Fields of Change

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. – Hosea 10:12

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Character isn’t instantly created. It’s carved out.

To God, our lives are like a series of fields that need working. Once one has been worked, we move to the next. At each stop He encourages us to get busy tilling ground hardened by sin, pulling weeds grown in neglect, and planting seeds of biblical truth. He makes us willing and able for the work; and He makes each task fruitful through the power of the Holy Spirit.

But change does happen. The Bible gives us insight how. Think of Joseph in an Egyptian jail, and Moses in the desert. Recall David’s years of flight from Saul and Jonah’s time in the belly of a fish. Reflect upon Gideon in a cave and Job’s catastrophes. Consider Abraham’s wanderings and Peter’s three denials of Christ. Look at the apostle Paul’s blinding encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus.

These stories, and many more like them, recount the ways of God among the men He claims for His own. As you spend time considering them, you will see a pattern emerge: brokenness, humility, and the learning of patience all come before spiritual maturity and usefulness. Open up your Bible and search out these stories. Learn from them. They demonstrate the pattern of change for your own life in Christ.

– Steve Arterburn

Our days are a kaleidoscope. Every instant a change takes place. New harmonies, new contrasts, new combinations of every sort. The most familiar people stand each moment in some new relation to each other, to their work, to surrounding objects.  – Henry Ward Beecher

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, when change comes, I pray that I will look to you for insight. As things change in my life and around me, help me to keep my eyes on you and trust that whatever the circumstance, your ultimate plan for me is a good one. Amen
 

Behold, The Mirror

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and  immediately forgets what he looks like.  – James 1:23-24

Behold, The Mirror

How many times would you say you looked into the mirror each day? Most of us check our appearance quite frequently, and if you notice a dirty spot on your cheek, you’ll immediately wipe your face to clear up the problem.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a mirror capable of seeing your insides too, a mirror able to show you that smudge of greed, that drip of lust, or that blotch of anger which spot your heart; a mirror that would allow us to examine our spiritual state, then address whatever appropriate and necessary changes were brought to our attention?

In the Bible the book of James calls Scripture just that type of mirror. James tells us reading or listening to Scripture without obeying it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance, like seeing yourself, then promptly walking away and forgetting what sloppy shape you’re in. On the other hand, God’s word and acting on it puts you in a position to address your situation. You see the truth and are equipped to deal with it in a truthful way.

Examine yourself regularly in the mirror of Scripture. And if you find you’ve got some smudges to clean up, take immediate steps to do so. By God’s grace, you’ll look a little cleaner next time you take a look.

Steve Arterburn

Many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street. – Elbert Hubbard

How Do You Know Your Husband Is Changing?

You’re in an emotionally destructive marriage, and you started to get help with it, but how do you know if your spouse is changing? Today, Leslie Vernick is giving you some tips and signs to look for, when wondering if they’re doing the work! Click here to watch this video by Leslie Vernick.

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Get Leslie’s books, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage or The Emotionally Destructive Relationship in our store.

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Not Too Broken to Fix

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Not Too Broken to Fix

I’ve had times in my life where I felt I was too broken to fix. Have you had those times? Are you in one of those times now? Do you know someone in one of those times? I say, “one of those times,” because that’s what it is.

None of us are ever too broken to fix, but we’ve all been in a spot where we felt so stuck that we thought we’d be there forever. Haven’t you felt that you were going to die in that spot because you were stuck there so long, and you couldn’t see a way out, and you were getting comfortable being stuck?

Healing and recovery can be a long road, but if you take the first step, the road is one step shorter. And if you take the second step, it’s two steps shorter. And you keep taking steps, and the hope increases, and you don’t worry any more that you’ll be swallowed up with fear, and you won’t be paralyzed by the long road ahead.

You’ll get to a point that you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come. You’ll recognize that God honored your decision to take a step toward healing. He honored your decision to connect with others.

– Steve Arterburn

We are all trophies of God’s grace, some more dramatically than others; Jesus came for the sick and not the well, for the sinner and not the righteous. He came to redeem and transform, to make all things new. May you go forth more committed than ever to nourish the souls who you touch, those tender lives who have sustained the enormous assaults of the universe. – Phillip Yancy

Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road. – Dag Hammarskjold

Lonely Souls

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:11-12

Lonely Souls

In his lifetime Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting. Today he’s known for his passion and artistic genius. And he’s remembered as a lonely soul. In a letter to his beloved brother, Theo, Vincent wrote:

Our inward thoughts, do they ever show outwardly? There may be a great fire in our soul, and no one ever comes to warm himself at it; the passers-by see only a little bit of smoke coming through the chimney, and pass on their way. Now, look you, what must be done? Must one tend that inward fire, have salt in oneself, wait patiently yet with how much impatience for the hour when somebody will come and sit down near it, to stay there maybe?

