Friday, February 27, 2015

CD Review and New Give Away!

It's no secret that my family loves to sing worship songs to the Lord.  My husband has been leading worship for over 20 years and now our son, Zach, is following in his footsteps.  We love music and incorporating it into worship.  Recently, I received Darlene Zschech's newest CD, "In Jesus' Name: A Legacy of Worship & Faith" along with a gift certificate in exchange for an honest and unbiased review for Family Christian Stores. I was very excited for this opportunity to listen to this collection featuring new and old worship songs.  In fact,  my husband and I have used several of these songs during our very first worship services many years ago: Jesus, Lover of my Soul, Potter's Hand, Shout to the Lord, and Worthy is the Lamb.

Start your morning off with a healthy dose of worship!

Darlene's recent experience with breast cancer, treatments, and recovery have seemed to strengthen her call to leave behind a legacy of loving Jesus.  I could relate with that journey because of my own Mom's battle with cancer over 5 years ago.  Darlene's faith and strength come from her personal relationship with Jesus.   Every song on this cd is not only praise and worship, but speaking of God's faithfulness, worthiness, love, peace, hope, and grace!  As you listen to these songs, you can feel God's Spirit confirming the truths contained within the lyrics.  I personally like the more acoustic sound of track # 14, Amazing Grace.  However, all the songs are uplifting and hope-filled. I have often expressed how important I think it is to set aside time with God each day and this worship cd would make an excellent companion for your quiet time.

I want to encourage you to saturate your home with good Christian music.  You can purchase your own copy HERE.   In fact, today we are kicking off a new give away for a $10 Gift Certificate to Family Christian Stores. The contest ends on next Thursday, March 5th.  Please sign up today and spread the word! Have a great weekend! 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Press On Wednesday: Walk Challenge

A very important part of a healthy lifestyle is exercise.   Every time I exercise I feel great afterwards;  so, why do I dread it so?  For me, it's just hard getting started and once it's a part of my routine, then I enjoy it. However, sometimes I just need some encouragement.  Recently, I found a  FOUR WEEK WALKING PLAN on the Amercian Heart Association's website.  I have decided that I will start this walking plan on March 1st.  I am sure most of you are already consistently exercising, however if you are not, I invite you to start this plan with me.  Together, maybe we can encourage each other to "walk" towards a healthier lifestyle. If you do plan on starting March 1st with me, please let me know by filling out the prayer request form in the top right-hand corner of this page!  Remember, with Christ, we can do ALL things, because HE will give us the strength. (Philippians 4:13) Press on!

P.S.  WE ARE STARTING ANOTHER GIVEAWAY THIS COMING FRIDAY!! Spread the word and be sure to sign up!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

In the Kitchen: Healthy Tostadas

We often think that eating healthy has to boring; however, that is not true.  One of my favorite meals to eat for lunch is tostadas.  Starting first with a crunchy chalupa shell, (most chalupa shells are about 50 calories each) you can add many healthy toppings.  We start with a thin layer of fat-free refried or black beans.  Second, we add a light layer of meat.  We usually use grilled chicken, but other choices would include brisket, baked fish, 90/10 hamburger meat, and even salmon.  Next, you can add a variety of toppings: low-fat cheeses, lettuce or fresh spinach, red or green onions, olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, fruit or tomato salsas, low-fat sour cream, avocado, broccoli slaw and much more. Two tostadas are very satisfying and perfect for a meal.   Tostadas are not only easy to make, they are fun too!  I usually put out several toppings and let each family member make their own.  I suggest you get creative, try a wide variety of toppings, and let your family help with preparation. I hope your family enjoys preparing and eating these tostadas as much as we do!  Have fun and feel free to share with us the unique toppings you use.  Remember, eating healthy does not have to be boring or tasteless!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

From My Heart: Hope in Life & Death

Last night a dear friend's mother went home to be with the Lord.  It was a sudden thing and left the family in shock.  However, her mom had a personal relationship with Jesus and is now home in Heaven.  So, even though the family is sad and mourning, they do have the peace and assurance that they will see her again. A couple of years ago, my Dad passed away. Life drastically changed for me since that time.  I think I spent that first year after his death trying to adjust to the fact that he was gone.  On the other hand,  I knew exactly where he was and is now; he is at home in Heaven.  I will see him again and I can't wait.  You see, for the Christian, there is hope even in death.  I can't imagine losing a loved one with out the hope of seeing them again in Heaven.

