A Good Soldier – Pastoral Counsel from Paul

Surprise, I’m back home…here at WP.  😛

As I was studying 2 Timothy, it hit me that in many churches there is a lack of pastoral counsel. I don’t know why it didn’t hit me in 1Timothy study. (I’ll accept it as the timing of the Holy Spirit.) I believe that there exist a lack of pastoral counsel because of what I’ve experienced, listening to the voice of many Christians and noticing the behavior of sheep and shepherd on Christian broadcasting shows via YouTube and other televised Christian outlets. I read a lot and hear so much about diluted and “anemic”(missing the blood) sermons; otherwise known as “watered down” and “sugar coated” sermons. Ahem.

I also read and hear a lot about/from Christians not being able to speak with a pastor to receive pastoral counseling. Hence, they end up going outside of the church for “worldly counsel”. Most churches are too busy with “busy work” instead of edifying work. I’m just saying. It seems to me that these are some of the reasons within the church that quite a few Christians are confused about what God requires of them; hence division and non-Christ like behavior exists within the body of Christ. Some even leave the church and pursue other entities. Then again, perhaps some pastors may have the thought of being sued on their mind if the wrong counsel is given. I say, be strong in the Lord and speak nothing but the truth to those that need and seek pastoral counsel. America has become a nation overflowing with lawsuits. Yea? Just something to ponder there! With that being said, let us begin.

What is meant by the term pastoral counsel today? Read article here Pastoral Counseling

Per Wikipedia: Pastoral counseling is a branch of counseling in which psychologically trained ministers, rabbis, priests, imams, and other persons provide therapy services. Pastoral counselors often integrate modern psychological thought and method with traditional religious training in an effort to address psychospiritual issues in addition to the traditional spectrum of counseling services. “What distinguishes pastoral counseling from other forms of counseling and psychotherapy is the role and accountability of the counselor and his or her understanding and expression of the pastoral relationship. Pastoral counselors are representatives of the central images of life and its meaning affirmed by their religious communities. Thus pastoral counseling offers a relationship to that understanding of life and faith. Pastoral counseling uses both psychological and theological resources to deepen its understanding of the pastoral relationship.”

For the sake of this blog, I will go by my biblical understanding of pastoral counseling: “In the Bible, pastoral counseling prototypes include ministers assigned by Moses to guide the Hebrew people in family, community, and religious life; the prophets Samuel, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; Jesus of Nazareth; and the apostle, Paul.”

In his second letter to Timotheus aka Timothy, Paul continues to give Timothy counsel. He starts out by telling him to “…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  What a powerful admonition, don’t ya think?  Simply put, it is a reminder that in our weakness, the Lord is strong. He is our strength. That was a hard and much needed lesson for me to learn. I/we can do nothing by ourselves. I/we need the Lord’s help when we are feeling helpless and/or weak. Think. Did Jesus not say that He “The Son can do nothing of himself…”? Did Jesus not say “It is written” when hounded by the devil? It is clear that a “good soldier” should be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Now, in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 Paul said, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” And these are the lead verses we are going to receive counsel on since the Holy Spirit put it in my heart and on my mind. I am going to tune them in with other bible verses and my thoughts.

Let me share three (3) important points on being a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” aka a Christian soldier: 

(1) Read   Jeremiah 20  A “good soldier” will understand how Jeremiah felt. The words of God are like fire shut up in our bones when we don’t speak up about and for the Lord.  He/she will know that we are at war daily between the flesh and the spirit just as Paul was, just as Adam and Eve was, etc.

(2) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.-Matthew 22:37-38 I used to put as a signature on my email accounts “To Know Me is To Love Me” This verse reminded me that to know the Lord is to love Him. It is written.

