Here’s beautiful truth: You are who God says you are!
And God says you’re worth it and you’re lovely.
Pretty amazing, isn’t it? God cares about you and me and everyone. But isn’t it tough to believe that something so wonderful is true? That he protects you? That he cares?
In fact, you may have struggled with believing you matter and that God has a good plan for your life. Have you ever asked yourself questions like,
- Do I make a difference in anyone’s life?
- Does God smile when he thinks of me?
- How can God love me?
The truth is, Jesus is with you. He loves you. He cares.
Two Encouraging Stories
Corrie Ten Boom: God’s Protection
Chances are, you’ve heard parts of Corrie Ten Boom’s WWII story. Her family hid Jews in a secret place in their home above their watch shop. When the Nazis discovered their secret in 1944, they arrested the Ten Boom family and sent them to a concentration camp.
Upon arrival at the camp, Corrie and her sister, Betsie, waited in line to be searched. And guess what Corried did? She prayed.
With a bible hidden in her clothing, she prayed that the Nazis would not find it. She prayed, “Dear God, you have given me this precious Book. You have kept it hidden through checkpoints and inspections.” The Nazis searched the woman in front of Corrie, and they searched Betsie.
But Corrie? They left her alone. The bible stayed with her in the camp, and God’s word kept hatred from her heart.
Like Corrie, you are secure because you are hidden in Christ.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble. Psalm 32:7
Sandi: Small Acts of Kindness
Years ago I counseled “Sandi,” whose parents were addicts and abused her every which way imaginable. As the eldest, she would stand between her parents and her little brothers and sisters, sparing them and taking the punishment. And she was a child too!
The authorities caught up with Sandi’s parents, who were convicted of child abuse and distributing child pornography, and served time in prison. Sandi and her siblings ended up in foster care. Yet God blessed her and gave her a desire to be kind to others.
Among her stories I love is the time she noticed a homeless woman taking food from a dumpster behind a fast food joint, She offered her her own uneaten lunch. The woman declined at first. Then Sandi began regularly buying two lunches a few times a week–one for herself, one for the woman–and the woman ate hers.
Sandi’s small acts of kindness demonstrated the truth that God treasures all people–Sandi, you, me. And the homeless.
Like Sandi, you are significant because you are precious in God’s eyes.
You are precious and honored in my sight…because I love you. Isaiah 43:4
Scriptures About You
Read through this short list of the truth of who you are. May I encourage you to look up the bible verses too? They are hope for your heart.
I have a long list too. If you want the long list, please send me a message with the words “Who I Am in Christ” in the subject line and I’ll send it to you.
You are precious to God. (Isaiah 43:4)
You are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are complete. (Colossians 2:9,10)
You are secure. (Romans 8:31-39)
You are God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
You are God’s treasure. (1 Peter 2:9,10)
Father, thank you for reminding us who we are in Christ. Thank you that when you look at us you see true beauty that comes from your Son, our Savior. Amen.
Counseling Hope to Your Heart,
The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience is a treasured tool I very highly recommend and use regularly in counseling. if you’re a counselor, you’ll appreciate this tool to help women and families. If you’re not a counselor, but want to understand why you feel, and say, and do, the way you do, then this book is for you too.
READ A CHAPTER –> Wouldn’t you like to read a chapter? Here’s a link to chapter one.
In this brief article, you’ll learn from Jeremy Pierre’s book:
- What makes your heart tick
- How the heart is corrupted and redeemed
- A plan to counsel the heart
What Makes Your Dynamic Heart Tick?
Your heart responds cognitively, affectively, and volitionally to the life’s circumstances. It is multidimentional, it is dynamic. Most important, faith in Christ is the means by which your heart can respond to life differently, better.
Did you know each person’s heart is both simple and complex? The heart has automatic responses to situations. But underlying these seemingly auto-responses are deep beliefs, desires, and commitments of which people are generally unaware.
However, people can become aware and should. While psychotherapy on the whole divides awareness into conscious and subconscious, Scripture has a multifaceted view.
The Dynamic Heart, Corrupted
The corruption of the heart began at the Fall (Genesis 3) and infects all of the dynamic heart: cognition, affection, and volition. It shows up as idolatry.
