Counseling One Another

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

Counseling One Another

October 11, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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What Tolerating Temper Tantrums Reveals about Parents

The primary duty of Christian parents is to take a natural-born fool and cause him or her to be filled with the wisdom of God. Perhaps this statement startles you, but let me explain what I mean by it. Unselfishness in parenting means that we must lay aside our self-interest and  love of convenience  in order to do what is in the long-term best interests of  our children—we  must  discipline them  toward respectful obedience. This discipline is not an option for parents who are committed to raising their children to follow the Lord and become responsible members of society. If we choose to neglect the correction of our children, it may reveal two painful realities concerning our own hearts as parents.

  • We do not love our child, but rather we hate him or her. “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Proverbs 13:24). Neglect of discipline reveals that we love ourselves more than we love our children.
  • We esteem ourselves more than we esteem our child. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others [“others” includes our children]” (Philippians 2:3–4). Faithfulness in the parenting task is one of the obvious ways in which we look out for the long- term interests of our children above our own.

What May Happen to Our Child if We Withhold Correction

The Bible also provides ample warning concerning the harmful results of an absence of child discipline.Toddler Rules(1)

  • Our child may choose a sinful lifestyle or become settled into evil habits. “Discipline your son while there is hope” (Proverbs 19:18). The phrase “while there is hope” implies that if we wait too long, discipline becomes more difficult and we may lose our opportunity to mold our children’s characters and direct them to God.
  • Our child may remain enslaved to foolishness. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).
  • Our child may grow up to despise us. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
  • Our child may grow to be self-righteous and arrogant. “There is a kind of man who curses his father and does not bless his mother. There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, yet is not washed from his filthiness. There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance” (Proverbs 30:11–13).
  • Our child may suffer an early death or we may unintentionally steer him toward hell. “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol” (Proverbs 23:13–14).

Parents, let us take heed to these biblical warnings. Let us seek God’s help to discipline our children as Scripture directs. Let us love our children, but let us be careful not to worship them and, consequently, refuse to correct them when it is needed.

[This post is excerpted from a mini-book written by my wife and me, entitled HELP! My Toddler Rules the House.]

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October 11, 2016
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on NUGGETS


The Patriarchy Movement: Five Grave Concerns – Finally, someone has written on this subject. As a pastor, I have witnessed the disastrous consequences in many families over years.

Parenting Boys – This is an excellent article written by our church’s Children’s Ministry director.

Birth Control Linked to Depression, New Study Says – “Among all hormonal birth control users in the study, there was a 40% increased risk of depression after six months, compared to women who did not use hormonal birth control, the researchers found.”

Lord, Whatever It Takes, Discipline Me – “But ‘when I became a man, I gave up childish ways’ of thinking about such discipline (1 Corinthians 13:11). Well, that’s an overstatement. However, I have learned to value the benefit of submitting to discipline far more than I did as a child and to welcome it — especially the discipline of the Lord. “

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October 10, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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HELP! I Have Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Therefore, I want to bring to your attention a unique mini-book for every woman, HELP! I Have Breast Cancer, by Brenda Frields.Breast Cancer

One of the beauties of God’s wisdom is the way he uses our trials to equip us to counsel one another—just as it says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. As a result, many times the best counselors are those who’ve “been there.” When we encounter various trials it is a comfort to know there are others who not only care, but also understand and, therefore, can truly empathize with our struggle. That’s why, as a male counselor, I’m excited to make you aware of a counseling mini-book for women. By being transparent about her own battle, and the fears that accompanied it, empathetic author Brenda Frields comes alongside frightened women to bring them comfort and hope:

“How did you react when you got the news? Even though I had entertained the thought that my biopsy would be positive, I still wasn’t ready when it turned out to be a fact. The words just seemed to hang suspended in space when my husband told me. Everything he said seemed muddled and fuzzy, almost as if spoken somewhere off in the distance. To be honest, I can’t tell you what he said after he said the word ‘positive.’ I knew that meant I had cancer. What about you?

