Counseling One Another

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

Counseling One Another

June 14, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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Why the Psychological Church Will Always End Up Diminishing the Cross of Christ

In 1 Corinthians 1:17, the apostle Paul establishes the preaching of Christ as his highest priority. He does this to turn the Corinthians’ attention away from humanistic philosophy to “the word of the cross.” Take a moment to read the full context in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.

Here, Paul exalts the wisdom of Christ over the foolishness of men. This is seen in the repetitive use of the words “foolishness” or “fool” (five times), and “wisdom” or “wise” (nine times). This contrast between God’s wisdom in Christ and the foolishness of human philosophy highlights six elements of God’s revelation that establish its superiority.

The priority of God’s revelation. First, the revelation of God in Christ is superior to the wisdom of men because it is the only message that has the power to redeem sinners. The phrase “the word of the cross” (v. 18) refers to the whole doctrine of Christ and His all-sufficient work of salvation. The cross proclaims God’s righteousness, being the culmination of a just God breaking into time to purchase unjust sinners (Rom. 3:25–26). Christ bore in His body the penalty that we deserve (1 Peter 2:24), was victorious over sin and Satan (Heb. 2:14), propitiated the wrath of God (1 John 4:10), and opened the floodgate of God’s mercy upon sinners (Eph. 2:4–5). What is required to rescue hell-bound sinners out of a state of perpetual death is not a psychological gospel that persuades them to think more highly of themselves, but rather a supernatural work of God outside themselves—the whole gospel of Jesus Christ.

The permanency of God’s revelation. Second, the endurance of God’s revelation is set in contrast to the destruction of human wisdom. Man’s wisdom will be destroyed, but the truth of God in Christ will endure forever, “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside’” (1:19). The phrase “set aside” means “to do away with.” So Paul asks, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age?” In other words, the worldly philosopher is nothing. Christ is everything! Thus, “God made foolish” the wisdom of the world (v. 20). Man’s wisdom cannot bring us to God because it is temporary, but the wisdom of God is eternal.

The plan of God’s revelation. Third, it is according to “the wisdom of God” that man is unable to find salvation through his own wisdom. This was God’s sovereign plan from eternity past. Our wisdom is intentionally limited, for “the world through its wisdom did not come to know God” (v. 21a). The limitations of earthly wisdom explain how psychologists can research the behavior of man and not arrive at the conclusion that his greatest need is the spiritual rebirth and transformation that only God can perform by means of the gospel. The wisdom of man is foolishness to God, and the wisdom of God is foolishness to unregenerate man, revealing that, the more that man tries to find God through his own wisdom, the more he worships the creature rather than the Creator. Subsequently, the more that the church seeks solutions to behavioral problems by integrating theology with psychology, the farther we drift from the God of truth.

The pleasure of God’s revelation. Fourth, the revelation of God in Christ is superior to man’s wisdom because it exalts His sovereign pleasure. Paul wrote, “God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1:21b). He is not saying that preaching itself is foolish, but that the content of the message is foolish to the mind that has not been renewed by the Spirit of God through the Word of God. According to William MacDonald, “The Greeks were lovers of wisdom (the literal meaning of the word ‘philosophers’). But there was nothing in the gospel message to appeal to their pride of knowledge.” Therefore, it pleased God to save sinners in a way that man would never have dreamed of. The gospel may be foolish to man because it slaughters his pride, but it is not foolish to God.

The preaching of God’s revelation. The fifth element of God’s revelation is its preaching, which focuses on “Christ crucified” (v. 23). However, Paul identifies two obstacles to spreading the message of the cross: a search for signs and rational explanations. The Jews of Jesus’ day were always looking for a sign or a demonstration of His power because they would not take Him at His Word. Matthew 12:38–39 says, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.’” Asking for signs is not a demonstration of faith, but a lack of submissive trust in God’s revelation in Scripture. Therefore, to the Jew waiting for a miraculous sign, the message of a crucified Messiah was a “stumbling block” (skandalon); it was scandalous. Second, “Greeks search for wisdom” (v. 22). While the Jews looked for signs, the Greeks searched for rational explanations. They believed only that which could be understood and explained by human intelligence. To them, the preaching of the cross was foolish, ridiculous, insane, and sheer madness. Both of these kinds of people exist in churches today, largely because, in this therapeutic age, “preaching is psychologized.”

