In Times of Grief

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. – Philemon 1:7

In Times of Grief

When someone you know is grieving, you want to express your love and concern. But, how do you know what to say? Sometimes there just aren’t words. But it’s important that you spend time with your friend or family member. What’s as important as anything is just showing up.

What do you say to someone who is suffering? Some people are gifted with words of wisdom. For such, one is profoundly grateful. But not all are gifted in that way. Some blurt out things that don’t really make sense. That’s o.k. too. Your words don’t have to be wise. The heart that speaks is heard more than the words spoken. And if you can’t think of anything to say, just say, “I can’t think of anything to say. But I want you to know that we are with you in your grief.”

Or even just embrace. Not even the best of words can take away the pain. What words can do is testify that there is more than pain in our journey on earth to a new day. Of those things that are more, the greatest is love. Express your love. How appallingly grim must be the death of a child in the absence of love.

Sharing in someone’s grief is no time to worry about your own discomfort and uncertainty about what to show. Believe that God will give you the words, the touch, the hug that will comfort. And you’ll be glad you shared in the moment and gave strength to a hurting soul.

– Steve Arterburn

Tears shed for self are tears of weakness, but tears shed for others are a sign of strength. – Billy Graham

Banishing Fear

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. . . – 1 John 4:18a

Banishing Fear

When we feel threatened in relationships, we tend to become defensive and guarded. On the other hand, when we feel safe, we’re far more willing to be open and vulnerable. This is true of our relationships with other people, and it’s also true in our relationship with God.

The apostle John wrote: “Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that [God’s] love has not been perfected in us. We love each other as a result of his loving us first.”

If Jesus hadn’t paid the price for our sins on the cross, there would be every reason for fear and defensiveness before a holy God. But, God showed His love for us by sending His Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins and free us from them. As a result, it’s safe to open yourself to God.

Jesus has his arms wide open, calling you to come and receive His love. Could there be anything better? His love is real, and waiting to embrace you. His love is ready to transform you and drive the fear from your heart. God is love, and He shows Himself to you in and through His Son, Jesus Christ.

When you open yourself to God’s love, you’ll become open to seeing the truth about God and yourself—and you’ll no longer need to be afraid.

– Steve Arterburn

Never take counsel of your fears. – Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

New Life Live: June 22, 2016

Play

Topics: Affairs, Pornography, Trust, Separation, Grief, Intimacy
Hosts: Steve Arterburn, Dr. Dave Stoop, Dr. Jill Hubbard

Caller Questions:

  1. After my affair, my wife is now in love with a woman; should I wait it out?
  2. My husband is doing porn; why does he hide texts and lie to me?
  3. I suspect my separated husband is manic depressive but he will not do anything about it.
  4. How do I move on from a traumatic job loss that I can’t stop thinking about?
  5. I said disrespectful things jokingly to my wife and she will not be intimate with me; how do I fix it?

Suggested Resources:
7 Minute Marriage Solution
Worthy of Her Trust
Healing Is a Choice
How We Love

Subscribe to the NEW LIFE LIVE Podcast via iTunes or streaming audio from Stitcher, the Smart Radio App.

The Character Building Path: Following His Footsteps

“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” And at once they left their nets and followed Him. – Matthew 4:19-20

Following His Footsteps

Jesus walks with you. Are you walking with Him? Hopefully, you will choose to walk with Him today and every day of your life.

Jesus loved you so much that He endured unspeakable humiliation and suffering for you. How will you respond to Christ’s sacrifice? Will you take up His cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23), or will you choose another path? When you place your hopes squarely at the foot of the cross, when you place Jesus squarely at the center of your life, you will be blessed.

The old familiar hymn begins, “What a friend we have in Jesus….” No truer words were ever penned. Jesus is the sovereign Friend and ultimate Savior of mankind. Christ showed enduring love for His believers by willingly sacrificing His own life so that we might have eternal life. Now, it is our turn to become His friend.

Let us love our Savior, let us praise Him, and let us share His message of salvation with the world. When we do, we demonstrate that our acquaintance with the Master is not a passing fancy, but is, instead, the cornerstone and the touchstone of our lives.

Following Christ is a matter of obedience. If you want to be a little more like Jesus . . . learn about His teachings, follow in His footsteps, and obey His commandments.

