First and Final Words

My mother’s joy is now complete. With her final words, she risked sharing what was most profoundly in her heart. She was closer to wholeness in that moment than she had ever been on earth. And now she is healed. Her memory is perfect. She laughs as she freely shares her heart. She now sees God’s face and her soul is sated. She is home. We don’t have to wait to offer our final words. We can borrow from heaven what is supernatural; God’s favor upon us. We can allow our empty ache to be filled with joy and we can speak life-giving words now.

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Our Inherent Capacity for Evil

Scott Peck in The People of The Lie stresses the importance of naming evil. By its very nature evil confuses and deceives and is not what it seems. Unless we dig deep and name it, we will avoid seeing its reality in ourselves and others. Instead, we will categorize our lives as "good and ethical" because we haven't committed one of the big ten sins like murdering, stealing or committing adultery. However, evil is much more insidious. This silent killer wraps its cold, numbing tentacles around our hearts, distorting our thoughts and obscuring our motives.

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The Primary Goal of Christian Counseling

Christianity Today talked with Dr. Larry Crabb--well known author and speaker--about Christian counseling. CT: What's the first thing you would suggest to Christians who want to become counselors?

CRABB: The first thing I'd suggest is that they ask themselves what they fundamentally believe about the root purpose of counseling. What are they trying to accomplish when they sit down with a client who is anorexic, in a bad marriage or whatever. What's their root thinking when trying to get a girl to start eating again or a marriage straightened out. All are worthy ambitions, but they must be secondary.

Our highest purpose as human beings isn't to try to make this life work. It's to reflect the character of God--of our Creator, Savior and Lord--in the middle of a life that doesn't work. About the first thing Cain did after God judged him and told him he was going to wander around the rest of his life was to build a city. The implication was--forget this wandering stuff, I'm going to build myself a city and make my life work. God says in Hebrews that he's ashamed to be called the God of a people who are looking for a better city than the one they'll ultimately have in heaven.

CT: Is it wrong for Christian counselors to ask God to take away the pain in their clients' lives?

CRABB: The Bible says our primary focus is to glorify God. If you have any compassion at all for your fellow man, of course you want to relieve the pain. But there's a danger that god will become someone to be used rather than Someone to worship. He becomes useful for putting your life together--the way you want it. The tricky thing is, there's nothing wrong with wanting your life put together. There's nothing wrong with wanting a good marriage, enjoying your kids and managing your money in a faithful way.

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Surrendered to Love--Mary's legacy

Incarnation as one author says is “God—ultimate reality, becoming flesh.” All incarnation involves saying, “Yes” and then embracing the narrow road. The manger and a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes is God invading the earth to bring incarnation to our past, present, and future. Certainly, with love’s ultimate reality comes brokenness, the washing of wounds, and like the wise men, the bending of knees—that leads to hearing the sweet melody of heaven.

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Closet Narcissists

We are all closet narcissists with varying degrees of Ben in us. Narcissistic Personality Disorder parallels so closely the human condition that it gives an enlightening view of the enormous struggle mankind has with self-absorption. Deplored in all cultures, egocentricity is the nature of young children and considered a stage teenagers grow out of, however it is viewed as disgusting in adults. Its main features are grandiose self importance and overestimation of talents and accomplishments; intoxication with fantasies of brilliance, power, beauty, success and ideal love; view of self as special and only understood by other superior individuals; craving for admiration; sense of entitlement; interpersonal exploitation; hypersensitivity to evaluation of others; lack of empathy; jealousy; and arrogant behaviors and attitudes.

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Redemption Amidst The Carnage

Tragedy sharpens the focus of what was once obscured by the cataract of fallen humanity. Monotony, boredom and addictions are the symptoms of soul deadness. As Sir William Wallace in the movie "Braveheart" exclaimed, "Every man dies, but not every man lives." Sacred to being given the privilege to walk this earth, is the opportunity to be emotionally alive and available to all life has to offer. Suffering is the gift least desired, but instrumental in delivering us from our numbed existence, while exposing our deepest longings--reminders of another home. The Apostle Peter writes: "But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 5:9-11)."

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Margaret Bernhart Profile

Margaret Bernhart LMHC

Margaret Bernhart

LMHC

Offices in Neptune Beach &
Tallahassee Florida
904-510-2567 · 850-668-3750



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One of the most profound desires of every human being is to be known, observed and touched by the soul of another. -MB