Saturday, December 31, 2016

“Just a Little More....?”

Are you struggling today to be happy and content? What more do you think you need to change this? “Just a little more good,” says the unhappy one; “just a little more gratitude,” says the happy one. The only thing better than being blessed and loved by God is to enjoy these blessings through thankfulness. Blessings Surround Us Daily All around us each day, God offers relationship with us through demonstration of His goodness: the warmth and nourishment of the sun, the satisfaction and sustenance of a good meal, the restoration of a night's sleep, the offer of help from others in meeting a need.  God blesses us with a boss that developed a company where we can earn money. God blesses us with people who raise animals and farm produce, people who then transport it to local stores, followed by people who then stock store shelves so you can purchase and take it home to eat. Then God directly blesses us through the miracle of digestion and sustains our life. We do not realize just how much God's expressions of goodness surround us each day. All these are from a good God, who through them calls us into relationship with Him.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits. Psalm 68:19  
He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else…. He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  (Acts 17:25-27) 
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.  (Psalm 34:8) 
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23)
Every morning is filled with evidence of God’s offer of relationship through demonstration of His goodness. Consider this. You wake up on a Saturday morning and take a warm shower after sleeping on a soft bed in a climate controlled home. You then sit down to a hot cup of coffee and toast that you prepared using electric appliances empowered by the discovery of electricity, all designed to make your life more pleasing and convenient by a good God. At your fingertips is anything and everything you could desire to read, watch or listen to through a very new invention called the smart phone. All of this given for your greater enjoyment in life. Indeed our life is filled with good things from a good God who is saying, “I have been good to you, let's have relationship.”
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. (1 Tim 4:4)
Blessings Surround Us Eternally

So much good and yet we have only been considering the temporal. What about the greatest expression of God’s goodness and offer of relationship through Jesus Christ?
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.  (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Ephesians 1:4 says God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ!  Though we are surrounded daily by countless physical blessings, as good as these are, they are but a small taste of the best. They are temporary, pointing us to the greater. Ephesians 1:3-14 gives a list of some of these indescribable spiritual and eternal blessings and privileges that are ours through the work of Christ. I call them the “divine diamond ring”, for each one reflects another amazing facet of the riches that are ours in Christ.  He “predestined us” in Christ ; he “adopted us ” in Christ; he “redeemed us through His blood” ; he “forgave us all our sin”; he “made known to us the mystery of His will”; he “sealed us with the Holy Spirit”

Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, Psalm 103:2-5

Who Could Ask for More?

With all these physical and spiritual expressions of God's goodness surrounding us, inviting us to draw near for relationship, why do we ever grumble and complain about the disappointing situations and relationships? I ask this question not to minimize the severity of the trials you and I face, nor to pretend that we will somehow attain perfection in our ability to “rejoice in the Lord always.“ Rather, I ask these questions to emphasize your and my need in discouraging seasons of life and relationships to remain more aware of the good we have than the good we wish we had. Is it not true that if we took inventory we would always find that, no matter how bad our present circumstances are, we always have more to be thankful for in Christ than to complain about.  

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:4,8

Thankfulness is a spiritual trait that develops contentment by mentally focusing on all the good and the givers in your life. However, complaining is a sinful trait that is instinctual to fallen mankind. It requires no effort, only a tough circumstance or relationship. We believe if our outer man had more good, our inner man would have more joy. We tend to think, “If only I could get a little more love, respect, time, money, communication from others, then I would be as happy as other blessed people”? We tend to think, “If God would only improve my health and finances, then I could really enjoy life like other blessed people”?  But the truth is you and I will only find the joy we seek as we turn “just a little more good” to “just a little more gratitude.”

