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A Heart at Peace: Pt 1 of Pursuit of Passion

“The life of the body is a heart at peace, but envy rots the bones.”~PROVERBS 17:22 WMB

Passion is a gift, be it passion for creative arts, passion for relationships, passion in your walk with Christ. The beauty of passion is that it is unique in design even if it bares similarities in concept with the passion of others.

Just as there are an innumerous amount of snowflakes, each one bares a singular pattern unique in its form in comparison to others, so too is the design of your God-given passion and the drive and direction with which you pursue it.

Unfortunately, many of us find our feet tangled in the trap of the enemy and the lies that come along in the game of comparison. We wonder if our process and pursuit should be like that of others. We question if the reason why our fruit is taking so long to manifest is because we are not following the plan and path of others.

We judge, not only our dream but the plan with which we have set out to pursue the passion that burns within us only to bread bitter roots of envy that only choke out or drive to keep moving ahead.

We lose our focus, then our footing, and ultimately our hearts of, not only delight, but of peace.

HOW DO WE GAIN & MAINTAIN HEARTS OF PEACE IN OUR PURSUIT OF PASSION?

  1. First, remember that Christ has already given you His peace even before you began your process, so hold on to it: Christ implores us not to let our hearts be troubled and then assures us that He has given us, not just any peace, but the very peace that guarded His heart while He walked upon this earth. In the moments where minutia begins to gnaw at your creative resolve, remind yourself of His peace inside and let not your heart be troubled! (JOHN 14:1,27)
  2. Be content with what you have: (HEBREWS 13:5) The Lord is faithful to give you what you not only need but what you are able to carry in whatever season you are in. Allow Him to overflow your endeavors according to His wisdom and perfect timing for you.
  3. Embrace your uniqueness: Just like you were not made to be like anyone else, neither is your passion or pursuit made to be like anyone else’s. The Lord does not give any of us ‘passion hand-me-downs’. That means your process is going to fit you, your circumstances, your strengths, and even your weaknesses. Celebrate this! (PSALM 139:14)

Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that the Lord designs and sets each of us apart for a purpose according to His plan and design. He has sanctified you to do a thing that no one else can do but you, nor can they do it like you! He specifically chose you (JOHN 15:16).

You are chosen for the passion that burns within you. And just as you are chosen, you are guided when you keep Him at the center of your pursuit. This is the anchor of a peaceful heart.

So be cheerful as you go forward and rejoice along the way. The Lord has called you and He has given you everything you need. Let your heart take His peace in that!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Partnering with God’s Heart for You by Bri Lassiter

I have found while walking with Jesus that the things I am most passionate about in my life are often a direct reflection of the things He is most passionate about for me.

Prayer has always been one of those things I just need to do like I need to breathe, and although there have been many seasons where I couldn’t hear the Lord’s voice, I persisted in those times with the comfort that whether or not I hear Him at that moment,He can always hear me.

Many times over the years I’ve felt like my prayers never made a difference and there have been times I’ve been so frustrated I’ve tried to quit praying altogether. But I’ve found that The Lord is relentless in His determination for me to walk in joy and success in the gifts He’s given me. And instead of letting me quit, He’s set about to teach me that instead of trying to hammer a square peg in a round hole with my prayers, I need to learn how to step outside of my understanding and perception with anything I pray about, and commune with the Father’s heart in EVERY situation so I only pray His words, His heart, and His intent in everything.

Jesus said I do nothing of myself, I only do what I see the Father doing. (John 5:19) So when we start approaching our prayer life this way, things begin to move and shake in tremendous ways we never thought possible. Because instead of standing in our own understanding of any situation, we truly step into agreement with His will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

When you release control of your prayer life to the Lord, and commit not to pray until He says pray, to only speak the words He wants you to speak, and to only approach the prayer matters He has for you, you can bet that all your discouragement will vanish as you come to a new understanding that His thoughts are NOT your thoughts and His ways are not your ways, and that the Lord honors your obedience by giving you great favor while you pray His heart, as He promised when He said, “before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Is 65:24)

Our faith is built on promises to us from the One who CANNOT lie, and He promises that we can have absolute confidence in Him that if we ask ANYTHING according to His will, He hears us, and we know that if he hears us, WHATEVER we ask, we know that we have the petitions we have asked Him. (1 John 5:14-15)

Cool, dude. Seems to good to be true, but it’s a promise and you can take it to the bank every time you pray.

Since walking in this truth, I cannot remember the last time I showed up for a prayer appointment, or was given something to pray about where He did not show up doing something crazy and jaw-dropping, blowing my expectations out of the water, building my faith and pouring joy all over me and others as I get to follow this passion He has put in me.