Jesus is our hope in life and in death.  He is the beginning and the end!  Do you have this hope I am talking about?  Have you ever experienced peace that passes all understanding?  Jesus is the answer for that hope. My niece's husband, Josh, is currently teaching a series about Jesus being the Hope you need in everyday life.   To hear sermons from his "So Much More" series, click HERE.  I am very thankful I have hope in life and in death through Jesus and I pray you will find your hope in Him as well.
*Remember, If you need prayer, please fill out the prayer request form at the top right-hand side on this blog page.

8 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Romans 8:28-37 (NLT)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Press On Wednesday: On a Journey

Today, I want to encourage us all to press on towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Recently I was reminded that a healthy lifestyle is not a quick trip, but a lifelong journey.  Many fad diets get temporary results but they don't last.  If you start eating healthy for 4 weeks and then stop, your body only returns to the condition it was in before. Pursuing health needs to be a lifelong journey, not just temporary. With that being said, if you mess up and make a bad food choice or skip exercise, don't beat yourself up, just start fresh the next day.  Keep on keeping on!

Each time He said:, "My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness."  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

In the Kitchen: Turkey Lavash Wraps

I want to share with you a recipe for a quick, easy, and healthy lunch: Turkey Lavash Wraps.  Lavash is a soft, thin, flatbread from Armenian origin.  I buy Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat  Lavash at Wal-Mart which is found near the deli.  This brand comes in 4 rectangular sheets. I cut one sheet into four sections. You can fill them with just about anything.  However, I like to keep it light for lunch and have chosen Cajun turkey.  Hope you enjoy these wraps!

Turkey Lavash Wraps
1-sheet of Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran, and Whole Wheat Lavash Bread
4-thin slices of cajun turkey
1-cup shredded mexican cheese blend
Romaine lettuce
Thinly sliced red onion
Thinly sliced cucumber
Horseradish Sauce or Mayo
Broccoli Slaw (optional)

Cut the bread into 4 sections. Spread mayo or horseradish sauce on bread.  Layer turkey, cheese, cucumber, lettuce, and red onion and broccoli slaw. Roll up bread and secure with toothpick. If you like, you can serve with ranch or salsa for dipping.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Christian Life: Top Priority

Today's post is short and sweet.  I want to encourage you to keep loving and obeying God your top priority.  There are so many things that compete for that place in our lives; job, friends, family, hobbies, ministry, health, and much more.  However, when we have God at the very center of our lives and He is top priority, then everything else comes together.  Sometimes we get very overwhelmed and we feel pulled in so many directions.  When I feel overwhelmed, I take it as a sign that I need to pull back and check my priorities.  When I do, sure enough, I have them out of whack and usually I am busy doing a lot of things God didn't call me to do.  So, if on this Monday, you have that dreaded "I've had it" feeling; stop and say a prayer.  Ask God to give you peace and to reveal the priorities of your heart.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.  Matthew 6:33 NLT

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.  Mark 12:30 NLT

Thursday, February 12, 2015

From my Heart: Christians & Social Media

This week I have been burdened about things I have seen posted on our social media that have left me confused. Now, I am NOT talking about people that don't claim to be Christians.  I am talking about people who name the name of Jesus, and are identified as Christians, talking as if there is no moral absolutes.  For example, several times this week I have read, "what may be wrong for some, may not be wrong for others".  That message is a message of confusion and the Bible tells me that confusion is NOT from God.  1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV) says: For God is not the author of confusion but of peace as in all the churches of the saints.

I just want to speak from my heart: If you are a Christian,  the Bible is our guide to what is right and what is wrong; not our emotions or preferences.  Now, I agree that many Christians argue over what certain scriptures actually mean, but the Bible is God's Word and is the Christian's guide to life.  Of course, the Holy Spirit lives in us and helps us understand God's word as well.  I can hear some of you now saying, "I live by grace!".  I live by grace also and I am nothing without Christ in me. (Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:27)  However, Romans 6:1-2 (NLT) says: Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?

