In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God lived in a box (the ark of the covenant).  But God said, 'That's not good enough, I have to be closer to my people.'  So in His new covenant, He put His Spirit IN US! — Karen Jensen

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:

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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?

Read more ...

How to Know It's Really God

BIG NEWS, HOT OFF THE PRESS! We wanted you to be among the first to know -- Charisma magazine is featuring this article from my book “How to Make the Right Decision Every Time” in this month’s April 2016 magazine! If you’ve ever wondered how to recognize the voice of God in your life, then this article is for you.

Does the Lord speak out loud to you? Can you really “hear” His voice and follow His leading? This article can help you know! Feel free to share this link with others who may need to know, too.

Click here to read the article....


How I Used to Fight God - And Why I Don't Anymore

I used to fight God. There, I said it. It was long ago, when I was a pastor’s wife, and I resisted that particular role. I just never thought I was very good at it. I didn’t like it, I wanted to get out of it, and I argued with God about it regularly.

But then my husband died, and I had to take over his job, becoming pastor of our church by myself. I learned right then that God will provide grace in every situation of life if we’re willing to follow Him. Overnight He gave me what I call “a dumptruck load of grace” to pastor the church – because I needed it so badly.

And I realized: “You know what? I have a feeling that the grace to be a pastor’s wife was always available for me too, but I fought it. I complained and thought wrongly about it.” That’s when I realized that God provides grace for all of us, for whatever we’re going through. We just have to yield to it and expect it.

Read more ...

If Anyone’s Coming Out on Top, It’s Going to Be YOU!

We have a saying in our family when trouble comes: “If anyone’s going to come out on top in this situation, it’s going to be us!” It sounds audacious, but we believe it’s true!

I’ve read enough of the Bible to know that God thinks we’re coming out on top – and He thinks that about you too. His Word says He always causes you to triumph (2 Cor. 2:14). God knows how to take horrible things that have happened to you and make them turn out in your favor, if you’ll keep believing and obeying Him.

Romans 8:28 is one of the theme verses of my life: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Yes, all things. Notice, it doesn’t say all things are good. It says that God knows how to take even the horrible things and work them out for good. If things aren’t good yet, then the story just isn’t over!

The key lies in the first three words of the verse, “And we know.” You have to know (believe) that God will bring you out of your troubles and you will come out on top. You get that knowing from His Word. Here’s one example in the Word that will help...

Read more ...

You May Not Be a Princess, But You Have Access to the King!

One thing I love about God is how accessible He is to His children.

I mean, really – He’s God! He doesn’t need anything. Especially from a bunch of flawed humans. But He loves us. Oh how He loves us! Not because we are good, but because He is good!

And because of that, He gives us royal rights. He gives us access to His throne room 24/7. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

I think that’s amazing! You don’t have to crawl on your belly into the presence of God; rather, He tells you to come boldly because you have access right into His throne room.

Read more ...

7 Proofs That God Loves You

Everywhere I go I meet Christians who, for one reason or another, aren’t sure that God loves them. But He does! Here are seven proofs from the Bible. Meditate on these until they become real to you:

#1: Before He lived in you He longed to be closer to you. Under the old covenant, God’s presence on earth lived in a box (the ark of the covenant - Ex. 25:10-22) in the center of their camp. He lived among His people – He wanted to be close to them. But it wasn’t close enough! When He was planning the new covenant, He said, “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jer. 31:33). Today His presence on earth lives in you! How amazing is that?

#2: He knew you would never deserve forgiveness, but He saved you anyway. God knew that you would never be good enough on your own and that you could never earn your way back into fellowship with Him. You could never do enough to attain admittance to heaven. So He sent Jesus (Romans 5:8).

Read more ...

I Feel So Bad for Them!

Recently I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I admit it – I was fretting.

It seems like lately I’ve just heard about so many people who are going through hard things. Some situations seem almost impossible to handle – illness, financial woes, death of loved ones, loss of jobs, children in trouble – the list goes on and on.

