread God's love.

Think about it, what is the most important thing you could be doing with your life?  Would it be to strive for success in order to make a name for yourself?  Would it be to make a certain amount of money in order to feel that you have "arrived"?  In my opinion, loving God and sharing His love with others would be the most important mission! 

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our busy-ness and stress, that we find ourselves not making time to show others love.  I want to encourage you today to take time to spread God's love.  You may never know how your one simple act of love can be the answer to someone's  prayer!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Don't forget to share God's love with others!

Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

From My Heart: Midlife Surrender

The last few Thursdays I've been sharing about midlife issues and what I feel God has been showing me.  Today I want to share about surrender.  I'm not talking about giving up, hiding in the house, and saying "I am done". We often hear people tell us to "Let go and Let God".  However, we are usually talking about a certain situation in life that we are dealing with.  On the other hand, I am talking about a deeper surrender.

 If you are in that mid-life age, chances are your everyday life is rapidly changing.  Your kids are growing up and leaving home.  Maybe your career is changing or possibly ending.  The things that you use to think as high priority may be changing as well. When I say surrender, I am not talking about drifting away from God and His purpose for your life or "finding yourself".  This is not the time to turn away from faith, even if you are having doubts or questions about life. Keep pressing in to God!  Stay in His word for direction and hope.  Surround yourself with other people that want to seek God and that will encourage to do the same. I'm talking about a hope-filled surrender; laying down all your plans, dreams, goals, and hopes at God's feet and saying, "Here, You do what You think is best and I will trust You".  Philippians 3:12-14 says: I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.  But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Maybe during the first of your life, things didn't go as you had always dreamed. Maybe you had a marriage fall apart.  Maybe your kids didn't make the choices you had hoped for.  Maybe you didn't achieve all that you had hoped for.  Maybe you had a vision for your life and reality looks nothing like that vision.  I want to encourage you to surrender ALL of that to God today.  Like the old 70's gospel song says: Give them all to Jesus!   Often we are too busy looking backwards at the broken dreams that we are not able to look ahead to the new things God has for us. Keep your eyes on Jesus and His plan for you now.  Keep HIM on the throne of your heart; not anyone or anything else.  He is the wisdom you need.  He can help you walk out this second half of your life in a way that will leave no regrets.   If you still have breath in your body, then God still has a purpose for you to be on this earth.

Below is the link to that old song, Give them all to Jesus. (I am really showing my age here)  Please take a minute and listen to it.  Have a great Thursday!

Give them all to Jesus

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Press On Wednesday: Are you balanced?

Today I want to encourage you to find balance in your healthy lifestyle.  Sometimes when we are focusing on our health, we find that we quickly go "overboard" in one area, while neglecting another.  For example, I can be hyper-vigilant to avoid sugar, while I neglect to exercise any at all.  On the other hand, I can exercise 2 hours a day while putting high-processed and other unhealthy foods in my body.  My goal is to find  "balance" in a healthy lifestyle.

 My personal issue is exercise; particularly cardio.  I know it's important for my heart health, but I often put it on the back burner.  However, I am usually very careful about my sugar intake.  While watching my diet is very important, exercise should not be thrown to the curb.  What about you?  Are you balanced?

 It can be overwhelming to focus on several different areas at once, but with a little time and planning, I think I can probably find a health routine that will fit me.  I want to encourage you to do the same.  Take some time today to evaluate your health and your lifestyle.  Are there any areas you need to focus more on?  Are there any areas that you need to pull back on?  At the core of a truly balanced life is the foundation of a relationship with God.  When we have spiritual peace, all other things seem to fall into place.  Press on!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Website!

Good afternoon!  I wanted to share with you that Chad & I have a new website.  You can find our page at:  On this website you can keep up with us as we minister, see any new pictures, get news, and contact us if needed.   We could really use your prayers as we are seeking direction for this new year.

On Wednesday the 28th, Zach's 17th birthday, we are going to interview for an internet Christian radio station.  Please pray with us as we go; we want to glorify God in everything we say.
Thank you again for subscribing to my blog.  Please don't forget to submit any prayer requests you have as well.


