Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book (or in this case a booklet) that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is HELP! I want to Change by Jim Newheiser.
“Why can’t I change? Have you ever asked this? Maybe you want more discipline in your eating habits. Or perhaps you struggle to keep your spending under control or maintain daily Bible reading and prayer. Change is hard, and our attempts often result in failure.”
So begins the description of this powerful little booklet by Jim Newheiser. Pastor Newheiser has been a biblical counselor for over twenty years. He’s a fellow with ACBC (the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors), a pastor at Grace Bible Church in Escondido, California and the director of IBCD (the Institute for Biblecal Counseling & Discipleship). He knows how hard change can be. Continue reading →
Divorce, separation, adulterous or unhealthy relationships and break-ups of every kind … who hasn’t experienced the hurt of losing someone or had the need to break off a relationship.
You may be the one who was deserted by someone who said they would never leave you. Sometimes the pain is worsened by the knowledge that your former spouse committed adultery, emotionally or physically.
Or you may be the one breaking off a relationship that you know needs to end, but the sadness seems unbearable. In some cases, you may be the one who went outside of your marriage, either committing full blown adultery or by getting involved in some other inappropriate relationship. While you know the relationship was wrong, how do you get rid of those “lovin’ feelings”?
Or maybe you haven’t personally experienced that kind of hurt or struggle, but you know someone who has. Lou’s book may be just the answer.
From the introduction:
“Will this ache in my heart ever go away?”
As a professional counselor, I’ve been asked that question a hundred times in dozens of ways. If you are reading this book, chances are that you (or someone you love) have been asking this question, too. When a romantic relationship ends, the confluence of potentially depressing emotions can wreak havoc in the lives of those involved. This is especially true for the person who didn’t want the relationship to end. But for the Christian, there is a very good answer to this oft-asked question.
Yes! Your pain will go away in time.
For a Christian who knows and is willing to do what the Bible says, the heartache will be healed. And the more of God’s Word a person implements, the sooner the anguish will stop. If you are the one who is hurting, there are specific things you can do to ease the pain and help yourself get back to the way you were before the breakup.
This book was originally titled, Losing that Lovin’ Feeling and contains thirty-one short chapters, each one based on a song title, to help you or someone else, “lose those lamentable ‘lovin’ feelings’ as quickly and righteously as possible.”
There are chapters like “How Can I Mend My Broken Heart?,” “How Do Fools Fall in Love?,” “Can’t I Stop Loving You?,” “Why Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” “What Good Comes to the Brokenhearted?,” “Won’t Be Cruel,” and “Someday Your Prince Will Come.” Each one is designed to address some aspect of the strong and painful emotions involved when relationships are broken. Continue reading →
We’re all counselors. We’re counseling our friends when they seek our advice. We’re counseling our children when they come home crying because they weren’t invited to the party, they’re struggling in school, or suffering the consequences of a poor decision. We’re counseling others when we write our blogs, teach a Bible study, or lead a Sunday school class.
We’re all counselors. The question is … are we counseling well or not. Are we counseling from our experience? Are we counseling according to popular culture? Or are we counseling according to God’s Word?
While neither I, nor the author, want to reduce the Bible to a set of verses on any given subject, the Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Women can help you be a better, more biblical counselor, friend, mom, dad or teacher by leading you to pertinent passages of Scripture.
From the introduction:
The Bible is the grand story of God’s glory manifested in his rescue and restoration of his good but fallen and broken creation. This story is woven through every book in the Bible.
In Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Women, each of the topics and verses is a window into the grand mansion that is the Bible. As marvelous as the view is through the windows, it is only when we step inside the grand house— rest in its rooms, explore its many passages and balconies, enjoy its beauty and light— that we will be truly transformed.
When we encounter this grand home’s Master and Maker— Jesus Christ, whose name is written on every wall and reflected on every surface— we will know at last that we are truly home.
The Bible is not just a reference; it is so much more. Please do not get bogged down in the topics or the references. Take time to read, study, memorize, and meditate on the precious Word of God. Let it saturate your life. Keep exploring this mansion for the rest of your life!
