Handling Guilt Biblically Part 1 + LINKUP

 

Handling Guilt Biblically -

Today and over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to talk about guilt, what it is, and why we experience it? We’ll look at how the world views it, some examples of guilt in the Bible, and we’ll get the biblical perspective on it. Finally, we’ll discuss what we as Christians should do about it?

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Handling Guilt Biblically Part 1

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” We have already covered anger, depression, fear and worry. If you missed any of them, just click on the link.

Today we’re going to start talking about guilt, but first, I want to tell you about a man I know. This man was under a lot of pressure. He was suffering from poor health. He seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. He even seemed to be in a daze at times. He couldn’t focus. He was sad and depressed. And He thought about his problems all the time.

It was affecting him physically. His heart would race wildly and he was stressed out. All he wanted to do was sleep and, yet, when he tried to sleep he couldn’t.

If you’ve ever been around someone like that, it gets uncomfortable. There’s only so much you can say. That was the case with this man. He said his friends came around less and less and eventually some just quit coming. Maybe that has happened to you, either you have felt like this man or been one of his friends or both.

If you were trying to help my friend, how would you diagnose his problem?

Could he be clinically depressed, be suffering with chronic fatigue syndrome or have PTSD? Does he need medication?

It’s possible that you have met this man, too.

The man is David, and David was experiencing pressure at the hand of a loving God. David had sinned and God was dealing with him.

In Psalm 38 David said this:

1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your wrath,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure!
2 For Your arrows pierce me deeply,
And Your hand presses me down.

3 There is no soundness in my flesh
Because of Your anger,
Nor any health in my bones
Because of my sin.
4 For my iniquities have gone over my head;

Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds are foul and festering
Because of my foolishness.

6 I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly;
I go mourning all the day long.
7 For my loins are full of inflammation,
And there is no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am feeble and severely broken;
I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.

9 Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You.
10 My heart pants, my strength fails me;
As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.

11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague,
And my relatives stand afar off.
12 Those also who seek my life lay snares for me;
Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction,
And plan deception all the day long.

13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;
And I am like a mute who does not open his mouth.
14 Thus I am like a man who does not hear,
And in whose mouth is no response.

15 For in You, O LORD, I hope;
You will hear, O Lord my God.
16 For I said, “Hear me, lest they rejoice over me,
Lest, when my foot slips, they exalt themselves against me.”

17 For I am ready to fall,
And my sorrow is continually before me.

18 For I will declare my iniquity;
I will be in anguish over my sin.

 

A Closer Look

 

Let’s look closer at what David said:  Continue reading

Handling Depression Biblically: “How?” – Part 4 + LINKUP

 

Handling Depression Biblically - Part 4

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 4

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” We started with anger and then moved on to depression. Three weeks ago we discussed the medical, cultural and biblical definitions of depression and two weeks ago we looked at the lives of two of the prophets, Elijah and Jeremiah, and how God ministered to them when they experienced feelings of depression.

Last week we looked at depression in David’s life.  As we looked at Psalm 32 we saw how David’s sin with Bathsheba affected his emotions and led to what we would describe as depression. Today we’re going to talk more about how a failure to handle the events and responsibilities of life in a biblical way and other sins can cause feelings of depression. Then we’ll talk about how, as believers, we should respond to feelings of depression.

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Cain & His Unpleasant Emotions

 

In Genesis 4, we read about Adam and Eve’s two sons, Cain and Abel.

² … When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected (NLT).

Cain’s offering was rejected by God and Cain became dejected. The NKJV says his countenance fell.

Hebrews 11.4 says, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous.”

God didn’t just reject Cain’s offering out of hand. Abel responded to God in faith, he believed God and obeyed Him. Cain’s disobedience and rebellion was first exposed by his offering. He followed the dictates of his own heart and brought what seemed right to him. Genesis 4 goes on:

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

God was personally dealing with and warning Cain about what was going on in his heart. His response should have been repentance, instead he remained angry at God and his brother will pay the price.

One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.

Cain lures his brother out into the field and then kills him out of anger and jealousy.

Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?”

“I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”

Given another opportunity to repent and confess his guilt, he responds with defiance and rebellion.

10 But the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! 11 Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. 12 No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.”

13 Cain replied to the Lord, “My punishment is too great for me to bear! 14 You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!”

His response: “It’s too much! It’s not fair!” He was filled with self-pity and feelings of depression.

“Someone will kill me.” He becomes consumed with fear and guilt.

