Be Optimistic

My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. – Psalm 23:5-6

optimism1.newlife.

Are you an optimistic, hopeful, enthusiastic Christian? You should be. After all, as a believer, you have every reason to be optimistic about life here on earth and life eternal. As C. H. Spurgeon observed, “Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainstream of our joy.”  But sometimes, you may find yourself pulled down by the inevitable demands and worries of life here on earth. If you find yourself discouraged, stressed, or both, then it’s time to take your concerns to God. When you do, He will lift your spirits and renew your strength.

Today, make this promise to yourself and keep it: vow to be a hope-filled Christian. Think optimistically about your life, your profession, your family, and your future. Trust your hopes, not your fears. Take time to celebrate God’s glorious creation. And then, when you’ve filled your heart with hope and gladness, share your optimism with others. They’ll be better for it, and so will you.

– Steve Arterburn

Go forward confidently, energetically attacking problems, expecting favorable outcomes. – Norman Vincent Peale

The people whom I have seen succeed best in life have always been cheerful and hopeful people who went about their business with a smile on their faces. – Charles Kingsley

No Christian can be a pessimist, for Christianity is a system of radical optimism. – William Ralph Inge

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, I will look for the best in other people, I will expect the best from You, and I will try my best to do my best—today and every day. Amen

Grief Not Allowed

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. – John 16:20

griefnotallowed.newlife

In our culture, it seems more acceptable for us to be angry than sad. Consequently, many of us stumble through life without understanding our feelings, completely out of touch with our emotions. We may be deeply grieved by a number of circumstances, but we don’t feel safe acknowledging our sadness. It’s socially “okay” for them to vent their anger, but not to explore and discuss the deep hurt beneath it.

When you feel sad, anger seems like a safe retreat. It causes your adrenaline to rush. It commands attention and demands respect. It allows you to stay in control, and it keeps uncomfortable feelings and situations at a safe distance. However your failure to grieve can actually poison you.

The Bible offers no precedent for us to suppress our grief. The Old Testament depicts many people showing real grief. The men of Israel would rip their clothes, sprinkle themselves with ashes, wear black armbands, and spend time in mourning. They would wail before the Lord without feeling shame.

That experience allowed them to express their emotions and then move on without the baggage of repressed feelings. When we don’t grieve, we stuff our disappointments and sadness, and compensate for them with other less-threatening emotions, and at the top of the list is anger. But Scripture gives you liberty to grieve, so when you need to, openly grieve!

– Steve Arterburn

To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness. – Erich Fromm

Family

Choose for yourselves today the one you will worship . . . . As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord. – Joshua 24:15

family.newlife

A loving family is a treasure from God. If God has blessed you with a close knit, supportive clan, offer a word of thanks to your Creator because He has given you one of His most precious earthly possessions. Your obligation, in response to God’s gift, is to treat your family in ways that are consistent with His commandments.

We live in a fast-paced, demanding world, a place where life can be difficult and pressures can be intense. As those pressures build, you may tend to focus so intently upon your obligations that you lose sight, albeit temporarily, of your spiritual and emotional needs (that’s one reason why a regular daily devotional time is so important; it offers a badly-needed dose of perspective).

Even when the demands of everyday life are great, we must never forget that we have been entrusted with a profound responsibility: the responsibility of contributing to our family’s emotional and spiritual well-being. It’s a big job, but with God’s help, we can be up to the task.

When we place God squarely in the center of our family’s life-when we worship Him, praise Him, trust Him, and love Him-then He will most certainly bless us in ways that we could have scarcely imagined.

So the next time your family life becomes a little stressful, remember this: That little band of men, women, kids, and babies is a priceless treasure on temporary loan from the Father above. And it’s your responsibility to praise God for that gift-and to act accordingly. Today, think about the importance of saying “yes” to your family even if it means saying “no” to other obligations.

– Steve Arterburn

When you think about it for a moment, it certainly makes sense that if people can establish a loving and compatible relationship at home, they have a better chance of establishing winning relationships with those with whom they work on a regular basis. – Zig Ziglar

You cannot honor your family without nurturing your own sense of personal value and honor. – Stephen Covey

Living life with a consistent spiritual walk deeply influences those we love most. – Vonette Bright      

 

 

Contagious Faith

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. – Colossians 3:23

contagiousfaith.newlife

The stronger your faith, the better you can rise above the inevitable stresses of turbulent times. And the more enthused you are about your faith, the better you can share it.

Are you genuinely excited about your faith? And do you make your enthusiasm known to those around you? Or are you a “silent ambassador” for Christ? God’s preference is clear: He intends that you stand before others and proclaim your faith.

Genuine, heartfelt Christianity is contagious. If you enjoy a life-altering relationship with God, that relationship will have an impact on others—perhaps a profound impact.

Does Christ reign over your life? Then share your testimony and your excitement. The world needs both.

– Steve Arterburn

Don’t take hold of a thing unless you want that thing to take hold of you. – E. Stanley Jones

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about. – Charles Kingsley

When we wholeheartedly commit ourselves to God, there is nothing mediocre or run-of-the-mill about us. To live for Christ is to be passionate about our Lord and about our lives. – Jim Gallery

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, let me be an enthusiastic participant in life. And let my enthusiasm bring honor and glory to You. Amen

Are You Fitting In?

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you. – John 15:19

fittingin.newlife

“Don’t love the world’s ways.  Don’t love the world’s goods,” wrote the apostle John.  When he wrote of “the world,” he meant everything in life that ran counter to staying connected to Jesus; everything that contradicts what the Bible teaches and undermines a life of faith and discipleship.  Indeed, the world has a different take on how we should live.  Many today believe that all ideas are valid; that no one is wrong, because no absolute truth exists.

