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.

My Journey through Romans 10

Just Zeal Ain’t Gonna Get It. Wake Up All Ye Believers. It’s Time to Know God.

Grab your hot cup of cocoa and warm gingerbread for this read.It’s kinda long.  This message is precisely for those who art in the Body of Christ. Though many may not find this as an encouraging blog, I assure you that if you look honestly within self and your churches, this blog is meant to encourage you and set you on fire for the Lord. As you know, I’m not a “tone it down” writer. Did God “tone it down” to the church in Laodicea? (Rev. 3:14-21) (TYHS) Let me start with Paul’s reality of many, even TODAY that say they “know God”:

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (Romans 10:1-2)

Paul was a unflinching writer of what he had done, what he had seen and what he had heard. It is for these reasons that he could say: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”(Romans 10:3-4)  Paul came to know God.  He did not just go from city to city preaching and writing to Believers for entertainment like a Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus show. Lord knows if we are honest with ourselves, we know in our hearts and minds that we have become a congregation that does not know God in the way He wants us to know Him. We can’t even share our confessions with one another in church (James 5:16) without being whispered about. Some rely on being entertained in the church by too many circus acts. These  are just a few things showing that we are not submitting to the righteousness of God. That’s a no-no. And now we move on to the real stuff. 😛

A Real Moment

lukewarm-church-2There are many a time I’ve fallen short of knowing God when under attack by family members, church members, and illnesses. Let’s call the shortness self-sufficiency- the natural stress response when we all tend to forget that God is in the midst. Get the hence, Satan. In this world, there are too many (Believers included) who are the protégé of evil, and way too many shepherds misusing (double-tonguing) the word of God as though they were a professional at using every wind instrument in an orchestra. It is exhausting and sickening to know, to see and to hear of these non-Christ like behaviors that continue to go on in the church. If we knew God, our behaviors would be different. Amen. Daniel fell sick for a reason knowing the outcome of disobedience for the Lord’s people. (Read Daniel 8)

lukewarm-3I came to the conclusion that there are many members sitting in many churches crying out to know God. There is a suppressing of the knowledge of God going on. How do we stop suppressing the knowledge of God? By faith first. Paul said, But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (vs. 8-9) And  “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (vs. 17) Begin with faith when you preach, teach, and learn the truth of and about God. (TYHS) EVERY BODY in the church needs to wake up and start believing in this truth 100% that Paul shares with us. We have the zeal, yet we are not feeling the burn of the knowledge of God. Not only do we show that we have not faith in God, but we also show that we have not faith in each other in the church.Stop playing church.

I wish shepherds knew what is really on the mind and hearts of their members. I wish members knew what is really on the mind and hearts of their shepherds. This would eliminate gossip, the uncommitted and hardened hearts within the body of Christ. All are afraid to speak the truth in love to one another. Until truth is communicated within the body of Christ, we present-day Laodicean’s (most churches if not all) will continue to be naked without the covering of God. Personally, I’d rather have hurt feelings instead of walking around both blind and naked all the time in church. It would do us good to heed this message for “These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  (Rev. 3:14-17)

lukewarm-church-1Because we are lukewarm, we are sickening to God and he has become very nauseated with the church.  It is natural for us to spit out anything bad tasting from our mouth, is it not? God prefers us to be either for Him or against Him, does He not? When you have a close friend, is it your wish for them to be for you or against you?  Jesus is the Believer’s husband, we are the bride, should we not agree to “ride or die” (to be down with your husband/wife no matter what, through it all the good and the bad.) with Him? Yes there are members (individually I might add) who are committed to “ride or die” with God; the problem is that we, the church as a WHOLE have become spiritually uncommitted and we lack the knowledge of God.

Stop the “Self-Sufficiency” teachings that teach us to rely on self first. Stop the “Leadership Training” that limits the gifts of others within the church. Stop avoiding and frowning upon the testimony of Christ that others have to share. Without testimonies, over half of the bible would be missing.

Stop having church favorites. The church is NOT a catering business in which one caters to a select few because of so-called church positions. The church is not a business entity period. We need to use the heart of God. He is no respecter of persons.(Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11)  He gives visions to many in the church. Did he give visions to only one person in the bible? We all have to share these God-given visions with one another. If shepherds open the doors of truthful communication in love with all church members, gossip would not rear its ugly head from the pulpit and the pews. The church is not a venue where the ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ mentality  should be taking place. Favoritism shows a lack of knowledge present within the body of Christ. We all have to work together using the knowledge of God. In many churches, even the zeal is gone. BB King would say “the thrill is gone.” Change the setting of your hearts to show favoritism towards the mind of God.

The church is not a theater. In many churches, people who ACT as though they know God can come across as friendly to visitors, but have a problem being friendly with their own members. Stop it with the wearing of a Christian name tag in the church for visitors to see. Let us stop with the man-made teachings and the micromanagement in the body of Christ. Stop these things because they are not in line with His word. (Read Isaiah 29:13 ; 1 Timothy 6:20-21; Titus 1:16) May we begin to obey the word of God. His question found in Luke 4:46 pertains to us today :And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

We are just like Israel, up and down, all day, every day. ‘But to Israel he saith, “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (vs. 21) We need to get back to the bible to have God’s kingdom mentality. The Lord said “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:19-20)  Just zeal ain’t gonna get it. Wake up all ye believers, it’s time to know God. There is going on in the world a widespread planting of in-home churches as in the days of old with many that know God and those that truly want to know Him.

I came across this message while looking for something else: It is written by Steven H. Atherto. I’m not sure why it popped up in my search. 🙂

http://www.thefishermenministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/How-should-the-Church-Operate.pdf

Prayer Moment– Lord, we repent of our sins committed within your churches.  Help us Lord, we who are offended by this message to come to know you spiritually and to become obedient to your word. Come into our church doors Lord. Set us on fire with the knowledge of you. Cover our nakedness in Jesus name. Amen.