What great fire has God impressed upon your soul? Do passers-by see more than just a little bit of smoke? Are you tending the fire?

Van Gogh expressed his passion in his art. Look for the best expression of your passion that will honor and glorify God.

– Steve Arterburn

“The passions are the winds that fill the ship’s sails. Sometimes they submerge the ship, but without them the ship could not sail.”– Voltaire (1694-1778)

Help Your Neighbor

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

Help Your Neighbor

When you see someone  who needs help, do you stop?

On May 20th 1994, this story made the news in London papers. It was reported that Princess Diana was on her way home from a jog in London’s Regents Park when tourists flagged her car, pointed to a bridge over the narrow lake and said someone had fallen in. The princess, still in running shoes and shorts, reportedly told her chauffeur to call police on the car phone, she then dashed to the bridge where she was joined by a Finnish student living in London. The student, followed by Diana, climbed over the parapet of the bridge onto the bank of the lake. The student then swam to the 42-year-old Irish vagrant, by then unconscious, and towed him to the bank, where the princess waited to help resuscitate the man. Diana, fondly known as the people’s princess had once again captured the hearts of the media and the British public by her unselfish act of kindness towards a vagrant.

A Jewish law expert once asked Jesus about how to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked the man, “What does the law say?” The man told Jesus, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself“. Then Jesus told a story about the Good Samaritan. When some robbers beat up a man, a priest and a religious leader had walked passed this half-dead man . . . yet ignored him. Then a Samaritan man lovingly loaded the man on his donkey and took him to an inn.

It’s easy to walk past people who need our help. But it takes love and concern to look at the people around us as our neighbor. Who is my neighbor? Jesus gave us an example in the Bible, and Princess Diana gave us a modern day example.

I challenge you today to look for an unexpected opportunity to help someone in need.

– Steve Arterburn

“If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” – Bob Hope

“Empathy is born out of the old biblical injunction ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ ” – George McGovern

Is Less Than 3 Minutes a Slip?

Billie Jo facilitates a conference call for wives of sex addicts. A woman on her call is anxious because her husbands sponsor told him that if he didn’t look longer than 3 minutes, it wasn’t a slip. Today, I’ll let Billie Jo know what I think of that sponsors advice. Click here to watch the video.

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Mid-Career Check-Up

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13

Mid-Career Check-Up

In March 2006, the Harvard Business Review published an article regarding the findings of a survey of 7,700 American workers at mid-career.  What did they find?  Among other things, they found a fair bit of fatigue and frustration.  Only 43% of people surveyed said they were passionate about their jobs.  Only 33% feel energized by their work.  By way of contrast, 36% say they’re in dead-end jobs, and over 40% are suffering from career burnout.

In what category of people would you find yourself?  I hope you’re among those passionate and energized by your career.  But if you’re not, you’re clearly not alone.  Nevertheless, it’s a problem that I think deserves your careful consideration.  God’s image isn’t best reflected in a person tarnished by frustration and discontent.

If you’re unhappy in your career, take a good look to determine the root of your dissatisfaction.  Sometimes it’s something we can’t do anything about; but sometimes we make it worse than it is with our sorry attitude.

So, look at what you can change . . . especially your attitude, and take steps to make it better!

– Steve Arterburn

Those who have easy, cheerful attitudes tend to be happier than those with less pleasant temperaments, regardless of money, making it, or success.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers (1927-2013)

Are You A Sugar Addict?

If you think you might have a sugar addiction, but aren’t quite sure, here are some common symptoms and some guidelines for what I call “The North Pole Diet.” If you  want to almost totally eliminate or extremely limit sugar in your diet, take a look at this segment! Watch the video.
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Gloom

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. – Psalm 68:3

Gloom

A recent edition of the New York Times featured news of a new toy, a plush ‘Ask Me More Eeyore,’ modeled after the gloomy donkey from Winnie the Pooh. The toy is designed for children aged three to seven. The paper remarked that these are just the right ages, apparently, to learn about undaunted pessimism.

Eeyore responds to children’s questions with comments like, ‘Don’t count on it,’ ‘Doesn’t look good,’ ‘Outcome looks sort of gloomy,’ ‘You can’t win them all,’ and ‘Looks good for you, must be nice.’

Sometimes Eeyore will even ask the child, ‘You wouldn’t want me for a friend, would you?

As if life isn’t tough enough for some kids.

Do you have a gloomy Eeyore in your life? Perhaps you’ve taken on that role for yourself!

If you’re busy looking for all the things that can go wrong, you’re sure to miss the blessings God has prepared for you.

Steve Arterburn

It is not fitting when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.‘ – St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)