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

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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

Wolves in the Dark

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Wolves in the Dark

When Lord Mountbatten, a British naval commander, was five years old, he disliked sleeping in the dark. He confided in his father that his concern wasn’t the dark itself, but rather the wolves inhabiting the darkness. His father tried to assure him that there weren’t wolves in their house, but his boy responded, ‘I daresay there aren’t. But I think there are.’

Aren’t we good at conjuring up beasts? Even though our brains know there aren’t wolves in the attic or monsters under the bed, we still lie awake with our fingers and toes tucked beneath the blankets.

Friend, God doesn’t intend for you to live a life of fear. Like a protective father, He is there to comfort and assure us that we are not alone. Chase the wolves from your darkness. God will help you. It might be as simple as a prayer, or it might entail the help of a pastor or a professional counselor. Take a step toward chasing your wolves away today.

– Steve Arterburn

Every morning I spend fifteen minutes filling my mind full of God; and so there’s no room left for worry thoughts. – Howard Chandler Christy

New Life Live: July 20, 2016

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Topics: Blended Families, Parenting
Hosts: Dr. Dave Stoop and Guest Hosts Chris Williams and Ron Deal, founder and president of Start Stepfamilies

Caller Questions:

  1. Should I move forward with my boyfriend into a blended family, or are there red flags?
  2. I am so grateful my daughter-in-law accepts her stepkids as her own.
  3. How should I deal with wills and inheritances with a blended family?
  4. I married a man without kids; how do I balance the needs of my kids when my husband disagrees?
  5. How do I help the 16yo deal with the younger kids in our blended family?

Suggested Resources:
The Smart Stepfamily by Ron Deal  (not available from New Life)

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

Matching Your Actions To Your Beliefs

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

Matching Your Actions To Your Beliefs

It takes courage to stand up for our beliefs, and it takes character to live by them. Yet far too many of us spend more energy verbalizing our beliefs than living by them—with predictable consequences.

Is your life a picture book of your creed? Are your actions congruent with your personal code? And are you willing to practice the philosophy that you preach? If so, your character will take care of itself.

But if you’re doing things that don’t meet with approval of the person you see in the mirror, it’s time to slow down, step back, and think about how your conduct is shaping your character. If you profess to be a Christian but behave yourself as if you were not, you’re living in denial. And denial, in large doses, corrodes character.

So today, make certain that your actions are guided by God’s Word and by the conscience that He has placed in your heart. Don’t treat your faith as if it were separate from everyday life— instead, weave your beliefs into the very fabric of your day. When you do, God will honor your good works, and your good works will honor God.

Think about the importance of making your actions conform to your beliefs. Then, ask yourself if your behavior matches your rhetoric. If the answer is yes, congratulations. If not, think of a single step you can take today to stand up for the things you believe in.

– Steve Arterburn

Once you have thoroughly examined your values and articulated them, you will be able to steer your life by them. – John Maxwell 

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 

God calls us to be committed to Him, to be committed to making a difference, and to be committed to reconciliation. – Bill Hybels 

Today is a New Beginning

You are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. – Ephesians 4:23-24

Today is a New Beginning

Each new day offers countless opportunities to serve God, to seek His will, and to obey His teachings. But each day also offers countless opportunities to stray from God’s commandments and to wander far from His path.

Sometimes, we wander aimlessly in a wilderness of our own making, but God has better plans of us. And, whenever we ask Him to renew our strength and guide our steps, He does so.

Consider this day a new beginning. Consider it a fresh start, a renewed opportunity to serve your Creator with willing hands and a loving heart. Ask God to renew your sense of purpose as He guides your steps. Today is a glorious opportunity to serve God. Seize that opportunity while you can; tomorrow may indeed be too late.

– Steve Arterburn

When you’re through changing, you’re through! –  John Maxwell

No man need stay the way he is. – Harry Emerson Fosdick

More often than not, when something looks like it’s the absolute end, it is really the beginning. – Charles Swindoll

When we focus on God, the scene changes. He’s in control of our lives; nothing lies outside the realm of His redemptive grace. Even when we make mistakes, fail in relationships, or deliberately make bad choices, God can redeem us.  – Penelope J. Stokes

Would You Please Help?

