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Do you struggle with confidence, significance, or feeling loved? Or do you know a woman who does?

God’s Word is full of life-giving, confidence-boosting verses. But you and I have to understand and apply them to truly be changed by them. Here are five passages that – if really believed – will change your life or the life of a woman you care about.

  1. Isaiah 54:5 – God is Your Spiritual Husband.

Show me a confident woman who follows Christ and I’ll show you a woman acquainted with Isaiah 54:5:

“For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer….

While that verse, in context, was spoken to the nation of Israel, it is applicable today to the church – those  of us who are trusting in Christ alone for our salvation. God’s illustration of the church as His bride is something that resonates with every woman’s heart. When you really believe this passage you will understand that your husband –or anyone else – can’t possibly meet all of your emotional needs and you’ll begin to look to God to be your spiritual husband. Only God can meet your primary emotional needs. And a woman who looks to God as her spiritual husband will see Him as her Protector, Comforter, and Fulfillment.

  1. Jeremiah 31:3 – You are Unconditionally Loved.

At the root of our insecurities and search for significance and purpose is the question “Am I loved?” To know you are unconditionally loved for who you are can truly change your life. Jeremiah 31:3 tells us:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Stack that truth up alongside Romans 8:38-39 and you’ll find there’s nothing you can do and nothing that will come your way that will ever separate you from God’s love for you in Christ Jesus. You are His. And you are incredibly loved.

  1. Hebrews 13:5 – You Are Never Truly Alone.

As a pastor’s wife, I discovered years ago that a woman can be in a room (or church) full of people and still feel very much alone. Yet scripture tells us we are never truly alone. God is always with you and me.

Hebrews 13:5 reminds us of God’s words spoken in Deuteronomy 31:6:

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”

Psalm 139:7-12 describes in detail the fact that there is nowhere you and I can go where God will not follow, no place we can hide where God cannot find us, no place we can wander where we will be outside of His presence. That is love that will never leave. And that kind of love changed my life. Will you let it change yours?

  1. Psalm 18:28-29You Can do Anything with God-Confidence.

Do you ever feel that it’s you against the world? That your schedule is overwhelming, your marriage is deteriorating, or your kids are out of control?

Psalm 18:28-29 says:

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.”

If you lack energy or motivation to continue in your job, your marriage, or your Christian walk, God is the One who keeps your lamp burning. When you lack direction in how to move forward no matter what the issue, He is the One who illumines your path and turns your darkness or uncertainty into light.  Whether you’re up against a dream you don’t believe you can accomplish, a relationship you don’t think is repairable, or a child’s heart you think is impenetrable, God will help you advance against that troop of doubts and fears and leap over that wall of impossibility.

God goes before you into your battles and, as the next verse in Psalm 18 says, “His way is perfect” (verse 30). Trust Him and rely on His Word. And you’ll have all the God-confidence you will ever need.

  1. James 1:5 – You Can Have Boatloads of Wisdom

There isn’t a woman, wife, or mom I know who doesn’t want and need wisdom in any number of areas. And we have a promise in James 1:5 that “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” There it is. If you want wisdom, all you have to do is ask for it, and the God who gives generously will grant it, without hesitation and without finding fault in you. That is reassuring. And it means you  never have to stress or lie awake at night wondering if you made the right decision or if God will bless it, if you first asked Him for the wisdom He promises to give.

So tell me. In light of what God’s Word offers, do you still struggle with confidence, significance or feeling loved?

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.

Feeling discouraged? Tired? Physically or emotionally run down?

It happens — from life, lost love, disappointments, and an overloaded schedule.

And God understands those days. I believe that’s why He included some encouraging songs in the Bible that remind us we’re not the only ones who have felt down and complained to Him about it.

In Psalm 6, David was experiencing an emotional low. He apparently felt discouraged, defeated, and overwhelmed. Physically, he was wasting away. He’d been running from his enemies too long and he was exhausted. Spiritually, he was dismayed and thought God had forgotten him. Emotionally, he was depressed and feeling ready to give up. I’d say David was running on empty!

