Counseling One Another

Helping you grow in God's all-sufficient grace and truth

Counseling One Another

September 20, 2019
by Paul Tautges

NUGGETS: Singleness & the Christian

Hope + Help for Valuing Singleness with Sam Allberry – I really enjoyed listening to this recent podcast interview, and then subscribed to The Hope + Help Project podcast. You should do the same.

Life Undivided – “I can tell you wholeheartedly that the best years of my single life were the years I lived all out for Christ. The less I focused on finding my man and the more I focused on living for Jesus, the more content and joy-filled I was.”

Can Single Men Serve as Elders? – “I believe filtering out single men is overly restrictive, and therefore causes churches to miss out on some rich blessings the Lord has given.”

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September 19, 2019
by Paul Tautges

Three Truths You Need to Know About Panic Attacks

My panic attacks started with a job promotion. When I became the new managing editor of a health and food magazine, Suzy, whom I replaced, advanced to the role of executive editor. This was a happy day for both of us, right? Wrong! On promotion day, Suzy gave me unsettling, steely stares all day.

Did I do something wrong? Why is she acting so weird? Does she hate me? Will I lose my dream job already?

Confused, hurt, and fearing Suzy’s disapproval, I practically sprinted from the office at 5 p.m. Once behind the wheel of my blue hatchback, I cranked up the tunes and zoomed toward the six-lane freeway that would take me to my “safe place”: a cozy Cape Cod house that I shared with my husband, Steve, and our fluffy feline. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I repeated, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

As I drove, I tried to forget Suzy’s disapproving stares, but they stuck in my head like superglue. Then, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, my heart beat triple-time. Sweat beaded on my forehead. I swallowed a lump in my throat. My knees became wobbly, like Jell-O. A horrific sense of impending doom settled on me. Then my mind went wacko as I came to a tight curve: Drive into the ditch, Lucy. Drive into the ditch. Drive into the ditch. In panicky desperation, I spoke back to the crazy thoughts filling my mind: What’s wrong with me? Dear God, am I suicidal? Stay on the highway, Lucy. Just stay on the highway. Your exit is a mile ahead. You can make it. You can make it. What’s wrong with me? God, help me!

Panic attacks are terrifying. But you already know this, since you picked up this mini-book. If you don’t experience them yourself, you’re surely aware of how they affect someone you know. As I share my story and the extreme fear experiences of a few others, I want to help you understand three truths that have helped me. First, you are not the only one who struggles with panic attacks.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

This Bible verse teaches that we all struggle, including those of us who are “fearful”—that is, who have a propensity for anxiety. The intensity and frequency of our fears may differ, but everyone at some point has freaked out.

Second, panic attacks often proceed from faulty thinking. But by God’s grace you can change fearful thinking patterns into God-transformed, faithful thinking. This will require a willingness to trust and obey God, as well as perseverance. Your faulty thinking didn’t develop overnight, so it most likely won’t go away overnight. Mine didn’t.

Third, God promises to help you overcome the fear that precipitates your panic attacks, assuming they don’t have an organic, physical cause (more on this later). When you learn to realign your thoughts with God’s thoughts, your panic attacks can become a thing of the past. This is hopeful, isn’t it?

God can also use your panic attacks for good. Like me, you might begin encouraging others who have panic attacks by listening to them and by sharing your story. This verse in 2 Corinthians is dear to my heart because it gives meaning to my struggle, and I hope it will help you too:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

Perhaps this is difficult for you to believe, but God knows your fears and is able to deliver you from all of them. As you read this mini-book, you will learn practical ways to turn fear into faith. Will it be easy? No. It will require diligent effort. Will it be worth it? Yes. Your fears are one means God can use to help you learn to trust him and depend on him. Addressed biblically, they can become a doorway to experiencing the peace of God which comes through the Prince of Peace who conquers fear.

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. (Psalm 94:19, NASB)

[Today’s post is written by Lucy Ann Moll, author of HELP! I Get Panic Attacks. If you struggle with experiencing extreme anxiety, you will be helped by this little book. And if you are involved in one-another discipleship/counseling ministry, you probably want to order the discounted 5-pack.]