Dear Friend of New Life,

When we look at where we are financially today, and what we estimate our income will be in the next few days, with our matching gift and regular giving, we’re projecting that we’ll need $31,000 donated above and beyond regular giving in order to meet our monthly obligations this month and not fall behind and possibly jeopardize our ability to remain on all our radio outlets around the country with New Life Live.

Would you be willing to make a gift towards this $31,000 that we need by Friday this week? Your gift will be matched. If you give $10, New Life will realize $20. If you give $100, New life will realize $200. If you give $1,000, New Life will realize $2,000. You see how it works.

The reason we want to raise this money by this time is that we want to continue to reach hurting people with healing, hope and life transformation. We hear from people in all areas of ministry whose lives will never be the same. Like:

  • Mary, who wrote in that 8 years ago she was steeped in depression and contemplating suicide, but because of what she heard on our radio program, New Life Live, she went out and got help from a counselor and her life changed forever! She is fully engaged in life, she’s going to school to become a licensed counselor and she can’t believe that 8 years ago she was contemplating suicide. Would she be alive today if our radio program wasn’t there?
  • Henry shared at an Every Man’s Battle workshop that because of what he learned on Friday night at the workshop, on Saturday morning when he spoke to his wife on the phone and learned that his 11 year-old-son, crying in the background, disclosed to his mom that for a year now he’s been looking at porn, Henry, who was at the workshop because he was deep into porn for 20 years, could speak words of affirmation and love to his son that he never received from his dad, and that his son desperately needed. Two lives were touched deeply that weekend because Henry took the step to come to that workshop. Where would this family be if New Life wasn’t there for Henry to attend that workshop.
  • Bruce and Charlene’s marriage was in trouble. They argued, Bruce had anger issues, they were struggling in getting on the same page in parenting, and on and on. They called New Life and found a counselor near them, and today, almost ten years later they credit that New Life counselor with saving their marriage. Would their marriage be another divorce statistic if they didn’t know about New Life’s counseling network?

There is story after story of life change that God makes happen because we set the stage and present His principles for living and for resolving conflict and emotional issues we each face day to day.

Please support New Life with a gift TODAY so we can meet this month-end obligation. Your gift will be multiplied by two!

Thank you for partnering with us.

 

 

Larry Sonnenburg
President

Live Courageously

He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord. His heart is assured; he will not fear. – Psalm 112:7-8
Live Courageously

Every person’s life is a tapestry of events: some wonderful, some not-so-wonderful, and some downright disastrous. When we visit the mountaintops of life, praising God isn’t hard—in fact, it’s easy. In our moments of triumph, we can bow our heads and thank God for our victories. But when we fail to reach the mountaintops, when we endure the inevitable losses that are a part of every person’s life, we find it much tougher to give God the praise He deserves. Yet wherever we find ourselves, whether on the mountaintops of life or in life’s darkest valleys, we must still offer thanks to God, giving thanks in all circumstances.

The next time you find yourself worried about the challenges of today or the uncertainties of tomorrow, ask yourself this question: are you really ready to place your concerns and your life in God’s all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving hands? If the answer to that question is yes—as it should be—then you can draw courage today from the source of strength that never fails: your Father in heaven.

God is with you always, listening to your thoughts and prayers, watching over your every move. If the demands of everyday life weigh down upon you, you may be tempted to ignore God’s presence or—worse yet—to lose faith in His promises. But, when you quiet yourself and acknowledge His presence, God will touch your heart and restore your courage.

At this very moment—as you’re fulfilling your obligations and overcoming tough times—God is seeking to work in you and through you. He’s asking you to live abundantly and courageously . . . and He’s ready to help. So why not let Him do it . . . starting now?

