Reach Out!

“It is not necessary to be a professional in order to counsel another Christian. There are a number of passages in which the Scriptures call every believer to counsel.”   -Jay E Adams, founder of the Biblical Counseling movement in an interview with Table Talk. “I have covered these passages in several of my books, such as A Theology of Christian Counseling and How to Help People Change, but here I would mention just one: Colossians 1:28—where believers are encouraged both to teach and counsel (in some translations, the Greek word noutheteō—used there—is translated as “warn”) one another.

The only professional known to the Scriptures is the pastor and the other elders of the church who, especially, are summoned to this duty,” Dr. Adams continued.

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/competent-counsel-interview-jay-adams/

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.”  Colossians 1:28

In my last blog, I argued that the volunteers in Conquering Life Prison and Recovery Ministries (CLPRM) are not professionals but are just a group of folks who are on a noble quest to help those suffering from the voluntary slavery of addictions overcome their problem through Biblical means.  http://www.clprm.org/about

There is a lot of Biblical teaching and admonishment going on at CLPRM events, such as the Friday night Conquering Addictions meeting at the Christian Life Center in Bensalem, PA and the monthly Saturday night coffee houses.

http://www.clprm.org/recovery-ministry/

The Bible has all the answers, all the solutions for personal problems. God knows you. After all, He created you and knows what makes you tick better than any shrink. We become dysfunctional when we don’t follow God’s rules – when we don’t obey his commands, including our addictions in one form or another.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1: 3-7

To learn more about the blessings of following God’s word, read Psalm 119.

When you don’t walk with the Lord, in the light of his word, you find darkness, death.  http://levittownnow.com/2018/08/27/second-man-facing-charges-after-overdose-death-of-woman/

It’s gruesome stories like the one about the young woman in the story who died in her home from an overdose that is the raison d’être for CLPRM.

Are You Out of Order?

Bi Polar, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Substance Abuse Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other disorders – are all labels arbitrarily put on people by modern psychology. Maybe these psychobabble believers could combine them all and just put an “out of order” sign on people.

These labels trap people into assigned behavior that they are sentenced to for life. They are a caste system, where once you are in a particular place in life you are stuck there. There is no room for change. By the modern psyche standard, if you sprain your leg, then you are stuck with a sprained leg the rest of your life. May as well tell someone who sprains a leg that he has sprained leg disorder.

People can be changed. Human problems are rooted in sin, which drives bad choices in life. If you get right with God and walk in his ways, you’ll be changed into the way God created you. Dysfunctionality happens when we stray from God’s ways. The Bible is sufficient to handle all human problems of the heart. The holy spirit gives you the power to restore your mental health.

In his book “How to Help People Change”, Biblical Counseling movement founder Jay E Adams lists four steps: Teaching, Conviction, Correction, and Disciplined Training in Righteousness. First, you must learn the right Biblical principle, be convicted if your behavior does not match the Biblical standard, then repent of your sin and God will forgive you. You don’t stop there but start practicing righteousness – behavior that pleases God.

Bi polar disorder is a spiritual problem and the way you are brought up fosters this problem:

https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-does-the-bible-teach-about-bipolar-disorder/

Among the folks who go to the community meals for the homeless and those in need over the years in Bucks County, PA, I’ve found that people who have problems who have attended the secular Penndel Mental Health Center, with its legal dope and psychobabble tended to get worse, whereas those who found Biblical counsel did much better.

In Levittown, PA, churches run meetings with Biblical solutions for personal problems, such as drug addiction. At a recent meeting held at Oxford Valley Chapel, modern psychology labels were refuted as being pagan, which does not help people.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

 Do not be like the horse or the mule,

    which have no understanding

but must be controlled by bit and bridle

    or they will not come to you.

Many are the woes of the wicked,

    but the Lord’s unfailing love

    surrounds the one who trusts in him.

 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!

-Psalm 32: 8-11

The Pastor and The Shrink

In an episode of the old Soupy Sales Show, a man knocked on Soupy’s door and exclaimed “Hey buddy, you have to help me; my wife thinks she’s a tree!” Soupy replied “Why don’t you take her to a psychiatrist?”  As the man pulls a tree past the door, he says “come on, dear.” 

The conventional wisdom today is that when people have problems, the talisman to resolve them is the shrink. Have a problem, take it to the shrink.  

