"We can’t change anything about someone else (or what has happened), but we can choose to turn them over to God and walk forward in freedom in our own lives by forgiving." — Karen Jensen

3 Tips When You're Feeling Spiritually Blah

Most of us don’t want to admit that sometimes we feel blah. I mean, we know that’s carnal, and un-Christian, and not a good witness. We know that Jesus gave His life for us and we should always be happy and pumped and ready to set the world on fire, right?

But I’m just going to get real honest here – some days I don’t feel like setting the world on fire. Know what I mean? I feel like climbing back in bed and pulling up the covers. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to go by my feelings, but there they are. What should I do about them?

Thankfully, I’ve learned a few things about what to do when I feel this way.

Remember, this condition is temporary! This too shall pass. Thank God I will wake up on fire again one day. So it’s important to keep going. For now, here are 3 tips that I do when I’m feeling blah (and you can do them too).

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4 Tips for Making Friends

I realize this particular blog subject is not for everyone – there are some of you who have more than enough besties, inner circle, outer circle and even auxiliary friends. You can probably afford to stop reading right now. 

But it seems like more and more, I meet people (maybe like you?) who don’t have this “friend” thing down – although they’d like to.

Because friends are great. Godly friends give us a sense of connection and belonging. They can help relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, share the good times and the bad, lift us up when we’re down. Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 says, “Two are better than one…if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.”

Good friends keep us from being lonely. They provide a safe zone for bouncing off ideas, dreams, frustrations, and fears. Even doctors are telling us that friendships have a positive effect on our health and well-being. A recent study followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years, and found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with fewer friends by more than 20%.

Everybody needs friends! So, is there a secret to making friends?

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5 Godly Examples to Set for Your Kids

As a parent, you have a huge influence in your children’s lives.  For 18 years they will watch you, listen to you, and emulate you.

As much as we would like them to “do as I say, not as I do” that just isn’t going to happen.  They are going to do what you do!  Research shows that kids tend to imitate their parents' behavior and continue to do so throughout adulthood.

Without really even trying, every day you are setting an example for your children to follow.  By watching you, they learn responsibility, honesty, diligence, walking in love, good physical habits, healthy attitudes, right behavior, and following God.

It’s important that you use this influence to help guide your child on a path toward a godly life.  They need you to guide them and to set the right examples! 

Here are five things you can do to set the right example for your children to follow...

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When Everything Hits the Fan

Life isn’t always rosy. I’m sure you know what I mean! Maybe a relationship goes haywire. Maybe your finances are in trouble. Maybe you've been challenged beyond all you ever imagined, or you've suffered a terrible loss. Maybe all those things!

I’m so sorry if you’re going through hard stuff. But I’m here to encourage you today. Because stuff has happened to me too. For example, my mom died when I was 18, and my first husband died when we were just 37 and our sons were 12 and 13.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

The storms of life come to everyone. I know that doesn’t help right now, but I just want you to know that I understand – and I know the way out. Even though things don’t look great right now, there’s hope. Because it’s what you DO in the midst of everything hitting the fan that determines your outcome. If you’ll hold fast to God in the time of trouble, you can come out smelling like a rose.

I promise. Read on.

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3 Advantages of Increased Family Time (Guest Writer Sarah Lockwood)

We all lead busy lives. And between our work obligations, school obligations, extra-curricular activities, and more, unfortunately, having quality family time is becoming more and more difficult. Yet studies show that families who make time to enjoy quality family activities are happier, healthier, and have stronger family ties. Here are a few reasons you should make room in your schedule for family time...

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Having a Bad Day?

The other day, I was having what felt like a really bad day. I got up late, missed an appointment, and things just started going downhill from there.

I was overwhelmed by everything that needed doing, the news of the day was depressing, and on top of everything else, the crises of some people I loved were weighing on me. It just felt like everything was going wrong and I have to confess, I started getting grumpy and irritable (hard to believe, I know).

But all of a sudden, I heard my own voice in my head. In my classes at Rhema, on the last day I used to leave my students with a little gem I call my “Bad Day Checklist.” Because, as I promised them, everyone was going to have a bad day, and here was a checklist you could pull out to remind yourself of the good stuff, and get that attitude back in line.

Ha! I needed it on my bad day! So I pulled it out. And you know what? It worked. So I thought I’d share it with you. Here are the things to ask yourself if you’re having a bad day...

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No Time to Pee

Life can get crazy, can’t it? Especially these days. It seems like being “busy” is our badge of worth. We’re sort of proud of it, like it makes us important. But it feels kind of like we’re on the hamster wheel of life, and we can’t seem to get off.

Personally, I think it’s all part of the devil’s plan in the last days – if he can’t make us bad, he’ll make us busy. Too busy for time with God. Too busy to get our daily assignments from on high, and to walk in peace and rest, just doing what the Lord leads us to do each day.

