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About 16 months ago I posted a blog called  “5 Things God Will Never Say as You Hand Him Your Concerns.”

You were encouraged to find out that God’s response will never be:

1. You’ve got this yourself.
2. I 
really don’t want to hear about it.
3.
You don’t need Me.
4.
Sorry, it’s impossible.
5.
I don’t want to do anything for you

(Click on that link above and you can get the details on why you’ll never hear those responses.)

Now, here are 4 more things God will never say when we trust Him with our problems, rather than worry:

  • I’m sorry. When we tell others our concern, they can sympathize with us. They might even be a contributor to what concerns us, in which case they might apologize. But we have a God who makes no mistakes. All His ways are perfect  (Deut. 32:4). So He is a God who literally never has to say He’s sorry.
  • I had no idea. There is nothing You can tell God that will take Him by surprise. Nothing will shock Him or disappoint Him or change the way He feels about you. Read Psalm 139 – in its entirety — as a refresher course in how familiar God is with all of your ways. (“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.…Even before there is a word on my tongue…You know it all….”) Don’t ever think you’re telling God something in prayer that He doesn’t already know.
  • I’ll pray for you.  This is often a believer’s response when we share our struggles. And it’s great to have friends who will remember to actually pray for us, after telling us they will. The wonderful thing about telling God our concerns is that He is already at work in our circumstances (Romans 8:28-29). So, rather than saying “I”ll pray for you,” God’s response is “I’ve got you!”
  • I wish I could help. Most of the people we confide in really are helpless when it comes to eliminating, fixing, or solving our concern. They can offer comfort, support, and encouragement but that’s about it. God is the Only One who really can help. Listen to the song writer’s words in Psalm 121:

My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;

 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore (verses 2-3, 5-8).

The Lord really is our Helper. And if it appears He’s doing nothing about your concern, He is either waiting for the perfect time to come through for you or He is working something far better for you than you can imagine.

Can you trust Him with your concerns today?

For more on God’s tender heart toward you, see my devotional  God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and read a sample page on my website.

What do you want more of?

Have you thought of that lately?

You and I live in a society where we are constantly feeling we need more of something. I’m not necessarily talking about materialism and greed, but more like the feeling of scarcity.

I know I find myself saying I need more time, more money, more energy, more sleep, more opportunities, more motivation, more discipline, and more willpower.

But really, the only thing I need more of is Jesus. Yet how often do I think or state aloud: “I need more of Jesus? And how often do I admit “I need less of me”?

In a society where we are constantly told to love yourself, love your body, and even “love your selfie,” who is telling us we need to love ourselves less and love Him more? Who is encouraging us to decrease so Christ can increase?

John the Baptist, at the height of His popularity, (today we would say “at the height of building his platform and securing his following) said “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Wow…there’s a strategy for success.

Jesus said whoever will be first will be last. And whoever seeks to save his life must first lose it. And “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Peter 5:6).

I truly need more of Jesus and less of me. And this week I’m going to be praying about and focusing on how I can truly want more of Him and less of me. In next week’s blog I will tell you what I came up with. In the meantime, tell someone this week the one thing you need more of. As you recognize and verbalize your need, your heart may start to go after it.

It was great hearing from so many of you last week about how you could benefit from my newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry Free Mom. Special congratulations to Mindy Minkus, Kelly Bistline and Lisa L for winning a free copy of the book.

And as a special thanks to YOU for reading this blog, I’d like to gift YOU with a savings of $4 off of my newest book. Just go to my website store, make your purchase, and enter the coupon code “blogfan” to save $4 at check out. But hurry, this offer lasts only thru Thursday, March 10, 2016.

Thank you, friend,  for opening my emails, reading my words, commenting on my blogs,  and being an overall encouragement to me as you follow my ministry to help women find strength for the soul.

“I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).

 

Do you, too, need more of Jesus and less of yourself?

