The Art of Acceptance

Come to terms with God and be at peace;  in this way good will come to you. – Job 22:21

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Sometimes, we must accept life on its terms, not our own. Life has a way of unfolding, not as we will, but as it will. And sometimes, there is precious little we can do to change things.

When events transpire that are beyond our control, we have a choice: we can either learn the art of acceptance, or we can make ourselves miserable as we struggle to change the unchangeable.

We must entrust the things we cannot change to God. Once we have done so, we can prayerfully and faithfully tackle the important work that He has placed before us: doing something about the things we can change . . . and doing it sooner rather than later.

Can you summon the courage and the wisdom to accept life on its own terms? If so, you’ll most certainly be rewarded for your good judgment.

– Steve Arterburn

Surrender to the Lord is not a tremendous sacrifice, not an agonizing performance. It is the most sensible thing you can do. – Corrie Ten Boom

He does not need to transplant us into a different field. He transforms the very things that were before our greatest hindrances, into the chief and most blessed means of our growth. No difficulties in your case can baffle Him. Put yourself absolutely into His hands, and let Him have His own way with you. – Elisabeth Elliot

Ultimately things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out. – Barbara Johnson

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, the events of this world unfold according to a plan that I cannot fully understand. But You understand. Help me to trust You, Lord, even when I am grieving. Help me to trust You even when I am confused. Today, in whatever circumstances I find myself, let me trust Your will and accept Your love . . . completely. Amen

Reading God’s Mind

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” – 1 Corinthians 3:19-20

Reading Gods Mind

Have you ever said to yourself, “if only I knew God’s thoughts?”  Some people seem presumptuous to think that they do know God’s thoughts. They’re full of advice and act as if they understand exactly what God thinks and what He would do in every situation.  Too often such people fail to recognize that God’s thoughts and ways are far beyond our ability to understand. His ways are typically not our ways.

On the other hand, God’s Word does give a glimpse into His thoughts and desires. He calls you to forsake your worldly thought patterns and learn His principles for life because conventional, worldly wisdom is often the exact opposite of God’s ways. By saturating your mind with God’s Word you begin to see both God’s message and His method. You’ll see how He worked in history. If you pause and reflect on your own life you’ll see how he has worked in your life. And you’ll see that it wasn’t how you would have designed it in either case.

God’s words to the prophet Isaiah give great hope. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Get to know God, but don’t try to be His mind-reader.

– Steve Arterburn

A glimpse of God will save you. To gaze at Him will sanctify you. – Manley Beasley

Wise Counsel

But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord” – 1 Kings 22:5

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If you desire spiritual growth, then you’ll need wise counselors in your life. Even Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, recognized the need for wise and godly counsel. Turning to trustworthy counselors in times of confusion or uncertainty can help you preserve your spiritual strength.

In the book of Proverbs, Solomon gave this advice, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors, bring success.” (15:22)  He also said, “. . . with many counselors there is safety.”(Proverbs 11:14)

Where else can you look for wise counsel? Solomon’s father David looked to God’s Word, saying, “Your decrees please me; they give me wise advice.” (Psalm 119:24) And the prophet Isaiah made it clear that the Messiah himself would be our great counselor when he came. He said, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.  And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus is the one who grants wisdom, hope, and purpose to life, even and especially in times of confusion or trouble. Good counsel comes from God’s word and from godly people. It can come from professionally trained pastors, counselors, or from people who understand your specific issues and care for you. Whatever the case, don’t isolate. You’ll do yourself a great service if you seek wise counsel.

– Steve Arterburn

Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom. – Walter Benjamin

The fellowship of true friends who can hear you out, share your joys, help carry your burdens, and correctly counsel you is priceless. – Ezra Taft Benson

Are You Living for Yourself or God?

Respect and obey the LORD! This is the first step to wisdom and good. – Psalm 111:10

Are You Living for Yourself or God

There was a judge named, Edward Thompson who held a firm belief that God could change lives more powerfully than any judicial system. He liked to tell the story of 54 year-old Mary, who appeared before him with 53 previous convictions for drunk and disorderly conduct. She had been jailed six times. But this time the circumstances were different. For one thing, she was in love with an older gentlemen. For another, her son was on his way back from World War II, and she was eagerly awaiting his arrival.

Judge Thompson decided to put Mary on probation with a few conditions. He insisted that she go to church regularly and pray for God to change her. He said, “Try going to church—loving God—and see if it doesn’t help you find a new self-respect and happiness.”

Would Mary really be changed, or would she appear again in front of his bench, disheveled and disoriented? Judge Thompson rather anxiously checked with Mary’s probation officer week by week. Yes, she was attending church services. And she was getting involved in the church’s social life.

When Judge Thompson returned from an out-of-town assignment, he was informed, “Mary was back.” His heart sank.

A court officer told him, “She came to see you–to thank you and tell you good-bye. She’s getting married to that elderly gentlemen, and her probation officer has given her permission to move to California. She’s a changed woman.”

When we are forced to confront our shortcomings and to find out why we fail, we usually come to one conclusion—we have not lived God’s way. Whether our lives are out of control as Mary’s, or we are unable to keep our commitments to ourselves and others, the reason is usually that we are not loving God and we are not putting Him first in our lives. Sins and shortcomings occur more frequently when we are living for ourselves and are not loving God as we should.

We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.- Francis Chan

Aging Gracefully

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? Job 12:12

Aging Gracefully

I have some friends who are adrenaline junkies. It’s a drug they need to survive. They mountain bike, bungee jump, heli-ski, hang glide, surf giant waves, and parachute out of airplanes. I often wonder why they feel the need to risk their lives in the ways they do. Maybe they do these things as medication against depression and anxiety or maybe it’s a way of proving that the inevitable isn’t going to overtake them.

