Fear

I just finished the chapters on fear and wow- they were so powerful!! It is crazy because I actually remember Steven Furtick speaking at Saddleback Church a little over a year ago and his message was on the same thing I just read! I love when God does that- obviously, He does not want me to miss this truth!! Fear is one of Satan’s tactics- putting fear into our minds that detour us off the path God wants us to take.   Steven says in his book, “The Enemy can’t do a thing to diminish God’s promises so instead he lures you into places where your perspective of God’s promises will be diminished.” He talks about the story of Elijah and how his fear caused him to run away. Interestingly enough, God has just done a mighty miracle through Elijah by sending fire down onto a sacrifice and proving God’s power to the prophets of Baal. However, soon after he is now running for his life in fear of the threats of one woman. You think that after seeing that miracle from God that Elijah would be invincible and fearless.

I love the next part of the story. God does not reprimand Elijah for his little faith after just witnessing God’s mighty power, instead we see God meeting Elijah’s needs by caring for him. He tells him to get up and eat and even provides him with food. I think it is referring to both physical nourishment as well as spiritual nourishment. Ladies, we need to be intentional and feed ourselves daily with God’s word. I love what Steven says, “We can never hope to crash the chatterbox until the signal (God’s Word) becomes louder in our lives that the incessant noise around us that clamors for our attention and depletes our courage.”

So after he is nourished, God tells him to go out and stand on the mountain so He could pass by. Again, love this part of the story and how God communicates to Elijah. There is a mighty wind, an earthquake, a fire but that is not how God chose to communicate with Elijah. Then, it says, there was a gentle whisper and God said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” You may ask yourself why a whisper? Why did God not talk to him in the fire, the earthquake, or the wind. I love that Steven says, “He whispers because He’s close.” Wow- we have a God who is close and cares.   One of my favorite verses is “God is close to the brokenhearted.” Psalms 34:18 Whatever you are going through: divorce, depression, infertility, loss of a loved one…. God is close to you! I don’t know why we have to experience these hard times but I do not that God is close to us during them and wants to support and comfort you!

Towards the end of the chapter, the book says that we need to train our mind to know the difference between the Enemy’s threats and God’s whispers. He then gives a comparison of the two:

“The Enemy’s threats are embedded in lies.   God’s whispers are rooted in truth.

The Enemy’s threats are designed to paralyze.  God’s whispers are empowered to mobilize.

The Enemy’s threats condemn vaguely.   God’s whispers instruct specifically.

The Enemy’s threats are aimed to take you out.   God’s whispers speak a better Word to keep you in and move your forward.”

Ladies, don’t let the enemy take you out. He is trying to use our fears to paralyze us from our purpose. I know one of my biggest fears was people finding out I was getting divorced and the judgment from it. Satan was trying to make me think I could not be used; however, this is a lie. The truth is that God can still use me even in my brokenness. We need to find a way to combat Satan’s lies with God’s truth. I know for me, I need to be reading God’s word consistently and putting these truths in my heart so I am ready when the enemy attacks.

I love how God’s Word changes our perspective and helps us move forward. Elijah did not stay in his place of fear but instead goes back and follows God’s instructions. Here is a final quote to leave you with, “Don’t let a battle that you are afraid to fight keep you from a victory that already won.”

Identity in Christ

One of my favorite authors is Lysa Terkeurst; I follow her blog and have read many of her books.  A while ago, she interviewed her pastor, Steven Furtick about his new book, “Crash the Chatterbox.”   I remember he had so many amazing things to say so I bought his book.   To be completely honest, his new book sat on my nightstand for many months. Can anyone relate to that?? Love how God’s timing is always perfect. About 2 months ago, a friend and I were talking about how easily negative thoughts can enter our mind and distract us from our purpose. As I was looking for a way to encourage her, I saw this book sitting on my nightstand.   I opened it up and read the insert about the book, it said, “Inside your head and heart is a chatterbox. Its lies are keeping you from realizing your God-given potential. The voice you listen to will determine the future you experience. Learn how to Crash the Chatterbox… and Hear God’s Voice Above All Others.”   Wow- this was exactly what we both needed to hear so we started reading the book and it was amazing- totally recommend it to all of you to read!

In his book, Steven focuses on 4 key areas that debilitate us: insecurity, fear, condemnation and discouragement. I thought I would start today with some of the profound truths that I have learned about insecurity from his book:

He talks about how important it is that we know our identity in Christ and how this is not dependent on anything we do or cannot do. God says we are his masterpiece, loved, redeemed, valuable, fearfully and wonderfully made…. Again, none of this has to do with our performance. This is just who we are in Christ and by focusing on these qualities, we can crash the chatterbox in our minds that say the opposite.   Sometimes we may feel defeated and I love this one part of Steven’s books because he gives examples of how we may be feeling frustrated or down but then states a truth or promise of who we are in Christ- so powerful!

  • I don’t like myself very much in this moment but I am loved.
  • I don’t seem to be gaining much ground in this battle but I am more than a conqueror.
  • I don’t have a lot of confidence in myself right now, but I am strong and courageous.
  • I don’t know how to fix this part of my life but I am healed and whole.
  • I don’t know how long I’ll continue to struggle with this sin, but I am forgiven and free.

How do I know?   Because God says I am.

Ladies, I hope this message encourages you! I know it is so freeing to know that God loves me and accepts me just as I am that I don’t have to do anything more to earn his love. God loves each of you so much. Tell yourself today that you are valuable, loved, accepted and His Masterpiece!! I want to end with this great quote from his book, “The chatterbox cannot control the thoughts and trajectory of the child of God who faces each day with this attitude: I have nothing to prove, because I am already approved.”

Love, Jodi