March 27, 2012

Goodbye from Ariel

I can only echo all the wonderful things that Haylie wrote in the previous post! I'm sad to see Passion go as well - it was a big part of my life for a long time, and I got so much joy from seeing God work through everything that happened here to encourage His daughters. I'm so thankful for Him for bringing us all to and through this, and I pray and know that it touched all you girls to live more deeply for Him.

For this blog, thank you soooo much for the staff - Haylie our manager for making the schedules, welcoming our new staffers SO enthusiastically, her ideas and networking with her AWESOME current mag Lilies Among Thorns, and writing such touching posts for us to enjoy! Annie our blog designer - look at this amazing template! She's incredible. And to all of our wonderful writers who were passionate about getting their stuff sent in time, guest posters - everyone who contributed their heart-to-heart writings for our sisters to study. You guys are awesome.

My last words can only be to look to the Cross and know how MUCH God demonstrated His love for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 5:8). Our story of Jesus personally pursuing us, redeeming us from sin, giving us His Spirit to help know Him more here, and coming back to take us lovingly into heaven is true and life-changing. Let it be the root of all that you do, and be free about sharing the story with love! Let it define your life. He is worth it.

I love you girls! Again, if any of you need to contact me, my email is ariel@arieloliver.com. I hope to hear some of your stories and to know how I can pray for you!

Your sis in Him,
Ariel

Goodbye from Haylie


  This is a bittersweet moment for me. I am sad to see this ministry go, but I am also so very happy for all that I got to see this ministry do. I am so glad and grateful to of been apart of it. It has helped me grow closer to God and closer to other Christian woman and for that, I am so very grateful. I am blessed with a God who has given me a wonderful 2 years with Passion and 6 months with The Pursuit. I will never forget this fun, educational and wonderful experience.

 First, I would like to thank sweet Miss Ariel for allowing me onto the staff and allowing me to take up The Pursuit. It has been a blessing to me and I so dearly hope that it has been a blessing to you readers as well. Ariel, you have been an amazing editor, co-worker and friend. You have such an amazing heart and you have been an amazing example of Christ. Keep that fire burning, girl!

 Second, I would like to thank all of the wonderful writers on The Pursuit. You all are truly awesome! You’ve put up with my rambling emails and quirky comments in those rambling emails! You all are true jewels. Though I   have not had much time with some of you and more time with others, I feel as though we have a bond that cannot be broken. You all are true blessings. Thank you.

 Third, I would like to thank you readers for not just following The Pursuit, but also reading it! I pray that all of   you discovered something from the articles that you’ve read and that it changed your heart. The Pursuit was made to help you ladies grow stronger and closer to God, and my prayer is that that goal was achieved, even if it reached only one person.

I would like to say one last thing to all of you readers. This is one lesson that I recently learned and I believe that every person, man and woman, should know and remind themselves of everyday. Always always always, give everything to God. When you get stressed, when your friend betrays you, when you have a huge decision to make, give it to God. Let Him write your story. Hand over the pen to the Author of the world’s best-selling book and, might I add, the greatest love story ever wrote! Lay it all before Him and trust in Him, then walk away from it. He will lead you down the right path if you let Him.

 Be like Hezekiah in Isaiah 37:14. “And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.” Spread it before Him. Pray. He can turn a horrible moment in your life into something more beautiful than you can ever know. Trust Him and hand it over.

You all will forever be in my prayers! I can not wait to meet each and every one of you in heaven one day.

All my love,

Haylie Jo Gregory









March 25, 2012

Him Alone

Nothing truly satisfies but God.

My stubborn heart's been being taught that more often recently. After taking part in anything, sinful or not, for too long, I'm left feeling empty. Friends, school, career, music, guys...anything but God. And it's for such an obvious reason. God is the only thing that matters, guys. The other things may matter a little in this life, but when we're drawing our last breath, when we're rising from the grave for judgment day, and really when we're just going through life daily - acknowledging Jesus as Lord of our lives is the only important thing. The fullest life we can possibly get is a life of craving more of Him.

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth." Psalm 73:25

Everything just fades away in the light and love of God. Holding grudges become a nonsensical idea. Pursuing riches turns into a huge waste of time. Holding anything in an esteem near as high as what is meant for something holy won't even tempt us if we silence our lives for a while and realize how amazing God is, simple as that, and praise Him for saving us.

It's more simple than we make it... just worship and want to know God. That's our life, girls. Let's go after it.

Love in Him,
Ariel

March 6, 2012

Before You

Before You, I was lost.

