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

So Walk in Him pt. 2

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7

“So walk in Him,”

Every day. One step at a time. Sometimes I want to run ahead. Funny how every time I do that, things don’t work out very well. They fall flat. Plans that seemed so good, even plans I thought God had blessed, aren’t turning out well.

You know why? Because I rushed His timing. He could have done something to slow me down… and one time, I know I missed His urging. I was too busy worrying about not getting another job offer, so I took the first one I got. Even though in my spirit, I felt it wasn’t right for me.

“Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith,”

Where are your roots? Is there some person or some place you always go to when you need some help or advice? It takes a lot of practice to go to the Lord first, but I guarantee it is always worthwhile. Maybe you won’t notice things changing right away, but eventually the situation will, or you will.

You live and learn. And if you aren’t learning, stop to think why that is. Don’t miss the faith growing opportunities God is giving you. Don’t waste those really hard trials; use them to gain wisdom on how to live in the future.

We become established in the faith by coming through the fire. By being refined by what the Lord is doing in our lives. It may burn some; I know the fires I have had to face in my walk with Christ have left me wondering why the pain, why me? Because He loves us and wants our faith in Him to be strengthened. Don’t give up hope! God is for us, not against us.

Love in Christ,

Ariel

 

Time to Trust

Trust.

Commit

Sometimes it feels like I’ve got it down.

It becomes second nature… until things get turned upside down. You get pulled in a million different directions, and everyone and everything is top priority. It’s nice to feel wanted, and you wish that warm feeling would stay.

But it gets pushed out by the demands. Time squeezes you tighter, and breathing gets harder.

But you know it won’t always be so hard. You look back and see times in your life that weren’t this hectic.

I think that’s why God lets us have seasons when He sends us just a few smaller things to trust Him with. So we can learn to walk in faith, one step at a time. He is training us to be able to take the leap of faith He knows is coming down the road.

Being able to commit your life to someone requires incredible amounts of trust. You have to trust that the other person will love you and care for you for a lifetime. When they love and serve the Lord with their whole heart, this is possible. Not only is it possible, I’ve seen it happen.

I’ve seen this love and trust in the marriage of my parents, fiance’s parents, and grandparents. Through mentors, Sunday school leaders, and pastors. Because Christ is in them; and they are seeking the Lord daily. Their bond is deeper because their love is drawn from the Lord; and poured into their spouse.

Christ is selfless, understanding, and encouraging. He also gives reality checks can remove us from our stupor of self-focus. He cares for us so deeply, so unconditionally.

And that is what He calls us to do for our spouse.

I will be getting married soon, and I am so excited for that day! Joe is a man that truly loves the Lord and serves Him with his life; and I am honored to become his wife. The thing that first attracted me to him is the Jesus I see in him; and I know that love and attraction will only continue to grow. I love everything about him, and look forward to a lifetime of adventures with him!

In Christ,

Ariel

P.S. Thanks for being such an encouragement Joe! Life with you is a grand adventure 🙂

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

Who Are You?

"Just be yourself. Let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, quirky, weird, beautiful, magical person that you are."

Who are you, deep down?

Are you the person you had always hoped you’d be?

Why or why not?

I have always been one to support authenticity. You, being you. I don’t get hung up on what other people think of me.

But that wasn’t always the case.

I’m a recovering people pleaser. I still love to bring a smile to a person’s face, and do all I can to make their day brighter. But my goal in life isn’t to win the affection or attention of others.

My goal is to please and bring glory to God, every day. I used to think this was really hard to do. After all, how do you please the One who is holy and fully righteous?

You please Him by using the gifts and abilities He has given you to show His love to people. You please Him when you go out of your way to help someone. Spend time with Him in prayer and quietness. Realize that he delights in you!

