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  • Free Training: I am doing a free training on Tuesday, February 16th. I will cover The 4 Lies that Make Women In Destructive Relationships Feel Crazy and Powerless. You will have two times to watch it – either 12 PM ET or 7:30 PM ET. Save your seat today by going to leslievernick.com/joinwebinar

What To Do When A Snake Bites You

by Leslie Vernick

Have you ever been bitten by a poisonous snake and felt its lethal effect coursing through your veins? I have never been snagged by the fangs of a rattlesnake, but I've been attacked by other kinds of human snakes that inject their poison of hate, bitterness, discouragement, hopelessness, fear, and worry through my mind, my heart and my body.

“Please Lord,” I plead. “Can’t you take these people snakes away from my life?”

As I’m reading through the Old Testament right now, I’m seeing where the Israelites went through a rough patch in their long journey through the wilderness. They grew impatient with God. They couldn’t figure out what he was up to and began to grumble and complain. “Why Lord? Why this? Why me? And by the way, we hate eating this horrible manna!”

God responded by sending poisonous snakes and many Jews were bitten and died. Only then did Israel wake up, come to their senses and repent. “We’ve sinned against God and against you, Moses” they cried. “Ask God to take away the snakes.”

Just like you and me, the Israelites wanted God to remove the snakes. But shockingly, that’s not what God did. Instead, he instructed Moses to make a bronze replica of the poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. He then told Moses, “All who were bitten would live and be healed if they simply looked up and gazed at the bronze snake” (Numbers 21:8,9).

The story sounds bizarre and it is difficult for us to understand fully. Despite Israel’s pleas, God didn’t remove the snakes. Instead, he provided an antidote for the poisonous snake-bites but it would require a personal choice. God knew that the obvious problem (poisonous snakes) wasn’t the deeper problem for the Israelites. God knew that the true problem was Israel’s chronic lack of faith and trust in who God is and what God can do.

Therefore, in God’s wisdom, he didn’t remove the snakes among them but did give the Israelites a way to live if they got bit. They could learn to trust in God and what he provided (look up at the pole when a snake bites you) or they could die in the wilderness. He knew that their problem with unbelief was crucial to their well-being and gave them a crisis situation in which to repeatedly practice looking up.

In the same way, God reminds me that he has provided the same remedy for you and me today. When you feel poisonous people snakes biting at your ankles, learn to immediately lookup.

Jesus tells us in the New Testament that “as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.” (John 3:14.15)

When you choose to take your focus off your difficult circumstances, or the harsh words of another person, or your own pain and look up you will gain a new perspective. Your gaze is fixed on something bigger and greater than the pain you’re experiencing and by choosing to change your focus, you can find healing from its lethal poison.


Forgiveness: Reflecting God's Mercy

by Hayley Satrom

When the sins of others loom large on our minds, we need to look to God. Not only is his love an encouragement amid our pain, but it is the foundation upon which we build forgiveness for others. Thirty-one devotional readings with reflection questions and action points help us to see how God empowers us to forgive others in previously unimaginable ways.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter! One winner for each book (Giveaway only available to U.S. residents)

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of “Is It Abuse?” by Darby Strickland are Debra I. and Martina V.


A Painful Past: Healing and Moving Forward

by Lauren Whitman

Do you live with regret? Have others sinned terribly against you? God invites you to pour out your heart to him and to find comfort in his Word. In this 31-day devotional, complete with reflection questions and practical action steps, biblical counselor Lauren Whitman shows how the gospel transforms your understanding of the past, your life in the present, and your hope for the future.



Want to have Leslie speak at your event?
Click here to find out more information.

March 19th – 20th, 2021
Dallas, TX

Call to Peace Ministry Retreat
May 13 – 16th. 2021
Asheville, NC

The Village Church
December 3rd
Flowermound, TX

Lighthouse Christian Church
Date TBA
Rosemount, Minnesota

Center for Christian Counseling
Date TBA
Madison, WI

My Counselor Is Bullying Me

Question: I’ve been married to an abusive man for 20 years and our marriage has had most forms of abuse except for sexual. We have been through many counselors in our marriage and are currently in counseling with a nouthetic counselor.

I do not understand his counseling approach. First meeting was the two of us in his office telling us we were both sinners, self-righteous, prideful, etc. He minimized the abuse of my children, he minimized mine because my husband hadn’t “physically” abused me in two years. He minimized the word abuse, told me I shouldn’t fear my husband etc. By the time I left the meeting I couldn’t quit crying because I felt so attacked and like he just fed my husband’s ego. I had gone to the church for help because of the ongoing other forms of abuse that included abuse of my children.

Our counseling sessions consisted of us making up a “sin list” to confess our sins to one another and also add to the other’s list of how we felt they wronged us. Yet in the midst of doing this, the verbal and emotional stuff was still going on. It was awful.

I tried to tell the counselor that my husband was being deceitful and all he said was that my husband said the same about me. I tried to tell him about the physical and verbal abuse of the kids yet again, the word got minimized. The church even told me that the word abuse isn’t a “biblical term.”

I have several of the books you have referenced and tried to take them to the counselor so he could ‘understand’ and basically got my hand slapped for thinking I knew a better way. The church sent us to this man and he had his way of doing things, if I wanted to honor the church, we needed to do it his way.

My husband has become more clever every time we see a counselor and they believe him, and as I sit there trying to be validated he makes me seem crazy and unbalanced.

They won’t talk to my kids because they think it’s a marriage issue. I keep trying to tell the counselor it is not, that my husband communicates this way to others too, our kids, neighbors, people on the phone. I don’t know what to do? Can you give me some words maybe to use with my counselor that might help me?

Answer: I am so sorry for your painful experience in counseling. First let me tell you that not all nouthetic counselors (or Biblical counselors as many call themselves) would handle your situation like this counselor has.

The goal of a nouthetic counselor is to confront sin (in love) and bring the person to repentance so that their life reflects Christ’s truth. It seems that is what your counselor is attempting to do. However, it’s important to remember that just because someone is a Christian counselor (whatever type), doesn’t necessarily mean they are good at what they do, just like any other profession – from plumber to dentist, even if they are deeply committed to Biblical truth and principles.

I do not like to critique other counselors and prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt, but because I hear situations like yours almost weekly about all kinds of different counselors, I want to give you some specific things you can say to your counselor as well as things for you to think about.

What People Are Saying About Leslie’s Walking in CORE Strength Group

Walking in CORE strength was a game changer for me!

I knew that my marriage, issues with me kids, and crazy financial upheaval constantly left me feeling like a fish – flopping around, out of water, gasping. Walking In Core strength helped me SEE my part of this problem. I began to see how I was contributing to the cycle.

Walking in CORE strength allowed me to become aware of my own choices, feelings, and thoughts. I began to see God and his truth with more clarity. In this class, I realized that because my people pleasing addiction affected my ability to establish healthy boundaries in my life. The result was that I had given other people control. I didn’t know how to take it back and sit in the driver seat of my life.

My life has changed drastically! Yes, I am single and I’m ok with that. I have much better relationships with my teenagers. I am successfully setting boundaries! My kids give me daily opportunities to exercise that muscle!

And best of all – because Jesus has freed me to walk in CORE, I am clothed in strength and dignity….. and I smile (HOPE) in what the future holds. Is it scary some days? YES! But today I can confidently say that I can look fear in the face and smile. Praise the Lord!!!


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States