Before You, I had nothing.

Before You, I was lonely.

 I was searching for something.



I was searching for something to make me whole.

Something to mend this broken heart of mine.

But I discovered that it wasn’t something I was looking for.

It was Someone and He would make me just fine.



But He made me more than just fine.

He turned me into something great.

He made me one of His children.

Now eternity with Him is my new fate.



Before you, I was lost.

Before you, I had nothing.

Before you, I was lonely.

But with You, I am more than just something.



I am someone.

I am Yours.

Love, Haylie

February 28, 2012

Where Are the Good Guys?!


I'm not going to sugarcoat this post today.

I often hear women (including my past self) ask the mind-boggling question: "Where are all the decent men in this world?"

Those desirable men's answer: Where are all the decent WOMEN?

Realizing that the revolting revolution of "ladies" giving into the "change in times" has literally created new, less-improved godly women, has made me develop a whole new mindset. I have truly been enlightened through much self-reflection and observation of my fellow comrades. This is a simple cause and effect scenario: Women aren't being what they were created to be-humble, loving, nurturing, submissive (hey, it's biblical) and resourceful, therefore, why should we be surprised that men, today, aren't being our Knights in Shining Armor? We can't even be the Cinderellas. We've become the crazy, self-indulged Stepsisters!

We have become the Rocky Balboas, the do-it-ourselves, the Miss Independents, the belchers and farters, the outspoken, masculinized figures. We have become power-hungry and self-satisfying monsters. Why would any man want to "rescue" or "serenade" a woman who gives off guy-pal vibes or thinks punching him in the arm is flirting? Where's the fun in that? I'm sure, to be frank, it's quite awkward for them and very unappealing.



Let's be straight here; I'm not making excuses for ill-mannered men who have no manly bones in their body, think chivalry is for pansies and would rather pay someone to fix something or mow their lawn because they simply are too good for laborious work. That's a whole 'nother blog post. Read Wild at Heart by John Eldredge! This will explain what a man needs, should be and was created to be! A must-read for every woman!

So, when you find yourself asking where are all the good ones and why are all the good ones taken, ask yourself what are you doing to attract those "good ones"? It may be extremely shameful, yet eye-opening.

There's nothing wrong with being independent, but there's also nothing wrong with being a bit soft and vulnerable. In order for you to find your Prince Charming, you must be the princess longing for your one true love! Proverbs 31 will show you how!


PS! I finally found my Prince Charming, girls! He came with a horse :) We are getting married June 9! God really does write your love story if you let him.


Follow Brynlea on Twitter @bryntayl and her blog, http://fabyoulousgals.blogspot.com/

February 13, 2012

Foot in Mouth Disorder

Did you know that the disciple Peter was a loud mouth?

When I went to church recently, the guest pastor announced that he was going to give a sermon about Peter. I'm not going to lie, my prideful, stupid self went, "Oh my gosh, I've heard so much about Peter, I love him but I'm very sick of him." I knew he was stubborn, and proud, as are most of us. But I didn't realize that he had a serious and noticeable problem of "answering" when there was no question being asked of him at all! Let me demonstrate to you his constant foot-in-mouth disorder:

"When the disciples saw [Jesus] walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.' Peter said to Him, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' And He said, 'Come!' And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?'" Matthew 14:26-31

You'd think at this point Peter went, "Oh jeez. I've made such a fool of myself. I'll never say anything again!" But look, he does it again in just the next chapter!


"Peter said to Him, 'Explain the parable to us.' Jesus said, 'Are you still lacking in understanding also?'" Matthew 15:15-16

Jesus probably didn't say that in a condescending way, but you can imagine Peter might have heard it like this: "You still don't get it, you stupid man?!" and went "Okay, I'm REALLY never going to open this mouth again." Let's look at chapter 16 of Matthew.


"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:13-19

Finally Peter says something good! But he must have gotten kind of bigheaded about what Jesus said to him, because it wasn't long before he was literally telling Jesus that Jesus - the Messiah and Son of the living God - was WRONG about something.

"From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, 'God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.' But He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.' Matthew 16:21-23

Can you imagine being called the devil? By JESUS? That had to be the most tragic reprimand in the world! You can bet that Peter went, "Okay, I'm really, REALLY never going to say anything again." ...Next chapter.


Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.' While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, 'This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!'" Matthew 17:1-5

The pastor that spoke about this to my church suggested that when Jesus had called only three disciples onto this special mission, Peter once again got a big head and assumed that he was super important... and of course, he opens his mouth and says the stupidest thing! Why did he have to say anything in the first place!? Look at the text - God intervened here WHILE Peter was still speaking, and said, "listen to Him!" Essentially, the God of everything INTERRUPTED Peter's babbling and went, "Shut up, Peter!" Can you imagine? You can bet that Peter was thinking, "I'm so dumb! I can't believe I just said that! No more talking for me!" 

But take a look at Matthew 26:31-34, 69-75, and Mark 16:1-7. Peter opened his mouth again, proved himself wrong by denying the Person he had called the Messiah and Son of the Living God, and wept bitterly. He must have been absolutely shattered that he had denied his allegiance to Jesus and the Lord's death. But the incredible thing is Jesus knew it and addressed Peter specifically. When the Lord had risen from the dead, he told the women to go tell the disciples, "and Peter", that He would be going to Galilee ahead of them, and they would see him there. He pointed out Peter specifically. He knew Peter was hurting in a very deep way. And if you've read Acts, you know what Peter went on to do. He prophesied. He raised dead men up. He healed the lame. He brought an incredible amount of people to Christ. He became the rock of the church.

But first, he was a loudmouth. The whole point of this post is to say - there is hope for us! God will forgive us over and over again. He cares for us and knows our hearts and our hurts. and He can take our worst weaknesses, the things that make us so obnoxious, and turn it around for His glory. If there is hope for Peter, there is definitely hope for us.

Ariel

February 4, 2012

When God Gives You Lemons...

Hey girls, Rosie here! And I’m so very excited and thankful for the opportunity to encourage you girls on here for a little while!

So when life gives you lemons, what do you do? Well, you make lemonade, as the saying goes. I absolutely LOVE lemons and lemonade, and I especially love lemonade stands! Which is why I am now suddenly reminded of a hilarious commercial! You know, the one with the little girl where she makes her lemonade stand into a giant business? Well, here’s the commercial in case some of you girls have never seen it:


Look at that little girl! I mean, talk about using one’s resources! She uses everything she can! Her father entrusts her with his expensive-looking smart phone and instead of simply using the phone’s calculator, little Susie uses every possible feature on that phone to make a profit!

I think that God does the same thing with us. God gives each and every one of us our own lemons in life. But what are we supposed to do with the lemons that God gives us? Multiply them! In the parable of the talents (check it out in Matthew 25:14-30!), Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven will be like will be like a man who goes on a journey and entrusts his servants with his property. In the parable, the man gives money (in the form of talents, a measurement of money at the time) to three servants. The first two servants eagerly get to work and double the money they’re given, making a profit for their master. But the third servant does absolutely nothing for his master with what he was given. He just buries his master’s money in the ground. So when the master returns, he’s delighted with the efforts and profit of the first two servants. He entrusts them with more money and invites them to celebrate with him!

However, the master is angry with his third servant and takes away what he had. You see the third servant is lazy, wicked, and useless. He’s lazy and wicked because he doesn’t care to even try to please his master. (He could have simply put his master’s money in the bank and just sat around while it made interest! That would have been super easy, right?) And he’s useless because he does nothing for his master. He makes no profit; he’s a branch that bears no fruit at all. All the third servant does is complain about how “hard” his master is.

Can we sometimes act like the third servant though? Sadly, I know I can. So often we search, wonder, and pray about how we can serve God. We may dream of amazing ways to glorify God this summer, next year, next month, next week, even tomorrow. But sometimes we feel like there’s nothing we can do now. Maybe we don’t know where to start, or maybe we’re scared to try because we think God is too harsh. Or maybe we’re blind to what God has entrusted us with.

But just like little Susie in the commercial and the three servants in the parable, our Lord and Heavenly Father has entrusted each and every one of us with VERY valuable things. As Christians, we’ve all already been entrusted with the greatest treasure in the entire universe: God himself! (And like money, this gift definitely grows and multiplies when shared and invested!) We’ve also been given the people we know (family and friends at school or work) and the opportunities available to us (all of the places we can go). Imagine if we used all of that that God has given to us and eagerly went to work today like the first two servants!

Well let’s stop imagining now and let’s do it! Girls, I want to challenge all of you (and myself because the Lord knows I need it too!) to pray and search for ways to invest and share Jesus Christ today and this coming week, and then to act! Let’s be like the first two servants: let’s look for every opportunity today to serve God, serve His people, and share the treasure of Jesus Christ in our lives! Is there a new girl at school who’s having some trouble making new friends? Befriend her, love her like Jesus does, and pray and search for opportunities to share the Gospel with her! Is there a community service club at your school? Join it, and even suggest a new service project that you’re passionate about! Does your church need some help with watching children, phone calls, cleaning, greeting, or anything like that? Volunteer yourself today! Pray for such opportunities and God has promised that He will open the door!

