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Posted on 6/17/2013 by Steve Clay
Many of our experiences in life confirm that our perception of reality is, at best, skewed. In fact, if we trust the truth of God’s word and become honest about our condition, we are in many ways totally blind. We are, without effort, naturally oblivious to ultimate spiritual reality, that is, to the glorious nature of the person of God and His marvelous works. Furthermore, we are oblivious to the very presence of this blindness in moments in which it is most profound.
Posted on 6/6/2012 by Steve Clay
Anyone who is a believer in Jesus Christ can testify to the struggle of battling with sin. Though we have new life in Christ, that life is anything but one removed from the absence with this struggle. Daily fighting is necessary to say “no” to temptation. We quickly learn that our personal resources are not sufficient in this battle. Clearly we know that we need God’s word, the work and power of the Holy Spirit, and prayer. We know we need to keep a clear view of the finished work of Christ and a biblical community that helps us stay focused, that challenges us and encourages us.
Posted on 5/11/2012 by Steve Clay
As all biblical counselors know, getting people to do what they need to do to change is perhaps the greatest challenge in the counseling process. On the one hand, we all realize that ultimate change is the product of God’s sovereign work in the heart. Salvation is the result of God’s initiative and decisive calling, in which the blind eyes of the unbeliever are given sight and light comes into the soul (2 Corinthians 4:3-6). On the other hand, once light is in the heart by which the glory of Christ is seen and desired, the believer must grow by grace, sin must be mortified, and Christ-likeness pursued and realized. How is this accomplished? What is the role of God’s sovereign grace in this process and what is the role of the believer, and more particularly, in reference to this blog, the role of the counselor?
Posted on 4/4/2012 by Steve Clay
I have found that the older I get (I just turned 55!!), the more I come to realize the inexorable reality that things are just not getting better. Not in me and not in others. Yes, people change—profoundly at times. But for the most part, we trod through life, hoping for personal improvement that seems remote and frustrating. Fighting the spiritual wars of the heart is relentless and exhausting. Beyond that, the woes of life are frequent and profound.
Posted on 2/29/2012 by Steve Clay
In C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape, a senior demon, writes a series of letters to his nephew, Wormwood, an apprentice demon, advising him in how to tempt a man, known as “the Patient.” Having failed to keep “the Patient” from the gift of salvation, Wormwood is now on a quest to steer him toward an ineffective and joyless Christianity. In an interesting passage in chapter nine, Screwtape informs Wormwood of a chief characteristic of humans that can serve as their inevitable downfall. He writes:
Posted on 11/16/2011 by Steve Clay
Oh how we all love the Psalms! Their comforting words have taken us all through lonely nights and fearful experiences. They are where we often turn when in trouble, alone, or despondent. The Psalms have provided deep comfort and encouragement in our most trying times.
But there is one Psalm about which I have had ambivalent feeling. For at first read, it describes attributes up to which I grossly fail. Not the comforting words of Psalm 23, which clearly describe the shepherding hand of the Lord. But on closer inspection I see that the Psalm is not really about me at all. Let’s take a look at it.
Psalm 15 begins with a poignant question:
“O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?”
Posted on 11/2/2011 by Steve Clay
For Christians, the idea of self-denial is not an end in and of itself. It is intended for something greater; something in alignment with our God-given desires. But what are those desires that self-denial would bring. While unselfishness connotes going without for the benefit of someone else, is self-denial the ultimate expression of love? What then is the reward of love?
Posted on 8/3/2011 by Steve Clay
Jenny opened the note left on her pillow by her husband. As she quickly opened it, her hands trembled. Their relationship had been strained of recent, frequent quarrels breaking out. The note revealed his intentions to leave her and their three children. He would be filing for divorce and had seized all their assets.
Posted on 6/15/2011 by Steve Clay
As one who has dedicated my life to helping people grow through their life struggles, I often face the temptation to become weary. “Why do I do this?” I query within myself. A close examination of that question reveals that much of my motivation is driven by a sense of obligation—the sense that I “should” do this because of how good God has been to me—or fear—I mean, what else can I do, since this is where I have landed in my life pursuit.