Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Book Review

dynamic heartThe 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.

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In this brief article, you’ll learn from Jeremy Pierre’s book:

  1. What makes your heart tick
  2. How the heart is corrupted and redeemed
  3. 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.

Heart change leads to lasting life change

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: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,

 

Focus: Seeing Life Clearly Brings Peace

focus

A right and godly focus cuts through the complications of life and brings peace to your heart. In her article, which appeared first here on her website, Heart2Heart Counselor Karen Gaul shares insights from story of Ruth as well as Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Life has a way of being very complicated. It is so easy for us to get lost in the situations that happen around us that we quickly lose our focus and our way. We become overwhelmed, disillusioned, fearful, maybe even bitter and angry.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians it seemed that might be the case. Paul hoped to encourage this church. I wonder if they were thinking that since Paul was a follower of the Way and was imprisoned that maybe it could happen to them too. Perhaps the scuttlebutt around town was “imagine Paul in prison, chained up. I wonder if he is going to be killed soon? He must be scared. This is terrible. How could God let this happen? Is Paul wrong?”

But this is what Paul writes,

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” Philippians: 1:12-14

Deciding Your Focus 

Wrong thinking is one of the first places we look focus.

You can hear it in the true story of Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah. 

Naomi’s focus: Naomi faced famine and moved to Moab, a godforsaken land, where her husband dies. Her sons marry idol-worshipping women. They produce no offspring. Then her sons die, leaving her with two daughters-in-law. Life couldn’t get much more difficult than that.

She believes God’s hand is very heavy on her and that she has been emptied of anything and anyone who mattered to her. Now she was old. Death would have been a welcome visitor for her. She saw nothing but her difficult circumstances. Poor Naomi … lost, alone and disillusioned and bitter. She sees no hope for her future..

Ruth’s focus: Ruth, on the other hand, could have thought that if she went with Naomi to Israel, she would not be welcomed. She could have thought: “I will never marry or have a child. Perhaps I will face abuse and ridicule. I may starve.”

These were all real possibilities for her future. Yet she did a remarkable thing. She wanted to be where God was in the Land of Bread, and she was determined to go. She persisted and off Ruth and Naomi went to Israel.

Orpah’s focus: Orpah, the other daughter-in-law, returned to Moab and her idol-worshipping life. She lacked God’s perspective. To her, returning home looked most promising.

When we focus on circumstances, we miss what is really going on.

Listening to Paul’s Solutions

The aspostle Paul…

  1. clarifies the gospel
  2. focuses on results
  3. looks at the big picture

Clarification

Paul clarifies things so this little church isn’t discouraged or fearful. He doesn’t go into the details of what has happened to him. Instead, he reminds them that the Gospel is being advanced all over the place.

Focus

Paul focuses on the results. Paul reminds them that he is in chains for Christ and that the Gospel is advancing.

When we get lost on the problem, doesn’t our vision become limited? Naomi couldn’t see past her circumstances, Ruth saw something way beyond herself. She was going to be in the place God was and she couldn’t wait to get there. It didn’t matter what happened to her as long as she was close to Him.

We become self-absorbed when we focuse only on the horizontal of life. Our world gets smaller and smaller and it appears nothing will ever change. Naomi was caught in that place for quite some time.

But Paul took advantage of his circumstances and shared Jesus to everyone who was attached to him as well as anyone else. Ruth also took advantage of her situation and lived a life of integrity committing herself to the care of this older bitter woman who she loved. Both Paul and Ruth were witnesses of what a follower of Jesus looks like and people noticed.

  • How can we think differently about the situations that happen to us? What might God be up to? 

Sometimes we know the purpose but other times we don’t. Paul took advantage of this situation and proclaimed Christ.  Ruth on the other hand just lived her life in love and obedience to the God she found.  She wasn’t a great teacher or spokesperson instead she lived a life of grace and others noticed.

Big Picture

Paul looks at the big picture. Paul sees he is in chains, and other believers speak more boldly. And that is all that matters to him, that Christ gets proclaimed.

God desires for us to change our thinking. We live in a soft and comfy world and we quite like it that way, but following Jesus comes with great cost.  We might not be in chains like Paul was, but there will be ample opportunity for us to suffer and go through hardship and in it we can choose to respond like Naomi and get bitter or we can like Paul see the big picture.

Paul endured, he suffered, he sacrificed, he gave and he served because he loved.

How can we take up that same challenge?

During your darkest hours God is working, He is up to good things. He wants to redeem your struggle and use it for nothing but good in your life. You may not always know what He might be doing but you will know the end result is to make you reflect Christ more. (Romans 8:28,29)

What an honor we have.

