skydiving-270130__480Fear is what kept me from jumping out of the airplane that day. They call it free-fall — jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, pulling the rip cord at the right time, relaxing and falling, rather floating, to the ground. There were several candidates signing up for the early morning class and afternoon jump. My friend asked me once more, “Are you sure you don’t want to do it?”  I was sure. “No, thanks, it’s kind of you to offer but it’s not for me,” I said.

When we are in free-fall with God, we step out in faith based upon God’s Word, and simply trust our Heavenly Father – daily, hourly, minute-by-minute sometimes, knowing that He will carry us in His everlasting arms. Picture the God of Heaven and Earth, our Father who created everything, with His Hands underneath, often just a few feet below ready to keep us from destruction. It’s like the new toddler going around the room with coaxing parents wanting the child to launch out on a few steps without assistance; but they are there to catch them when they wobble. God knows when we need to wobble, and be reminded that He is there.


Fear kept me from jumping that day. Learning to trust is a process. Fear is often normal and a natural part of stepping into a new area we are looking to explore. God gave us the ability to fear those things we should, but He also desires for us to trust Him in the areas He says we should.

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Our Real Enemy

sword-41036__480ALL Christians face spiritual warfare. Some may not be aware of who actually is opposing them, and they end up taking offense and despising the people they ought to love. If we are not wise and equipped with minds renewed daily upon God’s Word we are easy prey to our enemy’s schemes and will believe that people are our enemy. In reality, all of humankind is under the sway of this masterful deceiver[1] in some way. Satan’s purpose is ONLY to steal, kill and destroy you[2].

What are your first thoughts when you wake up in the morning and there’s darkness present? Perhaps a bad dream resulting from the past. Where do you think these dark feelings come from? Certainly not from your loving Father who said He would cast our sins far from us and remember them no more! Of course it would be from the oppressor, the enemy, who would like to rob you of the abundant life that Jesus promises to His own.

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Aloneness in the Battle

person-1269057__480Those who believe and know Christ will face battles in this world that require steadfastness in Christ alone. Jesus was our supreme example of this throughout His life here on earth. We learn to identify with Him when we stand alone.

Remember this battle is spiritual in nature, and that always translates into the physical.  To become effective in the battle you need to operate in faith, not fear.  Act, do not react.  Seek God and walk humbly before Him, not in self-righteous or self-protective pride.  You may feel very alone and misunderstood at times, but identify with Jesus in all you experience.  He will sustain and carry you.  You will find Him to be a friend in a whole new wonderful way.  He will reveal Himself to be everything you need in your time of aloneness. Realize also that the Holy Spirit was sent by Christ to give you comfort.  Draw close to Him. Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” John 14:16 (KJV)

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Keep Out!

keep-out-1695827__480Don’t box me in! Has anyone ever said this to you?  Have you ever felt like someone has put a “Keep Out” sign up over their heart? Lonely marriages feel like this.

Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, shared with a group of us ladies that during a very low part of her life journey, her counselor, Richard Dobbins, said, Anne, Satan builds his fortress in the secrets of our lives.How true this is.

Another friend told me how out of desperation she was going to see a counselor to find out if he could guide her through what she was experiencing in her marriage; she knew something was wrong, but could not put her finger on it. After listening to her, the counselor said, “Your husband has a secret.” After absorbing the shock and simplicity of his answer, she realized this was the problem. It turns out her husband had been involved with a different women at each of the churches he pastored. Today they have a healed and rebuilt marriage because the secret was revealed, he surrendered and chose to get ongoing biblically-based counseling and accountability. He repented and asked God to change his idolatrous heart; and God did as he walked out the parts he needed to.

Box chainedPerhaps you can recall a discussion that headed into a deeper level of emotion or intimacy, one requiring openness and trust, and the other person was unwilling to talk. Most all of us have experienced this in one way or another. A boxed up heart causes marriages to fail, parent-child relationships to grow distant, and destruction in the home because the heart is locked up over some past offense, current sin, or issue in the heart.

Certainly love is the governing foundation to good relationship and must precede questions that deal with heart matters. If we attempt to share our heart with someone and we receive a poor response in return, we shouldn’t just walk away offended, but rather realize there is a work God wants to do in this situation. Pray, seek God for guidance, and attend to the scriptural mandate to speak the truth[1] in love. This IS a demonstration of love for them.

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High Heels on the Rocks-Part II

high-heels-463770__480What Can I do?water-3125113_1280

Climbing that rocky slope in high heels is not easy. I believe a primary reason some never reach out for help is because of the recurring confusion this scenario brings. Because you are already experiencing disrespect, betrayal, and guilt you lack the confidence it takes to move forward.

