Overcoming Criticism

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Overcoming Criticism

Who amongst us enjoys criticism? I know I don’t! In fact, even when criticism is constructive, it’s usually about as welcomed as an IRS audit.

But there’s something even worse than criticism: and that’s critical people. We all know someone like this. You know who I’m talking about, that person who meets every plan with some version of ‘That’s impossible!‘ It’s that person who challenges your enthusiasm or conviction to tackle a big project with a smirk or a head-wag.

But remember: nearly every advance, discovery, or act of courage is precipitated by criticism. There’s really only one sure way to avoid it: by doing nothing. And what kind of choice is that, especially for people of faith. If you expect to be praised you must be willing to be criticized.

– Steve Arterburn

“There are high spots in all our lives, and most of them have come about through encouragement from someone else. I don’t care how great, how famous or successful a man or woman may be, he hungers for applause.” – George Matthew Adams (1882-1962)

 

No-Win Situations

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of the mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

No-Win Situations

Sometimes we feel powerless for one reason or another. You may be in a situation where other people have power over you. You may feel that you’re trapped by the demands of others and that there’s no way to please them all. It’s a double bind: to please one is to disappoint another. Sometimes when we feel stuck and frustrated with our relationships, we look for a measure of
control by escaping through our addictive behaviors.

When you’re caught in no-win situations, don’t run away through your addictive or compulsive escape hatches. At times like these God is there, and he’ll listen to your woes. He hears your cries and is willing to give you hope for the future.

Admit to God that you’re powerless; surrender to Him and allow His Holy Spirit to invade your life, it’s the power you need to move forward.

– Steve Arterburn

“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

Being Before Doing

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations.  I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10

Being Before Doing

Filling our lives with activity and busyness puts us in dangerous territory.  Aside from making us emotionally frazzled and physically exhausted, it’s also threatening to make us both intellectually and spiritually deficient.

I’m not suggesting you live a passive life.  Nor am I suggesting there’s a dichotomy between being and doing.  But I am suggesting there’s a priority.  Why?

– Doing creates and perpetuates the myth that we’re in control; being acknowledges that God’s in control.
– Doing commits us to safety; being acknowledges that the Christian life is one of faith—and that means one of risk.
– Doing engenders spiritual pride; being produces humility.
– Doing is about correcting behavioral patterns; being is about spiritual renewal through knowing God.
– Doing is about reactionary response; being is about thoughtfully, prayerfully, and intentionally bringing what the Bible teaches to bear upon every aspect of life.

What are you “being” as you live your life doing?

– Steve Arterburn

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon (1940-1980)

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)

 

New Life Live: May 29, 2015

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Topics: Marriage, Regret, Forgiveness, Affairs, Dating
Hosts: Dr. Sheri Keffer, Milan Yerkovich

Caller Questions:

  1. What practical steps should I take to prepare for remarriage in my late 50s?
  2. How does one deal with the regret of a home health care decision that led to death?
  3. Thank you for standing up to the caller on a previous show! Affairs do leave collateral damage.
  4. I am new to online dating; how do you know when to meet a guy in person?

Suggested Resources:
How We Love
Forgiving the Unforgivable
Is This The One

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

Edward Spencer, Unsung Hero

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Edward Spencer, Unsung Hero

We live in a day and age where too many people are convinced that they are entitled.  Consequently, thankfulness seems a lost—nearly extinct—art.  Yet while culture hasn’t helped us in this department, the problem’s much deeper.  It’s rooted in our fallen hearts.

Warren Wiersbe illustrated this in his commentary on the book of Colossians where he tells the story of a ship that ran aground on the shore of Lake Michigan in 1860.  Witnessing this from land, Edward Spencer, a young ministerial student, plunged himself time and again into the frigid waters to pull seventeen desperate passengers from certain death.

But those lives weren’t saved without cost.  Edward’s repeated plunges into the icy lake permanently damaged the young man’s health.  Some years later, at Edward’s funeral, it was noted that not one of those seventeen people snatched from death that day ever bothered to thank him.

Who do you need to thank today?

– Steve Arterburn

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.  Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.  Thankfulness may consist merely of words.  Gratitude is shown by acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

Eyes Off the Gloom

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? — Romans 8:31

Some years ago the New York Times featured news of a new toy—a plush “Ask Me More Eeyore,” modeled after the gloomy donkey from Winnie the Pooh.  The toy is designed for children aged three to seven.  The paper remarked that these are just the right ages, apparently, to learn about undaunted pessimism.

If God is For Us....

Eeyore responds to children’s questions with comments like, “Don’t count on it,” “Doesn’t look good,” “Outcome looks sort of gloomy,” “You can’t win them all,” and “Looks good for you, must be nice.”

Sometimes Eeyore will even ask the child, “You wouldn’t want me for a friend, would you?

Do you have a gloomy Eeyore in your life?  Perhaps you’ve taken on that role for yourself!

If you’re busy looking for all the things that can go wrong, you’re sure to miss the blessings God has prepared for you. Besides, life is too short to dwell on the gloom and doom. As believers our hope is in our Savior, no matter what our circumstance, He walks beside us, He fights our battles and He goes before us in everything. Our hope is not in the arm of flesh, it rests on the mighty and powerful arm of God. Take your eyes off the gloom and focus them on the Lord.

Let’s remember the words of that old hymn: “Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done!

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)

Cross-Addiction

Connie wrote in asking for us to do a segment about cross-addiction. Why is it so easy to go from one addiction, like an addiction to drugs or alcohol, to another problem behavior, like overeating?  – Click here to watch.

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Focus On Being

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Focus On Being

How can you begin breaking through the myth,of “you-are-what-you-do” and see that your,true identity is in Jesus Christ. Once you grasp that, you can begin,relating to other people apart from what they do. We must open up our schedules, set aside our calendar, and get to the business of allowing our identity in Christ to liberate and transform our human relationships.

A friend of mine meets each week with a group of four other friends to do what we rarely do. They purposely avoid talking about what they do in order to talk about who they are and how they feel. They’re learning to peel away the layers of façade to give and receive the nurture, affirmation, and encouragement they desperately need but are often fearful to seek.

Recently my friend shared a painful issue with his friends. His father lays dying in a nursing home. He’s incapacitated. His mind is totally gone. My friend visits him, and helps dress and care for him. What he wants more than anything is to hear these words from his father before he dies: “You’re a good child.”

Friends can share these painful and vulnerable feelings and offer consolation and encouragement in the group setting as one deals with the pain and loss. There aren’t enough people who function together as these five do.

– Steve Arterburn

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people you can.” – John Wesley (1703–1791)