Listen to his cry for help:

“Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?
I am worn out from groaning….” (Psalm 6:2-3, 6a)

Do you ever feel that way? I do. When I’m over-extended, and I’ve pushed myself beyond the limits and I’m feeling physically and emotionally rundown. When I’ve reached burnout.

David was originally focused on his feelings. But then he focused on the facts to bring him out of his depressed and run-down state. Look at what happened when he started to remember the facts about God:

“Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
The LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed;
They will turn back in sudden disgrace.” (verses 8-10)

What caused the dramatic shift in how David felt? He got his focus. It wasn’t about how he was feeling. It was about the God who was going to take care of him. When he remembered the facts about God, his feelings waned and he got the energy and confidence he needed to get through his situation.

This is what David discovered by focusing on the facts about God, rather than his feelings:
• He may have felt like he was forgotten, but the fact is that God knew his case.
• He may have felt that God wasn’t listening to Him, but the fact is that God in Heaven heard his cry.
• He may have felt that God had rejected him, but the fact is that God had accepted and acted upon his prayer.

What About You?

You, my friend, may feel rundown and defeated, like you can’t do one more thing but the fact is that you can do “everything through him who gives (you) strength” (Phil. 4:13).

You may feel you’re up against a no-win situation, but the fact is that “…with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) and “Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

You may feel like you’re at the end of your rope and you can’t do one thing more, but the fact is that “those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:31).

By waiting on God (that doesn’t take a lot of energy, by the way), you’ll gain new strength to rise up, walk, and even run.

Switch your focus right now onto God…the One who hears your cry and helps you.

Are you someone who is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop? Do you find it’s easier to expect the worst than the best? Do you find yourself fearful that God won’t really come through for you?

As women, our fears range from living out our lives alone, to not being able to have children, to losing our jobs or homes or someone close to us. Often,  our fears are rooted in a misunderstanding of who God really is. Depending on your upbringing, you may see God as the One who seeks to pay you  back for mistakes you’ve made in the past. Or, maybe you see Him as One who will think good and hard before coming to your aid when you find you are in need. But God isn’t an angry god with a vengeance to get back at you. He’s the God who loves you and wants your love and trust in return.

Hebrews 11:6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV, emphasis added).

God wants your faith — not your fear — that He really can come through for you. But in order to have faith in Him, you must know who He is and be convinced He’s trustworthy. So let me give you two steps that will help you get to know — and love — this God you no longer need to fear.

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I thought it was time to put together a list of the 10 best (and most challenging) books I’ve read in the past 10 years.

These books have convicted my heart, challenged my theology, helped me grow, opened up my eyes to new insights, and helped me love Jesus more. When we love Jesus more we can be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, employee, neighbor, and so on.

Wow, it was hard to confine this list to just 10 (and I omitted some great titles I’ve read more than 10 years ago), but these are the books I need to re-read now and then because their principles are timeless. And this list is in no particular order…I’d rate them all No. 1:

  1. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller (There are golden nuggets in this book that I think about daily and I can’t forget his description of how cynicism in this world affects us.)
  2. Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ by John MacArthur (You will never again confuse the word “servant” — which is a profession — with “slave” — which is a purchased possession. We are God’s slaves.)
  3. Say Goodbye to Regret: Living Beyond the Would-Haves, Could-Haves, and Should-Haves by Robert Jeffress
  4. Grace Gone Wild: Getting a Grip on God’s Amazing Gift by Robert Jeffress
  5. The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg
  6. The Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible Really Says About the End Times and Why It Matters Today by Hank Hanegraaff
  7. The Last Days According to Jesus: When Did Jesus Say He Would Return? By R.C. Sproul (If you think we’re living in the “last days” that the Bible refers to, I challenge you to read this one!)
  8. Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed: Experiencing God in Extraordinary Ways by Lysa TerKeurst
  9. When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by  Edward T. Welch (Ok, I read it 15 years ago, but just revisited it this week as I was finishing up my book, Drama Free — which releases in March. We are drama when we fear people more than we fear God!)
  10. Suburbianity: What Have We Done to the Gospel? Can We Find Our Way Back to Biblical Christianity? by Byron Forrest Yawn.

