"If you’re always tired, always under-rested, you’re not going to be capable of doing everything you need to get done.  You’re going to make mistakes more readily, lose your temper, or miss opportunities. " — Karen Jensen

Don't Get Mad, Just Get Even!

I know, you’re thinking, “What in the world? That’s a really carnal statement, Karen!” Ha, you’re exactly right. But we’ve all heard it (and maybe even said it) haven’t we. It’s a really socially accepted thought: when someone does you wrong, get back at them. Yep, revenge is a very popular notion.

Of course we Christians know that phrase isn’t in the Bible, don’t we. So what do we do when someone treats us badly? Do we just roll over and let it happen? Do we “turn the other cheek”? Because we know that’s in the Bible -- ugh!   

Let’s face it, the real question is – what does God want us to do?

I’ve found that what my flesh wants to do and what God wants me to do are often quite different. But I’ve also found that if I do things God’s way, the whole situation can turn out supernaturally good!

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3 Strategies When Troubles Pile On

Have you ever had a bunch of hard stuff happen at all once?  I have! There have been times in my life when everything seemed wrong and nothing seemed right.

One minister I know calls it “the stacking theory.”  The devil loves to pile on the trouble, and he does it to wear us down. He wants us to throw up our hands and cry, “I can’t take it anymore!” He does it to make us feel sorry for ourselves – to steal the Word from our heart (Mark 4:14), or to strangle it with the cares of this world (v. 19). Remember: the devil can’t defeat you. So instead he pressures you so you’ll throw down the Word and quit.

But take heart – the devil is a liar and you’re more than a conqueror! (Romans 8:37). Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  Don’t get weary! Don’t quit! It’s just as easy for God to give you the victory when a lot of things are wrong, as when there is one or two.

Here are 3 things I do when troubles seem to be stacking on top of each other:

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3 Keys to Encourage Singles

Ever since I got remarried a bit ago, I’ve had lots of single people tell me that our story encouraged them, and helped them keep believing.

So I want to talk about that. If you’re single and you want to be married, here are three keys:

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4 Keys to Balancing Your Life

We live in busy times! I meet a lot of Christians who aren’t getting enough rest and who are overwhelmed by the busy-ness of life. Sadly, they’re wearing themselves out. 

That’s not God’s will for our lives!

Is it possible to find a balance so we’re not stressed and tired all the time?  I think it is! Here are four ideas – both spiritual and practical – for living a balanced life.

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Do You Feel Unappreciated?

Come on, admit it. We’ve all felt it. When we’ve worked really hard, done our best, gone the extra mile, and still not gotten the thanks we deserve. It hurts! Sometimes, it even makes us want to quit.

Everyone wants to be appreciated, whether it’s by our boss or our loved ones, at church, by our peers, or by someone we have really tried to help.

But just for a moment here, I want to share something with you that God has shown me over and over again.  If you’ve been feeling unappreciated, this just may help you.

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6 Bible Tips to Overcome Stress

You live in a stress-filled world. And a certain amount of stress is going to occur in your life just because you’re alive on planet earth.

But God doesn’t want you to live a stressed-filled life! In fact, Jesus came to give you abundant life, or life the way God lives it (John 10:10).

Here are 6 Bible truths that can keep stress at bay in your life. Read and meditate these scriptures – let them settle into your spirit and set you free from stress. 

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5 Ways to Get More Done

Got lots to do? Yeah, me too.

In our fast-paced culture, most of us are scurrying around endeavoring to fulfill a myriad of responsibilities, tasks, and to-do lists. Here are some things I have found that help me to get everything done when there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day:

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When God Makes You Wait

I’ve heard a lot of people say (and you probably have too), “I’m waiting on the Lord.” They quote scriptures such as Isaiah 40:31, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,” or Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”

But let’s be sure we understand what “waiting on the Lord” means – and what it doesn’t mean.

First, waiting on the Lord doesn’t mean sitting on the couch watching TV and eating candy (darn) while you wait for God to show up and speak to you in an audible voice (no matter how much you wish He would). It doesn’t mean just going about your business, passively wondering if or when God will send the answer. Far from it!

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The Best Advice I Can Give You About Getting Answers from God

Lots of us have prayed for God’s help, right? And sometimes we’ve gotten our answers. Then again, sometimes we haven’t. Or we aren’t sure. Here’s the best advice I can give you when it comes to getting the answers you need: ask Him, and then let your words agree with His word. In other words, say what you want, not what you have.

