Honor This Sacrifice

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:15

Honor This Sacrifice

Becoming God’s man or woman hinges upon what motivates you. Scripture is clear regarding what should motivate us: Gratitude for what Jesus Christ did for us in willingly going to the cross—gratitude in every aspect of life. God’s beloved Son, Jesus, gave His life as a sacrifice so that we could have eternal life with God. It sounds funny but we find our life in Christ’s death and resurrection.

Commenting on this theme back in the late 1800s, British preacher Charles Spurgeon said that, ultimately, there was only one motivation strong enough to give us vitality and staying power in the Christian life: “The most potent motive for holiness is free grace and we should be moved by gratitude to a height of dedication and purity and obedience that mere legalism can never know.”

Hear that? Gratitude for grace. Our life in Christ isn’t something we can earn; it’s found in God’s grace. And for this we need to express gratitude daily. I pray this good news will liberate you as you follow the One who, by grace, has brought you from death to life.

– Steve Arterburn

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” – Lionel Hampton (1908–2002)

Family Influence

All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace. – Isaiah 54:13

Family Influence

Our ideas about God are first shaped—and very powerfully so—by our families. So it’s little wonder that as relationships within the family have declined, so has the understanding of what it means to have and maintain a relationship with God.

As divorced and overworked parents spend less time with their kids, the concept of a personal God and Savior becomes less clear and less meaningful. An absent father sets the framework for a child who views God as absent too. And a passive father leaves his children wondering if God can or will become involved in their problems and day-to-day struggles.

I’m pointing to the men for two reasons. The first reason is so you men can begin to identify how your family environment growing up has subtly shaped your thoughts and beliefs about God. If your experience has been positive, great! If it hasn’t, please let the present, active, loving Father correct your thinking and heal your heart. Turn to Him and see that He is good.

The second reason is that many of you are fathers yourselves or will be. Your children are watching and listening to you more than you think. And you influence them—and their thinking about God—more than you know. I want to encourage you, men, to walk with Jesus Christ! For those of you who’ve had the blessing of good parenting: pass it on. For those of you who haven’t: let the wreckage stop with you!

Steve Arterburn

“Our children give us the opportunity to become the parents we always wished we’d had.” – Louise Hart (1881–1950)

Narrow and Healthy

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Narrow and Healthy

A friend of mine once wrote a children’s book about heaven. When checking out the reviews of his book, he came across a reviewer who said she was attracted by the book’s title and artwork. Then she noted how her excitement was replaced by dismay when the author claimed the only way to heaven was through Jesus Christ. The reviewer was deeply offended by what she called the book’s “obvious bias against non- Christians.”

We live in times where tolerance and diversity are the buzz words—particularly in the world of religion. How could any faith be called “healthy” that claimed only one way to God?

But have you listened to the advocates of this thought? Their message is that the way to salvation is through our moral virtue. “Be good, do good, and it’ll all work out.

My problem with that is this: I’m not that good a person—certainly not good enough to stand before God on the basis of my own feeble virtue. What about you?

As unpopular as it might be, the truth is, we are all sinners. But thankfully God made a way for us to come to Him and not be seen as such—through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Maybe it’s narrow—but it’s true!

– Steve Arterburn

Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to teach the teachable. He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works.” – Robert Farrarr Capon (1925– )

Maintaining Focus

Has it ever been easier or more convenient than now for a believer to lose focus on God? If the apostle Paul found himself ‘greatly distressed‘ that Athens was ‘full of idols‘ (Acts 17:16), what would he think after checking out today’s culture? The Internet alone is overwhelming.

Maintaining Focus

A recent Wall Street Journal article quotes an Internet guru who plugged the word ‘God‘ into a popular search engine. He received a number of responses remarkably close to the amount of sites listed for ‘sex.‘ Yahoo Inc. lists thousands of sites devoted to religion and spirituality, compared with thousands about movies and hundreds about home and garden.