– Steve Arterburn

Imagine the spiritual strength the disciples drew from walking hundreds of miles with Jesus . . . 3 John 4. – John Maxwell 

Our responsibility is to feed from Him, to stay close to Him, to follow Him—because sheep easily go astray—so that we eternally experience the protection and companionship of our Great Shepherd the Lord Jesus Christ. – Franklin Graham 

It’s your heart that Jesus longs for: your will to be made His own with self on the cross forever, and Jesus alone on the throne. – Ruth Bell Graham

Walking Our Talk

So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. – Galatians 6:9

Walking Our Talk
If you’re like most people, you seek the admiration of your neighbors, your coworkers, and your family members. But the eagerness to please others should never overshadow your eagerness to please God. And your desire to impress others should never cause you to compromise your beliefs or to defy your conscience. In short, you must be a “doer of the word” by putting God first. In other words, are you walking your talk of love, grace, peace, mercy and joy?

The words of Matthew 6:33 offer clear instructions for managing your day and your life: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (HCSB).

Each new day presents countless opportunities to put God in first place . . . or not. When you honor Him by living according to His commandments, you earn the abundance and peace that He promises. But, if you ignore God’s teachings, you’ll pay a price, perhaps a very great price indeed.

Would you like a time-tested formula for successful living? Here it is: Don’t just listen to God’s Word, live by it. Does this sound too simple? Perhaps it is simple, but it is also the only way to reap the marvelous riches that God has in store for you.

Ask yourself if your behavior has been radically changed by your unfolding relationship with God. If the answer to this question is unclear to you—or if the honest answer is a resounding no—think of a single step you can take, a positive change in your life, that will bring you closer to your Creator.

– Steve Arterburn

Although God causes all things to work together for good for His children, He still holds us accountable for our behavior. – Kay Arthur   

Either God’s Word keeps you from sin, or sin keeps you from God’s Word. – Corrie ten Boom

There may be no trumpet sound or loud applause when we make a right decision, just a calm sense of resolution and peace. – Gloria Gaither

The temptation of the age is to look good without being good. – Brennan Manning

If we have the true love of God in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do. – D. L. Moody

Love Is A Choice

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has on one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:12-13

Love Is A Choice

Love is a choice. Either you choose to behave lovingly toward others . . . or not; either you behave yourself in ways that enhance your relationships . . . or not. But make no mistake: genuine love requires effort. Simply put, if you wish to build lasting relationships, you must be willing to do your part.

Christ’s words are clear: we are to love God first, and secondly, we are to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). These two commands are seldom easy, and because we are imperfect beings, we often fall short. But God’s Word commands us to try.

The Christian path is an exercise in love and forgiveness. If we are to walk in Christ’s footsteps, we must forgive those who have done us harm, and we must accept Christ’s love by sharing it freely with family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers.

God does not intend for you to experience mediocre relationships; He created you for far greater things. Building lasting relationships requires compassion, wisdom, empathy, kindness, courtesy, and forgiveness. If that sounds a lot like work, it is, which is perfectly fine with God. Why? Because He knows that you are capable of doing that work, and because He knows that the fruits of your labors will enrich the lives of your loved ones and the lives of generations yet unborn.

Do you want love to last? Then you must understand this: Genuine love requires effort. That’s why those who are lazy in love are often losers in love, too!

– Steve Arterburn

No man truly has joy unless he lives in love. – Thomas Aquinas

It is when we come to the Lord in our nothingness, our powerlessness and our helplessness that He then enables us to love in a way which, without Him, would be absolutely impossible. – Elisabeth Elliot

Love is extravagant in the price it is willing to pay, the time it is willing to give, the hardships it is willing to endure, and the strength it is willing to spend. Love never thinks in terms of  ‘how little,’ but always in terms of  ‘how much.’ Love gives, love knows, and love lasts. – Joni Eareckson Tada

To love another person is to see the face of God. – Victor Hugo

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11 NASB

Accepting Yourself

Oh Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. – Psalm 130:8

Accepting Yourself

Many people seem to go about life with a kind of bravado . . . bold confidence and self-assurance. The truth, however, is that most of us wish we were different somehow. If only you were as outgoing as Jack . . . if you were as physically fit as Mary . . . if you had the financial sense of Tom . . . a full head of hair like John . . . or the quick wit of Connie. While it’s okay to admire good traits in others, often this desire to be like someone else is actually a form of covetousness, or envy. So, how about learning to accept yourself as God has made you.

