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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Not the Same

You might be like me. You’ve gone to church for years. Prayed for years. Read your Bible for years. And some days, it feels like you have struggled with the same thing… for years. It might be a struggle no one even knows about.

If you were to spend some time getting to know me, you might get the wrong impression that I have it all together. Walking with Jesus for so many years has really helped me to get many areas of life under His control. I watch my words more than I did years ago. I am careful who I listen to and who I hang out with. I’m picky about how I spend my time and the things I invest in. The thing you might not pick up, though, is my struggle. My struggle with my thoughts.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

’80′s Style

If you had told me  in high school that one day I would be speaking at a conference for teen girls using an ’80′s theme, I would have said no way!

But that is exactly what happened this weekend in Louisiana!


Some of the precious Revolutionary Girls in LA (Louisiana, that is!)


We had a great time talking about some of the topics most important to girls…primarily boys!


Here is what made the whole weekend worth it: a teary eyed mom’s story. Her daughter had approached her during the week saying Jesus wanted her to invite a friend, but that friend didn’t  have the money to come. The mom paid for the event for her friend and she came to know Jesus on Friday night! Now that is a great investment!


We know how to have fun too!


A huge thanks to Kayla, Jessi, Denise and Jayme…thank you so much for all you did to bring life change to God’s girls!

Kayla, Jessi, Nikki and Denise


Do you have some girls in your life who need to know that before they can find the “one” they need to love the “One”? No guy can ever fill the love gap in her heart?


If so, please bring them to a “Revolutionary Love” conference. You can see my schedule under the tab “Speaking”. If you don’t see one near you, consider bring HRL to your city! I would love to share more with you. Just email me at for more information.


I’ll be back tomorrow with a give away! See you then….




Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom Tip – Sex is Like Chocolate Syrup

Have you ever heard of “Old English”? It’s this bottle of nearly black stuff that I use to cover up the flaws in my furniture. Drop a knife, kick a table…when a scratch is created, I grab the “Old English”, dap some on my rag and wala…the scratch is gone. Basically, it is a bottle of poison that fixes stuff. It’s really cool stuff, but it’s never meant to be ingested.


Now, what if I take the “Old English” label off, put on a label that says “chocolate syrup” on the bottle and put it in the frig. Now it suddenly becomes something else, right?


No! It is still poison!


Sex was created by God to give a crazy amount of pleasure one day with the one man, who through marriage, has committed to spending the rest of your life with us. That is how God defines it and He does so that one day we can experience it in the best way possible!


We need to explain to our kids it doesn’t matter how their friends try to define it. Some might say: “It’s not sex! We aren’t going all the way!” Wrong! That’s why it has the word “sex” in it! That’s why some of your body parts are called “sexual organs” because it is sex! You don’t have to “go all the way” to be sexual.


Our bodies was created for one man one day. When two people fully enjoy each other on their wedding day, it is truly amazing! (I know; I waited and it was worth it)!


Explain to your child, if they choose not to wait, they can change the label from “poison” to “chocolate syrup” and put it in the frig but it will still eventually destroy you. They can change the label from fornication to “sleeping with my boyfriend” or “friends with benefits”, but that doesn’t change the effects of the poison.


One young woman I knew put it this way: “Imagine there’s someone wandering around out there who, for the rest of your life, knows things about you, about your body and about your heart, that no one should know except your husband. And this person doesn’t love you – in fact, he may not even like you. Pretty disgusting, isn’t it?”

Sex was not created to be had outside of the covenant of one man and one woman in marriage…period. Encourage your child to make up her mind that is true for her too!


(Adapted from a sermon by Christine Caine at Code Orange Revival, Elevation Church) 


Monday, January 23, 2012

Subtraction that Adds

“God never subtracts from your life, only adds.” These were the words Pastor Kevin Gerald spoke at Code Orange Revival last week at my church, Elevation.


My heart has been mulling this over. What area does the Lord want to do a new work in my heart? What work might appear initially to appear like it is subtracting, but in reality will add to my life?

