How Can I Ever Be Forgiven?

How Can I Ever Be Forgiven?

She had an abusive husband then divorced and had an abortion. Marie is anguished and does not know how to find God’s grace. Dr. Henry Cloud is with me to help Marie surrender and surmount the obstacles she has in her heart. Watch the episode!

Listen Carefully To God

Listen Carefully to God

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

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Sometimes God speaks loudly and clearly. More often, He speaks in a quiet voice’and if you are wise, you will be listening carefully when He does. To do so, you must carve out quiet moments each day to study His Word and sense His direction. And you can be sure that every time you listen to God, you receive a lesson in character-building.

Can you quiet yourself long enough to listen to your conscience? Are you attuned to the subtle guidance of your intuition? Are you willing to pray sincerely and then to wait quietly for God’s response? Hopefully so, because the more carefully you listen to your Creator, the more He will work in you and through you.

Usually God refrains from sending His messages on stone tablets or city billboards. More often, He communicates in subtler ways. If you sincerely desire to hear His voice (and strengthen your character), you must listen carefully, and you must do so in the silent corners of your quiet, willing heart.

In the soul-searching of our lives, we are to stay quiet so we can hear Him say all that He wants to say to us in our hearts. Charles Swindoll

We cannot experience the fullness of Christ if we do all the expressing. We must allow God to express His love, will, and truth to us. Gary Smalley

When we come to Jesus stripped of pretensions, with a needy spirit, ready to listen, He meets us at the point of need. Catherine Marshall

The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God. John 8:47 HCSB

 

The “Nubbies”

The “Nubbies”

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1

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A psychologist friend recently told me about Cliff—a client he described as “a believer after God’s own heart.” After years of service to The Lord, Cliff’s wife developed aggressive cancer.  Many people joined Cliff in prayer for his wife, but she declined rapidly and died.  Through it all, Cliff didn’t break his determined gaze upon Christ.  Instead of allowing the tragedy to shake his faith, he allowed his experience of pain, suffering, confusion, and grief to push him deeper into the arms of the living God.

Cliff knew two things, and held to them tenaciously.  The first was that God was good.  He didn’t understand the circumstances surrounding his wife’s sickness, or why she had to suffer and die.  But he knew a reason resided with God, and that he would come to understand in the light of eternity.  The second thing Cliff held to was his certainty that God loved him-in spite of everything, no matter what, and through it all.

When you’re in severe pain or distress, life becomes pretty simple. You’re in survival mode, and you have neither the heart nor the strength to spread your emotional energy around.  As Chuck Swindoll might say, “Life gets boiled down to the nubbies.”

When pain or distress boils your life down to the “nubbies,” do what Cliff did.  Keep it simple.  Grab hold of what you know is true about the living God, and hold on like a pit bull.

The nearer the dawn the darker the night. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Bono Living out Romans 10:9

Is Bono Living out Romans 10:9?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

A much loved musician and celebrity and a well known philanthropist makes a public declaration about his faith. Watch this cool new video from New Life TV.

Find out more about New Life TV here

Real Transformation

Real Transformation

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 HCSB

realtransformation.newlifeHave you invited God’s Son to reign over your heart and your life? If so, think for a moment about the “old” you, the person you were before you invited Christ into your heart. Now, think about the “new” you, the person you have become since then. Is there a difference between the “old” you and the “new and improved” version? There should be! And that difference should be noticeable not only to you but also to others.

Warren Wiersbe observed, “The greatest miracle of all is the transformation of a lost sinner into a child of God.” And Oswald Chambers noted, “If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as a human life trying to be godly.”

When you invited Christ to reign over your heart, you became a new creation through Him. This day offers yet another opportunity to behave yourself like that new creation by serving your Creator and strengthening your character. When you do, God will guide your steps and bless your endeavors today and forever.