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September 17, 2019
by Paul Tautges

Choose to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. (Phil. 4:4–5)

“I want happiness,” a friend told me. He’s one of many people I know who want to be happy and yet often look for happi­ness in the wrong places. As I write this chapter, Amazon’s search engine produces over fifty thousand results for books about hap­piness. Yet even with all this self-help available, people are chroni­cally unhappy.

For example, pervasive unhappiness is seen in the form of neg­ativity in the workplace. Forbes magazine recently published an article stating that “disengaged employees are the norm” and that “where there are disengaged employees, there’s usually complain­ing, gossiping, and griping.” The author continues, “Whether you occasionally struggle with a victim mentality or have had your fair share of true bad breaks, it’s reassuring to remember that when it comes to your own behavior, you hold all the power and you always have a choice.”

“You always have a choice.” Did you catch that? And that’s counsel from a secular magazine. How much more should a scrip­tural exhortation grab our attention! Philippians 4:4–5 make up a command from God. Consider the two admonitions that are given and their connection to each other.

Rejoice in the Lord at all times.

This directive for the congre­gation in Philippi continues the theme of the epistle over­all: rejoicing (see Phil. 1:18; 2:17–18, 28; 3:1). Biblical joy is both a feeling—an unanticipated emotional response to something wonderful—as well as an action that can be commanded.2 Keep in mind that Paul is in prison awaiting the outcome of his trial when he exhorts us to rejoice at all times. He demonstrates firsthand how we must choose to look to the Lord as our ultimate source of joy. In other words, true joy is not dependent on our circumstances. Lasting joy is found only in the Lord.

Let your gentleness be evident to all people.

The word rea­sonableness in verse 5 may also be translated gentleness. Gentleness fits well, since it is a preeminent characteristic of Christ—the one in whom we are called to rejoice. There’s only one point in all four gospels when Jesus describes his humanity in personal terms. It’s when he says, “I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Gentleness is a Christ­like quality. When our joy and gentleness are “known to everyone,” we draw attention to Jesus. Whether you choose to rejoice or complain, your choice impacts your witness.

But what do joy and gentleness have to do with anxiety?

Anxiety is a joy-killer. It feeds on, and often exaggerates, actual problems or potential negative outcomes. The resulting inner agitation that we feel undermines our calm and gentleness. But, as Christ-followers, we should not be known for a negative spirit; we should be known for a peaceful, hopeful spirit. This Christlike demeanor is within our reach, because it begins with a choice—the choice to rejoice.

  • Reflect: Do you have the tendency to let circumstances be the basis of your joy (or your lack of it)? Why is that?
  • Act: In your journal, list reasons why you should rejoice in the Lord.

[This post is a chapter excerpt from my new book, ANXIETY: Knowing God’s Peace – 31-Day Devotional.]

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September 14, 2019
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on NUGGETS: Suicide

NUGGETS: Suicide

What Pastors and Congregations Need to Know About Suicide – “Pastors and congregants must both work together against this tide as this story becomes more and more common.”

Is Suicide a Brain Issue or a Heart Issue? – “In the Bible and Jesus’ teachings, we see that the thoughts we think, the actions we take, and the values we embrace all originate in and are influenced most by our hearts, not our physical bodies.”

Two mini-books you need to always have in your desk drawer or in stock at your church or counseling center:

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September 13, 2019
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on Accepting Your “New Normal” after Someone You Love Dies by Suicide

Accepting Your “New Normal” after Someone You Love Dies by Suicide

As dark as life gets when you lose someone to suicide, you can truly experience hope. You may have serious doubts today, and wonder how you can possibly go on, but you will survive. Your life will never be the same—that is true. Fellow survivor Albert Hsu wrote,

Those of us who have experienced the suicide of a loved one are like the survivors of the Titanic. Our lives are irrevocably divided into “before” and “after.” It is something that we will never forget, a tragedy that will affect us for the rest of our lives.

