Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Whom will I worship? A well-known sufferer was the apostle Paul. His troubles were often caused by other people, but he realized that God authored these sufferings to allow him to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and his sufferings.

Among the more difficult trials was one he called his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Although we never learn the precise nature of this malady, Paul identified at least three causes: his own pride, a messenger from Satan, and God–three causes for one hardship.

Instead of teaching us how to identify the causes of suffering, Scripture directs us to the God who knows all things and is fully trustworthy. In other words, Scripture doesn’t give us knowledge so that we will have intellectual mastery of certain events; it gives us knowledge so that we would know and trust God.

Somehow, turning to God and trusting him with the mysteries of suffering is the answer to the problem of suffering. You might be able to discern some obvious causes of suffering, and knowing those causes might help alleviate the pain. But all suffering is intended to train us to fix our eyes on the true God.

Therefore, regardless of the causes, suffering is an opportunity to answer the deepest and most important of all questions: Whom will I trust? Whom will I worship?

~Edward T. Welch in Heart of the Matter

Photo: OBMonkey

Book Review: Heart of the Matter by CCEF

Over the past few years of studying biblical counseling, I have been greatly helped by the ministry of CCEF (The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation). If you’ve followed Precious Adornment for any length of time, you have probably noticed that I often share excerpts or videos containing biblical advice from men like David Powlison, Ed Welch, or Paul David Tripp. The reason I do this is because I have learned so much about understanding and applying God’s Word from the counselors, authors, and teachers connected with CCEF, that I want to pass as much of that knowledge on to you as I can.

For that reason, I’m glad that I can now recommend a new resource from CCEF called Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Changing Lives. In this one year devotional book, you will find comfort, challenge, conviction, and encouragement in the form of brief, daily readings provided by the faculty of CCEF. These daily devotionals cover a wide array of topics such as suffering, relationships, the process of change, overcoming fear and anxiety, trust in God, forgiveness, and much more. 

As you read this book, you will find that your attention is continually being pointed to Christ and the hope of the Gospel, God’s sovereignty over all things, and His loving purposes for you as His precious child. The readings are deep, yet completely accessible. Because I was reading Heart of the Matter for the purposes of this review, I had to move through it more quickly than I wanted to, and I often found myself thinking that I would benefit much more from reading and considering just one devotional at a time, which is of course, how the book is intended to be used.

I am thoroughly convinced that the Bible contains every truth required to care for the human soul (2 Pet. 1:3-4), and I believe that Heart of the Matter illustrates well what a rich resource God has provided for us in His Word. The authors go deep into the Scriptures to reveal profoundly beautiful truths that we too often miss in our hurried approach to Bible reading. 

Book Giveaway!

New Growth Press has provided me with the opportunity to give a copy of Heart of the Matter to two of my readers. If you would like to enter the giveaway, please add a comment to this blog post and make sure to provide your email address in the appropriate field (so I can contact you if you win!).

At midnight tomorrow night, I will use Random.org to choose two winning comments.

Update

Thanks to everyone for participating in the Heart of the Matter book giveaway. As promised, I used Random.org to find two winners…

The first winner is Colleen who posted the third comment. Congratulations, Colleen!

And proving that God has a sense of humor, the second winner is Taaron N Niki Parsons who posted the 18th comment.

Many thanks to New Growth Press for making this giveaway possible.

Breaking the Cycle of Bad Habits

“You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your body.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

In a time when public interest in obsessive-compulsive behaviors has been increased through programs like Obsessed, Intervention, and My Strange Addiction, I thought it was interesting to hear a biblical counselor’s perspective on the topic. In the following video from CCEF‘s Ask the Counselor series, Mike Emlet responds to the question: “How can I stop persistent bad behavior?”

Photo: Joana Croft

When Words are Overwhelming

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer”

Proverbs 15:28

When someone you love hurts or grieves, what should you do? You want to make the pain go away, but how? You want to say something to provide hope, but what?

If we’re not careful in such situations, our good intentions will get tangled up in our rush to provide answers. In the following video, Dr. Mike Emlet of CCEF describes what he thinks is the most common mistake made in giving advice and talks about ways to avoid it…   

Photo: andyreis

What to Do When Your Faith Feels Weak

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

During our walk with Christ, most of us will face times when our faith feels so puny and small it would make a mustard seed look big in comparison. In those moments of spiritual weakness, what should we do?
 
Winston Smith of CCEF offers some wise thoughts…
 

Photo: cristiano galbiati

Tangled in the World Wide Web?

