Walking With Your People

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I don’t know about you, but I sometimes really blow it when it comes to listening well. I am too up in my head about what I want to say in response to really hear the other person’s heart. In thirty years of counseling and fifteen years of marriage here is what I’ve have learned:

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Let’s Not Call it Abuse

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Samantha had high hopes that something might change after she got an appointment with a Biblical counselor at her church.  She had hoped that her counselor would stand with her and be her advocate.  When she began to describe what was happening in her home, her counselor carefully listened to everything she told him.

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5 GRACE Biblical Counseling Skills: Part 3

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Note: Developed from Spiritual Friends. Spiritual Friends is part of the ABC’s biblical counseling curriculum and the ABC’s certification process. In Spiritual Friends you learn how to develop twenty-two biblical counseling relational competencies. This is the third in a ten-part ABC series. In this blog series, we’re learning five biblical counseling and one-another skills by using the acronym GRACE. ·         G—Grace Connecting: Proverbs 27:6 ·         R—Rich Soul Empathizing: Romans 12:15 ·         A—Accurate/Active Spiritual Listening: John 2:23-4:43

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The Deceitfulness of Self-Hatred

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I was speaking at a large women’s event in Texas. During the break, a woman asked if she could speak with me. “I need to know if there is hope for me,” she asked.  “I’m a narcissist and from what I’ve read on-line, there is little hope for me to ever get better.”

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The Gospel Cure

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Upon brief reflection it’s easy to see that the remedy du jour for treating depression solely with medication is based upon very specific assumptions: that its genesis is always within the body (primarily the brain) and that we do not have an inner, invisible mind that directs brain activity. If that is true, then anesthetizing uncomfortable feelings is the wisest choice. However, if Scripture teaches something different, specifically that we have both a brain and a mind (or inner man), then categorizing depression solely as a dysfunction of the brain and turning to medicine first (thereby silencing the emotional voice of the mind) will unavoidably impede the important heart-work that God-ordained suffering is meant to produce.

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Something Good Theology

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One of my favorite movies is The Sound of Music. Between the handsome Christopher Plummer and the perky, immensely talented Julie Andrews—and a sound track filled with some of the best music around—it’s hard not to like it. As a young girl, I particularly enjoyed watching Captain Von Trapp and Sister Maria discover their love for each other and thinking, “Wow! How romantic!”  Here are some of the lyrics she sang to him,

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Forgive and Forget: Is this the Christian Way of Marriage?

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If you have counseled for any length of time I am sure you have had to wrestle with the topic of forgiveness.  A spouse who has committed adultery, a parent who has abandoned a child, a friend who has failed to keep commitments, a boss who has taken advantage, or a rebellious teenager who refuses to obey are all typical in a counseling situation, and demand careful consideration of forgiveness. 

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You Have Limits, You Really Do! Pt.4

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Small and Safe  It was a beautiful thing to see. I couldn’t stop looking. The setting was a huge and boisterous crowd, mostly men. Probably many of them had had too much to drink. They were coming out of the stadium, celebrating the big win of the home team. There was celebratory grabbing, shoving, and high-fiving all over the place. In the middle of the crowd was a very little boy, just knee-high to many of the men. You’d think he'd be terrified at that moment, aware of how small he was. You’d think that he’d be overcome by his limits, but he wasn’t.

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The Transforming Power of the Cross

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Let’s face it, no one reads a blog like this unless he (or she!) is deeply interested in and committed to growing in their own personal piety and helping others do the same. Because we love the Lord, we all want to grow into men and women who reflect His life more perfectly. For us, the question isn’t: “Should we seek to grow in holiness?” 

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Who Can Dwell With God? Musings on Psalm 15

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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?”

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