#1 - Joe's testimony on dealing with depression.
I went through a long period of depression in the late 1970"s. Only now,years later as I have learned to see more of the "big log" in my eyes rather than the "little splinter" in others eyes, have I gained some understanding of the hows and whys of my depression.
I was under a lot of financial pressures, did not have a regular job and was being greatly criticized by my family and friends. I lost energy to work. My thinking processes slowed down. I neglected my faith commitments and began to blame others for my failures. I became preoccupied with my own needs that I thought were not being met as they should be. I became very discontented with life and complained to all who would listen. My problems increased along with my discouraged mood. I avoided confronting my problems and became bitter, as I blamed others for my circumstances. I seemed unable to complete simple jobs.
I excused my anger and indulged in self-pity and had "pity parties" for 'me', 'myself' and 'I'. I envied and resented others success. I was too prideful to humble myself and ask for help from others. I tried to deal with my problems in my own strength but found I want not strong enough to overcome them by myself. Instead of dealing with my problems, I turned my back on them and tried to avoid them by escaping into fantasy.
I am older and wiser now after having learned the hard way what I should have done then but did not, because I was too childish and immature to do at the time. I lacked the character of self control, patience, persistence and forgiveness. Instead I was impulsive, impatient, angry, unforgiving and quit easily or took the easy way out when the going got rough. I quit trying and gave up and turned to easy non-productive solutions to my problems that only made matters worse and not better.
Depression, disgrace, pain, suffering, and disaster followed my foolishness and began to drive me back to my faith and need of outside help. I was a slow learner, due to my being stubborn, prideful, unforgiving, and resentful. I had to learn the hard slow painful was to start taking responsibility for my actions and quit blaming others and circumstances for my problems. I had to learn to seek help from above to help me change my foolish ways. I learned wisdom by reading the "Good Book" and slowly and increasingly applying its truths to my life. Bad habits were hard to break and took time and hard work to overcome. I had to forgive and forget what others had done and said to me. I worked to clear my conscience by making it right with those I had wronged. I sought the fellowship and counsel of older and wiser people as I admitted my helplessness and need to change.
The years have passed and I am no longer depressed and have slowly learned and changed, even though I still have a lot of changing to do. My faith is much stronger and I am learning more and more to be patient, forgiving, persistent and control myself.
Sharing what the Lord has taught me through: His Word, my mistakes, failures and successes and 47+ years as a Biblical counselor.
Look for my short daily morning Bible counseling messages on my Facebook Group and timeline.
The Good News of the Gospel is: Jesus suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin (and remove the guilt of anticipating sin's punishment & secure forgiveness) & was buried & raised on the third day and so gained a place in heaven for His people (I Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 4:25; 5:1). Repent and trust in Him today! (I John 1:9).
#2 - A member of an Evangelical Presbyterian Church sharing what the Lord has taught me through:
His Word, my mistakes, failures & successes and 47+ years as a Biblical counselor now retired.
Look for my daily morning Bible messages on Facebook and Timeline. (Keeping it short, simple and Biblical).
My Dad, Paul Sturz, often reminded me "Joe, always get the Gospel in."
So the Good News of the Gospel is: Jesus suffered and died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin and was buried and raised on the third day and so gained a place in heaven for His people (I Corinthians 15:1-4; Rom 4:25; 5:1).
I am praying in the name of Jesus Christ (John 16:24) that those of you that read this will receive the
Holy Spirit's power to find freedom from your bondage to sin through the crucified and risen Christ (I Corinthians 15:3-4; Titus 3:5-7),
repent of your sin, receive His forgiveness (I John 1:9).
Then trust in Christ (Romans 10:9-10, and live for Him (Acts 1:8; Romans 8:11)
faithfully attending a Bible believing church. If you have already received Christ but are not living for Him like you should then now is the time to repent of your sin of backsliding and rededicate your life to Him.
#3 - WHAT IS YOUR WORLDVIEW?
Ideas have consequences. Our faith assumptions determine how we interpret all that we encounter in life which in turn affect how we decide and act and react. All of us develop views of the world based on what we believe about the nature of: God, man, truth, authority, and the after life.
our churches and political parties there are two basic sets of faith assumptions that are in conflict and are polarizing our nation more and more.
These two viewpoints are here described as the Christian liberal socialist and the Christian conservative worldviews. A person may hold to one or the other or an inconsistent combination of the two.
