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Is a House in the Hood on Your Bucket List?

Is a House in the Hood on Your Bucket List?

Liza is a natural beauty who shines Jesus. One of the things I love most about her is that she’s had this routine for years where she spends most Wednesday nights with God. I think that’s a big part of why He’s writing such an incredible story in her life right now. In fact, I think it’s so great that I want you to know about it. Read Liza’s account below to see what I’m so excited about.

I’m one of those people who wrote my bucket list years ago. It’s full of things I imagined would make an adventurous, worthwhile life. But it’s recently become clear there was a large oversight when making that list.

I didn’t put "live in the hood" anywhere on it.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8–9).

So yes, "live in the hood" is now somewhere near the top of the list . . . but I’m getting ahead of the story. It all started in the spring a couple of years ago.

Spring 2012, Pregnancy Care Center, Michigan

I started volunteer work at the local pregnancy care center—not because I was particularly drawn to that field, but because I was looking for ways to share the Light. One of my first times there, I saw a girl walking by with bleach-blonde hair and hard, empty eyes. My heart tightened knowing I would soon be in a counseling room with her or one of her friends having no idea what to say or how to relate. But at least I noticed her. That was new. That was progress.

God doesn’t just see 142 million orphans. He sees one. And another one. And another one.

The pregnancy care center ended up changing the way I see people like her entirely. Cut to a year later: precious friendships, baby showers, laughing with, crying with, and learning how to love people the way God loves.

June 2013, Set Apart Girl Conference, Colorado

At a Set Apart Girl Conference in Colorado, I heard the miraculous testimony of a rescued street girl from South Korea, and it sunk deep down into my heart that God doesn’t just see 142 million orphans. He sees one. And another one. And another one. 

He sees Ayushi, begging at a rickshaw on the streets of New Dehli. And He cares so much. He wants to rescue her. And He uses His hands and feet, His people here on the earth, to go pick her up out of the dust, brush her off, and make His love real to her.

The gap between my comfy life and volunteering at the center was becoming wider and wider. It didn’t feel right anymore.

Much like the story of the little boy with the starfish, each life was beginning to be important and worth rescuing to me. Verses like Isaiah 58:6–11 and Luke 14:12–14 started to jump off the page. God was giving me a glimpse of His heart. Through tears, I started praying prayers like:

God, if there are people out there You want to rescue, I’d consider it a privilege to be the one to take them by the hand and lead them to safety. Please send someone to rescue them. Send me.

January 2014, Lori’s Home, Ohio

The gap between my comfy life and volunteering once a week at the pregnancy care center was becoming wider and wider. It didn’t feel right anymore. How could I truly love the people God had so clearly drawn my heart to when I kept them at such a distance?

Then I connected with an old friend, Lori, who told stories of Christians (herself included) who’d just asked God to show them people to love and then moved right next door to them in the rough part of town. I had no idea Christians could just . . . do that. They called it Christian Community Development, and there were associations and conferences and everything.

That made so much sense. That’s what Jesus did with us. He came incarnate, God With Us, and stayed. He came into close proximity with the ones He loved to rescue them and redeem them. When He finished the redemption work, He went to heaven, sent His Holy Spirit, and now gives us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18–20).

From that day forward, knowing how much Jesus loves the poor, the least of these, the broken, the castaways . . . and knowing how much He loves me, I knew it was time to connect the dots and just go live with these people and make His love real to them.

All that was left to do was find a "hood."

To be continued tomorrow . . .

(Hey, girls. Paula here.) Did you catch what Liza said?

The gap between my comfy life and volunteering once a week at the pregnancy care center was becoming wider and wider. It didn’t feel right anymore.

You’re probably still sharing a room with your little sister (or maybe not!), and I don’t imagine "living in the hood" is even an option for you at this point in life. But in what other ways is God calling you out of your comfort zone in your everyday life?

Oh, and I’d love to hear . . . do you have a bucket list? What’s on it?

Is a House in the Hood on Your Bucket List? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com

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Coming Out Christian

 

Coming Out Christian

 

This past month Michael Sam came out of the closet. This was a big deal because, if drafted, he could become the first openly gay player in the NFL.

In an ESPN interview, when asked what it was like to tell his teammates, Michael said, "I was kinda scared, even though they already knew, but I was still scared of telling them."