The power of God’s revelation. Sixth and finally, the superiority of God’s revelation is demonstrated by its inherent power. To the “called,” the message of Christ is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (v. 24). The “called” are God’s elect, those who have received the outer call of the gospel through the preaching of the Word because of the inner effectual call of the Holy Spirit. Paul refers to the believers at Rome as “the called of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:6). Those “whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Rom. 8:30). As a result of the call of God, believers are regenerate, “born again not of seed which is perishable [like psychology] but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

God’s revelation of Christ in the gospel is radically distinct from anything the world of psychological counseling can offer. By its very nature, worldly psychology is antagonistic to the cross. As it exalts man’s wisdom, it diminishes Jesus Christ, the very source of truth (John 14:6). David Powlison testifies, “After years in the psychotherapeutic world, I found that Christ turned my life upside down. Then I started to see that he turned the whole world upside down: everything was God-centered, not man-centered. That meant that counseling needed a fundamental realignment to inhabit the real world, not the world fabricated by unbelief.” To attempt to integrate biblical theology with psychology is, therefore, utterly foolish and will only lead to the exaltation of man, which in turn leads to his spiritual ruin.

[Excerpted from chapter seven of Counseling One Another.]

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June 13, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS

Remembering David Powlison – Curtis Solomon describes the impact David had on his life and ministry.

Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person – You might be a quarrelsome person if…

When Moral Relativism Comes to Counseling – “Moral relativism is our culture’s precious grandchild now. It gets a pat on the head and sugar for supper. It demands its way like 2-year-old. And it barges into the counseling room. So how might you quiet it?”

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June 9, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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An Interview with David Powlison

[Since my friend David Powlison entered the joy of his Master this past Friday, I’ve wanted to write a tribute to his gracious influence in my life. However, an injury to my hands has made it difficult to type. For now, I’m re-posting this 2-part interview from January 10, 2013, which was part of a series that I call Journey to Biblical Counseling.]

Welcome to the second installment of our new feature Journey to Biblical Counseling. Here I interview various pastors, teachers, equippers, authors, and leaders in the biblical counseling movement. What led them to biblical counseling? What were some of the influences the Lord used in their journey? How do they now define biblical counseling? These are just a few of the questions they will answer.

Our special guest for this edition is Dr. David Powlison of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation and Westminster Theological Seminary.

PT: David, what is your current involvement in biblical counseling?
DP: I have worked at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) since becoming an intern in 1978, while still a seminary student. The ministry of CCEF has enabled me to flourish in doing the things that I am good at, and to be covered by other people in the areas where I am weak. It’s been a great example of the way an institution can hire multiple kinds of gifted people in order to allow each person to flourish using their strengths. I don’t have to wear ten hats that take me into my areas of weakness. Aside from CCEF, I served on the board of directors of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) for 20 years, and I was in at the ground floor of the founding of the Biblical Counseling Coalition (BCC). I have taught at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) steadily ever since my involvement at CCEF began, and I have also taught at various other seminaries as an adjunct professor. I feel so privileged—in this wonderful mercy of God—to be able to make a living by being who I am and doing what I most love. It is hard and challenging work, but such a wonderful privilege. When Paul Tripp and I used to travel a lot together, we would often return from a weekend conference saying, “Can you believe they pay us to do this? We would do this kind of ministry on the weekend even if we drove a cab during the week!”

My responsibilities at CCEF are primarily teaching, writing, and editing the Journal of Biblical Counseling (JBC), as well as mentoring and interacting with students at WTS. Due to health problems a few years ago I had to stop my regular counseling schedule. But one of the ways, in God’s mercy, that I have compensated for the lack of weekly counseling is by including in my teaching a hearty component of self-counseling for the students. For example, I have 130 self-counseling projects coming in this week. It is a wonderful, vicarious opportunity to see the ways in which the Lord as shepherd, the Father as vine-dresser, the Holy Spirit as active agent, and the Word of Truth meet people in their daily struggles and grow them into Christ’s image. I have interacted with 2,000-3,000 self-counseling projects over the years, seeing the truth of God re-work people’s lives day-in and day-out, year-in and year-out.

