Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

God’s Way of Peace

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Here is God’s way of peace…

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, oh LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Ps. 4:8

“Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Ps. 34:15,16”

“Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.” Ps. 37:37’

“The mountains will bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.” Ps. 72:3

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Ps. 119:165

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Prov. 16:7

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isa. 26:3

“Or let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Isa. 27:5

“The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” Isa. 32:17

“Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” Isa. 48:18

“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” Isa. 48:22 (to the unrepentant wicked!)

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isa. 53:5

“All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isa. 54:13

“The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.” Isa. 59:8

“The heart of Jesus was always at peace. His life was calm amid the storms of life…. The secrets of Jesus were the perpetual presence of God in His soul, and His never-faltering faith in the loving, careful providence of God in all the experiences of His checkered life. Can we not have this? We may if we are willing to pay the price. If we will surrender our will utterly to Him; if we will tear down every veil that might hide His face, and throw open our whole being to His indwelling and use; if we will cease scheming, planning, devising, and fall back on the absolute care and arrangements of God; if we will learn to reckon on God as absolutely as on any resourceful human friend; if we will dare to believe that God holds Himself responsible for the sustenance and equipment for duty of all who absolutely seek His glory—then ‘Our lives shall be full of sunshine, and the cares that infest the day… shall silently steal away.'”—F. B. Meyer

Overcoming Discouragement

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Discouragement is a problem that needles many people. Every day one either personally struggles with discouragement or encounters someone who is struggling with discouragement

Is this what God had in mind when he said “Fear not, neither be discouraged (Deut 1:21)”; or “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33)”?

I doubt it. The Bible is full of promises and admonitions that speak otherwise

In the Old Testament God was continually trying to encourage His people:

When Joshua was being commissioned to lead the Hebrew armies, God said, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).

Later, after an ignominious defeat had been incurred, when there would have been reason to be discouraged, God said to Joshua, “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land” ( Joshua 8:1).

David waxed eloquent regarding His God: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident (Ps. 27:1-3). God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).

In the book of Isaiah there are continual encouragements to look away from the problems of daily life: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation” (Isa 12:2). “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 41:10). “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isa. 43:1,2)

Jeremiah had the same confidence: “But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid” (Jer. 46:27).

When Paul was bound in the castle against his will, God stood by him saying, “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome. (Acts 23:11)” He didn’t have lots of reasons to be encouraged but God was encouraging him just the same. When death seemed imminent, Paul encouraged the people saying, “Be of good cheer, for there shall not be the loss of any man’s life (Acts 27:22). Paul had been encouraged, and now he was encouraging others. Later he asserted: “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).

Writing on discouragement in her book, Living in the Sunshine, Hannah Whitall Smith suggests that discouragement is really faith in evil, and speaking against God. The causes she lists are many, and include our inadequacies, difficulties that seem insurmountable, an illegitimate fear of people and mistakes we have made in the past, for all of which she cites many Bible examples of people who did not allow these kinds of dispiriting elements get them down. Moses was warned against feeling inadequate; Joshua was encouraged when facing the task of overcoming the imposing walls of Jericho; Paul was to face Roman inquisitors; Jeremiah was told not to be afraid of the people’s faces; and David certainly had plenty to mourn when considering his past, but it did not stop him from praising God. All of these people were told to be of good cheer!

She also points to two outcomes of discouragement: it leads to complaining and murmuring against God, and it is highly contagious. I fear I have been guilty of the first at times, and certainly acknowledge that I have encouraged people to do likewise.

How can we overcome discouragement? She rightly points out that it is awfully hard to talk oneself out of discouragement. The best thing is to trust God and believe His promises, and then turn from the discouragement. Regarding the latter, I don’t know of anything better than cultivating a grateful attitude and choosing to say “yes” and “thank you” for whatever is going on in my life. I would also add, doing something good for another person.

