The Pursuit... When you think of those words, what comes to your mind? The pursuit of happiness? The pursuit of money? Dating? A car chase?
We are pursuing so many things in life... and there are things pursuing us as well, right?
I'm just going to be open and honest with you. I have pursued WAY too many things that I shouldn't have. I have spent way too much money, too much time and too much energy on things that were a complete waste of all of that! This world makes us hungry for it ALL. We want to have it all, be it all... but what is it that we gain from all that?
This week has been a strange one. (again, real world here... )
Dealing with Rebecca's pain levels and energy levels as she returned to school hasn't been easy. Watching people you love and are praying for make decision after decision opposite of what they should be doing is heartbreaking. We have also been going through the house and getting everything we don't want anymore ready for a garage sale. Boy I tell you, does that make you see the junk you've wasted so much money & time on or what? It's a shame. And getting ready for a wedding and company coming in less then two months...
As I'm writing this I am flabbergasted (yes, that is still a word I use) that everything going on this week has a purpose, a reason why they are all happening at the same time. All the thoughts in my head have a direction. It's crazy to me to think that at the same time and space that I am going through/ doing these outward "things", the inner "me" is working on/figuring out the connection to all of it.
You see if you've read my blog post below you will know that I have been reading a devotional called "The Pursuit" and it's from a bible app called You Version. It's my favorite app on my iPhone! (and by the way...those who don't have an iPhone can still get all the same bible plans at Bible.com ... that's for my friend who is the last one holding out on getting a smart phone ;)
I've read a lot of devotionals on that app but one of the latest called "The Pursuit" really got to me. It brought new light on something and I wanted to share it with you. You see I know as a Believer and follower of Christ we are to study His Word. To be in His Word. To pray. To live out His word. Those are all things I know I should be doing... and I DO want to do them! But do I put them on my "to do list" and then check them off like a good little christian? If I'm truthful here, have I been doing my devotional, going to church, doing all those Christian "to do's" and then calling it good? Because there are so many other things I have to do too... I have a family, I have to do laundry, get the groceries, help the kids... and the list goes on and on.
What am I spending most of my time on?
What AM I pursuing?
Well, guess what? No matter what I am pursuing... there is Someone pursuing me! Pursuing YOU too. And it's the Lord God almighty! Here is an excerpt from the devotional that I want you to read:
The most exciting revelation you can have as you begin your pursuit of God is that you’re not the one who began this pursuit at all. God started it. He pursued us first! In fact, God is continually pursuing you! This truth is evident throughout the entire Bible. It’s most clearly seen in the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus shows us that God wanted to pursue a relationship with us so much that He was willing to enter the world He created and live among us as a human so we could know His heart and see His great rescue plan for us. God sees exactly where you are and what you’re doing, and He still loves you. He is persistently and patiently pursuing and inviting you to join Him.
We’ve had a couple of big weddings in our family recently, and weddings are so wonderful! But what about proposals? Few things in life are as thrilling as a proposal—the romantic offer to take the hand of another and intertwine your lives together, two becoming one. That’s exactly how the Bible describes Christ’s pursuit of us—like a groom eager to be betrothed to His bride. This is God’s heart toward you, a relentless love, offering all of Himself to you. Yes, God is pursuing you!
Now you have a decision to make: Will you choose to pursue Him? Before you answer, consider the cost of saying, “Yes!”
In a proposal, the ring offered may be a free gift to you, but your groom paid a high price for it. What will it cost you? Your whole life in return! When you accept His proposal and wear that ring, you’re committing to belong to your groom forever and pursue Him in return.
When we follow Him, we begin to see Him for who He truly is, and we learn who He has created us to be. Will you accept His proposal to follow Him, or will you tell Him to go away? Are you willing to leave everything to pursue Christ?
I'm not sure who is the author of this devotional on YouVersion, but that's GOOD. I started looking up more bible verses on this and the one that touched me the most was in Psalm 23 and what inspired me to do the bible journaling page above. In some translations (not in the ESV bible above though) of Psalm 23, verse 6 reads:
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
Don't you just LOVE that? He loved us first, and he wants to have a relationship with us first. Us. The messed up, no time for this, pursuing everything but Him, got no time for this... Us.
Rest in that my friends, because that is life changing.
And guess what? That makes me want to PURSUE Him even more! It makes me think all these stupid things I waste my time and money on are NONSENSE! Because He is good. He is constant and He is faithful. Whatever else I am "pursuing" or spending my time on probably isn't all those things... Well I know they aren't.