So begin today to develop what you need most - thankfulness. Each time your heart complains today about something or someone, call to mind three temporal and eternal blessings you already have and give thanks to the givers - both God and others.  May the Lord open our eyes as we give our effort.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Get Hundreds of Free Counseling Resources

Our vision as a ministry is not only to provide biblical counseling, but provide resources that will equip in biblical change and counseling. We seek to bridge the sufficiency of Christ to people in need through counseling, training and resources. Over the years we have developed hundreds of resources used in helping people overcome depression, anger, anxiety, conflict, etc. These resources have been tools that the Spirit of God has used to minister the Word of God to people in need.

Because of our vision, we have decided this year to make available to you at no cost all items in the LCBCC Online Counselor Resource Center.
  • Access 500+ documents on any smart phone, tablet, or computer
  • Designed for locating biblical change resources for personal or counseling help
  • Includes articles, assignments, and outlines on hundreds of topics

Access All Resources Though Our Search Bar
To access the Counselor Resource Center click here. Create a feee user account. Login. You will then see a few assignments and folders on the page. But you can access hundreds more simply by using the search bar. The search bar is tied into the entirety of our online resources. Type in the search bar any topic you are hoping to find a biblical article or assignment that facilitates biblical change. Click on the assignment you want to access. Print or email it to yourself or a person you are trying to help.


Example Resources


May the Lord use these this year to advance biblical transformation in and through you. If you or someone you know need counseling please click here.  We offer onsite as well as online counseling and training.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Before Attempting Reconciliation (Instruction & Assignment)

by Tim Bryant This is sample instructions and assignment that I send to two people in conflict before I get started intensively counseling them in biblical reconciliation. The assignment included often helps the two people in conflict get properly and quickly oriented for the Lord to do a work of reconciliation in their relationship.

Dear

I am contacting you in hope of leading you through a biblical process of seeking unity with one another that will lead to: 1) God deepening his work of change in your lives, 2) God glorifying Himself in those changes to one another, and 3) God making your fellowship with one another encouraging and enjoyable and edifying.  Sanctification and transformation into the likeness of Christ is never completed until heaven, and disagreements and conflicts in relationships are opportunities for each of us to see how to deepen that work.

I want to make it clear that the success of this entire process is dependent on two things: 1) God revealing Himself and His thoughts about the conflict to you; and 2) You responding to this direction by making necessary changes that honor Him, reflect Christ and draw the other party to desire to reconcile.

In the many opportunities I have had to help people reconcile, I always have done my best to not "take sides" but to rather fear the Lord - for in the end we give account to Him, not to one another.  He is our only lasting reward and consequence. So I am going to do my best to listen and direct you to first evaluate yourself before Him and His Word to see if you can see anything that you need to admit or confess that you have done in the conflict that has not pleased your Lord. Matthew 7:5 is clear that this is our starting point.

In order to do this I am wanting you to answer two questions below and email your answers back to me.  But Before you answer the questions please listen to the first 2 sessions from the 8 part seminar on "Unity in Conflict" and begin working on the assignments given.  This seminar is foundational in the process I will be taking us through, so I will ask you listen to the entire set by the time we finish our attempts at reconciliation.  (It includes 8 audio sessions and student manual, You can find this at our media web store (click here)  If costs are a problem, let me know and I will work around that.)

I am praying for you and as soon as I receive all of your answers, I will be in touch to talk through your answers.

Your brother,

Tim Bryant

Two Questions Before Reconciliation Meeting Please keep your answers to no more than 2-3 paragraphs of no more than seven sentences each.  Too much information is too much at this point.  It is important that you write clear and efficiently so that we can make the most of our time.  Make sure, however, to write at least two paragraphs for each question.  Not enough information is not good either.

1.   Read Eph 4:15; Prov 18:17; 1 Cor 4:5; Eph 4:31; Eph 4:29.  Describe the common situations or most recent situation that has hurt, offended, or provoked you to lose heart and have conflict. Do this as objectively as you can without attacking any involved.  What were your major concerns with this person’s actions or words.  We must remember that as we clarify our concerns God desires our motivation to primarily be love for God and the person (Eph 4:15). To help us with this God gives us specific instructions. When addressing a concern of another we are commanded : 1) to be factually objective (Prov 18:17); 2) to not judge their motives but rather the pattern of behaviors - trusting God to reveal the heart (1 Cor 4:5); 3) to not slander by adding to the story or by vilifying everything about the person (Eph 4:31); 4) to not attack the person by calling names or by only criticizing and not recognizing their strengths or good qualities (Eph 4:29).