Grieving strives for what we often call “closure.” Closure is hard to define, but it involves bringing an experience to a final conclusion. Closure requires a resolution of issues that will allow us to leave behind the past in order to go forward into the future, and it requires an acceptance of reality.

Survivors of suicide loss rarely find acceptable closure. Some people think closure means being able to go back to a “normal” life with normal routines and patterns, but in truth “normal” has changed and life will never be the same again. What was “normal” was shattered by the suicide of someone you love, and you are left feeling broken and empty. All of your hopes and dreams died with your loved one, and the future appears only black. But this is not the end of your narrative. You can’t stay where you are. Getting stuck emotionally will only make you bitter. To make you better, embrace the hope offered in the Bible (Romans 15:4). Faith feeds hope, and hope sustains faith.

The God of hope will fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13, niv84)

Ruth Padilla Eldrenkamp’s husband was murdered in front of her and her young children on the mission field. Later she wrote,

Brokenness is not the end of the story. Our pain is deep, but it is not all-encompassing; our loss is enormous, but it is not eternal; and death is our enemy, but it does not have the final word.

Don’t let the death of your loved one be the death of you!

Some survivors fear exactly that—they think they might die by suicide just like their loved one. It is not uncommon for family and close friends to experience suicidal thoughts themselves after a suicide, but these thoughts usually pass without incident. Family members may also be afraid because they mistakenly think that suicide is hereditary. But there is no “suicide gene.” Some families have suicides in their history because of the example or permission provided by family members: “If Uncle Fred solved his problems by ending his life, then I can do the same.” You can’t go back, but you can and must establish new patterns that become your “new normal.” David Powlison states,

It’s important at this time that you don’t neglect the basics of life. Your food might not have much taste, but you need to eat. You may not feel like getting out of bed in the morning, but you need to get up and get dressed. You might have little interest in your work or household responsibilities, but you need to keep going. Take time to grieve, to process . . . and get back to normal living. Doing these things makes the statement that life continues despite what has happened. [“Grieving a Suicide”]

These things can’t be rushed. It may take two or three years or even more before new routines feel “normal,” but step by step and day by day they will become more comfortable.

[Today’s post is written by Bruce Ray, and is excerpted from his mini-book HELP! Someone I Love Died by Suicide.]

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September 12, 2019
by Paul Tautges

SLAP DIRT Suicide Assessment

What do you do when you fear a friend or family member may be suicidal? How do you assess the seriousness of your suspicion or their suicidal comments? The following assessment tool is from the mini-book HELP! My Friend Is Suicidal by pastor and Police, Fire & EMS chaplain Bruce Ray.

Listen to Your Suicidal Friend!

Be willing to talk about suicide plainly. Many suicidal people want to voice their thoughts but their family and friends won’t let them! You don’t have to have all the answers; you just need to be willing to listen. Take your friend seriously. Don’t discount her concerns. Don’t say, “It’s not that bad…” To her it is! Don’t tell her what to do, but show her biblically what God wants her to do. Help her to take every out-of-control thought and bring it into submission to Jesus Christ. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

When in Doubt, Ask!

If your friend’s intentions are not clear, ask him point blank: Are you thinking about suicide? It seems counter-intuitive, the opposite of what you think you should do, but asking will not push him to act. Talking about his thoughts and feelings may actually serve as a release-valve, thus buying more time. Learn as much as you can about his suicide plan. A suicide threat assessment tool that I find helpful is easily remembered by the acronym SLAP DIRT:

  • Specific plan – has your friend thought about how, where and when he would commit suicide? A plan that is specific is much closer to being carried out than one that is only general: “I don’t know how, but I’m gonna do it.”
  • Lethality – how deadly is the plan? I’m not overly concerned about a plan to overdose on Vitamin C, but if someone says they’re going to shoot themselves or jump from a freeway overpass, they have my full attention.
  • Availability (of means) – does your friend have or can he easily get what he needs to carry out his plan?
  • Proximity (of help) – How close help is can indicate determination. Fred moved in with his daughter and her family after his wife died. They were glad to have him there and Fred did much of the gardening. One evening he said he was going for a walk. He actually went to a park in a neighboring city. In the gazebo in a remote part of the park, Fred put a handgun to his head and pulled the trigger. He went to an isolated place so that there would be no one nearby who could interrupt what he had decided to do.

