Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Whatever You're Doing' Music Video

Yesterday I was in my van alone, driving home from taking my 2 older girls to our homeschool co-op, and I heard this song for the first time. In my counseling sessions, one of the things I've been working on is a book on dealing with bitterness, by Lou Priolo. It is very helpful, but I've been struggling with it because seeing it in myself is so overwhelming. I was driving and crying and praying about all the things I see wrong and how I can't do it on my own, to let go of the bitterness and forgive. I had come to the point where I knew in my head that if I just stepped out in obedience, God would take it the rest of the way by His grace; but it still seemed so hard, like I would have to constantly have to be asking forgiveness for falling back into the bad patterns again. I don't know if this is making sense, but this song came on and it was exactly what I needed to hear; like God was answering me directly, and telling me He was going to help me each step of the way, as I obey Him in faith. He was saying that He's going to finish what He started in me, and in my family, because He loves us, and we're part of His plan to show His love to the world, too. I'm on my way to where God wants me to be. I'm seeing that following God's scriptural principles can bring healing very quickly. It is painful, but effective.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Counseling: First lessons and realizations

I've been going to Biblical counseling sessions for a few weeks now, and I'd like to begin to share some about the counseling and my thoughts about it. Here, I want to write first about the first Bible passages and lessons that the counselor shared with me.

The very first thing the counselor, Fran, shared with me is that in order to get started in the right direction I need to make it my aim to please God rather than myself, because we are created for God's glory, to worship and obey Him. The Scripture passage is 2 Corinthians 5:9-10: Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

This lesson, and the others I'll mention, I really already knew, but needed to be reminded and refocused on what is right. I needed to repent, or turn back into the right way, away from the sinful behaviors and thought patterns I had fallen into, including depression and bitterness, which I'd like to talk more about in later posts.

I needed this first reminder because with depression I had been focusing for a long time on my own feelings and trying to comfort myself with escapism of various kinds; one of which is this blog. Blogging isn't a bad thing, but I had been spending way too much time on it and neglecting other things.

The second lesson Fran gave was that I, as a believer, "can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", from Philippians 4:13. This is a hopeful passage for someone who tends to think I'll never be able to change. I've been stuck in some bad patterns of behavior and thought that I needed to realize were sinful or harmful and begin to obey Christ and live by His grace. He will help me if I step out in faith and obedience. I've already seen this happening. He's given me hope and strength to keep trying, and patience to keep working with my children who have suffered from my problems and are showing symptoms of the same problems.

The third lesson was like the second; that there is hope for me. The Scripture passage was 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. This gives hope because I know that I am not the only one who has gone through hard things and suffered temptations, and that God is with me and will help me to escape temptation if I look to Him for help.

With all these lessons, I quickly began to realize that I had allowed myself to become really slack in many areas of my life, mainly because I was depressed and trying to escape from the hard realities that I didn't want to face. The more you fall into depression, the more you try to escape, and then depression grows as you realize things are not going well. It becomes a vicious cycle, spiraling downward more and more, if you don't break out of it. It can be done with God's help.

A fourth lesson I just remembered is that godliness is something that requires practice. I need to 'put off' or turn from unprofitable thoughts and actions and pursue,'put on' or exercise godly behaviors and thoughts. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 is one passage that teaches this: But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. In other words, godliness requires practice, in obedience to God's instructions and commands. It doesn't just happen by itself. If we drift along in life we won't make progress in godliness.

I'll be sharing more, hopefully, about what I'm learning and my progress. This is only the beginning; but it's a good beginning: a solid foundation on Scripture.

Monday, August 15, 2011

God equates Scripture with Himself

We were studying Galatians 3 on Sunday, and as our pastor read through it, I noticed for the first time that in verse 8 the word Scripture is used basically as a synonym for God. Here is the passage:

Galatians 3:5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

It says the Scripture 'forsees' and the Scripture 'preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand'. The Scripture, as in written scripture, was not written yet, but God Himself spoke to Abraham and gave the promise that through him all the nations would be blessed. In this passage the Holy Spirit teaches that God's word is synonymous with Himself. In Psalm 138:2 it says: I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name. Apparently God considers scripture to be an extension of Himself.