  • Are you full of fear?
  • Are you in denial, trying desperately not to believe what you’ve been told?
  • Are you depressed?
  • Are you angry?

Angry, that was me! I wondered if God realized I had four very young grandchildren, all between the ages of four years and three months? Their moms needed my help, and, to be honest, I wanted to live to see them grow up. Didn’t God know that my sweet mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s and needed me to help care for her? What about my husband? His job was very demanding. I didn’t want to be the one to add stress to his life. Besides, I had always planned that we would grow old together. I was ashamed of my initial thoughts because I really did know that none of this came as a surprise to God, and I knew I should be trusting him.”

If you know a woman battling breast cancer be sure to give her the gift of an empathetic counselor, another woman who truly understands. Give her the biblical counsel found in HELP! I Have Breast Cancer.

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October 7, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Remembering Others in Prayer

READ Philippians 1:3-11 — I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Lingering remembrance

The apostle Paul remembered other believers and the manner in which he did so was prayer. That is, he did not merely remember them in the sense that their names or faces instantly flashed across his mind, but when he remembered them his heart was stirred with joy, which led him to pray for them. This was a remembrance that lingered before the throne of God on their behalf.

This is evident not only here, in this brief thank you note, but also in letters he wrote to other churches and individuals. What is also evident is the priority of Paul’s prayer life, which was the care of their souls. Pay attention to what the testimony of Paul’s prayer life reveals about his abundant thankfulness for others as well as his concern for their spiritual growth toward maturity in Christ.

  • To the true believers in Rome…

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine (Romans 1:9-12).

  • To his brothers and sisters in Corinth…

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:4-9).

  • To the Ephesian believers…

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you… (Ephesians 1:16-18).

  • To Christians in the city of Colossae…

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (Colossians 1:9-11).

  • To followers of Christ in Thessalonica…

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power (2 Thessalonians 1:11).

  • To Philemon, his friend and brother in Christ…

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ (Philemon 5).

Eternally-important priorities

Did you notice the content of Paul’s prayers? Do you see the emphasis he placed on the issues of the heart? Their faith? Their love? Their fruitfulness? This is not to say he did not care about their physical problems and concerns; he did (See, for example 2:27).

However, the biblical pattern of Paul’s prayers demonstrates his deepest concerns, what he considered of greatest importance. He knew that physical healing is of little value if the heart remains sick. Therefore, he pleaded with God to grant other believers the virtues that put Christ on display; virtues like hope, joy, wisdom, discernment, maturing in love and growth in grace.

So what?

How about you? What does your prayer life look like? Is your prayer list dominated by diseases and financial needs? Or are you bringing fellow Christians to the Lord in prayer that they may grow in Christlikeness? Are you pleading with God to draw your unsaved friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers to him in salvation? Are you asking the Lord to grant others the gifts of repentance and faith?

Father, adjust my priorities. Cause my heart’s eye to look to what is eternally significant. Even as I love others by praying for their physical and material needs, remind me to pray first and foremost for your work in their hearts as they grow in their walk of faith.

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October 5, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Joseph’s Theology of Providence – A Bible Study for You

Yesterday, I taught a breakout session at the 40th annual ACBC Conference in Indianapolis. My session was entitled Joseph’s Theology of Providence. I’ve put it into outline form for your personal or small group study.

What Is Providence?

The providence of God is one of the most comforting doctrines in the Bible. By providence, we mean that God uses His infinite power and wisdom to continuously preserve every part of His creation and guide it toward His intended purposes.

The doctrine of providence warms up the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, which can sometimes appear cold and lifeless to those whom we counsel. People who are in the midst of painful and mystifying suffering need more than cold sovereignty. They need the warmth of providence. The doctrine of providence rounds out bold statements of sovereignty, such as that of Psalm 115:3, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”

Providence refers to the working out of the sovereign rule of God—together with His wisdom and love—on behalf of His creation, and especially for those who are redeemed by the precious blood of His only begotten Son.

