‘Twas A New Life Christmas

‘Twas a New Life Christmas when all through the house
Something special was stirring though ’twas quiet as a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
There’s one more than last year cause Daddy was there.

And I and my sissy were all snug in our beds.
Sugar plums and fairies replaced worries and dreads;

Sissy wasn’t crying from a mean dad’s slap,
She was still full of joy from an hour on his lap.

Through thin walls I could hear Mom and Dad’s loving chatter.
They were so happy together, and that’s all that mattered.

No more rage rising up in a shocking flash.
Things once shattered were now securely attached.

I’ll tell you what happened, if you want to know.
It all started changing just one year ago.

Things were so bad that Dad had to move out.
For months I was sad and full of much doubt.

It felt hopeless at home and I missed my dad
It was Christmas time and I shouldn’t be sad.

Things grew worse, and I wanted them better.
Thanks to seven, great magical letters.

800 NEW-LIFE” we heard hundreds of times,
I called them up and got a man on the line.

Some guy named Jeff just happened to know
How Daddy could get well and where he could go.

Like a man on a mission he knew the right pick,
Where well men walked out of after walking in sick.

This phone man was an angel not acting alone.
Mom said so, too, when she got off the phone.

“Satan will be defeated,” I listened in,
He assured us God’s love will ultimately win.

When he talked to Daddy, Daddy finally could see
It was time to get well; for himself, Mom, Sissy and me.

So, with God he went to work on his healing,
while our prayers went up from our bedside kneeling.

Dad getting help—my fears and pains to shrink,
But when he came home I knew not what to think.

So back on the line with my telephone Elf,
Amazingly I spoke to another named Jeff.

He said, “Please don’t worry, God has control.”
That I had to be ready, be brave and be bold.

When Daddy walked in, it was pure disbelief!
Was this the same man who had caused so much grief?

He looked happy, at peace, and went to his knees,
Holding both arms out begging, “Come to me please!”

He hugged me and kissed me for what seemed like an hour,
Telling me he was no longer his own higher power.

There were requests for forgiveness that I freely granted,
Bitter roots were uprooted and with pure love supplanted.

I told Daddy I forgave him long before he was through.
I told him,  “Mom and I know the same Higher Power, too!”

Then wouldn’t you know it when our tears nearly stopped,
Sissy came running, to his safe arms she plopped.

“I missed you, Daddy, are you home to stay?”
“Sissy, I’m here and will be in every way.”

“You don’t smell like you used to; your eyes are so bright.”
“Sissy, my heart had a wound, but is now filled with God’s light.”

Mommy spoke up while gently shutting the door.
“The man that once lived here . . . he lives here no more.”

“That man would hurt us with each new attack,
But our loving father and husband is finally back.”

They held hands, and we joined them next to the tree.
Dad held Mom close, looking at Sissy and me.

He told us the tall spruce didn’t get big in a year,
One day in a forest it just didn’t appear.

It started with what every strong spruce tree needs.
It started with a tiny, little spruce tree seed.

It grew its roots deep while branching up to the sky.
It grew strong and mighty, each day by and by.

“So this New Life Christmas, my vow to
 the three of you.
I will grow deep in our God who loves me, and you, too!

“And I promise each day to reach high for God’s power.
I love my New Life and I won’t waste an hour.

“There will be tough times and rough times and even some sorrows,
But they will never again define our tomorrows.

“Now you little ones, let me tuck you in bed snug and tight.
You know you must sleep if Santa’s to show up tonight.”

So I waited and waited ‘til Sissy wouldn’t hear,
Then I pulled Dad down close, and I whispered in his ear,

“Dad, I’m not waiting for an unknown Santa to appear
Because for the first time in my life he’s here—really here!

Well, that’s how it happened as best I remember,
That year when all changed, in the month of December.

I always smile when I think of those days,
But sorrow and sadness sneak in other ways.

Because for too many children, Christmas will never be
A Celebration of New Life like ‘twas for Sissy and me.

Lives remain nightmares—seeming far beyond hope.
Dads or moms won’t get help so the kids must cope.

But they’ll get by and beyond it as most people do,
When the sick remain sick
 though all things could be made new.

And until all is made new, if we are blessed to exist,
New Life will be here with God’s hope to assist.

Satan continues to rob, steal and plunder,
But seven magical letters dialed become seven transforming numbers.

If your family is hurting and you’re hurting, too
Pick up the phone, the magic letters are for you.

800-NEW-LIFE, it’s so simple to dial,
And we know that the call will be well worth your while!

Stephen Arterburn   800 NewLife

steve-signature-web

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Perseverance

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

Perseverance

Soon after making a decision to follow Christ, a young Nigerian named Daniel returned to his Muslim village. He was excited about his new faith. . . the people of his village were not. Furious at him, the women of the village beat him and left him for dead.

When he regained consciousness the following day, he decided he must not have been clear in explaining his new faith. So he went back to the village and witnessed again. The women beat him and left him for dead again. This time he remained unconscious for two days.

When he awoke, he again assumed he hadn’t expressed himself well. So he returned a third time. This time the village women broke into tears at his perseverance, and eventually the good news of Christ gained a foothold in that place.

If you’re weary in sharing the good news of Jesus with friends, family, or your kids, take heart. And remember, we share Christ by our actions and how we conduct our lives, as much as we do with our words.

- Steve Arterburn

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

A Good Name

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

A Good Name

I recently heard a story about a man who was arrested at a hospital where he went to get treatment for a serious animal bite on his leg.  Why was this insult added to the man’s injury?  That’s where this story gets interesting.

The man claimed the bite was from a pit bull.  But authorities discovered it was really from a ten-foot-long, 450-pound Siberian tiger he was keeping as a pet in his apartment!  To make matters even worse, the man had a six-foot-long alligator roaming around his apartment as well.

Does this strike you as bizarre?  Irresponsible?  Perhaps even a bit insane?  It should.  But think about it . . . don’t we too often treat sin—a threat ultimately more dangerous to us than any tiger or alligator—with a similar nonchalance?

What sin are you hanging on to as a pet?  It’s bound to have some serious consequences sooner or later.  Perhaps it’s time to release that pet back in to the wild.

- Steve Arterburn

Never hold discussions with a monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.” – Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Persevering Amidst Hardship

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. – Romans 5:3-5

Persevering Amidst Hardship

In 1741 George Frideric Handel wrote Messiah, one of the finest and most inspiring musical scores ever composed. In the time leading up to his greatest accomplishment, Handel’s health and fortunes had reached a low ebb. A stroke had left the right side of his body paralyzed; and he worked under the threat of imprisonment on account of crushing financial debt.

I can’t help but wonder whether Handel would’ve chosen the tenuous life of a composer had he known ahead of time the suffering he’d endure. If not, the world would’ve missed the blessing of this timeless and beautiful composition of praise.

Like Handel, we don’t know what our future holds. But we can be confident that God does, and that He uses every hardship to mold our character and accomplish a plan that remains perfect despite our inability to comprehend it. I pray that today you persevere in that certain hope.

Steve Arterburn

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.‘ – John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

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.