I want to say up front, I am not judging anyone by their social media posts.  However, I do believe that some posts are causing great harm in the Kingdom of God.  We all have opinions and we all have preferences, but if we don't submit these under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then we can be used of the enemy. It is very confusing when we say we are Christians and then we are approving and even supporting things that God's word CLEARLY says is wrong.   Last week in our Ladies' Sunday school class, we were studying in Judges at the time when there were no kings.  As we read through the scriptures, I was shocked at how our generation today sounds so much like the generation then.  Judges 21:25 (NLT) says: In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. What do you think?  Sound familiar? However, as Christians, we do have a King; His name is Jesus.

I just want to encourage us all to represent Jesus when we post, write, or speak.  If our motive is to push OUR preferences and OUR opinions that contradict the Word of God, then we are not representing Jesus, we are just representing self.

23 Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

John 14:23-24

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

We have a winner!!!

Congratulations to Melody Slaton, the winner of the Family Christian $10 Gift Certificate!

Keep watching for more giveaways! 

Press On Wednesday: High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup is quite famous these days.  Grab several things out of your fridge or pantry, and most likely HFCS will be a main ingredient.  For example, many bar-b-que sauces, ketchups, jellys, syrups, steak sauces, and coffee creamers have this ingredient.    As I studied up on HFCS, I found many different views on this sweet syrup.  So, what exactly is High Fructose Corn Syrup?  To help answer that question thoroughly, please click HERE.

Regardless of what view you take on HFCS; the fact is, it needs to be used in moderation, just as sugar.  I personally don't feel good when I consume products with HFCS in them.  I try to purchase products that have pure cane sugar instead.  Either way, we must limit our consumption of these sweeteners.  Last week we talked about sugar and how too much is not good for us.  (For more info about sugar, see SUGAR 101.) Once you start really paying attention to what you eat, you will be surprised by how many products contain some form of sugar. I want to encourage you to try to satisfy your sweet tooth with natural fresh fruit.  If you buy fruit in a can, be careful to read the labels.  It would be best to purchase the "no sugar added" selections or just stick with fresh fruit.
As we strive to live an healthy lifestyle, be aware of what you actually are putting into your body.  Be label smart and look up any ingredients that you don't know of.  Press on!

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God! 1 Corinthians 10:31

Press On Wednesday is in Memory of my Dad, Troy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

In the Kitchen: Spicy Southwestern Lettuce Wraps

 Lately, I have been on a lettuce wrap kick!  I have tried several different varieties and love them all.  So finally, I decided to make my own.  I have made them twice now, a little different each time.  Today, I made some lettuce wraps with a Southwestern flair that I would like to share with you!

Spicy Southwestern Lettuce Wraps

1- 12 ounce can of chopped white chicken breast
1- cup of broccoli slaw
1-small yellow bell pepper, chopped ( any color pepper)
2-Tablespoons of Pico de gallo
1/2 cup of  Roasted Salsa Verde
1-tsp Creole Seasoning
1/2 tsp- cumin
1-tsp of black pepper (optional)
Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce Leaves

In medium-sized bowl, add chicken and spices and mix well.  Next, add slaw, bell pepper, and  pico de gallo and mix well.  Lastly, add salsa and blend well with mixture. Add one tablespoon of Olive oil to a medium non-stick skillet.  Turn on medium heat.  When oil is hot, add chicken mixture to pan and "stir-fry" for about 10 minutes until veggies are tender and chicken thoroughly warmed.  Remove from heat.  Serve half cup of chicken mixture on one lettuce leaf.  Top with sour cream, salsa verde or picante.  Enjoy!