(3) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.- Ephesians 6:12(KJV)  There are many out there that do not believe that Satan exists. A “good soldier” needs to know that he does exist and he is capable of disarming us. Take a close look around the world, what do you see? Unforgiveness, hatred, gender issues, murderers, false doctrines/bibles, flowered beliefs, watered down sermons, etc. are all disarming works of Satan. Crouching sin have crept into the mind and heart of  many Christians. It is written.

crouching sin verse

Those points helped me to understand why pastoral counsel is important for the body of Christ. Paul also helped me to understand that a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” will endure hardship. A shepherd and other church leaders should be equipped to provide counsel period to congregants about enduring hardships. It brings to mind the expression “War is real”. In this day and time, war just seem to drop out of thin air. The people of God are turning against each other. That is why we need to acknowledge what is stated in Ephesians 6:12. We have been forewarned in the Word…a good soldier must prepare him/her self for this battle by putting on the whole armor of God.  Read Ephesians 6 because :

wrestle demons

BE Aware of Such Demons

Paul also reminds us that a “good solider” does not get entangled in living a worldly life. When a soldier is called to duty in an armed force he/she is no longer considered a civilian (member of the public). Right? Do you think that soldiers think about missing a television show, sex, or partying while a war is going on? A soldier’s primary focus and training becomes that of one thing and one thing only…winning the war.  A “good soldier is one that no longer lives his/her life as a worldly civilian.  Their focus is on the Word of God. A “good soldier” is one that carries his/her weapon (The Word of God) at all times. A “good soldier” should be well trained in using this weapon of  burning fire. War is not watered down nor sugar coated so a “good soldier of Jesus Christ” in training should not have a watered down nor sugar coated mindset. He/she should be filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit and be “ready to rumble” as they say before a wrestling match.

A Note– For some reason the word fire reminded me of Daniel 7:9-10(KJV)  “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”

Enough said. Understand the message. Beloved, a war like none before will take place. It’s inevitable. We have received counsel from the Holy Bible. A “good soldier” will be prepared for battle and will overcome. It is written.

Thank you for stopping in. May you and I learn and apply these lessons to our lives daily. May you and I as a good soldier be ready for the Lord’s return. In Jesus name. Amen.

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My Journey through Romans 12:9-21

1walk

 

