Controlling Your Emotions

Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you
Proverbs 4:6

Who is in charge of your emotions? Is it you, or have you formed the unfortunate habit of letting other people—or stressful situations—determine the quality of your thoughts and the direction of your day? If you’re wise—and if you’d like to build a better life for yourself and your loved ones—you’ll learn to control your emotions before your emotions control you.

Wisdom

Human emotions are highly variable, decidedly unpredictable, and often unreliable. Our emotions are like the weather, only far more fickle. So we must learn to live by faith, not by the ups and downs of our own emotional roller coasters.

Sometime during this day, you will probably be gripped by a strong negative feeling. Distrust it. Rein it in. Test it. And turn it over to God. Your emotions will inevitably change; God will not. So trust Him completely as you watch those negative feelings slowly evaporate into thin air—which, of course, they will.

I may no longer depend on pleasant impulses to bring me before the Lord. I must rather respond to principles I know to be right, whether I feel them to be enjoyable or not. 
Jim Elliot

Our feelings do not affect God’s facts. They may blow up, like clouds, and cover the eternal things that we do most truly believe. We may not see the shining of the promises—but they still shine! His strength is not for one moment less because of our human weakness. 
Amy Carmichael

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, You are my strength and my refuge. As I journey through this day, I will encounter events that cause me emotional distress. Lord, when I am troubled, let me turn to You. Keep me steady, Lord, and in those difficult moments, renew a right spirit inside my heart. Amen

Spiritual Warfare

Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!  James 4:7-8 HCSB

This world is tough and maintaining one’s integrity is hard. Temptations are everywhere, and the devil, it seems, never takes a day off. Your challenge is to see those temptations for what they are: dangerous and destructive.

In his letter to Jewish Christians, Peter offered a stern warning: “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NASB). What was true in New Testament times is equally true in our own. Evil is indeed abroad in the world, and Satan continues to sow the seeds of destruction far and wide. In a very real sense, our world is at war: good versus evil, addiction versus moderation, hope versus suffering, praise versus apathy. As Christians, we must ensure that we place ourselves squarely on the right side of these conflicts: God’s side. How can we do it? By thoughtfully studying God’s Word, by regularly worshiping with fellow believers, and by guarding our hearts and minds against the subtle temptations of the enemy. When we do, we are protected.

light is stronger than darkness

It’s out there, and it can hurt you. Evil does exist, and you will confront it. Prepare yourself by forming a genuine, life-changing relationship with God and His only begotten Son. There is darkness in this world, but God’s light can overpower any darkness.

There is nothing evil in matter itself. Evil lies in the spirit. Evils of the heart, of the mind, of the soul, of the spirit—these have to do with man’s sin, and the only reason the human body does evil is because the human spirit uses it to do evil.  ~ A. W. Tozer

Light is stronger than darkness—darkness cannot “comprehend” or “overcome” it. ~ Anne Graham Lotz

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  ~ Edmund Burke

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear God, thank you that greater is He who lives inside me than he that is in the world. Thank you, Lord that at your name demons flee. In my times of trouble and temptation help me to remember that there is power in Your name.

Beyond Fear

I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 HCSB

Eleanor Roosevelt observed, ‘You gain strength, courage and confidence every time you look fear in the face.’ Indeed she was correct in her observation, the decision to face a fear instead of running from it is always a character building exercise.

We live in a world that can be, at times, a very frightening place. Often times it can be a very discouraging place. The life-changing losses can be so painful, so profound that it seems we will never recover. But, with God’s help, and with the help of encouraging family members and friends, we can recover.

Beyond fear

During the darker days of life, we are wise to remember the words of Jesus, who reassured His disciples, saying, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’ (Matthew 14:27 NIV).

Are you willing to face your fears right now? Are you willing to cast off the chains of timidity and procrastination by deciding to do what needs to be done now, not ‘later’? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you’re destined to build a better life for yourself and your loved ones.

Today, ask God for the courage to step beyond the boundaries of your self-doubts. Ask Him to guide you to a place where you  can realize your full potential-a place where you are freed from the fear of failure. Ask Him to do His part, and promise Him that you will do your part. Don’t ask Him to lead you to a “safe” place; ask Him to lead you to the “right” place . . . and remember: those two places are seldom the same.

Are you feeling anxious or fearful? If so, trust God to handle those problems that are simply too big for you to solve. Entrust the future-your future-to God. Then, spend a few minutes thinking about specific steps you can take to confront- and conquer-your fears.