In the Kitchen: Protein-packed Granola Cups

Our youngest son is an avid runner and sometimes runs as much as 24 miles a week  Needless to say, after one of his long runs, he is needing some replenishment.  Our friend, Jennifer, who is a trainer, tells us that it is very important to have some protein after a long run.  So, today I created a snack that I think is pretty healthy and is packed with protein; Protein-Packed Granola Cups.  This snack has peanut butter and almonds for protein and oats and honey for quick energy.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Protein-Packed Granola cups
2      cups old-fashioned oats
1      6 ounce bag of unsweetened dried apricots
1      cup of sliced almonds
2/3   cup of peanut butter
4      Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4   cup honey
1      tsp vanilla
1/2   tsp salt
 Preheat oven to  300 degrees. Chop the Apricots into small pieces.  In large bowl mix together apricots, oats, and almonds and mix well.  Add salt and mix again.
  In medium saucepan over low heat,  mix together the butter, honey, peanut butter and
 vanilla until creamy and smooth. 



Pour creamy mixture over granola mix and stir together until well blended.  Line cupcake pans with foil cupcake liners. Fill each cup with granola, pressing down into pan with back of spoon.
  Bake 20 minutes on 300.  Place pan on wire racks to cool. Granola needs to completely cool before eating.  Serve with ice cold milk or ice cold water.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Christian Life: Trust or Worry?

I felt on my heart to do a re-post today.  With the events happening in our world and the uprising of evil, the temptation to worry presents itself daily.   I thought this post from October 2014, would be a good reminder for us all.  We have a choice; trust in God or worry.  We are in a spiritual battle and need, more than ever, to walk in the Spirit and to TRUST in the Lord. Have a blessed day!

 It's Marvelous Monday again!  What does God have in store for you today?  Don't forget to spend time with Him and seek His direction.  Isaiah 26:3 says:  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!  Think about that verse; YOU will keep in PERFECT peace all who TRUST in YOU.  We often don't have peace simply because we are trusting in something other than God: our own plans and agenda, a  job, spouse, bank account, beauty, popularity, ministry success, reputation, children, health, etc.  However, this verse reminds us that the ONLY way to have perfect and true peace is to TRUST GOD and FOCUS ON HIM. When we choose to trust God and what He says over everything else, His peace covers all that we do.  Think about it, His peace is one of the 9 Fruits of the Spirit.  When we choose to take God at His Word and focus on Him, HE keeps us in HIS perfect peace.  We may be worried about many things.  We may be struggling and stressing to figure out how to solve this problem and how to solve that problem.  Meanwhile, our time is consumed plotting and thinking and not trusting God.  Trusting God doesn't mean to sit down and fold your arms and refuse to do anything.  Trusting God means simply taking Him at His Word.  For example, say you have a doctor bill that is due and you don't have the money.  Most of the time the first thing we do is start trying to figure out what we could do to fix this problem.  Furthermore, the more we look at the problem, the more hopeless we feel.  We think of all of our options and finally, worn out and stressed, we conclude the situation is hopeless.  (I think Satan's favorite weapon is discouragement)  On the other hand, if when a problem arises we immediately take it to God and ask for His provision and wisdom, we can bypass a lot of vain stressing and squirming.  We can remember that Philippians 4:19 says that our God will meet ALL your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.  Now, the choice is ours; do we TRUST HIS WORD which tells us HE WILL meet our needs, or will we ignore that and start panicking?  If we choose to trust Him, He WILL keep us in perfect peace.
Ephesians 6 speaks of spiritual warfare.  Ephesians 6: 16 says:  In addition to all of this (putting on the whole armor of God), take up the shield of FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil ones. To me, flaming arrows represent the lies Satan tries to get us to believe; lies that contradict God's word!  Choose to believe God today; not your feelings, not your circumstances and certainly not Satan! 
Have a Marvelous Monday!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

It's Frappe Friday! Get one free today....

Chad and I love to drink coffee. We like all the different flavors and ways in which it can be enjoyed.  My personal favorite is a Frappuccino.  A "frappe" is a coffee base drink blended with ice and other various flavors and usually topped with whipped cream.  Today, I want to tell you where I have found the best "frappe" yet: The Coffee Shop at Lake Cypress Springs, owned and operated by J.P. and Julie Jobe and their five children. J.P. makes all of his syrups homemade, uses the freshest ingredients, and uses locally roasted coffee.  The Coffee Shop's Raspberry Mocha Frappe is the best frappe I have ever had, even above Starbucks!