So as I was reading this devotional it also inspired me to do three new bible journaling pages:
God's purposes will never change. I can change my mind every 10 minutes... but God is constant and sure and His purposes will lead me to good.
Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand."
God's character will never change. He is good. Me... not so much. I may be good some times or do something nice here and there... but He is consistent. He is faithful and good.
Psalm 100:5 "For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations."
God's promises will never change! He ALWAYS keeps His promises. Can I get an AMEN for that? This is one I am so thankful for. I struggle with this because as a mom I have a hard time keeping "promises" to my girls. In fact so much so that I don't say those words "I promise" ... I usually say "We'll see..." In fact that is such a statement I make that it's now a joke in our house. But still, even the littlest will tell me "but MOM, you promised...." Ugh. It's an area I need help in for sure!
Numbers 23:19 "God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that he should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?"
I am so thankful for these truths. They give me hope and strength and a PASSION that makes me want to learn more about Him! So how do I do that? In the busy day to day, in the competing attention for my time... How do I pursue a relationship with the Lord?
I am not perfect and by no means have the answers... but what I have found in my own life in drawing closer to the Lord, it has been through a few things:
1. Worship - worship music is big for me b/c it goes straight to my heart and emotions. It touches me where not many other things go. It has brought me closer to the Lord in the last few years as I made a decision to listen to mostly only this kind of music. It's on around the house, in my car and when I go to church. It's on when I'm in my art room bible journaling and it's a big part of my life. Who are we listening to? Who are we worshiping on a daily basis? I'd rather worship and serve the Creator.
2. Prayer - This is another one that has taken a while for me to "get" and I hate to admit that. But growing up it was a bedtime, mealtime thing. Not an all day communication with the Lord God who created me! I tell you this IS the most important thing to "get" and it will change your life when you do. It is our channel into what the Lord is trying to show us and I am in AWE of how He uses prayer. There is power there and His promises are there in His word that we need to pray over! I am SO thankful for people like Priscilla Shirer (who wrote Fervent) and Mark Batterson (who wrote all the Circle Maker books) for opening my eyes to the power and importance of prayer. I am praying BIG prayers over many people and many issues and I can tell you that I am 100% SURE that He is going to answer them in BIG ways as well! Thank you Jesus!
3. Bible Journaling - Thank you Lord and thank you Shanna Noel for posting your simple little painted bible page on Pinterest a few years ago... It opened a whole new world to so many people. (I can't help but sing Disney's "A whole new world" as I write this, lol) But it has allowed my creative side to join with my visual side INSIDE the most important book and part of my life, my relationship with Jesus Christ! I know that has drawn me closer to the Lord and brought me deeper in my faith and helped me to pursue what the Lord is wanting me to pursue...
Time with Him.
His will for my life.
And that is what I want for all of you as well...
But I will tell you it comes with a disclaimer though:
There is a BATTLE going on for your time and your heart. The enemy wants to take your time so your prayers are weak and your passion is neutralized. I want to talk more about that next week because we need to be aware of what we are fighting and what we can do about it. (A hint for next week though... God's promises are what we can count on for this battle!)
But like I asked in the beginning of this post... What do we gain from all of this?
Well, a life with "stuff" is fine. It fulfills us for a time. I like stuff, don't get me wrong. But I can tell you from experience... (and as I sell this "stuff" at a garage sale tomorrow for 50cents...) it doesn't fulfill any deep longings in our heart because only the Lord can do that. And when we follow THAT passion, that pursuit... we GAIN everything!
Luke 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Ezek. 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
I pray those verses will bless you and move you to seek after the Lord and His plan for your life.
Have a GREAT weekend everyone!!
OH, WAIT... I HAVE A GIVEAWAY!!! I can't forget to post the GIVEAWAY!!!
If you leave a comment on this post you will be entered to WIN one of 3 Giveaways! You can choose from one of the Shanna Noel's Class kits from our Art & Faith Creative Retreat in Italy, or my Traveler's Notebook Class Kit from the same event, OR a new journaling bible!!
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LEAVE A COMMENT ON HERE! Let's see... why don't you leave a comment on what you have found that helps you to focus on the Lord and draw closer to Him in your own walk with Him. I think that might bless all of us to hear others share their journey as well.
I will pick THREE winners next Friday!
(And if you are person who won the last GIVEAWAY, I still haven't heard from you, so please let me know your address so I can send you your gift...)
Hugs to all,