Monday, July 30, 2012

Where the Mind Goes the Man Follows

   As I contemplated what to write about for this blog, the Lord kept bringing to my mind Proverbs 3:27, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." This verse tells us that what we think about will mold us into what we will become. Consider that God used His words to speak everything into existence; this is confirmation that the spoken word is a container of power. Therefore, if one allows oneself to think negative, worried, fearful thoughts, then one will become a negative, worried, fearful person. You cannot think defeat and expect victory. You can't think poverty, and expect wealth. You can't think the worst, and expect the best.

   In my own life I have struggled with being that bubbly, happy-go-lucky person who seems as if they don't have a care in the world. The truth is that my life has been hard; as a child there was much family dysfunction and as an adult I endured 19 years of domestic violence. (To learn more visit my website at

   The words that were spoken to me, by those who claimed to love me, had convinced me that I was those things they said I was (fat, ugly, stupid, and the list goes on). Breaking this mindset only happened when I found my identity in the One who knows me better than anyone. Now my identity is in my "Who," meaning Who I am in Christ; not in my "Do," meaning my performance, my being a "people pleaser." Not having an identity that says I'm okay as long as I can keep everyone else happy in my life.

   As I continue on this journey, I am learning to "think about what I'm thinking about." Often when my mood is unsettled, all that is necessary is to become aware of what I have had on my mind. Usually it is something that is negative and not beneficial to anyone. Renewing our thoughts by dwelling in His word is the only way to find victory over negative thinking. The more one studies the Word the more one will be able to recognize and then reject the lies Satan tells us.

   Joel Osteen has said in his book, Guarding Your Thoughts, "you've got to dwell on the positive and not the negative. Quit thinking about what you don't have and start thinking about what you do have. Quit thinking about what's wrong with you and start thinking about what's right with you. Quit thinking about how big your problem is and start dwelling on the fact of how big your God is."

   As I look back on where I was compared to where I am now, I know that "taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) has led me from being that broken person trapped in an abusive marriage to one who is now obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. This is not to imply that it has been easy. I was very intimidated to go back to college at my age. Satan frequently reminded me how terrible I did in my academic endeavors as a child. I've had to repeatedly tell myself that the Truth of God's word tells me that "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). Therefore, "I can do this." Choosing not to listen to those negative voices that told me I couldn't, I have to completely lean on God as he leads me into a life of purpose. Changing my thoughts, not permitting others or my life circumstances to define me, has brought about positive change.

   He will do the same for you. Meditate on His word, change your thinking and He will bring restoration and healing to your life!

Connie Hanten
Liberty University
New Hope Counselor Intern

Friday, July 20, 2012

Jesus: Example of True Discipleship

At His incarnation, Jesus was conceived just as the angel Gabriel had foretold Mary, "the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God."

The relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was unbroken throughout Jesus' life as He "increased in wisdom (in broad and full understanding) and in stature and years, and in favor with God and man" from that moment on. His constant fellowship in the Holy Spirit, with His Father, is prophesied by Isaish in chapter 11:

1 AND THERE shall come forth a Shoot out of the stock of Jesse [David's father], and a Branch out of his roots shall grow and bear fruit.

2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him--the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord--

3 And shall make Him of quick understanding, and His delight shall be in the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord. And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, neither decide by the hearing of His ears;

4 But with righteousness and justice shall He judge the poor and decide with fairness for the meek, the poor, and the downtrodden of the earth; and He shall smite the earth and the oppressor with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.

5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of His waist and faithfulness the girdle of His loins.

So the way of a true disciple is in reality Jesus, the Way, through His Holy Spirit!

Luke, chapter 4, shows us that at the moment John the Baptist was baptizing Jesus, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove alighted on Him, and then immediately "drove" Him into the wilderness to be tempted! Jesus passed that test by speaking the truth of the Scriptures in response to all the devil's wiles. His powerful demonstration as the prototypical Overcomer showed all of us His way: the perfect combination of God's word by His Spirit!

Jesus then returned to His hometown of Nazareth, to actually announce through the reading of the precise Isaiah 61 text chosen for that day, the arrival of His Spirit led, Spirit-filled ministry on the earth! He not only proclaimed the fulfillment of that prophecy, but also declared Himself wholly dependent on the anointing of the Holy Spirit:

1 THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

3 To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificient, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, and He may be glorified.

Jesus not only told us the way, but then entered into His years of ministry to show us the way. In choosing to live out these predictions to prove that He indeed is the awaited Messiah, He also gave us a clear example to follow. His instructions to His closest disciples and His teachings to the multitudes rounded out our picture of what discipleship in Jesus is really all about.

All of these texts pictured a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led life, showing us the presence of the Holy Spirit within the coming Messiah, and also previewed His qualities which would also be working within all dedicated believers.

