Desires of the Heart

Hi Friends!

Please join me on my new website, http://www.desiresoftheheart.com! I will be posting about faith, homemaking, and encouraging words. I hope you’ll sign up for updates, because I’d love to stay in contact with you all.

Thanks for reading and growing in faith with me! I will be devoting my time to building and maintaining my new website. I hope you enjoy it! Please email me or leave comments on topics you’d like to read and learn more about.

Romans 15:13 ESV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Love in Christ,

Ariel

http://www.desiresoftheheart.com

In the Morning

Sometimes the day fades, and so does your confidence. You’ve been facing trials left and right, and nothing seems to change.

I have had a few challenging weeks lately. Bad news, my nephew being sick, stress at work, and now I have a cold. Life seems to kick you when you’re down.

But there is always the morning. Every day I open my eyes, I realize that God still has a plan for me. He has given me another day to make a difference. He is making a beautiful tapestry out of the story of my life. Every day and every person matters.

Psalm 143:8:

Every sunrise is a reminder that God loves us, and that His mercies are new. He hasn’t forgotten about you, dear heart. I want you to know that the One true God that you entrust your life with, loves you unfailingly and unconditionally.

When we diligently seek Him and prayer and read His word, He opens the way before us. Psalm 119:105 says,”Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” He will show us the way we should go, as we wait in trust and hope.

He may not reveal as much of the path as we wish He would. But He gives us one step at a time-and gives us the courage to keep going even when met with changes and obstacles. Without the strength of the Lord, I would have given up so many times. You know what’s amazing? He believes in me; that with the Holy Spirit I am going to accomplish much for the His glory. All my sins and mishaps are forgiven, and will not keep Him from working through me to reach others for His kingdom.

I hope tomorrow morning brings new hope and joy for you! Remember His unfailing love for you, and praise Him.

Love in Christ,

Ariel

 

Picture courtesy of Pinterest

 

 

Pursuing God, Part 2

Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897 –1963) was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. 44 years of ministry, associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), a Protestant Evangelical denomination. Among the more than 60 books that bear his name, at least two are regarded as Christian classics: The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. His books impress on the reader the possibility and necessity for a deeper relationship with God.:

Have you ever noticed that a lot of emphasis is placed upon the acceptance of Christ?

And that no one expects us to “crave any further revelation of God to our souls.” (Tozer)There’s this thought that if we have found Him, we no longer need to seek Him.

That is so far from the truth, yet why is it so acceptable? Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth, as Tozer would say.  Apathetic Christians aren’t going out proclaiming the gospel. They aren’t digging into God’s word, wanting to learn more about Him. They enjoy His gift of love, but don’t want to repent of our sins.

“In the midst of this great chill there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic.” (Tozer)

How would your life change if you decided to seek God with your whole heart? Would you be reading the Bible more, going to church, and praying more?

God first loved us; before we tried to get our act together. He knows the messes we’ve made, the sins we’ve committed. But He is waiting with open arms to deliver us, to wash us white as snow. He wants to give us deep joy and peace.

We should encourage a mighty longing after God. To break free from our stiff religious lives and be refreshed by God’s Spirit and truth. “We must strip down to the essentials. We must put away all effort to impress, and come with the guileless candor of childhood. If we do this, without doubt God will quickly respond.” (Tozer)

So what do you say? Let’s come to the Lord in humbleness, ready to learn from Him and be filled by His love and mercy. The person who has the Lord for His treasure, has all things in One… we shall never need another.

Thanks for reading! That concludes this study on chapter one of “The Pursuit of God”, by A.W. Tozer. I will continue to blog about this amazing book as the Spirit leads.

Have a blessed day!

Ariel D.

Tozer quote picture found on Pinterest

 

 

Pursuing God, Part 1

“We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.” A.W. Tozer

The Lord draws us. Have you felt Him drawing you in? We still have a decision to make; will we pursue God, or stubbornly turn away? He accepts us and wants us, no matter our past.

The amazing part is, even the moment we decide to follow God, we are already held in His hand. He is already guiding us.

Psalm 42:1-2

“1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?”

“This is deep calling unto deep, and the longing heart will understand it.” A.W. Tozer

When was the last time you felt this way about the Lord? That your soul felt so dry and parched, that all you could think about was going to the Lord and being refreshed by Him? Some days I do long to be with Him, to not only be refreshed but to rejoice in His presence.

Did you know you can receive Christ, without a special love for Him being created in you? You can be saved after giving your life to Him, but still not be thirsty after God. We have been told that it’s okay, now you have your fire insurance and can go back to business as usual.

But where is the fire, the passion of being a Christ follower? Some days the fire may be puttering out, your spirit is dry and needs to be fed from the fountain of life. We do this by praying and seeking the Lord humbly. Read His word, get to know Him and the plans He has for you. When you are willing and ready to obey, His blessings become more obvious, and your passion for Him grows as you see His promises fulfilled in your life.

