Friday, September 22, 2017

Counselor's Corner: You Will Know Them By Their Fruits

We all have difficult people in our lives. As a Christian, it can be challenging to know how to cope with a difficult person-especially if they are a Christian!

A difficult person can be defined as one who repeatedly causes harm to self or others, takes little or no reasonability for their actions or lives, expects others to fix, solve, rescue, or help continually, they are not genuine but are known to be dishonest or not trustworthy, and uses manipulative tactics to gain what they desire.  A difficult person may talk a lot about what they are going to do, but you rarely see evidence of their talk turning into action. Difficult people rarely keep their word. You learn not to expect anything from the difficult person because they are not known for keeping promises.

A difficult Christian can be the fore mentioned listed and as well as have “bad fruit.” You will know them by their fruits they produce. The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of righteousness in terms of the character we have and the way that we live our lives. In contrast to the fruit of the spirit, the Apostle Paul listed the opposite kind of fruit people can produce, calling these “works of the flesh,” these include: adultery, fornication, lewdness, uncleanliness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, dissensions, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelries and the like.

We are responsible to produce the fruit of the spirit in our lives (joy, peace, love, long suffering, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness), but we must also be responsible to discern the fruit produced by others.

How do we avoid judging another wrongly? We evaluate the consistent actions in a person’s life.

Jesus warned us to put people to the test by examining their actions. Jesus told us not to just pay attention to people’s words, but look at how they live. If we look at the actions of the difficult person or people in our lives rather than their words alone; we may not get misled!

Jesus dealt with many difficult people while on earth. Jesus was never prideful or superior, but He showed authority under control. Jesus dealt with difficult people by rebuking some, remaining silent when needed, pointing some to scriptures, and trying to teach some.

 Do you have anyone difficult in your life, perhaps a difficult Christian? How do you deal with that difficult person? Do you tend to be persuaded by people’s words or do you observe their behavior?

Should you continue to allow the difficult person in your life or should you step away for a time and let them go into God’s capable hands?

Some questions to consider…

1.      Have you been attempting to help the difficult person in your life repeatedly either through finances, teaching/guiding, or rescuing from their consequences? The key word is repeatedly. There is a time to help but if the helping becomes chronic or the help never really helps, it is time to stop!

2.      Do you tend to get agitated, frustrated, tense, or stressed when dealing with the difficult person in your life?

3.      Do you lose your peace quickly and end-up with feelings of regret because you lose your peace with the difficult person in your life?

4.      Do you struggle with guilt, condemnation, or feel manipulated by the difficult person in your life?

5.      How is your life better because the difficult person is in your life? In other words, do they add value to your life or take away value?

6.      Does the difficult person in your life take from you instead of the relationship being reciprocal? Is the relationship one-sided? It is okay to help someone who is down on their luck for a time, but if the helping becomes a pattern and the relationship is now one-sided; it is time to reelevate the relationship.

7.      Has the difficult person in your life continually broken your trust and they would like to automatically gain your trust without consistent behavioral changes? Trusting someone with a history of breaking trust without first seeing the evidence of their changes, would be unwise and foolish. My recommendation is for someone with repeated cycles of difficult behavior, to allow at least a full year of observing their actions (not words) to determine if the relationship can be safe for you. In the meantime, make sure you have truly forgiven the difficult person or people in your life, pray daily for them, and speak God’s word over them. If you have to be around the difficult person in your life such as with holidays, do not allow them in your inner court (the deepest part of your heart). If you are married, I am in no way supporting divorce but there are sometimes that you have to be separate if there has been repeated issues of infidelity or abuse.

8.      If you have implemented boundaries with the difficult person in your life, yet somehow, they seem to cross those boundaries- it is time to enforce a consequence. To punish the difficult person? No! but to guard your heart. You can truly love people from a distance, and in many cases, it is best to love from afar, until you know it is safer to engage. You love people from a distance by speaking blessings over them, praying for them, and wanting the best for them.

9.      If being around the difficult person in your life causes you to sin in anyway, this relationship probably is not good for you. You have to ask yourself, “I’m I a good influence in this person’s life or do they influence me (not for good)? Do I tend to get confused when I am around this person?

