Two Failures

There are two outstanding failures that one can detect in counseling when he has an opportunity to watch it.

  1. Many counselors use too much Scripture.  They throw verse after verse at counselees, piling them up for him, presumably to take home. A person can digest only so much material in a counseling session or during the week following. He needs to drive home one or two verses, plainly explained, if he wants to see biblical results.
  2. Not any verse will do.  Not only must a verse be explained as to its meaning, but also counselors must show how it is appropriate to the counselee, and how he may apply it to his situation. These are key factors at which one must not fail!

Trusting God’s Ways

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:3).

Here is an important injunction given to those who know Christ as Savior. Obviously, an unbeliever not only rejects the very concept expressed, but finds it impossible even to approach the fulfillment of any such command.

Believer, do you keep such injunctions with you as you go about life’s activities? If you fail to do so, it may be time to reconsider how you approach these activities—don’t you think?

Today, you will make decisions a-plenty. Most of them will be small, though some may be life-changing.  It doesn’t matter—this verse applies to all. Do you turn to the Bible to discover what the Lord would have you do? Or do you simply go about doing what you think is right? Well, re-read the verse!

How about at work? At home? At school?  It doesn’t matter where you apply it, the verse covers all choices in life—will you trust God’s ways or you own?

Of course, to trust His ways means that you must know them. That is where many otherwise well-intentioned Christians go wrong: because they are unfamiliar with God’s  ways, they can’t trust them. And they are unfamiliar because they don’t study their Bibles in order to discover His ways. There is no excuse for not knowing His ways—they are spelled out explicitly in the Bible; how familiar are you with them?  When there are various options before you, do you know how to go about selecting those that please God?  It’s time for you to begin doing so—don’t you think? It’s also time to know His ways—don’t you think?

The question in brief is a matter of how you think, don’t you think?  How will you answer that question: I think biblically” or “I think my own thoughts?” Which will it be?

All You Need

There is something about the way in which God provides more than what we need. We see it in the Scriptures about the feeding of the 5000, for instance—there were baskets full of leftovers. But there is one thing that we don’t usually recognize—the Bible contains far more truth than we will ever need to avail ourselves of.

Think of it—in it is everything one could eve want to meet every difficulty. There is everything we could ever need to know about how to love God and our neighbor—and we could go on.

But, since this is true, why are we always searching somewhere else to find something more?

That’s of course, the problem with the eclectic; he believes in the Bible—plus. Actually, all we need is the Bible—less (in the sense that we could ever be able to know or use it all. And when we do use it, there are always so many leftovers.).

There is always something that the eclectic can’t seem to be able to find to help him or his counselee in the Scriptures, so he looks elsewhere. Then, finding a piece of “worldly wisdom,” he gets out his Gorilla Glue and attempts to make a fit that will hold together. The trouble is that either 1) the Bible gets warped in the process in order to make an unnatural union, or 2) the Bible refuses to stay fixed to the other object so in the final analysis, he junks it in favor of the extra-biblical finding..

You can’t fasten worldly wisdom together with biblical truth; something always goes wrong when you make the attempt. 1 Corinthians 2 ought to be sufficient evidence of the fact that this procedure is futile. The world doesn’t welcome the truth of God (v. 14), and even thinks that it’s foolishness. If some kind of union is effected in spite of these facts, doubtless it will be like the clay and iron of the toes of Daniel’s metallic man—the mashing together of two incompatible items. They won’t hold very long as, indeed, the Roman Empire’s “union” of provinces demonstrated when they attacked and overran the mother city!

So, since we have all we need in the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:17), why attempt to “enhance” it with man’s “wisdom?” It can’t work; it doesn’t work; it will not work. This has been demonstrated over the last generation by a host of eclectic counselors and theorists who, admittedly, have found no amalgamation of the two that does work. Why waste time doing what God has already told you can’t be done and, moreover, has told you what can? The Bible has what you need to solve all true counseling problems; in it are all things necessary for life and godliness; in it is all you need to know in order to love God and your neighbor. And then some! It’s time to toss the world’s “wisdom” aside, and get down to work learning how to use your Bible to help those in need of its guidance! You’ll find all you’ll ever need—and much more.

Heeding God’s Truth

Here is a verse to keep in mind—the time will come when you need it!

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.  Psalm 94:16

Who has a right to claim the wonderful promise in this verse? Move back a few verses and you will find the answer:

Lord, happy is the man You discipline and teach from Your law, to give him relief from troubled times.  Psalm 94:13

God’s Word (His law) teaches and disciplines those who study, understand, and obey it. Believer, you cannot expect the promise to apply unless (and until) the conditions are met. But, Oh when they are—the riches of it are yours!

How conversant are you with the Scriptures? How frequently do you listen (and act) when they expose and rebuke you for your evil ways? Are you a person who drifts with the crowd, or one who goes in the direction that pleases Him? That is the way to receive His comfort and relief. When necessary, to please God, you must to walk against it. It isn’t easy to head in the opposite direction from other Christians when they are part of that crowd—is it? That makes it especially difficult. Yet, it isn’t what others do that matters; it’s what God says will bring comfort and relief in troubled times that counts. There are many such times in all of our lives; there may be even greater ones in the near future. Take heed to God’s truth!

God’s Word—purified seven times over

That’s what Psalm 11:8 has to say.

”But what does it mean?”

The verse also compares it to silver that is purified that often.

“Does that mean the Word was impure and had to be purified?”

Certainly not.

“Well then, why does it go on to compare it to silver that has to be purified that many times to rid it of all impurities?”

