Your Path of Purpose…

You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.-Psalm 16_11

This morning, I reached for my phone and immediately went to my Bible App looking for the verse of the day. I have to say I’m not big on electronic Bibles. I don’t necessarily like using my phone or any other device. There’s something about tangibly turning pages that connects me to the written words. But, sometimes, one just needs a quick word of encouragement.

You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

-Psalm 16:11

Last week, I wrote to you about digging into the word of God more and how as a community of believers, I want us to do this together. I talked about October being the beginning of a series relating to purpose, and communicated that I want to know if you have questions or study suggestions relating to that theme as we move closer to that time. The response overwhelmed me.

I heard from some of you in the comment section of the blog, and received some beautiful heartfelt emails from others of you who are struggling with questions and difficult life situations. I’ve been praying for all of you and preparing to address  your thoughts in October.

I found it very timely for the above scripture to be today’s verse of the day. “You will make known to me the path of life…” As a body of believers, we must hold tightly to this. With everything we are we need to find hope in those words, refusing to give up when we feel lost. We often find ourselves searching for answers in the midst of hard battles and usually don’t know which way to go. That’s when the word of God takes over and breathes life into desolate circumstances.

Today, I want to encourage you with Psalm 16: 11 and remind you that the word of God is infallible. What is written in that book is truth in its purest form. God will make His path known to us when we seek Him with our whole hearts. It’s possible that we may not see with complete clarity along the way, but when we’ve arrived at our destination, and we will, His fingerprints will be all over the map of our land.

Friend, regardless of how you’re feeling today, seek His presence. You will find fullness of joy in that place. Seek His hand of direction over your life, there are pleasures there forevermore. The Psalms aren’t just sweet sayings meant to tickle your ears; they are words of life from the Father of love, light, and wholeness. Your path of purpose has been forged long before you arrived on this earth. Together, we will discover what this means throughout our October series.

Be encouraged today!

If you missed my post last week, you can find it here. If you have any questions or study topics to suggest, please leave a comment either here or on last week’s blog post. You can also email me at jen@jenniferkostick.com.

Be confident in His word. He will make your path known!

Love,

Jennifer

Where This Blog is Going, and What I Need From You…

Jenniferkostick.com(10)

As of 7:30 this morning, summer at the Kostick home officially came to an end. The kids entered their little, yellow school bus carrying new backpacks heavy with classroom supplies. This is true evidence of fall, and it’s already nagging me to burn candles, and decorate with auburn colored leaves and pumpkins.

It’s hard for me to comprehend the movement of time. I often don’t realize how fast it’s ticking until my children’s pants are too short or new laugh lines on my face beg me to purchase a more effective night cream. Those are bitter-sweet truths I can count on. And speaking of the ever persistent tick of the clock, on September 19th, my blogging journey will hit the four year mark.

Over the last four years, we’ve talked aging, miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility, and grief on so many different levels. I’ve shared what God speaks to me and how I’m working out my own salvation with fear and trembling. I’ve given you glimpses into my marriage, children, seminary journey, and book writing process. I’ve allowed walls of embarrassment to crumble and have been baptized in newfound freedom, which has come from exposing the tender pieces of who I am.  And, even better, I’ve been able to learn about your tender pieces, too. Those of you who email, send messages, and leave comments in this space have blessed me with your very own stories. I pray for you regularly.

God made us to be relational; we need each other. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed all over the great, big blogosphere, talk about community and benches. We’ve been encouraged to sit with each other and talk openly from one heart to another. We’ve been told we’re enough because God is enough. I’ve spoken that truth myself. However, there’s something else I think we all need to recognize: we must do more than listen to each other. We need to listen to God. We have to start opening our ears to the God who wants to speak from His Spirit to our own. How do we do that? Through His word.

As we move forward together, more than anything, I want this space to be a place to rediscover the word of God. I want us to seek Him with determination. With my whole heart I believe that the only way to fight battles in this life is to learn who our God is, intimately. We can’t do that if we don’t know His word.

The word of God will change everything about who we are and how we determine our circumstances.

I’m preparing for an October series based on finding purpose through the word of God. Friend, I don’t want to do this by myself. I want to hear from you. What questions do you have concerning purpose? What passages of scripture do you want to study? What do you want to know about who God is? I’m not saying I have all the answers. There’s very big wisdom in three little words: I don’t know. BUT, I believe we can dig inside the Bible, together, and do our best to discover what we are seeking to find. I believe we can learn to listen to a God who wants to speak peace in areas of anxiety.

I would love it if you would leave a comment on this post with questions you’re hoping to find answers to, as well as biblical topics you would like us to study. What do you want to know about God? And, what are you longing to find out about yourself? If you don’t want to leave a comment, you can email me at jen@jenniferkostick.com, or message me on Facebook.

We are going to work on uncovering spiritual truths. Through it, I believe we will learn who God is, and in turn, learn who we are.

I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.