10.  Does this relationship drain you physically, mentally, spiritually, or even financially? Do you feel burdened when dealing with the difficult person or people in your life?

11.  If you stayed your distance for a time would you have a better appreciation for that person that is difficult for you, and would you have peace and overall sanity?

Family should be our safe haven, but sometimes it is the place that causes our deepest heartaches. Very often we can have difficult family members. Not everyone’s family is safe, supportive, or healthy. Not all families are built on mutual respect. Some families simply are not safe. Some unhealthy families refuse to communicate and thus cause undue tensions to escalate.

Always have hope that Jesus Christ can mend and restore your relationship with that difficult person in your life, and He can change not only you in the process but the difficult person in your life. Expect God to move in the lives of the difficult person in your life while you step away to allow God to transform not only them but you as well. Sometimes difficult people are in our lives not so they will change necessarily, but that we will change and be more Christ-like.


But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 5:44

Every good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:17-20

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Counselor's Corner: Becomming Resilient

There are a few of us in life who have been knocked down repeatedly. Some of us have had to learn very early on in life how to fight, and some never have learned to get back up from the punches in life. For someone who has been under tremendous stress, trauma, and different crisis’ in their lives, developing resilience is key for maintaining and keeping good mental, physical and spiritual health.

→Without resilience, one breaks under pressure instead of just gently bending.

What is resilience? The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. You bounce back swiftly after stress or difficulty in your life.

Research shows that the amount of resilience a person possess is a greater factor for determining success in life rather than your IQ. Some people have a natural tendency towards resilience, while others are bent more towards emotional reactions including being overwhelmed by difficulties in life. I believe some resilience is part of our DNA, but I also believe some resilience is learned by our environment or by the people who raised you. Take for instance, if you were raised with an overly emotional mother whose first reaction to problems was to show negative emotions and you never saw how she overcame her difficulties; chances are a part of what you perceived became ingrained in you. The good news is you can learn how to become resilient. Learning to become resilient starts with your thoughts, and renewing your mind to believe what God says in His word about you. If your thoughts are negative, it is probable you are not a resilient person.

Would you consider yourself a resilient person? Why or why not? What traits did your caretakers show you that helped or hindered your resiliency?

Resilient people…

Resilient people are able to cope with problems and setbacks. Those that lack resilience become overwhelmed when distressing situations occur, tend to focus on the problem, use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with life’s challenges, and are slower to recover from setbacks

→Resilient people don’t live life in denial, but they understand that setbacks occur and that life can be painful sometimes.

→Resilient people do not remain focused on the negative, and disengage rapidly from problems that appear unsolvable. A key to resilience is to know when to “cut your losses,” and move on to problems that are solvable.

→Resilient people still mourn losses and experience grief, but they can find redeeming potential in most situations. When non-resilient people face difficulties all of their emotions turn negative. If things are good, the non-resilient person is good, but if things are bad, they feel bad.

→Resilient people can find the silver lining in almost any adverse circumstance. Resilient people will find, seek, and search for the good in their challenges.

→Resilient people are grateful people and are always counting their blessings. They might say, “I am sad that this happened but I am blessed about this.”

Resilient people are not victims and don’t wallow in self-pity.

→Resilient people are overcomers, whether it is their childhood wounds or current painful situations.

→Resilient people are hopeful. They are hopeful brighter days are ahead and they trust God will use their pain for His purposes.

→Resilient people take good care of themselves such as with exercise, eating healthy, and maintaining a healthy support system.

→Resilient people do not focus on their problems, but focus on what is right in their lives.

Resilient people are not whiners and complainers. They don’t tell their problems repeatedly to others to gain pity.

→Resilient people are fighters, they don’t back down and they never give up! When they get temporarily knocked down, they come back up stronger.

→Resilient people move forward, they don’t keep looking back in the past in regret and they don’t project what may happen in the future.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Couselor's Corner: How to Break Demonic Cycles

A cycle is something that gets repeated over and over again, usually with the same results. There seems to be a “force” that pulls you into the same direction that you have tried desperately to get free from. Many people give up when negative cycles continue to happen in their lives because of discouragement that things will not get better.