An Exercise on How to Overcome Evil with Good- Walk Daily with the Spirit of God           
Get on your Nike’s on because we are going to “Just Do It.” as the slogan says. I personally prefer Under Amour sneakers. We are going to practice our walk daily with the Lord as one in the body of Christ. Let us begin.
Exercising Our Personal Behavior (vs 9,19) Read Luke 10:30-37; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-18
  • Let love be without dissimulation (pretense). We should be what they call “Keeping it One Hundred” real with one another in the sincerest of ways. Let us not be two-faced but genuinely one-faced. If a person refuse to acknowledge your sincerity, do as Paul said do not regard them as an enemy. Be not in your heart an avenger. That’s love. Keep walking in the Spirit of God and stay focused on the love you have inside for God. I find myself walking away from people because I am so against fakeness. It’s a childhood thing. 🙂
  • Abhor that which is evil. From our experiences we know that hate is a heavy-duty dislike for things and people and it separates the best of us, more importantly it separates us from God when dealing with those in the body of Christ. Note it says hate “that” which is evil, not the person that is evil. That person can always “turn again” to the Lord whether or not you’re a part of their life. Forgive yourself and forgive them if you harbor any spirits of hatred towards them. I’m still waiting to hear present day keeping it one hundred sermons on this matter. 😛
  • Cleave to that which is good. The best vivid picture I can give here is one of baby animals clinging to their parents as they move about, even in rough terrain. Those little creatures hang on for dear life. If they fall off through rough terrain or attacks on parent, notice that the parent will either pick them back up or the baby KNOWS by the parent’s bodily stance to cling to them again. (TYHS) We should have enough love for others to treat them in this way when they are going through some stuff and the person should be comfortable enough to want to cling to us in such a time. They are only going to cling according to our sincere stance. It amazes me that some animals are more caring of their self and their own than most humans.
Exercising Our Behavior towards Family Members & Church Members – brotherly/ affectionate (verses 10-13) John 13:34-35; Galatians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 12:26
  • Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love… We should show members of our family and our church family that they are of great importance to us. I must reiterate as I have done in several posts…Don’t tell people that “everybody is going through something” especially when they confide in you about their issues. That is so not Christ-like and it shows no affection whatsoever towards the person(s); to them it is as though you are casting whatever they are going through to the wind without any cares.  Please understand this. 
  • Be not slothful in business; be fervent (passionate) in spirit serving the Lord. Serving others is a business.  A spirit of slothfulness is a difficult spirit to work with. It comes down to you either don’t know how to or you don’t want to work with others because of past dealings. If you find serving in your church is not for you, then be sure to serve others on your own as God leads you to do so. I’ve found there are many out there who do not want to be affiliated with a church because they have been asked to attend the church in return for their service. This should not be so. As a Christian, just do your part. Either way, we are told to;
  • Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and continue instantly in prayer for others. Yes, one can hope, be patient, and pray on their own. However, when we sense something is not right with someone, we need to call them up or visit with them to let them know they are not alone. Pray with them. It may give them hope to rejoice in. Don’t say what to them? “_____________________”When one feels left out or alone, regardless of who or what caused it, what hope do they have to rejoice in?  What hope do they have to pray?  Some people are just not at a spiritual level to see the unseen. This is real stuff that affect families in the body of Christ a lot more than we are willing to admit. What are you going to do about it as a member? Warning!!!! Avoid gossip, church cliques, false prophets and false doctrine.
  • Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. If we see a need, fill it, especially for the homeless, the poor, the widows, the sick, the jobless, your family and church members. This type of hospitality has fallen to the wayside with that bad seed mentality planting by thinking “I gotta worry about me and mine.”
Exercising Our Behavior towards Others- (verses 14-21) John 10:16 says And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
  • And this is why we should bless and curse not those that persecute us in Jesus name. There are still others out there who need to be brought to Jesus.
  • We should rejoice with them because there is a way God will reach them through us.
  • Be of the same mind toward them, because we don’t know what others have been through and why they may not believe in God. Hence, we are not to be wise in our own conceitedness. Yeah, we think we know everything about why a person is this way or that, when the truth of the matter is we know nothing of the sort. We can’t fit in their shoes to know their walk; which is why we as Believers need never to look down on others and gossip about the things they are going through. Hell is never full.
  • Return to no man evil for evil. Separate yourself from people that do you harm or just flat out bring you down all the time. Let nothing separate you from God. Live peaceably with all, and let the Lord take care of the rest. The Lord knows better than us on how to stop an enemy in their tracks.

12walkBecause we are not perfect, we will get a leg, mind, or heart cramp during our walks. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good(vs21). Get back up, overcome and “Just Do It.” Read Proverbs 16:1-9 and let the Lord God our Master direct your steps. If people don’t want to communicate and/or be cooperative, walk away. I pray that we all choose to walk daily with the Lord, because we are all on the Devils’ hit list.

Thank you for visiting.

 

My Journey through Romans 12:1-8

Guidance for Building One Another Up – An Exercise in Training the Physical Body to Become A Spiritual Body

Additional Reading : 1 Timothy 4

fitness-buildInside of each and every one of us is the ability to build something. It begins in our childhood with us piling stuff on top of other stuff, taking sticks and leaves to build a campfire or birds nest and building a step to reach snacks sat upon a high shelf by parents. Most of us have built mud cakes and little mud huts when playing with mud and sand castles out of sand. To my knowledge, toy building blocks and upgraded sticks have become very popular the last 30 plus years. I also enjoy building with the grands. Lo, if only we were builders like the ants, birds, and bees. And, throughout our lives we build relationships with others. 

