The Difference Between Secular & Biblical Counseling

There are a plethora of self-help books available offering various theories and approaches to dealing with the rooted issues of negative emotions and behaviors. Modern day psychology is valuable in understanding the soul (mind, emotions, and will). This is the area that gets sick.

The rooted systems in our life can make our souls extremely sick. A psychology approach can diagnose the problem and offer solution. However, since the solution offered is rooted in humanism and, therefore, manmade, there is no true long term healing that can occur. At best it can help change behavior, and give you tools for self-discipline, or positive thinking. That is not freedom.

There is no lasting victory because it does not deal with sin. It does not allow for the blood of Christ to cleanse us and change us. It merely puts a band-aid over symptoms. It may address anxiety, depression, outward manifestations and symptoms of deeper issues – but often the first solution offered is medication and never gets to the root. So people are not getting the true healing they are seeking.

As Christians, we know that only God has the power to heal us from the inside out and set us free. That is true victory. He doesn’t just change behaviors; He transforms, renews, restores, redeems and breaks the chains of bondage. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Isaiah also tells us that God is the “Wonderful Counselor.” John 14:6 says “the Holy Spirit is the Counselor.” Therefore, true freedom is found only by applying biblical truths to the wounds of our heart. Jesus is the balm of Gilead. He is the ointment that heals the wounds of God’s hurting children.

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Insecurity & Relationships

Love is the answer to all our insecurity and relational issues. When we accept God’s love, we can recognize our tremendous value and worth in Him and in turn recognize others’ value. But because of our past wounds and experiences, we are often unable to accept God’s love, and it leaves us struggling with insecurities. Insecurity is a big culprit in how we get along with others.

 
When we are insecure, we easily become threatened by others and find it hard to honestly esteem others with the value and significance they deserve as God’s beloved children. Women especially suffer in record numbers with insecurities and low self-esteem. Even in the church, women silently suffer from feelings of being less than.
 
When you begin to grasp God’s great love for you, and that reality goes from your head to your heart, you will become convinced that you should honor others with that same amazing love.
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If you are struggling with insecure thoughts and feelings of worthless, spend time soaking in God’s love for you. Scripture tells us that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Despite the lies the enemy has made you believe about your value and worth that is hindering your ability to love and be loved, when you go to the source of love, He will remove every barrier hindering your ability to receive His love. Then you will be able to fulfill our Christian calling to “Love God with all your soul, heart and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. “(Mathew 22:37) We cannot give what we don’t have.
 
As God washes you with His word, He will fill you with His thoughts and truths and equip you for loving others because you will understand the very nature and depth of His love.
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Overcoming Trauma

We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair, and regret. The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet, in the end, they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us.

There are two types of trauma that brings the kind of despair that we read in today’s passage. There is the trauma of “not getting what we need” , and then there is the trauma of “getting something that we should have never received.” The first is the result of neglect and abandonment, the second from abuse. But the good news is that God hears us in our despair and He can help us. Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity. God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness, With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.

Today, praise God for His healing. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Also, praise God for His family. It is through the fellowship and love from each other that we are made whole and can experience the joy He has for us.

“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” – “Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy.” Psalms 69: 1-3, 32-33 (NLT)

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Do You Want To Be Made Well?

Jesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2 “Do you want to be made well?” This is the pivotal question for every person seeking healing for emotional wounds. The simple truth is that not everyone wants to be made well. They may start off eager with the best intentions, feeling emotionally that they cannot go on another day, but at the end of the day, do not want to be made well, and those who do not want to get well are not going to get well.

Why would I not want to walk in the freedom from the bondage that Christ set me free from? F-E-A-R! Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of what may be uprooted and exposed, fear of pain, fear that we may have to give up (someone or something); Or we may not be desperate enough yet.

Perhaps we have grown comfortable in our dysfunction and are comfortable in a victim role. We may not have reached a breaking point yet where we face losing someone we love, such as a spouse, or a relationship, maybe even a job, our freedom, and in our minds – we tell ourselves as bad as our current situation is – “it’s not as bad as so and so’s”, or at least we know how to respond, or how to continue to do life and even serve in ministry. However, we are putting on the painted smile while living in a prison in our own mind. But make no mistake…It is never God’s fault. If we do not want to embark on the journey and “be made well” – we won’t get well. Healing is a choice.