We can jump out of airplanes to prove that we’re not dead yet, but there’s no avoiding the fact that you are getting older and with that comes limitations. Aging does that to everyone. You can see that as a death sentence, but a better way to look at it is as the beginning of a new phase or season of life.

Every end is a new beginning, and that’s true for the seasons of our life. Just as Fall gives way to Winter, and Winter to Spring, there’s something to look forward to with each season of your life.

– Steve Arterburn

“Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.” – Mark Twain

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” – Unknown

Humility at It’s Best

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – James 3:13

Humility at It's Best

Though often overlooked, the Old Testament character Jonathan is one of the most remarkable men in the Bible. Being the oldest son of King Saul, he was the heir to the throne of Israel. He was an experienced soldier, distinguished for his courage in battle.

The Old Testament character, David, was a shepherd boy . . . probably 15 years younger than Jonathan. Despite their differences, however, Jonathan and David formed a remarkable friendship, in part due to Jonathan’s humility.

When David was anointed to succeed King Saul, Jonathan didn’t claim his right to the throne.  David wasn’t in line for this honor. He wasn’t the king’s son. Jonathan was. But Jonathan defended and protected David, the one taking his place. He even defended him against his own father. Saul repeatedly tried to kill David, but Jonathan risked his life to protect and encourage his friend.

Are you willing to give up your rights or position? Or do you dig in your heels and arrogantly proclaim your entitlement? Surrender what’s due you and see God’s grace unfold in ways you couldn’t imagine.

– Steve Arterburn

“To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.” – Ben Franklin

“Legalism breeds a sense of entitlement that turns us into complainers.” –  Tullian Tchividjian

Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart

What sorts of things find their way into your heart and mind? If you’re exposing yourself to a constant barrage of ungodly words, music, or images, you’re not taking full responsibility for your life. You can fill your heart and mind with God’s Word, and when you do, you’ll create a defense against some of the evil messages the world so frequently sends your way.

The writer of Psalm 119 declared, “I have tried my best to find you don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:10-11). “Hiding” God’s Word in your heart essentially means memorizing and meditating on the Bible. God uses his Word the Bible—to speak to you and show you how you ought to live.

You’ve been given the responsibility to guard your heart and to keep track of the things you hide inside it. So, what’s in there? An­ger? Lust? Ugly images from TV, the movies, or the web? Are you harboring bitterness? Greed? Are you envious of others? If you’re struggling with these things maybe it’s because you have more of the world’s wisdom in your heart than the true wisdom of God.

Are you having a hard time finding God and following His com­mands? Hiding God’s word in your heart will foster spiritual growth by guarding against those things that hurt you and displease God. I love the words of the Psalmist when he said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

– Steve Arterburn

Praying For Kids

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Ephesians 1:17

Praying For Kids

Being a responsible, faithful, and spiritually wise adult isn’t easy. But here’s something we often overlook: it’s not easy being a kid either. Sure, the issues kids face are proportionate to their age. But let’s not fail to give them their proper due. Children’s issues appear every bit as daunting to them as ours do to us.

The kids that God has put in our lives, whether they’re children, grandchildren, extended family, neighbors, or students, need every bit of wisdom and guidance we can offer. But wisdom and guidance never stand alone. Our efforts to bring these to the children in our lives must be soaked in prayer. That’s when our wisdom and guidance will become more than practical, but powerful; because it is from the Holy Spirit.

 – Steve Arterburn

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

 

Perspective for Today

Sometimes, amid the demands of daily life, we lose perspective. Life seems out of balance, and the pressures of everyday living seem overwhelming. What’s needed is a fresh perspective, a restored sense of balance . . . and God.

If a temporary loss of perspective has left you worried, exhausted, or both, it’s time to readjust your thought patterns. Negative thoughts are habit-forming; thankfully, so are positive ones. With practice, you can form the habit of focusing on God’s priorities and your possibilities. When you do, you’ll soon discover that you will spend less time fretting about your challenges and more time praising God for His gifts.

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When you call upon the Lord and prayerfully seek His will, He will give you wisdom and perspective. When you make God’s priorities your priorities, He will direct your steps and calm your fears. Pray for a sense of balance and perspective today and every day hereafter, and remember: your thoughts are intensely powerful things, so handle them with care.

Earthly fears are no fears at all. Answer the big questions of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective. Max Lucado

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

Today’s Prayer
Dear Lord, when the pace of my life becomes frantic, slow me down and give me perspective. Give me the wisdom to realize that the problems of today are only temporary but that Your love is eternal. When I become discouraged, keep me steady and sure, so that I might do Your will here on earth and then live with You forever in heaven. Amen

The Fall

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26

The Fall

Adam and Eve’s fall when they took the bite of that apple, wasn’t like falling off a stepladder; it was like falling off Mount Everest. It was mankind’s fall, and we weren’t just dented; we were demolished.

Once we realize that all of our thoughts and desires are twisted, and all of our strength is diverted away from God; then we’ll begin realizing how dangerous it is to rely solely on our own strength, desire, and wisdom.

Human strength fails when you don’t see any results. Human motivation ends when applause and affirmation fade. And human wisdom tells us to get ahead and then quit.

But God’s strength becomes perfect when we’re weak. His approval comes when we stop trying to please the crowd. And His wisdom tells us to stop trying to lead the way and to follow Him instead.

Remember, God’s grace is greater than our ability to mess up.

– Steve Arterburn

Above all, believe confidently that Jesus delights in maintaining that new nature within you, and imparting to it His strength and wisdom for its work.‘ – Andrew Murray (1828-1917)