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She Counsels with Truth + Love

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

“We are pretty much the only hope that God has for reaching people who need him.”

Joyce Meyer

On a recent visit with my daughter back in St. Louis, Missouri, she invited me to her friend’s 50th birthday gathering.  It was to be just a small group as her larger party had already taken place.  My daughter, who is 23, is blessed to have a number of women in her life who are not only mature in their marriages and in life in general, but in their faith.  As I sat listening to them, I said a silent prayer of thanks to God.  He, once again, put me right where I needed to be.

I listened as these Christian women of varied ages shared memories of shared events and the joy of being disciples to younger women.  You see, their church encourages all ages to seek being discipled by more experienced Christians – something I haven’t experienced in the 20 years I’ve been an active Christian.  

The birthday girl’s good friend suddenly announced we were to all take turns expressing what we loved about the newly christened 50 year old.  She turned to me and said, “You don’t know Renee well so you don’t need to say anything.”  I disagreed.  I definitely had much to love about this woman that I had just met.

As each woman spoke, I felt the love flow throughout the group.  It was sweet and brave and authentic.  And at my turn I’m sure they all wondered what I would have to say.  

“As a mother I miss my daughter terribly.  She’s so far away.  She has no family for hundreds of miles.  And now with a baby on the way it grieves me that she is alone out here.  But I realize she isn’t.  I am so thankful she has Renee as her friend and godly counsel.  A mother couldn’t ask for anything better besides being here herself,” I said.

You see my daughter’s friend, Renee, has taken her under her beautiful wings.  She provides wise counsel about marriage, faith, motherhood and more.  I could be jealous when I hear my daughter talk about her relationship with Renee.  But my faith progression has brought me instead to a place of thankfulness.  My daughter is incredibly blessed to be surrounded by Christian women who are prepared and ready to offer Biblical counsel.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free" Luke 4:18

That’s Jesus in the above verse.  Jesus our wise counselor setting us free from our prisons.  And He trained up His disciples to spread His message of salvation and freedom.  Like the old shampoo commercial goes, “and they told two friends and so on and so on.”  Which brings us thousands of years later to this little group at a café in Missouri. 

Here’s what I noticed about those six women I sat with that night.  1) They didn’t gossip 2) They lifted each other up with genuine compliments 3) They showed love and concern for each other 4) They were confident in expressing their faith and 5) They were eager and willing to take up being disciples.

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

These women are living the Great Commission.  Teaching and guiding and loving Jesus’ flock.  I sat there like a fan-girl marveling at being in the midst of ordinary women who were so extraordinary.  Yes, ordinary women.  They aren’t pastors or scholars although one is in fact a trained Christian counselor.  They are students of Jesus.  It gave me hope of what I could achieve with faith and the blessings of God.

I took the opportunity to ask a few of them a Christian counseling question.  

“If I find myself in a situation with a fellow Christian who is struggling with an issue, what’s your best advice?” I inquired.

Without hesitation three of the women, including my daughter who herself disciples young women, said: “You need to really get to know the person.  There needs to be a sense of trust that you come from a place of love.”   And the birthday girl?  She emphasized my old favorite, truth plus love.  Not being afraid to speak God’s truth into someone from a loving perspective.   Remember that Jesus trait of having a warrior spirit?  Renee takes it to heart.  She knows the end game – saving a soul. 

“As you being the process of bringing correction into someone’s life, put yourself in his shoes.  If you were the one sitting there, would it be easy or difficult for you to hear what is about to be said?  If the person you are correcting acts closed at first it may be that he’s just embarrassed or reacting out of insecurity.  Therefore don’t stop the conversation unless you can see that he’s just being combative.  You need to be patient and slow in judging their reaction to your correction.”  

Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems from the Greek

Isn’t this the reaction we worry about the most when we need to speak truth to our Christian friends or family members?  A fear of making someone angry or embarrassed?  But here lies the reason why “Wise Counselor” sits at the end of our faith progression.  Without love, without a sense of serving God, without courage, without knowledge of the Lord’s will, we will probably fail at being what our friend, child, sibling, co-worker, or sister in Christ truly needs.  

So, when Jesus asks us to “follow” He isn’t just offering Himself up to save us from eternal damnation which by itself is a pretty amazing gift.  He’s saying “join me in a journey.”  He’s saying, “we’ve got work to do together.”  And if we stop partway on the journey and decide we are “fine” where we are at, we miss the opportunities He wants to put in front of us to free more captives.

I don’t know about you but I need wise Christian counselors in my life.  And if I could be like Renee and be a blessing in other’s lives, I know it’d make Jesus smile.  My imperfect progress, as my friend Betsy likes to say, is still progress.  I want to know and live out having the mind of Christ.  I’m not where I was when I started and I still have a ways to go.  Thankfully, I can trust that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are my guides and cheerleaders.

When we started this journey, I invited you to say a prayer of confession I found in Sparkling Gems from the Greek.  And true to God’s ways He put another in front of me to close out this series.  Please join me in this prayer and confession.  I pray that you seek love, humbleness, courage, and wisdom on your journey.

