Got a Struggle? Try Christ-Centered Counseling!

struggle

DO YOU HAVE an ongoing struggle with a family member a friend? Is stuff from your past interfering with your present? Addicted to something, even a good thing like ministry work? Are you lonely or sad or fearful or angry?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then counseling may be your answer to peace and contentment for your struggle. Specifically, biblical counseling.

Core of Biblical Counseling

 Biblical counseling is all about helping people:

  1. God’s Word truly helps people who hurt.
  2. Biblical counseling is intense discipling. A window — no one needs biblical counseling year in and year out.
  3. God’s people can counsel effectively.

I received my training through the Pastoral Care to Women program at Western Seminary, Portland, OR, and have had further training through Association of Biblical Counselors and through the Assoication of Certified Biblical Counsleors.

In-person biblical counseling is not always possible; sometimes Skype counseling is best. This one reason why I offer a free initial phone consultation. Then we can decide your counseling needs and decide which direction the Lord wants you to go. To set up the free initial consultation, simply contact me. 

An experienced, certified biblical counselor, I will guide you to discover the solutions for your struggle. Together we’ll pray. We’ll laugh. Sometimes we’ll cry. We’ll look to loving truth in Scripture to change your heart and change your life! 

Counseling by Skype

I counsel some people over Skype or FaceTime. This works well for many people. I’ve counseled women and couples as far away as Australia and Hong Kong. Learn more about the advantages of Skype-counseling here. They include cost savings and convenience! Skype-to-Skype calls are free!

Advantages of Biblical Counseling

Biblical counseling is caring and effective, and looks to God for his answers.

In additions, itis highly affordable and convenient. Together we uncover the root issues of a problem you struggle with. You get practical, God-honoring solutions.

Do you know that you will improve how you think, feel, and do as God changes your heart’s desire?

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

Isn’t it amazing that God empowers you to live full and godly lives that please him? 

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

Do you want everyday victory when you continue to follow Christ’s way?

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it hat no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.Colossians 2:6-8

 Your Next Step

Contact me for your no-cost 20-minute introductory session by phone or Skype. I’d love to answer your questions and together decide whether biblical counseling is a good fit for you and to help to find a real solution to your struggle.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

New Way to See Your Mess-Ups

mess-ups

Mess-ups! Would you like to see yours in a new way? A better way?

Mess-ups are mistakes. They also are growth opportunities. God can turn your mess-ups into masterpieces when you choose to see them in a new way, his way.

In this short article, I’ll share:

  1. Some of my mess-ups that became pretty.
  2. The very special God-given instruction to see them afresh.
  3. How you can beautify your mess-ups too.

My Mess-Ups, Beautified

Friend, in this short list I’ll name just two of my many mistakes.Then I’ll reveal heart change for life change. What mess-ups is God asking you admit? Did you know change begins when you own up to your mistakes? Once you admit them, then you can learn from them and experience uplifting, godly change.  

EXAMPLE 1: Stuffing my anger. At early as I can remember, I stuffed my anger and fear. This resulted in discouragement and eventually depression. Then I began to apply this biblical truth to my heart.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15, NIV

Heart change: A desire to obey God and follow his instruction to speak the truth in love, which required me to open my mouth. For me. . .scary!

Life change: As I spoke the truth in love with the person who angered me, I felt peace. . .even when the other person disagreed. I knew speaking the truth in love honored God.

EXAMPLE 2: Fear of disapproval. Years ago while driving on a six-lane highway, I had a freaky panic attack, completely unexpected. I had another one in the same place the next day and the next. Weeks later, I recognized that just before the first panic attack I was playing a bad tape in my mind of a grueling conversation with a coworker. I feared her angst and my boss’ opinion.

‘We must obey God rather than men.’ Acts 5:29, ESV

Heart change: A determination to please God most of all, not people. I had hated people’s disapproval. The strength to obey God grew from learning his attributes while reading the Bible and through prayer.

Life change: With practice, I renewed my thinking and God freed me from panic attacks and people-pleasing.

God’s Special Instruction

The Lord instructs you to build your life on what matters most of all–God’s Word.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Wise women build their life on the foundational truths in the Bible. In its pages, you’ll discover

  • who God is.
  • who you are.

Says Sinclair Ferguson: “Almost every area problem or failure in the Christian live is in some way rooted in the fact that we do not understand or we forget who God is and who we are.” Doesn’t this make a lot of sense? Does your spirit agree?

Beautify Your Mess-Ups

May I challenge you? It’s customary for me to give assignments to my counselees.

I have one for you. It’ll help you know God through Scripture. Open your Bible to Ephesians 1 and begin listing who God is, verse by verse. The first three are below. Keep adding to the list. You may reach 20, even more.