I could never be convinced not to be a biblical counselor! It would be to deny how my own life has been transformed by the steady mercies and truth of God, and by the steady benefit of His people and His means of grace. Having counseled so many people and seen the relevance of “God’s take” on our lives, and the power of His engagement, it would be hard to argue myself out of believing that this is indeed the way to go.

PT: In 50 words or less, how do you define Biblical Counseling?
DP: Counseling is one part of the overall ministry of Christ that meets us publicly, privately, and interpersonally. The public means of grace—preaching, teaching, the Lord’s Supper, worship, and fellowship—meet people in crowds. You never have to attach anyone’s name to it, but the Holy Spirit is able to personalize the public ministry of the gospel and the truth of the Lord. Then there is the private ministry of the Word of Truth. This is your own prayer life, meditation on and study of Scripture, application, journaling, and your own implementation and meditations of the heart. Finally, biblical counseling is part of the interpersonal ministry of the Word. God means for us to bear each other’s burdens. It’s a good goal to become more competent at self-counsel, the private ministry, but we always need other people. We need their prayers, encouragement, and insight. There may be something you have said to yourself a hundred times, but then you hear it from the lips of someone else, and the Holy Spirit chooses to work. Hearing it from another person’s voice makes it come to life. Wise counseling brings that personalized relevance of interpersonal ministry of the eternal Word of Truth that turns our lives upside down and inside out.

PT: How does your definition today differ from 5 or 10 years ago?
DP: There is not much difference in definition over the past 5 or 10 years. But when I think back through 35 years, I would describe my experience of biblical counseling as living in a treasure house. There are always more riches—slowly acquired—in God’s wise, loving, and truthful ways with us.

For example, one key juncture came when I realized that “biblical counseling” is not just about “counseling,” per se, but about the entire second half of the Great Commission to make disciples of Christ. This means remaking men, women, and children into His image, which means dealing with “counseling issues”: anger and forgiveness; anxiety and trust; addictions and self-control; suffering and meaning; despair and hope; broken relationships and peacemaking; presumption and humility. It’s just as much for those who don’t think they need counseling as for those who obviously “need counseling.” Jesus’ call to remake people in his image comes with two subordinate clauses. First, baptizing them in God’s name (which I take to be shorthand for evangelism, baptism, church planting—all that entails entrance into the kingdom). Then teaching them to obey all the love, wisdom, trust, and obedience that Jesus commands. The entire Christian life is a process of changing, learning, growing, struggling to become wiser and more loving. Biblical counseling is just one component of that second half of the Great Commission, among the means of grace that work unto our renewal, transformation, reconstruction, and renovation.

So I understand counseling more broadly than I once did, not just as the biblical equivalent or alternative to what secular people do, but as part of this cosmic and personal renewal at the center of the Christian faith. Coming to faith out of a secular background, I was excited about biblical counseling. I had been a psychology major and was working in the mental health field when I came to faith in Christ. My life was turned upside down. Christianity was a whole different dance step from the secular training and models I had received. I initially saw this as the radical way the Bible taught us to approach counseling. But it’s bigger than that. It’s the Bible’s approach to life.

PT: What people, circumstances, and influences did the Holy Spirit use to move you into that “whole different dance step,” from your secular training to your present convictions?
DP: Well, there are far more than can be listed, but I will mention a few. First, I had a very dramatic conversion when I was almost 26 years old. I was a completely secular man. I hated Christianity. On the scale of 1-10 of my positive aspirations, and a scale of -1 to -10 of what I never wanted become, Christianity was at the bottom of the bottom. But the Holy Spirit is mercifully sovereign. It was as though God put the hook in me, and then allowed the fish to run, but at a certain point He said, “You are coming in the boat, buddy!” It was a conversion like C.S. Lewis’s “surprised by joy, the most unwilling convert in all of Christendom.”