His sinful choices put him on a downward spiral of sin that lead to dejection, anger, self-pity, depression, fear, worry, and guilt.

 

Colleen’s Story

 

In a course that my husband teaches, the downward spiral is illustrated by what happens in the life of a hypothetical college student. We’ll call her Colleen.

Colleen is a good student. She heads off to college with lots of encouragement from her family and teachers to study hard and keep her grades up. College life is new and exciting. She’s making friends and doing well in her classes.

But one night as she heads to the dorm to study, a new friend says they should go to Starbucks and hang out for a while. She protests, but after some convincing gives in and jumps in the car. They stay late and she’s too tired to study. The first time she gets away with it, but soon it becomes a habit. One morning she fails a pop quiz and pretty soon her grades are slipping. When an exam comes up, Colleen cheats.

Then her parents call and ask her how she’s doing. She lies and tells them she’s doing great.

Soon she’s experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression.

If she went to the clinic on campus and told them about her feelings, it’s likely she would be given a prescription to help her feel better. But are her feelings really the problem?

Often, our feelings are like the warning lights on the dash of our cars. They’re telling us something is wrong under the hood. If we disconnect the lights or cover them up somehow, we won’t solve the problem. In fact, we’ll probably have a bigger problem somewhere down the road.

Something is wrong in Colleen’s heart. She has let fun and pleasing her friends become more important than pleasing God.

 

What Does Colleen Need?

 

Colleen needs to repent. She needs to ask God to forgive her and she needs to accept His forgiveness. She needs to call her parents, admit that she lied, and ask for their forgiveness. She, also, needs to confess what’s she’s done to her professor, ask for forgiveness, and be willing to accept the consequences. Then she needs to become faithful in her studies.

Hard. Yes.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12.11 NKJ).
As challenging as this might seem, if she’s willing to respond God’s way, she’ll be on an upward path, instead of the downward spiral she’s been on, and her feelings can improve quite rapidly. But even if the feelings of depression and discouragement don’t leave immediately, she can have peace with God and know that He’ll use all that’s happened for good in her life. And she’ll grow in her Christian walk as she learns to live righteously before Him.


If You’re Depressed

 
What if you’re experiencing feelings of depression?

Continue reading

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 3 + LINKUP

 

Handling Depression Biblically - Part 3

There are numerous reasons that a person might feel depressed. We can be depressed because of a loss or a set back, because of a lack of sleep, or because of illness. And I don’t have to tell you ladies about hormonal issues. And, sometimes, there is no known cause other than living life in sin-cursed bodies in a fallen world.

It’s, also, true that a failure to handle the events and responsibilities of life in a biblical way can cause feelings of depression. But we must be very careful about making assumptions where others are concerned.

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” We started with anger and then moved on to depression. Two weeks ago we discussed the medical, cultural and biblical definitions of depression and last week we looked at the lives of two of the prophets, Elijah and Jeremiah, and how God ministered to them when they experienced feelings of depression. We, also, discussed the difference between depression and discouragement. If you missed them, you may want to read them first.

 

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 3

 

Today we’re going to look at David’s life and talk about the “S-word,” sin, as it relates to depression.

I can already feel someone’s blood pressure starting to rise, so allow me to make a few disclaimers before we get started.

First, there are numerous reasons that a person might feel depressed. We can be depressed because of a loss or a set back, because of a lack of sleep, or because of illness. And I don’t have to tell you ladies about hormonal issues. And, sometimes, there is no known cause other than living life in sin-cursed bodies in a fallen world.

Many godly men and women have struggled with feelings of depression, including: the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon; the great reformer, Martin Luther; and poet and hymn writer, William Cowper. Last week we talked about “The Weeping Prophet,” Jeremiah, and Elijah, who defeated and killed 400 prophets of Baal, only to become so depressed afterwards that he wanted to die.

But it’s, also, true that a failure to handle the events and responsibilities of life in a biblical way can cause feelings of depression. So while we must be very careful about making assumptions where others are concerned, we need to address sin as a possible cause of depression.

 

David

 

If anyone had a reason to suffer from depression, it was David. It seems the man God called “a man after His own heart” (Acts 13.22) and “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23.1) had plenty of opportunities.

When Samuel came to anoint the next king of Israel from among Jesse’s sons, his father didn’t even call him in from the field (1 Sam. 16.5-13).

When he stood up to the giant Goliath, his brother made fun of him.