 
It happens more often than I’d care to admit. I sit down at my laptop with every intention of spending just a few minutes online to check my blog, post a link, or check my email. Before I know it, I’m posting status updates, commenting on photos, watching interesting videos, sharing those interesting videos, bookmarking new ideas for my blog, and before I know it, I’ve spent another hour getting tangled up in the sticky strands of the world-wide web.
 
The latest Ask the Counselor video from CCEF addresses an issue that most of us struggle with, “I spend too much time on the TV and internet. How can I change?” Although we may tend to believe the best solution is to pull the plug on certain forms of technology, Winston Smith warns that tossing the TV and laptop would only deal with symptoms of our problem…  
 

Photo: Ariel da Silva Parreira

What to Do When It’s All about Him

 
In the latest Ask the Counselor video from CCEF, Dr. David Powlison answers the question, “How would you counsel a woman whose husband displays the traits of a narcissist?”  Whether you’re married to a narcissist or not, I think you’ll find Dr. Powlison’s thoughts to be helpful as he expands the question to address a quandary we’re all familiar with: “How do you wisely love someone who is sinful?”
 

Photo: Ehsan Namavar

When the Cradle Remains Empty

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:9

In this video from the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, Julie Lowe addresses an issue that is frequently mentioned within the pages of Scripture–childlessness. When the tests come back negative, the cradle remains empty, and prayers seem to go unanswered, what comfort is there for believers?

Julie offers some helpful thoughts…

You can find more biblical hope related to this issue by reading “The Bible and the Pain of Infertility” by Kimberly Monroe.

Photo: levigruber

More on Renewing Marital Intimacy

If you found yesterday’s link to David Powlison’s booklet on Renewing Marital Intimacy to be of interest, then you may also want to check into Dr. Powlison’s 3-part video series on the topic. Here’s the first…

View Part 2 HERE.
View Part 3 HERE.

Photo: Gavin Spencer

Considering Cosmetic Surgery?

Old age is creeping up on me more quickly than I would have imagined. After spending a lifetime squinting at the world through nearsighted eyes, I noticed a few years ago that a vertical crease had begun making itself at home right between my eyebrows. I’ll be honest–I don’t like that crease. And sometimes when I forget that my adornment must not be merely external, I daydream about finding a way to regain my youthful appearance by making that icky mark disappear. Do you ever have moments like that?

In this video from CCEF, biblical counselor Julie Lowe offers some insights to help us think through the issues of plastic surgery and outward beauty…

Photo: Renxx Gmdr

Free Download: Renewing Marital Intimacy

New Growth Press is offering a free download of a great little booklet by David Powlison called Renewing Marital Intimacy: Closing the Gap Between You and Your Spouse. If you or someone you know is experiencing a lack of intimacy within marriage, I’d encourage you to check out the helpful biblical teaching and practical steps toward change that Dr. Powlison shares in this booklet.

Here’s an excerpt:  

There is joy and delight when there’s affection, closeness, sparkle, romance, and sexual intimacy. But if you are living for intimacy, if you must have it or else, then you are not living for God.

If you are living for intimacy and you aren’t getting that from your husband, you will be tempted to bitterness, despair, and even fantasizing about other men. This is where you need God’s forgiveness and power to change. Center your life on intimacy with God, and he will give you the freedom to love your spouse without demanding intimacy from him.

If you seek intimacy with your spouse, you’ll always be disappointed. If you seek to love your spouse the way God loves you, you’ll never be disappointed. You will fail. You’ll still be hurt by your spouse’s sins. You’ll still get preoccupied by other desires. But in the long run there will be change. Intimacy will come your way—not always the way you’d like it or at the exact time you’d like it—but learning to love God will change your relationship with your spouse.

Read or download Renewing Marital Intimacy HERE.

Untangling the Roots of Depression

“Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me?”

Psalm 43:5

Dr. David Powlison of CCEF offers a thoughtful and balanced response to a question many Christians ask about depression…

To learn more on this topic, check out Depression: A Stubborn Darkness written by one of Dr. Powlison’s colleagues at CCEF, Edward Welch.

Photo: SSPIVAK

Becoming Our Brother’s Keeper

“Two are better than one…For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

In the latest video from CCEF, Mike Emlet gives a helpful explanation of how we should think about Christian accountability…

Photo: Tory Byrne

Marriages Governed by Grace

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:21

Excellent thoughts from Winston Smith of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation

What character qualities have you found to be the most important in building healthy marriages?

Photo: Daniel Jarr