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Season's of Waiting and "Suddenly" Moments

   We often think that season's of waiting are idle, sedentary, or inactive.  However, it is just the opposite. 
"Waiting on God-is not a passive season, it is actually one of the most spiritually active times in your life. The word 'wait' in Hebrew means to be expecting, looking for, longing for-with an outstretched arm and heart-ALL of the GOODNESS of GOD to show up in your life!" - Joyce Meyer.  We are to have an expectant heart.  I started a new journal entry this morning titled: "Expecting with Faith and Outstretched Hands," and following that I made a list of all the things I am expecting God to keep His promise on.  I figure GO BIG OR GO HOME, so I am PRAYING BIG here.  I want to continue doing this each morning, casting my cares on Him. And also casting my EXPECTATIONS and HOPES on Him, with confidence and faith in His promises.  

   I definitely struggle with expecting the worst at times.  Some painful things have happened in my past that have caused me to want to, "self-protect."  The funny thing is, expecting the worst is no protection at all.  It is actually an invitation and open door to fear.  But somehow I thought that if I expected the worst, then I would not be disappointed, or hurt, or that maybe-just maybe I could control the outcome.  I was trying to play God.  He is in control, not me. No matter how many times I tried to run the scenario through my head to make myself feel safer (prior to it happening) I was still not in control.  I was still walking in the grips of fear. You see fear was controlling me, I wasn't controlling it.  "Fear causes us to expect bad things to happen. Satan wants us to expect something bad, because fear is the opposite of faith. And it takes faith to receive anything good from God. We open the door for God and His blessings by expecting good things." 

   Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.-Psalm 23:6  Speak that Truth over your life. Just say it out loud to yourself.  It is easy to expect the worst but it takes faith to expect the best.  Every good and perfect gift comes from God.-James 1:17  He is for YOU! He wants to bless you! He is not mad at you! He does not want to punish you!  HE is FULL OF GRACE!! HIS very nature is LOVE! That is why He sent His son to die for our sins.  GRACE GRACE GRACE!!! So we have every reason to put our HOPE in HIM and expect GOOD from Him!  
Taste and see that the LORD is good! How blessed is the person who trusts in him!-Psalm 34:8 

   Many times because we do not SEE it, we do not BELIEVE it.  We may not see anything changing in our lives so we doubt that God is working.  We are praying earnestly and fervently for deliverance, healing for a family member, for discernment and vision, for a life change.  Trust Beloved, that God hears every prayer and He is answering in His way.  "God is working in [YOUR life and] MY life right now. When we get our breakthrough it is a result of what God has been doing for a LONG time. Just because you don't SEE anything and don't FEEL anything, does not mean that God is not working. God is always working in our lives as we keep praying and believing."-Joyce Meyer 

   So sometimes God won't change our circumstances (in our timing) because He first wants to change our hearts. God uses seasons of waiting to do some of the deepest heart transformations in us.  Don't waste your waiting season by just sitting around. It is a pivotal, fundamental time in our relationship with God.  There are always reasons WHY He is making us wait.  So I am continually coming to God asking for help to see through HIS eyes and by His Spirit. I don't want to walk by my finite human sight, but by faith in the infinite God; trusting in His plan and timing!  Believe and know that you can get your "SUDDENLY" at any moment.  You know that moment in a book when the character suddenly: advances, moves forward, presses on. That moment. It is impending. It has already begun. It is in the works. God is meticulously working it out. He is doing all the behind the scenes work in your heart and preparing your circumstances way before you are even aware that you are waiting on Him for something. Amazing. And then BOOM, suddenly-you get your breakthrough.  

Fun Bible Facts: 
In Genesis 41 Joseph got his suddenly moment. After years in prison and being betrayed and abandoned by his brothers, Joseph becomes governor of Egypt. God never abandoned Joseph and never stopped working in his life. He planned out the timing of this moment before the foundations of the earth.  

Pursued- Beyond Valentines Day

Pursued written by Jud Wilhite 

Day 2: Beyond Valentines Day (the challenge) 

For plenty of people, Valentine’s Day can feel more like Frustration Day.
Either you’re lamenting the lack of romance in your current relationship, or you’re frustrated that you haven’t met the right person. And Hollywood continues to set unrealistic expectations.
Maybe part of the problem is we’re looking to the wrong relationships to fill the deepest needs of our lives to be pursued and loved.
When God wanted to illustrate the passionate intensity of His relationship with us, he chose marriage as the metaphor. Marriage pictures the special relationship God wants with us.
Yet the first time the Bible really explains the marriage metaphor, it’s not a fairy-tale story of a princess and her Prince Charming. It’s not Cinderella. Instead, God chose a relationship that’s completely fractured—the marriage of the prophet Hosea and the prostitute Gomer.
Check it out: “When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, ‘Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods’” (Hosea 1:2).
Yep, you read that right. Not a former prostitute, but a full-fledged, card-carrying, active prostitute. It sounds insane. Ludicrous. It is. And that’s the point—we are compelled to notice God’s divine obsession with His children.
God uses their marriage to illustrate his passionate love and care for his people, who have acted like a prostitute in turning from Him. Throughout the first three chapters of Hosea, their literal marriage illustrates God’s relationship with us.
All this sounds crazy. And God is trying to shake us out of our indifference and show us something even crazier—His radical love and grace. He will continue to take his people back even when they betray Him, just as He will ask Hosea to take Gomer back again and again.
God will continue to pursue.
If the cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate picture of God’s love in the Bible, then I’m convinced the second most powerful picture is found in Hosea.
No matter what we do, no matter how sinful we are, God pursues us, romances us, stalks us, and stakes us out in a radical grace based in Himself. When we run away from Him, God still pursues us. He comes after us. He calls us. And in His grace, even when we are full of pain and hurt, He can still find and heal us.
Do you need to live in that reality today? He isn’t simply tolerating you; He’s pursuing you in love, like a faithful husband who pursues a wife he adores.
This is way beyond a Valentine’s card—and it is the only love that can ultimately meet our needs.

Big Idea:

We’re often looking to the wrong relationships to fill the deepest needs of our lives to be pursued and loved.

Passionate Pursuit Devotional Day 1

Day 1: Passionate Pursuit

Some days it feels like everything in my life falls short.
I get sick and tired of being sick and tired, feeling like I’ll never be able to keep juggling everything coming at me. I find myself praying primarily when I’m hurried or in trouble. There’s never enough time to focus and really dig into my Bible the way I want.
Rather than doing acts of kindness to simply enjoy God, I do them to stay in good with Him and even get things from Him.
I believe the good news of Jesus is good, but sometimes it feels more like exhausting news.
In short, I’ve had seasons when I traded the grace of God for a ball-and-chain life of religious hoop jumping. I kept running from the rest and rejuvenation offered to me in a relationship with God.
Often, we’re still running long after we’ve spiritually returned to God. We run from our past failures by trying to overcompensate and demonstrate our usefulness to Him. We run from the wild grace He offers by trying to advance ourselves in our own strength. We run from the rest He gives by working harder and harder to measure up when God has said all along that He is enough.
The good news is you don’t have to keep running. God is still pursuing you after you’ve placed your faith in Him. He’s pursuing you today—not to burden you with more tasks on the to-do list or to whip you into shape, but to love you. He pursues you with an intensity that can breathe life into you.
David realizes the joy of God’s pursuit as he concludes Psalm 23:6: “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.”
Stop and think about this for a moment. God is literally pursuing you with goodness and love! David notes that this pursuit isn’t temporary, but for “all the days of my life.” What an incredible thought!
And one of the most incredible perspectives of God’s pursuit is tucked away in the story of a prophet named Hosea who God called to marry a prostitute named Gomer. Even though his wife was unfaithful again and again, Hosea was told to take her back, just as God takes his people back.
Over the next 14 days we’ll go deeper into this story, expand our view of God, and experience Him more fully and completely. My goal with these devotional thoughts, and with the book Pursued, is to help you:
*Discover how a life-giving relationship with God can bring new joy into your life when you’re weary and frustrated.
*Move God’s grace from your head into deeper places of your heart to stop the exhausting cycle of guilt, shame, and performance before God.
*Find fulfillment for the longing to be pursued by experiencing a perfect love that breaks our unrealistic expectations of others.
*Live passionately with a restored sense of security so you can face relationships and decisions with more confidence.
No more running from the rest God wants to give you. I hope and pray that over the next 14 days you come to delight with joy at being pursued by a loving God.

