Christian Counseling or Counseling in Christ?

Firstly, what is Christian counseling? Typically, ‘Christian counseling’ offers therapeutic interventions by a therapist who subscribes to the Christian faith. Reference may be made to the Bible and godly principles however a Christian therapist is trained to assess, analyze, utilize treatment modals, and maintain ongoing notes of a client’s history, presenting problems, coping skills, and treatment goals. Christian therapists are professionals that will employ techniques from various psychologists and psychiatrists to address grief, anxiety, depression, and averse or addictive behaviors. (Note: someone suicidal or homicidal requires immediate crisis intervention at the closest facility).

When the Apostle Paul declared, “Mark this, there will be terrible times in the last days”, he was not exaggerating, he was warning. Believers in Christ are living in those ‘terrible times’ and few are spared from the ravages of sin and the grief brought through others’ sins upon us, physical disease, great personal loss, and deprivation. Many of us find ourselves facing emotional pain and confusion. We belief in God, we go to church yet our lives become surprisingly ruined by calamity. Will Christian counseling help? What could be wrong with Christian counseling?

Today much of ‘Christian counseling’ is a misnomer, “a wrong or inaccurate name or designation”. What a Christian in crisis needs is counseling in Christ.

For the believer in Jesus, every painful upheaval, every fiery arrow, every fearful precipice, brings us to critical crossroads. Suffering can deeply challenge our faith and force us to reaffirm.
Do we believe?

  • that the Lord knows every minute detail of our situation and pain and understands every aspect?
  • that He foresaw every calamity and perhaps orchestrated the trial?  If our lives belong to Him, it is He alone who can lower the hedges of our life.  Do we believe that the Lord is sovereign,  with full control and authority over every power in heaven and on earth?
  • that, sovereign and all powerful, God alone can make our enemies His servants?  Do we believe that God can bring healing to deep wounds and deliver us from every snare?
  • that the power of the cross, the blood of Christ, cleanses us from every sin?  And moreover, avails to us His indwelling Holy Spirit with power to break every curse, loose every chain, and overcome spiritual and fleshly bondage?
  • that we are chosen by Him, His ‘treasured possession’ and that He truly loves us?

What do we believe?

The critical question at junctures of suffering and confusion is this: Are we determined to empower the flesh or defer to a living faith in the power of God?

“Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.” (Proverbs 8:14)

The Lord has no need to assess the problem, explore our family background, or development treatment options. He is not interested in certificates or diplomas – He declares “Jesus the power and wisdom of God”. “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? …For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom…” (I Corinthians 1:20-25). When we leave a counseling session, having poured out our emotions, described the pain, and handed over a hefty hourly fee have we found enlightenment, living waters, an anointing upon us…true power to heal and deliver?

Will we find relief in the next session? When will the ‘waters part’ for deliverance? What will we gain by unraveling quagmires of the past and explore the depths of our “exceedingly deceitful heart” which is “beyond cure, who can understand it?” Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with paying someone to listen to us and offer coping skills to lessen our pain. We may feel better, but no amount of money spent on clever interventions in timed sessions can bring about the presence, the power and deliverance of Holy Spirit.

As followers of Christ, God’s unchanging purpose is to “conform us to the likeness of His Son”. This is our destiny. There is no alternative for the Body of Christ – we will suffer in this world – but unlike those in the world, our suffering is appointed to bring about greater revelations of God and His power to deliver.

Christian counseling is a business that arose to address what is lacking in the Body of Christ – the anointed ministry of “iron sharpening iron”. Are we, the church, just too busy? Are we knit together with a body of believers? Have we come under the Lord’s appointed authorities – pastors, elders, deacons? This is the heart of Christ, that we as His Body “be brought into complete unity”. He commands, “Love one another. As I loved you, so you must love one another.” We are given gifts through the Holy Spirit – the Lord’s indwelling power and anointing. We have access to God’s throne for discernment and wisdom. It is God’s will that His Body minister to one another, receiving from Christ and ministering outward to our brethren. We are called to allay each other’s fears, encourage, exhort, stand alongside through dark storms…counseling each other in the power of Christ. Even the weakest vessel shut in with God, is mightier than a world power.

There is a place for doctors and professionals but there are times of confusion, turmoil, heartache and spiritual attack where God’s word states and demonstrates that, “The help of man is worthless.” That may seem offensive but in His exclusive claim over us as our Lord and Master, He calls us to trust in Him completely. Faith does not build our flesh but systematically kills it, a painful process that will cost us but lead to supernatural victory.