It is not the process of purification that is under comparison.

“What then is?”

The product of the process!

“What do you mean?”

Simply this: as silver that is refined seven times over is said to be totally free from all impurities, so too are the Scriptures totally free from all error and harmful teaching.

“Oh.”

The verse means that the Bible is wholly free from error and, therefore, is pure truth! When you turn to its pages, you must have this thought in mind and be willing to accept whatever it says as absolute truth!

“You might say that it is a sterling book then . . . ?”

You might.

 

Famine!

Today people are warning of a possible famine that is coming to the world—and even to our country.  Preppers are readying for it. The trouble is that they fail to recognize that in many places, and increasingly in the USA, it is already beginning here.

What do you mean? The stores are filed with food!

Ah, but listen to Amos 9:11, where he speaks of this famine:

The days are coming . . . when I will send a famine throughout the land. Not a famine of bread or of a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

He goes on to tell how people would stagger from sea to sea . . . seeking the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it (v.12).

What a tragedy when the Lord withdraws His Word from a people!  The will come to recognize that what they failed to appreciate is now what they can no longer obtain. It is like not recognizing the need for air—which normally is taken for granted—until you are submerged in a submarine.

Now is the time to turn to the Bible—before it is too late! There, and there alone, can the Word of God be found. How frequently do you read it? Do you know its major message—salvation through Jesus Christ? There is nothing more valuable than a message from the living Creator! Don’t wait until it is too late and you can no longer obtain it.

The Scriptures

“Full of errors, a paper Pope, a Fundamentalist’s prop, outmoded,” and so on. The Bible has been called many things, has been attacked and/or undermined by atheists, radicals and so-called “Christians.” But it has stood the test on it’s own in spite of everything to which it has been exposed.

And it will continue to do so.

My point? Simply this: you don’t need to defend the Bible—even if you could! God can—and does—take care of it Himself.

I say “even if you could” because you can’t convince those who are inconvincible. Have you ever studied 1 Corinthians 2 in depth? If not, take the time to do so, taking care to understand every verse. If there is one fact that runs through the entire chapter it is the insight that those who do not possess the Spirit of God (as believers alone do) neither can welcome nor have the desire to understand God’s Word. Since that’s the case, it’s utterly useless to try to achieve the impossible.

Until God grants the gift of His Spirit, it is not possible for blind eyes and deaf ears to hear what God has to say. Hearts turned against Him will reject His saving message. Of course, unbelievers can listen to the words that they hear preached, but they will not accept them. Indeed, as Paul says, they will be counted “foolish” by them.

The only people who are able to understand (savingly) are those whose hearts have been opened by God’s Spirit to believe the truth (See also Romans 5:5). It is He who gives life to dead souls (See Ephesians 2). The Spirit of life opens closed minds, brings about a new interest in the things of God, and enables people to be saved by granting them the gift of faith.

Because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10), it is important to understand that both the preaching of the Gospel and the accompanying work of the Spirit as He opens minds to receive it, are necessary for true faith. The seed you sow falls on various sorts of ground, but only that ground which is plowed up and made ready by God’s Spirit will receive it and produce fruit that honors God. So, as you tell the truth and stand by the Bible as it is attacked, be sure to ask God to send His Spirit into the hearts of those to whom you present the message. The Bible is the product of the Holy Spirit, moving the writers to pen precisely what He desired, and it is through this Book which, therefore, is peculiarly His, that He works.

Don’t try to defend the Bible; prayerfully proclaim it!

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Happy New Year

Many make New Year’s resolutions—and never keep them.  Ezra made three resolutions—and (to our benefit) kept them. They would not be bad resolutions for you to make (and keep) this year. What were they?

  1. To Study God’s law (Ezra 7:10)
  2. To obey it
  3. To teach it

Yours will be a happy new year if you do!

The Word

I want to discuss Scripture a bit today. When we speak of the Word we mean either the living incarnate Word (Jesus—see John 1) or the written inspired Word (Scripture).  Some people are confused by this, but there is no reason for confusion. You see, the Two are so identical and intertwined that I can use a capital in the word Two when speaking of both.

The written Word tells us what the living Word wants us to know.  That’s the key factor to keep in mind. They never contradict one another, but always agree. Indeed the only way you can learn about the living Word is through the written Word—Scripture. Never allow anyone to separate the two—especially if he claims to have some verbal communication from the living Word. There is nothing more to be added from or about Him (see John 16:13) where we read that the Holy Spirit would guide the apostles into “all truth.” They received it all, and communicated it in the written Word so that we could know all there is that God Wants us to know about the living Word as well as anything else.

Why Was Jerusalem Destroyed?

Consider these words of God concerning the people of that city:

Who can I speak to and give such a warning that they will listen? . . . they cannot pay attention.
See the Word of the Lord has become contemptible to them—they can find no pleasure in it.

Jeremiah 6:10 (HCSB)

When a nation gets to that point—when God says there is no one to whom to appeal; when no one will listen to Him; when no one takes pleasure in the Word, then—you know that disaster is just around the corner, as it was in the case of Jerusalem!

Less and less people in our country are listening to God’s words in the Bible; His law is spurned, His Word is despised, and His is truth rejected. So, He has become a cipher in their lives. The warning more and more becomes appropriate to us as a nation. How close we are to disaster no one knows. But that is a question that fewer and fewer contemplate, or are willing to consider. More and more, like the Jews long ago, we trust in our “horses and chariots;” we are willing to believe we are invulnerable.

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