Listening To Guilt

Listening To Guilt

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. - Romans 8:1 NKJV

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All of us have made mistakes. Sometimes, we are swept up by events that encourage us to behave in ways that we later come to regret. And sometimes, even when our intentions are honorable, we make errors in judgment that have long-lasting consequences. When we look back at our actions with remorse, we may experience intense feelings of guilt. But God has an answer for the guilt that we feel. That answer is His forgiveness.

Sometimes, long after God has forgiven us, we may continue to withhold forgiveness from ourselves. Instead of accepting God’s mercy and accepting our past, we may think far too long and hard about the things that ‘might have been,’ the things that ‘could have been,’ or the things that ‘should have been.’

Are you troubled by feelings of guilt, even after you’ve received God’s forgiveness? Are you still struggling with painful memories of mistakes you made long ago? Are you focused so intently on yesterday that your vision of today is clouded? If so, you still have work to do’spiritual work. You should ask your Heavenly Father not for forgiveness (He granted that gift the very first time you asked Him!) but instead for acceptance and trust: acceptance of the past and trust in God’s plan for your life.

If you find yourself plagued by feelings of guilt or shame, consult God’s survival guide: His Holy Word. And as you do so, consider the following Biblically-based tips for overcoming those feelings of guilt once and for all:

1. Stop doing the things that make you feel guilty: How can you expect not to feel guilty if you should feel guilty? (Acts 26:20)
2. Ask God for forgiveness. When you ask for it, He will give it. (1 John 1:9)
3. Ask forgiveness from the people you have harmed: This step is hard, but helpful. And even if the other folks cannot find it in their hearts to forgive you, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you asked. (Proverbs 28:13)
4. Forgive yourself: if you’re no longer misbehaving, it’s the right thing to do. And today is the right day to do it. (Romans 14:22)
5. Become more diligent in your daily time of prayer and Bible study. A regular time of quiet reflection and prayer will allow you to praise your Creator, to focus your thoughts, to remind yourself of His love, and to seek His guidance in matters great and small. (Isaiah 50:45)
6. Get busy making the world a better place. Now that God has forgiven you, it’s time for you to show your gratitude by serving Him. (Matthew 23:11-12)

Guilt is a gift that leads us to grace. - Franklin Graham

Today’s Prayer
Lord Jesus, help me to forgive myself as you forgive me. Amen.

 

 

God Gives Us Strength

God Gives Us Strength 

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22 HCSB

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It’s a promise that is made over and over again in the Bible: Whatever “it” is, God can handle it. Life isn’t always easy. Far from it! Sometimes, life can seem like a long, tiring, character-building, fear-provoking journey. But even when the storm clouds form overhead, even during our darkest moments, we’re protected by a loving Heavenly Father.

When we’re worried, God can reassure us; when we’re sad, God can comfort us. When our hearts are broken, God is not just near; He is here. So we must lift our thoughts and prayers to Him. When we do, He will answer our prayers. Why? Because He is our shepherd, and He has promised to protect us now and forever.

God’s hand uplifts those who turn their hearts and prayers to Him. Will you count yourself among that number? Will you accept God’s peace and wear God’s armor against the temptations and distractions of our dangerous world? If you do, you can live courageously and optimistically, knowing that even on the darkest days, you and your Heavenly Father can handle every challenge you face, today and forever.

How wonderful to know that however difficult our trial might be, God knows the outcome. He sustains us, He gives us the strength to hold on when we feel like letting go and then if we do let go, He carries us through.

We do not understand the intricate pattern of the stars in their course, but we know that He Who created them does, and that just as surely as he guides them, He is charting a safe course for us. – Billy Graham 

By ourselves we are not capable of suffering bravely, but the Lord possesses all the strength we lack and will demonstrate His power when we undergo persecution. - Corrie ten Boom

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, help me to surrender my struggle and trial to you. Thank you for your armor that protects me and thank you that my strength is found in you. Amen

 

Acknowledging His Presence Builds Character

Acknowledging His Presence Builds Character

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. -James 4:8

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In the quiet early morning, as the sun’s first rays peak over the horizon, we may sense the presence of God. But as the day wears on and the demands of everyday life bear down upon us, we may become so wrapped up in earthly concerns that we forget to praise the Creator.

God is everywhere we have ever been and everywhere we will ever be. When we turn to Him often, we are blessed by His presence. But, if we ignore God’s presence or rebel against it altogether, the world in which we live soon becomes a spiritual wasteland.

Since God is everywhere, we are free to sense His presence whenever we take the time to quiet our souls and turn our prayers to Him. But sometimes, amid the incessant demands of everyday life, we turn our thoughts far from God; when we do, we suffer.

Are you tired, discouraged or fearful? Be comforted because God is with you. Are you confused? Listen to the quiet voice of your Heavenly Father. Are you bitter? Talk with God and seek His guidance. Are you celebrating a great victory? Thank God and praise Him. He is the Giver of all things good. In whatever condition you find yourself—whether you are happy or sad, victorious or vanquished, troubled or triumphant—celebrate God’s presence. And be comforted in the knowledge that God is not just near. He is here.