“Mental illness” is a misnomer perpetrated by secular psychologists. “Organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders validly may be termed mental illnesses. But at the same time a vast number of other human problems have been classified as mental illnesses for which there is no evidence that they have been engendered by disease or illness at all,” wrote Biblical Counseling Movement founder Jay E Adams.  In his seminal book, Competent To Counsel, Dr. Adams challenged churches’ practice palming off people with problems to secular psychiatry and psychology. 

https://www.allaboutworldview.org/christian-psychology-and-mental-illness-faq.htm 

Back in 1931, an American businessman with a major problem with the bottle was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year and stopped the problem drinking. It wasn’t long before he relapsed. When he came back to Dr. Jung, this shrink told him that he was a nearly hopeless case and advised the businessman that his only hope might be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. He did. After attending meetings of The Oxford Group and having convinced the root of his problem was sin, he fully recovered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous 

The Oxford Group 

Originally a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, the group was founded by a Lutheran minister who had had a born-again conversion in 1908 in a chapel in Keswick, England. Dr. Bachman, the minister, summed up the group’s philosophy: 

  • All people are sinners 
  • All sinners can be changed 
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change 
  • The change can access God directly 
  • Miracles are again possible 
  • The change must change others 

The Oxford Group preached that addictions are a result of sin, and that confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness is what will enable people to overcome their addictions. Addictions such as alcohol and drugs are not a disease, a problem that we just “catch” but are a matter of choice. Only God can allow addicts to gain control of uncontrollable lives. 

Besides the legal dope that harms “patients” dished out by shrinks that causes physical harm and masks the root of the problem, the lack of absolute truth and conviction of sin replaced by psychobabble prevents people from overcoming their problems.  

It was broken people who went to groups in the vein of The Oxford group that help reform, again, churches that became institutional, just a shell that had little fidelity to scripture, dead to the word of God.  

Without absolutes, it might be considered normal by today’s standards to believe you are a tree. 

Jesus and Depression

Seemingly out of nowhere, it hit! Saturday afternoon a dark, deep depression came over me. I was overwhelmed with sadness, crying, and felt like I being pressed down into a pit of quicksand. My head hurt. To relieve the physical symptoms, I drank a cup of coffee and took some aspirin.  

Distraught, this problem needed immediate attention, so I texted my pastor. He empathized with my depression and understood why it was happening. Although it seemed to come on suddenly, my mentor and true friend explained that my depression did not come out of nowhere, but that my brokenness after being hurt was festering but now God revealed it, and I cried out to God for His help to deal with it. 

God delivered me from the pit of depression in short order. Jesus healed my hurt.  

I remember the lines from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus“, an old hymn that touched me about four years ago after I had turned away from God and was broken, hurting. 

Oh, what peace we often forfeit 

Oh, what needless pain we bare 

All because we do not carry 

Everything to God in prayer” 

And the line “Jesus knows our every weakness” tells us that Christ is with his children. He understands our weakness and hurt. And he heals us 

After I heard that song four years ago, this Prodigal Son came home. And I don’t want to leave home again! 

As bad as I felt on Saturday, I didn’t go to the ER or even think about starting to see a shrink. I called on the pastor, who referred me to God. By Sunday, it was as if nothing had happened. I needed no anti-depressants, which I believe, in the long run, do more harm than good. As father of the Biblical Counseling movement Jay E Adams wrote in “How to Help People Change”, drugs that allegedly resolved problems such as depression just mask the hurt. Depression is like the “check engine” light in your car that alerts you that something is wrong and has to be fixed.  

I paid attention to the check engine light and was referred to the master mechanic to repair the problem. I can better see that the idea that God can handle our problems is not just theory; it’s fact! 

Of course, as with our cars, we need regular maintenance with God by praying, reading the Bible, singing praises and through individual worship and with the assembly of saints (going to church, etc.)  “As iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17 

 

Got Milk?

Asking druggies to turn in their drugs is like telling people who came into town in the wild west to turn in their guns to the sheriff. To cowboys, a gun was an indispensable tool for self-defense and it was always by their side. Likewise, drugs are an indispensable crutch for dopers who, like Gregor in Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” don’t want to face the world.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Metamorphosis

People hooked on drugs are just like a girl who can’t say “no”. They can’t say “no” to drugs. Why do you think they call it dope? Oh, I shouldn’t say that; it would hurt the snowflakes’ self-esteem.

You mean that humans actually have a will? A choice? What a novel idea!

“Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” Psalm 32:9

In an interview on ligonier.com, Pastor and Christian counselor Jay E Adams explains the problem of the idea of self-esteem:

TT: How has the emphasis on “self-esteem” impacted the church, and how should Christians respond?