Our culture views this kind of coming out as incredibly brave
but wants to push Christians more and more “into the closet.” That’s why Pastor
Trent Griffith challenged us this past Sunday,





“I’m asking you to be at least as courageous as Michael Sam. Stop
taking the path of least resistance. Come out Christian.”

Just that week I’d come out Christian in front of 120 freshmen at the local public high school. Because Jesus tells us to expect persecution, I wondered if they’d throw their lunches at me or kick me out . . . or both. It felt illegal. But of course it’s not. (At least not yet.)

So during the four-and-a-half hours while I shared writing tips as well as the process of writing Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl, I openly identified myself as a Jesus-follower and spoke freely about Him. Then I offered a copy of Confessions to anyone who wanted one.

To my utter amazement, over eighty students lined up for a book. They didn’t throw anything, and they didn’t kick me out. In fact, the teachers said it was the most inspiring thing that’s happened all year.

 

whole class

 

It must’ve been my orange shoes. (Kidding!)

But in all seriousness, I did put on special "shoes" that day. Ephesians 6:15 describes them this way:

And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

Let’s break that down. It basically means, "Always be prepared to share the good news of peace with God and total well-being through Him."

Whether you’re headed to high school or just playing ball with your friend at the park, strap on the "shoes" He’s given you. Isaiah 52:7 says,

How beautiful . . . are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."

I’m not telling you to cart around a heavy Bible or plaster your car with bumper stickers or leave tracts in the girls’ bathroom. I’m asking you to share the good news of happiness with those who have no true hope. Don’t let the names and labels you might be called keep you from sharing the fact that God has gone to crazy lengths to have a relationship with anyone who will accept His free gift of forgiveness through faith in His Son, Jesus.

After all, this was Jesus’ last instruction to us before He returned to heaven to prepare His home for us:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19–20).

So how about it? What keeps you from coming out Christian?

The world is trying to shove Christians back in the closet, but I’m calling you out today. Will you join me?

Coming Out Christian” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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The Battleground of Your Mind

 

The Battleground of Your Mind

 

Crazy news flash for you . . . did you know you have up to 70,000 thoughts a day?! Researchers say most of us have between 45,000–51,000 thoughts a day, but it can be as many as 70,000!

Most of the battles you fight each day rage in the battleground of your mind. Here are just a few blog comments from this last week that reveal the mind battles you’re facing: 

  • "I feel like I’m not worth as much as the pretty/skinny/athletic/cool girls." —Ella
  • "I had formed a habit of thinking I hate myself or I hate my life when things went badly." —Michelle 
  • "Please pray for my stupid self." —Mist 
  • "I struggle with lies like I’ll never be good enough, I’ll never be pretty enough, and Even if I become beautiful enough, people won’t love me for me." —Michelle

I think the apostle Paul knew what a battleground our minds are when he wrote to believers:

Take the helmet of salvation (Eph. 6:17).

Quick history lesson—back in the day, Roman soldiers wore heavy helmets that covered their cheeks, foreheads, neck, and ears so their enemy’s battle-axe wouldn’t send their head flying off. Think of the helmet of salvation like our modern-day football or motorcycle helmet—except much more beautiful.

Now obviously, you don’t need to put on the helmet of salvation in order to be saved, ’cause Paul wrote this to people who were already Christians. But you do need to put on the helmet of salvation in order to think true thoughts that line up with who you really are now in Christ.

Your thoughts matter—big time. In Romans 12:2 we’re told, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." Your mind was never meant to control you—you were meant to control your mind! As you do, you will be transformed from the inside out.

So how are you to get the upper hand over your thoughts?

Thinking Brand-New Thoughts
The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 10:5: "Take every thought captive to obey Christ." Warning—that’s a lot of hard, unending work! But it’s worth it, because the alternative isn’t pretty. Taking every thought captive to obey Christ means you’ll have to constantly monitor every thought to see if it passes the Philippians 4:8 test:

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

If a thought doesn’t pass the Philippians 4:8 test, rather than letting that thought captivate you, instantly capture it in your mind and turn it over to King Jesus. Then replace that stray thought with one that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or praiseworthy.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any of those thoughts on my own. I have to borrow Christ’s thoughts by memorizing His Words so I can replace my thoughts with His.

