Leveraging Warfare

 

Throughout our lives, we will be engaged in spiritual battle. The reality is, there is a God who loves us and an enemy who seeks to destroy us.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:11

One of the major areas the enemy often targets is our thought life. Fear, discouragement, self-hatred... these are the weapons he uses. He targets our belief systems, because he knows if he can aim to get us to believe a lie, we'll act out of that place.

But we are not powerless, and his tactics have been exposed. 

Over the course of the past few months, I've found myself at various points facing the enemy's attacks, feeling at times as if he's worked overtime to try to disempower and discourage me. But, I know that's not my inheritance in Christ. Hope is. Joy is. Peace is. Belonging is. When the lies come, I know that I have a choice of where to place my focus, and this is what God has been reminding me of. 

As I have walked through the battle, I feel as if God has invited me to put on a different lens when it comes to moments of warfare. Instead of allowing discouragement in (because let's face it, it's NEVER fun), I feel like God has been encouraging me to leverage the moments these attacks rise against me. What do I mean by leverage? To use them to my advantage. Weird sounding, I know. Not that I receive them, but instead, that I use these moments to grow in exercising authority in Christ, learn to wage war against the enemy with truth, to stand in my identity in Christ, and to grow in trusting God.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. (Ephesians 6:14-18)

God wants to train us up to stand firmly and confidently in Him. Each time we choose truth over lies, our minds are becoming renewed. We are growing in Christ, maturing in our faith. Our foundations are growing stronger. We are walking out the Word. We are growing in authority.

So, when I felt God whisper this encouragement to my heart, I felt His hope rush in. The Word says that we are more than conquerors in Christ. More so than ever, I've felt a big NO to the lies rise up out of my spirit and a big YES cry to my identity as a child of God. I want to experience the fullness of living out of this place in Him. This has become my prayer: that I would not be discouraged when the enemy attacks, but that I would turn it around and dismantle his schemes by rejoicing that I get to exercise my faith and authority, that I get to grow in my identity, that I get to be strengthened by God, that I get to see Him break through. Again, not that I seek warfare, but when it does come, instead of focusing on it and giving into any hopelessness the enemy would want me to feel, that I would focus on God and know that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. 

How have you seen God grow your faith in the midst of battle? Be encouraged--in Christ, you are more than a conqueror and through Him have the victory. 

 

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Cheers to wholeness

Hey friends! Here on this beautiful, clear evening, I’ve found some time to write, and tonight, my heart is stirred regarding the area of healing. Heart healing. How necessary it is for our lives. How much the Father desires it.

In some respects, we’re continually undergoing healing. That’s because there’s always more freedom in Christ! I once heard from a grandfather in the faith, “You’re never as free as you’re going to be.” I’ve since held onto that. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand being in bondage when I know there is so much freedom to be experienced in Christ--what we are destined for. I am also learning patience, namely with myself, and that God has His process as He reveals and heals in the right time. 

I’m constantly amazed at the layers that are connected to our history--moments, root systems, sin we’ve agreed with, injustices in our lives, that are continually being unwound by the love of God. His desire in exposing the broken places in our lives is not to lead us into despair (which is the enemy’s goal), but to bring healing and greater freedom. This is God’s desire for our lives--freedom. Abundant life in Christ. Wholeness is a major part of the Kingdom. I remember last fall being struck with the revelation that Jesus does not heal us out out of obligation just because He’s Jesus, but He does so out of true joy and desire. It’s not a burden for Him, even if there are areas in our lives that we feel are continually coming to Him with. In fact, that’s exactly what He desires--that we would come to Him and not try to solve it ourselves. That never ends up well. 

In the journey of unwinding and healing, I often find the most challenging part is to not slip into frustration, disappointment, and shame (self-rejection huge bondage and is never what God intends for us) but instead, posture our hearts and receive of His mercy and grace. Today, I felt reminded by God that on the other side of the illumination of these areas in our lives is freedom and strength. Hallelujah! It might be difficult in the moment to face our brokenness, but sorrow only last for a little while. Joy follows. Nothing can hold back the joy that comes with knowing God. “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) And truly, God will bring joy. I felt the Lord gently remind me that the bold and courageous thing to do is actually face these areas in our lives, recognize them, to walk through the healing necessary, even though it can be painful, and thus, experience victory and freedom. I think sometimes we feel the right reaction is to press pass them, which may be even done out of a right desire for freedom. But a root system that is never dealt with will only come back to affect us in the future. Just like weeds not removed break through pavement and threaten to disrupt its foundation, so do the strongholds and negative root systems in our lives that we don’t allow God’s love to heal. 