Maybe your passion is prayer too, or something totally different, whatever it is, if you’re in struggle mode with it, get with the Lord and ask Him if it’s a passion from His heart that He has placed into yours, and then ask Him what He’d like to do with it.

He is so intentional, you can be assured that if He has given you the gifts and the passion to pursue certain things, it’s because He already sees you walking it out in success and victory as you learn to trust His sight for it and not your own.

* Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

By Bri Lassiter

Bri Small headshot

I’m married to my dearest friend of 8 years and mom to an energetic 6-year-old. My greatest joys come from traveling with my little family, cooking for appreciative recipients, learning herbalism and natural medicine, and every experience I get to have in prayer ministry. I’m an avid tea and book lover and can’t get enough of either. I love Jesus and the daily adventure that comes from walking in friendship with him as he arranges and rearranges my story.

Faith-Walking Beyond Worry

In less than twenty-four hours the Lord has twice sent me a message talking to me about not worrying. This in addition to the text message a friend of mine sent me a text today saying that God is faithful, He will do what He has promised.

I realize at the start of this new year that there are so many things that I have the potential to worry about, things that are coming ahead, things that I’m bringing with me from last year.

In bringing in the new year with all the potential for worry, I recognize it’s because God loves me that He’s challenging me to step out in a different kind of faith, next level faith.

Even though I may not have the answers today, even though I may not know the exact direction to take today, I know that Christ is leading me. He is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (PSALM 119:105). He shows me the next steps to take when I need them. Sometimes He illuminates the entire road so I can just drive forward ahead quickly.

I am grateful that He gives me direction. I’m grateful that He preserving me from worry even as He conditions me in the waiting.

Worry is indeed an inroad for Satan to cause all of your fears to come true. The Lord has promised us that He has not given us a spirit of fear but of love power and a sound mind (II TIM. 1:7). He has instructed us to renew our minds daily.

That means we need to meditate on not only His written words but His rhema words, the word He spoke unto us individually. We need to meditate on the personal promises that He has made to us daily. We need to continue to make the choice to stand in faith no matter how things may feel, no matter how they seem.

God is not only your God but He is your Shepherd. He guides. He lays down His life for you and He loves you. As your Daddy-God, because you know that He loves you, you can take the faith in knowing you don’t have to worry along the way.

Look at Him through the lens of faith. Look at Him through love and bring the reflection of the love that He gives to us into every situation. He is faithful.

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that worry does not benefit us. Some people take on the mindset that worry means that we are being responsibly concerned about our situations. That concept could be further from the truth.

Worry is actually saying, “Father, I don’t trust You. I don’t trust You take care of me I don’t trust that You’re going to give me the direction that I need to do what You’ve placed in my heart to do.” So you think, “Well, if I can’t worry what can I do?” You can faith your way through things.

Faith does not mean that you feel a certain way about a situation. Faith means you’re choosing to believe the truth about the situation and the truth is what your Father God has already told you before you took your first step out in faith in the first place.

So what Has He promised you? What has He placed in your heart to pursue with passion? If He has put it in your heart, don’t worry, walk in faith that He will guide you every step of the way.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Steps & Leaps in Pursuit of Passion

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ~PROVERBS 3:5-6

No matter how big or small the step you take toward accomplishing your dream, celebrate the courage that you displayed in the step that you took and the ones that are sure to follow.

Each stone you put forth is one more to add to the foundation of your future. Be grateful for your progress and keep moving forward!

Our Faith is what brings our Heavenly Father pleasure! Faith in Him is the greatest expression of gratitude and devotion, especially as we pursue the passion that He has seeded in our hearts. 

Faith is not only defined by giant leaps but is often reflected in the tiny steps. 

Keep stepping forward, confident that He will shine a light on your path as you seek His face and way toward your goal. 

~Poeima, Poetry in Motion

Five Ways to Maintain Creative Joy

Being a creative person is a gift, one that is inherent to us all. Whether you are a writer or an artist, an educator or a parent imagining a new way to get your kids to eat their broccoli, you are operating in your creative nature.

For those us who want to take our creative passion to the next level and turn our hobbies into lucrative business ventures, we run the risk of facing burnout.

This burnout isn’t just from working nonstop on something awesome. This burnout comes from being unprepared for the reality in the shift that we are making.

When our passion becomes a business there is another level of accountability that we have to step into, a level that is not as ‘fun’ as creating itself but just as necessary if we are to be successful.

With that in mind, I want to encourage you on ways to keep the glow of joy in your creating even as you stretch beyond your comfort zone and begin to make your passion available to your audience.