  1. a grace-giver (verse 2)
  2. one who blesses (verse 3)
  3. a planner (verse 4)

When you believe God is who he says he is, your thinking is renewed and you will begin to think rightly. As you think rightly, you will experience peace and contentment. You’ll even see your mess-ups as opportunities to make masterpieces.

FREE CONSULT: For a free, 20-minute consultation to find out how biblical counseling can help you or a friend, please contact me. Thanks!

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

 

Crucial Step in Counseling

CounselingThe most crucial step in counseling is knowing whether a counselee is a true believer in Jesus Christ. How come? A true believer has God’s divine power to believe the truth of God and apply it to her life.

In this article, you”ll discover:

  1. A key part of the biblical counseling process.
  2. The inner workings of a biblical counseling office.

‘Pre-Counseling’

If a counselee is not a true believer–though she may be a nice person, attend church, and listen to Christian music–her life is built on sand. A wise counselor pre-counsels–or shares the gospel with her.

Your relationship with God doesn’t depend on your performance–or, all the good things you do for Jesus. Rather your relationship with God depends on Christ’s performance–what he did and is doing.

The gospel in brief:

  • Jesus lived a life completely pleasing to God the Father.
  • He was crucified. His paid for every sin, once for all time, satisfying God’s wrath.
  • He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.
  • A person who trusts in Jesus is forgiven and becomes a child of God with all the benefits that accompany her new identity, including the indwelling Holy Spirit..

A counselee who is not a believer in Jesus may feel better for a while but will experience no real heart change in counseling.

More important is her relationship with Jesus. A very scary Bible verse I sometimes share in the counseling office is this one:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

My hope is that God convicts a counselee by the power of the Holy Spirit of her need for Jesus. Her eternal life depends on the gospel.

Two Diagnostic Questions 

In the counseling office while getting to know a counselee, I ask her to fill out a Personal Data Inventory. One section probes her salvation experience. The two questions are:

  1. Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you can say that you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven?  o Yes  o No   o Uncertain
  2. Suppose you died today and God asked you “Why should I let you into my heaven?” What would your say?

If her story of how she became a Christ-follower seems murky, I’ll ask more questions, such as:

  • “Who is God?”
  • “What is he doing in the world?”
  • “Where do you fit in to his purposes?”

If I sense she is not a true believer, I’ll “pre-counsel,” as mentioned above. If she is a true believer, I listen to her story of what brought her to counseling and look for opportunities to help solve problems through biblical counseling. Two favorite Scripture passages are Ephesians 1:3-14 and Ephesians 4:17-32. Part of it is printed in italics below.

New Life in Christ

With a counselee in the counseling office, after I’ve gathered data (including her salvation story) and listened to her struggles, I often turn to the book of Ephesians.

The apostle Paul describes the believer’s new life in Christ. She had a darkened mind as an unbeliever, now the mind of Christ. She lived to please herself, now to please God. She acted from her old self, not from who she is in Christ. Listen:

Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. hey have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Becoming more like Christ is a lifelong process. God plants godly beliefs in you as the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates, and redirects your mind. Your life goal is do God’s will.

Did you know that before you became a Christian, you were unable to do God’s will? In Christ, you have the power to believe God’s truth and apply it to your life and obey his commands – not because you have to, but because you want to!  

And it all begins with becoming a true believer.

COUNSELING: Did you know I offer a complimentary, 20-minute consultation? You can ask questions about counseling or the Heart2Heart Counselor Directory or anything else on your heart. Send me a message now. Thanks! 

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

 

 

Do You Complain? Does Your Kid?


complain

People who complain. . .how do they learn to stop?

In this short article, you’ll learn:

  1. Complaining is the sad norm.
  2. The real message that complaining sends.
  3. A solution to complaining.

Join the Crowd

Haven’t we all been guilty of complaining at one time or another? The other day, my 17 year old complained that:

  • He wasn’t allowed pizza rolls in his bedroom.
  • We said “no” to his plan to drive 60 miles on unfamiliar roads.
  • He had to pick up wet towels and hang them on a towel rod.

Your complaints may sound different from a teenager’s complaints.

Your friend forgets your birthday. A virus invades your hard drive. Your boss gives the better project to your coworker. Each of these scenarios are fodder to complain and grumble. What circumstances led to your complaints this week?

Real Message of Complaining

Complaining sends a message through words, tone or voice, and body language: “It’s not fair.”

A kid might say or think, “It’s not fair that my friend gets an iPhone and I don’t.” Or, “His family is spending the day at a water park and I’m stuck at home.”

Ultimately the “it’s not fair” message points a finger at God. 

