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Faith Over Fear : Overcoming Anxiety with Rachel Swanson

Today on the podcast, I am so excited to have my friend, Rachel Swanson, with me. We’re chatting about overcoming anxiety and how understanding God’s character can help you to overcome it. As moms I know that it’s very common to struggle with fear. With all the bad things going on in the world, it’s too easy to let that fear creep in—I know it is for me. With shootings, hurricanes, and natural disasters going on, my first response after getting the tragic news is to put myself in their shoes and wonder what I would do to protect my kids in those situations. Then I worry and worry! Sometimes there is no good answer, but that’s usually when the fear kicks in. The reality is that I know I have to trust God and really put my trust in Him. So, that’s what the heart of our talk about is today — you’re going to love it!

Rachel’s new book is unique. It is a devotional coloring book called Big and Little Coloring Devotional. It’s really cool. My girls and I have really been enjoying it. Each page has a little devotional — one for mom (or dad) and one for your child. My only dilemma is that I’m trying to color with BOTH my girls.

 I cannot wait for you to hear this episode!

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

I’m so excited for you to listen to this episode and hear how God restored joy to Rachel’s life after a really hard season! (CLICK TO TWEET)

Get ready for a great interview — get a copy of Big and Littles Coloring Devotional HERE and get your own Simply Joyful Podcast mug HERE!

Highlights from This Show…

  • Rachel shares a bit about the season of having three babies in diapers (they are now 5 and 3 1/2—19 months apart!) and the “funness” of being sleep deprived.
  • Rachel shares about her “bold butterfly approach” mentioned in her bio and why the butterfly is so important to her.Faith Over Fear: Overcoming Anxiety

This is the person God has designed me to be. —Rachel Swanson

He did not design the butterfly to live a caterpillar life. — Kristi Clover

  • I asked Rachel to tell her God story, and how God painted love and joy back into her life.

My relationship with God was “God-in-a-box”. —Rachel Swanson

  • Rachel shares about her stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety is my thorn in my flesh that I have to give to God daily. —Rachel Swanson (CLICK TO TWEET)

When we feel like something is off, that is when we need someone from the outside to help us see our blindspots. —Rachel Swanson

  • Rachel digs a little deeper into her study of Psalms, and how the character of God helped her get through her anxiety.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

  • Rachel reminds us of four truths to remember when going through stress and anxietyFaith Over Fear: Overcoming Anxiety

God is in control. —Rachel Swanson

Life is a slow cooker. Not an instant pot. —Kristi Clover

Coloring as a stress-reliever! Rachel shares about her new coloring book and the God-story of how it came to be. (CLICK TO TWEET)

Be sure to check out Jacy Corral on Instagram as well! She is the amazing illustrator behind Big and Little Coloring Devotional.

Are you struggling with stress and anxiety in your life? Please know that you are not alone! Here are some great resources to get help with Stress and Anxiety:

Focus on the Family
New Life Ministries

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

Connect with Rachel Swanson…

Rachel Swanson is a dental hygienist turned author, speaker, and accredited christian life coach helping women discover their unique purpose and pursue their dreams. She inspires others by sharing personal real life refining moments with relatable truths on her blog, social media pages, in-person speaking events, and through her high-level online coaching program.

Rachel is married to her husband Jeff of 10 years. They have three children: identical twin boys (Gavin and Rylan) and 19 months later a baby girl (Aria). They reside in a wannabe country town in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California.

You can check out Rachel’s books HERE on Amazon! Be sure to visit her site as well at www.RachelCSwanson.com.

Thank you, Rend Collective for allowing me to use your incredible song “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength”!

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Unorthodox Thankfulness

You ever have a moment when you know that God is trying to get your attention?