Will you allow God to use your suffering to produce in you a most pleasing aroma for Him?

An Invitation to You

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

Counselor, How Can I Change?

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People who want help need. . . change: heart change for life change. The strangely good news is the problem is clear: sin. What’s less clear to some folks is how biblcial change works. Biblical counselor Julie Ganschow — listed on Heart2Heart Counselor Directory here — lays out this compassionate and effective change process. This article apppeared first here on Julie’s website and is used with permission.heartMost people who come for help are looking for change. In relationship counseling, the individuals are usually looking for the other person to change. Those in individual counseling are often looking for their circumstances or feelings to change, and they don’t know how to make that happen.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Galatians 5:19-21, we find a few ugly lists of issues that are typical as presenting problems in a biblical counseling relationship. (These ,of course, are not the only two places in the Bible we find sinful habits listed).

While you may want to believe that your particular sin is new or unique, the Bible does cover all of the heart level sins known to man. How each of us acts out our sin varies, but honestly, there is no new sin under the sun.

This is excellent news for us sinners! The problem you bring to the table can be totally different, yet the cause of sin is identical.

Battling Besetting Sins

Every one of us can become habituated to one or more kinds of sin. Another way of thinking about habitual sin might be found in an older term, besetting sin.

Our sinful habits are developed when we do something so frequently that it becomes an automatic, comfortable pattern of living. It becomes an automatic behavior, such as the woman who habitually overeats chocolate when she is feeling sad or lonely. She may be told by well-meaning people that she has a disease such as Compulsive Overeating. She might be prescribed an anti-depressant and told to attend a self-help group. These responses remove responsibility from her for her actions and steal her hope.

However, identifying these behaviors biblically can give her tremendous hope when she learns that her eating too much or the wrong kinds of food have become habits that can be unlearned. Taking medication will not help a person put off a sinful habit. By employing the process of biblical change, with practice she will change and restructure her life in a manner that glorifies God.

It is important to realize that such habits did not develop overnight, and new habits will not become automatic overnight. Biblical change takes time and practice. It takes time for someone who is habituated to a particular sin to transform and begin consistently to demonstrate new attitudes and actions.

Biblical Process of Change

The key to real and lasting change is found in the biblical process of putting off and putting on found in Ephesians 4:24-26. As you read through the Bible, you will find a number of verses that inform us in one way or another about disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7, Colossians 4:7, 1 Timothy 6:11).

Part of the process I would recommend is found in 2 Timothy 3:16 which instructs us to teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

We all need to know more about God and how to bring Him glory by how we live our lives, right? Sit under sound biblical teaching. We must be willing to accept a reproof or a rebuke for our ungodly behavior and attitudes, and then correct them by putting on biblical behavior, and finally, to be trained in the specific righteous behavior we must put on.

The idea of training means to practice it over and over, very much like a gymnast practices the same routine to the point that the moves she makes on the balance beam or the floor are identical time after time. Rather than learning physical moves, we replace the thoughts, beliefs, and desires of our heart that we are currently practicing (Galatians 5:19-20), with those that honor and glorify God (Ephesians 4 and 5, Philippians 2, and Colossians 3).

Biblical Change vs Behaviorism

changeThere are a number of verses in the Scriptures that talk about re-habituation. Hebrews 5:13 and 10:25 are among them. Our goal is not merely change in our behavior, putting off and putting on; we must realize and understand the importance the heart plays in putting off those old behaviors and putting on righteous ones.

Because our behavior comes from our immaterial part, or what the Bible calls the heart, the changes to put off and put on must originate there. The sinful thoughts, beliefs, and desires that bring us into counseling originate in the heart. As the heart is submitting to God’s authority, and the mind is being renewed by the Word of God, new behavior patterns will form. To leave out the critical component of heart change for life change makes the biblical counselor a mere behaviorist, and this type of counsel is certain to fail.

Ephesians 4:24-26 can be misused to become rote behaviorism. This is a danger with some counselors in how they instruct their counselees.

The critical component in this passage is the renewal of the mind. The mind is equal to the heart and must be biblically informed (Romans 12:2) about how to change.

This is why reading and meditating on the Word of God is so critical to this process of biblical change. We must know what the Word of God says about the attitudes and sins of the heart. The new response (putting on) ideally will flow from a heart that now sees our sin as grievous to God.

An Offer for You

Are you looking for change? Do you want to know how to apply God’s timeless truth to your heart and experience life change? May I invite you to leave a comment. If you prefer contact me directly, and we can choose a time for a 15-minute phone consultation for you to ask questions or request prayer. God loves you lavishly, friend. He heals the brokenhearted. –LAM

COUNSELING: Learn more about compassionate biblical counseling by Skype.