The doctrine of providence assures us that—in His sovereignty—God is at work carrying out His perfect decrees for our good and His glory. It assures us that God is not far away, but He is near. He is aware of all our ways, and attentive to all of our needs. Job said, “Does not he [God] see my ways and number all my steps?” (31:4). The psalmist affirmed, “Upon you [God] I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you” (71:6). God is constantly working out His will according to what Solomon referred to as the “appointed time.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.”

Sovereignty emphasizes God’s rule over us, but it is the doctrine of providence that assures us He is with us, for us, and working out His plan through us. In short, it is the mercy and nearness of this sovereign God that bring great comfort to those who are afflicted. “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works” (Psalm 73:28).

Theologians define providence in different ways. Here are three definitions. Look for the common thread running through them.

  • Wayne Grudem: “We may define God’s providence as follows: God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes.”
  • Henry Thiessen: Providence refers to “that continuous activity of God whereby he makes all the events of the physical, mental, and moral realms work out his purpose, and this purpose is nothing short of the original design of God in creation. To be sure, evil has entered the universe, but it is not allowed to thwart God’s original, benevolent, wise, and holy purpose.”
  • Millard Erickson: “By providence we mean the continuing action of God by which he preserves in existence the creation which he has brought into being, and guides it to his intended purposes for it.”

All three definitions basically boil down to the same point: God’s providence assures us that He is governing over the minutest part of His creation in order to work out His good purposes through it on our behalf. Therefore, as we counsel one another, it is significant to recognize that God is actively at work in the lives of His children, using every pleasant and painful experience to complete His redemption and fulfill His promises.

This was true in the history of Israel, most especially in the life of Joseph. In the outworking of both the trials and triumphs of Joseph, we see the unfolding of a theology of providence—a beautifully woven tapestry of God’s wisdom and goodness in the fulfillment of His divine plan.

Begin this study of Joseph’s theology of providence by reading Acts 7:9-18, which is a brief summary of his life and a testimony of the wisdom of God to fulfill His plan through him and his trials. In light of this, let us ask ourselves one question: What is the God-centered good news that we see in Joseph’s response to the abuse he suffered and how does it form a theological framework for counseling ourselves and others who are suffering?

5 Pillars in a Theological Framework of Providence

God’s presence and compassionate awareness are always real, even when evil is inflicted upon us by others.

  • Read Genesis 37, which introduces Joseph and establishes the context of his trials beginning at 17 years of age.
  • Read Genesis 39 and take note of how many times it says the Lord was with Joseph
  • Read Genesis 40, though forgotten by men, behind the scenes it is clear that God had not forgotten Joseph.
  • Read Genesis 41 and take note of how God orchestrates events in order to elevate Joseph to the most powerful position in Egypt. Take note of Joseph’s stated theology of providence in verse 52.

God’s merciful providence includes larger, redemptive purposes for suffering, which are beyond the scope of our view and understanding.

  • Read Genesis 42-44 and note how the Lord used Joseph’s imprisonment to prepare Joseph and position him right where He wanted him.
  • Read Genesis 45:3-7 and take note of Joseph’s faith in the providence of God. Joseph is now 41 years old.
  • Read Genesis 46-47 and take note of God’s faithfulness to save the nation of Israel by rescuing and providing for Jacob’s family. In response, Jacob blesses his sons and the sons of Joseph.
  • Genesis 50:20 is the clearest expression of Joseph’s theology of how God’s providence is the seedbed for a proper understanding of suffering.

God’s justice is sure since the Judge of Heaven is ultimately responsible for the punishment of all evil.

Read Genesis 50:15-19 and take note of Joseph’s grace toward his evil brothers. Think about the significance of verse 19 and compare it to 1 Peter 2:21-23.

God’s sovereignty does not negate human responsibility, nor does it make Him responsible for sin.

