benefits-of-workHuman beings were created in the image of God. He is the Creator, and, therefore, we are designed to be creators in our own sphere. We are built to be industrious, creative, builders, designers, and workers! 
 
When we engage ourselves in activities that are productive, whether they result in an income or not, we experience joy, fulfillment, and expansion in our abilities. We grow healthier and more capable as we apply ourselves and expend our energies to useful outlets. 
 
Regular work has multiple benefits:
 
  • Improved self-esteem, from actual accomplishment and achievement
  • Better physical health, from increased physical activity and the reduced firing stress pathways as we experience satisfaction with completing tasks, or fulfilling our life goals, aspirations, and dreams. Additionally, physical activity produces factors in the brain that causes the neurons to stay healthy, improves the ability of neurons to make new connections, thus improving learning and reducing the risk of dementia as we age.
  • Development of our brain circuitsthat control physical movement, which in turn improves our thinking and reasoning. When we engage in physical activity, the striatal pathways in our brain, that initiate motor movement, develop, but these pathways not only initiate physical movement, they also initiate thinking, so…

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Earth-from-space-at-night-edit2This week, I received an email with this question: “How can I find a counselor in my area that reasons and believes as I do?”

I am often asked to recommend a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist for people living in various locations throughout the country. I have made it a policy not to recommend a specific provider unless I know him or her personally. However, the following are some guidelines you can use to find a mental health provider in your area best suited to your needs.
 

1. Determine what level of provider you need:

  • For instance, do you need medication for mental health issues? Then you should be looking for a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, counselor, or life coach.
  • Do you need someone to treat an adult, child, or adolescent? Many providers treat only adults or only children and adolescents; knowing this can narrow your search. 
  • Are you seeking individual or marriage counseling? 
  • Are you seeking a specific type of treatment, such as cognitive therapy, group therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy?
  • Are you seeking treatment for a specific problem, such as PTSD or bipolar disorder? Then seek a provider with experience in the area you need.
  • Are you seeking care for an aging family member? Then inquire if the provider is experienced with the problems of aging and dementia.…

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lonely-shutterstock250745014Have you ever struggled with loneliness? Have you ever been in a room full of people but felt isolated, disconnected, alone? Have you been tormented by an uneasiness within, a feeling that something isn’t right, a restless longing to fill some emptiness deep inside? And have you tried to fill this void, to find relief in television, video games, shopping, alcohol, drugs, sex, or allowing others to take advantage of you, just so they will like you—so you won’t be alone—yet the emptiness, loneliness, and uneasiness never go away?

If this describes your experience, don’t be discouraged; don’t accept the feelings as facts; don’t believe the lies that pound away inside your head. There is freedom; there is a healing solution. The truth will heal. The truth will set you free. And what is the truth? 

YOU are loved! You are loved for who you are, because you are a child of God! 

  • It doesn’t matter whether you were abused, abandoned, or mistreated by people—God loves you and will heal your broken heart, if you let Him!
  • It doesn’t matter whether you have made bad choices—God loves you and will teach you how to make healthier choices, if…

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TheChastisementofUzzah-JamesTissot Have you ever wondered why David was able to take and eat the showbread in the holy sanctuary and nothing happened to him, but when Uzzah touched the Ark of the Covenant, he died? Have you ever had a pastor use the story of Uzzah to promote the idea that if you disobey God, He will punish you and strike you dead? It can all seem a bit arbitrary.

Over the years, many have come to me confused over such Bible stories, not sure how to understand them—especially, as Come and Reason teaches, if God is love and is not the source of inflicted pain and suffering. The key to correctly understanding such stories is in realizing the larger purpose that ancient Israel fulfilled.