Which books have been life-changers for you? Please let me know in the comment section below. I’m sure I — and my readers– can glean from your list, too. Keep reading books and keep growing!

Do you ever get – or give – “biblical advice” that isn’t actually from the Bible?

My guess is that it happens more times than you realize because there are so many secular sayings that sound like they’re from the Bible when they, in fact, are not.

To help you be able to discern the real stuff from the imposter, here are three “verses” that are often quoted as if they’re from Scripture when in fact, they are actually contrary to the truth found in God’s Word:

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Every week for the past ten years, I’ve received at least one or two emails asking me for marriage or relationship advice.

And while there are thousands of books out there on the topic — and a thousand  more reasons why women struggle in their relationships — I’ve found that what has most helped my marriage of 28 years — and thousands of other marriages and relationships as well — is  best summarized in my book, When a Woman Inspires Her Husband

“The quickest way to run your marriage into the ground is to expect your husband to be God in your life — to fill your every need, to know what you’re thinking and feeling and be able to respond accordingly, to be your joy, to be your all-in-all. He is a man. He is not able to be all of that for you. He is human, and that means he has weaknesses and will let you down at times. Finally, he is a sinner (as all of us are), and that means he will disappoint you, anger you, and even hurt you more times than he or you would like. So don’t look to your husband to be God in your life, or to fulfill your every need. Instead, look to God as your spiritual husband (Isaiah 54:5-6).

“God’s Word frequently uses the marriage relationship to illustrate God as our husband. God desires to be a husband to us and have us respond, in return, as we would respond to a husband — to forsake all other gods and love only Him, to respect Him, to dwell intimately with Him, to look to Him for our provision, and so on. There is nothing that will free up your husband to love you more than taking your emotional expectations off of him and leaving them with God. Your husband can then love you in the best way he is able, without feeling he has an impossible task in front of him. (For an in-depth look at this subject, see my book, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs.)”

Whether we are married or not, as we look to God first to fill our emotional tank, we will find we are more able and stable to deal with whatever comes our way. And that makes us more appealing women to be around.

It’s been said that a woman should be so deeply immersed in God that a man has to seek Him in order to find her.

Immerse yourself in Him this week. And watch the benefits of it in your relationships.

Before my daughter, Dana. started work at Disneyland  she had to take a class called “Traditions.” In this class, Disney employees (called “cast members”) learn the traditions and values upon which the Walt Disney Company was established so that they can continue in those traditions and provide parks guests with the ultimate magical experience. In the class, they heard stories of their founder, Walt Disney, that helped establish Disneyland as the happiest place on earth. And one of the stories Dana told me about struck me in a particular way.

Shortly after Disneyland Park opened, Walt was walking through the park and observing the happiness he had created when he noticed a little boy, sitting on a bench in Fantasyland, crying.  Walt sat down next to the boy and asked “Why are you crying? You’re in the Happiest Place on Earth! What could possibly make you cry?” The little boy wiped his eyes and he said “My brother got to sit on the white horse on the carousel.”

Walt reached into his pocket and pulled out a ticket and handed it to the boy and said “You come back tomorrow and I guarantee that you will be able to ride the white horse.”

That night, after the park closed, Walt ordered that every horse on King Arthur’s Carousel  be painted white so that no child would ever cry again for not being able to ride the white horse. To this day, every horse on what is now known as Sleeping Beauty’s Carousel is white, so every child who rides on the carousel will feel special.

Carousel

Jesus said in Matthew 7:11: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”Walt Disney was just a man, and he had limited resources when he opened that park. And if he’d go to that extreme to please a little boy who isn’t even his own, how much more will our Heavenly Father (who owns the cattle and the white horses on a thousand hills!) make the effort to please the hearts of His own children?

