Are You Toxic?

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16
Are You Toxic

Do you think it would be wise to store liquid drain cleaner or weed killer for your lawn in an empty soda can? Of course not! These are highly poisonous, potentially deadly, substances. They need to be labeled as such so no one mistakes them for something they’re not.

Don’t you wish that some of the ideas falsely passed off as ‘Christian‘ came with a label that read: ‘Toxic, Keep Away!‘ Unfortunately they don’t. Consequently, many well-intentioned Christians are having their faith laced with spiritual strychnine.

If these toxins go undetected for long, they’ll inevitably result in spiritual sickness, and the symptoms will include doubt, discouragement, despair, cynicism, and in some cases even loss of faith in God. Are you, or perhaps someone you love, playing with spiritual poison? We all crave the truth, but when the truth is dispensed in untruthful ways, it’s highly toxic. Look for the fruit of God’s spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and  self-control, as a first check on whether your faith and your church is toxic or not.

– Steve Arterburn

“Faith . . . tells what the senses do not tell, but not the contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them.”– Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Why We Love Stories

He said to the Israelites, In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, What do these stones mean? tell them, Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.  Joshua 4:21-22

Why We Love Stories

Why do phrases like, “Once upon a time“, or “In a land far away” immediately grab your attention? Because those phrases tell you you’re about to hear a story; and stories are incredible tools of communication, they can challenge your intellect, stimulate your imagination, and touch your emotions.

The best stories parallel your own life experiences and situations. They bridge time and space, and we feel a part of them. That’s why the lion’s share of the Bible is written using real-life stories that tell of God’s great love for us and his plan to redeem us.

You can’t tell the story of the Lord without telling the story of your own life and experience with Him. And that’s what the Bible does. We read stories about people and how God worked in their lives, and we see how that applies to our lives today.

– Steve Arterburn

“People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.” – Studs Terkel (1912-2008)

Checking for Blind Spots

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. – Proverbs 15:22

Checking for Blind Spots

Have you ever marveled at the fact that people can remain unaware of certain character flaws and relational issues when they’re quite clear to almost everyone who knows them?  Have you ever cringed at the likelihood that you too have issues that you’re not aware of?

These are called “blind spots.”  We all have them, so we all need the help of others in learning to see them.

If you’re married, there’s probably nobody more equipped to help you locate and constructively address your blind spots than your spouse.  Furthermore, there’s no relationship that stands to gain more for having done so.  If you’re not married, find a friend to give permission to talk to you honestly about your blind spot.

Love can be warm and fuzzy, but sometimes it’s hard. . . it’s tough. Just remember—it’s still love.

– Steve Arterburn

We deceive ourselves when we fancy that only weakness needs support.  Strength needs it far more.” – Anne Sophie Swetchine (1782-1857)

Love Forgives

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Love Forgives

Love has many components and dimensions. It’s not all emotion and it often takes great effort.

One dimension of love that can require great effort is the act of forgiveness. Love, in its most liberating form, forgives. Forgiveness can be simple, or it can be difficult and complicated. It has its best chance to present itself when one has learned it from a parent over years of observation.

If children are to be forgiving, their parents must teach them the art of forgiveness. Every day in thousands of ways, children are asking parents, ‘Do you forgive me?’ Dashed expectations often lead parents to consciously or unconsciously give the message, ‘You’re not forgiven.’

What message are you communicating to others? The Bible contains many examples of forgiveness. Do a word-search and see for yourself. Then be ready to model forgiveness.

– Steve Arterburn

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes (1921-2002)

New Life Live: April 7, 2015

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Topics: PornographyDatingCommitmentEmploymentCaretakersParentingGrace, Brain Injury 
Hosts: Steve ArterburnDr. Dave Stoop

Caller Questions:

  1. My dad is a porn addict; how do I bring up the subject so he can get help? 
  2. Do I have commitment issues after dating for 4yrs? 
  3. What is a realistic compromise between waiting for my dream job or taking any job? 
  4. How can I grieve that my 15yo daughter’s brain injury is in decline? 
  5. Comment: The man who couldn’t love his teen daughter needs to read about the five love languages. 
  6. Your advice that we all need grace from people touched a nerve; why is that so tough for me? 