“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Do you believe that God loves to rejoice over you? That you are His beloved child?
The opinions of others will never change the fact that God. Loves. You. You don’t have to live your life trying to gain approval from the world. If you are seeking the Lord and His will in your life, I can assure you that you will see His love and peace fill your heart and soul.
Are you ready for that?
In Christ,
Ariel

When Plans Go Awry

We plan, we muse, we decide. We think we know exactly what will happen, because we were so meticulous and disciplined in our efforts to plan the ideal day.

But at the end of the day, it’s not up to you.

It’s not up to you at the beginning of the day either.

I struggle with this, but you know what? I’ve gotten so much better.

Because when my plans go awry, I know God’s plan must be better.  He knew He had to derail my plan, so that I would follow His. It’s not that I’m always stubbornly walking in a different direction, but rather I don’t always see that my way is not compatible with His.

And then there are times when you realize the evil one has tripped you up… making it hard to find the narrow road again.

Plans change, but God does not. I want that fact to reassure you, not scare you. We can fully trust God because He is unchanging, and promises to work things together for the good of those who love Him.

Now, my daily hope is that God will guide me in the plan that He has for me. I want to be so close to His heart, that my first reaction is to be kind, loving, and understanding when things turn upside down.

Don’t fall into the pit of complaining and negativity when your plans fall apart. Once you get down there, it may be hard to dig yourself out. I’d like to challenge you to see it as an opportunity; to follow a new path, meet new people, and show God’s love to those you may not have even seen today, if it weren’t for Him taking the wheel.

Every time I surrender, and remember that God’s got this, I am filled with peace.


No matter where I am. No matter who I am with. No matter how many plans fall to the wayside. When my focus is on glorifying God with my life, He will turn my topsy turvy life right side up… and fill my heart with joy.

 

Praying you realize God’s plans for you are good, and that He will give you everything you need to press on.

In Christ,

Ariel

The Beauty of the Past

I just spent an amazing weekend helping my Upon the Rock Camp family put on a fundraising banquet. I have been a part of this camp since I was a camper. This is my 16th summer knowing and loving this family and the camp they have been building.

It reminded me how much I miss them, and wish that camp wasn’t such a long drive away.

You know what touched me the most about my visit? The fact that the girls, 15 and 14, remembered a lot of fun things we had done together, at camp and when I lived with them as a camp intern, really made my heart happy.

We reminisced about crazy camp stories, campers that tested our patience, and how we all felt like family.

They even named an action after me… called the sassy Ariel; using your index finger to show just how opinionated or serious you are about the matter at hand, and is also a friendly warning not to mess with the person speaking. 😉

We laughed and laughed, but eventually it was time for me to go. As I drove away early Sunday morning, I had tears in my eyes. I miss them, and wish the visit had been longer.

Even the sunrise seemed to bid me farewell:

20150426_060522

I want to ask you to remind someone about a great memory you have of them. It can be from years ago, or more recently. The fact that you remembered them will touch their heart in ways you can’t imagine. Go brighten someone’s day by showing you value and enjoy them!

heartAriel

Do You Trust Me?

TrustLet’s Call it a Theme

I don’t have New Year’s resolutions this year, because I know they tend to end up being unrealistic and unfinished. Instead, I came up with a theme for this year. In hindsight, I was probably asking for some challenges…

Trust and Love. Trusting God through all the ups and downs. Through the health problems, work challenges, and friendship struggles. Learning to love through these trials isn’t easy, especially when a person is the cause of the problem.

Often, God is working on my attitude towards the problem. If I fall into self-pity, it’s a lot harder to dig my way out than if I bring the anxious thoughts to God right away. He calms my fears and replaces them with peace.

Time to Practice What I Preach

As some of you know, I am a fresh out of training flight attendant! I recently went on 8 test flights. At one point, there were way too many things to keep track of, and I was falling behind because of my inexperience. I looked at my instructor, informing her that one part of the process wouldn’t get done. She frowned at me, let me suffer through most of it, then came to my aide.