-Psalm 119:11

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Love,

Jennifer

Surrender Doesn’t Always Mean What You Think it Does…

in Christianity, it is impossible to be victorious without, first, surrendering everything to the living God.(1)

Can we talk surrender? I know that deep inside this culture it seems like a bad thing when the white flag is raised high, or the sweaty towel is thrown in the ring. Surrender is usually declared when it’s time to end a hard fought battle. It comes after we’ve trained hard, taken painful punches, and even thrown a few of our own. That is why surrendering hurts so much. It means a painful loss. However, in Christianity, it is impossible to be victorious without, first, surrendering everything to the living God. Every dream, every hope, every desire must be given freely into the hands of the Almighty. Surrender means humility, and humility translates to grace.

We all need grace.

There isn’t a person breathing that doesn’t need the beautiful gift of grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

-Ephesians 2:8

When our faith skyrockets, His grace falls, and when the two collide there is nothing impossible. All things are possible with God. (See Mark 10:27) And, friend, it takes faith to surrender. It takes faith to tell God that you want what He wants. It takes faith to be able to handle answers from Him such as, no, or not now.  It takes faith to be willing to lay aside your own heart and feelings for the sake of the way someone else feels. It’s only through His pouring grace that our souls can welcome surrender.

Humility and surrender are key in our walk with God. We can’t move forward until we’re ready to surrender everything it is we’re carrying. We tend to hold tightly to what we think we want or need, and sometimes we even hold tight to justification of our feelings. All of these things only end up making our arms heavy and succeed in nothing other than holding us back.

Today, I want to encourage you to surrender to God now. When you feel a dream well up or a desire form, surrender it. Surrender your marriages, children, and friendships to whatever it is God wants to do inside them. Say yes to the call of surrender in moments when your flesh rises up and you want to prove you’re right.  Ouch, I know.

When we surrender every part of us to God, then grace falls from God.

Before the battle begins, there is something we can do. We can surrender to the will of God, let our faith rise, and watch His grace flow down.

Love,

Jennifer

Why Your Dream is Important!

@jenniferkostick

Every time I stand in front of the ocean, I’m more aware of just how powerful God is and how nothing He created was, or is, accidental. We’ve all been given a gift of purpose. Every life has meaning and there’s a specific plan envisioned for each one.

Without a vision the people perish. (See Proverbs 29:18)

Just like God has a vision for our lives, we must have a vision as well. We must be active and obedient in taking steps toward God-inspired dreams. We can’t give up or look back regardless of how difficult the road ahead looks. We have to stand strong, and for inside the moments when it seems impossible, we need to remember nothing is impossible with Jesus. When we can’t, He always can.

And, friend, I’ve had days when I didn’t think I could. I’ve had seasons of feeling He was far, and I was searching to find Him. Believe it or not, those are the times we are actually drawing nearer and nearer to our dreams becoming realities. Those are the moments when our vision aligns with His will, pulling us into our purpose one step at a time. With obedience comes blessing.

Sure, it’s easy to obey when everything looks lovely and the sun is shining on the golden sand beach right next to His powerful waters. But I’m talking about obeying through sandstorms and finding our way through pelting waves. Here’s the thing: the closer you stick to the truth of Christ, the closer He is, even if you don’t feel Him there.

I think we can all agree that the world has gone crazy and those of us who have escaped it thus far are praising Jesus everyday for the blessings He’s given. What I’m suggesting is this: That we thank Him for the blessings which lie ahead, even if we’ve not walked inside the reality of them as of yet. I’m suggesting we throw up our hands in praise rather than fists ready to fight the God who seems too far. I’m suggesting our lives become lights of praise and thanksgiving in the middle of dark, dark places.

Your dream has the power to change lives! (Tweet that)

Let us search ourselves, find our vision, and run toward the will of God. He is big and nothing is impossible for Him. (See Luke 1:37)

Love,

Jennifer

Do NOT Lose Heart

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.-2 Corinthians 4_16

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

-2 Corinthians 4:16

“Therefore, we do not lose heart.” The apostle Paul was a very matter-of-fact kind of guy and when it came to faith in Christ, there was no arguing anything the Holy Spirit guided Him to write. “We do not lose heart.” Translation: there’s no other option but to march full steam ahead in faith.

In the middle of life’s upheaval, that command isn’t easy to follow. This is why so much of our faith in Christ must be rooted in discipline. After all, the word disciple comes from the word discipline. We must discipline ourselves to follow Christ. So, how do we not lose heart? How is it possible to live victorious in the middle of trials and tribulations? It’s a faith journey, friend, and we are all on one.

Faith comes by hearing the word of God. (See Romans 10:17) Hearing, and hearing, and hearing some more! Over and over again we must discipline ourselves in the word of God that we might gain faith by connecting to His message on the pages. (As a side note, I believe in reading the Bible out loud whenever possible. It helps!)

Whatever it is you’re facing today, it’s part of your faith journey and the story of that journey is being written each day as you take steps in confidence that God is big enough, strong enough, and capable enough. He is enough.

