Obedience Builds Character

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord!” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. – Matthew 7:21


Obedience to God is determined, not by words, but by deeds. Talking about character-building is easy; living righteously is far more difficult, especially in today’s temptation-filled world.

Since God created Adam and Eve, we human beings have been rebelling against our Creator. Why? Because we are unwilling to trust God’s Word, and we are unwilling to follow His instructions. God has given us a guidebook for righteous living called the Holy Bible. It contains thorough guidelines which, if followed, lead to fulfillment, abundance, and salvation. But, if we choose to ignore God’s commandments, the results are as predictable as they are unfortunate.

Do you seek God’s peace and His blessings? Then obey Him. When you’re faced with a difficult choice or a powerful temptation, seek God’s counsel and trust the counsel He gives. Invite God into your heart and live according to His commandments. When you do, you will be blessed today, tomorrow, and forever. Obedience leads to spiritual growth. Oswald Chambers correctly observed, “We grow spiritually as our Lord grew physically: by a life of simple, unobtrusive obedience.” When you take these words to heart, you will embark upon a lifetime of spiritual growth . . . and God will smile.

– Steve Arterburn

Believe and do what God says. The life-changing consequences will be limitless, and the results will be confidence and peace of mind. – Franklin Graham 

All true knowledge of God is born out of obedience. – John Calvin 

Obedience that is not motivated by love cannot produce the spiritual fruit that God wants from His children. – Warren Wiersbe 

It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. – Deuteronomy 13:4

The Differences Between Men and Women

The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. – 1 Corinthians 15:41

The Differences Between Men and Women

Consider these gender differences I found on a humorous website:

  • If Laura, Suzanne, and Debra go out for lunch, they’ll call each other Laura, Suzanne, and Debra. But if Mike, Charlie, and Bob go out they’ll refer to each other as Godzilla, Champ, and Grubby.
  • A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he wants. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item she doesn’t want.
  • A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
  • A man has six items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, soap, and a towel. The average woman has 377 items. A man wouldn’t be able to identify most of them.

Recognizing differences is especially important when it comes to how we love. Understanding that everyone doesn’t share my experiences, nor do they think like me, are important steps in not being threatened; and they are important so you don’t feel anger at differences you note in how someone you love behaves or reacts.

Steve Arterburn

Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy. – Henry Kissinger

You’re A Child of God

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Youre A Child of God

Have you ever been in the uncomfortable position of having to defend your rights or your personal property?

A 47 year-old woman conceived by artificial insemination after the death of her father was awarded Social Security “survivor’s” benefits. This ended a seven year battle between the woman’s mother and the Social Security Administration over the woman’s rights as a child of the deceased. The Social Security Administration never conceded that she was legally entitled to the benefits, but rather stated that they did not want to spend the time and money necessary to fight the issue in a court of law.

When you ask Jesus into your heart, you are re-born into the family of God. From that point forward, there is no question that you are His child. You don’t have to prove that He is your Father or that you are entitled to receive support from him.

As a child of God, you are given a promise, that all of your needs will be met. No one can deny you that benefit.

Live life with the assurance that you are a child of the King. God is your Father and you will never have to fight for your inheritance.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Truth About Anger

Excerpted from the book More Jesus, Less Religion by Steve Arterburn

Despite what you may have been taught, even anger can be a
legitimate emotional response to a broken world.Christ became angry, expressed it, and did something about
it.Consider the story from the gospel
of Mark.The text says, ‘a man with a
shriveled hand was there.Some of them
were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see
if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, ‘Stand up in front of
everyone.’Then Jesus asked them,
‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or do evil, to save life or to
kill?’But they remained silent’ (Mark

What a terrible silence that was!It reeked with hypocrisy, hatred, jealously, and a stubborn
refusal to believe.The text says, ‘He
looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts,
said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’
He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored’ (verse 5).

Now Jesus knew very well what sort of world he would enter
when he stepped through the gates of heaven to be conceived in the womb of a
teenage girl and born in Bethlehem.He
was under no illusions about the intransigence, cruelty, hatred, and
woodenheaden obstinacy he would encounter during his earthly sojourn.He knew very well that the sins of earth
would cost him his life.Even so, when
he came nose to nose with such sin and stubbornness in his teaching ministry,
it caused him deep frustration’even to the point of burning anger.

What then does Scripture have to say about anger in our
lives?It can certainly be sinful and
out of control, even dangerous.But it
doesn’t have to be.The Bible gives us
guidelines for expressing that anger in a healthy way.Paul writes, ”In your anger do not
sin.’Do not let the sun go down while
you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold’ (Ephesians
4:26-27).What great counsel!Yes, you and I will experience surges of
anger from time to time.And that anger
isn’t necessarily sinful.The key lies
in dealing with that anger before it finds a place to lodge and take root in
our hearts.We need to deal with
relational problems right away and not allow them to fester or seethe within
us.That’s where Satan finds a foothold
in our lives.

James reminds us to be ‘slow to become angry.’Why?
Because ‘man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God
desires'(James 1:19-20).In other words, anger should not dominate
our lives so that we’re living with a perpetual chip on our shoulder, ready to
fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.But neither James nor Paul says we should never be angry.