A final precious thought coming from her chapter on discouragement is the thought that mistakes are not to drive us FROM God, but TO God. She reminds that the condition of a soiled table cloth doesn’t lead to it being thrown out, but to it being cleaned; and the joy and confidence a housewife could have if she knew there was a highly skilled laundress caring for her tablecloth. We of course know the one who is able to clean better than any other person, and we can have conplete confidence in Him.

Finally, Satan specializes in discouragement, for he knows that discouragement causes us to look at our circumstances and our inadequacies more than at God, and so long as that goes on he has the upper hand.

You may want to read all of Hannah Whitall Smith’s chapter on discouragement at path2prayer.com. You will many helpful articles on discouragement at path2prayer’s Practical Christianity section. Also, I send out a newsletter from time to time with encouraging thoughts on how to walk with Jesus, pray, and know success as a Christian. Email me at path2prayer@gmail.com to be on the mailing list.

Thirsty No More…

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Hudson Taylor was greatly used of God to bring the gospel to China. Raised in a pastor’s home, he sought to have a relationship with God, but gave up during his teen years because it seemed too hard. Then, at a time when his mother was specifically praying for his salvation, he read a tract in his father’s study where he came across the words: “the finished work of Christ.” As a result of reading those words, he gave his heart to Jesus and God began doing a great work in His heart. He soon felt a call to serve God in China, and began preparing by studying to be a medical doctor and learning to live in complete dependence on God there in London. If you want to read more about this I recommend his book Retrospect which you can find as a pdf at my web site.

Taylor was a pioneer in more ways than one. Not only was he one of the first missionaries to go to China, he was also the first Western Missionary to adopt the Chinese style of dress. He was convinced that the best way to reach the Chinese people was to be as much like them as possible so long as one didn’t compromise and sin. There was a blessed response, and many Chinese were won to the Lord Jesus. Hudson Taylor began recruiting volunteers and they came by the hundreds.

In spite of all this work for God, Taylor was a struggling Christian, and bemoaned his constant seeming defeats. Then things changed, and he found that receiving Jesus brought a new victory and joy into his life. As a result his prayers took on a new life. He had a new joy in reading the Bible. He also experienced a new freedom from care and peace that he had not known previously. He began to live a life on the highest plane. It is out of that experience that His preaching took a new joyful and optimistic tone. The excerpt I share on receiving the Holy Spirit comes from a talk He gave in Detroit Michigan at a great missionary conference in 1894. I am sure you will be blessed in reading.

Hudson Taylor: Learning that “Shall” Means “Shall”!:

“A full equipment is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And how simply it is to be attained! You know where to go. That poor Samaritan woman did not know in whose presence she was. The Master said to her, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water.” And she did ask, very ignorantly indeed, not knowing what she asked. He knew, and He gave her that which she so ignorantly asked. He said to her, before He had fully blessed her, a word that is recorded for your instruction and mine, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.” Oh, how true it is; all the waters of earth, how thirsty they leave us, or how soon we become thirsty again! “But,” continued our Master, there is something better, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” — shall never thirst!

“It may have been the end of 1868 or the beginning of 1869 when I discovered that “shall” means “ shall,” and that “never “ means “ never,” and that “thirst” means “ thirst.” I can’t tell you how delighted I was, for I was so thirsty [for spiritual power and fulfillment] at the time. And so hungry and thirsty was I as the Spirit of God threw his own Divine light on those words, that I saw that “shall” means “shall,” and “never” means “never,” and “thirst” means “ thirst.” I leaped from my seat; I could not sit still. How I did praise God that the thirsty days were all past! Well, you know, it is only a little over twenty years since then, and they haven’t come back since; and twenty thousand years hence, when you and I meet up there, I shall have the same story to tell you. He has promised it to me and I believe it.

