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Fear & Love

Fear & Love: Part One

No Fear • January 5, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft

We have a view of the world that frames everything we see, and for many of us, fear serves as our dominant lens. Whether it be the fear of missing out, the fear of letting go, or the fear of rejection, fear grips our hearts. It also influences our connections, both with God and others. We spend our day pushing self-promotion or punished by self-condemnation. Both leave us living in the camp of entitlement, where we get what we deserve. We all want to be loved as well as wish we were more loving, but until we address our fears, we'll never experience or express love. Why? Because the presence of fear is the absence of love. By acknowledging our concerns, we bring them to the surface so God's love can touch them. His love never fails, which means it never runs out or gives up.

Fear & Love: Part Two

Fear Expressed • January 12, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft

We're often unaware of how fear shapes our response to the world around us. Fear forces, compares, and undermines. It is quick-tempered, easily offended, resists the truth, and chronically makes its case. Fear exploits our sense that things are earned and deserved. If we don't understand and articulate how fear is driving our behavior, we will not change oDour direction. Instead, we will find ourselves stuck on the Fear Loop of judgment and justification and allow it to ravage our hearts, leading to anxiety and depression. In our battle with fear, we don't need to must more courage - we need to come alive. The force of Christ's love possesses the power to govern our behavior and direct our lives. If love doesn't drive out fear, fear will drive everything else.

Fear & Love: Part Three

What Drives Fear • January 19, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft

We resist condemnation until we can’t. We combat judgment through excusing the verdict by comparing and defending, or we accept our sentence through shame. Christ’s love is the only force strong enough to drive out fear and rid us of condemnation. We must allow His presence to bring the force of His love into our world and let the fact that we belong to Him define our worth and value. If God is love, and love is a force, then God is a force. Love is the very essence and presence of God Himself. The offering of Jesus is the greatest demonstration of love. To know and rely on love is to know God and depend on Him.

Fear & Love: Part Four

The Force of His Presence • January 26, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft

Where we find our worth is what we will continue to trust. The longer we resist the influence of God’s love, the more we depend on everything else to bring us worth and value, including our struggles. Without even knowing it, our fears encourage us to give our struggles more authority in our lives than they already have. Love doesn’t bring courage to balance out our fear, but to provide a new way for us to live. To receive is to rely on. Faith saves. Hope sustains. Receiving is not a passive activity and not without a requirement. A receiver is a vessel. We receive His love when we depend on it to change everything we see, do, and say. The way we receive is to let go, take hold, and take in.

Fear & Love: Part Five

Made Perfect • February 2, 2020 • Mike Ashcraft

What we keep concealed, we keep from being healed. Remaining in condemnation is the place where our lives feel forced. It's impossible to live by the truth when we allow ourselves to continue to be governed by lies. Fear is the lie that worth and value are earned and that our efforts serve as proof of our worthiness. This leads us to either conceal or showcase. On the other hand, the way of love is to receive. In Christ, we are fully known and fully accepted. Remaining in God's love is the place from which our lives flow. To live in love is to withhold nothing. Life with God is where we are perfected in love.