Biblical Counseling

The Joy of Repentance Brings Peace!

June 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Peace Doesn’t Come from Places or People Shortly after completing my university education, I began my first experience serving as a full-time associate pastor. Little did I know that I would need to experience the joy of repentance that brings peace in my first assignment. Excitement permeated my life as God had allowed me to serve Him in such a role. While serving at the church, I was given the privilege of attending seminary. And if that was not enough to keep my schedule full, I was also married and had a young child. Would the stress of all these new life adventures bring me peace? Christian education was my major assignment at the church. I had been trained for years to be a good minister of Christian education. All the resources and tools available to a leader were in my library. While I was thankful that this assignment was mine, those people just did not realize how helpful I could be to them. Immaturity was present in my life, but only recognized by others; not me! Assignments in seminary, church, and at home were in abundance, but I was a hard worker and enjoyed doing the things I had been […] Read More

Pretending Happiness

June 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

Pretending happiness is a tough way to live. It takes a lot of energy to keep up this acting lifestyle. George wanted to clear up the gnawing sense of anxiety and growing unhappiness that plagued him, and hoped to do so before anyone else found out about his condition. So he quietly sought professional counseling. He would rather have died than have his associates learn that he was bored with church and its activities, dissatisfied with his wife, and annoyed with his fellow employees at work. But the counseling experience was a shattering one. The counselor, who George suspected was a non-Christian, pressed him to share his antagonisms, and George did not like it. He insisted he had no antagonisms. He stoutly maintained that since he was a Christian he loved everyone and was nice to all. Still the counselor probed, and finally George blew his top. Afterward he was ashamed because he had been a poor example of what a Christian ought to be. The counselor pointed out that George was filled with anger and hatred toward people rather than filled with love. Then George came to see me. He was confused. Was he a Christian or wasn’t he? […] Read More

Are You Ready To Change?

May 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Change may be needed but are you ready to change? How do you you know when a friend is ready to hear and apply the truth of their situation? There is no guarantee that you will know but you must estimate when the counselee is ready to consider a biblical description of the problem and take some action. Then, you present your insight and leave the result with God. Do not fear being wrong when you are using the Bible as a mirror. Your counselee may have been telling you how angry his wife makes him. He has believed this for years. Now you are telling him that his anger is a work of the sinful nature and a change must take place. What change? A change of heart. He may become furious at you for even suggesting change. You quietly tell him to think about it and see you next week. Reactions I have found that the counselee’s reactions (inner response) to the details causes the suffering. This is true regardless of the details of a life history–family background, interpersonal relations, environmental pressures, successes, failures, rejection, death, or whatever. The counselee is not walking in the Spirit, and as a result he […] Read More

Understanding The Inner Person

May 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

Understanding our inner person can be quite complicated for us. However, God’s invitation is to believe, receive, abide, come, and take of His resources so that we will have a greater understanding of the inner person. Frequently, an individual will protest that he has no will power, that he is weak, or that his case is special. He pleads for understanding, implying that if he were understood, he would be accepted as he is. Of course it is true that all people are weak, unrighteous, and sinful. It is also true that a disturbed individual needs to be understood by others but also by him or herself. But understanding the inner person and his/her problems does not change him/her, it only makes his/her need clear. He needs someone to reassure, instruct, and guide him to Christ who can change his/her heart. This change will not take place so long as the individual excuses him or herself by talking about the past or by blaming other people. The heart will be changed only when one repents of his/her sin, including the sinful reactions to others who may have mistreated them. The Bible stresses individual ability to recognize and confess sin, to repent, and thus receive forgiveness, cleansing, […] Read More

Those Annoying People!

May 14, 2018 | 3 Comments

“Those annoying people did it to me again!” Have you said that lately? There is not doubt there are many annoying people in this world. But why is it that we have to run into them so often? God’s Word gives us some insight in Galatians 5:20-21 stating, “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy,” are works of the lower nature. Other words that we could use would be quarreling, debate, disunion, and anger. I am going to lump all of these together and call them “annoyance.” Feelings of Annoyance Feelings of annoyance can range all the way from very slight annoyance that you hardly notice to intense annoyance that breaks through our shells and causes our faces to flush, our hearts to pound, and causes our bodies to break into a sweat. Annoyances can cause us to say things we later regret, hit someone, or refuse to associate with someone. Slight annoyances are cumulative. They can happen all day long. For example, at breakfast you find that your coffee isn’t quite hot enough. At work the boss asks you to do something you don’t like to do. Some of your fellow workers tell a joke […] Read More