“But don’t misread His Word. He does not say whosoever drank shall never thirst; but whosoever drinketh. It is in the present tense. We are not, with the appetite taken away, to stop drinking: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” Isn’t it glorious to feel that every one of you may just take that living water now and drink now and thirst no more; and to find you have got the well, and that you haven’t to go and seek it — so different from the old pumping I used to try, and that was so ineffective? You cannot give people that which you yourself don’t possess. What is the use of going over the beds with an empty watering-can? But when the Lord fills it and keeps it full and gives you delight to drink day by day, it just overflows! Go amongst your beautiful hills and see a waterfall, and put a great barrel under the waterfall, and it will soon be full and it will overflow, and as much water will overflow from that barrel as comes down from above. Take that great barrel away and put a little bucket there. The bucket will soon be just as full as the barrel, and when it overflows it will overflow just as much. I am the little bucket; it is easily filled and the flowing is so easy; there is no toil, there is no labor.”

Read more about Hudson Taylor at path2prayer.com

Our Times are in God’s Hands!

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

I came across these paragraphs of Octavius Winslow in my reading today and was greatly blessed. I believe you will be too. Enjoy!

“My times are in your hand.” Psalm 31:15

Our times of adversity are also in God’s hand. As every sunbeam that brightens, so every cloud that darkens, comes from God. We are subject to great and sudden reverses in our earthly condition. Joy is often succeeded by grief, prosperity by adversity. We are on the pinnacle today, tomorrow at its bottom. Oh! What a change may one event and one moment create! But, beloved, ALL is from the Lord.

Afflictions do not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Sorrow cannot come until God bids it. Until God in His sovereignty permits—health cannot fade, wealth cannot vanish, comfort cannot decay, friendship cannot chill, and loved ones cannot die. Your time of sorrow is His appointment. The bitter cup which it may please the Lord that you shall drink this year will not be mixed by human hands. In the hand of the Lord is that cup! Some treasure you are now pressing to your heart, He may ask you to resign. Some blessing you now possess, He may bid you to relinquish. Some fond expectation you now cherish, He may will that you should forego. Some lonely path, He may design that you should tread.

Yes, He may even bereave you of all, and yet all, ALL is in His hand! His hand! A Father’s hand, moving in thick darkness, is shaping every event, and arranging every detail in your life! Has sickness laid you on a bed of suffering? Has bereavement darkened your home? Has adversity impoverished your resources? Has change lessened your comforts? Has sorrow in one of its many forms crushed your spirit to the earth? The Lord has done it! In all that has been sent, in all that has be recalled, and in all that has been withheld—His hand, noiseless and unseen has brought it about!

Ah! yes, that hand of changeless love blends a sweet with every bitter—pencils a bright rainbow in each dark cloud—upholds each faltering step—shelters within its hollow—and guides with unerring skill, His chosen people safe to eternal glory! Dear child of God, your afflictions, your trials, your crosses, your losses, your sorrows, all, ALL are in your heavenly Father’s hand, and they cannot come until sent by Him!

Bow that stricken heart—yield that tempest-tossed soul to His sovereign disposal, to His calm, righteous sway, in the submissive spirit and language of your suffering Savior, “May Your will, O my Father! not mine, be done. My times of sadness and of grief are in Your hand.” Beloved, all is in your Father’s hand! Be those times what they may—times of trial, times of temptation, times of suffering, times of peril, times of sunshine or of gloom, or times of life or death, they are in your Father’s hand!

Has the Lord seen fit to recall some fond blessing, to deny some earnest request, or painfully to discipline your heart? All this springs from a Father’s love as fully as though He had unlocked His treasury and poured its costliest gifts at your feet! All of our times are in our Redeemer’s hands! That same Redeemer who carried our sorrows in His heart, our curse and sins on His soul, our cross on His shoulder; who died, who rose again, and who lives and intercedes for us, and who will gather all His ransomed around Him in glory, is your Guardian and your Guide! Your times are in the hands of Him who still bears the print of the nails!

Find more information on trusting God at path2prayer.com in the Practical Christianity section.

Witnessing Under Adverse Circumstances

Friday, December 21st, 2007

This witnessing testimony was shared in a discussion post in the Christian Witnessing Works group on facebook, which you are invited to join! It demonstrates how God can turn the most adverse circumstances into witnessing opportunities. The post came in response to a reply that God cannot used depressed ambassadors. She responded and subsequently gave me permission to post here.