26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

Then, even though he killed the giant and served Saul faithfully on and off the battlefield, Saul continually broke his promises to David (1 Sam. 18.17-19) and, eventually sought to kill him out of jealousy (1 Sam. 18.8-11).

And even though God had proclaimed him the next king, years went by while he was pursued by Saul, disrespected by others (1 Sam. 25.9-11) and, even, threatened by his own men (1 Sam. 30.6).

After he became king, he was betrayed by his close friend and his own son (2 Sam. 15.10-12).

Frequently, in the psalms, David cried out to the Lord because of his trials and distresses. But perhaps the clearest example of his struggle with depressed emotions takes place after his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11.2-5). In Psalm 32 he gives us a snapshot of what he learned about sin, confession, and forgiveness.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah (NLT).

A good description of many of the physical feelings connected with depression.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
    and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
    And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

And verse 1:

Oh, what joy for those 
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those 
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

What he learned:

Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
    that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
    but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

God shows us the way to live righteously. When we follow His instructions, we will, generally, experience feelings of peace and joy. That doesn’t mean we’ll never have challenges, losses, or disappointments. But when we respond God’s way we can trust Him to give us the strength to walk through them, in spite of feelings to the contrary.  Continue reading

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 2 + LINKUP

 

Handling Depression Biblically - Part 2 - Depression, if you’ve ever suffered with it, you know it can be a dark, discouraging place to be. At its worst, it’s been called the “dark night of the soul.” But there is hope for those experiencing discouragement, depression, and hopelessness.

Did people in biblical times experience feelings of depression? Is so, what can we learn from their lives and God’s interaction with them?

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” Previously we covered how to handle anger in God honoring ways. You can click the link above to read those posts.

Last week we began discussing depression, in particular, the different definitions of depression: the medical definition, the cultural and the biblical.

 

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 2

 

Last week I said that no one is immune to feelings of depression. For some it’s a mild sense of sadness, for others it can feel debilitating. Today we’re going to look at the biblical definition again and how it compares to discouragement. We’ll, also, look at Elijah’s and Jeremiah’s lives and how they responded to these feelings.

 

Depression or Discouragement?

 

The feelings involved in both depression and discouragement are much the same. They can be extremely painful and difficult and can tempt us to give in to them. The depressed person responds by shutting down. He or she stops functioning in some or all areas of life.

She may stop going to work, quit cleaning the house, avoid people, or refuse to get out of bed altogether. But when a person is discouraged, as I’m defining it here, he or she keeps going, keeps handling life, in spite of their feelings to the contrary.

So, I would define depression as, “a debilitating mood, feeling or attitude of hopelessness which becomes a person’s reason for not handling the most important issues of life.”

The difference between discouragement and depression is immobility. With depression there is an almost total reliance on feelings and those feelings become the basis for their action or inaction.

Numerous people in the Bible experienced feelings of discouragement and/or depression, including: Elijah, David, Jonah, Jeremiah, and Cain.

Today we’ll look at a two of the prophets, Elijah and Jeremiah, and next week we’ll talk about David, Jonah, and Cain.  Continue reading

“Exhaustion, Disappointment, & Discouragement” June 5

 

exhaustion

Elijah had just witnessed one of the most incredible and dramatic moves of God. But now, he had decided he was the only one left serving God, that those in charge were going to kill him, and that God wasn’t really working at all. He was so discouraged that he asked God to kill him. Instead of doing so, God gave him what we really needed. Could understanding what that was help you when you’re depressed and ready to give up?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 19 & 20
Psalm 70.1-5
Proverbs 18.1-2
John 14.1-31

 

Exhaustion, Disappointment & Discouragement

 

1 Kings 19 & 20:

God’s Provision for Elijah

 

I always find it amazing that after defeating the prophets of Baal and seeing God do such a mighty work, Elijah would respond the way he did to Jezebel’s threat (chap. 19). But it’s a good reminder to us that when we get exhausted, physically and/or spiritually, things often seem much worse than they are, because we can easily get our eyes off God and on to our own strength or the lack of it.

As John MacArthur pointed out in his Daily Bible, he probably expected Ahab and Jezebel to repent after that great display of God’s power and when they didn’t, he became discouraged.

 

Elijah’s disappointment over their lack of repentance and his own physical and spiritual exhaustion led to discouragement and depression (in verse 19.3 he asked God to take his life). Instead God gave him what he, actually, needed.

 

First, food and rest:

5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.

