“Assurance of Guidance” February 29

 

Assurance of Guidance

Are you ever tempted to worry when you’re faced with a decision? How do you know which is the right choice? Wouldn’t it be nice if life came with a GPS system! Could it be you need a better understanding of our assurance of guidance as believers in Jesus Christ?

 

Happy Leap Year & Good Morning! 

There is no reading on my plan for today so I thought I would just say “Good Morning” and share something I heard yesterday.

As some of you know, my husband and I head up the Biblical Counseling Ministry at our church. We are blessed to have another full time counselor on staff and 16 or 17 volunteers who each take 1-4 cases a week.

Yesterday afternoon, we met as a group for some “iron sharpening iron” (Prov. 27.17). One of our volunteers shared several key promises or assurances she teaches counselees to help them learn to trust God more.

One was the assurance of eternal security (Jn. 10.28). Another was the assurance of answered prayer (Jn. 14.13-14). Yet another was the assurance of forgiveness (1 Jn. 1.9).

But the one I woke up thinking about this morning was the assurance of guidance.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Prov. 3.5-6)

She explained that this verse has 3 commands and a promise.

The three commands:

  • Trust in the Lord
  • Lean not on your own understanding
  • Acknowledge Him

To trust is to put your full weight on something. We can and should trust in Him.

When she explained what it means to “lean not on our own understanding,” she talked about her recent knee surgery and how exhausting it was to walk on crutches. Relying on ourselves is exhausting, too, and ultimately futile.

And finally, to acknowledge Him in all we do. Is God at the center of all we do? Do we consider how each action or decision will be seen by Him? Is our desire to please Him (2 Cor. 5.9), rather than ourselves or others? Do we acknowledge His omni-presence (Ps. 139.1-18)?

And the promise:

  • He shall direct your path

Life can be confusing. We face decisions everyday: in our homes, on our jobs, with our families. Isn’t it good to know that if we will trust in Him, lean not on our own understanding, and in all our ways acknowledge Him, the One who knows the future (Is. 46.10), will direct our paths! We have His assurance of guidance!

Leap year blessings,
Donna



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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.

“Angry Children & the Heart” + LINKUP

 

Angry Children & the HeartWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is The Heart of Anger: Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Chldren by Lou Priolo.

 

We’ve all seen them at school, in the grocery store, and dozens of other places. Maybe you have one in your own home. Angry children seem to be everywhere.

The world’s answers to the problem vary. They are labeled, medicated, coddled, and counseled endlessly. Too often angry children grow to be angry adults.

In biblical terms, anger is sin, not a syndrome or a disease. It’s a heart issue.

Chapter 1 of Lou’s book opens with Jim and Linda’s story of their struggles with an angry 10-year-old son. When they came to Lou for counseling, they had lost hope. Lou says: Continue reading

“Gift-Wrapped by God: Why Wait?” + LINKUP

 

Gift Wrapped by God + LINKUPWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I’ll feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Gift-Wrapped by God: Secret Answers to the Question “Why Wait?” by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus.

I’m out of town because of a death in the family, so I’m going to let Linda and Lorraine speak for themselves. From their introduction:

This book is about God’s plan for sexual purity and His heart for you, His daughter. It’s the book we wish we’d had when we were single, because we believe it would have saved us much heartache.

As you read, may your eyes be lifted to the beauty of God’s Gift of sex. May you discover emotional and spiritual reasons why sex is worth the wait. If you have already given away the Gift, may you receive hope of a new beginning sexually.

Thousands of women have shared with us their deep regret concerning their wrong sexual choices. Repeatedly we hear, “I wish someone had told me to say no, told me why to say no, and helped me develop my own plan to say no.” We pray that Gift-Wrapped by God will do this for you.

Continue reading

“Do I still need the gospel?” + LINKUP

 

Because He Love Me, the Power of the Gospel for Everyday LifeWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I’ll feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick.

In the Biblical counseling world, a phrase you’ll sometimes hear is, “You have to preach the gospel to yourself everyday.”

What does that mean? Isn’t the gospel for unbelievers, something you believe once and then move on to other things?

It turns out we need the gospel everyday!

In her introduction Elyse says this:

… although all orthodox believers view salvation as his work, we believe that living the Christian life is solely ours. Yes, salvation is a wonderful gift, we think, but Christian living is where we’ve got to concentrate now.

She goes on by asking the reader to consider a series of questions: Continue reading

“Are you an ‘People Pleaser’?” + LINKUP

 

Pleasing People + LINKUPWelcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I’ll feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Pleasing People: How Not to be an Approval Junkie by Lou Priolo.

In his introduction Lou says:

I never thought of myself as a people-pleaser. I had confronted hundreds of counselees about the sin in their lives. I’d done the same for many of my friends (some of whom turned into enemies). I faced ridicule and censure from other “Christian counselors” and from some of my colleagues for the position I held on the sufficiency of Scripture. I even stood up to people in positions of authority who I believed were in error. Once, my opposing position contributed to costing me a job. Surely I didn’t have a problem with the love of approval.

But I did! As I was confronted with the material you will encounter in this book (initially as a result of preparing a series of sermons on the subject), I had to confess that I was not as free from the love of approval as I’d thought.

Personally, I spent much of my early life as an “approval junkie.” But, like Lou, as a biblical counselor, I must lovingly confront people with their sin on a regular basis. I thought, surely I have had victory over this area of my life! But, as I read this book, I was convicted that pleasing people is still a big struggle for me.

Lou goes on:

You see, the sin of pride, which is at the heart of being a people-pleaser, is an insidious thing. Like a cataract that slowly covers the eye of its victim, pride keeps us from seeing our sins, thus preventing us from properly dealing with them.

While few of us will ever be completely free from the temptation to be a people pleaser, it is important to deal with this area of life. Proverbs 29.25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.”

In the world of pop-psychology people pleasing is often referred to as “codependency,” but as Lou goes on:

The notion of “codependency” has been given lots of attention in recent years.

As Christians, however, we must take care to define and diagnose man’s problems “not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:13 NIV). So what does God’s Word call this not-so-new phenomenon? Actually, several biblical words describe it. In the most general terms, the concept of codependency seems to best fall under the biblical category of “idolatry”-looking to someone (or something) else to do for me those things that only God can do. In terms of a type of person who is characterized by this particular kind of behavior, “people-pleaser” is the more specific diagnosis. The motive of such an individual is identified in : he “loved the approval of men rather than [or at least more than] the approval of God.”

checklist inventoryLou provides a “People Pleasing Inventory” that can help us evaluate the extent of people pleasing in our lives.  it contains questions about things like our desire to be noticed or get credit for a job well done, our concern for being politically correct as opposed to biblically correct, our motivation for having a good reputation, our willingness to face rejection, how we respond to being publicly corrected, and how we respond to criticism and peer pressure.

Some characteristics of a people pleaser: Continue reading