If there has been a previous attempt(s), add DIRT to the mix:

  • Dangerousness – how dangerous were the previous attempts? Is there is a pattern of para- or pseudosuicidal attempts that were deliberately unsuccessful, and is your friend more determined now?
  • Impression – whatever the actual danger might have been, what is your friend’s impression of how dangerous her previous attempts were?
  • Rescue – how did your friend survive previous attempts? Did he use less than lethal means, or were there friends or other people who came to his rescue?
  • Timing – some people attempt suicide expecting to be rescued. Linda rigged a vacuum cleaner hose from the tailpipe of her car in the garage into the passenger compartment, expecting her estranged husband to find her (and save her) when he came to pick up their children. She forgot he had a dentist appointment. As a result of that miscalculation, Linda died and almost killed her kids when carbon monoxide filled the house.

When depression is present, suicidal persons can send out conflicting signals. One of the most dangerous periods is on the way down, when they are unhappy with life and close to the bottom but still have enough energy to carry out a plan.

At the bottom of the curve, life is flat and depressed persons have little energy to do anything. This is when they don’t go to school or work, don’t seem to get anything done, and spend a lot of time unable or unwilling to get out of bed or off the couch. When they start to come out of the depression, that’s the next most dangerous period because they are beginning to regain energy and can again carry out a plan. Often friends are misled into thinking that the suicidal person is getting better: “He seemed so much happier the last few days….” That apparent happiness may be because the person has a plan and now has the energy to carry it out.

Don’t Try to Be a Hero!

Suicide intervention is risky. It places you in harm’s way, between a suicidal subject and the means of carrying out his plan. Your priority must always be your own personal safety first. Don’t try to be a hero, and don’t become a victim. Call for appropriate help from police, fire, or the local suicide crisis line.

[This article was originally posted on April 10, 2013.]

If it’s too late to help your friend, this follow-up mini-book will help you and their loved ones: HELP! Someone I Love Died By Suicide

Your church or counseling center can order 5-pack bundles of both mini-books directly from Shepherd Press.

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September 11, 2019
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on Surviving Suicide Loss

Surviving Suicide Loss

Most people don’t read about suicide until they have to. Why would they? Yet you are reading this. It’s safe to assume, therefore, that you have been personally affected by the self-inflicted death of someone you love. For that, I am deeply sorry. Losing someone through suicide is so painful that you may not want to talk about it. You may even find yourself changing the subject whenever it arises. Suicide sparks questions, doubts, and confusion.

  • After her mother took her own life, one grieving daughter observed, “Suicide doesn’t end pain. It only lays it on the broken shoulders of the survivors.”
  • Often we don’t want to acknowledge the reality of suicide. We’d rather look the other way, since most people “don’t know the signs of suicide, don’t know what causes suicide, and don’t see any real reason to learn.”
  • We know suicide happens, but it happens to other people. We never expect otherwise competent people to look for an exit from life’s troubles through the door of suicide.
  • We want to put our fingers in our ears, or cover our eyes, and hope that it will all just go away. But it won’t. As one Texas police chaplain wrote, “as long as we, as a society, keep hiding the ugly, terrible truth, people will keep on killing themselves. It’s happening now in greater numbers than ever, in ways that are horrific to behold, and for rationales that almost never stand up to the light of reason.”

As a police and fire chaplain, I’ve walked through suicide aftershock with many grieving people. In another mini-book in this series, Help! My Friend Is Suicidal, I addressed suicide prevention and offered counsel on how to intervene. But what happens after suicide has become a reality? The focus must now turn to how to help family and friends who remain behind. Clearly, those who die by their own hand are not the only victims. Like ripples in a pond after a rock has been thrown in, the startling news of a suicide spreads. It swamps the boats of those who are closest, and even rocks the boats of those who are far removed. All of these people are often known as suicide survivors. But this term can be misleading. Suicide survivors are not people who have survived unsuccessful suicide attempts; they are the family members and close friends of someone who decided to end his or her own life. Consequently, in this mini-book I have chosen to use the term survivors of suicide loss.