As you ponder on these words by some wise men of our time, be encouraged today that our God is in control:

“When we meditate on God and remember the promises He has
given us in His Word, our faith grows, and our fears dissolve.” Charles Stanley

The Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit is with me, and the knowledge of His presence dispels the darkness and allays any fears.”  Bill Bright

Today’s Prayer: Lord, I pray that today we will trust You to handle our problems, cares and fears. I commit my fears and anxieties to You. I lay before Your throne the problems that are too big for me, and I pray for guidance and direction as I try to navigate my way through my fears and troubles. Amen.

Cheerfulness 101

Cheerfulness 101

Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast.Proverbs 15:15 NCV

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Cheerfulness is a wonderful antidote to stress. And, as believers who have been saved by a risen Christ, why shouldn’t we be cheerful? The answer, of course, is that we have every reason to honor our Savior with joy in our hearts, smiles on our faces, and words of celebration on our lips.

Christ promises us lives of abundance and joy if we accept His love and His grace. Yet sometimes, even the most righteous among us are beset by fits of ill temper and frustration. During these moments, we may not feel like turning our thoughts and prayers to Christ, but that’s precisely what we should do. When we do so, we simply can’t stay grumpy for long.

Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts of religion—love, adoration, praise, and every union with our God. ~St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.   ~St. Francis of Assisi

God is good, and heaven is forever. And if those two facts don’t cheer you up, nothing will.    ~Marie T. Freeman

When we bring sunshine into the lives of others, we’re warmed by it ourselves. ~Barbara Johnson

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, You have given me so many reasons to be happy, and I want to be a cheerful Christian. Today and every day, I will do my best to share my happiness with my family and my friends. Amen

God’s Business of Transformation

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So if your heart sings when you hear what you hear on our radio program, when our message on tv.newlife.com speaks to your heart, when you hear of or experience life-change at our workshops or in the office of a network counselor, then I appeal to you to support New Life with a generous gift of support today.

We are very grateful for each and every gift you make, whether it’s $5, $50, $500, or $5,000.  Not only are we grateful, but more importantly, those who benefit from the way God works through this ministry are grateful–the hurting and confused who are looking, and often desperately, for help and redirection in life.

Your gift makes all the difference in the world to:

  • Bob and Lucy whose marriage wasn’t working and they came to New Life looking to learn how to put it back together.
  • Teresa, a single mother whose son was looking at porn, and she didn’t know what to do, so she calls us for help.
  • Leo, whose wife died after 54 years of marriage, and he’s grieving not knowing how to go forward in life without her, so he looked to us for what to do.
  • Tom and Dianne who are empty nesters until their 34 year-old daughter lost her job and wanted to move back home—“We don’t want to say yes, but how do we lovingly say, ‘No?’” they asked.
  • Mark blew up once too often in a fit of rage at his wife, LaDonna, who was fearful and thinking of separating, so she called the radio show in tears not knowing what to do and how to help him get help.   

Your financial support allows us to help these folks find God’s answer—it might be advice on radio (we pay a lot for radio air time!), we might refer them to a counselor, they may read a book or listen to a teaching CD, or it might be that they attend one of our workshops.  But whatever they do, it’s our goal to help them see the truth and take steps towards healing and transformation.

I don’t know why it is, but April is always one of our toughest months financially, and we’re just coming out of that.  Maybe it’s because taxes were due to Uncle Sam in April . . . I don’t really know.  But it’s the case that we need your help this month in a big way.

So as you’re able, with a cheerful spirit, to support our mission of life transformation, please do so today.

And to say thank you for your gift of support this month, I’ll send you two things:  A chrome-finished, brass, New Life keychain.  It’s a bit of a departure from our books and CD’s but we’ve had requests from time to time for something other than a book, so we thought we’d see how you like this nice keychain.  And a DVD with over an hour’s worth of segments from our new venture, New Life TV, a subscription TV channel that is simply amazing!  On the DVD we have the following segments:

  1.  Our God is a God of 2nd Chances  (Steve solo)
  2.  Compliance—Learning to Surrender (Steve, John & Dave)
  3.  I Can Forgive Anyone Except Myself (Dave solo)
  4.  My Apology to Women (Steve and Sheri)
  5.  How to Begin an Ending (Steve, Henry & Jill)
  6.  Repairing Marriage (Milan & Kay)
  7.  Saving a Young Man and His Marriage (Steve & Jason)
  8. Marijuana is the Soft Porn of Drugs (Steve, Henry & Jill)

Thank you in advance for making what God does through this ministry a reality.  We could not do it without you!

See you on the radio (and at tv.newlife.com),

signature

Founder

P.S.  Here’s an example of what the first several hundred subscribers are saying on our New Life TV site:

  • Love that Shannon….Skyping interviews are amazing with your teams. Best $10 a month. $.33 a day!
  • I have become a daily radio listener and I think New Life is one of the most important Christian media outlets right up there with Focus on the Family. The t.v. makes me feel like I am a member of the family and because we are such a visual society I believe people will connect with Sheri, Shannon, Milan, John, Henry, Dave and Steve even more than the radio.
  • Just have to say I’m lovin’ Newlife TV! Thanks for the short pieces as well as longer–this piece on the Christian home is very concise and helpful.
  • Love, Love, Love New Life TV!
  • I am enjoying and learning so much!
  • BTW, love what you are doing here and am very excited to keep seeing more!
  • Thank you for New Life TV. I love it.
  • I just joined New Life TV today, and I am hooked. What great insight, and example!

 

Reaching Out – The Best Way I know to Give Back

giving-back
Hey Guys,

Sexual things/images—do you ever think they control you instead of you controlling them?

Here is an upcoming national workshop that is going to be held in Indianapolis, IN the first weekend of April.  I attended this workshop fourteen years ago in CA, and found it to be a great resource that equipped me with the tools needed to win the daily battle of sexual integrity in my life.  

Sexual things/images are being shot at us in every direction, so it seems.  Quite often I find other guys that are wanting to win this internal battle, too, but like I used to think, they feel like they just need to try harder or pray more.  Prior to attending “Every Man’s Battle”, I didn’t know and wasn’t using all the tools that God has available for those that are wanting to find true freedom. God created my sexual being as VERY GOOD, but the one problem was I hadn’t been taught or trained to use it for good, as our society primarily  promotes it from “it’s all about my pleasure” negative worldly view.  There is a lot more to my story that I’m open to discussing with anyone.

If you are interested in the “Every Man’s Battle” (EMB) workshop click on the link below.  Any full time pastor can attend free of charge.  If you have interest, but financially don’t know how you can make it work, give me a call or send me an email.

http://newlife.com/emb/workshop/

Satan desires for you and me to be in bondage-while GOD has put a plan in place for us to experience true freedom.

Is pride and fear keeping you stuck in bondage? In Christ you can break the chains as you step out of your comfort zone. 

If you are wanting a deeper/richer sexual life with your wife that has a WOW factor, GOD has the plan.  As for me, the awesome rewards thus far have outweighed  the work that it has taken Renee & I to get from point A to point B.  It’s a working art in progress.

To me it seems like the “Church” has missed the mark as this isn’t an issue that is commonly talked about.  Is that the reason why the foundation of marriage is failing?  Can the divorce rates (according to the Barna Research Group that are just as strong for Christian marriages as non-Christian marriage) be changed?  What can I/we do to protect our marriages and reverse this trend?  Do you know who’s plan you are using, GOD’s or the world’s? I strongly sense we are being massively deceived into believing Lucifer’s craftiness as he continues his master plan of deception. Terrible things happen, relationships are damaged, wounds are deep – but God has a plan for healing, restoration and transformation!

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.” “Don’t you understand yet?”Jesus asked.  Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. But the words you speak come from the heart-that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.” - Mathew 15:10-20 NLT

The Bible is teaching me new things about good vs. evil.

It’s not the sexual images that makes me sinful or defiles me in of its self, it’s the process of how I allow my mind/heart/spirit to filter those images that then has the potential of either luring me towards sinful actions of lusting/acting out. It’s only when I willingly choose in each moment to strive to live not for my own physical pleasure that I then am able to be a mirror reflection of my Creator and bring a smile upon HIS (my Daddy’s) face and HE communicates to me “Well Done Robb, I love it when you willing choose good. The actions or your heart enables me to know that you love ME”.

Thanks for being willing to read and entertain my passions and convictions.  Challenging thoughts are welcome . . .  

Sowing Seeds for God’s Harvest,

Robb

The Value of Connection

Connected HandsAn important aspect of dependency is that it teaches us that relationship is the most important thing in the universe. Connection is really the deepest value in God’s heart.

He constructed everything, and He Himself exists, in terms of relationship: ‘God is love‘ (John 4:16). When you allow dependent feelings and stances in life, you begin to live life the way God intended it. Relationship is not only a means to an end; it is an end in itself.

Closeness to God and others is what life is all about. Life has meaning, fulfillment and purpose in relationship. Some people have never experienced relationship as a good thing in their lives. For example, you may see dependency as being weak and vulnerable, or have fears of abandonment. Or you may have been so disconnected that there appears to be no real value in connection. Where there is no hunger, it is hard to value dependency.

As you work through these difficulties, you can learn to experience closeness as something not only good for you, but as the ‘highest good’ experience and position that God provides for us. In addition, becoming close to God and others is one of the major factors enabling you to be able to give up things you are in bondage to, such as addictions, destructive feelings and poor relationships.

‘LOVE NEVER FAILS!’ (I Cor. 13:8)

Do you need help getting connected? Join us at one of our Weekend Workshops, you will laugh, learn, and by God’s grace  be transformed.

What is 12-Step Recovery?

 

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As a seminary graduate and pastor, I was skeptical about much of psychology and recovery programs. I did learn a little more when I watched My Name is Bill W.–the story of the man who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous–but not much. I suspected that group meetings were touchy-feely, superficial gripe sessions that allowed addicts to blame everyone else in their lives for their problems. My greatest reservation stemmed from the commitment to speak of the generic ‘higher power’ instead of acknowledging Jesus Christ as the true life-changing power.

My views changed immediately and dramatically when a new job required a visit to a substance abuse rehab center. I found myself sitting in a group therapy session with men and women from their late teens to 60′s. They came from upper class homes, middle class working families, and the streets. I was amazed that they treated each other as true peers. Their pointed questions and frank confessions scared me, but I recognized that this is what real conversion looks like’people struggling with real guilt having no other hope than experiencing genuine rescue through faith in Jesus Christ. In short, they were living in true Christian community.

12-step recovery is biblical:

In my personal Bible study, I have found the principles that supported the steps. I finally became convinced that the steps were biblical when I recognized that Paul made his confession in 1 Timothy 1:15 as the result of completing the work of the 4th step: ‘Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.’ In verses 8-11, Paul outlines the basis for a searching moral inventory: the 10 Commandments. He then confesses, ‘I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man’.’ In verse 15, Paul then explains why he can complete his moral inventory without fear: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’of whom I am the worst.’ Later, I recognized the prodigal son experienced the admission expressed in the first step when he came to his senses. The 5th step is completely in keeping with James’ instruction in his letter: ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.’ The 12 Steps help addicts face their sin and apply the remedy of the Gospel.

12-step recovery is progressive:

Working the steps requires following a process that moves the addict from a life of isolation to healthy relationships with others. In working the first 3 steps, you recognize the futility of your efforts to overcome your addiction by your own efforts and acknowledge your total dependence upon the Lord for help. In steps 4 through 6, you face the reality of your own brokenness due to sin and declare your readiness to have God transform you through the Gospel. In steps 7, 8, and 9, you work to repair the relationships that have been broken as a result of your addiction. In the final 3 steps, you work to advance the work already by growing in your knowledge of God and sharing what you’ve experienced with other addicts

12-step recovery is not self-help:

Anyone who hopes to end addiction must work the steps personally, but cannot work the steps without help from others. Groups urge members to find a sponsor/mentor who has already worked the steps or a partner who can work them at the same time in order to provide accountability for working the steps. Demonstrating a willingness to be in relationship through the steps is one of the most important foundations for completing the work. You are choosing to end the hiding and isolation. You must begin by deepening your relationship with God first. If I don’t really trust Jesus, then I won’t be able to trust His people. In the group meeting, you invite the other members to walk with you through the valley of the shadow of death. Knowing the God Who has walked that valley first is essential.

12-step recovery is an adventure:

The function of a 12-step group is not a precise science, as group veterans will attest. There are healthy and unhealthy groups. A healthy group fosters wholeness as the members progress through the steps. An unhealthy group permits members to repeat the same confessions they have made previously. Healthy groups can have unproductive meetings and unhealthy groups can have productive meetings.

The single greatest factor influencing a group’s health and effectiveness is the commitment of each member to work the steps. Members must help each other face the external and internal triggers that make up their patterns of addiction. Each person experiences moments of strength and of weakness’moments when it seems much easier to return to the life of denial and blame-shifting than to keep growing by answering that difficult question that has just been posed.

Following the well-trod path outlined by the 12 Steps will help you to escape the pattern of self-defeating behavior that has dominated your life and prevented you from experiencing wholeness through faith in Christ.

If you have a struggle with alcohol or drugs, we can help. Please see contact New Life Ministries at 800-639-5433.
If you’re struggle is with sexual integrity, please see Every Man’s Battle.