Genesis 50:20 makes it clear. Joseph’s brothers really did mean to do evil. In a moment of high-emotions, Joseph did not simply excuse his brothers’ sin. He made it clear that their motives and actions were indeed wicked in God’s sight. This is a very important statement since it makes clear that Joseph’s theology of sovereignty was not out of balance. It was specific persons (in this case, his brothers) who were responsible for the evil. But it is God who overcomes evil with His good purposes.

The Apostle Peter also kept the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man in tension when he preached to the Jews at Pentecost. Read Acts 2:22-24 and note how God was sovereign over the death of Christ, but men were held responsible for their wickedness. Men were guilty, but God’s sovereign plan was not thwarted. Rather, it was fulfilled and God’s grace triumphed over evil.

God’s trustworthiness and grace toward sinners are gloriously displayed in our suffering when we choose to trust Him enough to love our enemies and forgive them.

Read Genesis 50:21. Here is clear evidence that Joseph’s heart remained tender, rather than becoming bitter, throughout his time of affliction. And his words of grace continued until the day of his death (verses 22-26). God’s providential outworking of His purposes trumps the power and effects of evil.

Let Us Think Biblically about Suffering!

To counsel one another biblically means we constantly bring scriptural truth to the minds of those we are seeking to help. The life and trials of Joseph provide one of the most helpful examples in all of Scripture to bring to the mind of those who have experienced any form of abuse or those who are enduring any kind of suffering.

As it was in the case of Joseph, our sovereign God carries out His plan with wisdom and care—never forgetting us; He never loses sight of us, or our every need, even against the massive backdrop of His grander purposes. Like Joseph, we may not understand why God has allowed our suffering. But we do know this: He is near, He cares, He is wise, and His purposes are good. We have every reason to find great comfort in His loving providence.

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October 5, 2016
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on NUGGETS


Asking Too Much from Your Children – “No spouse, no child can provide comfort that can only be found in God. God will have no other gods before him. Your first loyalty must be to God and God alone.”

3 Ways To Be Ready for the Best Evangelistic Opportunity this Year – Alistair Begg exhorts us to use the Christmas season for church outreach.

Digital Theology – The longer I’ve wrestled with this problem in my own family, the more convinced I’ve become that the ultimate answer is not “no technology” or “more technology” but “more theology.”

CCEF Annual Conference on Emotions – This looks to be great. Wish I could go…

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September 29, 2016
by Paul Tautges
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Three Sleep Aids from Psalm 3

It’s 4:00 a.m. and I’m awake, my body still recovering from jet lag. This is to be expected after teaching Common Issues Addressed in Biblical Counseling in Ukraine, last week. Unexpectedly, however, counseling people with sleep problems generated more class discussion than many other topics. And surprisingly, the very next day William Varner, a Bible teacher at Master’s University, posted on Facebook his outline for Psalm 3, which he entitled “Advice for Insomniacs.” Therefore, I decided to borrow Dr. Varner’s outline for the skeleton of this article, while filling it in with thoughts from my class notes, my students, and commentary from Alec Motyer’s Psalms By the Day.

First, let’s read Psalm 3.

O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul,
“There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

Here we find 3 unchangeable truths that act as spiritual sleep aids when we—by deliberate faith—focus our attention on the Lord.

God Surrounds You like a Shield.

Verses 1-2 establish the setting of David’s trial. Absalom’s cunning deception of some in the kingdom through his smooth speech turned David’s peaceful reign into wartime terror (see 2 Samuel 15). As a result, fear overtook David’s heart as the dissenters mocked him and God’s “so-called protection.”

When the circumstances of life become fertile ground for fear and anxiety to flourish in your heart, make a decisive shift in your focus—turn from the accusations of the wicked to rock-solid truth about God. Say to God, “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Fight fear with the greater fear of fearing God above man. Know that, in Christ, God is not against you, but He is for you (Rom. 8:31). He will never leave you, nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). The Lord has proven Himself faithful to me more times than I can count. He will do the same for you. Trust Him.