FREE eBOOK: Click here to dowload a free counseling resource. Easy, fast.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

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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,

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What’s Your Real Worldview?

woldviewWhether you know it or not, you have a worldview, and it colors how you see the world and how you solve your problems.

In this short article, you’ll discover:

  • what a worldview is and why it matters to your spiritual growth.
  • how to reclaim a Christian worldview if yours goes off track.
  • the super important link between your heart and your worldview.

PLUS: the best encouragement to stay sane in a crazy world. 

What Is a Worldview?

A worldview is the framework from which you view reality and make sense of life. It consists of the values—or, your fundamental belief system—that determines your attitudes and desires, and ultimately your actions. It is the sum total of your beliefs about the world.

EXAMPLES:

  • A toddler believes she’s the center of the universe.
  • A humanist believes the material world is all that exists.
  • A postmodernist believes what true for him is truth.

What’s a Christian Worldview?

A Christian worldview is based on belief that the Word of God—that is, the Bible—is true. When you believe the Bible is true, then you embrace the Living Word, who is Jesus. The Bible becomes the foundation of everything you think, say, feel, and do.

To determine if you have a Christian worldview, why not answer the following questions in a survey formulated by pollster George Barna?

Do absolute moral truths exist?

Is absolute truth defined by the Bible?

Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life?

Is God the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe, and does He still rule it today?

Is salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned?

Is Satan real?

Does a Christian have a responsibility to share her his or her faith in Christ with others?

Is the Bible accurate in all of its teachings?

Did you answer “yes” to these questions? Then you have a Christian worldview, specifically a biblical worldview. (Some liberal Christians would say they have a Christian world view but would say “no” to a number of Barna’s questions including the accuracy of the Bible.)

Your Worldview Matters

When you believe the Bible is true, you want your life to show it. You’ll read the Bible and pray – not out of obligation – because you have the life of Christ and He lives his life through you.

Your deepening faith that permeates your entire life:  marriage or singleness, relationships at work and with neighbors and family, your choices, your emotions, and your thinking.

Yet the secular worldview encroaches on every believer like a rising flood, desiring to suck you into its undercurrents. You see it on billboards, TV, and internet ads; you hear it in popular music and many a teen’s slang.

The world’s enticement is one reason a Christian believer might fall into muck the Bible calls sin. Sin is unholy wrongdoing that offends God.

He might be look with lust at a woman. She might crave a shiny Corvette. He might trip into an addiction. She might lie. He might slander a coworker. She might bow to the idol of materialism to find her worth.

Colossians 2:8 speaks to empty, worldly philosophies:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.

Reclaim Your Worldview

Christian believers who ascribe to a biblical worldview can become confused and make strange choices—strange for a self-identifying Christian.

EXAMPLES:

  • Shanna visits a Reiki practitioner who uses a technique called palm healing by which “universal energy” is said to encourage healing.
  • Liz discovers the underbelly of Internet porn and frequents online chat rooms.
  • A mother of four young children increasingly uses profanity while yelling at them.

In every case, the Christian has fallen into a secular worldview to solve problems. Shanna looks to New Age for help with emotional pain. Liz enters a sex fantasy world to escape a loveless marriage. In anger the mother uses the coarse language of the times. Haven’t you acted unChristian too at times? Haven’t we all?

To reclaim your biblical worldview, agree with God where your went off the rails. Did you gossip? Yell? Get jealous?

Then repent. Repent is a church-y word that means to “do a 180” and go the opposite direction you were headed. The gossiper starts speaking kindly about others. The yeller embraces a new approach of being “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). The jealous one remembers to be thankful.

Worldview and Your Heart

In the Bible, your heart refers to your mind, your emotions, and your will. At the heart of your heart is your worldview, or the sum of what you believe. It is “your control center.”

A healthy heart has godly thoughts, godly emotions, and godly actions—all because you have a worldview set on the truth of God’s Word.

May I encourage one important activity to keep your worldview and heart healthy? Read your Bible every day. The Word of God renews your mind.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, ESV)

It changes the way you think. It encourages and instructs you. It teaches you right from wrong.

It keeps you sane in a world gone crazy.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart, 

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5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!

Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

In this delightful, four-color ebook, you’ll discover the precious names God calls you. Today so many Christian women don’t fully know their wonderful identity in Christ. Isn’t a time to know yours? Filled with scripture, photography, personal stories, and encouragement!

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