Give Up Resentment; Get Back Love

Do you want to live an exceptional life? In part two of my series I’ll explain how to get rid of poisonous resentment, and replace it with love. We all tend to remember offenses against us, but if we let them fester, they block us from receiving God’s love and sharing it with others. Watch for more.

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Romance Cool Down

When Mandy first started dating her boyfriend 5 months ago, he was quite the romantic; sending heartfelt love letters and spontaneous gifts and calling mid-day just to remind her that he missed her. But once they fell in love and started talking about marriage all that behavior cooled to a few phone calls and visits per week. He says it’s normal male behavior. Mandy’s asking “Is this normal?” Watch the video.

Choosing to heal

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Giving Thanks – Day 11

The ungrateful see little of His great love; but the grateful feel their heart is a shore and His love is a sea that never stops coming in. – Ann Voscamp

30daysofthanks11

This is the last day of learning how to Cultivate a Heart of Gratitude Within Your Home this Thanksgiving Season—7 simple ways

Part 5 of 5.

  • Journal.
  • Tell Stories.
  • Serve.
  • Create.
  • Sing. 
  • Connect.
  • Remember. Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Take some time to remember the history of this holiday. Watch Peanuts The Mayflower Voyage with your kids (you can rent it from the library or pick it up from the store and make it a yearly family tradition). This surprisingly informative movie tells the story of the dangerous and difficult voyage made by the Pilgrims and the challenges they faced when they arrived in America. Talk with your kids about God’s provision for the pilgrims.

 

Remember also how God has and is caring for us. How true are the words of, William Jennings Bryan, “On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.” We all have stories. God has brought us through valleys. He’s been with us in joy and sadness. And he will be with us in the days ahead.

Not only will intentional gratitude enrich Thanksgiving, it will help us as we look forward to the season of Christmas, where the desire for stuff can run high. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to battle this cultural trend by cultivating thankful hearts in our families now, hearts of profound and simply joy?

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~ W.J. Cameron

Let us be actively thankful this Thanksgiving, remembering how we’ve been loved. Pick one or two of the above suggestions you think would bless your family and lean into the loveliness of this season.

What Will The In-Laws Think?

Joanne’s husband told her that he is not longer in love with her and wants a divorce. She is plagued by worry about what her in-laws are going to think of her.  She is worried about her reputation.   Hear what I have to say:

steve
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Don’t be Anxious

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. - Philippians 4:6 

We live in a fast-paced, stress-inducing, anxiety-filled world that oftentimes seems to shift beneath our feet. Sometimes, trusting God is difficult, especially when we become caught up in the incessant demands of an anxious world. When you feel stressed to the breaking point—and you will—return your thoughts to God’s love and God’s promises. And as you confront the challenges of everyday living, turn all of your concerns over to your Heavenly Father.

Don't Be Anxious

The same God who created the universe will comfort and guide you if you ask Him . . . so ask Him. Then watch in amazement as your anxieties melt into the warmth of His loving hands.

So often we pray and then fret anxiously, waiting for God to hurry up and do something. All the while God is waiting for us to calm down, so He can do something through us. - Corrie ten Boom

The fierce grip of panic need not immobilize you. God knows no limitation when it comes to deliverance. Admit your fear. Commit it to Him. Dump the pressure on Him. He can handle it. - Charles Swindoll

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, sometimes this world is a difficult place, and, as a frail human being, I am fearful. When I am worried, restore my faith. When I am anxious, turn my thoughts to You. When I grieve, touch my heart with Your enduring love. And, keep me mindful, Lord, that nothing, absolutely nothing, will happen this day that You and I cannot handle together. Amen 

Controlling Your Emotions

Don’t abandon wisdom, and she will watch over you; love her, and she will guard you
Proverbs 4:6

Who is in charge of your emotions? Is it you, or have you formed the unfortunate habit of letting other people—or stressful situations—determine the quality of your thoughts and the direction of your day? If you’re wise—and if you’d like to build a better life for yourself and your loved ones—you’ll learn to control your emotions before your emotions control you.

Wisdom

Human emotions are highly variable, decidedly unpredictable, and often unreliable. Our emotions are like the weather, only far more fickle. So we must learn to live by faith, not by the ups and downs of our own emotional roller coasters.

Sometime during this day, you will probably be gripped by a strong negative feeling. Distrust it. Rein it in. Test it. And turn it over to God. Your emotions will inevitably change; God will not. So trust Him completely as you watch those negative feelings slowly evaporate into thin air—which, of course, they will.