Many have experienced the pain of attempting to get help only to regret it. The resulting pent up anger and frustration someone in this situation experiences, can make it appear initially (to an inexperienced helper) that you are the problem. We all have sin to deal with, but the dynamics of this betrayal and abuse feeds the frustration. Because of prolonged abuse, some stop fighting and go inward, silent and recluse. For others, the pressure cooker lid blows and it all comes spewing out. Either response, while sinful on your part, is a common reaction to the inability to be allowed to express your feelings and to be respected as an individual.

girl-1245678__480Gaining clarity and trying to express yourself takes effort and seems overwhelming because you’ve lived in such a confusing world of turmoil. You’ve changed, you don’t like who you are, your sense of normal is gone and it becomes difficult to express yourself. To be sure, Satan is delighting in all of this confusion. The hidden sin not only affects the one choosing sin, but everyone around them. This is why it is so important to get help. Also, even though the initial sin may have ceased, the behavior associated with protecting that secret is now a deep sin issue in the heart.

The feeling of constant instability eventually breaks down our identity in Christ as well.  The mind becomes clouded and it seems an overwhelming task to confront the real issue. Along with the biblical mandate of submission and respect for authority, there’s enough confusion to keep many quiet. You may even wonder if you have lost out with God and are abandoned. You’re not. You just need a life-saver tossed to you. You will make it if you hold on to the Life-Giver, Jesus and make the changes needed.

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High Heels on the Rocks

water-3125113_1280Picture yourself walking along a rocky shore wearing high heels — almost impossible right?  When someone is involved in betrayal or hidden sin of some sort, this is a good way to describe the feelings of those close to them. If you are facing the known or very real possibility that your spouse, a child, or someone else you love, is struggling in an area of habitual sin, I am writing this in order for you to recognize and take active steps that will help you find remedy for this very difficult situation.

The following thoughts may be familiar to you if you are in relationship with someone who is bound in sin: “Why is it so difficult to have a conversation of substance? Why does (s)he seem so evasive, unwilling to answer any questions? Why does (s)he twist things and blame me? Why is (s)he so impatient and angry? What’s wrong with me, why am I feeling so frustrated and angry? Why won’t (s)he tell me where (s)he’s been? I feel like I’m going crazy! All (s)he wants to do is watch TV or sit on the computer or cell phone! I feel so alone and isolated. I feel like (s)he is overly controlling of me. I don’t know who I am anymore. What’s happened to us? I’m afraid, why do I feel this constant dread, “ and the list goes on.  If you have experienced similar thoughts, and even think you might be going crazy, take heart you are not alone.  There may be a good reason for your uncertainty, hyper self-examination, and confusion.

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Personal Ambition

chess-1483735__480Pride is man’s most subtle and constantly encroaching enemy. By it we elevate ourselves above others, and even God at times. It can turn us into mockers rather than servants. We daily need to examine ourselves to see if we are walking in humility and freedom in Christ, or if pride in ourselves or our accomplishments prevail. Apart from God, we accomplish nothing.

In God’s Kingdom, personal ambition becomes the enemy of God’s will for your life; ambition here is centered in pride. In the world this may be the norm and the way things go. But those who have been called out of worldly living into Kingdom living need to see personal ambition for what it is. If we fail to, we will not prosper in the Lord. I Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (KJV)

One way we can see pride’s ugly head is in the way we treat others when we are wronged. Pride has caused all of us to react wrongly at times; this response dwells in us by our sinful human nature. But God works with us constantly speaking through circumstances to get us to listen and obey. The only way to overcome our natural man, the flesh, is through humbly surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s voice and obeying what He speaks to us. True humility comes only by the Holy Spirit; it’s a gift of His grace to us.

So, the next time you are interacting with someone you don’t agree with, check yourself. Are you reacting out of pride or being like Christ — responding with humble confidence that comes from God. We can speak the Truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and do it humbly.

derek-prince.jpgTheologian, teacher, Derek Prince is a beautiful example of a man who taught the truth of God’s Word in wisdom, with authority and humility. Recently while listening to a sermon of his, I noted that when addressing an issue that bible scholars agree the details are such that only God can possibly know, he will say, “this is my understanding” or “my theory, it may not be true, but to the best of my understanding…”. I like that. He was educated as a scholar of Greek and Latin at Eton College and Cambridge University, England, he held a Fellowship in Ancient and Modern Philosophy at King’s College. He also studied several modern languages, including Hebrew and Aramaic, at Cambridge University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I admire the qualities in this man who, while highly educated, teaches in humility and the fear of God.

