Monday, April 27, 2015

How Can Anyone "Delight in the Fear of the Lord?"

Part 7 – Growing to Understand Rightly the Fear of the Lord
As we come into some small degree of understanding the interaction between Jesus and the Holy Spirit in producing fruitful aspects and holy attitudes within ourselves, and in our relationship with God, we are challenged and compelled to desire those same things growing within ourselves, overtaking our own base human natures. 

A. W. Tozer helps us to begin to see how this can be experienced personally, by those of us who are becoming more and more intimate, adoring followers of Jesus ourselves, as we grow in Him:

When we come into this sweet relationship, we are beginning to learn astonished reverence, breathless adoration, awesome fascination, lofty admiration of the attributes of God and something of the breathless silence that we know when God is near.

You may never have realized it before, but all of those elements in our perception and consciousness of the divine Presence add up to what the Bible calls "the fear of God."...

There are very few unqualified things in our lives, but I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most purifying emotion the human soul can know.                                  (Whatever Happened to Worship? 30-31.)

This kind of godly fear is not at all like the panoply of unclean fears terrorizing many people:

1. Our focus is on our human condition, without leaning in confidence on true faith in the Lord God Almighty, who is love, and who loves us.                                                                                                    

2. Our fears are based on some unnamed perceived threat to our own existence, with or without knowing whether there are real enemies.                                                   

3. We walk through our lives, sometimes falling into those dark places, where we find ourselves obsessed with what could happen.                                                   

4. We begin to identify with, and to cope ineffectively with this frighteningly unbearable, palpable sense of feeling totally alone.                                                                                   

5. We perceive ourselves as without any protection from harm.                                          

6. We ultimately find that we are unable to defend ourselves from these unknown and unseen potential assailants.

Reverential and obedient fear of the Lord is a clean, full sensation, of ourselves personally and completely being in the presence of and intimately connected to God, drawn into a realm above and beyond our universe, and in fact, as the Bible says, “being found in Him,” the only One “in whom we live, and move, and have our very being!”

This conjunction of tremendous intimacy and connection, coupled with a sensation of the immensity in power, love, knowledge, and the very Presence of another Being, creates both a complete and unearthly fulfillment, along with absolute respect accorded from our innermost heart, through layers and levels that have become attuned to Him alone.

As John the Baptist so eloquently phrased in his statements concerning this reality, toward the end of his own ministry and his very life, while surrendering himself into the burgeoning new ministry and person of Jesus, rising up before him:

JOHN 3:30 He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease. [Jesus must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]                                               

31 He who comes from above (heaven) is [far] above all [others]; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and talks the language of earth [his words are from an earthly standpoint].                                                              

He who comes from heaven is [far] above all others [far superior to all others in prominence and in excellence].

Nothing in this universe is more fulfilling and exciting than:

·         truly experiencing the communion that we can have with Jesus
·         being enabled to more fully recognize and bow before His greatness
·         having the amazing privilege of  His permission given freely to come closer into Him
·         entering into an endless loving grace that is far above and beyond us
·         surrendering ourselves in adoration before Him with utter reverence
·         finding ourselves embraced and engulfed in Him
·         experiencing wave upon wave of purest joy and peace flowing through us
·         receiving a foretaste of never ending heavenly delight

Neil Uniacke

Executive Director

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's 3:00 in the Morning and I Can't Sleep

After reading Deb's blog last week, I decided to piggyback off of it. As I read it, I thought, "that's me." I have a daughter getting married in three weeks. She is trying not to turn into bridezilla and I'm trying not to turn into momzilla, but it is still a very stressful time. Deb talked about the Fashion Show and while she carries most of the responsibility, there is always last minute things that need to be done by me as well--mainly the seating arrangements that usually require juggling right up to the last second. There are some other changes happening at work that I am not looking forward to and my husband would like to purchase another property and I am dragging my feet.  When I wake up at 3:00 in the morning and think about all these things, I feel as though my life is spinning out of control.
On last Wednesday's "Our Daily Bread", the devotional was "Too Much for Me." A posting on their  Facebook page said that they had a tremendous response to this devotional. Why? I am convinced that almost everyone in the world feels overwhelmed many times during their life. We all have different problems and situations in life that seem unbearable. I feel guilty at times, because when I hear of peoples sufferings in other parts of the world, or of someone dying of cancer, or of the death of a young child, my problems seem minor and I think I need to just shut up and be extremely thankful for the life I have. And I am thankful, but I still feel suffocated at times with the things that I am dealing with.
I know that life has its ups and downs and I know that my life will probably get a little easier after the wedding is behind us. The other things that are worrying me will also be resolved in one way or another. After things have settled down a bit, new concerns and fears will be on the horizon because that is just the way life is.
I find great comfort in knowing that although my life (and others) can seem like a roller coaster, God is the rock Who never changes. I don't know what my future holds but God knows and I trust Him. I love the phrase that "Our Daily Bread" ended their devotional with:

"With God behind you and His arms beneath you, you can face whatever lies ahead."
Mary Lehman


Monday, April 13, 2015

It's 4:30 AM Saturday Morning and I Can't Sleep

My mind is spinning. I feel like I am in a storm with giant waves crashing over me. I may be about to sink. I cry out to Jesus and ask Him to calm me through this storm. I know He is in the midst of this storm with me, but for now I am afraid.