Simple, right? Well, maybe not so simple. Because it does take spiritual effort. The Old Testament patriarch Abram found this out the hard way. God had promised him and his elderly wife a son, and for 25 long years, it didn’t happen. But Romans 4:17 is talking about Abram when it says that God “called those things which did not exist as though they did” and this is the key to how Abram finally got a son. It’s the key to how you’ll get your answers, too.

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You've Graduated. Now What?

When I was a Bible school instructor, starting in about March every year my office would fill up with wild-eyed students headed for graduation – and panicking. “What should I do now?” was their plaintive cry. You might be asking the same question today, or know someone who is. Take heart, there is hope!

First, it’s vital to remember that God has a good plan for your life! He knows the next steps you should take, and He’s not hiding them from you – He wants you to know them even more than you do! He needs you walking in His plan for you. My new book can be a huge help in finding His direction – read the first chapter here: http://goo.gl/xs6a94.

Next, it’s important to keep your words in line with what you want. Don’t speak out doubt and unbelief just because you can’t see your direction yet.

 

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Lessons From My Nail Salon

I’m not really a “girly” girl, but at this point in my life, I must confess that I am fairly addicted to regular manicures, even though the maintenance of it all is a bit wearing. I use the excuse that I am often in front of people, either in the pulpit or on TV, and I want to look my best. Let’s go with that, shall we? (Work with me here).

So I was delighted to find that not only has my nail tech made my nails lovelier and more fetching (does anyone say fetching anymore?) but he has also taught me a great life lesson that I can share with you.

Phong (not his real name) owns the nail shop right next to a coffee shop that I frequent. I was new to the area and looking for a nail tech one day, so I dropped by to make an appointment, and as I was leaving he handed me his business card. Along with the name of the shop and contact information, the card read, “Come happy. Leave Happier.” I thought that was a catchy slogan, but I soon learned it was much more.

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Me and My Big Mouth!

Okay, I admit it -- I have been known to get myself into trouble with the things I say. I open my big mouth, and stuff comes out! I wish life had a rewind button so I could take some things back, don’t you?

And when we’re talking about praying and believing God, our words become even more important. For instance, have you ever heard anyone pray for something, then go right out and start saying exactly the opposite of what they prayed for? (Don’t raise your hand). We might ask God for help or direction in life, then say: “I can’t hear from God! I have no idea what to do. It’s so hard to know God’s will.”

That’s called “talking out of both sides of our mouth.” Sadly, it’s basically undoing everything we prayed for by what we’re saying! It means we believe more in what’s happening (or not happening) around us than in the Word, and we’re undoing our prayer with our big fat mouths! Agh!

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The Scariest Thing I’ve Had to Do as an Author (So Far!)

I’m a firm believer in the saying “no guts, no glory.” Almost everything you do in life is going to take faith, and you have to be willing to dive in. But it’s never easy. I always say, be careful what you pray for, because you might just get it, then you have to walk it out!

I have been a writer most of my life, and I always knew I would write my own books some day, but of course it took longer than I thought. When it finally came to pass, I realized that getting published was only the beginning! I was going to be called upon to make many, many tough decisions in the process of marketing and publicizing my books. Sometimes those decisions involved a lot of money.

When my first book, Why, God, Why? What to Do When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, was coming out in 2013, I needed to decide whether or not to employ a public relations firm. Now, hiring a PR firm to do a lot of the marketing work for you may sound like a great idea, but let me say this—it’s not cheap. Every month (for at least six months, maybe more) it was going to cost way more than my paycheck could cover. I would have to believe God for extra money—and we’re not talking about just a few dollars. Committing to this kind of output was the scariest thing I’d ever done!

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How Jesus Helped Me to Stop Hating K-Mart

My apologies in advance if you work at a K-Mart or if you love them, but I have a confession to make: I used to hate them. And really, I pretty much hated all superstores like them.

For one thing, they’re just so huge. You have to walk for miles and miles looking for things, and that just eats up time. For another thing, there are sixteen checkout stands but only two are ever open. Right? So the lines are long, and the checkers seem to move in slow motion.

Well, one day Jesus helped me get over my hatred of super stores (my neighborhood K-Mart in particular), and I just have to testify that when the Lord gives us His supernatural help with something, He can make everything fall into place so much better than you or I ever could.

On this particular day, back when I was a pastor’s wife, I had about a hundred things on my to-do list.

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