Don’t Change the Message

“But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what my God says.””

2 Chronicles 18:13 NLT

The backstory to this verse was, Ahab and Jehoshaphat were wondering if they should go to battle. They sought the help of the prophets and every one of them said it was a great idea and that they would be victorious. Then Jehoshaphat asked if there was a prophet that they could ask who would speak on behalf of God. Ahab said there was but he didn’t like him because he never said anything that Ahab wanted to hear. So, the two kings sent a messenger to Micaiah to see if he would speak to God for them. The messenger also said that Micaiah should say good things about the battle to improve his standing with the king. The verse for today is Micaiah’s response.

Of course it is easy to say the first thing that comes to our mind, or to follow the crowd. As Christians, we are called to speak God’s truth, not what other people want to hear or what we think they should know. This is made even more difficult by a world that doesn’t often want to hear what God’s truth is. Truth has become a somewhat relative term, but it was never meant to be. Truth is supposed to come straight from the mouth of God and any other source is not true.

Today, for each and every one of us, I hope two things. First, I hope that we are listening to the right sources. Where we get our information often informs how we make our decisions. Remember, there are always at least two sides to every story and things are not always as they seem. Secondly, I hope that when we are faced with a decision between speaking the truth God has for the world or stating our opinion, that we will always, always choose truth.

Calling Us Closer

Matthew 11:28-29 NASB

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

*

This world seems to be flying at about a million miles an hour. The truth is, it’s really only moving at about 67,000 miles per hour, but that is close enough. With our phones buzzing and so many things vying for our attention at the same time, it can be difficult to find the time to focus on what is important.

When we feel overwhelmed, it is important to remember, that our relationships with God aren’t just another obligation, they are an invitation to rest. We are completely accepted and welcomed in the Presence of God. There is no need to perform or have everything together, in fact, it is easier if you just let yourself be real in your time with God.

As you spend more time with God – through prayer and reading His Word – you will come to know Him more deeply. The closer you get to God, the more comfortable you will feel being vulnerable with Him. Once you have established that feeling of safety, you will be able to truly process the things that you go through in life. Not just writing them in a journal, venting to a friend, or internalizing them, you will be able to process them and begin to heal from the various problems and trials you face in life.

God is always willing to listen, no matter the distance between you and God, He is calling you to come nearer. The only question that remains is, will you listen?

Check Your Source

1 John 5:11-12 NASB

“And the testimony is this, that God has given us etenal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

*

Jesus should be the enter life source of our lives. In John 15, Jesus clearly says that without Him we can do nothing. That is both reassuring and devastating. We so often try to strike out on our own and do things in our own strength and we usually end up failing miserably. The good news is, when we fail (not if), we can always come back to Jesus and return to the strength only He can provide.

It doesn’t really matter what your experience is, or even what you think you are good at; all that really matters is what Jesus gives you the power to do. God has called each and every one of us to do something significant. You were not created for mediocrity, you were made to be a powerhouse in the Kingdom, but you have to be willing to go outside your comfort zone.

When we operate in our comfort zones, that is when we make mistakes; but – more importantly – nothing amazing is ever accomplished because we are doing what we can do and we need God to do what only He can do. People say, “be the change you wish to see in the world”, and while I don’t disagree with that, we need to be making the changes that God calls us to make. If our efforts are based in striving and our own performance, we will be like a cartoon character with our legs flying, but no forward motion. But, if we rest in Jesus, the One who can do all things, THEN – and only then – will we begin to see the world change.

Hope Fixed on Him

1 John 3:2-3 NASB

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Isn’t it nice to know that we don’t need to have everything figured out in life? This verse is very comforting to me because, so much of the time, it can feel as if we have more questions than answers, but we still have to make important decisions. How good it is to now, that no matter what circumstances we face, God has already planned for them.

As scary as it can be, to stare down the unknown and stand your ground, we can always have the confidence that no matter what happens, God has already planned it out for us. We don’t need to know all the variables, because we know the important one. At the end of the day, we will be joining God in Heaven, worshiping and declaring his goodness.

Today, if decisions come flying at you, and you feel unprepared and stressed out, take a moment to remember what the end will be. Every step we take has already been planned by God. And in those times when we make a wrong turn, God is already re-routing you to get you back to where He wants you to be. Plus, there’s no way you could mess up His plan; you’re just not the powerful. So you can rest in knowing, that God knows what He is doing, and you’re gonna make it.

