Counseling One Another

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

Counseling One Another

November 11, 2015
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on A.C.T.S. of Prayer

A.C.T.S. of Prayer

Sometimes we struggle with prayer because we don’t have a specific plan for our time alone with the Lord. Therefore, for many years, the ACTS strategy has been a helpful tool for believers. Perhaps you are already familiar with this simple plan, but maybe you are not. So, let me remind you of something you may have forgotten or introduce you to a brand new idea.

Here’s how it works. Each letter in A.C.T.S. stands for a phase of prayer, indicated by bold, uppercase titles, below. Follow the simple suggestions below each phase. I hope this will be a blessing to you.


  • Read 1 Chronicles 29:10-12; Psalm 100:1-5; and Psalm 34:1-3.
  • Spend 10 minutes praising God for His attributes.
  • Sing your favorite hymn or song of praise to God.


  • Read Psalm 130:5-6; Psalm 19:13-14; and 1 John 1:7-9
  • Sing a song of confession, such as Cleanse Me or Change My Heart, O God.
  • Spend time in personal confession to the Lord.


  • Read Psalm 107:22; Ephesians 3:20-21
  • Spend time thanking God for specific works He has done and ways He has blessed you and answered prayer.
  • Sing another song of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.


  • Read Matthew 7:7; Philippians 4:6-7, and James 5:13-16.
  • Spend time bringing your specific requests to the Lord, submitting your heart to His will.
  • Sing another song of worship to the Lord.

The ACTS of Prayer is also a blessing to do as a group, with a few other believers.

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November 10, 2015
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on Practical Shepherding Complete Set Released TODAY

Practical Shepherding Complete Set Released TODAY

The Practical Shepherding series edited by Brian Croft is now complete. Today, Zondervan released all 7 volumes as a complete set. The Practical Shepherding Complete Set provides pastors and ministry leaders everything they need to know about practically and effectively leading their flock. The set contains:

  • Prepare Them to Shepherdps
  • Visit the Sick
  • Conduct Gospel-Centered Funerals
  • Comfort the Grieving
  • Gather God’s People
  • Pray for the Flock
  • Oversee God’s People.

These seven small books will give you clear and practical direction to lead and serve those you are ministering to. Each volume will provide easy-to-follow steps to help you better serve your flock in the different aspects of ministry.

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November 10, 2015
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on Nuggets of Wisdom (for Parents of Prodigals)

Nuggets of Wisdom (for Parents of Prodigals)

When Christian Kids Reveal They Aren’t – Counselor Julie Ganschow writes, “This is the hardest for us as parents because we hope beyond hope that we are wrong and they really are saved. The feelings of grief and sorrow go so deep when parents realize a beloved son or daughter is lost and in eternal danger.”

12 Ways to Love Your Wayward Child – An older article from Desiring God: “Many parents are brokenhearted and completely baffled by their unbelieving son or daughter. They have no clue why the child they raised well is making such awful, destructive decisions. I’ve never been one of these parents, but I have been one of these sons.”

Is It Your Fault If Your Child Is Lost? – “We are not going to save our kids by the merit of our good parenting; it is going to be solely by God’s mercy.”

I Am the Mother of a Prodigal – “Oh, the heartbreak is relentless. The loss of relationship—agonizing. The despair over their lifestyle—devastating. We are desperate to break through to their hearts as a painful sense of failure grips us and shame envelopes us.

I Am a Leader for Christ (Part 2 of “I Am the Mother of a Prodigal”) – “What I learned was that we cannot separate ministry from life, nor should we. They are intertwined, and God intends them to be so. Our ministry impacts our life, and the circumstances of our life surely impact our ministry.”

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November 6, 2015
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on How Does Jesus Christ Fulfill the Law?

How Does Jesus Christ Fulfill the Law?

In preparation for preaching Romans 10:1-4, this Lord’s Day, one of the Romans commentaries I’ve been reading is James Montgomery Boice. Discussing the meaning of Romans 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes,” Boice seeks to answer the question, “How does Jesus fulfill the law?” He explains:

To Fulfill All Righteousness

“The first way in which Jesus fulfilled the law, and thus became the end of the law, is that he kept it perfectly himself. In books written about Jesus’ work, theologians usually distinguish between what they call Christ’s ‘active’ and ‘passive’ obedience. Jesus’ passive obedience refers to his willingness to accept death in conformity to his Father’s will, according to Philippians 2:8, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Christ’s active obedience refers to the way he carefully and deliberately kept the law of Moses in all respects.”

Christ Is Our Righteousness

“The second way Jesus became the end of the law is that he fulfilled the law on our behalf, so that now he is not only the source but is himself the righteousness of all who are joined to him by faith. This is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:30 and 2 Corinthians 5:21: ‘Christ Jesus…has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption,’ and ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ This what justification is about, and it is what Paul seems chiefly to be talking about in this section of Romans 9 and 10.’

So justification is another meaning of our text: ‘Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

This truth causes us to sing with Charles Wesley:

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine;
alive in him, my living Head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,
bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

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November 5, 2015
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on Sustained by the Spirit’s Comfort

Sustained by the Spirit’s Comfort

Yesterday afternoon, I was perusing my library and caught sight of a Puritan volume that I’ve not pulled off the shelf in a while. My bookmark in volume 1 of Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service was near the end of a chapter on the Trinity, so I finished reading there. While teaching on the Holy Spirit’s operations within the believer, Brakel cited six ways the Spirit sustains us with His comfort.