In this chapter Paul focuses on not just building something but on us building one another up in the church. I am glad you asked. How is that possible when we have issues with one another?  How is it possible when people ignore you?  How is it possible when people refuse to work with and communicate with you to get something done?  It is obvious that some of us cannot be friends forever with others and some are just passing through our lives as a lesson.

fitness1Paul gave us several ways to build upon when dealing with such people, especially those within the body of Christ.  Let us remember who the letter was written to: the called of Jesus Christ, to all in Rome who were beloved of God called to be saints, and those he considered “brethren”.  The present day people would be all of those who call themselves Believers, Christians, Children of God, those who are in the body of Christ and those who have received God’s mercy and grace. Clear?

Let us begin.

  • The first and the biggest building up is that we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. This is our reasonable (makes the most sense) service. In reading the Holy Bible, you will find that God dealt with us as individuals first while teaching us accountability. (vs10) (1 Cor. 3:16-17 ; Ephesians 4:23; Pray Psalm 141)
  • We must not be conformed (dressed to please) to this world. We are to make a spiritual change to be in line with the Spirit of God. (vs. 2)(Exodus 23:2; Leviticus 20:23; 1 Peter 1:14; Pray Psalm 19:12-14)
  • Transform (change) ourselves by the renewing of our mind. (vs 2) (Ezekiel 18:31; Pray Psalm 51)
  • Do not walk around thinking you are higher than God. Remember the Tower of Babel. Think soberly (vs 3) (1Peter 5:8, Titus 2:12;Pray Psalm 131)
  • Remember that we are many members in one body having not the same office( this is diversity of gifts) Think of it this way, you work in an office building shared by many, your tasks are different ,you have an office to self, but all are working together as a whole for the company. It is important for us all to be on one accord according to these verses. Some preachers don’t like this message coming from the pews. I wonder why? (vs. 4-5) (1Corinthians 12:12-14 & 12:28; Ephesians 5:30; Proverbs 27:17; Pray Psalm 133)
  • Realize that there is a diversity of gifts imparted to those who art in the body of Christ according to God’s grace. God created more than one planet in the universe and they all revolve around each other. When God created Adam, he said what?  “I will make a help meet for him.” Each apostle Jesus chose had different gifts. Amen. (vs.6-7) (1 Cor. 12:5; 12:11; Pray Psalm 20)
  • We are to use our gifts accordingly. Those who have the gift of encouraging should encourage those struggling in the body of Christ. Don’t reiterate a fact that “Everybody is going through something.” God never did that. Those who have the gift of giving of time and resources should do so with simplicity to meet the needs of others. It is true, we’re not all cut out for this. If it causes you problems it’s obviously not your gift to use at the time. Those who are in a position to shepherd over others, lead others, and/or instruct others should do so with diligence (carefulness and attentiveness) and be mindful that this gift is not only imparted to them. Those of a compassionate character should show mercy to others with cheerfulness. (vs. 8) (Hebrews 3:13; 2 Corinthians 8:12; James 1:17; James 3:1-3; Luke 6:36; Isaiah 30:18; Pray Psalm 23)
Each of these verses clearly display that we as the body of Christ are to be on one accord with the Lord.  Isaiah 30 also gives us a lesson on what happens when we are not on one accord with the Lord.  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+30%3A1-33&version=KJV 

fitnessYour church may be struggling with the ability to save souls by sharing the Gospel, to build bigger, to keep lifelong members, and struggling with ongoing stress among and between members, hence a sign of discord instead of being on one accord. The church has got to stop covering this up and acknowledge it. Let us stop having so many “ministries” that we lose focus on both the people in the body of Christ and the Spirit of God.  Anything that interferes with worshiping God is discord and shows rebellion toward God.  We need to be very attentive to Isaiah 30:1: Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: I confess I have had my moments of rebellion. It’s good to regard that old aphorism “once you know better, you do better.” Therefore, I encourage both you and I to exercise this physical body until it become a spiritual body by setting our affection on things above and not the things on this earth. (Col. 3:2)

Thank you for taking time out to visit this blog.