Vision Reset

Hey everyone! Man, it has been a while since I came out with a new post! But that is because I have been doing some real soul-searching and God has been teaching me some things, that I didn’t know i needed to learn. Here is the main point though, this blog, this ministry – whatever you want to call it – doesn’t belong to me. And striving to attain perfection at the perfect time and in the perfect format, is never going to work because I am never goin got acheieve full perfection in this journey, and that is completely okay. From now on, there might be a lot of shorter posts, maybe some longer ones, and they are probably going to start rolling out at some seemingly random times. Why? You might ask, because I am a student athlete who commutes to her local community college almsot everyday, and there is only so much time I can devote to writing.

So, because of my newfound knowledge and acceptance that everyone’s schedules are a little messy and that is okay, I have completely re-visioned Passionate Pursuit and from now on, it is going to look a lot more vulnerable and real, sometimes things are going to wrap up neatly and sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes I might find a verse that goes with my thoughts, and sometimes I won’t. That’s life and that’s what encourages people anyway, not the stuff where everything is always perfect. I thank you all for sticking with me in this journey, and I look forward to many exciting days ahead of us.

Return and Remember

1 Samuel‬ ‭7:12 ~ NIrV
“Then Samuel got a big stone. He set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer. He said, “The Lord has helped us every step of the way.””‬‬
 
This is one of my favorite verses! So, here’s one of the cool things about Ebenezer, for generations to come, when the Israelites would pass by that stone they would tell their children and grandchildren about the goodness and faithfulness of God. They would hand down these stories of our mighty God from generation to generation like the most priceless of heirlooms. Man, that gets me excited just thinking about it!
 
Can you imagine how cool it would have been for those kids growing up in Israel? They knew God was good because they were always seeing these monuments and reminders of how God had saved and delivered their family.
 
I think we need to do a better job of remembering and reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness. In the dark times, it is important to remember the light times so we don’t get lost in a swirl thinking that all we will ever see is darkness. A great way to do that is to start a journal. Even if you only write when things are good, you will have a much better chance of remembering them when the darkness comes.
 
The more we focus on God’s goodness, the more of it we will see. As we watch for God – even in everyday, mundane life – we will begin to see Him more and more. And the more we see Him, the more grateful to Him we will become; nothing attracts the Presence of God like thankfulness.
 
I am sending LionHearted love to all of you! You are beautiful and wonderful, shine bright friends!!
 

Rest

Psalms ‭23:2 ~ NLT
“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.”‬‬
 
I am going to be very honest with you guys, for the past couple of weeks, I have been hardcore struggling with burnout. Parts of ministry that used to fill my life with joy felt like chores and mere obligations. The problem was not the work itself, or even my attitude about it. The problem was, I wasn’t taking the time I needed to rest and I was completely exhausting myself.
 
Rest is an essential part of our lives. Even in the Bible, Jesus made sure to rest and He taught His disciples to do the same thing. In Mark 6, after the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus’ disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. I’ve always thought that was significant. After the crowds had dispersed and everyone had gone home, the disciples still had to eat.
 
Jesus is always very intentional about taking care of every need we have. In our lives, Jesus is willing and able to provide provision for us, but we have to be willing to be still enough to listen and receive.
 
Rest looks different to everyone, just because someone you know rests a certain way, that doesn’t negate the way you rest. Some people “rest” in a very literal sense, a nap may be the best thing for them. Others “rest” by doing a physical activity like going for a run or a stroll through a nature area. Personally, I rest by putting on my favorite music, closing my eyes, and letting God use the words and melodies to speak to me. The way you rest doesn’t really matter, the only thing that matters is that you make sure you are resting.
 
You might be surprised by how much change you see from a little bit of rest. Even if your schedule doesn’t allow for you to rest for hours every day, even a few minutes can change your whole outlook.
 
I’m sending LionHearted love to all of you! Keep living your life in God’s Love, you’re amazing!

Ambassadors of Jesus

Colossians‬ ‭3:23‬‬ ~ CEB
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people.”
I have a game on my phone called Good Pizza, Great Pizza. It is highly addictive and I don’t recommend getting it unless you have extreme levels of self-control because it just kinda sucks you in and keeps you there for hours! The app was recently updated and new features were installed – I know this sounds like an app review, stick with me – one of these was a google review type area where the customers of the game could rate your pizza. When they post a review, the customers also upload a picture of the pizza you made for them. Some of the negative review-earning pizzas are absolutely cringe-worthy.
As a way of getting larger tips, thus increasing the income of the entire business, I have begun looking at each pizza before serving it and asking myself “Am I okay with this pizza representing my business?” If not, I will fix the problem, or redo the entire order.
As Christians, our lives should be the ‘’google review’’ of God’s work in our lives. Our actions, our words, and even our thoughts – to some degree – should serve as a testimony to who God is and how He works. Before we do or say anything, we should take a moment to consider, am I okay with this representing my King?
We are ambassadors of His goodness on the earth. People cannot see God, but they should be able to see God in us. If people aren’t able to experience the God we serve, how are they going to want what we have?
If you are doing or saying things that are poor representations of Jesus, there are probably some changes that are in order. Here’s the good news, if we are willing to change the way we do life, we’ve already taken the first step and God will meet us in the middle.
I want to challenge all of you today, take a good look at the things you allow to fill your mind, your mouth, and *movements. If it represents Jesus well, AWESOME!! If not, find out what you need to do to adjust it, and DO IT!
*I’m super proud of myself for finding another M. I love alliteration to make my points, but sometimes it’s a STRUGGLE.

