Listening To Guilt

Listening To Guilt

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. - Romans 8:1 NKJV

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All of us have made mistakes. Sometimes, we are swept up by events that encourage us to behave in ways that we later come to regret. And sometimes, even when our intentions are honorable, we make errors in judgment that have long-lasting consequences. When we look back at our actions with remorse, we may experience intense feelings of guilt. But God has an answer for the guilt that we feel. That answer is His forgiveness.

Sometimes, long after God has forgiven us, we may continue to withhold forgiveness from ourselves. Instead of accepting God’s mercy and accepting our past, we may think far too long and hard about the things that ‘might have been,’ the things that ‘could have been,’ or the things that ‘should have been.’

Are you troubled by feelings of guilt, even after you’ve received God’s forgiveness? Are you still struggling with painful memories of mistakes you made long ago? Are you focused so intently on yesterday that your vision of today is clouded? If so, you still have work to do’spiritual work. You should ask your Heavenly Father not for forgiveness (He granted that gift the very first time you asked Him!) but instead for acceptance and trust: acceptance of the past and trust in God’s plan for your life.

If you find yourself plagued by feelings of guilt or shame, consult God’s survival guide: His Holy Word. And as you do so, consider the following Biblically-based tips for overcoming those feelings of guilt once and for all:

1. Stop doing the things that make you feel guilty: How can you expect not to feel guilty if you should feel guilty? (Acts 26:20)
2. Ask God for forgiveness. When you ask for it, He will give it. (1 John 1:9)
3. Ask forgiveness from the people you have harmed: This step is hard, but helpful. And even if the other folks cannot find it in their hearts to forgive you, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you asked. (Proverbs 28:13)
4. Forgive yourself: if you’re no longer misbehaving, it’s the right thing to do. And today is the right day to do it. (Romans 14:22)
5. Become more diligent in your daily time of prayer and Bible study. A regular time of quiet reflection and prayer will allow you to praise your Creator, to focus your thoughts, to remind yourself of His love, and to seek His guidance in matters great and small. (Isaiah 50:45)
6. Get busy making the world a better place. Now that God has forgiven you, it’s time for you to show your gratitude by serving Him. (Matthew 23:11-12)

Guilt is a gift that leads us to grace. - Franklin Graham

Today’s Prayer
Lord Jesus, help me to forgive myself as you forgive me. Amen.

 

 

He Is Sufficient

He Is Sufficient

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

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Learning to depend upon God will help you build character. And of this you can be certain: God is sufficient to meet your needs. Period.

Do the demands of life seem overwhelming at times? If so, you must learn to rely not only upon your own resources, but also upon the promises of your Father in heaven. God will hold your hand and walk with you and your family if you let Him. So even if your circumstances are difficult, trust the Father.

The Psalmist writes, ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5 NKJV). But when we are suffering, the morning may seem very far away. It is not. God promises that He is ‘near to those who have a broken heart’ (Psalm 34:18 NKJV). When we are troubled, we must turn to Him, and we must encourage our friends and family members to do likewise.

If you are discouraged by the inevitable demands of life here on earth, be mindful of this fact: the loving heart of God is sufficient to meet any challenge . . . including yours.

Yes, God’s grace is always sufficient, and His arms are always open to give it. But, will our arms be open to receive it? -  Beth Moore

I grew up learning to be self-reliant, but now, to grow up in Christ, I must unlearn self-reliance and learn self-distrust in light of his all-sufficiency. - Mary Morrison Suggs

God’s saints in all ages have realized that God was enough for them. God is enough for time; God is enough for eternity. God is enough! -Hannah Whitall Smith

Today’s Prayer
Dear Lord, I thank you that in You I have infinite protection, because You are an infinitive God. Help me to live in the center of Your will, I know that in the center of Your will, your protection will always be available for me. Amen

 

This Workshop helped me be a better Relator

This Workshop helped me be a better Relator

Marriage WorkshopMy life before this marriage weekend was horrible. I avoided all issues and tried to to please my wife in ways other than on a relational and emotional level. I wanted to spend more time at work rather than deal with my wife at home. This marriage weekend has taught me better ways to communicate and relate to my wife, and how to comfort her. I also learned how to release and open up. Anyone considering this marriage workshop should definitely go to this life altering weekend. – Mike

 

 

Waiting . . . Patiently

Waiting . . . Patiently

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint – Isaiah 40:31

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The dictionary defines the word patience as “the ability to be calm, tolerant, and understanding.” If that describes you, you can skip the rest of this page. But, if you’re like most of us, you’d better keep reading.

For most of us, patience is a hard thing to master. Why? Because we have lots of things we want, and we know precisely when we want them: NOW (if not sooner). But our Father in heaven has other ideas; the Bible teaches that we must learn to wait patiently for the things that God has in store for us, even when waiting is difficult.