Can I encourage you to do the same? Buy a spiral-bound, index-card notebook from Walmart, and write out verses you find most helpful. Or store them in your phone. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you get His words into you.

I encourage you to start with verses that talk about what all is included in the gift of salvation. Become a serious student of your salvation. (This is how you put on the helmet of salvation—by knowing and chewing on what Jesus has done for you and given to you.) What saved you? How do you know this? When God saved you, what benefits and lavish gifts did He give you? For a great place to start, read or listen to these forty-five gifts God gave you when you were saved.

If you’re in a relationship with Jesus, you now "have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16). Obviously that doesn’t mean you’re omniscient, that you know every single thing there is to know as God does. But it does mean your mind, which used to be hostile toward Him, can now understand, accept, and think on the things of God. Incredible!

So pick up that helmet of salvation and put it on. I want to see some helmet hair!

Then come back here and tell me about a mind battle you won this week. Let me know what thought you caught yourself thinking and how you beat that thought back by putting on the helmet of salvation and taking every thought captive to Christ.

Note: Parts of this post are excerpted from Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl.

The Battleground of Your Mind” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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Four Ways to Live Within Your Limitations

140224-limitations

The past couple months I’ve been learning how to acknowledge and live within my limitations. After all, God alone is infinite; I am not. Here are four truths I’ve been remembering and implementing in everyday life:

1. It’s okay to work at a less frenzied pace—and even take breaks!

I used to work straight through my eight-hour workday. I’d even take my laptop into the bathroom stall with me. I’m not kidding. Lunch would be inhaled at my computer. I worked at mach speed. Who knows, my coworkers may have even witnessed smoke coming out my ears!

Now, though, I’m joining the sane lunch group in the cafeteria. I’m getting up from my computer every hour or so for a game of Ping-Pong, a short walk, or a change of scenery. Breaks are important. In fact, Jesus had to tell His disciples to take breaks, too:

“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:31).

2. Everything doesn’t have to be done NOW.

Last week I picked up a prescription, dropped off my energy bill, and got my tire patched. I didn’t, however, make my Walmart returns, cash that check, or grocery shop (there was enough food in my fridge for at least a couple more days). On a whim, I stopped by the library on the way home and picked up a book a friend recommended. Progress!

The truth is I don’t have to run all my errands now. I don’t have to respond to all my emails now. The world won’t end if I don’t knock everything off my to-do list right now. In fact, it will be a whole lot better for me and others if I use that extra time to drive the speed limit back home rather than racing on to the next thing on my to-do list. Proverbs 19:2 warns,

“Whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”

3. I can and need to prioritize.

The way I used to live was based on the belief, When I get all my work done, then I’ll rest and play. What a fool I’ve been. My work will never be done, no matter how hard or fast I work. So I need to ask God to help me prioritize.

Jesus modeled this beautifully when He came to earth. As you know, He didn’t heal every sick person. There was so much He didn’t do in the world. But He did spend time with His Father seeking His priorities. That’s why Jesus was able to say at the end of His life on earth,

“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4).

4. I can ask for help.

I’ve asked for help more in the past couple months than I have in . . . well, possibly my entire life. I think the breakthrough happened the night I asked a friend to drive me to my hair appointment because I just didn’t have the energy. Who asks someone to drive them to their hair appointment?! Girls like me who are willing to acknowledge when they’re feeling really weak, I guess.

I’ve been trying to implement this maxim, “If you don’t ask the answer is always no.” The other day I asked someone to shovel my snow, and they offered to do so for the rest of the winter! I’ve been so blessed and helped by sharing my needs with others. I dare you to try it, too. Warning, though, it will take a dose of humility to admit you can’t do it all on your own. Reminds me of Moses, actually,

“Moses’ father-in-law said to him, ‘What you are doing is not good. You . . . will certainly wear yourself out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. . . . look for able men . . . and they will bear the burden with you’” (Ex. 18:17-23).

I hope these truths help you as much as they’ve been helping me. I’m curious, do you think you’re living within your limitations? How so?

Four Ways to Live Within Your Limitations” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

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The Best Valentine’s Ever

 

The Best Valentine's Ever

 

What’s your favorite Valentine’s memory? Mine took place on a snowy Saturday night in 2012 when five teen girls piled into my home with their pajamas, pillows, and Chi hair straighteners.