Perhaps you find even this term difficult to accept. You may really wonder if you will survive the pain and loss. This doubt is described by Albert Hsu:

Because death has struck so close to home, life itself seems uncertain. We don’t know if we can go on from day to day. We wonder if we will be consumed by the same despair that claimed our loved one. At the very least, we know that our life will never be the same. If we go on living, we will do so as people who see the world very differently.

Life has changed. You have changed. You can never go back. You’ll never be the same. But you have choices about where to go from here. That’s where I want to help. I want to walk alongside you on this difficult journey by showing you how healing is possible.

You are not alone. Along the way you’ll meet some fellow travelers who, like you, are learning to proceed at their own pace. Most importantly, I want you to know that God is always there to help you and bring healing through his Word.

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come?

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1–2)

This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me [or “preserved me alive”]. (Psalm 119:50)

Though I am writing directly to the one who is grieving, it’s possible that you have not experienced this kind of loss yourself but are wanting to learn how to help a grieving friend. This mini-book is for you, too.

[This guest post is written by Bruce Ray, who has been a pastor for 50 years and has also served as a Police, Fire & EMS chaplain for 30 years. He is a frequent speaker on crisis and trauma. Bruce is a graduate of Los Angeles Baptist College (now The Master’s University), the Reformed Episcopal Seminary, and Police & Fire Chaplains Training Academy. He is the author of HELP! Someone I Love Died by Suicide.]

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September 9, 2019
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on Three Characteristics of God’s Gospel

Three Characteristics of God’s Gospel

Identity theft is called by some, The Crime of the New Millennium. An article by that title opens with these words, “It is estimated that identity theft has become the fastest-growing financial crime in America and perhaps the fastest-growing crime of any kind in our society.” In 2012, Time magazine said the Federal Trade Commission “estimates that as many as 9 million of us have our identity stolen each year. It’s topped the list of consumer complaints filed with the agency for the past 12 years running, garnering about 15% of all complaints. And new research from ID Analytics shows that there are roughly 10,000 identity theft rings in the United States involved in this fast-growing illegal enterprise.” In 2016, Identify theft cost consumers over 16 billion dollars. Clearly, identify theft is a big problem in our society.

But it’s also a problem in the Christian church.

Through distraction and distortion, many Christians today are having their spiritual identity stolen by false gospels—gospels that are more about their goodness than about God’s holiness, more about what we should do for God, rather than what God has done to rescue us through Jesus Christ.

This was a problem at the time Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians. The book gets its name from Galatia,the region in Asia Minor where the churches that Paul wrote to were located. Today, we know this area as the country of Turkey. The province of Galatia was originally established by Gauls or Celts from western Europe. In 390 BC, the Gauls plundered Rome and then retreated to Northern Italy. In 275 BC, they conquered and settled central Asia Minor. This area then became a Roman province in 25 BC. According to the book of Acts, the gospel was brought to this area through the ministry of the apostle Paul, when he founded churches in the cities of Antioch, Idonium, Lystra, and Derbe.

Galatians is the only NT letter written to multiple churches. It’s also the only one of Paul’s letters in which he gives no words of commendation; there is only correction. Something very serious was going on here. Having preached the gospel, and poured his heart into these churches, the apostle was now grieved to hear that believers were being led astray from the one, true gospel. Shortly after Paul founded the churches, Judaizers convinced the Galatian believers that salvation was through Christ plus the rituals of Judaism. They were being taught an erroneous doctrine of salvation.

Judaizers were Jews who had become Christians, but wanted to retain their identity as Jews while also claiming Christ as their Savior. They said it was not enough to be identified as a Christian—a follower of Jesus Christ—but believers also needed to keep the Law of Moses. Specifically, they pressured Gentile Christians to become like them—Jewish, at least physically—through the rite of circumcision. Additionally, they taught that Christians are sanctified by keeping the law.