The Christian liberal socialist faith assumptions are basically:
l. People are born good and /or neutral and are a victim of their circumstances and/or shaped by their environment.
2. A utopia is possible through bigger government owning much or all property and distributing it equally.
3. Truth is relative depending on each person’s personal standards--there are no absolute standards of truth for all. Standards and their laws must change with the times and cultures and findings of science.
4. People are accountable only to themselves and/or the state not to a Holy God with absolute standards,.
5. All people are going to oblivion or perhaps a heaven no matter how sinful they are in this life as there is no eternal punishment.
The Christian conservative basic faith assumptions are based on the traditional understanding of the Bible:
1. Man is born a sinner (proud, selfish, rebellious, lazy, lustful etc.., and reaps what he sows unless God intervenes with Salvation and a changed heart).
2. Utopia, however, (men living in peace and prosperity) is not possible until Jesus establishes His millennial rule, but the most practical economic system that has proven to provide more wealth for more people including the poor is the free market capitalistic system. This system is based on the invisible hand of providence working in millions of transactions daily between buyer and seller that constantly reward the honest and hard working and penalize the lazy, greedy and inefficient. This takes place under a limited government that protects the freedom and private property of individuals instead of oppressing them and taking what they have.
3. Truth is absolute and unchanging. It is rooted in God's holy character and summed up in the Ten Commandments. The countries that have incorporated these into their common law system and obeyed them have prospered more than the other countries that have followed false religions and the law systems based on their false religions. To the extent that men become self-governed under God's law they have been under the rule of law and not under the rule of dictators and man's changing laws.
4. All men are important not only because they are created in God’s image (not evolved from the slime by random chance) but all life is important and meaningful and has purpose because all men will have to give an account of their thoughts, words and deeds, as well as of the stewardship of their private property to God on Judgment Day according to His commandments.
5. Jesus spoke more about eternal punishment than He did about heaven. He made clear that those that break His Commandments and reject Him and His Word cannot and will not go to heaven but will have to reap what they sowed.
Those that repent and accept Christ’s death on the cross for their sin and live according to His Law Word will be accepted into heaven to live eternally with Him.
Where do you stand? Have you ever though about which viewpoint you hold? Ideas have consequences.
Joe Sturz www.sturzchristiancounseling.com
#4 Abraham & the Covenant for the Faithful.
God made a covenant with Abraham that included a land, descendants & universal blessing (Genesis 22:17-18). These are all connected to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 8:56). These three elements had & have spiritual as well as physical implications. These included the promise of:
--many physical descendants that would develop into nations (Genesis 17:5) & include Jesus Christ Who was in the line of Abraham (Matthew 1:1-17; Rom 9:4-5), spiritual offspring as Abraham would be the father of the faithful to the Lord. There would be many who were physical descendants of Abraham but not spiritual descendants (John 8:39; Romans 9:6-8;). The true children of Abraham are those who have faith (Galatians 3:6-9) in Christ (Galatians 3:26-29),
--a physical land where his descendants would find physical rest from their enemies (Joshua 24:13-14) & a spiritual promised land of rest that the followers of Christ would be led to in the presence & fellowship of God (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4) that would be ultimately found in heaven (Revelation 21),
--his descendants would be a blessing to the whole world (Genesis 12:1-3) which would be realized in Abraham's ultimate descendant of promise Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:13-14).
So will you join me in becoming a spiritual son of Abraham, finding rest & fellowship with Jesus Christ in the promised land of blessing & passing on the blessing to those around you? (Matthew 11:28; Hebrews 4:7-12). Listen for His call.
#5 TULIP Salvation's Three Basic Views Simplified
There are only three basic views of what the Bible teaches about how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit works out our salvation in His covenant plan of redemption. I have worked out my own understanding of these basic views in a very simple way as follows:
--our first parents fell into sin in the Garden (Genesis 3) this had the effect on all their children to follow of:
(1) not affecting all their children to follow because they are not born sinful but born neutral and influenced by circumstances to be good or bad,
(2) being born sinful in part but their will still free to choose,
(3) being born with a sin nature that included a will that was in bondage to their sin nature and only able to make sinful choices.
--God the Father responded to man's fall by looking down through history and seeing:
(1) each child born work out their own destiny of being good or bad,
(2) some born that would eventually choose to accept Him and He chose them for salvation,
(3) no children to come of Adam and Eve would choose God but all would go astray so God the Father had to choose some for salvation or else none would be saved.