Sometimes we are so distracted by the miracles and wonders of God’s word, that we forget how personal and real He is. Personalities recognize other personalities in our daily lives. We need to get to know God, the Person.

John 17:3 (NIV)

“3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

“God is a Person, and in the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires, and suffers as any other person may.” He wants to make Himself known to us by His personality. He communicates to us through our minds, emotions, and wills. The exchange of love and thought between God and the souls of redeemed men and women help us know Him and serve Him wholeheartedly.

Check back next week for the continuation of this study on the book: The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer!It's a bit wordy, but overall a great book. :

This blog post was inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer, and the quotes are taken directly from his book: The Pursuit of God, chapter 1.

Bible quotes were found on: Biblegateway.com

Book picture found at: Pinterest

Sink or Swim

Sometimes the most exciting time of your life is the busiest time of your life.

Getting a new job, falling in love, planning a wedding, maintaining relationships, and figuring out what married life will be like with your new spouse can get your mind bogged down.

But you wouldn’t trade it for anything. Because when you stop to take a breath, your heart fills up with praise to the Lord. You know your circumstances would not be the same if it weren’t for God working in your life.

Yes, this may be a time in your life when you are stressed. When your temper gets short, and things seem to fall apart.

But this is also the time when you have to seek the Lord more. Because the more you have going on, the more you need Him. You need His grace, His love, and His peace. These aren’t things you will gain from your busyness. These are the refreshing things you have when you are still, pray, and read the Word.

I encourage you not to wait until you are sinking to start to swim. It may be swimming against the stream, figuring out how to make time for God. My heart only has peace when it rests in Him. So it’s up to you; to swim hard and fast after the Lord, or sink under life’s demands. I pray God gives you the courage and energy you need to follow Him, no matter what.

Love in Christ,

Ariel

Choose to Give Hope

Do you have hope? Hope that the trials and pain you are dealing with will end someday? Did you grow up in a home where you were told you would never amount to anything?

My heart aches for children who are robbed of their childhoods. It could be from abuse, neglect, child labor, trafficking, having to raise their siblings, or poverty. These children have no hope. If no one believes in them, they don’t even know that life can be better. They begin to believe they deserve to be poor, or to be hurt.

Compassion International is a Christian child sponsorship organization.  I happily volunteer to represent them and their mission to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. I sponsor Balachandar, a boy in India. I’ve been sponsoring him for 5 years. Through my sponsorship, he has education, healthcare, food and clean water… and the opportunity to know Jesus Christ! With that he has hope that lasts. I write to him every month, and when I receive a letter from him, I’m just like a kid on Christmas!

He calls me sister, and I’m very proud of my Indian brother. He is smart, studies hard, loves vacation Bible school, and dreams of a bright future. You can be a dream giver, the one to change a child’s life forever!

I’m praying that God will lead the right people to sponsor Krishnapal in India, and Cristofer in Honduras. These sweet little boys have been entrusted to me to find sponsors for them. I am in no way obligated or paid by Compassion to do so. I am passionate about loving children and giving them hope. Want to join me on the adventure of sponsorship?

You will change their lives… but no one ever tells you how they change yours! You care for and cherish a child halfway across the world, and you’ve never even met them. To know that they need you, love you, and even pray for YOU, is incomparable. It just makes my heart melt.

You may not be able to change the whole world… but you can change the whole world for a child in poverty.

Send me a message if you want to learn more about Compassion and their amazing ministry! Regular blog posts will resume next week.

In Christ,

Ariel

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

The American Dream

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson

That is the American dream, is it not? To have a meaningful life, to be free from oppression, and work hard to achieve happiness (whatever someone’s definition of that may be) can seem impossible. People may work their whole lives, believing that one day, they will have it all. The family, the house, the dream car. I would like to say that those things are good, but there is so much more to this life… something that will not fade.

Treasures

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

How do we store up treasures in heaven? By obeying Christ. He calls us to love God above all, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This means we are willing to serve them, share the hope that we have, and love them with words and actions.

The Lost

There are so many lost people out there. Maybe you are one of them. You may be living to please yourself, or pursuing wealth, or unwilling to face the sins you’ve committed. We’ve all sinned, and that separates us from God. Whether you admit it or not, we all need God. He is the great creator. He made the earth we live in, and you and I. He loves us more than we can imagine. What He asks is that we put our faith in Him, and believe that His son Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins, and rose from the dead… so that we may have eternal life with Him in heaven.

Purpose

As a servant of Christ, I live to honor Him. I share my eternal hope with the people I meet, build friendships with, and work with. One day all the money I worked for will be gone, or may go to someone else. The business I want to start may not be successful. But since my treasure is in heaven, everything will turn out wonderfully in the end! For at the end of my life here, I know the best is yet to come.

Thank you for reading this post! I am praying for everyone that reads this, that God may reveal Himself to you in a new way, that you will know the grace and peace He gives, and that your life will be changed for the better. Let me know if I can pray for you, point you to scripture, or listen to your story!