Chad's favorite is their warm Caramel Macchiato served with a piece of  homemade crustless cheesecake, made by their eldest daughter, Hannah.  Words can't begin to describe this cheesecake!  It literally melts in your mouth. You can have it plain or topped with raspberry, caramel, or fudge sauce.  If you are not a coffee consumer, then you will want to try one of their root beer floats, real fruit smoothies, specialty teas, milkshakes, or sodas.  If cheesecake is not your thing, don't worry; J.P. daily makes fresh homemade brownies, cookies, breads, cinnamon rolls and much more! They are open Monday-Thursday, 6-10am and 3-6pm, 6-10am and 3- 9pm on Friday, and 6am-6pm on Saturday.  The Coffee Shop's weekly specials are as follows:

Mocha Monday-$2.50 Mochas   
Warm Peppermint Mocha
Macchiato Wednesday-$2.50 Macchiatos

Caramel Macchiato
Frappe Friday-$2.50 Frappes
Snickerdoodle and Caramel Frappes
On any of these days, you can try Hannah's cheesecake and more homemade goodies!

Hannah's Famous Crustless Cheesecake
Banana Bread, Cinnamon Rolls, Specialty Muffins

You can get directions, keep up with special activities, and more by going to their website at or check them out on Facebook at  The Coffee Shop at Lake Cypress  Although the coffee and treats are unbeatable at the Coffee Shop, I don't want to overlook the warm, friendly and fun atmosphere.  There is free WIFI connection, a reading area, Piano, ping pong table and more. 
 I highly recommend The Coffee Shop for your next date, family outing, or youth event. The Jobes always make you feel at home and would be honored to serve you.   Why not visit today and experience Frappe Friday for yourself?  In fact, the FIRST customer TODAY that goes to the Coffee Shop and says, "Hopeful Heart says you're the best", will get one Frappe FREE!  Have a great weekend and remember:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

From my Heart: Midlife Stress

On last Thursday's post, Midlife Journey, I shared from my heart about the path we take through our 30's, 40's and 50's.  During the next few Thursdays, I want to touch on several things that God has put on my heart regarding this journey. 

Today, I want to talk about stress.  In this world today, stress is very common.  Everything is so fast paced and rushed.  There is really no time to sit and ponder; or so we think.  However, stress is very dangerous to our health.  Not only our physical health is affected by stress, but our emotional and mental health as well.  I think often at this midlife age, we sometimes feel the weight of our world pressing down on our shoulders. We may have teenagers and adult children that we are helping guide.  We may be helping raise our grandchildren, or even having a surprise child ourselves.  Our parents are also getting older and facing new health problems.  We start realizing just how fragile our life really is.  Often when we let stress settle in on us, we turn to control to "fix" our life.  We try to control the outcome of everything.  We try to "wear many hats" in order to please and take care of everyone.  Recently, while in Tulsa, I went in a thrift store to shop.  As I walked in the door, my eyes fell on a sign the manager had put up displaying all the sales of the day.  At the top of the sign it read:  You can either have control or trust, but not both.  Wow!  I pondered that.  I would much rather have trust IF I had that trust and faith in someone or something that would not let me down.  Fortunately, we do have someone like that; God.   Following are some scriptures to remind us all that God does not mean for us to carry worry and anxiety:

Cast ALL your anxiety on Him because He cares for you!  1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

There is no doubt about it, stress will come!  However, we have a choice in how we respond to this stress.  Do we trust in God and turn to Him for strength?  Or do we choose to panic and try to "fix" things in our own power?  I want to encourage you to choose trust over control today.  If there is a  scripture pertaining to trust and faith that encourages you, please share it below in the comment box. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Press On Wednesday: Stay Focused

On today's "Press On Wednesday", I want to encourage us all to stay focused! We are 3/4's of the way through the month of January.  How is your healthy lifestyle changing your life?  For some of you, all is going as planned and you are feeling stronger and healthier.  However, for others, you may have hit a plateau and do not see much progress.  If you are at this plateau stage, it is very important you stay focused on your goal of health.  If you are feeling discouraged that you may have messed up or that you are slowly drifting back to old eating and living patterns; time to refocus.  Remind yourself why you want to be healthy.  Perhaps your new lifestyle change is to avoid Diabetes or other health problems.  Maybe it is to model a healthy lifestyle for your children or grandchildren.  On the other hand, maybe the doctor said you MUST change the way you are living.  Regardless how you came to this point, it's a must for you to stay committed and focused. 

