Monday, October 14, 2013

You Have Not Because You've Asked Not

If your children ask for a fish, which of you would give them a snake instead? 
Or, if your children ask for an egg, would you give them a scorpion? 
Even though you are bad, you know how to give good things to your children. 
How much more your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! 
Luke 11:11-13

A father takes care of his children. A father loves his children. Let me be the first to say God is a good Father; if fact, he's an amazing Father! He sees us, hear us, and knows us. He longed to be so close to us he even sent Christ to die on a cross that sin would no longer separate us from him. In Luke 11, we are the children that ask our heavenly Father for things. God is not one to give us a snake or scorpion. He wants to give us blessings and prosperity. He wants to answer our call and be our biggest support.

Sometimes in life, things happen that make us doubt God. We feel that God has let us down or given a burden to bare. That's quite opposite. God works in the most mysterious of ways. The enemy works in the most ruthless of ways. When you let him slip past one wall, he can spread like a disease; filling us with doubt, disbelief, or even anger towards God. But God, so patient and loving, can take what the enemy intends for harm and make it good. You lost your job... you slipped up this week... you're not beautiful at all. Quit fixing your eyes on the circumstances around you and put them on the One who can change them and see our situations with a heavenly perspective. Just Ask. Ask him, pursue him, pray to him, simply just talk to him! You can't complain if you haven't asked. Don't work against him. God wants to bring joy into your life. Continually seek until you find what you're looking for. And even when find what you're looking for, don't stop just because you've obtained what you need. He's worthy to be praised always whether the circumstances around you are valley lows or mountain highs.

Don't be afraid to ask God for whatever it is that you need. Whether it's a need you want, help you seek, or even coming to him on behalf of another, ask him. We have not because we've asked not! What kind of Father would God be if he would not respond to his children? He loves us deeply enough that he is moved by our prayers, pleads, and cries for help. He is touched when we seek him genuinely for his help.

In that day you will not ask me for anything.
I tell you the truth, my Father will give you anything you ask for in my name.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.
Ask and you will receive, so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy
John 16:23-24

And this is the boldness we have in God's presence: 
that if we ask God for anything that agrees with what he wants, he hears us
If we know he hears us every time we ask him, 
we know we have what we ask from him
1st John 5:14-15

Recently our church had our women's conference, DESIGNED FOR LIFE! It was an amazing weekend and so many lives were transformed! The theme was She Is the Revolution. We were all charged to be the revolution and change the world around us. Worship was incredible, the speakers were anointed, and the presence of Holy Spirit was so thick in that place it was undeniable. I was so thankful to be a part of it in any way I could. What a privilege to serve at James River Assembly and to take part in this historic weekend. I only pray that what God did in the lives of the women there continues to grow as they went back to their homes.

I hope your Monday has been a great start to an amazing week,
❤ Ariel Christine

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Being the Prostitute

I used to be the prositute. Before God, my attention was fixated on other lovers. I would pursue them instead of the things of God. Instead of his heart, I longed for things, people, items, and idols that gave me no eternal satisfaction.
I was Gomer.

"Plead with your mother. Accuse her, because she is no longer my wife,
and I am no longer her husband. 
Tell her to stop acting like a prostitute,
to stop behaving like an unfaithful wife."
Hosea 2:2

When I was in high school, my passion was competitive dancing. I loved dance. I also loved cheerleading. I loved my friends. I loved being social. And not that those things were necessarily wrong. However, they just became a higher priority than God. He wasn't my first thought waking up or the last thing on my mind before going to bed. It was Who is tomorrow's game against? Everything was ranked higher than God. I became a prostitute to other lovers. I gave my life for other interests, hobbies, and passions. My heart wasn't aligned with the One who cared for it most. It was aligned with loves that did nothing to care for the wellbeing of my soul except bring moments here and there of happiness. Let me say that moments of small joy here and there and spurts of satisfaction don't mean a thing when your eternity is destined to be hell; literally hell.