Our God’s resources are so much more than Walt Disney’s were when he opened his park.  And our God wants to bless, but in a way that’s eternal, not just temporal. And in addition to wanting to bless, He knows what’s best for you and for me.

Can you trust that God knows your life’s story and He can still work it out even if right now, you aren’t sitting on a white horse? Can you trust that He doesn’t need to repaint…He already has your story written and perfected?  And will you trust that He knows exactly how to get you to the happily ever after!

In Psalm 84:11: we are told “The Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” If you are asking God for something “good” and He’s not granting — it either isn’t truly good for you — or it isn’t time.

Trust Him. He specializes in the happily ever afters. And He always knows what is the very best for His children.

I think it’s natural for us to feel alone as women.

You and I have burdens we carry — emotionally and spiritually. And God will often draw us out to a lonely place so we can get to know Him in a deeper way and hand those burdens to Him. I’ve learned through the years that our alone times can be doorways to discovering a deeper intimacy with God. When we feel alone, we can sense His presence in a way that perhaps we couldn’t before.

In my second week of focusing on God’s gifts, I can’t help but think how blessed we are because of God’s presence.

God is bent on relationship. And that’s why He offers us His presence so that we are never truly alone.

I love how the Psalmists wrote about God’s presence,  especially when they felt alone.

One of my favorite songs in Scripture is Psalm 27, written by David who sang:

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple (verse 4).

David was saying the one thing he wanted the most was God’s presence.

Do you realize that David wrote this Psalm at a time when the presence of God was not accessible to anyone as it is to us today through the power of the Holy Spirit?

David longed to “dwell in God’s presence” which could only happen if he lived in the temple, because that’s where God’s presence dwelt. But David could not live in the temple because he was not a priest. And even if he were, the presence of God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, that inner chamber where only the High Priest could enter once a year, and after a lengthy ritualistic cleansing process so that he wouldn’t be struck dead by the holiness of God.

Under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit only visited certain people at a certain time for a certain purpose. God’s spirit came upon the prophets of the Old Testament and they were able to demonstrate the power of God and perform miracles. God’s anointing spirit came upon Samson and he experienced tremendous strength. The Holy Spirit came upon David and he was able to kill a bear and a lion with his hands. The Holy Spirit came upon Elijah and he was able to call down rain and  fire from heaven. But other than those temporary moments of the Holy Spirit’s presence, the people under the Old Covenant were pretty much separated from God by their sin.

But when Christ died on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, He removed that separation and there was instant access between God and those who come to Him by faith on the merit of what Jesus did for them.

Today we have a Savior who has made it possible for us to be in the presence of God – always. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit, when we come to God through faith in Jesus, and that means God’s presence is always with us.

We can experience today what David only longed for.

Can you, like David, say “there is one thing I need…”?

Oh, that you and I would realize there really IS only ONE thing we need…and it’s to be in God’s presence. And we can be.

This morning I found myself focusing on what I don’t have.

I hate it when I do that.

I have been given so much. Yet it is in my human (sinful) nature to focus on what I don’t have, rather than to count my blessings.

Do you ever do that? Start thinking about an opportunity that hasn’t come your way, places you haven’t visited because you don’t have the money, a certain measure of success you haven’t yet attained, or a relationship or position in life you don’t yet have?  And in the process you forget all that you do have?

Jesus said:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

You and I do have life to the full when we focus on what God has given us – gifts in the spiritual realm that can help us through the physical realm

So, for the next several weeks, I want to focus on God’s incredible gifts that God has given to you and me through His Son, Christ Jesus. Gifts you and I can tend to take advantage of, or forget altogether. But gifts, nonetheless, that will help us experience life to the full.

Today, let’s remember God’ s incredible gift of His power.

Scripture says “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control,” (2 Timothy 1:7).  That means we have His Spirit to help us be bold when we would otherwise be timid, to help us  love unconditionally when we otherwise could not, and to help us exert self-control.