I want to encourage you to look for new and creative ways to help promote a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family.  You can join a sports team, try a new workout program, try new unique and healthy recipes, and much more.   Today, I want to share with you a yummy smoothie recipe that my friend, Rachel, featured on her website at

To see this simple, yet healthy recipe, click on the following link:
Mango Peach Protein Smoothie

However you choose to re-focus, start today.  Each day counts.  Don't worry about your mistakes or downfalls in the past.  You can do all things THROUGH Christ that gives you the strength. Philippians 4:13  For those of you on Pinterest, you can look on my recipe board to see many more great smoothie recipes.  Press on!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Peanut Butter Fudge in a Cookie!

This weekend my guys were away at a Youth Conference.  As I was preparing for their homecoming, I remembered something Chad said right before he left; "I am hungry for peanut butter cookies!"  So, I began to search for my old peanut butter cookie recipe.  This recipe is a flourless one and has always been yummy.  However, with a couple of changes....well, it's just dangerous!  Needless to say, I had a hard time only eating two and walking away. For today's "In the Kitchen", I wanted to share this simple yet yummy recipe that would serve for a great after-school snack.

Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies

1    Cup Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
1    Cup Sugar
1    egg, slightly beaten
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (more or less...adjust to your taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In medium bowl mix peanut butter and sugar until well blended. Next, add egg and vanilla and mix well.  Finally, add milk chocolate chips and blend well.  Drop by rounded teaspoons on non-stick baking pan.  Then using fork, flatten cookies down.  Bake about 12 minutes.  After removing pan from oven, let cookies rest on hot pan for about 3 minutes before removing to wire racks.  Cookie will be crumbly and fall apart if not left on pan for the 3 minutes. However, if your cookie crumbles, then simply put it on top of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Christian Life: Unforgiveness

Why is it so hard to forgive someone?  We, ourselves, need forgiveness all the time.  However, when it's our time to extend forgiveness, we get bogged down.  We often let our feelings dictate whether or not we will forgive.  What does God say about forgiveness?  Let's see:
Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in Heaven will forgive your sins, too.  Mark 11:25 (NLT)
If you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:15
Then Peter came to Him and asked, "Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?"  "No, not seven times," Jesus replied, "but seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22
If we confess our sins to Him He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  1 John 1:9
Wow, it looks like God wants us to forgive!  According to the last verse,  if we confess our sins to God, HE IS FAITHFUL to forgive us.  Now, some things are easy to forgive.  If your precious 3 year old drops his milk on the floor, then it's not very hard to extend forgiveness.  Other things aren't as easy to forgive, yet they are doable; your husband forgets your anniversary.  However, there are some situations where it seems impossible to forgive.  Some of these situations might include: infidelity, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, abandonment by a spouse or parent, someone cheating you out of a promotion, someone giving your child drugs, a rebellious adult child, a friend betraying you and the list could go on.  Do you think God only wants us to forgive when it is easy?  Well, according to the scriptures above, He wants us to forgive period.  Now, forgiving someone does not mean to let the abuse  continue nor to stay in abusive and dangerous situations. On the other hand,  forgiveness is a "letting go" so to speak.  We let go of the anger, bitterness, and hurt and trade it for God's peace, joy, and grace.  It's realizing that if it wasn't for the grace of God, we could be just as bad, if not worse.  If you are a child of God, you have the Holy Spirit living in you.  The Holy Spirit in you CAN forgive.  There is no magic formula in forgiveness.  Sometimes we have to confess to God that we can't forgive on our own nor do we really want to.  However, we are WILLING to forgive because we love God and want to obey Him.  You know what?  When we take that step of faith and decide to let go of the resentment and hurt, God steps in and empowers us to do things we thought we would never be able to do.  I want to encourage you today to take some time to examine your heart to see if there is someone you haven't forgiven.  Talk to God and let Him know how you feel. Ask Him for the power to truly forgive. It's strange but when you set someone free from your resentment and bitterness, you will find that YOU are the one that becomes free!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Note to Email Subscribers:)

Dear Email Subscribers:

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for subscribing to my blog!  I want to let you know that if you click on the title of the blog, you will be automatically be re-directed to my blog website.  When you are on my official blog page, you will have access to the Prayer Request Box, Archive list and more.  I also wanted to encourage you to let your friends know about the email subscription option.  Thank you!