Spicy Southwestern Lettuce Wraps

Monday, February 9, 2015

Christian Life: Repentance

Yesterday we had an awesome service at our church.  Our Pastor preached on repentance and how we tend to think repentance is a negative word.  However, repentance is a gift from the Lord.  God made provision, through Jesus, for us to be forgiven from ALL our sins; past, present and future.  When we receive this Gift, we have the freedom and power to live as God has planned.  He, by His Holy Spirit, lives in us and guides and directs us each day.  It's not about gritting your teeth and trying extra hard to be "good", it's about LOVING Christ and letting Him do the work through you. When we RECEIVE Christ's love for us and realize all that He has done for us, loving Him comes natural. However, sometimes we get off track.  God doesn't move away from us, we move away from Him. For example,  we may start skipping our bible reading and prayer time because we are busy.  Next, we may start letting little things come in between us and the Lord.  Perhaps we compromise on something that in the past we would never compromise on.  On the other hand, maybe we are as close to God as possible, and Satan drops a lie into our lives that we believe.  Sometimes it's the thought that God really doesn't love you. If you believe this lie, you will find yourself seeking love in unhealthy places and unhealthy things.  I want to encourage you to always take these thoughts and measure them up to the Word of God.  God's Word is true.  Satan is a liar.

What if you are a Christian who has drifted away or has believed a lie and pulled away from God?  Sometimes we get in a place where we feel too far away from God to try to go back.  This brings us to the word repentance.  Repentance is a gift from God.  We come to Him, admit our sin, receive His forgiveness and can be in full fellowship with God once again. 1 John 1:9 (NLT) tells us: If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  Satan wants us to believe its a hard thing.  Christ will give us the power to do His will and it is His will we are in full fellowship with Him.  Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do ALL things through CHRIST who gives us strength.  To be honest, recently I have found myself letting a negative attitude hang around in my heart and mind.  First, I just started grumbling about some things and not being thankful.  Next thing I knew, I was grumbling a lot and believing lies the enemy sent my way.  Before I knew it, my whole outlook became negative.  However, yesterday morning in church, I realized my negative attitude and ungratefulness was a sin.  As I prayed and asked God's forgiveness for not trusting His love for me and doubting His promises, an amazing thing happened; my joy came back!  It felt as if a load had been lifted in my heart.  None of my circumstances changed, but as I asked for forgiveness God washed over me.  Repentance is not a bad word.  It's a gift from God! 

If you are a child of God and have lost your joy, I want to encourage you to ask God to search your heart for any hidden thing that would be keeping you from full fellowship from the Lord.  It's really not hard to do.  God does love you and as His Word says, WILL forgive you.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Celebrate Veggie Tales "Noah's Ark"!

Today's post is sponsored by Family Christian Stores.  I  received  a screener DVD of the upcoming Veggie Tales movie, "Noah's Ark", in which to write a honest and unbiased review.

Do you remember Noah in the Bible?  He was that "radical" guy that built a huge ark in a dry land just because God told him to.  I love Noah!  He didn't just know ABOUT God, He KNEW God.  So, when the Lord gave Noah instructions, he obeyed because He could trust Him.  Needless to say, I am very excited  that I was given the opportunity to preview the new Veggie Tales movie, "Noah's Ark".   My sons grew up watching all the Veggie Tales movies. ( Even though they are grown now, they still like them!)

Veggie Tales told their story of Noah in a unique way.  Noah's son, Shem, had just returned from his honeymoon to see the giant Ark (orange slice) sitting in the exact spot that he wanted to build his new house.  He wasn't happy with God's plan nor his father for carrying it out.  His plans were all "messed up" by Noah obeying God. He just couldn't see how this could be God's will.  Furthermore, he had some serious trust issues. He felt like waiting on God was a waste of time.  Finally, Shem decided to come up with a "Plan B".   Now, I must admit that sounds familiar!   Sometimes when I am waiting on God, I am tempted to come up with my "Plan B".  However, it doesn't take long when I, like Shem, realize that my plan was a flop and that God had it under control the whole time.  One by one, God kept all the promises He had made to Noah and his family. The beautiful rainbow was to remind them all of His promises.  Needless to say, Shem had a change of heart and soon realized that God is trustworthy and faithful. What a wonderful reminder that we are to walk by faith, not by sight.
I know you, your kids, or your grandkids will love the Noah movie.  It is filled with beautiful singing and even new animation.  Now, I must confess, being an old school Veggie's fan, that the new animation was a challenge at first.  However, the wonderful story line won me over!