When your kid complains–when you complain–your heart reveals self-centered sorrow. You feel angry and your anger may turn to bitterness. You think God hasn’t treated you fairy. You might even think that God’s made a big mistake.

In the Old Testament, Job (pronounced jobe) questioned God’s wisdom in letting horrible things happen to him–the deaths of his ten children and the obliteration of his livestock as well as his own ruined health. In chapters 38 to 40 of Job, God reminds him that he alone has limitless wisdom.

God’s main point: Who do you think you are, Job?

Speaking from a whirlwind, God says to Job:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
 On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
 when the morning stars sang together
    and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 38:4-7

God is wise, just, good, sovereign, love. Nothing happens in your life or your child’s life surprises God. When you feel confused and angry, God doesn’t need your advice or my advice. God invites you to deepen your trust.

God is trustworthy. He never makes mistakes. He loves you.

 A Solution to Complaining

Did you know that what you believe about God affects the way you think, feel, and act?

THREE TRUTHS:

  1. When you believe God is all-wise, you accept the truth that what God does is for your good and his glory, even though you may not understand God’s reasons.
  2. When you believe is God’s sovereign, you believe the truth that he is fully capable of devising how to handle your situation.
  3. When you believe God is good, you acknowledge that God knows why you have problems and shows you the best way to resolve them.

As you choose to act as a child of God, guess what happens?

Gratitude bubbles up in you and overflows your life. Gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic. You don’t whitewash the bad things in life. Pain and injustice exist in this world.

When you focus on God’s gifts of life, you gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude brings balance and hope. Do you have a grateful heart? Think of several things to write on your very own gratitude list.

Here’s how I began my gratitude list:

red geraniums

butterflies

friends who listen

dark chocolate

the color purple

the ability to read and walk and sleep deep

As you practice gratitude, you’ll complain less often. When you fall back into grumbing, you’ll be quick to confess your grumbling to God, and repent. You’ll discover new hope. As the psalmist says,

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him and I am helped; Therefore, my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him. Psalm 28:7

Sharing hope with your heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Jesus in Every Book!

God-is

Jesus is in every book of the Bible! Take this music journey through the 66 books of the Bible and discover who Jesus is.

Here’s the link to the song. If you don’t have time to listen, drink in the lyrics below. Your heart will fill with the beauty of Jesus in you, for He Is!

“He Is” by Aaron Jeoffrey

In Genesis, He’s the breath of life
In Exodus, the Passover Lamb
In Leviticus, He’s our High Priest
Numbers, The fire by night
Deuteronomy, He’s Moses’ voice
In Joshua, He is salvation’s choice
Judges, law giver
In Ruth, the kinsmen-redeemer
First and second Samuel, our trusted prophet
In Kings and Chronicles, He’s sovereign

Ezra, true and faithful scribe
Nehemiah, He’s the rebuilder of broken walls and lives
In Esther, He’s Mordecai’s courage
In Job, the timeless redeemer
In Psalms, He is our morning song

In Proverbs, wisdom’s cry
Ecclesiastes, the time and season
In the Song of Solomon, He is the lover’s dream

He is, He is, HE IS!

In Isaiah, He’s Prince of Peace
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet
In Lamentations, the cry for Israel
Ezekiel, He’s the call from sin
In Daniel, the stranger in the fire

In Hosea, He is forever faithful
In Joel, He’s the Spirits power
In Amos, the arms that carry us
In Obadiah, He’s the Lord our Savior
In Jonah, He’s the great missionary

In Micah, the promise of peace
In Nahum, He is our strength and our shield
In Habakkuk and Zephaniah, He’s pleading for revival
In Haggai, He restores a lost heritage
In Zechariah, our fountain

In Malachi, He is the son of righteousness rising with healing in His wings

He is, He is, HE IS!

In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, He is God, Man, Messiah
In the book of Acts, He is fire from heaven
In Romans, He’s the grace of God
In Corinthians, the power of love
In Galatians, He is freedom from the curse of sin

Ephesians, our glorious treasure
Philippians, the servants heart
In Colossians, He’s the Godhead Trinity
Thessalonians, our coming King
In Timothy, Titus, Philemon He’s our mediator and our faithful Pastor

In Hebrews, the everlasting covenant
In James, the one who heals the sick.
In First and Second Peter, he is our Shepherd
In John and in Jude, He is the lover coming for His bride
In the Revelation, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords

He is, He is, HE IS!

The prince of peace
The Son of man
The Lamb of God
The great I AM

He’s the alpha and omega
Our God and our Savior
He is Jesus Christ the Lord
and when time is no more
He is, HE IS!

If you haven’t yet subscribed to this blog, please do. Dare to belief the truth that in Jesus you have everything you need.

Believes God is who He says He is!

Sharing hope with your heart,

lucy-signature-blue