Tag Archives: depression

Dead enough? Halloween in the Bible

Halloween deathWhat do Christians have to do with the “devil’s day?” More than you might think.

First of all, the devil has no day. Every day belongs to Jesus.

Second, Christians are told to crucify their flesh, to live spiritual, not carnal lives. The sinner gives free reign to his flesh. There’s no death going on as you’re getting drunk with plastic vampire teeth in your mouth. The blood is fake.

But what Christians are doing is real. These verses sounds pretty Halloweeny:

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. — Ro. 6:4, 6, 11 NIV.

Do you think your party celebrating death-things is cool once a year? You should celebrate a real death 52 times a year (every Sunday).

Discouragement

discouragementWe tend to think discouragement is a feeling, not a sin.

But because of discouragement, Daniel’s contemporaries let themselves go. Exiled to Babylon, ripped out of their beloved homeland, deprived of hope, there was nothing to live for. With only depression, without a future, without hope, they might as well live it up. They would eat all the king’s delicious food in his service. Who cares that it contaminated them? that it was dedicated to idols? After all, what would be the point of consecrating themselves to God? All was lost in the exile.

But Daniel decided to avoid the unholy food and wine. He continued to consecrate himself to God.

At the end of the day, he never returned to Israel. He spent the rest of his life in exile, as a counselor (slave) to foreign kings. But he made impact for God in foreign lands. The book of Daniel is the account of how God ceased to be for the Jews only. He started being the God of all nations. Jonah, Daniel and Esther are necessary stepping stones to Jesus, who ultimately was and is the Savior of all nations.

While Daniel’s contemporaries lost hope, God was initiating a completely different plan. They couldn’t imagine what God had up His sleeve, so they “let themselves go.”

Daniel is a great example to me.

Heart, you’ve let me down

HeartHeart, you’ve led me astray, following your desires, chasing love where it cannot be found. So I’m giving up on you. I’m going to follow One who is faithful and who forgives. I’m tired of the disillusions you lead me to. It’s time to settle down for an illusion, a hope, that won’t disappoint.

Casting cares

Casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you. — 1 Pet. 5:7.

I’m going to keep reaching out

BR2

Even though I face rejection on all sides.

Cutting myself off from people would save me the hurt. But it would deprive me of human warmth, affirmation.

Too bad so many people see others through competitive eyes. They can’t just be friends. They have to put others down, downplay others’ giftings. Life must be miserable when you can’t enjoy friendship.

319896379751152422_LZUTRNrd_bI’m going to keep reaching out to find friends. To find people who can accept me for what I am. My strengths and weaknesses. My quirks. People who don’t try to re-make me according to what they think I should be. God made me sensitive. If you don’t like that, too bad for you!

I’m going to keep reaching out because that’s what Jesus did. Spurned, he still gave love. I’m going to keep reaching out because the alternative to rejection is loneliness — which is worse.

The beauty of the Light

jesus the lightHe makes even the ugliness of life turn beautiful. Don’t hide from the Light. His name is Jesus.

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Rejected?

rejection

Comparisons are the worst: Part 2 on self-esteem

Discov ering self esteem

Unperceived by parents, teachers, friends, aptitude tests, my giftings were perfect for what God designed me for. I’m posing with kids in the Guatemala Christian school, Liceo Bilingue La Puerta.

My gifting was not appreciated by anyone in high school. I wasn’t that smart, wasn’t athletic, wasn’t socially adept. What was I? I was overly sensitive. In high school being overly sensitive is not a good thing because you’re no good at the interchange of crass teasing that especially goes on among boys.

I actually thought I lacked a special trait.

Then I discovered my call: to pastor, to be a missionary. And being very sensitive (to God and to others) was a premium. But when I was a kid and took aptitude tests designed to surface giftings, nothing registered.

colegio GuatemalaComparisons are the worst because God made you absolutely unique. This uniqueness is reflected in your fingerprints, in your DNA, in your emotional makeup, in your interests and passions. It flouts comparison. To compare yourself to others is to ignore your God-given talents.

There is only one you on te planet. God made you special to do something nobody else will do. Only you can get the job done. It’s pointless to desire somebody else’s job. ?God didn’t design you for that.