There are bad habits you may have that seem to come in cycles such as over-indulging in eating or forgoing exercising again. Then there are demonic cycles that when you step back and evaluate the course of your life the same things keep getting repeated in your life to hinder your progress, growth and purpose in the Kingdom of God. In other words, you keep going around the same “mountains” over and over again and you never seem cross-over into your Promised Land.

 You know it is a demonic cycle versus just a bad habit if the cycles that you go through are centered around getting you to question the goodness of God, His faithfulness, His love for you, have a desire to walk away from your destiny, and if you feel like giving up on life. Discouragement, hopelessness, weariness and infirmity surround these demonic cycles. Demonic cycles come only to destroy your faith, your growth and progress, and your destiny.

If you have noticed that every couple of months or so you “battle” the same type of cycles in your life, it is time to take note and realize these are strategies from the pits of hell to derail your faith and squash your assignment from God.

Demonic cycles always sabotage any good works that are in your life. Demonic cycles do not have to be tolerated in your life!

How to break demonic cycles:

1)      Know your weaknesses and who and what the enemy uses time and time again to disrupt the good that God is doing in your life. Ask yourself is it the same people or similar circumstances that come in cycles to cause you to go back and not move forward? Make a list of your cycles that you need to break free from. Begin declaring victory in Jesus over every cycle until you are completely free.

2)      Watch what you think and say about the situations and people that keep occurring in cycles. Instead of saying,” My grandfather and uncle were addicts so I guess my family will always struggle.” Generational cycles of poverty, failure, addiction, sickness, and mental illness can be broken by not speaking what you have seen all your life as reality but by confessing the Word of God over your family and circumstances, and speaking the opposite of what you have known to be true.

3)      What do you say and believe about yourself consistently, such as when you make a mistake, or do you have a habit of telling yourself, “I can’t do anything right, I fail every time so I will quit trying.” When you mess up and your weaknesses show, what do you believe about yourself? Form a new habit of telling yourself that failure happens to all and everyone has weakness but you will try again. Many people have cycles of failure that they are not able to recover from. Cycles of failure should be evaluated in terms of what was your part and responsibility and then what part the enemy has played to keep you believing you will not succeed.

4)      Speak to your cycles and tell them that in the name and blood of Jesus Christ they will not be able to manifest in your life ever again. For example, “In the name of Jesus Christ and by His blood I command the cycle of failure to never manifest in my life ever again.” Decree and declare that old cycles that have held you in captivity will break and that you will come out of those cycles in the name of Jesus Christ. Decree and Declare everything in your past be repaired and restored so your future can be unlocked.

5)      If you have repeated cycles of sin in your life there may be a generation stronghold/sin that you need to break. Repent for not only your sins but your family’s. Ask God to clean your heart of all unforgiveness, bitterness and anger at anyone and even God.

In Summary…

Recognize and write down your repeated cycles.

Confess the opposite of your cycles.

Decree and declare that in the name of Jesus Christ that old cycles that have held you in captivity will break.

Decree and declare victory in Jesus Christ over all cycles in your life (name the cycle and declare victory in Jesus over each cycle until complete victory manifests).

Confess and repent your sins as well as your generational line and ask God to cleanse your heart.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Counselor's Corner: Focus on What You Are Doing Right

→Choose to magnify your progress not failures. Choose to magnify your strengths not your weaknesses.

Focus can be defined as what you concentrate on the most or the center of your attention.

Are the thoughts about yourself centered on what you are doing right more or on what you are doing wrong more? Do you tend to focus on your failures instead of any progress that you have made?

We all have faults, weaknesses, and have made mistakes. The problem is when the enemy places a magnifying glass over each one of your weaknesses, and your focus becomes distorted and all you can see are the negative aspects about yourself. Focusing on your deficits can cause discouragement, defeat, and depression.

Focusing too long on what is wrong with you can cause you to shrink back and not go forward, and this is exactly where the enemy wants you-stuck in the past and living in defeat of your past mistakes.