Of course, in some expressions of the Christian faith, anger
is a no-no for both men and women.Some
believe that everyone must be completely nice and pleasant at all times
and that anyone showing anger is not a good Christian; he or she should work on
the sinful attitude at the heart of the anger.
But such a belief distorts how Christianity and reality are to be
joined.Everyone, Christian or not, is
going to get angry.The sooner this
anger is expressed and resolved, the better.
Yet many angry Christians don’t acknowledge they are angry, even as they
seethe with bitterness and resentment.
Their denial of their feelings is both ineffective and unnecessary.

Without our anger we are unable to cleanse the temple of God and maintain its sanctity. Without anger, we cannot get those people who violate the sanctity of our beings out of our lives. Without our anger, we are relegated to playing the role of enabler and victim.

Anger can be a mechanism of self-defense; those who deny its
presence are vulnerable to manipulation and all forms of exploitation.People who don’t have the right to be angry
become powerless, unable to stand for what is right.

Some of us are walking paradoxes: The emotions we are
willing to show don’t match what we’re actually feeling.We are in a constant state of denial when it
comes to our emotions.Women, though
angry on the inside, feel safe if they only show their misery and
depression.Men, feeling sad and
depressed, will not risk being labeled weak by expressing their sadness.So they mask their depression by pushing
people around through their anger.

Genuine healthy Christianity, however, is able to embrace
who we are as human beings.God knows
your struggles, your heartache, your brokenness.He doesn’t reject you because you have needs or feel strong
flashfloods of emotion.Instead, he
wants to point you to godly resources to meet those needs’and ultimately, to
himself.He made you.Who understands you better than he?God created us as emotional beings.He created us with needs.The key is that he wants every one of those
needs to point us back to him.

Genuine Christian experience encourages believers to
‘rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn'(Romans 12:15).It validates and honors the whole range of human emotion.

In healthy faith there is no need to hide our feelings. We
can rejoice that God has given us emotions by which to experience the extremes
of life.We should acknowledge them,
confess them when they are based on a wrong view of God, and express them as
they develop.

Healthy faith allows us to embrace all aspects of our
humanity.It acknowledges our capacity
to sin and make mistakes.There is no
illusion of perfection, no need to be perfect or to hide when we fail.Healthy faith allows us to experience God’s
mercy and grace’and pass it along. As
Paul noted, we who experience suffering and hurt and then feel the comfort of
Christ are the ones best qualified to administer first aid to others.

We become wounded healers…just like Jesus.  Need some help with your anger? 

Join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Truthfulness In Depression

Steve Arterburn

When you’re feeling depressed, it can be very helpful to read encouraging passages from the Bible out loud. Everyone goes through ups and downs. We all seek spiritual renewal. And we all struggle with conflicting emotions’sometimes even teetering between the extremes of despair and hope. Confessing God’s truth out loud can remind you that His truth supersedes anything you may feel or think on your own.

Set some time aside to reflect on Psalm 42 and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The psalmist spoke the truth to himself when he was feeling down, saying, ‘Why am I so downcast? Why am I so sad? I’ll put my hope in God! It’s true; I’m deeply discouraged right now. But my present discouragement doesn’t define my life, my God, or me. Therefore, I’m committed to remembering your kindness, oh Lord. I’ll confess it openly. Each day You lavish your unfailing love upon me.’

You see, despite the psalmists’ troubling situation, he remembered that God really is a good and loving God. He was stubborn in his refusal to let his present circumstances blind him to the fact that God is God! One important way he did this was speaking this truth to himself. Then he wrote it down for our instruction, and our example.

Men, the greatest truth we can speak is that the Lord has been good to us in the past, and that He’s still good to us today. Meditate upon it; confess it; impress it upon your heart, and be encouraged.

The Oyster and the Pearl: 10 Tips for Dealing with Jerks!

Steve Arterburn

1. Realize that you can’t please everyone ‘ even Jesus had trouble with that. ‘And there was a grumbling among the multitudes concerning Him; some were saying, ‘He is a good man’; others were saying, ‘No, on the contrary, He leads the multitude astray'” (John 7:12).

2. Difficult people thrive in the center of controversy. ‘Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,’ says Proverbs 26:21, ‘so is a contentious man to kindle strife.’ Don’t be drawn into unnecessary situations. Misery really does love company!

3. Set clear personal boundaries for appropriate behavior with difficult people. Communicate with them in a gentle, but clear manner.

4. Never retaliate. In the mind of the difficult person, it justifies their behavior.

5. If you have a moment of rational communication with a difficult person, try to help them see how destructive their behavior is to themselves, their family and their career.

6. When a difficult person goes into attack mode or excessive defensiveness, recognize that it is useless to argue with them. ‘Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him’ (Proverbs 26:4).

7. Learn to recognize when your defense mechanisms come up. Realize that getting defensive will only exacerbate the process of dealing with difficult people.

8. A difficult person’s behavior is really out of your control. Pray for them and let God deal with them. ‘Love your enemies,’ said Jesus, ‘and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44).

9. When you’re facing on-going communication problems with a difficult person, it’s often helpful to invite the help of a neutral third party to facilitate the process of better communication.

10. Take advantage of the many books, tapes and helpful guides that deal with this common issue.