The past few weeks God has gotten my attention many different ways. The first time was when I sat down to interview Erik Shwarz for the podcast. Erik had an amazing story of how an accident changed his life permanently. Erik was hit by a car at 45 mph and he was thrown 30 feet on to the concrete. The accident left Erik with a destroyed shoulder, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After Erik shared his story I asked him “What advice can you give other guys in your situation?” His response surprised me. Erik said, “Have gratitude for everything you have. I am thankful to be a live, to be here talking with you, to drive here today.”

Of everything Erik could have said about his accident and injury he simply wanted others to be thankful for what they are blessed to have.

The second attention getter was when I said nighttime prayers with my daughter. I asked what she wanted to pray for and she told me “I don’t need to pray, I don’t need anything.” I told her that when you don’t need anything it’s good to pray and say thank you for everything you do have.  And at that moment I realized I was not living what I told my daughter to do.

How often do we go to God simply when we need something?

How often do we not see what we have because we only focus on what we want?

Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This verse is a great reminder that we need to go to God to say thank you as well as ask for help. But it also shows us that the only way we can be content and not focus on all the things we don’t have is through Jesus.

I know this post is short but I want to stay on point here and say “If we focus on being grateful for what we have then we won’t get so disappointed by what we don’t have.”

This week lets be men who practice Unorthodox Thankfulness.

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Has Marriage Become My Idol?

When does marriage move from a precious gift from God to a false god of personal security? It’s a question today, sent in to us from Valerie, a sharp podcast listener who lives in France. “Hello, desiringGod.org team! Thank you for your ministry and for letting so many people benefit from all the free resources at the site. Pastor John, my APJ question for you is this: I deeply love my husband, and I am deeply grateful to God for lending him to me as my husband during this earthly life. But I don’t want to make him an idol in my life. What are some certain signs that I have made him an idol in my life and in my security? And how can I love my husband more and more without finding my satisfaction in this relationship rather than in my relationship with God?”

Has Marriage Become My Idol?Valerie’s own words are pretty amazing and already heading in the right direction. I haven’t heard a lot of women use this language: “I’m deeply grateful to God for lending him to me as my husband during this earthly life.” That’s a huge step in answering her own question.

She is right to say, “My husband is not mine. He belongs to the Lord. He is on loan to me for this life, and then it’s over. Because in the age to come, Jesus says there is no marriage or giving in marriage in the resurrection.” Valerie has her ducks in a row theologically (it seems to me).

But she is very wise, I think, to ask the question and to think in terms of idolatry. We all should ask what the symptoms of it might look like. Let me say a word about idolatry and then just give three simple ways that we all can be vigilant against idolatry in relation to our spouse or for that matter anybody we care about.

Flee Idolatry

The very last words of 1 John are these: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). The reason I mention this is because it is so striking. The reason it’s so striking is that John hasn’t said one word about idolatry in this letter. He’s never mentioned the word idol. He’s never mentioned the word idolatry.

Out of the blue, he just kind of slaps you in the face with idol language. “Why are you talking about idolatry suddenly in your very last sentence?” we ask. Well, my conclusion is that he has been talking about idolatry without using the words. We should go back and reread and find out what idolatry looks like in 1 John.

When I do that, the passage that sounds most like that warning is 1 John 2:15–17. It goes like this:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15–17)

So, little children, keep yourselves from idols. He says not to love the world but then in the very next verse, he explains that he means not loving the world the way the world loves the world. “The desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, the pride of life is not from the Father but from the world, and the world with its desires is passing away.” Don’t have those. Don’t have a love for the world that is like the world’s love for the world or that is like the world’s desire for the world.

The issue is not simply loving the world, delighting in the world, enjoying the world, or being thankful for the world. Rather, the issue is loving the world the way the world loves the world. That is idolatry.

Three Questions

When it comes to a husband or a wife, the issue is not merely “May I love my husband? May I enjoy my husband? May I cherish my husband?” The issue is, Do we love them, enjoy them, or cherish them the way the world does or the way a Spirit-filled Christian does? So here are my three suggestions for how Valerie can stay vigilant against idolatry in relation to her husband — how she can know she’s not loving the way the world loves.