“Lord, I ask you to help be kind and patient when it is essential for me to bring correction.  Help me to not be offended if the person I’m trying to help doesn’t respond at first the way I wished he would have.  Help me put myself in that person’s shoes and to sympathize with how he might feel.  I ask You to give me wisdom to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it.  I also ask that You give the other person the grace to hear what I am telling him so he might see that I have his best interest at heart and that I am only trying to help him.  I pray this in Jesus’ name!”

“I confess that I have the mind of Jesus Christ!  When it is needful to me to speak correction to someone else I do it with love, kindness and patience.  I refrain from allowing anger to rise up inside me.  I am careful about the words that come out of my mouth, and I refuse to participate in vain arguing.  I remain in control of myself as the Holy Spirit works mightily inside me.  My words bring life to all who hear and receive them! I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!”


Bible, bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, christian men, christian podcast, Christian women, Faith, Jesus, Jesus Follower, podcast, Uncategorized

Jesus Mindset

“But we have the mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:16

We so often hear the phrase, “To be like Jesus” but what does it really mean in our everyday lives?  My BSGs were in a deep conversation on Revelation about whether or not we believe in the rapture.  And, more importantly how does either position effect our lives.  History and our current world are full of scholars who know a lot more about the details of the Bible than probably you or I will ever grasp.  But there’s a difference, which is a deep and wide crevasse, between knowing and living out the qualities of Jesus.

“We, therefore, desire to copy his character and put our feet into his footprints. Be it ours to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes. What says our Lord himself? “Follow me,” and again, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls.” Not Christ’s apostle, but Christ himself, is our guide; we may not take a secondary model, but must imitate Jesus himself.” 

Charles Spurgeon

Imitation is not knowing of something but molding ourselves into an almost exact copy.  I say “almost” because of course, Jesus is God and we are not.  We walk the Jesus drawn path toward His perfection but we are always in a human mode my friend Betsy calls, “imperfect progress.” 

Our modern view of Jesus seems to be stuck in one quality, however.  And truth be told, if we could regularly live out that one quality it’d be a great step forward on our path.  That quality?  A loving friend.  

We hear the word “love” over and over in our churches, in our faith songs, on our Christian social media.  But what about Jesus’ other characteristics?  How many of us are willing to take on being Jesus the Warrior, Jesus the Servant, or Jesus the Counselor?  If we have hesitated is it because we know that once we decide to move along in our sanctification journey, we will encounter more and more resistance from the outside world?

Are we prepared, like the disciple Stephen, to be a martyr for God?  Are we prepared to state unequivocally that we must obey God rather than human beings? (Acts 5:29)

And so, we return to the original question, what does believing in the words of the Bible and Jesus mean to our lives?  It means we are to be in constant preparation for His coming.  It means we love our neighbors, we share the gospel whenever possible, we humble ourselves, we seek reconciliation and not revenge, we encourage and lift up our fellow travelers, we carry the message of Jesus throughout every generation, and we stand up for the truth of His Holy Word.  It means we make a perspective shift on every single aspect of our lives because we believe that one day soon our “age of grace” will turn to the “age of judgment.”  

Jesus expects us to be working on that preparation. It’s why He came – not to just leave us knowing God loves us – but living like God knows and loves us.  He came to be our example for gathering up residents of the future Kingdom come. 

Join me in this journey of looking at the different qualities of Jesus as we delve into His mindset so that we can become His imitators.  We will be challenged to accept all of His qualities, not just the ones with which we feel most comfortable.  Along the way we will meet some people whose lives are examples of those characteristics. 

Jesus was a great disrupter – possibly the greatest of all time.  Let’s let Him disrupt and reshape us.


As we begin this series take a moment to pray this confession found in Rick Renner’s, Sparkling Gems from the Greek:

“I boldly declare that I am a new creature in Christ.  Old things have passed away and all things have become new!  I am not who I used to be anymore.  I don’t think like that old person; I don’t see like that old person; I don’t talk like that old person; and I don’t behave like that old person anymore.  Now I am in Jesus Christ, and I think like Him, see like Him, talk like Him, and behave like Him.  I have come alive with vibrant life because of His resurrection power that works in me! I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!”

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Fresh Fire

That ye be not slothful, but followers 
of them who through faith and patience 
inherit the promises. 
Hebrews 6:12

I don’t typically pull Bible verses from the King James version.  But in one of my devotionals this version of Hebrews 6:12 was the focus of that day’s study.  It got me thinking about my own faith and where I stand with “slothfulness.”

When you hear that word “sloth” you probably think of the lazy animal, hanging out in a tree accomplishing next to nothing all day.  Yet slothfulness is not the same as being lazy – which is how the word is translated in the New International Version.  In fact, the word “slothful” in Greek is quite different.  And in the context of the verse in Hebrews it means to not allow our faith to become monotonous or without a blazing flame.  

