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I had the privilege of being interviewed by Marnie Swedberg on her radio show just recently. Spending an hour talking about Drama Free with this delightful woman made me want to hear more from her.

So I asked her to guest blog for me and talk about something we all know we should do, but sometimes wonder how.

Glean from Marnie as she talks about how you and I can pray continually (and leave a comment below and you could win a copy of one of my books.)

Here’s Marnie…

The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing.” If you’re like me, that seemed an impossible command.

I want to share with you the dolphin analogy that God used to help me adopt the habit of praying without ceasing. I hope it will be as helpful to you as it has been to me in unraveling this puzzle.

Simply stated, God created dolphins to be water dwellers, but air breathers. He created us to be earth dwellers, but prayer breathers.

Ephesians 2:6 uses the present tense when it describes our ability to be spiritually in the presence of God even while being stuck here on earth. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

Dolphins can breathe air while living in the water. They can survive about five minutes before surfacing, but not much more. We can survive just about as long without going up to God for prayer.

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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!

Admit it, there are parts of the Bible that are difficult to digest. Certain girlreadingbiblewords sting and can cause us to question our faith. I came across some of them as I was writing my book, When God Sees Your Tears.

In the Old Testament story of Hannah, I found staring at me, like a dagger, seven words about why Hannah could not conceive a child: because the Lord had closed her womb. Those seven words explain, but don’t really explain, Hannah’s misery. And within those seven disturbing words are four words that explain — or don’t really explain — the troubles we experience today, too: because the Lord had.

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As you face a new year, can you confidently say you are living out God’s calling on your life? Or can you at least say you are moving toward living out the life God has designed for you?

Look around. Talk to other people. Read studies. Most people are stuck in a job or career they see as “drudgery,”  a dating relationship that has them going nowhere, or a course of life that they are not enjoying. They are surviving, but not thriving. But this can be the year you begin to thrive…as you look at the calling — and the dream — God has placed  on your life and you begin to live it out. read more

Do you ever feel that you’re not doing enough to please God?

I recently asked a group of women how their spiritual life was going. They each frowned and began to recount to me all that they had not been doing. They were each concerned about  not praying long enough, not reading the Bible consistently enough, and not doing enough in their overall efforts to please God.  I’m sure they all thought they were getting a “C” from God for simply being average…if not an “F” for failing. read more

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