God Sustains You by Your Sleep.

David’s child-like trust in God as Protector led to constant prayer: “I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill” (v. 4). Cry. Cry aloud. Cry to God. Tell Him all your fears. Hide nothing from Him. He knows it all already. Find comfort and security in His gentle, loving arms.

When the trials of life threaten to overtake your faith then run to the Lord. Do not cease to cry out to Him for help regardless of the verbal taunts of the ungodly people who surround you. He will answer you, as He answered David, and will sustain you with peaceful sleep. Verses 5-6 will then become your personal testimony, “I lay down and slept [literally, “And how I slept!”]; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” Alec Motyer translates this “The Lord my pillow!” This kind of rest in the Lord produces confidence: “I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.”

God Secures You with His Salvation.

Verses 7-8 reveal David’s confident assertion of the Lord’s ultimate salvation. He knew that no matter what his enemies attempted to do to him that God always gets the final word. It was the Lord who would strike down David’s enemies; God would break their teeth. Alec Motyer says “strike the cheek” signifies rebuke, and “breaking teeth” signifies God’s rendering of David’s enemies as harmless in the end. In God’s hands, they are merely toothless tigers who make a lot of racket, but ultimately cannot harm the one whom God protects.

All of this is to say, finally, that “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” It is God who cares for those who belong to Him. Though He often leads us through deep waters and dark valleys, His blessing is on His people. There is no reason to fear. Look to Him. Go back to bed, my soul, lay down and sleep.

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September 29, 2016
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on NUGGETS [9/29/16]

NUGGETS [9/29/16]

Here’s a few articles I think are important for you to read:

Therapeutic Praise – I was working on an article on this very subject. Now I don’t have to write it. Here’s why emotionally honest people love the Psalms.

For the Bible Tells Me So: Biblical Authority Denied…Again – Al Mohler confronts the unbiblical and, therefore, very dangerous teaching of Andy Stanley.

That’s It! – Andy Farmer talks about his new book, Trapped: Getting Free from People, Patterns, and Problems.

Me…Pray with Others? – Erin Davis shares how her view of corporate prayer has changed.

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September 23, 2016
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on NUGGETS


The Struggle of Rejoicing with Those who Rejoice – “You may not think of opening your mail as a prime time for temptation, but it can be if your life has not panned out exactly the way you hoped it would.”

The Immense Value of Missionary Biographies – “I want to commend to you the practice of reading missionary biographies by highlighting just a few reasons why they are so valuable.”

Historic Conference for Spanish Speakers Just the Beginning – Here’s the report of a historic TMAI conference.

The Beginner’s Guide to Conflict Resolution – “It’s simple: As believers we are not permitted by God to have open, unaddressed quarrels with other believers.”

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September 21, 2016
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on 3 Reasons We Must Deal with Anger Biblically

3 Reasons We Must Deal with Anger Biblically

It’s the third day of teaching here at Kiev Theological Seminary and we just finished up our class notes on anger. We learned how to biblically define anger, as well as the difference between righteous anger (which is extremely rare in human beings) and sinful anger. In contrast with the self-centered teachings of the unbelieving world, the Scriptures do not call us to “manage” anger but to recognize it as a fruit of the flesh (old man) that must be constantly put it away and, in its place, practice self-control and others-focused love.

We wrapped up this topic with three reasons we must deal with anger in a God-pleasing manner. The following outline is from Uprooting Anger by Robert Jones. I encourage you to work through these points and their corresponding Scriptures in your personal and/or small group study.

Reason #1: Avoiding injury to, and promoting the well-being of, your physical and spiritual health

Proverbs 14:29-30

Reason #2: Avoiding damage to, and promoting growth in, your interpersonal relationships

Ephesians 4:26-27

Reason #3: Avoiding God’s displeasure and bringing Him honor and delight

Colossians 3:5-11

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