Today, remember this: a true conversion experience results in a life transformed by Christ and a commitment to following in His footsteps.
No man is ever the same after God has laid His hand upon him. - A. W. Tozer   

Being born again is God’s solution to our need for love and life and light. - Anne Graham Lotz

The transforming love of God has repositioned me for eternity. I am now a new man, forgiven, basking in the warm love of our living God, trusting His promises and provision, and enjoying life to the fullest. – Bill Bright

What is God looking for? He is looking for men and women whose hearts are completely His. - Charles Swindoll

When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine. - E. Stanley Jones

The Saddest Words

The Saddest Words

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;  my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. – Psalm 62:5-6

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Several famous people were asked what they felt was the saddest word in the English language.  Listen to what some of them said:

  • “But,” said Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II.
  • Writer John Dos Passos quoted John Keats: “Forlorn! The very word is like a bell.”
  • Statesman Bernard M. Baruch said: “Hopeless.”
  • President Harry Truman quoted John Greenleaf Whittier: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”

“But”, “forlorn”, “hopeless”, “it might have been” . . . together these words describe the heart of a person without Christ.  What a con­trast these sad words make to the promises of God.

In Jesus Christ, a forlorn, hopeless heart haunted by “buts” and “it might have beens” is transformed into a heart of hope and purpose.  Be encouraged by God’s specific promises of joy and hope of trans­formation for your life.

When hope is taken away from the people, moral degeneration follows swiftly after. – Pearl S. Buck

 

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

 

Open The Eyes Of Your Heart

The Eyes of Your Heart

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18

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Are you going through difficult times? If it does nothing else for you and to you, it will open the eyes of your heart. Walking through troubled waters is one way that God has of shifting your vision. When your heart breaks, there’s an avenue for God’s compassion to trickle in and envelop your heart with His. You’ll begin to look at others through the eyes of your heart and not through the eyes of quick judgment, harsh conclusions, or self-interest.

Your trip to the grocery store, to church, to Wal-Mart or Starbucks will take on a new hue. You’ll look at people and wonder what their story is; what their childhood was like; what caused them to be so happy or unhappy, why they seem this way or that.

Their job titles will be less important, their type of car won’t impress you, what kind of clothes they wear, or whether they’re wrinkled or stylish won’t matter anymore. You’re more likely to understand that they are in some pain and trying to run from it or trying to hide. Or, you’ll see their smile and demeanor and wonder if they’re truly happy or masking some inner, silent suffering or anger.

Now, you won’t get answers to all that you wonder about people and their stories, but your heart will be softened. You’ll find that you have a level of compassion that most people don’t have. If your heart is broken, let His compassion trickle in to your heart through the brokenness. Let Him open the eyes of your heart today.

A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.Steve Maraboli 

What value has compassion that does not take its object in its arms.Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

The Psalms

The Psalms

But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. – Psalm 3:3-4

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It’s impossible to adequately summarize the richness and breadth contained in the book of Psalms.  It was Israel’s hymnbook, containing songs of praise to God.  It also contains the cries of God’s people in difficult situations.  And it was a prayer book for Israel.  The psalmists looked to God in moments of private despair, in times of national suffering, and in the joyous moments of mountain-top experiences.

The Psalms are for us right now, today.  They are brimming with honest emotion.  Through them you can learn to pour out your anguish and your adoration, your suffering and confession, your hopes and your fears.  Through them you feel safe asking God why he has or hasn’t acted in a certain way.  Through others you might express your pain, heartache, and discouragement.  Through still others you may praise God as he frees you from oppression and sin.  Each psalm is an expression of the heart.  None of them are neat little packages of answers tied up with pretty bows.  They are living words, a collection of spiritual diaries from people who honestly sought God’s help and His heart.

Do you need spiritual direction or encouragement?  The Psalms can function as deterrents to keep you out of trouble, guides to help you through problems, reminders of the one who actually delivers you, or as beacons of hope to encourage you in perplexing or painful situations.  Read the Psalms and be ushered into the very presence of your loving and merciful God. You’ll be glad you did!

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.Psalm 1:1-2 

Faith and Understanding

Faith and Understanding

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

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Upon returning from space, the Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titoy said, “Some people say there is a God out there…but in my travels around the earth all day long, I looked around and didn’t see Him…I saw no God nor angels.  The rocket was made by our own people.  I don’t believe in God.  I believe in man, his strength, his possibilities, and his reason.”

Isn’t it amazing that at moments when we’re most vulnerable, and most clearly confronted with God’s majesty, we can be so unaware of His presence?

God is wiser than we can comprehend, more immense than we’re comfortable with, and merciful beyond the reaches of our imagina­tions.

Yet, He’s also the One through whom everything makes sense.  So don’t mistakenly think that faith is the result of understanding.  It’s the opposite.  Faith is the basis for understanding.

 Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. – Helen Keller 

Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right. – Max Lucado

All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.- Ralph Waldo Emerson