And these figures are expanding exponentially. We’re only a mouse click away from countless links, Web pages, and chat rooms, that define God, redefine Him, recast Him into our own image, or explain Him away altogether.

With all this at our fingertips, it’s more important than ever to stay focused on the true God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We can’t allow ourselves to be sidetracked by falsehoods or temptations that will prove destructive to our faith.

The writer to the Hebrews called this ‘fixing our thoughts‘ and ‘fixing our eyes.’ ‘Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith‘ (Hebrews 3:1; 12:2).

The old adage is true; the eyes are a window to the soul. So what things will your eyes let into your soul today? It’s your call. You get to decide to be the strong, self-disciplined person you know you want to be, or let your eyes lead you to places that you know deep down you don’t want to go. Focus.

– Steve Arterburn

Focus On Being

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Focus On Being

How can you begin breaking through the myth,of “you-are-what-you-do” and see that your,true identity is in Jesus Christ. Once you grasp that, you can begin,relating to other people apart from what they do. We must open up our schedules, set aside our calendar, and get to the business of allowing our identity in Christ to liberate and transform our human relationships.

A friend of mine meets each week with a group of four other friends to do what we rarely do. They purposely avoid talking about what they do in order to talk about who they are and how they feel. They’re learning to peel away the layers of façade to give and receive the nurture, affirmation, and encouragement they desperately need but are often fearful to seek.

Recently my friend shared a painful issue with his friends. His father lays dying in a nursing home. He’s incapacitated. His mind is totally gone. My friend visits him, and helps dress and care for him. What he wants more than anything is to hear these words from his father before he dies: “You’re a good child.”

Friends can share these painful and vulnerable feelings and offer consolation and encouragement in the group setting as one deals with the pain and loss. There aren’t enough people who function together as these five do.

– Steve Arterburn

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people you can.” – John Wesley (1703–1791)

The Void

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within  you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1-5

The Void

For several summers in the 1950s, Howard Mumma was a guest minister in Paris. There he met the existentialist philosopher, Albert Camus, who was coming to church to hear the great organist, Marcel Dupré.

Eventually Mumma’s sermons stirred Camus, so the two men met several times to discuss Camus’ questions about the Christian faith.

In one conversation, Camus said: “The reason I have been coming to church is because I am seeking. I’m almost on a pilgrimage— seeking something to fill the void that I am experiencing—and no one else knows. Certainly the public and the readers of my novels, while they see that void, are not finding the answers in what they are reading . . . I am searching for something that the world is not giving me.

Are you where Camus was? Searching for that something?

The best gift we can receive is precisely what the world can’t offer—true, eternal life through Jesus Christ. All you gotta do is ask.

– Steve Arterburn

There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” – Blaise Pascal (1632-1662)

A Promise in the Pain

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout hearted. Psalm 138:3

A Promise in the Pain

About five seconds outside the womb I think we all discover that this life isn’t easy. And it seems that the older we get the tougher it becomes. Some people have problems or are attracted to difficulties like fleas to a dog. Others make it through life with relatively little difficulty.

But most likely, you’ll face some tough times in life, and it’s not important how your challenges stack up to the challenges of others. Sometimes you might wonder if you are going to be able to make it through, and you will if you hold onto God. He’s promised to see you through.

Are you weighed down? Do you feel overcome with grief or alone in your struggle?

You can choose to take steps to walk through your challenges and come through them a stronger person.

Remember, believing in God and in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. But it does mean you have resources, people, and God’s Spirit who will see you through your problems. What could be better?

– Steve Arterburn

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” – William A. Ward (1921-1994)

Walk In His Truth

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. John 14:23 KJV 

Elisabeth Elliot advised, “Obedience to God is our job. The results of that obedience are God’s.” These words serve to remind us that obedience is imperative, but we live in a society that surrounds us with temptations to disobey God’s laws. So if we are to win the battle against temptation and sin, we must never drop our guard.

walking in his truth

A righteous life has many components: faith, honesty, generosity, love, kindness, humility, gratitude, and worship, to name but a few. If we seek to follow the steps of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we must seek to live according to His commandments.