1. Does the thought, the real prospect of losing him, produce debilitating anxiety?

Now, no wife wants to lose her husband; therefore, the thought of losing him should be a negative thought — a painful thought. What I mean by debilitating anxiety is the kind of worry, fretfulness, or fear that undermines a wife’s faith or keeps her from joyfully doing the ministry God has called her to do in the home, in the church, or in the world.

If the prospect of losing a husband produces that kind of debilitating, immobilizing anxiety, then alarm bells should go off that he may be becoming an idol in the place of God, who is our peace and our security, our hope and our joy.

2. Does your affection for and delight in your husband detract from or diminish your delight in the word of God, the people of God, and the service of God?

Or does your affection for him, your enjoyment of him deepen and intensify your love for Christ, your enjoyment of his word, and your engagement with his people?

In other words, the first suggestion asks, what are the effects of losing your husband? And the second suggestion asks, what are the effects of the ongoing presence and enjoyment of your husband? Jesus says,

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).

I think he would say, whoever loves husband or wife more than me is not worthy of me. We can measure the superiority of our affection for Jesus both by what would happen if we lost our best earthly beloved and what happens while we enjoy our best earthly beloved.

3. Is your relationship with your husband regulated by the word of God?

I’m not so much talking here primarily how well you succeed in regulating your relationship on the basis of Scripture, but is it your heart’s desire that you bring the entire relationship under the word of God and measure the beauty of it and the success of it by God’s standard in the Bible — not the world’s standards, not your own independent standards? A good sign that we are moving toward idolatry is when we neglect the word of God and decide that we’re going to define the meaning of love, the meaning of faithfulness, and the meaning of a good relationship on our own terms or from books or movies we watch, but we’re not going to pore over the Scriptures pleading with God to shape our relationship by all of his revealed truth.

So, my three suggestions — in answer to the question, what are some signs that I am making him an idol? — are (1) Does the thought of losing him produce debilitating anxiety? (2) Does your affection for him diminish or intensify your affections for Jesus and your engagement with his people? (3) Is your relationship regulated by the word of God or by your own independent ideas or the ideas of the world? Happy is the husband, and happy is the wife, whose love for each other is secondary to their love for Christ. When we love him more, we love each other better.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Chester Bennington, lead singer of the band Linkin Park sold over 70 million albums died of suicide at the age of 41.Fame does not lead to happiness but Jesus does

Chris Cornell, lead singer of the band Soundgarden and Audioslave sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. He hung himself at the age of 52.

Story after story of rock stars who killed themselves, or say they struggle daily with depression, show that fame and fortune, attention and admiration do not lead to happiness.

Fame does not lead to happiness but Jesus does

The wise King Solomon wrote:

I have seen everything that is done under the sun and behold all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight and what is lacking cannot be counted. He who loves money will not be satisfied nor he who loves wealth. This is also vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them. There is an evil that I have seen under the sun and it lies heavy on mankind. A man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor so that he lacks nothing, and all that he desires yet God does not give him power to enjoy them. But a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity it is a grievous evil. (Ecclesiastes 1:14-15; 5:10-11; 6:1-2)

Jesus said:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the things you need will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)

…when we understand the text.

For millions who suffer from depression and despair there is a better way visit www.TheExitMovie.com for more information.

(This video is by WWUTT. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central.)

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Anxiety, Eating & Escapism with Melissa McCormick

This week in the “Shed” is our tool of the week – Melissa McCormick.

Anxiety, Eating & Escapism with Melissa McCormickMelissa is a licensed (MA, LMFT, MFC) Therapist at Potentia. Potentia is an integrative mental health practice dedicated to supporting the whole person – mind, body, soul – and treating the whole spectrum of mental health and wellness issues. Melissa has also been on staff with Greek Intervarsity at San Diego State University working on leadership development with sorority and fraternity students. Melissa brings to the shed an amazing blend of hands on experience with students and families as well as the intellectual & counseling capacities.

