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Posts Tagged ‘pursued’

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“Whatever is chasing you — no matter what it looks like — it’s grace.

And grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus …

And nothing can overwhelm me — like grace can overtake me.

No matter when you look over your shoulder, that’s what you find: God’s blessings overtaking you. No matter what a day, a life, looks like, this is what it all stacks up to for every person on the planet: We are all chased by grace.

No matter what is hounding, the hound of heaven is closer — His warm breath of blessing right there on the nape of my neck.”

– Ann Voskamp

As I read the above words I thought of how ‘hounded’ I was feeling that particular day.

Hounded was I by the pressures of relationships, and bills, and work, and making dinner, and seeking the location of just one ibuprofen to take the edge off this pounding headache.

Her words made my eyes fill, and their banks refused to hold the flood back … the dams burst, the water fell.

Later I sought the The Hound of Heaven … the poem I had a vague knowledge of once reading. It was written in the late 1800’s by English writer Francis Thompson. Mr. Thompson had studied to become a priest, then a physician, then lived in terrible poverty (as a writer) where he survived by selling matches. He then suffered with the constant pain of neuralgia, which he treated with laudanum (containing opium), eventually becoming addicted. He last years were spent in a monastery, where he was cared for by friends.

The first link I opened to read the poem, The Hound of Heaven, made the dams burst in another way … tears of joy.

I read the ode, allowing the pursuits to settle on my heart and mind. The pursuits that we make for ‘more’ of this world, and the never-ending pursuit of God for his child.

When I came to the end of the verses, there followed yet more verses … this time written by David …

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

… the words of Psalm 139 … the words I have been hiding in my heart for months, as though ‘I’ had anything to do with it … as though those words were chosen for me, for such a time as this. As though those words were the instrument of the Hound himself. He who is willing to use whatever means possible to draw us back to Him.

“Whatever is chasing you — no matter what it looks like — it’s grace.

And grace isn’t what makes us feel good: grace is all that makes us more like Jesus …

And nothing can overwhelm me — like grace can overtake me.

No matter when you look over your shoulder, that’s what you find: God’s blessings overtaking you. No matter what a day, a life, looks like, this is what it all stacks up to for every person on the planet: We are all chased by grace.

No matter what is hounding, the hound of heaven is closer — His warm breath of blessing right there on the nape of my neck.”

– Ann Voskamp

 

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As I read the title, Sometimes I’m a Little too Human, I was hooked to keep reading. That is often the case when I read a blog post by Lysa TerKeurst.

This time she was talking about Valentine’s Day, and before you click off this page, let me tell you that this is not the typical Valentine’s Day post. That said, be assured that it is definitely about a love story.

I know it is early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day, but, rest assured, it is never too early to be wooed by true love.

“Which category are you in?

* You hope you’ll have something to look forward to on Valentine’s Day. Hint. Hint.

* Valentine’s Day feels more like Single Awareness Day.

* You’re totally excited and have bought all your friends stuff from the $1 aisle at Target.

* You couldn’t care less because you don’t like the color red or chocolate or roses. So there.

I’ll be honest, I’m always a little on the fence with this day. Yes, I wrote the post Valentine’s Tips To The Misters, to encourage the Misters on the fine art of doing Valentine’s Day right.

However.

It still all feels a little forced. A little too commercial.

Because at the end of the day, a woman wants to feel special. And call me crazy, but mass produced cupids just don’t cut it.

I want to be adored. Thought of. Not as an obligation, because the calendar holiday demands it. But rather, just because…

He loves me.

And it’s at this point where my Christian mind screams… Jesus does this. Let Jesus fill you. Only Jesus can adore you this way. Give your husband a break.

That’s what I call a Jesus juke.

A quick move that makes you feel slapped on the hand for being so human.

Yes, of course Jesus loves me this way. But what if I say that with my mouth, while still feeling a deep ache in my heart. A longing. To be pursued.

That’s where my friend Jud Wilhite’s new project steps in and helps me connect with Jesus in the exact way that my longing heart desires.

Here’s Jud….

Valentine’s Day can be frustrating for many of us. Perhaps you’re single and you don’t want to be, or you’re in an unhappy or disappointing relationship. Maybe you’re grieving a relationship you’ve lost.

This year, remember that God loves you the way a kind and patient husband loves his bride. He wants to pursue you, cherish you, and meet your deepest needs — and He’s the only one who can.

When God wanted to illustrate the passionate intensity of His relationship with us, He chose marriage as the metaphor.

Incredibly, it was the marriage of a prophet named Hosea and a prostitute named Gomer. God told Hosea to marry Gomer and to take her back even after she’s unfaithful. God uses their marriage to illustrate His love and care for His people, who have turned away from Him again and again.

My friend, Jud Wilhite, is offering a free 14-day Pursued challenge that’s perfect as Valentine’s Day approaches. He offers thoughts on the book of Hosea and what this story can teach us about God’s love. Visit www.pursuedbook.com/challenge and sign up for the challenge. You can also download a sample chapter of his new book Pursued

And, to reinforce the words of Lysa Terkurst, a little Love Song …

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Reaching Down

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In the the book of Exodus, the story is told of God coming down to Earth, down to where Moses was, to present His desires, His plans for this Israelite-born, Egyptian-adopted man. God ‘appeared’ to Moses in a bush that was burning but not burning up.