God Bless,

Colossians 1:27

Friday, January 16, 2015

Free Friday: Book Review

I am excited to share today's book review with you! I have always loved to read.   However, as I have gotten older, I have little time to devote to reading anything other than my Bible.  Therefore, I am very picky in what I read in my spare time.  Recently, I read a book entitled, "SuperGal vs. GOD", by Lori Hynson.  I was given this book via Bookcrash and asked to do an unbiased review.   I am pleased to say that I found this book to be a pleasant surprise!  The name grabbed me right off.  Think about it, how many of us ladies try to be a SuperGal in our own personal world?  We try to control other people and situations in order to get the results we want.  God spoke to me several times as I read each page of this unique memoir.  I would find myself either laughing, crying,  praising God or all three!  Lori is very honest and transparent about herself and her journey to God.  As I read her story, I couldn't help but to think about my own.  I know many of you are avid readers and love a great book; SuperGal vs. GOD is definitely a must read.  You can purchase your own copy at: or find out more about SuperGal and her ministry at:  Lori Hynson's Website

So, as we approach the weekend, I want to encourage you to trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths! (Proverbs 3:5-6) His ways are so much higher than ours!  We don't have to be SuperGals as long as we serve a Super God.  Perhaps you can get your own copy of SuperGal and curl up with a cup of hot tea; you will be blessed!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Prayer Request Box Reminder

Just wanted to remind you of my new Prayer Request Box on my blog.  It is located in the upper right hand corner.  Please feel free to submit any prayer request and know that it will be strictly confidential.  Have a blessed day!

From My Heart: Midlife Journey

All my life I have heard people talk about having  a "midlife crisis".  Usually, I would hear it in reference to someone in their 40's or 50's driving a sports car, dressing like a teenager, and seeking a relationship with someone half their age.   However, as I am traveling this life's journey, I suddenly find I am at that wonderful age myself.  Although midlife is a very interesting place to be; midlife does not have to be a crisis, only a journey.

Two years ago, my Dad passed away and at the same time, my two grown sons were no longer living at home.  I would say that was the beginning of my midlife journey.  God is showing me many things as I am at the proverbial "fork in the road".  Over the next several weeks, Thursday's posts,  "From My Heart", will be focused on midlife and some of the challenges that might accompany it.  Today, If you find yourself on this midlife journey, I want to encourage you and remind you that God is still in control. The changes brought about by parents dying, children leaving home, and possible health problems are NOT a surprise to God.  He loves us and has a plan, even now!  God, by His Holy Spirit, can lead you through this unknown territory safely. We can trust Him!

Even to your old age and gray hairs,
    I am He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
 Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)

***Just wanted to remind you, there is now a form at the top right hand of this page for you to submit any prayer requests you may have. All prayer requests will be kept confidential.
Me & Chad, the love of my life:)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Press On Wednesday: Simple Substitutes


Each step that you take toward a healthier lifestyle matters.  Don't underestimate the difference that even the smallest change can make.  For example, instead of ordering fries with your steak or hamburger, try ordering broccoli or a salad.  Instead of eating a candy bar for energy, try an apple with peanut butter.  Instead of drinking a soda, try unsweet tea or water with fresh limes.  The idea of substituting healthy choices for the unhealthy sounds elementary. However, one healthy choice at a time can eventually add up to an overall healthier lifestyle.
Food choices are not the only way to substitute the healthy for the unhealthy.  Instead of driving your car a couple blocks to the post office or store, try walking or riding a bike.  Instead of watching a movie with friends, why not play volleyball or another sport? The ideas are endless. The important thing is to keep on making wise choices. Choice by choice, day by day, and step by step, you will get closer and closer to your health goals. Press on!!
Press On Wednesday
In Memory of my Dad, Troy

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New things to come!

I have to say that I absolutely LOVE writing Hopeful Heart.  I have been writing since I was a little girl and have always enjoyed expressing myself with the written word.  As I kick off this new year, I am excited to share with you the direction the Lord has given me for my blog. I consider Hopeful Heart a ministry that God has given me.   First and foremost, I want to glorify God in everything I write and share with you.  Secondly, I plan to start having somewhat a schedule to my blog posts.  Of course, any time the schedule can change as God leads.  And last but certainly not least, I want to make it available for you to send us any prayer requests you might have.  My husband and I would love to pray for you!  There will be a Prayer Request Form on each blog post!

