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About Jennifer Kostick

Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.

Jennifer Kostick

Jennifer Kostick
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Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.

The Kingdom Building Call (Part Five)

#Bible Study #purpose #crisis

If you’re joining us today for the first time, welcome! For some tips on how to study with us, click here.

Week Five Study Overview: Today, we will discuss crisis and speak of how the fire in our bones can become a full-on blazing inferno.

Key Point of Struggle: Crisis! Why must we deal with it, and what do we do when it begins to shake our entire foundation, threatening to extinguish the fire in our bones?

Key Proof of Comfort: We are going to learn a powerful Holy Spirit declaration through John 16:13-15.

To recap, the last time we were with Jeremiah, he wanted to walk away from his calling but quickly recognized he couldn’t. He invited us into a small piece of his world when he revealed this:

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.

-Jeremiah 20:9

Jeremiah dealt with crisis in the form of people beating him, chaining him, and making a mockery of his ministry. It was entirely possible that the crisis of dealing with flesh and blood, people who did not want to hear his words from the Lord, would also lead to a faith crisis. Jeremiah thought about walking away, but he couldn’t ignore the burning in his bones.

Have you ever felt like walking away?

I have.

I’ve been down roads paved thick with grief. I’ve stood all by myself with God and shaken my fists at an invisible figure. I’ve felt alone with a God who said He’s with me to deliver me but haven’t felt any deliverance whatsoever. And then after making peace with knowing that if I have no God then I have no life, I have once again felt the deep burning inside my bones. It’s how I know He’s there even when I can’t find resolve. I stand on promises and know that inside my bones there’s a kindling which cannot be contained. We live in a world full of sin. Crisis will come, but Jesus had a plan.

In John chapter 16, John shares with us the words our Savior spoke to His disciples. Jesus told them the Holy Spirit would come to be their Helper. I picture, in that moment, Jesus looking into the eyes of a bunch of wide-eyed men who grew more and more confused with every word He spoke. They hung onto each sentence for dear life but could not figure out what any of it meant.  And then crisis came. Their Beloved was captured and crucified. For three days the tomb was not empty, and the disciples were faced with a faith crisis. They had lived in a whirlwind of miracles and love so powerful it could restart hearts. It was a love that didn’t just feed mouths, but souls. They hadn’t known anything like it before and after experiencing it, knew they couldn’t live without it ever again. In my mind, I imagine John, who deemed himself the disciple Jesus loved, tearing through his memories working to solve an unsolvable mystery. I envision John remembering these particular words that Jesus spoke:

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”

-John 16:13-15

When it was all said and done and death hadn’t beaten them, after they saw with their own eyes an empty tomb and a resurrected Messiah caught up in the sky, they waited. They sat together in an upper room when the Helper showed up and filled up. The breath of God came in the form of wind that would fill every heart with His Holy Spirit Helper – the Helper of all who believes. And to this day, it’s that same Wind that keeps the fire in our bones burning bright.

“For He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” Those words from Jesus speak to me mightily.  I’ll tell you why:

Let’s talk for a brief moment about the word crisis. It comes from the Greek word Krisis, which means turning point from a disease. And that word Krisis comes from the word krinein which means to decide.

When we find ourselves in the middle of a diseased situation, it forces us to make some decisions. Crisis backs us into a corner and asks us what we’re going to do. And Jesus said, “He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

Do you know what I need to hear in the midst of chaotic crisis? I need to hear the Holy Spirit’s declaration that I belong to Christ, that my identity is in Him and not in the situation that caused my crisis.

I am not grief!

I am not unforgiveness!

I am not a victim!

I am victorious in Christ, because I am the daughter of the living God!

Deep down in my heart of hearts, I know that when Jeremiah contemplated giving up his ministry, he heard the first words spoken to him by God. I believe they played on repeat and reignited the holy burn in his bones.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

-Jeremiah 1:5

Friend, if you’re in the middle of crisis, I want you to know that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live inside you and be your Helper. He wants to remind you that you were created intentionally for purpose, and that you’ve been set apart for a life only you can live. You are meant to bring Him glory. Your identity is found in Christ! You are His; the Holy Spirit wants to declare that to you. And you need to declare it out loud!

  • Who are you to God? Search scripture and write about it in your journal.
  • Psalm 143 is a beautiful psalm of David as he seeks wisdom and guidance in the middle of crisis. For deeper study, I encourage you to read the entire psalm, write 143:10 in your journal, and pray it over yourself every day this week.

