"Tests are not a plot and conspiracy against you.  A test is to determine what you know, to see if you're ready for the next level (ie - a math test).  Don't moan over tests — count them all joy, and pass them!" — Karen Jensen

It's Not Too Late

One of the devil’s favorite lies is to tell you that it’s too late for what you’ve been believing, or for something great to happen in your life.

He says things like you’ve blown it too many times, you’ve taken too long to decide, you’ve missed the opportunity, or if it was going to happen it would’ve happened by now. He tells you it’s over--you’re off the track for good.

But the devil is a liar! The good news is that God doesn’t change His mind about you--either as His covenant child or about your divine destiny. 

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10 Bible Verses About Protection

There’s plenty to be afraid of in today’s world, isn’t there? Just a glance at the news can mess with your mind. It’s easy to worry about your or your loved ones safety.

But if you’re a Christian, remember that you are not of this world and you have inside information – INSIDE THE BIBLE.

God promises protection and safety for us! Our part is simply to soak our spirit in His promises of protection, instead of believing what we see and hear all around us on a daily basis. That is the fight of faith – to believe what God says in the face of what we see in the natural. It takes spiritual effort.

In an effort to help you focus in on God’s promises and bolster your faith in His protection, here are 10 Bible verses to read and meditate whenever you’re tempted to be afraid:

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When God Says No

Here’s the deal. God always answers yes to His promises. When you find it in the Bible, it’s a done deal. He is faithful to perform His Word, make no mistake about it (Jeremiah 1:12, Isaiah 55:11).

But when it comes to seeking His day-to-day plan for our lives – making decisions based on His specific direction for us -- it’s a good thing sometimes if He says no! He loves me, and if I'm going in the wrong direction, I want to listen to Him if He says, “No, don’t go that way!” Don’t you?

Our heavenly Father only has our best interest at heart – we can trust Him (Proverbs 3:5,6). He wants to lead and guide us into the best possible outcome. He knows our future, and when we ask Him, He will tell us yes or no which way to go. His “no” can be protection for us!

So why do we sometimes do what He tells us not do?  Why do we sometimes ignore His “no’s.” I just want to go on record as saying we shouldn’t! Seriously…things go so much better when we listen and obey if God says no.

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Keeping Your Focus

I recently heard someone say that “focus is the new IQ.” We have so many things coming at us in a day that sometimes it’s hard to focus on one thing and be productive. It’s so easy to let distractions keep us from our purpose. 

I remember watching a track and field event one time and seeing two runners who were neck and neck toward the end of a race. Just as they approached the finish line, the runner who was barely in the lead turned his head to glance at the other runner. I suppose he wanted to see how close his competitor was.

In that millisecond, he slowed his stride and lost the race. He hadn’t realized the other runner was only inches behind him. His purpose was to win the race, but when he took his focus off the finish line to look back, he lost the edge.

There is something to learn from that runner. First, run your own race. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. The race the other runner is running isn’t your race. He isn’t called to do what you’re called to do, and vice versa. If you get distracted by someone else’s race, you’ll lose your focus and it may cost you, like it cost that runner.

The second point to learn is that you can’t take your eyes off of the finish line. There are many things—good and bad—that will come along every minute to compete for your attention. Stay focused.

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I Just Sat There

It seems like I always have a phone or an ipad or a laptop or a TV screen in front of my face, all with the possibility of calls and notifications and binge watching and dings for emails and texts.

Yikes, there is so much vying for our attention these days. Sometimes I feel like my brain is turning to mush because my thoughts get interrupted so many times in a day! I get scattered, and I feel as though I can’t accomplish anything worthwhile. Is it just me?

One day I was having “that kind of a day” when I happened to read the blog of a friend of mine. Along with being in ministry, he is an entrepreneur and an inventor and he told the story of how one time he had invented a product that was almost perfect. But in order to get it produced he had to tweak a couple things, and he had to do it fast or lose the opportunity to get his invention produced in mass quantities.

The problem was, he wasn’t quite sure what to tweak. He’d done the best he could, but he was stuck. I could totally identify. 

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Rich for Good (Guest Jamie Jones)

My friend, Jamie Jones, has a new book coming out tomorrow (Sept. 27) called, “Rich for Good.” This girl knows what she’s talking about!

By the time Jamie was in her 30s, she had gone from having to pray for toothpaste, to becoming a millionaire. Her book is not only about the "how" and the "why" she did it, but how the whys make all the difference. It gives you the 10 tried and true spiritual practices that Jamie and her husband used in their own life.

You will love Jamie's raw and honest approach to the financial freedom that happens when prosperity partners with purpose. You’ll want to get the book -- go to  http://www.richforgood.org/ Here's just a sample excerpt:

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God Is Your Restorer

Have you ever lost something precious to you? A loved one, a relationship, a business, a beloved article, a ton of money, a dream? And have you wondered if you could ever get your equilibrium back? I have. And that makes me think of Job in the Bible.

The book of Job can seem pretty depressing. It’s all about suffering! And really -- who wants to suffer, or talk about suffering? Nobody!