Elijah had decided he was the only one left serving God, that those in charge were going to kill him, and that God wasn’t really working at all. That seems amazing from our perspective, but that’s the nature of discouragement and depression. It warps our sense of reality.

So, second, he needed God’s perspective on the situation. After announcing His presence with a mighty wind, an earthquake, and fire, God spoke to him and revealed His plan and instructions (19.15-17).

Then He addressed Elijah’s self pity and false belief that he was the only one left of God’s people:

Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him (v. 19.18).

 

The Goodness of God

 

The other thing that’s amazing is how God continued to give Ahab and Jezebel opportunities to see His power and goodness, and to repent and turn from their idolatry! In chapter 20 He gave them two great victories over Syria and each time He said, “… and you shall know that I am the Lord” (vss. 20.13, 28).  Continue reading

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 1 + LINKUP

 

Handling Depression Biblically - Part 1 - Depression, if you’ve ever suffered with it, you know it can be a dark, discouraging place to be. At its worst, it’s been called the “dark night of the soul.”Depression, if you’ve ever suffered with it, you know it can be a dark, discouraging place to be. At its worst, it’s been called the “dark night of the soul.”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” Previously we covered how to handle anger in God honoring ways. You can click the link to read those posts.

Today we’ll begin talking about depression and how to handle it biblically. In future posts, we’ll also cover:

Guilt
Fear & Worry
Trials & Suffering

 

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 1

 

No one is immune to feelings of depression. Pastors and many great men and women of God have struggled with depression and discouragement. So can housewives, executives, doctors, lawyers, salesmen, writers and Bible teachers.

For some it’s a mild feeling of sadness for others it can feel debilitating.

People in the Bible suffered from what many would call depression today, including Elijah, David, Jonah, Jeremiah, and Cain.

 

What Is Depression?

 

Before we talk more about depression, we need to define it. Most of us probably believe we know what it is, but we may find that there’s a wide range of definitions.

 

The Medical Definition

 

The medical world would define depression based on the DSM-5, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.

According to the DSM-5 a person is depressed if, “Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure (excluding symptoms that are clearly attributable to another medical condition).

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.)
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation.)
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. (Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gain.)
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

Notice that the criteria are based on thinking and behavior, not changes in the body, and that the descriptions are subjective not objective.

According to Web MD,

There is no blood test, X-ray, or other laboratory test that can be used to diagnose major depression. However, your doctor may run blood tests to help detect any other medical problems that have symptoms similar to those of depression.

[Diagnosis is] based on self-described thinking and feelings and/or the observations of others.

I don’t note those facts to make light of the reality and intensity of the feelings, only so we can talk about depression in biblical terms.

Clinical depression means that a physician has used his clinical skills based on the complaints of the patient and his own observation.

The most common medical explanation for depression is chemical imbalance. Through the years different chemicals have been mentioned. The one considered the primary culprit has changed numerous times over the last 30 years or so. But while this is widely accepted, even medical journals say it’s a theory and not a fact.

According to Web MD some common triggers or causes of major depression include:  Continue reading

“What Could Cost Us Our Freedom?” March 29

 

What Could Cost Us Our Freedom? - Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites … men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites … men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 19 & Deuteronomy 20
Psalm 38.1-8
Proverbs 12.23-25
Luke 4.31-44

 

What Could Cost Us Our Freedom?

 

Deuteronomy 19 & Deuteronomy 20:

The Size of Our God

 

In chapter 20.1-4 the Israelites were told:

“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt … Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”

Like the Israelites, no matter what the battle or the enemy, we are not to look at the size of the enemy, but at the size of our God!

 

What Could Cost Us Our Freedom?

 

But we must remember that this passage follows closely behind the passages we read yesterday where God was giving instructions for choosing leaders and the behavior of those leaders. When the people or their leaders acted presumptuously, repeatedly disobeyed His commands, or followed other gods and put their trust in them, God frequently let them be defeated in battle. Sometimes even allowing them to be taken into captivity, as he did with Babylon.

America has enjoyed years of relative protection from God. We have been blessed with freedoms, resources, and favor on an enormous scale. But we should not think God cannot or will not allow defeat for our nation if we continue to move further and further from Him and His standards.

Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites … men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

The great British statesman Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”

So what could cost us our freedom? Continue reading

“Don’t lose heart, cave in or give up!” March 25

 

Don't lose heart, cave in or give up! - Do you feel discouraged in some area? Feel like caving in or giving up? Don't lose heart! God is faithful. Wait on Him.Do you feel discouraged in some area? Feel like caving in or giving up? Don’t lose heart! God is faithful. Wait on Him.

