Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Q. How can I find a counselor I can trust? I want to find some one who is qualified to help me with my particular problems and someone who will be understanding and helpful. What do you suggest?

A. Choosing a counselor should be done with care and thought. It is best to obtain the recommendation of someone you know and trust. If you have a friend who has had a good counseling experience this is an excellent recommendation. A trusted doctor or minister can also make referrals. Once you have the name of a counselor, think about what you want to know about that person and about counseling before you make your initial phone call. Remember, you are purchasing a service from a professional and you have the right to ask questions.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:
1. Are you licensed by the state? What license do you hold?
When you choose a licensed professional you are safeguarding yourself from someone unqualified to treat you. Licensed Independent Social Workers, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors and Licensed Psychologists have all had post graduate training, several years of supervision following their degree, and they are required to keep their training current with additional continuing education. 
Psychiatrists have a medical degree, they are doctors before being trained in psychiatry and they have stringent licensing requirements and continuing education requirements in order to practice. However, with managed care, most psychiatrists see patients only for evaluation and then provide medication as needed. They don’t have the luxury of spending a full 50 minute hour with a patient on a weekly basis. 
2. How much do you charge for each session? Will my insurance pay for this? How do you expect payment? 
3. How long will my appointments be?
Most counselors see clients for 45 or 50 minutes once a week. After several weeks, depending on the problem, interviews can be spaced farther a part. You have the right to express your opinion about this. 

4. How many years of counseling experience do you have?
Usually, the longer anyone does something the better they get at doing it.       

5. What are your areas of specialization? What types of problems do you see most often? Most counselors see a variety of problems but they often have a specialty. Specialization may be in treating marital problems, parent/child problems, depression, panic disorders, substance abuse, sexual abuse and many others. It will help to find a counselor who specializes in your problem as this person probably has additional training in this area. 

6. What is your therapeutic orientation? Are there particular techniques you use?
Look for a counselor who can explain their methods in simple language and who doesn’t become defensive at being asked this question. Choosing a therapist with a similar world view is important no matter what. This is especially true if your faith is very important to you or if you want to explore spiritual issues. To do otherwise is like trying to communicate in two different languages.  

In your early sessions with a therapist pay attention to how comfortable you feel and to whether you feel understood. If your counselor doesn't seem to understand you, discuss this with him or her. As therapy continues notice whether you are learning about yourself, making changes in your life and gradually feeling better. Therapy needs to move at your pace and according to your goals for yourself.      

I hope these ideas will help you find a counselor who is right for you and who can help you with your problems.

“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success.” Proverbs 15:22 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Psalm 119 Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God

This is the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. Eight different terms referring to Scripture are used through out. They are: law, testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, judgments, word and ordinances. A pastor suggested a good exercise was to read this verse by verse, meditate on it and journal on each verse. I did so beginning about a year ago. I’ll post a section of this Psalm with my thoughts about once a month though I may not go all the way through it.

How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the Lord.

Dear Father, Is my way blameless? Do I walk in the law of the Lord? Only by the blood of Jesus which covers all my sins. Thank you for this. Keep me blameless – pure and holy, surrendered to you.

How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.

Father, I am blessed when I am being true to your word, your law, your decrees. Show me when I fail to follow you so I can get back on track. I seek you with all my heart – at least I want to do this. Help me walk in your ways consistently, day in and day out.

They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.

Father, They do NO unrighteousness? Maybe that’s true for Billy Graham. He walks in your ways. I TRY to walk in your ways. Help me be honest with myself about this. Help me do NO unrighteousness. Help me walk in your ways.

You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.

Father, I know you have given us your laws, commandments, precepts – your Word. How fortunate we are to know these. Help me keep them diligently. Here’s a definition for diligent: “Having or showing care and conscientiousness in one's work or duties.” Here are some of the synonyms: industrious, conscientious, meticulous, rigorous, careful, thorough, earnest, persevering, persistent, tenacious, zealous, dedicated, committed, and untiring. Wow! Help me keep your precepts diligently. 

Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Your statutes!

Father, the Psalmist pleads that his ways will “be established” – be routinely practiced, be second nature to him – he will keep your statutes – your laws, your commands. I plead this also, Lord. May my will conform to yours. May my failures be erased.

Then I shall not be ashamed
When I look upon all Your commandments.

Father, When I keep your laws I won’t be ashamed when I read your commandments. There will be no shame when I am absolutely true to you and to your commandments. Praise God. Only with your power in me can this happen.

I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.

Father, I give thanks to you with a “purer” heart than ever before as I learn your righteous judgments. I’m like a toddler, though. I walk and then fall down. I’m still learning. I keep getting up and trying again. Teach me more Lord.

I shall keep Your statutes;
Do not forsake me utterly!

Father, As the Psalmist says, I will keep your commandments. Don’t give up on me! Your Holy Spirit tells me you will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you, Lord.