Idolatry is a whole-hearted inclination that fails to believe God is God and worship him alone.
An alcoholic, then, is not worshipping a bottle but something deeper and more complex—a way to get something good apart from God. As this becomes habitual, the person loses sight what the idol is doing to him and he takes on the deadness of the idol to his detriment. God interrupts, he gives a Cross-shaped message of hope.
The Dynamic Heart, Redeemed
Jesus redeems the dynamic heart so it can do what God intends: worship him in thought, desire, and choice. God made the heart to imitate his own. Did you know you are an image-bearer?
While God is unlike people in many ways (e.g., he is omniscient), he is like people in some ways. For instance, he reasons and has emotion. As believers respond whole-heartedly to God and without reservation in reflective prayer and careful study of Scripture, they become more like Jesus.
Counseling the Dynamic Heart
A plan for counseling the dynamic heart requires four tasks. They are:
READ: Hearing people’s hearts
Llistening is crucial to understanding a hurting person and her problem in its context. Hearing the heart includes paying attention to what the counselee is saying (and not saying).
REFLECT: Helping people understand their responses
Self-awareness helps a hurting her connect her intuitive (or, automatic) responses to their belief system. Then she can challenge her automatic heart responses and begin to change.
RELATE: Looking to Jesus
With greater self-awareness of one’s responses, she sees that the help she needs comes from Jesus. Just as a believer trusts Jesus for her salvation from sin, she also learns to trust him for helping her make new heart responses.
RENEW: Calling for new responses from faith
Commitment to change is key. This requires an active faith since “heart change occurs as it is lived out, shaping and reinforcing new values and commitments,” Pierre writes.
Resources for You!
COUNSELING: Struggling? I offer biblical counseling by Skype and in person (greater Chicago). Learn more.
FIT FOR LIFE eBook: A comprehensive weight-loss and life change plan. Check it out. Click here for information.
ARE YOU A COUNSELOR? Join Heart2Heart Counselor Directory! Get details now..
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
The best lesson God taught me also turned my life around.
I confess I had trusted in by own abilities. And why not? I knew everything, right? As God rescued me from me and my pride, he taught me a lesson in three parts:
1. Believe God is who he says he is: good, in control, loving, just, merciful.
2. Believe what he says about you: valuable, significant, blessed.
3. Believe that you have an enemy who steals, kills and destroys, but God has defeated him.
Even as a Christian I leaned toward self-dependence, then the hard hit.
Click & Tweet!
One Saturday morning many years ago, awful memories of past abuse flooded my mind. So I sobbed from a sacred place in my soul at the time God chose.
This star-flinger, this day-numberer, this God drew me toward him, beginning with the lesson of who God is.
Lesson 1: God Is Who He Says He Is
Among the most beautiful bible verses is the one where God describes his character. I wrestled with whether to believe it is true or not true. Here’s the verse:
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming,’The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.’ Exodus 34:6-7
Compassionate, gracious, slow ot anger, great love and faithfulness, and forgiving–did I believe this of God? Do you?
If you’ve been hurt by someone who should have protected you, you may struggle believing these truths. You are not alone. Others struggle as you do.
In fact, the counselors listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory on my website biblically and lovingly counsel all of God’s healing hope to their counselees. Why not check out the directory for someone near you or who meets by Skype?
In addition to daily Bible reading, I journaled, exchanging the lies I believed for the truth. It looked a lot like this. My journaling and listening to gospel-centered music also helped got me to the place where I believe God is who he says he is. What helps you?
Lesson 2: I Am Who God Says I Am
God says all of his daughters are chosen. Before you took your first baby step, before you were conceived, before God fashioned the heavens and the earth, he chose you.
The moment you believed on Jesus as your Savior, your old self died. You became a new creation. You are in Christ and Christ is in you.
This “in” means you have a place as a member of Christ‟s body, vitally united with him. The death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus — yes, the heart of the gospel — made possible your true identity. God now sees you as blameless because his Son is blameless, having paid the ultimate price to conquer sin and death. Being “in Christ” is the true you.
Click & Tweet!
Does knowing you are chosen change the way you think and feel about yourself? about God?