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 11 & 12
Psalm 37.18-22
Proverbs 12.12
Luke 2.1-24

 

Don’t lose heart, cave in or give up!

 

Deuteronomy 11 & 12:

Don’t Lose Heart

 

There is so much worth commenting on in these two chapters but let’s focus on 11.16 which says, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.” Maybe you’re feeling discouraged about something, maybe even thinking about giving up.

Maybe you have been trying to walk with the Lord, trying to read your Bible, trying to grow and be the husband or wife, father or mother God has called you to be. Maybe you have been waiting for your husband, your wife, or someone else to come to know the Lord. Maybe you have been waiting for God to answer some other prayer. Continue reading

“When Life Is Hard & Confusing” August 9

 

When Life Is Hard & Confusing - There will be times in all of our lives when life doesn't make sense. It may be because of sickness or some tragedy. It may be the loss of a relationship or watching a child walk away from the Lord. It may be because of someone else's sin or just our circumstances, but there are times when life is hard and confusing. If we're not in one of those difficult times, what can we do now to be ready when they come?There will be times in all of our lives when life doesn’t make sense. It may be because of sickness or some tragedy. It may be the loss of a relationship or watching a child walk away from the Lord. It may be because of someone else’s sin or just our circumstances, but there are times when life is hard and confusing. If we’re not in one of those difficult times, what can we do now to be ready when they come?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 9 & 10
Psalm 93.1-5
Proverbs 22.22-23
Romans 9.16-33

 

When Life is Hard & Confusing

 

Job 9 & 10:

Preparing for the Hard Times

 

In these two chapters Job responds to his friend Bildad. He’s confused because he holds to the same basic belief as his friends—that all troubles come as a direct result of one’s own sin. So, while he knows he’s not sinless, he struggles to understand how he deserves the degree of suffering he’s enduring.

But he holds on to the truths he does understand. In verse 32 speaking of God, he says:

“He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court.”

pointing upHe understands that he and God are not equals, that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are far above our thoughts (Is. 55.8-9).

Understanding that truth helped Job and can help us accept things in our lives that we don’t understand. And there will be things this side of heaven which don’t seem fair, things for which God has a higher and a bigger purpose than we know.

A pastor I know went through a dark depression years ago when his son walked away from the Lord. He said anything he had called depression before that time didn’t even come close. While he still believed the truths he had taught for many years, including the reality of God’s goodness and sovereignty, the darkness continued.  Continue reading

“If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Depressed?” + LINKUP

 

If I am a Christian, Why am I Depressed?Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. Each week I feature a book that I consider a valuable resource. This week’s selection is If I’m a Christian, Why Am I Depressed?: Finding Meaning and Hope in the Dark Valley One Man’s Journey by Robert B. Somerville.

 

Christians and depression: We don’t often think both of those words should describe us. Yet, for some us, that is or has been our experience. Robert Somerville has written a great resource, describing a dark time in his life, the stories of others, and the hope found in Christ, the Gospel, and the Word of God.

From Somerville’s introduction:

I am endeavoring in this book to write about what I experienced and what I learned in the one foray into deep depression through which I journeyed. I pray that I will never have to pass that way again! It was a dreadful experience, some of which is hard to remember because I was so far out of it so as not to have a clear recollection of it. Many other parts are hard to remember because it is humbling to think of the wildness and incoherence of my thoughts and doubts. The chapter titles are the questions that I wrestled with.

When C.S. Lewis set out to write his autobiography Surprised by Joy he said “I have been emboldened to write of it because I notice that a man seldom mentions what he had supposed to be his own most idiosyncratic sensations without receiving from at least one (often more) of those present the reply, ‘What! Have you felt that too? I always thought I was the only one.’”1

How encouraging it is for those struggling with faith to read how Lewis was dragged by God over the threshold of faith, kicking and screaming and went on to inspire faith in millions! Likewise, each time I speak on the subject of depression and share some of my most humbling and even reviling thoughts that went through my mind in the depths of the depression, I have at least one (often more) come to me following the session and state “I have had those same thoughts! I know how you felt because I have been there! I have never shared my thoughts with anyone else because I didn’t think anyone would understand, and I believed I would be condemned!”

Could you be that one? Have you struggled with the dark feelings of depression? Continue reading