Jesus put his finger on selfishness.

See, I can be the one who is so accommodating on the outside: run my kids here, do this for that person, not minding dropping everything to help that one, but sometimes the outside doesn’t match the inside. Inside, I am grumbling; resenting my time and energy that is being given up. Secretly, I think it is my right to feel this way; a weird side of me that doesn’t want to give up the way I feel.


But Jesus nailed me. He sees the outside and the inside. It is not enough for Him that I am doing it right on the outside; He wants the inside right too.


Yes, for His glory, but once again, His glory is also for mine.


Somehow I have convinced myself that others don’t see the attitude of selfishness in my heart; but it’s not true. It is impossible to hide sin; it always oozes.


So today, He calls me to captivate everything negative thought (2 Corinthians 10:5)  that crosses my mind and not allow any negative word to escape my lips.


1 Peter 3:4 “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” NIV


Lord, this seems so difficult, but I am ready for this “subtraction” so that you might add to my life today!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Best Friend Break Up

Inseparable. Where Lexi was; Noelle was. School, sports, sleep-overs…whatever it was, they did it together.

At least last year. This year, things changed because Noelle changed. Stuff they thought was dumb last year was now important to her this year; popular kids, expensive clothes and “in” parties.

That was just the outside things. Noelle’s heart was different too. Being around the popular crowd was super important and that meant doing the stuff they did.

Knowing Lexi didn’t approve of things she was doing made Noelle not want to be around Lexi, breaking Lexi’s heart. She wasn’t judging Noelle, so why did Noelle have to feel this way?

In 1 Samuel 16:4, Samuel, God’s prophet to Israel, obeyed God…no matter what God said to do and the people knew it. When Samuel went into a city, the officials of that city felt uncomfortable. Why was Samuel coming? What would he say to them? Would he call them out on the sin in their lives? Samuel’s presence alone made them squirm.

This same scernio can happen to our kids. When they choose to live a life that pleases God, it’s going to make some people really uncomfortable. It’s not that our kids are judging others even. It is because light and darkness just can’t be in the same place at the same time.

This hurts; rejection always does. There is a price to pay for following Jesus, with benefits and blessings, but that doesn’t make it easy.

We need to encourage our kids that the benefits of peace, positive self-esteem, confidence and joy far out way the price of being on the outside of the in crowd.

Hug them; let them grieve their loss, and then encourage them that the Lord will reward them with his blessings as they continue to obey!

The winner of Monday’s post “What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?” by Edward Welch is lc at Congratulations! Please email me your full name and address and I will get it right out!


Monday, January 16, 2012

What Do You Think of Me?

Today, I have a guest post with Ed Welch, author of the new book, “What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?”.


An interview with Ed Welch, author of

What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?


Peer pressure, codependency, shame, low self-esteem; these are just some of the words used to identify how people are controlled by others’ opinions. Why is it so important to be liked? Why is rejection so traumatic? Edward T. Welch’s insightful, biblical answers to these questions show that freedom from others’ opinions and genuine, loving relationships grow as we learn about ourselves, others, and God.  What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?: Answers to the Big Questions in Life includes questions for individual or group study and is suitable for teenagers and young adults.



Q: What are some questions we can ask ourselves to determine if we are being too controlled by the opinions of others?    


The list is a long one here. Am I angry? hopeless? self-protective? afraid? ashamed? depressed? withdrawing? Do I lie to make myself look better? Do I try to attach myself to the celebrity or popular person with the hope of enhancing my own reputation?


Q: Can you explain the term “peer pressure” and what it really means?  


I don’t hear this word as much as I once did. It usually means that we are willing to do things we wouldn’t normally do as a way to be accepted by others. There is a good kind of peer pressure, when a youth group really wants to know Jesus better, but that’s not the way it usually happens. We have a lot of the Old Testament biographies in us, and in those cases when a person who belonged to God met a person who loved his or her idols, the follower of God started following the idols and not vice versa. Of course, in the age of the Spirit that can be different.