5 WAYS TO ENJOY CREATING

  1. Make a plan: Realize that having an idea is just the beginning. You have to take the necessary steps that will take your plan and make it a reality. This requires time, dedication, and hard work. As Thomas Edison put it, “There is no substitute for hard work.” But the fruits are certainly worth the labor.
  2. Take your plan and break it up into daily, weekly, or monthly achievable goals: How do you eat an elephant? Whether with a knife and fork or simply your bare hands, it’s going to take one bite at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks, and neither will your next novel or great sculpture reach completion the very day you begin. Take things a step at a time. The Book of Genesis outlines how the world was created, one day at a time, one plan at a time, and with the completion of each day, God said IT IS GOOD!
  3. Don’t overdo it: Aim for a number of tasks you can do daily and have maybe one or two smaller tasks you can do in addition should you accomplish your big three in a shorter time, but no more. Time with family and friends is just as important and actually more so than work.
  4. Set work boundaries: Give yourself a dedicated time limit to work and then honor those boundaries. Boundaries create discipline. When discipline is developed our productivity is more effective. We can focus more on quality than quantity which saves us time in the end. Boundaries also create balance and enable us to enjoy our work and appreciate the freedom in our lives. I heard Pastor Ron Carpenter say, “The difference between a swamp and a river is boundaries. “ Because a river has boundaries it has a greater sense of order and bears fruit, whereas a swamp…well it’s a swamp. Both have water and trees but which do you most prefer to visit?
  5. Celebrate each victory: Even if you don’t reach your daily or weekly goal in totality, give thanks for what you were able to accomplish and give yourself a reward for a job well done. Whether it is in a specialty cup of tea or coffee or just fifteen extra minutes of leisure time, be sure to celebrate. Celebration makes the worth just as worthwhile as the goal itself. Life is not just about the destination but each mile that makes up the journey. Again, if the God of Creation can see His daily tasks as good on the way to the greater destination, so can and so should we!
  6. BONUS: Remember that your value is not rooted in the work you do, that you are not measured by your victories and failures. Rather remember that because you have value you are able to do the work you do and do it well even through the ebbs and flows of victories and the unavoidable fails.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Thoughts of Doing & Delighting

*Revised from October 7, 2014

I am having a lot of those right now…random thoughts. I think mostly it’s because of the change in the seasons, and with the change in nature, I have this desire for other changes.

I want to change my surroundings, I want to change the way I manage my time. (I don’t know if you know this, but sometimes having control of your schedule often times can lead to poor use of your time. This is mostly due to the fact that we begin to believe we have all the time in the world.) I want to control.

I suppose I need to remind myself (AGAIN) to just go with the flow without growing slack. Part of my problem is I battle with being an overachiever. I measure things, I weigh their value, I count ALL THE TIME. Actually, I’ve gotten to a point where I no longer do this but I mean I used to count as I walked down the stairs or hallway. It sounds so OCD. YIKES!

It wasn’t OCD, it was actually a way that that ugly controlling attitude used to rear its head. “Twenty seconds of time gone walking down the hall when you could have been doing something more productive.

Do you ever have these thoughts? Do you ever feel like even with your best attempts you are just not doing enough? So what you edited 5 chapters of a manuscript! You should have done 10! Two loads of laundry done when you could have finished and folded it all if you were more productive.”

It’s in these moments that I have to remind myself what the Word of God says, that the steps of the righteous are ordered by God, and that HE delights in them (Psalm 37:23).

God Himself, the all-knowing, ALL loving, merciful God, has planned every moment of our lives, and if we will take His hand, walk in faith with Christ Jesus, His mighty right hand, then we can be confident that every step is a step toward good and victory.

We can celebrate the walk down the hallway, that twenty-second moment of doing one single act, knowing that our Heavenly Father delighted in our walking alone.

It’s no different from when a parent sits and watches with expectant joy the first steps of their child.

I am not yet a wife or mother, but I have many nieces and nephews, and I have to tell you that sometimes I look at them and just smile with delight.

My eldest niece is twenty-seven years old. But a few years ago, there was one evening she came over for dinner with one of my sisters and my eldest brother’s fiancee. We all sat on the king-sized bed watching recorded sitcoms, and in the midst of that she lay her head down and fell asleep.

I delighted in that. I delighted in seeing and remembering when she was born and how much she had grown, the woman she had become. I delighted in her resting. I delighted in her.

If I, her aunt, can feel that delight, how much more does God delight in us, His beloved children?

SO MUCH MORE!

At the end of all things, it doesn’t matter if I tick off every box on my to-do list, if I “maximize” every millisecond of my day,  or if I get as many words written or edited, or paintings done. All that matters is that I started off every step trusting God and allowing His perfect will to be done, and if at the end of the day He delights in what He has planned for me, then maybe I should too!

