Monday, December 28, 2015

Determined 2016

         Every year the Lord gives me a word that He wants me to learn. Sometimes it is one word, other times it is a few words. But every year, about this time I get a word that refers to an area of my life that I am struggling with. I do not believe in New Year's Resolutions, I stopped doing them not long after I became a Christian because I believe that we should be striving to seek Him in every area of our lives daily- not just at the beginning of the year. So, every year I get a word, an area of my life that He wants to work in and through.
         This past year, (2015) He gave me a few words, but the one word that really seemed to be most present in my life this past year was the word "boldness." Throughout the year He grew me in this area more than I thought was possible. I found myself in situations and circumstances that left me no choice but to stand up and be bold for Him. He took me completely out of my comfort zone and things I would have normally kept to myself and bottled up inside He gave me the boldness to proclaim them and to have the courage to follow through with them. I am amazed at how much I have grown in this area of my life because of His leading and teaching me about boldness this past year.
          For 2016 I have been given the word "Determination". My struggle is one we all face, the struggle of my will verses His will. My will wants to eat chocolate and watch Hallmark Christmas movies all day long, and His Will desires for me to be actively pursuing Him, His Word and His work that He has given to me to do. My will says that it can wait until tomorrow. His will says that He has not promised me tomorrow. His will tells me to stop putting off what He has asked of me today. My will says that it will be okay, I deserve the rest. I waver back and forth between what He wants and what I want. It is a battle we all face and one I think we would all, once and for all, like to have victory in!
           This is also and area of my life that I have been praying about for some time. I have a lot of different plates that spin in one day. I am a wife and mother and I am also a business owner. I run a company as well as run a family. I am also a writer. I write and lead a women's bible study each week, plus I write this blog, and I also am working on my next book. On top of all that I am getting ready to kick off an online bible study for women. (There will be more information on that in the weeks to come, if you are interested in joining us). Sound's like a lot of plates spinning at once doesn't it? Sounds like I might have bitten off more than I can chew? I have recently thought the same thing. I have seriously thought about giving it all up and just sitting on my recliner spending the rest of my existence eating chocolate and watching Hallmark movies.
         But, since I know that this time that I have been given on this earth is precious and is His first I began praying. I began asking Him what it was that He was asking me to do. I believe, as women especially, we have a tendency to take on more than what we can handle and instead of praying first and answering later, we answer yes and then pray for the Lord to help us later. I am a firm believer in seek Him first and all the things you need to know will be added to you afterwards. (Matthew 6:33) For me, it was through prayer and reading His word that I was given the direction that I needed. I was to keep walking and to keep doing what He was asking of me, and trust that He would help me through it all. However, I found myself doing the exact opposite of walking and have spent the past few days eating chocolate and watching Hallmark movies.
         I woke up this morning with an overwhelming desire to just give it all up and just walk away. I just don't understand why my will keeps winning over His will. I was frustrated at myself and asked Him what did He want me to do. As I was out and about this morning, I heard this scripture verse on the radio and it has ignited that spark, that fire in my heart once more to do what it is He is asking me to do. Through it, I got my word for 2016.
"But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame." Isaiah 50:7 ESV
        Set my face like a flint and I will not be put to shame. How encouraging are those words and what direction they give to those of us who find ourselves tossed to and fro between His will and our wills! To set your face like a flint means to be determined. It means to resolve not to deter from the path before you no matter who, or what might stand in your way. Jesus gives us the perfect example of what it means to set our faces like flint and be determined to fulfill God's will in our lives.
"When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem." Luke 9:51
        Jesus knew what He had to do. He knew what the Father's will was for His life. All throughout the gospels Jesus tells us that He came to do the will of His Father. (John 6:38 for example) Jesus never deterred from what He knew God wanted from Him, and He never wavered from side to side about it either. He knew there was going to be obstacles on the road to Jerusalem. He knew that He was going to face opposition and even be tested to forsake the sacrifice that was to come. He knew that everyone and everything was going to try to distract Him but He set His face like a flint and did not waver one moment from the call of God on His life. He set His face towards Jerusalem and never looked to the right nor to the left. He knew what the Father was asking Him to do, and He set His face to do it. No questions asked.
       Paul encourages us to be "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord {our} labor is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58) I know what God my Father has asked me to do. I know the sacrifice it will take and the commitment that will be required of me to do what He has prepared for me. (Ephesians 2:10) Now, I must do my part and set my face like a flint, be determined and not allow myself to be tossed and fro by my own desires and my own will.
        So many times I have found myself wavering between my will and His will. What I want is being placed on one side of the balances and what He wants on the other side. I compare my wants with His wants and see which one might outweigh the other. I try to justify what I want to do against what He has called me to do because I have not determined to follow His will, no matter what. I know that sounds harsh, but the main reason I falter between what I want and what He wants is because I have not yet determined to follow His will. I still want to follow my own.
        I must come to that place of surrender where I lay down what I want and pick up what He wants. I must be determined to do His will, every moment of every day. I must come to a place in my heart where I no longer allow my wants to be weighed against His wants. His way is always the best way. His will is always the best will, there is no comparison. There is no excuse.
        .…"How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him…" (1 Kings 8:21) I have been limping between my will and His will for way too long. It is time to get out of the balances and set my face like a flint to do His will. If I truly desire to do His will then I will be determined to do it, no matter what. He will help me, He will lead me and He will guide me through to the end. Today, I choose to set my face like a flint and follow Him. What about you?

Father God, I pray that this day, this year, and the year to come will be a year where we as Your children stop allowing our wills to toss us to and fro. I pray that we will become determined to do Your will, no matter the cost, no matter the path that You have set before us. Oh Father, let our hearts see how greatly we need to set our faces like flint and follow hard after You. Father, I pray that 2016 will be a determined year for all of us who love You. In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.