And on days you and I feel especially weak, Second Corinthians 12:9 tells us that Christ’s power  “is made perfect in weakness.”

Do you know why you and I tend to worry and stress? We forget God’s power. Do you know why we give up when we could otherwise succeed? We forget that He is capable. Do you know why we shrink back when we could be moving forward?  We forget that He can do all things.

Why else would we start in with our “what ifs?”

What if I can’t get this done?

What if this bill is not something I can pay?

What if we can’t move beyond this? 

Approach this day remembering you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Tackle any project that comes your way knowing God is able to do through you what is beyond you. And remember all that you do have today because you have His power. It is there for the asking.

As the busyness increases this time of year it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, isn’t it?

You and I have so much to do. So many places to be. So much on our minds.

And yet, in the midst of the chaos, He quietly whispers to our hearts — “Come away with me to a quiet place….”

I’ve been longing for that “quiet place” lately…the time and perfect place to get quiet with Him…to catch up in our relationship…to recapture a heart for only Him. But I realize that “quiet place” is not found in a change of location, but in a change of lifestyle. And that’s a good thing because it’s often not possible for us to pack our things and get away to a quiet place. Yet, you and I can create a “change of location” by going away with Him in our hearts and making room for Him there this Christmas.

My friend, God would rather have us be with Him than do a bunch of things for Him. So, right now, wherever you are, whatever is on your mind, would you join me in going away with Him in your heart?

  1. Relax your shoulders, let out a deep breath and say softly aloud “Lord, I release my anxieties, my expectations, my worries and my plans to You.”
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly and as you do, say “Lord, I receive Your peace, Your wisdom, Your rest, knowing You have everything under control. Remind me that You are my greatest gain and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
  3. Read Psalm 121 with a heart of praise to the One who never slumbers nor sleeps, but invites you to rest peacefully in His arms.

Go away with Him in your heart this holiday season and experience His peace and rest.

“Where is God when it hurts?” “Doesn’t He care?” “Why would He let this happen?”

Those are questions I often hear from women who are in the midst of suffering. A betrayal, an illness or injury, a devastating disappointment — they can all make us feel that God has been negligent.

And I understand.

It’s easy to believe that God doesn’t care about us when we’re experiencing pain.   But a closer examination of Scripture tells us that God is intimately acquainted with the events of our lives. In fact, in many situations in my life and in the lives of women I know, He is the One who has protected and comforted, in spite of the pain we have endured.

If you are believing right now that God wasn’t there or didn’t care about you (or you know someone who is feeling that way right now) consider these truths from Psalm 139:

  • God intimately examines you, not to find your faults, but to know all about you (verse 1).
  • He knows where you hang out, what time you get up in the morning, and what you’re thinking before the thought even comes your way. Not only are you noticed, you are constantly watched over (verse 2).
  • He familiarizes Himself with everything you do. He is not only familiar with your ways of doing things, He has them memorized (verse 3).
  • He knows what you’re going to say before you even say it (verse 4).
  • He places hedges around you to keep you safe. In other words, God hovers over you (verse 5).
  • He won’t let you wander out of His sight. He is aware of everywhere you go. And He sticks to you like glue (verses 7-12).

God is there. He is aware. And He does care.  And if He’s allowed something painful in your life, He has a reason. And He promises that reason is for something eternally good that you might not see this side of heaven (Romans 8:28-29).

Think about something painful that has happened in your life and something good that you now have because of it. As you do, you may find yourself saying, “Aha. God was there. He does care. And He is still working His plan in my life.”

I would love to hear from you in the comment section below about where you found God in your painful situation …and what blessings are now yours because you have gone through that pain. And if you’re still in that place of hurt, let me know how I can pray for you and help shoulder that load.

 

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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Girl reading Bible by a streamAre you feeling spiritually dry? Do you need to recharge your spiritual battery?

A reader recently emailed and said: “I feel so dry, spiritually. What can I do?”