As we read through each of these prophetic pictures of our Lord Jesus, we can discern which attributes were fulfillments of His specific ministry as the One like Moses sent to His people of Israel. We can also glean which aspects of Jesus' special spiritual anointing, are generally and genuinely available to every person who chooses to receive Him as Lord and His Spirit in fullness!

Following our Lord's example, we must also lay aside our natural abilities, so that we can walk out our destinies as His disciples, so that we may also bear the best fruit and give God all the glory.

Neil Uniacke, MC
Executive Director

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The last time I wrote on this blog, I wrote about my mother. It was close to Mother's Day, and I felt it appropriate to write my appreciation for Mom. Little did I know when I wrote that day, that I would feel compelled to write about her again today, though this time from a different perspective. Last month, Mom went to the hospital for internal bleeding. Since her stroke 11 years ago, Mom has had some off and on problems with this, due to the blood thinners she is on. She was in the hospital for nearly a week, and they were able to find the source of the bleeding and address that, but to do so, they had to take her off of the blood thinner. On June 23, Mom had several strokes which left her paralyzed on her right side and unable to speak in any clear way. She returned to the retirement home where she and Dad live, but now they have to live separately, as Mom had to go into the skilled nursing unit.

Now when we go to visit our mother, she is a shadow of what she was only a few weeks ago. I and my sisters and our families have all begun to grieve, as we believe Mother won't be with us very much longer. It's difficult to see Dad, too, as he adjusts to life without Mother, after nearly 67 years of marriage. He is grieving, too. It's a natural part of life, to grieve. Grief is an emotion we all experience as we deal with loss. For us as children of our Mother, we realize things will never be the same. Mother is in the process of leaving us, and we miss her already. Some of us have expressed anger that the doctors couldn't have done more to keep this stroke from happening. Others are in denial, thinking soon Mom will return to her normal self again. Slowly, I believe, we are coming to terms with the fact that Mother, barring a miracle, won't get better, and that we will have to learn to live with our loss.

It's good to be able to talk about our loss as a family, and talk with our Dad about his sense of loss. Keeping our feelings inside and pretending all is well is not a healthy response to loss. We are finding comfort in each other as siblings, our spouses, our children, and other close friends. And we are finding comfort and strength in our faith in God. We know that Mom is ready to go to be with Jesus, and though it will be a loss for us, we are ready to let her go.

Some verses that have brought a particular sense of comfort are from the Apostle Paul:

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly, we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16:18).

Tom Horst, MA
Marriage and Family Therapist

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Well-Watered Garden

During this time of year when many of us are gardening, God revealed some things to me about gardening that we can apply to ourselves. It is like we have a garden growing on the inside of us. Like with any other garden, flowers sprout up as well as weeds. We must pull out the "weeds" in our gardens. These could be things like negative thoughts, ill feelings, and desires outside the will of God. As we weed out our gardens, the flowers can blossom to their full potential. Our "flowers" include the talents, gifts, and abilities that God has placed within us.

When we have a garden, we nurture it. We take care to keep out anything that does not belong there. We need to keep the same thing in mind as it relates to the garden within. We invest so much into our gardens that we don't want to allow any old thing to come in and overtake them. What are some things that we wish to keep out of the garden within? They might include things that Satan uses to try to distract us from our purpose. As we take care to keep out what does not belong in our gardens, we are setting healthy boundaries also.

Just like with the garden in your backyard, taking care of the garden within is a process. We must water the garden on a regular basis. And, what is so great is that we don't have to go it alone. We are reminded of this in the following scriptures:

James 1:21 (The Message)
"In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life."

Isaiah 58:11 (New International Version)
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden..."

Ann Gantt, Ph.D., LCSW

Monday, July 2, 2012


     As we celebrate the Fourth of July let us remember those who have fought and who still fight to protect our freedom and to thank them for their sacrifices. How many times have we celebrated this holiday and forgotten who gave the biggest sacrifice for our freedom so we can live an eternal life with Him in Heaven?

     One of my favorite songs sung in Church around the  Fourth of July is "America the Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates. How wonderful to sing of God's beautiful world that He provided for us:
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
The beautiful colors and landscapes are nothing compared to the beauty of Heaven.

     Got not only "shed his grace on America" but on us by giving His only Son who died on the Cross for my sins and yours! I have difficulty even trying to comprehend it all. The sacrifice that God gave to save us from our sins is even greater than the heroes who have died for our country:
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
God loves us more than we can even imagine and because of that love he gave us His son to die on the Cross for our freedom, our Salvation.

     What sacrifices are we willing to make to help a stranger or someone we know? Are you up to the challenge to lay down your life for what you believe in? Let us show our grace this holiday to our fellow man as God does with us:
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

     Have a Safe and Blessed Fourth of July!

Elaine Campbell, MA