Ancient Israel is not only a historical reality—real people who did real things, which are accurately recorded in the Old Testament—but its history is also recorded “as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Biblical history is not only historic, but it is also, in many ways, object lessons of the larger war between good and evil. Here is a brief list of examples of how the history of the descendants of Israel is an object lesson for us today:…

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NewsYears2018Every New Year, I hear people make resolutions in an effort to somehow improve their lives. Often these resolutions focus on changes that will move them more into harmony with the physical laws of health: exercise more, eat a healthier diet, quit smoking, etc. The New Year is a time to reflect, to examine our lives, to take an inventory of ourselves, and to ask, “How can I improve?” and, “What changes do I need to make?”

This year, though, I invite you to go deeper—to go past the physical laws of health and to move more into harmony with the design laws that govern the functioning of your heart, mind, and relationships. I invite you to discover how to make changes that will fill the void in your heart, transform how you experience the world, and empower you to be a shining beacon of love, light, and encouragement in your family and community.

Study the law of love—the principle of giving upon which life is built to operate—and ask, “Am I living in harmony with this law?” If not, what changes do you need to make to become a giver, a person who seeks to use your…

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NativityTreeBokah1200Did you notice that “Merry Christmas” is back at the White House? President Donald Trump has made a point of letting people know that he will not shy away from the “Christ” in Christmas. I don’t know the president’s heart and am not going to make any inferences regarding whether this is purely for political reasons or whether he is genuinely celebrating Christ. But I do want to comment on what Christmas—the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus, His birth in Bethlehem two thousand years ago—really means.

It means: Love for all people, of all races, of all cultures, of all nations, of all sects, of all backgrounds, of all religions for all time!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son” (John 3:16, emphasis mine). When we celebrate Christmas, do we love like Jesus—do we love all people, whether Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, atheist, agnostic? 

Christmas is a celebration of life, of love, of goodness, of righteousness, of freedom. Christmas rightly understood is the presence of God—His physically stepping into this sin-sick, dark, and dying world in order to heal the sick, illuminate the dark, and destroy the ultimate enemy—death.

Jesus is the light to…

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abraham-isaacHave you ever wondered why God instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac? People who believe that God’s law functions no differently than human law—imposed rules that require the government to punish rule breakers—often suggest that this story proves that God requires a legal payment of human blood to pay for our sins.

But those who recognize God as Designer—His laws are the laws upon which reality is built to function—understand that something much more profound was happening in this story, something designed not only to reveal truth to Abraham, but also to help him overcome the sin in his life.

On two occasions, one with Pharaoh and the other with Abimelech, Abraham had the opportunity to trust God with his life. However, on both occasions, Abraham, instead of trusting God, lied and told these powerful rulers that Sarah was his sister rather than his wife.

Why did Abraham lie? Genesis 20:11–13 says,

Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God had me wander from my father's household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.” ’ ”

Put simply: Abraham lied because he was afraid.…

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christians-jerusalem-endtimes

Last week, the Trump administration officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The world is divided on the wisdom of this decision. For instance, many Christians in America are ardent supporters of this step, while leaders from many nations have voiced concerns or outright condemnation.

But what I find interesting about the support of at least some of these Christians is that it is not based on the principles of democracy, statecraft, national security concerns, or that it makes good political sense. Rather, many are basing their support on their religious beliefs and how they interpret the Bible.

Let me be clear: My point here is not to argue for or against Trump’s decision or to dissect Israel’s role in end-time prophecy. Instead, my point here is to examine this news in light of God’s methods in fulfilling His purposes, contrasting His ways with the methods of this sinful world—as violence and angry rhetoric continue to play out from this action.

God's Kingdom and the Kingdoms of Earth
God is love, and His methods are the methods of truth, love, and freedom. God wants His children to love and trust Him—and love and trust can neverbe instilled by the threat of punishment or by the…

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is-suicide-an-unforgivable-sinAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 out of every 100,000 people will die by suicide. Most people have been impacted by this tragedy in one way or another, including me. Several years ago, after the death of his wife of fifty years, my great uncle ended his own life; he was simply unable to cope with the heartache, pain, and loneliness.