They [God’s Words] are not just idle words for you— they are your life. Deuteronomy 32: 47 NIV
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by by John Foxe, editied by Harold J. Chadwick.
John Foxe was a 16th century English historian best known for writing Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. His book gives a detailed account of Christian martyrs throughout Western history.
His book is about courageous men, women and children who have been tortured and killed because of their confessions of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But, even more, it’s a book about God’s amazing grace that enabled them to endure persecutions and often horrible deaths.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs has been edited and updated many times since John Foxe wrote the first volume in English in 1563 under the title, Acts and Monuments of These Latter and Perillous Dayes, but it became known almost immediately as the Book of Martyrs.
At the time it was written many of the events the author describes were still taking place and it was written more like a reporter would write today. Foxe probably witnessed many of the events or knew people who did. Other stories were sent to him by those who had suffered or knew people who had.
Editor, Harold Chadwick writes:
Without question the book began in Foxe’s mind when he was at Magdalen College at Oxford University, where he held a fellowship for seven years. He had first been sent by his parents to Brasenose College at the University when he was sixteen. During that time Reformation doctrines were strong throughout Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and Foxe was highly influenced by them. He began intensive study of the Scriptures and began to question the doctrines and practices of the Roman church. Before long he was an affirmed Protestant and nothing ever turned him from that path. This so changed his conduct that before long suspicions began to arise about his allegiance to the Church of Rome. Then it was reported that Foxe was taking solitary walks in the evening and could be heard sobbing and pouring out prayers to God. When questioned about this practice, he openly stated his new religious opinions, and was almost immediately expelled from the college as a confirmed heretic.
Sometime later he married Agnes Randell, a fellow believer, and stayed for a time with her parents.
By this means and others, Foxe kept himself concealed for some time from the papist inquisitors. This continued from the reign of King Henry VIII, through the open and peaceful days of Edward VI, and into the reign of Queen Mary I, who brought back into England all of the Roman Catholic doctrines and the pope’s power. Knowing then what was to happen, Foxe and his family left England and traveled first to Strasbourg, France, then to Frankfurt, Germany, and then to Basel, Switzerland. There he found a number of English refugees who had fled England to avoid the cruelty of the persecutors, and there began work on his now famous book.
Foxe’s history of the martyrs starts with the first century martyrs, including Jesus Himself and Stephen who was martyred about 8 years after the crucifixion. Continue reading →
Aging parents, health concerns, rebellious children, financial worries, safety issues and more. For many of us, they can lead to increasing fear, worry, and anxiety ranging from mild to paralyzing.
As believers we know we should trust God rather than be fearful and worried, but the peace we desire and God wants us to have, seems elusive.
We know the answer lies in our relationship with Christ, but sometimes we need practical advice on how to break those old habit patterns. Elyse reminds us:
[Jesus is] the only one who intimately knows all our thoughts and fears. He’s the only one who is able to deliver us. That’s because He’s faced the greatest of all fears for us—the fear of death and separation from God— and He’s come through victorious. The Bible teaches that one reason He left heaven and came to earth was to “deliver those who through fear…have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread” (Hebrews 2:15 TLB).
Our fears are like chains around our hearts—they paralyze, entrap, and enslave us. But Jesus Christ holds the key that can unlock and banish all your fears. He’s able to do this because His love is more powerful than your fears. It’s His plan to teach, encourage, and transform you into a person who trusts Him— even in the face of your deepest worries and anxieties. He doesn’t promise to make you perfect here on earth, but He does promise to work mightily in your heart now and will ultimately, in heaven, completely free you from every fear.
She goes on to help us identify the source of our fear, worry, and anxiety. Then through careful application of the Scriptures and personal examples, her own and others, she helps us:
Cast all [our] anxiety on him because he cares for [us] (1 Pet. 5.7).
Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site. I would love it if you link back in someway and share the linkup on social media. I pin many of your posts on my “Mondays @ Soul Survival” Pinterest boardas time allows. Continue reading →
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney.
In Praying the Bible, Donald Whitney asks the question, “Why don’t Christians who love God pray more?” He explains that the answer and the solution are quite simple.
Prayer … I hope I’m not the only one who constantly feels like I could do more in this area or that I should be more effective.
