Silencing Unholy Sounds

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

Silencing Unholy Sounds

You don’t need to look very far to find that our culture is bombarded by words–billboards, radio, email, text messaging, internet, television, telephones, the list goes on and on. Some messages are, of course, better than others. Nevertheless, there comes a time when we all need a break from the constant bombardment.

But how do you find refuge in a world as frenzied as ours? You can’t just set up your life in a way that you avoid everything coming at you. Yet it will be good for you to find a way to carve out a time and a place for silence in the midst of the frenzy.

The Bible tells us to sit still and be silent, and know that God is God. Take a break from the constant chatter of the world. Sit quietly and attentively in God’s presence.

Try it. See if this spiritual discipline doesn’t break the power of fear and anxiety in your life. See if it doesn’t heighten your awareness of God’s presence. See if, in this silence, you can learn to pay less attention to the noise of the world and more attention to what God is trying to say to you.

Set aside some time this week. Read Psalm 46 slowly and carefully, then sit quietly and let your heart rest in the comforting truth that God is God, and you’re not!

– Steve Arterburn

There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.” – Minnie Aumonier (1865–1952)

Humility | Doorways, not Doormats

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6

Humility Doorways, not Doormats

Humility. What is it anyway? If I’m humble, do I have to roll over and play second fiddle to everyone, all the time? Too often humility has been misunderstood as a negative character trait. I would like to help you get a clear biblical perspective on what humility is and what it is not. Humility isn’t thinking less of your-self; it’s thinking more of God and of others. In other words, humility isn’t about putting our-selves down, but rather, about glorifying God and affirming others.

Consider Jesus. He left His place of highest honor in heaven in or­der to become a man, flesh and blood, here on earth. However, He didn’t tear himself down or deny that He was a person of value and importance. What He did do is lift others up through His humility and show them how valuable they were to God.

So, you see, humility isn’t about being a doormat; it’s about being a doorway–a doorway through which others enter into the presence and power of God. By focusing on building others up and help­ing others connect with God, we show them the love of God, who desires the best for them.

Think about how you can strive to put others’ interests ahead of your own. I challenge you to show others in your home, your offices, or even in the checkout line at the market, how you and God value them. A good way to begin is by asking yourself what Jesus would do if he were in your place.

– Steve Arterburn

What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.” – Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)

Silence

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 1 Peter 2:15

Silence

Have you ever hung up the phone or left a conversation and felt like you said too much? Have you ever wished you could take back something you said? We often learn the hard way that words can cause pain and create problems.

One way to refine your use of words is by routinely practicing the discipline of silence.

Take a day to monitor your conversations. Spend some time in silence to reflect on how you’ve used and abused words. Do you use words to rationalize, lie, deceive, exaggerate, or manipulate? In silence you’ll remember the words you spoke quickly in anger and slowly in apology, arrogantly in accusation and humbly in confession. In silence you’ll begin to hear and you’ll begin to experience his renewal.

Then you can begin to make changes where necessary. People recovering from heart attacks are often counseled to bring quiet into their lives by speaking less often and more slowly when they do speak. Such discipline has been proven to reduce stress and ease tension. And most importantly it can help you use your words in ways that encourage others and please God.

– Steve Arterburn

Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.” – George Eliot (1819–1880)

Bearing Each Other’s Burdens

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Bearing Each Other's Burdens

We are called to walk alongside others on the journey of discipleship. We serve our brothers and sisters by helping them stay on or return to the path of faithfulness. And we also serve them by making sure we continue in faithfulness. Self-neglect and irresponsibility impose an unfair burden on your brother and sister in Christ, because they’re responsible to help you.

The body of Christ is not a place of self-sufficiency. It’s time we quit believing those lies we’ve been listening to for so long. The Christian faith is not each person looking out for him or herself. Nor is it the survival of the fittest. The body of Christ is a place of interdependency. When you share the troubles and problems of others, you’re fulfilling the law of love. Our burdens bring us together! As you call on others to help you bear your burdens, you will find your love and appreciation growing. Your weaknesses call forth other’s strengths. And when others call on you, you have the opportunity to be an agent of God’s mercy and grace, looking for nothing in return.

Do you know someone who is under a heavy burden at this time? What practical way can you come alongside that person and help him or her bear it? Prayerfully consider what God may be calling you to do, then step forward and do it.