Listen, I know it seems ridiculous that my answer to your trouble would be to hear the word  of God and actively pursue a faith journey. But I have no regrets in saying it. As absurd as it sounds, we have no other choice. There is no other road or way that will lead us to peace. There is no other form of healing or help. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.

I love the way it’s phrased in the King James Bible:

My Help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

-Psalm 121:2

There’s no doubt about it, right? My help cometh! It’s coming!

Think about this: What if we all allowed our tragedy to fuel our trajectory, leading us to deeper faith and complete peace regardless of the circumstances?

Therefore, we do NOT lose heart.

Love,

Jennifer

When Compassion Hurts…

When Compassion Hurts...

Lately, I’ve been asking God for deeper insight, greater strength, and the ability to show compassion on a level I haven’t yet experienced. I want my faith to be fresh, not dusty or full of what’s expected and natural. I want the unexpected supernatural.

Hope and life seem to develop from ashes. Our greatest strength is stirred inside deep waters of weakness. This is how we know grace truly lives and covers all.

Not long ago, I learned that compassion is a strong emotion requiring action. That means you have no choice but to do something. When compassion takes over, there’s no more sitting idle. You do what you have to do regardless of whether you’re sure of the outcome or not. In scripture, when Jesus feels compassion He’s moved to action. He heals, He prays, He does whatever is required of Him.

Based on the scriptural view of compassion, I can honestly say it’s a foreign emotion for many of us. We often experience sadness based on our own experiences, or from pain others are suffering, and we can all identify with what anger feels like. But can you pinpoint the last time you were moved to act righteously based on the feeling of compassion? I have to wonder how often we allow our deep waters of weakness to be stirred by this seemingly foreign emotion? And, how often does strength prevail because of it?

I recently felt compassion.

Based on my own experience, the action forced from compassion did not feel good. I didn’t feel rewarded after doing the right thing; I had no resolve or letting go of pain. If anything, I felt deeper pain. However, I want to please God, and I have deep faith that what we do solely for Him will add strength and peace to each new day. The words in 1 Samuel 15:22 come to mind, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” (Before the cross, sacrificing animals was the atonement for sin, however, if one obeyed in the first place, there was no need for the sacrifice because there was no sin for which to atone.)

He’s a good God full of righteousness, peace, and plans for each life. I don’t know why He allows us to pour love into certain people only to end up hurt. I don’t know why some suffer so deeply that they lash out and turn from those who have loved them. I have know idea why compassion sometimes hurts us to the core. I only know I must fight for obedience to live alongside pain. I must allow both obedience and pain to walk hand-in-hand so that when something hurts, God can work. Pain doesn’t have to fester and bring forth bitterness; it can work with obedience to bring forth beauty. It’s a choice, friend.

When it comes to compassion, He requires different actions from different people. It depends on the situation. Mine is obviously close to the heart and comes from a fractured relationship. It’s a heart matter and we all know matters of the heart hurt most. I don’t know what’s going on inside your life or what might be cutting at your heart. I’m not sure what action God will require of you once you feel the strong emotion of compassion,  but let me encourage you with this: compassion is a wonderful, productive emotion. Don’t run scared of it. When you feel it, you will have no other choice but to move. It means you’ve chosen obedience. It is possible for obedience and pain to coexist in a healthy manner. And when they do, grace flows down.

I wish every situation/relationship wrapped up perfectly with a storybook ending. I wish unity was a priority for everyone. And, Dear God, I wish people made better decisions, including me. But here’s the thing: After all the tears are shed, when we allow pain and obedience to work together, we have a redeemed ending. We were made for holy redemption by which the covering of grace pours so thick the will of God takes over and breathes life. We must believe that in the hardest most hurtful moments, God is moving with compassion on us, and so we must move with compassion for others.

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing…

-1 Peter 3:8-9

Love,

Jennifer

Why You Need to Make Praise Your Purpose…

_Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day._-Psalm 71_8

“Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day.” -Psalm 71:8 This entire Psalm is written from the perspective of an older person having already left the days of his youth. The particular plea we read in verse 8 gives us a great example of prayer that should never […]

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Because I Can’t Keep Track of All These “National Days”

Because I Can't Keep Track of All These _National Days_

Silly picture, right? I’m not big on selfies, but I thought (And this is so not like me.) a little cup of virtual coffee might be a nice way to start today. Here’s why… According to social media, every single day is meant to be known for something. Doughnut day, siblings day, you name it, […]

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The Question You Need to Ask God When Dealing with Anxiety…

The Question You Need to Ask God When Dealing with Anxiety

I’m not always certain what triggers anxiety in me. It’s usually the little things rather than the big things. It can come from a noise too loud or a light too bright. Regardless, it comes. Like a fast train headed down the tracks, it has full intent of taking me on a journey. My heart […]

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What You Need to Know About Grace…

What You Need to Know About Grace

Earlier this week, I talked about the message of the cross being the power of God. (See 1 Corinthians 1:18) Today, I want to dig into what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9… And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly […]

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