If God has forgiven your sins, He does not keep reminding you of your failures.

The enemy will attempt to get you to focus on all that is wrong with yourself. There are some key things to watch for and to recognize when the enemy has your focus distorted on the negative areas in your life.

1.      Your focus will turn to your circumstances more than to Jesus, and your circumstances will appear larger than they really are. When your focus shifts to all the distractions, chaos, and upheaval around you it is easy to feel anxious, uneasy, irritable, worried, and fearful.

2.      Confusion instead of clarity. You can doubt yourself, your strengths and your abilities because the enemy has you focused on what you have done wrong.

3.      Past hurts and insecurities are magnified. What you thought you dealt with in the past gets rehashed. This rehashing is an attempt to weaken you and to cause you to doubt what God is doing in your life. The past is used to hinder you as you attempt to move forward and enter a new season in your life. The enemy will try and derail progress and growth.

This week CHOOSE to focus on your strengths, your victories, and your good qualities. Write out what God shows you about yourself and CHOOSE to believe Him. CHOOSE to completely forgive yourself of any past mistakes and CHOOSE to love and nurture yourself. Be good to yourself. Don’t let the enemy erect lies in your mind about yourself, he is the accuser of the brethren.


Set your mind on things above, not on things on Earth.

Colossians 3:2

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Hebrews 12:2

Monday, September 18, 2017

Counselor's Corner: The Need to Belong

Psychologists, Abraham Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs that humans have. The first hierarchy of need on Maslow’s list is physiological such as clothing, shelter and food. The second hierarchy of need listed is safety, including being free from violence, abuse, and job security. The third hierarchy of need is belonging. Maslow believed that after psychological and safety needs are meet the third need humans have is the need to belong and to be accepted. Maslow concluded that humans need to love and to be loved. Many people become susceptible to depression, anxiety and loneliness in the absence of belonging. The fourth hierarchy of need is esteem or the need to be respected. Maslow’s last hierarchy of need is self-actualization which Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve all the previous needs, but master them.

In this article, I will focus on the third hierarchy, the need to belong.
We all want to belong somewhere!

Ask yourself the following questions if you feel like you are struggling to belong?

1)      Do you fit into a particular ethnic group or do you have more than one ethnicity that you can check off?

2)      Did you leave your old life behind including friendships when you accepted Christ as your Savior?

3)      Were you raised in church, or have you had to learn along the way about the Bible and church?

4)      Do you have a past that if brought up can cause you to feel that you may not belong to the “good girl” Bible study group?

5)      Do you tend to wear “masks” with people because you really don’t want anyone to know what you have been through because you have been judged repeatedly already for your past?

6)      Are you a parent with a prodigal child or have you struggled with infertility?

7)      Were you emotionally/mentally abused as a child or were you abandoned by a parent as a child? Were you adopted or an orphan?

8)      Is your family dysfunctional or do they lack emotional stability?

9)      Are you the only one or one of the few in your family who is a believer in Christ or who is trying to walk righteously before God?

10)  Did someone significant in your life reject you?

→If you answered several of the above questions you could have difficulty with a sense of belonging.

You may have always felt different as if you just never truly fit in with anyone. You could be great at pretending to fit in, but deep inside you question if you truly belong. You are not alone! There are countless people who feel this way, including myself.

·         Don’t try and fit in somewhere where you just don’t! Not fitting into a group or with a particular person does not mean anything is wrong with you. Cultivate the relationships that do make you feel like you belong, and don’t beat yourself up for the relationships that you just don’t fit into. Reach and encourage others you know may struggle with belonging.

·         Accept and love who you are. It is okay to be different! You are unique and created by God. You belong to God and to the family of God.

·         Uproot any lies that you have believed about yourself such as,” I’m not good enough,” or “What will people think of me?” These lies could be hindering you from belonging to at least one group or person.

Jesus did not fit in with the world. Perhaps God has a purpose in your life that He will use your sense of not belonging. You are not ordinary but extraordinary.

Reflect on the following scriptures:

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 15:19

Don’t try and belong to the world and the things of the world.

Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.

Psalm 100:3

We belong to God!

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