In this episode Melissa shares insights into two areas of her personal focus in counseling, anxiety and eating disorders.  Melissa also shares how women are uniquely struggling with issues of body image and shame that manifest itself in a variety of ways that inhibits them from living empowered and fulfilling lives. In our conversation we discuss questions like:

  • What creates anxiety, or what is anxiety?
  • How do eating disorders develop?
  • What is an eating disorder?
  • Why are people in our culture so anxious?
  • What is creating high anxiety in students specifically?
  • What type of home environments are creating such high anxiety in students?
  • What impact is this having on the “party culture” of most universities?

The practical insights, advice and tools Melissa uses with her clients and students is compelling, motivating and equipping, you don’t want to miss this one!

We believe everyone has something important to contribute to this world. There is no greater threat to you making an impact in your circle of influence than when you are consumed with the pain, shame and struggle of the disordered eating spectrum.

Eating disorders are devastating, crush dreams and souls… and are also deeply misunderstood. Eating disorders are not a phase nor a selfish indulgence. They do not discriminate and impact people regardless of age, gender, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and faith.

Many people struggle with symptoms that fluctuate on the disordered eating spectrum. Unfortunately, many wait to get help until emotional and physical symptoms are more severe because of a desire to not be a burden, too drama or be seen as weak.

If you are in need of support: early intervention, support to higher level of care or step-down support after residential treatment – the earlier you reach out for help increases the chances these struggles will not be life-long.

Potentia is a space where you and your loved ones will receive understanding, support and specialized care. We understand your pain and the nuances of disordered eating – you are not alone in this struggle. You are more than a statistic and we are committed to supporting you.”Potentia Team

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For Hannah, it started in 5th grade. The obsessive thoughts. The anxious behavior. The suicidal ideation. She knew God. She had heard about Him her whole life. She tried to combat her thoughts with verses from her Bible. But the world in her head quickly turned into doctor’s visits. Psychiatric offices. Diagnoses. Prescriptions. Medications.

conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

By the time Hannah entered high school, she struggled with depression regularly. Anxiety seemed to run her thoughts and therefore, her life. During her junior year, what started as an obsession compulsive action to ease anxiety became an addiction to the pain of self-harm. “It started with a mechanical pencil. I’d use the tip of it to scratch my arm really hard during school. It helped me get through the days. But as I felt more socially separated, I used sharper things. Thumb tacks. Keys. Then one night, I used a nail filer and drew blood. Once I saw it, I liked it. I wanted to always draw blood. It became an addiction,” she remembers.

Now hooked on the painful cycle of self-harm, Hannah lived countless nights begging God to kill her. She frustratingly questioned why God would give someone a life if they didn’t even want to live it. She questioned why God didn’t give her the guts to kill herself. She was angry with Him for even creating her, for waking her up every morning.conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

In the midst of it all, Hannah graduated and moved to Lubbock for college. She found a church community where she grew in her knowledge of the Bible and God’s character. While God was obviously sustaining Hannah’s life, her intimate struggle with self-worth, depression, and self-harm remained present in her life.

Sometimes Hannah would reach three months without cutting, but then she would relapse. “I would be screaming at God, asking why He’d abandoned me and start cutting. I believed the lie that God wasn’t good and was indifferent to watching me suffer,” she recalls. “And all of these false views of God were tainting me. I had all the head knowledge, but the suffering was so great, I couldn’t believe that knowledge.”conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

In August 2014, Hannah decided to get a tattoo on the wrist where she would often cut. She got roman numerals based on Romans 8:37, the verse that regularly helped her fight defeating thoughts: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Conquering Cutting Addiction Through Jesus Christ

“Of course I was tempted to cut a week later, but I looked at my wrist and was reminded that I’m a fighter and victorious because of Jesus,” she shares. “I thought I would relapse after a couple of months, but I never did. It was the grace of God.”conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

While her struggle with self-harm dissipated, Hannah’s depression wouldn’t relent. Only two months later, Hannah put her own life in danger when she took an overdose of medication. After another three months, she decided to leave her school and church to seek professional help through an intensive outpatient program. Through this program, God not only helped Hannah gain self-worth and practical skills to help process the emotions she felt so deeply, but He also grew her heart for those who struggle with mental illness and helped her better understand it with a biblical view.