Second, I am very grateful that both by teaching and experience I came to understand the significance of the confluence of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. You see, if you just talk about the Word you become a rationalist. And if you just talk about the Spirit you go wacky. Sanctification is the perfect confluence. The people who influenced me had caught the music of that sweet dance. For example, the key passage in my conversion was Ezekiel 36 . I heard the wonderful promise that God takes out a heart of stone and puts a soft heart of flesh in its place. God promises to wash us and give us a new life. The Holy Spirit powerfully took that Word and arrested a man who had lived in his self-referential selfishness for 25 years. Stacked up against life experience was the Word that promised a new life. The Word animated by the Holy Spirit won the day. Our faith has many different aspects, but that perfect interplay of Word and Spirit is something that is easy to get wrong.

Third, just being around godly men and women, good preaching, teaching, counsel, heartfelt worship, candid friendship, and communities that love the Lord has impacted me immensely. I count myself fortunate to never have been part of a community that had some of the typical defects that can attend Christendom, such as legalism, or dead orthodoxy, or liberal theology, or wild-fire pietism. I have always been part of a people who sought balance and fidelity, bringing all of the factors of vibrant Christian faith into play.

I’ve had wonderful nurture and great role models. For example, Jack Miller, my pastor for 20 years was a wonderful influence. He communicated such a sense that God is real, that He is merciful and approachable, and that He hears our prayers. Jack lived the reality of our fellowship as God’s people.

I was also greatly influenced by Jay Adams, both reading his writings and hearing him speak. (He had already left Westminster and CCEF by the time I got there.) Here is one vivid example from when I’d been a Christian for little more than a year. Like a lot of young Christians, I had been initially nurtured in a Watchman Nee, “Let go and let God” pietism. But Jay brought the Bible to life in an utterly different way. I remember the very seat where I was sitting in the auditorium, and the passage Jay Adams was teaching from—Colossians 3—about lying, immorality, lusts, selfishness, and anger, and the contrast with love and the graces of the Spirit. I remember this thought running through my mind like an explosion of light: The Bible is practical. At that moment, I came to see that the Bible is not about a super-spiritual realm of higher numinal reality. The Bible is about what life is about. The Bible speaks to anxieties, angers, despairs, relationships, hurts, grumbling—you name it. The Bible is about life—about what we trust, how we treat people, how we deal with unruly emotions. The Bible is practical because Jesus Christ became incarnate as one of us. He entered our actual, concrete plight, calling us to faith and obedience.

Don’t miss reading part 2 of this interview, where you will read David’s totally unexpected answer to the question, “How can someone begin to be equipped for the one-another ministry of counseling?”

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June 4, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS

SUPER-DUPER LifeLine Mini-Book Sale – Cumberland Valley Bible and Book Service has select titles for $2 each…while supplies last.

God Save the Kids! – This is an excellent, solid read for parents and anyone who ministers the gospel to children.

Retake Your Heart – “Jesus knows the human heart. He made it, and then he took one himself when he became man. He knows, as both God and man, how to furnish courage to a fearful heart.”

Prayer for the President – David Platt leading his congregation to obey 1 Timothy 2:1-6.

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June 3, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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The Unbreakable Chain of Redemption

Last month, the legendary actress and singer, Doris Day, died at the age of 97. This means that many of you don’t know her name, since the peak years of her career were the 1950s. But some of you are like me…probably…in that you are too young to have grown up with her music, but old enough to have a mom who was a Doris Day fan. Because of my mom’s love for her, I remember hearing one song in particular…perhaps her best known song…Que será, será. For it she won an Academy Award and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Que será, será means “whatever will be, will be.” Though it is closest to Spanish in translation, the phrase is actually Italian by origin, and later was added to the lexicon because of the fame of the song. In each of the three verses, the singer asks questions about the future, each time answering with the refrain…

Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be

There is some truth contained in those words. The future is not ours to see…in its details. As believers in Jesus, we walk by faith not by sight. However, the words are incorrect in the way they basically leave all to fate. Que será, será. “Whatever will be, will be…” as if all is left to chance.

As believers, we have an infinitely greater, more secure assurance. Nothing is left to chance, but all things fall under the sovereign governance of a kind and good God. And all things are being used by God toward the fulfillment of His goal to remake us into the image of His Son. In Romans 8:28-30 our eyes are directed to the Lord who alone is worthy to receive all glory.