Q: You say that so much of life comes down to three questions. Can you tell us what they are and how we can find the answers to them?


The questions are Who is God? Who am I? and Who are you?  The answers can be a little difficult to discover. Most of us know the correct theological answers to these questions, but there are the correct ones and then there are the ones we really believe. That why the topic of the opinions of other people is so handy. It can surprise us with our REAL answers to those questions.


So what are some of the real answers?


Who is God? Picky, distant, nice but irrelevant.


Who am I? Needy, I must find an identity in myself – who I am and what I do? The problem is that God isn’t very relevant and other people don’t solve the problem because I am a never ending hole that is looking to others so I can feel okay about myself.


Who are you? A threat, a god.


If we use these three basic questions, the question about God tends to be irrelevant, which is at the very heart of the problem. The normal answer is, he loves me [but so what?]. Why doesn’t his love make that much difference? It’s because other people have become our substitute god. The only way that God’s love becomes relevant is for “Why do I care?” to become a confession, as in “Lord, why do I care so much about me and my desires?” That takes an ordinary desire [for approval, love, acceptance, belonging . . . ] that has grown to extraordinary proportions so that it is a ruling or even idolatrous desire, and it brings that desire back to being an ordinary one in which other people’s poor opinions can hurt us, but not control us.


And who are other people? We want to love them just a little more than be loved by them.


Q: You write a lot in your book about worship. Tell us why this is such an important theme and how it applies to the issue of people pleasing.


Worship seems like a once-a-Sunday thing, but Scripture puts life in either/or terms: either we love God or something else, we trust in God or something else, we bow down to God or something else. Bowing down or worshipping is a vivid and accurate way to describe what is always taking place in our hearts. The word control gets at it. What controls us is our god. What controls us is what we adore and worship.


Q: How can recognizing everyone in our lives—acquaintances, loved ones, friends and enemies—as FAMILY change our perspectives and the way we live with and think about others?


We can have wretched families that are more like enemies than families, but most of us are familiar with relationships in which we love people freely. We don’t have to put on airs, we are always wondering what they are thinking about us. Instead, we simply love and enjoy them. When we are interested, we are more interested in them than we are in what they think of us. That recognizable experience moves us toward a way out from this particular human struggle. At the end of the day, love God and love your neighbor is where we will find lots of answers.


About the Author: Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He has counseled for over twenty-five years and is the best-selling author of many books, including When People Are Big and God Is SmallAddictions: A Banquet in the Grave;Blame It on the Brain?Depression: A Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction;Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest; and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. He and his wife Sheri have two daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren.


What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care?: Answers to the Big Questions of Life by Edward T. Welch by New Growth Press

Today, I’m giving away a copy of Mr. Welch’s book. Just leave a comment below to be entered to win. Here’s the question: do you think that when we care so much what others think that our children pick up on this and copy this themselves? If you’re too busy to comment, just say, “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winner and Wisdom

How many of you grew up in a house that said “Do as I say, not as I do.” Not a very noble motto to live by, is it?


The Christmas season in the Cowell house meant lots of family time. During all of this time together, something glared at me like never before. I noticed how many times I would tell my kids not to do something, but only a short time later I was doing it myself.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Growing Closer…Together

If you are joining me here today from Encouragement for Today from Proverbs 31 Ministries…welcome! If you enjoyed today’s devotion, please click on the envelop above to receive my encouraging posts through out your week.

Writing today’s devotion on mean girls coming from mean mamas wasn’t the funnest for me. Who wants to tell on themselves? It is so true; our children are watching every move we make. They can spot a hypocritie faster than I can spot a bargain in TJMaxx! The saying, “do as I say not as I do” just isn’t going to work with this generation.

Today I read in Jentezen Franklin’s Fasting Journal “…you should fast for your little ones, your children. God said that you can raise up a foundation for many generations by fasting. Some thing begins to happen in the home of people who fast. The house of faith is built, and it extends from generation to generation to generation.”