When we seek righteousness in our own lives—and when we seek the companionship of likeminded friends—we not only build our characters, but we also reap the spiritual rewards that God offers to those who obey Him. When we live in accordance with God’s commandments, He blesses us in ways that we cannot fully understand.

Are you ready, willing, able, and anxious to receive God’s blessings? Then obey Him. And rest assured that when you do your part, He’ll do His part.

Don’t worry about what you do not understand. Worry about what you do understand in the Bible but do not live by. Corrie ten Boom

Let us remember therefore this lesson: That to worship our God sincerely we must evermore begin by hearkening to His voice, and by giving ear to what He commands us. For if every man goes after his own way, we shall wander. We may well run, but we shall never be a whit nearer to the right way, but rather farther away from it. John Calvin

God wants man to fulfill His commands as a human being and with the quality peculiar to human beings. Martin Buber

Remember this: God has given us His commandments for a reason: to obey them. These commandments are not suggestions, helpful hints, or friendly reminders—they are rules we must live by . . . or else!

Dear Lord, please guide my walk with you. I desire to obey your commandments. Help me to live a life that honors you. Amen

Temptations Everywhere

Temptations Everywhere

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV


If you stop to think about it, the cold, hard evidence is right in front of your eyes: you live in a temptation-filled world. The devil is out on the street, hard at work, causing pain, stress, and heartache in more ways than ever before. Here in the 21st century, the bad guys are working around the clock to lead you astray. That’s why you must remain vigilant.

In a letter to believers, 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. Satan tempts his prey and then devours them. As believing Christians, we must beware. And, if we seek righteousness in our own lives, we must earnestly wrap ourselves in the protection of God’s Holy Word. When we do, we are secure.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus went through agony of soul in His efforts to resist the temptation to do what He felt like doing rather than what He knew was God’s will for Him. ~Joyce Meyer

Temptation is not a sin. Even Jesus was tempted. The Lord Jesus gives you the strength needed to resist temptation. ~Corrie Ten Boom

Lord, life is filled with temptations to stray from your chosen path. But, I face no temptation that You have not already met and conquered through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the One who empowers me with His strength and His love. Amen

Counting Your Blessings

Counting Your Blessings

Blessings crown the head of the righteous . . . Proverbs 10:6 NIV


Because we have been so richly blessed, we should make thanksgiving a habit, a regular part of our daily routines. But sometimes, amid the stresses and obligations of everyday life, we may allow interruptions and distractions to interfere with the time we spend with God.

Have you counted your blessings today? And have you thanked God for them? Hopefully so. After all, God’s gifts include your family, your friends, your talents, your opportunities, your possessions, and the priceless gift of eternal life. How glorious are these gifts . . . and God is responsible for every one of them.

So today, as you go about the duties of everyday life, pause and give thanks to the Creator. He deserves your praise, and you deserve the experience of praising Him.

God’s kindness is not like the sunset—brilliant in its intensity, but dying every second. God’s generosity keeps coming and coming and coming.   ~Bill Hybels

When you and I are related to Jesus Christ, our strength and wisdom and peace and joy and love and hope may run out, but His life rushes in to keep us filled to the brim. We are showered with blessings, not because of anything we have or have not done, but simply because of Him. ~Anne Graham Lotz

Do we not continually pass by blessings innumerable without notice, and instead fix our eyes on what we feel to be our trials and our losses, and think and talk about these until our whole horizon is filled with them, and we almost begin to think we have no blessings at all? ~Hannah Whitall Smith

Lord, I have more blessings than I can count, and I praise You for Your gifts. Let me use my talents and my possessions for  Your glory . . . and for Your Son. Amen