“This is what the Lord says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

  • Paths of untimed prayer, shut in with God with determination to wait upon Him and hear from Him.  The flesh likes control, but the Lord may call us to all night prayer, a meeting that may hold eternal value and reward.
  • Paths that open the Word of God as we prayerfully pore through, eagerly anticipating the ‘Wonderful Counselor’ to open up living waters into our soul.
  • Paths of deliberate praise and worship, even during emotional grief and turmoil.  The sacrifice of praise is a high expression of faith in God’s deliverance, even before it arrives.

In these ‘terrible times’ there is a great need for anointed servants of Christ, those prepared from the prayer closet and diligent study of God’s word with a burden to minister. We can find our very heartache, grievous loss even devastation in the Bible and also see there God’s power to heal, restore and renew. He longs to show Himself strong in our lives as we trust in Him. I pray we begin to understand the authority of God, the power of the cross, and the supernatural counsel of the Holy Spirit. As He breathes His Life upon us, may we glorify Him by serving others with the counsel of Christ.

There is no higher calling.

lazaraus-tomb

“Lazarus, come forth!”

Let us also come forth to Christ and go forth to speak life to one another.

 

(Disclaimer:  this website does not provide medical or psychiatric advice.  It is intended to provide spiritual inspiration and is not a substitute for medical or psychiatric advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a medical professional before changing or neglecting necessary treatment.)

Could God Be Against Us?

With a spirit of fearless irreverence, The Daily News has actually stated the truth. God is not fixing this.  He is not our servant, nor does He intervene with any position less than sovereign God, worthy of worship and praise. The question is not ‘will God fix this’ but rather, is God against us?

God front page

“Why do you bring charges against me? You have all rebelled against me,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 2:29)

God did not defend His people who chose to live in rebellion,

“He sold them to their enemies all around…Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them….They were in great distress.” (Judges 2:15)
“The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (II Chronicles 15:2)

Scriptures abound which declare God’s faithfulness to those who follow Him, even in their struggles and battles. The Lord upholds those who choose to align themselves with His Word and sovereign authority, however there are always consequences to sin and rebellion.
Our national security totally hinges on the answer to this question: Where do we stand with God? Do we have the right to call upon Him, standing under His protective hedge and sovereign power or…

removing 10 commandments

The Ten Commandments ordered removed from Oklahoma Courtyard

… have we blasted out His Word from our communities?

Have we spearheaded to the world celebrations for the things that offend God? We, as a people, have strayed so far from the Lord that we cannot see His hand removing His protective hedge.
We err grievously, believing we could be free to revel in sin when in fact sin always creates bondage and despair. The chastisement of God, even if He raises up our enemies, is a painful call to bring us into repentance and right relationship. Abandonment by God is not freedom from God but the fearful state of pending wrath.   The time is short,

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.  Let him turn to the Lord and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”  Romans 6:2

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”  Acts 3:19

God’s Word warns of “terrible times in the last days”. He is not on-call to ‘fix’ this world, Jesus is returning to judge it. The only question is, on whose side are we standing, is God for us or against us?

“He who is not with me is against me” declared Jesus.

REMEMBER APRIL 24th AND FIGHT THROUGH THE NIGHT

a call to all night prayer on behalf of brethren and others suffering today under the same evil sword.

One hundred years ago the Ottoman Empire launched a systematic plan of genocide against the Armenians and other minorities within Turkey.  At least 1.5 million Armenians perished in horrifying ways, hundreds of thousands dying in death marches from Turkey to Syria.  Painful open wounds remain, generation after generation, as Turkey continues to deny these atrocities, employing political influence and futile media campaigns.

The demonic spirit of murder lives on however, as persecution continues to sweep across the Middle East – perhaps until every Believer in Christ and Islamic non-conformist is vanquished or ritualistically tortured and killed.

Every true believer feels anguish and anger.   The call of God is unmistakable and undeniable.  We must access the power of heaven through prayer – fighting demonic attacks with supernatural resources. 

Ordinary prayer rarely breaks through such darkness.   The enemy is disciplined and trained – inspired by and devoted as minions of hell.  To unburden my heart for the brethren, I sought an all night prayer meeting to join with believers crying out to the Lord.  I could not find one (which doesn’t mean there weren’t any).   During my own prayer, I sensed the Lord’s leading – stop looking for one and be one yourself.   