When I woke up that night, one of these people instantly came to mind. I began to be consumed with fear, sadness and concern for them, imagining nothing but the worst. You know how it is in the middle of the night – everything seems darker, more overwhelming, almost suffocating. If we’re not careful, the devil can run rampant in our thoughts!

I silently cried out to the Lord, “I feel so bad for them!” And suddenly I felt like He said to me, “Get up.” So I got up, went downstairs and opened my Bible.

Read more ...

6 Things You Never Want to Say to Your Child

Very often as parents we are trying to do two (or three or four!) things at once….or we’re in a hurry, or tired, or frustrated….or we just want some alone time.  Those are the times we might say something to our child that we shouldn’t.

Our words are very powerful.  They frame our world. The things you say to your child matter – they matter a lot.  Mark 11:23 says, You can have whatsoever you say.  Proverbs 18:21 says Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

This is especially true when you and I are talking to our children – we want to choose to speak life over them!  Romans 4:17 tells us to call those things that be not as though they are.  Maybe your child “be’s not” obedient.  Or tidy.  Or smart in school.  God says start saying they are! Don’t say what you have, call for what you want!

Here are 6 things we want to avoid saying to our children, and some kinder, faith-filled alternatives.

Read more ...

When You're Not Good Enough

Somehow, Christianity has managed to convey the idea that in order to be a Christian you have to be “good.” Whatever that means! “Goodness” is a moving, subjective concept, at best.

Here’s the real, scriptural truth: the good news of the gospel is not that Christians are to be “good” and “committed to God” -- rather, the good news of the Gospel is that God is good and He is committed to us! It’s not all about what we’re supposed to do for Him, but about what He has done for us through Jesus!

Yes, of course I believe in being committed to God, being dedicated to Him, and serving Him. The Bible has plenty to say about how Christians should act. It says we are not our own, we were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19–20).

But doing good and living a life that pleases the Lord is meant to be our response to the gospel, not something we try to do in our own strength.

So if you’ve thought you aren’t “good enough” (in whatever area that might be), stop right there. Nobody is! We are good because Jesus is good! 

Read more ...

3 Ways You Can Be Sure of God's Love

Too many Christians aren’t sure about God. They aren’t sure if they can count on Him nor do they know what He will do in their situation.

Let’s just be real about it: they’re not sure of His love for them. They know about Him, but they don’t know Him.

Here is an example. Say you need $500 and I hand you a piece of paper with a telephone number on it. I tell you, “Call my dad. He’ll give you the money.”

Read more ...

Are You Making This Mistake When Asking for God's Guidance?

When it comes to asking God for direction in our lives, sometimes we already have an inkling of what He wants us to do — part of the plan is clear, but other parts are not. We’re willing to step out and obey Him, but we’re just not sure where it will all lead.

Over and over again I’ve seen someone ask God for direction and use their faith to receive it or walk it out—but then they’ll also have certain areas where they’re hanging back. They have conditional limitations that they themselves have set. In other words, there are places in their heart where they aren’t willing.

Isaiah 1:19 says, If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. Notice there are two conditions there – we must only be obedient, but we must also be willing.

Putting a condition on our prayer or our obedience is a mistake that can really keep us from receiving everything God has for us. Maybe it’s time for us to examine our hearts and get willing to do things God’s way! 

Read more ...

The Prayer That Never Fails

Have you ever caught yourself making a plan or coming up with a solution to a problem, and then asking God to bless it? I think we probably all have, but that’s such a dumb – and sometimes dangerous – way to pray!

Since God has a perfect plan for our lives, worked out for us before we were even born, wouldn’t it be a good idea to find out from Him what the plan is, and then submit to it?

That’s what Jesus did. And let’s get real -- if we just imitated Jesus and used Him as our constant example, we would always overcome, wouldn’t we?

So what if, in every situation, we prayed like Jesus prayed, and we asked God what the plan is? I think we’d always end up with the right answer, wouldn’t we.

So how did Jesus pray when He was facing the toughest time of His life?

Read more ...