The truth revealed in these three verses establishes unshakable confidence in our hearts as believers. God’s redemptive purposes will be accomplished in the hearts of those whom He has determined to save by divine power and grace. This is displayed for us to consider in two ways.

God’s Unifying Purpose (v. 28)

God’s eternal purpose comes first. It comes before any of the more specific works mentioned in verses 29-30.

God’s Unbreakable Chain (vv. 29-30)

Here the apostle lays out for us an unbreakable chain of five links. Please notice that this chain is unbreakable because it is God who—in every case—performs the work in a way that moves toward the fulfillment of His unifying purpose.

  • Foreknowledge
  • Predestination
  • Calling
  • Justification
  • Glorification

God has purposed to save. And His plan will incorporate all things toward His intended goal, which He will accomplish. Nothing is left to chance. From beginning to end, salvation is the work of God. He is the initiator and provider of relationship with us. By empty-handed faith, we respond to the call of the gospel, repent, and entrust ourselves fully to Jesus Christ our redeemer.

This being the work of God, you are secure in Christ. And you can be assured that God who began a good work in you, through the gospel, will continue that work. He will remake you more and more into the image of Jesus…until you see Him face to face.

Listen to, or watch, the sermon.

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May 31, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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Guard the Gospel of God’s Grace

No message is of greater importance than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news that God saves sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone is our eternal hope. And it is this gospel—and our adherence to it—which is the basis of our unity as believers.

We saw this a couple weeks ago, as we witnessed the Holy Spirit’s intentional display of missionary direction to take the gospel to the Gentiles. The basis of this call is the work of Christ on behalf of all who will be saved, both Jew and non-Jew.  This gospel unity is beautifully described in Ephesians 3, where we learn of God’s long-ago plan to bring the nations of the world together into one—both Jew and Gentile. When writing about this mystery in Christ, Paul says it this way:

This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 3:6-10)

For this gospel, Paul suffered much. And until his dying day, he warned that the church would always be in a war. Until Jesus comes again, the church will fight against the forces which seek to destroy it and undermine the gospel of grace.

The two most common means by which Satan destroys local churches both come from within—division and doctrine. When people are divisive, the enemy gains a foothold in people’s hearts, especially those who are naïve. When Christ-diminishing doctrine is spread among God’s people, the sheep are harmed and God is grieved.

Therefore, we must remain vigilant. But in our vigilance for the truth, we must also strive to grow in grace. Sometimes we err by thinking the Christian life is about either grace OR truth, but not both. Of course, Jesus is the greatest example that not being true. He was full of grace and truth. But in Acts 15 we find another example. As the apostles and church elders handle a delicate and potentially dangerous situation, they do so with both grace and truth. It is a shining example of how you can love doctrine and people at the same time.

One year after the first missionary journey, the church at Antioch faced a crisis that placed the gospel in jeopardy. Acts 15 records it for us, which is the passage that I preached to our congregation last Sunday. The sermon outline was simple. There were two important warnings.

  • Beware of People who Distort the Gospel by Adding Works
  • Beware of People who Distort the Gospel by Diminishing its Moral Demands

Until Jesus returns in all of His glory, the gospel of God’s grace will need to be guarded. It needs to be protected against false teachers who preach false gospels. It also needs to be protected against subtle attacks from within the church, sometimes from well-meaning believers who want to elevate personal preference to the level of the gospel. To make following their personal convictions a standard of holiness. But we must be careful. 

Salvation by grace through faith, apart from the works of the Law, is the only true gospel. Any other message is a corrupted message. Sanctification by grace through faith, as the life of Christ within us being worked out in obedience to the Word and Spirit, must also be guarded.

You may listen to, or watch, the sermon here.

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May 28, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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22 Benefits of Fearing God

In my review of some of the “husband books” in my personal library, I was paging through Wayne Mack’s Your Family God’s Way, particularly the chapter entitled “The Maximum Husband and Father.” Mack comments on Psalm 128:1-4.

“This psalm indicates that to be God’s kind of husband and father, you must be a man who fears God (vv. 1-4). An appropriate fear of God will make you an unusual blessing to your wife and children. It will make you attractive to your family. You will become an effective husband and father. The fear of God will be the soil out of which your positive influence will grow and the basic reason your family will arise and call you blessed.”