There is a basic urge: the longing for unity. You desire a reunion with God—with God your Father. – E. Stanley Jones

Claim all of God’s promises in the Bible. Your sins, your worries, your life—you may cast them all on Him. – Corrie ten Boom

The next time you hear a baby laugh or see an ocean wave, take note. Pause and listen as his Majesty whispers ever so gently, “I’m here.” – Max Lucado 

 

 

A Daddy Vacuum

A Daddy Vacuum

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God . . . Psalm 68:5

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I grew up in a family where my father was always there for me. He was a good man. A funny man. A bedrock of faith with a compassionate heart. I was truly blessed to be born into his family. Some of you weren’t so fortunate. Your father wasn’t a positive role model for you. Or, your father deserted your family or died young. You grew up without a father, and just hearing someone refer to “dad” or “daddy” is painful for you. The absence of that all important person in your life left an insatiable void within you.

The role of your father is so important that it can affect how you perceive God as your heavenly father. I hope that no matter how bad your experience was with your father, that you won’t be afraid to see God as your father. Consider and take solace in the words of Psalm 68 promising that God will be a father to the fatherless.

A friend of mine who grew up without a dad describes it as having a daddy vacuum. Is that where you are today? Do you have a vacuum of your dad, or your mom, or maybe your entire family? If so, cling to God’s promise that he’ll be a father to the fatherless. How that looks will be different in each situation. Some of you will take solace directly in and with your heavenly father. To others, God will bring a father-figure into your life to begin to fill that void.

If you have a daddy vacuum, pray for God to fill that void within you, however He chooses. If you don’t have that vacuum, and you’re a man who was blessed like I was to have a dad that loved me and was there for me, look to see if God might be calling you to be a father to the fatherless on His behalf.

It is much easier to become a father than to be one. – Kent Nerburn

The Need to Forgive

All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another,  forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
EPHESIANS 4:31-32 HCSB

It has been said that life is an exercise in forgiveness. And it should be added that forgiveness is an essential step in overcoming tough times.

Christ understood the importance of forgiveness when He commanded, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV). But sometimes, forgiveness is difficult indeed.
When we have been injured or embarrassed, we feel the urge to strike back and to hurt the ones who have hurt us. But Christ instructs us to do otherwise. Christ teaches us that forgiveness is God’s way and that mercy is an integral part of God’s plan for our lives. In short, we are commanded to weave the thread of forgiveness into the very fabric of our lives.

Do you invest more time than you should reliving the past? Are you troubled by feelings of anger, bitterness, envy, or regret? Do you harbor ill will against someone whom you simply can’t seem to forgive? If so, it’s time to finally get serious about forgiveness.

When someone hurts you, the act of forgiveness is difficult, but necessary. Until you forgive, you are trapped in a prison of your own creation. But what if you have tried to forgive and simply can’t seem to do so? The solution to your dilemma is this: you simply must make forgiveness a higher priority in your life.

Have you sincerely asked God to forgive you for your inability to forgive others? Have you genuinely prayed that those feelings of anger might be swept from your heart? If so, congratulations. If not, perhaps it’s time to move past your own particular tough times by freeing yourself from the chains of bitterness and regret.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.   ~C. S. Lewis

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, forgiveness is Your commandment, and I know that I should forgive others just as You have forgiven me.  But, genuine forgiveness is difficult. Help me to forgive those who have injured me, and deliver me from the traps of anger  and bitterness. Forgiveness is Your way, Lord; let it be mine. Amen

Parental Acceptance

Steve Arterburn

Acceptance. We long for it, don’t we? If a young man or woman doesn’t sense, or hopefully know, they’ve been accepted by their parents’and most importantly, their father’the cloud of parental expectation will hang over their head. Children who don’t experience their parents’ acceptance have a terribly difficult time with self-acceptance.

 

Sons and daughters listens for his father’s words: ‘You’re good at that’you’re a wonderful son’I’m proud of you’I love who you are’I have confidence in your abilities.’ If he doesn’t hear them, he’ll eventually grow up and leave home without closure and without confidence he’s ready and capable to handle life.

 

Furthermore, the logic of his mind will say, ‘There must be something I haven’t done right, so I’ll keep trying; I’ll work at proving I can get it right. I’ll keep at it until I hear that I’m okay’that I’m a man.’

 

That’s how the majority of men in our culture leave home. And it’s tragic when you consider how this repeats itself from generation to generation. Only a man who hears from his father he’s accepted is free to pass this gift on to his own sons. You simply can’t give what you don’t have.

 

If you haven’t received this gift, there’s still hope for you. In Christ, you have a heavenly Father who accepts you’who truly delights in you. Seek Him. Hear His promises to you in Scripture. Let Him re-parent you.

Five Thoughts About Families

Men, I want to share just five simple thoughts about families with you. Please listen to them closely. Let them be food for your thought, reflection, and prayer as you go about your business today.

1)      Families form people.

 

2)      The most crucially formative relationship for a man is his relationship with his father.

3)      A man will spend decades of his life trying to compensate for gaps in his relationship with his dad. And until genuine healing occurs, these attempts to compensate will only draw him into destructive lifestyles, habits, addictions, and relationships.

4)      Every man must face and deal directly with the wounds that prevent his progress.

5)      Every man courageous enough to let God touch these so-called ‘father wounds’ can find healing and renewal.

Men, our heavenly Father will get to the root causes of our thoughts and actions if we’ll only stop running, stop compensating, and open ourselves in trust to Him to do so. His penetrating gaze can search even the most painful areas of our lives; His gracious touch is what we need in order to heal’there are simply no substitutes; and that touch will leave us as men who intimately know what redemption means’men who are prepared to be ‘wounded healers’ in the lives of others.

Think about these. Pray about them. Taste of the Lord and see that He is good.