Flashpoint

And he said; I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3

Flashpoint

If the blaze in a fire reaches a flash point, every bit of combustible material in the room, wood, paper, carpet, and furniture, will explode into flame. The fire doesn’t even have to touch anything in order to spread. A confined blaze will heat the atmosphere until everything in the enclosed space ignites. If it can burn at the flash point it will.

If we apply the same principle to our hearts, the result is equally explosive. When God ignites the passion in your soul, and ideas spontaneously ignite, your life will be changed forever. A flashpoint of the heart can set the world on fire.

Has a fire ever smoldered quietly within the confines of your heart? A flashpoint will occur when you’re compelled to change, or make a difference, no matter what the cost.

- Steve Arterburn

Some people go through their whole life wondering if they ever made a difference. Marines don’t have that problem.” – Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Prayer and Meditation

Although it’s too seldom taught or practiced, our communing with God consists of two equally important parts: prayer and meditation. Prayer is our talking to God. Most of us have this aspect down. Meditation is our listening to God. And here most of us need a bit of work.

Prayer and Meditation

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person does all the talking? There’s an up side to this: you become a good listener, and the other person feels great comfort and ease sharing personal issues with you. But there’s a down side too: as you’re called upon to always listen and never talk, you can begin feeling unknown, perhaps a little unloved, and sometimes, even used.

Now, think about how this scenario might apply to your relationship with God. Are you doing all the talking, without ever taking the time to listen? If you’re sharing with Him from the depths of your heart, and seeking guidance and wisdom, that’s fantastic! By all means, keep it up. Just make sure, that as you do this, you’re also taking the time and training the ears of your heart to listen to God as well.

Remember, God tends to speak with a still, small voice; He very rarely shouts at His children. That’s why meditation is such an important aspect of prayer. It teaches you to develop a quiet, patient heart and an open attentive ear. These are essential components of the mature Christian.

- Steve Arterburn

Charity

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10

Charity

While rummaging through the trash for returnable bottles and cans, Charles Moore, a 59 year old homeless man in Detroit, found $21,000 in U. S. savings bonds. Who could need the money more than Mr. Moore, right? Yet he brought the small treasure to a nearby homeless shelter, where a staff member tracked down the owner.

Moore’s honesty amidst his dire circumstances triggered a wave of spontaneous generosity in Michigan and throughout America. The bonds’ owners gave Moore $100. Another man sent him eight trash bags of returnable bottles and a bowl of coins. A New Mexico man gave $1,000. Three others gave a combined $2,500 and local businessmen gave Mr. Moore $1,200, a shopping spree, and a lead on a job.

Isn’t life ironic? Mr. Moore, a selfless, open-handed homeless man, can teach all of us a lesson in charity.

Honesty is, in fact, the policy that pays the best.” – Winston Churchill

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, please help me to live with open hands and heart, that I might be Your hands and Your heart to the world. Amen.

Agnostic?

Then Jesus told him, Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. – John 20:29

Agnostic

Imagine my surprise when a non-Christian friend of mine in college informed me that I was an agnostic! “You go to a Christian school,” he said, “but you’re kind of agnostic aren’t you?” I was horrified. “What do you mean?” I stammered.

I just look at what you do,” he replied. “You don’t seem to spend time doing things other Christians do, and you sure do a lot of things they’d never do, so I just assumed that you were not too sure what you believed. That means you’re agnostic.

We can’t peer into the hearts of one another, yet sometimes our actions betray our hearts, don’t they? It wasn’t easy to be confronted with proof of my unbelief, but God used this unbeliever’s conclusions to bring me back to Him.

If you were tried for being a Christian, would the fruit of your life provide evidence in support of the charges?

“I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up…they have no holidays.” – Henny Youngman

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, when the world looks at me, I pray that they are never unsure of what my religious beliefs are or have doubts about where my heart lies. 

One Attitude Required

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. – James 4:10

One Attitude Required

Humility doesn’t save us, but it can save us a ton of grief. Humility doesn’t change your circumstances, but it helps you submit to God’s purposes no matter what the circumstances. Humility doesn’t speed up answers to prayer, but it accelerates the acceptance of God’s will. Humility doesn’t make decisions for you, but it inclines your heart toward decisions consistent with God’s plan. Humility doesn’t earn you more of God’s love, but it helps you experience God’s love at a deeper level.

For these reasons Scripture has a great deal to say on humility:
- Psalm 25:9 says, “God guides and teaches the humble.”
- Psalm 147:6 says, “The Lord sustains the humble.”
- Proverbs 11:2 says, “Wisdom belongs to the humble.”
- Proverbs 22:4 says, “True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life.”
- Isaiah 57:15 says that the Lord personally dwells with and refreshes the humble.
- Matthew 23:12 says that the humble with be exalted, and the exalted will be humbled.
- And James 4:6 says that God is gracious to the humble.

Rewards, sustenance, wisdom, guidance, intimacy, grace, renewal, and revelation—all hinge on an attitude that accompanies our faith. The early twentieth-century preacher and theologian, Oswald Chambers, called humility “the great characteristic of a saint.” For all its benefits and blessings, humility is the best way to go for God’s people. In fact, it’s the only way to go.

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.” ~ Italian proverb

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, give me a humble heart. As I approach your throne, I pray that I will do so with an attitude of humility and not entitlement. Amen

Energizer

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Energizer

Do you remember the Energizer Bunny? The pink, battery-operated bunny beat his drum and traveled about while a voice announced the company’s slogan, “It keeps going and going and going and going…

Can you relate? Many of us feel just like that bunny around the holidays. Church activities, shopping, Christmas cards, baking, cleaning, parties, keeping up with work, and more shopping all have a way of taking their toll. Hard work and service are both good and necessary, but so is stopping once in a while. Even the Energizer Bunny needed to stop for a battery change!

Take some time this coming season to stop and watch the snow fall, and if you happen to be in one of those warm southern states maybe substitute a cool, clear, star-filled night! You’ll find that when you stop, the significance of Christ’s birth will transform your busy heart to a peace-filled heart.

- Steve Arterburn

“Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow.  I cannot be dictated to by a watch.“- Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Serving

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. – Colossians 3:23-24

Serving

At the heart of the Civil War was a large portion of free people who concluded that slavery shouldn’t be. Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain was one of those men. In the movie Gettysburg he says, ‘This is a different kind of army. If you look back through history, you’ll see men fighting for pay, for women, for some other kind of loot. They fight for land, power, because a king leads them, or just because they like killing. But we are here for something new. This has not happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free.’

Throughout history, God has been calling men and women to give of themselves so others can be free. Are you willing to make sacrifices for others?

Steve Arterburn

‘For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice ‘ no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service.’ – John Burroughs (1837-1921)

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

listeingforgod

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

reasonforsuffering.newlife

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