It’s an insult to God to wish to be someone different, to have their beauty, their intellect or their wit. If you are young, take it easy on yourself. Don’t criticize yourself harshly. Wait and see what comes of your life. Strive to do well in everything but don’t panic if others do better in you in many areas. Because in one area, you’re going to blow them away. That’s where you’re a winner.

Our thought life

drive down roadWe are well aware of the damage that can be done by taking a wrong turn.

But we take no heed to the danger of negative or sinful thoughts. The Bible says, “Take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.” If the direction of your thought life is toward depression, low self esteem, drugs or some other negative, take the steering wheel away from the devil and direct your thoughts towards positive things.

Be a bee seeking flowers

bees flowers

flies dung

Find love

friendship loveAs a lonely high schooler, Valentine’s Day was depressing. Friendless and girlfriendless, I looked on others wistfully.

loveI encourage every lonely heart to NOT give up the search for love. You will find love if you don’t give up. Here are the lessons of love I have learned at my modest age of 46:

  1. Erotic/romantic love is NOT the only kind of love.
  2. The love of a true friend can outshine marital love. (By age 22, I had resigned myself to never finding a friend. But I eventually fell into kindred spirits (at church) — and they raised my spirits!)
  3. If you are young and your family comes up short, you can establish your own family with richness of love.
  4. The love of God, though the least tangible of the varieties of love, is by far the best. I encourage everyone to find God’s love. I believe that humans have a hole in their hearts that only God can fill — and we desperately try to fill that void with every wrong and ultimately unsatisfying thing.

So, here’s a Valentine’s Day for you in which you discover love!

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Add sparkle to your life

sparkler girl

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Sparkle

light

Shed the shackles

depressionThe Bible says to take captive every thought. It seems like we modern people struggle with self esteem and internal negativity. The worst rant is the accusing finger inside your heart.

As a Christian, I believe the chief work is done by Christ. But we Christians must do the work of focusing our thought life on positives. Maybe you’re surrounded by hounds who criticize. Maybe you need to cancel your EnvyBook account. It’s astonishing what a little Bible-reading and prayer can do to lift your spirits.

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Flip it

bad situations

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Why so many problems?

problems

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Others’ opinions

Others opinions

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Hurting Heart

hurt

Your Defender

lifesmash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Imprezzme.blogspot.com

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Hardship

hardship

Fear of… success: Bible prayers

  • Bible prayers
  • Prayers for encouragement
  • Faith to rise above

discouragementFear of failure has a unimagined flip-side: the fear of success. The person who chokes because he’s afraid he’ll blow it comes under a cloud of doom. Ultimately in his decision-making, risk-avoidance becomes success-avoidance.

I know what I’m talking about. I have suffered from it. When I was the hardest-working, most experienced college reporter on the UCLA Daily Bruin, my editors handed me the opportunity of the lifetime, an investigative piece that would establish my reputation. I said I was too busy.

Fear of... success: Bible prayersThe guy who took it catapulted his career. I watched from the stands as a less-experienced reporter took to the field.

shipwrecked faithI have mulled over that decision lots. I have analyzed and psycho-analyzed it.

It’s better to risk humiliation and go out with a blaze than step to the sideline. But the nasty habit of self-brow-beating is no easy task for anyone who has wrestled with the low-self-esteem demon.

Here’s what’s helped me:

  • Prayer
  • Bible reading
  • Church fellowship with encouraging saints
  • Exercise
  • Eating right
  • Trying to learn patience

And this has hurt me:

  • Criticism
  • Competition among friends
  • Envy and jealousy
  • Church dysfunction

2 Cor. 10:5 says, we must bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. For me, it is a struggle. I share these confessions in the hopes that others will be encouraged in similar fights. The enemy of our souls, the devil, wages war against our thoughts. Let’s pray for one another and support one another.

Finger-pointing is not the answer

507710557961662897_MnPCae3C_bEverybody has their share of angst. When our actions, when our lives, don’t line up with our ideals, the result is anxiety.

Pray is an on-going relief to life’s pain. Blaming someone or something does nothing to help the essential problem.