JA:The emphasis is not biblical; consequently, wherever it is touted it has affected the church adversely.

The emphasis upon sin in a Christian’s life and the need to deal with it as God’s Word requires, in many places, has been replaced by teaching that we are better than we think—when just the opposite is in most cases true.

I have dealt with the topic at length and demonstrated how far-removed it is from a biblical view in a book titled The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, and Self-Image.

In order to provide a base for such teaching, the Bible—and even the gospel—have been distorted. For instance, Jesus speaks of two commandments: to love God and neighbor; thus, the emphasis on self-esteem directly contradicts Him.

Moreover, God’s grace in saving miserable sinners has been replaced by heretical teaching, such as saying that it is because we are so valuable that Christ came to redeem us. Not all who hold self-esteem views go so far, but many do.

We need to have a biblically based view of our true position in Christ in order to have a biblical perspective on ourselves.

Trying to deal with the opioid epidemic, which some consider a national emergency, people are blaming it all on the drug pushers and drug companies, when the real reason is that we pushed out God. Druggies are made victims.

A breath of fresh air: At an event at the Heritage Foundation Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said it’s important to “reestablish the view that people should say no to drugs.”

In Levittown, PA, the alleged emergency shelter has a waiting list. Why? Because of the cockroaches who don’t want to face the world, many come from the recovery houses and, like the drunks, go in and out of the shelter’s revolving door – in and out of what has become a flop house for dopers and drunks. People who are just homeless, and just need a place to stay have to live with criminals and may have to deal with harassment, theft and even violence. I got word that one of the women who mugged a homeless woman had stayed in the shelter but was said to have been living in the woods outside the local tech school. The other is wheeling around at large. To my knowledge, neither have been arrested for the mugging. One of them is allegedly a druggy and the other a glutton.

Druggies, enabled by the establishment, who tells them they are victims of a disease called “substance abuse disorder” are as cavalier about scoring drugs as people are about buying milk.

Got milk?

What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?

“What shall we do with the drunken sailor?” is a simple question to answer. Just “put him in the guardroom until he gets sober!” Other questions, such as what shall we do with the high druggie and the homeless are not so simply answered. Today, these questions are treated like a rhetorical question (for those of you in Doylestown, one that doesn’t require an answer), as, for example, when Jimmy Ruffin sang “what will become of the broken hearted?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vf3ZE7CLg0

The drug epidemic and homelessness keeps lingering on. The drug problem keeps getting worse because people fighting it, especially the government, has made it more complicated than it should be.  This must be by design. As a guy who recently successfully kicked his toxic habit on his own said, “there are recovery and treatment centers that can help people quit using drugs — in fact, it’s a multibillion-dollar industry

http://levittownnow.com/2017/07/07/do-it-yourself-detox-can-be-freddy-krueger-scary-and-usually-fails/

There’s a long waiting line to get into city and state funded drug rehab programs and they are expensive.

The establishment and some of the dopers kin weave a tangled web to explain the problem but they deceive. One thing they got wrong is that the problem is all the drug dealers fault. They think if all the drug pushers are rounded up the problem will be solved. Another thing they got wrong is when they say drug abuse is a disease and it can be treated with just the right drugs, err… medications.

A better way to address the problem is to stop treating a druggie, in the words of Curly of The Three Stooges, as “a victim of soy cum stances.”  It’s a matter of the will.  People make excuses to not face the world and choose to escape through drugs.

The trick is to get to the root of the problem, whether it be drugs, booze, anxiety…   After I lost my job and had other problems, I suffered from anxiety and depression. I allowed myself to be roped into treatment at the Penndel Mental Health Center, Penndel, PA.  I was put on Paxil. It made me worse! My hands started shaking almost more than they did when I thought we took a direct hit when I was passing up ammo at the bottom of the gun chain on a destroyer when I was in combat in Viet Nam. The difference is on the destroyer my hand tremors lasted just a few minutes, whereas my hands shook almost constantly when I was on Paxil. The clinic and someone in the mental health industry who went to the Salvation Army Community Center, Levittown, PA told me it was OK – it just takes time to break in.

After a few months using the legal dope I stopped cold turkey, and suffered withdraw.  My near constant hand shaking abated and I kicked that bad habit.

I found a simpler way to deal with my problem.   I did some research and found that dark chocolate does the same thing as Paxil and more, and with no fear of withdraw. Kava tea is a natural relaxant, and, like dark chocolate, if you use moderation there are no ill effects.