I may no longer depend on pleasant impulses to bring me before the Lord. I must rather respond to principles I know to be right, whether I feel them to be enjoyable or not. 
Jim Elliot

Our feelings do not affect God’s facts. They may blow up, like clouds, and cover the eternal things that we do most truly believe. We may not see the shining of the promises—but they still shine! His strength is not for one moment less because of our human weakness. 
Amy Carmichael

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, You are my strength and my refuge. As I journey through this day, I will encounter events that cause me emotional distress. Lord, when I am troubled, let me turn to You. Keep me steady, Lord, and in those difficult moments, renew a right spirit inside my heart. Amen

Our God is Able

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. Luke 11:4

Corrie ten Boom, one of the 20th century’s great Christian spokespersons, lost her sister and father in the Nazi death camps of World War II, and she barely escaped with her own life.

forgiveness

Years after the war, she began speaking on the subject of forgiveness. After one address in Munich, a former S.S. man who brutalized and humiliated Corrie while she was in prison approached her as the church was emptying. Beaming with joy, he said, “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein. To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!”

He extended his hand to her. She was frozen, trying to smile as angry, vengeful thoughts boiled inside her. Breathing a silent prayer and acting in sheer obedience, she finally managed to take the man’s hand. She recalls what happened next like this:

“As I took his hand in mine the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on Christ’s. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, with the command, the love itself.”

Whenever forgiveness seems impossible, remember this: Jesus Christ lives in you, and He can do what you cannot.

“Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note torn in two, and burned up so that it never can be shown against one.” - Henry Ward Beecher

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” – Corrie ten Boom

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, I know that in my own strength I am not able to forgive wholeheartedly but because your Holy Spirit lives in me, I am able to forgive, love and sincerely walk the path of healing and restoration. Thank you Holy Spirit that you are able. Amen

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!

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

Compassion: 10 Ways to Help People in Crisis

Compassion: 10 Ways to Help People in Crisis

compassion.newlife

1. Be there! Even better than sound advice or financial aid is the physical presence of someone who is genuinely concerned.

2. Listen! It’s important that people in crisis are able to verbalize their story. It helps them process the situation – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Encourage delaying any non-essential decisions until crisis has passed … There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. ~ Proverbs 12:18.

3. Don’t take any rash statements or harsh words too seriously. People in crisis often vent emotional stress in the most convenient direction. Don’t react, respond in love … Love is patient, love is kind. ~1 Corinthians 13:4

4. Know when to back off! Often, well-intentioned expressions of concern can cross emotional and practical boundaries. Watch for subtle signals that it may be time to give the person in crisis some space … The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. ~Proverbs 16:1

5. Pray and alert others to pray too! In addition to the supernatural power of prayer, people in crisis often find great comfort in knowing that they’re being prayed for … pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. ~James 5:16

6. Find practical ways, however small, to help the person in crisis maintain routine functions. Simple things like bringing meals, doing laundry, taking the kids to soccer practice, etc. relieve enormous pressure during difficult times … And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased. ~Hebrews 13:16

7. Help the person in crisis maintain a realistic perspective. People in crisis are often overwhelmed by their situation. Remind them of life’s truly important issues and help them weigh their situation in the light of a realistic, eternal perspective.

8. Link them with helpful resources. People in crisis often don’t think clearly. Be an objective third party who can point to crisis agencies, clergy or other assistance.

9. Don’t think you’re not needed just because the crisis has passed. Crisis situations often have long-term consequences. Make yourself available for continuing care and concern.

10. What would Jesus do? Jesus encountered people in crisis regularly. Examine Scripture to glean wisdom from His example.

Your Own Worst Critic?

Your Own Worst Critic?

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating  self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! – 1 John 3:18-21 MSG

critics.newlife

Are you your own worst critic? And in response to that criticism, are you constantly trying to transform yourself into a person who meets society’s expectations, but not God’s expectations? If so, it’s time to become a little more understanding of the person you see whenever you look into the mirror.

Being patient with other people can be difficult. But sometimes, we find it even more difficult to be patient with ourselves. We have high expectations and lofty goals. We want to receive God’s blessings now, not later. And, of course, we want our lives to unfold according to our own wishes and our own timetables—not God’s. Yet throughout the Bible, we are instructed that patience is the companion of wisdom. Proverbs 16:32 teaches us that “Patience is better than strength” (NCV). God’s message, then, is clear: we must be patient with all people—including ourselves.

The Bible affirms the importance of self-acceptance by exhorting believers to love others as they love themselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Furthermore, the Bible teaches that when we genuinely open our hearts to Him, God accepts us just as we are. And, if He accepts us—faults and all—then who are we to believe otherwise?

The great freedom Jesus gives us is to be ourselves, defined by His love and our inner qualities and gifts rather than by any kind of show we put on for the world. ~Leslie Williams

Being loved by Him whose opinion matters most gives us the security to risk loving, too—even loving ourselves.    ~Gloria Gaither

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, I have so much to learn and so many ways to improve myself, but You love me just as I am. Thank You for Your love and for Your Son. And, help me to become the person that You want me to become. Amen