As I was focusing this past week on wanting more of Jesus and less of me, I came up with another three lifestyle changes that will train my heart to want Him (for the first two, see last week’s blog.):

  •  Fill Up on His Thoughts, Not Yours. You and I must be fully saturated in the Word of God or we will let the godless philosophies of this world govern our hearts and minds. And that’s one sure way to have more of us and less of Him. Romans 12:2 instructs us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can prove what the perfect will of God is. What fills your thoughts each day? God’s Word or the words of people? Praises for Him or the proud, lustful, me-first lyrics of music that dominates the airwaves? What you focus your mind on will determine if there’s more of Jesus or more of you.
  •  Filter Your Behavior. Here’s where we need the Holy Spirit’s help. Throughout God’s Word we are told to control our speech, our thought life, and our actions. As we let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouths (Ephesians 4:29), we are acting more like Jesus than ourselves. As we focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8), we’ll be focusing on God, not ourselves. As we are quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19), we will take in more information and think more carefully before responding. That is exercising more of the wisdom of Jesus and less of the foolishness of ourselves.
  • Focus on the New You, Not the Old One. How many times have you heard a follower of Christ excuse their outburst of anger, their rudeness, or their foolish or dysfunctional behavior by saying “I’m sorry. I’m just that way”? To have more of Jesus and less of you is to realize that Jesus died to make the you that is just that way, become just like Him. If you’ve surrendered your life to Christ and possess His divine nature, you have more of a potential within you to be like Jesus than to be like your own earthly parents. So live as the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old you is gone. The new you – consumed by Christ – has come.

How will you start wanting more of Jesus and less of you? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Today I got to thinking about a concept: More Jesus, less selfie.

It goes against everything that’s modeled to us in this world.

We are constantly told “Look out for you,” “Invest in yourself,” and “Love Your Body.” I’ve even seen t-shirts that say “Love Your Selfie!”

I, personally, have bought the lie that I need more of everything else — more time, more money, more energy, more creativity, more motivation, more exposure, more of a “following.” Yet the only thing I really need more of is Jesus. And I definitely need less of me.

For a long time, it’s been half and half in my life: Half Jesus, half me. But Jesus wants me to be all Him. He isn’t interested in a dual reign or a joint partnership.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

You cannot serve God and self, either.

Jesus also said “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).  But how do you and I deny ourselves today in a society that is constantly urging us to put ourselves first? How can you and I, like John the Baptist, live by the motto “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)?

We can do that by reversing the way we naturally think and act. It means putting Christ in the place where we would normally put ourselves. It means having:

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Darcy is rejoicing at God's touch

Darcy, far right, with her family.

I wonder how often you and I have received God’s touch, but we never knew it was Him.

In response to my recent blog “Three Ways to Hear God’s Voice,” I heard from Darcy, a beautiful woman I met several years ago and with whom I shared a heart connection.

Darcy informed me she is battling stage 4 colon cancer! She said she is hearing from God “very, very clearly” and she shared with me her recent experience of receiving God’s touch.

Her story slammed my life into perspective once again and I’m sharing it with you, with her permission, to encourage you that God knows when we most need to hear His voice and feel His healing touch.

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Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you divine desires.I started thinking today about divine desires.

Do my desires truly please God? Are they from Him? Or are they too much about me?

In  My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says:

True surrender is a matter of being “united together (with Jesus) in the likeness of his death” (Romans 6:5) until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him.

Wow. To be so united with Christ that we are completely dead to our own desires and totally alive to His. That is my true heart’s desire. And yet, I got to thinking about what my desires look like when my focus is not on being united with Christ:

  • Personal happiness
  • Relational fulfillment (a great marriage, great family relationships and fulfilling friendships)
  • Financial security
  • Success and prosperity
  • Peace and contentment
  • To be well liked and admired

And yet, how many of those desires were also the desires of Jesus when He walked this earth?

According to Scripture, Jesus desired:

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Sometimes we have to choose joy, not wait for it to find us.It’s been one of those weeks. A week in which I had to choose joy.

A week in which it seemed like every time I turned around there was another unexpected expense, more disappointing news, and what appeared to be another setback.

“Really, God?” I said at the end of the week, exasperated. “Can You give me a break?”

I happened to be putting together teaching material that week for an upcoming women’s retreat that was themed “Choose Joy.” Suddenly it became apparent to me that I was not choosing joy in the midst of my circumstances. I was, instead, letting my circumstances control my life and my attitude.

I remembered a verse I’d memorized as a teenager. One that God seemed to be whispering in my ear:

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Did you know there are at least 7 things we never need to worry about? ‘

As I’ve grown older, I’ve made it a point to not waste a day worrying about something I can’t control.