Before you can truly accept yourself, however, you need to see the truth about yourself, recognizing both the gifts and the limitations that God’s given you. If you don’t, you will constantly struggle to be someone you’re not.

One way to appreciate how God has made you is to read Psalm 139. The psalmist rejoices, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well I know it.”  (139:14)

Each of us is unique and special . . . embraced and accepted by God himself . . . even though not one of us is perfect. Spiritual renewal cannot begin until you’re willing to accept yourself as God made you. Once you accept the truth about yourself your focus can change . . . and you can bring great glory to God himself. He, after all, is the one who made you, and He is the reason we live.

– Steve Arterburn

I am somebody. I am me. I like being me. And I need nobody to make me somebody. – Louis L’Amour

The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.– Mark Twain

It’s Not About You!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

It's Not About You

The first sentence of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life is this: “It’s not about you!” Do you believe that? Does your life reflect that? It’s a struggle for me, and I bet it’s a struggle for you.

Consider these situations: You’re in the checkout line and the older gentleman in front of you wants to write a check, but can’t find his checkbook. He locates his checkbook, but now he has no pen. Finally pen in hand, he inquires about the date. The clerk noticing his out-of-state check calls for approval. This short “in-and-out” errand adds additional minutes to your packed schedule. It was probably the most inconvenient experience you’ve gone through. There ought to be a law! Or in the words of my mother, “It’s always something!

Or what about your restaurant experience with the hamburger and no ketchup because the waitress forgot. She is off talking, ignoring your request, and crying about something. The serving station has ketchup but it is her job. So you sit, tap your fingers on the table, and shoot darts at the lady crying at the back of the restaurant.

Did you think to say a kind word to the gentleman to help settle his nerves, or tell the waitress that you hope things get better. You might even leave a bigger tip or offer to pray for her. It’s not about you! Look outside yourself. It’s what we’re called to do. Try it. See if God doesn’t affirm you for it.

– Steve Arterburn

Only God can give us a selfless love for others, as the Holy Spirit changes us from within. This is one reason we must receive Christ, for apart from His Spirit we can never be freed from the chains of selfishness, jealousy, and indifference. Will others see Christ’s love in your life today? – Billy Graham

It’s that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so ‘don’t fuss, dear; get on with it. – Audrey Hepburn

Love Your Neighbor

Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. –  1 John 3:18

Love Your Neighbor

If you’re like me, you live a life in community, but your community isn’t likely one to include your neighbors. I know people who have lived in their neighborhoods for years and still don’t know their neighbors’ names. Busyness blocks out the world immediately around them.

A friend of mine recently shared a story with me. She said that she’s lived in the same neighborhood for twelve years and never really reached out to any of her neighbors. Having learned that one of her neighbors was battling cancer and leukemia, she thought that the time had come to express care, concern, and love to her.

So, she wrote a note, wrapped up a little stuffed bunny, and approached her neighbor’s house. Her heart was pounding. Was she opening herself to ridicule? She knocked on the door, wondering how this little gift and expression of care would be received. When the neighbor came to the door, she could tell that this hand delivered expression of love really moved her. The whole 10-minute process, doing exactly what God wanted her to do, was a blessing to both and an expression of the love of God to her neighbor.

Do you need to step out of your comfort zone and express love and concern to someone? Just look around you; the opportunities are there. We just close them off in our hurry to have a day without interruptions. Express some care and concern for someone today.  Lend someone a helping hand. Spend time (and money if necessary) to be an agent of God’s love. You know you need to do it!

– Steve Arterburn

The Lord commands us to do good unto all men without exception, though the majority are very undeserving when judged according to their own merits… [The Scripture] teaches us that we must not think of man’s real value, but only of his creation in the image of God to which we owe all possible honor and love. – John Calvin

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. – A. A. Milne

Size Doesn’t Matter

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1

Size Doesnt Matter

We live in a culture that values things that are large, extravagant, and impossible to miss. For this reason, we’re tempted to look at the struggles in our rather ordinary lives, and consider our victories insignificant if they’re not acknowledged or recognized by others.

But that’s just not true. Victor Hugo, the great French playwright who penned Les Misérables, rightly said our ‘greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes, obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes.’

It’s not the size of the audience, or the amount of applause, that determines the value of your achievements. Live your life before the one true God. And live it with faith, hope, and love even though you’re not getting accolades for it. Remember, your true character is what you do when no one is looking.

– Steve Arterburn

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” – Will Rogers (1879-1935)