One night, while crying in bed and having an anxiety attack, Hannah read Philippians 1:23: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” And Hannah thought, “That’s all I want. I’m sick of this world. I’m sick of crying. I’m sick of pain. I’m sick of suffering. I’m sick of depression. I just want to be with Jesus.” And although she felt this so heavily, she also began to feel comforted and understood by Jesus and His followers in the Bible.conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

Throughout the years, Hannah has often believed that if she just had enough faith, Jesus would heal her. She was told that if she prayed more, her depression would be gone. “Nothing damaged me more than believing that. I repeatedly asked God what I was doing wrong, and I finally realized, I live in a broken world with a broken mind and body,” she says. “But that’s where faith comes in.” Hannah realized there is no magic amount of prayer or faith that could have healed her. She realized that through all the pain and suffering, God had been pursuing her and was doing something that was ultimately for her good.conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

“I don’t hesitate to say that Jesus is the only reason I haven’t killed myself. In 5th grade, I was told that He loved me and was good, but now I know it. I’ve experienced the weight of His grace on me. He’s the only constant thing in my life. I am constantly reminded when horrible things happen that we can be so glad that we’re not home. Jesus is not done. And God didn’t let me die all of those times for a reason.”

Today Hannah has hope in Jesus, even through her struggles. She knows that He wants to give us an abundant life. She has hope for the future, when her mind and body will be fully redeemed and glorified with Jesus. A future where she will live out the truth that she is more than a conqueror over both anxiety and depression because of Jesus.conquering cutting addiction through Jesus

The Austin Stone Story Team is a community of artists who tell stories of gospel transformation. We are photographers, writers, editors, filmmakers, and musicians on a common mission to use our gifts for His glory.

(By The Austin Stone Story Team. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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How to Deal with Mommy Fear with Lisa Whittle

Mommy fear is a real thing. I have struggled for years with fear and anxiety. I’ve learned how to combat it with God’s Word and lots of prayer. In fact the timing of this podcast interview with Lisa was so amazing, since I had just written a guest post about mommy fear for The Better Mom. I had Lisa’s book sitting on my desk waiting it’s turn to be read for the podcast interview…and I had no idea it was about putting “your warrior boots on” to fight fear. See, amazing.

So, I just know this episode is for you if you have ever struggled with fear, anxiety, or worry. I hope you are so encouraged…and I hope you will learn to put your warrior boots on, too.

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

Lisa talks about how she brings simplicity to her life by saying “no” in a healthy way. She’s learned to rest in a healthy no and that has carried on into her family. Be sure to listen to all she has to say about this on the show.

Get ready for a great interview — and get your own Simply Joyful Podcast mug HERE!

In This Episode…

In this episode, Lisa Whittle and I address “mommy fear.” Your know, that constant state of anxiety moms have when it comes to protecting our children. We share stories of spiritual warfare that have happened in our lives and other people’s lives. We also talk about Lisa’s book, Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong, Once and For All, which is largely about the fear women wrestle with and the tools and techniques to combat these thoughts and fears.  I just know you will be so encouraged by this episode!