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Best Books on Missions

Here are three books on missions that will inform and inspire you.

A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger
By Steve Peifer

A Dream So Big is an incredible true story that will delight, inspire and educate all who read it. Due to overwhelming grief at the loss of their infant son, Steve and his wife, Nancy, decide to spend a year at a school in Kenya as dorm parents to the children of missionaries.

Peifer recounts delightful and humorous stories about their children, JT and Matthew, and the family’s adaptation to and experiences in Kenya. He tells similar tales about the boys they house parent. Family trips during school breaks give a marvelous picture of the stunning natural beauty of Kenya. Of course the travel is often on dirt roads and in the midst of much poverty.

Near the end of the first year Peifer visits a classroom in a government school and notices many of the children are lying on the dirt floor. He asks the teacher “Why are so many of your students lying on the floor?” The teacher replies, “This is Thursday. Most of the children haven’t eaten since Monday. If they try to stand or even sit they will faint.”

Peifer can’t get these children out of his head. After a year back in the States, he and his family return to Kenya to help in the mission school as dorm parents and teachers. They also decide to adopt two month old abandoned Kenyan twins, Katie and Ben. 

After teaching a few years Peifer becomes the school counselor guiding students as they apply to colleges. With Pfeifer’s help several of the students for the first time ever are accepted at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Dartmouth and Cornell.

In addition to his caring connections to his students Peifer reaches out to help a number of government schools. With friends and relatives raising funds in the US, Pfeifer sets up a lunch feeding program for these schools. Attendance jumps – kids come to school in order to eat. The schools with the worst attendance now have the best attendance. Later Peifer develops solar powered computer labs for these same schools – giving the children hope for their future.

This one year adventure became thirteen years of amazing experiences living in another culture and thinking outside the box to find ways to help Kenyan children escape starvation and find hope for their future. Read this book and enjoy descriptions of this beautiful country, insights into our wealth in comparison to their poverty, and be challenged to do something to make a difference.

A Certain Risk: Living Your Faith at the Edge by Paul Richardson

A Certain Risk by Paul Richardson describes the inner freedom Christ offers us all. Richardson writes in the context of his experiences as a missionary in Indonesia. He emphasizes the value of truth, the value of openness. Even though it’s dangerous to live in Indonesia as a Christian, he has always been open about his faith and his reason for being there. He believes keeping secrets affects our souls. When we do this we live a divided life. He believes it’s worth taking “a certain risk” in order to live with inner freedom. Richardson is an excellent, beautiful writer. I'll read this over again.

FINISH THE MISSION: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged 
By John Piper & David Mathis

Finish the Mission is an excellent book about the church reaching every tribe, and tongue and nation – finishing the mission. But the book offers so much more. Many Christians do not connect worship and missions. This book makes clear that worship is what it’s all about. Davis Mathis states in the introduction “The outcome of missions is all peoples delighting to praise Jesus. And the motivation for missions is the enjoyment that his people have in him.”

Louie Giglio, Michael Oh, David Platt, Michael Ramsden and Ed Stetzer write chapters in addition to those by Piper and Mathis.

Giglio in Chapter 1, using Isaiah 6:8 “Whom shall I send?” conveys the fact Isaiah is hearing a voice from our incomprehensibly great God.

David Platt in Chapter 2 gives a biblical, sobering view of hell highlighting the lostness of so many.

Michael Ramsden in Chapter 3 gives a realistic view of the dangers of mission and challenges us to be courageous.

Michael Oh in Chapter 4 teaches from the Lord’s Prayer the necessity for Christians to go “from every land and to every land.” He describes how this is currently happening in various locations around the world.

Ed Stetzer in Chapter 5 challenges all of us to send or be sent, and to be missionaries where we are. He emphasizes we are to be gospel centered and Spirit empowered.

In the final chapter John Piper teaches on Psalm 62 “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy…” He comments on Islam as not worshipping God and suggests the reason we have been given material wealth is so we will reach the nations.

Finish The Mission ends with a conversation with the authors and an appendix by Mathis on What Next? This is a challenge to the church, to all Christians to disciple others. Mathis says in the introduction “This is no ordinary missions book.” He’s right about that. I highly recommend this to all who are ready for a challenge.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown.

Revelation 22:7 Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of prophecy in this book.

Revelation 22:12 Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

Revelation 22:20 Yes, I am coming soon.

These are the words of Jesus. This scripture is a promise for the Church – all those who are Christians. Jesus is coming soon or quickly. When he comes, the Church – all true Christians will be raptured, taken up, out of the world, to be with him. The world will then have seven years of conflict and destruction and then the end will come.

Dear Father, This is a hopeful, wonderful promise for those of us who believe in you and follow you and are committed to your Church. We pray for our friends and family members who don’t know you, that they will come to faith before it is too late. Also, prepare the Church and all true Christians for this marvelous event. We pray this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.