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

“The Trouble with America” June 4

 

The Trouble with AmericaWhat or who is really to blame for the trouble in America? Is it Democrats? Is it Republicans? Is it because of our stand on one issue or another? Is it our form of government? Is it taxes? Is it the rich or the poor? Or does the answer lie some place else? And what is our responsibility as Christians in today’s moral, spiritual, political climate?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 17 & 18
Psalm 69.29-36
Proverbs 17.27-28
John 13.21-38

 

The Trouble with America

 

1 Kings 17 & 18:

The Trouble with Israel

 

Solomon has died and the kingdom has been divided under his son, starting a procession of kings that would repeatedly lead to God’s judgment and, eventually, their captivity.

Today’s reading focuses on the northern part of the divided kingdom. You remember in chapter 16.30-33:

“… Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him … he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal … Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”

Wow, what an indictment! Some of those other guys were pretty wicked, but God says Ahab was the worst!

And in chapter 17 God announced His judgment through the Prophet Elijah.

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17.1).

James 5.17 tells us that when Elijah prayed under God’s direction, it didn’t rain for three and a half years. But rather than looking to themselves, Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, blamed Elijah.

When Elijah showed up, Ahab called him the “troubler of Israel.” Elijah answered in 18.18:

“I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.”

 

The Trouble with America

 

The Trouble with America

 

It made me think about what goes on in politics today in our nation. Everyone wants to say, “The trouble with America is this policy or that one. Everyone points the finger at someone or something else. The Democrats point to the Republicans; the Republicans to the Democrats; the poor to the rich, and on it goes.  Continue reading

The Jesus Code: Making Wise Decisions + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 10 of The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer, by O.S. Hawkins. For those of you just tuning in, The Jesus Code has 52 questions, one to contemplate each week. The author believes every Christian should be able to answer these important questions.

This week’s question: “How long will you falter between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18.21).

The occasion for this question was a showdown between Elijah and the One True God and 850 prophets of Baal and their Queen, Jezebel. God’s people had faltered between serving God and worshiping false gods for generations.

I wonder how tired and frustrated Elijah must have been as he asked the people, “How long … how long are you going to live like this? How long are you going to be tossed to and fro? How long will you falter between two opinions?”

Hawkins says:

The pages of Scripture are replete with challenge after challenge to make right choices in life. Moses said, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30: 19, emphasis added). Among Joshua’s last words to his people were these: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the L ORD” (Joshua 24: 15). Luke recorded this statement Jesus made about an important choice: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other” (Luke 16: 13).

 

We are all faced with the choice between making wise decisions and foolish ones every day, in big and little ways. The courses of our lives are not so much determined by what happens to us, but by the choices we make.

Hawkins goes on in this chapter to make four important points about wise decision making:

  • Wise decision making comes from our consciences.
  • Wise decision making is not apart for reason.
  • Wise decision making involves God’s Word.
  • Wise decision making involves the heart.

Some questions we might ask ourselves are:

  • What are we doing to inform our consciences biblically?
  • Are we letting some strongly held desire override our God-given common sense?
  • Have we sought God through His Word and wise godly counselors?
  • Is our heart focused on pleasing Him?

Tf we are regularly spending time in God’s Word, informing our consciences with what He says is right and what He says is wrong … If we are submitting our desires to what pleases God and His will as revealed in His Word … If we have sought godly counsel … And if our hearts are fixed on Him, we can step out in faith and make wise decisions.

Hawkins ends this chapter with these words:

Are you reading these words, realizing you are on the fence and you just can’t bring yourself to make a decision? Choose God! He will not fail you or forsake you— He loves you and has a plan for your life. Decide to follow Him. And remember, not to decide . . . really is to decide!

 

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

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).

Blessings,
Donna

 

 

 NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:

linkup

 

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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).

 

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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June 4 “Troublers of America: Democrats or Republicans?”

Democrats or Republicans Who was really to blame for the problems in the Northern Kingdom? Was it the Prophet? And who’s to blame for the problems in our nation? Is it Democrats or Republicans? Or does the answer lie some place else?

Today’s Readings:
1 Kings 17 & 18
Psalm 69.29-36
Proverbs 17.27-28
John 13.21-38

1 Kings 17 & 18:

Troubler of Israel

Things were continuing their downhill slide in Israel, the northern part of the divided kingdom. You remember in chapter 16.30-33:

“… Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him … he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal … Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”

Wow, what an indictment! Some of those other guys were pretty wicked, but God says Ahab was the worst!

And in chapter 17 God announced His judgment through the Prophet Elijah.

James 5.17 tells us that when Elijah prayed under God’s direction, it didn’t rain for three and a half years. But rather than looking to themselves, Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, blamed Elijah. Continue reading