We are encouraged to believe whatever we want in the name of tolerance and diversity, no one’s viewpoint can be dismissed.  But Jesus presents Himself to us as the Truth, meaning all so-called truths must be measured against Him if they are to truly be considered truths.

Jesus Christ’s message to his disciples is His message to you: Fitting in with the world isn’t the mark of a follower of Christ.

– Steve Arterburn

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Look Up and Move On

All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – Ephesians 4:31-32

lookup&moveon.newlife

The world holds few if any rewards for those who remain angrily focused upon the past. Still, the act of forgiveness is difficult for all but the most saintly men and women. Are you mired in the quicksand of bitterness or regret? If so, you are not only disobeying God’s Word; you are also wasting your time.

Being frail, fallible, imperfect human beings, most of us are quick to anger, quick to blame, slow to forgive, and even slower to forget. Yet as Christians, we are commanded to forgive others, just as we, too, have been forgiven.

If there exists even one person—alive or dead—against whom you hold bitter feelings, it’s time to forgive. Or, if you are embittered against yourself for some past mistake or shortcoming, it’s finally time to forgive yourself and move on. Hatred, bitterness, and regret are not part of God’s plan for your life. Forgiveness is.

– Steve Arterburn

Acrid bitterness inevitably seeps into the lives of people who harbor grudges and suppress anger, and bitterness is always a poison. – Lee Strobel

Anger breeds remorse in the heart, discord in the home, bitterness in the community, and confusion in the state. – Billy Graham

Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter. – Max Lucado

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, free me from anger and bitterness. When I am angry, I cannot feel the peace that You intend for my life. When I am bitter, I cannot sense Your presence. Keep me mindful that forgiveness is Your commandment. Let me turn away from bitterness and instead claim the spiritual abundance that You offer through the gift of Your Son. Amen

New Life Live: September 9, 2016

Play

From the Archives of New Life Live, This Show Originally Aired on September 7, 2004

classic-fridays-boys-fb
Topics: Depression, Weight Loss, Controllers, Boundaries, Reconciliation, Affairs, Parenting
Hosts: Steve Arterburn, Dr. John Townsend, Dr. Henry Cloud

Caller Questions:

  1. Is there medication that has helped people who depersonalize and have unreal thoughts?
  2. How do I get past my husband’s objections to me attending Lose It for Life for weight loss?
  3. Interview with John Tesh and a sample of his song “Trading My Sorrows.”
  4. Should I give my separated husband a second chance after his history of violent behavior?
  5. After my wife’s affair, how will it affect the kids when we tell them we are divorcing?

Suggested Resources:
Changes That Heal
Lose It for Life
Boundaries in Marriage
Healing a Broken Marriage CD

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

Only Human or Superman?

Jesus looked at them and said, With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. – Matthew 19:26

Only Human or Superman

It might be disappointing to you, but the truth is, you’re only human. You may think of yourself as Superman or Superwoman–until you discover a flaw. And the danger then is that you’ll come crashing down and see yourself as completely worthless. But seeing the whole truth about yourself means accepting your humanity and realizing your great  potential in Christ.

The prophet Elijah is one of the great men and heroes of the Bible. If any man had reason to feel superhuman, it was him. His prayers brought a lengthy drought upon Israel–and then brought fire down from heaven–which humiliated Queen Jezebel and her priests who worshiped Baal. But even Elijah could have a bad day. Listen to his reaction after Queen Jezebel threatened him:

I have had enough, Lord . . . Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors . . . I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their  covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” (1 Kings 19:4, 10)

If you’re able to do superhuman things, it’s because God gives you the power to do so. Even those who are used powerfully by God must always realize they are only human. If you fail to see the truth that you’re only human, you’re at great risk during the times when life reminds you of that fact.

– Steve Arterburn

Some days you’re the bug. Some days you’re the windshield. – Unknown

Save

Developing Self-Control

Be self-controlled and alert. – 1 Peter 5:8a

Developing Self-Control

Developing self-control will help you tremendously as you seek to follow and become more like Jesus. And what we learn in the Bible is that self-control is both a fruit of the Spirit and a part of a larger progression of spiritual growth.

Peter, who learned some difficult lessons about self-control himself wrote this: “Your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Where are you struggling to exert some self-control? Are you struggling to control your temper with your husband, wife, or kids? Are you struggling to work diligently? Or maybe you work so diligently on the job you feel you’re entitled to spend your evenings playing video games, watching TV, or closing the door of communication with your family. Are you having a hard time living without that drink? How about your eating or spending habits? I could go on and on, but I think you catch my drift.

Self-control is a “fruit” that grows in your life when you cling closely to God, allowing his Spirit to flow through you. As you persevere, God will develop his own character in you, including self-control. And remember, you’re not alone. Seek help from your pastor, a wise friend, or a counselor–God has put these people in your life to help you in your efforts to be faithful.

– Steve Arterburn

The greatest strength and wealth is self-control. – Pythagoras

Save

Staying The Course

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1

Staying The Course

If you’re a Christian, God has already transformed your heart. But He also wants you to enter life in him like an athlete enters competition. That’s why the Bible, more than once, likens the Christian life to a race. Our faith in Christ motivates us to run it, and His power provides the strength to finish–despite the many times we all stumble along the way.

This illustration of a race refers to races where the runner would strip off his tunic and robe so he could run without any hindrance. If someone tried to compete in his robes, he would get tangled up and wouldn’t have a chance at winning.

God wants you to finish the race of life well. Set aside the distractions and the sins that entangle you. Pace yourself. Exert yourself. And remember, many have run and finished before you. They’re that “huge crowd of witnesses” Hebrews 12:1 speaks about, and they’re cheering you on!

– Steve Arterburn

By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon