Controlling Your Temper

Steve Arterburn

My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight. James 1:19-20 NLT

The frustrations of everyday living can sometimes get the better of us, and we allow minor disappointments to cause us major problems. When we allow ourselves to become overly irritated by the inevitable ups and downs of life, we may become overstressed, overheated, overanxious, and just plain angry.

Anger often leads to impulsivity; impulsivity often leads to poor decision-making; and poor decision-making tends to tear down character. So, if you’d like to increase your storehouse of wisdom while, at the same time, strengthening your character, you should learn to control your temper before it controls you.

When you allow yourself to become angry, you are certain to defeat at least one person: yourself. When you allow the minor frustrations of everyday life to hijack your emotions, you do harm to yourself and to your loved ones. So today and every day, guard yourself against the kind of angry thinking that inevitably takes a toll on your emotions and your relationships.

As the old saying goes, ‘Anger usually improves nothing but the arch of a cat’s back.’ So don’t allow feelings of anger or frustration to rule your life, or, for that matter, your day’your life is simply too short for that, and you deserve much better treatment than that . . . from yourself.

Anger is the noise of the soul; the unseen irritant of the heart; the relentless invader of silence. Max Lucado

Anger unresolved will only bring you woe. Kay Arthur

Bitterness and anger, usually over trivial things, make havoc of homes, churches, and friendships. Warren Wiersbe

A man in a passion rides a horse that runs away with him. Thomas Fuller

Character builder
If you think you’re about to explode in anger, don’t! Instead of striking back at someone, it’s usually better to slow down, catch your breath, consider your options, and walk away if you must. Striking out in anger can lead to big problems. So it’s better to walk away’and keep walking’than to blurt out angry words that can’t be un-blurted.

Healthy Relationships Build Character

Steve Arterburn

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 NKJV

When you become involved in relationships that require you to compromise your values, you’ll make yourself miserable. Why? Because emotional distress is contagious.

In a perfect world filled with perfect people, our relationships, too, would be perfect. But none of us are perfect and neither are our relationships . . . and that’s okay. As we work to make our imperfect relationships a little happier and healthier, we grow as individuals and as families. But, if we find ourselves in relationships that are debilitating or dangerous, then changes must be made, and soon.

If you find yourself caught up in a personal relationship that is bringing havoc into your life, and if you can’t seem to find the courage to do something about it, don’t hesitate to consult your pastor. Or, you may seek the advice of a trusted friend or a professionally trained counselor. But whatever you do, don’t be satisfied with the status quo.

God has grand plans for your life; He has promised you the joy and abundance that can be yours through Him. But to fully experience God’s gifts, you need happy, emotionally healthy people to share them with. It’s up to you to make sure that you do your part to build the kinds of relationships that will bring abundance to you, to your family, and to God’s world.

Not everybody is healthy enough to have a front-row seat in your life. Susan L. Taylor

Don’t just grab at the first thing that comes along. Know when to refuse something that won’t go anywhere. Will Rogers

You are justified in avoiding people who send you from their presence with less hope and strength to cope with life’s problems than when you met them. Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Show me a guy who can’t say ‘No,’ and I’ll show you a guy with lots of problems. Red Auerbach

Character builder
Remember: It’s tempting to follow the crowd, but usually it’s better to follow your conscience.

5 Positive Parenting Principles

Excerpted from the book Top Ten Dangers Teens Face by Steve Arterburn and Jim Burns

Parenting isn’t easy.Life is difficult at times.But through the years we have found the five following principles essential for a safe family environment.

1. Take Time to Relax and Enjoy Each Other.

Rest soothes, heals, and gives perspective.Why is it that, in a world of instant everything and more timesaving gadgets than all of us can possibly use, we’re usually stressed for time?

Overcommitment and fatigue are two of the greatest distractions from positive parenting.Our children need our time and attention.What kids often remember most is those times mom and dad took time to play with them.Here’s our advice:Parents, quit working so hard. Save energy for yourselves and your family.If it means moving to a smaller house or making a smaller car payment, then do it. Life’s too short to settle for fatigue, lack of intimacy, and busyness in the place of meaningful relationships with your spouse and children.

What are you doing this week that will be an absolutely enjoyable experience for you and your children?If you don’t have a plan stop what you’re doing and create one. Time is too short not to celebrate with your family.The yard can wait.The dishes can wait.Turn off the TV.Grab a few moments of joy and laughter.

2. Discipline With Consistency.

Discipline is a training process.The primary purpose of parental discipline is to teach responsibility rather than to evoke obedience.This means consistently helping your children understand that most of life involves choices and consequences.Discipline in the home should consist of setting clearly defined limits with your children.The vast majority of kids we meet in crisis claim not to clearly understand family limits. Most of those kids come from homes where discipline isn’t consistent.

Parents need to emphasize consequences. From the earliest ages through adulthood, we all live with consequences’some good and some bad.When it comes to family issues, the consequences almost always are the results of our actions.If a child runs through the house and breaks a vase, the best discipline is having to clean up the mess and help pay for a new vase.When the act is outright defiance, parents should not be afraid to use a stronger form of discipline.The consequences for attitudinal rebellion should be quick, clear, and felt. If parents fail and allow rebellion to go uncorrected, when the child becomes a teenager, he or she will have difficulty understanding that rebellion will result in not-too-pleasant consequences.

3. Express Affection.

Every household is different when it comes to showing affection. Many parents unconsciously withhold hugs, touches, and embraces simply because ‘it wasn’t done that way when I was growing up.’Even in some of the most caring homes, many parents stop touching their children once the children reach grade school.When they stop touching an important part of showing God’s love also stops.

As parents and significant adults in the lives of children, all of us should constantly model the love of Jesus Christ. Every day you should tell you kids, ‘I love you.’ This positive reinforcement and reminder of unconditional love will give them the ability to go on during tough times and say no to temptation. Every day you should show physical affection.It’s incredible what a meaningful and appropriate touch, hug, embrace, kiss, or even a ‘high five’ will do to a young person’s self image. Touching brings a real sense of meaningfulness and security.Every day you should listen to your kids and pray with them.

4. Build up a Shaky Self Image.

Building a positive, healthy Christ-centered self-image in your children is one of the primary tasks of all parents. Children who grow up in an environment full of put-downs, negative nicknames, and criticism often become critical adults whose self-esteem is less than adequate.Time is valuable.And the only quality time is quantity time’you need to spend time with your kids. Set family time and stick to it. In addition, you need to encourage your kids.Your kids need you to believe in them, praise them, and be available to them.We’ve got to catch them doing something right and tell¬† them in order to build up their self-esteem.Also, help your kids practice thankfulness.Happy people are thankful people.Get your kids focus outside themselves. Kids with low self-image are extremely self-absorbed. Yet when kids are challenged to serve and become other centered, their self-image will improve. Use every opportunity to get your children involved in missions and service projects.

5. Love Each Other.

This principle seem obvious, but at the same time, half the people reading this are single parents or have been remarried. Children are much more secure in their lives when they know their parents love each other. If you’re marriage is suffering, please seek counseling.A relationship in which there is love, time, and energy is one of the major factors in keeping a family together. We challenge you to stop investing your energy elsewhere and to put it back into your marriage.With the proper amount of work, most marriages can succeed.

For additional help please see: Raising Great Kids, How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs, and Internet Protect Your Kids.

A Family Blessing

When Jesus began His public ministry at about thirty years of age, He left the security of home for the uncertainties of life on the road. But during His travels, there was one place he loved to visit: that little house in the village of Bethany where His friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus lived. The three were siblings, and we learn how close Jesus was to them when Lazarus died.

The sisters sent a message to Jesus that Lazarus was sick; but by the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was dead, and they were mourning his death. Martha and Mary rushed out to meet Jesus and expressed their frustration that He hadn’t come earlier.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus saw how sad the sisters and other mourners were, that ‘He was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled.’ He was indignant because He, Jesus, who created life, was dealing with death—a stark contradiction of everything that He is and stands for. Jesus was saddened by Mary and Martha’s grief, and by Lazarus’ suffering. Jesus wept openly for His friend, prompting onlookers to say, ‘See how much he loved him.’

Are you grieving the loss of someone you love? We would consider it our great privilege to share the love and wisdom of Christ with  you. Please prayerfully consider joining us at our next New Life Weekend.

Steve Arterburn

The ‘Sweeper’

Steve Arterburn

Guys, have you ever noticed that when a woman is feeling stressed or angry, she’ll often call a friend? Have you also noticed when guys feel those same things, we usually do just the opposite?

When it comes to dealing with emotions, most men run for the hills’alone. We tend not to be as good as our female counterparts at facing our feelings, let alone talking about them. Most of us have been trained to treat our emotions like dirty laundry ‘ we don’t want anything to do with them.

When our emotions surface, our internal ‘Sweeper’ moves to action. The sweeper is that part of our subconscious who methodically and logically eliminates the threat that rogue emotions present. The ‘Sweeper’s’ job is to prohibit any situation from heating up too much and to sweep stray emotions back under the surface, where we think they belong. The Sweeper’s job description looks something like this:

  • Hide and mask anger
  • Internalize pressure
  • Bury losses
  • Deny wounds
  • Withdraw in the face of hard truth
  • Deflect mistakes
  • Blame others
  • Hide struggles
  • Push others away
  • Excuse me from feeling the hurts of others

Men, does this sound familiar? If so, I think it’s time you put your Sweeper up for review, and seriously consider cleaning out his office. The ‘Sweeper’s’ so-called services are, in fact, doing you a great disservice.

Integrity Equals Security

Steve Arterburn

Proverbs 10:9 contains a wonderful promise for you’a promise worthy t think on. The text reads like this: ‘The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.’


In other words, the immediate, day-to-day benefit of the man who walks with an undivided heart before God is security. 


And why wouldn’t it be? The man this text describes has undivided loyalties. His choices are clear. He has no hangovers of character to nurse. When he’s away on business, he’s the same person as when he’s at home. He’s the same guy on Friday and Saturday nights as he is on Sunday morning. He’s a father who says what he does and does what he says. He’s a husband his wife can trust, respect, and follow.


This is a man who has matured beyond the point of needing instant gratification. Imagine it! Feeling good is replaced by feeling right about yourself before God. And when you feel right about yourself, no matter what your circumstances or your mood, you are content and connected to God, your family, and your purposes as God’s man. Now that’s security without stress. That’s the blessing of walking with integrity before God.


Now let me ask you this: does that sound as good to you as it does to me? It’s God’s desire for your life, men. So let it become your desire as well. Let it become your prayer, your passion, and your pursuit.

The Gift Of The Spirit

Steve Arterburn

If you’re a Christian, it means the Holy Spirit is living in you. Sounds great ‘ but what does it mean? What does the Spirit do within you? Listen to what the Holy Spirit promises to be up to at this moment in your life:

Ezekiel 36:26 promises that He’s changing your hearts.

John 14:26 promises that He’s reminding you of what the Father has asked you to do.

John 16:13 promises that He’s guiding you and teaching you the truth.

Romans 8:13 promises the Spirit will turn you away from evil.

Romans 8:26 promises that the Holy Spirit will help you in times of distress and intercede with God for you when you’re confused and wearied.

First Corinthians 12:11 promises that the Spirit has given you gifts to use for the glory of God and the good of others.

Galatians 5:16 promises that the Spirit will lead you to victory over the sinful cravings of your heart.

These are precious promises. Claim them by faith’even if you’re not sensing all them in your life. Rejoice in these promises, and ask God to create in you a heart ready to cooperate with the transformation going on in you even as we speak.

Finding the Balance

Steve Arterburn

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” But wisdom is proved right by her actions. Matthew 11:19

Have you ever flirted with danger? Recently six officials in the White House were told by their doctors that their “stress levels were so high, they were flirting with danger unless they slowed down.” While actual people were not named, it reminded me that each of us flirts with danger at times.

Like when driving your car, you step on the gas and fly down the highway towards your next meeting risking your safety and risking that you won’t have a tire blow out, let alone see a policeman with a radar gun. Or maybe you put your money in some volatile investment, or you keep piling on the work and don’t know how to say “no”, and risk burnout.

One of the key ingredients to lowering our stress level is finding the proper balance in our life. It keeps us from flirting with danger. In the Bible, wisdom and folly are described as two different women. Folly calls out, “Let all who are simple come in here! Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious! But little do they know  that her guests are in the depths of the grave.” On the other hand, Wisdom says, “Instruct a wise man, and he will be wiser still.”

Each day, we choose whether to flirt with danger by living in an imbalanced state or to walk in wisdom. I challenge you today to think about what you are doing and to walk in wisdom.  

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton (1915-1968)


Steve Arterburn

For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of
rest, holy to the Lord.


Are you burned out, or in danger of burn out? Has your life gotten so
busy that it takes every ounce of energy on a daily basis simply to keep from
falling behind? And you’re not doing a very good job of that?


If so, I understand’it’s not a good feeling. Like the dilemma of
having a tiger by the tail: let it go and it’ll gobble you up; hold on and
you’re in for a wild ride. According to recent polls, the
American workforce is burdened by a great deal of stress; 77 per’cent reported
feeling occasional burnout, which, by the way doesn’t discriminate by age,
gender, or other common groupings.


The first thing I would recommend this week if you’re feeling burnt
out is that you honor that commandment about the Sabbath. Take a day where you
spend time worshipping God and the rest of the day away from anything close to
your daily grind. Take a walk. Go to a park or the beach. Stop receiving input
and give your mind a rest.


‘Until a man has found God, he
begins at no beginning and works to no end.’
– H. G. Wells

The Blessing of Pain

Jonathan Daugherty

I was sent an article earlier this year that was a transcript of a speech Tony Dungy gave before the 2006-2007 Super Bowl. This speech was given shortly after his son died. And as amazing as it was that he would speak so shortly after such a tragedy, I picked up on something else he mentioned in the speech.

Dungy spoke of his youngest son, Jordan, who has a rare condition that doesn’t allow him to feel pain. If cookies are baking in the oven, Jordan doesn’t realize that if he opens the door and reaches in he will be burned. Or that if he places that steaming hot cookie in his mouth it will scorch his tongue. Jordan can’t feel pain. Because of this Jordan could seriously injure himself without even knowing it.

If I was given the choice to feel pain or not, I must admit that I would probably choose not to feel pain. But such a decision would be short-sighted
and foolish. Pain is actually a gift; a blessing. I know it is hard to envision
pain this way all the time. But think of Jordan and the Dungy family. Would
they not consider it a tremendous blessing for Jordan to feel pain? Not to have to worry every moment of every day whether he is going to poke his finger into an electrical socket or turn on the hot water in the bathtub and climb in? Pain truly is a blessing.

But is all pain a blessing? Tough to say, but I’m becoming more convinced that pain is more often a blessing than it is not. For example, I was pretty ill back in mid-February. Hadn’t been that sick in a while. Just a funky sort of sick. Stuffy head, fever, aches all over, and fatigue like I had never felt. Weird, uncomfortable stuff. Pain. Was it a blessing? Actually, yes. You see, I had been on the road for three straight weeks, working myself to the bone, unwilling to slow down and get the rest my body needed. Getting sick was actually a blessing because it forced me to do that which I wouldn’t do on my own. Pain often works as such a tool of correction in our lives.

I see pain as God’s agent of mercy. I know this sounds weird, even contradictory, but go with me for a minute. How often do you or I force our way in a certain direction even though it may not be good for us? We say we are going to make self-centered decisions in our marriage regardless of God’s
instruction to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21). We choose to lie to our boss (just a “little” one) to make him believe we are doing more work than we are, even though God’s Word tells us “do not lie to each other” (Col. 3:9). We choose not to go to church or worship with other believers for whatever reason, regardless of God’s clear exhortation to “not give up meeting together” (Heb. 10:25). Well, whenever we choose to make our own way without regard to God, pain ensues. The self-centered spouse reaps the pain of a tension-riddled marriage. The lying employee reaps the pain of a reprimand, demotion, or layoff. The stay-at-home Christian reaps the pain of loneliness and growing bitterness toward other believers.

How, then, is such pain the agent of God’s mercy? Because, if we will allow it,
this pain draws us back to the truth and invites us to once again seek God. It
is merciful for God to allow the natural consequences of our stubborn pride to bring us to our knees. The Bible says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance…” (2 Cor. 7:10a). Pain often produces godly sorrow. This sorrow reminds us that we have needs that go beyond our own ability to meet. We remember in our pain that we weren’t designed to live our lives independently, but rather in total dependence upon God. And even though our dependence on God
doesn’t forever eliminate pain, it does give us a point of reference for
understanding and enduring it.

Is pain a blessing? It can be if you will let it. However, we often only intensify our pain by squirming in our pride to find some solution apart from surrendering to God. Just as a child would increase his injuries if he refused
to listen to his parents when they instructed him to remove his hand from a hot burner on a stove, we too increase the injury to our spiritual and emotional selves when we refuse to respond obediently to God’s loving instruction. It is pain that often drives us to eventually surrender when we otherwise would not. Therefore, pain does act as God’s agent of mercy, preventing us from further injuring ourselves and instead embracing the grace and truth that God offers.

Why don’t you begin today to allow the pain in your life to draw you back to
the promises of your good and loving God? After all, he made you. He does
know what is best for you. And He wants you to enjoy His goodness, even if it requires getting some scraped knees and blistered hands along the way.

It can be incredibly difficult to see pain as a blessing. If you are in pain, we’d like to help. Please join us at our next New Life Weekend.