“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

“Sin’s Connection to Anxiety & Depression” June 11

 

DepressionAre you or is someone you love struggling with depression or anxiety? Does the Bible have anything to say about those issues? Is it ever connected to sin in our lives?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 9 & 10
Psalm 72.17-20
Proverbs 18.14-15
John 19.1-22

 

Sin’s Connection to Anxiety & Depression

 

Proverbs 18.14-15:

Verse 14, “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?”

As human beings, we are able to withstand great physical and circumstantial difficulties. And as believers, who better understand how to respond to those difficulties, all the more so.

But when we lose hope (Prov. 13.12) or are undergoing spiritual pressure, even lesser problems can seem too much to bear.

depressionCertainly spiritual pressure can be the enemy’s attempt to get us to quit when we are walking in obedience or stepping out in faith. That’s one reason why Scripture tells us to encourage one another (1 Thess. 5.11) and why we are not to forsake coming together with other believers, including church attendance and fellowship. Hebrews 10.23-25:

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

But spiritual pressure can also come from God Himself as He deals with us regarding sin. Hebrews 12.5-11:

5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

While I don’t want to imply that all depression has a sinful cause, sin can result in increased spiritual pressure, depression, and anxiety.

 

Mike Wilkerson in his book Redemption says that we are all fellow sufferers and fellow sinners. Sometimes it’s us who sins and sometimes we suffer because of the sins of others. But even when the initial sin wasn’t ours, we often respond sinfully. Sometimes with fear and worry, sometimes with anger and bitterness, sometimes we turn to alcohol, drugs, food or some other false god instead of turning to God.  Continue reading

“Exhaustion, Disappointment, & Discouragement” June 5

 

exhaustion

Could exhaustion, disappointment, or neglect of your time in the Word be the cause of discouragement or depression?

 

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

 

1 Kings 19 & 20:

Exhaustion, disappointment & discouragement

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. 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

“Recognizing the Process of Sin”

LIVING BETWEEN THE ALREADY & THE NOT YET – Part 3

 

process of sin

 

Several weeks ago I started this series, “Living Between the Already and the Not Yet.” “The already” is who we are in Christ and have been since the day that He saved us. The “not yet” is who we will be when we stand before Him faultless, in other words, when we are like Him.

The first post was “5 Ways God Finishes His Work in Us” based on Philippians 1.6. In it I said that God is progressively changing and growing us as we learn to:

  1. Count it all joy when we encounter tests & trials.
  2. Accept His discipline.
  3. Keep the two great commandments.
  4. Overcome evil with good.
  5. Trust in His sovereignty.

In the second post, I talked about “Responding to Difficult People.” We all have one or more of them in our lives, whether it’s a child, a family member, a spouse, a co-worker or someone else.

I used a simple counseling diagram we call the “Y-chart,” to demonstrate how responding God’s way results in peace and blessings and how our load in life gets easier. But when we respond our own way, it results in tribulation and distress (anxiety, fear, worry, stress, depression) and life gets harder.

 

RECOGNIZING THE PROCESS OF SIN

In this post I’m going to talk about the process of sin: how it works, why we fall into its snares, and how we can avoid it.  Continue reading

The Jesus Code: Depression is Real + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 11 of The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer.

This week’s question: “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19.9).

 

In 1 Kings 19 Elijah has just experienced a great spiritual victory. But now he’s exhausted, full of self-pity, and depressed. God speaks to him and asks, “What are you doing here?”

Depression is real and Christians, as well as non-Christians, experience times of depression.

While I disagreed with Hawkins assessment of the three types of depression, I do agree with much that he has to say in this chapter. Let me talk first about some of the reasons I disagree.

Hawkins lists the three types of depression as physical, psychological, and spiritual.

There certainly can be physical issues involved in depression: hormonal fluctuation, lack of proper rest, and illnesses that can make us more prone to feelings of depression. But when discussing physical depression, the author refers only to chemical imbalances.