Problems such as anxiety and depression is not just a matter of physical, medical symptoms. It’s also a result of the way one thinks. Knowing that God watches over you and that you have His guidance is the way to fight problems such as anxiety and depression. It’s a gradual process as we try to match His will with ours. When we do we are on the road to recovery as we become restored to the way God made us.

Three and ½ years after I got really messed up – not a result of drugs or alcohol, and after letting the Lord direct my paths, my condition improved. I got back on the right path. I have to just look in occasionally to see what condition my condition is in.  Yea, oh-O Yea…my condition was in.

As a result of churches passing on their responsibility to help people with problems to worldly psychologists and psychiatrists, Jay E Adams started the Biblical Counseling Movement.  https://revolfaith.com/2014/12/05/the-biblical-counseling-movement-origins-and-philosophy/

People become homeless for different reasons. Not all of them are there because of a drug habit. Homeless people are just a microcosm of society. Today’s drug epidemic hits all communities, not just the homeless. Some druggies just happened to slip into the homeless community.

To resolve the homeless problem, one obstacle to overcome is hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. Hobophobia permeated the meeting held at the Church of The Nazarene in Burlington Township, New Jersey between the Citizens Serving The Homeless and the local community back in February when they discussed the plan to build a homeless community.

Locals at the meeting feared the homeless going through trashcans, panhandling, attacking people, and generally problems as a result of drug addiction. Here’s a link that sheds light on who the homeless really  are:  http://citizensservingthehomeless.org/myths.html

Where ever you have people you have problems, and the homeless are no exception.  Anyone who comes to the shelter who has a substance abuse problem will be ministered to, like everyone else. Citizens Serving The Homeless will need to provide adequate supervision for them. They are not just going to build a flop house but I trust they will protect the community from problems.

Drug abusers, the homeless and those helping them need to trust in and follow God. His precepts are the model we need to follow to help one another.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  –Proverbs 3: 5-6

There Is Hope

In my last blog, I addressed how a message I found in Charles Keating’s Dealing With Difficult People translates to behavior I found in Bucks County, PA.  In the book, Keating quotes an “expert” who says that “…accurate, objective but unfavorable perceptions may be less desirable for many good relationships than inaccurate but favorable perceptions. Most people want to be accepted for what they would like to be, not for what they really are.”

The philosophy of thinking of yourself as being better than you really are is harmful to society and to the way we relate with others. Inflating yourself seems to mean a lot in today’s society. The problem with that is that you don’t see yourself realistically. It also hurts you.

The philosophy of not seeing yourself for who you are for fear of damaging your self esteem is one of the reasons I didn’t pursue a potential job counseling at a methadone center where I worked decades ago. The counselor at the clinic who tried to recruit me as a counselor presented material that said the patient should not be told that his problem was a result of him being bad. This was said to be detrimental to recovery. It knocked pastors telling people that they have a sinful nature.

At my 40th high school reunion, I learned about many classmates who died from drug overdoses, many who had gone to that methadone center for treatment. Evidently, the center’s ideas don’t work.

There is hope. If you are sick, the doctor has to find the problem. Once the malady is found, you can find the cure and get better. This works the same with our minds, which affects behavior. Substance abuse and other behavioral problems are not a disease, except in the metaphorical sense, but, like a physical disease, if you have the right remedy, you can be restored. Not quick as a wink will you be in the pink, but changing thinking and your ways, recovery, happens gradually over time.

In an interview with Tabletalk, Christian counselor and pastor Jay E Adams discusses how the concept of self esteem affects us:

TT: How has the emphasis on “self-esteem” impacted the church, and how should Christians respond?

JA: The emphasis is not biblical; consequently, wherever it is touted it has affected the church adversely.

The emphasis upon sin in a Christian’s life and the need to deal with it as God’s Word requires, in many places, has been replaced by teaching that we are better than we think—when just the opposite is in most cases true.

I have dealt with the topic at length and demonstrated how far-removed it is from a biblical view in a book titled The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, and Self-Image.

In order to provide a base for such teaching, the Bible—and even the gospel—have been distorted. For instance, Jesus speaks of two commandments: to love God and neighbor; thus, the emphasis on self-esteem directly contradicts Him.

Moreover, God’s grace in saving miserable sinners has been replaced by heretical teaching, such as saying that it is because we are so valuable that Christ came to redeem us. Not all who hold self-esteem views go so far, but many do.

We need to have a biblically based view of our true position in Christ in order to have a biblical perspective on ourselves.”

