Reality Can Hurt

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:7-8

reality.newlife
Discomfort, pain, conflict, spiritual warfare-these are aspects of reality in a fallen world. Healthy faith recognizes them as biblical realities. Healthy faith has you look to Christ for help when you’re in the midst of them.

Having a healthy faith certainly doesn’t mean you’ll always like reality, or that you should become complacent or indifferent to the darker side of life. But it does mean you’ll recognize the way things are. You’ll be able to admit you’ve failed, that you’re a sinner, and you’re stumbling along the way. But you can choose to walk in the light, and enjoy the companionship of family, friends and Jesus Christ himself.

– Steve Arterburn

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me face my realities with faith and hope with the understanding that while today might not be all I hoped it would be, tomorrow and all my tomorrows are in Your hands. Thank you, Lord for your faithfulness! Amen.

Bigger Hands

Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy. – Exodus 15:6

Bigger Hands

I once heard a story of a young boy who went with his mother to the local store. The owner, a kindly man, passed him a large jar of suckers and invited him to help himself to a handful.

Uncharacteristically, the boy held back. So the store owner pulled out a big handful of suckers and handed them to him. When they were outside his mother asked him why he’d suddenly been so shy and wouldn’t pull out the suckers himself. The boy looked at his mother and replied, “Because his hand is so much bigger than mine!

Indeed, there’s much to be said for allowing someone with bigger hands to provide for us. Jesus’ hands are bigger than ours and able to give much more than we could ever provide for ourselves. Like the song says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

– Steve Arterburn

Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven. – Henry Ward Beecher

Humility | Doorways, Not Doormats

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. – 1 Peter 5:6

Humility Doorways, not Doormats

Humility. What is it anyway? If I’m humble, do I have to roll over and play second fiddle to everyone, all the time? Too often humility has been misunderstood as a negative character trait. I would like to help you get a clear biblical perspective on what humility is and what it is not. Humility isn’t thinking less of your-self; it’s thinking more of God and of others. In other words, humility isn’t about putting our-selves down, but rather, about glorifying God and affirming others.

Consider Jesus. He left His place of highest honor in heaven in or­der to become a man, flesh and blood, here on earth. However, He didn’t tear himself down or deny that He was a person of value and importance. What He did do is lift others up through His humility and show them how valuable they were to God.

So, you see, humility isn’t about being a doormat; it’s about being a doorway–a doorway through which others enter into the presence and power of God. By focusing on building others up and help­ing others connect with God, we show them the love of God, who desires the best for them.

Think about how you can strive to put others’ interests ahead of your own. I challenge you to show others in your home, your offices, or even in the checkout line at the market, how you and God value them. A good way to begin is by asking yourself what Jesus would do if he were in your place.

– Steve Arterburn

What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself. – Abraham Lincoln

Overconfidence/Self-Assurance

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. – Habakkuk 3:19

Overconfidence & Self-Assurance

Overconfidence is usually viewed as a negative personality trait.  The story of Joseph in the Old Testament is a good example. His youthful boasting to his brothers got him in trouble. Based on a dream, he claimed that the others would someday bow down to him. This, coupled with his father’s favoritism, led to jealousy and broken family relationships.  In the end, his brothers sold him into slavery, cutting him off from his family altogether.

Through years of difficulties and suffering, however, Joseph’s overconfidence was developed by God into a mature self-assurance. This self-assurance made Joseph capable of tackling and succeeding when most other men would have run away. His  integrity, took him from being a prisoner to being second only to Pharaoh. And, as only God could orchestrate, Joseph was in a position to save the young nation Israel during a time of terrible famine.

Overconfidence without God’s perspective will invariably lead you down the pathway to other personal problems and mistakes. On the other hand, self-assurance based on a strong faith will enable you to overcome incredible obstacles and see God’s hand in your life.

Are you overconfident and relying on your strength or intelligence to succeed? Or are you self-assured, knowing that God is the source of any strength, favor, or success? One way leads to trouble while the other God will use for His plans and His glory.

– Steve Arterburn

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss

Forgiving Seems Impossible

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. Luke 11:4

Forgiving Seems Impossible

Corrie ten Boom, one of the twentieth century’s great Christian spokespersons, lost her sister and father in the Nazi death camps of World War II, and she barely escaped with her own life.

Years after the war, she began speaking on the subject of forgiveness. After one address in Munich, a former S.S. man who brutalized and humiliated Corrie while she was in prison approached her as the church was emptying. Beaming with joy, he said, “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein. To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!

He extended his hand to her. She was frozen, trying to smile as angry, vengeful thoughts boiled inside her. Breathing a silent prayer and acting in sheer obedience, she finally managed to take the man’s hand. She recalls what happened next like this:

“As I took his hand in mine the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on Christ’s. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, with the command, the love itself.”

Whenever forgiveness seems impossible, remember this: Jesus Christ lives in you, and He can do what you cannot.

