Friday, April 12, 2013

Wise Counsel

Quick Note:  Today I give an update on my cystic acne struggle.  I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support over the past few months as I've been vulnerable and shared this struggle.  You have been a blessing to me in so many ways.  May God continue to get ALL the glory.
 
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With our media-driven, information-crazed world its surprisingly TOUGH to find wise counsel. 
 
There are a lot of people in this world who think they know everything there is to know about absolutely anything. 
 
And with the ridiculous amount of media outlets available to them they can NOW voice their advice and opinions whenever, wherever, and however they would like.
 
Just type in any problem you might be having into a search engine and you will find yourself drowning in a sea of answers, opinions, pictures, and advice. 
 
Some helpful.
Some destructive.
Some wise.
Some foolish.
Some funny.
Some scary.
Some hopeful
Some hopeless.
 
If you've ever had a health problem and gone to the Internet for answers, you KNOW what I'm talking about.
 
One of two things usually occurs
 
Either...you find the information and counsel wise and helpful.
 
Or...you find the information and counsel scary, crazy, destructive, and hopeless.  You are now gripped with worry and fear, assuming the worst, and totally stressed out.
 
I've had some unique and strange physical ailments over the past few years that have sent me hunting on the Internet for answers.
 
Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile, are aware of my most recent health battle with cystic acne.

(see posts: With Jesus There is No Shame & Christ's Ambassadors to the Hurting)
 
After enduring several months of cystic acne and trying lots of remedies on my own, I finally sought counsel. 

I spent time hunting the Internet for answers and ended up feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.  I also went to two different dermatologists, spoke with my general doctor, saw a natural doctor, and e-mailed back and forth with a girl who shared a similar struggle.

I received so much advice and it was all very different.
I was overwhelmed.

How was I to know which advice to follow?
 
 
When we are having physical, emotional, or spiritual problems, it is vital one sifts through the abounding sea of opinions and advice until he/she finds WISE sources...
 
Wise counsel helps to ensure healing that lasts 
 
AND
 
prevents the problem from becoming worse.
 
 
Scripture is clear that the first step to solving a problem is by seeking and listening to advice:
 
"Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise."  Proverbs 19:20
 
We can't solve all our problems by ourselves, often we need to solicit advice from others.  However, what's key to success is finding sources or people who will give us WISE counsel.
 
There is a story in 1 Kings 12 that speaks to this. 
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After King Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.  The trouble was that Solomon had left him with an awful mess to sort out. 
 
The people of Israel were angry and discontent with the heavy taxation and conscription of labor and military forces Solomon had burdened them with during the end of his rule.  
 
They approached Rehoboam with a request...
"Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you." (12:4)
 
Rehoboam asked the people to go away for a few days while he sorted out the mess and came to a decision. 
 
He then consulted two groups with the question,
"How would you advise me to answer these people?" (12:6)
 
First, he went to the older, wise elders who had served his father Solomon for years. 
 
They replied,
"If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants." (12:7)
 
Then, he went to his friends who he had grown up with; young men with little life and leadership experience. 
 
They replied,
"Tell these people...'my little finger is thicker than my father's waist.  My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier.  My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions." (12:10-11).
 
Foolishly, Rehoboam listened to the latter advice and caused a division of the people of Israel into two "nations:"  Israel and Judah.  This division was catostrophic to the Nation of Israel and led to wickedness, destruction, and eventual captivity.
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Rehoboam was right to seek counsel.  His mistake was in choosing to listen to the foolish counsel rather than the wise. 
 
 
And the consequence of listening to the foolish counsel was that his problem became EVEN WORSE. 
 

After reading about and receiving LOTS of different advice regarding my acne I was nervous that, just like Rehoboam, I would follow foolish counsel and make my problem worse. 

So I did the following:
 
First, I prayed and sought God. 
 
"...if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of god.  For the LORD give wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."  Proverbs 2:3-6

 
After feeling like I knew what God was directing me to do, I then asked Keith and a few other godly and wise people in my life to pray and confirm with me. 
 
 
Finally I took the path of advice I felt God calling me to.  
 
 
It has been about almost a month ago since I made that decision and to my heart's DELIGHT I have found so much healing!
 
 
I have had only a handful of new cysts in the past three weeks and the ones I had have healed.  All that remains are very dark red spots, which will take months to fade (if they do), and many scars.  But, I am no longer in pain and consider myself over the worst.

BEFORE
 

AFTER
 

BEFORE
 
 
AFTER
 
 
BEFORE
 
 
 AFTER

I know it STILL looks rough.
 
But I am Praising God for the healing that continues to occur. 
 
The path of advice I took was the right one
 
I believe that God gave me clear direction and brought healing to my skin through the wise advice of others.
 
What a wonderful lesson I have to teach my children when they encounter a problem they cannot solve on their own. 
 
4 Clear Steps 
 
1.  Seek counsel 
 
2.  Pray and ask God for clarity and direction in regards to the counsel received. 
 
3.  Ask a wise and godly friend to pray with you and confirm God's leading. 
 
4. Follow the path He is leading you to (and this requires lots of TRUST).
 
Join me today and pray the following:
 
Lord, I pray that my children would have the humility to know when they need to seek counsel.  I pray their first instinct would be to cry out to YOU for direction and wisdom.  I pray they would also seek counsel from wise, godly men and women.  I pray that you would give them discernment to decipher between wise and foolish counsel.  And I pray that, unlike King Rehoboam, they would listen and heed the wise counsel and ignore the foolish.  
 
Proverbs 2:3-6; 19:20; 1 Kings 12







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