We are in the last days; false teachers abound. Throughout scripture we see that those who want to make a name for themselves (Personal Ambition) pay a price for their own foolishness. They end up teaching false doctrine and leading others astray. In Galatians chapter 3, Paul talks about them being bewitched.

We need to heed the warning to humble ourselves before God and allow Him to lift us up. Do not allow your own ideas, spiritual insights, personal revelations or prophetic insights cause you to go down the road to deception and lose out with God. Rather humble yourself and He will raise you up and give you the position God desires for you. Settle for that, and you will not be tempted to allow your ambitions to take you where God never intended you to go.

God is more concerned with our character than with our achievements. Achievements have importance only in the realm of time. Character is eternal. It determines what we will be through eternity.” — Derek Prince

Sermon on Pride by Derek Prince (6 Min excerpt)

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What is Biblical Counseling?

book-2617987__480Biblical Counseling is using God’s Word (the Bible) as the foundational manual from which to answer every question and concern in a Christian’s life. It is discipleship and the process of growing in wisdom, understanding and application of the Word of God to our life. Whatever our situation is, God has provided an answer and remedy for us.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (II Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

Our knowledge of God and man comes directly from His Word and when we allow the Holy Spirit to indwell us, He gives us the power to become partakers of God’s nature over our sinful nature. As Christ pleased the Father, we may also as we desire to glorify mind-2197437__480God through our lives. In order to do this, we need to change our thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word. He helps us with this. God’s Word is capable of restructuring our thought patterns as we choose to renew our minds daily, desire to have the mind of Christ and walk in obedience to His teachings.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:2 ESV)

Put off  your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:23 ESV).

This means our thinking will change and become pleasing to God in accordance with His desires for us. He always has our best interests in mind and as we submit ourselves to His instruction a beautiful transformation occurs. This is where a biblical counselor is helpful in this process providing assignments that will help someone think in a healthy God-ordained way. The result we want to achieve is to THINK – DO – FEEL, in that order.

The process of change in us is made possible by Christ’s sacrifice for sin, the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word at work in our hearts. The threefold process is: we discard old patterns of ungodly behavior, reconstruct our thinking based upon God’s Word, and adopt new patterns of godly behavior.[1]


In summary, biblical counselors work with people to apply God’s Word as the solution to man’s fallen condition (Genesis 3). Our Creator knows us inside and out and offers us hope in any situation.

Credit: Much of the information I am sharing here comes from my studies in the book: [1] Curing the Heart by Howard Eyrich and William Hines 2002.

Resources: Insightful Testimony (11 min.) by Heath Lambert of childhood abuse he suffered and God’s redemptive work in his life; Heath is the Director of ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). Discussion on “Differences and Overlap of Biblical Counseling and Clinical Therapy” (80 min.) by Heath Lambert.

For additional Resources Tab here

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Bethel Days – Michael

passion-2168797__480Soon after experiencing God’s love and forgiveness to me, I decided I would really like to share this wonderful gift and experience. I felt so free and happy to know Jesus in this way. I figured since God had so changed my life and filled me with His purpose and love, that I was interested in learning more of the Bible and how to effectively share the Gospel with others. So I began to meet with fellow Jesus followers at church on Thursday evenings to learn how to do this.

The group I joined went out to visit those who had come to visit the church – we wanted to see if we could pray for them or help out in some way. That part was relatively easy, but talking to complete strangers about my new found love for Jesus, how do I do that? I wondered. I would later realize that this became a very important stepping-stone for me to hear God’s call to full-time ministry, but at the time it was a scary proposition.

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Guilt & Shame

ashamed-woman-facebookMy heart goes out to anyone living in relationship with someone who is carrying a load of guilt and shame. It is a heavy load that weighs people down. Sometimes it is loaded on because of the sin against us by someone else and we carry the offense. Other times it comes from our own sinful condition or our perception of the situation we’re in. There can be many reasons for it.

For people in this struggle, self-protection can grow into an obsession. It takes precedence over everything, and relationships suffer greatly.

If you live with, or interact closely with someone living with guilt and shame you can understand how difficult it is to interact with them.  Normal questions and conversations are virtually impossible. A defensive posture is the norm — the inability to express to them a complete thought without interruption, accusation, anger, or disrespect is commonplace.

Understand that the conflict the guilty soul feels is great because the person wanting to help them is usually someone who offers love to them and has already demonstrated much care for them; therefore they are conflicted between a sense of duty to respond rightly versus self-protection. This brings confusion in because one day things can go seemingly well and the next very badly. It’s understandable why many give up in attempting loving confrontation. It is often because of our own failure to consistently love or the abusive responses becoming to painful to bear, or both.

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