Trouble, Perplexity, and Rejection

May 7, 2018 | 1 Comment

Trouble, perplexity, persecution, and rejection are all difficult to face. The Apostle Paul had all of these but understood that there is a power that will enable a person to face such treatment without distress, despair, self-pity, or ruin. It is the power of God. The end products of distress can definitely be bodily changes. Your blood pressure, respiration, and digestion can be affected. If you have a grudge against someone, who are you hurting? Who is affected when you are seething over a person who isn’t even in your presence? Yourself, of course. The other person may not even know you are having trouble thinking about them in a positive way. There is a power that will enable you to face your circumstances without distress. It is the power of God, made available to you through the dying of the Lord Jesus. God’s power–and His alone–can make you want to forgive a person who has misused you. You will know if forgiveness has taken over your mind and attitude by whether or not you want to get even. Many argue that they have a right to be bitter. It is your privilege to be upset and miserable. But as […] Read More

Christ’s Help in a Self-Help World

April 23, 2018 | 1 Comment

Christ’s help for us is different than the assistance available from a “self-help” world. No matter what the world tells you, Jesus has a clear, concise, simple promise for His disciples: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27 The apostle Paul taught: Walk in [live by] the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  Gal. 5:16 Everyone has two options in life: turn to God for help or, turn to the world for help. Of course there are common events in life for helping yourself, but remember, spiritual needs come from God, not self. It’s like determining if you are headed north or south. Those are opposite directions. God’s help, and self help are opposites also. Suppose we call heading Godward “north” and looking to the world heading “south.” What help is there if you are headed south? You can turn to psychologically or psychiatrically trained people for help. These disciplines declare by faith that there is no God. We must help ourselves. There is a good deal of help in the […] Read More

How Does the Truth Affect You?

April 2, 2018 | 1 Comment

When you are faced with the truth, how does truth affect you? Christians who have knowingly committed sin and then are corrected in humility will either become mellow or hard hearted when they hear the truth. If you are the one being corrected, you will face the same choice of response. Your response to truth is not determined by the spirit of the person delivering the message. Your reaction to the truth is determined by your spirit. The safest response to needed correction is to change. To delay change may require increased discipline by God to turn your heart back to Him. Jesus said to the church at Laodicea, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:16). If you are cold, you know you are cold. If you are hot, you know you are hot. But, if you are lukewarm you hardly know you exist. When a lukewarm person is corrected he/she does not see much need for change. An unrepentant believer is not received well by Jesus. Reproof and correction are helpful but not painless. If you go to the doctor and the exam reveals the […] Read More

Who Do I Love?

March 26, 2018 | 1 Comment

To be in love with somebody is a wonderful experience. I remember the dating experience with  Elaine. I dreamed about that girl! I used to talk about her all the time, and carried her picture in my wallet, and at odd moments, I’d take it out and look at that simple image of her. I had a picture of her in my room (I still have that picture on my iPhone now). Every night that I wasn’t working, I went to see her. I went to see her as often as my parents would let me! I bought gifts for her and did everything I could to show my love for her. While we all enjoy being with our families, we also like to be around various other people. Many times you must pause and ask yourself what comes first, family, time with friends, or to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind? It is difficult to think more about God than about your family. That’s a particularly big order for young people who are in love with each other. Though my focus is on providing for the love […] Read More

Deceit Can Affect Your Health

March 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

Deceit can affect your health. Deceit is the deliberate attempt to mislead someone. Hypocrisy is the pretended possession of those qualities that would make others believe in one’s sincerity, goodness, and devotion. One of the clearest illustrations of deceit was told to me by my friend and mentor Dr. Henry Brandt. I remember him telling me this story and then we included it in one of our books–The Word for the Wise. I think you will enjoy the story of the Stolen Raspberries! When I was a boy, we lived in the suburbs. A neighbor had a fine raspberry patch. My instructions were to stay out of it unless permission was given by my parents and the people who owned the patch. One day when there was was no one around, I slipped into the patch and started eating the ripe, juicy raspberries. What a pleasure! Suddenly, there was a noise behind me. I turned around and was face-to-face with the owner. Instantly, I was a bundle of tensions. My heart pounded wildly, and I began to sweat. Desperately, I pleaded with the lady not to tell my mother. But she wouldn’t promise. Those berries suddenly felt like a rock […] Read More

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