Suffering and Character

Suffering and Character: 10 Ways God Uses Suffering in Our Lives

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1. Suffering enables you to honor God.
Your words, actions, and attitudes paint a picture of your relationship with God. They can bring Him either honor or dishonor. They can be either a good example to others or a bad one. Do you remember what Job said when his family and all his worldly goods were suddenly gone? The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; see also 1 Peter 1:6-7).

2. Suffering demonstrates God’s power.
It’s only when you are weak’that is, not dependent upon yourself’that you can be strong in Christ. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, wrote the apostle Paul, that the power of Christ may dwell in me’for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

3. Suffering allows God to give His grace.
Three times Paul asked God to remove his thorn in the flesh. God’s answer was My grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:8-9; see also 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 4:7; Philippians 2:13; 1 Peter 5:10).

4. Suffering prepares you to help others.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, Paul tells the believers at Corinth that God is the God of all comfort and that they share not only His sufferings, but also His comfort. Because God will comfort you in the midst of your suffering, you will be able to comfort others with the same comfort and give them hope. In other words, it’s those who have been wounded that make the best healers.

5. Suffering helps build character.
Think of one person you admire deeply. Why do think that person has such great character? Often, though not always, the people with the greatest character have experienced tragedies or walked a path of suffering. Their life experiences have shaped them into something quite beautiful. How does this happen? Paul wrote to the believers in Rome: We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and, proven character hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).

6. Suffering encourages you to trust God.
Children trust more easily than adults do. Too often, children grow up to be self-sufficient, independent adults who don’t ‘need’ God in their lives. Yet, Jesus reminded His disciples that the king of heaven belongs to children (Matthew 19:14), and God calls us to be imitators of God, as beloved children (Ephesians 5:1). In 2 Corinthians 1:9-10, Paul makes it very clear that he needed God and that he trusted in Him: Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.

7. Suffering helps you learn to thank God and praise Him in everything.
First Thessalonians 5:16, 18 tells us to: Rejoice always’in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Without a doubt, this is a hard task! Margaret Clarkson suggests a few ways to praise God in the midst of suffering: Praise God for Himself, His sovereignty, wisdom, never-failing mercies and compassion, love, grace, holiness, justice, and power. She recommends meditating on Scripture to help cultivate a response of praise.

8. Suffering helps you identify with Christ’s suffering.
How often do you stop to think about how much Christ suffered for you? He died for you while you were still a sinner and saved you from the wrath of God (Romans 5:8-9). Read through the entire chapter of Isaiah 53 and list all the words that describe what Christ suffered for you (for example, pierced, afflicted, forsaken). How does your own suffering change your perspective on what Christ did for you? (Romans 8:17-18; Philippians 1:29, 3:10, 2 Thessalonians 1:5).

9. Suffering helps you partake of God’s holiness.
You have the honor and privilege of sharing in the inheritance of the saints because God the Father has qualified you (Colossians 1:12). Paul says that he does all things for the sake of the gospel’that he becomes a fellow partaker in sufferings so that he may also partake of the glory that is to be revealed in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 4:12-16; 5:1).

10. Suffering offers you the chance to reflect on God’s discipline.
It is possible that God has allowed this suffering in your life so that you will learn from it. Punishment is not in view here’only a divine, purposeful opportunity for growth and change. God’s discipline, unlike that of an earthly parent, is perfect and will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness so that you can share in his holiness (Hebrews 12:8-13).

Excerpted from “Life on Hold” by Laurel Seiler Brunvoll and David Seiler, Ph.D

Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.

The Vacillator

Stress, Intimacy and Attachment Styles – The Vacillator

The authors, Milan and Kay Yerkovich of the book, How we Love , discuss the Vacillator.  The idealistic tendencies of the Vacillator are challenges when dealing with stress. In this segment they discuss how Vacillators can overcome obstacles and gain connection.

Click on the image below to watch. The image below is an excerpt from the book.

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The Pleaser

Stress, Intimacy and Attachment Styles – The Pleaser

Milan and Kay Yerkovich, authors of How We Love, talk about how the Pleaser handles stress and how to use that knowledge to change from our established patterns to more healthy ways. Click on the image below to watch.

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The Avoider

Stress, Intimacy and Attachment Styles – The Avoider

In Part 2 of our series on “Turning Stress into Opportunities For Intimacy,” Kay & Milan Yerkovich, authors of How We Love, share personal experiences that help define ‘THE AVOIDER’ and teach us how to work with it. Click on the image below to watch.

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Stress, Intimacy and Attachment Styles

Stress, Intimacy and Attachment Styles

All human beings have stress, Jesus did when he was on earth. Even infants have stress, and how they attach to their parents can have a big impact on how they handle stress and intimacy later on in life. In part 1 of a six part series with Milan and Kay Yerkovich, we look at the secure attachment types in their look at “Turning Stress into Opportunities for Intimacy.” Click on the image below to watch.

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Ten Things I Want Every Survivor of Abuse to Know

Ten Things I Want Every Survivor of Abuse to Know

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1. You are older, wiser, stronger and safer now.

2. Forgiveness is a path you must eventually travel down.

3. As it says in Mathew 18:10 – God was aware of your abuse.

4. The person who abused you does not represent others in your life today.

5. Grief work is a huge part of abuse recovery.

6. If you have a tendency to become an abuser, although it would seem to be unlikely, it’s a sign that further work is needed.

7. It was not your fault in any way.

8. Turn things around as soon as you can so you can help others (but see number 9)

9. Give yourself plenty of time to heal.

10. You are not damaged goods. You are pure and clean in the eyes of God.

Bonus Point: We love you here at New Life.