  • (Eph 4:15 NASB)  but speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ
  • (Prov 18:17 NASB)  The first to plead his case seems just, Until another comes and examines him.
  • (1 Cor 4:5 NASB)  Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.
  • (Eph 4:31 NASB)  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
  • (Eph 4:29 NASB)  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
2.  Read Eph 4:1-3; 1 Pet 3:8; Rom 12:17-18; James 4:11; Matt 7:1-5, Rom 14:13.  Now describe your actions and words (i.e. response) that have been most upsetting to the other person and displeasing to God.  What do you think are his/her major concerns with you and your actions that your Lord agrees with according to scripture?
  • (Eph 4:1-3  NASB)   Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace(1 Peter 3:8 NASB) To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
  • (Rom 12:17-18 NASB)  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. {18} If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
  • (James 4:11) Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
  • (Mat 7:5 NASB) "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
  • (Rom 14:13 NASB)  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.
(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

ENTIRE "UNITY IN CONFLICT" COURSE NOW AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

“BECOME A PERSON OF SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE”
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and
manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every
place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being
saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death
to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16


Would you like to learn to be a Christ-like peacemaker not a peace-faker? If you are in conflict with another person – your spouse, child, or another family member, a co-worker, a neighbor, a brother in the church – there is a way to approach them without ignoring, attacking or pulling away.


“Unity in Conflict” contains biblical conflict resolution tools that have motivated and guided many people, especially married couples, in conflict to experience God-given unity. By working through these eight lessons, you will learn to draw near to Christ and His mind, as you learn His way of dealing with strife in relationships. You will learn, like Him, to offer peace and unity in relationship without compromising truth. As a result you will experience the inner peace of Christ and become an instrument of peace in the hand of your Savior to those who tempt you to fight and quarrel. The Bible will be opened as God’s Spirit persuades you more deeply in the truths
of Biblical peacemaking.

Tim Bryant


Audio 1 – It Only Takes One
Audio 2 – Examining Your Concerns
Audio 3 – Examine Your Heart
Audio 4 – Examine Your Circumstances
Audio 5 – Humility in Conflict (Pt 1)
Audio 6 – Humility (Pt 2) & Sacrificial Love in Conflict
Audio 7 – Speak the Truth in Love
Audio 8 – Involving Others in the Conflict

In another article I have included a sample letter with an assignment that I send to two people in conflict before I get started counseling them. To read that article click here. The assignment I include does indeed often help the two people in conflict get properly oriented to see the Lord begin a work of reconciliation right away.


Friday, July 29, 2016

The First Conflict by Tim Bryant

Have you ever spoken an unkind word to your spouse? Has your spouse ever acted unkind to you? Have you ever been drawn into saying or doing something wrong in your marriage after your spouse said or did something wrong to you? Have you ever stopped to consider that when wrong actions and reactions in a relationship go unresolved, they are the cause of relational trouble and can lead to destruction? The Bible calls all these wrong actions and reactions sin because they are not only offensive to a spouse, but to God.

I wish I could say that such wrongs have never happened in my marriage, but the truth is, I have sinned against both God and my spouse. And, at times, my wife has also sinned against God and me. It has been my experience, both in my own marriage and in the many I have counseled, that the real problem in marital conflict that must be dealt with is our sin against God. 

The first married couple to experience conflict was Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3). Satan tempted Eve to disobey God. Eve disobeyed God and tempted Adam to do likewise. Adam was drawn into Eve’s sin and chose to disobey God. Adam then sinned against Eve by blaming her for his sin. Sin complicated everything. Their sinful actions and reactions to sin created conflict in their marriage. Their sin against God both wronged one another and hurt one another. And if they had not first sinned against God they would have never sinned against each other. Oh, how you and I need to understand this.