I understand this is a widely held belief and while there may be cases where some chemical issues are involved, most people are not diagnosed using any kind of medical test. Diagnosis is made purely on the basis of symptoms. If you want to learn more about this, you can listen to a free audio series by Pastor Jim Newheiser (part 1, part 2, & part 3) of the Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship.

Even when physical issues are fueling depression, viewing things from a spiritual perspective makes all the difference and our responses can either intensify or lessen those feelings.

As far as psychological issues go, most of what we label psychological is really spiritual in nature. Perhaps I’ll write more about this in a future post, but again, Pastor Newheiser’s series can be helpful.

Back to the book, when discussing the sources of depression, Hawkins uses the story of Elijah after he had defeated the prophets of Baal. He says:

The same man who faced down 850 false prophets and watched fire fall from heaven quickly forgot God’s responsiveness, faithfulness, and power and fled from a wicked woman. And this kind of forgetfulness is a source of spiritual depression. In fact, one of the most dangerous times in the Christian life is right after a great spiritual victory . Elijah acted as if yesterday’s victories would suffice for today’s commitments . He took his eyes off his God and put them on his enemy, Jezebel. When crisis comes and Jezebel knocks on our door, we— like Elijah— are prone to forget God’s power and blessing.

Besides forgetfulness, he lists fear and fatigue as sources of depression. He goes on to talk about the symptoms and the solutions for depression. The solutions include the need to address physical issues like rest and hunger, the need to face your fears, and then to get God’s perspective.

Hawkins ends with this:

None of us is immune to moments, or even bouts, of spiritual depression. When it’s your turn, don’t treat the symptoms; your depression will only get worse. Instead, treat the sources of the depression and rest in the fact that God has the solution. And His solution still comes to us in that “still small voice” spoken to our hearts.

 

Next week’s question is: “Where did it fall?” (2 Kings 6.6).

 

You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.

Previous questions:

The question for week one was, “Has God Indeed Said …?”
Week two: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Week three: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Week four: “Who am I?”
Week five: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?” (Numbers 21.5).
Week six: “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6.13).
Week seven: “Is there still anyone … That I may show him kindness?” (2 Samuel 9.1).
Week eight: “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight?” (2 Samuel 12.9).
Week nine: “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3.5).
Week ten: “How long will you falter between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18.21).

 

Blessings,
Donna

 

 

 NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:

linkup

 

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Divine Counterpart

Be sure to check out the first in my series on Genesis, “Divine Counterpart,” on Ren’s website “A Look at the Book.”

 

I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
Mondays
Making Your Home Sing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings A Proverbs 31 Wife Darling Downs Diaries The Art of Homemaking Mom2Mom Linkup
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Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Juana Mikels Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays Judith Whole Hearted Home A Little R & R So Much at Home Mom’s Morning Coffee Women with Intention
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Sundays Spiritual Sundays Sunday Stillness

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August 9 “When life doesn’t make sense”

confused, questions

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.

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

Job 9 & 10:

When life doesn’t make sense

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.”

His ways, hand, pointing

He 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. Continue reading

June 11 “Sin’s connection to depression and anxiety”

Are you or is someone you love struggling with depression or anxiety? Does the Bible have anything to say about those issues? Is it ever connected to sin in our lives?

depression & anxiety

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 9 & 10
Psalm 72.17-20
Proverbs 18.14-15
John 19.1-22

2 Kings 9 & 10:

The righteous Judge of the universe

2 Kings 9.8-10:

8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free. 9 So I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. 10 The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.’” And he opened the door and fled.

Even though God is love – that is – it’s His very nature; He is also the righteous Judge of the universe. In His mercy He gives many opportunities for people to repent and change, but He does eventually judge evil. We must also remember that He knows the end from the beginning and the hearts of every man, woman and child. So when His judgment comes, we must know that it is always just and right. Continue reading