137993176053255564_HVsSY8uk_cHere’s my theory: the religious fanatic is akin to the atheist. Both insist on having the answers to all of life’s questions. I, on the other hand, feel comfortable with the imperfections of life, with not having all the answers. I deal with them by prayer, not by finger-pointing.

And the result is peace.

My stalker

stalker_by_orendorffknightI have a stalker who regularly comes to harass me, and the Santa Monica Police Department can’t do anything about him.

He is discouragement. I can’t seem to get rid of him. I constantly need to get rid of him.

Just because I constantly am trying to encourage others, doesn’t mean I’m free of discouragement myself. It is the contrary that is true: Because I struggle with discouragement that I try to help others. This helps me.

StalkerIf you have this stalker too, then get rid of him:

  • Exercise and eat right.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Avoid destructive behaviors.
  • Flee drugs and alcohol only mask, don’t heal, the inner pain and fears. They make things worse.
  • Prefer uplifting music. The lyrics affect your soul, whether or not you’re “listening.”
  • Eschew movies and shows with morbid themes
  • Feed on the Word of God.
  • Surround yourself with people who can lift you up, not those who tear you down.
  • Pray and ask God for help.
  • Don’t pretend and pose.
  • Don’t be afraid to get help.

As with any stalker, we don’t want to take discouragement lightly. He can do us great damage, and we need to take action.

It’s a four-letter word

If you lose millions of dollars, you can get it back. If you lose your health, you can get it back. You can get back just about most anything. But the one thing you can never get back is t-i-m-e.

Many things we think are a “waste of time” are not. Those things we hold to be a best use of time, actually are a waste. Time will run out into the ocean of eternity one day and will stop marching forward. On that day, you and I will be in either Heaven or Hell. What we do here on earth in favor of eternity is the best use of time.

Have you hugged your family yet? Have you hugged God in prayer today?

Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

from Blue Pueblo

from Blue Pueblo

Pain brings change.

EcoGreen...1

from EcoGreen

I am so resistant to change that I leave God no other option but to let me go through difficult circumstances to bring me where He wants me. I’m screaming bloody murder the whole way. Then, when I find myself in His blessing, I smile and say, “Oh, this is where You were bringing me!” The pain dissipates; pleasure fills my heart.

It’s okay to be down now. Maybe you’ve lost everything… your house, your family, your ministry. Don’t drink to

from Flojohn Travels

from Flojohn Travels

forget. Keep slogging through the Dark Valley. On the other side, you will come out into Wonderland. Life goes by cycles; you can’t always be on top of the world; you won’t always be on the bottom.

After a valley in his life, Mike Lynch says, "I never want to go through that again, and I wouldn't wish that on anybody, but actually it's made me what I am today."

After a valley in his life, Mike Lynch says, “I never want to go through THAT again, and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, but actually it’s made me what I am today.”

Believe in yourself. Believe in God. After the war comes  rebuilding and  prosperity. As one blogger says: Become better, not bitter. Current circumstances could drown you, or you could learn to swim. Tread water long enough in the Noah-like flood, and you’ll win a gold medal at the Olympics.

Incrementally improve. When the blessing hits, it will come suddenly, but it will have been through incremental improvements.

Instead of cutting

imagesPain is off the charts these days. I believe the multiplication of evil prophesied by Jesus for the last days is to blame. There’s more disintegration of families, more sin abounding, so hearts are hurting everywhere from betrayal. Where love is supposed to be, rejection abounds.

English obviously correlates “cry” and “cry out” in the translation of the Bible. O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent – Psalm 22:2 NIV. Distress

from The Landy - Out and About

from The Landy – Out and About

is associated with shouting. Our desperation turns to prayer, our anguish to hope. Prayer, if anything, is pathos.

I asked God for His toughest assignment because I was cocksure of the solution: prayer. Then He allowed me a underwaterstatuestrial that blindsided me and left me staggering and confused. I had to laugh at myself: I got what I asked for, and then I didn’t know what to do.

Prayer is the outpouring of pain, a solution, not a reveling in hurt. Unlike cutting or pity-partying, it doesn’t celebrate the ouch in an upside-down way; it heals it. Turn not your anguish into alcoholism. You have a God above you who loves you and cares for you.