Since the very first marriage this principle of sin has been at work destroying unity and stealing closeness in all marriages - including yours and mine. We sin against God before we sin against our spouse. We offend God before we hurt our spouse. Sin against God always precedes sin against others. This is why the greatest command in the Bible is actually one and the same - “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This is why our greatest need in our marriage is an improved relationship with God. 
When we fail to love and respect God with all our heart, we will eventually fail to love and respect others as we ought. David after committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed said in Psalm 51:3, "Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight." David committed at least two major sins that caused major human pain, yet the painful sins against man are eclipsed in David's mind by sin against God. This is evidenced by David saying these sins of murder and adultery are sins against God and God only. This means all sin against others are primarily sin against God that was revealed as sin against others. There are many other passages that reveal the truth that all sin against others is sin against God - Leviticus 19 [14] You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. (The reason a person would do such a cruel thing to a dead or blind person from a biblical perspective is because they do not fear and respect the Lord as He deserves.) Romans 3:23 makes clear that all sin is defined as falling short of the glory of God. Hebrews 4:12 says that all sin is laid open and bare before the one whom we have to do. Nothing we do to one another is wrong unless God's law is broken - the law of love. Nothing we do to one another is wrong unless it is a transgression against God. Jesus took this to a whole new level when he said, "As you have done it to the least of these my brethren you have done it to me" (Matt 25:40). Amazing. If we remember this in relating with our spouse and one another, we would have far less conflicts and sin toward one another. James says in 4:4 says that conflict with one another is adultery to God - a clear lack of love for God. Ephesians 4:29-30 connects speaking disrespectfully toward another person grieves the Holy Spirit - a clear disrespect for His work in your life. Indeed, if we keep our love and respect for God strong, we will not act unloving and disrespectful to others. 

Since 2003, as director of Lowcountry Biblical Counseling Center, I have had the unfortunate experience of witnessing many ways that spouse’s sin against each other. On the other hand, I have also been blessed to see many of those typical patterns of sin change because each spouse was humble enough to see and focus on their need for change more than their spouse’s need for change. That’s humble.

At the following link you will find some typical ways married couples sin against one another: Common Areas of Sin in Marriage & Change Journal. (See the Counselor Resource Center for all our assignments)
I have broken these common sins down into six main categories.  Seek to be humble enough before the Lord to see your own sin.The first step in successful marriage counseling, the kind that will positively affect unity and avoid destruction, requires at least one person to accurately assess and acknowledge specific sins against their spouse and then be motivated to change because this sin is sin against God.

May the Lord help each of us to build our marriages and help other marriages build (and in some cases rebuild) in a God-centered manner. May He give us grace to to see our root problems as first of all a problem in our relationship with God "with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13). We need a growing love and respect for God leading to a growing love and respect for the spouse He has given us.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Watch Video from "Parenting by Faith" Session: Prayerful Dependence


BY TIM BRYANT
Ephesians 6:1-4 tells us the goal of parenting is to bring children up "in the Lord". This means not only teaching our children to obey the Lord but to have a heart for the Lord whom they obey. The right goals for our children can be heard in David, a man after God's own heart, as he speaks to his young son Solomon on his deathbed (1 Chronicles 28:9), “"As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind.”   As parents, we must continue to evaluate our goals in light of the reality of God or we will be influenced by the world to go after that which is passing away. Yet, we also must remember even with the right goals, apart from the Spirit's influence upon our child's heart, our labor is in vain. We must combine right goals with prayerful dependence, Psalm 127, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”

If you would like to watch the entire 8 part Parenting training series, please email us at training@lcbcc.org or message me on facebook (click here). These are all part of our complete ACBC certified training.  May the Lord use this to instruct and inspire you in Him to greater fullness and fruit in Christ.