I almost panicked. How could I keep up with the demands? It was then that God told me this wasn’t the end. He had been faithful all the way through training, and even through healing my feet so I could stand for my long shifts. He reassured me that He was still with me, and gave me peace.

The rest of the flight I was a little shaky; and I knew I was off of my game. But God wasn’t done encouraging me. My first class passengers were great, one even smiled at me every time I walked by. After making it through announcements, beverage service, and landing, all the passengers deplaned. As they left, they told me I did a great job, and to keep up the good work! Those were the kind words I needed so I could finish the rest of my flights with more confidence.

You see, God knew what I needed. And once I trusted Him to work in and through me, the obstacles seemed smaller. All obstacles are small compared to the greatness of the God I serve!

Are you trusting God for today? Do you trust Him to take care of tomorrow? If you do, that is all you’ll ever need.

Follow Through

Why don’t many good people follow through on what they say they will do?

I’m talking about the basics. Your friend tells you she/he would like to have dinner or coffee with you. You set a time, and are happy that you shall see your friend again. The time comes for coffee, and they bail on you. As if they had never suggested it in the first place.

It’s disappointing, isn’t it? It seems as if your time and expectations mean little to nothing. You had set aside time for them, and are hurt that they don’t respect your time. It especially hurts when your main love language is quality time*.

I’m not saying all your friends do this to you. I certainly have a few steady friends that I can count on, and their friendship is priceless.

When your friends let you down, don’t let it ruin your day (or week). We all have different characteristics, and once you know someone well, you will be able to appreciate them for who they are, quirks and all! Friendship takes two people who work on it, so if it is always one sided, that’s a different issue.

It makes me remember the one who never lets me down… God. Does He always work in the way I hope or expect? No. But He never leaves me to figure things out on my own. His love never fails. He continues to guide me, moment by moment, through His word and the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:38-39

“38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

*Don’t know your love languages? Check out the fun, free online short survey at: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/  I really enjoyed taking the survey, and it helps if your family and friends take it too. Then you know how they receive and show love.

The Heart of a Dreamer

To Live

We are the warriors, ready to slay the dragon.

We dream of a world with more laughter and less pain.

We see more than meets the eye.

We are the Dreamers.

As a dreamer, we believe we can accomplish anything we set our minds too. And sometimes, we don’t understand when others give up easily.

Big Dreams, Big Risks

Do they not know that the biggest dreams require the biggest risks? That seeing something come to life takes a lot of sweat and tears?

Have you given up? Maybe you dreamed, and the dream came up empty. You tried, and everything fell apart… or you were too afraid to try. Did someone, somewhere, tell you that you couldn’t do it? That you’d never be good enough, smart enough, or good-looking enough to reach your dream? Please stop believing those lies.

Take a moment to soak this in: God isn’t done with you. He still has dreams and plans for your life.

Deep down, you know it’s true.

You let the dream go, thinking it could never be. But is that hope I see? That little seed of your dream has just been dormant. Now that it is seeing light, it wants to grow. Will you water it? Some days it may seem to just sit there, not growing or changing. But don’t let it wither away. Work at it, fertilize it, and give it sunlight.

Even More Beautiful

When the time is right, God will bring about a more beautiful bloom than you imagined. Actually, it will be quite different than what you thought the seed would produce. But isn’t that what makes it even more beautiful? The fact that you can tell it was not of your own doing, but Christ at work in and through you, bringing your dream into being?

Guess what?! You are not limited to one dream. On the contrary, you shall have many dreams. Not all of them will be your job to see through from start to finish. You will need people to join you in making your dream happen, people who believe in you, and people to make you think outside the box. Then they may take on your dream as their own, and God calls you elsewhere.

Keep Dreaming!

Either way, keep dreaming, keep fighting, and keep believing. The adventure with Christ is a lifelong one… and someday I truly desire to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” from the One who loved me and held my hand every day of the journey.

Are you excited for an awfully big adventure?

 

Inspiration for this blog is from:

You’re Made for a God-sized Dream, by Holley Gerth