Sacrificial Love

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 you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34–35
Sacrificial Love

If we’re to love and serve our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers in the manner God desires, we must understand the following three things:

First, sacrifice doesn’t mean giving that other person everything he or she wants. But it does mean you consider the other person’s thoughts and concerns equally alongside yours; in the same way the white stripe is expressed equally with the red on a candy cane. You can’t tell if it’s red with a white stripe or white with red.

Second, sacrifice is more than taking another’s thoughts into consideration. It’s taking those thoughts and putting them into play with as much emphasis and care as you give your own thoughts–even if the thought processes of that other person may not make sense to you.

Third, you must develop your own style of carrying out this sacrificial love—a style that’s customized to the character and needs of your relationship. You may not always agree with the other person. That’s fine. Agreement is nearly as important as the way of coming to an agreement. You are different people, and even siblings brought up in the same home with the same parents and surroundings come up with different opinions and answers to life. But, the use of the servant mind-set must always be consistent among all of us if we wish to love others as ourselves.

Steve Arterburn

We make a living at what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill (1874–1965)

 

Forgiving Seems Impossible

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

Forgiving Seems Impossible

Corrie ten Boom, one of the twentieth 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.

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.

Steve Arterburn

“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 (1813-1887)

From Slavery To Servanthood

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

From Slavery To Servanthood

Imagine the scene: A broken man awakens one morning with no options. Hopeless, owning nothing but an empty stomach, he stands starkly upon the auctioneer’s block as a slave. Shoulders slumped, pride stripped away, gaunt eyes staring aimlessly into the distance, his ashen face conveys only shame.

Suddenly, a man with gentle eyes appears, and this man sees value and potential in this broken man. “Did I see a spark of something in that man’s eyes?” the slave wonders. It couldn’t be, but his hope rises as the gentle man pays the price, brings him home, clothes him, and feeds him richly. His master does love him!

Do you recognize this picture? I hope so. It’s a picture of your life in Christ. You and I were once slaves on the auction block of sin. We stood broken by sin. Yet our loving and gentle Master—for reasons we may never know, and for reasons not found in us—saw value in us. And He paid for our freedom with His own blood, on a cross.

Through Jesus Christ, we’ve been freed from bondage. But that’s not the end, only the beginning. We must move on and ask the question, “What have we been freed for?” The answer: for Jesus Christ!

We’ve been freed by Christ, for Christ. That is, so we might serve Him, praise Him, and give Him glory.

– Steve Arterburn

“To obey God is Freedom.” – Seneca the Younger (5 B.C.–A.D. 65)

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.