Teen Peer Pressure

Teen Peer Pressure

The term “peer pressure” usually makes us think about our teens being influenced to try negative behaviors, like drinking alcohol, or smoking pot. But teens can pressure each other in positive ways too. In the video below we take a look at both kinds of pressure. Click on the image below to watch.

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Ten things to do While you Wait

Ten Things to Do While You Wait

We have all been there at some point. . . in the waiting room of life. Here are ten ways to help you relax and actually benefit from your time of waiting.

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1. Pray and meditate on Scripture: Through our personal time of prayer and meditation on God’s Word, we will find the ‘peace that passes understanding.’ Spending time in God’s presence helps us remember who we are and how very much we are loved. Scripture tells us Jesus often went to a placed by Himself and prayed.

2. Listen to music: When you need to relax, listen to some calming music. If you need some extra energy, find something upbeat that makes you want to move. Be aware of your moods and your needs, and you will find that music can play a big part in helping you achieve a positive emotional state.

3. Exercise: Not only is exercise the number-one stress reducer, it also controls appetite, increases energy and body temperature, releases endorphins, and improves sleep quality. Physical exercise is the most natural way you can come to experience a state of well-being or satisfaction.

4. Keep a Journal: Take this waiting time as an opportunity to journal about what’s going on in your life and how you feel about things. Journaling can help you sort out the many things that may be going on in your heart and heart. Once you’ve expressed your feelings in writing, they become much easier to understand.

5. Talk to a friend, pastor, or therapist: Not only does talking through your stresses with a close confidant help relieve those stresses, but it will also help you feel more connected with a human being.

6. Read: Take time to read a good book, an inspirational story, or even the comics or sports page of the newspaper. What you enjoy will be unique to you, so don’t get stuck in a rut of comparing yourself to others.

7. Get some R&R: It’s important to have getaways that last for a couple of days or more. Vacation time really does make a difference in your mind-set and outlook.

8. Become involved in discipleship: Discipleship involves growing in wisdom and knowledge of God through the process of gathering with other believers. This involves more than just your personal quiet time. It’s the fellowship of believers that results in building each other up, mentoring, accountability, and Bible study. Discipleship serves the purpose of spiritual growth and gives us a sense of connection and belonging that we all need.

9. Do something for someone else: The process of giving to and doing for others can lift up your spirit and bring about a sense of pleasure faster than just about anything else. When you give of yourself, you move away from a focus on self to a focus on others, and that’s always a good place to be.

10. Laugh: Laughter is good medicine, especially when it comes to managing stress and increasing pleasure in life. Laughter is the natural expression of pleasure and fun. The more we can include laughter in our lives, the better we’ll feel physically and emotionally.

Setting Boundaries

Setting Boundaries

Setting a boundary can be difficult, so why should we go through the trouble? John Townsend has two great reasons: to define your life and to protect yourself. Which areas of your life need these types of boundaries? Have you tried putting these limits in place? Click on the image below and find out what those two great reasons are for setting boundaries.

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10 Do’s and Don’ts for Dads

Ten Dos and Don’ts for Dads

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1. Connect before you correct.
Part of every Dad’s role is to bring a healthy sense of structure and discipline to the family. Communicating with your child, which includes listening to their “side” of the issue, is a key first step in successful, loving discipline.

2. Be there.
One of the great myths is that a little “quality” time makes up for a substantial “quantity” of time. Going to school, sporting and other events is a big deal! It says – “I have your best interests at the center of my heart” to your child. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. ~ Philippians 2:4

3. Express love often.
Kids (especially pre-teens and teens) act like they don’t want their parents to “make a fuss” over them. It’s just an act. Kids need hugs and kisses … affirm them at every opportunity.

4. Phony, macho men are only heroes in the movies.
Real Dads aren’t perfect. You can be a hero to your children if you open your heart to them and admit when you’ve made mistakes. They have an enormous capacity to forgive and their hearts’ desire is to love and be loved. People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy. ~ Proverbs 28:13

5. Never make your child choose between parents.
If you have problems with your wife, don’t try to convince your child that you’re “right” or the “victim.” This causes an emotional split in your child and will ultimately drive him or her further away from you. Confine the adult issues to the adults.

6. Love your wife.
The greatest Dad in the world will minimize the true impact he has on his children if he does not model Godly intimacy in front of his kids. That’s where the cornerstone of their future marriage is laid. Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you … And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. ~ Colossians 3:12-14

7. Be consistent.
When you are consistent in your actions, love and discipline, an environment of safety and security is created. Kids need to know that there are some things they can always count on. Discipline your child while there is hope. If you don’t, you will ruin their lives. ~ Proverbs 19:18

8. Be careful, you’re in the spotlight.
Your kids are watching every move you make. To some extent, their picture of you shapes their picture of their Heavenly Father. You have the opportunity to create a positive, loving image or a confusing and untrustworthy one. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy and true. ~ Ephesians 4:23,24

9. Guard your tongue.
The words you speak to your children can cut like a knife or send them soaring like a rocket. They will remember some things you say in passing for the rest of their lives. Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
~ Proverbs 16:24

10. Develop Godly character.
Nothing will influence your children more than watching you grow in your relationship with God. You can preach the Gospel by your actions much more effectively than you can by your words. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done. ~ Colossians 2:6,7

For more information on fatherhood and parenthood, consider some of these resources:

How we Love our Kids
Raising Great Kids
Bad Dads of the Bible