In Christ,

Ariel

Thomas Jefferson Quote http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/thomasjeff157212.html

Matthew 6:19-21 http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/6.htm 

Stopped in My Tracks

Unstoppable.

Invincible.

Determination.

We have a goal so we keep our nose to the grindstone. We persevere, knowing that our efforts will eventually pay off.

All of a sudden, things come crashing down. The deal that we planned on, the friend that wasn’t there when you needed them most, plans that held hope come up dry, and your own health seems to be against you.

You tried so hard. If the goal could have been attained by sheer determination, you wouldn’t be facing this failure.

But I think that’s the point.

I was pressing on toward the goal of being in the best shape of my life. I love the outdoors, and poured that passion into cycling to work. On my way back one day, I took a drink of water, and before I knew it I was flying…over my handlebars. Face meets concrete. Shock sets in. Pain and confusion are foremost on my mind. I unpin myself from my bike, and retrieve my beat up water bottle. I hobble off the path, and sit on a rock. I called in my awesome hero of a dad.

People stopped to help me, and I waved them on, explaining my help was coming. I was so grateful they cared.

I did a self assessment, and was amazed and grateful that nothing was broken. My knee swelled, as did my face. I knew this would set me back on my workout routine, and I was frustrated. I tried so hard! Why do crazy things always happen to me?

That’s Life

It is crazy, unpredictable, and unique to each person. Through my crash, God taught me that I am stoppable, quite human, and that being fast probably shouldn’t be my goal… 😉 He told me to slow down, and look around. Sometimes I’m so stubborn that He literally stops me in my tracks. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. It is always an eye-opening experience, though I don’t really like the pain it causes.

You will never get to live this day again! It is a uniquely beautiful gift from God to you. Being stopped in my tracks made me return my focus to Christ, and not worry so much about my future plans… for I know they are tentative, for God is the ultimate planner and giver of dreams.

So… I’m holding on tight to His hand as He trains me to follow Him: wholeheartedly, everyday.

“I’ve always found that anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way and you’ve got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish.”

Chuck Norris

Bloom and Grow

Abe Lincoln 2

Stop and Smell the Roses

Flowers are lovely. They cheer me up just by looking at them… and let’s be real, I always stop to smell the roses. It reminds me of my Creator, and that He cares about me (us) more than the rose I just had the pleasure of beholding.

Think about rose bushes in the spring. They begin to green up, and the thorns grow bigger. Then slowly, buds form… and one glorious day they bloom! Not all at once, but in stages.

Roses are hardy. And so are we.

Just as roses bloom and grow, the challenges in our life either weigh us down, or force us upward. Resentment, confusion, and sin can stunt our growth and limit our perspective. That is when God gets out His pruning shears. Sometimes I cringe knowing that pain and ugliness will be revealed. But when I remember that pruning brings me closer to God, and allows me to bloom, I rejoice in it.

“Pruning is about more than just looks; proper pruning improves the health of your rose bush (your life), prevents disease and encourages better flowering.” http://www.heirloomroses.com/care/pruning/

Dry Spell

You may be in a drought; you aren’t catching a break, you are unhappy, and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel… But I hope that you will allow God to change your perspective to see beauty all around you, such as the smile of a loved one, a beautiful sunset, and an encouraging word. The unpleasant may still be there, but that’s when we remember that even flowers have to grow through dirt.

flower through dirt

 

Why Me?

Age Old Question

We have all asked the question “Why me?”. Why did a loved one have to die, why do we struggle with our health, why is our job so hard… the list goes on.

I had a “Why me?” moment the other day. I realized it doesn’t really matter what the issue was, the actual problem was that I was frustrated that God would continue to allow some things to happen in my life, things I am so tired of. It just didn’t seem fair.

Where did our definition of “fair” come from? From comparing our lives to others we deem more ideal? Maybe we think we deserve better…

If Life Were Fair…

If life were fair, I wouldn’t be here.  Fair would be me paying for my own sins; I would deserve the suffering I’m feeling. Our loving God did not settle for being “fair” as far as we are concerned. God decided to show the ultimate love toward us, by sending His very son to die for our sins. And then His Son conquered death and sin by rising from the grave! Now, if we put our faith in Jesus as our Savior, our souls get to live forever with Him when our bodies pass away.

Even Jesus had a “Why me?” moment:

“He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Now that is a real reason to ask,”Why me?”, but Jesus decided that God’s will was more important than His… so Jesus willingly laid down His life, so that we may gain ours. He trusted that God was in control, that everything that would happen would bring glory to God, and that His sacrifice would pave the way for us sinners to be reconciled to our God.

Hope for the Future

I will praise God, for He has been so gracious to me! He has given me the gift of eternal life through His Son, love that never fails, and purpose. Will my current trial be resolved? I hope so. But either way, I am trusting God to give me the perseverance, joy, and hope I need to be an over-comer… and to live my life for His glory.