Some years ago I came across a series of verses in John Piper’s book, Taste and See, that he called the meat and potatoes of his prayer life. I began praying them for myself, my husband, my family and others. My prayer life took on new meaning and through the years I’ve seen the results in those I have been praying for.
So when I saw a promo on Donald Whitney’s newest book, I knew it was one I wanted to read. I wasn’t disappointed!
This from chapter 1:
Since prayer is talking with God, why don’t people pray more? Why don’t the people of God enjoy prayer more? I maintain that people— truly born-again, genuinely Christian people— often do not pray simply because they do not feel like it. And the reason they don’t feel like praying is that when they do pray, they tend to say the same old things about the same old things.
When you’ve said the same old things about the same old things about a thousand times, how do you feel about saying them again? Did you dare just think the “B” word? Yes, bored. We can be talking to the most fascinating Person in the universe about the most important things in our lives and be bored to death.
As a result, a great many Christians conclude, “It must be me. Something’s wrong with me. If I get bored in something as important as prayer, then I must be a second-rate Christian.”
Indeed, why would people become bored when talking with God, especially when talking about that which is most important to them? Is it because we don’t love God? Is it because, deep down, we really care nothing for the people or matters we pray about? No. Rather, if this mind-wandering boredom describes your experience in prayer, I would argue that if you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit— if you are born again— then the problem is not you; it is your method.
Anger, who hasn’t experienced it. We call it by different names like: frustration, upset, hurt. Doing so makes us feel better about it or minimize it in some way.
Jesus had a different view. He didn’t minimize it. In fact, He showed us it’s a serious heart issue.
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell” (Matt. 5.21-22).
Murder and anger come from the same sinful heart condition. I may not pull out a gun, but I can murder with my words, attitudes and actions.
Because it’s a heart condition, it’s not enough to simply decide to quit exploding or giving someone else the silent treatment. While we may be able to grit our teeth and stuff those feelings for a while, sooner or later they erupt some place else.
So how can we attack anger at it’s root, in the heart? Robert Jones has given us a guide. He begins:
There will be no thorough and lasting godly change without root removal. Moralistic efforts to be patient with your co-workers won’t cut it. Regret-riddled resolutions to stop yelling at your kids won’t last. You must rip out those angry roots.
He goes on:
This book is written for the average reader who recognizes that anger is a too-frequent issue in his life and a too-prevalent problem in his family, work, and church relationships.
Mr. Jones defines anger and explains the differences between sinful anger and righteous anger. The heart of the book helps us understand that the roots of sinful anger don’t come from our circumstances, but from our inner beliefs and motives. Continue reading →
We all need heroes. Even the Apostle Paul said that we were to follow him and others as they follow Christ, “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern” (Phil. 3.17).
On the other hand he warned us, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15.33).
Who we hang out with, who we follow, who we choose as heroes, can have a profound effect on our lives. When we read the biographies of great men and women who have gone before us, we have an opportunity to see how they lived and to follow their example.
In Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness, Metaxas writes about seven men who experienced struggles and faced challenges that would have crushed lesser men. These men and their stories—George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson—can encourage all of us to be strong in the face of opposition and live right in a world that has little or no standard.
What makes great men & what is the secret of their greatness?
What is biblical manhood and what makes men worthy examples? Metaxas’ book doesn’t just tell us, it shows us through the lives of these seven men. (I’ll talk about women who exemplify biblical womanhood in a future blog.)
Metaxas tells us first what it isn’t, here are several excerpts for the opening chapter:
The first false idea about manhood is the idea of being macho— of being a big shot and using strength to be domineering and to bully those who are weaker. Obviously this is not God’s idea of what a real man is. It’s someone who has not grown up emotionally, who might be a man on the outside, but who on the inside is simply an insecure and selfish boy.
The second false choice is to be emasculated— to essentially turn away from your masculinity and to pretend that there is no real difference between men and women. Your strength as a man has no purpose, so being strong isn’t even a good thing.
God’s idea of manhood is something else entirely. It has nothing to do with the two false ideas of either being macho or being emasculated. The Bible says that God made us in his image, male and female, and it celebrates masculinity and femininity. And it celebrates the differences between them. Those differences were God’s idea.