 

Next week, we will be studying the widely known scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 as we close out our series on the faithful prophet Jeremiah.

When you learn to search the word, the word will come alive to you like never before. The fire in your bones will become an inferno. Don’t underestimate who God made you to become!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: I recently did an interview for Kimberly Taylor at Take Back Your Temple. If you’re interested, you can read it here.

Use the Hashtag #KingdomBuildingSisters on Instagram showing a photo of what daily kingdom building looks like to you, tag me, and your name will be entered in a fun surprise giveaway!

Don’t ever miss a post! Consider subscribing and be the first to hear upcoming news about receiving amazing offers that are only for subscribers! We have some fun things coming this summer!


The Kingdom Building Call (Part Four)

#Bible Study #purpose

If you’re joining us today for the first time, welcome! For some tips on how to study with us, click here.

Week Four Study Overview: Today we will deal with the inside ache, turned fire in our bones, when we hear from God and are trying to decipher if it’s really Him or our own desires speaking.

Key Point of Struggle: We aren’t always sure if we are hearing the whisper of God or our own desires, and we don’t always want to do what we are called to do.

Key Proof of Comfort:  “And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” – Philippians 1:6

Last time we were with Jeremiah, we witnessed an honest conversation between himself and God. We then took that conversation and translated it into our own lives. What I love about Jeremiah is that he’s brutally honest. We can read his heart and emotions because he wasn’t afraid to share his story with us. We can learn from him because he cracked open his heart and allowed it to pour out over pages that we can still read to this day. Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet because of his honest emotion and outward lament. Thank God for the real ones: the folks who let it all out and confess their struggles. They make me feel less crazy in my own search for purpose.

At the beginning of our study, I mentioned that the book of Jeremiah is not written in chronological order, and that we would be jumping to a few significant moments in his life. Today, I want to look at chapters 19 and 20, but before we get there, I want to talk about the call on our lives.

We learned from Jeremiah 1:5 that we are all called, set apart, and given purpose. We each have a mandate on our life to kingdom build while living abundantly within the call. However, we also learned from Jeremiah’s conversation with God that sometimes we are called to do hard things: tasks we would much rather tell God we’ll pass on and wait for the next job He has in mind. And then there are those of us who love the idea of our calling.  We think that because we’ve been called that every path will be covered with favor and blessing. However, the longer we wait without gaining the ground we think we should, we become weary. We are shocked by the amount of battles we’re called to fight. Translating battles into blessings is harder work than we can begin to imagine.

  • Has God ever called you to a hard task that you weren’t interested in accomplishing?
  • Have you ever been excited about the call God placed on your life, but after dealing with extreme challenges questioned if you really heard His voice?

Jeremiah was called to tell the nation of Judah to repent and turn from their sin. Otherwise, there would be judgment. He was a true prophet among many false prophets and priests. God had a plan that Jeremiah had to follow and it usually led him into harm’s way.

In Jeremiah 19 God told Jeremiah this:

“Go and get a potter’s earthen flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests, and go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, which is by the entry of the Potsherd Gate; and proclaim there the words I will tell you.”

-Jeremiah 19:1-2

Jeremiah went and did exactly as God called him to do. What happens next is really difficult to swallow, especially now that we are invested in the life of Jeremiah. It pains me to watch this unfold in my mind as I read the words in the beginning of chapter 20.

Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet. And put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord.

-Jeremiah 20:1-2

God told Jeremiah to speak, he obeyed, and as a result he was beat and locked up. This is so painful because though there are very few of us who can identify with this type of persecution regarding obedience to God, we all face some sort of difficulty while trying to live out our callings.

Doors we think will be opened are locked tightly, friends who we think will support us forget and abandon us without even so much as a prayer, people will get jealous, we will be judged, people will read our hearts wrongly and mistake us for something we aren’t, rejection will come, attacks of the enemy will be strong, and we will ultimately toy with the idea of abandoning our calling.

In case you are dealing with this right now, let me tell you that there’s a danger in giving up. People everywhere depend on your calling because it’s eternal. They need you doing only what you can do. Listen, anyone can start but few finish. We have to set our minds on finishing regardless of how difficult the road.

Jeremiah didn’t take this encounter very well. He, in the honesty we love, tells God exactly what He thinks…

O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me. 8 For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily.
9 Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.”
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.

-Jeremiah 20:7-9

Jeremiah was persuaded by the call of God and followed it, even though it was painful both emotionally and physically. He came to a place where he wanted to quit, but he couldn’t because there was a fire shut up in his bones.