--God the Son responded to the fall by eventually coming to earth and shed His blood on the cross to:
(1) set a good example for all and all would go to heaven,
(2) give a blood sacrifice that was limited in power in that it did not actually save anyone but only put salvation within reach of all that heard the Gospel. And only those that would choose to reach out and take it for themselves and hang on to it would go to heaven,
(3) the blood sacrifice was not limited in power but in scope to save only those God the Father chose for salvation. And only these would accept Christ as their personal Savior and be kept by God to go to heaven.
--God the Holy Spirit responded to man's fall by coming to earth and working to:
(1) help all people who would eventually wind up heaven,,
(2) prepare people that heard the gospel to be able to make a choice to accept it or reject it,
(3) give a general call to all who heard the gospel who would all reject it and then begin to give a special call to regenerate those God the Father had chosen and God the Son had sacrificed for.
--and so the destiny of people is determined by:
(1) people free to make good and bad choices but God will bring all to heaven in the end,
(2) people and only those that freely choose to accept Christ as their personal saviour and keep themselves with Him will go to heaven,
(3) God who brings only His chosen people that are regenerated and enabled by the Holy Spirit to accept Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord and then kept by the Lord go to heaven.
So let us search our Bibles to see which of these things are so (Acts 17:11). "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15).
Brother Joe "growing in the Word" Sturz Thursday, October 31, 2019 www.sturzchristiancounseling.com Facebook Group Twitter YouTube Sharing what the Lord has taught me through: His Word, my mistakes, failures and successes and 47+ years as a Biblical counselor.
Look for my short daily morning Bible counseling messages on my Facebook Group and timeline and share them with your friends.
Note: All Bible teachers assume knowingly or unknowingly some mix of these views using Scripture they feel backs up their position. The first position is growing in many Christian seminaries. The second position is very popular among christian evangelicals of all kinds and is ably defended at www.evangelicalarminians.org
The third position is held by evangelicals that are Reformed and can be further researched at www.monergism.com I pray that God will use this so that you all will grow in your understanding of God and His Word. In Jesus Name (John 16:23-24).
#6 Story of the Covenant of Redemption Described From a Human Viewpoint
No one knows for sure exactly how a personal infinite God set up His covenant plan of salvation except through some of the scriptures that allude to it such as Psalm 2 and 110.
The illustration I am about to share is one that caught my attention in a Reformed Theology book that I have reworked and paraphrased somewhat crudely myself.
When God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (see “us” Genesis 1:26) created our first parents and put them in the Garden of Eden they were innocent and had free will to choose to obey or disobey God.
Our first parents fell into sin and disobeyed God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit then had a conference (Ephesians 1:3-11) to see what this would mean.
They looked down through the history of mankind and saw that all the descendants of Adam and Eve would be born in sin (selfish, prideful, rebellious, etc., and separated from God (Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:23, Galatians 5:19-21).
That all were going to go astray and none would seek after God (Isaiah 53:6. God realized that the human race was lost and doomed unless He did something.
God the Father was the first to act. Even though all were to reject Him and deserved no mercy and He was not obligated to save anyone yet He had an election. He went through the great mass of mankind and chose for Himself, according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:5, 11), a special group to show His love, mercy and compassion on. His mercy begged that all mankind be pardoned and His justice demanded that all be punished for disobeying God and breaking His commands. In His foreknowledge, He chose (elected 1 Peter 1:1-5; John 15-16) as many as was consistent with both His justice and mercy.
In the planning discussion of the Trinity, God the Son may have spoken up, saying something to this effect: “Father, this special group you elected (chose) (1 Peter 1:2-4; Romans 9:11; 11:5-10) is just as wicked, if not more so than the other group. Your justice would be violated if you only punished one group and let the other group go to heaven without being punished. I will come to planet earth and be crucified for the sins of the special group (Acts 2:23-25). Let Your justice, wrath and hatred of sin be taken out on me when I am executed on the cross. That way your justice will be satisfied and You can show mercy on the elect without violating Your justice.”
In this same planning discussion of the Trinity God the Holy Spirit may have spoken up and said something to this effect: “Wait, God the Father, it is not enough for You to choose a special group to show Your love, mercy and compassion on. It is not enough the Son will come and die on the cross to pay the penalty Your justice demands for their sin. But this special group must be born all over again ( renewed, regenerated, Titus 3:5) given a new spirit, one by one. They must be adopted into Your forever family (Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5). They must learn to be more and more like the God the Son (2 Corinthians 3:18) in a Bible-believing Church (Hebrews 10:25), and be gotton ready for heaven in persecution, suffering and trials (James 1:2-12). I will come to planet earth and effectually call the elect into Salvation.”