We did the typical things girls do at slumber parties (ate a lot of sugar, did each other’s hair, posed for a photo shoot) but the main reason we got together—and the highlight of the party—was sitting on the living room floor cutting and gluing and writing and praying.

Card Making

We’d asked the church secretary for a list of the names and addresses of the widows in our church, and then we made them each a homemade Valentine’s Day card and included a picture so they could put faces to our names.

Why did we spend our evening reaching out to a bunch of older women we hardly even knew rather than watching a couple of chick flicks? Because we wanted to love the same people God loves. Did you know widows have a very special place in God’s heart? He protects them and provides for them and urges us to do the same:

"You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child" (Ex. 22:22).

"He [God] executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing" (Deut. 10:18).

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation (Ps. 68:5).

The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin (Ps. 146:9).

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:27).

The next morning we hand-delivered one of our cards to a woman in a nursing home and stayed to visit, sing, hug, and pray for her. We dropped the other cards in the mail and were delightfully surprised when we received a couple letters back from widows warmly inviting us into their homes!

card

I wonder what widows you know. Would you make a list and send at least one of them a Valentine’s Day card this year? (You might want to send one to a single mom, as well.) After you’ve done that, I’d love to know your thoughts. Why do you think God cares so deeply for widows and wants us to do the same?

 

PS: I think a highlight this Valentine’s 2014 will be sharing my new book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, with the teens around me. If your heart is hurting this Valentine’s Day season, would you pick up a copy? It’s 40% off over at Moody Publishers today through February 17. Enjoy!

The Best Valentine’s Ever” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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The Myth of My Strength

The Myth of My Strength

Do you think of yourself as a strong or a weak woman?

Personally, I’ve counted myself a strong one.

I was the girl who ran around flexing her biceps, challenging boys to arm-wrestling matches, and re-arranging my heavy bedroom furniture all by myself.

I was the young woman who had a scheduled activity on her calendar every night of the week. I was the woman who wrote a book on the side while continuing to work full-time. I was the woman who always, always pushed through.

But then last month I had an Isaiah 40:30 fall,

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted.”

My doctor said I was strong to have made it as long as I did.

I wasn’t so sure.

God, do You think of me as weak or strong? And how should I think of myself?

Taking Cues from a “Strong” Man and a “Weak” Man

I went to God’s Word for answers, starting with the strongest man I could think of: Samson. You know the beast—tearing a roaring lion to pieces with his bare hands, striking down 1,000 enemies with a donkey’s jawbone, pushing down a house killing 3,000 party-goers.

Here’s the surprising pattern I found. Just before Samson displays great strength, this is what happens just before:

“The Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him” (Judg. 14:6).

“The Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him” (Judg. 14:19).

“The Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him” (Judg. 15:14).

It was always God’s strength Samson displayed; never his own. God is the strong One. Even Samson was weak apart from God.

Then I re-read the familiar story of David and Goliath. Anyone observing the battle scene that day would’ve put their money on the intimidating war champion Goliath, not the young, inexperienced David. Goliath had complete confidence in his strength; David had complete confidence in his living God. And at the end of the short fight, David was the unlikely victor.

I Am Weak, but He Is Strong

Funny how many times I’ve gotten it mixed up. I’ve considered myself strong and believed God to be weak. Nothing could be further from the truth:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable” (Isa. 40:28, emphasis added).

God’s strength will never, ever give out.

Me on the other hand, I’m weak. My strength is finite.

What freedom that realization brings.

Strength comes when we first own up to our own weakness. (That’s ’cause we don’t rely on God when we consider ourselves strong.) But in our weakness, as we depend on our strong God, His strength flows through to us. Catch Paul’s personal testimony of this:

“We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Cor. 1:8–10).

And then there’s my favorite passage from this past month,

“He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40:29–31).

How is this strength-for-weakness exchange possible?

Strong Made Weak; Weak Made Strong

It’s all because the Strong One was made weak so we, the weak, could be made strong.

Check out this baffling verse:

“The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25, emphasis added).

The weakness of God? But God isn’t weak!