  1. He shows us that the cross we must bear is so light that it is not worthy of being downcast over. This becomes especially evident when He focuses our attention upon the future glory which will be our portion (Romans 8:18).
  2. He shows us the brevity of cross-bearing, as being but for a moment (2 Corinthians 4:17). That which occurred yesterday is no more, and what will be tomorrow we do not know. We merely have the present which passes by as rapidly as the progression of time. What is our life when compared to eternity?
  3. He shows us the advantages concealed in their affliction. He shows us how it humbles us, makes us submissive, weans us from the world, teaches us to depend on God and to trust in Him, and how we increase in holiness according to the apostle’s testimony (Hebrews 12:10-11).
  4. He shows us that our way is God’s way by which He leads all His children to heaven. He shows us that it is God’s sovereign will, which He exercises with pure wisdom and goodness, to deal with us in such a fashion. Along with this He gives us love for the will of God so that we agree with His will, causing us to pray, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt…Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:39, 42).
  5. He assures us of the love and grace of God towards us and that we have found grace in His eyes. Such testimony is sufficient to cause us to consider our cross to be but insignificant (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  6. He shows us that the ultimate outcome of our trial will be consistent with what we have experienced so frequently already. He shows us that our cross will neither be too heavy nor will we be required to bear it any longer than necessary. It will not overwhelm us, for He will be with us even when we must pass through water and fire. Then the rivers will neither overflow us nor the fire burn us.

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November 4, 2015
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on Nuggets of Wisdom [11/4/15]

Nuggets of Wisdom [11/4/15]

For Women: Buying and Selling Jesus on the Cheap – At the True Woman blog, Kim Jaggers asks, “Why are so many young adults leaving the church and deciding Jesus really isn’t for them? Perhaps they are willing to ‘sell Him so cheaply’ because they also ‘bought Him so cheaply.'” Though directed at the True Woman audience, this article should be read by all.

For Pastors: Are There Different Paths to Pastoral Ministry? – “I didn’t attend seminary. I didn’t serve in an internship. I got hammered in hard churches and got good faithful pastoral mentoring outside of the local churches of which I served. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God in his wise and kind providence was preparing me for a unique ministry.”

For Everyone: Moving Beyond “God won’t give you more than you can handle” – Been saying this for years, thought I was the only one. Colin Mattoon nails it.

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November 3, 2015
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on 4 Reasons You Should Vote Today

4 Reasons You Should Vote Today

I am thankful my father and mother set an example of faithful citizenship for me. From my earliest days I can remember Mom and Dad going to the local town hall to vote. Back then I didn’t understand what voting was and why it was so important to them, but now as an adult and father I do understand and also want to influence government for the present and future generations. I must confess that for several years after my conversion I took a very careless approach to voting. But now I take my responsibility seriously and am convinced that Christians should view their voting privilege as a stewardship from God for which, like all other stewardships, we will one-day give an account. Therefore, let me give you four reasons you should vote today.

You should vote in order to promote righteousness and curb sin.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34). By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down (Proverbs 11:11). The king gives stability to the land by justice, but a man who takes bribes overthrows it (Proverbs 29:4). You should not simply be a party voter. Instead your choices should be based on the issues that matter most to God—truth and righteousness and life. As far as I am concerned, a candidate that supports the murder of the unborn is not worthy of my vote regardless of how good his other positions may be. Voting provides an opportunity for believers in Christ to make a difference for righteousness sake. When wicked politicians reign, the people will groan (Proverbs 29:2), but let the negligent voter remain silent.

You should vote because the end results are in God’s sovereign hands.

Daniel, the prophet, boasted of God, it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding (Daniel 2:21). Solomon gave us this truth: the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD (Proverbs 16:33). Some Christians fall prey to fatalism by falsely believing God will raise and lower rulers with or without their vote. Therefore, why bother? It is true that God does not need us to accomplish His will, but the fact remains that He has not only ordained the end, but the means to that end. Therefore, if God has granted us the privilege of choosing our rulers, and His Word tells us His ways are sovereign, might He not use His people to bring about His will? As citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) our confidence is in God not government. Therefore, don’t just vote. Vote and pray.

You should vote as a means of honoring God’s servants.

Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God…For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor (Romans 13:1, 6-7). Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king (1 Peter 2:17). Our obligation toward governing authorities is clear. We must honor their position as public servants of God and show them respect. One simple way to do that is to take time to vote.

You should vote in order to be salt and light in a sin-spoiled and dark world.

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house (Matthew 5:13-15). You should vote because it is an opportunity to influence earth for heaven’s sake. Don’t throw away an opportunity to be salty by hiding your lamp from the voting booth. Vote and pray, for it is one more way to be a heavenly citizen on earth. See you at the polls!

[NOTE: This article was originally published in Delight in the Word: Biblical counsel for everyday issues.]

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October 30, 2015
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on Top 5 Hits for Depression

Top 5 Hits for Depression

Recently, I’ve been intrigued by a traffic report from this blog and, consequently, have decided to bring some popular posts to your attention. The following are the 5 most frequently clicked-on posts on the subject of depression:

23 Reasons to Be Joyful

Depression and the Pastor’s Wife: Suffering in Silence

RESOURCES on Depression & Spiritual Discouragement

Depression: Discerning False Thinking Patterns

Study Guide for Lloyd-Jones’s “Spiritual Depression”

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