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Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Using Perfect Imperfectly

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

We use the word “perfect” to describe imperfect things in this fallen world. Does the word “perfect” really mean “perfect” anymore? Not so much!

We describe the “perfect” human body and no one really has a perfect body.

We look on the outward appearance of a person and mistakenly think of people as perfect. Unfortunately, we are often wrong.

Not God, though, since He looks at the heart (I Sam. 16:7). Only God is perfect. He alone is worthy to receive that label of perfection since He is holy and perfect.

So the next time you are tempted to use the word “perfect” in a sentence, think through whether the object you are describing really is perfect. If the object is not God, then chances are it’s not perfect!

-Mark (looking forward to a new language with accurate words in heaven)

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A World-wide Message

September 16, 2010 1 comment

Many people have the right heart but the wrong message. The message is what counts. The truth is vital. Without truth, there really is no true love. Here are some examples of the messages we proclaim in this ministry because we proclaim Christ alone (Col. 1:28):

Be Transformed (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18)

Transformation, not Recovery

Addiction is not a Disease, but a Sin issue with the power found in Christ alone

Knowing Christ, not just facts about Him

Submission to Christ

In Christ alone

God’s Word is Sufficient

The Holy Spirit works in partnership with God’s Word

In World Missions, we preach the Gospel not psychological ideas that may lead people away from the throne of grace!

Do you have the right message in your ministry?

-Mark (these are messages TIL promotes that the world rejects but needs to hear)

How does the Lord measure success for TIL?

November 12, 2009 2 comments

I Samuel 16:7 states: “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” –  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Sa 16:7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Like God looked upon David’s heart, so He looks upon the heart of churches and ministries like TIL. Thank the Lord that He looks at the heart of Truth in Love Ministries and not our outward appearance!

Outwardly, Truth in Love is challenged. We need lots of help!

For a year now, we’ve been praying – not for money or for people – but for a CHURCH to cover us. We want to “give” our ministry to a local church that will lead us and support us prayerfully and financially. We want to submit to a local body of believers and ask them to provide leadership and direction. We are NOT fans of para-church ministries (we are under my church’s leadership currently but we could technically be considered a para-church ministry – it’s a long story!). We are for the local church.

Jason, Ronny, and I are extremely tired. We love what we do, but we are spread too thin and our resources are very thin. We are so thankful for the many who have donated their precious time, prayers, and financial resources to help TIL do the Lord’s work to strengthen the body of Christ, replicate leaders, and to heal hurting souls.

Which brings me to this: the Lord measures the success of Truth in Love Ministries by the fruit that HE produces through us and it is INCREDIBLE fruit. I counted the couples we’re CURRENTLY counseling and 16 of them are reconciling. There are probably several more that I am unaware of, too, but Jason and Ronny would know exactly!

Many counselors in our ministry are watching people come off of drugs/alcohol sucessfully and lives are being transformed by the power of Christ. Also, people are getting saved AND baptized – just ask Bethel Baptist Church about baptisms in their church! Eternal souls are being reconciled to Christ which is lasting fruit and defines success in God’s eyes! We are merely His hands and feet.

While we might be outwardly challenged in terms of finances and administration in that we are not “polished” yet, we are mightily producing fruit by the power of His might, not ours. For this reason, we boast in the Lord and what He is doing through this 2 year old ministry.

Look at the people who are currently active in TIL ministries (sorry if I have left your name off – unintentional, I assure you): I’m proud of the hard work and sacrifice that Jason, Ronny, Shirley, Sonya, Kim, Jeri, Jan, Joyce, Genna, Martine, Jack, Hal, Jeff, Jackie, Cheryl, Phyllis, Brad, Nancy, Sharon, Rick, Stephanie, Don, Tonya, Judy, Judy J., Karen, Andy, Donna, Angela, Barb, Caroleen, Mary, Luis, Barry, Tim, Richard, Joseph, Eugene, Connie, Brian, and I have put forth to minister to hurting souls in the B’ham area through TIL Ministries!  Wow, praise the Lord for this ARMY of 41 committed Christ followers! All volunteers except for Jason and me!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please pray for us now as we are nearing the end of the year and in urgent need of financial support. We are prayerfully seeking the Lord for a church to adopt, lead, and support this ministry that is bearing much fruit. Please pray for us to keep our eyes on Jesus in coming days and to keep this ministry as pure as is possible!

-Mark (learning that a little is much when God is in it)

Who alone unlocks the human heart?

November 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Can mankind unlock someone’s heart?

No, only the Lord can do unlock the human heart. Then, why counsel someone if mankind cannot?

The Holy Spirit and the Word of God work together to unlock the human heart according to Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (ESV)

As a biblical counselor, you can understand the motives and intents of the heart when you listen to what someone says since  “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (ESV – Luke 6:45).

God wants people to know what is in their hearts. He already knows, but often (you and I and the counselees we are privileged to serve) people do not know what is in their own hearts! As a biblical counselor, this is why the BIBLE is so vital to counseling as it is the ONLY TOOL that is able to discern the heart motives of a human being and the Bible only does so when the Holy Spirit works in partnership with it!