I wish I’d had that mindset when I was younger. How many days have I wasted, how many stomach aches could I have spared, how much less stress could I have had if I’d remembered that the One who controls all things has my back and has my situation under perfect control?

Let me take this time to remind you — and encourage you — of the things you, too, never need to worry about if you are trusting in the One who can do all things:

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There is only One who will never everA few years ago my husband and I came up with a list of 15 Things You’ll Never Hear God Say. It was so well received that I’ve been expanding on it for the past couple years.

This list of mine reminds me, when I start to put my hope in people, that there is only One who will never disappoint or let me down. It also reminds me that I, too, am guilty of saying some of these things to others and disappointing them, as well.

I’m sharing this list with you this morning to remind you of how perfect the Living God is…and how extraordinary it is that He wants to have a relationship with you and me:

Psalm 18:30 says “As for God, his way is perfect…” and I think you’ll agree as you read through these 25 Things You’ll Never Hear God Say:

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Relationship not religionDo you know the God of religion or relationship?

I re-discovered something precious in the Word of God this morning. I was reminded, as I was reading in Acts, that I know and serve a God of relationship, not religion.

And I am so thankful for that.

The god of religion is the one who asks you to do a number of things to prove yourself worthy. The God of Relationship recognized we will never be worthy, but He chose to love us anyway.

As I was reading in Acts, I realized,  once again, that God knew that none of us could ever be worthy of Him.  So, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in our place — not so that we would have to follow a bunch of rules in our lives. But so that we could know Him (and obey and serve Him) through a relationship.

In Acts 17:24-25 the Apostle Paul told a group of Greek and Jewish philosophers about this God of relationship who wasn’t interested in having them DO a bunch of things for Him. He told them of a Creator God who is also a Sustainer God who wanted to be their Savior God and live in relationship with them:

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Psalm 73_25Do you have that  inconsolable longing to be truly and deeply known?

As a young wife and mom, I copied a verse onto a note card and put it on my refrigerator more than 20 years ago. It served as a comfort to me then and remains a challenge to me even today:

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I                      desire besides You” (Psalm 73:25, NASB).

That verse reminded me years ago that I have an Advocate in Heaven. And He is mine.

Who do I have but You, God? It is more than a question or even a statement. It is a motto. And I have reminded myself to live by that motto ever since.

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Blog - new creationNow that Spring is here, it’s time for make-overs, do-overs and new beginnings.

Could you use one of those?

There are days I wish that I could do over. Like when I get a late start because I slept too long, and I end up starting my day without first going to God’s Word to soften my heart and settle my soul. And then, as a result, I speak a harsh word, instead of letting gentleness win out. And then I complain verbally, instead of seeing the good in the situation. And then it’s all downhill from there….

God, is there any hope for me?

It’s a good thing that the God of Heaven is a God of fresh starts and new beginnings.

God’s Word tells us:

“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new” (Second Corinthians 5:17, CEV).

That doesn’t just mean we become “new” when we initially come to Christ and surrender our lives to Him. It means we can experience new beginnings every day – every time that we see the need to start over. Every time we want to make it right with Him again.

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I got cut off on the road the other day by an inconsiderate driver.

I found myself saying aloud “I didn’t deserve that.”

It got me thinking about how we tend to go through life thinking about — and insisting upon — what we believe we deserve. As a woman and wife, I hear these things often, and at times, I think them myself:

I deserve health and happiness

I deserve better pay

I deserve to have a fairy tale romance like I see in the movies

I deserve respect because of my education and experience

I deserve better treatment on this job

I deserve not to be questioned when it comes to my opinion

I deserve only the best

And yet, as I go to Scripture and learn of God’s unconditional love, His unending faithfulness, and His unfathomable grace, I am reminded of the many things I have that I don’t deserve:

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Have you ever had a God encounter?

Let me rephrase that question. Have you ever had a week in which it seemed like nothing went right?

I used to wonder why that happened. Now I know better.

Now I realize that a cruddy week is often my glimpse of a God encounter. Because it’s a week in which I get to know Jesus just a little bit better.

Unfortunately, at least in my life, a God encounter is not a bright light, a loud voice from heaven or the sudden realization of a dream.