Slothful: nōthrós – slow, sluggish; monotonous

Strong’s Greek

For many Christians we say we are religious because we attend church regularly.  We get up Sunday morning, find our usual spot to park at church, listen to a sermon, sing a few familiar songs, and look forward to the donut or muffin on the way out.  We might chat with a few friends then head to whatever else we have on our plate for the day.  We can check off our “faith” for that week. We might even go to a Bible study during the week to put another tick mark on our “faithful” list.

And for you overachieving, super involved Christians, it’s interesting to note that the author of my devotional is an accomplished author, missionary and evangelist.  He realized he was a good “worker” for God.  But somewhere along the line it became just that – work.

But what God wants of us is deep, passionate faith. And if you already have that – awesome!  I hope you will still enjoy what is to come in my Fresh Fire posts! 

He wants us to be in love with Him.  He wants us to be eager to speak with Him and to be sad if we don’t feel His presence.  He wants us to stand for Him in the face of those who would speak against Him.  He wants us to seek the opportunities to speak about His glorious promises.  He wants us to remove all spiritual neutrality and instead burn red-hot for His message of love, forgiveness, redemption and salvation!

My son-in-law once shared with me Charles Spurgeon’s compilation of prayers called, “Spurgeon on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare.”  I soon got my own copy and was amazed with the fervor level of his sermons.  There’s nothing slothful about Mr. Spurgeon!  I wanted to share this excerpt about praying with a blazing heart:

“I would that some of you prayed more vehemently! “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt 11:12) An old Puritan said, “Prayer is a cannon set at the gate of heaven to burst open its gates.” You must take the city by storm if you would have it. You will not ride to heaven on a feather-bed, you must go on pilgrimage; there is no going to the land of glory while you are sound asleep, dreamy sluggards will have to wake up in hell. If God has made you to feel in your soul the need of salvation, cry like one who is awake and alive; be in earnest; cry aloud; spare not.

Charles Spurgeon, The Raven’s Cry

Whew!  I get exhausted each time I read that!  And yet, during the “Great Covid Pandemic” I watched friends’ faith fall by the wayside.  They were comfortable with sitting in their PJs watching a church video and nothing more.   I also watched others be lifted to higher heights.  Their Bible study life became daily and hour-long.  Their prayers became constant and vibrant!  Their work of sanctification grew by leaps and bounds!  I have written before that I believe a great sifting has occurred.  Those who choose to be “slothful” in their faith will continue to slide out of a relationship with Jesus.  But we don’t want to be lost into the world.

For five weeks, I’ll share 25 verses about strong, energetic, and passionate faith.  A few may feel familiar but my hope is that most will be something new.   Because that’s what this series is about – stripping away the “usual” and monotonous and injecting a bit of new fire.

God’s promises are so much more beautiful and glorious than anything the world can ever offer.  It’s up to us to grab hold of our faith with renewed vigor and fire.  It’s up to us to burn in passion for our Lord.  

Here’s the prayer from that day’s devotional about slothfulness.  I hope you pray it as a stepping off point for the study!

“Lord, help me understand how totally unacceptable it is for me to lose my passion, momentum and desire.  I ask you to forgive me for allowing any hint of slothfulness to operate in my life.  Today I repent and deliberately turn from slothfulness.  Holy Spirit,  I turn to you now and ask you to stir and reignite the fire in my heart.  Please help me regain the zeal, the thrust and the fire I once possessed.  Help me to keep that fire burning this time, never to lose it again.  I pray this is Jesus’ name!”

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A Tiny Message #6

Therefore, since we are surrounded 
by such a great cloud of witnesses, 
let us throw off everything that 
hinders and the sin that so easily 
entangles. 
Hebrews 12:1

I was at one of the lowest points in my life. Sure, I realized at some point that my hormonal situation was partially to blame but so was my environment. More specifically, I had surrounded myself with friends who, to be honest, weren’t all that great of friends. When I asked for help one day because of a medical problem my friends said, “no.” Even my parents said, “no.” I found myself at the end of my spiritual rope.

I remember sitting at my computer looking at Facebook and slowly deleting every single “friend” while sobbing. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t let go of us.

I will not leave you as orphans; 
I will come to you.  
John 14:18

What I was led to do in the coming weeks was to seriously evaluate what environment I had created and how I could create a better one. I went down the list of women I knew casually and had shown themselves to be people of character. And I started calling them, inviting them to lunch, Bible study, or for a walk. About a year later I told some of them what had happened that day I needed help. Some of them cried for me and said, “I wish you had called me. I would have dropped everything for you.” And then I cried. But this time tears of love and joy.

Sometimes we need to have a truly hard moment to see what we have created around us and how it hinders our spiritual connectedness. And the Holy Spirit will be there to guide us to our new home. I found this prayer about laying aside all our hinderances that I thought you might enjoy.

“Lord, I want to stay in an environment that will keep my faith alive and strong. Help me recognize those relationships and places I should avoid to keep my faith from being negatively affected. As you show me places, people, and things I should avoid, give me the strength I need to do what is right — and give me the wisdom I need to know how to avoid those places and people! I pray this in Jesus’ name!”