Stay Seeking

Psalm 27:8 ~ ESV
“You have said, “Seek My face.” My heart says to You, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.””
If Passionate Pursuit had a theme verse, I could see this being it. This should be the message of our hearts, the message of our lives. That we hear the voice of God telling us to seek Him and pursue Him, and our hearts respond with a definitive, wholehearted yes. That’s all God wants, He wants us to say yes. He doesn’t want us to be perfect, that would be an impossible expectation. God sent Jesus to be perfect so we don’t have to anymore. It isn’t about perfection, it’s about desire. My dad says, “Your desire to please Him, pleases Him.” It’s that simple. Are you trying to please God? Then you are winning! You don’t have to impress Him! That’s never been the goal.
 
God isn’t impressed by our striving. He isn’t impressed when we exhaust ourselves trying to prove ourselves worthy of His love. He chose you! That makes you worthy! You don’t have to earn it or impress Him. As long as you are saying “yes”, as long as you are seeking Him with your whole heart, it doesn’t matter if it is ”perfect”. We can’t bridge the gap between heaven and earth by ourselves, we could never get there. But when God sees His kids reaching out to Him, He reaches right back and life as we know it is never the same because one person decided to seek Him with everything.
 
Life isn’t about becoming perfect, it’s about becoming more like God. It’s about, little by little, stepping out of our comfort zones. To live for the extraordinary rather than settling for mediocrity. It’s about chasing God with everything you have, no matter what it looks like. You don’t have to wait to have all your ducks in a row to chase after God. I don’t have my ducks in a row, (I may even have lost some around here somewhere) but I’m still chasing God. There is going to be a point when you have to decide that you want a relationship over a religion. If you are living in religion, you’ll never feel ready, and you won’t be. But if you choose a real relationship with Jesus, the living God who desperately wants to love you, you’ll never wish for anything else. I will warn you though, following Jesus will completely ruin you for the ordinary. You’ll want to see God show up and do awesome things in everyday life. It may get to the point that you expect God to show up in normal circumstances, and the cool thing is, He will. When you seek after God like He seeks you, awesome things start to happen, so you’d better be ready.

Placed with Princes

1 Samuel 2:8 ~ NKJV
“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and makes them inherit the throne of glory.”
 
What a great God we serve! This is the message of the gospel. This is why in the midst of any circumstances we can have hope and peace. If it weren’t for Jesus, who knows where any of us would be, but by the grace of God we aren’t living that way anymore. We serve a God who is big into redemption and restoration. When we give our lives over to Jesus and say yes to His plan, He brings us out of the mud we had chosen to stay in and brings us into his Kingdom. We get to spend eternity with Jesus because He chose to love us when we were at our most unlovable.
 
There is nothing too dirty or too broken for God to redeem it. At some point in your life, you have probably done things that you now wish you hadn’t. Good news! So has everybody else – ever. The question isn’t whether you made mistakes because you have – it’s part of life – the question is whether you allow God to use those mistakes. Are you going to let God use your story to bring you and everyone around you closer to Him or are you going to let it separate you? No matter what you’ve done or where you have been, God can redeem and restore everything to the way He meant you to be. If you let Him, God will use everything you’ve experienced for His glory.
 
As we grow closer to God and become more like Him, we can begin to see how our stories all combine to tell God’s story. One of the best feelings in the world is knowing that God has set you completely free from your past. All the shame and guilt and condemnation that you had to carry with you is gone. Through Jesus, you are no longer a beggar, you aren’t an orphan. You are a chosen son or daughter of the King of kings. You have value to the Kingdom. Nothing you ever have done or ever could do could make God change His mind about you.
 
Today I am praying for every single one of you that you would experience God’s love in a real way. As you go through your day, that you would encounter God the way you have never encountered Him before in your lifetime. I am praying that today would be a landmark in your journey. That you would realize today how much you mean to the King of Heaven and how great His love for you is. You don’t have to earn it or try to impress Him. You just have to let Him love you. If you will do that, God will do amazing things through your life.