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/competent-counsel-interview-jay-adams/

The problem when we focus on ourselves is that the needs of others become subordinate to us. This is why so many marriages and other relationships break down. Humans are not perfect, and when others fail us, we need to fall back on our commitment to others, which may include self sacrifice.  Theologian Cornelius Van Til was known for holding  tenaciously to the faith, not yielding to doctrine that lacked fidelity to scripture.  After years of fighting for the faith, often going against the grain, he got married. When he was asked what he needs to do to have a good marriage, Dr. Van Til said he needed to learn how to yield. http://www.theopedia.com/cornelius-van-til

The first step in the Twelve Steps program, which has historically been successful, is to humble yourself and admit you have a problem. http://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/about-us/twelve-steps

Once you acknowledge the problem, you deal with it then move forward.

Substance abuse is not the only thing that causes problems. People harbor resentment, which is a problem I’m working on, they have anxiety and depression, which I’ve also been working on. Gluttony, lust and other problems are things that get us out of whack, not the way God created us.

We humans have fallen –we all have baggage. Some carry different kinds of baggage and some carry more than others.  In any case, God can restore us to the way He made us.

One thing I, for one, need to remember, is the following words of wisdom:

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others”.  -Colossians 3:13

Faith in Action

In my last blog, I addressed the smiling faces that say they help the homeless but really don’t.  Today’s blog is about the people who genuinely help the homeless.

At last night’s community meal for the homeless and needy, a friend who has been having a battle with the bottle told me that he got into a program at a local church to help him overcome his problem.  The community meals are more than just bread, by which alone they don’t live. Other churches in Bucks County, PA are helping people become whole, fulfilling their mission to minister to them and point them to God, which helps them tap into the power to restore them to His image.

Substance abuse programs are just part of helping others. The concern shown to others, especially the homeless, making them feel accepted, the kind word, the right thing said – good examples that reflect Jesus, all contribute to helping people.

Making people whole is not a formula; results are not usually instant. It’s not like a science project, where kids make a volcano out of paper machete, dump in some baking soda and add vinegar and red die and voila! You have lava gushing out.  Usually, when we try to help people, it just plants a seed, which later may sprout.

The homeless are just like other people, who have various problems to different degrees. The friend who recently told me he’s getting treatment is not homeless. People become homeless for different reasons. Substance abuse is just one of many reasons.

It should be no surprise that, with our exploding drug problem, that many of the homeless are refugees from the inordinate number of recovery houses in the lower Bucks County. It’s like the thrill up on the hill that Fats Domino sang about, where “people come from miles around…” The druggies end up in Levittown and vicinity and blend into the homeless population.

One drug addict in particular I believe bypassed the recovery house. He’s now in a place that will help him, far away from Levittown, where a relative told me he is doing well in recovery and even has a job. His relative told me that his family wondered if he’d ever get straight, and asked him to try to turn him around.

It was at a community meal where one of the hosts ministered to the man – one on one for much of the meal. The guy was distraught, mumbling about needing to get treatment. Sometime thereafter, I ran into him when I visited another friend at a local short term treatment center. He appeared to understand the seriousness of his problem and told me he plans to “get with the program”, which he did.

The host who ministered to the man was glad to hear that he was getting his life together – getting straight. He didn’t set off a volcano; he just planted a seed – which sprouted and is growing.

The homeless themselves help one another. Rather than believing malicious gossip, some of the homeless comfort and encourage one another and help each other with mutual concerns. At, what else, a community meal, a homeless guy told others at our table that he needs a job. A guy at our table pointed to two guys who work at a place that is hiring, and that one of them is a foreman. I don’t know if he followed up on the lead, but it was an opportunity he learned about at the meal.

People of faith who attend the meals minister to each other. They encourage one another to realize that God has solutions to problems. Pastor and Christian counselor Jay E Adams boldly stated “I don’t care what problem you face; it has no power to defeat the cross of Christ.”
Jay E. Adams, How to Overcome Evil

The church is an alternative to government intervention. As I’ve said in previous blogs, secular psychology, for example, Penndel Mental Health, doesn’t work.

It’s good that churches in Bucks County and some Christians in general have been reaching out to genuinely help the homeless. This may be a shock, especially to you in Doylestown, but the government and psychobabble doesn’t resolve problems. Nor does treating the homeless like pests who are clandestinely, constructively pushed out, help the homeless.

Here’s the skinny on the church’s role in helping people:

http://www.christianpsych.org/wp_scp/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/dp220-2.pdf

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

-Galatians 6:9