Study the context, and you’ll see this verse refers to the cross. The world judges Jesus weak and pathetic, hanging there exposed and bleeding. “Weakness,” they spit.

But to us who are being saved, we gaze at the cross and celebrate. “Strength!” we shout.

God refuses to save Himself so He might save us. The Strong One is made weak so we, the weak, can be made strong.

What weakness can you boast about today? How might God want to showcase His strength through your particular weakness?

Don’t get it mixed up like I did.

I am weak, but He is strong.

The Myth of My Strength” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

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Hives, the ER, and the Shield of Faith

 

Hives, the ER, and the Shield of Faith

 

Hey, girls, I’ve missed you! Now you’ll know why I disappeared for a month—and why I’m so glad to be back with you.

This series on spiritual armor just got real personal.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been writing about how to fight our spiritual enemies or if it’s because I’ve been asking God to root out every bit of pride in me, but either way-this past month I felt shot at from every side.

A big part of the "attack" had to do with my health, including a visit to the emergency room, a terrible full-body rash (I’d share a picture, but then you’d never visit this blog again!), and terrifying insomnia (how is my body supposed to heal if I can’t sleep, I anxiously wondered as I tossed and turned night after night).

Satan really will use whatever circumstances he can to discourage and defeat us—even our health. A man named Job knows that even better than I do. It all started when Satan asked God for permission to attack Job’s health, swearing that Job would curse God if his health was compromised. But instead Job worshiped God.

In physical misery but tangible faith Job said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15). And for the record, God didn’t kill Job; just the opposite! Read the end of Job’s story here.

There were times this past month I felt like Job and wondered if I would survive.

So rather than writing a theoretical post about the different pieces of the armor of God, I’m going to focus on one piece I used a lot this past month—the shield of faith. Turns out the armor of God isn’t just an interesting concept to toss around on the blog; it’s intensely personal and necessary for normal, everyday life. Ephesians 6:16 urges us:

In all circumstances take up the shield of FAITH, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one (emphasis added).

Taking up the shield of faith is just a fancy, colorful way to say trust God.

For me it started with a choice to thank God for the hives, the trip to the emergency room, and the itchiness, even when I didn’t like or understand it. Lifting the shield of faith meant thanking Him—and believing—that this was His best for me. This was how I would learn to trust Him more, to depend on Him more, to experience His peace.

It meant thinking about His names as I lay in bed and asking Him to be that to me:

  • My Wonderful Counselor when I didn’t know which doctors to believe and which medical advice to take. 
  • My Mighty God who is able to heal me.
  • My Everlasting Father who delights in me and protects me. 
  • My Prince of Peace who can give peace even in the most frightening situations.

As I’d take medication or eat, I’d remind God that He’s my Healer (Ex. 15:26). I’d acknowledge that my trust was not ultimately in this medicine or food; I needed Him to heal me.

Five weeks later, I’m happy to report that my rash has now almost completely disappeared, and I’m sleeping some every night. And while Satan wanted to take me out through this difficult ordeal, God has used it to rescue me in ways I never dreamed possible. I could fill pages with how He has used it for good (well, I already have in my journal!), and I may share some of that with you in the future.

For now, though, I want to encourage you in your own difficult circumstances to lift up the shield of faith. Lean into God; rest your full weight on Him. This will protect you from the temptation to doubt His goodness, listen to Satan’s lies, and walk away from the One who has your back, who has your very best in mind.

God is for you. He is with you in the darkest, blackest night. Lift up your shield of faith, and lean into Him with a heart full of trust. He will not fail you. I promise. (Well actually, He promises.)

Hives, the ER, and the Shield of Faith” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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Worse Than a Shark Bite

 

Worse Than a Shark Bite

 

This is no Lake Michigan! I breathed as I pulled up to my timeshare on the Atlantic Ocean at midnight this past week. I’d grown used to the calmness of the lake, but this was alive—wild and churning.

That first night was eerie—thirty-five plus miles per hour winds howled under my door as if someone wanted in. Morning wasn’t any different. As soon as I opened my eyes, I threw open the sliding glass door to study the ocean, desperately wanting to go in.

But I wasn’t stupid. Red flags flew, indicating the ocean was not safe. No lifeguards manned their posts; no humans dotted the ocean. The beach seemed a ghost town, with meringue-like tufts of ocean foam blowing about like tumbleweed. Signs posted along the beach warned of rip currents, and while there was no mention of it, I knew sharks hunted those waters.