Highlights from This Show…

  • Lisa shares the story about when a woman told her that she felt Lisa was fearless after listening to her speak. Lisa says she was deeply impacted upon hearing this feedback because she felt anything but fearless. She discusses how she felt God was helping her to see that He wasn’t defining her as “fearless,” but He was calling her to let go of her fear and rise to her spiritual potential.
  • I mention that I sometimes feel like the more anxious or worried I am the better prepared I might be if anything horrible might happen. I literally play out scenarios in my mind. Listening to Lisa helped me to realize that I need to rise up out of this mentality of trying to be brave or strong enough and just let God be present.
  • Lisa talks about the time she made a list of everything she could do if she were brave enough and how it made her feel even worse.
  • She says that we don’t know what the word “brave” means anymore. We call cancer patients and soldiers overseas brave. Yet, we define people’s menial bold decisions, like dying their hair a different color, brave.
  • “We think that if we can control everything, then we are safe. The problem is that we live in a John 16:33 world that says ‘In this world there will be trouble.’ That’s not an ‘if’ statement, that’s a ‘when’ statement.” – Lisa Whittle
  • “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
  • Lisa talks about how the safest and the best place to be is not in our schedules, and it’s not in our controlling things, but it’s in the care of God.
  • “Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 99:1)How to Deal with Mommy Fear with Lisa Whittle
  • “Put your warrior boots on so that you will be as prepared as possible to walk through this life strong, and to also teach your kids to walk through life strong.” – Lisa Whittle
  • “The Bible is a book of preparation.” – Lisa Whittle
  • Lisa tells us about the 3 types of warrior boots that she brings up in her book. Lisa says that warrior boots is an analogy of strength: Boots of Standard, Boots of Strength, and Boots of Trust. She brings up Deuteronomy 30, about how life is all about choice and not feelings.
  • “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to Hs voice and hold fast to Him…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20a)
  • I ask Lisa to tell us more about her term “God-ish living.”  Lisa said she came up with the term when a friend asked her what she thought the church’s biggest problem was. She says she immediately remembered the verse from 2 Timothy 3:5, “…having a form of godliness, but denying its power,” and the term was born.
  • “We lack that supernatural power because we don’t have the depth that it takes to really walk through this world strong.” – Lisa Whittle
  • She says God wants us to be holy and godlike because He knows that’s what helps and fortifies our life.
  • The Bible tells us to “stand firm and hold fast to what you believe,” (2 These. 2:15) but we can’t do that when we’re lying to ourselves and saying “I’m good enough. ”Good without God is nothing.
  • Lisa talks about rising up as moms. She says mommy anger has a spiritual component, a righteous anger against Satan in which she tells him that he can’t control her fears and her kids.How to Deal with Mommy Fear with Lisa Whittle
  • “We’ve got to remember that this is a fight and we have the most powerful God on our side.” – Lisa Whittle
  • “Ephesians 1 talks about how God is the highest authority in this entire world, in this universe, and He is never going to relinquish His title…we are to walk through this world with the understanding of the covering of that authority.” – Lisa Whittle
  • I told a story about a friend who was a missionary in India who literally cast demons out of people. She shared about how those people said that they could “see” the power of God in people, but could also tell that most Christians weren’t aware they have this power. It made me realize that I should be living my life with the awareness that the Holy Spirit truly lives in me and that I have great potential through Him.
  • “Choose God for your sanity, honestly. Choose God for your stability… if I didn’t have Jesus, I wouldn’t be a sane person…I wouldn’t be able to have peace and I wouldn’t be able to have joy.” –Lisa Whittle
  • “For you did not receive a Spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you receive the Spirit of sonship, and by Him we cry ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

Connect with Lisa Whittle…

Lisa Whittle is a leader, author and speaker with a heart and passion to communicate one thing: Jesus is everything. She is the author of six books, including her latest Put Your Warrior Boots On, and a sought out Bible teacher for her wit and bold, bottom line approach.  She is a wife and mother of three who currently resides in North Carolina.

You can check out Lisa Whittle’s books HERE on Amazon! Be sure to visit her site as well at www.LisaWhittle.com.

Thank you, Rend Collective for allowing me to use your incredible song “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength”!

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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On this Thursday night of Jesus’ final week, mere hours before the crucifixion, Jesus was worried about His disciples.