"Noah's Ark" is scheduled to be available for purchase on February 28th.  However, you can pre-order your copy NOW and get the Veggie Tales "Rack, Shack & Benny" DVD free! What an awesome deal!  Furthermore,  it would be a fun idea to have a  "Noah's Ark Premiere Party" for your kids or grandkids.  You could serve animal crackers, fresh orange slices, rain water (blue Gatorade or juice), and "rainbows" made from fruit roll-ups! (pictured above)   I want to encourage you to celebrate God's faithfulness and enjoy this kid-friendly movie with your family.

I want to thank Family Christian  for sponsoring today's blog.  Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway for a $10 Gift Certificate for Family Christian on the top of this page!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to pre-order your movie today!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Announcing Giveaway

I am excited to announce that I am hosting my first giveaway courtesy of Family Christian stores! The prize will be a $10 gift certificate to Family Christian Bookstore. You can enter the giveaway by going directly to my blogpage.  The last day to enter is February 11th. There are several ways to enter and each count for several chances.  The winner will be randomly chosen and announced February 12th.
Best wishes!
Hopeful Heart

From My Heart: Midlife Battle

Today I want to wrap up my thoughts and insight about this mysterious midlife stage in our lives.  We hear so many different opinions about this chapter of our lives.  The world tells us that it's just "normal"  to feel out of sorts because you have to "find yourself".  While I do believe that this stage of our lives can be very revealing about who we REALLY are, saying that it gives us a license to "flip out", for lack of better word, is Hogwash!  I, by no means, claim to have all the answers on this infamous midlife stage; however,  I have a God that does!

Although many physical changes are occurring during Midlife, I am getting more and more convinced that the Midlife Battle is more a spiritual one.  We may very well need medications or hormones to help during this time.  On the other hand, I don't believe medications will fix it all.  I believe the Creator of the Universe, the One that created us, can help us walk this difficult journey.  For most of us, we are transitioning out of the "full time" parent position to the "friend-parent" position.  We talked about true surrender last week and how freeing it can be. (To read last week's post, click HERE ) I think everyone could agree that there is a battle happening at this stage; it could be a small one or a huge one.  I am not sure what you  may be experiencing during this shift of life. I have heard that when someone is journeying through midlife they often don't act their age; they either act younger than they are, or they act older than they are. Now, I think we have all seen someone in their mid-40's dressing and acting like a someone half their age.  Furthermore, there is no doubt that you have most likely seen someone in their mid-40's acting like they are 65 already.  They focus on how bad they feel and they seem to succumb to the idea their life is almost over.  With Christ, we don't have to act either way.  We can enjoy the age we are with all the gifts that come along with it.  True, our lives are not like they use to be.  On the other hand, God has prepared us for this stage and He hasn't left us alone to flounder and figure it out.  Press into God.  Seek Him with your whole heart and stay in His Word.  His Spirit alone can fill the emptiness this change may bring.  Seek out other Christians that may need encouragement too.  If you feel you just can't adjust or move past this place, you may want to visit with your Pastor, a trusted Christian friend, or your doctor. 

God doesn't want us to stall out at this place in our life!  He wants us to have life and have it abundantly! In John 10:10, Jesus says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." I want to encourage you today to count your blessings.  Instead of looking back and pining away for what use to be, look ahead with excitement for God's plans for the second half of your life.

P.S. If you find yourself struggling and need prayer, please submit a prayer request on this blog page.  All prayer requests are confidential and will be prayed over.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Press-On Wednesday: Sneaky Sugar

Sugar is a weakness of mine.  I have always loved sweet things.  Several years ago, with my Dad's encouragement, I eliminated sugar from my diet.  The first few days were horrible.  However, after the initial shock, I did quite well and felt much better.  Since then, I have gradually added sugar back into my diet but only one or two days a week.  With diabetes in my family, I want to keep sugar as a special treat, not one of my main staples.

Recently, I was reminded how sneaky sugar can be!  It's hiding in many everyday products.   Following are just a few:  ketchup, whip cream, coffee creamers, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, steak sauce, salsas, granola, yogurt, and much more.  Always check the labels to see how much sugar is in a product.  For more helpful information concerning sugar, check out SUGAR 101.

 Next week we are going to discuss High Fructose Corn Syrup and see how it measures up against pure cane sugar!  In the meantime, check out Sugar 101 and read some labels!  Remember, pursuing  a healthy lifestyle pays off in feeling good!  Press on!