If you are in a place where you are desperate enough to get help and want to be made well then I pray that nothing will hinder you from getting the healing that you need and will encounter the Healer in a deep and intimate way.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

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Healing the Roots of Emotional Pain

Many of God’s people are unaware that they have emotional wounds. Often they struggle with various negative behaviors such as excessive anger, addictions, feelings of rejection, the need to control situations, anxiety, and depression. The struggles are symptoms of deeper rooted issues of emotional wounds and brokenness often causing people to put up walls
between themselves, others and even God. Some even blame God or have difficulty believing that God loves them.

There are many causes for emotional wounds. Whether it be betrayal, a loss of a loved one, childhood abuse, abandonment, divorce, physical or emotional abuse, or a broken relationship. In order to heal, the pain must be acknowledged and dealt with.

Deep wounds can also affect relationships
and choice of a marriage partner. They also distort and skew our natural God given gifts and abilities – Truth distorted
becomes deception.

Love distorted becomes codependency.

Passion distorted becomes obsession.

Hard working becomes workaholic.

Strong leaderships becomes controlling.

Excellence becomes perfectionism.

These traits will poison relationships, marriages and affect
how children are raised.

The question is “Do you want to heal?” You are not without hope. Never forget that our God is Jehovah Rapha – The God who heals. He restores what is broken, is able to change your destructive thought patterns, and give you an amazing life filled with hope, joy, and the abundant life Jesus came to give.

All you have to do is stop running from the pain of
emotional wounds and start seeking the wound
healer. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

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Children Need Healthy Love

Children need a healthy sense of love. When a child’s need for healthy love and affection aren’t met, they grow up to be needy adults in search for the love they never knew as children. This is tragic, as it seems to be passed down from generation to generation. While both mother and father roles are important the role of the Father is of extreme significance to a child because He shapes a child’s view of love, self, relationships, protection, and it’s supposed to model the love of our Heavenly Father – the One relationship that is pivotal to core identity as a precious beloved child of God.  When Fathers fail at their roles, the consequences will follow a child into adulthood, resulting in unhealthy relationships and all kinds of relationship conflict. Most tragic is that a child learns a distorted view of God.

These lyrics seem so appropriate to those who were denied a healthy love:

Daddy, you’re the man in your little girl’s dreams, you are the one she longs to please.

And there’s a place in her heart that can be filled with her Daddy’s love.

But if you don’t give her the love she desires,  she’ll try someone else, but they won’t satisfy her.

And if your little girl grows up without Daddy’s love, she may feel empty, and it’s only because it’s her Daddy’s love that she’s looking for, don’t’ send her away to another man’s door.

Nobody else can do what you do, she just needs her Daddy’s love.

And someday if you hear her purity’s gone, she may have lost it trying to find what was missing at home.

Just let The Heavenly Father heal where you fail,

He can forgive you and help you to give her the Daddy’s love that she’s looking for, don’t send her away to another man’s door.

Nobody else can do what you do, she just needs her Daddy’s love. You know it’s true, she just needs her Daddy’s love.

If only dads everywhere would realize the need in their little girl’s heart for that healthy love.

God gave us parents to model His love, but all of us fail to magnify His heart of love. While every human relationship will fail us, our deepest yearning for love and acceptance can only be filled as we surrender, forgive, and rest in the sufficiency of our heavenly Father’s unchanging love.

Jan Frank

Door of Hope

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Living In Peace With Difficult People

“Bitterness is like a rock thrown into a placid pond; After its initial splash it sends out circular ripples that affect the whole pond. It starts with ourselves, expands to our spouse, then to our children, friends, and anyone we come in contact with.” (Pastor & Dr. Chuck Lynch)

People hurt, mistreat, abuse, abandon and betray us.
God sees and validates our pain. But he also tells us to pursue peace so that we do not fall short of His grace and let bitterness take root to defile us.

Bitterness comes when we hold on to hurt and refuse to forgive those who have hurt us. It affects everything around us and causes us to have a hardened heart. We can even take on a victim mentality where we feel constantly wronged by others. It will pollute our overall view of the world and affects how we treat people.