Compassion’s evil twin

imagesWhen I was kid, I felt sorry for myself intensely. When bigger kids pushed me around and my mom wouldn’t go out and make it right, I gloated on my woes. Self-pity has been an evil that has plagued me even up to the present.

from Kathy Long

from Kathy Long

The good thing is that she has a twin called Compassion. As with many “evils,” you can flip them and make them good. When I took aptitude tests in high school, I scored low or average on everything — but they didn’t even measure the deep well of gifting God had given me. Compassion and empathy have driven years of successful ministry. Feeling others’ pain keeps me in prayer.

Self-aggrandizement is a wicked

from Three Chad Presents Stunning Photos

from Three Chad Presents Stunning Photos

motivation to get in ministry. The only true calling is serving others. Consider the contrast: Jesus reflects on the hungry multitudes, “I have compassion on them.” The disciples reflect harsh realities, “And where are we gonna get the money to feed them???” (Matt 15 32 – 39).

Are there others in your world or just yourself? Pic from Unbelievable Pictures

Are there others in your world or just yourself? Pic from Unbelievable Pictures

Are you more like Christ or his disciples? The case is all the worse if you realize the disciples HAD the money to buy enough food (Luke 8:3) — they just were selfish! Compassionlessness is ugly.

So if you suffer from self-pity, don’t despair. Just turn your eyes outward, and you’ll become a marvelously effective servant of God/ of humanity!

Once a failure, always a…

72409506479213917_hXOrEUnr_cSeven failures in a row do not make you a failure.

Just ask George Washington. He lost seven successive battles but won the war. He was voted president of the newly formed United States of America. His revolution inspired freedom movements among colonies in both Americas (North and South).

imagesDid he kick himself for mucking up when he became famous for retreating? Did he grovel with feelings of inadequacy? I don’t know. What I do know is that he continued fighting until he won. Place no time limits on God. If things don’t work out well now, they may later. Don’t despair, just keep plugging away!

Every time you fail, you’re one step closer to the formula of success!

Too many head trips

My worst enemy is my own thoughts!

My worst enemy is my own thoughts!

I am a great dramatist! But only in my own mind. I rehearse interactions with people over and over. I’m quite sardonic, tragic and full of pathos. Unfortunately, the vast majority of my rehearsals never come before a true-life audience.

Unfortunately, the majority of these rehearsals played in the theater of my mind are negative.

my thoughts under water pressure

my thoughts under water pressure

I’m venting bitterness. I’m being vindicated from all those who have insulted me. These incessantly replaying scenarios are unhealthy. Their product is discouragement.

When I get discouraged, I flatline.

I need to get victory over my

Break out of your mental prison. Art by Zeno Frudakis

Break out of your mental prison. Art by Zeno Frudakis

demons. The Bible says: We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Cor. 10:5 NIV. It is easy to succumb to disgruntles. It requires immense effort to keep optimism when surrounded by a howling storm of negativism.

Break through the clouds over your mind. Photo Pinterest

Break through the clouds over your mind!

The answer to the litany of complaints in your brain is NOT imagining dramatic conclusions. The answer is to silence them. Raise rank and disburse orders to shut up all the negative minions mocking you. You can gag the suckers, but it takes an active decision on your part. You must force them.

The beetle curl

9360260-woman-smiling-showing-yellow-flowers-isolated-on-white-background-beautiful-fresh-young-mixed-race-aMy friend goes into a beetle curl. A search engine optimization genius, he nonetheless has not met with financial success — yet. There are so many things he could do to promote his business that he doesn’t know which to do. Failure has hounded him. Worse of all, it hounds him in his mind. Depression descends on him, and he gets in bed, unable to move.

Pic from Pinterest

Pic from Pinterest

Pic Naokihan

Pic Naokihan

Yeah, I know exactly what he’s going through. I WAS a successful missionary. Not anymore. Now I can’t seem to hit the mark here in the United States. After 16 years of being out of the country, it would appear I am defunct. Sometimes, I just want to go into the beetle curl.