As a psychiatrist, I know all too well how the severely depressed can be overwhelmed by thoughts of suicide. I also know that in the aftermath of a suicide, those who loved the victims struggle with their own faith and worry that they will not see their loved ones in heaven.

This subject recently roared back into my mind when I received an email from a concerned parent who listens to our program online. He wrote to tell me that his daughter attends a Christian high school where another student had committed suicide. I can’t imagine the heartache that young man’s family is now going through, and my prayers and thoughts go out to them.

However, adding to this heartache, the daughter of our listener—along with other students and even some of the faculty—was struggling because…

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Have you ever longed for justice?

Perhaps a burglar broke out your car window and stole the newly installed radio from your car. Or maybe somebody cruelly harmed your loved one. Whatever happened, you hoped that the perp would be found so that he could “face the courts of justice.”

Of course, you often hear politicians talk about pursuing terrorists to “bring them to justice” for their murderous acts. And former prosecutors seeking public office often campaign on the number of criminals they “brought to justice” during their tenure. In each case, they view justice as a karma-like punishment—evildoers "get justice" through an act of legal retribution.

However, this common way of viewing “justice” is, well, not biblical. Yet it has become ingrained in our culture and, sadly, it has infected the way Christians view justice. While Jesus said to Pilate that His government was not like this world’s governments, many Christians mistakenly represent God’s methods as being no different than those of the world. (See John 18:36.)…

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  1. Free to Disagree: The Protests, the Anthem, and Free Speech
  2. Is God Punishing the World with Natural Disasters?
  3. Should Christians Observe the OT Feast Days?
  4. Why Did God Use Law?
  5. The Tree of Knowledge - Poison or Protection?
  6. Fear: the Medium of Death; Love: the Elixir of Life
  7. False Allegations about Substitution and Christ's Mission
  8. Bible Genocide & A God of Love
  9. Appeasing an Offended God, What It Really Means!
  10. A Book Review: The God-Shaped Brain
  11. What Does the Veil Represent? - Satan or Jesus?
  12. Jesus Paying Our Debt To God
  13. Forgiveness in the Non-Penal View
  14. 2013 AACC Update
  15. Singapore & Australia Update 2013
  16. The God-Shaped Brain Changing Lives
  17. Biblical Keywords: Comparing Definitions
  18. The God-Shaped Brain
  19. Why Does the Law Demand the Life of the Sinner?
  20. Psalms 23 - The Path to Eternal Life
  21. Medical Marijuana and Psychiatric Illness - A Call to Action
  22. School Shootings - Why All the Violence?
  23. Soy Beans, Fish Oil and Obesity
  24. Forgiving Self - Why Is It So Hard?
  25. The Cross - What Angels Saw
  26. Healing the Gospel - Book Review
  27. Creation, Evolution & Evidence Based Thinking
  28. Women's Ordination
  29. Retribution or Rehabilitation
  30. Effective Communication
  31. Salvation & Sanctification
  32. Genuine Intimacy - What is it & Can Singles Experience it?
  33. Abuse, Christian Reconciliation & Boundaries
  34. Subpoenaed By God
  35. 10 Simple Steps to a Healthy Brain
  36. Biblical Justice: What Is It?
  37. The Gospel for Today
  38. Thank You For Your Support
  39. Righteousness: A Real Change of Heart
  40. Perfecting Christian Character
  41. Reaching a Wayward Child
  42. Top 10 Ways To Establish a Healthy Marriage
  43. What would had happened to Jesus if the Jews would have Accepted Him?
  44. Top 10 Reasons NOT to Get Married
  45. Revelation 12:7 What Happened Before Earth Was Created?
  46. Are Jesus and Michael One and the Same?
  47. Calling Someone Fool or Raca: What's The Difference?
  48. God's Wrath - What Does It Mean?
  49. Is The Great Controversy Over God's Character True?
  50. The Little Horn, God's Law, and How You have been Deceived