We all have times when we need to be refreshed, refueled, and re-energized in our relationship with God. We can get so busy doing things for God that we forget to be with Him. Or, complacency can set in and before we know it we feel spiritually sluggish and lack the fervor we once had.

Whenever I feel spiritually dry, I open up the Psalms — the Bible’s “song book” — and stay there for as long as it takes for God’s Word to recharge my spiritual batteries.

The Psalms in Scripture are all songs written by songwriters who felt many of the same emotions we feel today. There are songs of praise, songs of confession, and songs of frustration and disillusionment. There are even songs written because the writers felt spiritually dry, themselves. But the one thing I love about the Psalms is that they each focus on God and bring us back to the right heart and perspective. They also stir up our love for the Lord and His Word.

Here are three ways you can recharge your spiritual battery in the Psalms:

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You are my hiding place written in the sky by a huge boulder near the oceanDo you know what it’s like to experience God as your hiding place?

For years, one of my favorite verses in Scripture was David’s song in Psalm 32:7: “You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.”

It’s a beautiful song and it conveys God’s comfort and protection and the way He sings over us (Zephaniah 3:17). But I recently realized, for the first time, that these words of David’s are in the middle of his song of repentance — He was confessing to God the sin he had been trying to hide from God.

No longer wanting to hide anything from God, David said he wanted to hide himself IN God. And then he tells us what happens next. God will “preserve me from trouble” and “surround me with songs of deliverance.”

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Are you ready for 4  more things you never have to worry about?

I asked you last week to let me know what keeps you awake at  night and, based on your responses (and what I know of God’s trustworthy Word) here is another list of 4 things God can control a lot better than you and I can:

1. You never need to worry about being ignorant or relying on your own thinking. God’s wisdom is there for the askingJames 1:5-6 says:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind (NLT).

So,  ask God for wisdom and ask for it by faith in Him alone. And as you apply Proverbs 3:5-6, He will straighten the way for you:

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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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Word from  God photoHas anyone ever tried to give you advice from God?

We all need people in our lives to encourage us with Scripture and build us up in our faith. Yet, we need to be cautious when receiving advice from others who proceed their sentence with “God told me to tell you….”

Especially when we are seeking counsel or direction in an area that seems unclear.

Here is a litmus test when you want to know if advice is really from God or from someone who just means well. When you sense God is speaking to you through someone else, you must ask yourself these four questions:

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warrior princessAre you a wounded woman or a warrior woman? I can help you become the latter.

While I was writing my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I was thinking about how easily we, as women, are wounded.

Hurtful remarks from others, stolen dreams, disappointments in relationships, or just a circumstance in life that seems unfair can make us cower in feelings of weakness and failure. But the Scriptures say our struggle is not against flesh and blood, (people and their words) but against “the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

That tells me we are to be warriors…not women who cower in our wounds.

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Do you have a plan for growing spiritually in the next 12 months?girlreadingbible

I had to start writing out a plan every January to ensure I didn’t end the year in the same place, spiritually, as I was when the year started. Year by year, we might not notice a lack of spiritual growth in our lives. But you’d be surprised how quickly ten years can pass without having memorized one verse of scripture, without confronting a habitual sin in your life, without having shared the gospel with an unbeliever, without having experienced a point in your walk with God that lit a fire under you and caused you to live differently.

Instead of making “new year’s resolutions” each year, I sit down with God and ask “How will I grow more in love with You this year?” By being intentional about setting goals to prioritize my relationship with God, I’ve found the result is growing in my relationships with my family and friends, as well. Setting some spiritual goals for the next year also helps me ensure that there is fruit developing from my life each year instead of being a sponge that continues to soak it all in, but gives little out.

Here are some examples of a few of the spiritual goals that I’ve set through the years, many of which repeatedly stay on my list from year to year. Try a couple of these, and maybe even come up with some of your own, so that you are one year closer to Christ — and to those you love — by the time next January rolls around:

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