Steve Arterburn

“Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note, torn in two, and burned up so that it never can be shown against one.” – Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

New Life Live: February 26, 2015

Play

Topics: ForgivenessGaslightingNarcissistsMarriageFearPornographyParenting, GriefChristian WalkParent IssuesSelf Worth
Hosts: Steve ArterburnDr. Dave StoopDr. Jill Hubbard

Caller Questions:

  1. My company wants to stop using cash in the cafeteria by implanting a chip in our hand; is that biblical? 
  2. After being raised by critical parents and not measuring up to my sister, I find myself defensive at any criticism. 
  3. Do gaslighting and narcissism go hand in hand? 
  4. How do I get my new wife to go to church with me? 
  5. Is it a problem that my 11yo granddaughter hates being alone? 
  6. My husband of 30yrs does not want to get help for his porn use; what can I do? 
  7. The letter you sent out about grief really spoke to me. 

Suggested Resources:
Forgiving our Parents
Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers
7 Minute Marriage Solution
How We Love Our Kids
Worthy of Her Trust
Healing Is a Choice

Subscribe to the NEW LIFE LIVE Podcast via iTunes or streaming audio from Stitcher, the Smart Radio App.

Our God is Able

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. Luke 11:4

Corrie ten Boom, one of the 20th century’s great Christian spokespersons, lost her sister and father in the Nazi death camps of World War II, and she barely escaped with her own life.

forgiveness

Years after the war, she began speaking on the subject of forgiveness. After one address in Munich, a former S.S. man who brutalized and humiliated Corrie while she was in prison approached her as the church was emptying. Beaming with joy, he said, “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein. To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!”

He extended his hand to her. She was frozen, trying to smile as angry, vengeful thoughts boiled inside her. Breathing a silent prayer and acting in sheer obedience, she finally managed to take the man’s hand. She recalls what happened next like this:

“As I took his hand in mine the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on Christ’s. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, with the command, the love itself.”

Whenever forgiveness seems impossible, remember this: Jesus Christ lives in you, and He can do what you cannot.

“Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note torn in two, and burned up so that it never can be shown against one.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” – Corrie ten Boom

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I know that in my own strength I am not able to forgive wholeheartedly but because your Holy Spirit lives in me, I am able to forgive, love and sincerely walk the path of healing and restoration. Thank you Holy Spirit that you are able. Amen

I’m Angry…is that Okay?

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 3:1-4).

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 wooden 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 see the 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 our 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.
If you found this article helpful or would like more information on this subject, please see More Jesus, Less Religion, New Life Perspectives CD Understanding Anger, or Boiling Point.

Rely Upon Him

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
1 PETER 5:6-7 NASB

Do the stresses of these turbulent times threaten to overwhelm you? If so, you must rely not only upon your own resources but also upon the promises of your Father in heaven.

God is a never-ending source of support and courage for those of us who call upon Him. When we are weary, He gives us strength. When we see no hope, God reminds us of His promises. When we grieve, God wipes away our tears.

God will hold your hand and walk with you every day of your life if you let Him. So even if your circumstances are difficult, trust the Father. His love is eternal and His goodness endures forever.

Faith is not merely you holding on to God—it is God holding on to you.   ~E. Stanley Jones

God can do all that we need.   ~Juliana of Norwich

God calls each of us in secret to make certain sacrifices which always involve a risk, even though it may differ from person to person. He does not promise us success, or even final victory in this life. God does not promise that He will protect us from trials, from material cares, from sickness, from physical or moral suffering. He promises only that He will be with us in all these trials, and that He will sustain us if they remain faithful to Him. ~Paul Tournier

I was learning something important: we are most vulnerable to the piercing winds of doubt when we distance ourselves from the mission and fellowship to which Christ has called us. Our night of discouragement will seem endless and our task impossible, unless we recognize that He stands in our midst. ~Joni Eareckson Tada

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, whatever “it” is, You can handle it! Let me turn to You when I am fearful or worried. You are my loving Father,  and I will always trust You. Amen

Facing Fears

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for  I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
ISAIAH 41:10 NLT

We live in a world that is, at times, a frightening place. We live in a world that is, at times, a discouraging place. We live in a world where life-changing losses can be so painful and so profound that it seems we will never recover. But, with God’s help, and with the help of encouraging family members and friends, we can recover.

During the darker days of life, we are wise to remember the words of Jesus, who reassured His disciples, saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27 NIV). Then, with God’s comfort and His love in our hearts, we can offer encouragement to others. And by helping them face their fears, we can, in turn, tackle our own problems with courage, determination, and faith.

God knows that the strength that comes from wrestling with our fear will give us wings to fly.   ~Paula Rinehart

His hand on me is a father’s hand, gently guiding and encouraging. His hand lets me know He is with me, so I am not afraid. ~Mary Morrison Suggs

Adversity is always unexpected and unwelcomed. It is an intruder and a thief, and yet in the hands of God, adversity becomes the means through which His supernatural power is demonstrated. Charles Stanley

Facing our deepest fears means making peace with our seen self and with our unseen self.   ~Sheila Walsh

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me. Thank You, Lord, for Your perfect love, a love that casts out fear and gives me strength and courage to meet the challenges  of this world. Amen