"Their mother has acted like a prostitute;
the one who became pregnant with them has acted disgracefully.
She said, 'I will chase after my lovers,
who give me my food and water, wool and flax, wine and olive oil.'"
Hosea 2:5

In times of hurt and heartache, what would cheerleading do for me? What would spilling out my heart to a friend bring? Nothing but comfort for a moment. These other lovers would not bring me complete satisfaction. They wouldn't bring me whole salvation and eternal life with a Savior. I needed Jesus. I needed Him more than ever and I didn't even know it. I wasn't the student out partying and drinking my life away. I wasn't the girl who felt the need to dress scandalous for the attention of boys. I simply thought I was just being a good teenager who's time was well spent doing activities and participating in school.

It wasn't until the beginning of junior year I started to attend a new church, and there the experience happened; the experience that would rewrite the course of my life. There was the moment where I felt God's presence so clear and real, and it changed me for eternity. It changed me in a way that my heart was turned on towards the path God had desired for it to follow all along. I could suddenly hear his voice whispering into my ear; I would hear his Word and the letters would seep into my heart. It was Hosea 2 coming alive.

"So I am going to attract her
I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and I will make the Valley of Trouble 
a door of hope."
Hosea 2:14-15a

What before made sense no longer did. As a passion and love for Jesus began to foster, others died. Within a year's time my love for dance became so small; barely significant. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed dancing. However, I recognized a greater purpose and meaning to my life and I didn't want to spend four nights a week in the studio anymore. I wanted to run towards God. What held me back before and consumed my time and thoughts, no longer seemed to matter. I didn't care to spend my time there. And so I gave it up. It wasn't easy; my heart ached and I cried quite a bit. But what hurt for a moment gained me a lifetime of happiness and even into eternity. I wanted to pursue God. I wanted to chase after the things of God. My mindset had changed. I was becoming an entirely different being from the inside out. I was finally awakened to all that God had for me. I saw my priorities different, I saw high school and my friends different. No longer were there people I was trying to impress, but souls I wanted to experience salvation like I had. I stayed involved in a few things, but I now had a top priority and that was Jesus. My relationship with Him triumphed over everything else. And sure, I gave up things here and there and cut other lovers out of my life, but I didn't care. It was worth it. And thinking about it today, it was still worth it.

I have been in church my whole life. I have been "around" God and have always heard that he loved me. But it wasn't until I really began to lean in, that I tasted and seen what the goodness and love of this Father really was. In the book of Hosea, God told Hosea to go and marry the prostitute, Gomer. He did. And she would constantly run off to other lovers. But Hosea loved Gomer. He was always in pursuit of her even when she didn't know it. Hosea was to Gomer and God is to me and you. And when we turn our eyes away from God and fix ourselves on other "lovers," we are acting as the prostitute. It's a difficult spot to be in because, like me, I wasn't aware the things that consumed my time were top priorities and passions over God. To me, I thought I was just being a good teenager who just loved to be involved. Dance is great to do! Cheerleading and being social in high school is absolutely fine to do! It's just when it takes priority and love over God, it becomes a lover. 

Jesus. He came to the world for God's children; God's sons and daughters. Through His death and resurrection, we have the choice to choose life with Jesus. And when we do that, we gain eternity with Him. I choose Jesus. I believe in His life. I accept His love for me, and I pray only that mine would grow daily for Him. I want to love Him back with every fiber of my being! I want to serve Him! I want every person in my life to just know from talking with me that my heart belongs to Christ. I'm ready to change the world around me for Him; to start a revolution in my life that'll have a ripple effect on anyone who crosses paths with me. He's worthy of everything I can give Him and even more. I'm so grateful that even in my times of acting as the prostitute, He still loved me. That He still wanted me even when I was hurting His heart and chasing after other lovers. How amazing is that?

And I will make you my promised bride forever
I will be good and fair;
 I will show you my love and mercy.
I will be true to you as my promised bride,
and you will know the Lord. 
Hosea 2:19-20

Life has been REALLY great, but just as busy as great! And that's okay. I love keeping busy. I want to celebrate my best friend, Ashley! She was recently married and I had the opportunity to be her maid-of-honor on the big day. Seriously, what a year it has been though! So many things have transpired, but God grace has just been so sufficient his blessings all around. 

Have an amazing day!
❤ Ariel Christine