I have to say this is so true. Last year, I, along with thousands of other people across America, participated in a corporate 21 day fast in January which was started by Free Chapel Church. I chose a word that I was going to pray for my family in 2011; I wanted to see God bring freedom to me and my family.

In December, one of my daughters asked me if I was going to fast again this year because she wanted to join me. My other daughter than wanted to and my husband as well! I never asked one of them to join me. I believe that they saw God move in my life and want to see God do a new and fresh work in their lives as well.

What is something fresh you can do with your kids to pour into their lives God’s truth?

Here are a few of the things I do or have done in the past:

* Read devotions to them while they are eating their breakfast

* Begin a Bible study with them and a few of their closest girl friends. Right now, we’re studying “His Revolutionary Love“.

* Pick out a book. Each of you read a chapter each week and then meet over a Starbuck’s; discussing it together.

* Choose one verse a week that you can learn together. Post it all over your house; saying it several times a day.

* Attend a mother/daughter conference together. Check and see if a “Revolutionary Love” conference is coming near you!

You are the biggest influence in the life of your child! Take advantage of it!

Today I’m giving away a signed copy of “His Revolutionary Love” as well as my CD “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart”. To be entered to win, just click comment below and share one way you share Christ’s love with your child and if you’re in a hurry, just say “I’m in!” Be sure to leave your email so I can contact you. I’ll share the winner on my Friday post.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Do Overs


Ephesians 3: 20 – 21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory, in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.”

Just returning from breakfast with a friend, my mind is swirling. I really wish I wouldn’t have said that. Why didn’t you just listen? You can’t say anything wrong if you just listen! I wonder what she thinks about what I said. I wonder if she’ll tell our friends what I said. Oh why did I say that!  I’m wishing so badly this morning for do overs.

I’m guessing you too have experienced the wish for do overs before. Words you would take back. Places you wouldn’t go. Things you wished you hadn’t done. It seems to just come with the package of being human. It’s part of the package I really don’t like so well.

I could sit here and replay over and over again about what I said. Re-creating the conversation in my mind; I could pretend to change it all; say this and not say that. I could berate myself; telling me just how dumb I am for opening my mouth…again. The choice is mine spiral down further and further to a place where I feel terrible about myself or…

I could listen to Jesus speaking to me.

I could pick up my Bible and replace the thoughts in my head with the thoughts in his:

“I am able to do in you immeasurably more than you ask or imagine because of the power that is already at work within you. I want to bring glory to me through the remainder of this day; it’s not over! I am able; are you willing?”

I am! I see that there are still many more hours today to tap into His wisdom and strength. Not just for the remainder of this day, but for days to come.

Let’s have do overs and let’s begin it with Jesus! Jesus, today, I am desperate for this immeasurable power to work, then flow, through me. You are able; I am willing. Together let’s make a great pair!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom Tip – Time Won’t Wait

I didn’t want to…yet I did want to.

Hungry, cold and dirty, my girl walked through the door, home from softball practice. She wanted a snack, to talk and a hot shower; in that order. I wanted…to keep writing. I was on a roll and it was going to tear me up to walk away.

Yet, I did. I put my computer aside, popped some chicken wings in the microwave and sat down to hear about my girl’s day.

That’s not so easy for me to do. Like many of you, deadlines loom in my mind. Book deadlines, speaking deadlines, dinner and dirty clothes deadlines; all calling me to make them my first priority. Sometimes I do, but on my wise days, I don’t.

See, today, while in the process of making another decision about what will get my time, I remembered something; something really important. My girls will be gone all too soon. These years in high school will be a part of our memories before I know it. I want me, listening to them, giving them my attention to be a part of those memories.

Hopefully, I’ll get to write books, speak to women, make dinners and wash clothes for many more years to come. But the days of softball stories and tales of German class will not last forever. There is a temptation in these independent teen years to back off…maybe too much. Whether they admit it or not, our kids want us there; to hear their stories and learn about their days.

So join me. Walk away from the computer. Turn off the phone. One day, we’ll look back and be glad we did.