From Pinterest

From Pinterest

Here’s the lessons if you ever  feel like that:

1) Keep doing right things, even though everything screams to you that it’s not working.

2) Find someone who can speak encouragement to you. Shut out negativity.

rockettopad3) Confess positive words over yourself. Believe in yourself. (You might as well do it; no one else will do that in this pernicious world.) Proverbs 18:21 says: Death and life are in the power of the tongue. What you say about you becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy..

From Laurie Coombs

From Laurie Coombs

4) Drink coffee! No joking! Eat balanced diet. Exercise. Let sunlight in. Read uplifting material. Listen to uplifting music. Watch inspiring movies. Etc.

5) When all else fails, go ahead and go into the beetle curl. Sleep a bunch. Things will look better after rest!

Helpless, but not hopeless

Photo Pinterest

Photo Pinterest

Photo Pinterest

Photo Pinterest

You feel like an cornered animal. You want your parents to stop fighting, and there is nothing you can do. You want your husband to be the good father your kids need, and he continues unfaithful or abusive. You have cancer.

Americans love — no, need — to have everything under control. What do you do when life spins out of control? Frustration boils over. How do you keep sane in insane circumstances? How do you tolerate intolerable acts?

I was falsely accused by an extortionist in Guatemala. It was a “big bad gringo takes

Photo Pinterest

Photo Pinterest

advantage of a helpless Guatemalan” scenario. I was very much afraid I would be sent to jail, but since the accusations were utterly false, I would not capitulate to the extortion (If he pays $—-, I will drop the charges).

I fasted four days a week. I went to bed afraid the cops would come and get me. I woke up thinking the cops would pick me up.

369787819373451012_bQuSJOKx_bWell, I got a lawyer. God defended me. Innocent I was, and I was found innocent.

Don’t run away screaming. Don’t cut your wrist. Don’t intern yourself in a mental institution. You need something to hold on to when your world tumbles down like the proverbial house of cards.

We Christians hold on to God. He is a friend and a lover. When everything you always wanted becomes everything you always feared, God will sustain you if you flee to him. You may be helpless to change unchangeable circumstances, but hopeless you are not.

The purpose of trials

Photo thanks to ART Freelance.

Photo thanks to ART Freelance.

Photo thanks to Ben Rogers Blog

Photo thanks to Ben Rogers Blog

The purpose of trials is to build your faith.

To lead you to depend more on God.

Sadly, many instead lose their faith at this point. And they decide life is arbitrary, that there is no justice, no overarching design nor control, no

When life gets hard, look up.

When life gets hard, look up.

providence. Life is meaningless, they say. (Yet they still try to imbue it with meaning.)

Go back to God again and again until your trial turns to triumph.

Get into the habit of faith

To form a new habit, willpower is more important than self-esteem. In his book Willpower, Roy Baumeister demonstrates that willpower is key to success in college, success in life, longevity and health. The possessor adheres to an unshakeable determination to achieve his goals.

If you’re accustomed to a dreary day of negativity, make some practical changes: Introduce or lengthen prayer time. Sprinkle your day with the Word of God. Arrest negative thoughts and force yourself to assume the best. Audibly confess the opposite of what gets you down. Continually go up to sit on God’s lap and tell your loving Father your struggles.

It’s amazing that willpower is akin to faith. They’re overlapping circle graphs with a significant shared region. This is the overcoming spirit of which the Bible speaks.

Is it possible to go from pessimism to belief? I am one who emigrated from the country of unbelief and unhealthy depression. I journeyed to the land of faith. Transforming my outlook has transformed my life. So I encourage you to get off your “but” and become a person of faith.

The window and the mirror

The reason why God doesn’t help us is because we aren’t helping others. My pastor said it this morning: the reason why a man was backsliding so much is because he was obsessing on himself.

God has called us to the Great O-word: Others. Christianity must move beyond yourself, your feelings, your blessings. It must account ever-increasingly for others. How to serve them. How to aid them.

Stop looking at the mirror, and look out the window. It’s amazing how when we solve other people’s problems, we solve our own! Depression is simply anger turned inward. Turn it outward and project into positive action to help others.