So here is a reminder to us all to just delight in Him, delight in the day and delight in every step, no matter what it looks like.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Photo by Anastasiia Tarasova on Unsplash

Be Loved: The Passion of Christ’s Pursuit

“I can touch more than the hem of Your Garment. I can touch Your heart.” ~Candice Coates

Messiah Yeshua, Jesus Christ, the Mighty Right Hand of God, God Himself, the Creator of all and the Lord of all, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, The Mighty King…made Himself humble just to be near to us.

How great the depth of His love, often misunderstood, often misrepresented. But His light is too fierce for darkness to overshadow.

His love is too tenacious and open for us all in Spirit, Grace, and Truth to be denied.

His passion on the cross is the evidence of His pursuit of you and me. Even in our sins when we were counted as enemies Christ chose to step into the darkness to draw us back to His heart with His cleansing light. 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ROMANS 5:8 NIV

No matter where you may find yourself, be it on the outside of faith looking in, secure in your walk with Him, or seemingly spinning in spiritual circles, trust that His love is for you and that He will secure you. 

Allow yourself to be loved, no matter what your circumstances may say. His heart is ever for you. He pursues you fiercely and loves you with the greatest of passion. 

For more encouragement, take a listen to this song, “Be Loved,” by Christy Nockels.

Be loved by Christ, be pursued by Him, and be enthralled in His passion and peace for you!

~Poeima, Poetry in Motion

*Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Pursuit of Passion: Series Intro

With the start of every new year, with all the hope and uncertainty ahead of us, there are two themes that we can count on hearing about or seeing in the lives of others and that is pursuit and passion, or the pursuit of passion.

From the greatest to the least of us, we all hear the proverbial ‘starting bell’ of a new year and mentally reset our minds with the belief that the slate is washed clean and we are beginning from zero, the old is past and the new is just ahead of us.

Maybe you have determined to leave the corporate world behind in pursuit of your passion for entrepreneurship with the hopes of a new career. Perhaps you have set your heart to leave the single life behind in pursuit of a new relationship and romantic passion.

Maybe you just want to a new you and are setting your mind in that direction with a passionate pursuit of healthier living.

No matter what your ‘new’ may be in actuality, the commonality that we all share is the pursuit and the passion with which we aim for our target.

The Pursuit of Passion is about addressing WHAT we are pursuing, WHY we are pursuing it and Who we should keep at the center of it all as our passion dictates our direction.

We will talk about topics ranging from our spiritual pursuits, to even those dealing with self-image, relationships, be they romantic or other, career goals, and so much more.

But Most importantly, we will renew our minds with the truth that no matter what our passions or pursuits maybe, Christ needs to be the center of it all.

Delight yourself in the Lordand He will give you the desires of your heart.” ~PSALM 37:4

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER! 

*Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash

Talking with Your Mouth Full: You Are What You Eat pt 4

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speakingas newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” ~I PETER 2:1-3 NKJV

In a letter of encouragement, the Apostle Peter writes that we, like newborn babes, should desire the pure milk of the word and grow in that.

But let’s do a bit of backtracking in the word, recognizing that I Peter as one stream of thought in entirety and not segmented chapters. With that being said, what was Peter’s statement to the Body of Believers prior to chapter two verses one through three?

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because, “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.” ~I PETER 1:22-25

Take a read of the last verses in I Peter chapter 1 and then read the first three verses of chapter two to see the picture.

Peter is reminding us to remember the true foundation of the Word of God and the Gospel, which is Christ. He is reminding us to remain in Love, which is also Christ and to always default to that sure and incorruptible foundation and Truth, all this before instructing us how to walk in a world of unbelievers as Lights.

Peter is reinforcing our righteousness through Christ, that we are purified by faith in Him.

You are probably thinking, “What does this have to do with the series we’ve been reading? Why are we focusing on milk when at the start of this series you said we need to grow our diets beyond milk if we are ever going to take hold of what God has for us?

Here is the simple truth, you cannot build a strong house with a faulty foundation. Growing and maturing our spiritual diets beyond milk doesn’t mean that we are through with milk altogether.

I don’t care how old you get, a bowl of cereal will always need milk. No matter your age eating a good bowl of it will bring a smile to your face. It delights your being. Being reminded of the pure milk of the word, that you are loved, pure, righteous, accepted, because of Christ’s finished and complete work on the Cross, enables you to build with the meat of the word.