We keep saying “yes” to everything, and we find ourselves in our over heads. My friend Marie wrote me about this very thing last Thanksgiving, and I wanted to share with you what she said. You’ll laugh, you’ll identify, and hopefully you’ll get a better grip on your purpose and embrace some new ideas…

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3 Ways to Rally After a Wrong Decision

Raise your hand if you’ve ever made a wrong decision. Hello! We all have our hands up right now – some of us have two hands! Let’s face it – we’ve all made a wrong decision (or two…or more!) in our lifetime. Welcome to the human race.

The problem is, sometimes those wrong decisions paralyze us from trying again, or we feel like we have to pay for them the rest of our life. I meet a lot of people who are living by that old saying, “You made this bed, now you have to lie in it.”

But I can’t find that in the Bible! God doesn’t say, “Too bad, you goofed up, now you’re disqualified.” No! In fact I read in Ephesians 2:4 that He is rich in mercy and loves you greatly! He’s the God of another chance.

So what should you do if you’ve made a wrong decision?  Here are 3 ways to get “unstuck” and move forward into your divine destiny...

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9 Tips to De-Stress Your Mornings

Parents, do you have trouble getting everybody ready and out the door on time in the mornings? 

Join the crowd!  Mornings with school-age kids (especially if mom has to get to work too) can be the craziest part of a parent's day.

A good start sometimes really helps to make a good day! It does both you and your kids good to have things go smoothly and peacefully at the beginning of the day. 

Here are 9 quick tips for streamlining and simplifying your mornings...

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2 Ways to Get Out of God's Will

Are you afraid of getting out of God’s will? I mean, it’s always good to want to be in His will – I’ve been in and I’ve been out, and in is definitely better!

But I’m talking about being so afraid of making a mistake that you’re afraid to take any kind of step forward or make any kind of decision at all.    

Listen, it doesn’t have to be that hard.  I believe that if you’re earnestly seeking God about the decisions in your life, and consecrating your life to Him, there are really only two ways to get out of His will.

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Stuck in Indecision: One Woman's Story

I once talked to a woman, let’s call her Sheri (not her real name), who just couldn’t make a certain major decision in her life. She was stuck in indecision, and because of it she was miserable. We’ve all been there – maybe you’re even there right now, or know someone who is. If so, keep reading.

Sheri had been married to her husband for more than thirty years. It was a second marriage for both of them. Her first marriage had ended after thirteen years when her husband left her for another woman.

Sheri told me that she had had maybe two or three good years in this second marriage. The rest of them were awful. She didn’t tell me all the details, but she said, “I have every biblical reason to divorce him, but I’ve tried to hang on, hoping for a change. I’ve spent most of these thirty-plus years trying to decide to stay or go.”

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3 Things to Do When Everything's Falling Apart

Is it just me, or are there days when it just seems like everything’s wrong and nothing is right? Truthfully, I have had more than one day like that in my life. And here’s what I’ve learned over the years.

First, this too shall pass. Even though things seem to be crashing all around you, it’s all part of the devil’s plot to get your eyes off God and onto temporary life conditions. It’s a smoke screen! Today is not a life sentence, no matter what the devil says. If you are determined to stand on the Word and keep believing, this situation is temporary, subject to change in Christ.

Second, everything is not really wrong. I know, I know – it seems like it. But there are truly a LOT of great things going on in your life. Yes, right now! Take a moment to dwell on them. Write them down, even. Be thankful for the good things. It will help the bad ones fade into the background a bit.

Now, take a couple of deep breaths, and get proactive in the middle of all the H-E-double-toothpicks going on around you. Here are three things you can do when everything’s falling apart:

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Are You Afraid to Make a Decision?

Have you ever made a wrong decision in your life? Man oh man, I sure have! When that happens, it’s easy to beat ourselves up over it, or even worse, to be afraid of making any more decisions. That’s what I call being “decision challenged.”

If you’re trying to decide something today but all you can remember is when you blew it the time(s) before, I have some good news -- God wants to help you and get you back on track! And He knows just how to do it.

There was a time in my life when I was afraid of making the wrong decision. I was trying to decide about moving back to Tulsa, Oklahoma. The year was 2000, and I had been pastoring our church in Boise, Idaho, for about four years since my first husband (the founding pastor) had died. I felt like the Lord was leading me to turn the church over to my associate pastor and move back to Tulsa. But I was scared.

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How to Stop Worrying

Ok, ok….I think we all know we shouldn’t worry, right?  I’m sure you’ve at least tried to stop worrying – lots of times! After all, we know that God doesn’t just suggest we stop worrying – the Bible is full of commands that tell us not to do it.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says worry is “to afflict with mental distress or agitation; make anxious.” Our loving Father doesn’t want us afflicted with distress or agitation! He knows the cares and troubles that we face are very real, but He doesn’t want us in bondage to them, which is where worrying can take us.

So, that leads us to the 10-million dollar question: How do we stop worrying, for crying out loud?

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