But this was contrary to the apostolic message of salvation and sanctification by grace through faith. This explains the apostle’s word choices throughout this letter. Law is used 32x, and faith 21x. So, he wrote this letter to establish his apostolic authority and defend the true gospel. To re-establish the believers firmly in Christ, he writes to expose and condemn false teaching, show the God-intended purpose of OT law, and demonstration how Christians are sanctified by learning to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh.

The best defense against spiritual identify theft is to know the gospel inside and out, to be rooted in Christ and firmly grounded in sound doctrine. You need to know your Bible. You need to understand the gospel from the biblical standpoint, not socially or psychologically. That’s why Paul begins his letter the way he does. He knows that what these believers need more than anything else is to know the gospel, and to be firmly rooted in what it is. The gospel is God’s gospel. Therefore, man has no business tampering with it to make it more palatable to sinners, more about us than about God. Paul begins his letter to the churches in Galatia with a description of the gospel according to God.

  1. The gospel proceeded from God, not the authority of man (vv. 1-2).
  2. The gospel is the only pathway to God’s grace and peace (v. 3).
  3. The gospel is preoccupied with the saving work of Jesus Christ (vv. 4-5).

Notice how the apostle describes the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. He uses three phrases:

  • SACRIFICIAL: “who game himself for our sins”
  • SAVING: “to deliver us from the present evil age”
  • SUBMISSIVE: “according to the will of our God and Father”

Clearly, the gospel is about Jesus Christ. Whenever the apostle refers to the gospel, he is preoccupied with the work of Jesus Christ to save sinners from eternal judgment.

Paul was concerned about the Galatians. He was concerned about those whom he had introduced to Christ through the gospel, but were now being led astray. The same thing could happen to us if we are not vigilant to guard the gospel. Let us beware. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith.

WATCH OR LISTEN to the first sermon in the Galatians series here.

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September 7, 2019
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on 60 Ways the Inerrant Word Blesses Us

60 Ways the Inerrant Word Blesses Us

Psalm 119 has been a personal favorite of mine since the early days of my Christian life, studying it was instrumental to my growth. Then, while helping to plant a church in Kansas in the late 1980’s, the Psalm became my choice for the first adult Sunday School class we offered. Working through the Psalm eight verses at a time with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ blessed my soul.

Therefore, when Mark Dever publicly read Psalm 119, and preached from it last week at the Inerrancy Summit, it was a special blessing to me. In his sermon, Mark challenged his listeners to work through the Psalm and note the ways the Word blesses us. So, I’ve spent my devotional times this past week mining the Psalm, doing what Mark exhorted, and now I’m sharing my findings with you.

Open your Bible to Psalm 119 and work through this list in your personal devotional time, or your small group. See if you find any more blessings that I missed.

