Friday, May 23, 2008

Older Brain Really May be a Wiser Brain

[by Sara Reistad-Long]

When older people can no longer remember names, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But new research finds that aging adults' brains retain more data, making them better problem solvers...

[click to continue]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stress is God's Alarm System for Off-Track Life Says Author

[By Jennifer Riley, Christian Post Reporter]

Stress is a sign that a Christian is living a different purpose than God intended, an author says in his new book.

“God uses stress as life’s great alarm system to alert us that we are living outside of our God-given purpose, which is to develop loving relationships,” said Michael Trillo, author of What Does God Really Want: How to Overcome Stress and Live the Promised Abundant Life.

He cites Matthew 22:34-40, where Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all one’s heart, soul and mind, followed by loving one’s neighbor as oneself, as support for his claim that the purpose of a person’s life is to “develop loving relationships.”

Trillo acknowledges that everyone faces difficult situations, but some react by becoming completely stressed out, while others are able to remain completely content despite the circumstances.

“What's the difference? It's their internal state, not their external circumstances, that causes stress,” maintains Trillo, founder of Breakthrough Ministries Worldwide which helps people overcome fear and bitterness to live an “abundant” life.

He says stress when boiled down is caused by fear of a situation and bitterness toward people, which occur when people become separated from God.

“When all is said and done, why is it that Christians are just as stressed as the rest of the world, considering that we're serving a supernatural God?" Trillo asked.

The ministry leader contends that it is because Christians are living for “counterfeit purposes.”

In his book, Trillo explores the root cause of stress, explains the four most common counterfeit purposes, and looks at links between stress and one’s health using medical statistics.

“When we are stressed, society has taught us to: sleep more, eat more, buy more, watch TV, play video games, go to counseling, take medication, take a vacation, etc,” Trillo said. “This is like applying a band-aid to a broken bone. These solutions are temporary at best, each a form of a broken promise – a cheap and temporary promise of relief.”

Trillo urges Christians to overcome their stress by finding their God-given purpose in life.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Christian Counseling

As a general rule, both Christian counseling and secular counseling share the same desire to help people overcome their problems, find meaning and joy in life, and become healthy and well-adjusted individuals, both mentally and emotionally. Most counselors have graduate degrees and have spent years learning their craft.

The word "counseling" can have multiple meanings, including offering advice and encouragement, sharing wisdom and skills, setting goals, resolving conflict, etc. Counselors usually probe the past (whether the problem happened a week ago or during childhood) in an attempt to repair the present. Sometimes they explore possible affects of physical and chemical imbalances that can cause physiological problems. A major part of counseling is resolving and restoring conflicts between people.

Christian counseling is distinct from secular counseling. Christian counseling rises to another dimension. "In contrast to psychologically-integrated systems, Biblical counseling seeks to carefully discover those areas in which a Christian may be disobedient to the principles and commands of Scripture and to help him learn how to lovingly submit to God's will," reports the International Association of Biblical Counselors.

Christian counselors are able to do that because they have an absolute standard by which to measure their objectives and evaluate their counselee's lifestyle. They see the Bible as the source of all truth. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." The secular counselor uses a different standard. They use the latest psychological findings or societal norm. Christian counselors understand that the Bible has a lot of practical wisdom about human nature, marriage and family, human suffering, and so much more. By using biblical concepts in counseling, they can instruct people in the way they should go and also hold them accountable. Psalm 119:24 says, "Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors."

Although Christian counselors often use skills from the field of secular psychology and counseling, they recognize that the Bible is the final authority. "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3). A Christian counselor's major strategy is to help their clients substitute biblical truth for error as they go about their day-to-day lives. They know that the truth, when known, believed, and obeyed, sets people free. When people are set free, they are fulfilling their true calling. "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

Pastoral Counseling

Pastoral counseling is a branch of counseling in which ordained ministers, rabbis, priests and others provide therapy services.

Only 6 states license the title "Pastoral Counselor": Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In many other states Pastoral Counselors may qualify for licensure as Marriage and Family Therapists or as Professional Counselors.

It is often synonymous with pastoral care.