We live in an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect people. Sometimes, we inherit troubles from others, and sometimes we create troubles for ourselves. On other occasions, we see other people “moving ahead” in the world, and we want to move ahead with them. So we become impatient with ourselves, with our circumstances, and even with our Creator.

Psalm 37:7 instructs us to “rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (NKJV). But, for most of us, waiting patiently for Him is hard. We are fallible beings who seek solutions to our problems today, not tomorrow. Still, God instructs us to wait patiently for His plans to unfold, and that’s exactly what we should do. Sometimes, patience is the price we pay for being responsible adults, and that’s as it should be. After all, think how patient our Heavenly Father has been with us. So the next time you find yourself drumming your fingers as you wait for a quick resolution to the challenges of everyday living, take a deep breath and ask God for patience.

Remember that patience builds character . . . and the best moment to start building is this one.

The best things in life seldom happen overnight; they usually take time. Henry Blackaby writes, “The grass that is here today and gone tomorrow does not require much time to mature. A big oak tree that lasts for generations requires much more time to grow and mature. God is concerned about your life through eternity. Allow Him to take all the time He needs to shape you for His purposes.”

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, please help me to accept the sovereignty of your will as I wait on you. Help me to see all the amazing things I can learn about You and myself as I wait and above all draw me close to you. Amen

Neighbors in Need

Neighbors in Need

Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”  That’s exactly what Jesus did. - Romans 15:2-3 MSG

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Sometimes, it’s not you, but instead your neighbors, who are experiencing stress. And, of course, we know that we’re instructed to love our neighbors, and yet there’s so little time . . . and we’re so busy. No matter. As Christians, we are commanded by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to love our neighbors just as we love ourselves.

This very day, you will encounter someone who needs a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, a helping hand, or a heartfelt prayer. And, if you don’t reach out to your friend, who will? If you don’t take the time to understand the needs of your neighbors, who will? If you don’t love your brothers and sisters, who will? So, today, look for a neighbor in need . . . and then do something to help. Father’s orders.

Make it a rule, and pray to God to help you to keep it, never, if possible, to lie down at night without being able to say: “I have made one human being at least a little wiser, or a little happier, or at least a little better this day.” ~Charles Kingsley

Encouraging others means helping people, looking for the best in them, and trying to bring out their positive qualities.   ~John Maxwell

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. ~John Wesley

 

TODAY’S PRAYER
Heavenly Father, help me be a Good Samaritan to the people You place along my path, today and every day. Amen

Ten things to do While you Wait

Ten Things to Do While You Wait

We have all been there at some point. . . in the waiting room of life. Here are ten ways to help you relax and actually benefit from your time of waiting.

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1. Pray and meditate on Scripture: Through our personal time of prayer and meditation on God’s Word, we will find the ‘peace that passes understanding.’ Spending time in God’s presence helps us remember who we are and how very much we are loved. Scripture tells us Jesus often went to a placed by Himself and prayed.

2. Listen to music: When you need to relax, listen to some calming music. If you need some extra energy, find something upbeat that makes you want to move. Be aware of your moods and your needs, and you will find that music can play a big part in helping you achieve a positive emotional state.

3. Exercise: Not only is exercise the number-one stress reducer, it also controls appetite, increases energy and body temperature, releases endorphins, and improves sleep quality. Physical exercise is the most natural way you can come to experience a state of well-being or satisfaction.

4. Keep a Journal: Take this waiting time as an opportunity to journal about what’s going on in your life and how you feel about things. Journaling can help you sort out the many things that may be going on in your heart and heart. Once you’ve expressed your feelings in writing, they become much easier to understand.

5. Talk to a friend, pastor, or therapist: Not only does talking through your stresses with a close confidant help relieve those stresses, but it will also help you feel more connected with a human being.

6. Read: Take time to read a good book, an inspirational story, or even the comics or sports page of the newspaper. What you enjoy will be unique to you, so don’t get stuck in a rut of comparing yourself to others.

7. Get some R&R: It’s important to have getaways that last for a couple of days or more. Vacation time really does make a difference in your mind-set and outlook.

8. Become involved in discipleship: Discipleship involves growing in wisdom and knowledge of God through the process of gathering with other believers. This involves more than just your personal quiet time. It’s the fellowship of believers that results in building each other up, mentoring, accountability, and Bible study. Discipleship serves the purpose of spiritual growth and gives us a sense of connection and belonging that we all need.

9. Do something for someone else: The process of giving to and doing for others can lift up your spirit and bring about a sense of pleasure faster than just about anything else. When you give of yourself, you move away from a focus on self to a focus on others, and that’s always a good place to be.

10. Laugh: Laughter is good medicine, especially when it comes to managing stress and increasing pleasure in life. Laughter is the natural expression of pleasure and fun. The more we can include laughter in our lives, the better we’ll feel physically and emotionally.

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

 

The Right Kind Of Attitude

The Right Kind of Attitude

A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with a song. Proverbs 15:15 MSG

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Of course you’ve heard the saying, ‘Life is what you make it.’ And although that statement may seem very trite, it’s also very true. You can choose a life filled to the brim with frustration and fear, or you can choose a life of abundance and peace. That choice is up to you and only you and it depends, to a surprising extent, upon your attitude.

