counseling

Could God ____?

Could God ____?

“I don’t even know why we’re here. Nothing is going to change.” I’ve heard those words many times in counseling sessions. And I’ve felt those words from the posture, from the hollow eyes, and from the sighs of those I have counseled.

Who is it that you don’t believe can change? Your boss? Your employee? Your friend? Your son or daughter? Your spouse? Yourself?

Who have you given up on?

Be honest. You’ve probably given up on someone somewhere. You know what the theological term is for not having hope for someone? For giving up on them? Damning. That’s right. When you lose hope in someone or something, you’re damning it.

The latter half of Romans 1 speaks of the hopeless situation of those who have turned against God. In chilling language, Paul explains that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…”[i] He explains that those in rebellion “are without excuse,”[ii] and then he goes on three times in the next five verses to explain how God damns them: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts…”[iii] and that “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions,”[iv] and finally “God gave them up to a debased mind…”[v]

On those four words—“God gave them up”–hang the icy chill of damnation.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       What an Average Home Looks Like in Every State: Wow. This is amazing, both in terms of the disparity of cost for the average home across states as well as the type of home you can get for that cost.

2.       God is not Silent in Your DepressionEd Welch is a wonderful counselor and offers a wealth of wisdom. He begins by describing depression, "Never has so much been crammed into one word. Depression feels terrifying. Your world is dark, heavy, and painful. Physical pain, you think, would be much better—at least the pain would be localized. Instead, depression seems to go to your very soul, affecting everything in its path. Dead, but walking, is one way to describe it."

3.       How to Raise Spiritually and Emotionally Healthy KidsAaron Earls on some really important research about the long-term impact of parenting practices: "Those who attended religious services with parents or prayed or meditated on their own had healthier lives and improved mental health. Those who attended church at least once a week as children or teens were 18 percent more likely to report being happy as 20-something adults than those who never attended services."

4.       Three Privileges of Intimacy with the FatherTim Chester begins, "Step back and think about it for a moment, and you’ll realize what an amazing miracle it is that any of us should call God ‘Father’. But we do so every time we pray, through the Spirit of the Son."

5.       Wrestling with the Violence of GodJeff Elkins concludes his examination of a difficult passage with this reflection: "My problem is, I want more. I want to know why God would do such a thing, but the scripture does not give it to me. In the absence of that information, I am forced to ask myself what I know about God."

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Why You Can't Forgive Yourself: HB Charles on why "how do I forgive myself?" is an illegitimate question, "This is the self-centered psychology of the world, not the teaching of scripture. In fact, it contradicts the message of the Bible. If I need to forgive myself, it suggests that I am the God that I have offended and need to appease. This way of thinking is not just erroneous, it is blasphemous."

2.      6 Surprises Every Premarital Counselor Should Address: Dave Harvey hits the nail on the head. Thinking about marriage? Read this. Walking alongside someone preparing for marriage? Read this. Feeling alone in your marital struggles? Read this. "Many young couples head into marriage with blinders—believing their marriage will be the fairy tale they dreamed of as they planned a Pinterest ceremony and momentous honeymoon. But the truth is marriage reveals our sin, exposes our desires, challenges our relational network, and requires us to regularly practice costly forgiveness."

3.      What does the Mormon on the Other Side of Your Door Believe? Very helpful primer by Justin Taylor.

4.      What does the Jehovah's Witness on the Other Side of your Door Believe?  Justin Taylor addresses Jehovah’s Witnesses as well.

5.      Pursuit: A month of chasing storms captured in seven spell-binding minutes.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Bob Newhart’s Six Minute Tutorial for Effective Counseling: This is an all-time family favorite, especially since my wife is a counselor. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve got to watch it. If you’ve already seen it, you can’t watch it too many times.

2.      More Than Mere Equality: Jonathan Leeman broaches the difficult topic of privilege, identity politics, and gospel peace. Leeman reflects the tension between justice and moral agency. On the one hand, “Biblical justice isn’t just a putting down of the oppressor. It is a lifting up of the oppressed and downtrodden.” On the other hand, "The bottom line here is: Identity politics, at its most careless, undermines moral agency."

3.      Disentangling Privilege: Andrew Wilson digs deeper into the topic of privilege and reflects on what he believes we should acknowledge is true about white privilege and what isn't.

4.      Check Your Privilege: Denny Burk also reflecting on Jonathan Leeman's piece says, "Obviously, these conclusions are squarely at odds with biblical teaching about guilt, justice, and reconciliation with God and with one another. And that is why we are going to have to give careful attention to the claims being made by proponents of identity politics."

5.      A Day in the Life of Americans: A mesmerizing infographic of how Americans spend their time during the day.