February 1, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

Someone asked me this question recently. I found myself trying to figure out what to say. We all know what love is, don't we … or do we? How do we explain and define it? What would you say? With Valentine's Day approaching, I think it is worth thinking about.

Irv and I showed a video clip to a couple recently on the subject of expectations. In the clip the wife came home from work on February 14th angry at her husband because she had not received flowers or candy at work like some of her female coworkers had. He assured her that he had a very big surprise waiting for her now . . . In the bathroom!! It was a brand new toilet with a big red bow on it!! Was she thrilled with her valentine gift? Not even a little bit. The point ...

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February 1, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

As counselors, Elsie and I know it is a big deal when people contact us for counseling. It takes courage and humility to reach out for help. Individuals and couples often face challenges that seem insurmountable. They need to hear objective, experienced, biblical counsel and that is what we offer.

We have been trained to be objective and look at the facts. We have been taught to be objective by keeping our emotions in check. We utilize objective assessments such as the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis and PREPARE/ENRICH and we gather facts upfront from the Personal History Questionnaire which is designed to save fact-gathering time in session.

Elsie and I are experienced. Both of us have been counselors in churches and agencies for ...

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February 1, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

In the ancient world walls were critical components to insure the safety of the occupants of a city. Some cities, such as Jericho, even had double walls with houses built into the walls (Rahab, the harlot's house for example). Walls were guarded by watchmen who alerted the city dwellers to invaders by blowing a trumpet. In fact God declares that watchmen on the walls who fail to warn the city of impending danger will be guilty before Him of the blood of every slain citizen of the city (Ezekiel 33:6). Walls were important for safety.  In order to conquer a city an invading army had to tear down the walls. This was a lengthy and complicated process often involving months of siege and the building of siege mounds and the use of ...

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February 1, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

Elsie and I approach couple counseling a little differently. We meet separately with husbands and wives to work on their individual issues before bringing them together for marriage counseling. In fact, premature marriage counseling can actually do more harm than good. We have found that to be the case with couples in conflict.

Often we’ve been asked, “How will you know they are ready to begin marriage counseling? What will tell you that sufficient progress has been made to begin seeing the couple together to work on the marriage? We look for several things: are the individuals faithful to keep their appointments and do the homework assigned? Does their spouse see observable changes in how their mate speaks, behaves, thinks ...

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January 1, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

People come for counseling often because they are struggling with a pattern of negative behaviors. They say they want to change but have difficulty doing so. Sometimes it is the strong grip of a bad habit and sometimes the habit has been tolerated and become a full blown addiction. The cycle is: sin-confess-repent-repeat. So how can the cycle be broken?

According to Oswald Chambers, “The battle is lost or won in the secret places of the will before God, never first in the external world. The Spirit of God apprehends me and I am obliged to get alone with God and fight the battle out before Him. Until that is done, I lose every time.” (My Utmost for His Highest, Classic Edition, December 27)

Breaking the cycle and winning the ...

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January 1, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

In the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is gifted with a huge suitcase from Mr. Gower so George can travel and “see the world.” Like George, whenever you or I take a trip we pack our clothes and toiletries in suitcases. When we return from our trip our suitcases are full of dirty laundry which must then be washed. Whether you call them suitcases or baggage, we all have them and use them whenever we go somewhere for more than a night.

There’s another use of the term baggage when applied to relationships. When two people marry they bring their emotional baggage with them into the relationship. Emotional baggage comes from our past, i.e things experienced in our families-of-...

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January 1, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

When Elsie and I were first married, I expected to handle the finances, after all, my father handled them for our family when I was growing up. The problem was that I wasn’t good at it. One day in prayer I was complaining to the Lord about the bills. The Lord said to me in His inner voice, ”Hey, I gave you a banker for a wife. Ask for her help.” I humbled myself and asked Elsie for her help in paying the bills. I have never regretted that decision.

Everyone has expectations. Expectations are ways we anticipate people or ourselves will behave or respond. Whether we are aware of them or not, we all have them. Where do expectations come from and how do they often hurt relationships? A primary source for our expectations is ...

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January 1, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

As a golfer who tries to get his money’s worth out of a course, I am quite familiar with the term “mulligan.” A mulligan is a second shot taken because the first shot went awry. It is meant to be a second chance to hit the shot better. It should not surprise you to learn that our God believes in mulligans. He gives second chances to His children.

Consider the plight of the Apostle Peter. Peter failed the test miserably. He had pledged his undying devotion and loyalty to Jesus. In Matthew’s gospel, Peter declares, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus challenges that grandiose gesture by telling him he would deny him three times before the cock crows to which ...

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December 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Like Elsie and me, many of you go to church on Sundays. We hear messages proclaimed from the pulpit but is your pastor great at preaching? How would you know? What are the qualities of great preaching against which to measure your pastor’s preaching? To find the standard for great preaching, let’s look to the Bible for answers. In Acts 2 we read of one of the greatest messages ever preached. It is the message preached by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost. Preaching to unsaved Jews from all over the known world, the Lord uses Peter’s message to save 3000 souls. It is an amazing message! It also gives us a model of great preaching seldom seen today.

Based on Peter’s Pentecost sermon, all great preaching speaks...

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December 1, 2019 @ 9:00 AM

Here comes Christmas, ready or not! I don't know why it always seems to catch me off guard. I depend on Thanksgiving to help me prepare mentally and practically for Christmas, but this year it feels like Thanksgiving got lost in the shuffle. It seems that we jumped straight from October right into the “Holiday” shopping season. The Christmas decorations went up, but the emphasis is not on Christmas. The emphasis is on shopping. Christmas and Thanksgiving are both getting lost.

We need Thanksgiving to help us prepare for Christmas in many important ways. We desperately need to have humble and thankful hearts. When did “Black Friday” become all about getting really good deals and shopping for ourselves? In fact, ...

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