There will come times in your creative journey where you will be challenged in your faith and will need to do like King David did and encourage yourself in the Lord (I SAM. 30:6) I have found that the meatier parts of the Word can only stick to my spiritual bones when I am secure in the milk of the word.

When I am secure in the milk I speak the meat with confidence.

Because I know that I am accepted in the Beloved (EPHESIANS 1:5-10) I know that I have victory in Christ. I know the purity of truth and am rooted in that identity. Therefore, I speak it aloud, I speak into the atmosphere those truths.

My confidence in the ‘milk’ gives me courage for the ‘meat’. But I can only speak what I have put inside my heart.

Christ teaches us that what comes out of a man is what defiles him.

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” ~MATTHEW 15:18

What you speak and what you think is what you will produce. You will only speak and produce what you have put inside of you. What’s in your heart is whatever you decide to eat. What you eat is what you allow your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your mind to read, and closing the wheel, what you will eventually speak. And the cycle continues for better or for worse.

 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” ~LUKE 6:45

You are what you eat. You become what you say. You become what is in your heart. So fill up on goodness. Fill your heart by seeing good things, hearing good things, reading good things, and thusly speaking those good things.

Talk with your mouth full of goodness and become and accomplish everything you have put in your heart!

To Read Previous Installments of this series:

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Choosing Faith in Prison: by Bri Lassiter

By Bri Lassiter

I love the story of Joseph, it really inspires me, and I go back to it often and I feel like I’m constantly seeing something new in it.

I grew up with a deep churchy background where I heard familiar stories like this one so much in childhood, but they were always told without the heart, just the bones, so as an adult sometimes when I read them again, it can be a process for me to tear back the dead layers of familiarity and boredom with an old story and really allow the heart and the fiery emotions of some of these radical stories to speak to me.

I remember when I connected with this story for the first time as an adult, I had been speaking with the Lord about a now twelve-year health issue that’s made me feel imprisoned, and I was asking Him WHY am I still here in this prison, why have You not brought me out of this yet, and how am I supposed to even function here?

I still ask Him this from time to time, and He still reminds me of Joseph, his captivity, imprisonment, and promises, and how he must have felt, how he must have asked the Lord my same questions, and how he must have been isolated and suffering loss, anger, despair, and working through depression and forgiveness for those who hurt him.

How he must have cried out daily to the Lord to save him for years and must have felt stifled and wondered if his extraordinary gift of interpreting dreams would be wasted in prison, or if the promises the Lord gave him as a child of rulership and authority, would ever come true, and how he must have wondered why the Lord would allow such a big part of his life to be lost to this struggle.

It’s a really nice story now because we know the ending. But it wasn’t nice in the middle of living this story when there seemed to be no end in sight.

It must have been a daily struggle to choose to believe God’s promises and bigger picture even when nothing about his life made sense and it seemed like every ounce of hope was squeezed out of him. I relate so much to that, and I remind myself when I read his story that I get to choose too.

Joseph chose to forgive, he chose to keep a pure heart, he chose to keep showing up with everything he had at work even if it was work in prison. He chose to keep serving the Lord with his gifts. He chose to keep believing God. He chose to believe that “not yet” is not the same as “never”.

He prepared himself by trusting the Lord and just obeying in the day to day drudgery.

So when the time came for him to be set free and put in his promised and weighty position of authority, he was ready.

Just like Joseph interpreted dreams and fulfilled his destiny in prison and captivity, so you too may be in prison now. You may be waiting and experiencing all the sorrows of prison and you may have been here for years, and your heavenly Father hasn’t given you the timeline for when you get out of prison. But you will.

Nothing is wasted with Him. So don’t let where you are cause you to deny your giftings, ministry, and callings that are still for you right now.

What’s going to happen if you give up in your painful prison years? What’s going to happen if you don’t work with what you have until you’re brought to a new level of freedom?

I’m telling you, the time is going to be ripe for those prison doors to open and it’s going to be sweet, but just how sweet the fruit of your long wait will be, depends on you and what you have allowed Him to do inside your heart, and whether or not you believe His promises to you in spite of everything you see with your eyes right now.

How you flourish in isolation and pain will be how you flourish in your God-given position of rulership and authority. And He is with you in both places. None of it will be wasted. And He intends it all for your good.

~Poeima, Poetry in Motion

By Bri Lassiter

Bri Small headshotI’m married to my dearest friend of 8 years and mom to an energetic 6-year-old. My greatest joys come from traveling with my little family, cooking for appreciative recipients, learning herbalism and natural medicine, and every experience I get to have in prayer ministry. I’m an avid tea and book lover and can’t get enough of either. I love Jesus and the daily adventure that comes from walking in friendship with him as he arranges and rearranges my story.