Expressing Grief

Expressing Grief

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

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Grief is the process that helps you release your pain and losses to God. In your grief, you come to terms with your past and you find freedom to live in the reality of the present. On the other side of grief, you’ll find hope for the future. So if you harden your heart and refuse to grieve, you’re likely to get stuck both emotionally and spiritually.

The prophet Jeremiah shared his grief and tears with God. Jeremiah lived with God’s people and pleaded with them to return to God. But his pleas fell on deaf ears, and his heart was broken. So in his grief, the prophet penned the words of the Old Testament book, Lamentations. When you read it, you’ll find that Jeremiah didn’t mince his words or hide his pain. He weeps openly and fully, releasing his emotions to God. It’s a great example for us when we grieve our own losses.

Lamentations doesn’t provide pat answers for the suffering you’ll experience. If you’ll read it, you’ll discover that it’s all right to be real, to be angry, to be disappointed with life, and to be concerned about what tomorrow holds for you. God accepted Jeremiah being angry, tired, and discouraged, and he will accept you as well. Just as God honored the tears of Jeremiah, He’ll honor yours if you share your pain and sorrow with Him. It’s likely to be the first step to bring healing for the present and hope for the future.

 Grief  is itself a medicine. – William Cowper

I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. – C.S. Lewis

 

What are Safe Relationships?

What are Safe Relationships?

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I (John) have a fitness fanatic friend named Mark who evangelizes me on the gospel of health whenever he has a chance. He’s a lovable guy, but he’s the kind who always finds a way to change the conversation to exercise, diet, and vitamins.

We were having breakfast one day, and he began talking about his struggles with his wife, Diane. They were going through a painful period and having lots of conflict. Instead of giving advice, I listened and tried to understand what Mark was going through.

As we talked, he expressed everything from sadness to frustration to anxiety. By the time we finished, however, his face had relaxed, and he could actually smile and joke around.

‘You look like you’re feeling better,’ I said.

‘Absolutely, I’m more encouraged’, Mark said. ‘Wheat toast, fruit, and herbal tea make me a new man’! Then he looked at me and grinned sheepishly. ‘Uh, and it might have helped to have someone to talk to,’ he admitted.

Though Mark wasn’t sure about that fact, I am. What happened at breakfast is that I acted as a safe person for Mark to confide in. Just as surely as we were taking in our breakfast to sustain us physically, so we were talking to sustain ourselves emotionally. We were enjoying the great benefits of a safe relationship.

What is a safe relationship?

We like to think of a safe relationship as one that does three things:

1. Draws us closer to God.

2. Draws us closer to others.

3. Helps us become the real person God created us to be.

The Bible refers to these three areas of spiritual growth. We fulfill the greatest commandment, to love God (Matt. 22:37-28). We keep the second commandment, to love each other (Matt. 22:39). And we grow into the particular person that God created us to be, accomplishing the tasks he has designed for us (Eph. 2:10).

When we asked people to describe a ‘safe person’ to us, they gave us these descriptions:

A person who accepts me just like I am.

A person who loves me no matter how I am being or what I do.

A person whose influence develops my ability to love and be responsible.

Someone who creates love and good works within me.

Someone who gives me an opportunity to grow.

Someone I can be myself around.

Someone who allows me to be on the outside what I am on the inside.

Someone who helps me to deny myself for others and God.

Someone who allows me to become the me that God intended.

Someone who helps me become the me God sees in me.

Someone who touches my life and draws me closer to who God created me to be.

Someone who helps me be like Christ.

Someone who helps me to love others more.

We would all want people in our lives that help us in these ways. But the problem is, how do we recognize them? What do they look like?

We all struggle on different sides on the ‘safe relationship’ issue. Some do not even think we need relationships with other people. They think the Lord is enough and that you should only trust in him. Others think that they must depend only on themselves. Still others believe that the Bible teaches the value of relationships, but then they find themselves in hurtful relationships over and over again. They pick hurtful friends, spouses, churches, work partners, spiritual leaders, and dating relationships. They seem to not have the ability to find and like safe people. Having a seemingly astounding talent for finding people that will ultimately hurt them, they repeat patterns over and over again, and then become discouraged about relationships in general.

So for us to begin to utilize safe relationships, we need to first understand what a safe person is and why we need that kind of safety. The best example of a safe person is found in Jesus. In him are found the three qualities of a safe person; dwelling, grace, and truth.

As John wrote: ‘The Word became flesh and lived for awhile among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and the only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).

John Townsend & Henry Cloud

Surround yourself with safe people at one of our weekend workshops. Our check out some of our excellent resources.