What’s your attitude today? Are you fearful, angry, bored, or worried? Are you pessimistic, perplexed, pained, and perturbed? Are you moping around with a frown on your face that’s almost as big as the one in your heart? If so, God wants to have a little talk with you.

God created you in His own image, and He wants you to experience joy, contentment, peace, and abundance. But, God will not force you to experience these things; you must claim them for yourself.

God has given you free will, including the ability to influence the direction and the tone of your thoughts. And, here’s how God wants you to direct those thoughts:

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8 HCSB).

The quality of your attitude will help determine the quality of your life. So, the next time you find yourself dwelling upon the negative aspects of your life, refocus your attention on things positive. The next time you find yourself falling prey to the blight of pessimism, stop yourself and turn your thoughts around. The next time you’re tempted to waste valuable time gossiping or complaining, resist those temptations with all your might. And remember this, you’ll never whine your way to the top . . . so don’t waste your breath.

Today, create a positive attitude by focusing on opportunities, not roadblocks. Of course you may have experienced disappointments in the past, and you will undoubtedly experience some setbacks in the future. But don’t invest large amounts of energy focusing on past misfortunes. Instead, look to the future with optimism and hope.

The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality, and of hope. Where others have resigned, it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself, and not abandon it to his enemy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Today’s Prayer
Father, create in me a grateful heart and a positive attitude by focusing on opportunities, not roadblocks. As I consider my disappointments, help me to see them as your appointments. I thank you that all things work together for good to those who love you and are called according to your will. Amen.

 

 

Taking Time To Praise God

Taking Time to Praise God

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart. I will tell all the miracles you have done. I will be happy because of you; God Most High, I will sing praises to your name. Psalm 9:1-2 NCV

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If you’d like to strengthen your character, try spending more time praising God. And when, by the way, is the best time to praise God? In church? Before dinner is served? When we tuck little children into bed? None of the above. The best time to praise God is all day, every day, to the greatest extent we can, with thanksgiving in our hearts.

Too many of us, even well-intentioned believers, tend to ‘compartmentalize’ our waking hours into a few familiar categories: work, rest, play, family time, and worship. To do so is a mistake. Worship and praise should be woven into the fabric of everything we do; it should never be relegated to a weekly three- hour visit to church on Sunday morning.

Hymn writer James Montgomery advised, ‘Stand up and bless the Lord, ye people of his choice; stand up and bless the Lord your God with heart and soul and voice.’ So today, find a little more time to lift your concerns to God in prayer and praise Him for all that He has done. He’s listening . . . and He wants to hear from you.

Remember that it always pays to praise your Creator. Make it a habit to carve out quiet moments throughout the day to praise God.

Be not afraid of saying too much in the praises of God; all the danger is of saying too little. -Matthew Henry

When we come before the Lord with praise, humbly repent of our transgressions, and in obedience present our petitions to God according to the guidelines set out for us in Scripture, He will answer. –  Shirley Dobson

Praise opens the window of our hearts, preparing us to walk more closely with God. Prayer raises the window of our spirit, enabling us to listen more clearly to the Father. - Max Lucado

Two wings are necessary to lift our souls toward God: prayer and praise. Prayer asks. Praise accepts the answer. - Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

 

Fields of Change

Fields of Change 

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. – Hosea 10:12

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Character isn’t instantly created. It’s carved out.

To God, our lives are like a series of fields that need working. Once one has been worked, we move to the next. At each stop He encourages us to get busy tilling ground hardened by sin, pulling weeds grown in neglect, and planting seeds of biblical truth. He makes us willing and able for the work; and He makes each task fruitful through the power of the Holy Spirit.

But change does happen. The Bible gives us insight how. Think of Joseph in an Egyptian jail, and Moses in the desert. Recall David’s years of flight from Saul and Jonah’s time in the belly of a fish. Reflect upon Gideon in a cave and Job’s catastrophes. Consider Abraham’s wanderings and Peter’s three denials of Christ. Look at the apostle Paul’s blinding encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus.

These stories, and many more like them, recount the ways of God among the men He claims for His own. As you spend time considering them, you will see a pattern emerge: brokenness, humility, and the learning of patience all come before spiritual maturity and usefulness. Open up your Bible and search out these stories. Learn from them. They demonstrate the pattern of change for your own life in Christ.

Our days are a kaleidoscope. Every instant a change takes place. New harmonies, new contrasts, new combinations of every sort. The most familiar people stand each moment in some new relation to each other, to their work, to surrounding objects.  - Henry Ward Beecher

TODAY’S PRAYER
Lord, when change comes, I pray that I will look to you for insight. As things change in my life and around me, help me to keep my eyes on you and trust that whatever the circumstance, your ultimate plan for me is a good one. Amen