And as you are about to hear in this PODCAST, He was worried for a very good reason.

I don’t know if you have ever associated the word worry with Jesus, but as you will hear, in this case, at this time, in this place, that word worry is most appropriate.

Don’t worry (pun intended). I’m not trying to get all psychoanalytical on you. I am not fluent in psychobabble. And I’m not about to subject Jesus to a psychoanalysis.

But let us not overlook the fact that this is one of those rare glimpses into Jesus’ mind and heart on this — the single most traumatic night of His storied life.

What we see is a most-endearing picture of Jesus in all of His humanness on full display before disciples. I say endearing because the fact of the matter is this:

Jesus is equally worried about you. And that for the exact same Very.Good.Reason.

So what did Jesus do in response to His loving concern, His worry, His anxiety about His disciples? His loving concern, His worry, His anxiety about you?

Here’s a hint: What He did was AMAZING!

Jesus prayed…

After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. (John 17:1)

…and with that, He began what is known as the “High Priestly Prayer”.

As Jesus worried about His disciples and us, He did what Paul prescribed to do when we face worry… even before Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  (Philippians 4:6)

Now, to worry is not a sin.  To worry is to be human.  What we do when we worry… that’s where the consequences lie.  Some spend, some do drugs, some drink, some eat, some over-commit in order avoid thinking about what worries them.  These are all wrong ways to respond to worry.

The righteous response is this:

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.  And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. (Philippians 4:6-7, Amplified Bible)

Sometimes life can be overwhelming.  Isaiah actually begged God to kill him because he simply couldn’t take it anymore.

Sometimes circumstances, decisions, mistakes, or just life may cause us to even stumble and loose faith in God.  Just as John the Baptizer experienced.  Just as Peter experienced. And just as many friends of mine have experienced.

But, know this – all is not lost.  In part, because just as Jesus prayed for His disciples who He knew would flee during His arrest, beating and crucifixion, He also prayed for me and you.  And your return, even as a prodigal, is an answer to Jesus’ prayer.

Jesus' One Worry Concerning YOU

Image: Heartlight

“Father, the hour has come…” (John 17:1)

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.  I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:20-22)

“…Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! (John 17:24)

Someday soon, this prayer of Jesus will be answered in full.

In the meantime, stay alert, be ever on your guard, for we have an adversary who is seeking to trip us up on the race. But be assured of this: though circumstances may arise that may be so terrible that they would cause us to abandon God, He will never abandon you!

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Ah… the New Year! Time for a fresh start, new beginnings, bogus prophecies that don’t mean anything – seriously watch out for those yahoo’s declaring, “This is the year of your breakthrough!”

By now, you’ve made a few New Year’s resolutions of your own. Perhaps you want to lose a few pounds, or break a bad habit, or learn a new skill. And then in two weeks, when you epically fail at your resolution, you’ll say, “Ahh, there’s always next year.”

Is it a good idea for Christians to be making resolutions?

Sure! Why not? There’s nothing wrong with setting personal goals. Just remember that:

Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God! (1 Corinthians 10:31)

(Unless your resolution is to diet, in which case… don’t eat and don’t drink to the glory of God?)

Consider also these words from James:

The Bible and New Years Resolutions

Image: Mike Hays

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit,” yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance and all such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)

Yeah, it’s straight up evil to think that you control your destiny. But as Job understood, the days of a man are like the days of a hired hand his days are few and predetermined and God has appointed our limits that we cannot pass.

Man who is born of a woman

Is few of days and full of trouble.

He comes out like a flower and withers;

Flees like a shadow and continues not.

Do you open your eyes on such a one and bring me into judgment with you?

Who can bring a clean thing out of an

Unclean? There is not one.

Since his days are determined

And the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits

That he cannot pass,

Look away from him and leave him be,

That he may enjoy, like a hired hand,

His day. (Job 14:1-6)

Jesus said:

“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

… when we understand the text.

