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:

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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.

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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

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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

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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

Cheerfulness 101

Cheerfulness 101

Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast.Proverbs 15:15 NCV

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Cheerfulness is a wonderful antidote to stress. And, as believers who have been saved by a risen Christ, why shouldn’t we be cheerful? The answer, of course, is that we have every reason to honor our Savior with joy in our hearts, smiles on our faces, and words of celebration on our lips.

Christ promises us lives of abundance and joy if we accept His love and His grace. Yet sometimes, even the most righteous among us are beset by fits of ill temper and frustration. During these moments, we may not feel like turning our thoughts and prayers to Christ, but that’s precisely what we should do. When we do so, we simply can’t stay grumpy for long.

Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts of religion—love, adoration, praise, and every union with our God. ~St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.   ~St. Francis of Assisi

God is good, and heaven is forever. And if those two facts don’t cheer you up, nothing will.    ~Marie T. Freeman

When we bring sunshine into the lives of others, we’re warmed by it ourselves. ~Barbara Johnson

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, You have given me so many reasons to be happy, and I want to be a cheerful Christian. Today and every day, I will do my best to share my happiness with my family and my friends. Amen

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Dads

Ten Dos and Don’ts for Dads

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1. Connect before you correct.
Part of every Dad’s role is to bring a healthy sense of structure and discipline to the family. Communicating with your child, which includes listening to their “side” of the issue, is a key first step in successful, loving discipline.

2. Be there.
One of the great myths is that a little “quality” time makes up for a substantial “quantity” of time. Going to school, sporting and other events is a big deal! It says – “I have your best interests at the center of my heart” to your child. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. ~ Philippians 2:4

3. Express love often.
Kids (especially pre-teens and teens) act like they don’t want their parents to “make a fuss” over them. It’s just an act. Kids need hugs and kisses … affirm them at every opportunity.

4. Phony, macho men are only heroes in the movies.
Real Dads aren’t perfect. You can be a hero to your children if you open your heart to them and admit when you’ve made mistakes. They have an enormous capacity to forgive and their hearts’ desire is to love and be loved. People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy. ~ Proverbs 28:13

5. Never make your child choose between parents.
If you have problems with your wife, don’t try to convince your child that you’re “right” or the “victim.” This causes an emotional split in your child and will ultimately drive him or her further away from you. Confine the adult issues to the adults.

6. Love your wife.
The greatest Dad in the world will minimize the true impact he has on his children if he does not model Godly intimacy in front of his kids. That’s where the cornerstone of their future marriage is laid. Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you … And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. ~ Colossians 3:12-14

7. Be consistent.
When you are consistent in your actions, love and discipline, an environment of safety and security is created. Kids need to know that there are some things they can always count on. Discipline your child while there is hope. If you don’t, you will ruin their lives. ~ Proverbs 19:18

8. Be careful, you’re in the spotlight.
Your kids are watching every move you make. To some extent, their picture of you shapes their picture of their Heavenly Father. You have the opportunity to create a positive, loving image or a confusing and untrustworthy one. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness – righteous, holy and true. ~ Ephesians 4:23,24

9. Guard your tongue.
The words you speak to your children can cut like a knife or send them soaring like a rocket. They will remember some things you say in passing for the rest of their lives. Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
~ Proverbs 16:24

10. Develop Godly character.
Nothing will influence your children more than watching you grow in your relationship with God. You can preach the Gospel by your actions much more effectively than you can by your words. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done. ~ Colossians 2:6,7

For more information on fatherhood and parenthood, consider some of these resources:

How we Love our Kids
Raising Great Kids
Bad Dads of the Bible

 

A Series of Choices

A Series of Choices

The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and  doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you. – Matthew 6:33 NCV

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Your life is a series of choices. From the instant you wake up in the morning until the moment you nod off to sleep at night, you make countless decisions—decisions about the things you do, decisions about the words you speak, and decisions about the way that you choose to direct your thoughts.

As a believer who has been transformed by the love of Jesus, you have every reason to make wise choices. But sometimes, when the stresses of the daily grind threaten to grind you up and spit you out, you may make choices that are displeasing to God. When you do, you’ll pay a price because you’ll forfeit the happiness and the peace that might otherwise have been yours.

So, as you pause to consider the kind of Christian you are—and the kind of Christian you want to become—ask yourself whether you’re sitting on the fence or standing in the light. The choice is yours . . . and so are the consequences.

The greatest choice any man makes is to let God choose for him.   ~Vance Havner

Every step of your life’s journey is a choice . . . and the quality of those choices determines the quality of the journey.   ~Criswell Freeman

Life is pretty much like a cafeteria line—it offers us many choices, both good and bad. The Christian must have a spiritual radar that detects the difference not only between bad and good but also among good, better, and best.    ~Dennis Swanberg

Every day, I find countless opportunities to decide whether I will obey God and demonstrate my love for Him or try to please myself or the world system. God is waiting for my choices.   ~Bill Bright

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, I have many choices to make. Help me choose wisely as I follow in the footsteps of Your only begotten Son. Amen