I INVITE ALL TO JOIN IN THIS NIGHT, FRIDAY, APRIL 24, AT ANY GIVEN POINT.  LET US BE INSPIRED BY HEAVEN, DEVOTED TO OUR LORD – THE DELIVERER – UPHOLD THE BRETHREN AND CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS. 

Keep the Word of God open and review the battles of the Old Testament, the tumultuous cries and triumphs of the Psalms and the victories in Christ through the New Testament as encouragement.  The Book of Acts demonstrates the presence of God through persecution and suffering and His miraculous interventions through prayer.

I am prayerfully offering the following schedule to bring order to the night and alignment with the burden of Christ for His followers:

9pm to 10pm, (EST):  Prepare to meet with the Lord.    Find a “place of prayer” where we may quiet our spirit and separate from distraction.  Into the battle bring the Word of God and if possible, a tablet, computer or materials available as resources.  Sing the Psalms, access and sing worship to the Lord.   Pray…

  • for ourselves, the unpersecuted, whose battle is often complacency and unbelief.
  • for a heart cleansing, make confession for anything within us that may be a stumbling block
  • for the Lord’s leadership, that His burden will prevail in our heart, that we may join in His battle and share in His victory
  • that the presence of the Lord will be with us and His Word a living inspiration for us as we pray

10pm to 11:30:  Prayer for suffering Christians and others in fiery areas such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt and parts of Africa.  In lieu of visual aids, search ‘persecuted syrian christians’ and others to put faces on our brothers and sisters.  Review Christian news posts to pray for prevailing attacks and crisis.   Pray…

  • even in the very moment for their physical protection.
  • for their provisions, that our Heavenly Father provide even more than they need to share with others. Pray that we may be the means thru which provision is made.
  • for a supernatural outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them…that they may be clothed with courage from God and a peace that surpasses all understanding.
  • for supernatural strength to endure torture, that their faith may stand strong as a living testimony of our crucified Christ who overcame death and reigns for all eternity
  • for personal visitation from the Lord, that they may supernaturally know His presence and understand “the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings”.
  • for those in refugee camps. While in a ‘place of refuge’, many suffer traumatic loss of health, home and family.  Depression, PTSD, ongoing grief and deprivation may plague these survivors
  • for the families of those who have been abducted and/or martyred, that their faith may be strengthened and the presence of God overshadows their hardship and sorrow
  • for the Christian leadership amongst the brethren, for the Holy Spirit to greatly indwell them and uphold them supernaturally…”that they may shine like stars” in the midst of depravity

Continue praying for those areas that may have fallen off the daily radar.   Ask the Lord imprint our hearts with the regions within Africa and Asia.  Engine search suffering believers in these areas and advocate for them.

For many under the sword, tonight may be their last night.

11:30pm to 12:30am:   Pray for the young girls and women who have been abducted and sexually assaulted.  Many, such as the victims of Boko Haram, have been forgotten by the world.  Torn from family, Islamic terrorists make daily life a living nightmare of gang rapes, abuse, and forced marriage.   Bought and sold as spoils of war, these young girls often attempt suicide to escape immeasurable anguish.  Pray….

  • for supernatural means of escape, that Almighty God will send warring angels to their side.
  • for deep spiritual and physical healing; that whatever Scripture they know may well up in them for faith to endure
  • for an inner spiritual life, through the Holy Spirit, to rise up and strengthen them with endurance from heaven, that their eyes may focus on eternity
  • for their rapists and abusers, that God Himself would render them impotent, and utterly disable them and even, in defense of these girls, send an Angel of Death upon these hellish brutes 

1:30-2:30amPray for these enemies, our enemies, God’s enemies, including ISIS, Boko Haram, and all affiliates.  Pray…

  • that they are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, with great heaviness and oppression.
  • for an inescapable and overwhelming shame to come upon them
  • for deep grief to envelope them, that the Holy Spirit will hold up His mirror and reveal God’s view of all their dastardly deeds
  • for God to take away their slumber, that they may be mentally and spiritually hounded, tormented, put to confusion
  • that their eyes may be opened and they fall to their knees with godly sorrow and repentance AND
  • that they may be saved, rising up as beacons and heralds for God, a powerful voice over all against the work of Satan

2:30-3:30amPray for the minorities who do not know the Lord.  Many, including the Kurds, Yazidis, and Muslim sects, suffer the loss of lives, homes, entire villages.  Pray….