– Steve Arterburn

Faith not only can help you through a crisis, it can help you to approach life after the hard times with a whole new perspective. It can help you adopt an outlook of hope and courage through faith to face reality. – John Maxwell

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, sometimes I face challenges that leave me breathless.  When I am fearful, let me lean upon You. Keep me ever mindful, Lord, that You are my God, my strength, and my shield. With You by my side, I have nothing to fear. And, with Your Son, Jesus as my Savior, I have received the priceless gift of eternal life. Help me to be a grateful and courageous servant this day and every day. Amen

Strong Enough To Encourage Others

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

Strong Enough To Encourage Others
Want to build character and, at the same time, build a better life? Then find thoughtful, honorable, God-fearing people who will offer you a steady stream of encouragement.

Life is a team sport, and all of us need occasional pats on the back from our teammates. As Christians, we are called upon to spread the Good News of Christ, and we are also called to spread a message of encouragement and hope to the world.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul writes, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (4:29 NIV). Paul reminds us that when we choose our words carefully, we can have a powerful impact on those around us.

Whether you realize it or not, many people with whom you come in contact every day are in desperate need of a smile or an encouraging word. The world can be a difficult place, and countless friends and family members may be troubled by the challenges of everyday life. Since we don’t always know who needs our help, the best strategy is to encourage all the people who cross our paths. So today, be a world-class source of encouragement to everyone you meet. Never has the need been greater.

– Steve Arterburn

The secret of success is to find a need and fill it, to find a hurt and heal it, to find somebody with a problem and offer to help solve it. – Robert Schuller

Do you wonder where you can go for encouragement and motivation? Run to Jesus. – Max Lucado 

A Bright Future

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:42-43

A Bright Future

We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.

Perhaps we’ve become so disappointed that we’ve given up hope for the future altogether. We don’t know what the future holds, but when we give our lives to God, He can be trusted with our future. Regardless of how bad our lives might be at the moment, we can still trust Him to bring about glorious good in our lives.

Here’s a story of a man who dared to trust God with his future. And he trusted God when it looked like he didn’t even have a future to look forward to. Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified-one on his right and one on his left. . . . One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, ‘So, you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself-and us, too, while you’re at it!’ But the other criminal protested. ‘Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.’ And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.’ (Luke 23:32-33, 39-43).

No matter what dire straits we may find ourselves in presently, we can give God our future and be assured that eternal life in paradise will far outweigh the sufferings of this present life. He can also transform our lives right now, making our future down here as bright as the heavenly one!

Even when everything seems dark and hopeless, God promises us a bright, new future.

– Steve Arterburn

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” – Corrie ten Boom

“Keep standing, keep believing and keep hoping because God has a bright future in store for you!”  – Unknown

Taking Responsibility for our Behavior

Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to do what is good for each other and for all people. – 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Taking Responsibility for our Behavior

Refusing to take responsibility for the harm you have caused oth­ers only leads to further damage. As weeks, months, or years pass, lack of communication, unrelenting anger, and hateful emotional exchanges can all create tremendous anxiety. The threatening atmosphere created by this tension often tempts you to focus on wrongs done to you, rather than taking responsibility for the wrongs you may have committed. So you persist in blaming others because it keeps you from dealing with the painful truth of your sinful behavior. When you’ve harmed someone in the past, you really need to take responsibility for it.

In the Old Testament, this was the case for Jacob upon return­ing to see his brother Esau. Jacob had come to accept that he had wronged Esau in stealing his birthright. In the process of taking responsibility for his past behavior, he moved from awareness to action. Prior to their reunion, Jacob and Esau’s relationship was ruled by fear. But once Jacob took responsibility for his past, things began to change. When Jacob eventually faced his brother, the two were able to express love for each other even though they both remembered the pain of the past.

Accepting responsibility for wrongdoing can be a frightening thing, because it requires that we face your weaknesses and stop blaming others for your problems. But, you can take courage and instruc­tion to do so through Jacob. Seek God’s help in restoring your relationships.

– Steve Arterburn

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.” – C.S. Lewis