In the fullness of time Jesus came and was executed on the Roman cross to pay the penalty for the sins of God the Father’s chosen people(Matthew 27:26-38). At Pentecost (Acts 2:41-47) God the Holy Spirit, continued to call sinners into Christ’s kingdom in a much larger and dramatic way.
God the Son knocks at the door of the human heart (Revelation 3:20) Some think behind the door of the human heart is a weak feeble man (the “old man” of Romans 6:6) barely able to go over and open the door and let Jesus in. But this “old man” is described as spiritually “dead” (Ephesians 2-1-3); “blind”, “deaf” (1 Corinthians 2:14); “deceitful” (Jeremiah 17:9); in ‘bondage to sin” (John 8:34), etc.. Obviously the “old man”, the sin nature we are born with is not able to choose to open the door. How then can I open the door of my heart to let Jesus in?
The miracle of Lazarus resurrection from the dead is an illustration of how the Holy Spirit works in the Salvation of the sinner. Jesus at the command of the Father ordered Lazarus to rise up and come forth out of the grave. The Holy Spirit breathed on Lazarus the breath of life and he came forth. This is a picture of the process of Salvation. When God the Father has planned for a sinner to be saved He sends someone to share the plan of Salvation and while the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for sins is being described, the Holy Spirit breathes on that spiritually dead listener the breath of life and regenerates his human spirit (Titus 3:5). The new man in Christ, just renewed by the Holy Spirit, hears the Gospel, and begins to repent of his sins and trust Christ alone for his Salvation. He thinks he has just found God, when in reality God has found him! He did not choose God until the Lord enabled him to.
Whosoever will may come(Revelation 22:17). Unfortunately none will come unless the Lord raises them up to be able to choose Him.
Has the Lord already called you to Salvation? Do you hate the sin you used to love? Do you like to fellowship with Christians and appear different to your old worldly friends? Has your thought life changed from self-centered, lustful fantasies to enjoying scriptural thoughts? Do you resist temptations now that you used to enjoy? Are you putting off sinful habits and putting on righteous habits? Do you desire to read the Bible and understand it more? Are you seen at church rather than your old haunts. When you sin does it bother you and you want to repent or do you just hope no one has seen you?
If you are already a true born-again Christian then these truths will grow into reality more and more in your life. If you have never really surrendered to Christ and received Him into your life but want to repent and trust Him then the Holy Spirit could be breathing spiritual life into you right now.
#7 Thanksgiving List of Mine
God forgive me for thanking You so little and taking Your many gifts for granted. Help me this thanksgiving season to praise and thank You more. (Psalm 34:l).
Thank You Lord for giving me the gift of true repentance for my sins and trusting You alone for my salvation. and giving me a new abundant life (John 10:10). It is Your keeping power that keeps me on the straight and narrow path of righteousness (1 Peter 1:5) and chastising me in love when I stray (Hebrews 12:6-7).
Thank You for being raised in a Christian home by loving parents that taught me Christ’s way by their example and made me go to Church. (Deuteronomy 4:9-10) Their example is still with me.
Thank You for my loving spouse that has stuck with me through the hard times as well as the good times (Proverbs 12:4; 18:22, Ephesians 5:25) and my children that helped me learn to give. (Psalm 127:4-5; Proverbs 17:6).
Thank You for my grandparents and aunts and uncles that encouraged me by their hard work and Christian example and prayed for me when I was growing up.
The Blessings of Friends
Thank You for the treasure of close friends that comfort and correct me when I need it and pray for me always. (Proverbs 17:17).
Blessings of Personal and Ministry Gifts
Thank You for my health, talents, education opportunities, work opportunities, and the Holy Spirit’s grace of character. The Holy Spirit is building in me self-control to help me overcome laziness and so make progress in service to You and to my neighbor. (Luke 11:13; Galatians 5:22-26).
Thank You for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that enable me to minister Your saving and healing truth and power to the lost and hurting. (Romans 11:29; I Corinthians 12). Thank You for the resources to help the poor and the needy. (Proverbs 11:25; 22:9)
Blessings of Open Bibles
Thank You for the free access to Your Word to study and grow in understanding each day. Thank You for the wonderful Christian books and Bible study materials that enrich my studies so. The great Bible preachers and teachers at my fingertips to help me see more in Your Word than I ever thought was there, as the Holy Spirit illuminates my understanding.