For one thing, the Bible says that men are generally stronger than women, and of course Saint Peter famously— or infamously— describes women as “the weaker sex.” But God’s idea of making men strong was so that they would use that strength to protect women and children and anyone else. There’s something heroic in that. Male strength is a gift from God, and like all gifts from God, it’s always and everywhere meant to be used to bless others. In Genesis 12:1–3, God tells Abraham that he will bless him so that Abraham can bless others. All blessings and every gift— and strength is a gift— are God’s gifts, to be used for his purposes, which means to bless others. So men are meant to use their strength to protect and bless those who are weaker. That can mean other men who need help or it can mean women and children. True strength is always strength given over to God’s purposes.
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is Family Worship by Donald S. Whitney.
Family Worship: It’s perhaps one of my greatest regrets that we didn’t do a better job in this area.
We did other things we believed were important. We took our children to church every Sunday. We made sure they were involved in the children’s and youth ministries.
We set boundaries as to where they were allowed to go and with whom. We made sure they knew “the rules,” that is, what Christians should and shouldn’t do.
We didn’t take cruises or buy expensive personal items. We made Christian school and family focused activities a priority. We put in a pool so the kids could have their friends over where we could get to know them and we’ve seen some of those young people come to the Lord. We took family vacations. We tried to be good examples morally.
It’s not that we did any of these things perfectly … far from it, but we worked at it. We also read our Bibles and prayed, although again, haltingly and imperfectly.
But our attempts to live the Christian life, while important and a part of what we should have been doing, coupled with what we were taught and taught our children was too much about keeping “the rules.”
Let me say here that, at that time, we didn’t attend what you would call a conservative or fundamentalist church. On the contrary, we attended a contemporary church where “freedom in Christ” was talked about on a regular basis! Yet, in retrospect, our understanding of Christianity wasn’t really about the freedom of the Gospel lived out on a daily basis.
God, in His faithfulness has grown us and exposed us to better, more biblically sound teaching through the years. And we continue to grow in that area. We understand the importance of sharing the Gospel, properly understood and applied, in our home. But our children are grown with children of their own. A couple of our grandchildren are even married and have little ones. (Yes, that makes us great-grandparents!)
My prayer is that someone out there reading this will seek to understand and do that a little bit better as a result of my testimony.
One thing I believe can be an important part of good parenting and our own personal growth in Christ is regular, Gospel-centered family devotions. I believe this is important whether or not we have children and whether or not they are still at home.
I first heard Donald Whitney talk on this subject at a biblical counseling conference. I was both blessed and convicted. But more than anything, I was motivated to share the importance of all this with those God puts in my path both inside and outside the counseling room.
Dr. Whitney’s book can be a huge help in that area, but I’ll let you hear from him: Continue reading →
The Bible talks a lot about idols and idolatry, both in the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps you, like me, have often skimmed over those verses as only relevant to some foreign culture with temples and giant statutes.
But are statues of Buddha, Hindu gods, and other strange religions the only forms of idolatry?
In Ezekiel 14 God, speaking to the elders of Israel, said this:
¹ Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.2 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?
4 “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.”’
6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. 7 For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the Lord will answer him by Myself. 8 I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.
These were not carved statues. These idols were in their hearts, were causing them to stumble into sin, and separated them from God.
Sin does that. While those of us who belong to Him don’t lose our salvation. It puts a wall between us and Him and will hinder our prayers and our communion with Him.
Gospel Treason can help us uncover the idols we have in our hearts, idols we might not even recognize. Idols that are standing between us and our spiritual growth, between us and the marriage we want, between us and peace in other relationships. In short, causing chaos in our lives.
Brad does so through personal stories and a great deal of transparency. From the introduction:
My wife and I have been married for twenty-five years, but twenty years ago we were at war. There was no camouflage, there were no guns, and neither of us was crawling under barbed wire in our single-wide mobile home. But we both felt that we were constantly stepping on land mines in our relationship—putting out brushfires, running for cover, and dodging the bullets that our tongues fired back and forth. Our marriage had deteriorated into a battlefield, and we were opposing forces.