(Press on Wednesdays are in memory of my Dad, Troy)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

In the Kitchen: Stuffed French Bread (Easy & Cheap)

I like easy and quick meals! I like them even more when they are inexpensive to make. Today, I want to share with you one of those meals; Stuffed French Bread.

I take a loaf of French bread and slice it longways leaving the top connected.  I remove
some of the inside bread leaving a small bowl-like place. (The scooped out bread can be used to make croutons, bread pudding or to feed ducks). Now, this is the fun part.  You can fill the hollowed out area with anything you like! This particular time I used left-over spaghetti sauce with meat.  (I recommend you prewarming the filling if need be) However, you could stuff your bread with left-over taco meat, chopped chicken, chopped steak, lunchmeat, cooked sausage, or bacon; the sky's the limit!  Next, I would top with a generous helping of your favorite kind of cheese.  I topped my spaghetti sauce with an Italian cheese blend.  After that, top with anything you want: onions, olives, jalapenos, bell peppers, etc.  Place loaf on a foil-lined baking sheet or pre-warmed baking stone in a 350 degree oven and bake about 20 minutes. Times may vary with different ovens.  Basically, you want the bread to be slightly browned and.the cheese inside to be melted.  When the bread is done, let loaf cool for about 5 minutes before slicing. You can serve with a big salad or your favorite veggies.  My family liked to dip their bread in Ranch dressing!  You can just be creative and have fun!! Your children may want to help also!  They can help put their favorite toppings in the bread, etc.

One more thing,  in our Walmart, there is a discount bakery cart by the deli.  They usually set it out about 9 each morning.  Of course the items on this cart need to be used quickly or frozen.  One of my favorite things to find is the french bread.  I can usually find the French bread for about .60¢
Hope you have a great Tuesday. Don't forget to count your blessings and love on your family!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Christian Life: Battle of the Wills

For several years now, I have considered myself to be totally surrendered to God's will for my life.  We, as a family, have stepped out in faith over and over.  I have longed for God to be glorified in my life and truly believed I was as surrendered as possible.   God has worked in so many areas of my life; control issues, fear, trust, manipulation, etc.  It seems like daily I am laying something else down at His feet. However, recently I have felt an inner storm brewing.  Have you ever been at a place in your life that you thought, "Surely this is not God's will for me"?  Maybe you're in a particular phase in your life, working at an unpleasant job, or in a place you just don't like;  a place that's challenging your walk and definitely not comfortable? 

Recently, as I was having my quiet time, I was discussing a situation with the Lord that I am not particularly happy about.  I have been praying for weeks for this situation to change or for God to show me a way out of it.  I began to pour over the situation again; complaining and asking God to open my eyes to how He's going to get me out of this.  Suddenly, it's as if He spoke clearly to my heart: You need to stop fighting me and trust Me, because this IS my will for you right now. Wow!  I was shocked.  Maybe I heard Him wrong....surely I heard Him wrong!  I know the Lord's thoughts are much higher than mine, however, in this situation I was sure I knew what needed to happen.  Wait, did I just say that?  Oh my!  When did this creep back in?  My will is not only alive and well but is off doing it's own thing apparently.  How could I not trust God after all we've been through?  He can part the waters of a river and leave dry ground for His people to walk on.  He can raise a dead man back to life.  He can take a lost sinner like me and make a new creation!  He knows what He's doing!  I can most certainly trust Him enough to line my will up with His. 

It was as if a light bulb came on! The inner struggle I have been feeling was actually a battle of the wills; mine and Gods.  However, as I repented of being rebellious and seeking my own will above His, the inner struggle melted into peace.   I am not saying all my feelings have changed about this situation, on the other hand, I know and trust there is a purpose for it that I can't see right now.  I often compare my life to an onion and God is continually peeling back layer after layer. God knows what He is doing.  I am going to trust Him!

If you find yourself having an inner storm today, could it be there is a battle of the wills going on inside of you too?  Take the time to talk to God and ask Him to show you whether or not your will is completely in line and submitted to His.  Even Jesus submitted His will to His Father's:
"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want YOUR will to be done, not mine."  Luke 22:42 (NLT)