“God said, “you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your ancestors. I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (3:5) …“now I am sending you to Pharaoh. Go! Lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” (3:10)

God confirmed who He was in the language of the time, in the language of the genealogy of the Jews, naming three great men of God, whose power and might came from Yahweh himself. God came to Moses … Moses was pursued by the Creator of heaven and Earth.

But Moses said to God, “I am not a great man!
How can I be the one to go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”
(3:11)

Moses does the ‘gosh, darn, golly I just don’t think I’m your man’ response. Humility … it can be attractive, but God’s response might indicate that Moses wasn’t understanding that his abilities would not come from within himself, but that Moses would be the vessel through which God would work (hum, kind of reminds me of a post from last week, False Boasting).

God said, “You can do it because I will be with you.” (3:12)

God is not only pursuing Moses, but He promises to be by His side … he won’t be left alone.

“Then Moses said to God, “But if I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me,’ then the people will ask, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them? Then God said to Moses, “Tell them, ‘I Am Who I Am’ … Tell the Israelites that you were sent by Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob” (3:13-15)

This Moses guy either had spent too much time in the home of Pharaoh or really did not understand his people (that list of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is pretty much the all star line-up for the Jewish people). After all, Yahweh is largely a title normally written YHWH … no vowels, and, when said, one is not really speaking, but simply breathes … YHWH is breath.

“Then Moses said to God, “But the Israelites will not believe me when I tell them that you sent me. They will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” (4:1)

I thing that what Moses is saying is … “if you like it then you should put a ring on it” … aka if you’re serious make it public!

After this God provides Moses with signs and wonders (kind of like an engagement ring) to show to others that Moses is His main man!

“Then Moses said to the Lord, “But, Lord, I am telling you, I am not a good speaker. I have never been able to speak well. And that hasn’t changed since you started talking to me. I am still not a good speaker. You know that I speak slowly and don’t use the best words.” (4:10)

As a mom, I can honestly say, that Moses was whining!

“Then the Lord said to him, “Who made a person’s mouth? And who can make someone deaf or not able to speak? Who can make a person blind? Who can make a person able to see? I am the one. I am the Lord. So go. I will be with you when you speak. I will give you the words to say.” (4:11-12)

Seriously, does anyone have the patience of God? Anyone in their right mind would drop Moses and find someone with better abilities, and more worthy of this task.

“But Moses said, “My Lord, I beg you to send someone else, not me.” (4:13)

And finally, finally, God busts a gut …

“Then the Lord became angry with Moses and said, “All right! I’ll give you someone to help you … Aaron will speak for you … you will speak to him, and he will tell the people what you say.” (4:14-16)

God altered His plan, because His plan was as important as His man.

“So go and carry your walking stick with you. Use it and the other miracles to show the people that I am with you.” (4:17)

And Moses went, following the plan that God pursued him to fulfill.

Folks, God doesn’t only pursue the spiritual greats of the Bible. He pursues His people even today.

The other morning I snapped the picture at the top of the page. What I loved what how the rays of the morning sun were not just peeking through the trees, but they were reaching down to touch the Earth.

God may not speak to you and I through a burning bush, but He pursues us like no other lover on this Earth. He reaches down to touch us, His creation, to reveal the plan that He has for our life.

Sometimes that means we need to look up, in search of the light that is reaching back at us.

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To be pursued is to be followed, chased, sought after.

When a villain is being pursued by the police, it is for capture, incarceration. The police are determined to do whatever it takes to get their man/woman. It is of great importance, great need. They seek to know all they can about the one they want in order to make that villain theirs.

When a lover is being pursued, it too is for capture. The person pursuing is determined to do whatever it takes to get their man/woman. It too is of great importance, great need, and the one seeking will do all that they can to know the person they pursue in order to make him or her theirs.

When we know that we are pursued we either ramp up our pace … or slow it down.

In the phases of life and love, our nature often overtakes our brain in matters of being pursued, and in the pursuing.

In the phase of young or new love, one person is often a pursuer, followed by the other. Often the male is the pursuer, which is probably due to his ‘hunter gatherer’ nature, and we females are often the pursued, naturally ready for the chase. They strive to know how to get together, how to be together. Their energies are focused on this end goal.

Once the pursuit has achieved it’s goal, naturally the pursuing wanes. The euphoria of being pursued also wanes.

But, the need to be pursued continues.

There is nothing more sad to see than such a recipe for disaster. The ingredients of disaster in relation to committed love involve a discontinuing of pursuit of each other.

You can see it in the people you work with, the people you have coffee with, in the mirror. It is the look of stagnancy, of going nowhere, because there is no one who is moving them forward in the pursuit of them. Once this stagnancy begins the risk of responding to the pursuits of others increases … for we were made to run.

Our human need to be pursued continues, even when jobs are demanding, even when kids schedules equal those in the leadership of nations, even when we feel there is nothing and no one left to pursue, because we have caught, been caught, already. And if we, who once pursued so voraciously, cease to continue the chase, there is always someone else willing to lap us in our easy chairs … it’s our nature.

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