  • for their strength and provision. Pray that, as they may interface with true believers and see their living faith, they may be drawn to the truth of Christ.  Pray for them to know the Lord, to receive forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life through Christ.
  • that what the devil orchestrates for death and evil would be turned into glory for God. Pray that the power of God come forth through suffering and confound the enemy, leading more to everlasting life through the Gospel

3:30-4:30am:    Governments, agencies, missionaries, aid workers…..pray for ourselves, all whom the Lord might use to intervene into this suffering.   Pray…

  • for media exposure and global outcry to stir the hearts of the complacent
  • for the leadership of these groups and workers, that they may hear from God
  • for the Body of Christ to arise and awaken, shake off worldly distractions and press on in the Lord
  • for those already serving, that they may be encouraged and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
  • for supernatural doors to open, for God to be glorified as He moves through those who are surrendered to Him and His service.
  • that we become those vessels, useful to God, to serve Him and His Body and bring honor to His name in this world.

4:30-5:00am:     Praise and worship for what the Lord is doing, praising Him before He ‘parts the sea’, before we learn of – if we ever know – His answer to our cries. He is  worthy and faithful.

I pray that, when we meet the Lord and our Brethren, we will rejoice as one body together forever.

 

Thou Shalt Not Grow Old

(the new criminals)

Alas, they missed the memo…

“Where there is hope there can be faith, where there is faith miracles can occur”.  This is not a scriptural quote but words of encouragement offered by Hope in a Jar, an anti-aging skin cream.   Cosmetic proverbs and youth adages are more memorable now than scriptural quotes.   Modern day testimonies do not boast of the supernatural but rather strides in fighting the natural, “…women told us their skin looked 730 days younger!”, “anti-aging transformation –  younger looking skin from 1st contact!”.   Youthfulness is the new godliness with its own set of sought after miraculous outcomes.  It is a shame to go gray, worse to go bald – to sag and wrinkle denotes failure.  In all that our culture exalts ,the preservation of youth and the ‘religion’ of self importance is the intrinsic command, Thou Shalt Not Grow Old.   Assuredly our prevailing and persuasive culture rises up in defiance  to God’s wisdom and Living Word.

“The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old”  (Proverbs 20:29)

God is not anti-age, He is pro-eternal.  While His good creation holds wonderful things that bring health and healing, extending youth is not a priority.  In fact, the aged are esteemed before the Lord, they are to be honored,

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.”  (Leviticus 19:32)

There is no miracle in the Bible where wrinkles disappear.  That would be so far beneath the awesome power and character of God.   The miraculous intervention of God for the aged is this:  God has indwelled elderly men and moved through them – making their frail bodies powerful vessels for His honor and glory in the world.  The Lord has confounded the world and its superficial glories with His Spirit in the lives of those surrendered to Him.    At age 80, an old shepherd of flocks, Moses was called by God,

“I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

The Lord did not call Moses in the strength of his youth as he resided in the palace of Pharaoh, the epicenter of world power.  God waited until Moses was emptied of all youthful strength and bravado, all worldly resources and influences – indeed, void of inner ability that would rob God of all victorious glory.  “When I am weak, then I am strong” declared the apostle Paul (II Corinthians 12:10).  When I am weak, and dependent on the Lord for His indwelling strength and power, then I am strong – stronger than any man who depends on the power of flesh.  

The world culture continually exalts our temporal and physical life through sexuality, materialism and youthfulness –   while squelching our spiritual life into dormancy.   Jesus proclaimed the opposite as truth for life,

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.”  (John 6:63)

Looking young is not wrong, but the quest for youth will yield what counts for nothing.  In striving against old age we may miss the greatest renewal of life available to mankind, not in anti-aging,  but found only in being born again.  When we come to Christ, in repentance and surrender, His Spirit gives our spirit life, springing forth a miraculous newness.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  (II Corinthians 5:17)

Through sensual displays and celebrity ideals, this  world calls us to strive and hope for the temporal –  that which counts for nothing.  A glittering facade can blind us from the Light of the World, from Whom we receive the gift of eternal life.

Thou Shalt Grow Old, and our flesh turned back to dust.  Let us not settle for “looking 760 days younger” but turn to Jesus Christ, through whom our weakness becomes strength and our death – victory.