"My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves." 1 John 3:18-20 MSG

How well do you know yourself? Many of us are still searching to know what it is we want in life, what we want to do, what makes us happy, what makes us unique from every other individual on earth. It's a little scary to think God knows more about us than we do. Yikes! You may be thinking, "I wish...

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

When I was a little girl, my bedroom was on the other side of the house from my parents.  The cellar door and garage door opened close to my room.  I was scared to death to go to sleep at night.  Fear is a powerful emotion. It can immobilize us. Make us physically ill.  Sap...

"From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another." John 1:16

Most of the time we refer to the gift of salvation as a gift of grace. But God’s grace also comes in tiny little packages marked "FREE GIFT" inside. Each day God presents gifts of His grace. Most of the time we take them for granted. Take some time to appreciate some of these gifts: freedom to...

"God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness to those who please him." Ecclesiastes 2:26 (TEV)

A fresh start.  A new beginning.  Every day.  That's what we have with God.  To live your life as a pleasing testimony to Him. To be a light to the world. To live in a way that shows you serve a living Savior who continues to renew you each morning.  Who forgives your sins...

"Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us?" Malachi 2:10

My father passed away several years ago after a long battle with cancer.  He died far too young.  I still miss him...a lot.  But, I have many wonderful memories of him. He loved me and really cared for me.  He was so kind to me.  I know that he helped make me who I am today...

"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." Galatians 6:9 NLT

Sometimes life is not fair. We keep doing good.  We take care of our kids.  We volunteer our time for a church committee.  We pay our bills on time.  Overall, we do a pretty good job of living.  But, nobody really notices and we certainly don’t get any major rewards for it...

"Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:7-8 NLT

God is crazy about you. You are His child.  His princess. He showers you with every good thing.  Instead of obsessing over what you don’t have, think about all you do have.  His love and attention.  Fresh air.  Clean water.  Food.  Shelter.  A place of...

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit." 1 Corinthians 12:4

Teaching. Counseling. Shepherding. Showing mercy. Giving. As Christians, God gives each of us different gifts. Some of you know what your gifts are—it’s just obvious to you. You may be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, leading a Bible study group in your church, counseling others, or maybe...

"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34

Becky can’t sleep at night.  She keeps having nightmares about her mother, who abused her as a child.  Even though her mother has been dead for ten years, Becky still struggles to forgive.  Why would God even ask Becky to forgive someone who caused her so much pain? Giving...

"Surrender to God!" James 4:7 CEV

Why do we feel safer driving our cars than flying when we know that we’re more likely to wreck our car than die on a plane? Because we’re in the pilot’s seat—in total control (or so we think). It’s like this every day—in most situations. We desire control in circumstances because we feel safe when...

"... we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5

Loss. Divorce. Death. Cancer. Ever ask God why? I think we all have. But to "rejoice in suffering?" If making sense of pain in our lives is not difficult enough, now we’re also told to rejoice in it? You're probably wondering what Paul was thinking when he wrote this. "Was he in his right mind?"...

"Relish life with the spouse you love. Each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God's gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one!" Ecclesiastes 9:9 (MSG)

Living God’s dream means living in close relationships. There’s nothing more precious than spending time with those we love. From time to time we should review what’s really important in our lives and rethink how we spend our time. It’s what life is all about—meaningful relationships. Solomon...

"When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10b

Job is one of the most fascinating and well-known men in the Bible. He lost his children, his vast wealth, eventually his health, and was left with only an embittered wife and unwise friends. Can you imagine? Yet, Job knew he was not alone. He understood that God knew who he was,...

"Arise, go to Zarephath… See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." 1 Kings 17:9

The ministry of Extraordinary Women was born out of the belief that God can do extraordinary things using ordinary women. The widow of Zarephath is no exception. In the midst of the various trials and heartaches of losing her husband, nearly losing her son and her own life, this ordinary woman...

"I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Sleep. Need more of it? I do.  Sleep is the most important component of renewing our bodies every day. But our fast-paced society has robbed us of it as we overexert ourselves trying to take care of our children, husbands, homes and work. The result is that we tend to neglect our own bodies...

"I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High." Psalm 7:17

Remember that acclaimed classic, “The Sound of Music,” with the lovely Julie Andrews as the governess for the spunky and energetic, Von Trap children? To this day, the musical line of “Do-Ray-Mi-So-Fa-La-Ti-Do” is used in music classes all over the world, yet I have never heard it sung more lovely...

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble, with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Loss of a loved one. Cancer. Your kids grow up and move out. Job loss. Marital difficulties. You name it. Whether it's your wound or someone's you love, God won't waste it. He'll work in it to reveal Himself. To show that He can be trusted... that He is faithful and loving. He is there to comfort...

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:31 NIV

What if you were given $86,400, every day for the rest of your life?  What would you do with it? Let’s add one caveat. You have to spend all of it each day! Could you do it? How would you spend it? Tough decision, right?! Guess what—God gives you 86,400 seconds every day... and you spend every...

Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8 NIV

Isaiah proclaimed his wonderful prophecies of the coming Messiah and King during treacherous and dangerous times. The nations around Judah were conspiring to invade. They were "plotting the ruin" of the nation. So when Isaiah was called by God to be His spokesperson, he was accepting a daunting and...

"Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you." Revelation 3:20 MSG

How many women do you know who are really free? I don’t know a lot. The bondage is everywhere. We’re haunted by our pasts, burdened by self-pity, unwilling or unable to forgive ourselves or others, and held captive by our need to control. Instead of living big lives, we live small ones. Instead of...