The inerrant Word of God…

  1. Shows us how to keep our heart and way blameless (1, 3, 80)
  2. Guides our wholehearted pursuit of God (2, 10, 145, 148)
  3. Guards us from the shame of sin when our attention remains fixed upon obeying it (4-6, 31)
  4. Generates heartfelt prayer and praise to God (7, 12, 48, 62, 64, 108, 146)
  5. Cultivates trust in God’s help and presence (8, 141, 150-151, 173-174)
  6. Keeps the young heart pure (9)
  7. Prevents sinning when we treasure it (11, 101, 133)
  8. Breeds an urgency to proclaim and teach it (13)
  9. Produces godly delight in eternal riches more than the abundance of temporal things (14, 16, 35-36, 72, 103, 127)
  10. Reveals the ways of God (15)
  11. Feeds humility in prayer and a longing for God’s blessing (17, 26, 56, 58, 132, 135)
  12. Gives insight into that which is truly spiritual, thus leading to a continuous cycle of growth (18)
  13. Guides our earthly pilgrimage, lighting our way in this darkened world (19, 176)
  14. Generates a never-ending longing for itself (20, 64)
  15. Rebukes the insolent and arrogant (21)
  16. Removes scorn and contempt (22)
  17. Gives confidence and perseverance in the face of enemies who plot against us (23, 51, 53, 61, 69-70, 78, 85-87, 94-95, 98, 110, 115, 121-122, 134, 150-151, 157-158, 161)
  18. Counsels us (24)
  19. Renews our soul when we are in the dust of despair (25)
  20. Gives understanding of the ways of the Creator (27, 73)
  21. Encourages meditation on the works of God (27)
  22. Strengthens our hearts when they are overcome by grief (28)
  23. Puts false ways away from us (29, 163)
  24. Explains “the way of faithfulness” (30)
  25. Enlarges our heart for God to run the race of obedience (32, 34, 57, 106, 112, 17-168)
  26. Nourishes perseverance of faith to the end (33, 112)
  27. Turns our eyes from worthless things and leads us to true life (37)
  28. Nurtures the fear of the Lord (79, 116, 120)
  29. Prevents reproach (39)
  30. Reveals the righteousness that leads to life (40, 156)
  31. Assures us of the promise of salvation (41, 94, 81-82, 123, 166)
  32. Answers our accusers (42, 78, 121-122)
  33. Generates hope (43, 49, 74, 147, 166)
  34. Leads to walking “in a wide place” (44-45)
  35. Emboldens our witness (46-47)
  36. Comforts us in our affliction ((50, 52, 75-76, 82-84, 141, 143, 170)
  37. Becomes the believer’s song for the earthly journey (54, 172)
  38. Reminds us of who God really is, what He is like, and of His steadfast love—His “name” (55, 76, 88, 124, 159)
  39. Cultivates a growing satisfaction in God (57)
  40. Renews our mind, leading to repentance from sin and obedience to God (59-60)
  41. Establishes the sphere of godly friendships (63)
  42. Describes how the Lord always does well with us (65)
  43. Teaches us good judgment and knowledge (66)
  44. Opens our spiritual eyes to God’s goodness and His good purposes for our affliction (67-68, 71, 75)
  45. Reveals the mercy of God, dispensing it to our needy souls (77, 156)
  46. Provides the basis for crying out to God for justice (84-86, 118-119, 126, 136, 139, 149)
  47. Stands forever; it never fails as an enduring testimony to God’s faithfulness ((89-91, 111a, 142, 144, 152, 160)
  48. Strengthens the inner man in times of affliction (92, 107, 159)
  49. Gives spiritual life to the soul (93)
  50. Provides the standard of perfection (96)
  51. Imparts wisdom and spiritual understanding (97-100, 125, 130, 169)
  52. Teaches us the path of God (102)
  53. Feeds and satisfies spiritual appetites (103, 131)
  54. Engenders hatred for sin (104, 113, 128, 163)
  55. Lights our way in this darkened world (105)
  56. Produces joy in the heart (111, 143, 162)
  57. Provides a refuge when attacked by evildoers (114-115, 117, 139, 153-155, 161)
  58. Renews the longing to obey God (129)
  59. Defines the righteousness of God (137-138, 142)
  60. Brings peace to the troubled soul (165)

Once you savor Psalm 119, you will find yourself returning there throughout your spiritual pilgrimage. He who truly tastes the food of the Word returns to its table, habitually.

[This post was first published March 12, 2015.]

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September 5, 2019
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on NUGGETS


Here’s a few important articles for you to read this weekend.

Once Abused by the Church, Now I Love the Church – “I must not allow my painful story to inform me about Christ or his church. Instead, my painful story has to be informed by Christ’s good character and by his purposes for his church.”

CCEF Board Appoints Next Executive Director – The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Alasdair Groves has been named to succeed David Powlison as CCEF’s next executive director, effective January 1, 2020.

Grandchildren Are the Crown of the Aged – “Almost everyone will live to get gray hair and almost everyone will live to have grandchildren, but the life of wisdom allows that hair and those grandchildren to be like a crown.”

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