Peace and God bless, girlies!

~Rose
Feel free to email me or check out my blog!
roseeflores@gmail.com
rosiewalkingthewalk.blogspot.com

January 25, 2012

Classic Cleanout-No More Acting Clueless



Yesterday, I came to the realization that I really needed to clean out my closet. It was getting ridiculous. I forced myself to give away 25 items including dresses, skirts, vests, jeans, tops, and bags no matter their cost or age. This time there would be no justifying to myself why I should keep a certain piece of clothing or accessory or convincing myself that I'd wear it again in the near future. No more being clueless. This stuff had to go. So, I started pulling and grabbing, throwing the lovely discarded items on my closet floor never to look back again.


Oh. my. gosh. I must pause due to my inability to stop laughing...is anyone having a Clueless flashback? You know-when Cher goes through her gigantic, technologically advanced closet to give away outfits for the disaster relief she had volunteered to lead and organize for Ms. Geist?? Classic!


As in life, there are things that I know I should give away (to God) in order to rid myself of unwanted, unnecessary clutter. Sin-things that have or may have the potential to cause me to stray from my walk with God-even for a moment. It's not healthy-it's hoarding (and good grief, watch one episode of Hoarders and you'll give everything in your house away)! Hoarding leads to severe distress, anxiety and emotional/physical health problems. We have got to stop being so clueless. Why keep toxicity in your life? Especially in your heart?! As Cher would say, "ugh, as if!" (wow, I really need help...)




“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.”
Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

I let them go. I feel strong, fresh and anew. With no justifications or stipulations hiding in the back of my mind (I threw those away as well), it has made it easier to let go of my unwanted "items". When you hold on to a small part of what you are trying to let go, it makes it not only harder to turn away from. but it makes it impossible. God commands you to clean out your closet. Start pulling and grabbing-never looking back! Should this be an option in your life? UGH, WHATEVER (in my best valley girl voice)! It's a commandment! Duh?!

"...If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."
Matthew 18:7-9

Brynlea Taylor
Follow me for fashion and devotions! 
http://fabyoulousgals.blogspot.com 
twitter: bryntayl 



Brynlea Taylor Cunniff is a tomboy in a tutu. With a desire to be the Proverbs 31 woman God created her to be, she walks down the runway of life hand-in-hand with her Designer (in heels...and cowboy boots). Brynlea has a true passion for the young ladies of today's generation, so she has a blog dedicated to devotions, fashion and everything girly! Follow her on http://fabyoulousgals.blogspot.com and Twitter @bryntayl. She would love for you to join her Facebook group "Fabyoulousgals" for Godly encouragement and girl chat!

January 23, 2012

Who Am I?

~ I am forgiven (Romans 5:1)

~ I am a member of Christ’s body (1 Cor 12:27)

~ I am a saint ( Eph. 1:1)

~ I am complete in Christ (Col 2:10)

~ I am free (Col 1:14)

~I am loved (Romans 5:8)

~ I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15)

~ I am one in spirit with Him (1 Cor 6:17)

~ I am God’s (1 Cor 6:19-20)



With Christ, we are all of these, but without Christ, we are nothing. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? If you would like to know more, please email us at passion@passionwebmag.com and we would be happy to tell you all about our wonderful Savior!

Love Much,
Haylie


“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

January 16, 2012

New Semester

As we enter a new semester of school, whether it be middle school, high school, or college, I want to encourage all of you to remember something. I know that once we get back into the swing of school and life gets crazy with assignments, papers and projects due, it's easy to lose focus of the most important thing in life.

The bible tells us to be heavenly minded, not earthly minded. Colossians 3:2: "Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth."Though school may seem all important right now, we need to keep our focus on heavenly things--on God's plan and purpose.

I think Paul understood this "earthly tendency" when he wrote this verse. Notice he wrote "Set your mind..." This implies that it is a conscious choice you have to make. Our minds naturally tend to focus on what's immediately in front us. For us that is the upcoming test we may have, social pressures, and academic anxiety. But Paul gives us this verse for a reason. When we place our focus on Christ, it puts the rest of our lives in perspective, and it honors God.

So this semester, let's all set our minds on things above!

~Megan


Megan Brainerd, from New York, is a busy nursing student who loves to hang out with her friends, read, and play the piano :) Her email is piano93@verizon.net.