No matter what we are not entitled to our sinful responses to how others have hurt us. Doing so only causes separation between God, ourselves and others.

We can’t change people or make them see the error of their ways but God can. But we can take our wounded hearts, bitterness, and unforgiveness to the one who has shown us how to love mercy instead of demanding justice.

Bitterness hinders repentance and forgiveness in relationships. The cure for bitterness starts with our hearts. It’s not something we do flippantly or dismissively without considering the cost of the sin committed against us, its effects and the wounds left behind.

Ask Jesus to help you process the hurts and choose to forgive. You will then have a beautiful gift to offer others – true forgiveness from the heart. A heart that says what you did to me hurt me deeply, but I choose to forgive you and release you from a debt you cannot repay just as my precious Jesus forgave me and released me from mine.

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The Test of Forgiveness

Do you feel they owe you? Are you expecting them to pay you back for the hurt and pain they caused? Do you feel bitter, angry and resentful towards them? Do you think they should suffer for what they did? Do you want revenge? If you answer yes to any of these, then you have not forgiven in your heart.

Holding on to unforgiveness will pollute your heart and allow their sin to continue to hurt you. Choosing to forgive does not condone their sin. It doesn’t mean there should be no justice.

There are consequences to sin, but only God is the righteous judge. Release the offender to Him and refuse to harbor negative feelings towards those who have hurt you. If you don’t know how to forgive, seek Jesus. He is faithful to put people in our lives that will help us process the hurts so that we can grieve, accept and release them to the feet of the cross so we can forgive from the heart. That’s true freedom.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:23

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Perfect Love Casts Away Fear

Everyone experiences fear and anxiety from time to time, but being consumed   with fear and anxiety can be crippling. Fear and anxiety turn us inward towards ourselves. Satan can and will use fear and anxiety against us at every opportunity.

When we experience fear and anxiety, we must take a deep breath and think about Christ and His assurance to be with us. We must remember to relax and place these negative emotions in a proper perspective. Fear is the negative emotion generated by a tangible threat. Anxiety is the negative emotion generated by an intangible threat. Fear is the result of something real. Anxiety is the result of something imagined. Anxiety causes an unsettledness within, often people can’t identify what they are anxious about. Worry is different, the object of their worry is identifiable.

When we are worried, fearful and anxious, we must remember to pray. Obviously, fear and anxiety take away your prayerful moods. However, God cares about your coming to Him in prayer, regardless of your emotions or your circumstances. Pray God’s word over every fear, worry or anxious thought. By doing so, we are promised in Philippians 4:6-7 that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.

Always remember that negative emotions are rooted in negative thinking. Emotions will not change unless we change our thinking. Scripture backs this up beautifully, “Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25). Saturate yourself in the Truth of God’s Holy Word. Meditate on the rich promises that are part of your inheritance as a beloved precious child of the living God! No matter how your feel right now choose to embrace the truth, strength and wisdom and peace of God by changing your spiritual focus from darkness to light.

Let the One who counts every hair on your head comfort and fill you with hope for the future. His perfect love casts away all fear. Set your fearful thoughts on Jesus. He is the greatest mood stabilizer of all.

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Forgiveness Is The Key

God cares about our relationships and wants us to be right with one another. Too often close relationships are torn apart due to hurts, misunderstandings, offenses, pride, unresolved issues, and emotions can run deep, cut at the heart filling us with bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness.

And usually, it’s the relationships we treasure the most that breakdown and cause the deepest pain. Rather than confront the issues, it may seem easier to avoid, blame others and feel justified holding on to our hurts and anger.

Yet God calls us higher. His word says that as much as depends on us to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18). We need to forgive those who have wounded us and ask for forgiveness when we have wounded others. We will never be free unless we learn how to forgive and release our offenders at the foot of the cross.

We need only take ownership of our wrong doings and leave the rest at God’s feet endeavoring always to extend grace and leave the door open for reconciliation whenever possible.

Are you struggling with forgiveness? Sometimes all it takes is to go to Jesus with a sincere heart and ask Him to give you a willingness to forgive, make amends and pursue peace. There is nothing that He can’t do with a willing and surrendered heart.

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