Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Depression is Real

I've been reading an old book titled If God is in Control Why is my Life Such a Mess? by Michael Youssef. The Lord has really put it on my heart lately that no one talks about it? Why? Is it because when we are so down we often lose perspective or that we don't often realize how depressed we were till we start coming out of it. Rarely, do people confront one another and talk about it. Again, why? Well, we all just want to be happy. That's the goal in life, right? Wrong!

 Here are some statistics

"-More than 5 percent of Americans-some 15 million people-suffer clinical depression at any given moment.
-Another 5 percent experience mild symptoms of being "down in the dumps."
-At least one person in six experiences a serious, or "major,"depressive episode at some point in life.
-Each year, tens of thousands of depressed people attempt suicide. About sixteen thousand succeed. Suicide is now the leading cause of death among teens and adults."

Why is it so important to recognize it? We all have it and we have a choice, do we use it to draw ourselves closer to the Lord and glorify Him or do we gloss over it and allow the devil to be victorious in its lies? Emotional depression  begins with self-protection"I'm the only one I can trust", leads to self-pity"no one else can possibly be hurting like me!", and lastly self-punishment"I must have done something wrong to deserve this." These are lies!

The truth is
1."As iron sharpens iron let us sharpen one another"(Prov. 27:17) "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we can say with confidence , "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid what can man do to me?" Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you . Consider the outcome of their life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. "(Heb 13:5-8)
Life disappoints but the Lord doesn't. We need one another. He gives us each other to be molded more like Him. Don't isolate yourself when you are in pain. While it is good to be alone with the Lord make sure you are really being alone with the Lord and not just seeking self-protection.

2. "Resist him(devil) stand firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers through out the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. (1 Peter 5:9) "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."(Romans 3:23).
We are all hurting people because of sin, but the Lord redeems!

3. "The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are those who wait for Him."(Isaiah 30: 18) "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whomever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." (Ecc. 3 :11) "The wise man has eyes in his head, while I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both." (Ecc. 2:14)
The Lord has already taken the punishment we deserve. He asks us to wait in troubled times and trust His Will over our own for He desires to be glorified.

Earlier I asked what is the ultimate goal in life. I believe it is to have a relationship with the one and only Lord and glorify Him no matter the pain. While not all of this is from the book it is based on things from it. Two more things

1. Depression sometimes comes with a cause and sometimes it has an unexpected reason. It just appears. This is labeled "causeless depression". It goes onto say it "can be fruitful for those who minister, Spurgeon discovered. "You cannot help others who are depressed unless you have been down in the depths yourself." Spurgeon was a pastor who after a fire and seeing people die while he was preaching struggled to ever get on the pulpit again. This was not causeless depression but he suffered throughout his life many forms of depression and "causeless depression" was one of them. These resulted from health problems, exhaustion and some other unknown causes. He went on to be labeled as "Prince of preachers" for all the works he wrote. Yet, depression was real in his life.

2. Perhaps. my favorite "Ministry takes the life out of you."If you want to do great things for God without reaching the depths of depression and discouragement, then you must not allow yourself to become physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted." Did you know that Jeremiah, Elijah and Moses all begged for the Lord to take their lives? They saw no reason to live anymore! After great victories in the Lord Satan always tries to attack. They were exhausted and fell into heavy sleeps. They lost perspective but the Lord brought them back. The world tells us it is about what we do but the Lord tells us it is about Him and being made perfect in Him. You cannot take care of another till you have taken care of yourself."But if, like Elijah, you do get to that point of incapacitating exhaustion, here is the best part of the story:  God will restore you in compassion and tenderness."

Where do you stand today? What are you struggling with? You are not alone and are loved. It may take time to recover but the best part is the Lord has all the time in the world in his hands. So come to Him all you who are weary and heavy laden and He will give you rest!(Matt 11:28)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Sermon

          This morning our pastor spoke on Amos, one of the many books I was privileged to study in depth while in Laos. The point of the sermon was that we are all corrupt and mess up but the Lord does not give up on us! He provides hope and restoration if only we come to him asking for it. Well, the message that I got was a bit different. I couldn't help but think of all those I have known who have been physically beaten, bruised or abandoned. I say this in the physical sense although I know many people suffer things like this emotionally there is just something about not being able to protect yourself outwardly and the harm it does. It reminded me that even for these there is hope. Whether it is a student I have taught, one of their family members, friends or others close to me who have suffered this. I began to pray as we sang that they would find hope and restoration in the Lord. You know the Lord tells us to lead them to the cross for a reason. Thinking of one person in my past in particular I wrote this. My hope is that it encourages those struggling and searching for  HOPE those who are truly POOR, BATTERED and BRUISED! I may not know how to help you but there are people who are out there who do and the Lord loves you!You are worthy in his eyes!

The world coated in pain
The stench of blood 
Swimming in vomit
Creating their own mud
Yet there I stood 
Here I stand
How can I pull them out
They're sinking
They cannot be happy with their sin
What hope did I offer
Oh how I tried
But to understand only You can suffice
The pain from their face
I cannot erase
But You can
Father it is in your hands
I may not understand your plans 
But they are great
Thank You for trying
Encouraging my help
For a willing spirit
Wrap them in your arms
Touch the untouchable 
As only You can do
Cleanser, Healer, Counselor, Savior
Be that to them too
Oh how You love
Love them and me
Please, Please
I beg and plead
Show them 
Show them 
In the world's eyes 
These are the least of these
Help them to overcome the world
See You and your healing sword
For You see all pain 
Suffered to death for our gain
If anyone can penetrate their heart
It is You
So I pray they are open to start
Healing and You
So mighty Savior
Thank You 
Thank You
May they be receptive and open to your touch
For love is not love till mingled with the greatest
And much of much
Jesus, Father, Spirit
May restoration win
Because turning isn't easy
From the world they must fend
But You Oh You
Know all 
See all
May someday they'll be able to say 
That they followed your beckon call
May I have the strength to do what I can
Then leave it oh Lord
Leave it 
In your hands