– Steve Arterburn

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

Raising Kids

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Mark 10:14

Raising Kids

Looking for an alternative approach to adult education? Try raising kids! You’ll learn important like this:

  • A king size waterbed contains enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house about 4 inches deep.
  • When you hear the toilet flush and the words ‘uh oh,’ it’s already too late.
  • A ceiling fan isn’t strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy clad in Batman underwear and Superman cape hanging by a dog leash. It is able, however, to spin a paint can quickly enough to splash paint on all four walls of a room.
  • Super glue is forever.
  • VCRs don’t eject ‘peanut butter and jelly’ sandwiches
  • Garbage bags don’t make good parachutes.

If you’re a parent, or have kids in your life, enjoy the daily adventures, even if it means time and energy you didn’t budget for the moment.

– Steve Arterburn

“Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.” – Michael Caine (1933- )

God’s Watching!

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Psalm 139:1–3

God’s Watching!

The children were lined up in the school cafeteria for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples accompanied by a note that read:

Take only ONE. God’s watching.”

Further down the lunch line, at the other end of the table, was a plate piled high with cookies. Next to it was a note in a child’s handwriting:

Take all you want. God’s watching the apples!

Kids are hilarious. And our thinking often isn’t much different than theirs. Take for example the issue of God’s providential care. How often do we think that God is absent or preoccupied with
other things? How often do we err by assuming that God is present but indifferent to our actions, or He’s present only with disapproving judgment?

God sees us. He’s watching all the time. . . in our time of blessing and when things are tougher than they’ve ever been. When He sees His image reflected in who we are, it’s pleasing to Him.

– Steve Arterburn

For however devoted you are to God, you may be sure that He is immeasurably more devoted to you.” – Meister Eckhart (1260–1328)

Quality And Quantity?

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:6 -7

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you lie down and when you get up.

You’ve heard parents say this about their kids: “I don’t have much time to give, but what I do give is quality time!” I don’t know what that means, and I bet your children don’t either. Even if they did, I don’t think you really build relationships on “quality time”.

How can you predict the quality of “quality time?” And what constitutes the distinction, anyway?

My point is that life just doesn’t work that way. For instance, suppose you bought tickets to a local minor league ballgame for you and your son. You planned some real quality time to teach your son about the game you loved, and hopefully instill the same passion in him. But in the first inning he spots a friend, and they disappear together for the rest of the game. So much for quality time!

Then suppose in the same week, while heading to the grocery store, you bring your daughter along. No chance of quality time here, right? But among mundane chores and small talk, your daughter asks, “Daddy, what does salvation mean?” Your last minute errand just turned into quality time.

Quality time can’t be manipulated. It doesn’t happen at our beck and call. Instead, quality time sneaks up on us amidst quantity time. Consequently, the only way we can ensure quality time is to make sure there’s quantity time—and plenty of it.

“If you wonder where your child left his roller skates, try walking around the house in the dark.” – Leopold Fechtner

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, I pray that I will not miss the opportunities to turn my time with family and friends into quality time, to share my knowledge about your love and grace with them. Amen.

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

our-God-is-sufficient

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

 

Easter in Narnia

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. – Isaiah 25:8

Easter in Narnia

In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the lion, Aslan, offers himself as a sacrifice for a little boy, a traitor named Edmund. When the lion rises from the dead he says:

. . . [the Witch’s] knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.

Does that story sound familiar? It should; it’s the story of Easter. Jesus Christ gave his life for traitors whom he loved, was raised from the dead, and therefore broke the curse of death.

– Steve Arterburn

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” – Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Winning Prisoners

Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me. – Psalm 142:7

Winning Prisoners

Four inmates at the Greenville, Mississippi city jail were caught breaking back into their cells! And according to the district attorney, “It is entirely possible this wasn’t the first time they’ve done this.

The four apparently found a way for repeated access to the outside world. Yet according to the police chief, “They didn’t seem interested in escaping, they just missed their amenities of life and went back to get them.” This particular time, they returned to jail carrying a load of gin and marijuana. Ironically, these willing prisoners now face felony escape charges.

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. How many of us have resolved to spend our days in prisons of our own making—prisons we’re able to escape through personal change, but won’t because the prison provides us a semblance of security?

You can be freed from whatever your prison is. Look for help—first to God, but then to those God has put in your path–a trusted friend, pastor or counselor. And remember God is a God of second chances.

– Steve Arterburn

I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.” – Groucho Marx (1890–1977)