Have you ever thought that maybe you missed God and weren’t supposed to keep following your ministry gifts/callings/dreams? However, you just couldn’t stop thinking about it because of the inner hunger keeping you on the path? Does this sound familiar? Friend, I feel like this a lot. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years of pursuing my purpose: if I can’t stop thinking about it, if I keep on going even when I want to stop, if little-by-little people encourage me in the moments I need it most when I haven’t told anyone I’ve been struggling, then it is the Holy Spirit inside beckoning me to keep going when I’d much rather quit.

You see, I want to finish my life strong! I want to do what God has designed for only me to do! I want the call of God on my life to persuade me powerfully, because it’s the only persuasion with power enough to make me whole. And I know that if He began this work inside of me, then He will complete it. And He will do the same for you!

  • Do you feel a fire shut up in your bones?

The fire in our bones doesn’t always feel good, but it will always be for good.

There is so much more to talk about concerning this. Next week, we are going to continue studying this passage in a different light.

  • Today in your journal, I would like you to write about the fire in your bones.
  1. What is it that you cannot stop thinking about, and pursuing, even though it has proven to be much more difficult than you originally anticipated?
  2. Have you considered pulling away from your call?
  3. What has kept you on the path of purpose through difficulty?
  • Notice in Jeremiah 20:9 it says, “… but His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones…” We most likely won’t hear the audible voice of God like Jeremiah. We have the Bible, which means we have an entire book of promises meant to fill our hearts with truth. It is the number one way God speaks to us. Do you have a word from the Bible that you hide in your heart? If you do, write it in your journal. Mine is Joshua 1:9.

Sometimes we need to revisit the calling that burns like a fire in our bones. It helps us to stay on track when we remember that God chose us for something very specific. Like Jeremiah, you have purpose!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Use the Hashtag #KingdomBuildingSisters on Instagram showing a photo of what daily kingdom building looks like to you, tag me, and your name will be entered in a fun surprise giveaway!

Don’t ever miss a post! Consider subscribing and be the first to hear upcoming news about receiving amazing offers that are only for subscribers! We have some fun things coming this summer!


The Kingdom Building Call (Part Three)

#Bible Study #purpose #encouragement

Kingdom Building Through the Life of Jeremiah

The Winner of the You Are Free book by Rebekah Lyons is Margie Mitcheltree! Congratulations, Margie!!! I will be contacting you via email for your address!

If you’re joining us today for the first time, welcome! For some tips on how to study with us, click here.

Week Three Study Overview: Today we will deal with Jeremiah’s response to God’s call, and talk about how we can claim the same promise God gave Jeremiah.

Key Point of Struggle: Oftentimes, we don’t feel confident responding to God’s call because we are insecure in our gifts.

Key Proof of Comfort: Even when we are afraid and everything seems to be falling apart, God says, “I am with you to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:8

Some historians claim Jeremiah could have been as young as fourteen years of age when God called him to his purpose as a prophet. We can’t be certain of his age, but we do know he was young. He tells us so in his own words. Let’s step back in time and spy on the conversation that started it all.

God: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Jeremiah: “Ah, Lord God! “Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” Jeremiah 1:6

God: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you…” Jeremiah 1: 7-8

I realize this conversation is hard for us to grasp, because chances are we aren’t going to find ourselves in an audible conversation with God. It’s not that God doesn’t speak to us, or that we can’t hear what He says, but it takes a lot more faith when our ears are left out of the equation leaving our hearts responsible to pick up the sound.

God spoke out loud to Jeremiah. This means Jeremiah actually heard the voice of the living God. Wow! You would think a person who has this type of encounter would do exactly as they were told without question, but not our Jeremiah. He needed time to process. You see, he had a lack of confidence and he used this moment to make sure God understood his age and abilities, or lack thereof, before responding to the call.

I’ve never heard the audible voice of God, but I have discerned His whisper in my heart. I know how it feels to walk into a task I wasn’t sure I had the power to accomplish. But, that’s just it; it’s never about my power. Separate from Jesus, I have none.  It’s all in His power.

I want to look at the end of Jeremiah 1:8 for a moment. Notice these words voiced by God, “For I am with you to deliver you.”  There is an unbelievable amount of power in those words. God told Jeremiah specifically why He would stay with him: to deliver him. He assured Jeremiah that He would be there, and then explained the purpose of his staying: to deliver him.

