Dear Friends of Hope Baptist Church and Hope Biblical Counseling Center,
We serve a wonderful Saviour! We have two great opportunities in front of us in the next few months. We will be holding a Hope Biblical Counseling Training Conference, March 13-16, in Pennsylvania and April 24-27, in Canada graciously hosted by Pastors Chris Starr and Mike Sullivant. I am always humbled at what God does in these conferences. Many of the people who come have testified of the great changes God has made in their lives. Kim and I are grateful for the long term Biblical change the Lord has made in many of their lives and their testimonies of change. We have had people come from all over the United States and Canada and 15 other foreign countries. So, we ask that you please pray with us for the Holy Spirit to have free course in lives and hearts in the conferences. I need your prayer and would greatly appreciate it. We consider these conferences very important work for the Lord and the lives of people.
I received a testimony this past week from a Pastor talking about how God has changed his life and ministry. We rejoice with him! He wanted us to specifically thank Hope Baptist Church for the conferences we put on in our church. He was using our material called, How to Respond to the Holy Spirit in His church.
What I Have Learned in 20 Years of Biblical Counseling
The longer I counsel people, the more I am convinced that the greatest need for people is to really see the Lord Jesus Christ through His Word being taught by the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18, But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The Bible teaches clearly there is a separation line between our soul and our spirit.
Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The soul is the seat of our appetites and emotions. Satan desires to put outside pressure on our soul so he can control our emotions and then our will and decision making.
John 14:21-27, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (22) Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? (23) Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (24) He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. (25) These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. (26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I have found that unless the believer comes to a place of understanding that they cannot live for the dictates of their soul and must be a Spirit controlled people and allow the Holy Spirit to teach them through His Word and control their lives they are in for many disappointments, disasters, and destruction in their lives and homes. They are living a mechanical Christian life not a real one. The spiritually naïve Christian makes poor life decisions, rationalizes and compromises their life choices, and ends up in destruction. In essence their life is always in chaos and out of control.
The Worldly Approach
We are often approached by people who have read the world’s view of counseling, been counseled by the world, or New Evangelicals. They are in destruction mode. They are angry, deceived, fearful, lustful, and have and are living a worldly life. Many times because of their living for their soul they want to hide the lusts of their soul and just want to voice to me their concerns, but are not willing to put in the work to really make Biblical long term change in their lives. They have to be willing to really spiritually change their lives. There is only one direction to go! They have to learn the difference of soul living (worldly living) and Spirit Controlled living. The atmosphere of many homes that have lived for their soul for many years is very hard to change unless the members decide they really want to make Biblical change. The atmosphere of other believers in the church that live for their souls is also a great hindrance to their spiritual lives as well. Soul livers migrate together and fellowship in their soul living. They will rationalize their soul choices which leads to spiritual destruction.
Galatians 6:7-8, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (8) For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
When people have a real, intimate, personal and passionate relationship with God through the power of the Holy Spirit they will have good marriages and rear spiritual children. Without this premise being established, the believer will soon become lost in the maze of their petty arguments, issues, distractions, lusts, and soul living. They will spend their entire life and marriage looking for something that does not exist: a healthy life made up of unhealthy spiritual individuals.
Romans 15:4, 13, For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
There is hope in our wonderful Saviour to have peace and live a godly life! Your choices must be guided by God’s Word, not by the lusts of your soul!
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