Daily Devotional for Sunday September 7, 2014
Seeking Counsel Other than Your Own
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, I love my prayer life. I try to stay connected all day. When I go to bed I pray for many people and situations in my life, plus always give thanksgiving to our Lord. I get so relaxed that I sometimes fall asleep. Am I being disrespectful?
ANSWER: No! You aren't the first one to fall asleep. The disciples of Jesus fell asleep in the Garden after the Last Supper. The fact you are praying throughout the day, is a great thing. If once in a while you fall asleep while praying, don't worry about it. God knows your heart. If a person is praying right after they wake up, and praying when they fall asleep, it doesn't get any better!
I am totally convinced that some of the problems I have had in my life, have been a result of not seeking any other counsel than my own. Let me promise you my friend, that is a disaster waiting to happen. I have not only become a believer, but advocate of God's principle of getting counsel as we make various moves in our life. Beyond that type of Godly counsel in helping us make decisions, there is the more intimate clinical type of counseling, and that is what I want to focus on today.
So many have been born into incredibly challenging circumstances and experienced many difficulties in their early life that have had a lasting affect into their adult life. Many in their adult life have been through circumstances that have pushed them to the limits of their ability to cope with day-to-day life. Many are born with chemical imbalances that affect their decision-making ability and just coping with life in general. I believe in my heart that God has placed specially-gifted people in the Body of Christ to help and work intimately with those who have very real problems in their life.
As in any situation we face in our life, the first step is admitting that there are things in our life out of our control and ability to deal with on our own. At these times, we should not be ashamed but aggressively seek out Godly men and women who are professionals and use Biblically-based principles in their counseling work. I AM NOT in favor of secular counseling for the simple fact that God made us, and our only way of resolving our problems are through His Word and strength. I am in no way condemning secular counselors, because they have a difficult job that helps many people get through life. But as in anything in life, the ultimate answers have to be rooted and grounded in our faith and in God's Word. Anything else is at best a temporary solution.
Over my 22 years in full-time ministry, I have counseled people for about every problem you can imagine, although my counsel was always of a spiritual nature. Once I became aware that there were much deeper issues involved, I never hesitated to refer the person to a professional counselor that could not only offer the deeper professional help the person needed, but from a Godly and Biblical perspective.
I realize that I am hitting very close to home for many of you today. For those who are not in a situation where you need this type of help, praise God. Do me a favor, and pray for those who are. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ face many difficult issues each day of their life. They need our prayers and support to help them get beyond the issues they face in their life, so that they can be the best servants during this lifetime they possibly can.
For those of you that are dealing with some deep issues in your life, let me encourage you today...it is all right! Many things were totally out of your control and not your fault. God loves you, He cares about you, and He has placed Godly men and women in the Body of Christ to help you overcome whatever the issues may be. Take this opportunity right now to ask God to give you the strength to admit there are unresolved issues that you just can't overcome on your own, and that He will open up the doors for you to get the professional counseling you need to help you get beyond those issues and live that victorious life He intends His children to live.
I love you, I care about you deeply, and this is God talking to you today to lay the pride aside and seek out the help you need to overcome the stumbling blocks in your life that keep you from having the peace and joy that He intends for you to have. As I mentioned, God has placed many gifted and wonderful men and women in the body of Christ to help people looking for Godly, Biblically- based counseling. Ask your pastor to recommend someone for you, or check with one of the larger churches in your area and tell them that you are looking for a Christian counselor.
Make sure you set up an introductory meeting which is almost always free of charge. In that meeting, find out if that person is a member of a local church, is saved, and uses Biblically-based counseling methods. Don't beat around the bush, ask these questions straight out. You need to insure you are in fact dealing with a Christian counselor that is going to be truly helping you overcome the issues in your life.
I will be in much prayer today for those of you who needed to hear these words of encouragement today. I realize that these can be deeply personal and difficult issues to deal with. My only desire is to see you become all that God has raised you up to be and know the incredible abundance this life can offer. There are many who have major issues in their life that are keeping that from happening, and I want you to know that there are answers.
You don't have to go through the rest of your life with that dark cloud hanging over you. You don't have to go through another day without the joy God intends for you to have. God loves you and has placed help in your path today to overcome those issues and know the fullness of His blessings. My prayer is that you pray, open your heart, and let God walk with you, putting those issues to bed once and for all that are robbing you of knowing the fullness of His love.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,