We talked last week about God designing us with intention. We looked closely at the word before in Jeremiah 1:5, and pointed out that God knew each of us before He formed us in the womb. He set us apart for specific purpose. This week, we learn that when He assigns purpose He makes a commitment to stay with us so that leaning on our own abilities is never an option. And, not only does He commit to staying with us, He commits to delivering us. He won’t give us a task and then standby doing nothing. He is always active. I know that sometimes it doesn’t seem that way, but it’s true.  In the midst of what seems like our greatest fears, storms, and darkest moments He is there in all His glorious strength ready to deliver us.

Next in the chapter, Jeremiah is given his assignment as prophet; it’s anything but easy:

“… See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down,
to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.”

– Jeremiah 1:10

Father God is explaining to Jeremiah the sinfulness of a nation and the calamity coming upon Judah. He makes it clear that it’s Jeremiah’s job to warn the people with commands God will speak through him. The Lord even gives Jeremiah a “heads up” as to what the people’s response will be:

“They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”

-Jeremiah 1:19

God speaks that phrase once again: “For I am with you to deliver you.”  I’m absolutely sure it was because Jeremiah needed to know with all certainty that he wasn’t alone. God wanted to make clear his promise to Jeremiah, so he said it twice.

Listen, in what I do as I writer, equipping women to activate purpose through the power of scripture, I often feel alone, like nobody understands what it is I’m doing. Many years ago, the Lord began giving me the ability to discern situations. I carry people’s stories with me like baggage. They weigh heavy on my heart.  Brokenness is on my mind as I write. I talk a lot about purpose because it took me forever to realize I had one that was worth something. Because of that, I feel a fire in my bones to help other women recognize they have worth, not because of anything they can accomplish on their own, but because of the power of Christ in their lives.

Friend, I know life isn’t easy and that Christianity, and the calling attached to it, probably hasn’t owned up to the definition of freedom you thought it might. We are free. Through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us we can unlock chains and live with brand new breath in our lungs, but the price is high. We will face suffering through a multitude of afflictions. We are not immune from the pain of this world. Why?  …Because sin runs rampant inside this place from the Garden of Eden until now. But take heart, Jesus has overcome; this place is not our home!

Hope lives inside the voice of God. It lived there when Jeremiah was breathing the breath of this earth, and it still lives there today. When we can take the words God spoke to Jeremiah and cling to them, accepting those principles for ourselves, freedom begins to settle in. Truth sets us free.

Hold fast! God is with you to deliver you!

  • Today in your journal, I want you to rewrite the same conversation we read above, between God and Jeremiah, inserting yourself inside it. Let’s break it down together and I’ll explain what I mean by showing you my examples.
  • First, I’m going to add my name to the beginning of Jeremiah 1:5. I often do this when I’m studying, because it helps me to remember that God speaks most powerfully to me through His word. I’ll include the verse as it looks in the Bible and then include my own:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Here’s my example:

Jennifer, before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you…”

  • For the end of the same verse, I’ve decided to list two gifts He’s given me as tools to accomplish my purpose according to the Great Commission in Matthew 28. I’ve chosen to list these particular gifts, because I have the most insecurity in these areas. (In case you missed the explanation of redefining purpose according to the Great Commission, click here, back to week one, for a recap.) Remember, God told Jeremiah, “I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Here’s what I wrote:

“I ordained you a writer and speaker.”

  • For the second piece of the conversation, fill in whatever you fear, and your reason for that fear. Jeremiah told God he couldn’t speak because he was a youth: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth. ” I’m going to fill in the blanks and give you my own examples.

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot write/speak, for I am unsure of my gift and don’t always feel adequate to do what you’ve called me to do.”

  • Lastly, let’s look at what the Lord responded to Jeremiah and then rewrite it filling in our own gifts one more time to hit the point home. Here’s a refresher on what God said, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you…”

Here’s my example:

“Do not say, I cannot write/speak, for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall write/speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you…”

  • When you’re finished, go back and read your conversation out loud. I believe when we can insert ourselves into the words, a new understanding will form. We will recognize He has given us each purpose as well as unique gifts we need to help us accomplish that purpose.

Next week, we will discuss how we can be sure it is God who has called us to a particular task.

  • If you would like to go deeper in study this week, I recommend reading and memorizing Philippians 1:6. It will help prepare you for next week’s study.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Use the Hashtag #KingdomBuildingSisters on Instagram showing a photo of what daily kingdom building looks like to you, tag me, and your name will be entered in a fun surprise giveaway!

Don’t ever miss a post! Consider subscribing and be the first to hear upcoming news about receiving amazing offers that are only for subscribers! We have some fun things coming this summer!