Lesson 3: God Defeated the Enemy
Can you guess the big lie Satan wants you to believe? It’s NOT that you’re not good enough, though he tempts you to believe that one too. It’s NOT you’re unsuccessful or unattractive or a total mess-up or a waste of space, though you and I have fallen for some of these lesser lies, haven’t?
Can your believe I bought the lie that I was a defect? Have you?
This isn’t the big lie either. It destroyed my peace, though. God — through life-giving Bible truths and uplifting Christian music as well as counseling — showed me the truth: that I and every believer in Christ is his precious child and God also revealed the big lie at the core of my shame lie.
So what’s the big lie?
The Big Lie Is. .
The big lie Satan tempts you to believe is the same one Adam and Eve ate up in the Garden: God is holding back, that he couldn’t care less, that he’s not. . .good.
And the Truth Is. . .
Satan is defeated!
From Life Lesson to Action
As I embraced this three-part lesson and intentially put God first, he revealed a purpose for my life: to help Christian women know that they are valued by Jesus, who wants to heal them. Yes, to counsel hearts to hope! Still, I felt afraid and told God so.
Our conversation went like this.
“Lord, I don’t know how to begin.”
“Do not worry, Lucy. I’ll show you.”
“How will I know it’s you?”
“You will. The Holy Spirit who’s in you will confirm my words. You’ll know.”
“I don’t think I’m ready for this, Lord,” I said. “What if I mess up?”
That’s where we left things. God said trust. I sat there, speechless.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7, ESV
How about you? Where has God changed your thinking? Are you ready for deeper healing?
Are you tired of living a less-than life? Why not contact me
to set up a no-cost introductory phone consultation? Remember, God loves you, whoever you are, wherever you’ve been.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
How is your theology working for you? Are your beliefs about God bringing you closer to Him? Or farther away?
Everyone has a theology, even Hugh Heffner of Playboy fame has a theology, but his doesn’t center on the biblical God. No way!
Three decades ago, my personal beliefs dissed God and elevated self. I was the center of my tiny universe and miserable. You see, I believed to be happy I needed the acceptance of others–girlfriends, teachers, parents, guys, and especially me. Me. . .what a spoiled brat!
God freed me from me. Read my freedom story, if you’d like.
And he taught me theology.
Theology is the study of God. This sound terribly boring to most people, but did you know that what you believe about God is the most important thing about you? And about the direction of your life?
When your beliefs line up with biblical truth, you’ll experience contentment even when your circumstances are cruddy. When your beliefs are based on the world’s idea of happiness, including
- more money
- more success
- more acceptance
- more security
- more, more, more
. . .then you’ll experience unhappiness or a temporal and lonely kind of happiness dependent on getting the next happy high. This false happiness promises to deliver. It doesn’t. Instead, you receive misery.
God wants to give you peaceful contentment.
[The Lord says,] I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25, ESV
You’ll receive peaceful contentment–whether you’ve been a Christ follower for a month or many years–when you believe God is who he says he is. You and I could zero in on a number of truths about him. For now let’s pick one that trips up many women: goodness.
God Is Good Even. . .
. . .in monster circumstances: your husband cheats on you, your toddler becomes very ill, you lose all your savings, horrible childhood memories surface. God is good in manageable circumstances like a flu or when a close friend forgets your birthday. What difficult circumstance do you face now? Does it concern family, a shattered dream, health, or something else?
In counseling someone I’ll call Marilyn, I discovered that her core theology was tangled in a misunderstanding of the word “good” and how it applied to her everyday life. She felt frustrated over Romans 8:28 and its promise that all things work together for good.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
A Christian since her teens, Marilyn had misinterpreted the meaning of this verse and couldn’t practically apply it to her difficult, loveless marriage. She had a simplistic view of Romans 8:28, thinking that since she loves God, he must change her husband into a selfless man since this would be good. Most assuredly, selflessness is good. But this isn’t the meaning of the verse.
Marilyn and I explored this verse together like theologians.
We discovered that the “good” is this: God is works in us to make us more like Jesus. The next two verses showed that our thinking was on the right path.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
As Marilyn’s theology aligned with biblical truth, she came to accept that God might not change her husband–or make her healthy, wealthy, and wise–and she learned something something wonderful: God was changing her and she hungered to know him better.