But the story of Job is a perfect example of God restoring someone after trouble hits. At a glance, it seems like a book about decrease, but it’s really a book of increase and restoration!

There are lots of good things to say about Job. First, the Bible says, “[Job] was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). He had seven sons and three daughters, and his estate was substantial. Job 1:3 says, “This man was the greatest of all the people of the East.”

So wait….here’s a guy we might want to know more about.

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Everything Is Looking Good!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perspective, and it has occurred to me that no matter what’s going on around us today, we are just one God-perspective away from things looking good!

Because there are a lot of ways to look any given circumstance, aren’t there. Maybe you’re in the middle of a challenging one right now, and you feel trapped – like there’s no way out.  You’ve been over it a million times in your head, and you just can’t find the answer.

Well, that’s one way to look at it.  That’s one perspective.

But I have encouraging news for you today – there’s another way to look at your situation:  God’s way.  And as you might guess, His way is a way of victory.  He sees a way out.  He sees you coming out on top of this situation by faith – to Him, the situation is looking good!

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3 Keys to a Marriage That's Heaven on Earth

Did you know that God wants your marriage to be great? It’s true! He actually created marriage to be wonderful – to be a little slice of heaven on earth.

There’s so much to say about marriage, and I’m not an expert – but I’ve learned some things over time, and I’ve counseled a lot of marriages. I’ve found out that just because a couple says “I do” there’s no lifetime guarantee of joy and happiness.

Having a good marriage takes effort. Most married couples I know want to have a good marriage, but they don’t always know how. Here are 3 keys I’ve found that work...

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God's Plan to Win the World (Guest Writer Ronnie Elliot)

If you’re like me, you know what the Great Commission says: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). You’ve probably heard some great pastors, evangelists and missionaries tell you how they’re doing it, and how you should do it to.

But let’s get real -- have you ever felt overwhelmed by the idea of this commission? Or ummm…even a little bit guilty when you hear about it, thinking you’re not doing your part? (Just keep smiling and no one will know it’s you).

I have some great news – it’s not as hard as you think! You don’t have to buy an airline ticket (although you could) or move to a foreign country (although you could do that too). As my guest blogger and former student, Ronnie Elliott, explains, God has a plan in place to fulfill the Great Commission and every Christian (including you!) really can play an active part in it (it’s probably not what you think). Read on to find out how!

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5 Tips for Growing a Teenager

Okay, I’m not the world’s greatest expert at growing teenagers into adults (who is, really?) but I have personally grown two teenagers into responsible, fun, God-loving, destiny-fulfilling young men (she says humbly) and I also have taught and counseled a ton of parents. I didn’t do it perfectly and neither will you, but I’ve learned some things.

So here’s my take on growing teenagers into adults:

It takes faith. And it takes guts. And it takes effort. And it’s not all done at once, trust me. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  Well, growing a teenager into an adult isn’t done in a day either. (Neither were you, might I add). It’s definitely a process.

This is not by any means an exhaustive list of teenage-growing tips, but here are five that might help you out if you’re the parent (or grandparent, or relative, or neighbor, or teacher) of a teenager...

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3 Tips to Get Kids Ready to Go Back to School (Guest Writer Joyce Wilson)

Very few kids transition to school from summer vacation without experiencing some bumps in the road the first few weeks back. One of the best ways parents can make getting back in the classroom easier on their kids is starting to get back into a school routine a few weeks before the first day of school. The time spent working back into a routine early is well worth it when your child is well rested and ready to spend long hours in the classroom again. To help get your kid ready to go back to school, here are some practical tips for establishing a routine...

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4 Things for Christians to Focus on During the Elections

Are you tired of all the hype and horror surrounding the election this year? Does it feel like our nation is seriously divided and full of fear, anger, hatred and side-choosing? It feels like that to me. 

But regardless of your politics, your favorite candidate (or the one you hate), your fear level, your irritation with people (who disagree with your views) on social media, or your exasperation with the mud-slinging and insane media saturation, I believe you can rise above the craziness this election season.

I believe we, as Christians, can keep our cool and make level-headed decisions while voting. Are you in?

Here are 4 things to focus on in order to stay steady and faith-filled as we careen towards November, and beyond...

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7 Goals for Christian Parents

For those of us who are parents and Christians, I think we have to ask ourselves, “What is my goal in raising my child(ren)?” If we don’t know what we’re aiming for when raising our children, how will we know if we’ve reached it?

If your goal is to raise a perfect child, I say give that one up – there aren’t any perfect children.  (Mine are close, but even they fall short of perfection! Lol).  And if your goal is to be a perfect parent, give that one up too – you can’t do it, and you might drive your kids and yourself crazy trying to achieve it!

If your goal is to just have fun and/or get your kids old to enough to leave home, I’d like to ask you to aim a little higher.  I believe our goal is to raise disciples of Jesus, to help them fulfill their divine destiny as He has called them. 

Here are 7 goals the Bible says we should aim for as Christian parents….

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