I think over the past weeks. A beloved volunteer passed away very unexpectedly. I miss Rose Mary. Tuesdays are not the same without her. The Fashion Show is coming up on April 23. This fundraiser that we put on through the Community Closet and New Hope Community Life Ministry takes a lot of work to put on. There are many details. And, as the one who oversees the event, I wonder if everything will get done. Between the details for the fashion show and the details for work, I was feeling overwhelmed, but I was keeping my head above water. I could do this with God's help.

And then came Monday and the announcement that the assistant manager was giving her two week notice. All of a sudden, I did not know how I would handle hiring someone on top of everything else. All of a sudden, I could not do this at all. God would have to take care of things.

As I went through the week continuing to take care of details, my time with God each morning became more important than ever. Different scriptures came to me that gave me hope. Friends encouraged me that it would all work out. I took the time to relax and get a pedicure.

But, then came Saturday morning and I was awake. I talked to God, and somehow I fell asleep again. I even slept late that morning.

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but God will be hemming me in. I need to keep my eyes on Him, and not on my circumstances. I need to rehearse the truth of Scripture. And, I let music soothe my soul.

I have always loved the song "It Is Well." I love the story behind the song. And, now there is a new version of "It Is Well" sung by Bethel Music that I also love. This song speaks volumes to my weary heart and soul. I hope you will let it minister to you as well.

Deb Riddell
Closet Manager

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Risks and Benefits of the Therapeutic Journey

           In my last post, I suggested that good therapy is a relationship that promotes “the making of good connections in all directions” (Dr. Robb Palmer, Evangelical Seminary, Myerstown, PA). What might that definition of health suggest as goals or desired outcomes of therapy? What factors impact outcomes that can be expected from therapy? Could therapy make things worse? Just what are the risks and benefits of therapy? Those are all important questions to consider. Developing clear goals and expectations will help you make the most of your time and resources in therapy. In therapy, as in planning any journey, it is important to begin with the end in mind.
Desired destinations:
            Therapy typically involves reaching at least one of the following three destinations: 1) a place where you are better situated to cope with unsolvable difficulties; 2) a place where you are better situated to reach a solution to solvable problems; and/or 3) a place where one is better situated to participate in vitalizing relationships. Therapy might help you to develop strategies to cope with the unchangeable, to develop new ways of finding solutions, and/or to develop fuller self-knowing of how you can participate more fully in vitalizing relationships. The distance to the destination varies case by case, as does the pace of progress towards one’s destination.
Hazards and Roadblocks:
            In the course of therapy, additional emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and/or relational difficulties or challenges related or unrelated to the your initial reason for seeking therapy (the presenting problem) may manifest and complicate treatment of the presenting problem. Your presenting problem might not only fail to improve but might worsen as a result of therapy, if underlying challenges or difficulties manifest in the course of therapy. The therapist has an ethical obligation to make appropriate referrals should difficulties arise that lie outside the scope of the therapist’s expertise or exceeds the therapist’s competence.
            Most therapists belong to professional organizations that offer guidelines for their practice. You might want to explore the website of the NIHM (the National Institute for Mental Health), the APA (American Psychological Association), the NASW (National Association of Social Workers), or the AAMFT (American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy), to learn more. A number of training programs equip mental health professionals. New Hope counselors are not medical doctors.
            Therefore, if for example, the therapist were to suspect that emotional or cognitive difficulties might be the result of an underlying medical condition, then the therapist might question the benefit of therapy since the therapist suspects the client needs care beyond the scope of the therapist’s practice. The therapist would recommend a medical evaluation. Whether or not a medical evaluation affirms or denies the therapist’s suspicions, the client may undergo distress unrelated to the client’s initial reason(s) for seeking therapy.
            Yet, the fact of the therapist-client relationship implies a duty to care, and therefore the therapist acting in good faith must make such a referral, when there is reasonable evidence of its necessity (in the above case, such would very likely include the results of a mental status exam). There are numerous scenarios wherein problems related and unrelated to the presenting problem exacerbate a client’s presenting problem, and the therapist welcomes clients to discuss with the therapist concerns regarding the risks and limits of treatment at any time.
Aaron Arnold
Counselor Intern