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“The Importance of Faith in Counseling” by Jay Adams. A Review

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  Jay Adams is known among many biblical counselors and classic Presbyterians as the father of neuthetic counseling. Some years back he pulled together several short essays on the value and significance of faith during the counseling process that became this short 73-page paperback: “The Importance of Faith in Counseling”. This little manual has recently been repackaged and republished by the Institute for Nouthetic Studies. The chapters are short, and easy to digest. Adams whole premise is that the counseled need to be encouraged to grow in faith during counseling sessions. And the counselor also needs to develop stronger faith as well. But it’s not about faith-in-faith. Rather, Adams shows what real Christian faith is and how it focuses on and centers on who God is, what he has done, is doing, and will do for his people as declared in Sacred Scripture. In other words, you “will want to create a pervasive biblical atmosphere…it is God, not the counselor, with Whom the counselee primar

“God of Peace” - Prayer

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  (A prayer-reflection from my morning devotions) Lord Jesus, you did not come to bring peace to the world. Rather, as an act of judgment you came to divide the world between the dying and doomed from the living and loyal (Luke 12:49-53). Lord, may your work be accomplished. And yet, because you are our peace, you make those who are ethnically divided one new man and have broken down the dividing wall of hostility in your flesh (Ephesians 2:14). Lord, may your work be accomplished! O God of peace, be with us all (Romans 15:33; Philippians 4:9). O God of peace, crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20). O God of peace, sanctify us completely - body, soul, spirit - keeping us blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. You who are faithful will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:23)! O God of peace, who brought up again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep: by the blood of the eternal covenant equip us with everything good that we may do your will, working in

“The Pastor as Counselor” by David Powlison. A Review

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  This is an area that is tricky for me. I find pastoral counseling hard, especially after seasons of disappointment and discouraging results. But then I stumbled on “The Pastor as Counselor: The Call for Soul Care” by David Powlison and was encouraged, at the least, to reassess what I do and why. It’s a teeny little booklet some 76 pages all told, in softback. Written in the typical Powlison style of thoughtfulness, understanding, and challenge, it’s ideal for every minister, whether newbie or well seasoned. The premise of the book is very simple. Pastors fulfilling their commission of prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4) are to spend time counseling, administering the Word in more one-to-one situations. In fact, ministers do this informally all the time. But we need to do this with clearer intention. “The whole nature of ministry is to “impose” light into darkness, to induce sanity, to form Christ’s life-nourishing values within us” (22). And the author gently encourages -

"God of Might and Power" - 26 September 2021

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  Yahweh, God of might and power, who made all things, and then lavished good things upon us and still do; thank you that you give us all things richly to enjoy, you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.  You who know all things, whose eyes run to and fro through the whole earth beholding the good and evil, from whom no creature is hidden, but all are naked and exposed to your eyes; hear the groaning of those weighed down under stress or distress (…); see the grief of those who have lost loved ones (…); give ear to those groaning under their suffering (…); take note of those shackled and shamed by injustice or bigotry from above or below (…); give heed to the ones who are unfairly incarcerated or enslaved (…). For all who are in these situations and others, we cry out to you on their behalf imploring you to raise them up, refresh them, restore their wholesome dreams, and set them free.  Spirit of God who hovered over that which at the beginning was  tohu v’bohu ,

Holy Father, Who Sends Rain and Sun - 19 September 2021

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  Holy Father, who sends sun and rain on the just and the unjust, who provides food for the good and the evil, thank you for your tender mercies enjoyed by so many.   O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the whole heavens adore; let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you; and men, women, girls, and boys everywhere love you and serve you in peace through Jesus Christ. We ask this especially for families, neighbors, co-workers, and friends we know (…).  Almighty God, we pray for churches in the greater OKC area, especially Midwest Blvd Christian Church, Mustang Church of the Nazarene, 1 st Nazarene of Yukon, and Nehemiah Baptist Church. We pray that their work, toil, patient endurance and rejection of evil would flourish; that they would not abandon their first love; and where they may have fallen into error or compromised with the world, that you would straighten them out and build them up (Revelation 2:1-7).   LORD, for thi

"Crazy Horse and Custer" by Stephen E. Ambrose. A Review

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  In good style Stephen Ambrose takes a moment in history and makes it readable, intelligible, and retainable. Written in 1975, the narrative is still relevant on so many different levels. It's not just about two fearless men, but a development of clashes and backgrounds through the decades up to the fateful moment, and a little beyond. Teens interested in history to the oldest adults will find it accessible. The two "downsides" to the book, for me, primarily relate to the author. First, the author seems to approach the Sioux with the "noble savage" mindset in the earlier chapters. That will begin to fade as he draws nearer to the clash at the Little Bighorn, but it's quite clear and obvious up front. Next, Ambrose's own social ethic comes out as he addresses Libbie Custer. He seems embarrassed that she didn't (or couldn't) become more, and was held back because the cultural customs of the day which he seemed to think pushed women back. In my min

"Joshua: No Falling Words" by Dale Ralph Davis. A Review

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  This is a 5-Star book by Dale Ralph Davis, now retired Presbyterian minister and professor of Old Testament. It's readable as a devotional work, it's scholarly for research, and it'll preach! The author's easy manner can almost be disarming because he doesn't slack off from the harder details. one who picks up this volume and dives in will not be disappointed, and will walk away with a better comprehension of Joshua, and greater appreciation for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Davis does a masterful job helping readers, teachers, and preachers grasp what's going on in the scroll of Joshua, and why it matters. He helps students to see the big picture of each section, and then draws their attention into the specific features of every episode. Afterward, he often turns the caring eyes of his searching analysis on the hearts and lives of those reading, until you come to actually believe that the scroll of Joshua is God speaking to his people in every age, ev