God’s call is for us to come--come to Him and have the courage to face these places--courage that He gives us. We aren’t perfect; something I have to remind myself of, and God doesn’t expect us to be. And to rest--rest in His work, in His hand, in His heart, in His time. There is always more freedom to be experienced. Always more to come. So beloved, take heart with me in knowing we’re on a journey, and God will always come through. Cheers to wholeness. 

Worship, songwriting, & a new album

 Photo by: Ballesteros Photography

Photo by: Ballesteros Photography

 Norway. Where I did my DTS.

Norway. Where I did my DTS.

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"Ill Never Give You Up." From my first EP, "Reality."  ℗ 2016 Jena Brancart

This post proves to be a bit different than usual. I felt led to share a little bit about my heart and vision for this upcoming project and why worship and songwriting means so much to me. It always feels a little vulnerable to open up, however I know it's good. And so, I'd love to speak a little about the why behind what I love to do.

a snippet of the story: WORSHIP & WRITING

Worship has always been a way I have deeply connected with God. I remember in high school coming home, sitting down at my piano, and letting my heart overflow in words and melodies--whatever came forth. It was a way I processed and connected with God, and in return, I felt Him minister to me. 

In 2011, God called me to do a creative arts Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Over the years, I had been involved in worship in various capacities, however, it was there He not only invited me to start leading worship, but also struck me with a deeper revelation of worship. I began encountering Him like I never had before. A passion was ignited in me. I saw that worship was a place God longs to commune with us. I discovered there were things He wanted to release in specific moments, and that in seeking to be led by His Spirit, I could partner with Him where He was already moving to see released what He wanted to pour out. Worship became a place of transformation and freedom, not only in my own life, but in those around me--a place to encounter His heart. There is nothing like His presence. These moments in worship continued to flow over into personal times at the piano, birthing songs that documented moments, seasons, and encounters. As I journeyed throughout YWAM, God invited me to start taking worship leading and songwriting a little more seriously and to steward my life accordingly. And so, I decided to step in and give my life to it. 

As a songwriter and worship leader, my vision is to be a vessel that partners with God to help facilitate a place of encounter. My heart is for intimacy. I love His presence. I love bringing Him glory. I am passionate about connecting with God and seeing people experience His heart--transformed, diving deeper, set free, and encouraged in His presence. I love stepping back and seeing God do His thing. Every moment in worship is so new and different. Because He is endless, there is always a new facet of Him to experience. As a songwriter, I long to fully express my heart to God. I've come to realize that there's value in sharing our journeys with one another, because they are not our own. If I can provide language set to melodies that create space for people to connect and find a piece of their own story with God in, that means everything. Together, we are encountering Him.

behind THE ALBUM (EP)

I am thoroughly excited for this project. I hadn’t planned on recording another album so soon, but God in His timing is always perfect. For this project, I have the honor of working with Gabriel Wilson, who has produced for Bethel Music (Tides, You Make Me Brave), John Mark McMillan, and Lindy Conant, amongst others. Not only has he been an incredible producer, but a mentor as well. As I prayed into this project, I immediately felt God challenging me to open up my process to community. I wrestled for a while with the idea, as it felt extremely vulnerable. At times it still does. But, what I’ve realized throughout this whole process is that God has been wanting to continue to teach me the richness of community and the beautiful humbling that comes with realizing I can’t, nor was I meant to, do this on my own. The support and encouragement that lies within family is invaluable, and it’s transforming me. 

Every song on this project has a story that means so much to my heart. Though they were written out of personal encounters with God, my intention is that they would not stop there. These songs aren't just my songs. My prayer is that others would find a piece of their journey with God in them as well, that corporately, we can celebrate God's goodness together--that He would be glorified. This is all for Him. 

I would love to invite you to be a part of this project. It is my joy to invite you into the process. This project is not possible on my own, and it is community and the faithfulness of God that's fueling it. Perhaps one of the biggest ways you can do so is by prayerfully considering giving to make this EP possible. At the moment, it is my biggest need, and I am excited to share that my goal as almost been met. If you feel excited about joining me, you can find out more on my GoFundMe project page by clicking this link: http://www.gofundme.com/jenaep

I am so excited to see what God will do. I pray that He would minister His heart and presence to all who listen. It's been a joy to steward these songs, and I am thoroughly excited to release them into community. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Your prayers, support, and encouragement mean so much to me. Here's to doing this together

With love, Jena