Big Idea:

You’re passionately pursued with a goodness and unfailing love that is shocking, wonderful, and liberating.

Passionate Pursuit

It is important to know what season you are in.  Esther knew what season she was in, and because of that knowledge she was able to persevere and run the race with endurance.  God gives us strength through His knowledge.  His vision and wisdom, by the power of His Spirit, brings us life.  So I've been asking God what season am I in?  He, very clearly, showed me that I am in a season of spiritual fidelity.  That I am to pursue Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength- as He is already passionately pursuing me.  To come back to my first love, Jesus Christ.  "To not be led astray from your pure, simple, sincere devotion to Jesus."- 2 Corinthians 11:3.  You might be thinking, "Shouldn't you already be doing that? Haven't you been? Wait, aren't you a Christian?" I am not perfect, just forgiven.  This is a lifelong journey, a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. So it ebbs and flows.  And He is always calling us to deeper and deeper intimacy with Him.  I want to go deeper. I don't want to be stagnant, complacent and most importantly I don't want to be distracted from my TRUE love.  I can get so busy DOING things for the Lord that I am not spending enough time WITH Him and letting our relationship really grow. True intimacy with Him strengthens the roots of love.  I want to be rooted and grounded in Him. 

As I was pondering these revelations in my heart, the book of Hosea came to mind because it is so apropos to THIS particular season of my life.  I have a strong affinity for that book because God has spoken to me, through Hosea, so intensely over the past three years.  God has shown me His GRACE upon GRACE and His FAITHFULNESS in my unfaithfulness over and over again.  And He is constantly taking me to deeper places of intimacy through His Word.  

Needless to say Hosea had been on my heart.  Shortly after I opened up an email, only to find a fourteen day devotional series called Passionate Pursuit. Guess what book of the Bible it was based on?! Hosea!!  It was one of the those "you have got to be kidding me?!?" moments that God does so often.  He loves to sweep us off of our feet and blow us away with His all consuming love and courtship of our hearts.  I read the devotional and was so overwhelmed by every little detail and how perfectly He knows me and exactly what I need.  It was like a personal hand-written love letter from Him to me. I could feel my heart pounding and tears welling in my eyes.  It was too much!! I didn't deserve it! Of course not!  But He loves to lavish HIS love on us!!! He took my breathe away.  I could just hear Him saying to me "Malorie, no man will ever pursue you the way I pursue you. My love is as strong as death. Waters cannot quench this furious LOVE I have for you! I will never stop pursuing you!"  He is right!  No human being could ever know me or pursue me as intimately or fervently as my God. The GOD of the universe.  He KNOWS me more than I know me. He formed me in my mother's womb. He knows every detail, every thought, every breathe I take.  You can't get more intimate than that, or more KNOWN and LOVED than that.  I truly feel that God is telling me, "You will KNOW when you are being pursued. Until then (and always) you pursue me."  I will KNOW, because GOD makes HIS pursuit so clear.  There is no confusion.  God is a God of peace and order and clarity.  There is no doubt or fear or question when it comes to His pursuit of my heart.   That is the BEST pursuit, a lifelong eternal courtship with my God!  Everything else will be made clear to me in HIS timing, and I won't have to try to figure it out.  He takes the utmost care of His children's hearts!!  Just keep running after God, forever, because He is always running after you.  He will bring you the right companion to run alongside with, toward Him. 

And He has been continuing to write me His loves letters...To be continued. 

*The next blog posting will be the "Day 1 Passionate Pursuit Devotional"