Guest Blog – I Am God’s Fruit Basket

avatarHave you ever lived a life so filled with pain and despair you begin to wonder why God would allow you to survive a lifetime of suffering? What did you do to deserve this pain? As Job cried out, “If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?” (Job 7:20) For me the irony dug deep as a man with bipolar disorder, over the years I began to feel the pull into ministry. It seemed ridiculous at first; that I, a man with so many issues, should become a shepherd of Christ. The words of James in particular become a stinging conviction; “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6-8)

I have often felt so blown around by the winds of my own mental instability that I’m simply incapable of connecting with God. So many times have I said, “”I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 10:1) How can one ever find meaning in all this mess?

Peter wrote to the church, “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.  As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2) To those that serve he said, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Whatever strength I have within me always feels insufficient for God’s service, but Peter here reveals the secret; “he should do it with the strength God provides.” God provides the strength to accomplish all things. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 is not merely a nice saying, it’s a spiritual truth.

One of those things God provided me was June Hunt’s Biblical Counseling Keys through WORDsearch. It’s a large index of articles that lead you through various hardships people go through in life, from Abortion to Worry. It can be a quick read that not only provides an accurate background into these conditions, but an excellent point for point analysis with scriptural support. It has been especially encouraging to me, as I find quite a few of these issues covered are ones that I struggle with.

It has helped form my identity as God’s fruit basket; afflictions can often become blessings. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) In the end this counsel has helped me come to terms with these afflictions and how they will complete my ministry. As James said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Michael Wright is a recent Magna Cum Laude graduate of Liberty University and longtime WORDsearch user. He currently serves in the Celebrate Recovery ministry in Spokane, WA. His blog can be found at www.thedubshack.net.

Staff Pick – Biblical Counseling Keys

BibCounsLibSEach week the blog will feature a favorite book of a staff member that’s available on WORDsearch.

Do you ever wonder…

Who is God?

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:10)

Who am I, and what is my true identity?

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

 Why am I lonely?

Question: “How can I feel lonely when I have Christ in my heart?”

Answer: It is not sinful to experience the pain of loneliness. In fact, it’s perfectly normal. We are made to have significant relationships with God and with others. When there is great loss or a great change in our lives, we experience great pain and stress. Even Jesus hurt when His friend Lazarus died. Tears are not wrong; they are God-given for healing.

What is true integrity?

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10)

Why does a good God allow evil and suffering?

“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10)

What does a real friend look like?

“Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself…. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.” (1 Samuel 18:1, 3)

What are the causes of fear?

“In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11)

June Hunt has a remarkable way of taking common struggles. She uses Scripture, outlines, bullet points, charts and illustrations to clearly explaining how to deal with them. She has real-life answers in titles such as God: Who Is He?, Mentoring, Self-Worth, Integrity, Pride & Humility, Communication and so many others.

I have personally turned to them in times when I didn’t know where to start and have always been encouraged, motivated and enlightened. This resource is truly a gold mine of information and a must-have for anyone living in the world today!

Erica has worked at WORDsearch for over nine years, and is currently an e-book developer. She loves God, spending time with her family and the Texas Longhorns.

Download The Biblical Counseling Library, usually $149.95, for $89.95 here.

Have you read a book that has inspired you lately? Let us know!

100 Ways You Can Help Hurting People

BibCounsLibS“I need your help and advice” is probably a phrase you hear often. People are drawn to you for help because you are involved in ministry and value the life-giving wisdom found in God’s Word. Today more people are hurting than ever before-and here’s a wonderful tool to help you offer hope to them.

Discover the Biblical Counseling Library by June Hunt
You’ll find it’s unlike anything else for helping you offer sound, biblical counseling to hurting people. 26 years ago, June Hunt founded Hope for the Heart Ministries. Ms. Hunt’s team of licensed ministers and certified counselors has identified 100 Key Counseling Topics, and published 3,000 pages of biblical and practical advice for overcoming these problems. In printed form, this library sells for $300. The WORDsearch price for this digital edition is regularly $149.95, but it’s on sale now for just $89.95Click here for more details. Or call 1-800-888-9898 and mention special offer 6696.

WORDsearch Makes it Even Better!
When the Biblical Counseling Library is in your WORDsearch library you’ll find it’s even more useful than the printed edition. You’ll be amazed at how fast you can find a wealth of biblical advice on any topic. With just a click or two of your mouse, you can print counseling guides or email excerpts to anyone.

Here’s how the Biblical Counseling Library Helps Heal Hurting Hearts
Choose any of the 100 topics, for example, anger. Each topic guides you along the same 4-point outline: Definitions allow you to fully understand the topic; Characteristics help you identify cues, symptoms and reactions; Causes help you find the sources of the problem; Steps to Solution offer practical applications and helpful encouragement. You’ll also discover that each counseling key provides a page of memory verses that are relevant to the topic. These memory verses can easily be printed out and cut into convenient, wallet-sized cards for either the counselor or counselee. Check it out by viewing this short video demonstration

Learn more about how the Biblical Counseling Library can assist you in your ministry. As a part of your WORDsearch library, this resource will cross-reference with many other tools you use every day. Just click here, or call us at 1-800-888-9898, and we’ll get you set up. Mention special offer 6696.

Anger, Fear, Loneliness, Addictions and Grief. These are just a few of the heart-wrenching problems people bring you every day seeking relief by way of your counsel. I’d like to invite you to try the Biblical Counseling Library today. Try it for 60 days and if, for any reason, you are not delighted, return it for a complete refund.