Keeping It Together When You’re Apart

People ask me all the time, “How do you and Misty keep your marriage strong when you’re on the road so much?” We do a few simple things every night that we’re apart to help deepen intimacy and strengthen our relationship. Try it for yourself! Watch the video.

steve-misty

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Folly of Bitterness

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice. – Ephesians 4:31

Folly of Bitterness

Two shopkeepers owned stores directly across the street from each other. Each spent his days tracking the others’ business, and gloating triumphantly each time a customer chose his own store. Over time, they became bitter rivals.

One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers and said, ‘I’ll give you anything you request, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive double. Would you be rich? You can be very rich indeed, but he’ll be twice as wealthy. Do you desire a long and healthy life? Request it, but his life will be longer and healthier. What’s your desire?’

The man thought for a moment, and with a sly grin, stated, ‘Strike me blind in one eye!’

Bitterness is relentless and dangerous when allowed to take root in our hearts. It destroys decision-making abilities and compromises otherwise focused and productive lives. Its only remedy is forgiveness freely by Jesus Christ. And if you believe the Bible, we are to dispense it generously to others.

Take a step out of bitterness into forgiveness today. Forgive the unforgivable. You can do it!

Steve Arterburn

We forgive to the extent that we love.‘ – La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)

What Does it Mean to Be Real?

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.  Philippians 3:20-21

Heaven

Being ‘real’ is the result of being transformed by the love of God. It’s not about wealth, or beauty, or power. Heck, most of the time it’s suffering, failing, and waiting. Maybe that’s why we sometimes miss it. I think the wise old horse in the classic children’s story The Velveteen Rabbit says it well. As he explained to the stuffed bunny:

‘It doesn’t happen all at once, you become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’

Be real. Open yourself up to God and His transforming power.

Steve Arterburn

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.‘ – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Stop the Insanity

You cannot keep doing what you’ve always done and hope that the outcome is going to be different this time. That’s called insanity. Someone who has become aware that she can’t control her impulsive spending should not be spending her free time at the mall. And the man who’s trying to stop drinking should not keep attending happy hour with his friends.
insanity
What things might be helping you to continue in your sin? You may have to make some minor or maybe major lifestyle changes, but surrendering means that you will be willing to do whatever it takes to get your life back on track. As you take inventory of your life, pay particular attention to those things that may be feeding your flesh and therefore keeping you from seeking God first and foremost.

Take some time right now to evaluate your lifestyle and activities, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you anything that may be holding you back from a victorious life. Be sure to consider your friendships, free-time activities, interests, and hobbies. Decide if you need to make changes in regard to the music you listen to, TV you watch, movies you attend, magazines and books you read, language you use, food in your pantry, places you go, or the people you hang out with. Every part of your life needs to be open to the healing scrutiny of our loving God as you attempt to identify and remove those things that are not glorifying God and thwarting your efforts to change.

Excerpted from “Feeding Your Appetites” by Steve Arterburn

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

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”.

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.
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.

New Life Live: August 12, 2014

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Topics: DepressionADHDMarriageDatingGriefAsperger’s SyndromeDivorce
Hosts: Steve ArterburnDr. John TownsendDr. Sheri Keffer

Caller Questions:

  1. How can I help my depressed friend who is usually so strong? 
  2. My ADHD husband is filing for divorce; can I still save this marriage? 
  3. I have been married 3 times; how do I get over choosing the wrong guy every time? 
  4. Does my Asperger’s husband need a different kind of counseling? 
  5. How do you get beyond divorce when you’re still dealing with an angry ex and taking care of her cats? 
  6. I feel separated from my husband even though we are living together; what else can I do? 

Suggested Resources:
How To Be a Best Friend Forever  (not available from New Life)
7 Minute Marriage Solution
Healing Is a Choice
Never Go Back

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

Beyond Failure

Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you . . . . 1 Chronicles 12:18 NIV

Mary Pickford was “America’s sweetheart” in the early days of motion pictures. And along with Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith, she formed United Artists Corporation, a Hollywood powerhouse.

Miss Pickford had a simple yet powerful formula for success: She said, “This thing we call ‘failure’ is not falling down, but staying down.” Miss Pickford might have added that every time we get back up, we build character.

Life’s occasional setbacks are simply the price that we must pay for our willingness to take risks as we follow our dreams. But even when we encounter bitter disappointments, we must never lose faith.

Beyond Failure

Hebrews 10:36 advises, “Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised” (NLT). These words remind us that when we persevere, we will eventually receive the rewards which God has promised us. What’s required is perseverance, not perfection.

When we face hardships, God stands ready to protect us. Our responsibility, of course, is to ask Him for protection. When we call upon Him in heartfelt prayer, He will answer—in His own time and according to His own plan—and He will do His part to heal us. We, of course, must do our part, too.

And, while we are waiting for God’s plans to unfold and for His healing touch to restore us, we can be comforted in the knowledge that our Creator can overcome any obstacle, even if we cannot. Remember that failure isn’t permanent . . . unless you fail to get up. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and trust God. He will make it right. And don’t forget: the best time to begin again is now.

Do not be one of those who, rather than risk failure, never attempt anything. ~ Thomas Merton

The difference between winning and losing is how we choose to react to disappointment. ~ Barbara Johnson

Success or failure can be pretty well predicted by the degree to which the heart is fully in it. ~ John Eldredge

No matter how badly we have failed, we can always get up and begin again. Our God is the God of new beginnings.
~ Warren Wiersbe

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank you for new beginnings. Give me the courage to not be afraid to try because I am afraid of failing. I acknowledge that I can do all things through you who strengthens me and that includes picking myself up when I fail. Amen.

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

listening-to-guilt.newlife

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

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

 

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