Below is the tentative schedule for my blog posts:


Christian Life-encouragement and devotion


In the Kitchen-recipe, food reviews, and much more!


Press On Wednesday-encouraging a healthy lifestyle


From my Heart-various topics and series that are on my heart


Free-Day Friday-Book reviews, product reviews, and other surprises!

I am excited to share 2015 with you through Hopeful Heart.  I want to ask you to do me a favor.  If you enjoy what you read on my blog, would you please tell someone about it? Thank you!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Got Love?

Over the last few days, I have talked with several hurting hearts that needed to be reminded of how much God loves them.  To be honest, my hurting heart had to be reminded as well.  We live in a world that is filled with painful and heartbreaking circumstances.  We see, hear, and experience death of loved ones, sickness, divorce, abuse, hatred, depression, and much more.  God has an answer for our hurting hearts; God's love is the cure.  Now, I want to say upfront that I am not saying if you experience God's love you won't experience pain.  The Bible clearly tells us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this world; however, Jesus said to take heart because He has overcame the world!  What I am saying is this: God loves us dearly and personally.  I can imagine someone saying, "You mean if I try to honor Him in all I do, THEN He loves me, right?"  No, I am saying HE LOVES YOU PERIOD.  I am NOT saying God overlooks sin.  He made it clear that sin was unacceptable to Him, an HOLY God.  However, because of HIS LOVE for us, He provided an answer to our sin problem: Jesus.  Jesus sacrificed His life for us on a cross and is the only WAY to a relationship with God.  Nonetheless,  God loves you.  He loves you just the way you are.  You don't have to be perfect or even serving Him for Him to love you.  He loves you period.  He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him and He longs for you to CHOOSE him and accept the sacrifice that was made for you.  Regardless of your decision, He loves you; deeply and personally.

Have you ever loved someone that did not love you back?  I think everyone has at one time or another.  It's very painful to deeply care about someone that rejects you and your love.  I can imagine that is how God must feel.  He is the Creator of the Universe, yet He created you in your mother's womb. (Psalms 139)  He loves you.  He desires you to be in a relationship with Him.  There is nothing you can do to impress God or really nothing you can do to shock Him.  He is God and He knows every detail about you. ( Luke 12:7, Hebrews 4:13)   If we have trouble loving God, it is because we have not received and understood His great love for us!  When we truly receive His love, the pressure is off.  God loves you so much that when you surrender your life to Him, HE does the work in you that needs to be done. ( Colossians 1:27, Philippians 1:6)  He will reveal your sin to you by the Holy Spirit.  He will also help you get rid of that sin.  I do believe when we realize how deep God's love is and we let His Holy Spirit work in us, we will not love sin anymore.  We may still fall into sin, however, we will not be comfortable in it any longer.

I want to encourage you today to ponder this great Love.  God loves you.  Knowing that the God of the universe loves you can make a dramatic difference in your life.  Will you receive His love for you?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Rolling with the Change

Happy New Year! 2015 has arrived and is already in full-swing! We are cherishing each moment that our son is home from the Navy.  We have had lots of family gatherings and celebrations! Needless to say, you may have noticed that my blog has taken a back seat the last 2 weeks.  However, starting next week I will be back to blogging as normal.
Today is a very special day to me.  Two years ago today, my Dad went home to be with the Lord.  Even though I know He is in Heaven, I still find myself adjusting to his absence. Christmas time was hard for me.  I recently came to peace that although the holidays can be filled with joy because of Jesus, they will never be exactly like they were before. However, that's ok.  Change is inevitable in this life. We can fight against each change in our life, or with God's grace, we can walk through these new phases with confidence knowing that God is in control. (Romans 8:28)
How about you? Are you experiencing any life changes that are rocking your world? Is your career suddenly over?  Have your children moved out or rebelled?  Does your husband seem to be changing right before your eyes?  Are you struggling with what you see in the mirror?    I find comfort in this: Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) So, as you face scary and uncomfortable changes in your life, you can be comforted remembering that God does NOT change.  He is faithful, loving, Holy, and true.  He will be true to His Word. His love will NOT change for you and He has good plans for you. (Romans 8:28-31, Jeremiah 29:11)
I am excited to see what God wants to do in all our lives this year!  Keep your eyes on the Lord as we journey through 2015!  More next week.......
Missing my Dad, Troy!