Suggested Resources:
Worthy of Her Trust
Forgiving the Unforgivable
Is This The One
NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible
Toxic Faith  (not available from New Life)

This is the Every Man’s Battle testimony Steve read on the radio today:

When I arrived Friday a feeling of hopelessness and fear filled me, not believing that I would ever become the man I have always truly wanted to be. I used my addiction as an easy scapegoat to escape the reality that I would truly never accomplish becoming worthy of respect. Two days later, I am now fully in my reality of who I am. I am finally real. Thank you guys so much! My battle is not over, and to be honest, I don’t think the battle will ever end, but now I have an army. Now I have weapons. Now I have a reason to actually fight back and not escape reality. Now I have the greatest leader commanding my heart – my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! There is no way that I can think to repay everyone here for the help they have provided me, but rest assured that when we get up to heaven and meet our perfect general, I will pay all of you back.  Peter

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

Love Letter

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you,  so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34–35

Love Letter

Has the post office ever lost some of your mail? I heard a story about a man who just received a postcard written to him in 1948! The postcard was not initially delivered and somehow almost 60 years later found its way to eBay.

A postmaster purchased it because the picture on it was of interest to him. Upon receiving the card, however, he realized it was addressed to someone. So he took the liberty to deliver it. The letter–written to Charles Rose, who was then  eighty-two years old–was from his mother who was no longer living.

I can only imagine how precious this postcard was to him.

Isn’t God a creative gift giver? He loves to show us kindness. Many years ago, he inspired a love letter to you and me. The Bible, from beginning to end, is His great story of love for us.

– Steve Arterburn

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970)

New Life Live: March 3, 2015

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Topics: Adult ChildrenAnxietySubstance AbuseAffairs
Hosts: Steve ArterburnDr. Dave Stoop and Guest Host Sandra McCollom, Author of I Tried Until I Almost Died

Caller Questions:

  1. My 26yo son lives with us and has severe anxiety; how can I help him? 
  2. Is tough love appropriate to kick out my 19yo son using drugs? 
  3. Should I let my 18yo daughter get married? 
  4. Am I enabling my husband to have an affair? 

Suggested Resources:
Healing Is A Choice
Life Recovery Bible
You Are What You Think
Is This The One
Secrets Women Keep

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

 

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)

New Life Live: February 13, 2015

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Topics: Sexual IntegrityPhysical AbuseDatingFearDivorceParenting 
Hosts: Steve ArterburnDr. Dave StoopDr. Jill Hubbard

Caller Questions:

  1. My husband has been unfaithful the whole 14yrs of our marriage; does he really want to change? 
  2. Should I report a church member who physically abused his family? 
  3. I am concerned how my fiancée looks at men and might be into porn as well. 
  4. After a lifetime of struggling with fear, how do I conquer it for good? 
  5. As a divorced father, how do I work through the pain of seeing my daughters love their stepfather? 

Suggested Resources:
Every Heart Restored
NIV Spiritual Renewal Study Bible
Every Woman’s Battle
You Are What You Think
Rethink How You Think

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

Facing Our Fears

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for  I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah41:10

Facing Our Fears

We live in a world that is, at times, a frightening place. We live in a world that is, at times, a discouraging place. We live in a world where life-changing losses can be so painful and so profound that it seems we will never recover. But, with God’s help, and with the help of encouraging family members and friends, we can recover.

During the darker days of life, we are wise to remember the words of Jesus, who reassured His disciples, saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27 NIV). Then, with God’s comfort and His love in our hearts, we can offer encouragement to others. By helping them face their fears, we can, in turn, tackle our own problems with courage, determination, and faith.

God knows that the strength that comes from wrestling with our fear will give us wings to fly.”  ~ Paula Rinehart

His hand on me is a father’s hand, gently guiding and encouraging. His hand lets me know He is with me, so I am not afraid.” ~ Mary Morrison Suggs

Adversity is always unexpected and unwelcome. It is an intruder and a thief, and yet in the hands of God, adversity becomes the means through which His supernatural power is demonstrated.” ~ Charles Stanley

Facing our deepest fears means making peace with our seen self and with our unseen self.” ~ Sheila Walsh

TODAY’S PRAYER
Father, even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me. Thank You, Lord, for Your perfect love, a love that casts out fear and gives me strength and courage to meet the challenges of this world. Amen