 So why do any other type of counseling? Why mix secular theories with the sacred Word of God? Is God’s Word lacking?

I think not.

In fact, I say God’s Word is totally sufficient and needs no help from man. God’s Word is powerful like a two-edged sword WHEN it works with the Holy Spirit through a submitted, biblical counselor like you and me.

-Mark (God’s Word is an amazing weapon that Christians often underestimate; why use anything else to help people? The Gospel is the only life-giving message!)

What is the “heart” biblically speaking?

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Society mistakenly promotes the “heart” as ONLY emotions sometimes today but the “heart” refers to the central part and CORE of someone’s inner person.

The HEART, biblically speaking, includes THINKING according to Strong’s Concordance: “fountain of thoughts…”

So when you think of your heart, think about your inner self including thoughts, emotions, attitudes, desires, passions, motives, etc. and you’ll better be able to understand what the Bible means by “heart.”

We are to trust God with all of our heart (Prov. 3:5) and we are to love God with all of our heart (Matt. 22:37). In biblical counseling, this is what we direct our counselees to do every daybecause only God can be fully trusted. God has the power to transform hearts and to conform them into His heart of compassion. Then, He gives us the desires of our hearts (Ps. 37:3-7) as we delight ourselves in Him!

-Mark (thankful God changed my heart and gave me the capacity to love and trust in Jesus Christ)

“I want a diagnosis” (part 1)

May 9, 2009 2 comments

When family members have a loved one who is acting in a bizarre, dangerous, extreme, abnormal, or unusual manner, they want a “diagnosis” for that loved one. They want to know exactly what is wrong so it can be treated. They want their loved one “diagnosed.”

Could it be a sin issue?

In the medical field, OBJECTIVE tests are run like blood tests, MRI’s, X-rays, and CT scans, etc. Next, the medical doctor uses this OBJECTIVE information to make his diagnosis. He interprets the objective data, makes a diagnosis or follow-up tests to confirm his diagnosis, and then prescribes the medical treatment to bring healing OR manage the problem effectively.

This is NOT the case in the MAJORITY of secular psychiatric, psychological visits. In most of these cases, the psychology “expert” asks a set of prescribed questions to the patient whose answers are SUBJECTIVE (since no one can know their thoughts, feelings, pain, etc.). Unfortunately, the questions probe in such a manner to bring the desired response – not always but often. Then, the psychology “expert” gives a diagnosis based upon subjective “data” (answers given by the patient) and prescribes a treatment often including group therapy, meds, etc.

The expert often says, “Now, this may take 6 weeks to BEGIN to work. If it doesn’t work after 6 weeks, come back to me and we’ll make some adjustments.” Wow, what a setup! If this doesn’t work and you are still suicidal and depressed, come back and pay me again and I’ll try something else based upon “my faulty, subjective diagnosis.” What a deal!

I cannot tell you how many times I hear this from people. While there are fine Christian psychology experts out there, the vast majority of secular ones do not practice real, diagnostic medicine. And we know that over 70 physical illnesses contribute to depression!

Someone recently asked me, “how do you counsel someone with a physical problem like ‘clinical depression’?”  My response: “You said the key word – physical. I do NOT give medical advice for physical problems. I send them to a REAL medical doctor who does REAL medical tests to diagnose REAL physical problems.” Staph infections, low thyroid, and other medical conditions may have the symptoms of depression – that’s why REAL medical lab tests should be done.

Sometimes there is a physical problem that must be diagnosed and treated.

If there are no real physical problems, then we counsel from a biblical, spiritual perspective giving people practical put-ons to replace sinful or unbiblical thinking, speaking, and acting. In time, many have overcome panic attacks and similar problems that manifest in the physical realm though they are rooted in the spiritual realm of one’s heart, soul, mind, and emotions.

The Bible deals with the heart, soul, mind, and emotions of men. God, Who is the Great Physician, knows what He is doing!

Sometimes the diagnosis is simply “sinful thinking, acting” or “sinful fear, sinful anger, or sinful sadness” – all of which are addressed in the Bible and give hope to a person who confesses his/her sin to a forgiving God!

-Mark (thankful for those physicians who practice real, objective medicine in the love of Christ)

Do lost people know they are lost? (part 2)

January 22, 2009 2 comments

As Christians who are “found,” we must be compassionate toward those who are lost.

Do lost people know they are lost? Romans 1:18 and following says that unbelievers “suppress the truth” in their “unrighteousness” meaning they push the truth under the table because they want to continue to sin. This is tough stuff, I know, but the indication is that those who continue to live sensually know that they are denying the truth.

They may not think they are lost because they are deceived and deceive themselves, but when they meet their Creator in heaven on Judgement Day, they will then realize how wrong they were.

We need to be urgent in reaching the lost for Christ! One of our core values says: “Lost people matter to God. He wants them found.” It’s our responsibility to share the Good News that God saves sinners (like us!) from hell through His Son Jesus Christ.

-Mark (grateful that biblical counseling gives me opportunities for evangelism)