Nope. When God shows me more about Himself, it’s usually in those times that I truly need Him. Those times when I’m downright desperate for Him. Those times when nothing seems to go right.

For me it was a week that started off with disappointing news from a friend, a car repair that I couldn’t afford, and then a bad case of food-poisoning that had me wiped out, physically, for two days. It all occurred on a week that I really needed to get a lot of things done. And instead, I found myself on my knees (and flat on my back) talking to God.

It was then that I remembered a treasured truth from God’s Word.

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Add subtitle textMy 3-year-old nephew, Escher, was praying for our breakfast just as we were about to go into Disneyland.

“Dear Disneyland Jesus,

Thank you for this food and for our day and for keeping us safe and healthy.

Amen.”

Escher had been known to address God as “Dinosaur Jesus” after spending a day at the “Walking with Dinosaurs” exhibit and being enthralled with his new discovery. And on days when he learned his Cousin Dana would be taking him into Disneyland again, his prayers were directed once again to “Disneyland Jesus.”

I couldn’t help but smile and think that little Escher was simply transferring the excitement of the blessing he was about to experience to the Blesser who was allowing it. I commented to his mom shortly after,

“Escher knows Jesus is Lord of the Dinosaurs and Lord over Disneyland, as well!!”

Call me one to spiritualize everything, but Little Escher’s prayer got me thinking. How easy it is for us, like a child, to pray to “Disneyland Jesus” — the giver of all good things. How wonderful, also, to pray to “Dinosaur Jesus” — who allows us the adventure of discovering new things.

But how we, as adults, struggle in the not-so-exciting times, in the downright painful times, to pray “Dear Heartache Jesus” or “Dear Cancer Jesus” or “Dear Death-of-a- Loved One Jesus.” And yet, He is Lord over the disappointing days as well as the Disneyland days.

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Learn of the many ways God pursues your heart in my favorite of all my books.

Learn of the many ways God pursues your heart in my favorite of all my books.

Have you ever thought about what kind of Valentine’s Day card you might pick out for God?

I got to thinking about that the other day.

Scripture refers to God as our heavenly “husband” (Isaiah 54:5), so after many years with Him, would I get Him the card that says “You’re Still my Knight in Shining Armor”?  After all, He truly is my Perfect Prince.  It’s true He’s never let me down and like the cards say “I can’t imagine my life without Him.”

Or would it be more appropriate to choose a card that talks about “weathering the storms together” and knowing that through it all His love has been there?

Every beautiful, romantic line I read in a greeting card is true of the Perfect Love,  the Lord Jesus. In fact, picking out a card for Him would be quite easy.

But what  if God were picking out a card for you or me? What if He wanted to express His sentiments to us after “all these years together”? You know, He already has…in several places throughout Scripture:

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Blog quote - agingDoes getting older bother you?

It never used to bother me. Until yesterday. I turned 50. And I think I’m beginning to understand those reservations women have about aging. The thought that I’m half a century old and I now have less days in front of me than behind me is quite mellowing.

Since I prefer to look at every situation as an opportunity to grow, let me (for my own therapy, perhaps) share with you five things I already appreciate about turning 50:

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Do you ever stumble upon something from years ago and find that it still touches you today?

I recently found an old  journal I kept during my high school and college years and discovered that what I wrote about my God 30 years ago still applies to His character today.

That tells me that although our situations change throughout the years our God never does.Though we may have forgotten certain heartaches or experiences in which we needed Him, He has not.

I hope this is a gentle reminder to you, too, that His love for you is still constant, His forgiveness is still faithful, and with all that you’ve been through, He is still the Friend who sticks closer than a brother:

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My daughter, Dana, turned 22 recently. DanaDisneyCollegeShe’s at the beginning of a life journey that I am more than half-way through. She has so much of life ahead of her. So many great adventures to still experience.

I started thinking today about what I wish I knew when I was a  young 22-year-old.  And I realized it isn’t too late for you and me to apply Moses’ instruction in Psalm 90:12 to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” 

These are the 10 things I wish I knew at age 22 (and the 10 things I want my daughter to know now so she can live wisely and well):

1. People will come and go in our lives, but the One who loves us most will never leave. Therefore, His opinion matters more than anyone else’s.

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