"Faith is knowing Someone. People who say 'God didn’t answer me….doesn’t hear me….doesn’t help me' – don’t KNOW Him.  When you know someone, you can be sure of them." — Karen Jensen

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.

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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.

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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! 

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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.”

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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! 

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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?

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How I Fell in Love with God

I’ve been a Christian for a quite a while. For years I taught the Word to both adults and kids when my first husband, Brent, and I started two churches in the Northwest. I knew God, I loved Him, and I was a “Word girl,” meaning I believed and practiced faith in the Bible.

But when Brent died without warning at age 37 and I was left to raise our teenage sons and pastor our church alone, something else happened. I often refer to that time as the worst of my life, but also the best of my life. Because I desperately pressed into God like never before – and I fell completely in love with Him.

The more time I spent with Him, the more I loved Him. And I began to understand that He has this kind of love for all of His children, you included. No matter how much you know that God loves you, there is always more to know. You will never plumb the depths of His love for you.

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4 Keys to Making Your Comeback

Every single one of us have had setbacks. We’ve had financial problems, health issues, loss, embarrassments, failures, and frustrations. The question isn’t really how many setbacks we’ve had, or who’s had the worst – the question is: how can we put a setback behind us and make a comeback?

When I was getting ready to write this blog, I searched on the internet for some great comeback stories, and there are many, both past and present -- from Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant to Kurt Warner and Robert Downey Jr.

But you know who has the best comeback story of all time? Jesus! I mean, think about it:  His life, death and resurrection literally changed the course of human history. He was guilty of no crime, only did good while on earth, yet He was betrayed and crucified. There is no greater setback than to be cruelly and unjustly killed.

But what a comeback! Three days later He rose from the grave! He scored the ultimate victory over death and sin. When it comes to emulating comeback stories, I want to emulate His, how about you? So how can we do that? Here are 4 keys...

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Supernatural Help to Keep Your New Year's Resolution

It’s that time of year again – New Year’s resolution time! For many of us that means dragging the exercise mat out from the back of the closet, clearing the hanging laundry off the treadmill, or buying that gym membership (again!) and getting down to the gym.

A lot of us make resolutions that involve getting healthier – whether we plan to lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink more water and less soda, or whatever. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I believe in New Year’s resolutions. I mean, for the most part, it seems like we only remember them for about a month, even those that aren’t about exercise and diet. Our intentions are usually good, but our resolutions don’t usually end up changing our lives. By August, most of us would be hard pressed to even remember what they were! 

But wait. The reason we make these resolutions year after year is because it’s a chance to start fresh, aim for a new goal, make a new plan. It’s a chance to make things better. So I say, let’s go for it. Here’s some help.

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7 Things You Think You Know About the Christmas Story

We humans are funny.  We like traditions.  And while some traditions are good, if they don’t line up with the Word of God, they can be downright dangerous.

If we believe and follow our traditions more than we believe and follow God’s Word, we’re in trouble. Jesus said it this way: You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition (Mark 7:7). Ouch!

Now, we like to think that ‘other people’ are the ones who have unscriptural traditions – certainly not us!  But most of us cling to some sort of belief that isn’t in the Bible, based on how we grew up, what we’ve been taught, etc.  I’ll give you an example.

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4 Things I Never Want to Do...Like Get Eaten by a Lion

There are plenty of things I never want to do in this life, but here are four I’m thinking about today: I never want to be audited by the IRS; I never (again) want to get a page boy haircut; I never want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane with a parachute; and I never want to get eaten by a lion.

Can I get an amen?

It’s that last one I want to talk about today.

The reason I even bring it up is because the Bible compares Satan to a roaring lion who is roaming around “seeking whom he may devour” – in other words, seeking who will be his lunch.

Now, notice it doesn’t say he will devour you; rather, it says that he may devour you. Satan only has the power to devour us when we give it to him. He is a defeated foe, and we have authority over him!

So who ends up being a lion’s lunch? It’s someone who is out of position, separated from the rest of the body. And I hate to tell you this, but that’s often the person who is offended or hurt.

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When Your Heart Has Been Broken

If anyone knows about having your heart broken, it’s Jesus.

He didn’t say, “Suck it up!” or “C’mon, get over it.” He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me…He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted” (Luke 4:18).

Jesus knows about your pain, and He knows exactly how to heal your broken heart! He is the only one who can fix it.

Often I meet people who are heartbroken, hurt, or bitterly disappointed, and it’s made them gun-shy. By that I mean that their heartbreak makes them guarded. They fear entering or maintaining relationships. They won’t reach out to people or move toward their dreams. They live in fear, behind walls they’ve erected to protect themselves.

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Why My Kids Never Believed in Santa

I’m not a killjoy. If you love Santa, believe in Santa, and want to perpetuate the myth that a jolly fat man dressed in red comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve to leave presents (at every house in the world, all at the same time) I am not here to take all that away from you. I promise.

It’s just that sometimes I meet young Christian parents who aren’t sure about it all. Should we tell our kids that Santa isn’t real, and ruin all the fun?  Or should we just go along with it, following the traditions that many of us grew up with. I mean, what does it hurt, right?

If you’re a die-hard Santa fan, you can stop reading right now and go read a story about him to your kids– it’s okay, really. We’re still friends, and I love you.

But if you’ve wavered or wondered about this particular topic, I have some thoughts to share with you.

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Six Tips if the Holidays Are Hard for You

It’s a well-known fact that not everyone has jolly holidays. Sometimes all the joy and celebrating can make us feel horrible – it seems like a mockery in the face of painful memories, lack, or loss that might be happening in our own life.

I get it. My mom died of cancer two days before Christmas, and my first husband died on New Year’s Day. Both happened years ago, but I remember the struggle, and I have a heart for yours. There are all sorts of things that can take away the joy of this season – loneliness, financial troubles, the pain of loss, the sharp contrast between your life and the Norman Rockwell portrayal all around you.

One thing I want you to know is that it won’t always be like this. The devil loves to tell us that things are always going to be this way, so you’ll feel hopeless. But he’s a liar! There will be times of joy, laughter, peace, and fun again in your life if you’ll keep believing. With Jesus, your future is bright! I promise!

Here are some practical tips that helped me when holidays were hard – things you can do to make it through...

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