I don’t agree with you about God can that cannot use a depressed ambassador .. think we must be careful .. there is a huge difference between being depressed because of attitude and because of chemicals .. and also God can use anything or any one no matter what, He is all powerful!

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 1 Peter3: 7-8

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘ The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.This was the LORD’s doing,And it is marvelous in our eyes’? Matthew 21:42

[ The Chosen Stone and His Chosen People ] Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 1 Peter 2:4

There is also a verse that state that even the stones will cry out.. can not find it right now

The point is, it matters not in what state we are (because we all are sinners), God can use us ~ we need to be willing though.

I was depressed chemically (still am, but thank you to medication I believe God provided and I’m doing well) and even in the worse levels of the chemical depression, God worked miracles to reach people through me. Because God knew my heart and understood what was going on in my body. But if I not been sick, I would have never have been in the clinic where I was, would never have met a young lady, only 15 (I was then 23) who refused to talk to anybody and kept on trying to end her life.

We had the same surname, but were not related at all. For some reason I was drawn to her and everyday would just go and sit by her and tell her” I wish I had a sister .. she could be my sister if she wanted to be even if she never talked….” After a few weeks she nodded her head and so we became none-speaking sisters. I would sit by her and show her pictures I had drawn or poems I’d written. Two months later she spoke all of a sudden and said I am going to tell you something you will never believe but that is okay I am going to tell you…. In short, she shared with me how she watched her dad drown when she was about 5 (she told me I would understand that as I had shared with her that I witnessed a murder at the age of 4/5) … Her mom re-married and her step dad had raped her on a daily basis (she also thought I would understand because I shared with her that at age 8 I was gang-raped)

But then she said .. the next part you will not believe and cannot relate too…. She told me how she walked in a park, how a beautiful man knew her name and talked with her and invited her to join his club .. She did .. and then discovered that he was Satan and she worshiped him .. did horrible things in the process .. At age 14 she wanted out .. he said it was fine, but they needed to punish her first … She told me what it was .. and it is too horrible to share here… but she then was free to go .. she thought God would never ever accept her back and she was finished with life …

I just cried and hugged her and then I heard myself speak, but like it was not me .. if He can love me who is this nuts then so much more can and does He love you! … it led up to her giving me permission to talk to her doctor and share with him what she shared with me .. She refused to talk to the doctors directly, but always through me ..

Six months from the day I was admitted I walked out, without any form of medication .. The doctors words were .. Willa this is a miracle as I was classified Article 60 (in SA it means that only a judge of the court and appointed doctor can release you). And they did.

I faced many traumatic experiences even after this … In 2003 I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder syndrome and the funny stuff that goes along with it … when I was the most sick, I even stated that there was no God!!! … But after a long and difficult road surrounded by positive friends and a great medical team and the grace of God, I am well. Yip, need to drink one tiny little tablet a day .. but doing well. And in spite of this God uses me to reach out to people …

I agree with you and Dan that thanksgiving and attitude! It is very important, even for the chemical depressed person!

However, be careful not to create a message that God cannot use depressed ambassadors or sinners or what ever!

First, with a message like that we limit God – He is all powerful! He will even use stones if He needs too!

Secondly people who are sick and feeling bad already feel depressed and like they cannot be of any worth. By saying God cannot use them, you are confirming their unfounded belief and therefore dooming them to nothing!

I hope that I did not create a message that depression (chemical or emotional) can be use as an excuse for bad behavior or choices as it is not!

Just as God is willing to use us the way we are as long as we are willing, He has also provided wisdom to deal with all matters wisely :-)

We also need to be careful for emotional uplifts .. very dangerous ..

Would rather say we need to have a inner peace … no matter what the circumstances …. Knowing that God is in control we can thank Him for all things!

I am thankful for the trials and traumas of my life, as it is these things that made me weak, but by God’s grace, a strong tool in Him :-)

Happy Witnessing, Willa

You can find links to my essays on witnessing at the Christian Witnessing Works page on this path2prayer.com web site.