Let’s Make It Personal
Is your theology off-kilter? It’s skewed whenever you elevate your desires and turn them into must-have needs. Yes, God gives us good things; however, sometimes we twist what is good into an idol.
An example: sex. Sex is a gift of God to be shared by a husband and wife in marriage. When the gift of sex becomes a craving for porn, it is now an idol.
When desires become needs, you expose that your life is more about what you want than what God wants. Here are a few questions posed by biblical counselor, author, and speaker Paul Tripp:
- Desire: “You should do _____ for me.”
- Need: “You will do _____ for me.”
- Expectation: “I expect you to do _____ for me.”
- Disappointment: “You didn’t do _____ for me.”
- Punishment: “You didn’t do _____ for me so I’m going to make you pay in some way.”
You know God deserves your unadultered love because he not only created you but also loves you and knows what’s best for you.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21
You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3
What idols do you possess? Did you know that they often fall into the areas of love, security, and significance? Do you want to be free of them?
Do what Marilyn decided. She chose to readjust her thinking into a God-centered way of looking at her life rather than sticking with her old way of thinking. Her old way led to misery. Her new way opens wide the door to true happiness.
Hope for Your Heart,
Cancer: A cancer diagnosis surprised Heart2Heart counselor Donna Hart, PhD. Her first question was, “What in this do You want me to learn?” The Lord’s answer: worship. Donna’s article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission. Donna also adds an update below to her cancer diagnosis. To all who prayed for her, thank you. –LAM
I was doing well and just starting the deeper research of chapter five of my dissertation. The chapter was on endurance. I prayed the Lord would lead me to the best resources for the research.
Not many days later the doctor called to say the results from the breast biopsy tested positive for cancer. I had had these done before all with negative results so when I got the call I was taken by surprise. We know nothing is a surprise for God and that His hand was allowing this for me.
My first question after the fog cleared was to ask our dear heavenly Father,
“What is in this You want me to learn?”
I got a most curious and surprising one word answer, “worship.”
I am “Miss Independent” and very used to caring for other people; I’m very low maintenance when it comes to needing help from others.
God Provides a Friend
The first person the Lord provided to help me was a good friend who happens to be a nurse. She declared that she was going with me to all doctor’s appointments and surgeries. She said it would be important to have another set of knowledgeable ears to listen. At the time, she was walking through her own deep valley of trial: while she was on a road trip a while back, she looked down for a moment and ran a red ligh. This resulted in a fatality.
During my cancer journey, we walked together; she ministered to me as I ministered to her. I learned that trials are more endurable when walk through it with a friend.
Click & Tweet!
Through the process of multiple cancer surgeries, my friends would go walking with me because that was the only exercise allowed. They walked with me outside on the miles of bike trail near my home and inside when the weather was inclement. We would talk and grow closer in our relationship.
God Provides Praise Music
The Lord blesses us with His love through the voices of other believers.
The days I walked on the treadmill I would listen to the Vertical Church Band. Do they realize how many songs they have written about heaven? What a gift to me from the Lord to get my heart focused on the right things. I thought, it does not matter what happens, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). I will worship You, Lord.
My treatment included four rounds of chemotherapy, four hours each, three weeks apart. My favorite sisters went along with me for this journey. We sat, relaxed, chatted, and knitted. What a blessed treat from the hand of the Lord: sweet friendships to make a trial a joy.
I did not know I was going to be my own dissertation research on endurance. As I sought references for my paper, the Lord brought me to an article on Counseling Suffering by John Piper, and I shall never forget his words, “The Lord is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.”
The world is watching: Are we a testimony that the Lord is good and enough, no matter what the trial?
The Lord was with me every step of this journey, teaching me to be less self-sufficient and more dependent upon Him knowing He works all things together for good.
Life After Cancer
Now years later and cancer free, I celebrate that the Lord is a continued song in my heart. I remember His words to me every time I would get my eys off Him and onto the circumsitons, “Iwhat crucified for you.”
Those words are a memorial reminter that He is with me, and I have nothing to fear. He started a goood work and He will finish it.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Question for You!
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Sharing Hope with Your Heart,