Other than one evening when I spotted a couple swimmers and quickly pulled on my suit and joined them in a wonderful salty thrashing, I safely enjoyed the ocean from its edge. I wonder-walked along it each day, biked through its surf, and slept with the sliding glass door open so I could fall asleep to its steady pounding.

Then at SeaWorld that Saturday, I learned something surprising. Only five humans die worldwide each year from sharks. Why was I so cautious then? And . . . do I take my everyday enemies as seriously as I took the potential danger of riptides and sharks?

Over the next few weeks here on the blog, I’d like to study our enemies together. More than that, I’d like to talk with you about how we can not only avoid them but overcome them.

Let’s start with this. As a follower of Jesus, do you know who your enemies are? Do you have a healthy fear of them as I had of the ocean? Beyond that, do you know what your "life jacket," "rescue boat," and "lifeguard" are? Do you know how to stand strong against your enemies? I’d love to hear from you.

Worse Than A Shark Bite” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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Called for Help Lately?

How often do I actually call on God for help? I wondered after listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ opening message at Revive ’13.

I’m realizing . . . not nearly often enough! Why? I think it’s because:

1. Like the stubborn little girl in this video, I think I can handle it on my own, thank you very much. (So much for “Apart from me you can do nothing“!)

2. In the areas where I do realize I need help, I think God will get fed up with me calling out for help again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and again . . .

But I heard Nancy say it. “Jehovah Ezer never gets tired of us calling out for help.”

What holds you back from asking for Jehovah Ezer’s help more often?

Did you know Jehovah Ezer is one of God’s names?! Jehovah Ezer, The Lord My Help. The One who helps me, supports me, comes to my aid, rescues me in my time of need. The One who comes running when I cry for help:

“There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty” (Deut. 33:26).

But I have to make the call first. Nancy likened it to needing an ambulance. Just thinking about an ambulance doesn’t do anything—you have to dial 9–1–1 before one will come racing to your help.

So it is with our God who needs no one and nothing and yet delights in riding to our help. “Lord, I need You!” are some of the sweetest words to God’s ears, Nancy said.

So I’m curious. Am I the only one? If not, what holds you back from asking for Jehovah Ezer’s help more often?

Called for Help Lately?” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

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Pre-Ordering Can Be Sticky Business…

Back in April, my sweet friend Pat pre-ordered Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom just as soon as I let her know she could do so. Being the thrifty woman she is, she also purchased 12 pounds of rice to take advantage of the “Free Super Saver Shipping” on orders over $25.

Experience assured Pat that Amazon’s superior customer service antennae would realize my book wouldn’t be out for several months and would send Pat her rice within the week.

But a month later, the rice still hadn’t arrived.

When Pat realized she wouldn’t be receiving her rice until September 1, she went ahead and ordered another 25 pounds. She had just started to put a dent in the rice when she opened her door one hot July day to 12 pounds of rice. Tucked in the box was the following note,

“We thought you’d like to know that we shipped this portion of your order separately to give you quicker service.”

Thirty-seven pounds of rice rich, Pat messaged me,

“I will begin to research luscious rice recipes for your book launch party in September.”

And here it is—September 1—book launch day! I don’t know if the book launch party will materialize, but here’s what I do know. You can now order Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom without any fear of a sticky pre-ordering rice run-in!

ChristianBook.com is now shipping Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl for $7.99.

Amazon is now shipping Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl for $8.24.

BarnesandNoble.com is now shipping Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl for $8.24.

BooksAMillion.com is now shipping Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl for $8.24.

And should you happen to order a little too much rice along with your book (Pat), I have a few ideas for ya:

  1. Save it for that distant day your daughter gets married so you can lovingly pelt her and her groom with rice.
  2. Sew a rice bag to keep you warm this long Michigan winter.
  3. Wrap some sushi and deliver it to our post-pregnant friend who wanted nothing more the last nine months than sushi for breakfast, sushi for lunch, sushi for snack, sushi for supper.
  4. Relieve some stress with a rice face scrub.
  5. Make a rice rain stick and celebrate this day with a little living room swaying.

Any other rice ideas?

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