Blessings of Church and Outreach Organizations
Thank You for my church and the elders that teach, support and oversee my spiritual growth. (1 Corinthians 12:25-27). Thank You for Your discipline that has taught me to stay faithful in church and not to stray away.
Thank You for raising up the Christian organizations that I am in that help me to minister to You and my neighbors Your love.
Blessings from Pain and Suffering, Trials and Tribulations
Thank You for the hard lessons I have learned in trials and tribulations (James 1:2-4)
Thank You for the divine delays that taught me to grow in faith in Your total control and promises. Thank You for the wonderful deliverance that followed.
Thank You for letting my sin and the foolish mistakes that I sowed reap chastisement and wisdom from failure.
Thank You for the valley of humiliation that provided the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work patience, long suffering, self control and humility in me. (Galatians 5:22) Qualities I greatly lack.
Thank You for allowing me to share in the fellowship of Your suffering. (Philippians 3:10)
Home and Possession Blessings
Thank You for my comfortable home (John 19:27) and things that You helped me accumulate over the years. (James 1:17) Thank You for the resources and helping me to be a good caretaker and make needed improvements. (Matthew 25:14-29)
Blessings of a Peaceful Land of Freedom and Opportunity
Thank You for the Holy Spirit providentially helping Christians to settle this land and pay the price for my freedom so that I could have greater opportunities to serve You and my neighbor. (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Blessings of Machines, Tools and Technology
Thank You for giving the creativity and wisdom to scientists that study Your creation and its great order. Thank You for helping inventors and manufacturers to develop machines, tools and technology that multiply my time and productivity in Your service. Thus enabling me and others to fulfill Your cultural mandate to be fruitful and have dominion by subduing and cultivating the earth. (Genesis 1:28).
Blessings of the Blessed Hope
Thank You for the steady growth in numbers and influence of Your church despite internal corruptions and external persecutions. (Matthew 28:19) Thank You for the steady advance of Christian civilization among the heathen tribes in country after country. (Isaiah 9:7) (Matthew 13:31-33). Thank You for the progressive defeat of Your enemies as I look for Your Return in complete victory. (Titus 2:13) (Revelation 19:11-21; Matthew 25:31-46)
Finally, thank You for who I am as a Christian and where I am and for all I have and have accomplished because it all comes from You. (1 Thessalonians. 5:18).
So let us all think and pray about making a Thanksgiving List.
Brother Joe "praying my thanksgiving list" Sturz Sunday, December 1, 2019 www.sturzchristiancounseling.com Facebook Group Twitter YouTube
Sharing what the Lord has taught me through: His Word, my mistakes, failures and successes and 47+ years as a Biblical counselor. Look for my short daily morning Bible counseling messages on my Facebook Group and timeline and share them with your friends.
To be able to truly thank the Lord this Thanksgiving season you must become a Christian. You become a Christian by believing in Jesus Christ the God man (John 3:16) and the saving work He did shedding His blood on the Roman cross (I Corinthians 2:2; 15:3-4) as the only way to God and His heaven (John 14:6).
Jesus suffered and died on the cross to take the holy God's just and fair punishment due the sins of His people and remove their sinful guilt.
Therefor satisfying the Holy God's justice and allowing Him to be merciful and forgive their sins without violating His justice. God then raised His Son Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day showing His acceptance of His Son's sacrifice in their place and so secured for them a place in heaven (I Corinthians 15:1-4, 12-24; Romans 4:25; 5:1).
Confess to God the Father and turn from your sins and accept His Son Jesus Christ's person and work for you personally and receive His forgiveness (I John 1:9).
Now you will want to Live in obedience to Him and His Word: active, serving, and accountable in a Bible-believing church from now on (John 8:31-32; Hebrews 10:22-26). Beginning a thank filled life of living for Jesus Christ.
-----------------------------------Joe Sturz www.sturzchristiancounseling.com Brother Joe "a spiritual son of Abraham" Sturz
ww.sturzchristiancounseling.com Facebook Twitter YouTube
Sharing what the Lord has taught me through: His Word, 45+ years as a Biblical counselor, my mistakes, failures & successes. Remember the Gospel: Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin & rose again from the dead to secure a place in heaven for His people (I Corinthians 15:1- 4).