He then lists many fruits experienced in the life of the godly man, but which surely apply to any believer (male or female) who has a healthy fear of God.

  1. Receive divine instruction concerning the choices they should make (Ps 25:12).
  2. Are prosperous in the most important ways (Ps 25:13; 112:3).
  3. Experience God’s goodness (Ps 31:19).
  4. Are special objects of God’s protection (Ps 31:20).
  5. Have children to whom God shows compassion (Ps 103:11-18).
  6. Have descendants who will be great on the earth in the most important ways (Ps 112:2).
  7. Are motivated to be gracious and generous (Ps 112:4-5).
  8. Will be confident, courageous people (Ps 112:6-8; Prov 14:26).
  9. Will experience contentment (Ps 112:5-6, 9; Prov 19:23).
  10. Will be praying people whose prayers will be heard (Ps 145:19).
  11. Are blessed with wisdom (Prov 1:7; 9:10).
  12. Are teachable and peaceful (Prov 8:13; 14:26; 15:33; Acts 9:31).
  13. Are characterized by integrity and faithfulness (Job 2:3).
  14. Are considerate and kind (Ps 112:4-5).
  15. Are noted for constructive speech (Mal 3:16).
  16. Are patient, hopeful, and genuine (Ps 147:11).
  17. Persevere in doing what is right (Ps 112:3, 5; 2 Cor 7:1).
  18. Work hard, but are not so committed to work that they do not have time for enjoyment (Ps 128:3).
  19. Accept responsibility for their own families and yet are not overly responsible (Ps 128:3).
  20. Are devoted to their families and find them to be a source of great satisfaction (Ps 128:1-4).
  21. Delight in worshipping God (Rev 14:7).
  22. Love the Scripture and order their lives according to God’s commands (Ps 112:1; Eccl 12:13).
Truly, “How blessed is the man who fears the LORD” (Ps 112:1)!
[This post was first published November 30, 2011.]

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May 24, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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My Only Living Book

There are many books in my library, both at home and church, but only one of them is alive.

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. (Hebrews 4:12)

The Bible is able to change the heart because it is alive. The word “living” is from the Greek verb meaning “to live.” It is in the present tense and could be translated, “constantly actively alive.” Because it is the voice of Jesus Christ the Living Word, the Bible never rests. It is always working. A. W. Tozer says it well: “It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.” Being alive, it is also life-giving. It is able to save the soul. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Only a living book can give life to others. The prophet Jeremiah recognized this: “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart” (15:16). The psalmist writes, “This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me” (119:50).

Because the Bible is alive, it breathes forth God’s power to save and to sanctify. Jesus prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). As biblical counselors, we must place our confidence in the ability of the Word of God, in the hands of the Spirit of God, to perform the work of God in conforming disciples to the image of Christ. In contrast, the behavioral theories of men are dead and, consequently, powerless to change hearts.

[Excerpted from Counseling One Another: A Theology of Inter-personal Discipleship.]

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May 24, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS (for Pastors & Church Members)

The Plague of Lazy Pastors – “Survey after survey reports modern man fears public speaking more than anything else, including death. Add to that the weight of speaking, in the context of worship, on behalf of God.”

4 Reasons You Should Pray for Your Pastor Daily – “Any man can take the title pastor, and too many men have. Only those called of God can rightly shepherd his flock. If God has given you such a man, you have been blessed indeed. Make sure and bless him—and yourself—by praying for him daily.”

Metaphors and Membership: How Biblical Metaphors for the Church Require Church Membership – “If we unpack all of what Scripture teaches about the local church, we’ll find that church membership is in fact in every nook and cranny of the New Testament.”

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May 23, 2019
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS

6 Reasons to Avoid Divisive People – “Divisive people should be avoided because of the problems they cause.”

A Better Mom Is a Broken Mom – “Moms, everything within you will tell you that you need certain “gains” to get through your day, to be a better parent for your children. The world will tell you that brokenness means failure.”

4 Reasons the Wilderness Is Not a Waste – “It’s not our destination, our home, and it’s not even a desired stop along the way, but God has good plans for us in every place He leads us. Even in the desert…”

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