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Especially given the age that we live in, and as we watch our brothers and sisters in the Middle East suffer at the hands of ISIS being driven from their homes and towns, this is a particularly relevant question from Kevin in California: “Dear Pastor John, in Matthew 6 we read: ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ So, if this is true, why are there still millions starving to death in our world? Some Christians are starving to death in certain countries even though they seek first the kingdom, right? So how do we make sense of this?”

It is so crucial for Christians, especially for Christian teachers and preachers, to take questions like this with utter seriousness. So often we use promises in the Bible which on the face of it seem unrealistic, and yet we don’t pause to give some plausible explanation of how those promises are to be used, realistically used. So we need a heavy dose of realism whenever we embrace promises like this.

Let’s get the promises in front of us from Matthew 6:25–34, that glorious paragraph. Jesus’ aim there is to give eight arguments — at least, eight that I count — for why God’s children don’t need to have any anxiety. And the summary and climax of the arguments is in verse 33 that he quotes, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” And “all these things” is clearly referring back to what are you going to eat, what are you going to drink, what are you going to wear. And he is saying: Don’t be anxious about any of those things. And now he ends by saying: You are going to have all of those that you need.

So, Kevin raises the question rightly: Do Christians ever perish from exposure or starvation? Is Jesus promising that his followers who have faith will never lack food, never lack clothing? That is what it sounds like. Now, several things should give us pause before we think that Jesus is naïve or simplistic or false in this verse. Consider three other passages and let them really sink in. This is a reality check not from experience over against Jesus. That is a bad way to do exegesis. But the Bible and Jesus’ words in particular over against Jesus clarifying what he means here.God promises to provide for Christians

For example, in Luke 21:16–18 Jesus is talking to these people who don’t need to be anxious about anything because every need will be met. “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish.” So, Jesus promises that some of his anxiety-free people will be put to death. Now, these are people who in Matthew 6:33 have believed, trusting “all these things” will be given me that I need — and they are going to be killed. And it doesn’t say how they are going to be put to death. Starved to death in prison? Killed by chaining them outside in below freezing weather with no clothes? It doesn’t say. Persecution has assumed every imaginable form in the history of the church.

And then he says, “Not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18). Well, surely that promise is just as sweeping as “all these things will be added to you.” Not only will they be added to you, not one hair is going to be hurt. And he says that ten words after saying they are going to kill you: killed, but no harm done, no ultimate harm done. Now, that should give us pause if Jesus can say: Not a hair of your head is going to perish, right after he says: They are going to kill you. We had better be slow to say that all your needs are going to be met means you can’t die of hunger. That is number one.

Here is Paul in Philippians 4:11–13, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” — all things, including hunger. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). So, verse 19 is very similar to Matthew 6:33. One says: All these things will be added to you, and the other says: Every need you have will be met. And yet Paul has just said: I know how to be brought low. I know how to face hunger. In other words, God’s promise to meet every need does not mean providing all the food and clothing we think we need.

One more text: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Now that is the same as Matthew 6:33 — all things. He is going to give you “all things.” What you eat, what you wear, what you drink. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or” — here they are — “famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long” — starved to death, put out in exposure — “we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:35–37). So, Paul virtually says that some Christians will die of distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword — and what does he mean that God will give us all things?

Now, here is my answer to that question. When I put all of this together — Jesus’ words and Paul’s two texts — when I put all of this together, I think the meaning of Matthew 6:33 and Romans 8:32 and other promises like this — and there are a lot of them — I think it means: Everything will be given to us that we need in order to do God’s will in order to glorify God most fully, even if it means death. Jesus isn’t promising all the food, all the clothing, all the housing, all the healthcare, all the protection that we need to be comfortable or even to stay alive. He says we are going to die in his service. He is promising that we will have every single one of those things in exactly the right measure for doing his will and glorifying his name, even if it means perishing from exposure or starvation in the path of obedience.

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not e2 media network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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